• In Development: Wessex Main Line: Southampton - Salisbury Extension

    Just Trains In Development: Wessex Main Line: Southampton - Salisbury Extension

    Compatibility: Train Simulator Classic.

    The Wessex Main Line: Southampton to Salisbury route extends Dovetail Games’ South Western Main Line: Southampton – Bournemouth route to Salisbury (required for this extension to operate). It includes the direct route between Redbridge and Romsey, as well as the line to Romsey via Eastleigh and Chandlers Ford. This extends the original route by around 33 miles.

    The route normally sees hourly all-stops service between Salisbury and Romsey via Southampton and Eastleigh, and an hourly semi-fast Portsmouth to Cardiff service, as well as occasional peak services between Southampton, Swindon and Great Malvern. Numerous freight services operate along the line with daily container workings to and from Southampton Docks, stone trains to and from the quarries at Whatley and Merehead, and engineering trains between Eastleigh and Westbury. It is also the main diversionary route for freight and other passenger services when the South Western Main Line is shut between Eastleigh and Basingstoke, and is popular with rail tours which often run in a loop to and from Salisbury.

    Development Updates

    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.