June 2012 



The April meeting was marvellously enlivened with a very humorous account by Rod Youngman of his 46 years working at Winchester City Station - 39 of them in the Booking Office. However, his working life actually started in 1959 in a shop which later became the department store Debenhams, but after a few months he applied for a railway clerical job, and, after attending an interview at Southampton Central, he started as a junior goods porter at Winchester City on 27th September 1960 with the princely wage of just over 4.00 a week. Arriving to search for Ernie Farrow, the Goods Agent, he was introduced to “railway discipline” - Sir to you laddie and not Ernie!!!
The first jobs included putting destination labels on wagons in the Goods Yard - now the two large car parks next to the Up line. The two alternating shunting locomotives were B4s 30102 and 30096 (both now preserved) - nicknamed “Bugs”. 30096 earned fame when it hauled the 12 coaches of the up Royal Wessex into the Baltic Siding after the failure of the train engine! It was not long before playing pranks became part of working life - like putting a detonator on the Mess Room fire mixed with the coal!!! Incidents of one kind or another were not uncommon - match wagons being crushed, and Goods Shed doors being shattered, or the station announcer advising that the Birkenhead was late/lost and nobody knew where it was! Goods wagon work didn’t last long because as his writing was legible and easy to read he was promoted to Parcels Porter. Because of public service obligation imposed on railways in the 19th century, railways could not refuse to transport anything offered and traffic included special deliveries for Woolworths, Grimsby fish, guinea pigs for research at Porton Down, a noose from the Home Office for a hanging, a large ram for breeding (encouraged to move by a shepherd squeezing its unmentionables), the corpse of a Winchester lady who had died in Durham - at a rate of 3.1p a mile - while horses had to have water stops organised.  Parcels to overseas destinations needed a thorough knowledge of European destinations and prices, but if a rate was not available then one was concocted!!  One such included an invalid carriage to Southern Ireland.
After several years Rodney succeeded in examinations for  booking office work followed by a two day training course to learn early computerised systems - and this led to “high tech” procedures such as sharpening pencils, making tea, and cleaning the fire before being permitted to actually issue tickets and thus of course handling large sums of money. Ticketing was relatively simple: all priced at fixed pence per mile rate and basically only monthly singles and returns, day returns and half-day returns. “Blanks” were used for journeys with no printed tickets which needed good geographical route knowledge with distances and price calculations, and “pad” tickets were used for group bookings. Tickets arrived in “tubes” of 250 tied with string. Winchester College students needed large numbers of cycle tickets, and Thursdays saw the issue of warrants for released prisoners’ free journeys home. When asked if tickets were issued for Cowes (l.o.W.) the response was “and for people too”!  Occasional Travel Centre duties saw requests by Americans to see Britain in a day and be back in time for evening dinner. Duties sometimes included rest day cover at other stations, e.g. Shawford, which was in a mess, and tidying up brought recriminations from the regular staff.
Weekly, monthly and season tickets cash/coin totals were added up and sent to Waterloo, while cheques were put into local banks. Float money arrived from local banks in 20 brown paper bags. Discipline was strict and severe when several “tubes” were found with one coin missing - dismissal - and audits and checks were frequent. Respect for seniority was absolute and a General Manager’s visit saw Youngman Junior totally ignored. Occasional duties at Winchester Chesil included end of term luggage specials for Winchester College pupils. On one occasion near Easter a van was found to contain bags of Xmas parcels for South Africa. Initiative saw them sent to the Western Docks at Southampton for the Thursday afternoon Union Castle liner departure for Cape Town!!!
Privatisation brought massive change to “working procedures”. Booking Clerks needed only to press the correct keys on the Qwerty Keyboard and read off what is on the screen - no working out routes, their costs, calculating change or writing out unusual tickets, or initiative. The booking clerk has become in effect a machine operator. Virgin Trains eulogised the introduction of their through service from Hampshire to Scotland only to be brought down to earth when shown an old G.W.R. Timetable with the through service from Southampton Terminus to Scotland via Sutton Scotney. One Winchester College master - a Peter Manisty - showed sufficient interest and knowledge in tickets/fares to be invited into the Booking Office to help!!! Rodney enjoyed finding amusing routings: Cardigan to Jersey via Wool, Four Oaks to Sevenoaks via Selly Oak!!!
Rod’s enormous enjoyment of his working life was very evident - from the goods work right through to early privatisation, the fun/humour which came out of it, the pleasurable customers, the volume of geographical knowledge gained and the ability to use it in personal life - all make a huge contrast to the present day “press a key” system. A thoroughly enjoyable presentation from the “Mr Chips of Winchester” - providing a basis of more talks, or magazine articles or even a book - holding the audience’s attention without the use of pictorial aids.

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Tuesday 10 April: EDLs 73201/138 worked a N.R. Track Recording train to/from Fawley, passing Eastleigh at 10.40hrs. 31465 worked another from Derby to Weymouth via Swindon, Westbury, Basingstoke and reverse and passing Eastleigh at 15.15hrs. DRS liveried 66415 worked the sand empties from Neasden to Wool passing Eastleigh at 14.53hrs – the first appearance of this locomotive in this area. DRS 66416 worked the 06.15hrs Leeds - Maritime. Cl.455 5733 ran from Wimbledon to Bournemouth for its C4 examination, passing Eastleigh at 11.49hrs. 70001 worked the Wentloog service and 70019 the Birch Coppice - Maritime. An HST for Paddington left Exeter at 14.28hrs with three power cars on the front and the normal one on the rear - 10.00hrs Penzance to Paddington running very late.
Romsey: C.I.S. has been installed at Romsey Station ie. Digital Customer Information Systems. The XX.07 services which start here to go via Chandlers Ford to Salisbury are shown as services to Redbridge, and on board the train they are also announced as going to Redbridge via Southampton Central. On Platform 1, the XX.19 are shown as going to Salisbury.

Boat Train: The first of the year - from Edinburgh - ran on Saturday 21st April topped by DRS 47841 and tailed by 47818. On Thursday 26th April disaster struck when 47841 failed between York and Leeds, and it eventually left four hours later with 37601/409 and 47818 hauling, and with 47841 tailing. It eventually arrived in the Docks at c.18.30hrs - and the Queen Victoria ship had been held! There were passengers for two liners, those for the Queen Victoria caught their ship but the passengers for the other cruise ship, missed it and were flown out on Friday.

Loco Stock Move: On Saturday 21st April a convoy of ten locomotives ran from Tonbridge to Eastleigh: headed by 66724 and including three other GBRf 66/7s - 66739/710/723 plus four EDLs including 73206/208.

Network Rail: On Thursday 26th April, N.R. Yellow 37902 worked a load of welded rails from Bescot to Eastleigh passing Shawford at 16.26hrs.
Network Rail Track Recording Train: 31465 worked the 0557 Derby RTC to Eastleigh Works Network Rail track survey train on Tuesday 10th April. Route : Derby, Burton, Tyseley, Oxford, Swindon, Westbury, Salisbury, Basingstoke, Southampton, Weymouth, Southampton, Eastleigh. It was seen passing through Bournemouth at 16.40hrs. On Thursday 12th April it worked 09.10hrs Eastleigh Works - Westbury via Eastleigh, St.Denys, Cosham, Havant, Guildford, Effingham Jct., Surbiton, Wimbledon, East Putney, Clapham Jct., Kensington Olympia, Clapham Jct., Balham, Wimbledon, Woking, Basingstoke, Salisbury, Westbury. Where the recording equipment detects a track fault, it sprays a red dye on the track and this locates the area for rectification by Network Rail engineers.

FGW: First Great Western are still experiencing stock shortages and on Wednesday 11th April, 150032 formed the 09.23hrs Portsmouth Harbour - Cardiff Central resulting in severe over-crowding.
Brockenhurst Footbridge: Disabled access to Brockenhurst station is to be improved by the addition of a new footbridge with lifts providing access from the Up side car park to the two island platforms. This will replace the unique “parcels bridge” adjoining platform 1 and the barrow crossing at the London end of the Down Island. The work, commencing in October and scheduled for completion by March 2013, will entail demolition of four bays of the canopy at the country end of both island platforms, and removal of the waiting room and toilets on platforms 3 & 4, which facilities will be replicated elsewhere on the Down Island. The current footbridge will be retained, but the “parcels bridge” spanning the Up Passenger Loop is likely to be removed. All work is being funded by the Department for Transport’s “Access for All” programme, in compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act.

Steam: On Thursday 19th April, 60019 “Bittern” running as 4464 in blue livery ran from Banbury to Southampton Up Goods Loop where the loco ran round and continued to Swanage tender first. The loco had replaced 6201 “Princess Elizabeth” which had failed an exam. at Tyseley the day before. Both legs of the journey suffered bad time keeping and arrival at Swanage was 30 minutes in arrears and the return service departed Southampton Central after a scheduled water stop 52 minutes late.  On Friday 27th April, 35028 “Clan Line” successfully ran a special from London Victoria to Swanage and return to London Waterloo with the loco working tender first as far as Millbrook on the return.  

Go-Op: The Company has applied to Network Rail for a ten year Track Access Agreement to operate up to eight trains each way between Westbury and Birmingham via Melksham, Oxford and Solihull. In addition the company has tendered to run a local sustainable transport fund (LSTF) supported service between Salisbury and Westbury. This, combined with the above service, meets Wiltshire County Council’s aspiration for a direct Salisbury–Swindon service. New trains will be built abroad and it is hoped that services could begin in 2014. A public share issue was expected to be launched later this year.

Lymington Pier: As reported last month’s T.T., we can report that remedial strengthening work was completed in time for the train service to resume between Brockenhurst and Lymington Pier on Monday 23rd April.

Fareham-Gosport: First Group commenced operating “Eclipse” buses on part of the former Gosport line trackbed on Sunday 22nd April in readiness for the official launch by the local authorities, which took place on Wednesday 25th April. (The S.C.R.S. have followed the story of the Gosport branch line over various issues and was included in a Society meeting in April 2011).

EXTRA “VOYAGER” TRAINS TO WEYMOUTH: In anticipation of additional rail passengers travelling to Weymouth for the Olympic sailing events, Arriva Cross-Country are introducing the following additional trains:

Mondays to Fridays 30 July to 10 August & Monday 3 to Thursday 6 September
06.04 Birmingham New Street to Weymouth (arrives 10.15)
05.11 Manchester Piccadilly to Weymouth (arrives 11.13)
17.41 Weymouth to Manchester Piccadilly (arrives 23.37)
18.30 Weymouth to Birmingham New Street (arrives 22.45)
11.35 Weymouth to Bournemouth (arrives 12.28) calling at Wareham (12.05) and Poole (12.16)
12.35 Bournemouth to Weymouth (arrives 13.23) calling at Poole (12.48) and Wareham (12.59)
Saturdays 4, 11 August & 1 September
06.04 Birmingham New Street to Weymouth (arrives 10.15)
05.11 Manchester Piccadilly to Weymouth (arrives 11.13)
17.35 Weymouth to Manchester Piccadilly (arrives 23.32)
18.36 Weymouth to Birmingham New Street (arrives 22.48)
11.35 Weymouth to Bournemouth (arrives 12.28) calling at Wareham (12.05) and Poole (12.16)
12.35 Bournemouth to Weymouth (arrives 13.23) calling at Poole (12.48) and Wareham (12.59)
Sundays 29 July, 5 August & 2 September
08.51 Southampton Central to Weymouth (arrives 10.08)
18.38 Weymouth to Birmingham New Street (arrives 22.42)
10.38 Weymouth to Bournemouth arrives (11.24) calling at Wareham (11.04) and Poole (11.15)
11.35 Bournemouth to Weymouth arrives (12.22) calling at Poole (11.44) and Wareham (11.55)

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BOOK REVIEW - 70F FRATTON LOCOMOTIVE DEPOT (Published by Tricorn. 160pp. Soft Cover. Price 14.99).
This recently published book by SCRS member Michael Harvey will be of interest to steam enthusiasts who had an interest in and around the Portsmouth area. Michael has researched life around Fratton Railway Shed during the 1950s and 1960s and has many written anecdotes by enginemen of that period. Michael’s passion for steam locomotives grew up in the shadow of Fratton depot and the station footbridge. He recalls how he managed to dodge the foreman on occasions when he was after the precious photographs and stock records, information which today is invaluable!  The photographs, the majority being black and white, are reproduced as seen and whilst there has been a certain amount of editorial laboratory sharpening they represent a true record of the era. The Society is also very grateful to Michael in giving us a “free” mention on Page 160.  Michael will be very pleased to sign a copy for you - please contact him at 288 Highbury Grove, Cosham, Portsmouth PO6 2RX. Tel. 02392 371215.

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WHAT’S IN A NAME? : by Stewart Smith

Curious, isn’t it, how one thing can lead to another?  While researching some historical content for the Society website I came across the Hampshire County Council railway history webpage, and was struck by how inaccurate it was.  For example, having funded its re-opening I didn’t expect the list of stations to omit Chandlers Ford, nor indeed Dean where the platforms proudly welcome travellers to the county, even though the station buildings are actually in Wiltshire.  My research has expanded to encompass a list of stations in the county, with opening and closing dates, and for good measure I added all stations in Dorset, the 41 stations extant at one time or another on the Isle of Wight, and those in parts of the “SCRS area” not in Hampshire or Dorset.*  Who would have guessed that at one time or another there were  173 stations in Hampshire, of which a surprising 73 are still open, while comparable figures for Dorset are 71 and 24 respectively?  I have used the pre-1971 local government boundaries in my analysis: using the current ones “transfers” 9 stations to Dorset, of which 4 are still open.  The Isle of Wight currently has 11 stations open.
The earliest Hampshire stations to open were Shapley Heath (later Winchfield) and Farnborough (Main) on 24th September 1838, still open and therefore the longest-lived in the county, while the honours for Dorset go to four stations of the Southampton & Dorchester Railway opened on 1st June 1847 – Wareham, Wool, Moreton and Dorchester South. The shortest-lived station was Denvilles Halt, just north of Havant on the Portsmouth Direct.  This served as a temporary terminus for the LSWR in 1859 during the “Battle of Havant”, when the LBSCR objected to the former company’s trains accessing its tracks between Havant and Portcreek Junctions. The last to open in Hampshire was Hedge End on 9th May 1990, whilst in Dorset it was Norden on the Swanage Railway, on 12th August 1995.
Most stations were traditionally named after the town, village or locale which they “served”.  Andover Road, subsequently renamed Micheldever, was possibly stretching the point, and it is said that from none of the intermediate stations on the Basingstoke & Alton Light Railway could the relevant village be seen.  The least said about Hinton Admiral the better (see T.T. 748, April 2011).  A surprisingly large number have been renamed over the years: highlights include New Poole Junction which eventually became Broadstone, via five intermediate names (not to be confused with Poole Junction which became Hamworthy Junction, now Hamworthy, or either of the two stations called Poole, one of which was at Hamworthy!).  Southampton Terminus had five different names during its 126 year existence (a feat equalled by the current Southampton Central), and also had the distinction of being the only main line station in Great Britain to be named with that suffix.  The extent to which these changes confused passengers is unknown – personally I have always referred Mottisfont & Dunbridge during its various incarnations as “Dunbridge”.  Other station re-namings made to avoid confusion included Brockhurst on the Gosport branch, changed to Fort Brockhurst in 1893, the confusion being with Brockenhurst which had been open since 1847, and Privett Halt on the same line which became Fort Gomer when Privett on the Meon Valley opened.  Curiously, the former served a village called Privett, while the latter initially served no such place as the village grew up around the station!  The prize for indecision goes to Ash on the SER Guildford to Reading line. First it changed to Ash & Aldershot, then Aldershot (Ash), but reverted to Ash & Aldershot after less than a year.  A spell as Ash Junction predated its reversion to Ash in 1926, which title it retains to this day.  Only just outdone, the LSWR’s Ash, on the Tongham loop became Ash Green, then Ash again, then Ash Green again, and finally Ash Green Halt.  Fortunately it closed in 1937, thus avoiding further confusion!
Unlike those on the mainland, IoW stations clung tenaciously to their original names, with only 4 adopting new ones at one time or another, and even these were only variations of the originals – presumably no one ever turned up at Newport expecting to find themselves in Monmouthshire or Shropshire, nor at Mill Hill anticipating the delights of north London or Lancashire.  It would also have been difficult to confuse the two Lakes, given that the mainland version closed around 1920 while that on the Island opened on 11th May 1987.
The prize for the longest name goes to the former Atlantic Park Hostel Halt, which upon re-opening became “Southampton Parkway for Southampton (Eastleigh) Airport” between 1986 and 1994.  The shortest name is Ash, followed by Hurn (once it had been renamed from Herne), Sway, Hook, Liss, Wool and Dean.  The latter five are the original names.  Dean shares the distinction with Tidworth of being bisected by a county boundary:  the Dean station buildings are in Wiltshire, but most of both platforms are in Hampshire, while at Tidworth (closed on 19th September 1955) the booking clerk in Wiltshire sold tickets to passengers standing in Hampshire.
A surprisingly large number of “private” stations existed at one time, even excluding those on the Woolmer Military Instructional Railway (Longmoor) and the Marchwood Military Railways.  The Longmoor stations were not always “private” – certainly during WW2 civilians were conveyed provided they held a ticket, promising conveyance at the holders’ risk.  The three stations within the Marchwood Military Port have always been “private”, except for use on rare open days.  Beaulieu Road started as a station for the exclusive benefit of Lord Montagu.  Not to be outdone, Lord Malmesbury had two – Herne (later Hurn) for his family’s use and Avon Lodge performing a similar function for his tenants and servants. Most exclusive was Royal Clarence Yard in Gosport, built for and used almost exclusively by Queen Victoria and visiting Heads of State arriving or departing Portsmouth by Royal yacht or battleship!  After her death it was seldom if ever used.  Portsmouth Dockyard South Jetty was slightly less exclusive, being used principally for military personnel.  Ampress Works Halt, Lake (or The Lake according to some accounts, the one near Poole rather than the current one), and Holton Heath were all built to serve specific factories, with only the last named becoming a public station, in 1924.  Charlton Marshall Halt was used for 5 years after closure to the public for special trains for nearby Clayesmore Preparatory School at the start and end of each term, through carriages running from and to Waterloo.
Other curiosities included the facilities provided for passengers travelling to Knowle Hospital who, prior to the construction of Knowle Asylum Halt (served only by Meon Valley line trains), were set down at the lineside in the Down direction only.  One can only assume that the number of inmates was swollen accordingly, as no arrangements were in place to pick up returning visitors!  Of particular note were the twin stations opened by the London Necropolis Company in 1854, Brookwood Cemetery North and South stations.  Separate facilities were provided for non-conformists and for Anglicans respectively, such religious discrimination being unique, so far as I know, in this country.  Similar distinction was not deemed to be required (or practical) at the company’s other station fronting Westminster Bridge Road, near Waterloo.
Also deserving special mention are the four stations within Southampton Docks (excluding Royal Pier), namely those at the Outer Dock (by the present Ocean Village) served until the end by the first Up train of the day to Waterloo, at 38/39 Berth (the QE II Terminal), at 43/44 Berth (the Ocean Terminal, demolished in 1980), and 106 Berth.  To label the latter as a station is perhaps a little generous as the single platform originally provided was only approximately 4ft long.
A few questions remain.  Given that records of military facilities can sometimes be obscure, does any member know whether stations were ever provided at Deepcut, Pirbright or Blackdown on the Bisley Camp branch, or at Avington Park, Winnal Down and Morn Hill on the branch off the Didcot, Newbury & Southampton Railway just north of Chesil Tunnel?  Was Poole (the first station, at Hamworthy Quay, opened in 1847) renamed when the second Poole station opened in 1872, given that the former didn’t close until 1896?  And finally, were passengers (including casualties) ever conveyed to Park Prewitt Hospital (Basingstoke) by rail?
* The SCRS “core” area encompasses the counties of Hampshire and Dorset, plus extremities bounded by the Portsmouth Direct, the South Western West of England main line between Woking and Axminster, and the Lyme Regis branch, together with sundry extraneous branches.  A “station” is deemed to be any facility with a platform used by passengers to join or alight from a train – this includes those on the Lee-on-Solent Railway which had platforms 4 inches high devoid of any shelter or other accommodation.  A full listing will appear soon on the SCRS website.

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 Material for Track Topics should be sent to The Editor, 14 Saxon Walk, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh. SO53 2HZ