Above: Purists might say that this has no place on the website of a club interested primarily in old railways, but this is the transport that members used on Saturday 12 October 2002 to visit the remains of the Didcot, Newbury & Southampton Railway in the Winchester area. It's a big improvement on a minibus in terms of interest and comfort, even if it was a bit slow on the M3! The vehicle is a Bedford OB, built in 1949 with bodywork by Duple. It was delivered new to Western National in 1949, then passed to Saunders of Winkleigh in 1961, before being purchased in 1978 by Mervyn's Coaches of Winchester. It has appeared in a number of movies, such as The End of the Affair and Enigma, where period transport was called for. (Tom Scott)
Left: It's amazing what survives on our old railways. This is a telegraph pole on the former Didcot, Newbury & Southampton Railway, just east of Hockley Viaduct on the outskirts of Winchester. The viaduct was situated north-east of Shawford Junction, where the DNSR joined the London & South Western Railway's main line from Basingstoke to Southampton. The viaduct is still there too, now owned by Winchester City Council, which has opened it to walkers. 12 October 2002. (Mary Strutt)
Above: What looks like a snapshot of the Amazonian jungle is actually the eastern portal of Toldish Tunnel in Cornwall; the view on the right shows the interior. The tunnel is shown on Ordnance Survey Landranger sheet 200 and is ca. 500 yds long, running east-west from grid reference SW 924601 to SW 920599. It is now bypassed by a loop on the Par-Newquay branch line. (The route through the tunnel is actually shorter, although impossible to use due to its small proportions). The history of the tunnel is something of a teaser, since it forms little more than a footnote to railway development in the area. We believe that it was part of J.T. Treffry's Newquay Railway (Newquay to St. Dennis) which opened in 1849. This line must have been a tramway, as suggested by the small bore of the tunnel interior. However, in 1873, the Cornwall Minerals Railway was authorised to take over and improve various lines in the district, and build a number of new ones. This company opened a new line from Newquay to Fowey on 1 June 1874, which - between Newquay and St. Dennis Junction - used the course of the old Newquay Railway. Toldish Tunnel being too small for standard gauge trains, it was bypassed and closed. It has been abandoned ever since. (John Everest)
Above: 'Perchance it is not dead, but sleepeth.' Chelfham Viaduct on the former Lynton & Barnstaple Railway is not open to walkers and probably never will be, but its survival into the 21st century is remarkable. Sold by the British Rail Property Board to railway preservationists for 1, the viaduct has been thoroughly repaired and cleaned, and looks as pristine now as it must have done in 1898 when it first conveyed passenger trains on this scenic narrow gauge line. The preservationists now own the adjoining Chelfham station as well, and hope that, one day, steam trains from Barnstaple will again rumble over the viaduct. March 2002. (Richard Martin)
Above: A view across the restored trackbed on Chelfham Viaduct. The parapets are new, the originals having been removed after closure. March 2002. (Richard Martin)
Above: Not all of the engineering structures on the former Lynton & Barnstaple Railway have been as lucky as Chelfham Viaduct. Many of the bridges were constructed in a delightful vernacular style by the contractor Nuttalls (still with us today as BAM Nuttall), but rampant vegetation is a frequent problem, as seen here. March 2002. (Richard Martin)
Above: Shaugh Prior Tunnel on the former GWR line from Tavistock to Plymouth. Between Goodameavy (south of Yelverton) and Marsh Mills (on the eastern edge of Plymouth), this old line is now an official railway path. At the southern end, an extension leads into Plymouth city centre, although this is a new route rather than one based on an old railway. In time, this trail will become part of a coast-to-coast route across Devon, linking Plymouth with Ilfracombe. The finished trail will use old railways for the majority of its length, including Lydford to Okehampton, Petrockstow to Barnstaple, Barnstaple to Braunton, and Woolacombe & Mortehoe to Ilfracombe. March 2002. (Richard Martin)