A Note on Up and Down directions


Unsurprisingly, on the broad gauge Radstock branch of the Great Western Railway from Frome, trains running toward Radstock were considered to be Down trains.

However as originally constructed the Bristol and North Somerset Railway also considered trains, running from Bristol, towards Radstock to be Down trains. (See newspaper reports of the opening).

With the opening of the through route this position naturally became untenable, and the early working timetables show that Frome to Bristol has become the down direction, indicating that London was more directly reached via Frome. (See for instance, the 1877 working timetable (Vincent 1990. p.62).

However as of the June 1880 timetable (PRO RAIL 937/32) this position was reversed and via Bristol became the main route to London, with Bristol to Frome being shown as the down direction. (See for instance, the 1895 working timetable (Vincent 1990. p.104)).

To try and avoid further confusion the terms Frome-bound and Bristol-bound have been used for preference on this web site.


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