• 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.