Stephen Roberts recalls a Hampshire branch line that was first proposed for closure nearly 100 years ago.
The Hurn Branch: Lost but still remembered
‘West Country’ Pacific No. 34104 Bere Alston approaches Christchurch with the remains of the Hurn branch disappearing to the left. The stub continued for less than a mile. The building behind the loco is the original Christchurch station, built for the Hurn Branch. COURTESY RED HOUSE MUSEUM
FOR most people interested in Britain’s railways, talk of closures immediately brings 1960s bogeyman Dr Richard Beeching to mind with his controversial report recommending the closure of some 6,000 miles of track, getting on for 2,500 stations, and the decimation of routes that followed.
I have an interest in a quaint rural line that ran metres from my house in Christchurch, Dorset, which fell victim to redundancy as long ago as 1935. As railway closures go this had to be among the earliest.
The line in question was the first railway to reach the town of Christchurch, then in Hampshire, coming from the market town of Ringwood in the north.
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