OLD DEVONPORT . UK
www.olddevonport.uk
 

  Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: February 21, 2016.
Webpage updated: April 18, 2017

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RAILWAYS IN OLD DEVONPORT BRITISH RAILWAYS  |  WESTERN REGION MAIN LINE 1955

FORD HALT

Ford Platform was one of three between Plymouth Station and Saltash Station that were constructed in 1904 for the Great Western Railway Company's new rail suburban service.  It was opened to the public as from June 1st 1904.

The day before, May 31st 1904, the Mayor of Plymouth and members of the Town Council took part in a trial run of the new rail motor-cars.  Mr H Whitfield represented the inhabitants of Devonport.  In two connected cars they made the journey from Plymouth Station at Millbay to Plympton Station, stopping at Lipson Vale Halte, as it was then spelt, and Laira Halte.  After returning to Plymouth Station one car was detached and the party made the journey in the remaining car to Saltash Station, stopping at Wingfield Villas Platform, Ford Platform and Saint Budeaux Platform.  It was claimed that they reached speeds of about fifty miles per hour between stopping places.  The return trip from Saltash to Plymouth Station was accomplished in less than ten minutes.  The official guests were then provided with light refreshments in the waiting room at Plymouth Station.  Speeches of congratulations to the Great Western Railway Company were made by the Mayor, Mr J W Bickle, who represented Laira Ward, Mr G Grant, divisional superintendent of the Railway, and Mr H Whitfield, who reportedly congratulated the Company on starting an enterprise which would do a great deal towards amalgamating the Three Towns in spite of themselves.

It is said that at the time of opening Ford Platform was an unadvertised stop and Kevin Robertson, author of "Great Western Railway Halts, Volume One", states that it was not until Wednesday January 3rd 1906 that the Great Western Railway Company authorised the lengthening and widening of the platforms to 400 feet each and the construction of a booking office and waiting room on both platforms for the use of the public.  In fact the Up platform was 402 feet and the Down platform 398 feet.  Photographic evidence suggests that it was at this time that the distinctive waiting "alcove" was moved from the Up Platform to Saint Budeaux Platform.  Publicly advertised train services started on Wednesday May 23rd 1906.

According to Mr C R Clinker, the respected Great Western Railway historian, it was downgraded to the status of Ford Halt as from Monday July 10th 1922.  It would appear that this action followed a proposal to close Ford Platform on May 31st as the Western Evening Herald reported that a season ticket holder who called there at the beginning of the month was told by the clerk that he could not renew the season ticket because it would be closed on Thursday June 1st.  Halts were normally unstaffed but Mr Clinker claims that it did not become unstaffed until 1937 so it is possible that a Porter collected tickets and possibly issued them during the Royal Dockyard in-musters and out-musters, when the Halt would have been at its busiest.  While was was being undertaken to strengthen Keyham Viaduct between March 1936 and May 2nd 1937 both Up and Down trains used the Up platform only

Ford Halt suffered bomb damage during the April 1941 air raids of the Second World War and was closed to the public as from Monday October 6th 1941 for safety reasons.  Although it remained listed in timetables Ford Halt was never reopened.