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20 March

Today in Gosport’s Past:- on Sunday 20 March 1966, Gosport station was visited by the second railtour in two days; this (the third of 1966) was ‘The Solent Rail Tour’ was organized by the Railway Correspondence & Travel Society (RCTS), originating from London Waterloo.

The route took the train through Woking and Basingstoke to Salisbury, hauled by ex-SR Bulleid ‘Battle of Britain’ class 4-6-2 34089 “602 Squadron”; the train was banked out of Waterloo by BR Standard class 4MT 2-6-4T 80084.

The tour then travelled via Romsey and Southampton Central to Southampton Ocean Termial, this time being hauled by BR Standard class 4MT 4-6-0 75070. From the Ocean Terminal, the same pair of ‘USA’ class 0-6-0Ts used the previous day on ‘The New Forester’ tour again took the train to Fawley (via Totton), then back to Southampton, this time to Southampton Terminus. 75070 then took the train to Fareham (via Netley), where ex-SR ‘U’ class 2-6-0 31639 provided the power to Gosport and the return (tender-first) to Fareham.

At Fareham, 31639 ran around the train, being joined by 75070, the pair of them double-heading the return trip to LOndon Waterloo, this time the route was via Portchester, Petersfield, Guildford London Road, Effingham Junction, Oxshot, East Putney, Wimbledon, and Clapham Junction.

The somewhat ’round the houses’ nature of this tour was necessary becaise the main line between Basingstoke and Southampton was in the process of being electrified, and this type of engineering work (as we all know) occurs at weekends. This was the last steam-hauled railtour to visit Gosport; only one more ‘special’ visited Gosport station, which was hauled by ‘Crompton’ diesel D6506, and that date was 3 November 1968.

Credits to original photographers; ticket from the John Debens collection.