In 1881-82 there were plans to extend the Didcot to Newbury railway line all the way to Southampton, rather than simply attaching it to the existing South Western line near Micheldelver which had been the original intention. The line, which would have linked Southampton directly to the Great Western line (at Didcot) was planned to go through Shirley, Bassett and then on to Otterbourne and Winchester. By 1883 preliminary work on the Southampton end of the line had begun. The line was to run from Chilworth to Shirley, where there was to be a station (near to the Recreation Ground), and then on to a new terminus on the western shore near Bargate Street via a viaduct in Commercial Road. However, partly due to lack of funds and partly to alternative schemes put forward by the GWR and the South Western Railway, work at the Southampton end was abandoned almost as soon as it was started. The line from Newbury to Winchester was opened in 1885, but it was not extended further. The slight construction work in Southampton included some arches near commercial Road (image below) and part of an embankment between Hill Lane and the Polygon. Didcot and Newbury Roads in Shirley were named in honour of the proposed line, although it had been abandoned before those streets were laid out.

Proposed Didcot, Newbury and Southampton Line

Image Unavailable

Railway arches south of Commercial Road built for the proposed Didcot line, 1886.

Further reading:
Southampton Railways, by Bert Moody, p12-13. (HS/pk)
Southampton Occasional Notes, 2nd Series, by ‘Townsman’, p32, 47. (HS/h)
History of Southampton, Vol 3, by A. Temple Patterson, p54-61. (HS/h)
Public Life in Southampton, Volume 1, by James Lemon, passim. (HS/l)
More Stories of Southampton Streets, by A. G. K. Leonard, p114. (HS/h)


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