Monkton & Came Halt


On Monday, 1st May 1905, the Great Western Railway (GWR) started to operate railmotor services between Dorchester (West) and Weymouth. At this time, the ordinary return fare over this stretch of line was 1 shilling 2d (£6.63 at 2021 prices); the equivalent railmotor fare attracted a reduced rate of 11d (£5.26) and accommodation was Third Class only. The railmotors were described in the press at the time as being akin to tramcars, but were larger and more luxuriously upholstered. The vehicles essentially had the appearance of a single railway carriage, within which was contained a small steam engine for propulsion, and cabs at either end.

As part of the railmotor service, a series of then new minor stations — “halts” — were brought into use between Dorchester and Weymouth. However, these were not ready in time for the start of the railmotor timetable:

The platforms at the halting places — Radipole, Upwey Wishing Well, and Came Bridge — are not yet completed, and stoppages are not therefore made at these places at present. The work of completion is being pushed forward as rapidly as possible, and in a short time the service will be complete. [The Western Chronicle, Yeovil, Friday, 5th May 1905]

Came Bridge Halt was positioned about 5⅔-miles from Weymouth and was brought into use on 1st June 1905 to serve a then new golf links on Came Down, a mile away. The station’s original name was short-lived, for from 1st October of that year, the name boards proclaimed “Monkton & Came Halt”, to reflect that the platforms also served the rural parish of Winterborne Monkton, situated on the western side of the railway. Your author has struggled to find photographs of the station in its earliest days — in fact, any during its operative years — so giving an absolute description of the halt’s form is difficult. Those halts commissioned by the GWR for the then fledgling railmotor services were typically all-timber affairs comprising short platforms, situated either side of a double-track, which often lacked waiting shelters from the outset; this was likely the case at Monkton & Came.

The 1927 Ordnance Survey shows that the halt possessed waiting shelters on either side of the running lines. If the nearby site at Radipole was anything to go by, it is likely that these would have been of the quintessentially GWR corrugated metal “pagoda” type. It is probable that the halt’s platforms had been rebuilt from timber into their masonry form seen in the below photograph by then.

Monkton & Came and nearby Upwey Wishing Well Halt were comparatively early casualties under British Railways (BR). In 1956, notices were published by BR advertising their closure and, on and from Monday, 7th January 1957, passenger trains ceased to call at both sites. Since 1950, the line between Castle Cary and Weymouth via Yeovil had been under Southern Region control.

June 1965

The end of the disused halt's platforms can be seen on the right of this view showing BR Standard 5MT 4-6-0 No. 73089 "Maid of Astolat" approaching from the Weymouth direction with three Bulleid-designed carriages. Beyond the curve in the background, the line plunges into Bincombe (North) Tunnel, which is either 814-yards or 819-yards-long, depending on one's source. © David Glasspool Collection

A Weymouth-bound view from about 1980 shows the masonry platform faces of the long-closed station still in largely complete condition. Both still exist today, although the "down" (left) platform edging has been much reduced in height since the above photograph was taken. © David Glasspool Collection