Train station in the Royal Pier area?
The Victoria Royal Pier opened by Princess Victoria back in 1833 and with the opening of Southampton railway Station in 1840 passengers were conveyed to the pier steamers by horse-drawn omnibus. The pier was used by steamers to the Chanel Islands, Le Havre and The Isle of Wight.
A tramway from Southampton Station (renamed Southampton docks in 1858) to the Town Quay had been laid down by 1847, and the tramway connected to the LSWR main line via a wagon-turnable made it impossible for carriages with passengers to access it.
In 1864 a floating pontoon and bridge were incorporated at the angle of pier neck and head. The tracks were extended to a new station on the pier in 1871 with a new direct connection at Southampton Station allowing trains to run through and on to the pier in between 5-7 days a day. the construction of the station required the removal of the floating pontoon. the LSWR had leased the horse-drawn tramway since 1851 and sought to run a steam service from the docks station and, despite much opposition from vested interests, the service began in September 1876 with a speed limit of 5mph although the station doesn’t appear in public timetables up until the January of 1891. In 1896 Southampton Docks was renamed in Southampton Town.
initially, the pier consisted of just a single open wooden platform but then it got substantially rebuilt and enlarged in 1892: a new station was constructed- it had two platforms and each platform was complete with canopies. the grand opening took place in 1892, and the pier head pavilion was added in 1894.
Photographic evidence suggests that early services used both platforms but subsequently, only the wester platform remained in use. With the beginning of the 20th century passenger numbers began to decline, and the service was suspended from the autumn of 1913, although partly restarted the following spring.
The state of the track and the station deteriorated big time during WWI and passenger services officially stopped at the very beginning of October 1914 but some troop services were still carried out during the war.
Southampton Town station (former Southampton Docks) got the name of Southampton Terminus in 1923.
It might have been so that the ship collided into the pier and damaged an already unrepearable semi-derelict site and track. The restoration works didn’t take place as they had been considered too expensive: the most of the railway got removed in the early ’20’s with the station itself. Despite the loss of the railway Red Funnel ferry routes continued bringing profit and being overall success. The pier pavilion was extended in 1922 and a new domed pier entrance building got added in 1930.
By the early 1980s the pier area was becoming unsafe and not bringing any profit and it was decided to close it down in 1982. the plans to give the pier a new life were developed and the victorian entrance was renovated and opened as a restaurant in 1986. Further restoration process was cut short in 1987 by a serious fire which managed to burn down the bandstand of the pier head and the pavilion. The fire which broke out in 1992 destroyed much of the pier neck and seriously damaged the conservatory part at the back of gatehouse section.
Nowadays the pier area looks like charred ruins even though numerous projects of redevelopment have been offered in 2007. The 1930 entrance got restored and opened as Kuti’s Thai Restaurant.