Station Name: LEE-ON-THE-SOLENT

 

[Source: Nick Catford]



Date opened: 12.5.1894
Location: On the west side of Marine Parade (B3333)
Company on opening: Lee-on-the Solent Railway
Date closed to passengers: 1.1.1931
Date closed completely: 30.9.1935
Company on closing: Southern Railway
Present state: The main station building is still extant with few external alterations apart from an extension on the platform side. Internally the building has been gutted and now houses an amusement arcade. The platform has been demolished with a public car park occupying the site.
County: Hampshire
OS Grid Ref: SU564003
Date of visit: 11.3.2006

Notes: The station at Lee was alongside the beach. Facilities were basic with a single storey brick building incorporating a waiting room and booking office at the end of the line. There were two extensions at the platform side of the main building which included a porter's room and ladies waiting room, store and toilets. Apart from two small huts there were no buildings on the platform and no canopy. The station had a crossover loop that also acted as a siding and no signalbox.

In 1917 the Admiralty built a rail connected seaplane depot close to the station. After 1922 the station was downgraded coming under the control of the stationmaster at Fort Brockhurst with a senior porter in charge at Lee.

Freight traffic was relatively healthy consisting mainly of coal and building materials for new housing being built during the life of the line. The station was closed on 31.8.1914 and reopened 1.10.1914.
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE LEE-ON-THE-SOLENT LIGHT RAILWAY
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, Browndown HaltElmore Halt,

 

Lee-on-the-Solent Station in February 1928
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection



Lee-on-the-Solent Station seen from the pier (now demolished) in the early 20th century

Lee-on-the-Solent Station in March 2006 taken from the same viewpoint as the picture above
P
hoto by Nick Catford

1910

Before 1912

Undated

1930

2006

2006

2006

2006

Click on thumbnail to enlarge


 

 

 

[Source: Nick Catford]


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