Page last updated at 10:38 GMT, Friday, 30 January 2009

'Olympic' train line may be lost

Weymouth tram line
Enthusiasts would like to see it saved and used for the Olympics

A historic Dorset train line, which could be used to take spectators to the 2012 Olympic sailing events, may be lost before the games get under way.

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council wants to acquire the 150-year-old seafront track from Network Rail and close it.

The final service ran in the late 1980s but tracks to the quayside remain and the route is still regarded as viable.

Enthusiasts would like to see it saved and used for transport in the Olympics.

Michel Hooper-Immins, a travel writer and train enthusiast, said: "The government has decreed that it should be a public transport Olympics, so here we have a wonderful opportunity so that trains can come in and take people right down to the seafront.

Seafront redevelopment

"It's a wonderful opportunity and we should not miss it."

The track used to take travellers to the Channel Island ferries in exchange for goods from Jersey and Guernsey.

There have been attempts to reopen it but the council said none had been financially viable.

The council has just completed a public consultation on 6.6m plans to transform Weymouth's seafront in time for the Olympics.

Councillor Howard Legg said: "The closing of the railway came up because of the redevelopment the pavilion complex required that the station there is used for other things.

"Therefore a railway without a station was of no used and the proposal was put to Network Rail, did they want to use it? Network Rail have looked into it an discovered that they don't really want it either."

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A historic Dorset tram line, which could be used to take spectators to the 2012 Olympic sailing events, may be closed before the games start [Archive from Kingfisher Productions]



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