Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Crossways, Cordite and Kinson [3]

The Slow and Dirty Railway?
fbb's train from Moreton to Bournemouth did not stop at Parkstone or Branksome, but we cannot pass the latter without a look at the lines branching off right just after the station.
They are shiny and well used because the lead to a busy train depot.
Big deal. you might say. What's special about that?

More careful observation, as the train speeds through, reveals a hefty chunk of disused viaduct ...
... seen here from Surrey Road, below. The far structure is the line still in use, the near chunk stands in lonely isolation unconnected to anything. A historic line diagram shows the extent of this complex junction. (click on the image to enlarge it).
Of course, some of our more erudite ferroequinologists will immediately know that this branch to a large depot originally led to Bournemouth West station, terminus of the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway ...
... Somerset because it started in Bath, Dorset because it terminated in Bournemouth (once in Dorset), Joint because it was jointly owned by The Midland Railway and the London and South Western Railway. (click on the map to enlarge it)
The line and its operating company has been much loved by railway historians and enthusiasts alike and there was much angst when it closed in 1966. It was an odd railway experience. For most of the year it was, effectively, a long and typically slow branch line carrying goods and local passengers.
But on Summer Saturdays holiday expresses from the north and the midlands to Bournemouth dominated the line, much of it single track.
But one of the highlight of this long-gone line was Bournemouth West station at the end of the branch from Branksome.
As well as Somerset and Dorset trains, LSWR services from Waterloo terminated here after passing through Bournemouth Central, the town's remaining station.

The station was closed ... 
... during the electrification of the London Waterloo-Bournemouth line. Originally the closure was meant to be temporary pending completion of the electrification project, as it was thought that Bournemouth Central did not have enough capacity to handle all of Bournemouth's trains. Experience during the temporary closure showed that the newly electrified Central station could handle all the trains in the town, so the closure became permanent.
Demolition came soon afterwards and its ignominious end is as a car and coach park.
This, and the platform view above, are taken from the same point. The buildings far left are still there. fbb wonders how many motorists speeding along the Wessex Way (A338) realise what history lies beyond the trees and under the tarmac.
And if you go down to the woods today you'll be sure of a big surprise. Walk down Surrey Road South and you will walk through an underbridge under the remnants of the line to West station.
Again, you wonder how many taking the short-cut will be aware of the thousands who crossed the little bridge in their holidays trains.

But all this has gone. fbb waved to the branch to the depot as he whizzed past on his way to Bournemouth (formerly Central) station.
Time to look at buses.

 Next Bournemouth bus blog : Wednesday 19th April 


  1. Brilliant Article. Except need to correct you on one bit.

    The original S&D ended in Poole, at Hamworthy (in Dorset), as Bournemouth didn't exist at the time (plus the bit that was Bournemouth, was in Hampshire at the time - as a foot note, Hampshire County Cricket was played at Dean Park in Bournemouth for years after Bournemouth became part of Dorset).

    The line didn't reach Bournemouth West until 1874.

    Cheers, Lee.

  2. Thanks Lee, My attempt to simplify the situation created the errors!