In January 1907 motor-train working was introduced between Havant and Hayling Island. This consisted of a specially adapted ‘Terrier’ engine and a third class only auto-train trailer coach. With this arrangement the coach was pulled as normal with the engine in front on the outward journey and on the return journey the coach was pushed by the engine at the rear. The driver would sit in a small compartment at the end of the coach and control the engine regulator and brakes by levers connected through the coach, the fireman remained on the engine. Initially this was a mechanical connection but in 1909 it was changed to a pneumatic system. The single class coach was not popular as it had insufficient accommodation for the ever-increasing traffic in the summer months so during this period the motor-train was replaced by normal haulage with the engine running-round the train at each terminal. In 1916 the use of the motor-train was discontinued completely. Also the running of mixed trains found the push-pull method of operation an inconvenience
Clearly this introduction was not popular as the following report in the Hampshire Telegraph of 5 January 1907 shows:
At a meeting of the South Hayling Parish Council a lengthy discussion took place with regard to the present motor rail service between Havant and Hayling which was described as the most retrograde movement ever undertaken for the island. If it continued it would have a disastrous effect on Hayling as a seaside resort, the chief objection being that nearly half the car was occupied by the smoking department, ladies and children having to go through it on entering and leaving the car, and that as the connection between the smoking room and the other half was being continually opened the whole of the car was little better than a smoker.
There was not sufficient accommodation for luggage and on several occasions it had been placed down the centre of the car. When crowded the conditions were very unpleasant and particularly with the last train on Saturday night, one councillor saying that he travelled by this train and was glad he did not have his wife and children with him.
The abolition of the 2nd and 1st class would have a bad effect on the better class of visitor. Bookings by both these classes from Hayling are not now taken, passengers having to book 3rd from Hayling and rebook 1st or 2nd at Havant.
Article from – The Hayling Island Branch Line, compiled by Ralph Cousins.