TS19: Main Line Magnificence
Scenic commuter and bustling summer holiday traffic shall come to life in the South Western Main Line: Southampton – Bournemouth, which is coming soon to Train Simulator!
Like many railways in the south, what is now known today as the South Western Main Line started life as a proposal for a new goods-focused line that would connect London with the port of Southampton, which would also see passenger and even strategic military traffic if required.
The line was built in sections, opening gradually between 1838 and 1840. The surge of traffic that soon followed was convincing enough for other companies to set up shop and build railways that connected and extended further south west, including the Southampton and Dorchester Railway, which connected the two towns via Brockenhurst (but not yet via Bournemouth).
It was the Great Western Railway that were responsible for tracks reaching Weymouth, stretching south from Bristol and coming in via Dorchester, the line from Southampton was then able to join up and almost fully form the SWML we recognise today. The final act was a series of branch lines built in the 1870s and 1880s that gradually came together as one alternative route via Bournemouth; this line was more direct than the original, and today, it is the only one that exists.
The South Western Main Line has passed through many operators – all individual companies were incorporated into the larger London and South Western Railway, which was then superseded by the Southern Railway as part of the “Big Four” – then, with nationalisation came British Railways, later known as British Rail, which was eventually split into sectors, and the SWML was enveloped under Network SouthEast. In more recent years, the line was operated by South West Trains, and it is in this era that the South Western Main Line: Southampton to Bournemouth is coming to Train Simulator!
The route will stretch the 29 scenic miles of the SWML between Southampton Central and Bournemouth through New Forest territory, while also including Northam Traincare Depot, as well as the 4.5 mile branch from Brockenhurst to Lymington Pier. Traction for the route is the modern Class 444 and 450 ‘Desiro’ EMUs, which are the stars of the show on express and stopping services.
We are still working away at getting all the scenery in place and building the unique stations, and can’t wait to let you dive into the route and immerse yourself among the picturesque action. Take a first look at the route below and watch this space for when we bring you more!
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TS19: Main Line Magnificence