[Source: Nick Catford]

Date opened: 12.5.1894
Location: On the edge of a military training area on the south side of Portsmouth Road (B3333)
Company on opening: Lee-on-the Solent Railway
Date closed to passengers: 1.5.1930
Date closed completely: 1.5.1930
Company on closing: Southern Railway
Present state: Demolished
County: Hampshire
OS Grid Ref: SZ578994
Date of visit: 11.3.2006

Notes: The halt was originally to have had two low platforms, one either side of the level crossing. It is unclear whether these were ever built. Traffic at all the halts was very light but Browndown was the busiest as it was used by armed forces to reach the adjacent ranges. It was also well used during the summer by walkers and picnickers but was the only halt not to have a waiting shelter.

At one time trains only stopped by request. The halt was closed on 31.8.1914 and reopened 1.10.1914.
The Lee-on-the-Solent Railway Company obtained their Act of Parliament on 14th April 1890. By early 1892 little work had been carried out but by the spring of 1893 the line was nearing completion and was ready for a Board of Trade inspection on 15th July that year.

It was originally planned to operate the line as a tramroad using American style coaches with end steps down onto low platforms. Four stopping places were to be provided at Elmore, Browndown, Privett and Pound Lane Crossing. The latter three having a level crossing with a platform either side of the crossing. Only two were built however at Browndown and Privett.

The line failed its inspection on 13 points. Among other changes the Board of Trade insisting that if through trains were to run from the LSWR then standard height platforms would be needed at all the stations.

The line finally opened on 12th May 1894 with a locomotive hired from the South Western. The initial service comprised eight trains each way daily with three on Sundays, all services calling by request at the two intermediate halts.

Early passenger numbers were disappointing due in part to the lack of any through trains and a possible takeover by the LSWR was discussed as early as 1896 but the line was to remain independent until takeover by the Southern in 1923.

In June 1908 the South Western informed the company that both the locomotives they were hiring were worn out and no other suitable engines were available. Instead they offered the use of railmotors but before this was implemented the LSWR officially took powers to work the line with the railmotor service starting on 1st August 1909

A new halt was opened at Elmore on 11th April 1910. The railmotors lasted until 1915, when the working reverted to locomotive haulage and 'push-pull' trains which remained in use until closure of the line.

With the coming of the 1921 Railways Act the company was still in debt and the Southern were unwilling to take over the line as they would also be liable for its debts but on 4th January 1923 they finally agreed to take on the ailing company; the Lee-on-Solent board were glad to be rid of it.

An improved service under Southern control did nothing to improve the fortunes of the line due to competition from local busses and trams and the continuing inability of the company to offer through trains to London. Eventually the Southern realised that there was little prospect of the line ever making a profit. In 1930 guards were withdrawn from trains on the Lee branch which led to difficulty collecting fares from the few passengers traveling between the halts. As a result it was agreed that the three halts should be closed from 2nd May 1930. The savings made did nothing to improve the fortunes of the line and total closure was announced for 1st January 1931. The closure was met with indifference form the local community with only six men and a dog traveling on the last train.

The goods service to Lee was retained until 30th September 1935 although there was no regular service with trains running 'as required'. The track was lifted between Lee and Gomer Halt in 1939. Towards the end of WW2 the remaining section

Further reading: The Railways of Gosport by Kevin Robertson - Kingfisher 1986
ISBN 0 946184 25 9 (out of print)
Branch Lines around Gosport by Vic. Mitchell & Keith. Smith - Middleton Press 1991
ISBN 0 906520 36 3

For other stations on the Lee-on-the-Solent branch click on the station name: Fort Brockhurst, Fort Gomer Halt, Elmore Halt,


Browndown Halt c.1908 - The picture is captioned 'the arrival of General Franklin to review the brigade'
Copyright photograph from John Alsop collection

Browndown Halt early 20th century

Looking west in March 2006. Browndown Halt was behind the hedge - the site is now a military training area with no public access.
hoto by Nick Catford




[Source: Nick Catford]

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