Saturday 22 May 2010 saw the end of Mk.1 slam door stock operation on the Brockenhurst to Lymington branch.
The branch has been run as a Community Railway Partnership since May 2005 with the inauguration of the refurbished and reformed ‘heritage’ 3-CIG units 1497 and 1498. South West Trains obtained a derogation to operate the 3-CIG units until 2013 when it was expected that they would become life-expired.
1497 Freshwater was formerly 4-CIG 1883 and is painted in BR blue/grey livery.
1498 Farringford was rebuilt from 4-CIG 1888 and is painted in BR Southern Region green.
1497/1498 are formed DTCSO-MBSO-DTSCO having lost a TSO coach from the original formation during refurbishment, which was completed to a high standard and included the addition of central door locking.
The 3-CIGs commenced operation on the Lymington branch on 12th May 2005 and worked in a 6-car formation on that first day, a situation that was sadly not repeated for the final day. 1498 provided the morning service on 22 May, with 1497 taking over with the 12.29 Brockenhurst to Lymington Pier which departed from platform 1, the up loop, normally only used by the first service of the day.
Both units are understood to currently be at Bournemouth Depot awaiting a buyer and hopefully a long and secure future in preservation.
The Brockenhurst to Lymington Pier branch
The branch is just under 5 miles in length, running from Brockenhurst Junction at 93 miles 25 chains to Lymington Pier at 98 miles 15 chains. The line has one intermediate station at Lymington Town although there are two closed halts at Shirley Holmes and Ampress Works. The latter is still clearly identifiable with the platform in place. The line is single track throughout with most services using Platform 4, the down loop at Brockenhurst. However, the first service of the day arrives into Platform 1 at Brockenhurst and uses the crossovers at the Bournemouth end of the station to access the branch. A similar arrangement was used on the final day of operation (as noted above).
The branch celebrated the 150th anniversary of its opening in July 2008.
See the June 2010 edition of Tracks for more photos from the last week of 3-CIG operation and report on the final day by Carl Watson