OK, so I know the picture has nothing to do with railways. I can’t even make a link with Portsmouth Railway Station as it is just out of view.
A couple of days ago, I finished reading The Gosport Historic Records and Museum Society’s leaflet, Gosport’s Railway Era published in 1975. It’s taken me quite a. While to read it. And, in doing so along with reading the Gosport Journal has made me wonder if I shouldn’t reread Leonard White’s The Story of Gosport. It’s likely to put things in to a slightly different context to the first time I read it, probably a couple of years ago now.
Gosport’s railway era spans a relatively short period of time, and was not without its tribulations. Competition amongst railways companies, and towns especially Portsmouth meant that the railway in Gosport would be commercially vulnerable from its inception. What (or who) kept it going in the early days was Queen Victoria, using intialy Gosport Station as her jumping off point for travel to Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. Then later, with that short extension in to Clarence yard, punching a hole through the ramparts that were Gosport’s defences. That extensions last duty was to carry Victorias body when she died in 1901. The line was never the same after that.
It’s surprising to read that there were not more accidents on the Clarence extension. It appears that goods wagons were transferred form Gosport station to the yard by gravity, being started on their way, personnel had to run beside them to apply the brakes before they flew off the end of the pier. Must have been interesting in winter.
The era cam to an end in June 1953, when the last commercial passengers service ran. It’s a pity that it did end. It always saddens me when a railway line closes. The only saving grace is the legacy that the railway leaves; the excellent bus route & cycle track, the remains of the historic station, and the fascinating story of the extension in to Clarence Yard.
Just in case you didn’t know; a very little bit of the extension with tracks remains, just a few 10s of yards, along with the tunnel through the ramparts, which sadly, we can’t walk through, but it is clear.
A fascinating read of yet another feature of the interesting history of Gosport.