Fratton railway station

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Fratton National Rail
Fratton - SWR 444001 (Stagecoach livery) up train.JPG
A train for London Waterloo at Fratton
Local authorityPortsmouth
Coordinates50°47′47″N 1°04′26″W / 50.7964°N 1.0740°W / 50.7964; -1.0740Coordinates: 50°47′47″N 1°04′26″W / 50.7964°N 1.0740°W / 50.7964; -1.0740
Grid referenceSU653000
Station codeFTN
Managed bySouth Western Railway
Number of platforms3
DfT categoryC2
Live arrivals/departures, station information and onward connections
from National Rail Enquiries
Annual rail passenger usage*
2013/14Increase 1.571 million
2014/15Increase 1.644 million
2015/16Increase 1.716 million
2016/17Decrease 1.596 million
2017/18Increase 1.601 million
Original companyPortsmouth and Ryde Joint Railway
Pre-groupingPortsmouth and Ryde Joint Railway
Post-groupingSouthern Railway
1 July 1885Opened (Fratton)
4 July 1905Renamed (Fratton and Southsea)
1 December 1921Renamed (Fratton)[1]
National RailUK railway stations
* Annual estimated passenger usage based on sales of tickets in stated financial year(s) which end or originate at Fratton from Office of Rail and Road statistics. Methodology may vary year on year.

Fratton railway station is a railway station in Portsmouth, United Kingdom. It was opened in the Fratton area of Portsmouth on 1 July 1885 as an interchange station between the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (now Portsmouth Direct Line) and the short-lived Southsea Railway branchline.

Fratton railway station and the Southsea Railway were jointly opened on 1 July 1885 by Lady Ada Mary Willis[2], wife of General Sir George Willis, the Lieutenant Governor of Portsmouth.[3]

One mile to the east of Fratton railway station is Fratton Park, built in 1899 as the home football ground of Portsmouth F.C.. Fratton Park's naming was purposely influenced by its proximity to the convienient Fratton railway station.

Today, Fratton station is located on the Portsmouth Direct Line which runs between London Waterloo and Portsmouth Harbour.


Normally, platforms 2 and 3 serve Portsmouth & Southsea and Portsmouth Harbour, with platform 1 serving all other destinations. Platforms 2 and 3 are also signalled to allow northbound passenger departures.

Between 1885 and 1914, a seperate island platform at Fratton station served as the interchange platform to the short-lived Southsea Railway branchline. The island was accessed from a staircase built on the south-east side of the main footbridge.[4] This island was demolished after the Southsea Railway was closed. A modern train washing machine structure is now located on the site.


The main station buildings
Fratton train wash, the former site of the Southsea Railway island platform

The line through Fratton and into central Portsmouth was laid on the abandoned dry canal bed of the unsuccessful Portsmouth and Arundel Canal, which was opened in 1823 and closed in 1827, after seawater from the canal contaminated some of Portsmouth's fresh water wells. In 1845 parts of this section were sold to the Chichester to Portsmouth Branch Railway company with another section being sold to the company in 1851.[5] The former canal walls are still clearly visible between Fratton and Portsmouth city centre today.

The railway line through Fratton was planned by the Brighton and Chichester Railway as part of the Chichester to Portsmouth Branch Railway, approved in 1845.[6] The line was completed in 1847, the Brighton and Chichester railway merging with several other companies to form the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway in 1846, who went on to operate the line.

Fratton railway station was planned and built to serve as an interchange station between Portsmouth and the new one-and-a-quarter mile (2 km) long Southsea Railway branch line, built to serve the fashionable Victorian seaside resort of Southsea. It was built with an additional island platform to the south of the station's three main platforms, which specifically served the Southsea Railway and was reached by a staircase leading from the main overhead footbridge.[7] (this island platform and staircase was removed after the Southsea Railway was closed, its location is now used as a modern train washing facility)

An alternative station to Fratton was originally planned to be built at the specially built Station Road in Copnor, Portsmouth, but was never was, with Fratton being the preferred location. Ironically, the Station Road name in Copnor still survives today.

Fratton railway station and the Southsea Railway were jointly opened on 1 July 1885 by Lady Ada Mary Willis[8] (neé Neeld), wife of General Sir George Willis, the Lieutenant Governor of Portsmouth.[9]. Fratton railway station was used as the interchange station to the Southsea Railway branch line, whose original 1885 terminus at Southsea station was built on Granada Road, Southsea, replaced by East Southsea in 1904. On 4 July 1905, Fratton railway station's name was changed to Fratton & Southsea.[10]

In 1891, the main Portsmouth Town engine sheds were moved to the railway sidings at Fratton.[11] By 1914, with the threat of the First World War and an urgent need to expand railway freight sidings in Fratton, the loss-making Southsea Railway branch line was closed to passengers on 6 August 1914 and became an overflow freight siding, and never reopened.[12] After the war, Fratton & Southsea reverted back to it's original name of Fratton on 1 December 1921.[13] The name Southsea was later reused to rename the main Portsmouth Town station in 1925, to Portsmouth & Southsea.

After the Motive power depot closed in the late 1950s, some former sidings were used during the withdrawal of the South West Trains greyhound fleet around 2003. The same sidings were then used in 2007[14] and in 2009 for freight trials, this involved DB Schenker Rail (UK) hauling small container trains to and from Eastleigh.[15] The Idea was abandoned in 2010 due to running costs.

Portsmouth Area Resignalling (PARS)[edit]

The Portsmouth Area Resignalling project was instigated in late 2006, aiming to improve the flexibility of the track layout in the Fratton area. Platform 1 became the Up Main, Platform 3 became the Down Main with Platform 2 as a bidirectional through platform (although the main function of platform 2 is down line trains). Prior to the project, trains could not reverse south to north at Fratton in service.

The work, scheduled by Network Rail to take place between 23 December 2006 and 4 February 2007, was subject to a massive overrun. The works were first extended six weeks into mid-March 2007 but in late February it became obvious that there were major problems with the new equipment being installed by the contractor Siemens AG.[16]

Until 1 April 2007 there were only three trains per hour between Fratton and Portsmouth Harbour with the remaining services terminating at Fratton and passengers using a replacement bus service. After 2 April 2007 there were five trains per hour running between Fratton and Portsmouth - three South West Trains services, one Southern service and one Great Western Railway service with some services still terminating at Fratton with passengers forced to change to continue their journey. The 'six-week project' was eventually completed in October 2007 - some ten months after it started.

New footbridge[edit]

A new footbridge is now operational, linking the island platform (platforms 2 and 3) with the Up Main platform (1). This has stairs and lifts to allow disabled users full access to all trains, with lifts designed for easy wheelchair use.

Motive power depots[edit]

Fratton Traincare Depot

The London Brighton and South Coast Railway and the London and South Western Railway jointly built a motive power depot at Fratton in 1891, replacing an earlier one at Portsmouth Town station. It was of the double roundhouse type. It came under the ownership of Southern Railway (Great Britain) in 1923 and British Railways in 1948. This building was badly damaged by bombs during the Second World War but repaired in 1948. It closed 2 November 1959, but the building continued to be used for stabling locomotives for several years. They were demolished in 1969.[17] Fratton Traction Maintenance Depot, operated by South Western Railway now occupies part of the site.

Service pattern[edit]

Railways in the Portsmouth area
West Coastway Line
to Brighton & London Victoria
West Coastway Line
to Southampton Central
Farlington Halt
HMNB Portsmouth
Admiralty Line
Portsmouth & Southsea
Portsmouth Harbour
Southsea Railway 1885–1914
Gosport Ferry to Gosport
Wightlink to Ryde Pier Head
Jessie Road Bridge Halt
Albert Road Bridge Halt
East Southsea
  • Monday to Saturday (off peak services)
South Western Railway
Great Western Railway
Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Havant   Southern
West Coastway Line
& Southsea
Hilsea   South Western Railway
Portsmouth Direct Line (stopping services)
& Southsea
Havant   South Western Railway
Portsmouth Direct Line
& Southsea
Hilsea   South Western Railway
West Coastway Line
& Southsea
Cosham   Great Western Railway
West Coastway Line
& Southsea
Disused railways
Terminus   Southsea Railway   Jessie Road
Bridge Halt


  1. ^ Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. p. 100. ISBN 978-1-85260-508-7. OCLC 60251199.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Hampshire County Council - Railways of Hampshire". 29 January 2009. Archived from the original on 10 May 2009. Retrieved 31 March 2009.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Google Groups".
  15. ^ "Deal to be struck to turn Fratton into freight depot".
  16. ^ Rail repairs overrun indefinitely BBC, 28 February 2007, 12:51 GMT
  17. ^ Chris Hawkins and George Reeve, An historical survey of Southern sheds, Oxford: OPC, 1979, pp.38-9.

Rail Atlas Great Britain & Ireland, S.K. Baker ISBN 0-86093-553-1