The Military at Marchwood

[Source: Darren Kitson].


Construction of the first Marchwood power station began in 1952 and this photograph, which came with no information whatsoever, most likely dates from that year. The meaning of the dubbed black and white line ('the line') is unclear but it does embrace the reclaimed marshes bordering the River Test and this is the area within which the power station was built under the auspices of the British Electricity Authority. To the right is Cracknore Hard and Husband's Shipyard (the building with the lettering on its roof) while the sinuous part of the line winding its way inland follows the original course of Cracknore Hard Lane. To the right of Cracknore Hard Lane is the reason for including this photograph; the original 1939 Magazines and railway sidings. This was the branch from Marchwood Junction which predated, but later formed a part of, the Marchwood Military Railway. Part of Marchwood Military Port can be seen at extreme right. As mentioned elsewhere, Cracknore Hard Magazines were served by two sidings but there were also three other sidings and all of which can be seen. The northernmost siding, ie that on the left of the layout, has some buildings alongside it but their purpose is unknown. They may have been offices, basic locomotives facilties or both. To its right, the next siding appears to continue across the road towards the shipyard but the photograph is too unclear to determine anything further. In 2016 the footprint of the magazines is still discernible but only one of the sidings still exists and, now effectively disused, is all that remains of the Cracknore Hard Branch north-east of what are now the military railway exchange sidings, notwithstanding the somewhat mysterious lengths of embedded track at Cracknore Hard Jetty. The temporary spur to the power station is usually assumed to date from 1956, probably because the only known photographs of it in use date from that year. However, the spur would likely have existed before this date in order to bring in power station construction materials. Scrutiny of a greatly enlarged version of this photograph suggests it was in situ at the time the photograph was taken. From the fan of the Magazine sidings a track can just be discerned curving away northwards (ie to the left) and crossing Cracknore Hard Lane. Towards the left of the photograph, in the darker area, are what appear to be some stabled wagons but, again, the photograph is too unclear to confirm beyond doubt.
Photo from
Southern Daily Echo. Reproduced under the non commercial permissions of Newsquest Media Group Ltd


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