Cranleigh Railway Line:
The Guildford and Horsham Direct Railway. ~ 1865 to 1965
Cranleigh Station Totem

Signal Post
About Cranleigh Railway Station About Cranleigh Railway Station
Maps of the Cranleigh Railway Line Maps of the Cranleigh Railway Line
Cranleigh Railway Line History Cranleigh Railway Line History
Cranleigh Railway Line Photos - Then & Now Cranleigh Railway Line Photos - Then & Now
Re-Opening the Cranleigh Railway Line Re-Opening the Cranleigh Railway Line
Cranleigh Railway Line Ephemera Cranleigh Railway Line Ephemera
Cranleigh Railway Line Rolling Stock Cranleigh Railway Line Rolling Stock
Articles about the Cranleigh Railway Line Articles about the Cranleigh Railway Line
Signal Post
Signal Post



Guildford & Horsham
Plans to Join the two towns
Delays & Problems
HGDR & LBSCR - 'Whose line is it anyway!'
Building the Line
Changes Over the Years
Dr. Beeching and the Closure of the Branch Line
The Railway's Effect on Population

Building the Line

The construction of the Horsham & Guildford Direct railway did not start until early on in 1862, which only left 2 years to complete the line to avoid paying the 12,000 penalty imposed by Parliament. The main construction works for the line were a junction to the main line at Peasmarsh, a bridge over the river Wey, a road bridge over the line just outside Shalford, level crossings at Bramley & Cranleigh, a deep cutting between Cranleigh & Rudgwick, a bridge over the river Arun just past Rudgwick, another junction with the main line at Stammerham, along with 5 stations, at Bramley, Cranleigh, Little Vachery, Rudgwick & Slinfold.

Except where it met the main line at Peasmarsh & Stammerham, the entire line was built as single track, with just one passing loop at Baynards station.

All bridges where the line crossed over a road or river were made for only a single track, where as bridges crossing the line were made with enough space underneath for a second line to be laid. This was done to make expansion easier if the line was turned into a double track at a later date.

While the delays in starting construction were going on, several changes were made to the plans, the deep cutting between Cranleigh and Rudgwick was to be replaced by a tunnel through the hill at Baynards. LBSCR used their engineer to assume overall control of the line's construction, but only part-time, as he still had to work for LBSCR. He had working drawings for the line drawn up, and presented them to the HGDR board on 12th March 1862. The plans showed "considerable alteration to the Parliamentary line in some places" one major alteration was that there was no junction with the LBSCR line at Stammerham which would have shortened the lines name to "The Guildford Direct Railway" and trains would never have got to Horsham! The LBSCR engineer explained to the board a few weeks later that he "entirely forgot that he had been informed of the line's route". Some changes like the tunnel at Baynards, had to be resubmitted to Parliament. The plans for a station at Little Vachery were also changed and the station was moved to Baynards. This was largely due to Rev. Thurlow, who sold a great deal of land to the railway company, giving it to them at an incredibly reduced rate, almost obliging them to give him virtually his own private station. He was also given the right to a daily carriage from Baynards to London (It is not known when this practice ceased).

Construction was slow and by March 1863 very little progress had been made, and six miles of land between Cranleigh and Guildford, still had to be purchased. The board wrote to the contractors who assured them that activity was being increased and the line would be open on 1st March 1964. The railway company were obviously worried about missing their opening deadline and being fined the 12,000, as they did decide to cut a few corners in construction. One of these was making the bridge over the river Arun only wide enough for a single track, this not only saved them much time but also money.

On the night of 27th August 1863, one of the lines inspectors was killed in Baynards Tunnel. It is noted in the directors minutes that LBSCR paid his funeral expenses of 10, and gave a donation of 13. 13s to his widow. Fortunately he was the only casualty of the lines construction.

Work proceeded well, and at the end of 1863, tenders were sought for the building of the 5 stations, one was accepted in January 1864 at a total cost of 3,698 for all five stations. Track laying was obviously also being thought through, as four train loads of ballast was ordered by HGDR from LBSCR at a cost of 1 shilling & 4 pence (1/4d) per ton.

By the end of June 1864 the HGDR was part of LBSCR and they inherited all the delays and the potential 12,000 fine if the line wasn't open two months later, but both delays and work were to continue for another 16 months before the line would eventually be opened.

In May 1965 The Board of Trade were informed that the line would be open for use on 1st June 1865, this was later changed to 1st July, due to incomplete works. The Board inspected the line and caused a few delays of their own. They did not agree the opening of the line until plans were agreed with LSWR that Guildford station would need enlarging. They also insisted that Rudgwick station could not open as the gradient that it was built on (1 in 80) was too dangerous, and it needed to be flattened to 1 in 130. This didn't sound too much of an ordeal, but it meant that the bridge over the river Arun had to be raised considerably, and it was already part built. The part built embankments were raised and the brick arch that was under construction was left as a flying buttress to a new plate girder bridge.

The line was finally opened to the public on 2nd October 1865. Free travel was granted for everyone on the first day, so it is quite surprising that Baynards station had receipts of between 2 an 3. Most of the trains were full and the stations were crowded, except for Rudgwick, which did not open until the following month, due to the gradient alterations taking place. The Board of Trade were apparently satisfied by the LBSCR's reasons for opening 14 months after the penalty deadline, as there is no record that 12,000 deposit was lost by the company.

Click here to continue to: 'Changes Over the Years'