History of the Hayling Island branch published

05 April 2023
Ralph Cousins combines articles on this fascinating line in this locally-produced book for the Havant Borough History project.

Despite closure, perhaps because of its association with holidays, the Hayling line has always fascinated modellers. In the January 2023 issue of BRM, we featured Richard Barton's wonderful O gauge model, set in pre-grouping days, which proved popular with readers, and subscribers to our YouTube channel.

You can delve deeper into the history of the line thanks to this updated compilation of articles and historical information, brought together by Ralph Cousins as part of the Havant Borough History project.

Spiral bound, this 183-page book is full of archive and model photographs. A history of the line, and details of the rolling stock is coved, with chapters on the Haylin Oyster beds, an important source of traffic for the railway, and personal recollections of working on it.

The book won't be widely available in shops, but can be ordered direct from Ralph ([email protected]) for £10 plus £3.00 P&P.

The 4½ mile Hayling branch opened in 1867 from Havant on the joint LB&SCR and LSWR line. The population of the Island was tiny, only reaching 1,600 by 1901, but the promoters were attracted by the four miles of sandy beaches and the Island’s potential as a resort.

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To minimise costs, the terminus was built in a sparsely populated part of the Island and stopped 800 yards short of the sea. The LB&SCR took over running the line from the contractor in 1872, and, from the early 1890s to closure in 1963, the line became synonymous with Brighton 'Terriers', whose low weight was essential for the 1,000ft long timber Langstone Bridge.

If you'd like to enjoy Richard Barton's model, why not try our World of Railways Plus, where you'll be able to read our back issues.

We've also a short film on our YouTube channel.

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