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Then and Now


Hampshire Branch Line Rail Tour
9 April 1967

This tour was organised by the Locomotive Club of Great Britain and, as the name suggests, visited a number of branch lines in Hampshire. The tour used no less than 10 different engines which added variety to the day.

50 years later, less a day, there were three tours that passed through Hampshire. On Saturday the 8 April 2017, the Railway Touring Company ran a trip from Three Bridges to Weymouth featuring steam on the outward leg. The engine was Bulleid light pacific no. 34046, running as 34052 ‘Lord Dowding’.

Vintage Trains took their Castle no. 5043 ‘Earl of Mount Edgcumbe’ from Solihull to Salisbury via Didcot, Reading and Basingstoke.

And finally UK Rail Tours ran a diesel hauled tour from Waterloo to a number of branch lines in Hampshire including Southampton Docks, Fawley and Luggershall. This tour used two class 66 locomotives nos. 66005 and 66165.

With such activity, the opportunity was taken to revisit some of the locations from the 1967 tour.


In 1967, 35023 runs towards the shed after being detached from its train. 

50 years later, Castle class no. 5043 brings the empty stock into the station. There are still sidings to the right of both pictures. What was the original GWR station is now the depot for the class 159 diesel units used on the Waterloo to Exeter line. 

In the 2017 picture, the trees in the distance on the left are on the site of the old engine shed. After demolition, this site has very much returned to nature.

This picture shows 34057 waiting to leave from platform 4. 50 years later, 5043 is in the same position. 

What is noticeable is that the station canopy is so much cleaner but the chimney stack above the buildings on the opposite platform remains.


This station as very much a shadow of its former self. The extensive sidings have disappeared with trees taking their place and the former goods shed now appears to be a gym. I think this is called rationalisation!

These two pictures show the station buildings on the left but the sidings in the 1967 shot have all gone. The goods shed is just out of sight to the left of the station buildings.

These pictures look towards the junction. 

The semaphore signal has been replaced by a colour light signal, visible just above the departing diesel unit.

Fawley Branch

This branch serves the Esso oil refinery at Fawley. Passenger services ceased in 1966 and almost 50 years later, freight traffic finally ceased too. Esso prefers to bring in consignments of crude oil by boat. The UK Rail Tours charter train of the 8 April 2017 was reputed to be the final train before the line is mothballed. There were calls for a passenger service to be restarted on this branch to relieve the traffic congestion to Southampton but plans came to nothing due to the costs involved.

To the west of Totton station some sidings still exist and these lead to the branch line to Fawley. The 2017 picture shows the Bulleid Pacific rushing through with the excursion to Weymouth whilst the 1967 shot features Standard Class 4 Tank no. 80151 waiting to couple to the tour train which had just returned after a run down the Fawley branch.

Note: The photographer of the picture of 80151 is unknown but if the he or she contacts me, I am happy to give due credit. 

The pictures show the USA tank engines 30064 and 30069 running round the train at Fawley station.  

50 years later there wasn’t the need to run round as the train was topped and tailed by two class 66 diesel engines – seen at the Frost Lane level crossing just before Fawley station.

Today there's not much left of the station which is now sited within the oil refinery.

Lymington Branch

This was the last branch in the UK to remain steam hauled with Ivatt and Standard tank locomotives from Bournemouth shed running the services. This ceased on the 2 April 1967, after which run round facilities were swiftly removed. This meant that subsequent charters that came down the branch were topped and tailed. The tour I was on had Standard tank no. 80151 leading to Lymington Pier with Ivatt tank no. 41320 attached at the rear at Brockenhurst and was in fact the final steam working on this line.

The two sets of pictures show 80151 after arrival at Lymington Pier with present day shots of the class 450 electric unit now used on the branch. 


The station has changed over the years with the platform having been rebuilt and extended, the old canopy removed and replaced by the bus shelter style common on many of today’s stations. The biggest change is the area of waste land behind 80151 (in the left hand picture) which now forms the car park and entry point for the Isle of Wight car ferry.

The 1967 tour  

For the record, the engines used were:

Waterloo to Salisbury 
Merchant Navy no. 35023 pictured on the right before departure from Waterloo.
Salisbury to Southampton
Battle of Britain no. 34057
Southampton to Fawley and back to Totton
USA tank nos. 30064 and 30069
Totton to Brockenhurst 
Standard Tank no. 80151
Lymington Branch
80151 top and tailed with Ivatt Class 2 tank no. 41320
Brockenhurst to Ascot
Rebuilt West Country no. 34025
Ascot to Aldershot
BR Standard class 4 no. 76031
Aldershot to Guildford
BR Standard class 3 no. 77014
Guildford to Waterloo
BR Standard class 5 no. 73093

Below is a copy of the map showing the lines the tour traveled over. Further details of this tour are on the Six Bells Junction website.

Two of the engines used on this tour are with us today although neither are currently working in 2017.

USA Tank no. 30064
The USA tanks were normally to be found at Southampton Docks although one or two were used at Eastleigh Works and another at Guildford shed. But they were used on a number of rail tours, including this one.

The black and white picture below shows 30064 is immaculate condition and turned out in lined green livery. 

The engine is now on the Bluebell Railway and initially kept this livery and looked very smart.

It is many years since it last steamed and a few years ago was repainted into War Department colours. It now looks a very sorry sight in the siding at Horstead Keynes.

The 1967 pictures of 30064 and 80151 were taken on 9 April. The 2017 pictures were taken on the 7 May - 50 years and just over one month apart.

BR Standard Tank no. 80151
This engine ended its days at Eastleigh shed and was withdrawn towards the end of April 1967. It was one of the lucky ones, being sent to Woodham Bros. scrap yard on Barry Island. 

Initially based at the East Anglian Railway Museum at Chappel & Wakes Colne in Essex, it returned to steam on the Bluebell Railway.

Following a successful 10 years of operation, in 2017 it is under overhaul at Sheffield Park where this picture was taken. 


Published 12 April 2017 and updated on 17 May 2017.

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