Station Name: HYTHE

[Source: Nick Catford]


Hythe Station Gallery 2: c.Mid 1960s - April 1970


Hythe station looking towards Marchwood sometime during the final years of the passenger service. Of interest here is the signal, which appears to be a Down Home signal, at the far end of the platform. This signal was a new installation and at the time of the photograph had an 'X' shaped device mounted on its arm to indicate to drivers that the signal was not in use and could be ignored. In all likelihood control was from the new signal box at Frost Lane (on the south-eastern outskirts of Hythe) and given that the signal was not yet in use when photographed we can date the photograph to 1962. Watering facilities for locomotives have also now gone and this would support 1962. On the right we can see the nameless lamp at this end of the platform, also the rather basic platform bench which, contrary to common practice, bore no station nameplate on its backrest. Fixed to the fence is an apparently notice-less noticeboard. A relative lack of noticeboards and posters seems to have been common to all the rather dismal Fawley branch stations.
Photo from John Mann collection

Hythe station looking towards Fawley on an unknown date when the station was still open. The water tower has apparently gone and the water column has certainly gone, so this would indicate the 1962-66 period. Visible are six 'target' nameplates; three on the station building and one on each of the three lamp standards on the Marchwood end of the platform. The placing of a 'target' or totem right next to a running-in board would seem rather wasteful but this practice was not uncommon. At the Fawley end of Hythe's platform was another lamp, set further away from the running-in board at that end and photographic evidence suggest this lamp never bore a 'target'. Examination of the photograph shows there is a van on the dock siding behind the far end of the platform and just beyond the platform can be seen the junction for the dock siding, controlled from a ground frame.
Photo from John Mann collection

Hythe station sometime between 1962 and closure to passengers. The objects on the platform are wooden crates. The car on the forecourt is a Ford, either a Prefect E93A or perhaps a V8 Pilot.
Photo from John Mann collection

Sharp-eyed readers will notice the signal beyond the far end of the platform and from othercaptions will know it was commissioned in 1962 with Frost Lane Crossing signal box. The green-liveried Class 3H DEMU with no form of warning panel may therefore seem puzzling and suggestive if an earlier period. In fact No.1129 was from the final batch built in 1962 and was ex-works in the livery seen here. Yellow warning panels began to appear that same year so in considering No.1129 was ex-works without a warning panel, we can safely assume this view dates from 1962. The unit has twin air horns on the cab roof; late builds were so-fitted when new whereas earlier builds (the type appeared in 1957) originally had air whistles in the same manner as older EMU stock. No.1129 was destined to be involved in the Cowden disaster of 1994, but which time she had been repainted into BR green. Class 2H (two car) 'Hampshire' units first appeared on the Fawley branch Sunday service, if one could call one train each way a 'service') on 12 October 1958 and operated it regularly from 16 November with Class 3H (three car) appearing the following year. By 1962 the only steam services on the branch were the 6.22am (SO) Eastleigh - Fawley, the 12.41pm (SO) Fawley - Southampton and the 6.43 pm (SX) Fawley - Eastleigh. By this time there were only three trains in each direction weekdays only, conveniently timed for the refinery workers, and timetables show this had been the case in 1961 if not earlier. The winter 1962-63 timetable showed the service, now Monday - Friday only, had been reduced to two trains each way, these being 6.28am Eastleigh - Fawley, 8am Fawley - Southampton, 3.46pm Eastleigh - Fawley and the 4.50 pm Fawley - Portsmouth Harbour. Of these, the first three carried headcode 76 or 78 while the Portsmouth service carried headcode 42. At Hythe, the lamp standard on the right was never to bear a 'target' nameplate yet plenty were spread along the rest of the platform. Hythe and Fawley were never to receive BR totems.
Photo from John Mann collection

Hythe station on an unknown date but evidence would suggest shortly after closure. The 'target' nameplates have gone but platform lighting remains, fire buckets are still present and the sign remains on the door of the stationmaster's office. Hythe stationmaster was also responsible for Marchwood, multi-station responsibilities being not uncommon across the country and especially following economy drives from the 1930s onwards.
Photo from John Mann collection

April 1970 finds the camera looking down the gradient towards Hythe goods yard, this time showing the Fawley branch on the left. Hythe station is out of view in the left background but the chimney provides a reference point. The background is dominated by the former Supermarine works, by this time RAF Hythe and manned by the US Army.
Photo by Ian Nolan from his Flickr photostream

In April 1970 the camera is looking down the gradient towards Hythe goods yard. The Fawley branch is at a higher level on the left but out of view. Hythe station building can be seen in the background left of centre, a convenient point of identification being the leaning chimney pot. On the left stands a typical Southern Railway concrete hut, next to which is the loading gauge - clearly no longer able to gauge any loads. The purpose of these gauges was to check that loaded wagons, other than of enclosed vans of course, were within the loading gauge and thus loads would not foul bridges, tunnels, signals, platform canopies and so on. The siting of this loading gauge away from the yard and on a gradient seems rather odd. As always on the Southern, the gauge was of reinforced concrete and part of the reinforcement is visible at the damaged area just below the cantilever. In the days of loose-coupled wagons, runaways would have been a potential risk. Precisely what the Rule Book stated for Hythe yard is not known but almost certainly would have included a requirement for wagon brakes to be pinned down. One might reasonably expect catch points to have been installed but as far as is known never were.
Photo by Ian Nolan from his Flickr photostream

Looking up the gradient from Hythe goods yard towards the junction with the Fawley branch in April 1970. The branch can be seen on the embankment behind the concrete hut and the junction was some distance away. The points in the foreground mark the divergence of the yard's two sidings. The concrete hut, or a hut, can be seen marked in the 1932 map so it had probably been there since the line opened. The low wall on the right looks suspiciously like a goods platform but in fact it was just a retaining wall. The dock at the rear of Hythe station platform was to its right but at a rather higher level as can be judged from the embankment.
Photo by Ian Nolan from his Flickr photostream

Hythe goods yard seen here in April 1970. The yard comprised just the two sidings seen here and the only under-cover accommodation appears to have been the grounded van body, left background. There was once a crane, located directly ahead of the camera and adjacent to the siding on the right. Goods facilities had been withdrawn from Hythe in January 1967 and presumably this included the dock at the passenger station as well as this yard. Topography dictated that Hythe goods yard was at a lower level than the Fawley branch which is, as is the station, out of view to the left. The junction for the goods yard was some considerable distance behind the camera and was controlled by Hythe West Ground Frame, which in later years was unlocked from Frost Lane signal box. Behind the fence in the background, where the BMC 1100 car is seen, ran the station approach road which gave access from Shore Road. Running left to right behind the buildings ahead of the camera, but not visible, is South Street, which passed beneath the railway a little way beyond the end of the platform. To the right was the former Supermarine premises and beyond that Southampton Water. The tall chimney seen in many views of Hythe station was behind and to the right of the camera. Shore Road runs behind the wall to the right.
Photo by Ian Nolan from his Flickr photostream

The dock at the down end of Hythe station in April 1970. Hythe goods yard is at the lower level to the right and certain buildings seen here can be referenced in the photographs of the yard. Goods traffic had been withdrawn from Hythe in January 1967 and despite a lack of suitable photographs from the 1967 -70 period it would seem that the siding serving the dock was lifted fairly quickly. The track in the goods yard, however, was to remain in situ for some years. The situation at Hythe, with dock and separate goods yard, may appear a little strange but provision of a dock, usually a cattle dock, adjacent to or as part of a passenger station was quite common. The reason for this was the types of wagon likely to use a dock, typically cattle wagons, were usually what came to be known as 'XP Rated'; in other words, such wagons could be - and were - attached to passenger trains, thus a dock attached, or adjacent, to a passenger station was far more operationally convenient. Other traffic which could use a dock was horseboxes, road vehicles loaded or unloaded and parcels vans, the latter almost always dealt with by station staff. Those reasons aside, Hythe goods yard was cramped and, given the date of its construction, allowance would have been built in for the turning of road motor vehicles so there was little or no room for a dock. In the left background the parapets of South Street bridge can be seen. This is a steel plate girder bridge with a height limit for road traffic of 14ft. Two females, probably mother and daughter, can be seen standing to the right of the station building. They appear in a number of photographs taken at the same time so one suspects a connection with the photographer.
Photo by Ian Nolan from his Flickr photostream

A close-up view of Hythe dock in April 1970 with evidence of lifted sleepers visible on the right. Unfortunately, and despite one photograph showing a van in the dock siding but from a distance, no photographs have come to light showing the dock when still in use. One is therefore left to assume that there were once cattle pens and evidence might be the gate seen here on the right. The ‘Railway Clearing House Handbook of Stations’ for 1956 shows that Hythe no longer dealt with livestock.
Photo by Ian Nolan from his Flickr photostream

Click here for Hythe Station Gallery 3:
April 1970 - December 1975


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