Castleman’s Corkscrew – Volume 1


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Castleman’s Corkscrew including The Railways of Bournmouth & Associated Lines – Volume One: The Nineteenth Century
Castleman’s Corkscrew was the sobriquet given to the Southampton & Dorchester Railway because of its circuitous route, partly dictated by the principal towns of the period and the restrictions placed upon its route through the New Forest. Originally conceived as a railway between Southampton and Dorchester with proposed westward extension towards Exeter and an independent branch to Weymouth. It is the story of the determination of the early railway promoters ispired by Charles Castleman who took on the might of two major companies, the broad gauge Great Western Railway and the standard guage London South Western Railway, both striving for domination in the west of England, in the ‘Gauge Wars’.

Also examined are the many proposed schemes both feasible and impracticable to bring other railways to the area in particular to the ports of Southampton, Poole and Weymouth.

The involvement in the Wimborne, Poole and Bournemouth area of the Somerset & Dorset Railway was to have a profound effect on future development.

The meteoric rise of Bournemouth from obscurity to a high class holiday resort by the turn of the century was to change importance of railways in the area, by 1874 two branches off the Southampton & Dorchester Line, the Ringwood, Christchurch & Bournemouth Railway, and the Poole & Bournemouth serving the growing town. This resulted in further schemes to provide the area with improved facilities resulting in the Bournemouth direct line via Sway, and the Holes Bay curve to form a direct line to Bournemouth and Weymouth, thus virtually completing Dorset’s railway map by the turn of the century, the railway development of Bournemouth being explained in detail. These developments also saw the demise on the status of Wimborne, once the busiest station in Dorset and the reduction of part of the original main line between Lymington Junction and Hamworthy Junction to secondary status, to be known to generations of railwaymen as ‘The Old Road’.

The history of the railways of this area has never been explored in such detail before.


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