Freight services made a re-appearance on the Portsmouth Direct Line on Saturday (2 February), when engineering work in the Southampton area led to a handful of car-carrying services to and from Southampton Docks being diverted along the route through Haslemere and Guildford.
The last regular freight had been oil traffic from the Holybourne terminal near Alton to the Esso refinery at Fawley, but this twice-weekly working ceased in September 2016.
Two of the diverted services passed through Haslemere in day-light, the first being a long train of empty car-carrying wagons from Southampton Eastern Docks to Halewood (Jaguar Cars) at 10.50, hauled by 66170 (698P).
Next up was service 496Q, conveying cars from from Morris Cowley plant at Oxford to Southampton Eastern Docks, hauled by 66181 and seen here (above and below) approaching Haslemere at 14.25, running 35 minutes late.
The week-end engineering work between Eastleigh and St. Denys also saw diversion via the Portsmouth line of SWR’s hourly fast services between Waterloo and Weymouth.