Arrival of the Portsmouth Direct Line 1857

In the winter of 1857/8, the Portsmouth Company’s railway line between Godalming and Havant was connected to the London Brighton & South Coast Railway LB&SCR) at Havant. This provided a much shorter route to London via Guildford.

Incredibly, running rights over the LB&SCR to Portcreek Junction had not yet been agreed and thus left the new line isolated without the ability to even bring trains into Havant Station. The Portsmouth Company under its Act of 12th July 1858 obtained the right to run trains over the LB&SCR tracks to Portcreek Junction subject to agreement by arbitration.  The LB&SCR gave notice that without agreement they would block  any trains through Havant.

Despite the above threat, the route was taken over by the London & South Western Railway (LSWR) in December 1858. Its own route to London via Fareham was not well used and the new line would increase receipts. The LSWR announced that a goods train would arrive at Havant on 28 December 1858 and run on to Portsmouth on the LB&SCR tracks. On arrival at the junction with the LB&SCR, with the support of many labourers, platelayers and railway police, they found a loco was positioned across the junction and some of the track had been removed. This led to the ‘Battle of Havant’ which was not resolved until 1859, following arbitration.

and . See Ralph Cousins’ booklet, for more details.


Apart from the railway lines in Portsmouth, this is the railway map that we recognise today.

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