Dilton Marsh Halt

Dilton Marsh Halt

Dilton Marsh Halt has its own corner in the history books;

The Great Western Railway opened “Dilton Marsh Halt” on 1 June 1937. The wooden platforms were 300 feet (91 m) long and were provided with small wooden shelters; the construction cost £1,134.
Being a “halt” there were no staff to sell tickets, but a sign directed would-be passengers to the “7th house up the hill” where Mrs H. Roberts sold tickets from her home. She had sold tickets on a commission basis since 1947.

In 1969 the station was renamed as just “Dilton Marsh” platforms were reduced to the length of just one coach. British Rail tried to shut the station but was met by strong local opposition. The remaining platforms were now in very poor condition and so they were rebuilt in concrete, reopening after an eight-week closure on 1 May 1994.

John Betjeman even wrote a poem about Dilton Marsh Halt:

Was it worth keeping the Halt open,
We thought as we looked at the sky
Red through the spread of the cedar-tree,
With the evening train gone by?

Yes, we said, for in summer the anglers use it,
Two and sometimes three
Will bring their catches of rods and poles and perches
To Westbury, home for tea.

There isn’t a porter. The platform is made of sleepers.
The guard of the last train puts out the light
And high over lorries and cattle the Halt unwinking
Waits through the Wiltshire night.

O housewife safe in the comprehensive churning
Of the Warminster launderette!
O husband down at the depot with car in car-park!
The Halt is waiting yet.

And when all the horrible roads are finally done for,
And there’s no more petrol left in the world to burn,
Here to the Halt from Salisbury and from Bristol
Steam trains will return.