The Shillingstone Railway Project (formerly the Shillingstone Station Project) is a heritage railway project based at Shillingstone railway station on the former Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway. It is supported by the North Dorset Railway Trust (NDRT). The medium-term aim is to restore the current leased length of one quarter of a mile: an addition of 1,200 feet (370 m) of single track mainline with a loop through the platforms. The long-term aim is to extend north towards Lamb House Bridge, and to provide a rail link with Sturminster Newton, working in harmony with the North Dorset Trailway. Track has been laid through the station using 95 bullhead rail extending to the Church gate on the current southern boundary. The signal box, coal store, motor trolley hut, permanent way huts, signals and pole route have been rebuilt. The NDRT has rebuilt the 400 foot Down platform wall and replaced and repaired the platform edge slabs. The North Dorset Trailway runs alongside the formation and up over the 395-foot (120 m) 'down' platform. The electrical supply has been improved and the Museum improved. The Station Gardens are also a prominent feature for the 28,000 visitors that come annually. The NDRT membership in 2017 exceeded 200 for the first time.
== Buildings ==
The station building currently houses a cafe, shop, work room, separate toilet facilities for ladies and gentlemen. The registered museum displays some of the artefacts donated over the years. The Signal box has been rebuilt and fitted with one signal. The south end of the up platform has been rebuilt and the picnic area above landscaped with a colourful garden - an outdoor 'O' scale model railway was built there but was removed in 2019. A new siding was laid to accommodate the catering carriage at present outside the main station platform which serves as additional café accommodation and is available for hire for private functions. The down platform waiting shelter has been rebuilt in its original position and serves as storage.
== Stations ==
Sturminster Newton - The membership voted in 2017 to rebuild the line towards Sturminster Newton, but since then almost no progress has been made and the credibility of the committee's intentions is in considerable doubt.
Shillingstone - a lease 400 yard long between buffers
Stourpaine & Durweston Halt - in private hands
== Activity ==
In 2009, 210 feet (64 m) of the up main track through the station was laid and ballasted using 110a and 113a flat bottom rail and wooden sleepers. The Ruston & Hornsby diesel shunter was moved from the isolated goods dock. This was the first standard gauge loco on the Somerset & Dorset mainline south of the Mendips and north of Blandford, since the demolition train departed in July 1967, exactly 42 years before.
Progress in 2010 included acquiring a tracked Priestman Mustang excavator, finishing construction of the up platform wall, regrading of the cattle dock track bed and preparations for track-laying, and the connection of the station to the mains drainage system.
On 9 and 10 May 2015 two new arrivals were added to the stations fleet, a class 48DS 4wd Ruston a long time since the previous Ruston was sold. This arrived along with an ex-virgin cross-country kitchen coach No.11062. This coach was sold in 2019.
On 12 August 2015 a class 08 shunter was bought by the NDRT with money from a legacy on the promise to name it after the deceased. This class 08 (No.08 995) low cabbed version is only one of three survivors of this variant. She was having repairs when she was suddenly sold in early 2020.
A small diesel locomotive arrived in 2020. Restoration work on one steam engine (30075) started again in 2020 after two and a half years of inactivity. 30076 remains as it was when delivered in 2015. Purchase of the "Pacer" unit promised for early 2020 was cancelled.
A road-railer and a two-road mechanical maintenance workshop were donated to the Trust in 2014 to support the extension of the line towards Sturminster Newton. Both these investments were sold at a loss in 2018-9 and the will of the committee to extend the line is in considerable doubt.
Land donated to the Trust to enable the extension of the line was the object of preparations by the committee to sell it to an adjacent landowner, who was a Trustee, in 2017. Following member objections, this plan was shelved but committee intentions remain under scrutiny.
Operations are constrained to the 400-yard long lease.
== History ==
After the closure of Shillingstone railway station on 7 March 1966, and a few years post closure, the Dorset County Council purchased the trackbed for a proposed Shillingstone by-pass.
Various furniture manufacturing companies were sited in the former station yard, and over 1970s, industrial buildings were constructed, some of them making partial use of the station building.
By December 2002, the by-pass plan had been shelved and the station was derelict.
Dorset County Council decided to dispose of the redundant station, and, after protracted negotiations, lasting from 1998 to 2005, the North Dorset Railway Trust took signed a lease for the former station site.
The Trust's plan is to reopen the station as a tourist attraction, and restore the site to as it looked in the 1950s and 60s.
Restoration work commenced in 2006, and over the years, the main building was repaired, a replica signal box with a correct Stevens frame and tablet machines, was constructed by volunteers. The Porters office was reconstructed, and the Parcels office restored. Track was laid in the dock and up platform. This work is now nearing completion.
== Rolling stock ==
JŽ Class 62 0-6-0T Nos. 30075 and 30076. The Jugoslovenske Železnice (JŽ; Yugoslavian Railways) class 62 was a class formed of 106 ex-United States Army Transportation Corps S100 Class 0-6-0T steam locomotives, surplus after the Second World War, plus about 90 similar examples built by Đuro Đaković of Slavonski Brod, Croatia between 1952 and 1961.
62-669 (built 1960) "30075" Currently being stripped for boiler repairs.
62-521 (built 1954) "30076" Complete, kept as static.
DS1169 Ruston & Hornsby 48DS class 4WDDM diesel-mechanical shunter, works No.305302 was new to Ransome Hoffman Pollard, Annfield Plain, Co Durham in 1951. Arrived in Shillingstone in 2015, and restored as former Yeovil Junction permanent way department shunter .
=== Coaches ===
MK1 BR M25424 Built 1957. Purchased by the Swanage Railway, but was sold to Shillingstone in 2011.
=== Wagons ===
Senior Naval Stores Officer (SNSO), 10 ton 4w van, SNSO 535. Built in 1910 for the Admiralty initially at Chatham Dockyard, later at Gosport. Purchased from Gosport in March 1984 and moved to West Somerset Railway. In 2005 this van was sold to Shillingstone. Currently under restoration.
Esso 4w Fuel Oil Tank 3957, Departmental No DB999088, Internal user number 083548. Ex Bournemouth West depot waste oil tanker then was bought by the Swanage railway, before moving to Shillingstone.
L&NWR 4w Non-Vent 10 Ton Box Van, Diagram number 88, Navy number RNAD 335, ex RNAD Bedenham. Moved from Washford to Shillingstone Feb 2016. Currently under restoration.
GWR 10t Ventilated Van 11451 (Code: MINK) Built by GWR at Swindon in 1901 on Lot 418 to Diagram V5. Moved from Washford to Shillingstone Feb 2016.
BR Dogfish ballast wagon. B983184 moved to Shillingstone from Queenborough Rolling Mill in 2013. The Dogfish & Catfish were BR's standard small ballast hopper wagons, almost 2000 being built. Fitted with vacuum brakes from new, many lasted into the 1990s while a program to fit air-brakes to surviving Dogfish wagons was started in 2000. Despite this, the last examples of both types were withdrawn in 2006.
BR ADB904131, 21 ton lowmac transporter wagon, GWR style riveted, Vacuum brake [Diag 2-245 Lot 2592, Built Swindon 1949.
=== Former Exhibits ===
LMS 20 Ton Brake Van 950194 Scrapped on site.
Ruston & Hornsby diesel shunter, arrived in 2007 at Sillingstone. 88DS class, works number 466629 Built 1962, supplied new to Ransomes Simms & Jeffries, of Ipswich. Sold to the Whitwell & Reepham Preservation Society 2013.
Mk3a Ex-Virgin cross-country Open First buffet coach No.10224 built by British Rail in 1970 at their Derby works. The Mk 3 saw service with British Rail before joining the ranks of Virgin Trains rolling stock where it worked until retirement in 2002. It was then stored until 2005 and was used by the Army for bomb disposal training. Purchased for a nominal sum in May 2015, and moved shortly after to Shillingstone. Sold October 2017, and moved off site.
BR Class 08 0-6-0DE No. 08 995 was built at Horwich Works in October 1959 as number D3854, being renumbered 08 687 in February 1974. It has been sold.
BR 9F 2-10-0 92207, Built by BR (W) in Swindon "A" Shop during May 1959, 92207 was the 13th-from-last steam locomotive to be built for British Railways. It was part of lot number 429 (the final order for main line steam locomotives by British Rail). The owner has removed it from site and has no plans to return it.
Wickham Trolley BR LMR Manchester, Type 17a, Built by D Wickham & Co 27/2/1959, BR No TP57P, Works No 8267. Has not been seen for three years, whereabouts unknown.
Poclain road railer bought to enable the rebuilding of the line towards Sturminster. Sold 2020.
== See also ==
New Somerset and Dorset Railway
== References ==
== External links ==
Shillingstone Railway Project - official site