NOSTALGIA: Hampshire’s long lost branch lines

A steam car at Bishops Waltham station about 1910. It was the terminus of the 4.5-mile branch line that connected it to the main line at Botley. It closed to passengers in January 1933.
A steam car at Bishops Waltham station about 1910. It was the terminus of the 4.5-mile branch line that connected it to the main line at Botley. It closed to passengers in January 1933.

THIS WEEK IN 1995: Patients uprooted at night to save money

David Janess May 1964 picture of the tiny post office  opposite Tracys in Commercial Road, Portsmouth.

NOSTALGIA: Tiny Portsmouth post office carried on trading

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We’ve all done it. Sat fuming in the latest snarl-up on the roads around south-east Hampshire wondering why on earth we vandalised our railways.

If only someone had had the foresight to realise that traffic levels would reach such a height that our old branch lines would one day become vital links once again.

Brockenhurst station in the New Forest, about 1910, showing the branch line to Lymington.

Brockenhurst station in the New Forest, about 1910, showing the branch line to Lymington.

Imagine if the Hayling Billy line was still operating, or the one through the Meon Valley, and certainly the link from Fareham to Gosport?

And what about the lines which ran from Petersfield across West Sussex to Pulborough via Midhurst and Petworth?

It’s too late now of course. They’re gone forever, but a new DVD by railway historian and author Colin Maggs takes us back to those halcyon days.

In the 109-minute Branch Lines of Hampshire film he explores every corner of the county to see what remains of the once-numerous branch lines, some of which were closed even before the Second World War.

Droxford railway station was an intermediate station on the Meon Valley line which ran from Alton to Fareham. Opened on June 1, 1903, Churchill and Eisenhower put the finishing touches to the D-Day invasion plans there. The line cost the equivalent of �27m and closed  to passengers in 1955.

Droxford railway station was an intermediate station on the Meon Valley line which ran from Alton to Fareham. Opened on June 1, 1903, Churchill and Eisenhower put the finishing touches to the D-Day invasion plans there. The line cost the equivalent of �27m and closed to passengers in 1955.

To buy the DVD, click here.

Horsebridge station in the Test Valley, north of Romsey. It was on the former Sprat and Winkle line which served the village of Houghton. It closed in 1964.

Horsebridge station in the Test Valley, north of Romsey. It was on the former Sprat and Winkle line which served the village of Houghton. It closed in 1964.