THE re-opening of a longlost railway line which ran through Whitchurch has moved a small step closer following a public meeting.

The Didcot, Newbury and Southampton Railway Revival (DNSRR) organised the meeting, which was held in Newbury.

The restored railway would improve transport links in the Didcot-Winchester corridor and provide additional capacity for freight traffic between Southampton and the Midlands.

The line would follow the original route on the Didcot- Newbury-Whitchurch section, and the mood at the meeting was generally supportive.

South of Whitchurch the line would connect to Southampton by two routes.

One would use existing lines via Salisbury and Romsey, the other would link to the Basingstoke-Winchester line.

However, concerns were expressed about difficulties in restoring the parts which have been replaced by the A34 at Kings Worthy and built over at Didcot and Newbury.

DNSRR spokesman Rex Hora said: “I do not regard these problems as insuperable – the line could be built alongside the A34. It would occupy no more land than would be needed for two lanes.”

Two options for connection to the Winchester line are under consideration.

One would use the original DNSR route and connect to the Winchester line near Kings Worthy.

The other would involve the construction of a short link near Whitchurch. This latter link was authorised in 1880, but not built.

Having two rail routes to Southampton would create flexibility and relieve pressure on the Winchester line.