Farnborough, on one of the main turnpike routes leading away from London, would seem to have been ideally placed to benefit from the development of the railway network that started in the 1830s.  But Farnborough has never had a railway link.  Indeed railway development came comparatively late to the surrounding area, despite its proximity to London.  As a consequence partly of inter-company feuding, Bromley, some four miles from Farnborough did not get a railway connection until 1862. Orpington, little over one mile away, did not get a station until 1865.

But there were a surprising number of proposals, many of which gained parliamentary approval, but succumbed because of inability to raise the necessary funds.  These proposals are described in detail in this part of the website, see the menu on this page.

The earliest with a local connection was by the London and Croydon Railway. This company opened the London end of today's Brighton main line from London Bridge to Croydon in 1839, initially sharing the terminus of the London and Greenwich Railway, but swiftly opening its own station alongside.
In 1844 they proposed to build a branch off the mainline from Croydon to Orpington and St. Mary Cray via Beckenham, but the plan did not gain approval.
Railway near London Bridge 1837

The main focus of attention was building a line from London to the coast at Dover.  The dominant company tackling this was the South Eastern Railway. They built this line during the period 1838 - 1844, but crucially they were forced to reach London via Redhill, which left the immediate area round Farnborough untouched, see Development of the Main Lines

Starting in about 1852 many further proposals were submitted to bring a railway to the local area. These are described in this part of the website, see the menu to the right.  But only two initially got built, and they formed the foundation of all local railway development for the following decade or more. These two railways, from two separate companies reached what is now Beckenham Junction by 1858.

Mid Kent Railway
West End of London and Crystal Palace Railway

This led to a number of proposals, all approved under the appropriate parliamentary legislation during the period up to 1865 to extend this early main line or build branch lines to or through Farnborough. There were also some small scale proposals at the end of the century.

But it never happened. The main line from Beckenham took a more northerly route, through Bromley to St. Mary Cray and Swanley, and the proposals for branch lines to Farnborough all floundered.. Farnborough never got a railway connection, and it therefore retains a shape and character that would still be recognisable to someone from before the railway age.

The various proposals and Acts of Parliament to bring a railway to or near to Farnborough are described in detail in the pages on this part of the website. 

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