West Coastway Line

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West Coastway Line
Stations (from east to west)

East Worthing
West Worthing
branch to Littlehampton
(for Arun Valley Line)
branch to Bognor Regis
(for Portsmouth Direct Line)
line to Portsmouth
(for Eastleigh-Fareham line)
St Denys
(for South Western Main Line)
Southampton Central

West Coastway Line is the name given by Southern Trains to the services operated by them along the south coast of West Sussex and Hampshire, to the west of Brighton, in the United Kingdom. For the purposes of this article, all the stations from Brighton to Southampton are included, plus the short branches to Littlehampton and Bognor Regis.

The line was electrified (750v DC third rail) by the Southern Railway during the inter war years.


Southern Trains are the main operator of passenger services and stations on the line. Their primary route is a slow service (calling at most or all stations) from Brighton to Portsmouth. They also operate two regular clockface services from London Victoria via Gatwick both of which avoid Brighton by using the tunnel between Preston Park and Hove. One service runs to Littlehampton and the other to Southampton. There is also a service from London Victoria via Gatwick and the Arun Valley line that runs along the West Coastway line between Ford and Chichester. All of the Southern Trains services are operated by electric multiple-units.

First Great Western and South West Trains share an hourly path between Brighton and Fareham. This provides a useful fast service along the line. The First Great Western services are extended from Fareham to Southampton, Salisbury and beyond via the Wessex Main Line. The South West Trains services run from Fareham north to Basingstoke or Reading. Most of the through services are operated by diesel multiple-units.

South West Trains also operate regular services from Portsmouth to Southampton and from Portsmouth to London Waterloo via Fareham.


The lines now operated under the banner West Coastway Line were opened and operated by two companies: the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSCR) and the London and South Western Railway (LSWR). Opening dates were as follows

  • LBSCR route:
  • 12 May 1840: Brighton - Shoreham (a branch of the London and Brighton Railway)
  • 24 November 1845: Shoreham - Worthing
  • 18 March 1846: Worthing - temporary "Littlehampton" station (first built as single track)
  • 9 June 1846: "Littlehampton" to Chichester (first built as single track)
  • 15 March 1847: Chichester - Havant
  • 14 June 1847: Havant - Portsmouth. Part of this section became joint LBSCR/LSWR property later.
  • 17 August 1863: Littlehampton branch opened from Ford Junction
  • 1 June 1864: Bognor Regis branch opened from Barnham Junction
  • LSWR route:
  • 1 October 1848: Fareham - Portcreek Junction (connecting with the LBSCR line to Portsmouth)
  • 5 March 1866 Southampton and Netley Railway (LSWR controlled) opened to connect with the Victoria Military Hospital at Netley
  • 2 September 1889: connecting link Netley - Fareham opened

The routes

A diagram of the route (not to scale)

  • Brighton Trains serving the West Coastway leave from platforms 1,2 and 3 which curve round to leave the Brighton Main Line route to pass through
  • Hove Tunnel [220yards (198m)]
  • Holland Road Halt opened as Hove station 1840, renamed 1880 and closed 1956
  • Hove Junction with direct line from Preston Park
  • Hove opened as Cliftonville 1865, renamed 1880
  • Aldrington opened as Dyke Junction Halt 1905 to serve the Devil's Dyke single line branch [3.5 miles (6km) in length] opened 1887, closed 1938
  • Portslade
  • Fishersgate opened as a halt 1905
  • Southwick
  • here is the now closed branch to Kingston Wharf, serving Shoreham Harbour
  • Shoreham-by-Sea
  • here was the junction for the line to Horsham, opened 16 September 1861 and closed 7 March 1966. The line followed the valley of the River Adur
  • here was Bungalow Town Halt opened 1910, later to serve Shoreham Airport, now closed
  • Lancing
  • East Worthing opened 1905, was Ham Bridge Halt
  • Worthing reconstructed in 1909
  • West Worthing opened 1889 to serve growing residential area
  • Durrington-on-Sea opened 1937
  • Goring-by-Sea
  • Angmering
  • here is Arundel Junction where the direct route from London to Littlehampton crosses the West Coastway route, at a triangular junction
    • Littlehampton branch
    • This is a two mile (3km) branch line opened as a single line in 1863 and doubled in 1887
  • Ford, was Ford Junction: at the third node of the triangle
  • Barnham was Barnham Junction until 1929 opened 1864 as the junction for
  • Drayton station - closed
  • Chichester Original terminus of the Brighton and Chichester Railway on 6 June 1846; present station opened 1847 when the line was extended to Havant. Junction for the West Sussex Railway opened in 1897, closed 1935; and for the LBSCR branch to Midhurst, opened 1881 and closed finally 1951.
  • Fishbourne Opened in 1906 as Fishbourne Halt
  • Bosham
  • Nutbourne Opened in 1906 as Nutbourne Halt
  • Southbourne Opened in 1906 as Southbourne Halt
  • Emsworth
  • Warblington Opened 1907 on Havant outskirts
  • Havant: Junction for the L&SWR Portsmouth Direct line through Petersfield and also for the LBSCR Hayling Island branch line opened 16 July 1867; 4.5 miles (7km) in length with two intermediate stations serving Langstone and North Hayling. The line closed in 1966
  • Bedhampton Opened in 1906 as Bedhampton Halt
  • here there is a triangular junction for the two routes to Southampton and Portsmouth Harbour. After Farlington Junction and Portcreek Junction (between which was the now closed Farlington station) Portsmouth Direct line trains use the joint L&SWR/LBSCR metals to Portsmouth. The main West Coastway route travels across the triangle to Cosham Junction where the L&SWR section, opened on 2 September 1889, begins:
  • Cosham
  • Portchester
  • Fareham First opened in 1841 as part of the Eastleigh-Fareham line. The east and west Coastway routes opened 1848 and 1889 respectively (see dates above). Here were also junctions for Gosport (the original connection from London to the Portsmouth area) and to Alton via the Meon valley - both closed.
  • Swanwick
  • Bursledon
  • Hamble
  • Netley Original terminus of the Southampton and Netley Railway, built to serve the Military Hospital, which had its own short railway and station. The line from here to St Denys was originally single track (later doubled)
  • Sholing
  • Woolston
  • Bitterne on the outskirts of Southampton. Here was a passing point when the line was single track.

With the junction at St Denys the West Coastway Line joins the route of the South Western Main Line

External link

Railway lines in South-East England:
Main lines:   Arun Valley Line   Ashford via Maidstone East Line   Ashford-Ramsgate via Canterbury Line   Brighton Main Line   Chatham Main Line   East Coastway   Hastings Line   Channel Tunnel Rail Link   Kent Coast Line   London–Ashford–Dover Line   North Downs Line   Portsmouth Direct Line   South Western Main Line   Thameslink   West Coastway   West of England Main Line
Commuter lines:   Alton Line   Ascot-Guildford Line   Bexleyheath Line   Caterham Line   Catford Loop   Chessington Branch   Dartford Loop   Eastleigh-Fareham Line   Eastleigh-Romsey Line   Greenwich Line   Hayes Line   Hounslow Loop   Mid-Kent Line   New Guildford Line   North Kent Line   Oxted Line   Sheerness Line   Slough-Windsor & Eton Line   South London Line   Staines-Windsor & Eton Line   Staines to Weybridge Line   Sutton Mole Valley Line   Tattenham Corner Line   Waterloo-Reading Line   West London Line
Rural lines:   Brockenhurst-Lymington Line   Henley Branch Line   Island Line   Marlow Branch Line   Marshlink Line   Medway Valley Line   Redhill-Tonbridge Line