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.
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
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
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
The semaphore signal has been
replaced by a colour light signal, visible just above the
departing diesel unit.
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.
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
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
the record, the engines used were:
Merchant Navy no. 35023 pictured on the right before departure
Salisbury to Southampton
Battle of Britain no. 34057
Southampton to Fawley and back to Totton
USA tank nos. 30064
Totton to Brockenhurst
Standard Tank no. 80151
80151 top and tailed with Ivatt Class 2 tank
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
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
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.
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.
12 April 2017 and updated on 17 May 2017.
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