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Parish council backs campaign to reopen Waterside railway line

Marchwood Parish Council said the scheme would relieve the busy A326
Marchwood Parish Council said the scheme would relieve the busy A326

A CAMPAIGN to bring back a passenger service on the Waterside train line has been backed by Marchwood Parish Council.

The line closed to the public in the late 1960s but continued to serve Marchwood Military Port and Fawley refinery.

At a recent meeting of the parish council, members of the public showed their support for the reintroduction of passenger services.

Reasons for this included concerns that the A326 was often congested, roads were in a poor state of repair and the lack of bus services.

Although the track is now used only occasionally, almost all the infrastructure is still intact, including the signals and the former stations at Hythe and Marchwood.

Discussions surrounding the reopening of the line has gained momentum since plans to build up to 1,500 homes on land currently occupied by the former Fawley power station were announced.

The parish council agreed to support in principle the restoration of the passenger railway and asked the clerk to convey this in writing to the heads of the district and county councils as well as the next New Forest East MP.

Campaigner Cllr David Harrison, who represents Marchwood and Totton South on the county council, called the vote by Marchwood Parish Council “an important endorsement”.

He told the A&T: “I think it reflects the wishes of the majority of the people living along the Waterside who want to see the passenger service restored.

"With all the issues we have surrounding traffic congestion, air quality and cuts impacting on bus and ferry services it seems criminal not to make good use of the well-maintained infrastructure that is already in place.”

He added: “It's exciting to think that you could step on a train at Marchwood and be at Southampton train station just nine minutes later.”

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