The introduction of the railway at Havant presented two routes to London; east via the London Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) to London Bridge or west via the London & South Western Railway (L&SWR) to Waterloo.
Although the railway routes were longer they provided a quicker and more comfortable way to travel to the capital than the turnpike road system that existed at the time.
This advantage extended to the movement of freight where large volumes could be sent at reduced cost. It should be noted that the Portsmouth & Arundel Canal, opened in 1825, and which provided an inland link to London, was abandoned in 1847.
Havant businessmen saw the opportunities arising from the railway connection and sought to build a short railway from Havant to Langstone Wharf, which was to be developed to increase trade.
The Hayling Bridge and Causeway Co. was formed in 1851 and was authorised by an Act of Parliament to create a short, horse drawn railway from the junction with the LB&SCR at Havant to Langstone Wharf.
Extract from ‘The Times’ of May 1851, Hayling Bridge Railway.
Mr Bernal reported from the committee on aspects of the funding of the branch line and stated that one shareholder who may be considered as having a local interest in the line had subscribed the sum of £3,187.
The steepest gradient on the branch railway to connect the existing docks and wharfs with the L&BSCR is 1 in 110 and the smallest radius of a curve 5 chains, and as the proposed branch is not intended to be worked by locomotive steam engines such curve will not be unfavourable to the working of the railway. The length of the branch is 1 mile and 26 chains and it is intended to cross a turnpike road and a highway on the level but a clause has been inserted preventing the use of the line with carriages propelled by steam. The estimate of the cost to be incurred up to the time of the completion of the railway is £4,350. The committee are satisfied in an engineering point of view, with the proposed branch railway.
Construction did not proceed due to lack of funds and the 1851 Act was allowed to lapse.