WEST END OF LONDON AND CRYSTAL PALACE - 1853


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. 

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Farnborough Extension

An Act of 1853 approved an extension of the line eastward to Bromley and Farnborough. This map shows the proposed route from Crystal Palace via Beckenham, with also the connection to the Brighton main line from London Bridge. 

        
     
 
The detailed map above, also this diagram, show the planned location of the Farnborough terminus.

This was proposed to be adjacent to the junction between Tubbenden Lane and the High Street.

The line was built as far as Beckenham (now Beckenham Junction), and Shortlands (then called Bromley), which was reached in 1858.
 

Ightham Extension

There was also a second Act, approved in 1856, authorising a further extension from Farnborough down to Ightham in Kent. The route is shown in the map below, with a second diagram, that shows more clearly the route to be taken through the village.  The old George and Dragon Inn is clearly shown, as is a proposed minor diversion of Tubbenden Lane. As can be seen the line would have passed very close to St. Giles church.



The Plan Changes

However, company consolidation then intervened. and led to a rethink. The company was wound up and the partly-built line was sold to the London, Chatham and Dover Railway. The route after Shortlands was changed to take it through the centre of Bromley to link up with their line being built toward London from the Kent Coast through a gap in the North Downs.

A more direct main line was also built from Beckenham Junction to the new London terminus at Victoria, via Herne Hill, from where a further route was also opened to the City at Ludgate Hill (1865).. This relegated the earlier route via Crystal Palace to the secondary line that it is today, indeed some of it has now been singled to make space for part of Croydon Tramlink.

The last, Shortlands to Farnborough, part of the original WEofL & CP proposal, along with the Ightham extension, was of course never built.

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