REALLY SideTracked – Blandford Forum
Flanders and Swann Slow Train event No 4
A geocaching meet-up between 11.30 am and noon on Saturday, 23rd February (Note change of date), at the site of the old station at Blandford Forum in Dorset.
This is the next in a series of SideTracked events based on the song Slow Train by Flanders and Swann. Written in 1963, the song laments the closure of many stations and railway lines under the Beeching cuts of that era. After a spoken introduction, the song starts with both Swann and Michael Flanders singing "No more will I go to Blandford Forum and Mortehoe, on the Slow Train..."
Blandford Forum station in 1963.
(Photo copyright Ben Brooksbank, Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike licence 2.0)
Blandford Forum was a station on the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway. Originally part of the Dorset Central Railway, the line to Blandford opened on 1 November 1860 to a station to the south of the River Stour. The Dorset Central merged with the Somerset Central Railway in 1862, and a new extension connecting the two railways was built. The extension, and a newly-relocated Blandford Forum station to the north of the Stour, opened on 31 August 1863.
The station remained open until 7 March 1966, when the entire line from Bath to Bournemouth closed to passengers. Goods traffic continued for a further three years, but the station was finally fully closed, and the track lifted, in 1969. The site of the station now lies within a housing estate.
The event will allow like-minded cachers to meet up to chat, discover and swap trackables, and view the site of the old station. It should also be possible to listen to a recording of Slow Train.
Related web pages:
(Background images - Donald Swann and Michael Flanders in concert, 1966; disused track near Dunstable Town station in 2006, copyright Nigel Cox, CC-by-SA)