Blandford Railway | Then and Now

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This was the moment when Blandford’s railway history reached the point of no return.

The arches at the eastern end of East Street had survived passenger trains by 12 years and goods traffic by nine.

But with their structural condition deteriorating and road traffic increasing, the arches were finally blown to bits on July 25, 1978.

It was a sad day for those who had used the Somerset & Dorset line, including myself, as I went travelled to Blandford Grammar School from Sturminster Newton and later Shillingstone from 1961 until Dr Beeching had his wicked way in 1966.

But it was presumably a powerful moment for the winner the local lottery that decided who got to press the detonation button.

On the right of the 1978 picture is English’s garage, where four-star and three-star petrol could be bought for 79p and 77p a gallon (about 17p a litre).

The filling station was also offering Green Shield trading stamps, which will bring back memories for those of us old enough to remember the days before plastic loyalty cards.

A 2020 view, taken from almost the same spot in Wimborne Road, shows the town houses that have replaced the garage and the open view into East Street.

Roger Guttridge

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