The Hockley Viaduct Timeline
2013 – The Official opening of Hockley Viaduct as part of National Cycle Route Network Route 23, with Olympic Gold Medallist Dani King, took place on 26 February 2013. The million pound project sees the viaduct restored to regular use once again.
2012 – The Friends of Hockley Viaduct sourced and restored an old signal post, which would have been similar to the one used on the Viaduct itself. The signal post is now proudly in place on the structure and is dedicated to the railwaymen who oversaw the passage of 16,000 trains over the Viaduct in the twelve months leading up to D-Day, 6 June 1944.
2011 – Winchester City Council affirm their commitment to retaining the Hockley Viaduct as a feature of local heritage interest. Cabinet gave its support in principle for the completion of National Cycle Route Network Route 23, as an integral part of the South of Winchester Park and Ride project and an important link to the South Downs Way.
£50,000 of funding was granted by the LEADER programme to support feasibility and geological survey work at the start of the project. LEADER is the European Agricultural Fund for European Development 2007-2013: Europe investing in rural areas. The LEADER “Fieldfare” programme is managed by a Local Action Group with the support of Winchester City and East Hampshire District Councils. The Local Action Group includes representatives from the business, community and both councils. The current Chairman is David Webb. Winchester City Council is represented by Cllr Rob Humby and East Hampshire District Council by Cllr Glynis Watts. Winchester City Council is the “accountable body” for the programme.
Work began on the project.
2007 – The Friends of Hockley Viaduct Trust was established to lobby for the preservation and future maintenance of the structure.
1998 – The City Council commissioned a feasibility report. The ‘Hockley Viaduct Access Project’ included a condition survey, structural assessment and costings. This report was updated in 2005 by consulting engineers Waterman Civils and set out three options for repairing the viaduct (minimum, maintenance or desirable repairs) ranging from £569,100 to £1,066,100.
1968 – Winchester City Council acquired the viaduct from the British Railways Board on 15 January. Applications for statutory designation were rejected in 1984, 1990, 1997 and 2005.
1966 – Freight services lingered on into the mid 1960s when the line closed to all traffic in 1966.
1960 – The viaduct was last used by the railway in the 1960s with the Newbury to Winchester and Southampton passenger service finishing in March 1960.
1942 – In the Second World War the line was closed to passengers but used to carry military traffic for the invasion of Europe. In the year prior to D-Day 16,000 trains crossed Hockley Viaduct’s single track, joining the main line to Southampton at Shawford Junction onto the new loop line to Eastleigh. The single line from Didcot to Newbury was doubled and re-signalled to Winchester with longer loops.
1923 – Set up of the Big Four, a name used to describe the four largest railway companies in the United Kingdom in the period 1923-1947. The Big Four were: • Great Western Railway • London, Midland and Scottish Railway • London and North Eastern Railway • Southern Railway
1914 – In the First World War the viaduct was on the main supply route to France. Huge camps sprang up around Winchester with a branch line to Avington.
1891 – Shawford to Winchester viaduct opened as a quicker route from the Midlands to the docks at Southampton and to Didcot.
1890 – The viaduct started (estimated cost £35,000).It was also called the Shawford Viaduct and was designed by engineer W R Galbraith and built for the London and South Western Railway (LSWR). It provided a link from the Didcot, Newbury and Southampton Railway (DNSR), to the London South Western Railway’s main line. Final cost £1.25m
1885 – Didcot, Newbury & Southampton Railway opened the extension to a new station at Winchester (Chesil) in 1885 but finances could not be raised for the continuation to Southampton. The LSWR stepped in and built a 1.5 mile line from Winchester (Bar End) to their own main line at Shawford, where Didcot, Newbury and Southampton Railway trains could use the main line into Southampton.
This information used to be on the Winchester City Council website at http://www.winchester.gov.uk/roads-highways/hockley-viaduct/timeline/ but is now no longer available.
Because it contains relevant historical information, we have retrieved it, as it was on 23 Apr 2017, from the Internet Archive: Wayback Machine and made it available here.
See also: Viaduct’s History on the Friends of the Hockley Viaduct website