The London & South Western Railway (LSWR) started running scheduled passenger services to Basingstoke on 10th June 1839, on the opening of an extension from Winchfield [and Hartley Row]. On the same day, trains commenced between Winchester and Southampton; the gap between the former and Basingstoke came into use for scheduled passenger traffic on 11th May 1840. However, there was no station at Shawford — midway between Winchester and Eastleigh — from the outset. In the 26th June 1880 edition of The Weekly Hampshire Independent, it was reported that efforts were being made by the populations of Otterbourne, Twyford, Compton, and other villages, to encourage the LSWR to open a station there. The same publication noted that a signal box and porter’s residence had recently been established at Shawford, that many trains already stopped there, and therefore the provision of a station would be of little expense and inconvenience to the LSWR.

In their 7th May 1881 edition, the Hampshire Chronicle announced that, on good authority, they were aware of proposals by the LSWR to open a station at Shawford. The publication stated that the Dean and Chapter of Winchester was to supply the ground upon which the station would be built. Located 69-miles 50-chains from Waterloo, a station at Shawford opened to public traffic on the morning of Friday, 1st September 1882, with ten "down" and nine "up" trains scheduled to call there (ref: Hampshire Chronicle, 2nd September 1882). The first Station Master was Mr. W. Mathews, who had been connected with the line since the opening of the LSWR system and, for the past seventeen years, had been an inspector with the company (ref: The Hampshire Independent, 9th September 1882). From the outset, the station was known as "Shawford and Twyford" (ref: The Hampshire Advertiser County Newspaper, 2nd September 1882).

Shawford: 1909

Click the above for a larger version. © David Glasspool

The station’s two platforms, both of timber construction, were perched atop an embankment, either side of the double-track main line. Both sides were equipped with platform canopies of semi-circular cross-section, approximately 100-feet in length, the same design coming into use at the likes of Winchfield and Hook. The canopies were fitted with timber windbreaks that had partial wraparound sides, and barley-twist lamps were installed on both platforms. The latter were each reached from street level by roofed flights of stairs.

The main station building was constructed on the western ("up") side of the running lines, below the platforms, at ground level. An attractive single-storey red brick booking hall with a lofty hipped roof was provided, attached to which was a two-storey-high house for the Station Master. The architecture is familiar, being a variation of an LSWR standard design that came into use at Swaythling (1883) and on the "Bournemouth Direct Railway" (Sway, New Milton, and Hinton Admiral (1888)). The booking hall and "up" platform were directly linked by an enclosed flight of stairs.

A goods yard was located on the "up" side of the line, south of the station. The formation of sidings and their connections with the running lines are illustrated in the accompanying diagrams, which includes the position of a timber goods shed. Also of note is a signal box at the southern end of the "down" platform which, as earlier mentioned, predated the station.

Shawford: 1950

The crossover marked in red between the "down" main and loop (later "down" relief) is a supposition by your author. This is where the widened formation laid by the Southern Railway commenced; however, your author has been unable to verify if a set of points was retained here after the loop from Shawford Junction was laid. Click the above for a larger version. © David Glasspool

Brief mention should be made of the "Didcot, Newbury, and Southampton Railway". The formal opening of this single-track line between Didcot and Newbury occurred on 12th April 1882 (ref: The Berkshire Chronicle, 15th April 1885). The ceremonial opening of that section between the latter and Winchester (Chesil) took place on Friday, 1st May 1885 (ref: Royal Cornwall Gazette, 8th May 1885), and the route was worked by the Great Western Railway from the outset. The independent concern’s original plan was for its own line from Winchester to Southampton, paralleling with the existing route of the LSWR’s; however, financial difficulties precluded the completion of this section. The decision was instead taken to make a short extension from Winchester to the LSWR’s main line ⅔-mile north of that company’s Shawford station, at a point of convergence that became "Shawford Junction". Between Shawford Junction and Southampton, trains to and from the Didcot and Newbury route used the tracks of the LSWR. Shawford Junction came into operation on Thursday, 1st October 1891 (ref: The Star, Guersney, 6th October 1891). The section of line between Winchester Chesil station and Shawford Junction was 1-mile 77-chains in length and although this part was worked by the LSWR, it was still the property of the Didcot, Newbury, and Southampton Railway (ref: The Railway Magazine, March 1908).

August 1998

Wearing Railfreight Distribution two-tone grey, but by this time operated by English, Welsh & Scottish Railway (EWS), Class 47 No. 47310 "Henry Ford" is seen passing through Shawford in this southward view, fronting a rake of covered car carrier wagons from Southampton Docks. In evidence are the basic rectangular waiting shelters that replaced copious platform canopies. © David Glasspool Collection

The Southern Railway (SR) announced a series of improvements to be carried out during 1930. The flagship projects were the reconstruction of the company’s stations at Exeter and Hastings at costs of £197,000 and £202,000 respectively, but the scheme also included the quadrupling of the line between Shawford and Eastleigh for £125,000 (ref: The Portsmouth Evening News, 13th January 1930). The four-track section commenced about ¼-mile south of Shawford. The signal box at Shawford closed on 15th March 1931 (ref: Southern Railway Register Section P1: Worting Junction to Southampton Docks, Volume 4, Signalling Record Society), the area it formerly controlled being taken over by the cabin at Shawford Junction. Your author surmises that the closure of the signal box marked the date when the quadruple track section south of the station came into use.

9th December 2023

The architecture is standard LSWR of the 1880s — variations of the design seen here came into use at the likes of Swaythling, Sway, New Milton, and Hinton Admiral during the same decade. The single-storey booking hall was comprehensively restored and opened as a cafe in January 2023. The two-storey-high structure on the right is the former Station Master’s house, which was not part of the restoration project. The platforms can just be seen top left, level with the roof of the booking office. © David Glasspool

During World War II, the Government’s Ministry of War Transport funded a series of civil engineering works on railways nationwide. At Shawford, these works included the laying of a loop line on the "down" side of the existing tracks, in addition to the provision of a siding, in March 1943 at a cost of £90,000 (ref: Works and Buildings, C. M. Kohan OBE, Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, London, 1952). The loop, which ran on the eastern side of Shawford station, was joined at its northern end to the Didcot and Newbury route, immediately before the latter merged with the SR’s main line at Shawford Junction; at its southern end, beyond Shawford station, the line merged with the existing quadruple-track to Eastleigh of 1930/31.

Based on your author’s observations of period photographs, the extremities of both platforms were rebuilt using prefabricated concrete components in about 1950. However, the main central sections of the platforms remained timber in construction. Next was the withdrawal of public goods traffic from Shawford on 4th July 1960, although parcels continued to be handled there (ref: RCTS’ Railway Observer, August 1960).

9th December 2023

There’s not much to write home about at platform level. The now standard "Paragon" Anti-Vandal shelters are in evidence on each side of this northbound view. The 125-foot-long middle section of platform 1 (on the left) is still of timber construction. The subway entrance from platforms 2 and 3 can just be seen on the right, beyond the lamppost, painted white and with timber pelmet. © David Glasspool

In connection with the Bournemouth electrification, Eastleigh "Power Box" was brought into use during the night of 5th/6th November 1966. This took control of the line from St Denys (exclusive) to Winchester City (exclusive), resulting in the closure of the signal box at Shawford Junction (ref: RCTS’ Railway Observer, January 1967). The branch between Newbury and Winchester had been closed to passenger traffic from 7th March 1960 (ref: The Railway Magazine, May 1960). In the December 1966 edition of the RCTS’ Railway Observer publication, it was noted that Shawford Junction had been removed. The "down" relief line of 1943, however, was retained and electrified, and made a new connection at its northern end with the "down" track of the Waterloo main line — previously at this point, the relief was afforded a direct connection with the Didcot and Newbury line only. At Shawford, a third platform face was brought into use at this time to serve the "down" relief (ref: Southern Electric 1909-1979, G.T. Moody), this being of prefabricated concrete construction.

9th December 2023

A southward view has platform 3, built facing onto the "down" relief line as part of the Bournemouth electrification, on the left. The subway entrance is behind the camera. In the right background is the former goods yard site, which these days seems to be home to a collection of shipping containers and motorhomes. © David Glasspool

As of summer 1966, green platform signage was still evident. By February of the following year, this had been replaced by the then modern image black text upon a white background. Your author’s observations of photographs has found that, by February 1973, both platform canopies had been taken down. The subway entrance upon platforms 2 and 3 received heightened brick walls around the stairwell, topped off with a flat roof sporting a timber pelmet. Rectangular glazed waiting shelters appeared on platforms 1 and 2/3. In spite of the economies at platform level, the booking hall and former Station Master’s house were retained, as was the covered walkway to platform 1.

In summer 2006, replacement waiting shelters were installed on both platforms, these being of the standard "Paragon" anti-vandal type. The former goods shed was still evident in photographs as late as 2008, in private hands; however, by 2013, it had been flattened. In January 2023, the former 1882 booking office on the "up" side of the line was reopened as a community cafe (ref: Community Rail Network, 8th February 2023), after extensive internal and external restoration. The works cost £350,000, with nearly £200,000 being contributed by "South Western Railway", and brought into use a building that had been closed to the public for approximately forty years (ref: South Western Railway News and Media, 6th February 2023).

9th December 2023

A northward view from platform 3 shows a kink in the "down" relief to bring it round the station. The brick wall with glazing on the left is part of the surround of the subway entrance. © David Glasspool