Eastleigh 100

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eastleigh_1966

Eastleigh Works in 1966. Photo BTWT archives.

Eastleigh Works is to Southern Railway fans what Swindon was to followers of the Great Western Railway. The London and South Western Railway moved its carriage and wagon building and repair to Eastleigh from London in 1891 and built its new locomotive works here in 1909. The L&SWR Chief Mechanical Engineer, Dugald Drummond, built his  S14, M7, P14, T14 and locomotives here. Robert Urie went on to construct the H15, S15, N15 (King Arthur), G16 and H16 engines.

After grouping of the railways into the ‘Big Four’ Eastleigh became the principal works of the Southern Railway. Richard Maunsell built the Lord Nelsons, Schools, U1, W, and Q locomotives at the Works. Under Oliver Bulleid, Eastleigh Works built all thirty of his Merchant Navy and six of his West Country locomotives.

During the WWII the Works built a batch of Stanier 8Fs. Steam locomotive building at Eastleigh ceased in 1950, though heavy overhauls of steam locomotives was to continued at Eastleigh almost until the end of steam on the Southern in July 1967. Between 1956 and 1961, nearly one hundred Bulleid pacifics were rebuilt here. In the 1962 the carriage works site was sold and all work was concentrated in the former loco works. The reduced Works survived privatisation and was taken over by Alsthom. In March 2006 Alsthom, closed down its Eastleigh operations and sold the site to a property developer. Miraculously railway work continues at Eastleigh for the moment, the site is rented by Knights Rail Services and is used by a variety of train overhaul companies.

During the bank holiday weekend (23-25 May) Eastleigh Works is holding an open day to celebrate its 100th anniversary. Well worth paying a visit while you can!

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