Things are starting to buzz down in Dorset as the restoration of Spetisbury looms close!
Dean Cockwell has just updated the Spetisbury page on the New S&D website.
The platforms remain and the ruins of the up line buildings are still discernible, and the rear wall of the main building is still standing. There appear to be remnants of the brickwork buried underneath the overgrown weeds etc! There are a number of missing edging concrete slabs, which will have to be replaced.
The down platform is also overgrown with plants and weeds. It also appears that it might be narrower than when the original platform was built, which may cause problems as we work to clear this platform. This may have been caused by erosion due to the building of the adjacent houses that have sprung up after the railway was built, and 2 tracks were laid.
Adjacent to the bridge, on the steps side, there could be evidence of the signal box foundations. This can only be confirmed after clearance and further examination. There could also be evidence of the foundation of the starting signal that appears in early photographs of the station. Again, this will have to be confirmed after the clearance work has been completed.
We are in the process of speaking to Dorset County Council about taking control of the station area of Spetisbury. We want to take the area that currently is overgrown with various plants and weeds, and as time permits, the platforms will be cleared and restored to how they were back in the days when trains were a regular sight along this part of the trailway. This will include the rebuilding of station buildings, to look the same or similar to the original ones that were erected before.
We plan to do this in the main using a volunteer workforce, but for certain tasks we will have to employ the skills of trained craftsmen.
It is with this aim in mind that we plan to establish an information point (with an associated shop / cafe where viable) on the station in these buildings. With its location, wonderful views across the Stour Valley and walks on the North Dorset Trailway, we believe that the station site at Spetisbury would be an ideal location for such a venture.
This clearance work once completed along with the rebuilding of the station buildings will potentially encourage more people to use the trailway as a means of leisure activities, and / or commuting away from the dangerous A350 road through Spetisbury. There will also be the possibility that people will use other facilities within the village, for example, they might want to have a meal and a drink at the pub. Or if coming from further afield, stop overnight in one of the local bed and breakfast establishments. Thereby bringing revenue to Spetisbury.
Our intention is to restore the station buildings as they would have appeared in the early 1950s. Externally they should be identical to the original designs, subject to modern health and safety and building regulations.
Internally they had a booking office, waiting rooms and toilets. We intend to set them up as they used to be, but we would like to set the waiting rooms up so that we have an information centre / shop. The information centre would be where people could get information about us, and the history of the original Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway. We could also have information about the Trailway and surrounding area. In the shop, in addition to books, DVDs and souvenirs, we would like to sell hot and cold drinks, and light snacks for Trailway users. In the summer months when the shop etc is open, we may have some tables and chairs out on the platform, so that visitors can take a rest in the fresh air and enjoy a look across the Stour Valley whilst enjoying a cup of tea with a slice of locally made cake.