Saturday, 7 April 2012

a failed preservation scheme

(Liss 6.7.1977 copyright Rail Thing)

The Longmoor Military Railway closed in 1969 and included steam working to the end. Starting life as the Woolmer Instructional Railway in the 1920s it linked Liss and Bordon stations on the Southern Railway. The LMR was not a straightforward railway but included an oval and various branches. It did also serve the purpose of transporting troops from army camps to the station at Liss.

I stumbled upon it in 1970 after travelling up from Winchester (via the closed Mid Hants route) and walking south from Bentley station. I didn't possess a camera back then so I have no record of this trip, but the line was still in situ.

A year or so later on a trip back from Winchester in the car I persuaded my dad to stop at Liss to look at the preservation societies engines and remember seeing some large steam engines. Amazingly this scheme was killed off by a few locals who for some odd reason thought the line would affect their property values. Well it would, but not in the way they thought. It would have INCREASED their value rather than decrease it which is what they feared. There were idiots even back then!

By 1977, with camera in hand, I visited Liss LMR station again. No engines, no tracks, just this empty platform, which in the 50s and 60s found fame in the St Trinians films. So in 2012 there's no LMR and a superb tourist attraction never happened. Whilst there are serious plans to restore the old SR branch from Bentley to Bordon, it seems the Longmoor Military Railway really will be lost 'for ever'.

I bet those stupid house owners who blocked this route in the 70s are regretting what they did now!

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