Main Line to the South: The Southern Railway Route Between Basingstoke, Winchester, Eastleigh & Southampton Part Two: St. Cross to Eastleigh and Swaythling (Irwell)

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The London and Southampton Railway opened its line in 1840, the first major railway in the south of England – soon to become the London & South Western Railway and eventually in 1923, part of the Southern Railway.

Part 1 of this series was concerned with the line from Basingstoke to Winchester. Continuing our journey, part 2 describes the line through to Eastleigh and beyond to Swathling.

Once again, covered in great detail are all facets of the construction, opening and operation of the line over the many decades with the usual extensive use of maps, plans and diagrams. Every archive, contemporary account or historical description has been thoroughly investigated in depth and presented as part of the narrative.

A major topic covered in part 2 is the continuingly important operating centre at Eastleigh, including the carriage and wagon works, the locomotive works and the vast locomotive shed. Part 3 will complete the story to Southampton itself; the stations at Terminus and Central.

The line gathered frenzied interest with enthusiasts and photographers in the 1960s as the last steam-worked main line in England until its electrification in July 1967.

Today the line between Basingstoke and Southampton carries not only heavy passenger traffic but, with the demise of coal traffic elsewhere, some of the nation’s heaviest freight traffic in the shape of containers from Southampton Docks.

Chapters include a description of the line, a look at its use over the years and an examination of Easteligh's railway history. All chapters are illustrated with archive black & white photographs, maps and diagrams. Hardback. 312 pages.

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