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Early day tripper services

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.

c) EARLY SERVICES: There were initially six trains each way per day; three first-class services stopping only at East Croydon, Redhill and Reigate Road, Three Bridges, and Haywards Heath; and three stopping also at the intermediate stations at Godstone Road (now Purley), Horley, Burgess Hill, and Hassocks Gate. Within a few years a non-stop service taking 1 hour 45 minutes was running, and in 1843 third-class carriages were introduced (but they were not covered until 1852!). The first excursion tickets were issued on Easter Monday, 8 April 1844, when a train of four locomotives and some forty-five carriages left London for Brighton, with return fares priced the same as singles, i.e. 12 shillings (60p) first-class, 8 shillings (40p) second-class, and 5 shillings (25p) third-class. With the sudden surge of excursionists, Brighton subsequently developed the attractions of a day-tripper resort.

d) FEATURES OF THE LINE: The length of the line engineered by Rennie was 41 miles 59 chains from Selhurst, a total of 50 miles 46 chains from London Bridge. Five tunnels, all 25 feet wide and 25 feet high, were constructed at Merstham (1,830 yards long), Balcombe (1,133 yards), Haywards Heath (250 yards), Clayton (2,266 yards), and Patcham (488 yards); the three longest were lit by gas from their own gas-works. Trains also traverse the impressive Ouse Viaduct. Designed by David Mocatta, it is 1,475 feet long, 96 feet high, and has 37 arches each spanning 30 feet.
At Brighton, the most notable features are the huge man-made plateau cut out of the chalk hillside at the terminus, the New England Viaduct, and Patcham Tunnel. Fortunately, the owner of Patcham Place at the time, Major Paine, insisted on a tunnel through his land rather than a cutting; the final stone of the 488-yard tunnel was keyed in at an elaborate ceremony on 16 June 1841, and the north portal bears the date 1841. The original New England Viaduct (or Montpelier Bridge) is a rather elegant structure in yellow brick and may be seen whilst ascending the hill from the east. The foundation stone was laid on 27 May 1839 at a ceremony said to have been witnessed by 10,000 people. In the 1860s it was widened on the western side by the addition of a red-brick and iron structure which was rebuilt at Easter 1985.

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.

This photographic print is of Brighton Railway Station c1905. A large crowd are heading towards platform 3 to board the train there. A sign above them reads 'Main and East coast lines'.
Reproduced courtesy of Royal Pavilion, & Museums, Brighton & Hove

Comments about this page

  • I think this is actually a picture of the HMV National Show Train which toured the country in 1934. The rolling stock was provided by the GWR.

    By John Lewis (09/11/2008)
  • That date, if correct, very much helps date some pre-war negatives, and agree from what I can see, the train in the view on MyBrighton is the same as that HMV train taken in Kent with those lines along the side.

    By Gordon Dinnage - Picture Publisher (20/09/2009)

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