|ROLL OF HONOUR|
|SOLDIERS of WG|
Modern Diesel trains now pass through West Grimstead carrying passengers.....
West Grimstead has never had it's own station but it is only a short distance to West Dean where the station is still in use. Nowadays the station is unmanned and the building has been sold to private owners. But not so long ago the Railway men who manned the ticket office and the signal box were there and lived in the cottages situated along the lane by the side of the station.
The London and Southampton Railway was authorised by an act of Parliament in July 1834 and by 1847 there was a branch line passing through West Grimstead from Bishopstoke (Eastleigh) to Salisbury. Initially it only carried goods but within the year carried passengers as well. It can hardly be imagined the effect that the coming of the railways to a small village in Wiltshire must have had. As often happens in modern times with something new and life changing, many must have objected to and feared the future after the coming of the trains. Certainly during the construction of the lines it must have caused chaos.
The 'Navvies' as the workers were called, came from all over the country. These were hard working strong men. Some brought their families but many were on their own and they needed to be kept fed and 'watered'. This must have helped many local residents such as bakers, butchers, farriers and blacksmiths. But reports in the local paper shows that the police were constantly having to deal with disturbances caused by navvies getting drunk and disorderly.
As time went on I am sure that any objections to the railways must have been replaced by the realisation of the benefits that it brought. For farmers and other producers it meant that their milk and other products could be quickly transported to the towns with the journeys by horse and carts much reduced in time and effort. The trains took people to the coast and cities and changed families lives. From living within a narrow social structure of local village life villagers became connected to the wider world.
Over the years most types of LSWR and SR locomotives must have worked over the route through West Grimstead. In the November 1859 timetable up to eight passenger trains ran past Grimstead in each direction on weekdays and three on Sundays. Diesel trains started to run the line in 1957 and steam locomotives finally disappeared in July 1967 but due to the various railway preservation societies we still see them on the line passing through the village several times a year.
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