Portsdown and Horndean Light Railway

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Portsdown and Horndean Light Railway
PAHLR P1010009.JPG
The tramway in Waterlooville
Locale England
Dates of operation 2 March 1903–9 January 1935
Predecessor Portsmouth Street Tramways Company
Track gauge 4 ft 7 34 in (1,416 mm)
Electrification overhead catenary
Length 5 miles 78.5 chains.
Headquarters Portsmouth
New Urbis lighting along the modern A3 Bus Corridor.

The Portsdown and Horndean Light Railway was a tram service that ran initially from Cosham to Horndean in Hampshire, England.


Authorised in 1899 by an Order of the 1896 Light Railway Commission under the Light Railway Act, it opened on 3 March 1903 and started from a junction with the Portsmouth Corporation Transport street tramway system on the Portsmouth Road, south of Cosham Station.[1]

The company was a wholly owned subsidiary of The Provincial Tramways Company.


The route ran alongside the London Road (now A3) throughout and traces can still be seen as extra-wide pavements in several locations, and the abutments of the old bridge over the Southwick Road in Cosham. From 1924 through running onto Portsmouth Corporation tramlines was introduced with the light railway trams running firstly to the town hall and later to Clarence Pier and finally to South Parade Pier.[2]

Rolling stock[edit]

A steam tramcar, designed by John Grantham, was used experimentally.[3] This was probably a short-term expedient, pending electrification.


The system transformed the growth of the Waterlooville,[4] Cowplain and Horndean areas.[5] Guidebooks were produced advertising the benefits of healthy country air and fresh farm food[6]

Replacement by buses[edit]

The last tram ran on 9 January 1935, by which time it had been superseded by motor buses, and became the Southdown Bus Company Route 42.[7] In 2006, new lighting was installed along the route as part of Havant Borough Council's bus corridor improvement scheme.


  1. ^ S E Harrisons Tramways of Portsmouth 1955 pg104
  2. ^ Tramways of Portsmouth S.E.Harrison 1955 pg115
  3. ^ Whitcombe, H.A., History of the Steam Tram, pp 7-8, Oakwood Press, 1961
  4. ^ From: 'Parishes: Farlington', A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 3 Page, W (Ed)1908, pp. 148-51
  5. ^ "Overnight Horndean became a resort with people coming out for day trips, week-ends- even holidays. Ann Eyre, autobiographical notes by a former resident, 28 December 2006
  6. ^ Williams' Guide and Timetable to some of the Beauty Spots on the P&H LR (July 1913)
  7. ^ The 42 route was finally scrapped in January 2007 (The News, Portsmouth p6, 31 January 2007)

External links[edit]