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Direct Line - Havant to Woking

In 1857 a direct, and much quicker, line from London to Portsmouth via Woking and Havant was completed by the Direct Railway Company and leased to L&SWR for services to Portsmouth with user rights over the existing section from Havant to Portsmouth. Until late 1859 LB&SCR and L&SWR were in disagreement over ownership of the line around Havant and the lines were blocked north of Havant (see section on Havant New Station). There was talk of building two separate lines from Havant to Hilsea and Cosham with a separate station at Portsmouth being needed for the second line.

For the first twenty years it was a single track although the tunnel and all the bridges and earthworks had been built for double tracks. In 1878 the line was ‘doubled’ and electrified in 1937.

Havant New Station

The direct route track lay idle due to a dispute between LB&SCR and L&SWR on running trains to Portsmouth over the existing lines around Havant. In 1858, the two local railway companies started the "Battle of Havant". The line was blocked and some suggest navvies from each side engaged in a pitched battle. Agreement was only reached late 1859. For a few weeks a temporary terminus (Havant New) between Havant and Rowlands Castle was erected by the L&SWR. Passengers would travel from Havant New station in a horse-drawn omnibus to Hilsea, bypassing the main Havant station. The passengers could then carry on into Portsmouth by train. After two years the companies came to an agreement and the L&SWR were allowed access to the disputed line.

Rowlands Castle Station

Opened in 1859. The picture below shows the centre siding. The siding, thought to have been provided for the excursion trade, is large enough to provide for up to two coaches. There is some evidence also that horse boxes were left here and that horses destined for Goodwood Race Course were delivered to the station in the 1930’s.

The station in the early the 1900's.

Map of the station and sidings early 1900's together with the Brick Works track to the south.

Woodcroft Halt/Ditcham Park Halt

Opened in 1943, closed 1945 and subsequently demolished. Today, only a footbridge remains.

During World War II, in 1940 the Admiralty requisitioned Ditcham Park, a nearby country house for use as a convalescent home for sailors. The halt was built to serve Ditcham Park, principally for trains from the extensive naval facilities in Portsmouth. The trains were sometimes rumoured to be loaded with 'ladies' from Portsmouth.

Because of its naval nature, it was featured on few maps, but some maps did mark it by a little tab without a name.

Likely site of Woodcroft Halt at the southern end of Harris Lane.

Possible early 1900's picture of the bridge at Woodcroft Farm.

Buriton Sidings and Limeworks

Buriton Sidings: For many years a goods train would come to the sidings every morning and you would get a note if there was something to be collected. You would then have two or three days to collect things; after that you were charged. There used to be a ‘coal club’ for manual workers living in the parish and most of the materials for the school used to come in by rail into the sidings. A communal trolley was available at the Five Bells to help carry things into the village, down Kiln Lane.

Buriton Lime Works: The limeworks were opened around 1860 (and closed in 1939). It was probably the building of the Portsmouth - London railway line which facilitated the introduction of the limeworks by making it possible to bring coal to Petersfield.

Three main chalk quarry pits (known as "France", "Germany" and the "White" pit) were developed over the years. Quite a complex internal network of 3 foot gauge railways and inclines was developed to carry the chalk around within the site. Trucks would be horse-drawn to the edge of an incline, controlled by a pony boy. From then on they would run down to the kilns by gravity. Those from the ‘White’ pit were run through the top of ‘Germany’ pit, across Kiln Lane into ‘France’ pit, under an incline, back across a second crossing over Kiln Lane and into the works where they would be tipped onto the loading floor of the kilns. A man would be stood on the back of the truck with his foot on the brake handle and another man would indicate when it was clear to cross Kiln Lane. With a crude foot-brake system (which pushed a wooden shoe up to rub against the wheels) being the only means of control that the man on the truck would have, and with speeds probably reaching 50-60 mph, spills were not uncommon. Wet rails were sanded to give grip but, even so, both experienced and inexperienced drivers would skid and the momentum would throw the truck forward, catapulting the driver and the load through the air. Empty trucks were returned to the pits (about three at a time) using horses until locomotives took over in 1923. There are recollections of two locomotives at the limeworks (40 horsepower ‘Simplex’ machines with Dorman petrol engines). At least one of these had been used in World War One for transporting supplies to the Allied front lines, and possibly for towing ambulance wagons.

A couple of trains per day would call at Buriton Sidings to take the lime away and to deliver the anthracite coke breeze. The mainline engine would push wagons into ‘the gully’ (the lower part of the limeworks) although the engine itself could not go into the gully.

The Lime Works are now a Nature Reserve.

Kilns and workers at the Lime Works.

Map mid 1900's - just north of the tunnel.

Butser Hill Lime Works: Little documentation available. Probably opened in 1930s and closed 1970s. Narrow guage railway on site.

Map mid 1900's.

Butser Hill Lime Works Photos.

28 Days Later

Petersfield Station

Opened 1859. The station was extended and enlarged in 1864 to accommodate the traffic from the new Petersfield Railway to Midhurst. The main buildings still date back to the opening of the line and are of a "town" type, larger than other wayside stations on the route but identical to Godalming. Petersfield Signal Box, a London & South Western Railway Type 3a signal box built c1885 is designated Grade II.

The map below shows the main station with sidings and goods shed. Private siding for Amey's Brewery? North of Station Road is the platform used for the Petersfield and Midhurst Branch (1860-1955).

Map mid 1900's.

Station 1930's.

Midhurst branch platform 1955.

Petersfield Signal Box.

Liss Station

Opened 1859. It was one of two places where the Longmoor Military Railway joined the main line (the other being Bordon).

Liss Station map 1930's.

Liss Station map 1950's with the Longmoor connection branching off to the left.

Longmoor Military Railway

The Longmoor Military Railway (LMR) was a British military railway built by the Royal Engineers from 1903 in order to train soldiers on railway construction and operations. Originally a tramway was laid to assist in removing 68 large corrugated iron huts from Longmoor Military Camp Camp to Bordon. The railway was relaid to standard gauge in 1905–1907 and was initially known as the Woolmer Light Railway then the Woolmer Instructional Military Railway in 1908 and renamed the Longmoor Military Railway in 1935. The Liss extension was opened in 1933.

The stations and junctions included:

Bordon – the northern terminal, adjacent to Bordon station and with access to British Railways via the LSWR owned Bentley and Bordon Light Railway (now closed) which joined to London to Alton line at Bentley
Oakhanger Halt
Whitehill Junction
Two Range Halt
Longmoor Downs – the original terminus.
Weaversdown Halt
Liss Forest Road
Liss Junction
Liss – the southern terminus, with a platform adjacent to those serving the Portsmouth Direct Line.

An additional loop ran eastwards from Longmoor camp via a station at Hopkins Bridge to Whitehill Junction, completed in 1942. This provided circular running to the line, allowing for improved training without the need to turn trains at the terminals.

At its peak, the railway ran to over 70 miles (110 km) of operational laid track and sidings. The vehicles and stock on the LMR were very much an assortment to give the maximum learning opportunity. Well over a thousand locomotives had associations with the railway, although many only through the need for storage. The same was true of the signalling at the various locations on the line, including an Army version of flag signalling. After the end of World War II, the collection also included captured enemy equipment, including a "Schienenwolf" or railroad plough: a German wagon which dragged behind it a huge hook, used to destroy sleepers and so render railway lines unusable to advancing enemy troops. In addition to the various military items, there were old versions of standard passenger carriages.

A passenger service was operated over the line at various times, nominally for personnel required on the railway, and others from the War Department/Ministry of Defence and their families.

It was inevitable that the significance of the facilities offered by the LMR would be reduced in later years. Even so, the LMR was still important enough for the tracks of the Bentley to Bordon branch to be left in place when passenger services were withdrawn on 16 September 1957. This line remained in place as, although there was a British Railways connection at Liss, the Bordon branch made it easier to accommodate the movements of military traffic at short notice. In 1966, the movement of goods over the Bordon branch was suspended, and the line was taken up in 1967.

For many months before closure in 1969, the Longmoor Military Railway was home to some preserved ex-BR steam locomotives.

In the light of the reducing role of the military and the severely reduced British Empire, it was decided by the Ministry of Defence to close the railway. On hearing of its impending closure local locomotive preservation groups became interested in acquiring the small but complete rail system, and a bid was placed to purchase LMR along with the airstrip at Gypsy Hollow which would have enabled the production of a unique transport museum. The MOD rejected this proposal, which had been backed by the Association of Railway Preservation Societies and The Transport Trust. However the Army did offer the last 1½ miles of line from Liss Forest Road to Liss. The offer was accepted, a provisional lease was drawn up and planning permission was sought for developments at Liss. Unfortunately the people of Liss did not share this enthusiasm and opposed the planning permission.

The railway was used as the location for a number of films including The Lady Vanishes (1938), Bhowani Junction (1956), The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958), The Great St Trinian's Train Robbery (1966), and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968). In 1956 the railway was used to stage a train derailment for the BBC programme Saturday Night Out when Ex-SR King Arthur class locomotive 30740 Merlin and three coaches were pushed down an incline onto a specially canted section of track.

Longmoor Camp Rail Network.

Oakhanger Halt

Opened in1906. Closed in1969.

Oakhanger Halt was built as the main station for Bordon Garrison. Shortly after the Bordon Branch line was closed the Longmoor Military Railway (LMR) was cut back to Oakhanger with Bordon LMR Station closing. The remainder of the line closed three years later.

Oakhanger Halt map.

Oakhanger Halt 1969

Oakhanger Halt Crossing 1963

Longmoor Camp Rail map from the Portsmouth - London line at Liss to the Alton - London line at Bentley in the 1950s.

Longmoor Camp Images.

Mike Morant Collection

Friends of Alton Station - Longmoor Military Railway

Google Images

Videos of Longmoor.

Youtube Videos

Liphook Station

Opened 1859.

Liphook Station 1865.

Liphook Station and Goods Yard map 1940's.

Haslemere Station

Opened 1859. Until 1938, when the line was electrified and an additional platform added Haslemere was just a standard wayside station.

Haslemere Station 1930s map.

Haslemere Station 1940s map with added line and platform.

Haslemere Station.

Witley Station

Opened 1859 as Witley and Chiddingfold. Renamed Witley 1947.

Witley Station 1940s map.

Witley Station (probably 1960s).

Milford Station

Opened 1859.

Milford Station 1940s map.

Milford Station 1908.

Godalming Station

Opened at current location in 1859, built in a mock Tudor style and is a Grade 2 listed building. The original single platform terminus station, opened in 1849, was located on a spur from just south of Farncombe station, north of the River Wey. It was closed to passengers in 1897 but was retained as a goods yard until 1969. In 2006 Godalming station was renamed "Shere" for three days while filming took place for the movie "The Holiday".

Godalming Station 1940s map.

Godalming Station 1905.

Godalming Old Station

Opened in 1849, was located on a spur from just south of Farncombe station, north of the River Wey. It was closed to passengers in 1897 but was retained as a goods yard until 1969. The site is now a residential development, the road being called appropriately Old Station Way.

Godalming Old Station late 1800s map.

Godalming Old Station 1957.

Farncombe Station

Opened in 1897. It is said to have been built at the instigation of General Sir Frederick Marshall, a director of the London and South Western Railway Company, who lived nearby at Broadwater.

Farncombe Station 1940s map.

Peasmarsh and Shalford Junctions

The top branch goes to Redhill and the bottom one is the Cranleigh Line of the London Brighton and South Coast Railway to Horsham, which opened in 1865 and closed in 1965. The line to Horsham was once seen to be the route to the South Coast (Shoreham) before the Portsmouth Direct line had ben completed, but that never came to anything.

The abandoned railway shown in the map was built to link Redhill to Portsmouth before the Direct Portsmouth Railway was completed and was never used and no track was ever laid. It was built in the 1840s and abandonned in 1859.

Map late 1800s.

Guildford Station

Opened by the London and South Western Railway (LSWR) in 1845 to connect to Woking, but was substantially enlarged and rebuilt in 1880.

The Reading, Guildford and Reigate Railway (Reading , Guildford and Redhill) opened in 1849, and was operated by the South Eastern Railway.

LSWR services to Farnham via Tongham began in 1849 and the New Guildford Line to Leatherhead and Epsom Downs in 1885. On the latter line is the other Guildford station: London Road: the line to it describes a curve around the town on an embankment, crossing the River Wey by a high bridge.

Guildford station was also the northern terminus of the (now-closed) Cranleigh Line of the London Brighton and South Coast Railway, which opened in 1865 and closed in 1965. This line ran to Horsham by way of Cranleigh, Rudgwick and Christ's Hospital.

Guildford station was the site of an important motive power depot opened by the LSWR in 1845. The original building was demolished in 1887 to make room for the enlargement of the station, and was replaced by a semi-roundhouse which was substantially enlarged in 1897. This was closed and demolished in 1967.

For a history of Guildford and photos visit David Hey's Collection Page 32. See also Pages 33 and 34.

1912 Railway Clearing House map of lines around Guildford.

Guildford Station and Engine Sheds maps late 1800s.

Guildford Station 1908.

Worplesdon Station

Opened in 1883 surrounded by open heath and farmland.

Worplesdon Station 1920s map.


Wikipedia - Portsmouth Direct Line
Wikipedia - Rowlands Castle Railway Station
Wikipedia - Petersfield Railway Station
Wikipedia - Woodcroft Halt
Wikipedia - Liss Railway Station
Wikipedia - Longmoor Military Railway
The Industrial Railway Society - Longmoor Military Railway
Woolmer Forest Heritage Society - Railways
Friends of Alton Station - Bentley & Bordon Railway
Wikipedia - Liphook Railway Station
Wikipedia - Haslemere Railway Station
Wikipedia - Witley Railway Station
Wikipedia - Milford Railway Station
Wikipedia - Godalming Railway Station
Wikipedia - Farncombe Railway Station
Wikipedia - Guildford Railway Station
Wikipedia - Worplesdon Railway Station
Wikipedia - Berrylands Railway Station
Rowlands Castle Historical Society
Buriton Heritage Bank
Historic England
John Speller's Web Pages
Disused Stations
David Heys Collection
Southern E-Mail Group
The Andrews Pages
Six Bells Junction
National Railway Museum
David Turner Railway History
SVS Film
The Industrial Railway Society
Black Cab London
Old Maps Online