A long abandoned railway bridge
Dorset's lost railways
It's 45 years since the infamous Beeching Report, which began a huge reduction in Britain's railway network. Dorset lost miles of track and many stations in what became known as 'Beeching's Axe'.
It's 45 years since Dr Beeching's government report, The Reshaping of Britain's Railways, which saw a huge reduction in the country's rail network.
Britain's railway system was run by the state, and it needed to cut the railway's running costs.
Weymouth & Portland aerial photo
Beeching's recommendations, said to be 'modernisation', saw a third of the network closed - 5,000 miles of track and 2,000 stations.
Dorset lost out significantly - many stations and several stretches of line were marked for closure.
Among others, stations such as Wimborne and Blandford - as part of The Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway line - were lost, stations in west Dorset, such as Lyme Regis, were closed, and services between Weymouth and Portland were removed.
Parts of the old rail route between Weymouth and Portland have now found a new use as a nature walk, the Rodwell Trail.
Similarly, Dorset Countryside has an ongoing project in the North Dorset Trailway, which runs along the old Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway line.
There are currently five sections to visit, in places such as Stalbridge, Sturminster Newton and Blandford, with further sections of the Trailway to follow.
The 'Heart of Wessex' line, which runs from Bristol to Weymouth, once had a branch line called the Bridport Railway.
Beginning at Maiden Newton station, it went to Bridport, with stops at Toller and Powerstock inbetween.
Beeching's 1965 report indicated the line should close but it actually continued operating until 1975.
The Swanage Railway and Corfe Castle
Wareham to Swanage
Although not mentioned in Beeching's report, the line from Wareham to Swanage was closed and track removed in the early 1970s.
The track has now been reinstated, and part of the line operates as a heritage steam railway and is a popular tourist attraction.
With the full track in place, enthusiasts hope regular passenger services from Wareham to Swanage will one day resume.
Dorset's closed stations
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last updated: 26/11/2009 at 15:00
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