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

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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
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LINE HISTORY:
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
 


Changes Over the Years

At the time of opening, the HGDR joined the mainline at Peasmarsh, and ran on 1 miles of LSWR line into Guildford. As the main line was double track, and the branch line was only single, the branch line briefly became double track in front of the LBSCR "Peasmarsh South" signal box and the two lines joined the main lines of the Portsmouth line in front of the LSWR "Peasmarsh Junction" signal box. In 1926, the LBSCR signal box was demolished and trains from Horsham joined the "down" line to Portsmouth, briefly traveling along it in the wrong direction, and then crossed over onto the "up" line to Guildford.

The other mainline junction had two spurs, allowing trains to travel north to Horsham or south through Southwater on to Brighton. The southern spur was however removed by 1st August 1867, meaning that any Brighton bound trains had to head up into Horsham, before turning, and heading down to Brighton.

The spur removal may, in part, have been because the LBSCR were afraid that it could give the LSWR access to the south coast by using their line, but it also may have occurred because the line never really developed as the important link between the Midlands and the South Coast, as people thought it would. The hotels built at Rudgwick and Slinfold were little used, and the lines main use was for local passengers, commuters and freight; (mainly coal with some agricultural products, animals timber etc.)

Also in 1867, Cranley changed it's name to Cranleigh. The change was requested by the Post Office, as Cranley addresses that were badly written were often mistaken for Crawley, and vice versa. Presumably during this year, the station name plates and timetables were changed to show this.

Initially, the only passing place on the line was at Baynards station, during 1876 a passing loop was built at Bramley station, and one at Cranleigh station during the summer of 1880. These alterations allowed there to be seven trains per day, each way, between Horsham & Guildford, whereas before there were only four. At this time, LBSCR looked into the cost of doubling the track from Bramley to Peasmarsh junction, which would have improved services and the number of trains per day, but the works were never carried out.

Another station name change occurred on 1st June 1888. Bramley station became "Bramley and Wonersh" which was more appropriate as the station was fairly equidistant between the two village centres.

Trains ceased to run into Guildford for 10 days in 1895. The line between Peasmarsh and Guildford was closed from 23rd March to 1st April due to the collapse of part of the tunnel through St. Catherine's Hill. This not only affected trains from Horsham, but also from Portsmouth, and road transport was provided to bypass the tunnel.

In the late 1890's, Cranleigh nearly became a junction, as the LBSCR engineering committee recommended in November 1897, that a line be built between Cranleigh and Dorking. However, many landowners objected to this and opposed the parliamentary bill for the line, and the idea was abandoned by October 1898. There were also plans for a "light" railway at Cranleigh. The Light Railways Act of 1896 included a line from Ockley (on the Dorking-Horsham line) to Selham (on the Pulborough-Midhurst line) which was to have connected to Cranleigh station. Either of these additional lines would have made Cranleigh quite an important junction, and may well have kept part of the HGDR open, as commuters would have been able to make many connections to various other London stations besides Waterloo.

Just after the turn of the century Stammerham Junction became a station, as "Christ's Hospital West Horsham" station was opened on 28th April 1902. This was built in conjunction with the new Christ's Hospital School, which moved from the City of London at the same time, where it had been since it was founded in 1553. The station had seven platforms, three of which were slightly set apart from the others where Guildford trains entered. The station was only really used by people making connections from one line to another, as from there you could travel in many different directions: Guildford, Brighton, Leatherhead, Crawley and Bognor. The only passengers who started or ended their journey there were School boys, either on day excursions or starting or ending their term.

Another improvement that may well have kept Cranleigh station open was the electrification of the line between Peasmarsh and Cranleigh. The idea in the 1930's was that trains from Waterloo via Chobham had a 30 minute wait at Guildford station before returning to London. This was easily enough time to get to Cranleigh and back, however with the outbreak of the 2nd World War the idea was shelved and not returned to.

The line's only serious accident occurred on 16th December 1942. A train that had just left Bramley station full of Christmas shoppers heading for Guildford, was attacked by a German aircraft. The plane machine gunned the train, and dropped a bomb that narrowly missed it, exploding on the embankment next to it. Seven people were killed including the driver and the guard, it is thought that many more fatalities would have occurred if the bomb had not gone off on the side of the coach where the corridor was, meaning that there were no passengers sitting down that side. The train was seriously damaged, but the track was left intact.

Click here to continue to: 'Dr. Beeching and the Closure of the Branch Line'