The Way We Were: Pre-Farina action in Bournemouth, 1965
It’s a busy scene at the Bournemouth West terminus, yet this railway station was only a week from closure
s thriving as this scene may look, it was about to abruptly, and somewhat unexpectedly, disappear forever. This is Bournemouth West station (then in Hampshire, now part of Dorset), the southern terminus of the much-loved Somerset and Dorset (S&D) Railway from Bath, and the final destination of the famous
Bournemouth Belle and The Pines Express.
But finality was about to catch up with the station in other ways for, less than a week after this shot, Bournemouth West would close to passenger services, on 6 September 1965, after 91 years of operation.
The move was meant to be temporary, while the South Western Main Line between Waterloo and Bournemouth was electrified. But experience proved the town’s Central station could handle all the railway traffic and West never re-opened.
Eagle-eyed readers will spot the new British Rail ‘corporate identity’ style timetables under the canopy, topped by the ‘double arrow’ logo launched on 1 January 1965. This also heralded the repaint of rolling stock into uniform blue and grey. Are the chalkboard notices in front of them broadcasting the closure?
Elsewhere, the old British Railways Southern Region green signage holds sway, including, on the left, an advert for Goodwood. In this case, it’s horse racing, but any of the vehicles here would be welcome at the Chichester location’s subsequent big gathering, the Revival. Only a mere 33 years to wait for the first...
Starting from the left is what would be a very desirable circuit taxi, a brand new Austin Cambridge A60 Countryman, an estate which managed to retain the fins of the saloon. It thus clung on to a traditional elegance its contemporary slab-ended loadluggers couldn’t quite muster.
Also big on elegance is the Jaguar Mk1 next door. ‘TOT2’ is a 1957-1959 3.4-litre, judging by its cutaway rear spats. After the motorcycle – undoubtedly British – is another spanking new Austin, this time a Mini. Lack of bumper overriders suggests ‘FLA 513C’ is a base-spec version, but it’s still the second showroom-fresh car here. Bournemouth was, and still is, a very affluent place. Like the vehicles alongside it, this no longer survives.
A 1956-59 Morris Oxford Series III occupies the first spot in the adjacent row, conveniently forgetting the white-lined area is for taxis only. Probably feeling a slight sense of superiority is the owner of its neighbouring Farina successor, also ignoring the parking restrictions as he exits his more modern Morris. Still, Farinas were always popular minicabs in the days before Nissans took over, and a genuine taxi example is next, wearing Austin badges.
Boosting the taxi fleet are two Vauxhalls, a 1960-62 Velox PA and its replacement, a 1962-65 PB in the more luxurious Cresta form. Finally, another BMC Farina bookends the line. Nowadays, local Bournemouth taxis have to be yellow, but back in the 1960s, only the local corporation buses were this vibrant shade. Would citrus shades really suit Pininfarina’s sharp BMC lines?
Bournemouth West was soon demolished. It’s now, oh irony of ironies, a car and coach park. It’s also one of the places I used to play as a kid in the 1970s, my parents living just down the road. It helped kickstart my fascination with the S&D that continues to this day.