(All copyright Steve Sainsbury - 22.3.1975)
The return of passenger trains to a freight-only branch line in Hampshire has moved a step closer. A viability study for the re-introduction of services to Hythe has been approved by Hampshire County Council.
This is an interesting development. I visited this line on a Branch Line Society tour back in 1975. Fawley itself is quite small but Hythe is bigger. There should be a fair amount of originating traffic from the three towns en route. Commuting will be made far easier. This line was not even iopened until 1925 and was technically a light railway although promoted by the Southern Railway. Freight traffic is mainly from the refinery at Fawley, but there was a military line at Marchwood which may still exist. This line was part of the itinary on the BLS tour but thanks to the IRA we couldn't travel on this line! So there was other freight traffic.
This line is fortunate in that it has stayed open for freight, which makes reopening so much easier. But if we can justify trains to Hythe, Marchwood and Fawley how on earth can we resist trains to Blandford, Norton-Radstock, Shepton Mallet and Wells?
I can't wait to travel on this route again!