We've got a fascinating insight to the final run of the Weymouth to Portland railway in today's Looking Back.

Thanks to Looking Back reader Tony Ford of Chickerell for sharing a special souvenir programme with us of this pivotal moment on March 27 1965.

Tony rode on that final train and remembers 'quite a lot of people on board'.

He has even kept the tickets from the memorable journey.

The souvenir that Tony has cost two shillings and was issued as a memento from the South and West Railway that also marked the centenary of the Weymouth to Portland Railway, 1865 to 1965.

Tony's souvenir has been signed by train drivers D. Painter, fireman J. Bush and two other names that we can't decipher here at Looking Back.

The programme contains a very interesting map of railways on the isle of Portland. Of particular interest is a derelict branch that continues on past Pennsylvania Castle and the Easton and Church Hope Line which wound its way round to the Inmosthay Quarries.

The passenger services to Easton were worked by extending a number of the Portland branch trains.

All passenger services between Melcombe Regis, Portland and Easton were withdrawn in 1952.

Some of the branch's interesting features are pointed out in the programme, such as where the line crossed over Radipole Lake in Weymouth. This replaced a lengthy timber viaduct that carried the line during its first 40 years. It must have been quite a sight to see the train chugging on past alongside a miniature railway which once ran alongside the south side of the lake and passed under the girder bridge.

To gain access to Portland the railway crossed an arm of the sea by the Fleet viaduct. Portland station was at the northern extremity of the isle at Victoria Square and nearly a mile beyond the station was the Admiralty's rail connection to Portland Harbour. The connection would carry considerable coal traffic before the advent of oil burning in naval vessels.

A railway connection between the prison and the harbour existed before the Easton & Church Hope Railway was built and the route of this line passed under the Easton branch.

The railway would then rise 'steeply' the souvenir programme says, before 'keeping close to the eastern shore, swinging westwards and finally north west until it reached Easton station in the centre of the island.

There was a possibility of rock falls on this section of the line so additional signals were erected at each end of the danger zone with a wire stretched between them.

The line continued a quarter of a mile further towards Sheepcroft sidings where further stone traffic was dealt with.

Within the souvenir programme an article from Railway Magazine November 1937 has been reproduced, which makes for fascinating reading.

The Railways of Portland by Charles E. Lee says 'few railways throughout the world can claim the distinction of having survived more than a century of corporate existence.

Mr Lee praises the railways of the isle for having survived as an independent company which has remained unaffected by mergers.

In the early part of the 19th century there was an increased demand for Portland stone for government buildings, Mr Lee writes. It was decided that it would be much cheaper to transport the stone by railway and it was proposed to form a joint-stock company to raise a capital of £5,000.

An application was made to parliament and the Portland Railway was incorporated on June 10, 1825.

Powers were granted to make a railway from the Priory Lands to the Stone Piers at Portland Castle and to raise £5,000 in shares of £50 each.

*Next week we'll returning to the story of the evolution of the Portland railway.