This was published as a series of 4 articles, by Mick Hutson, in the BRS newsletter.
Trains to Bagshot – Summer 1909
Part 1 (December 1984)
Today Bagshot station is a peaceful local halt for the Ascot-Guildford electrics, hidden on a cul-de-sac off the A30 on a hillside above the village. It has changed relatively little since 1909. It opened in 1878 as a passing loop on the single line Ascot-Frimley branch line and was doubled in 1893, but the original 1878 station buildings remain little changed today. The present train service is lavish but very standardised; things were rather different in 1909.
Up Trains (weekdays)
“Up” was regarded by the L&SWR as being “to Woking”, this being seen as the main route for London passengers.
There were 8 Ascot-Woking trainsthrough Bagshot on weekdays, calling at 8:31am, 10:37am, 12:41pm, 2:42pm, 4:52pm, 5:40pm, 6:02pm & 8:32pm.
The 8:31am combined at Woking with the 6:45am ex Southampton Docks to run to Waterloo. It did not call at Brookwood and connected at Ascot with the 7am ex Waterloo. The 10:37am called at Brookwood and combined at Woking with the 9:35am ex Portsmouth. The 12:41, 2:42, 4:52, 6:02 & 8:32pm all terminated at Woking; the 5:40pm did likewise but this was a through Waterloo (dep 4:40pm)-Ascot-Woking service.
This is complicated enough but the L&SWR timetable planners had barely started. At 7:22am the Windsor-Woking train called. Most of these trains ran via Chertsey, but this one reversed at Staines Junction at 6:31am (why it did not use the West curve is unknown), did not call at Staines High Street, but stopped everywhere else on its highly roundabout trip to Woking which it reached at 7:55am.
There were also 3 Ascot-Farnham trains, using the single line from Frimley Junction that the electrics run on today. These trains left Bagshot at 8:47am, 11:27am and 9:47pm.
In addition there were 4 (3 on Saturdays) return workings of Farnham-Bagshot trains, leaving Bagshot at 1:37pm, (1:42pm SO), 2:54pm, 5:09pm and 7pm, although the 2:54pm was extended to Ascot on Saturdays and thus called at Bagshot at 3:14pm on its return journey. In all cases 5 to 10 minutes were allowed for the engine to run round the train and shunt it to the Up platform ready for departure. The 1:37/1:42pm was a short trip to Aldershot only. Why these trains ran to Bagshot, then a small village in Surrey, and did not usually extend to the junction at Ascot, is strange; it is hard to imagine what traffic they catered for, but all four still ran in 1914. Possibly this was the L&SWs way of providing extra trains for military traffic between Camberley and Aldershot.
There were two other Up passenger trains. An extra Ascot-Woking train called at 7:26pm on weekdays, this being the 6:22pm ex Waterloo. On Saturdays however, this train ran to Basingstoke via the Frimley Junction-Farnborough Junction curve, arriving there at 8:17pm. On weekdays a Waterloo-Haslemere/Basingstoke ran in its mainline path. This was the only scheduled train over the Farnborough curve, and it had no balancing working back to Ascot, so it was probably run for stock transfer purposes. Otherwise the L&SWR would have to be catering for numerous passengers from ascot to Basingstoke who would never return! The other Up train was an empty Waterloo-Bordon working, via Aldershot, routed this way to avoid the congested mainline. It only ran on Saturdays and left Waterloo at 10:16am, leaving Ascot at 11:39am, passing Bagshot at 11:45am and arriving at Bordon at 12:45pm. It then formed the 1:15pm Bordon-Waterloo (SO) passenger train, which ran via the main line, to convey soldiers to London on leave etc.
Compared to Bracknell, and the Staines-Reading line, goods services through Bagshot were limited and very straightforward. There were two Up trains daily. The first was the 6am Staines Junction-Woking Junction pick-up goods which called between 7:10 & 7:37am, having connected with the 4:30am Nine Elms Yard-Bracknell goods, and later calling at Brookwood and working the Bisley camp branch line when required. The other train was the 7:30pm Ascot-Woking goods, calling between 7:40 and 7:50pm, and being a local working did not connect with anything in particular, but was passed at Frimley by the 8:25pm Asco-Woking passenger train.
There were no scheduled services over the Frimley Junction-Ash Vale line, which is somewhat unusual. All the passenger trains described stopped at all stations, except the 8:31am to Woking & Waterloo which missed Brookwood and was forbidden to convey horse boxes or carriage trucks.
Part 2 (April 1985)
Down Trains (weekdays)
Down passenger workings were slightly less complicated than those in the Up direction, although the L&SW timetable planners still found ample scope for their imaginations.
There were 7 Woking-Ascot trains, calling at 7:09am, 10:00am, 11:37am, 1:35pm, 4:01pm, 5:29pm and 7:19pm. Of these none ran beyond Ascot, but all but the 7:09am and the 11:37am were through services from Waterloo. They originated as follows:-
10:00am – 8:05am Waterloo-Ascot through train
1:55pm – 12:10pm Waterloo-Ascot/Godalming, this appears to have divided at Woking
4:01pm – 2:28pm Waterloo-Guildford/Ascot (divided at Woking)
5:29pm – 4:12pm Waterloo-Gosport/Ascot (divided at Woking)
7:19pm – 6pm Waterloo-Southampton Docks/Ascot (divided at Woking)
L&SW carriage workings in the 1900s were complex and a fair variety of coaching stock sets must have appeared on Woking-Ascot workings.
There were four Farnham-Ascot trains, at 8:19am, 9:04am, 10:50am & 9:12pm. Only one, the 9:04am, continued to Waterloo which was reached at 10am. The tickets were to be collected at Virginia Water, as it ran non-stop from there to the City. These trains seem to have operated as return trips from Farnham.
There were three Farnham-Bagshot trains which terminated at the station, as described earlier. These arrived at 1:25pm, 5:01pm and 6:51pm, quickly reversing direction to head south again. There seems no good reason why these trains extended to Bagshot; Camberley would be a more logical terminus and avoid the negotiation of the 1 in 80 gradients between the two stations, since passenger traffic from Bagshot cannot have been heavy.
As previously mentioned there was a single Aldershot-Bagshot service on weekdays, arriving at 2:47pm and returning at 2:54pm to Farnham. On Saturdays this train extended to Ascot. The WTT is not clear, but a train returned at 3:07pm from Ascot-Farnham and this may have been the returning branch stock or the stock of the 1:40pm Waterloo-Ascot (SO). If the latter is the case, (it reached Ascot at 3pm) then the branch train may have formed the 3:30pm Ascot-Staines Junction local (SO). On the face of it, both main and branch line trains ran to connect at Ascot and then returned whence they came. The 3:30pm connected at Staines Junction into trains to Waterloo and Windsor.
No other passenger trains ran in the Down direction, unlike the odd Up trains described earlier. This describes the entire passenger service for Bagshot but there was one other train on the Ascot-Frimley line, being the 11:25pm Farnham-Camberley, which arrived at Camberley & Yorktown at 11:52pm, and returned to Farnham, calling only at Aldershot, at midnight. There was also a Thursdays only 12:15am Waterloo-Camberley, which was combined with the 1:10am Woking-Farnborough and reached Camberley, calling at Woking and Frimley, at 1:26am. This presumably ran for military personnel although the WTT does not explain why it ran at such an unsocial hour. It returned from Camberley to Woking as empty stock at 1:40am.
There were two Down goods workings; all the heavy Southampton/Exeter goods trains were run over the Byfleet-Virginia Water line, if destined for Brentford and North London; the steep gradients between Camberley and Ascot precluded use of this line.
First to call was the 6:58am Woking-Ascot goods, between 8:32 and 8:50am, which allowed time for limited shunting. It had been passed at Camberley by the 7:42am Farnham-Ascot passenger. The engine may then have worked the 9:35am Ascot-Wokingham pick-up goods, the exploits of which were described in the earlier article on Bracknell.
The other freight working was the 12:45pm Woking-Brentford goods which called at Bagshot from 3:52 to 4:30pm. This spent long periods shunting the branch stations; it was passed at Frimley by the 12:10pm Waterloo-Woking-Ascot; at Camberley by the 2:22pm Aldershot-Bagshot; and at Bagshot itself by the 2:28pm Waterloo-Woking-Ascot. No doubt the length of this goods was restricted so that it could fit in the small goods yards to allow passenger trains to pass. After leaving Bagshot it called only briefly at Ascot, Staines and Feltham, to reach Brentford and the exchange sidings for the L&NWR and MR at 6pm.
Part 3 (June 1984)
As on many lines at this time, Sunday services were sparse – only three trains each way – but this did not deter the L&SW’s timetable planners from making arrangements as complex as possible.
In the Up direction the first arrival at 9:57am was the 9:50am Ascot-Woking train. This did not however, run via Frimley curve but instead ran to Aldershot, arriving at 10:25am, and returned via Pirbright Junction to reach Woking at 10:51am; it then continued to Waterloo (11:48am). This performance was only indulged in on Sundays, and one hopes that the passengers from Ascot to Woking enjoyed the extra scenery and the double visit to North Camp and Ash Vale station.
At 11:16am the 10:47am Staines Junction-Farnham arrived. Again, this train had no proper parallel service on weekdays and formed one of a few Ascot-Staines “short” workings during the day.
The final train was the Waterloo-Ascot-Woking which arrived at 10:41pm. This pursued the most circuitous course possible to reach Woking and ran via Aldershot as before. The distance from Waterloo to Woking direct is 31 miles, but one hopes that no Woking passengers were misguided enough to indulge in a trip via Aldershot using the 9:30pm.
The Down trains were not as varied. The first arrival was at 8:12am and was the 7:15am Woking-Ascot train which ran via Aldershot as already described. This may have reversed at Ascot to form the 8:30am Ascot-Reading train.
The next arrival at 1:09pm was the 12:30pm Farnham-Ascot which connected with a Reading-Staines train. The 2:30pm terminated at Ascot but had no return working.
Finally, at 7:50pm, the 7:15pm Aldershot-Waterloo train via Ascot called. This was a fairly straightforward working but the engine and stock probably arrived at Aldershot as the 4:55pm Waterloo-Aldershot (via Woking) and then took the long way home.
Locomotives & Stock
Most workings over the Ascot-Frimley line would be handled by Nine Elms or Guildford sheds. There was a small single road shed at Ascot which housed a single engine for local duties and there was also a turntable. It is likely that most workings used tank engines; a photograph of Camberley in 1909 shows a “T1” class 0-4-4T, and these large Adams tanks probably worked many services at this time. The smaller “02” 0-4-4Ts (later of IoW fame) may have appeared, as well as the “415” class 4-4-2Ts. The various reversals and short workings would seem to preclude the use of tender classes on most branch passenger services.
Goods services probably used “A12” 0-4-2Ts, various 0-6-0s or “K10” mixed traffic 4-4-0s. The 6am Staines Junction-Woking goods shunted the Bisley Camp branch upon which severe weight limits operated, so this may have been a “395” Class or “A12” job.
The L&SWR made extensive use of set trains; semi-permanently coupled rakes of carriages running in numbered sets. 2-sets and 4-sets were common and most London area trains used 48/50/56 foot non-corridor stock. Various 6 wheeled and other “loose” vehicles could be added for strengthening purposes.
From the 1913 Carriage Workings it is clear that most Ascot line trains comprised a 4-set, with an occasional luggage van attached, and sometimes detached, at branch stations, eg Camberley. These 4-sets roamed widely during a day’s work; many trains out of Waterloo combined two or more 4-sets and divided at Woking, the branch engine collected the Ascot line coaches after the train engine had taken the rest on. Sets were not allocated exclusively to branch services and usually were sent out on a totally different route after arrival at Waterloo. L&SW carriage workings were extremely complex!
Single 1st 2nd 3rd
Bagshot – Waterloo (via Ascot) 4/10d 3/0d 2/5d
(via Woking) 6/6d 4/0d 3/0d
(via Ascot) 8/6d 5/6d 4/10d
(via Woking 10/6d 7/2d 5/6d
Cheaper returns were available at weekends. A 1st Class 3-month Season ticket via Staines cost £7; the 3rd Class was 4 guineas.
At Camberley, a 2-horse omnibus met principal trains and ran to Yorktown, the Military Colleges and Blackwater. Single or pair horse vans for the collection and delivery of family parties and luggage to residences in Camberley or Sandhurst could be obtained on application to the Stationmaster, Camberley. (Try doing that today!!)
Summer 1909 Working Time Tables (Ian Allen reprint)
Summer 1914 Passenger Time Tables (Ian Allen reprint)
“Waterloo Carriage Workings” (J Nicholas) published in “South western Circular”, January 1976 onwards.