Hayling Billy line remembered

Since the end of the Hayling Island branch line in November 1963, yes, that really is 56 years ago, there have been numerous books about the line.

By Bob Hind
Wednesday, 6th November 2019, 9:13 am
Updated Wednesday, 6th November 2019, 12:39 pm
The cover of the Hayling Island branch line book showing Stroudley Terrier No 65  ‘Preston’  heading a train towards Langstone, about 1908.
The cover of the Hayling Island branch line book showing Stroudley Terrier No 65 ‘Preston’ heading a train towards Langstone, about 1908.

But just published must be the definitive of all the books I have ever read on the subject.

The Hayling Island Branch by John Scott-Morgan, published by Sword and Pen, contains 155 full plate photographs plus several track diagram maps.

Some of the photographs you may well have seen before, but many have not been published anywhere as far as I can tell.

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Awaiting departure from Hayling Island. A 1961 view along the platform at Hayling.

Strangely the author has spelled Langstone without the ‘e’ for the whole of the text, not just for the early years when Langston was the favoured spelling.

There are sections about signalling on the line, the Fratton shed, freight services and Havant.

It’s a very comprehensive look at this much-missed railway for those who can remember it like me or for those too young to have travelled on it but are fascinated by old branch lines.

The section on the Langstone ferry terminal to the Isle of Wight is not to be missed.

An arrival at Havant from Hayling Island in which the fireman is acknowledging the driver of 32678.

And the many photographs of the Hayling Billy leaving Havant before the station was rebuilt in 1936/37 are also a must-see.

There is one chapter comprising 42 colour photographs while the rest remain in the special black and white of the period.

The book costs £25 and is available from New to You Books in High Street, Cosham, Call Alan on (023) 9232 1089 to reserve a copy. Postage and packing will be charged if delivery is required.

The second picture is a 1961 view along the platform at Hayling Island.

Southsea rollerskating rink.

To get down to the beach we lads, and everyone else of course, had to walk the half-mile to Staunton Avenue . Carrying an inflated rubber inner tube could cause problems especially if the compartment was packed as it was on most summer weekends.

In the third photo we see a train arriving at Havant from Hayling. The fireman acknowledges the driver of the locomotive which will attach to the far end and take the train back to Hayling. The bucket above the buffer was used to dampen the coal in the bunker. When going bunker first, as this engine is, coal dust could be a problem on a hot, dry day.

As with all slam door trains an impatient passenger has the door open ready to make a quick getaway.

• Anyone remember taking their skates, or hiring a pair, to enjoy an afternoon’s skating at Southsea skating rink?

It is many years since I have been near the site but I believe it is now mainly used for skateboarding.