Ellmers End to Sanderstead/ Addiscome , Charing Cross to Bromley Nth

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frodshamfella

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I'm interested to hear accounts of anyone who used to regularly use these service either regular commuters or otherwise . There is on the Grove Park to Bromley North running now, I've always found these Southeast London branch lines interesting. As is the West Croyden to Wimbledon which I never did go on in it's BR days.
 
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neilboo

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Did Elmers End to Addiscombe once on 10 Dec 83. So although far from regular, I was offered and cabbed 5718 on the return journey. A happy teen that day.
 

RichJF

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I remember doing Elmers End to Addiscombe as a kid in the 90s with one of my parents. Deserted 466, Addiscombe was ramshackled & only down to a single platform.
Addiscombe used to have 3 platforms & a major carriage shed & at least 8 car EPBs to the city at one point & I believe a CEP used to be diagrammed at certain points too.

If you want a complete history of the branches of the area then I also suggest looking up the Woodside & South Croydon Railway.
I went to school in South Croydon so the branch lines of Croydon fascinate me!
 

frodshamfella

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There was the odd direct from Addiscombe to Charing Cross in the 80s normally at odd times, probably more for stock.movement.

I also went from Elmers End to Sanderstead just before the service finished .
 

etr221

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Addiscombe was originally Croydon (Addiscombe Road), and was the original southern terminus of the extended Mid Kent line (initially was to Beckenham Junction, for connection to what become the LCDR); the other lines (to Hayes and Seldson (Road) / Sanderstead) followed later. Until electrification it (A) was the main terminus, with Hayes and Selsdon Road mainly shuttles from Elmers End. The Selsdon Road line was closed during WW1, not reopening (and being electrified) in 1935 - when most of the Mid Kent line Beckenham Junction service was diverted further south. In electric the 'main' southern terminal varied over the years, only concentrating on Hayes relatively recently (late 1960s/1970s?) - all three routes had platforms extended in the SE 1950s ten car train programme - when Addiscombe & Sanderstead became mainly shuttles from EE.

Bingham Road (on the Selsdon line) had its moment of cinematic fame in Tony Hancock's film 'The Rebel', when he boards from the wrong side by stepping through the down train.

Addiscombe always (until near the end) had the advantage of having the depot - the last couple of down shuttles were provided by Hayes trains working to A depot via EE - the last Hayes train would work in service as an extra if the previous connection hadn't been made. Once the depot closed it went down hill, the shuttle had to go north to find somewhere for the night (and ISTR the last couple of Hayes train lost their connections)

Sometime in the mid 1990s - before closure, after Networkers had taken over - the Addiscombe ticket office closed, and John (the ticket seller) did sales on train in the morning peak. When the Addiscombe signal box burnt down, the line went to SLW, initially my morning up train from Addiscombe had a crew of four (on a 466)! - driver, guard, signalman (acting as pilotman), and John selling tickets.
 

Clip

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Theres a rather nice video of the old woodside - selsdon section on the tube
 

ChiefPlanner

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J G Glover did a series in the mid 1970's in Modern Railways on "Londons Branch Lines" , which has a 4 pager on the Hayes / Addiscombe /Selsdon service groups if someone can find it - rather a lot of EPB pictures as I recall.

Friend of mine was ASM at Elmers End from 1979 for a couple of years , (covering as far north as Ladywell after they removed the ASM;s job at Catford Bridge) - quite hard work with the usual staff shortages and often break-ins at stations. In those days , being on call made it impossible to leave home , so doubly difficult.
 

frodshamfella

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Addiscombe was originally Croydon (Addiscombe Road), and was the original southern terminus of the extended Mid Kent line (initially was to Beckenham Junction, for connection to what become the LCDR); the other lines (to Hayes and Seldson (Road) / Sanderstead) followed later. Until electrification it (A) was the main terminus, with Hayes and Selsdon Road mainly shuttles from Elmers End. The Selsdon Road line was closed during WW1, not reopening (and being electrified) in 1935 - when most of the Mid Kent line Beckenham Junction service was diverted further south. In electric the 'main' southern terminal varied over the years, only concentrating on Hayes relatively recently (late 1960s/1970s?) - all three routes had platforms extended in the SE 1950s ten car train programme - when Addiscombe & Sanderstead became mainly shuttles from EE.

Bingham Road (on the Selsdon line) had its moment of cinematic fame in Tony Hancock's film 'The Rebel', when he boards from the wrong side by stepping through the down train.

Addiscombe always (until near the end) had the advantage of having the depot - the last couple of down shuttles were provided by Hayes trains working to A depot via EE - the last Hayes train would work in service as an extra if the previous connection hadn't been made. Once the depot closed it went down hill, the shuttle had to go north to find somewhere for the night (and ISTR the last couple of Hayes train lost their connections)

Sometime in the mid 1990s - before closure, after Networkers had taken over - the Addiscombe ticket office closed, and John (the ticket seller) did sales on train in the morning peak. When the Addiscombe signal box burnt down, the line went to SLW, initially my morning up train from Addiscombe had a crew of four (on a 466)! - driver, guard, signalman (acting as pilotman), and John selling tickets.

Thanks for the insight .....very interesting.
 

30907

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The Hayes branch was still worked as a shuttle in the early years of electrification, as the area was still totally rural in the 20s - in 10 years it changed out of recognition.
 

frodshamfella

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On The Bromley North , I do remember peak Semi Fast services running to and from Charing Cross.

Again its a reasonable size station for the amount of services.
 

30907

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Unlike Addiscombe, Bromley N was rebuilt for electrification, and IIRC extended for 10 cars in the 50s.
Commuting home from Waterloo around 1980, the 1727(?) was relatively easy to get a seat on.
 

frodshamfella

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Unlike Addiscombe, Bromley N was rebuilt for electrification, and IIRC extended for 10 cars in the 50s.
Commuting home from Waterloo around 1980, the 1727(?) was relatively easy to get a seat on.

I think there was and maybe there still is a campaign to get direct Bromley North to London services back
 

Bensonby

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Theres a rather nice video of the old woodside - selsdon section on the tube

Great videos but that surely can’t be the “last days” can it? It looks like the 1970s and it closed in 1997.

Also, was it semaphored until the end?
 

etr221

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Woodside-Selsdon closed 1983 (I think), and was semaphore to its end. Not to be confused with EE to Addiscombe which lasted to 1997, and was semaphore (at A) until the signal box was burnt out a year or two earlier, after which it was no signal one train working as I recall. EE went colour light as part of the London Bridge resignalling, but that didn't extend towards Woodside.
 

Journeyman

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Did these lines out of Elmers End ever have a hey day or were they always slightly used ?

The Sanderstead branch was always lightly used, and was quite late to be electrified by SR suburban standards - mid-thirties if I remember right. A lot of people questioned the wisdom of doing it even then.
 

30907

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The Sanderstead branch was always lightly used, and was quite late to be electrified by SR suburban standards - mid-thirties if I remember right. A lot of people questioned the wisdom of doing it even then.
It was presumably partly done (incorrect info deleted) to give Elmers End more trains (in preference to Beckenham Jn). The Mid Kent was busier then than now seemingly, and electrification towards Oxted would have been on the SR wishlist....
However I think the problem with the Selsdon line was that the built up area to the east didn't expand as it might have. To quote a manager back around 1970, "it's dead down there off peak" - Addiscombe only survived because of the depot.
 
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ChiefPlanner

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Woodside-Selsdon closed 1983 (I think), and was semaphore to its end. Not to be confused with EE to Addiscombe which lasted to 1997, and was semaphore (at A) until the signal box was burnt out a year or two earlier, after which it was no signal one train working as I recall. EE went colour light as part of the London Bridge resignalling, but that didn't extend towards Woodside.

The future of the lines (bar Hayes) was so uncertain in the early 1970's , it was deemed wise not to resignal onto the London Bridge control area - created a few jobs for otherwise redundant (mechanical) signalmen.
 

etr221

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It was presumably done to eliminate awkward steam workings, and to give Elmers End more trains (in preference to Beckenham Jn). The Mid Kent was busier then than now seemingly, and electrification towards Oxted would have been on the SR wishlist....
However I think the problem with the Selsdon line was that the built up area to the east didn't expand as it might have. To quote a manager back around 1970, "it's dead down there off peak" - Addiscombe only survived because of the depot.
The Woodside-Sanderstead line was closed (WW1 closure) until electrification in 1935, so no steam services to eliminate (don't know if there was any freight at that time) - electrification/reopening was essentially to provide a few more Southern Electric suburban stations in what was then a ripe for development area. I believe that for a while it was regarded as the main Southern terminal of the Mid Kent. Then both it and the Addiscombe branch suffered from slower and less frequent (or change at EE) trains to London, or bus to E Croydon for fast (and more frequent) train to London - or, as Croydon developed, less travel on to London at all.
While the Oxted line was on the Southern's electrification wish list, whether that would have included any significant service via the Mid-Kent is something I would doubt.
 

Busaholic

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I used the Bromley North branch regularly when still living at home (Bromley) and then when I'd moved to Hither Green. Commuting from HG in the 1970s I tried to get a train that had started at BN so I'd get a seat! Evening and Sunday services on the branch were always poorly used.
 

yorksrob

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I've always been surprised at the lack of success of the Sanderstead line, given the fairly built up suburban area it used to go through. Admittedly there was a change at Elmers End, but there must have still been people wanting to go to "the centre".
 

ChiefPlanner

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The Woodside-Sanderstead line was closed (WW1 closure) until electrification in 1935, so no steam services to eliminate (don't know if there was any freight at that time) - electrification/reopening was essentially to provide a few more Southern Electric suburban stations in what was then a ripe for development area. I believe that for a while it was regarded as the main Southern terminal of the Mid Kent. Then both it and the Addiscombe branch suffered from slower and less frequent (or change at EE) trains to London, or bus to E Croydon for fast (and more frequent) train to London - or, as Croydon developed, less travel on to London at all.
While the Oxted line was on the Southern's electrification wish list, whether that would have included any significant service via the Mid-Kent is something I would doubt.


Sums it up nicely , not forgetting I suppose the lower density suburban house building , access to "road motors" or an Austin 7 , probably lavish bus services in the catchment area.

One lost "speculative" line - not too far away is the planned Southern Heights Light Railway - not much can be found about it , a plan of the enthusiastic Colonel Holman (?) of light rail / "lost causes" camp and the (unenthusiastic) Southern Railway. Quite amazing how much the latter was doing at the time. Development in all directions , but they were careful with their business and shareholders money.
 

30907

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The Woodside-Sanderstead line was closed (WW1 closure) until electrification in 1935, so no steam services to eliminate (don't know if there was any freight at that time) - electrification/reopening was essentially to provide a few more Southern Electric suburban stations in what was then a ripe for development area.
.....
While the Oxted line was on the Southern's electrification wish list, whether that would have included any significant service via the Mid-Kent is something I would doubt.
Yes, I'd completely forgotten that the Selsdon line had been closed in WW1, so it was the SR anticipating development (confirmed in eg Hajducki, Railways of Beckenham) which never really happened.
I didn't mean to suggest that through services would have run from the Oxted line via the Mid Kent, just that there might have been a slight financial benefit to the Oxted project's business case (to use non-30s jargon).
 

steamybrian

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I've always been surprised at the lack of success of the Sanderstead line, given the fairly built up suburban area it used to go through. Admittedly there was a change at Elmers End, but there must have still been people wanting to go to "the centre".
For many years I lived in the East Croydon/ Addiscombe/Bingham Road area. When travelling to London I would use East Croydon due to the frequency of fast trains taking 15 minutes to either Victoria or London Bridge. If I would to use Addiscombe or Bingham Road then it was a stopping train (including a change at Elmers End) taking at best 30 minutes. The services of the Mid Kent Line were prone to cancellation which is another reason why regular travellers deserted the route. Addiscombe, Bingham Road and Woodside was a were served by frequent buses. Both Coombe Road and Selsdon were within walking distance of South Croydon station which also had a frequent and faster service to London.
 

yorksrob

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For many years I lived in the East Croydon/ Addiscombe/Bingham Road area. When travelling to London I would use East Croydon due to the frequency of fast trains taking 15 minutes to either Victoria or London Bridge. If I would to use Addiscombe or Bingham Road then it was a stopping train (including a change at Elmers End) taking at best 30 minutes. The services of the Mid Kent Line were prone to cancellation which is another reason why regular travellers deserted the route. Addiscombe, Bingham Road and Woodside was a were served by frequent buses. Both Coombe Road and Selsdon were within walking distance of South Croydon station which also had a frequent and faster service to London.

I suppose a stroll to South Croydon wouldn't be too bad.
 
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