How did royal visitors get into Dockyard?

Fast Launch Isinglass bound for Wales in the early 1970s.

Portsmouth’s speedy ‘grey ghosts’ which were the army’s navy

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I received a letter from Richard Kirkby asking a good question after seeing the map here of the Dockyard railway system the other week.

I received a letter from Richard Kirkby asking a good question after seeing the map here of the Dockyard railway system the other week.

Richard, who used to work in Semaphore Tower, wonders after a train entered the Dockyard via the viaduct leading to South Railway Jetty, what route it took around the Dockyard system to the slips.

He was thinking of the launch of the Dreadnought in 1906. There are many possible routes but he wonders if the Admiral Superintendent forbade the passage of royalty over caissons in his dockyard. A caisson is a floating gate that acts like lock gates on a canal at the entrance to a dry dock.

That also begs the question, did any royal trains enter the dockyard via the dockyard branch line from the high level platform of Portsmouth and Southsea station? I doubt it because of the curve of the line.

I know troop trains used to travel the line to pick up sailors going on draft at the platform alongside the barracks behind the wall of Unicorn Road. If any of you have any idea please let us know. Even better would be a photograph?

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