Gasworks loco restored

A plan of Hilsea Gasworks railway sidings, below, while here is The Ruston loco Hilsea in a new coat of paint at Quainton
A plan of Hilsea Gasworks railway sidings, below, while here is The Ruston loco Hilsea in a new coat of paint at Quainton
The new trackbed for the Horndean Light Railway looking south across the bridge over Southwick Hill Road, Cosham, about 1903.

NOSTALGIA: Ready and waiting, the shiny new tracks climbing Portsdown Hill

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As many of you may remember, there was a large gasworks based at Hilsea on the down side of the railway line. It opened in 1905 and closed in 1986.

There was always a smell of gas long before the train reached the works alongside Green Lane.

There was also a railway system within the works, not large but enough to need eight locomotives over the years.

When the works closed most of the locomotives had gone for scrap, but one remains and has just been refurbished.

The late Chris Webb worked for Southern Gas and worked at Hilsea at the time of closure. He was instrumental in ensuring the engine ‘Hilsea’ was preserved.

Ray Roswell was a friend of Chris and he made contact with a mutual friend and went to see the loco, in the repair shed at Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Quainton.

On September 24 Ray and his colleagues from the Institute of Transport Administration visited Quainton, where they could see a lot of work had been done. However, the engine had not yet been started and the final coat of paint was still required. A chap called Phil Green is leading the work and he was delighted to meet Ray and his colleagues, one of whom worked at the gasworks. He said its correct colour was red – the subject of much discussion at Quainton.