Southampton – Gateway to the world and named locos


An email sent in by Jim Evans, after reading ‘Southampton – Gateway to the world and named locos’ in the October 2022 issue.

Sir: What a wonderful article about Southampton, peppered as it was with personal recollections. My first encounter with all those beautiful green locomotives was during family holidays to Dorset in the 1960s spotting the Bulleid Pacifics and the ‘M7s’ at Wareham and Swanage. We always had to make a pilgrimage to Southampton to see the ships and the trains. For me the picture at the bottom of page 15 brought back memories since, in the background you can see a tall building under construction. I worked in there as Technical Manager of P&O Cruises through the 1980s.

All a complete contrast to my home town of Liverpool where, from my bedroom window before leaving for school, I could watch the crimson Stanier Pacifics stopping at our local station, Mossley Hill, with the early morning London train, named I think ‘The Shamrock’, or was it the ‘Merseyside Express’? Most of the Pacifics had very regal names, Princesses and Duchesses, though there was one named after Stanier himself.

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I would take issue with one thing, the title of your article. The number of destinations served from Southampton was very limited. If you wanted to travel to most parts of the world in the days before the Boeing 747 trashed the liner trades, it was to either Liverpool Riverside or Tilbury Riverside that you took the boat train. From Liverpool you could even sail up the Amazon to Manaus with Booth Line, or down the west coast of South America with PSNC. Perhaps there is another train/ship article in the making there some time in the future. Fishguard and Plymouth might also play a cameo role. Keep up the good work.

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