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Stenlake Publishing - The Fawley Branch – The Story of the Totton, Hythe & Fawley Light Railway

The Fawley Branch – The Story of the Totton, Hythe & Fawley Light Railway

Author : J. R. Fairman
ISBN : 9780853615842
Cover : paperback
Price : £9.95

The story of the Fawley branch does not follow the usual pattern of a rural English branch line. The first plans for a railway in the area dated from 1860. It was to take more than 60 years before Fawley finally saw a train service. In the 19th century there were elaborate plans for a a railway line to Stone Point (to the south of Fawley) to connect with a Solent tunnel to link the mainland with the Isle of Wight. In the early years if the 20th century it seemed that a railway-operated bus service might negate the need for a railway at all.

It is almost impossible to imagine the enormous social and economic changes brought about by the First World War. At the beginning of the war the Fawley district was still essentially rural in character and apart from farming and fishing there were few industries. The construction of the oil refinery in 1920/21 by Anglo Gulf West Indies Petroleum Corporation Limited was to change the Fawley area forever.

The opening of the railway finally came in 1925, the Fawley branch of the Southern Railway was a light railway only in a regal sense; it had some of the heaviest locomotives and freight wagons in Britain. It was briefly a little railway with little stations, but the growth of the Fawley Refinery and later development of Marchwood Military Port changed all that.

The material for this book was collected by John Fairman of Chandler’s Ford, a well known local and railway historian, assisted by Tony Thomas JP, former BR area manager at Totton, and Alan Gosling of Woking. Some additional information on signalling has been provided by George Pryer of the Signalling Record Society.

John Fairman died in 1992; it is now felt that his work should be made available to Southern enthusiasts and students of local and industrial history in Hampshire.

The Fawley Branch – The Story of the Totton, Hythe & Fawley Light Railway