Friday, 23 October 2009

Weymouth

Thinking about Weymouth as we have been, I would be remiss if I didn't pause to honour Weymouth's most famous railway feature - not a dismantled line to Portland but the Harbour Tramway.

In the picture, from Google Maps, you can just make out the tramway sneaking along the quayside, almost like two long thin shadows, starting on the left and curving down to go under the bridge and then off to the right.

This branch was designed to allow boat trains to deposit their passengers directly at the liners at the quay, to save them from having to have their luggage and their own persons portered down from the main station. It lost a regular service in the 1980s as cross-channel sailings and longer distance cruises attracted less travellers. Whilst technically it could still be used today it seems that its days are over and that Network Rail won't stand in the way of removing it.

If you follow this link to Youtube you can see 33019 taking the Ocean Liner Express round the tramway in 1994. The best bits are seeing the police and railwaymen having to manhandle cars off the running line - I wonder if Health & Safety would let them now.

I remember reading about this branch in an edition of Railway Modeller when I was young and wanting to go and travel on it. I doubt I'll get the chance now!

[Its a sign I'm getting old - 1994 seems just like yesterday, and yet when I look at the cars, etc., this video seems so dated]

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