Station Name: STOKES BAY

 

[Source: Nick Catford]



Date opened: 6.4.1863
Location: At the end of Military Road
Company on opening: Stokes Bay Railway & Pier Company
Date closed to passengers: 1.11.1915
Date closed completely: 1.11.1915
Company on closing: LSWR
Present state: Demolished
County: Hampshire
OS Grid Ref: SZ600978
Date of visit: July 1995 & 11.3.2006

Notes: The terminus was constructed entirely on a pier over the sea and was primarily intended for ferry passengers to and from the Isle of Wight.

The all weather terminal was 600' in length with two wooden platforms and an overall roof and incorporated waiting rooms and offices at the end of the platforms. Ramps led down either side of the pier. The station was equipped to handle goods traffic but was little used with only the occasional goods wagon attached to a passenger train.

An examination of the pier supports in 1895 forced the closure of the pier for repairs to be undertaken the following year. During this period a temporary platform was built on land to the north of the station.

The pier was damaged during an air attack in WW2

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE STOKES BAY BRANCH
The first abortive scheme for a branch to Stokes Bay from the Fareham - Gosport line (opened in 1841) was promoted in 1846 as the Gosport Pier and Branch Railway in order to cash in on the popularity of the Isle of Wight as a holiday destination.

The proposal was resurrected in 1854 when the Stokes Bay and Isle of Wight Railway and Pier Company promoted the construction of 1 1/2 miles of line from a junction just west of Gosport station to a new pier at Stokes Bay where trains would run directly onto the pier where there would be transfer facilities for a ferry service to a new pier at Ryde.

The LSWR refused to support the scheme and there were considerable opposition from existing ferry operators but this was dropped when the new company agreed to let other operators use their pier. The Stokes Bay Railway and Pier Act were passed by parliament on 14th August 1855.

Problems finding a suitable contractor and investors delayed the start of construction for several years and the short branch eventually opened on 6th April 1863. At first a reversal at Gosport was required as the Stokes Bay branch was only accessible from a trailing connection into the main line but a new east curve was eventually opened on 1st June 1865 giving direct access from Fareham; from the same date an intermediate station was opened at Gosport Road. Initially there were five trains each way on weekdays and two on Sundays operated by the LSWR.

Although the ferry crossing was quicker than from Portsmouth, there were no direct trains from London so the new service was not popular as it offered little advantage over the existing route via Portsmouth and the LSWR resisted pressure to improve the service to avoid conflict with the LB & SCR.

The Stokes Bay Company eventually sold out to the LSWR in 1875. Once ownership had been transferred the LSWR were keen to improve the service as it provided the shortest and most convenient route to the Isle of Wight. Despite their enthusiasm, the route was never a great success. Passenger traffic was only brisk during the summer and in 1902 the ferry service from Strokes Bay was suspended during winter months. The opening a new route between Waterloo and Stokes Bay along the recently opened Meon Valley Line in 1902 did not bring the expected increase in passenger numbers and the new service was withdrawn in 1914.

The steamer service to the Isle of Wight was suspended at the start of WW1 and was never reinstated. Despite the loss of the ferry, the passenger service was still running in the summer of 1915 but it was little used and both Stokes Bay and Gosport road were then closed for the duration of the war taking effect from 1st November 1915.

The pier was then taken over by the Admiralty for the transportation of munitions and fuel. After the war the LSWR did not reopen the line to passengers and in 1922 sold the pier and the line south of Gosport Road station to the Admiralty who converted the pier into a torpedo station but had no use for the railway which was replaced by a narrow gauge line.

The track was lifted in stages and by 1930 all that remained was the old down line as far as the Admiralty boundary south of Gosport Road Station. This stub line was used for stock storage. Shortly after that date the sub was cut back when Gosport Road station was sold to the council.

Today much of the Stokes Bay branch is a public footpath although Gosport Road Station site is now occupied by a telephone exchange and extension to the White Hart pub car park. 'Little Anglesey Viaduct' still bridges an inlet from Portsmouth Harbour. Stokes Bay pier has gone with just a slipway at the end of Military Road to indicate its former position.

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

See also Gosport Road & Alverstoke

 

Stokes Bay station and pier



Stokes Bay Station
Photo by Sean Bolan

The site of Stokes Bay station and pier in March 2006
P
hoto by Nick Catford

1905

1995

1995

2006

Click on thumbnail to enlarge


 

 

 

[Source: Nick Catford]


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