Station Name: GOSPORT CLARENCE YARD

 

[Source: Nick Catford]




Date opened: 21.9.1845
Location: Within Clarence Yard east of Weevil Lane
Company on opening: London & South Western Railway
Date closed to passengers: 1.2.1901
Date closed completely: ?
Company on closing: London & South Western Railway
Present state: Demolished - the site has been cleared for housing
County: Hampshire
OS Grid Ref: SU618004
Date of visit: 11.3.2006

Notes: In 1846, the renovation of Osborne House at Cowes on the Isle of Wight was completed and upon remembering her previous trip to Gosport the Queen Victoria requested that the ramparts be opened (a request that the Commanding Officer of the Garrison readily agreed) and a 600 yard extension was laid into the Royal Clarence Yard where the new Royal station was built.

The station consisted of a single curved platform flanked on one side by a long wall. There was a waiting room for Royal travelers but it is said that Queen Victoria never used it when using the station. When the Queen used the station a carpet was laid between the train and the Royal Yacht.

The line of the extension from Gosport Station through the town ramparts to Weevil Lane is being (March 2006) restored and new track has been laid along this short section.

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE FAREHAM - GOSPORT LINE
A railway to Gosport was first promoted in 1836 as part of a plan by the London and Southampton Railway to connect Portsmouth to London. There was strong opposition from local residents to the building of a branch line into Portsmouth for a line that was destined for Southampton, such was the animosity between the two towns. Instead it was proposed that the line should be built to Gosport from where there was a short ferry journey to Portsmouth. The plan was dropped but was revived two years by the London and South Western Railway (LSWR) who had taken over the London & Southampton. The proposed terminus was to be just short of the town centre as Gosport was a fortified town and the Commanding Officer refused to allow the walls to be breached to bring the railway closer to the town centre.

The line opened on 29th November 1841. The terminus at Gosport was designed by William Tite in an Italianate classic tradition and finished with Tuscan columns with Corinthian capitals and an overall 'trainshed' roof. The station was first used by the Royal Family on 8th October 1843 when Prince Albert arrived at Gosport by train to greet the King Louis - Phillipe of France. Queen Victoria came to the station six days later when she accompanied the King on his return to France. The following year the Queen purchased the Osborne Estate on the Isle of Wight and the Clarence Victualing Yard at Gosport was her favoured point of departure rather than Portsmouth or Southampton. Shortly afterwards Prince Albert and the LSWR agreed to build a 605 yard extension from Gosport through the ramparts of the Gosport Lines to a new station closer to the pier; Gosport Clarence Yard Station (also known as Royal Victoria Station) opened on 13th September 1845.

The railway and the station were very busy in the middle part of the 19th century, particularly with the carriage of coal and other freight. However the opening of a direct service from London to Portsmouth in 1847 began to have a heavy impact on Gosport. An intermediate station at Brockhurst was opened on 1st November 1865 to accommodate the troops occupying the forts at the north end of the town.

By 1900 passenger numbers were in decline due in part to the competition from street tramways but with the coming of WW1 rail traffic quickly improved with supplies to and from the Royal Clarence Yard and large numbers of troop movements including the transportation of the wounded soldiers to Haslar Hospital in Gosport.

After the war, the line was again in decline and in 1934 the twin track to Fareham was singled leaving only a passing loop at Brockhurst; a rubber tyred, petrol engine, rail bus was introduced in 1937 as a further economy measure. Despite the lack of passengers, goods traffic on the line remained heavy and was increasing up to the start of WW2. During the war the branch once again saw increased military activity including supplies, hospital trains and trains carrying prisoners of war on their way to the local internment camp. With the end of the hostilities in 1945 the future of the line was soon in doubt with closure to passengers coming on 6th June 1953. Freight traffic continued until 30th January 1969 when final closure came with only the northern section of the line serving the Royal Naval stores depot at Bedenham being retained; this remains in use today. The section of line between Fort Brockhurst and the outskirts of Gosport has now been turned into a public footpath and cycleway.

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 Fareham - Gosport branch click on the station name: Fareham, Fort Brockhurst & Gosport

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

See also the Stokes Bay and Gosport Road & Alverstoke

 

Gosport Clarence Yard Station in c.1900



The line for the extension from Gosport Station through the town ramparts into Clarence Yard
seen in March 2006
P
hoto by Nick Catford

Undated

2006

2006

2006

Click on thumbnail to enlarge



 

 

 

[Source: Nick Catford]


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