Belmont, the first station on the branch, is sited one and a quarter miles down the line from the junction at Sutton. The area consisted of less than a dozen scattered agricultural labourer's cottages before the South Metropolitan District School was constructed between 1852 and 1855. It served to accommodate children from impoverished south London families and was heavily extended shortly after the opening of the railway line. The presence of a railway station also triggered housing developments, and in the 1880s the first shops were opened - not surprisingly in Station Road. A post office was opened in 1890, by which time the number of inhabitants at Belmont had more than doubled in ten years to a total of 450 - not a very large number by any standards, but that same year a staggering 1,800 children were recorded to be in attendance at the Met District School (Kirby, 1983).

(click for larger image)


The school was closed as a consequence of the 1902 Education Act, and Belmont remained a very rural place right up until the 1930s, with the village growing around the railway station.

The station has quite a chequered history in respect to its name, having started out in life as "California". The LB&SCR chose this name with reference to the "California Arms" pub which existed there since 1861 and which can be seen on the 1871 survey map.

There are many stories relating how traffic destined for this station would quite often end up in the United States as officially there was no such place in Britain. Legend therefore has it that the stationmaster, faced with massive losses of consignments, suggested the renaming of the station (Kirby, 1983). The station's name was changed to Belmont in 1875. The pub was destroyed by a direct German bomb hit in April 1941, rebuilt in the 1950s and eventually also renamed "The Belmont" in the 1980s...

The 1871 survey map also shows the private siding for the South Metropolitan Dristricts School, which was later put out of use and lifted. The land in the vicinity at this time was still devoid of any housing.

The original station building was completely destroyed in 1940 by enemy action. A direct hit leaving very little at all to be rebuilt, temporary wooden structures were put in place, which in time were followed by a concrete CLASP structure which was reduced to a mere basic shelter over the years. Refurbishment of the station concourse by Southern effectively reduced the infrastructure to a platform with a modern shelter and ticket-machine.

The original Belmont station building and station forecourt in a postcard view dating from LBSCR days
(Lens of Sutton),


The contemporary view in 2005 after station refurbishment by Southern
(Adrian Wymann)

The area has seen many changes as the open spaces which existed during the first fifty years of the railway line's existence gradually disappeared, as the comparison of historic and contemporary views of the station area illustrates.

Looking north to Sutton from Station Road Bridge, the main building of Belmont station is just visible on the right in this pre-1923 postcard view showing LBSCR "Stroudley" 0-4-2T "D" class no. 259 'Barnham' pushing a two-coach train. (Lens of Sutton)

In 2005, the scene has changed almost beyond recognition as the down line track and platform serve as the only points of reference left when comparing the two views. (Adrian Wymann)

The abundance of trees literally hides the fact that there are rows of houses to the left which virtually border on the railway line.

The view looking south to Banstead has changed in a similarly dramatic way over the past 80 years. Looking in the other direction from Station Road Bridge, towards Banstead: an early 1920s postcard of Belmont Signal Box , and the same location in September 2005.

(Lens of Sutton)

The Brighton Road bridge in the background is the common landmark which remains.


(Adrian Wymann)


27 September 2005
(Adrian Wymann)


Station Road Bridge, situated just a few yards away from the Banstead end of the platform, has served as vintage viewpoint for photographers of Belmont station for decades. All the above views - historic and contemporary - were taken looking down from this structure.

Still in place and visible in the left hand foreground of the picture are the concrete foundations of the footbridge, which was taken down after platform 2 became redundant due to the singling of the branch.

The reduction of the branch to single track on 3rd October 1982 made both the original up platform and the footbridge (needed to get there from the main station area) redundant. As with Banstead station, the abandoned platform site quickly became overgrown.


The main station name sign at Belmont (still dating from Network SouthEast days) on the concrete shelter building in 2000
(Adrian Wymann)

The platform at Belmont on 25 September 2004 looking south to Banstead (left) with the entrance area to the platform to the right, and looking north to Sutton (right).
(Adrian Wymann)

  The concrete shelter, which became a fairly dismal affair over the years, was finally removed by South Central as part of their station upgrading programme in 2004 - slightly paradox at first sight in this case, as the facilities were actually upgraded by downgrading the station to a simple shelterless platform. This was, however, more than compensated for by adding passenger information points and a state of the art ticket vending machine in 2005.

Newly installed ticket machine at Belmont, September 2005
(Adrian Wymann)


Refurbished Cl 455 840 leaves Belmont with a London Victoria service on 27 September 2005 - comparison with the picture above shows that the platform has received new fencing, adding to the generally tidy atmopshere which Belmont station has acquired since Southern took over operation of the line.
(Adrian Wymann)



KIRKBY J.R.W. Kirkby (1983) The Banstead and Epsom Downs Railway, Locomotion Papers Series, Oakwood Press


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