Jan 2020 – Totton to Fawley, Hampshire

The former Southern Railway’s branch line to Fawley, on the edge of the New Forest, lost its oil traffic about three years ago, but the local Three Rivers Community Rail Partnership is keen for it to be restored and re-opened to passengers. Last month, our correspondent was travelling by bus in the area and crossed the branch on an overbridge at Hythe. He looked down on the line and was surprised to see a rail-mounted JCB, flailing the bushes either side of the running line. Obviously, maintenance work continues, even though the line is mothballed. While it may never see use as a rail trail, re-opening to passengers would be a good result – especially given the amount of development that has taken place in this area during the last 50 years. (Richard Lewis)