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The Juniper Factor

8006 in the Up platform at Poole

photograph by Colin Duff

(above) The railtour terminated in the Up (reversible) platform at Poole. Whilst passengers enjoyed the delights of the Dorset port in the sun, instead of recessing in the Up Sidings the train filled in the eighty five minutes by running to Bournemouth and back.

(below) Poole station is on a sharp curve. There used to be two level crossings in quick succession at the London end of the station. The first level crossing was replaced in 1971 by the Towngate bridge, which has no footpaths. The second - the High Street - remains as part of a pedestrianised part of the town centre. The railtour departed from Platform 1 on time. Station staff had a busy time explaining to regular passengers that this was not a service train (well it is a South West Trains electric train in the expected blue and white livery!), the Class 444 train from Weymouth being pathed behind.

photograph by Colin Duff

8014 at the Londonend of the train at Poole
8014 leading approaching Beaulieu Raod in the New Forest

photograph by Justin White

(above) The railtour, with 8014 leading, approaching Beaulieu Road in the bucolic New Forest. Of all stations served by South West Trains Beaulieu Road enjoys a reputation for being one of the least used, due in part to its remote location (by south of England standards) and in part to a sparse service.

The railtour took in a rare piece of track on its approach to London, being routed from Wimbledon via Wimbledon Park, East Putney and Point Pleasant Junction onto the Up Windsor Fast. This was the first route from Waterloo electrified by the London and South Western Railway. Nowadays it is mostly used by South West Trains for ECS workings to and from Wimbledon Traincare Depot and route refreshers, though it can also be used for diversions. 2015 is the centenary of the LSWR electrification, so it was most appropriate for the tour to include it.

(below) The line via Wimbledon Park could once be gained from north and south sides of the Windsor lines, however the viaduct over has long since been partially demolished and today the connection is only on the south side, initially to the Down Windsor Slow line. The extensive brickwork and earthworks of the north side gradient still exist too.

photograph by James Dixon

Remains of the LSWR viadauct at East Putney
8014 in Waterloo Platform 20

photograph by Adrian Willats

(above) The return journey was completely on time. The tour's end was into Platform 20 of the former Waterloo International Station. This can no longer be regarded as rare as a small number of regular services are now timetabled into there, and over the coming years use of the former International station will increase.

As we have come to expect from UK Railtours this was another well thought, well planned and well run - and fun - excursion, for which we gratefully thank John Farrow, his team and South West Trains.

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