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5th December 2015

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Published by membersonly, 2018-05-17 01:29:46


5th December 2015

Special supplement to e-BLN 1246 BLN Pictorial 5 December 2015

In this first issue of the Society's 61st year we come more up to date, with a change to the masthead and a focus on a very recent event. On 7 November the RBF
Tracker, run in partnership with South West Trains in support of their nominated charity, the Railway Benefit Fund (RBF), set out from London Waterloo to visit
another typical mix of curves, branches, depots and a preserved line. You'll notice that as well as the new signal in the masthead, there are a number of logos
reflecting the co-operative effort that's both needed and willingly provided to make these events a success. South West Trains of course provided the class 159
DMUs which took us over the predominantly ex-LSWR route and, as is so often the case, really went out of their way to deliver an excellent tour. The Yeovil
Railway Centre gave us that warm welcome which has been the hallmark of our ventures to railways outside the national network, and took us from buffer to
buffer! The Railway Benefit Fund, founded in 1858 to help current and former railway staff in difficulty, was the day's financial beneficiary and their logo takes
centre stage along with that of a certain Society whose members' generosity helped to raise a staggering £17,315 for RBF! Last but not least is the logo of XBR
Electronics, who very kindly gave their services free of charge to provide the specially modified information displays which you see in the images below.

Left : The display was too long to appear in the limited
space available so XBR made the lower line scroll and the
first part of 'Branch Line Society Charter' appears in this
shot of 159 103 at the buffers in the bay platform 5 at
Southampton Central. (Geoff Plumb)

Right : our Fixtures Secretary ensures that the BLS
headboard is in place, while the destination display shows
the first and last parts of the message (Geoff Plumb)

Below : the internal information display (Geoff Plumb)

Next page : The tour started at London Waterloo – this striking aerial view, taken from a Heathrow-bound commercial flight, shows the former International
station, now partly used by South West Trains, to the left. The RBF Tracker left from platform 10, approximately half way across the main part of the station.
Just beyond the London Eye (left) can be seen Hungerford Bridge which carries trains in and out of London Charing Cross. (Bjørn Christian Tørrissen [CC BY-SA
3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)

David Palmer's excellent route description, circulated with e-BLN 1244, makes note of the London Necropolis Company's separate terminus at Waterloo and its
short (around 55 ch.) branch at Brookwood which conveyed both mourned and mourners to one of two stations within the cemetery itself. There is a very

interesting article about this relatively little known operation at and another, with some classic archive
photographs, at
Left : extract from the 25" OS map showing the Necropolis branch
with its two 'stations'. The LSWR (later SR) main line taken by the
RBF tour runs right to left near the top of the map.
Below : this short length of track outside Brookwood station
commemorates the Brookwood Necropolis Railway, though the
use of flat bottom rail with Pandrol clips is perhaps not quite
historically correct! (Wikimedia user Nedueb (Own work) [Public
domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Left : David's notes record the closure of the
Necropolis station at Waterloo, following bomb
damage, from 15 May 1941. The photo shows the
station, never the most welcoming of places, following
the bombing. (Southern Railway Photographic Unit
(British Railways Board after 1948) [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons).
Having passed Brookwood and its curious history at speed, the RBF Tracker paused at Basingstoke to pick
up passengers. It then continued to Worting Junction, where the electrified line to Southampton,
Bournemouth and Weymouth parts company with the diesel worked West of England line to Salisbury and
Exeter, and on to Laverstock North Junction, just east of Salisbury whence it took the 'Laverstock Loop' (O

1 March 1847, CA 2 May 1859, RO 28 August 1981) to
Laverstock South Junction. From Laverstock South it
continued via the former LSWR line (O 1847) through
Romsey to Redbridge and Southampton Central, continuing
on the Down main line to Northam Jn, where the train
crossed to the Traincare Depot reception line. Northam
station, just north of the Traincare Depot, was for many
years the last intermediate call for local trains from
Reading to Southampton Terminus. The 1961 OS 1:25,000
map (right) shows the layout when Southampton Terminus
(CP 9 May 1966) was open; the line from Northam Junction
remains open to serve the docks complex via the level
crossing over Canute Road. Much of Terminus station
remains standing including its overall roof, now covering a
car park ( In one of their occasional
'gotcha' moments, Google's all-seeing satellites have
captured a northbound freight crossing Canute Road – see The map also shows the former south
to west side of the Northam triangle, CA 9 December 1973.
This was the easternmost part of the original Southampton
& Dorchester Railway, which used LSWR metals to gain
access to Southampton Terminus. The Southampton and
Dorchester story is an interesting one – railway politics at
its best – which can be read online at
(usual caveats).

Next page : After reversal at Northam the RBF Tracker
made its way, via a further reversal in the Down Goods
Loop, into the bay platform at Southampton Central. The
photo shows BLS, SWT and RBF representatives with the
presentation 'cheque'. (Geoff Plumb)

After leaving Southampton the tour continued, via the Lymington branch
platform (4) at Brockenhurst, to Branksome, where it reversed once more to
make its way through the Bournemouth Traincare Depot. The depot occupies
the approaches to the former Bournemouth West station, with the headshunt
at its southernmost point being around 100 metres (5 chains) from the
location of the platform ends. Bournemouth West, although always busier
with trains from the London direction which were able to access the station
directly by the north-south curve from Gas Works Junction, is possibly better
known as the southern terminus of the Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway.

Right : This 1963 photo of the exterior of Bournemouth West shows a fairly
modest station, albeit with a splendid collection of contemporary cars! (Ben
Brooksbank [CC BY-SA 2.0 (],
via Wikimedia Commons)

Left : The six platforms at Bournemouth West, seen in some typically English seaside weather! (Ben
Brooksbank [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia

Right : Some half a century
later, and six chains away, it's
a very different view. This is
the southern extremity of the
depot headshunt, seen from
the RBF Tracker and looking towards Bournemouth West. (Stuart Hicks)

Next page : From Bournemouth the tour continued on former LSWR metals to Dorchester
Junction, just beyond Dorchester South, where it joined the former Wilts, Somerset &
Weymouth Railway (later GWR). The train reversed in platform 2 at Weymouth before
moving to Jersey Sidings where a break was taken. The photo shows the train 'catching a
few rays' at the north end of Jersey Sidings. (Keith Usher of SWT, on behalf of Geoff

As with many other parts of the UK, railways in Weymouth have been cut back significantly. Above left is an Ordnance Survey map from the 1950s (1":1 mile
Weymouth 7th Series 1956/57 revision) showing the central area, with the Weymouth Quay branch (still technically retained by Network Rail though out of use)
heading south from the main station then curving round to the east. Heading south west and then south from the main line is the Portland branch (originally
Weymouth and Portland Railway, then joint GWR/LSWR). This connected at Portland (off the map) with the Easton and Church Hope Railway which continued
south to Easton. Above right is the Railway Clearing House junction diagram showing the ownership of the various lines around Weymouth and Dorchester. The
LSWR had running powers over the GWR from Dorchester to Weymouth although the GWR were the owners. (By Railway Clearing House (Railway Junction
Diagram) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

After leaving Jersey Siding the RBF Tracker collected those passengers who had had a break in the town, then set off from platform 2 for Yeovil, this time taking
the GWR route at Dorchester Junction and pausing at Maiden Newton, formerly the junction for the Bridport branch (CA 5 May 1975). Yeovil Junction was
reached following reversal at the platform at Yeovil Pen Mill, and the passengers detrained for a visit to the Yeovil Railway Centre, based in the former GWR
Clifton Maybank goods yard on the south side of the Salisbury-Exeter line.

Next page : Yeovil Junction, with our tour train at the normally unused platform shared with the Yeovil Railway Centre, and the YRC's own train, both catching
the late afternoon sun. (Iain Scotchman)

Previous page : The Yeovil Railway Centre's train, laden with BLS
members, on the remaining part of the GWR Clifton Maybank branch.
Weather-wise, it looks as if the end of the world is imminent despite
the sunshine, but in fact the weather had improved greatly since the
tour passed Dorchester southbound. (Stuart Hicks)

Right : This scalable map (OS 6":1 mile, Dorset XLNW 1904) shows
something of Yeovil's complex railway history, and demonstrates
again the wastefulness of competition between early railways. The
GWR Wilts, Somerset & Weymouth line is the present day
Weymouth-Yeovil Pen Mill-Castle Cary line. The 'GWR Durston &
Yeovil Branch' running NE-SW near the top, continued west to meet
the Bristol-Exeter line at Durston, north of the present day Cogload
Jn. The LSWR built its own branch from Yeovil Junction to Yeovil Town
('L&SWR Yeovil Branch' on the map). At the point where it diverged
from the Pen Mill line, an outbreak of wartime common sense in 1943
caused a connection to be constructed, which now forms the start of
the Pen Mill-Junction link. The GWR had its own goods branch to
Yeovil Junction, 'GWR Clifton Maybank Branch', and a separate goods
station at Yeovil Junction on the opposite side of the main line from
the LSWR's. The last part of the branch, and the goods station area,
are now occupied by the Yeovil Railway Centre. Both the Clifton
Maybank branch and the LSWR Yeovil branch had eastbound curves
to their respective main lines, neither of which, even in 1904, appear
to have been used. David Palmer's excellent tour notes once again
provide a mine of information on opening, and where appropriate
closing, dates of the various lines in this complicated area.

Next page : On the next stage of the journey, the RBF Tracker pauses
at Gillingham, where once again participants were able to alight.
(Stuart Hicks)

The last major attraction for the RBF Tracker was the Salisbury Traincare Depot headshunt. Salisbury is another area with quite a complicated history, having
been served by both GWR and LSWR/SR routes, and rationalised in various ways over a long period of time. The 1":1mile Salisbury, 6th 'New Popular Edition'
fully revised 1934 with later amendments published 1947 (below) shows the ex-GWR and LSWR lines, both double track, running alongside each other from
Wilton (top left) to Salisbury
(bottom right) and following
the A30, now the A36. Top
left is Wilton North (CP
1955) station (now being
considered for reopening as
a Park & Ride) with Wilton
South (CP 1949) beneath it.
The rail-served chalk quarry
at Quidhampton had not
been developed at this time.

At the Salisbury end the
smaller of the two adjacent
stations is the GWR terminal
station, Fisherton Street,
which though shown as
open to passengers on the
map, CP 12 September 1932
when its services were
diverted into the larger
LSWR through station to the south. Most of its site is now occupied by the Traincare Depot opened on 9 October 2009. The GWR station building is now Grade
II listed and was a freight and latterly coal depot, finally being used by BR to stable and service exhibition trains previously based at Wimborne.

In 1878 a connection was installed west of the stations enabling GWR trains to run into the LSWR station. In 1973 BR installed a connection at the Wilton end to
divert all passenger trains onto the LSWR route, with Quidhampton Quarry being served initially from the Salisbury end. After December 1973 freight trains ran
from the Wilton end until ceasing from 30 March 2009 on closure of the quarry, but the branch is still in situ. Salisbury Depot headshunt on the former GWR
route, reached by the RBF Tracker, is almost at the double minor road underbridge beneath both railways, the westernmost before the A30 crosses over the
lines. Middle right can be seen the trackbed of the north to south 'Laverstock Loop', the third side of the triangle, only open from 1857 until CA in 1859 for
passenger trains from London to access the original LSW Salisbury Milford station, south east of the City centre. The curve was reopened by BR in 1981. East of
Salisbury stations and south of the LSWR a short branch is shown heading east; this was the Market House Goods branch from Salisbury East to CEGB Coal Yard
Sidings (CG July 1964).

Next page : SWT's 159 105 makes its way into the Salisbury Traincare Depot on 14 April 2010. (Own work by Wikimedia user mattbuck.) [CC BY-SA 2.0
( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)

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