Signalling the very model of a Victorian country railway station
In the top photograph of Petersfield station we are looking south with Butser Hill and the downs protecting Portsmouth from the severest of weather.
Steam-hauled trains rushed through the station on the non-electrified lines.
On the right is the up loop line with the former goods yard out of shot further to the right. This made the up platforms into an island.
On the platform can be seen the canopy protecting the subway between the up and down platforms.
At the end of the platform is a water column for the ever-thirsty locomotives.
The signal post with Southern finials shows both semaphore signals at stop. The left hand lower signal would have let trains across the up line on to the Midhurst branch. There was another platform across the level crossing behind the camera, for the branch line only.
The upper signal was for main line trains to London. The signals on the loop have the same significance.
Left of centre is the down yard with goods shed. The platform ends just beyond it. On the platform is a multi-lined telegraph post.
The man is walking past the barred fence protecting the subway emerging from under the line.
Crossing the line can be seen disused sleepers making a foot crossing for staff to make quicker access to the island platform.
These old crossings were still in use until the late 1960s but with the speed and quietness of modern trains they have all now been taken out of use.
The main buildings to the left were built when the line opened in 1859.
In today’s picture the buildings have hardly changed.
The up loop has gone and now forms part of the car park. There is also an exit from the station on to Winchester Road.
There’s now a supermarket on the goods yard site.
The semaphore signals have long gone replaced by colour light signalling. The branch line to Midhurst closed in 1955. The main line was electrified in the 1930s and the first timetabled electric trains ran on May 4, 1937.
Both platforms were extended to take longer trains. Where the down goods shed once stood can be seen the lighter coloured platform where it was lengthened.
All in all the station is a model of Victorian architecture... and long may it remain so.