Monday, 6 June 2016

Bridport stirs!

BRIDPORT




3 above 7.8.1973 copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing



Bridport 25.2.1975 copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing

POWERSTOCK








Powerstock 25.2.1975 copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing


This was a lovely line that I was lucky enough to visit twice before closure (and once after). From the classic GWR junction station on the wonderful (and busier than ever) Weymouth to Castle Cary line at Maiden Newton it followed a very rural route through hills and valleys and via the classic village stations at Toller and Powerstock to a crumbling and overgrown station in Bridport.

It struggled on as late as 1975, but was closed completely in that year, one of the last major rail closures in the UK. A few more years and this would never have happened. There were a couple of half hearted attempts to get trains back to Bridport, both narrow gauge and only one looking at reopening the original route. Both schemes were well ahead of their time, espcially the Brit Valley Railway scheme which probably is STILL a few years ahead of its time, proposing a modern narrow gauge network including routes to Weymouth and Crewkerne. After the Oil Age has gone I'm sure that scheme will go ahead.

There are some (currently very tentative) aims to rebuild the line as a standard gauge heritage and community railway. There is very little if any encroachment on the line except at the extreme Bridport end and no major engineering issues. The line is in a very busy tourist area, and the town of Bridport could easily support a railway in the 21st century. With the potential reopening of the Weymouth Tramway and the incredible success of the Swanage Railway there is plenty to attract railway enthusiasts to the area, to add another layer of potential traffic to this line.

LINKS -

2 comments:

  1. .....first thing to do is get the route protected? Is it in the local plan?

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  2. Sustrans has no interest in reinstatement of railway. I can't see how a cycleway can ever replace a railway. Also, Sustrans have sold off station sites to developers, to help pay for their cycleway schemes. It's urgent to consult with Dorset County Council, to seek protection of railway route.

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