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Then and Now

Woking and Basingstoke

During 1966 and 1967, I made a number of trips to Woking and Basingstoke. A selection of 'the and now' shots are featured below. The 1967 photographs at Woking were taken on 28 April, the same date as my visit 50 years later.

Woking station is a busy junction on the main line from Waterloo. Main line services to Weymouth and Exeter pass through, with services to Guildford and Portsmouth branching off to the west of the station.

On the 28 April 1967, West Country locomotive no. 34013 "Okehampton" leaves with an evening commuter train for Salisbury. 50 years, less around 4 hours, another West Country, 34046 passes through with the Surrey Hills lunchtime Pullman train. 34046 was running as 34052 "Lord Dowding" on this occasion. The real "Lord Dowding" was scrapped in 1968.

A picture from 1966. My visit to the Isle of Wight on the 26 November that year involved a steam run from Waterloo to Woking before changing to get the electric train to Portsmouth Harbour.

The train we got from Waterloo was the 7.18am semi-fast to Salisbury, a regular steam turn in the final year of steam on the Southern Region. On this occasion we had BR Standard 4 4-6-0 no. 75075.

It's performance was LOUD! There was sharp acceleration from stops at Clapham Junction and Surbiton which resulted in a shower of ash, lumps of coal and anything else that passed through the boiler. We traveled in the front coach and the noise of this shrapnel hitting the coach roof sounded like rapid gunfire!

It certainly beat taking the electric service!

75075 leaving Woking for Salisbury after our volcanic run from Waterloo. 26 November 1966.

  On the afternoon of the 28 April 1967, I spent some time at the footbridge to the west of the station. 

The set of pictures below feature the real 34052 with a train of military equipment. The head code suggests it has come from the Salisbury direction so I imagine it collected it's cargo at Andover which has a connection to the military bases at Luggershall and Tidworth.

The same day, 50 years later, a class 159 unit runs into Woking with a train from Salisbury and Exeter. One obvious change over the intervening half century is the growth of trees, completely hiding the new housing development. 

In 1967, West Country no 34001 "Exeter" passes with a London bound boat train from Southampton Eastern Docks. 

50 years later to the day, a class 455 electric unit heads to the same destination with a semi-fast from Basingstoke.


GBRf class 66 locomotive no. 66770 runs past on a light engine move from Hoo Junction Up Yard, near Rochester in Kent, on its way to Eastleigh. The engine left the yard at 0924 and is a regular light engine path, activated as and when it's required. 

Back in 1967, Merchant Navy 35007 "Aberdeen Commonwealth" rushes past with a Weymouth bound express.

Basingstoke railway station is on the South Western Main Line from London Waterloo. West of the station, the main line splits with one line going south towards Southampton, Bournemouth and Weymouth. The other extends west to Salisbury and Exeter. There is also a line north towards Reading. This was opened by the Great Western Railway in 1848 initially with broad gauge and had it's own station on the site of the present car park. The broad gauge soon gave way to standard gauge and the GWR station was closed in 1932 with all services using the main Southern station. 

The line to Reading enables a variety of cross country services to continue to run from the Midlands to Bournemouth and Poole.

Basingstoke station was also the terminus of the Basingstoke and Alton Light Railway, opened in 1901 to prevent the GWR from building a line on this route towards Portsmouth. The line was never profitable and finally closed in 1932.

12 May 1967 and two unidentified Bulleid pacifics. In the left a rebuilt West Country leaves with a train bound for Bournemouth whilst on the right, a Merchant Navy speeds through with an up Channel Island Boat Train. The locomotive sheds can be seen to the right of this picture.

It is still possible to see steam hauled trains pass through today although most tend to use the slow line. The shot below is of West Country no. 34027 "Taw Valley" speeding through on the fast line bound for Waterloo on 26 June 1999.


  Also on the 12 May 1967, Merchant Navy no. 35013 shunts at Basingstoke station. By now it had lost it's "Blue Funnel" name plates and smoke box number plate, although it was commendably clean.

The second picture is of BR class 5 no. 73096 with a Daylight Railtours train from Alton to Exeter on 2 October 1999. It was taken very early in the morning where the relative silence was shattered by the bark of the exhaust as the train accelerates through the station. 

The siding where 35013 was captured in 1967 is no longer there, being replaced by bushes although the 'Basingstoke' station sign seems the same.

Published 20 May 2017

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