West Croydon to Wimbledon Line Questions

Discussion in 'Railway History & Nostalgia' started by 03_179, 9 Jul 2018.

  1. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

    Messages:
    4,575
    Joined:
    6 Sep 2011
    Location:
    Herts
    It escaped some closure plans in the post Beeching era (remember there was decent freight to Waddon Marsh Power Station in those days which would have retained the line for freight only) , - there was deemed to be some hardship / diffuculty in providing alternative bus options. BR just ran it as cheaply as it could.

    It was closed to facilitate greater things - the present , brilliantly succesfull , tram service. I played a modest part in persuading FCC to give up the 4 car bay at Wimbledon to support the recent track changes and increased service spec. As you guess, I was a local resident and railway man for some years.
     
  2. 03_179

    03_179 Member

    Messages:
    957
    Joined:
    13 Aug 2008
    Location:
    London
    Thanks.

    I've worked on the Railways since 1986 (Currently at Selhurst). I remember travelling over the line a few times but never took numbers etc.
     
  3. 30907

    30907 Established Member

    Messages:
    5,431
    Joined:
    30 Sep 2012
    Location:
    Airedale
    F
    Fascinating line. I remember it as mechanically signalled throughout, with a lower quadrant up starter at Mitcham (before the alterations mentioned in post #16)
     
  4. Lucan

    Lucan Member

    Messages:
    208
    Joined:
    21 Feb 2018
    It was the first ever open-access station, opened 1803 on the Surrey Iron Railway, although the SIR was for goods only. Nevertheless, the concept of a railway open to the public, as opposed to being private and connected with a particular industry, was revolutionary*. The SIR goods siding and offices at Mitcham were about where the down (Wimbledon-bound) Tramlink platform is today, a little east of where the heavy rail platforms were.
    It wasn't. it was adopted by the Croydon Tramlink after re-construction.
    Not sure, but there was a branch off it to Merton Abbey where the Triang factory had a siding until 1975. I remember threats to the line in the 1970s which fortunately came to nothing.

    Here are two photos I took of Mitcham Station around 1975. The road frontage one is taken standing on the road bridge about vertically over the track. The one on the footbridge shows the back of the road-facing building (and Crown pub next door) which was flats by then. The ticket office was the low building at the back, reached via the arch on the road frontage and through a rather gloomy passage. The retaining wall in the lower left of the footbridge picture continued on the further side of the road bridge alongside the garden of a big old house (then the local Labour Club) and it is there that it started to lean and needed buttressing.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Postscript : I have since seen a claim that the Lake Lock Railway, with public access for freight, opened five years earlier. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Lock_Rail_Road. Nevertheless, Mitcham seems to be the oldest station still in existence, despite it being listed as a "disused station" here : http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/m/mitcham/
     
    Last edited: 11 Jul 2018
  5. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

    Messages:
    7,108
    Joined:
    7 Jun 2014
    Another factor in its continued existence may have been because it was (and remains under Tramlink) the ONLY direct public transport between the chief towns of two neighbouring boroughs, Merton and Croydon. Even in tram (the double deck variety) and trolleybus days there was never a direct link, or anything near it, despite both towns having active systems of both.
     
  6. eastwestdivide

    eastwestdivide Established Member

    Messages:
    1,573
    Joined:
    17 Aug 2009
    I had a look through my old stock books for Selhurst-allocated BR-type 2-EPBs:

    2 in the 1976, 1978, 1980, 1981 books: 5753, 5754
    5 in the 1982 book: 5751, 5752, 5753, 5754, 5755
    10 in the 1983/4 book: 5751-5760 inclusive
    9 in the 1986 book: (after renumbering) 6255 and 6258-6265 inclusive

    Over that period, the 56xx SR-type 2-EPBs were also allocated to Selhurst (and for some of that time, some were at Wimbledon)

    I've a photo from 1984 of 5760 working a London Bridge-Victoria service as a single 2-car unit, so what worked the South London line (A Central division service) when Selhurst only had 2 BR-type EPBs?
     
  7. 03_179

    03_179 Member

    Messages:
    957
    Joined:
    13 Aug 2008
    Location:
    London
    OK so that is a bit wierd. I have often passed Mitcham Station when driving to Morden Hall Park (or the Princess of India Indian Buffet - if you're in the area it's good ! ) and I have seen it and I have thought of it as a station but I always seem to be preoccupied in the car (family) so never thought much of it .. Next time I'm in the area I may stop off and take a few photos.

    Thanks for that. So there were quite a few in the early to mid 80s. Makes sense.
     
  8. Lucan

    Lucan Member

    Messages:
    208
    Joined:
    21 Feb 2018
    That "station building" is older than the SIR and is believed to have been a house with the arch where the front door once was, or possibly it was a merchant's house and the arch was original, to allow wagons through to a yard behind. As I said, the SIR goods siding was somewhat further east of this point (London Road, where the SIR had a level crossing) and was on the opposite (ie south) side of the line. It was reached by a lane called Tramway Path (still there, and present access to the Tramlink stop is down that way).

    I am guessing that the house was bought by the Wimbledon and Croydon Rly (then passing to the LBSCR) when they built their heavy railway on the old SIR trackbed in this area, and sited their station close to the road bridge. It may have been station offices once, but when I knew it it seemed to be divided into two apartments, presumably rented from the railway, with front doors up short flights of steps within that passage - the Google street view shows those doors like they have been blocked off and the steps removed to allow cars through. There are new apartment buildings at the back of the yard made in the same style as the front building.

    Mitcham had many grand Georgian houses, obviously a desirable dormitory area for wealthy Londoners back in the day. Many survive around the Cricket Green and southwards along London Road (mostly as flats or offices), as does Morden Hall, but many others have been replaced by early 20th century housing and blocks of flats. Yet the north-western part was quite industrial, and there were mills along the Wandle (served by SIR) that would be considered picturesque today.
     
  9. eastwestdivide

    eastwestdivide Established Member

    Messages:
    1,573
    Joined:
    17 Aug 2009
    Just realised I also have Southern Region timetables for 1957 and 1963:

    1957, table 67, showing 20-min interval in the peaks, 30-min otherwise, including Sundays:
    1957 SR TT.jpg

    1963, table 74, also showing 20-min interval in the peaks, 30-min otherwise, including Sundays:
    1963 SR TT.jpg
     
  10. steamybrian

    steamybrian Established Member

    Messages:
    1,074
    Joined:
    26 Nov 2010
    Location:
    Kent
    I travelled over the line many times in a 2EPB with the trains passing each other at Mitcham Junction even on a 20 minute interval service. The line was not listed in the Beeching report of 1963 but was proposed for closure in the dire days of BR in the mid 1970s when over the whole railway system passenger numbers were falling and lines were still closing. Further economies ,public protests and increased road traffic enabled the line to stay open. Further economies were that the line was resignalled with the signal boxes at Waddon Marsh, Beddington Lane, Mitcham, and Merton Park stations were closed and stations became unstaffed.
     
  11. steamybrian

    steamybrian Established Member

    Messages:
    1,074
    Joined:
    26 Nov 2010
    Location:
    Kent
    The railway between Waddon Marsh and Mitcham was built on the trackbed of the Surrey Iron Railway and other sections of the trackbed in the Mittcham and Hackbridge area are now public footpaths called Tramway Path.
     
  12. MotCO

    MotCO Member

    Messages:
    404
    Joined:
    25 Aug 2014
    How can only one station be the oldest in the world - trains had to travel to another station, didn't they?
     
  13. steamybrian

    steamybrian Established Member

    Messages:
    1,074
    Joined:
    26 Nov 2010
    Location:
    Kent
    1. The Surrey Iron Railway was freight only so it was not a passenger station.
    2. As far as I know- no other building used by the S.I.R. is in existence today.
     
  14. Lucan

    Lucan Member

    Messages:
    208
    Joined:
    21 Feb 2018
    Yes, but but the claim is that Mitcham is the oldest still in existence, as an entity, even though not having the original physical buildings. Like Euston is said to date from the 1830's, not just from its 1960's re-build.

    Indeed. But a station nevertheless https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goods_station .

    There is just one definitely identified AFAIK - the Weighing and Toll house near the Merstham quarries on the Croydon, Merstham and Godstone extension, now a private house among some more modern ones lining the north-east side of the A23 about a mile to the north of Merstham village.
     
  15. Hornet

    Hornet Member

    Messages:
    720
    Joined:
    16 Jul 2013
    Wimbledon to West Croydon Line in BR Days.

    Beddington Lane-M.jpg

    BEDDINGTON LANE 12:09 WEST CROYDON TO WIMBLEDON 20/04/1985

    Merton Park.jpg

    MERTON PARK 12:38 WIMBLEDON TO WEST CROYDON 20/04/1985

    Mitcham.jpg

    MITCHAM 11:53 WIMBLEDON TO WEST CROYDON 20/10/1986

    Morden Road.jpg

    MORDEN ROAD 12:39 WEST CROYDON TO WIMBLEDON 20/04/1985

    Waddon Marsh.jpg

    WADDON MARSH 11:09 WEST CROYDON TO WIMBLEDON 20/04/1985
     
  16. ChiefPlanner

    ChiefPlanner Established Member

    Messages:
    4,575
    Joined:
    6 Sep 2011
    Location:
    Herts

    Splendid , sums up the lax operational standards very well .....off the Radar for the Area Inspectors am sure ....
     
  17. Lucan

    Lucan Member

    Messages:
    208
    Joined:
    21 Feb 2018
    That Merton Park photo shows on the right the platforms for the double track line to Merton Abbey and Tooting. That track was singled and freight only by WW2 (the remaining track passing by the down platform - nearer to the photographer) and lifted entirely in 1975. Passengers for the single Wimbledon/Mitcham/Croydon line (and the down from Tooting going to Wimbledon) reached the wedge-shaped island platform via a barrow crossing down the platform end ramps in the photo. I don't think there was ever a footbridge, even when the Tooting line had a regular service (never electrified of course). After the last Tooting track was lifted, a level walkway was created across to access the Mitcham line platform.

    I was never familiar with the Croydon end of the line, and I am puzzled by the Waddon Marsh photo. We seem to be looking east, and it is single track into the distance, so is the island platform on a passing loop? I never knew trains needed to pass there, they did that in the Mitcham double-track area, and I had thought the line was single all the way from Mitcham Jcn to West Croydon. Yet the rails on the left look rusty and the track on the right (down line?) seems bi-directionally signalled.
     
  18. Hornet

    Hornet Member

    Messages:
    720
    Joined:
    16 Jul 2013
    Pnoto taken looking SE from Station Footbridge with Purley Way Roadbridge behind, See map in link.

    http://maps.nls.uk/geo/explore/#zoom=17&lat=51.3789&lon=-0.1202&layers=170&b=1
     
  19. Lucan

    Lucan Member

    Messages:
    208
    Joined:
    21 Feb 2018
    Thanks for that link, I did not know that such a web site existed. It is fascinating, and I expect I am going to spend hours on it :s . Just on opening that link I saw that it included, apart from Waddon Marsh Halt : (1) a place I once worked, and (2) the road, indeed the house, where my first GF lived !

    So many private sidings into factories! All now replaced by retail outlets - does anyone in the UK actually make anything any more? It does look like the Waddon Marsh island platform was in a passing loop in an otherwise single passenger line; all the other tracks in that 1953 map seem to be for freight.
     
  20. 30907

    30907 Established Member

    Messages:
    5,431
    Joined:
    30 Sep 2012
    Location:
    Airedale
    Flatpacks from IKEA? Seriously, yes WM was a passing loop (and Beddington Lane a block post on a single line) - I think dating from electrification, though not a booked crossing point.
     
  21. AY1975

    AY1975 Member

    Messages:
    360
    Joined:
    14 Dec 2016
    I also seem to recall that for a short time in the late 1970s and early '80s the line was occasionally worked by SR design 2-SAP units with a full length side corridor Driving Trailer Second (formerly Composite).
     

Share This Page