Monday, 18 April 2016

Crossways, Cordite and Kinson [2]

Through the Window of a 444
A 38 minute ride from Moreton to Bournemouth might not appear to be a huge thrill; but there is plenty to see and plenty to enjoy.


Approaching Wool (0945) there are views of the Winfrith Technology Site. Here a demonstration nuclear power station was built.
Construction of the reactor began in 1963. It began operating in 1967, and was notable for being built within the allotted timescale (four years), and for being under-budget. It was built as a demonstration reactor, with the intention of building a series of commercial reactors based on the design. However, the SGHWR (steam-generating heavy water reactor) design was never advanced beyond the prototype at Winfrith, and the design was sidelined in favour of AGR (advanced gas-cooled reactor) reactors. The Winfrith reactor was shut down in 1990.

Whether you like it or not, Winfrith has played a vital part in the development of the use of nuclear power to "benefit" the public. On the downside it will be 2021 before the deommissioning is complete; even then there will be en further extended period before the site can be fully "clear".


Approaching Wareham (0953) we pass Worgret Junction where the line to Swanage veers off to the coast.
The line opened in 1885 and closed to passengers in 1972. The junction remained for freight use, but the Heritage line has long held aspirations to rerturn trains to Wareham. With renewed signalling and crossovers ...
... the through link is now a reality. SouthWest trains has run excursions ...
... and the future looks bright for heritage trains in Wareham Station.

 Holton Heath 

Look at an old map and Holton Heath station (0956) looks very odd indeed.
It would appear to have no connection with the outside world whatsoever, not even a track or footpath. Passing through on the train on Saturday, fbb had no difficullty in spotting and industrial estate and a "Station Road".
But Google Streetview shows that there is no vehicular route from the warehouses through to the station.
From the main road between Wareham and Poole (A351) there is no "to the station" sign ...
... and Station Road, although labelled as such, is deemed to be a Private Road with an additional warning that fbb cannot read on Streetview. And because it is "Private", Streetview does not view the street at all. You might be forgiven for thinking that there is something very secret at Holton Heath.


And down Station (Private) Road which is a public footpath, you will find this.
Then if you manage to find the right map, you will see, not open moorland, but this:-
fbb is sure you have guessed it. Holton Heath was a World War 1 Royal Navy site for the manufacture of cordite. It was re-activated in WW2. The station was built to provide transport for site workers whose workplace was not featured on "normal" maps.

There are plenty of folk who make a hobby of exploring disused military sites and a quick search on-line will provide plenty of pictures of what remains there. A few obviously ex-military buildings can be spotted from the train, especially in the area close to the station.

Your author did not really know what "Cordite" was, except that it went bang! So here is a brief explanation.

Cordite is a family of smokeless propellants developed and produced in the United Kingdom since 1889 to replace gunpowder as a military propellant. Cordite was used initially in the .303 British Mark I and II, standard rifle cartridge between 1891 and 1915.
And finally : just attacking the confuser to finish off this blog yesterday afternoon when it decided, for no apparent reason, to misbehave. Normal settings would not load up so operations had to be in a non-standard mode. Apologies if this blog doesn't look right and for the slightly inadequate ending. Hopefully normal service will be resumed when fbb can find the hammer to effect a minor repair.

 Next Bournemouth blog : Tuesday 19th April 

1 comment:

  1. Interesting to see the different approaches of the Ordnance Survey to this place. Chatham Dockyard remained as a plain white blob, devoid of any features, well into 1970s editions of the 1 inch series. However, Russian maps now in the public domain had it very clearly marked!