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Railways in Fareham and Gosport

Fareham Station

Fareham station was first opened by London and South Western Railway (L&SWR) in 1841 on the line from Eastleigh to Gosport. Later additions connected Fareham station with Southampton, Portsmouth and along the coast towards Brighton.

In 1845 the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway obtained an Act to build a line extending their Brighton to Chichester line to Portsmouth. Perceiving this as a threat to their traffic in the neighbourhood, the London & South Western Railway entered into negotiations with the Brighton company, as a result of which it was agreed that the South Western would build a connecting line from Fareham to a joint station at Cosham and that the line from Cosham to Portsmouth would be a joint LB&SC/L&SW line. Trains from Brighton to Portsmouth commenced on 14 June 1847. The Fareham to Cosham line opened on 1 September 1848, and L&SWR trains began running trains through to Portsmouth on 1 October 1848.

Below is a map of Fareham Station showing the Portsmouth, Southampton, Gosport and Eastleigh/Meon Valley lines. Also shown is the current tunnel route north to Knowle and the old Deviation Line which was built as an alternative route when the tunnel became unsafe and finally collapsed in the late 1800's. The tunnel was re-opened in 1903 and the Deviation Line finally closed off in 1973.

Fareham Station map mid 1900s.

Fareham Junction map mid 1900s.

Fareham Station 1915.

Fareham Viaduct on opening day, 1 September 1848.

Meon Valley Line.

The Gosport Line

Map of Gosport stations in 1894 including the Lee-on-the-Solent Light Railway branch from Fort Brockhurst Station.

Gosport Station

Gosport railway station, designed by Sir William Tite, was opened to passenger and freight trains in 1841 by the London and South Western Railway (L&SWR). It was closed in 1953 to passenger trains, and in 1969 to the remaining freight services. A locomotive depot was opened next to the station in 1842 which remained in use until its demolition in 1953. The station was actively used in the 2 World Wars but was hit by a bomb in 1941 causing the roof to collapse. In 1972 the station was Listed Grade II* and in 2010 it was converted into residential properties and offices.

Until the building of the line into Portsmouth in 1847 (via Brighton) Gosport station was used as a route into Portsmouth via the Floating Bridge.

The Board of Ordnance, argued that the site, just outside a main gate in the Gosport Lines ramparts, could compromise the Portsmouth Harbour defences. The buildings were not allowed inside the Lines and were consequently designed to be defensible, with surrounding railings and a roof parapet.

The station saw the first of many royal visitors in 1843. In 1845, following Prince Albert's purchase of Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, he negotiated the construction of an extension of the line through the town ramparts to a private station, the Royal Victoria Station, built in Royal Clarence Yard for the use of Royal family and household. For the next fifty years, Victoria and her party landed here for her summer holiday at Osborne. The private station was last used for passengers following Victoria's death in 1901, when her coffin, accompanied by her mourning family, was brought across the Solent for the last time.

Close-up map of the area around Gosport Station.

Diagram of the Station in 1867.

Gosport Station in 1841 and 1845.

Gosport Station in 1930’s.

Gosport Station in 1950 and in 1977.

Gosport Engine Shed in 1931 and in 1950.

Royal Clarence Yard

The Gosport branch was extended in 1845 from the terminus in Gosport to a station in the Royal Clarence Yard for the use of Queen Victoria when visiting the Isle of Wight. The station was closed 1901.

Close-up map of the area around Royal Clarence Yard.

Clarence Yard Station in 1900 and the extension from Gosport Station through the town ramparts into Clarence Yard in 2006.

Fort Brockhurst Station

Opened in 1865. It was closed in 1953 to passenger trains, and in 1969 to the remaining freight services. Originally opened as Brockhurst and changed to Fort Brockhurst in 1893.

Close-up map of the area around Fort Brockhurst Station.

Fort Brockhurst Station in 1890 and around 1900.

Fort Brockhurst Station in 1950s and 1960s.

Gosport Road Station

Opened in 1865, largely rebuilt in 1885 with standard height platforms, and closed in 1915. Originally named Stoke Road but renamed Gosport Road in 1866 and then Gosport Road and Alverstoke in 1893.

Close-up map of the area around Gosport Road Station.

Gosport Road Station looking south in 1868 (with low platforms).

Gosport Road Station in 1908 and in 1930.

Stokes Bay Station

Opened in 1863 by the Stokes Bay and Isle of Wight Railway and Pier Company and sold to the L&SWR in 1875. Closed in 1915. The terminus was constructed entirely on a pier over the sea and was primarily intended for ferry passengers to and from Ryde in the Isle of Wight.

The Stokes Bay Pier and Railway Company promoted, as a landing for a rival ferry service from Gosport, the Victoria Pier, a few hundred yards to the east of Ryde Pier. Victoria Pier opened in 1864 as the main pier was getting its tramway addition. Being somewhat shorter than Ryde Pier, it could not be used at all states of the tide, so offered little competition to the main Ryde Pier for Portsmouth ferry services. When the Stokes Bay company was acquired by the London & South Western Railway in 1875, the ferry service ceased, and Victoria Pier became a pleasure pier.

The steamer service to Ryde Pier was suspended at the start of WW1 and was never reinstated. An examination of the pier supports in 1895 forced the closure of the pier for repairs to be undertaken the following year, during this period a temporary platform was built on land to the north of the station. The pier was damaged during an air attack in WW2.

At first a reversal at Gosport was required as the Stokes Bay branch was only accessible from a trailing connection into the main line but a new east curve was eventually opened on 1st June 1865 giving direct access from Fareham.

Close-up map of the area around Stokes Bay Station/Pier.

Stokes Bay Pier/Station around 1910.

Little Anglesey Viaduct in 1995.

Lee-on-the-Solent Light Railway

Opened 1894 and taken over by L&SWR in 1923. It closed to passengers in 1931 and to goods traffic in 1935. It ran from Fort Brockhurst station to Lee-on-the-Solent with intermediate stations at Privett and Browndown.

In 1917 the Admiralty built a rail-connected seaplane depot close to Lee-on-the-Solent station.

Engine 392 “Lady Portsmouth” on the Lee-on-the-Solent Light Railway.

Lee-on-the-Solent Station

Lee-on-the-Solent Station in 1905 and 1930.

Lee-on-the-Solent: Robert Cruickshank’s Angleseyville included a horserace track in 1832. The district gained its name in the 19th century, during attempts to develop the area into a seaside resort. Early impetus for the district's development came from Charles Edmund Newton Robinson, who persuaded his father, John Charles Robinson, art curator and collector, to fund the buying of land. Over the period 1884 to 1894 the district was established with the setting out of Marine Parade, a pier, railway connection along with a number of impressive red brick villas. The railway service was discontinued in the 1930s and the pier, unrepaired after breaching in aid of coastal defence in World War II, was demolished in 1958.

In 1935 the Lee Tower complex was built on the seafront next to the old pier and railway station and was demolished in 1971.

Lee-on-the-Solent Tower and Pier.

Privett/Fort Gomer Halt

Opened 1894 and closed in 1930, Privett Halt was renamed Fort Gomer in 1909 to avoid confusion with Privett Station on the recently opened Meon Valley Line.

Close-up map of the area around Privett Halt.

Privett/Fort Gomer Halt 1910.

Browndown Halt

Opened 1894 and closed in 1930.

Close-up map of the area around Browndown Halt.

Browndown Halt in the early 1900's.

Elmore Halt

Opened 1910 (probably built in 1894) and closed in 1930.

Close-up map of the area around Elmore Halt.

Elmore Halt in the early 1900's and in 1920.

Priddy's Hard, Frater and Bedenham Railway

In 1986, the last train ran from RNAD Priddy’s Hard to RNAD Bedenham/Frater, ending 72 years of standard gauge railway operations to/from Priddy’s Hard.

Although there had been a powder magazine at Priddy’s Hard since 1777 (a result of petitioning of residents of Old Portsmouth who were concerned about having such things as explosives stored in and around the old fortifications at the Round Tower & Square Tower c.1770), and being fortified accordingly at an early stage, it was the last of Gosport’s Royal Navy Armaments Depots to be connected by rail to the national railway system.

The internal railway system at Bedenham & Frater was constructed in 1912, and connected to the then LSWR line at Holbrook, via a level crossing at Frater Gates, on Fareham Road. The extension to Priddy’s Hard was built in 1914, and involved a line through Elson and Hardway. There were level crossing gates in St Thomas’s Road, Grove Road, and Green Lane, and rudimentary MoD gates at the end of Ham Lane. The RNAD railway system in Gosport had its own fleet of locomotives (some arrived from/departed to other RNAD locations), and our RNAD railways in Gosport saw the first successful use of a fireless steam locomotive (Barclay 0-4-0F No.1307, aka “Bedenham No.1”) anywhere in the UK. These operated on steam being forced at high pressure into the sealed boiler, so no coal or fire was involved – not wise things to have in munitions depots/factories. Apart from a couple of LSWR/SR steam locos drafted in during war years, the trains were all operated by fireless locos until the introduction of diesel shunters, the first of which was used here in 1933.

Priddy’s Hard, however, had an internal narrow gauge railway constructed in the mid-19th century; initially, this was 18 inch gauge, using hand-operated wagons; by 1904 there were 70 or so wagons, plus a hand-operated crane (all of which had brass alloy wheels, and ran on brass alloy tracks). There was even a connected track from Shell Pier across the sea bed to Burrow (Rat) Island, used for transporting unstable cordite for burning on the island (the site of the mostly-demolished Fort James); this sea bed track can still be seen at very low tides.

Long before 1929, the internal railway had been regauged to 2ft 6in, and in 1929 the first pair of Greenwood & Batley battery locomotives appeared at Priddy’s Hard; four more arrived in 1930, and a final pair completed the fleet of eight in 1937; as with previous stock, brass alloy wheels were necessary to prevent sparks. These were the first form of power to be used here on the narrow gauge system other than ‘push’. In 1960, the use of this internal system was given over to road transport; the track was either removed, or made into concrete roadways, and the rail locos were replaced by small, strong diesel tractors, the roadways connecting the various workshops, factories and stores around the depot.

The very last train about to leave Priddy’s Hard.

Some of the laboratories in Priddy’s Hard, showing the brass alloy 2’6 gauge track.

The level crossing gates at Green Lane.

Level crossing gates in Grove Road, looking towards Priddy’s Hard.

Level crossing gates in Elson Road.

Level crossing at the junction of St Thomas’s Road and Priory Road.

The rudimentary MoD crossing gate at Monks Walk (the end of Ham Lane).

Surviving track section in 2010 at Forest Way.

MoD Hunslet diesel shunter approaching the junction at Holbrook.

Weedkilling train at Holbrook junction.

Holbrook junction 2009.

The railway track on the sea bed, running from close to Shell Pier to Burrow Island (Rat Island).

Plan of Priddy’s Hard.


Wikipedia - Gosport Railway Station
Wikipedia - Fareham to Gosport Line
Wikipedia - Ryde Pier
Disused Stations
John Speller's Web Pages
Simplon Postcards
My Gosport
Past and Present Publications
Fort Gilkicker and Stokes Bay Pier