THE historic Weymouth Tramway is to be put into permanent out-of-use status after councillors agreed that it was a "danger" to the public and constraining development of the town.

Councillors at the Weymouth and Portland Borough Council Management Committee approved Network Rail's proposal of the closure of the Harbour Branch Line.

To mark the passing of the railway we have put together a picture gallery of images of its golden heyday.

No regular services have run on the line since 1990, and the last movements on the line were special trains on April 1 1995 and May 2 1999. 

The line was classified as ‘temporarily out of use’ until 2015 under Network Rail’s ‘Network Change’ process, an extension to a previous temporary out-of-use status that ran out in 2013. 

Cllr Ray Nowak said: "Of course there is a historical interest but it is a danger and nobody has come up with a business plan backed up with some finance. Having the line is not helpful in terms of development in the town centre. There are accidents because of the rail and this all comes at a cost to the NHS. To resurface the road would is an additional cost to Dorset County Council Highways. The line needs to go. We don't have a plan for it only some nice wish lists and unfortunately that's all they are."

The agreed permanent out-of-use status could mean the line being torn up from the town, but this would be subject to further consultation and negotiation with Dorset County Council as highway authority, as the majority of the track is on highway land.

The permanent out-of-use status could also be a benefit to the local tourism economy by enabling a potential turntable scheme.

Martin Hamilton, the strategic director for North Dorset District Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, said: "Because the line has been out of use for so long and hasn't been maintained it would cost a significant amount even to run a train to run for an one off day event."

More than 2,200 campaigners have signed a petition in the hope to revamp the disused Weymouth Tramway into a unique heritage railway and attraction.

Campaigners argued that maintaining a heritage branch in Weymouth would bring many visitors to the town and would be a fantastic tourist attraction given its uniqueness.

However, the harbour tramway has been the centre of a lot of controversy over the years and has been blamed for causing multiple accidents – including a horrendous crash which critically injured policewoman Alison Palmer and left her with life-changing injuries.

The mother of triplets was left with severe brain damage after her patrol car slid on wet railway lines in Commercial Road and hit a wall. Mrs Palmer was in a coma for more than seven weeks.

Motorcyclists have also blamed the rails for accidents and argued that the redundant line should be scrapped as it poses a danger to road users.