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Author Topic: Bridport branch reopening proposal  (Read 8560 times)
Richard Fairhurst
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« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2023, 13:24:34 »

I feel the value lies in developing the cycle/walking scheme from Maiden Newton along the old line.

Definitely. The line appears to be largely unobstructed and most of its bridges survive, which is a pleasant surprise.

There were plans for a "Maiden Newton-Bridport Trailway" c. 2014 but it's all gone quiet since.

40 minutes by e-bike from Bridport to Maiden Newton would compare well to the current bus times from Bridport to either Axminster or Dorchester station... https://bustimes.org/services/x51-dorchester-south-station-axminster-railway-sta
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grahame
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« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2023, 13:57:20 »

Proposal from 2020 still online and mirrored at http://www.passenger.chat/Bridport-Renewal-Vision-07-01-2020.pdf

Long shot IMHO (in my humble opinion) - but then so was the Welsh Highland at one point.
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bradshaw
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« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2023, 14:42:26 »

It is perfectly usable now from Toller to Loders, we see quite a few cyclists using it as we live not far from the Loders access.
Dorset County Rangers cleared much of the scrub between Powerstock Station and the Powerstock nature reserve a couple of years ago. More recently a good path has been laid from Toller to the Reserve.
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« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2023, 16:02:47 »

A lovely and charming video of the branch has been uploaded recently onto YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHV0i94mYJ8

Less than 50 years ago, yet a different era with guards hopping on and off moving trains, no locks on the doors, dropping passengers off at level crossings and so on!
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bradshaw
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« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2023, 17:34:44 »

I watched this yesterday and found it fascinating. I did the branch just once just after the dmus had taken over.
I moved to Maiden Newton in December 1975, just after the line closed. We used to walk to Toller for a lunchtime drink at the Swan.
On one occasion, again around 1960 we were walking the track between the Crown pub to West Bay when a pannier tank whistled to our surprise, not having seen a train on that section before!

We moved to Loders in 1995 and looking closely at the 1975 film it shows how much the landscape has changed. Trees on Boarsbarrow Hill cover its top completely now. The housing estate on which we live was still a field with grazing sheep.

There was a lovely story, which I found later was true, in which a teaching colleague was coming for an interview at Colfox. The train crew dropped him off at Bradpole Crossing to save him the walk. However, the headteacher had driven down to the station to meet him.

The station at West Bay is now a restaurant complete with a an ex GWR (Great Western Railway) departmental coach as a dining area.

I meant to add that I started teaching at Colfox in 1988, having been transferred from Dorchester where I was made redundant. For the next seven years I caught the 73 Bus from Maiden Newton to Colfox, this being the rail replacement service started in 1975. A 45 minute journey through the West Dorset countryside was a relaxing way to start the day.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2023, 08:18:06 by bradshaw » Logged
grahame
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« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2023, 08:26:26 »

Interesting history at https://www.westbay.co.uk/bridport/railway.php ...

On one occasion, again around 1960 we were walking the track between the Crown pub to West Bay when a pannier tank whistled to our surprise, not having seen a train on that section before!

Closure Bridport to West Bay to passenger traffic in 1930, to freight in December 1962, final special passenger visit in 1963.

The video is lovely, but shows very thin passenger traffic, alas. I can't help feeling that half a century later it would be so different.
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bradshaw
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« Reply #21 on: November 15, 2023, 08:44:22 »

I believe that it was the Bridport Council that was the power behind the extension to West Bay. The Bridport Railway was a fiercely local concern and most of the Council were shareholders.
The decline in the harbour trade since the opening of the line to Bridport had affected the coastal trade in particular. It lost its port status in 1881.
The aim was to develop the harbour as a tourist destination and the railway extension was seen as key to this.
The West Bay Land and Building Company was launched to help in the physical developments. The plan was to get Edward Prior to design a scheme running along the shingle ridge but Lord Pitt Rivers wanted too much for the land. Instead Quay Terrace, later called Pier Terrace, was built as a terrace of five 10 roomed houses for visitors. It was built on land owned by the Harbour Commissioners.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2023, 08:51:35 by bradshaw » Logged
Witham Bobby
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« Reply #22 on: November 15, 2023, 09:28:04 »

Lovely film.  I enjoyed that

2-2-1-1-2 Empty Bridport Bubble, one of the first trains past Witham after taking over for earlies at 0600.

Hotly pursued but the 0505 (??) Bristol to Weymouth 3-1-1-2 which was a Class 31 with a van and three scruffy Mark I coaches

Happy days for me.  Playing trains and getting paid for it
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PhilWakely
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« Reply #23 on: November 15, 2023, 10:08:46 »

I mentioned earlier in the thread of my connections with the Bridport branch. Knowing closure was imminent, Mum and I wanted a photographic record. The quality is not brilliant as the pictures were 'home' developed and the negatives were kept in a drawer in the loft for many years before being recovered and scanned.

https://flickr.com/photos/pwakely/albums/72157713753181676
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grahame
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« Reply #24 on: February 07, 2024, 13:48:01 »

Here's an earlier video - from 1965

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMB4guCEAfI





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Witham Bobby
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« Reply #25 on: February 07, 2024, 14:44:01 »

Interesting non-use of tail lamps

There'd be a few Form-1s flying around if the DI had noticed.  I've got a sectional appendix and can't see any tail-lamp exemption (I don't think there were any on the Western, anywhere).  Mind you, Bradpole Crossing doesn't get a mention, either.  Which is odd, as there should be an instruction for traincrew to work the gates
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Oxonhutch
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« Reply #26 on: February 07, 2024, 16:47:50 »

Interesting non-use of tail lamps

There'd be a few Form-1s flying around if the DI had noticed.  I've got a sectional appendix and can't see any tail-lamp exemption (I don't think there were any on the Western, anywhere).  Mind you, Bradpole Crossing doesn't get a mention, either.  Which is odd, as there should be an instruction for traincrew to work the gates

Local instruction perhaps as its a single vehicle and can't be divided?
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rogerw
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« Reply #27 on: February 07, 2024, 16:49:05 »

That line was my local and my daily commute for 5 months in 1967. Happy memories
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Witham Bobby
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« Reply #28 on: February 07, 2024, 16:57:07 »

Interesting non-use of tail lamps

There'd be a few Form-1s flying around if the DI had noticed.  I've got a sectional appendix and can't see any tail-lamp exemption (I don't think there were any on the Western, anywhere).  Mind you, Bradpole Crossing doesn't get a mention, either.  Which is odd, as there should be an instruction for traincrew to work the gates

Local instruction perhaps as its a single vehicle and can't be divided?

If it was authorised practice, there would have been a local instruction.  Which is why it's odd that there is no such instruction in the sectional appendix.  I can't recall any location where non-use of tail lamps was authorised on running lines, even for single car DMUs (Diesel Multiple Unit) or locos

As a signalman, it was drummed into us that without a tail lamp to indicate the end of a train, it was impossible to know that the train was complete, and that a portion of the train could still be in-section

I know how the Bridport bubblecar did it's work, and was shut-in on the branch all day at Maiden Newton.  But still, this just looks like lazy practice
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