It’s 50 years since the passing of the glorious age of steam

When Britain had a navy there was a great need to move its men from port to port and on a summer day in July 1959 the Portsmouth & Southsea to Plymouth express can be seen approaching Fratton station where it would pass through non-stop.''A loud warning bell located on the fence to the front of the locomotive would sound to warn anyone wanting to cross the track by footboards at the end of the station and in between the platforms.''Although the sign states passengers must use the bridge, women with prams would be escorted by a member of staff  across the line at this point.''A Hampshire  diesel unit has just left the platform on the down side  and the signalman has yet to put the starting signal back to stop.''Above the  blood and custard liveried first carriage can be seen the Guards clothing factory  south of Fratton Bridge.
When Britain had a navy there was a great need to move its men from port to port and on a summer day in July 1959 the Portsmouth & Southsea to Plymouth express can be seen approaching Fratton station where it would pass through non-stop.''A loud warning bell located on the fence to the front of the locomotive would sound to warn anyone wanting to cross the track by footboards at the end of the station and in between the platforms.''Although the sign states passengers must use the bridge, women with prams would be escorted by a member of staff across the line at this point.''A Hampshire diesel unit has just left the platform on the down side and the signalman has yet to put the starting signal back to stop.''Above the blood and custard liveried first carriage can be seen the Guards clothing factory south of Fratton Bridge.
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Spare a thought on Sunday for the passing of a slice of British history which many mourn to this day.

It will be 50 years since steam-hauled trains on regular services in the Portsmouth area puffed and whistled for the final time.

Here we see the preserved  Flying Scotsman on a tour of the  south coast in 1966. It left Victoria, ran down to Hove and turned west to run along the coast to Farlington Junction from where it went on to Fareham and Southampton. Here the  train is passing the former Waterworks Siding just west of Bedhampton Halt. The white building is the crossing keeper's house at Waterworks Crossing. To the right of the train can be seen part of the former sidings now disused. On the left behind the trees is Bidbury Mead park.

Here we see the preserved Flying Scotsman on a tour of the south coast in 1966. It left Victoria, ran down to Hove and turned west to run along the coast to Farlington Junction from where it went on to Fareham and Southampton. Here the train is passing the former Waterworks Siding just west of Bedhampton Halt. The white building is the crossing keeper's house at Waterworks Crossing. To the right of the train can be seen part of the former sidings now disused. On the left behind the trees is Bidbury Mead park.

Officially it was the end of steam on the South Western Division of British Railways and today and tomorrow I’ll be taking a look back at those glory days.

All over the area in the coming days celebrations are going on. Last Thursday 150 former steam men – drivers, firemen, cleaners and yard men gather for a grand reunion in Salisbury.

That was where the majority of redundant steam engines were gathered before being towed to Welsh breakers’ yards. A medal was produced for the occasion.

Although never a steam man I knew many of these men as I was editor of a railway staff magazine and I interviewed them, such as Jimmy Lester the fireman on Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral train in 1965. Both Jimmy and the loco are still with us .

Not the last day of steam but a very sad day indeed. It is Sunday, November 3, 1963, and we see the locomotives and train for the last working on the Hayling Billy line.

Not the last day of steam but a very sad day indeed. It is Sunday, November 3, 1963, and we see the locomotives and train for the last working on the Hayling Billy line.

And the late Eric Gosney, the fireman on the train that took Bill Hayley and the Comets from Southampton Docks to Waterloo in 1957.

The late Michael J Harvey was a  railway photographer and train spotter extraordinaire. His first book Forget the Anorak is a must for any Portsmouth railway fan. Here is one of his pictures showing a train from Peterborough leaving platform three at Fratton on January 7, 1961. This is one of seven football specials that arrived at Fratton for the third round of the FA Cup.

The late Michael J Harvey was a railway photographer and train spotter extraordinaire. His first book Forget the Anorak is a must for any Portsmouth railway fan. Here is one of his pictures showing a train from Peterborough leaving platform three at Fratton on January 7, 1961. This is one of seven football specials that arrived at Fratton for the third round of the FA Cup.

On any Saturday, especially in summer, young trainspotters would pack Goldsmith Avenue, Fratton,  alongside the cutting to view passing trains. Just out of shot on the right was Fratton West signal box. The driver of the Eastleigh based locomotive Standard class 4 2-6-0  No. 76063 is taking direction from the signalman. Behind the locomotive  standing in platform 3 is a 4 COR electric  heading for Portsmouth Harbour.

On any Saturday, especially in summer, young trainspotters would pack Goldsmith Avenue, Fratton, alongside the cutting to view passing trains. Just out of shot on the right was Fratton West signal box. The driver of the Eastleigh based locomotive Standard class 4 2-6-0 No. 76063 is taking direction from the signalman. Behind the locomotive standing in platform 3 is a 4 COR electric heading for Portsmouth Harbour.