Main line rail link asset for Southsea

East Southsea steam railcar, 1910
East Southsea steam railcar, 1910
With long gunnery gaiters and sword bayonets fixed to their rifles, we see marines changing guard just inside Eastney Barracks' main gate. 'Robert James Collection

NOSTALGIA: Were these Portsmouth marines being punished?

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By the middle of the last century Southsea was beginning to become popular as a watering place so it was considered that a rail link to the main line would be an asset.

It took until 1884 to start work and the track was completed within a year.

It ran from Fratton station to the East Southsea terminus at what is now Granada Road and was opened on July 1, 1885.

Each locomotive was yellow with a black smokestack with a copper band.

However, the Portsmouth trams proved to be stiff competition and within a few years the rail company cut its losses, made the line single track and introduced steam railcars, as seen here in this 1910 photograph.

These were never a real success and by 1914 the last passengers were carried and the line was closed.