Electrification of railway brought new road system to Havant | Nostalgia
A four-carriage stock train built especially for the Portsmouth route and nicknamed Nelson’s is seen passing through Havant in 1937.
The number eight on the front signifies an express service to Waterloo.
New platforms on the left are in place extending to the newly-built road bridge in Park Road North. Makeshift semaphore signals would soon to be replaced by colour lights. On the right the signalbox guards the soon-to-be-replaced level crossing at the end of North Street, Havant.
Before 1937 there was a level crossing at the top end of North Street. With the forthcoming electrification of the line from London and the existing electrified line from Chichester , there would be many more trains and the crossing would cause more congestion.
In March 1937 a new road system and bridge was built south and west of Havant station.
When completed, the crossing was closed and the station platforms extended as we see today, the eastern end erasing the crossing forever. A footbridge was also built but was blocked from the platforms.
The western edge of Havant Park was taken for the building of the bridge which later became Park Road North.
On the map we can see New Road No1 which later became the B2149 Petersfield Road.
Road No2 became New Road, an extension of New Road that already existed from Bedhampton Halt to Stockheath Lane.
Road No 3, Elm Leigh Road, was built to make a connection with the new roundabout to Havant goods yard off Leigh Road. During the Second World War a gun emplacement was built on the roundabout.
The new railway bridge was constructed of reinforced concrete and the embankment made of imported hard filling tipped and rolled in three foot layers to consolidate it. The top foot would have been gravel and the embankment had a gradient of 1 in 30.
The embankment road was called Park Road North as far as the crossroads with West Street. From the south side of the crossroads the new road became Park Road South which extended to the south end of North Street to make a new road to Langstone and onward to Hayling Island.
Elm Lane off Park Road South was widened to make access to North Street.
The system exists to this day although many delays and congestion are caused especially on a summer weekend despite the Havant by-pass from west Bedhampton to Warblington being built in the late 1960s.
A pedestrian footbridge was built to the west end of the station after the war for those wishing to walk from North Street to Leigh Road. In later years an extension of the pedestrian bridge was made to an exit in Elm Leigh Road.
• With thanks to Ralph Cousins for additional material.