Gosport Railway History

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Railways of Gosport by Peter Keat

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The decision to locate a railway and various stations on the Gosport peninsular lies mainly in the intense rivalry between the towns of Portsmouth and Southampton. With the passing of the London and Southampton Railway Company's Act of 1834 which set up the Portsmouth Satallite Railway Company, the proposal to construct a mainline in Portsmouth, the Portsmouth residents at that time objected strongly to any company that had the name Southampton in the title and the Portsmouth Town Council would not allow the construction of the line into Portsmouth. Another complication was that because of the fortifications the line would have to stop at Hilsea so preventing the railway from reaching Portsea Island itself.

The line, whose Contractor was Thomas Brassey and Engineer Joseph Locke had already reached Fareham and so after the objections were lodged the plan was confirmed to build the line to Gosport instead. By this time the London and Southampton Railway had already been taken over by the London and South Western Railway. In Gosport's case the ramparts were relatively close to the town centre so the Commanding Officer's refusal to let his walls be breached was strategically of little importance, but the station was near enough to service the Royal Clarence Yard victualling and supplies base yet it did not interfere with the line of fire from the town ramparts. The site on which the station was built was formerly an orchard and fields owned by one Issac Legg.

The line was to open on 26th July 1841 but a land slip near Fareham caused a delay and it was eventually opened on 29th November 1841. The first train was hauled from Nine Elms to Gosport by locomotive No 17 'Queen' ,which was new that year and the train consisted of four First Class carriages, and it took 31/2 hours to complete the journey. However the line was closed only four days later because of a land slip in a tunnel north of Fareham, and reopened again on 7th February 1842. The line cost 404,27I over 12,000 more than the original estimate. The station building itself was designed by William Tite (later Sir William] the celebrated designer of the Royal Exchange in London. The station design is of an Italianate classic tradition, which was very popular at that time, and was finished with Tuscan columns with Corinthian capitals, it was built by Mr 0 Nicholson at a cost of 10,980, Fareham station only cost l,3921.

Link to The Gosport Railway Society

Gosport Railway Society on HantsWeb


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