BECKENHAM AND BEYOND - 1850s


  

Despite the many early proposals, nothing actually got built.  The two dominant companies, the SER and the LB&SCR having resolved their territorial disputes settled down to consilidate their existing businesses.

The SER lost interest in expanding into North and East Kent, even though this had now become home territory as a consequence of the agreement. Instead, during the 1850s a number of smaller and independent companies produced proposals to provide this area with a service, see the menu to the right.  Many of these would have passed through Farnborough.  

Eventually two of these were approved and got the necessary funding, which resulted in two lines being built from the London direction to what is now Beckenham Junction.


West End of London and Crystal Palace Railway

The West End of London and Crystal Palace Railway was a short-lived but nevertheless important company that built a line in South London connecting to both the Brighton main line from London Bridge, and the South Western main line from Waterloo. They were instrumental also in extending the line through Wandsworth (Clapham Junction) to what became London Victoria station. 

To coincide with the reopening of the Crystal Palace at Sydenham Hill on 10 June 1854, the London Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) opened a short spur line linking a new Crystal Palace station to Sydenham station on the Brighton main line from London Bridge.

The West End of London and Crystal Palace Railway (WELCPR) was an independent company that aimed to create an additional line from Wandsworth to the LB&SCR station at Crystal Palace and then onward to Norwood Junction, from where it would have running powers over the LB&SCR to East Croydon railway station.

The intention was also to link the northern end of the railway to the London and South Western Railway at a point south east of Clapham Junction, from where trains would continue to Waterloo.

The first part of the line, from New Wandsworth to Crystal Palace, opened 1st December 1856 and the extension to Norwood in 1857.

A further extension was immediately planned and approved to continue in an easterly direction towards Beckenham. Bromley, Farnborough and beyond.

See West End of London and Crystal Palace

But the line was built only as far as what is now Shortlands station.


Mid Kent Railway

The original proposal using this name, of 1852, had at its start the newly built railway from London to Dartford via Lewisham.  The line would branch off at Lewisham and then head south passing to the east of Beckenham, through Bromley at about the location of the future station at Bromley South. From there it would run parallel to the main turnpike road but somewhat east of it through Farnborough onward into Kent.

See Mid Kent Railway (1)

However once it became clear that the WEL&CPR would be successful in building their line to Beckenham, the Mid Kent Railway changed their route to also go to Beckenham. 
The line from Lewisham was built and completed by 1857.

The company also intended to extend their line from Beckenham  through to Croydon, but that never happened. However extensions were built to Addiscombe, and to Hayes via West Wickham. The Addiscombe branch is now part of Croydon Tramlink. The Hayes branch is still in operation.

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