NUTBOURNE HALT CENTENARY

1906-2006

On the 15th March 1847 the London Brighton & South Coast Railway opened the line between Chichester and Havant with stations at Bosham and Emsworth. Three months later the remaining section connecting to Portsmouth opened. This now provided passengers living in Portsmouth with a railway connection, via Brighton to London . Later in October 1876 a further one mile extension to the Portsmouth Harbour was opened allowing those using the Isle of Wight and Gosport Ferries easy access to the railway and on to London .

“Motor Trains” also known as “Push-pulls” had been successfully operated between by the LBSCR between Brighton and Worthing in 1905 and it was decided to extend the service running between Chichester and Portsmouth . New Halts were opened at Fishbourne, Nutbourne, Southbourne and Bedhampton to accommodate this service on the 1 st April 1906 . But it wasn’t until a year later did they appear on the Time Table.

Most of the halts were built next to a local road providing easy access for passengers and close to existing crossing keepers’ cottages. A crossing keepers’ main task was to open and close the level crossing gates when a train was due.

As can be seen from the picture of Nutbourne Halt in the early days the cottage was behind the northern platform and close to Broad Road . The platforms were short and constructed from timber and there was very little in the way of facilities for passengers. Only two bench seats and gas lamps and no shelter from the elements. Although maps for the area show the cottage was still there in 1939 it no longer exists today.

The platforms were lengthened in 1938 with the advent of electric trains and rebuilt using concrete slabs and supports instead of timber. The ornate gas lamps were replaced with Southern Railway standard concrete and electric ones and in 1972 automatic half barriers replaced the level crossing gates, which is pretty much as they are today.

Just for nostalgic reasons I have included this picture taken in the late eighties of a steam special that briefly stopped at Nutbourne Halt on its way to Portsmouth . The locomotive, for those who are interested, is a Southern Railway, N15 King Arthur, 4-6-0, No. 30777 Sir Lamiel, designed by Maunsell and built in 1925. They were not scheduled to stop at Nutbourne but the time schedule they were running to had slipped and they had to wait for a new slot between trains in normal time table. When this photo was taken the responsibility for the operation of the halt was in the hands of Network Southeast. The platforms are the same but the lamp posts have been changed to modern steel ones.

You could say we owe a lot to the LBSCR for building the halt at Nutbourne as it has allowed the area to grow. Up to 1900 there was only a scattering of houses in Hambrook, Nutbourne and Chidham. A lot of the houses in Broad Road , including my own and along the A259 were built around the time of the halt opening. To the North and along side the halt, a new brick works opened up. (This was Marshal Mono Ltd, manufacturers of concrete products which was demolished and redeveloped as the Lion Park estate in 2012/3.)

Andy Collins (January 2006) with minor update by the editor

and thanks to Steve Tanner for these two photos
I think this is a 'Terrier' tank engine built between 1872 and 1880 at Brighton. They were also used on the Hayling Island Branch line and known as the 'Hayling Billy'. They were in operation for British Rail until 1963, and several examples are still operated by steam preservation organisations including the Bluebell Railway.