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This is not your traditional "SideTracked" cache and dash but a short multi where you have to obtain some information from Dorchester's two railway stations.
Dorchester South station opened on 1st June 1847 when the London-Southampton-Bournemouth line was extended westwards from Hamworthy Junction. The station was built as a terminus with the intention of continuing further west towards Exeter. These plans were curtailed when in 1857 the Great Western Railway built a line from Castle Cary via Yeovil to Weymouth. A line was then built, from just East of the station, curving Southwards to join the GWR line at Dorchester Junction.
South station remained a terminus until after an accident in 1877. Trains to and from Weymouth had to reverse into or out of the station which caused delays. This resulted in the construction of a curved platform for Southbound trains. Eastbound trains still had to reverse into the original terminus platform. This scenario continued until 1970 when a second curved platform was built. In the late 1980s a new booking hall was constructed finally making the old station redundant which disappeared under the new car park.
Dorchester West station opened with the GWR line through to Weymouth on 20th January 1857. The station suffered with the run down in services through the 1960s and 70s and by the fact that its not on a direct route to London (unlike South station). The 1980s were not good either, graffiti and vandalism was rife. Below is part of a poem written by Kenneth Leigh which appeared in the 'Daily Telegraph' on 10th February 1989:
Built by Brunel in the glorious age
Of Victorian power and the great broad guage,
Rusted it stands with leprous wall
Daubed with graffiti, but still recalls
The grandeur that was steam.
It is since had a facelift and currently unmanned. The old station building is now an Indian restaurant.
Further reading: Lost Railways Of Dorset by Leslie Oppitz (Countryside Books) 2001.
The above coordinates are for the mid-point between the two stations and bears no relation to the final location. You will need to note the following information from a visit to each station:
a = Weymouth bound speed limit
b = 'Motorists failing to comply with parking restriction' bye law
c = Number of colour light signals visible from platforms
d = Number of 'blue' lamp posts on Wemouth bound platform
k = Year on plaque on West elevation on station building (19k)
e & f = Footbridge number plate (209 'e' m 'f' ch)
g = Weymouth bound platform number
h = Number of benchs on all platforms
j = Yeovil bound signal number
The cache container, a very small green-lidded plastic box, only has room for a micro log, small travel bugs and geocoins. Please bring your own writing implement.
It can be found at : N 50deg 42.(axd)+f+g+h
W 002deg 26.e+j+a+b+c
Check sum for coordinates by adding together individual digits k-45
There is a first to finders prize of a £1 coin.
Onfr bs punva yvax srapr cbfg