John Speller's Web Pages Gosport Branch (1841)

John Speller's Web Pages - L&SWR
Gosport Branch (1841) LSWR Horizontal Menu Untitled
As early as 1836 the need to serve Portsmouth prompted the London & South Western Railway to propose a line from Southampton to serve the city. There was considerable opposition, however, from the City of Southampton to building a line that would benefit a rival port, and in the end the L&SWR settled for a 15-mile line from Bishopstoke on their main line through Fareham and Fort Brockhurst to Gosport, from which a ferry could be taken to Portsmouth. The line opened on 29 November 1841. A 600-yard extension was added in September 1845 to a royal station for the use of Queen Victoria when traveling to Osborne House in the Isle of Wight. The line was particularly noteworthy for the magnificent station at Gosport designed by William Tite (1798-1873). The story of the Gosport Branch was largely one of decline. In 1847 the London & South Western and London, Brighton & South Coast Railways built a joint line from Cosham to Portsmouth, which connected with the L&SWR by a line from Cosham to Fareham. This reduced the status of the Gosport Branch beyond Fareham to a merely local one. The line suffered considerable damage during World War II and the 100-year-old Gosport station lost its all-over roof in a German bombing raid in 1941. Following Nationalization the Gosport Branch was closed to passengers on 6 June 1953 and to goods on 30 January 1969. Although a Grade II listed building, Tite's magnificent station is today largely a very picturesque ruin.
Railway Clearing House Junction Diagram of Havant & Portsmouth 1910
William Tite's magnificent Gosport station shortly after opening in 1841
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert arriving at Gosport station in 1845
Fort Brockhurst station in around 1890
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