This article has been compiled for the 'New Forest Guide' web site from existing sources. The author has lived in Hampshire since moving down from London in 1947, aged five. He served as an armourer in the R.A.F. (1959/63); as an ambulance-man with Hampshire Ambulance Service (16 years); and for British Railways, Southern Region, at the former South West- ern Division H.Q. at Wimbledon, then London Bridge, Euston, and Waterloo, on Network Southeast major projects. His father-in law, Mr Patrick Malone, now retired was a locomotive driver based at 71A (Eastleigh U.K.) Motive Power Depot, on steam, diesel and electric traction.   HISTORICAL BACKGROUND TO RAILWAYS IN THE NEW FOREST.  The first railway line through the New Forest was built from Southampton to Dorchester, via Redbridge and a causeway across the tidal River Test estuary to Totton, then via a somewhat circuitous route across open heathland, with small stations at Lyndhurst Road and Beaulieu Road to Brockenhurst. Initially a single-track route, it was known as 'Castleman's Corkscrew' after its promoter, Wimbourne solicitor, Charles Castleman, while stations serving Lyndhurst and Beaulieu were and still are, many miles from their destinations, due to the Woods and Forest Commissioners insistence that the railway should not pass through wooded areas of the New Forest! From Brockenhurst, the line wound inland, with stations at Holmsley (originally called Christchurch Road, the town of that name being seven miles to the South-West), Ringwood, West Moors and Wimbourne, then turned south towards Poole Bay, with stations at Broadstone and Hamworthy, then west to Wareham, Wool, Moreton, and Dorchester. The Southampton & Dorchester Railway opened for traffic, mostly freight, on the 1st June 1847. The larger London & South Western Railway absorbed its smaller local competitors throughout the 19th century, and in 1879 it took over the 1858-built Brockenhurst-Lymington branch line. In 1858 it constructed a spur line at Northam, enabling trains from London to Dorchester to operate without reversal at Southampton Terminus. On 6th March 1888 a newly-built line from Brockenhurst to Bournemouth Central, via new stations at Sway, New Milton, and Hinton Admiral, was opened to traffic. At Christchurch, the new line joined the original route from Ringwood and Hurn, to Bournemouth; the growing resort had been reached via a branch line from Broadstone and Poole, opened on 15th June 1874, to Bournemouth West terminus. With spurs at Branksome, and the causeway line across the bay from Poole to Hamworthy, direct London to Weymouth passenger and freight trains no longer needed the lengthy detour via Hamworthy Junction to Wimbourne and Brockenhurst line, 'the old road'. In 1923 the Southern Railway absorbed all the ex-L&SWR lines. One further railway that traversed the New Forest's western edge along the River Avon valley, was the 20-mile single-track line from Alderbury Junction east of Salisbury, to West Moors, on the Brockenhurst to Wimbourne 'Castleman's Corkscrew'. Open 20th December 1866, serving Downton, Breamore, Fordingbridge, Daggons Road, and Verwood, each station had 'passing loops'. Except during the First and Second World Wars, when L&SWR and Southern Railway cross-country lines conveyed a massive increase in war traffic, the sparse 4-train daily passenger service between Salisbury and Bournemouth West condemned it under the Beeching rail- closure program; this line, and the double-track Brockenhurst/West Moors route closed on 04/05/64. Breamore railway station in the Avon Valley at the village of Breamore  was built for the Salisbury and Dorset Junction Railway and opened in 1866. It was served by trains between Salisbury in Wiltshire and West Moors in Hampshire. British Railways closed the station and the line on 2 May 1964. The station now lays disused although the path of the old line can be seen meandering though the countryside and the original bridge is still used by traffic making its way to the beautiful village of Woodgreen. What a wonderful cycle track it would make if only we had the investment to spend on this sort of venture! Photo Courtesy of Cat’s Photography, click for magnified view. Update: Old railway line at Breamore now open for walkers! Hampshire County Council A 2 mile section of disused railway line on the edge of the New Forest has recently been opened as a public footpath. The path runs from Burgate Cross, just north of Fording- bridge, northwards for one mile to the old station in Breamore Village, and then continues for another mile to South Charford. Working in partnership with Breamore Parish Council, the New Forest National Park Authority and the Ring- wood & Fordingbridge Footpath Society, the Countryside Service has improved the route by cutting back vegetation, improving the surface and removing barriers to access. The path provides a firm and level walking route along the Avon Valley with attractive views of the surrounding countryside and wildlife. The line connects with other footpaths to provide the opportunity for an easy linear walk, or as part of a longer circular route taking in the New Forest or the high ground west of Breamore Village. At the moment the path is only available for walkers due to the lack of suitable connec- tions to bridleways or safe roads for cyclists and horse riders. Further work will be done to improve the route over the com- ing months with the provision of interpretation boards that will explain points of interest along the way. WE SAY: Please open the rest of the line so that walkers cyclists and horse riders can travel safely to Salisbury! Below is the route of the railway as it was in 1947, and as you can see it ran almost to Salisbury joining the main line.
Breamore Railway Footpath

Railways of The New Forest by Jon Honeysett

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This article has been compiled for the 'New Forest Guide' web site from existing sources. The author has lived in Hampshire since moving down from London in 1947, aged five. He served as an armourer in the R.A.F. (1959/63); as an ambu- lance-man with Hampshire Ambulance Service (16 years); and for British Railways, Southern Region, at the former South Western Division H.Q. at Wimbledon, then London Bridge, Euston, and Waterloo, on Network Southeast major projects. His father-in law, Mr Patrick Malone, now retired was a loco- motive driver based at 71A (Eastleigh U.K.) Motive Power Depot, on steam, diesel and electric traction.   HISTORICAL BACKGROUND TO RAILWAYS IN THE NEW FOREST.  The first railway line through the New Forest was built from Southampton to Dorchester, via Redbridge and a causeway across the tidal River Test estuary to Totton, then via a somewhat circuitous route across open heathland, with small stations at Lyndhurst Road and Beaulieu Road to Brockenhurst. Initially a single-track route, it was known as 'Castleman's Corkscrew' after its promoter, Wimbourne solicitor, Charles Castleman, while stations serving Lyndhurst and Beaulieu were and still are, many miles from their destinations, due to the Woods and Forest Commissioners insistence that the railway should not pass through wooded areas of the New Forest! From Brockenhurst, the line wound inland, with stations at Holmsley (ori- ginally called Christchurch Road, the town of that name being seven miles to the South-West), Ringwood, West Moors and Wimbourne, then turned south towards Poole Bay, with stations at Broadstone and Hamworthy, then west to Wareham, Wool, Moreton, and Dorchester. The Southampton & Dorchester Railway opened for traffic, mostly freight, on the 1st June 1847. The larger London & South Western Railway absorbed its smaller local competitors throughout the 19th century, and in 1879 it took over the 1858-built Brockenhurst-Lymington  branch line. In 1858 it constructed a spur line at Northam, enabling trains from London to Dorchester to operate without reversal at Southampton Terminus. On 6th March 1888 a newly-built line from Brockenhurst to Bournemouth Central, via new stations at Sway, New Milton, and Hinton Admiral, was opened to traffic. At Christchurch, the new line joined the original route from Ringwood and Hurn, to Bournemouth; the growing resort had been reached via a branch line from Broadstone and Poole, opened on 15th June 1874, to Bournemouth West terminus. With spurs at Branksome, and the causeway line across the bay from Poole to Hamworthy, direct London to Weymouth passenger and freight trains no longer needed the lengthy detour via Hamworthy Junction to Wimbourne and Brockenhurst line, 'the old road'. In 1923 the Southern Railway absorbed all the ex-L&SWR lines. One further railway that traversed the New Forest's western edge along the River Avon valley, was the 20-mile single-track line from Alderbury Junction east of Salisbury, to West Moors, on the Brockenhurst to Wimbourne 'Castleman's Corkscrew'. Open 20th December 1866, serving Downton, Breamore, Fordingbridge, Daggons Road, and Verwood, each station had 'passing loops'. Except during the First and Second World Wars, when L&SWR and Southern Railway cross-country lines conveyed a massive increase in war traffic, the sparse 4-train daily passenger service between Salisbury and Bournemouth West condemned it under the Beeching rail-closure program; this line, and the double-track Brockenhurst/West Moors route closed on 04/05/64. Breamore railway station in the Avon Valley at the village of Breamore  was built for the Salisbury and Dorset Junction Railway and opened in 1866. It was served by trains between Salisbury in Wiltshire and West Moors in Hampshire. British Railways closed the station and the line on 2 May 1964. The station now lays disused although the path of the old line can be seen meandering though the countryside and the original bridge is still used by traffic making its way to the beautiful village of Woodgreen. What a wonderful cycle track it would make if only we had the investment to spend on this sort of venture! Photo Courtesy of Cat’s Photography, click for magnified view. Update: Old railway line at Breamore now open for walkers! Hampshire County Council A 2 mile section of disused railway line on the edge of the New Forest has recently been opened as a public footpath. The path runs from Burgate Cross, just north of Fording- bridge, northwards for one mile to the old station in Breamore Village, and then continues for another mile to South Charford. Working in partnership with Breamore Parish Council, the New Forest National Park Authority and the Ring- wood & Fordingbridge Footpath Society, the Countryside Service has improved the route by cutting back vegetation, improving the surface and removing barriers to access. The path provides a firm and level walking route along the Avon Valley with attractive views of the surrounding countryside and wildlife. The line connects with other footpaths to provide the opportunity for an easy linear walk, or as part of a longer circular route taking in the New Forest or the high ground west of Breamore Village. At the moment the path is only available for walkers due to the lack of suitable connec- tions to bridleways or safe roads for cyclists and horse riders. Further work will be done to improve the route over the com- ing months with the provision of interpretation boards that will explain points of interest along the way. WE SAY: Please open the rest of the line so that walkers cyclists and horse riders can travel safely to Salisbury! Below is the route of the railway as it was in 1947, and as you can see it ran almost to Salisbury joining the main line.
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