Bentley & Bordon Railway
Bentley & Bordon Light Railway
In 1905 the London and South Western Railway opened the Bentley and Bordon Light Railway (BBLR), a four and a half mile (7.2Km) standard-gauge branch built to serve the military camps at Bordon. Like the Basingstoke & Alton Light Railway, it was built to the lower standards of construction established by the 1896 Light Railways Act. As soon as the BBLR opened it became the supply route for materials coming from the Army's supply depot at Woolwich Arsenal to build the new standard-gauge Woolmer Instructional Military Railway, later renamed the Longmoor Military Railway.
The line deviated from the Alton main line south west of Bentley (controlled by a junction signalbox) and ran south to a terminus north west of Bordon (now a trading estate). It had one intermediate halt for Kingsley village where it crossed the road on the level. The passenger trains were a shuttle service leaving from a dedicated platform at Bentley station. Although the line ran public train services, the terminus station was hardly convenient for people living in Bordon a mile away. However, for military personnel it was very handy for connecting with trains on the Longmoor Military Railway (LMR) which had a terminus next to the public station. Confusingly, to the east of Bordon station the Longmoor Military Railway had a station called Oakhanger Halt - a village that is located west of Bordon station!
The decline of the line reflected the reducing military requirement for railway transport and it was closed to passengers on Sunday 15th September 1957. The track remained in situ for army use and goods services which finished in 1966; the track was lifted in 1967.
In recent years there has been talk of relaying the line to cater for the Eco Town development due to take place on the barracks at Bordon. Although this makes sense given the objects of making the town 'eco-friendly', after several studies the cost of reinstatement was found to be too great. A number of railway relaying schemes have been put forward all across the UK, the most prominent being the Borders Railway, formerly known as the Waverley Line, in Scotland. This line was relaid and opened in 2015 to great acclaim and in the first year ticket sales exceeded the forecast sales. All proposals for new and relaid lines are tested against a set of criteria to establish their likely viability. The value to the local community is part of this test, but in the end the cost of the project has to be justified by the forecast ticket sales. It would seem that in the case of the Bentley & Bordon Railway the numbers don't add up, which is a pity given the fact that many roads in the area are not really capable of absorbing an increase in traffic that the new housing in Bordon is likely to generate.
Find out more about the history surrounding Alton's railways on the following pages:
HISTORY Page Index
Introduction: The Railway Comes to Alton
The Ladies of Alton
Basingstoke & Alton Light Railway
Meon Valley Railway
Longmoor Military Railway
Bentley & Bordon Light Railway
Click on these links, or use the drop-down menu above to navigate between the pages.