Click here for other railways.

Railways in Havant and Hayling

Havant Station

The first station at Havant was built in 1847 by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) 500 m to the east - a small wayside station (called Havant Halt). It was demolished after a serious fire. A newer station was then built 200 m west to serve the then new London and South Western Railway (L&SWR) Portsmouth Direct Line. In 1938 this station was demolished so that a bigger station could be built 300 m further west to serve the new Hayling Island branch line. It had three platforms, one for Hayling Island and two for the stopping main line services.

Maps showing the position of Havant station in three different eras. Late 1800's, 1932 and post 1938.

Terrier 2644 "Fulham" at Havant Station in 1937 and the station in 1911.

Havant New Station

A direct route to London north of Havant had been completed in 1857 by the Direct Railway Company and leased to L&SWR for services to Portsmouth. The 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.

The Hayling Line

The Hayling line was opened for goods traffic in 1865 and passengers in 1867 and was closed in 1963. The line was run by the Hayling Railway Company until 1872 when LB&SCR took over running and took ownership in 1922. Initially three small tank engines were used – Hayling Island, Fratton and Bognor. These were later replaced by four “Terriers”, Leadenhall, Wapping, Gipsyhill and Knowle who finally lost their names.

There was a proposal to run former Blackpool Trams on the route.

Blackpool Tram.

After leaving Havant station the railway crossed Langstone Harbour. Other access routes to Hayling Island included -

Passenger ferry from Portsmouth (Eastney): Rowing boats were used until 1901 when the ferry rights were bought by the Hayling Island Steam Ferry Company. Later a motor boat service was operated by G.O.Spraggs and his sons Cecil, George and Jack. The ferry has changed hands, opening and closing operations ever since.

Hayling Island wooden road bridge: Built 1824, as a toll bridge, and demolished in 1956 to be replaced by the current road bridge which was also a toll bridge until 1960. The wooden bridge had a 40ft swing section in the centre to allow for vessels to pass beneath. The 1824 bridge was described, in it’s time, as “One of the finest structure of the kind in the Kingdom”.

An historic wadeway: The map, below, shows the wadeway as a green dotted line and the photo shows the wadeway as it is today from the Langstone end.

The wadeway was built on a natural watershed and was probably built in 14th C at which time the sea levels would have been different so making the wadeway dry most of the time. Also the width of the harbour mouth has increased over the years. The wadeway ran as a near-continuation of Langstone High Street across the harbour to Northney. It is now completely impassable, having been cut in two (known as the New Cut) by a deep channel, for the Portsmouth and Chichester Canal, in 1823.

The ferry in 1947. Hayling Island wooden road bridge. Toll gate in 1920.

The Wadeway.

The Portsmouth and Arundel Canal ran from Portsmouth via Chichester and Arundel to London. However at the time of the New Cut it was still possible to cross by foot using stepping stones. This map shows the route of the canal from Portsmouth to Chichester.

The Portsmouth and Arundel Canal.

The maps below show the route of the railway onto Hayling Island identifying North Hayling and Hayling Stations and the proposed sea route that was abandoned.

Hayling Island Line.

Langston Station

The branch line left Havant station then called at Langston station before crossing Langstone Harbour after which it called at North Hayling then finally Hayling.

Langstone Station was opened in 1867 (1865 for goods) and renamed Langston Station in 1873. Built with a wooden platform which was upgraded to concrete in 1950. The station had no freight facilities but there was a slipway for a rail-served ferry to the Isle of Wight immediately south of Langston station. The ferry, paddle steamer “Carrier”, ran to Bembridge until 1890 when the Langstone wharf became silted up.

Shown below is a LB&SCR inspection car on the Hayling line and the stationmaster's house at Langston.

The line crossed the sole road on and off Hayling Island with a gated level crossing which would cause huge traffic jams during peak hours.


The Puffing Billy crossing Langstone Harbour. There was a swing bridge at the centre to allow ships through.

The bridge in use and after demolition.

Langstone Wharf: In 1885 Jabez Samuel Balfour started a train ferry service from Langstone to Bembridge on the Isle of Wight. The service was not successful and ended 3 years later. Nevertheless the service was the first ever train ferry service in England and the second in the world.

Loading freight wagons from wharf to steamer (pictures of similar operation to that at Langstone).

North Hayling Station

Opened in 1867, built with a wooden platform. In 1907 a siding and oyster platform were added to accommodate the popular oyster trade.

The station and 'awaiting a train' possibly in 1901.

North Hayling Aerodrome: Nearby was the site of the North Hayling Aerodrome, supposedly at the site of Bridge House Farm, Northney. The Airfield was opened in 1929 and closed in 1938.

Hayling Station

Opened in 1867 as South Hayling and changed name to Hayling in 1892.

Hayling Station in 1882 and 1907.

Hayling Station in 1960's and in 1975 after demolition.

South Hayling goods shed in use and before renovation as The Station Theatre.

In South Hayling are the Norfolk Crescent and the Royal Hotel.

The Norfolk Crescent and the Royal Hotel were built in 1825 forming part of a vision of Hayling as a "Utopia by the Sea".

Hayling Racecourse: In the same year (July 1867) that the railways came to Hayling there was an attempt to create a Horse Racecourse on the island. A grandstand was built in front of the Royal Hotel, together with a 2 mile course for the purpose of a meeting consisting of fourteen horse races. This was to be the first of an annual event held under the patronage of Queen Victoria and her mother (giving rise to the name of the Royal Hotel). Disappointing general reaction and local opposition to the event however saw that this plan failed to come to fruition.

The Crescent and a " Bristol " biplane in 1911.

Photos and Videos of the Hayling Billy.

Google images

Youtube Videos


Wikipedia - Havant Railway Station
Wikipedia - Hayling Island Railway Station
Wikipedia - Langstone
Wikipedia - Langston Railway Station
Wikipedia - North Hayling Island Railway Station
Havant History
Disused Stations
Michael Jefferies
Public Transport Experience
Past and Present Publications
Rural Rides
Chichester Ship Canal
Railway Ramblers
Rail UK
L-P: Archaeology
Station Theatre
Hampshire Airfields
London, Brighton and South Coast Railway
London and South Western Railway
Old Maps Online