Saturday, 28 January 2012

A Wee Hurl to West Hayling [2]

The Railway Arrives ... 

The line was opened by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSCR) for goods on January 19, 1865, and for passengers on July 16, 1867. The delay was because the inspectors found rotting sleepers on sections of the line and demanded rectification before passengers could be carried.

The line itself was mainly used during the summer months as people from the South Coast would travel down to the beach on Hayling Island. The coaches would often be overflowing during these months; they would be virtually empty, however, during the winter, which would become a problem.

The LBSCR quickly ran into difficulty during the construction of the railway, as they had attempted to save on the cost of buying land on Hayling Island for the line by constructing an embankment on the mud flats in the sheltered waters of Langstone Harbour. This was an ambitious plan, which also involved the construction of wet and dry docks at Sinah Lake.

In the end, the line became a simple branch with no appendages.

The "Norfolk Lodge" pub, named after landowner the Duke of Norfolk, way renamed "The Ferryboat Inn" in the 1950s; the proposed docks would have been a development of the inlet to the right of the hostelry.
fbb remembers, as a teenager, travelling through Havant on his way to holidays on the Island, and there, in the bay platform, would be this little train ready to depart for Hayling.
Also there would be a line of clean, shiny green and cream Southdown buses. The young lad knew he was on holiday then!

The branch train would leave the platform and immediately negotiate New Lane level crossing ...
... where today the entrance to the rail replacement footpath is guarded by crossing gates now fixed in a semi-open position.
The line and the path run under East Street ...
... where are rather poor quality video clip captures a branch train.
The line then curves round towards the first stop at Langston, ...
... the station omitting the terminal "e" of the little village it served.
The present-day footpath and cycleway ends at the main road (to restart south of the Langstone Bridge); but the properties behind the station show the location clearly ...
... with the track passing to the left of the white weatherboarded cottage glimpsed through the trees behind the platform fence in the old photo.. Managing the level crossing required bravery and skill as the gatemen attempted to find a gap in the busy holiday road traffic.
Tomorrow, we shall complete our journey on this quaint little line as we, and our train, cross the 1000 yard Langstone Bridge ...
... the highlight and ultimately the downfall of this much-loved little branch

 Next Blog : due Sunday January 29th 

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