IT is 50 years since the railway line from Salisbury to Bournemouth West closed on May 4, 1964.

A truly rural route, it was slow and steam-hauled right up to the closure.

I was always surprised that diesel units weren't deployed on this line, as they were on the Hampshire routes.

This probably wouldn't have prevented closure, but would have made for shorter journey times.

A similar route between Romsey and Andover was in the hands of Hampshire diesel units, but this unfortunately also fell to Beeching's axe.

A complete network was closed at this time, the Brockenhurst- Ringwood-Broadstone route (Castleman's Corkscrew), then Somerset & Dorset (Bath- Bournemouth), and Wareham- Swanage in later years.

Happily, the Swanage Railway has resurrected part of the line.

A special charter train ran last week from Salisbury through to Swanage, so let's hope a real service can soon commence for through trains to run to Swanage once again.

Nigel Rowe, Salisbury