22 March 2023
Welcome to the next development update for the 'Wessex Main Line: Southampton - Salisbury Extension'.
Since the previous development update, much of the work has been focused on extending the trackwork north from St Denys to Eastleigh, along with setting up speed limits and adding signals and track markers for this section. As you can see from the screenshots included in this update, Eastleigh covers a massive area, with Eastleigh East Yard to the north of the station, and Eastleigh Works and Depot to the south.
Scenery work has also seen progression around the Grimstead and Dean, with only a small gap remaining to complete scenery on the section between Redbridge (where the route diverges from the Dovetail Games route) and Salisbury. Once this milestone is reached, scenery work will then move to completing the line between St Denys and Romsey via Eastleigh. Some of the screenshots included with this update showcase the latest scenery work to be completed in the aforementioned areas, and the new VMS signals mentioned in the previous update can also be seen in some of them.
That's everything for now. Hope you enjoy the update and we look forward to bringing you more development updates soon.
10 February 2023
Here's your next Development Update covering the Wessex Main Line: Southampton - Salisbury Extension.
Since the previous development update, much of the work has been focused on re-signalling the route with Just Trains signals. This work is mostly done for the core section of the route, apart from the area immediately surrounding Southampton Central. Resignalling from Totton to Bournemouth is also yet to take place. Brand new VMS signals have also been created for the route, on both the modern VMS post and on existing posts where only the signal head has been replaced. Track has also been relaid in the Mount Pleasant / St Denys area - this was an AI runoff area in the original Dovetail Games route, so its gradients and track alignment were inaccurate. With the extension north to Eastleigh, it was important to relay this area prior to laying further track.
Scenery work has also seen progression, with the route now fully sceneried between Salisbury and East Grimstead, a small village around 2 miles west of Dean station. It is also the site of a disused chalk quarry, with quarry traffic running between it and Quidhampton, another disused quarry and processing facility just under two miles west of Salisbury. After customer feedback from when the route was first announced, track and scenery will be extended further west from Salisbury to include Quidhampton. Whilst it's been out of use since 2009, the tracks remain, so its inclusion expands scenario potential whilst also keeping the route realistic for the present day. East Grimstead maintains it's mainline connection and crossover, although the two sidings within the quarry have been removed in recent years. However, to allow full runs between Quidhampton and East Grimstead, the two sidings have been retained inside the quarry.
The images shown in this development post depict 5L17/1L17 as part of the West of England line diversions that took place over the weekend of the 21st and 22nd January 2023. On the Saturday, the regular 'Romsey Rocket' services ran as normal, with the diverted services running fast between Salisbury, Southampton and Basingstoke, but on the Sunday, the diverted services replaced the local services between Southampton and Salisbury, resulting in pairs of Class 159s operating stopping services along the route - an unusual sight to say the least!
Hope you've enjoyed this fairly extensive update, enjoy the accompanying pics too. More from us and this route, soon.
13 December 2022
Here's the next of our Development Updates for Wessex Main Line: Southampton - Salisbury Extension. The screenshots focus on the area around Southampton Central and the Docks region following the extensive improvements over the last few years. The shots show some of the upgrade works represented in Train Simulator, starting at Millbrook and heading west towards Redbridge. The final screenshot shows the new footbridge steps which were modelled due to the existing ones conflicting with the new track layout. Consequently, they are now more representative of real life. Here's some background detail about the enhancements and the work that has been carried out:
Southampton is the UK’s second busiest container port and a vital part of the UK freight network. Around 800 containers a day pass through Freightliner’s Southampton Maritime Terminal at Redbridge which handles around 24 container trains daily. In addition, DB Cargo and GB Railfreight average 18 trains per day from the Southampton Docks complex which is about two miles west of Southampton Central station. However, until recently, freight trains were limited to 520 metres in length.
Friday 19th February 2021 saw the completion of a £17 million project, largely funded by the DfT, to increase freight capacity at the port. This work enabled 750-metre-long trains to access Southampton Western Docks in Millbrook, used by DB Cargo and GB Railfreight, and the Redbridge Freightliner Maritime Terminal to accommodate container trains 775 metres long, the maximum allowable on the UK network. As a result, Freightliner trains from Southampton can now carry an additional 14 containers, potentially saving tens of thousands of Heavy Goods Vehicle movements each year.
As well as lengthening sidings at Redbridge, these enhancements included track and signalling alterations which simplified terminal shunting arrangements with the effect of improving the efficiency of freight train operations by up to 30%. The work provided almost a mile of new track, 14 new sets of switches and crossings, and 22 new signals, as well as requiring alterations to the signalling control panel at Eastleigh.
It increased the allowable speed of freight trains between Southampton Central station and the docks, thus reducing congestion at the station as passenger trains do not have to wait so long for freight trains to pass through it.
The work was done in three phases. Phase 1 saw the original 600-metre-long Redbridge terminal sidings extended for which land had to be purchased from the local authority. This was completed in March 2019. Phase 2 saw new track installed to increase linespeeds between Southampton Central and Redbridge. Phase 3 saw the commissioning of new signals for the Southampton area. This required two weekend blockages in the area on 30/31st January 2021 and 13/14th February 2021, as well as a line blockage from 15-19th February 2021 west of Southampton Central.
15 November 2022
Here’s the initial Development Update on the newly announced Wessex Main Line: Southampton – Salisbury Extension.
The WIP screenshots shown start at the western end of the route and move east towards Southampton. Areas covered here include Salisbury, Dean, Mottisfont and Dunbridge and then onto Romsey and Redbridge.
We hope you like these initial shots, we think the route is already looking great, we aim to bring you regular updates over the coming months.