Portfield Sidings (near Chichester)

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Mcr Warrior

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Anyone know anything about the history of the former Portfield Sidings, which, before disconnection, used to branch off the main coastal line between Chichester and Barnham (West Sussex).

Was located about a mile and a quarter to the east of Chichester station.
 
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Gloster

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From memory it was opened around 1939 as a depot to receive fuel for the nearby RAF stations. It was later (1960s?) taken over by Wm. Cory and seems to have received trains until the 1990s. There was something in one of the Bulletins of the World War II Railway Study Group a year or two ago: I’ll see if I can find it.
 

Wychwood93

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Appears to go back quite a bit before that:

Explore georeferenced maps - Map images - National Library of Scotland (nls.uk)

Back then it looks like gravel extraction. This is the one to the north of the line.

To the south, from a later map:

Explore georeferenced maps - Map images - National Library of Scotland (nls.uk)

The west one (Whyke) of the two appears again to be gravel. The eastern one perhaps as Gloster said. The one to the north somewhat truncated by then - done gravelling!

Edit: the aerial view of the south/east one could easily lead one to think there was a depot close by:

Bing Maps - Directions, trip planning, traffic cameras & more

That link doesn't work - do an aerial view of the location!
 
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Mcr Warrior

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Interesting. The field enclosure adjacent to the Down sidings on the South side of the main line on the OS map (year = 19??) seems to have four "pock mark" features.

Wonder what they were!
 

Gloster

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The one my comments apply to is the easternmost of the three possibilities: the one just east of the ring-road bridge. I think that the other sidings were long gone, although there was a siding into Bartholomews (storage?/haulage?) on the north side of the line nearer the station that sent out yoghourt until relatively recently.

A diagram on the Internet suggests that the pock marks are raised mounds over the tanks. (Google portfield fuel depot and look at Images.)
 

Wychwood93

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The one my comments apply to is the easternmost of the three possibilities: the one just east of the ring-road bridge. I think that the other sidings were long gone, although there was a siding into Bartholomews (storage?/haulage?) on the north side of the line nearer the station that sent out yoghourt until relatively recently.

A diagram on the Internet suggests that the pock marks are raised mounds over the tanks. (Google portfield fuel depot and look at Images.)
The Derelict Miscellany :: Chichester Air Force Distribution Depot

So, looks like 4 x 500 ton fuel tanks.

The aerial view shows the four tanks with two smaller structures - air raid shelters? With 4 x 500 tons of petrol I am not too sure how much use they would have been!
 

Gloster

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Looking at the shadows on the photo again, I wonder if it was taken while the site was under construction. The pockmarks were the excavations for the tanks, which have not yet been installed.
 

Mcr Warrior

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Good sleuthing everyone. So the Down Sidings were probably in use from 1938/39 until sometime in the 1990's (and were initially used as a supply point from which to distribute aviation fuel to nearby airfields including RAF Tangmere where Douglas Bader was once stationed). And after closure, the depot site sold in 2011? (Anything there in its place now?)
 
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