Station Name: SOUTHAMPTON TERMINUS

[Source: Dave Marden]

Date opened: 11.5.1840
Location: On the east side of Terminus Terrace
Company on opening: London & South Western Railway
Date closed to passengers: 5.9.1966
Date closed completely: 5.9.1966
Company on closing: British Railways (Southern Region)
Present state: Although the platforms have been demolished the freight line to Eastern Docks still passes the site of the station. Traffic is mainly freight with occasional boat trains. The main station building designed by Sir William Tite survives and houses the Mint Casino. At the rear of this the covered concourse is also still extant and used as a car park. The south end of the platforms also forms part of this car park while the north end has been redeveloped with housing now occupying the site. The goods shed, on the east side of the dock line is also extant and in use as a car park.
County: Hampshire
OS Grid Ref: SU426111
Date of visit: 1969, November 1975, August 1977 & 14th June 2009
Notes: Although 'officially' opened on 10th June 1839 the London & Southampton Railway was not fully operational until the 11th. May the following year when the section between Basingstoke and Winchester was completed. By then the company had changed its name to the London & South Western Railway to reflect its ambitions for territorial growth. The Terminus at
Southampton, known simply as 'Southampton' (it being the only station in the town) was initially excluded from passenger operations due a dispute of running rights, and tickets were issued at a small open platform known as Southampton Northam Road just to its north. The station was renamed 'Southampton Docks' in July 1858 to distinguish it from Southampton West.

Initially, the station comprised just two platforms and an engine shed and additional sidings were added by 1865, and by the late 1860s the opulent Imperial Hotel (later the South Western Hotel) had been added to the southern end of the station. Initially the Southampton was an 'open' station and a 250' platform for collecting and examining tickets was
provided north of the Bridge Road crossing (later Central Bridge), and ticket examination was later undertaken at Northam when that station was opened in 1872.


The passenger platforms had been substantially lengthened by 1870 and a goods yard constructed adjacent to Terminus Terrace, together with a telegraph office, along with others for the local shipping companies. After completion of the Central Bridge in 1882 (this replaced the contentious Bridge Road level crossing) several more sidings were laid on the eastern side of the station, together with a large goods shed which still stands today.

The original engine shed was still in use in 1847 but was later replaced by converting part of the goods shed into a 1 road depot, with associated turntable this closed in 1895 and was replaced by an open turntable with radiating roads, coal stage, water column(s) and crew bothy. It was periodically improved over the years, ending with a 70' vacuum turntable that closed
on 5th September1966.

In 1876 the railway purchased an area of open land to the north west of Central Bridge where a loco depot and new turntable was established. Three additional platform lines and an island platform were added to the terminus in 1891 with goods and parcels traffic being diverted to an improved yard alongside the goods shed at St. Lawrence Road. In September 1896 the terminus had another change of identity with is name changed to 'Southampton Town for Docks', but it finally became 'Southampton Terminus' in July 1923.

In July 1924 some of the platforms lines were shortened to facilitate a private road between the station and the hotel main entrance. A glass canopy was also provided to ensure the weatherproof comport of the new concourse. By 1926 a new parcels office had been installed in the station and within another two years the six platforms had been renumbered in reverse order, starting from the west side of the station, and no doubt adding great confusion to the travelling public.

The early 1900s saw traffic increasingly transferred to Southampton West but by 1905 the terminus was handling GWR services from the Didcot and Newbury Line, and in its latter years the main areas served by the terminus were Reading, Alton & Portsmouth. By 1965 passenger numbers had seriously declined and the final blow came with the electrification of the
Waterloo to Bournemouth line, which omitted the terminus, and the station officially closed on September 5th. 1966, though the parcels office remained open for Christmas mail in 1967 and 1968 before transfer to Southampton Central (formerly West).

Much of the trackwork had been lifted by December 1968 and the yard signal box closed by 1970, being demolished in May 1969. The redundant platforms were used for car parking and the spaces between them filled in to provide extra accommodation for vehicles.

Most of the original station yard along Terminus Terrace was redeveloped for housing, and student accommodation now stands on the former goods yard. The original 1840 terminus has survived and, having been refurbished in 1987, now houses a casino/bar. The large 1882 goods shed also lives on as a covered car park for the surrounding student accommodation.

Tickets from Michael Stewart

See also Northam & Southampton Royal Pier


Looking south towards Southampton Town (for Docks) Station in c.1904
Copyright photo from John Alsop Collection




Southampton Town (for Docks) Station in 1928

Looking south towards Southampton Terminus in August 1933
Copyright photo from John Alsop Collection


Looking south towards Southampton Terminus in c.1950's

Looking south towards Southampton Terminus the day after closure
Photo by Dave Marden

Looking south towards Southampton Terminus in 1969
P
hoto by Nick Catford

Looking south towards Southampton Terminus in 1984
P
hoto by John Law from Everything on Rails web site

Looking north in 1990. The site of the platforms is on the left with one platform face remaining to the left of the track. The former goods shed is seen on the right.
P
hoto by Dave Marden

Looking south from a similar viewpoint to the 1984 picture above in June 2009. The area once occupied by the platforms has now been redeveloped.
P
hoto by Dave Marden

Click here for more pictures of Southampton Terminus


 

 

 

[Source: Dave Marden]


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