Dating from 1411, a new Town Quay was built in 1803 for use by goods and passenger ships including Red Funnel's services. Overcrowding led to the extension of the Royal Pier in 1833 for passenger services.
In the mid-19th century a horse-drawn tramway was built from Southampton Terminus railway station to the quay, it was connected to the railway in 1871. By 1876, upgrades to the tramway faciliated the switch from horses to light locomotives such as the diminutive LSWR C14 class locomotives. During the First World War the pier was used for military traffic, mainly barges, travelling across the English channel and the railway lines to the pier were used as sidings for the main docks.
Construction and improvements in other parts of Southampton's docks in the 1930s resulted in much of the goods traffic moving away and the quay shifted to handling mainly passenger traffic. The last major freight traffic was Scandinavian timber imported by Montague Meyer but increasing charges by BR in the late 1960s brought about a switch to road transport.
The railway ceased operation on 4 May 1970 although the lines remained in place for a further nine years. The warehouses on the pier were subsequently demolished, being replaced by offices and Red Funnel's Hi-Speed ferry termnal.efore the building of the Southampton Docks in the 19th century, Town Quay was the centre of Southampton's cargo traffic. The long jetty (now housing offices) was later used by barges carrying goods to the Isle of Wight. It is now used by the Hythe Ferry and Red Funnel's Red Jet services to the Island.