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The Southern Railway Route between BASINGSTOKE, WINCHESTER, EASTLEIGH and SOUTHAMPTON.
LESLIE TIBBLE and Richard Derry
LESLIE TIBBLE, Richard Derry
By IAN SIXSMITH, Richard Derry
First proposals for a central main railway line from London to the port of Falmouth through Salisbury and Exeter came in the 1830s, and the first section as far as Basingstoke was opened in 1840 as part of the London & Southampton Railway, which in line with its plans for expansion soon became the London & South Western Railway. The Bishopstoke to Salisbury Milford branch opened in 1847 but the route from London to Salisbury was indirect, so a direct Basingstoke to Salisbury line was promoted and after delays following the Railway Mania the single track branch from Basingstoke to Andover was opened in 1854, extended to Salisbury Milford in 1857, and then to Salisbury Fisherton in 1859. The Basingstoke & Salisbury Railway is the subject of Part One.
The Salisbury & Yeovil line was the central part of the Southerns Main Line to the West. Promoted and built by an independent local company, its stations were well placed for the centres of Salisbury, Tisbury, Gillingham, Sherborne and Yeovil. The station at the small village of Templecombe prospered as a junction with the Somerset & Dorset line, the route for much freight traffic to and from the west. Here coal, stone, manufactured goods, milk and Burton beer from the Midland line was transferred. Going north went cider from Whimple, rabbits from Dartmoor, fruit and flowers from the Tamar Valley and watercress from Hampshire. The South Western worked and later bought the line, at a very high price, and fast trains from Waterloo provided good services for both business and holiday passengers. Although Beeching cuts reduced the lines status to little more than a single track byway, today it provides a good and frequent service to London. Part One covered Basingstoke to Salisbury whilst Part Three will deal with the route onwards from Yeovil to Exeter.
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