As a young boy Mike Peart stayed with his great uncle who had been Director of Education for Winchester and prominent Rotarian and Freemason. The collection of photographs were taken over the summer of 1961 by Peart; showing Winchester, Shawford, Eastleigh, Southampton and Micheldener railway lines and stations.
All of the images in this collection were taken by photographer Mike Peart in the summer of 1961 and document the coming and goings of the locomotives of Hampshire. From iconic stations we still use today, to the retired old steam hauled locomotives that dominated the Southern Railways!
In modern times when we think of train stations our mind goes to crowded platforms and screeching tracks popping and sparking from the electrical current running through them. But now we can take a look back to a time were the technology that we take for granted today was not so streamlines and not so fast. So let’s step back into the past in this collection of historic images were we are taken back to the summer of 1961 and are immersed in the steam and bustling commotion of the foggy stations of old.
In this collection you can expect to see all kinds of trains from parcels to passengers, to even boat trains that would take goods to and from Bournemouth (known as “BOMO” in railway circles) to Southampton docks (likewise known as “SOTON”). Though most locomotives at this time were steam powered there were a few that were a diesel and electric, these were known as “Hampshire Diesels” or “Thumpers”. Some of these trains would travel across country all the way from Bournemouth to Newcastle taking over 10 hours to complete the journey.
Upon the retirement of Chief Mechanical Engineer Richard Maunsell innovator Oliver Vaughan Snell Bulleid took up the position. Bulleid went onto design the West Country, Battle of Britain, Merchant Navy and Q1 class locomotives, also designing some of the coaches that can be seen in these images alongside these classes of locomotives. The Battle of Britain and West Country classes were also known as “Bulleid’s Light Pacific’s” as the 4-6-2 locomotive wheel arrangement is known as a “Pacific” in the trade often times the heavy overhaul of these locomotives took place at Eastleigh Station. It is also interesting to note that at the end of Eastleigh Station platform in 1961 there was still a sign that read “SOUTHERN RAILWAY” 13 years after the nationalisation of British Railways.
Much like train spotters of today the locomotives of the past often were given names, both from the train spotters themselves and the people who designed them. Bulleid’s West Country, Battle of Britain and Merchant Navy class locomotives were painted in a malachite green with horizontal yellow stripes, this earning them the name “Spam Cans”. Similarly, the “U” class came to be known as “U-boats” and the “Q1” class the “Coffee Pots” or “Ugly Ducklings”. Though these names are fun it is the Great Western Railway that made the most changes to their locomotives names. Originally the locomotives of the Great Western Railway were named after the towns and cities of the networks, but due to the confusion this made, the customers mistaking the names of the locomotives for the destination. Another thing that can be noted in each image is the little white discs on the locomotives. These discs were used as codes that would tell signalmen and others the route of the train. There was even six possible positions for the discs, the combination signalling what type of train that it was; passenger, parcels or freight services. Interestingly, having four discs, one on top and three across the bottom left, right and centre on the buffer beam denoted a Royal train.
Now you know a little more about the trains and history of this collection take your time to take in the images and immerse yourself in the history and settings provided!