ALMOST a year after being shunted into the sidings, part of Hampshire’s railway history has finally hit the buffers.

Last year bosses at Fawley refinery stopped using the Waterside railway to deliver crude oil to the huge petro-chemical complex.

Now the refinery has bid farewell to the last locomotive that was still in the sidings.

Nostalgia was the order of the day as the train trundled along the single-track railway that used to link the village of Fawley with Hythe, Marchwood and Totton.

Passenger services ceased in the 1960s after the line fell victim to the infamous Beeching cuts that decimated Britain’s railway network.

After that it became a freight-only route delivering supplies to the refinery, which occupies a huge site at the southern end of the track.

A Fawley spokesman said: “After more than 60 years, the rail-based movement of goods to and from the refinery ceased because it was no longer economic.

“The last train bringing crude oil arrived at Fawley on September 1 2016 and left empty on September 5.“Since then a large number of empty railcars remained in our sidings. However, we have recently been working to remove the last of them.”

The spokesman said in future all the crude oil delivered to Fawley would arrive by ship.

He added: “The distribution by rail of finished products from Fawley ceased in 2015. These are now all transported either by pipeline or ship.”

Opened on July 20 1925 the line continues to serve Marchwood Military Port. Hythe railway station closed on February 14 1966 and is now a heritage centre but Marchwood station still exists.

Campaigners are pressing for passenger services on the line to be restored. They have cited ever-increasing congestion on the A326 and the prospect of thousands more homes being built in the Waterside area.

Cllr David Harrison, who represents Marchwood and Totton South, said: “There seems to be some fresh ideas about how it might be possible to restore a passenger service along the line, at much lower cost than was originally anticipated.

“I’ve been asked not to disclose exact details just yet but talks are continuing at a high level in government.”Cllr Harrison said: “It makes no sense at all not to utilize infrastructure like this.”