Station Name: ASHLEY HEATH

[Source: Nick Catford]
Date opened: 1.4.1927
Location: On thesiuth side of Horton Road
Company on opening: Southern Railway
Date closed to passengers: 4.5.1964
Date closed completely: 7.8.1967
Company on closing: British Railways (Southern Region)
Present state: The platform with its concrete sign is still extant, a public footpath follows the course of the line west through Ashley Heath Station
County: Hampshire
OS Grid Ref: SU113047
Date of visit: 19.3.2004 & 15.7.2005

Notes: BRIEF HISTORY OF SOUTHAMPTON & DORCHESTER RAILWAY (Lymington Junction to Hamworthy Junction)
The South Western's first major push westwards occurred after collaboration with Charles Castleman, a Wimborne solicitor, and the opening of 'Castleman's Snake' from Northam to Dorchester during June and July 1847.

From Lymington Junction, Brockenhurst, the line swept inland through Holmsley (known as Christchurch Road until 1888), Ringwood, West Moors, Wimborne and Broadstone before continuing southwestward to Wareham and Dorchester. The usual destination was Bournemouth West. The line was opened by the Southampton & Dorchester
Railway although the service was provided by the London & South Western. The S & D amalgamated with the LSWR in 1848.

When the 'Branksome avoiding line' and the 'Holes Bay curve' were opened on 1st June 1893 they removed the need for reversals at Bournemouth West and Broadstone respectively for the Southampton - Dorchester- Weymouth service and the line from Lymington Junction through Ringwood to Hamworthy Junction lost all main line traffic except for Weymouth extras avoiding Bournemouth.

On summer Saturdays in Southern days the line served as useful alternatives for some of the many holiday trains run at peak periods. A few through trains from Waterloo ran to Swanage. Traffic on the line was always light and closure had been proposed before the line was eventually axed under Beeching from 4 May 1964, although goods traffic continued to use the line
to Ringwood from Broadstone Junction until 7th August 1967, after which it was cut back to West Moors where occasional military trains served a fuel depot until 1974. After that, a local twice-weekly goods service to Wimborne together with the presence there of an exhibition train company base, kept the western stub of the line in use until 1977

Sources: A regional history of the Railways of Great Britain - Volume 2 Southern England
David & Charles 1961 & Rail Routes in Hampshire & East Dorset by David Fereday Glenn - Ian Allen 1983. Tickets from Michael Stewart

Web sites: Rural Rides describes the entire route today with many photographs

To see the other stations on the former Salisbury & Dorset Junction Railway click on the station name: Holmsley, Ringwood, West Moors & Wimborne


Ashley Heath Station looking south west in c.1960's



1940 1:2500 OS map.

Ashley Heath Station shortly before closure in 1964.With only a few weeks life left and in very run down condition is Q class 30546. A Maunsel 0-6-0 built in 1939 and entering service in June, it had a service life of nearly 25 years when it was withdrawn from Bournemouth shed in May 1964. One locomotive No. 30541 was eventually rescued from Woodham brothers scrapyard at Barry after lying derelict for many years and is now preserved on the Bluebell Railway.
Photo by Nigel Lester


Ashley Heath Station looking north east in September 1974
Photo by Ted Burgess


Ashley Heath Station looking north east in March 2004
Photo by Tim Grose

Ashley Heath Station looking south west in July 2005
Photo by Maurice Coffey

Click on thumbnail to enlarge

 

 

 

[Source: Nick Catford]


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