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BRISTOL TEMPLE MEADS STATION

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  Bristol Joint Station, Bristol Old Station
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Bristol Temple Meads railway station was first established in 1839-41 as the terminus and offices of the Great Western Railway's London to Bristol line. In 1852 a railway office and train shed were built to serve the Bristol & Exeter line and in 1865-78 a third station was built as a through station. Between 1930-5 the station was extended. During the Second World War a wartime engineering school was established and extensive tunnels were dug below the station. The original station (1839-41) was closed in 1965 and all services were transferred to the later station.

The first terminus, known as Bristol Old Station, was one of the original stations constructed on the Great Western Railway. Built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, for the Great Western Railway Company, the station is in the Tudor Revival style. It is built in limestone ashlar and is axially-planned with offices, an engine shed and passenger shed. The functional space of the station was designed by Brunel and is today (2009) almost entirely intact.
The station had dedicated platforms to Departures and Arrivals and hydraulic turntables in the engine shed were used to transfer the trains between tracks. Passengers moved between platforms through the undercroft which contained the waiting rooms.

The second terminus was designed by SC Fripp in 1852 for the Bristol and Exeter Railway Company. A headquarters, built of limestone ashlar, is Jacobethan in style, planned around a central atrium. An associated train shed was later demolished when the later terminus was built.

The third station, originally the Bristol Joint Station, was built in 1865-78 . It was designed by Sir Matthew Digby Wyatt for the Great Western Railway and Midland Railway. Built in a Tudor Revival style it originally had a steep French Empire roof, which was destroyed in the Second World War.

Temple Meads Station is still a major station and its architecture well illustrates the growth of a large railway station over more than a century.

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