A History of the Railways
around Basingstoke

by Christopher J Tolley

**** From the Author's original 4-Star Award Winning Site ****

Table of Contents

Backtracking (An introduction to this History)
Abbreviations and Glossary  
Things Ain't What They Used To Be (The Effects of the Rise and Fall of the Railways)
On the Main Line (The London and Southampton Railway)
A Cuckoo in the Nest (The Berks and Hants Railway)
Border Line (The Railway from Basingstoke to Andover and beyond)
First Stop Buggleskelly (The Basingstoke and Alton Light Railway)
The Long Siding (The Park Prewett Hospital Railway)
Ordnance Survey (Military Railways near Basingstoke)
All Change (Competition and Privatisation)
Signs of Change (A Potted Gallery of Privatisation - with all the pictures, this will take time to load)
Asides (Snippets and Anecdotes)
Basingstoke's Railway History in Maps  
Acknowledgements and Bibliography  


An Introduction to this History

There were many influences on the way the railways around Basingstoke developed, both in growth and in decline. Different routes were built by different companies, for varying reasons, some positive, others, it must be said, negative. Naturally, the lie of the land played its part, as did the goods to be transported. The main business of railways is and was carrying people. Even so, within a few miles of Basingstoke, lines were built to carry cargo from biscuits to bombs to bricks (both collecting and delivering!) This history aims to record the development, and the factors behind it.

I have used sketch maps in historical sequence to document the changes in the railway system, while text (with footnotes) follows the development topic by topic. Each of the lines passing through Basingstoke is covered in the text, and there are extra sections which cover the general history of the railways over the past century and three quarters, the military railways in the neighbourhood and the background to the changes which Privatisation have brought to the railways. Those lines shown on the maps which did not pass through Basingstoke are, with the exceptions just referred to, not covered in the text sections.

Dates given in the text and maps have generally been verified by reference to several sources (a list of these and other relevant reading material is included in the Bibliography). Sometimes sources disagree as to the dates when events happened. Mistakes aside, this can partly be explained by the different style and emphasis of each author, but a more significant factor is how one actually determines that a railway is "open" or "closed". For openings, modern practice is to include new stations in timetables before they are open, with a note saying that they are expected to open during the life of the timetable; sometimes they do not. In the past, stations like Newbury Racecourse could be open for several years before first appearing in a public timetable. Closures present different problems: a line might be closed to passengers, but not to goods; or to both, but the track left in place. Even in the extreme case where the track is taken up, there is one line in the area for which this was not the end of the story. Consequently, if you have reason to doubt dates I have quoted, I would be pleased to learn from you.

The impetus for drafting this history was an invitation to speak about the local railways to the Probus group in Basingstoke in September 1995. Whilst Basingstoke is not a particularly large town, it has a complex railway history, which could not be completely covered in a short talk. These web pages provide background information for those wishing to know more. I hope that readers will find something of interest in this history; I certainly discovered much that was new to me while researching it.

Many of the sections of this history contain drawings and photographs. The page showing the development of the railway network in map form contains almost 40 maps, for example.

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The Basingstoke & District Railway Society extends thanks to Chris Tolley for allowing the award winning content
of his 'A History of the Railways around Basingstoke' to be included in the Society's website.

It should be noted that this work takes the reader up to the late 1990's and therefore some of the content will be out-of-date.

Photographs embedded in GIF format and some linked South West Trains notes did not migrate to this website.
Every effort is being made to acquire the missing content but suitable alternatives may have to be added where this is not possible.
Any such changes to Chris' original work will be acknowledged.

This article is a part of the Basingstoke & District Railway Society website.
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