17 September 2008

What future for the Harbour Tramway?

The future of the former railway which served Weymouth Harbour, is looking in doubt following Weymouth and Portland Borough Council's decision to redevelop the harbour area ahead of the 2012 Olympics, as Weymouth has been chosen as the venue for the sailing event.

The Weymouth Harbour Tramway was opened in 1865 by the Great Western Railway, and unusually went through the streets of the town to a station at the harbour where it connected with ferries to/from the Channel Islands. Regular passenger services along the line ceased in 1987 and the last recorded train along the line was a railtour on 2nd May 1999, a video of which may be viewed below.

Officially the line has never been closed, although Network Rail have said that restoring the route would require substantial renewal of the infrastructure.

Some archive photos of a boat train along the branch may be viewed here.

During a visit to Weymouth in June 2007, the LEYTR Editors explored the line.

On the right, the overgrown section of line as it approached the main line at a junction just north of the present passenger station.

The rails along the streets still remain despite being out of use for almost a decade.

The Harbour Station also remains. Note the former platform edges still retain their white paint!

All photos LEYTR. Click on each to enlargen.