East Dorset Railways

This file is an attempt to record the advance, retreat & later development of the railway network across the eastern part of Dorset. I have included the Bournemouth & Christchurch areas, as they are now regarded for administrative purposes as part of Dorset, but during the development of railways in this part of the world, they were, and had been for centuries, part of Hampshire.


 Before the railway  This map shows the turnpikes & other principal trackways in East Dorset: it is based on a map during the first third of the nineteenth century. At this time, the railway was not even under consideration, at least not in the manner of a 'main line', passenger and bulk-goods carrying fashion - this lies another 25 years or so in the future and much of rural Dorset is essentially isolated from the hustle and bustle of England in the early nineteenth century: Blandford, Wimborne, Poole, Wareham and perhaps Cranborne are the principal centres of commerce and society, with the 'great estates' dotted about close by. EastDorset_turnpike_map
(June 1st to the public, but proving traffic from 1st May)
 Southampton & Dorchester Railway - "Castleman's Corkscrew": The 'old' road (as it came to be known by 20th century railwaymen), ran from Southampton to Dorchester, via Brockenhurst, Ringwood, Wimborne Minster & Wareham; there was also a branch line from Hamworthy [Turland Farm] to what was then called 'Poole' station, but this was on the otherside of the entrance to Holes Bay [on the Ballast Quay], so that passengers had to take the ferry &/or toll bridge (latter opened in 1837 ##) across to the 'mainland'.
[This station eventually became Hamworthy 'Goods' once the direct Broadstone - Poole Jc Railway was opened - see later].
The entire line at this date was single track (standard gauge), as was common practice at the time.
 This was the first public railway in this part of Dorset. The Act enabling construction of this line (along with other Acts that clogged-up parliamentary time at the start of the 'railway mania' period), was passed in 1845, and this was just 15 years after the start of the 'Railway revolution' that began in the industrial north-west, with the opening of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway.
The Southampton & Dorchester line was always worked by the London & South Western Railway (L & SWR), and was absorbed by that company in 1848 [22nd July on Royal Assent]; the original service on this line would typically have seen five trains each weekday, each way.
 I understand that the original intention of the Southampton & Dorchester Railway was to extend to Exeter (hence the curious original layout at Dorchester [South], where 'up' trains had to use a bay platform, even if they were coming up from Weymouth), but this scheme fell through when the L & SWR completed their West of England main line from Salisbury to Exeter (Queen Street / now Central), which ran through the north of Dorset and south Somerset.
The 'Castleman' of the nickname comes from Charles Castleman, a Wimborne solicitor, who was a 'big name' in the world of railway development of the time, eventually becoming the Chairman of the board of the L & SWR.
 However, it was on the appointment of the line engineer (9th May, 1844), of one Captain Moorsom that the route was altered take in several intermediate towns that the original proposal had ignored, and he also advised against incurring costs due to excavation of tunnels and additional earthworks; perhaps it should really be known as 'Moorsom's Meander'?

[ ## this was a wooden, toll swing bridge, sponsored by the local MP ( William Ponsonby ). It had very steep approaches, and proved difficult for horses to navigate. In 1885, it was replaced by an iron swing bridge, with gentler approach gradients, then finally this structure was replaced by the (existing) lifting bridge in 1926. Although tolls were levied initially, it was taken over by the Borough of Poole in 1926. During 2012, an additional bridge is to be opened to cross these waters - the 'Twin Sails' bridge. ]
 1857  By this time, traffic increase was such that the S & D line had been doubled to Wimborne Minster (by September of this year). This became an extremely important 'railway town', even more so with the arrival of the Somerset Central Railway (later S & DJR) in 1860 (see later). Many people wanting to travel to Poole (and the embryonic Bournemouth - a very small hamlet at this time), would have travelled to Wimborne then used road transport to get to these places, rather than the tortuous jouney (and change of train) to the old Poole / Hamworthy station.  
 1857 (20th January)  Early in 1857, the Great Western Railway (GWR) opened its line [ technically the Wilts, Somerset & Weymouth Railway - but taken over previously by the GWR ] from Yeovil (Pen Mill) to Weymouth: this was an extension off the GWR main-line that ran from Westbury to Castle Cary. With this line in place, and the L&SWR having 'running powers' from Dorchester (South) to Weymouth (over a 'mixed-gauge' line - a third rail being laid alongside the GWR's broad gauge metals), traffic on the 'main' line via Brockenhurst, Wimborne & Hamworthy (or 'Poole Junction' as it was then known) became very heavy - Weymouth of course wasn't just an increasingly popular holiday resort, but perhaps more importantly, it was to become a busy port for the ferries that linked the Channel Islands with the British mainland. Channel Islands produce quickly became an important part of the goods traffic for both the L&SWR and GWR.
[ NB: what we now call Hamworthy Junction (or latterly just 'Hamworthy'), was originally known as 'Poole Junction', as it was the place where the branch line swung away from the main line towards the 'Poole' station, which was of course not in Poole! This is the reason why, when the 'direct' branch from Broadstone to the new Poole station was opened in 1872 (actually in Poole), Broadstone was then known as 'New Poole Junction' - I hope you are keeping up with all this!]
Railway to Weymouth
(9th or 19th July)
 The line between Salisbury, Yeovil and Exeter was completed throughout - this is important for our story as it marked the 'death knell' of any hope of extending the 'old road' to Exeter from Dorchester.  
  1860 (1st November)  The Dorset Central Railway (DCR) opened its line from Blandford Forum to Wimborne Minster, via Corfe Mullen [worked by the L & SWR until 1863]; it also exercised 'running powers' on the section of the Southampton & Dorchester railway as far as Hamworthy Junction (then known as Poole Junction) and Hamworthy (then the Poole station).
This railway was soon to merge (1862, 1st September, both physically & financially) with the Somerset Central Railway to form the Somerset & Dorset Railway (S & DR); there was a section 'missing' between Blandford and Templecombe - this was opened in August 1863, allowing through-running over the entire system.
 Later still [1876], when the L & SWR and Midland Railway rescued them (financially) it became the Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway (S & DJR).
 For some time, the railway only linked up with the Bristol Channel at Burnham-on-Sea. Eventually (1874, 20th July), with a line to Bath (for the Midland Railway), the main purpose of this line would be to bring trains over the SCR/DCR (later S & DJR) roads to the south coast from the Midlands and beyond. To do this, the engines had to run around the train at Wimborne Minster (i.e. reversing direction), before taking the trains onto the old Poole station (which was in fact on the other side of the harbour at Hamworthy). This railway closed in 1966, though the through route between Wimborne & Corfe Mullen Junction had already been truncated some 33 years earlier. Note that there was a separate locomotive shed at Wimborne to service the Blandford trips.
 1862 (13th November)  The Ringwood, Christchurch & Bournemouth Railway was always single-track, with sharp gradients and tight curves, following the natural curves. It was also of 'light' construction and these factors severely restricted running speeds - generally 25 mph, and down to 15mph over some curves). The line was opened on this date as far as Christchurch and this was the first attempt to bring the railway to the Bournemouth area: a horse-drawn omnibus service carried passengers on to Bournemouth.
 The parliamentary Act enabling this line also allowed for the railway line to run into Bournemouth, but the powers were not exercised at this time. This was the first attempt at a direct approach to Bournemouth, though that place at this time was a pretty insignificant hamlet, both compared to today and set against Poole of the day [see notes elsewhere regarding population growth of Bournemouth].
 It is arguable that the development of Bournemouth as a 'warm-water' resort didn't really have a chance until the S&DJR company brought traffic from the Midlands and the North country - and that came of course via Poole into Bournemouth (West), not via this route: see later.
[ The RC&BR company was fully absorbed into the L&SWR on the 1st January, 1874. This line was abandoned on 30th September, 1935, with the line being lifted. Running as it does via Hurn (i.e. Bournemouth 'International' airport) it might have been a good idea to keep it! However, part of the northern leg of this track is now buried underneath the A338 from Ringwood to Bournemouth, so it serves a purpose yet.]

The branch was 'fed' off the main L&SWR line at Ringwood by a single line running parallel to the (then) main line, which then dived south along the Avon valley. At Ringwood, a covered area (substantial) was built to cater for passengers leaving the ex-London train and travelling down the branch to Christchurch, and later to Bournemouth.

NB: apparently Hurn [as it was after 1897] was originally called 'Hearne Bridge' then 'Hearne (or Herne)'. There was a private halt at Avon - where the owner of Avon Lodge had the right to stop any ordinary train as he required.
 1863 (31st August)  S&DR line from Blandford Forum to Bruton (old SCR) completed, thus allowing traffic from the Bristol Channel & hinterland (albeit pretty sparse) to reach Poole (old station). 1863_north to Templecombe
 1863  The 'main' line ("Castleman") was doubled-up between Wimborne Minster & Wareham by this time; the lines east of this had been so upgraded by 1857. The line to Poole (old station, later Hamworthy Goods) was also doubled (but 'singled-down' again by end November 1905). This would have been in response to the increase of traffic* provided by both the L&SWR and S&DJR. Wimborne Junction (south of the town) and Hamworthy Junction boxes must have been extremely busy places!
[* the original Act of Parliament stipulated that once receipts exceeded
£65 000=annually, the track should be doubled.]
(20th December)
 Salisbury & Dorset Junction Railway [ incorporated in 1861] opened with the line (single throughout its life, with passing loops at each station) from Salisbury (the line actually ran from Alderbury Junction on the L & SWR Salisbury - Eastleigh route) to West Moors (becoming West Moors Junction*, on the L & SWR main line from Southampton to Dorchester and Poole (old station)). Once again, this must have meant a significant increase in traffic over the section Wimborne Minster - Hamworthy Junction, with Wimborne in particular being one of the busiest stations in this part of the south of England at this time. The L&SWR always operated the line, absorbing it fully into the company in 1883.
[ * Note that the physical station at West Moors was not opened until the 1st August, 1867, nearly 8 months after the junction 'switched' in anger.]
 1870 (14th March)  A line (single) from Christchurch to Bournemouth (East/old station**) was completed, which for the first time brought the railway to that resort. This Bournemouth station (opened in May of that year) was to the east of the current (Central) station, on the eastern side of Holdenhurst Road (which at the time was a 'main' road into the town from the NE). The station was rather basic (a single wooden platform I understand), and would need upgrading (or, as in fact happened, re-building) to accommodate the growing town*. In fact, residents of Bournemouth were, in the main, rather 'sniffy' about the railway arriving in Bournemouth and wanted to actively keep the facilities well away from the small resort - which they initially did quite successfully! Unfortunately, they were attacked from the other (Poole) side - see later.
[ * From a small fishing community at the start of the Queen Victoria's reign (in 1837), the growth of Bournemouth was rapid during the second-half of the 19th century, particularly after the formation of the Bournemouth Improvement Commissioners in 1856. In 1851, the national census returns have the population of the 'town' as 691, more a village really! By 1861, this had doubled to reached around 1700 souls. Another ten years on though, years when the railway was closing in from west and east, and the 'official' population is now 5900; it would explosively grow to around 17000 by 1881 and to ~60000 by the dawn of the 20th century, a truly phenomenal rate of growth - and to think that just as late as the first quarter of the 19th century, where the town stands now was marked by a small collection of houses astride the Bourne stream (i.e., at it's mouth), and the greater part of modern Bournemouth was part of Poole Heath, a habitat not unlike that of the modern-day New Forest, with the only inhabitants itinerant tinkers, gypsies and the like. ]
[ ** this would have been known simply as 'Bournemouth' station of course, because there was no other railway station in the town at this date: the L&SWR did not open the 'West' station until 1874. When the current Bournemouth (Central) was opened on the other side of Holdenhurst Road, in 1888, this site became Bournemouth (Goods) station.

The entire route (Ringwood - Christchurch - Bournemouth(E)) was now the primary method for travel to the rapidly growing town / resort of Bournemouth and through coaches were worked from London (and elsewhere), being detached at Ringwood from the Weymouth trains. Ringwood therefore became, until the opening of the 'direct' line from Lymington Junction (west of Brockenhurst), a very busy station indeed, with a magnificent covered bay platform to accommodate transferring passengers. It was worked by the L & SWR from the start, which absorbed the company owning the line in 1874 (1st January).
** Between 1871 & 1881 census returns, the population of the area identified as 'Bournemouth' trebled, and this was probably due to the arrival of the railway.
[ Note: 1930/31: line quadrupled as part of the general upgrading of the Brockenhurst - Bournemouth section.]
(2nd December)
 A line (essentially a single branch line) was opened from 'New Poole Junction' (later, variously, Poole Junction, Poole Junction & Broadstone (presumably the village had grown!) then Broadstone & Poole Junction & finally just Broadstone Junction**) to Poole. This work meant that traffic (L&SWR and S&DJR) could for the first time reach Poole 'proper' (rather than passengers having to go to Hamworthy and use a ferry and/or toll bridge). This was a genuinely separate line, alongside the older Southampton & Dorchester line, running south out of Poole Junction. The 'push' for this line came from the S & DJR, but they were always in financial difficulty, and were aided by the L & SWR, who worked & eventually absorbed it.
[ ** when the original railway ran through what is now Broadstone, there wasn't much there! A farm and a few associated cottages etc., but certainly no 'Broadstone' as we know it, hence the main naming point for the two railway companies was the fact that this was the 'new' junction station for Poole. ]
(15th June)
  The 'branch line' to Poole (from 'Poole Junction' as it was named at the time, later Broadstone) was extended to the newly-built Bournemouth (West) station, also at the time simply a single-line branch from the 'main' line running east - west to Dorchester. Bournemouth (West) at this early stage, like its counterpart on the eastern side of the town, was a small affair with very basic facilities. In the early days, trains (both LSWR & SDJcR) started and ended at Wimborne. The initial service gave around 8 or 9 trains in each direction. The LSWR actually worked the line. [ The line was doubled in 1883 ]

(About this time, the line to Poole Quay (the Poole Quay Tramway - running along the public highway) was opened for traffic.)
(20th July)
 S & DR (soon, 1875, to become the S & DJR) opened a line from Evercreech Junction to the Midland Railway terminus at Bath (Green Square, later renamed Green Park): by this means, traffic from the Midlands and the North could reach the south coast & goods traffic, particularly fresh produce, milk etc., from the fertile growing areas in Wessex could move rapidly in the other direction. It is from this time that the growth of Bournemouth as a holiday resort is assured, with through coaches being worked between Birmingham & Bournemouth via the Midland and Somerset & Dorset Joint railways. The 'operational problem' was that S & DJR trains had to travel to Wimborne, there the engine ran around the train (after presumably being turned), before it could continue to Broadstone (or Poole Junction), Poole & Bournemouth. This was the start of a short, golden period in the life of Wimborne station - it ended in 1885/86 when the Corfe Mullen Junction to Broadstone Junction 'cut-off' was opened, allowing S & DJR trains to pass direct to Poole & Bournemouth. (See the links page for some sources on the history of the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway)
(20th May)
 Wareham - Swanage branch (single, except for passing-loop at Corfe Castle), opened to traffic 20th May, 1885. Note how the branch leaves the main-line a long way west of Wareham (at Worgret Junction): the good 'burghers' of Wareham were not too keen on the line running through the town, hence the wide sweep to the west before heading for the coast. Apparently, the opposition in the Wareham area was one of the reasons it took so long for the railway to reach Swanage.
A local company ran the line for its first year, then this was taken over by the L & SWR.
Passenger traffic ceased 1972, January, but the Swanage Railway Trust now operate a service between Nordern and Swanage, via Corfe Castle: there are ambitious plans to rejoin the Swanage branch 'full-time' with the national network at Worgret Junction, though funding for the re-signalling, layout changes here may prove a major obstacle (written in 2011).
(20th July)
 A new 'Bournemouth (East)' opened, on the other (i.e. western) side of Holdenhurst Road, with the old 'East' station relegated to Goods working. This new station was designed by William Jacob, the LSWR's Chief Engineer, and was a much more imposing edifice than the orginal station, though at this time, it was still a terminus. It was apparently designed to resemble a 'winter garden' (in keeping with the architecture of the fast-growing town of Bournemouth) with an impressive overall roofed (glass canopy) station. As well as the two 'main' platform/lines through the station (still in use), there were two 'through' roads (though the east-west connection to Bournemouth (West) & Poole had yet to be completed) and both the up and down sides had small bay platforms. An engineering / locomotive depot was located at the western (Poole) end of the the station.  
(14th December)
 The S & DJR opened a spur, or 'cut-off' line (single-track throughout it's life) from Corfe Mullen (this then becoming 'Corfe Mullen Junction') to Broadstone Junction, so that trains from the north could run direct to Poole and Bournemouth (West), without the reversing at Wimborne Minster. Initially this was for goods traffic only (one train in each direction), but from 1886 (1st November) passenger trains (four per day) passed over the spur.
Allowance had been made in the earthworks, bridges etc., for double-track working, but it was only ever single-line throughout its lifetime.

Traffic on the line from Corfe Mullen to Wimborne declined (becoming a carriage siding for many years): the dates I have provisionally are 1920, 11th or 12th July for loss of passenger traffic, with milk & limited goods trains running over the line until 1932 (milk traffic) and 1933, 17th June being the final date for withdrawal of all remaining goods traffic.
Part of the line (from the Corfe Mullen end) continued in use as a long-siding until 1959, 19th September [clay traffic], and as a store for old wagon stock until 1969. Much of the old track-bed has now been given over to improvements to the A31 Trunk road, but in places the alignment can be picked out.
(May 30th)
 Doubled track to Bournemouth (East / later Central) opened for traffic. At same time, the new Bournemouth (East) opened.  
(6th March)
 Link across 'top' of Bournemouth opened (6th March), allowing through running from east to west, and (with reversal), entry of trains from the east into Bournemouth (West). Eventually, the 'third' side of the Branksome triangle was constructed, allowing trains to run direct into Bournemouth (W). Link between Bournemouth main stations
(5th March, some have 6th.)
 The line from Brockenhurst to Christchurch (via Sway and Hinton Admiral) was opened (work started in August 1884), allowing trains from Southampton and London to run to Bournemouth (both stations) direct, without using the rather tortuous & slow route via Ringwood & Hurn. The Bournemouth (East) station had already been rebuilt (opened 1885, 20th July) on the other side of the road, the existing station becoming a goods station. Eventually (1899/1st May), the new Bournemouth (E) was renamed Bournemouth (Central), and by this time also, Bournemouth (West) had been enlarged.
From this time, it could be argued, the long decline of the 'Old Road' via West Moors & Wimborne began; however, Weymouth portions of west-bound trains were still 'split' at Brockenhurst, with the Weymouth sections running via West Moors & Wimborne. Ringwood would immediately have lost traffic, as the Ringwood - Christchurch line was relegated to a local, lightly-loaded branch affair just 26 years after it had been opened.
Direct route via Sway to Christchurch
 The 'Holes Bay Curve' was opened (18th/19th May of this year; work had started in October 1891), linking Poole (West or 'B' box) with Hamworthy Junction, and allowing trains from the east (i.e. London, Southampton & Bournemouth) to run through to the west (Dorchester & Weymouth) without running over the 'Old Road' further inland. This hastened the demise of this latter route, and relegated it immediately to a 'country' feeder rather than a main line: it was used, however, for 'relief' workings to avoid a congested South Coast route via Bournemouth & Poole - this being so until well into the 1950s. [ It also had an important role in the Second World War. ]
Also in this year of 1893 (1st June, just two weeks after the above), the final 'side' of the Branksome 'triangle' (or Branksome avoiding line) was opened, removing the need for engines to reverse around trains destined for Bournemouth (West) from either Bournemouth (Central .. renamed from 'East' on this date) or Broadstone & Poole.
[ This was the last bit of 'new' line constructed within our area of interest. ]
From this latter date, all Weymouth trains (apart from holiday reliefs, emergency workings etc.) travelled via Bournemouth (Central), the situation as it is today.
Holes Bay Curve & Branksome triangle
(1st July)
 Passenger traffic on the Hamworthy Junction to Hamworthy line ceased; this latter point was of course the original 'Poole' station of the Southampton & Dorchester (1847) railway.  
(1st May)
 Bournemouth (East/'new' station), renamed Bournemouth (Central): the 'Central' was dropped 10th July, 1967, by which time it was the only station serving that town. [ note: some texts have the renaming from 'East' to 'Central' as 1893/1st July.]  
 1901  S & DJR line doubled between Blandford & Corfe Mullen Junction; various lengths north of Blandford had already been doubled-up, starting in 1887 with the section Wincanton - Templecombe. Corfe Mullen Jc. to Broadstone remained single throughout its life.  
 1905  The 'Hamworthy' branch (formerly the principal railway route of access to Poole), was 'singled' by end November this year (work beginning, I believe, early September). The branch had seen a drop in traffic, though in later years, particularly during the Second World War, it would occasionally carry heavy traffic.  
 1920  Long bi-passed by the Corfe Mullen cut-off, Wimborne lost its S&DJcRly passenger trains on 11th July this year. With the decline in traffic on the 'Old Road', this meant that the once very busy station at Wimborne would become a much quieter place.  
 1923  The L&SWR was absorbed into the Southern Railway system on the 1st January this year as part of the post-Great War 'Grouping'.  
 1932  Broadstone - Hamworthy Junction [ part of the original Southampton & Dorchester main line) singled (by December).  
(17th June)
 Closure of line between Corfe Mullen Junction and Wimborne Junction, with the signal box at the latter point also shut down. By this time, only limited goods traffic was using this route. The line was active from the west though to a siding known as Carter's Siding - for clay traffic, though this was quite limited. The line of the track now forms part of the Wimborne bi-pass, and set the tone for the next 40-odd years of inland railway links disappearing under tarmac. Closure_CMJtoWimborneJunction
(30th September)
 Ringwood to Christchurch, via Hurn closed. This route had been rendered redundant in its original role (as a link to Christchurch then Bournemouth) since 1888 when the 'direct' route from the east via Sway was opened. It is perhaps unfortunate that some vestige had not been retained to service the airport at Hurn. Large parts of the trackbed have been lost to roads. Closure of Hurn route
2nd May
 Poole station to Poole Quay line closed; last revenue-earning movement had taken place 30th April.  [ diagram/map?]
(2nd May)
 Brockenhurst - Ringwood - West Moors - Wimborne - Broadstone closed to passengers ending 117 years of service to these areas of east Dorset. [ Goods traffic, albeit on a reduced level, remained between Broadstone and Ringwood but ceased between Ringwood and Lymington Junction, with the line taken out of routine traffic. ]

All timetabled traffic (goods and passenger) ceased on the Salisbury & Dorset Junction line north of West Moors (to Alderbury Junction) ending 98 years of service to the community and the wider railway network.

(NB: all these withdrawals / closures had a nominal 'effective' date of Monday 4th May).

The section of line Broadstone - Hamworthy Junction, lightly used since 1893, was taken out of passenger traffic (but freight continued and it was not 'sealed' until 1966 q.v.)
This was, of course, part of the original 1847 Southampton and Dorchester Railway route.
East Dorset railway network pre-Beeching circa 1962
First Beeching-era closures circa 1964
(7th March)
 Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway closed to passenger traffic - its 'through' trains (i.e. from Midlands/Wales to Bournemouth [West] had long finished; goods traffic continued (limited) between Broadstone & Blandford. The line north of Blandford closed completely to traffic (apart from recovery). Closure to passengers_SDJR
(5th September)
 Bournemouth (West), the original destination for S&DJR trains, and also the terminus for many twentieth-century services from Salisbury & Brockenhurst, closed to passenger traffic (some publications have 6th). Closure_BournemouthWest_pax
(20th September)
 General ('pick-up') goods traffic ceased to West Moors, but fuel trains continued to the Army depot (until 1974) & goods trains continued to run through to Ringwood.  
(4th October)
 Bournemouth (West) & all access roads [ from the Branksome 'Triangle' ] closed to all scheduled traffic (passenger traffic had ceased in September). Any residual traffic destined for Bournemouth (West) was switched to Bournemouth (Central). The closure was supposed to be 'temporary' until BR could work out if Bournemouth (Central) could handle the traffic on the newly-electrified main line, but in the event re-opening was never considered.

A portion of the access line running south-east from Branksome was retained and is used as stabling for electric multiple-unit train-sets; the 'other' side (pointing towards 'Central') of the triangle was however lifted.
(28th February)
 General goods traffic ceased to Wimborne. Apparently the station was used to store / service an exhibition train until 1977.  
(5th June)
 What had become a singled-out 'link' line between Broadstone Junction & Hamworthy Junction (only used for goods since May 1964) was sealed and abandoned. It was, of course, part of the original 1847 Southampton & Dorchester Railway. Part of the line from the Hamworthy end was used for a while as a 'long siding'. [The line had been singled by the end of 1932]
{ NB: There is some conflict between sources: Jackson has (in the text to his 'Castleman's Corkscrew, Vol. II', page 161) that this line was 'severed' towards the end of April 1965 - and in some versions of my file this is the date I have used. However, in his legend to the photographs, and in many other publications, the date is given as June 1966.}
(24th July)
 Broadstone to Wimborne singled (down line out of use): only light goods traffic used this line now.  
(8th January)
 Line east of Wimborne singled-out and the redundant track started to be removed: this includes the section through West Moors.  
 1967  28th February: Electric power (third-rail/750 V DC) complete from Pirbright Junction / Brookwood (Surrey) to just beyond Bournemouth (Central) - a revamped carriage/emu servicing facility was constructed utilising the approach roads to the old Bournemouth (West) station. Major re-signalling across Hampshire and Dorset, and platform rebuilds/lengthening.
 3rd April: Service starts: pattern was that emu provided service to Bournemouth, where train would divide and a portion of same was taken on westward to Weymouth using diesel-electric traction. Freight trains would of course have been diesel hauled.
 9th July: Last steam-hauled movements on the lines through this part of Dorset, ending service to the community that had begun in 1847.
 10th July: Bournemouth (Central) re-named just 'Bournemouth'

(see note at bottom for more on the electrification history; note that the map is not to scale and is schematic; also no attempt has been made to show the ex-GWR line from Dorchester.)
{short description of image}
(7th August)
 Broadstone - Ringwood (general goods) closed [ passenger traffic and goods traffic east to Lymington Junction had already gone in 1964]. Some limited special goods traffic continued between Wimborne and West Moors (military siding), but the line east of West Moors (towards Ringwood) was abandoned on this date - it had already been singled-out and recovery of the remaining track/line-side equipment began. Goods_to_Ringwood_closed
(6th June)
 Broadstone to Blandford (residual S&DJR goods traffic) ceased and the line, via the Corfe Mullen spur, closed. Final_SDJR_traffic_lineclosed
(18th October)
 Line from Poole (Holes Bay Junction) to Creekmoor and Broadstone singled .. at this time, only limited goods traffic was passing via this route to Wimborne & West Moors. Also by / around this time, the S & DJR lines were being lifted, or had been abandoned.  
 Passenger traffic Wareham to Swanage ceased; local goods traffic continued to use the northern section as a long siding: the remainder of the line was lifted from Swanage to just south of Norden siding - the remaining section north to Worgret Junction (and the main line) was used for clay traffic initially, then to service the oil facility at Wytch Farm.

The line has since been reopened from Swanage to Norden by the Swanage Railway Trust, this effective from 1975.
(1st June)
 Last 'enthusiasts special' train worked to West Moors via Broadstone & Wimborne. (pictures available)  [pictures]
(14th October)
 Fuel traffic to West Moors military storage depot ceased, with the line then being abandoned back to Wimborne. The line east of West Moors had been closed many years before (1967). Apparently, fuel is carried by sub-surface pipe to the depot, which runs, at least in part, along the line of the West Moors - Ringwood track.  
 1975  Swanage Railway Trust re-open part of the branch to Swanage.  
(23rd May)
 Worgret Junction signal box closed. Junction (refashioned as a spur off the down main) worked by ground frame under control of (interlocked with) Wareham box. [ Work is underway to restore the junction fully to enable routine services to access the branch again.]  
(3rd May)
 All lines north of Holes Bay Junction closed. This included Wimborne residual goods work, which amounted to a twice-weekly working by the end - some coal working, full wagonloads & exhibition trains to be serviced in the station. [ Much of the track of the defunct railways north of Poole have subsequently been buried beneath roads! A commentary on the times. ]  
 Oil traffic starts to the Wytch Farm depot of BP (Furzebrook).  
 The line west of Bournemouth (carriage sidings) all the way to Weymouth was electrified from January this year: some services across the line ran from February, but the full Waterloo - Bournemouth - Weymouth 'electrified' service began with the May 1988 timetable; services as far as Bournemouth (from London) had been provided by electric traction since 1967 with the remaining journeys undertaken using diesel-electric motive power.
At this date, there is a short section of non-electrified line (the northern portion of the old Swanage branch) to service the oil facilities on the Isle of Purbeck, and the Swanage Railway are operating to Corfe Castle and a little way north.
[ Note that the map is not to scale and is schematic; also the 'Great Western' line from Dorchester (West, ex Weymouth) is not shown. ]

[ Return to Musings Index ]
Line 'singled' at West Moors (and presumably the rest of the line) well before final closure, but photographs for West Moors in 1963 still show double-lines through the station, so the line was probably 'singled-out' fairly quickly after closure to passenger traffic in 1964.

S & DJR lines closed 5th March, 1966.


S57/04 Holmsley

05 Crow Crossing

06 Ringwood East

07 Ringwood West/Ringwood

08 Woolsbridge Crossing/Ashley Heath

09 West Moors

10 Uddens Crossing

11a Canford Crossing #

11 Wimborne

12 Wimborne Junction

S57/13 Oakley Crossing #

14 Broadstone Junction/Broadstone

15 Lytchett Crossing

Difficult for us now to understand the revolution that the arrival of the railway brought about - to all aspects of life, but particularly to the rural communities of Thomas Hardy's Wessex. Perhaps the nearest modern-day equivalent would be the advent & growth of the Internet or the Mobile telephone. But I would argue that the railways had an even bigger than these ....
Increased travelling (easier) .. adoption of 'London' (or Greenwich) time .. spread of newspapers / periodicals .. telegraph: what had been a rural/detached .. "distant" part of the country was now within relatively easy reach (if you could afford the fare). Where local communities were self-sufficient (i.e., had their own miller, farm-butchered meat etc.), goods/services were now concentrated in a regional manner. The advent of the railways also allowed those from 'up-country' (principally London) who wished to investigate the 'condition' of the rural population to travel around and the period around the middle part of the 19th century was the start of the reform movement in earnest - when much of the old, near-feudal order, was challenged & largely replaced. It is not too far-fetched a statement to write that but for the railways, the advances in social conditions, in terms of public health, democracy, etc., would not have taken place. Coal imported from other parts of the country - leading to this form of heating/cooking taking over from wood, turf & bracken. Even relatively small towns or larger villages would have several coal merchants & the stations would have a coal stage to service them.

Without the railway - tourism would not have developed in our region to the extent it has - Bournemouth might have happened, but not perhaps for another 50 years. With the arrival of the railway, a slow spread of (relative) prosperity & of coure, 'railway' jobs were much sought after; horticulture was organised on a scale to provide large quantities of produce for distant areas of the country (not just to the immediate village/town). And of course, as people wanted to live away from the towns, the villages grew as the railway could provide an easy means of keeping in touch with work locations.
It is ironic that if the 'old' network of railways had been preserved from the early 1960s, we would probably have welcomed the apparently profligate provision of metals across the country, and certainly in this area. With modern signalling methods (no need for signal-boxes every few miles, or at each junction), 'open' stations, fast, efficient, easy-to-maintain motive power and rolling stock and a consensus that the love affair with the car & lorry can't go on for ever, such a 'ghost' rail network would probably now be well patronised - would that we could have foreseen the future in 1960 ........

Dorset experienced the arrival of 'main-line' railways relatively late in the 'mania' period: it had a small, mainly rural / agricultural population, with little industry and no mining; there was little potential for substantional revenue as a return for the expense of putting the railway infrastructure in place.
The railways, when they did arrive, encouraged dairy farming (at the expense of arable farming), particularly across the north and west of the county. Milk and associated products could be transferred to the London area (L &SWR, GWR) & the Midlands and North Country (S&DJR/MR) quickly and efficiently; for example, United Dairies eventually had a large processing plant on the S&DJR at Bailey Gate / Sturminster Marshall). There was also seasonal trade involving such as watercress and mushrooms. At Verwood, two brick-making concerns generated inward coal and outward finished brick products which travelled via the Salisbury & Dorset Junction railway. From the Swanage branch, much sought-after Portland stone was transported all over the country.

Problem with the West Moors - line built as a main line (double-track for much of its life), yet the traffic it was built for was 'diverted' along the south coast from the latter part of the 19th century.

Some notes on local railway history.

.. Ashley Heath Halt (adjacent to Woolsbridge Crossing before passenger traffic started)
* opened 1st April, 1927 (but the line of course [Ringwood to West Moors section of the Southampton & Dorchester Railway] had been open since 1847)
* a siding was opened close-by the Halt in 1927; this closed in 1961 (September 4th)
* closed 4th May, 1964 (when the section of the line Ringwood - Broadstone closed to passenger traffic).
* situated on the west side of the crossing.

.. Bailey Gate( initially named "Sturminster Marshall", after nearest village but renamed November 1863 to avoid confusion with Sturminster Newton on same line).
* opened 1st November, 1860 (with Wimborne Minster - Blandford St. Mary section of the DCR).
* closed to 'general goods' traffic 5th April, 1965 (but milk traffic to the adjacent United Dairies depot continued for a number of years thereafter; this company was a major user of the goods yard). There was considerable goods traffic in its heyday, especially of a seasonal nature, for example watercress and mushrooms.
* closed 7th March, 1966 (with closure of S & DJR line between Bath (Green Park) & Poole to passenger traffic).
* track lifted around/by 21st June, 1970.

.. Boscombe
* opened 1st June 1897, on the Christchurch to Bournemouth line - this latter opening in 1870.
* closed to passengers: 4th October 1965 & to goods traffic 1st May 1972.

.. Bournemouth (Central) (originally Bournemouth [East], but the original station by this name [ & the first true 'Bournemouth' station ] was on a slightly different site, on the site of the old Goods Yard of Central station, on the eastern side of Holdenhurst Road, which is now a 'Retail Park'. )
* linked with the older [see immediately above] Bournemouth (East), the original station for Bournemouth, by a short tunnel. This first 'Bournemouth' station opened in March 1870 [ with 'East' being added in 1874 following the opening of the West station - see below ] as the terminus of the extension of the Ringwood, Christchurch & Bournemouth Railway from Christchurch; it consisted of a single platform. The later, much more substantial 'Bournemouth (East)' opened on 20th July, 1885. The 'new' station was designed with an all-over glass roof, to give the impression of a 'winter garden', in tune with developments elsewhere in the resort.
* Bournemouth (East), on its current site, became a 'through' station (rather than a terminus) in 1888.
* re-named 'Central' on 1st May, 1899 (some publications have this as 1st July, 1893).
* re-named 'Bournemouth' 10th July, 1967.

.. Bournemouth (West)
* opened 15th June, 1874, as terminus of the Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway & London & South Western Railway single-track branch (as it was then) from Poole & Broadstone. At this early stage, it was simply a couple of converted cottages and a single platform. Further buildings though were rapidly added.
* The station had two principal sources of traffic:- trains from the Midlands and North of England over the S&DJR and services running off the 'old' road and the Salisbury & Dorset Junction Railway via. West Moors, Wimborne and Broadstone. It also received some connecting traffic from Bournemouth (East/Central).
* closed (passenger traffic) 5th/6th September, 1965 [ different publications have different dates.]
* closed (all traffic) 4th October, 1965. The line close back to the Branksome 'triangle', which linked in turn to the main line Bournemouth (Central) to Poole.
* Later generations will wonder why a town of under 10000 population (at the time) warranted two termini. It is not quite so odd when you consider that 'West' was largely a S & DJR affair (though fully supported, and eventually absorbed by the L & SWR) and handled traffic on a north/south axis. 'East' was the first attempt to get the railway to run directly to the rapidly growing Bourmouth from London and the Home Counties. Indeed, if some of the schemes of the 1860s and 1870s had succeeded, we might have ended up with three 'Bournemouth' stations!

.. Branksome (early nameplate apparently: " Branksome for Eastern Poole " #)
* opened 1st June, 1893 (on the Poole to Bournemouth railway, opened in 1888); it remains an extant station served by trains on the Southampton to Weymouth line.
[ # though in fact, the station could more reasonably be said to serve western parts of Bournemouth! ]

.. Broadstone (see later for various names of this station)
* Branch to Poole was opened 2nd December, 1872, then presumably the original station name of 'New Poole Junction' came into use; the 'New' was to distinguish this station from the original 'Poole Junction' which became on this date Hamworthy Junction. I've seen references to 'Poole New Junction' - whether this is a mistake or a genuine useage I'm not sure. There is also some confusion about whether there was anything here before 1872; some publications have some sort of railway facility opening with the line in 1847, but I don't think this is correct.
* Corfe Mullen - Broadstone 'cut-off' opened in 1886, which allowed Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway traffic to pass direct to Poole and Bournemouth, without having to reverse (or exchange) at Wimborne.
* Four platforms at this station: unusually generous for this location, as it only served a very small community (at the time). The provision was due to the need to have interchange between S&DJR traffic (Bath - Poole & Bournemouth) and LSWR traffic (Southampton/Salisbury - Dorchester & Weymouth).
* closed 20th September, 1965 for general goods traffic, but some local goods traffic continued for a few years more.
* closed to passenger traffic 7th March 1966 with shutting-down of the S&DJR to passenger traffic.

Naming of Broadstone through time:-
1872, 2nd December: New Poole Junction
1876 January: Poole Junction
1883 July: Poole Junction & Broadstone
1887 January: Broadstone & New Poole Junction
1888 March: Broadstone Junction
1929 July: Broadstone

.. Christchurch
* opened 13th November, 1862 (as the terminus of the first section of the Ringwood - Christchurch - Bournemouth branch). Until the extension to Bournemouth (East) was opened [ in 1870 ], a bus service ran from Christchurch to Bournemouth.
* in 1870 [ 14th March ], the line (single track) was extended to Bournemouth (East).
* a second (replacement) station was opened on the 30th May, 1886 [on the main line between Brockenhurst & Bournemouth], with the doubling of the line to Bournemouth. However, the original station remained (inactive) on the Christchurch line.
* When the Ringwood line was closed in 1935, and the line lifted, a short spur was retained at the Christchurch end which was used to house carriage stock on a temporary basis.
* Goods traffic ceased 1st May, 1972, but the station remains open for passenger trains.

.. Corfe Castle
* opened 20th May, 1885 (with opening of Wareham - Swanage railway branch).
* closed (British Railways) 3rd January, 1972.
* re-opened (Swanage Railway) 12th August, 1995.

.. Corfe Mullen Halt
* opened 27th June, 1928, on the Corfe Mullen Jc. to Broadstone cut-off. Single line.
* this spur (or 'cut-off') was opened in 1885, initially for goods traffic, then in 1886 for passenger traffic, thereby removing the need for train reversal (or passenger exchange) at Wimborne - however, S & DJR trains did continue to run to Wimborne for several years on a reduced basis thereafter.
* closed 17th September, 1956 (long before the spur was closed in the 1960s) as part of a small-scale rationalisation of facilities that took place about this time.

.. Creekmore Halt
* opened 19th June, 1933 (on the Broadstone Junction to Poole line, which had been long-open, since 1872).
* served the developing Creekmore & Waterloo developments (now suburbs of Poole).
* closed 7th March, 1966 (with the closure of the S&DJR).

.. Daggons Road( called 'Alderholt' until May, 1876)
* opened 1st January, 1876 (but note that the single line opened from Salisbury to West Moors in 1866, on the 20th December).
* closed 4th May, 1964, with the closure of the entire line.

.. Hamworthy (originally 'Poole', see below; renamed from Poole to Hamworthy 2nd December, 1872, with opening of Broadstone - Poole line, and subsequently known as 'Hamworthy Goods'.)
* opened 1st June, 1847, as the southern terminus of the Poole Junction (now Hamworthy 'Junction') to Poole branch from the main line - on the 'Ballast Quay'. As well as serving Poole, this was also, effectively, the first (& nearest) station to service the growing resort of Bournemouth. However, by our standards, it was a very poor site - passengers & goods having to cross initially the toll bridge to Poole town, then make a rather tiresome crossing of the extensive heathland between Poole and Bournemouth. Apparently a daily bus service ran along this route. Despite these drawbacks, the route was still better than having to de-train at somewhere like Ringwood and take a long, winding run down to the coast, and traffic grew to the point where the branch was doubled-up in 1863.
* closed 1st July, 1896 to passengers, with the withdrawal of all passenger facilities on the branch at that time. Poole station (on the other side of the harbour) had been open since 1872.
* closed (general goods) 2nd March, 1981, but limited container traffic continues (as at 2011).
* the old station buildings and remains of the platforms of the original 1847 station could be seen well into the 1970s, with the old buildings being used as a goods office.

.. Hamworthy Junction (originally called "Poole Junction" on opening in 1847 (1st June), and renamed 2nd December, 1872#; in latter years, just referred to as 'Hamworthy'). The station remains open as a passenger station on the Poole - Dorchester - Weymouth railway line.
.. the branch to Poole (now Hamworthy Goods) left the main (Castleman) line at a place named 'Thurland Farm' in the parish of Hamworthy.
[# this is presumably why Broadstone was originally called 'New Poole Junction' when the branch to Poole opened in 1872].

.. Holton Heath
* opened 3rd April, 1917 (line already open since 1847).
* originally only available to workers at nearby naval cordite works (1914 - 1961); open for public use 14th July, 1924 & unstaffed halt from 1964.

.. Hurn (originally with the spelling 'Hurne' & possibly for a time 'Hearne Bridge')
* opened (with the Ringwood - Christchurch line) 13th November.
* closed (with closure of the line) 30th September, 1935.
* line had been lifted by late summer 1937.

.. Meyrick Park Halt
* opened 1st March 1906 (on the line between Bournemouth [Central] & Poole).
* closed 1st November 1917.

.. Parkstone (regarded as the station for 'Sandbanks')
* opened 15th June, 1874, with the opening of the Poole to Bournemouth (West) extension to the original Broadstone - Poole branch; remains open for passenger traffic, but good services ceased (formally) 20th September 1965.

.. Pokesdown (originally named 'Boscombe', then re-named in October 1891 to "Pokesdown (Boscombe)", then to just 'Pokesdown' when Boscombe got its own station in 1897.
* opened 1st July, 1886 [passenger service only], on the Christchurch - Bournemouth (East) extension of the Ringwood to Christchurch railway, which latter was opened in 1870.
* line through this station quadrupled in 1930/31.

.. Poole
* Poole town (& harbour) was served from 1847 by a branch that left the main line at what is now Hamworthy Junction (then known as "Poole Junction") and terminated on the spit of land on the opposite side of Poole (at the Ballast Quay), and passengers etc., made their way to Poole via a ferry and/or toll bridge.
* opened 2nd December, 1872 on the present site when the 'branch' from Broadstone was opened for traffic. At this stage it was a terminus on a single line, though an extension to Bournemouth was always the target.
* the branch was subsequently extended to Bournemouth (West), opening for traffic on the 15th June, 1874. The local council insisted on all passenger trains stopping at Poole, in return for allowing the building of *two* level-crossings in the town, very close to each other; if this hadn't happened, it is difficult to see that the current through route Poole - Bournemouth would have come to pass - we might have been left with a disconnected railway!
* in 1888, station traffic increased dramatically, when the through link to Bournemouth (Central) opened.
* on the 1st June, 1893, the Holes Bay 'curve' opened. From this date, the station served two through routes: Bath (Green Park) to Bournemouth (West) [S&DJR] and Waterloo to Weymouth [L&SWR]. The 'old road' via Ringwood, West Moors & Wimborne now effectively became a glorified branch line served by L&SWR services to/from Bournemouth (West) & Salisbury.
* 1960, 2nd May: 3/4 mile Poole Quay line (running through streets) closed [ SEE NOTE AT BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE ].
* general goods traffic ceased 18th July, 1966 [Poole the busiest goods station in Dorset for much of the yard's life, acting as a 'concentrator' for the local network.], but limited marshalling facilities continued well into the 1970s (check this).

.. Ringwood
* opened 1st June, 1847
* 13th November, 1862, a branch line (single-track) was opened from a point west of Ringwood, running down the Avon valley, to Christchurch - this latter being some 4 to 5 miles east of Bournemouth. Although a poor route (speeds were severely limited, something around 25 - 30 mph being mentioned, due to some sharp curves and challenging gradients), it provided a considerable improvement for passenger and goods traffic trying to get to Bournemouth. Extensive sheltered interchange facilities were constructed at Ringwood to allow passengers to change trains in comfort. The trains were divided at Ringwood, with the main portion continuing towards Wimborne, Wareham, Dorchester & Weymouth, and the remaining section (where available) being taken down the branch to Christchurch (1862) or Bournemouth (1870). In some timetables, apparently, the station is known about this time as 'Ringwood Junction', but the actual branch ran parallel with the main line for a good way west of the station, before turning left to run down the Avon valley.
* 1928: (August) - branch bay line (to service the Hurn - Christchurch services) was abandoned.
* 30th September, 1935 - services on the Ringwood - Hurn - Christchurch line ceased formally, though the actual cessation of passenger traffic took place on the previous Saturday, the 28th.
* station closed 4th May [nominal]/2nd May [actual], 1964 (for passengers, with withdrawal of all such services between Brockenhurst & Broadstone.
* closed (completely) 7th August, 1967, after being used in connection with the 'lifting' of much of the 'Old Road'.

.. Spetisbury Halt
* opened 1st November, 1860 (with opening of the Wimborne to Blandford section of the Dorset Central Railway (precursor component of the S&DJR).
* It was originally a staffed station, but staffing was removed in August 1934 and re-designated as a 'halt' 1st January, 1939.
* closed 17th September 1956.

.. Swanage
* Construction of branch started June 1883.
* opened 20th May, 1885, with the opening of Swanage branch (L & SWR).
* closed (British Railways) 3rd January, 1972.
* re-opened (Swanage Railway) 1975.

.. Verwood
* opened 20th December, 1866 (with opening of Salisbury & Dorset Junction Railway between Alderbury Jc. and West Moors Jc.#)
* closed 4th May, 1964 (with closure of entire line), though scheduled services actually finished Saturday 2nd May.
* the line between Alderbury Jc. and West Moors Jc., was single-line throughout its length and life, with passing places co-located with many of the stations along the route.
* there were two nearby brickworks, which generated considerable goods traffic: coal inward (firing the furnaces/kilns), and bricks and other like products outward.
[ # interesting that Verwood station was therefore opened before West Moors station, the latter not being in service until the following year q.v.]

.. Wareham
* opened 1st June, 1847, with main line opening. Original station stood on the east side of the level crossing.
* new, larger station (west of the level crossing) opened 4th April, 1887, following opening of Swanage branch in 1885.
[ note that the Swanage line doesn't leave the main line directly at Wareham, but a little further down the line at Worgret Junction. ]

.. West Moors Junction [ more notes re: West Moors and the Railway ]
* opened 1st August, 1867 (8 months after the Salisbury & Dorset Jc. Rly. was opened to connect at this point with the main Southampton to Dorchester line - this latter line had been 'in traffic' since 1847). The delay of 20 years in providing a station at this point suggests that the community of West Moors was very small - and maps up to the early part of the 20th century show few buildings in the immediate vicinity, and there does not appear to be a local source of goods traffic, apart from a scattering of small farms. The local population at the time of opening of the physical station, within the area we now know as 'West Moors', probably numbered less than a hundred well scattered about on the farms / estates. What I have yet to find is whether there was a facility of sorts between 1847 & 1867; I have found a passing reference to the station replacing a 'Halt' at this point - it makes sense to have something, as what we now know as Station Road / B3072 was a route north-south from the coast to the 'forest' community of Verwood. However, it appears that the opening of a station on this junction was perhaps at the behest of the Salisbury & Dorset Junction Railway to facilitate interchange with the L&SWR, and also with an eye to possible southward progression direct to the now rapidly growing town of Bournemouth.
* the scattered community of 'Fern Down' (as it was known until well into the 20th century) lay some two miles to the south of the station. The station nameboard showed 'West Moors for Ferndown'. Prior to the opening of the more direct routes to Bournemouth (from both west, then east), there was some irregular overland carriage from West Moors to the rapidly growing resort - and it may be that the 'Railway Inn' was a result of this - we do know that there was a special siding installed at West Moors to allow a horse-box & flat truck (for a horse-drawn carriage) to be offloaded - but whether this is from the earliest time of the line's history, or a later 19th century development is not clear.
* the principal buildings were on the up platform (i.e. towards Ringwood & Southampton); a concrete footbridge was added in 1902 [ presumably road traffic was increasing and it was dangerous to allow passengers to continue to use the level-crossing to transfer from one side to the other?]
* the original signal box was located on the south side of the junction, but was moved in the early part of the 20th century to the end of the up-side platform, thus taking over the function of controlling the road crossing.
* in 1943 the station became the location of a War Department petrol depot [pre-D day]. It is arguable that it is this event that ensured that West Moors remained a coherent community once the railway was dispensed with - it is difficult to see what other reason would require the maintenance of a local community: the WD depot grew after the war, and is still (as at 2011) a major factor in the economy of the village.
* closed (nominal) 4th May, 1964 / actual Saturday 2nd May (to passenger traffic, with the complete closure of the line to regular traffic to Salisbury, and the withdrawal of passenger services between Ringwood & Broadstone. Good traffic continued - see below).
* closed 20th September, 1965 to general goods traffic (i.e. via the goods yard/sidings)
* closed / abandoned 1974 (October 14th) - when rail-borne traffic to the Army fuel depot (nearby) was finally ceased. This traffic [ direct to the depot via a system of private sidings ], had been irregular from the Wimborne / Broadstone direction since the general closures in the 1960s.

.. Wimborne (Minster, I don't think the various railways really used the 'Minster' tag.)
* opened 1st June, 1847 (with the start of timetabled traffic on the Southampton & Dorchester Railway.)
* 31st October, 1860: short branch opened (single track), leaving the 'main line' just south of Wimborne station and curving sharply west towards the Dorset Central Railway (DCR) at Blandford (via. Corfe Mullen). The engine-shed, located in the space between the 'main' line to Dorchester & the spur to Corfe Mullen, probably opened at this time. In its time, the shed(s) could accommodate four engines, with coaling and watering facilities, plus a turntable; there were also lodgings for up to 12 crew members.
* services on the DCR were worked from the outset by the L & SWR (presumably with engines & carriage stock based at Wimborne). The complex of movements in the Wimborne area was for a lengthy period under the control of three signal boxes: one on the platform - the famous tall structure - dealing with movements in/out of the station and movements in the goods sidings & cattle pens. Then at the point of the junction itself, about half-a-mile south of the station (and south of the River Stour) a box controlled the junction itself and movements along the L&SWR main line; finally, a box controlled movements on the spur to Corfe Mullen and around the engine sheds and access lines.
* 31st August, 1863 - DCR line from Wimborne & Blandford extended north to meet the Somerset Central Railway at Bruton. By this time (for about 12 months), the combined SCR/DCR operation had become the Somerset & Dorset Railway (S & DR). From this time, until the opening of the Corfe Mullen Jc. to Broadstone Jc. 'cut-out' in 1885/86 (22/23 years), Wimborne was the busiest railway centre in Dorset.
* 1909: original two engine-sheds replaced by one large engine-shed.
* 11th July, 1920: Somerset & Dorset Junction Rly passenger services ceased.
* 22nd January, 1923: S & DJcRly engine shed closed.
* 1st April, 1928: closure of the signal box controlling the spur line to/from Corfe Mullen Junction (and when operational, the engine-sheds sidings).
* 6th July, 1931: this was apparently the last date that the S&DJR turntable was used.
* 17th June, 1933: Somerset & Dorset Junction Rly goods services ceased: the signal-box at the junction closed the following day. Several lengths of track within the old S&DJR Engine Shed area was lifted, but two sidings remained in this area to service the coal yard, known locally as 'Canford Sidings'.
* 1936: by this date, passenger traffic using Wimborne was a shadow of what it had been in the latter part of the 19th century.
* closed 4th May, 1964[nominal], but passenger booked passenger traffic ceased Saturday 2nd May, 1964.
* closed 28th February, 1966, but some have 20th September, 1965 (to general goods traffic).
* closed 2nd May, 1977, when the station stopped being used as a 'siding' to store exhibition trains.
* from the opening of the DCR (later S & DR, then S & DJR) line in 1860 to the opening of the single-line spur between Broadstone & Corfe Mullen Junction in 1886 [26 years], this was the busiest station in Dorset - this was because passengers or whole trains used the station as an interchange / reversing point with the 'main line' to Poole, Dorchester & Weymouth. It therefore handled north-south & east-west traffic, much as, for example, the modern-day Reading General might be viewed.

Notes re: growth of Bournemouth, based on census returns in the main
.. ~1810: no more than a CG station and a handful of cottages. It was probably known (until at least the early 1850s) as 'Bourne Bottom', after the name of the small stream that exited Poole heath to the Channel at this point.
.. 1841: probably no more than 20 to 30 dwellings in the 'core' area of what we now know as Bournemouth. Part of the vast heathland east of Poole.
.. 1871: pop. Bournemouth ~6000.
.. 1881: pop. ~17 000.
.. 1891: pop. ~28 000.
.. 1911: pop ~78 000
.. 1931: pop ~117 000
.. 1950: pop. ~130 000.
.. 1961: pop ~154 000.

From 'A Regional History (etc.) [ see references ] ...
... 'Castleman's Corkscrew' was given a wide detour inland to serve Ringwood & Wimborne, then two of the most important towns in the area between Southampton & Dorchester. To the south lay poor heathland of little agricultural value.
... In 1810, Bournemouth (probably 'Bourne Mouth') was a hamlet and coastguard station with fewer than 30 houses.
... Its development ... was the result of urban growth, industrialization and transport developments.
... The particular advantages of Bournemouth lay in the very sterility of the soil. Land plentiful/cheap (in the early days), as not wanted for agriculture.
... As late as 1871, it was not particularly regarded, due to the poor transport links.
... In the early days, Bournemouth reached by bus from Poole (Hamworthy). Christchurch was served by bus from Christchurch Road (renamed Holmsley).
... In 1893 (Holes Bay cut-off opening), the practice of dividing main-line trains at Brockenhurst, with the Weymouth portions going via Wimborne & Broadstone, and the remaining portion continuing to Bournemouth (West), ceased: to provide more capacity to Bournemouth, all 'through' trains passed via Sway and Christchurch to Bournemouth, thence to Poole & Weymouth (if so timetabled). This was made possible by the opening of the Holes Bay Curve and final segment of the Branksome 'triangle'. Thus the 'old road', Brockenhurst - Ringwood - Wimborne - Broadstone was bi-passed for main-line traffic.

Some notes relating to the Poole Harbour Tramway (source: "Castleman's Corkscrew", B.L. Jackson/Oakwood Press, 2007)
... Always planned (in Act that authorised the New Poole Junction (later Broadstone) - Poole - Bournemouth branch) that a line would be built to access Poole Quay.
... Officially opened 6th June, 1874 after work had commenced the previous September.
... Ran from down side (?) of Poole station, running along the length of Poole Quay, terminating opposite the Jolly Sailor public house. Tramway later extended by 1895.
... Horses originally used as motive power, but increase in traffic by end of century led to use of steam locomotives. Apparently, the engines worked both the tramway and the Hamworthy branch (by this time goods-only).
... Considerable traffic generated in both World Wars, with additional sidings and other facilities constructed. In the latter war, large amounts of fuel-oil was transported, presumably sourced from West Moors.
... Good use of the tramway just after the Second World War (fuel rationing), but decline early 1950s with development of the Hamworthy Quay area taking much of the 'core' seaborne traffic to that side of the harbour. By late 1950s, only two journeys daily required from Poole station.
... Last revenue-earning service 30th April, 1960.

Some notes relating to the Bournemouth & Weymouth electrification scheme

... Electrification of the main southwest coastal route to Bournemouth (at least) was considered as far back as the 1930s by the Southern Railway as part of the intended widespread updating of services through its 'Southern Electric' area. The direct route to Portsmouth has already been so treated by May 1937, with a dramatic improvement in service and increase in traffic. Only the advent of the Second World War put paid to the ambitious schemes to treat other 'Channel port/resort' lines in like fashion.
... With the war out of the way, electrification was again mooted in the 1950s under British Railways - this time right through to Weymouth. However, the proposed scheme was a bit of a mish-mash, as it envisaged overhead/AC-based tractive units, rather than an extension of the DC/third rail.
... In the early 1960s, as part of the 're-shaping' plans, third-rail [750V/DC] electrification was decided upon: the formal announcement was made on the 29th September, 1964.
... The necessary infrastructure (including major re-signalling & platform reconstruction) was put in place from Brookwood via Basingstoke, Eastleigh (major maintenance depot), Southampton and on to Bournemouth (Central). There was also a short extension to Branksome & a portion of the spur to Bournemouth (West) for stabling/first-line maintenance purposes. Indeed, there was a short-lived scheme to retain a facility at West station itself to spread the traffic loading on Central - soon abandoned.
... The line was operational in its 'electric' mode 28th February, 1967, with some services running 3rd April that year. However, the major revenue-earning services started running on the 10th July that year; steam traction was finally withdrawn the day before.
... There was a revised layout at Central (soon to be named just 'Bournemouth'): the two complete 'through roads' were altered to provide berthing or parking sidings to cope with the requirement to have diesel units ready to take train sets on to Poole and Weymouth. Central mpd was closed as steam traction was withdrawn.
... Weymouth electrification was effective in 1988 (January), with the first ad-hoc services running from 28th February: the formal start of 'through' Waterloo - Bournemouth - Weymouth emu services began with the May timetable of 1988.

[ Last entry: 20 SEP 2016 ]