Representatives from both Andover & Ludgershall Town Councils as well as other local experts held an inaugural meeting on Thursday 23rd January 2014 to discuss the Heritage Steam Railway project.
The meeting heard from specialists who already have experience of the Didcot Railway Centre in Oxfordshire as well as the Swanage Railway in Dorset and the Watercress line which runs between Alresford and Alton in Hampshire.
The meeting was told that both Members of Parliament, Sir George Young MP for Andover & Claire Perry MP for Devizes had given this project their backing and had offered to help wherever necessary. In addition, comments received from local residents for the Heritage Railway were very positive.
“While listening to the experts, it became clear that it will be quite a challenge to develop this project into an operational Heritage line.” said Cllr David Drew from Andover.
The meeting focussed on two key areas which must be addressed in order to ensure that the project is viable. Representatives from Andover agreed to approach Network Rail over the feasibility of using part of the Andover rail network and platform.
Investigations into using the MoD railhead & platform at Ludgershall will be undertaken by the Ludgershall Town Council. “We already have links with the MoD and it therefore made sense for us to pick this up” confirmed Cllr. Owen White, Chairman of the Ludgershall Town Council.
Before the meeting closed, all agreed to meet again in 6-8 weeks to discuss the progress made with the MoD and Network Rail.
With thanks to Cllr David Drew for the update