Wartime chord at Dorking

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DerekC

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I was told by somebody that there was a wartime connection between the Dorking - Horsham and Guildford - Redhill - Tonbridge lines where they cross south of Dorking station. You can see it on the 1945 Google Earth imagery. Does anybody know what it was used for and are there any photographs?
 
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Phil.

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Given the staggering amount of men and materials that were moved by train in those dark and distant days (no forty ton lorries, no motorways) I rather suspect that it was one of a number of routes that were transporting stuff to the south coast via Redhill and Tonbridge.
 

Taunton

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Given the staggering amount of men and materials that were moved by train in those dark and distant days (no forty ton lorries, no motorways) I rather suspect that it was one of a number of routes that were transporting stuff to the south coast via Redhill and Tonbridge.
The chord didn't go this way, but went from the Horsham line onto the Guildford line. It had been built, and appears on maps, from back in the 19th century, initially as a link, and by 1914 was a siding from the LBSC Horsham line, so was presumably owned by them. I can imagine it was usefully reinstated as a means to avoid Redhill, whose need for reversal in a confined space was a gross inconvenience in both wars - it is surprising a flyover was not slammed in.

Although the chord was this south-to-west link, it actually lay to the east of the Horsham line, joining the Guildford line just before its bridge under the London line. If you look at a current map, the Horsham line approaching Dorking makes a reverse curve to the west, while the chord had carried straight ahead, almost as if it had been built first and the London line was a later addition.
 

30907

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I haven't seen this connection listed as a wartime emergency spur, and the history above explains why.

I wonder if the Middleton Press volume referred to in post #5 of this thread has any info?
http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=125575

Looking at Googlemaps there is a rather obvious bit of derelict railway land just north of the A25 bridge on the Mid Sussex line which I presume marks the former junction.
 

Taunton

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The Wikipedia page on Dorking station describes that the line from Horsham up to join the Guildford line at Dorking Deepdene was authorised and built first, with the junction onto a further line northward to the current Dorking station, Leatherhead and London coming afterwards.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorking_railway_station

The Southern railway WW2 headquarters building was in the old Deepdene Hotel, which although sharing the name of one of the stations in the town was in the woods, to the south of the town centre, away from the railway. It was apparently adjacent to the house of the Southern's General Manager, Sir Eustace Missenden. Presumably the S&T had to string all the telephone comms through the woods down to the nearest line to join into the railway phone network. Possibly the choice of the two separate lines in the town helped with redundancy of communications.
 
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30907

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The Wikipedia page on Dorking station describes that the line from Horsham up to join the Guildford line at Dorking Deepdene was authorised and built first, with the junction onto a further line northward to the current Dorking station, Leatherhead and London coming afterwards.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorking_railway_station

Reading that article, the section south of Dorking wasnt opened until a couple of months after the line from Leatherhead. The LBSC obviously didn't want the SER to benefit! But I never knew the connection to the SER existed so...
 
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DerekC

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It had been built, and appears on maps, from back in the 19th century, initially as a link, and by 1914 was a siding from the LBSC Horsham line, so was presumably owned by them. I can imagine it was usefully reinstated as a means to avoid Redhill, whose need for reversal in a confined space was a gross inconvenience in both wars - it is surprising a flyover was not slammed in.

Thanks all for the information. As ever, the truth turns out to be a bit more complex than would first appear. I have now done what I should have done before and looked at old OS maps. The connection seems to have been reduced to a siding at some time between 1896 and 1914 and by 1935 had disappeared. The embankment was visible in the 1970s when I lived in the area and when I enquired of a local he told me that it was a wartime connection. The 1945 aerial survey image isn't very good. I can persuade myself there is a track in place, but it isn't very clear. Is there a publication on wartime connections/spurs which I can consult?
 

30907

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There is at least one book with the title Britain's Railways at War.

The WW2 connections - ignoring military depots etc - I'm aware of are
Canterbury (came in handy in 1953 after the floods!)
Worthy Down (Winchester)
Yeovil (reopened post Beeching)
St Budeaux (ditto)
Lydford
Launceston
Claydon-Calvert (extant)
Oxford North Junction (south of present location)
Broom Junction (Redditch-Ashchurch LMS).

There may well be others...flat- roofed brick signalboxes often used to be a giveaway.
 
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