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Hayling Billy Oral History Project

Do you remember the Hayling Billy? – the little train that chugged between Hayling Island and Havant for almost 100 years until it closed in 1963. It was a familiar sight as it transported islanders to work and children to school, and for many the ride on the “Puffing Billy” was a welcome sign that their seaside holiday was about to begin. Today the old track bed has been made into a footpath, three miles long.

In 2014 and 2015 The Spring worked with Havant Borough Council, Hampshire County Council and the Conservation Volunteers on a project which celebrated the line. While the Conservation Volunteers explored and improved this area of outstanding natural beauty, we focused on the history of the line, gather people’s stories and memories.

As part of this project we ran community events on Hayling Island and in Havant, we recorded memories and created a celebratory DVD and booklet that records what we learnt about the Hayling Billy line.