Chandlers Ford

Second Station

The railway between Eastleigh (then Bishopstoke) and the Salisbury parish of Milford opened to freight traffic on 27th January 1847 (ref: Supplement to The Atlas, London, 30th January 1847) and to passengers on 1st March of the same year (ref: The Evening Sun, London, 1st March 1847). A station at Chandlers Ford does not appear to have been ready by the latter date, because in the 7th August 1847 edition of The Salisbury and Winchester Journal it was reported that "the station at Chandler’s Ford is rapidly progressing towards completion".

Fast-forward to November 1967 when, on 28th of that month, British Rail (BR) announced its plans to withdraw the direct service between Eastleigh and Romsey from 6th May 1968 — which included the closure of Chandlers Ford station — unless objections were received (ref: Nottingham Evening Post and News, 28th November 1967). The last trains to call at Chandlers Ford were the 21:18 Romsey to Eastleigh and 21:38 Fareham to Romsey (revised 21:03 Portsmouth to Romsey), on Saturday, 3rd May 1969 — the station had no Sunday service (ref: RCTS’ The Railway Observer, July 1969). Closure of the route between Eastleigh and Romsey via Chandlers Ford to passengers was effective from 5th of the same month. The reason for the delay in closure to passengers was a result of difficulties in arranging substitute buses (ref: The Railway Magazine, April 1969). During late April 1972, the Eastleigh to Romsey line was closed during the day to allow singling works to take place (ref: RCTS’ Railway Observer, June 1972). Singling was effective from 1st May of that year and the line was controlled by tokenless block working, with the only passenger trains scheduled to use it being the Summer Saturdays 09:53 Cardiff to Weymouth and 12:24 Weymouth to Cardiff (ref: RCTS’ Railway Observer, June 1972).

In the 2nd November 1991 edition of the Branch Line Society’s Branch Line News, it was reported that preliminary work, based on outline plans, was to start on five new stations in Hampshire: West Totton, Chandlers Ford, Chineham (Basingstoke), Paulsgrove (Portsmouth), and Halterworth (Romsey). Design work was to be carried out by BR, with Hampshire County Council allocating £27,000 to the scheme. Services from Chandlers Ford to Romsey were not envisaged to start until 1996/1997 at the earliest, as a result of the signalling work required.

On 4th February 1996, Stagecoach became the first private operator of the South West Trains (SWT) franchise, which covered the former South Western Division lines feeding into Waterloo. In 2001, the company retained the franchise in a new round of bidding, the term length for this second period then being put at twenty years. Part of the company's bid, the bulk of which involved spending £640 million on Siemens "Desiro" electric multiple units to replace the incumbent BR Mk 1 stock, was the [re-]opening of a station at Chandlers Ford (ref: The Railway Magazine, June 2001).

It was reported that, as of 22nd March 2003, there were no signs of any work taking place on a station at Chandlers Ford (ref: Branch Line News No. 943, Branch Line Society, 12th April 2003). However, by the end of that same month, it was noted that construction had in fact started on the then new station and that SWT had announced a Totton — Eastleigh — Chandlers Ford — Romsey service, commencing with the summer 2003 timetable (ref: Branch Line News No. 944, Branch Line Society, 3rd May 2003).

Chandlers Ford station opened on Sunday, 18th May 2003, the first service booked to call being the 09:00 Romsey to Totton (ref: Branch Line News No. 947, Branch Line Society, 14th June 2003). The then new layout comprised a single platform built upon the former site of the "down" platform of the station that closed in 1969, the latter of which was 75-miles 29-chains from Waterloo via Eastleigh (ref: RCTS’ The Railway Observer, July 2003). The station was far from finished — no main building had been completed by this time, a temporary ticket office being in use from the outset. Indeed, the opening date of the station was declared at the eleventh hour, for Her Majesty’s Railway Inspectorate (HMRI) only gave approval that weekend (ref: Branch Line News No. 947, Branch Line Society, 14th June 2003).

The ceremonial opening of Chandlers Ford station occurred on Sunday, 19th October 2003, with Class "A4" steam locomotive No. 60009 Union of South Africa running specials along the line that day (ref: Branch Line News No. 957, Branch Line Society, 1st November 2003). By that time, a single-storey brown brick main building, with pitched roof, was in evidence, as was an enclosed metal footbridge linking both sides of the line. Hampshire County Council had provided £1.65 million of funding towards the station, and the Strategic Rail Authority £3.34 million, the latter of which partly covered the cost of operating the service (ref: RCTS’ The Railway Observer, July 2003). An hourly service between Totton and Romsey via Southampton and Chandlers Ford mainly used Class 170 diesel units from the outset, with Class 159 units sometimes appearing (ref: Branch Line News No. 966, Branch Line Society, 20th March 2004).

9th December 2023

The station’s dominant feature is a substantial footbridge fully enclosed by mesh fencing, on the Eastleigh side of the main building. The footbridge provides passage over the railway to the general public, so is not restricted to rail users. © David Glasspool

9th December 2023

A south eastward view includes a 23-metre (75-foot) section of canopy, which dates from the earliest years and, on the left, the disused Eastleigh-bound platform face of the station that closed in 1969. From the outset, it was intended for the station to have fifty parking spaces for cars and forty for bikes. © David Glasspool

9th December 2023

A sign showing the direction of travel upon a disused platform face is reminiscent of those stations west of Salisbury, on the rationalised line to Exeter via Yeovil Junction. The wooden train sculpture was installed by a local group on 8th December 2016. © David Glasspool

9th December 2023

A smart single-storey ticket hall of red/brown brick construction was provided, which was not ready in time for the start of train services in May 2003. A virtually identical style of building had previously been commissioned at another new single-platform station at Chafford Hundred, Essex, in 1995. © David Glasspool