Railways

Extensions and improvements c1860s

Reproduced with permission from the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder, 1990

Please note that this text is an extract from a reference work written in 1990.  As a result, some of the content may not reflect recent research, changes and events.

e) PRESTON PARK STATION, Clermont Road: Opening on 1 November 1869 as Preston Station, it was built primarily to serve the upper- and middle-class Clermont estate. The station was rebuilt with two island platforms when the direct line to Hove, the Cliftonville Spur, was constructed, and it was renamed Preston Park when the spur opened on 1 July 1879. The modern station, rebuilt in the 1970s, now has nondescript square buildings but the original yellow-brick ticket office remains in Station Road.

f) EXTENSIONS TO VICTORIA: In 1858 the L.B.S.C.R. leased the West End of London and Crystal Palace Railway Company's line from Norwood, via Crystal Palace and Clapham Junction, to Battersea Wharf (called 'Pimlico') on the south bank of the Thames. Direct access to the western side of London was thus available for the first time, and two years later this line was extended to a new terminus, Victoria Station, which opened on 1 October 1860 for both Brighton and Kent traffic. A more direct line to Clapham Junction from East Croydon, via Balham and Stewart's Lane, opened on 1 February 1862; the present flyover across the Waterloo lines was added on 1 December 1867.

g) OTHER PROPOSALS and IMPROVEMENTS: In August 1866 an Act of Parliament was passed which authorised a line from Kent House to a terminus at the Steine via East Grinstead, Lewes, and a tunnel under the eastern town, but the plan was dropped following an agreement between the rival companies. Proposals for alternative lines continued to be made until the 1880s, but the London-to-Brighton line of today was finally established on 1 April 1900 when a new 'through route' opened to passenger traffic. Now known as the Quarry Line, it runs from Coulsdon to Earlswood, a distance of 10 miles 28 chains, and avoided the need for L.B.S.C.R. trains to run on the South-Eastern's tracks via Redhill. Two new tunnels were required, the 2,113-yard New Merstham or Quarry Tunnel, and the 649-yard Redhill Tunnel. At the same time the main line was quadrupled from Croydon to Coulsdon.
Improvements between 1903 and 1910 included the enlargement of Victoria Station, and the quadrupling of the line from Victoria to Balcombe Tunnel. Widening to Keymer Junction was authorised, but the L.B.S.C.R. concentrated on electrification instead. Services between London and Brighton also ran via East Grinstead from 1882 until 1958, via Horsham from 1867 to 1966, and via Uckfield from 1868 until 1969. In 1905 the famous Sunny South Special service started running from Liverpool and Manchester to Brighton and Eastbourne, The first scheduled 60-minute non-Pullman down train ran in 1912, but 60-minute working in both directions was not introduced until July 1928.
In 1897-8 a Bill was laid before Parliament proposing an underground railway beneath Queen's Road and West Street from the railway station to two termini in King's Road opposite Middle Street and Russell Street. The plan was opposed by the corporation though, and the Bill was in fact withdrawn before it went before the House of Lords.

Any numerical cross-references in the text above refer to resources in the Sources and Bibliography section of the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder.

Photo:Preston Park Station c1921

Preston Park Station c1921

From the private collection of Brian Matthews

This page was added on 18/11/2007.

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.