Monday, 10 September 2018

My M Y Day & More; Yate (1)

Yate was just a small farming villager, strung out along the main road from station to church. It lies north east of Bristol ...
... but there is very little of the original Yate left to see. The White Lion still stands at what was once the centre of the village ...
... and there are a few older buildings clustered round the church.
A row of houses along Station Road remains - if you look carefully!
But not much more.

After World War 1, industry began to replace farming as the local work-place. Parnall's moved out of central Bristol to make aircraft between the station and the grass aerodrome.
Some of this site is now manufacturing and repairing washing machines.
The other major employer was Newmains, also doing electrical "stuff", with a huge site a little further east on Station Road.
That is now a Morrisons and a B&Q!
During World War 2 the US forces developed a large and slightly mysterious "depot" south of the town; with a junction off the main railway line.
Stanshawe Court is now a pub ...
... but was once a rather splendid private residence. Two of the depot's huge sheds remained until near the turn of the 21st century ...
... but soon succumbed to the inevitable housing development.
To mark the sheds' history in the Dunkirk and subsequent landings, the road into the estate is called "Normandy Drive" with Mulberry Crescent as a side road. Peering more closely at the green splodge between former shed and the much newer mains road ...
... you can spot shallow embankments which carried the sidings as they extended beyond the far right of the storage buildings.

Which bring us to the railways.
The GREEN is the Midland Railway with its route into Bristol and a branch north of Yate station (closed 1965) across to Tytherington and Thornbury. The YELLOW is Great Western main line from Paddington to Cardiff. Off to the right was a station at Chipping Sodbury (closed 1961).
Then four tracks passed by!
Yate station reopened in 1989. It has a minimalist ticket "hut" with limited opening hours ...
...enhanced (?) by a bus shelter or two.
Passengers enjoy (?) an hourly service of all-stations trains that usually link Great Malvern and Westbury.
In one of the many route rationalisations, the Midland route to Bristol was closed and everything now runs via Bristol Parkway and Filton Bank into the City. The complex junctions around Yate are now reduced to a simple left hand turn en route from Bristol for Birmingham.

Nevertheless all the lines on the rail map above can be traced via the revealing eye of Google Earth ...
... and most twiddles can be spotted from the window of a CrossCountry Voyager as is chunters by.

But housing development from the 1960s onwards has overwhelmed the former village of Yate and changed its more distinguished and demure neighbour, Chipping Sodbury; out of all historical recognition.
It was to these expanded communities that fbb travelled after his ride on the Metrobus M2 just one thrill-packed week ago.

And you may be wondering what that light-coloured scar is, north of Chipping Sodbury? fbb was.

It is Hanson's vast Whatley Quarry ...
... and its associated appurtenances.

 Next Yate blog : Tuesday 11th September 


  1. I thought that Whatley Quarry is near Frome

  2. According to Hanson's own website, it is (da-da!) ... "Chipping Sodbury Quarry"!

  3. Oh dear, oh dear. The perils of writing without proper research!

    Chipping Sodbury station never had 4 tracks, but was, in the style of the "South Wales Direct Line" provided with loops off the mainlines to serve the platforms.

    As noted above Whatley Quarry is in Somerset, near the village of the same name.

    Cross Country's class 220 & 221 trains are no longer called "Voyagers" and haven't been since Arriva took over the franchise. "Voyager" is a Virgin brand name, and protected by them.

    Finally, as an aside, "Sea Stores" as the big military warehouses were known have a link to the once mighty Bristol Omnibus Company. During the declining years of the 1970s and 80s many delicensed buses were stored there. A lucky few were called back to serve again, but for most it was merely a delay before the inevitable call to the scrap man.

    1. @The Depot Cat
      Oh dear, oh dear. The perils of complaining about writing without proper research - without proper research!

      FBB only wrote of Chipping Sodbury station "then four tracks passed by" - as evidenced by the accompanying photograph! However, it is convention that a track at a station without a platform which is used for trains to pass the station without stopping is called a 'through track' - relative to the station, so Chipping Sodbury station really did have 4 tracks - including the 2 through tracks.

      Cross Country's class 220 & 221 trains are definitely still called 'Voyagers' - if you had taken the trouble to look at the Crosscountry website, you would have found the name 'Voyager' used to describe to those trains on the Our Trains page, as well as the relevant seating plan. Incidentally, an original 'Crosscountry Voyager' is trademarked at the Patent Office and registered to Rail Settlement Plan Ltd.

    2. If ever a post needed a like button it's this one. Well said.

  4. Another minor correction,
    Having had the (dubious) pleasure to have worked there in my youth. The (now) Whirlpool factory has always manufactured tumble dryers, rather than washing machines, including in the past, the none too popular self-combusting models that were recently in the news.
    As an aside, washing machines were made in North Wales, cooking appliances in Stoke and refrigeration in Peterborough - Now all moved to lower cost countries, leaving Yate as the only whirlpool factory in the UK.

  5. The railway through Yate will hopefully see a long desired doubling of frequency to half hourly in the next few years. Partially on the back of section 106 funding from a very significant extension of housing to the north of Yate.
    Whilst you'll never please everyone, fortunately we have quite active and pro-public transport parish councils that continue to drive the agenda with South Gloucestershire council and that new wider West of England authority thing