Ampress Works Halt

A company by the name of "Wellworthy Piston Rings Ltd" was founded on 14th July 1919 in Lymington by motor mechanic John Howlett (ref: The Autocar, A Journal Published in the Interests of the Mechanically Propelled Road Carriage, Volume 131, July 1969). This company had evolved from an earlier concern by the name of "South Coast Garages", a motor, electrical, and general engineering firm located in Stanford Road, Lymington, which Howlett had joined as manager in 1912. During World War I, South Coast Garages had a contract to manufacture 18-pounder shells at a rate of 500 per week, in addition to fulfilling piston ring orders for the Gnome Aero Engine, Bentley Rotary Engine, and the AEC Omnibus Company (ref: New Milton Advertiser & Times, 7th October 1989).

In the 18th November 1939 edition of the New Milton Advertiser & Lymington Times, it was reported that Wellworthy Piston Rings Limited had opened a new factory by the name of "Ampress Works". The name was taken from the road the works was situated along, "Ampress Lane". Seventeen years later, the company was successful in asking British Railways (BR) to provide a station for its workers upon the Lymington branch line: a single platform by the name of "Ampress Works Halt" opened on 1st October 1956 (ref: The Railway Magazine, March 1957). The platform was of prefabricated concrete construction, 300-feet-long, and was situated on the eastern side of the single-track. Located 75-chains north of Lymington Town, the halt was only accessible from within Wellworthy’s site (ref: Branch Line News No. 632, Branch Line Society, 26th April 1990). The halt was for use exclusively by the workers at the factory, many of whom hitherto journeyed by road, and it did not appear in the public timetable (ref: The Railway Magazine, March 1957).

Ampress Works ceased operation on 6th October 1989, and there was no regular use of the halt thereafter (trains would still stop if requested); however, the platform did not officially close until 31st December 1989 (ref: Electric Railway Society Journal, Volume 35, 1990). The next time Ampress Works Halt was used by passengers was on 26th August 2005, when 3-CIG electric unit No. 1498 stopped there with rail officials in connection with a then proposed reopening of the platform (ref: The Railway Magazine, November 2005).


1st April 1967

A northward view towards Lymington Junction and Brockenhurst shows the single concrete platform, which was equipped with lighting for its entire length. By this time, the station bore the name “Wellworthy Ampress Works Halt”. The bridge in the foreground passes over what was at one time part of Ampress Lane; the span beyond the platform, out of view, carries the rails over Southampton Road (A337). Two days after this photograph was taken, on 3rd April 1967, a series of former steam-hauled workings on the main line between Waterloo and Bournemouth went over to electric and diesel traction. On the same day, DEMU operation along the Lymington branch line commenced — the third rail pictured above had yet to be energised. Electric stock started appearing on scheduled services along the branch line on 1st June 1967, and from 26th of that month electric units took over completely. © David Glasspool Collection