ABOUT THIS WEBSITE
This non-profit website, which has been on the internet since 23 August 1999, is intended to be a reference point for anybody interested in small branchlines and aspects of their history which have since disappeared (such as race-traffic in the case of the Epsom Downs branch). It might also hold a certain appeal to anybody interested in the local history of the area served by the branch.
The contents of this website have been compiled very much like a book. Whilst the text is my own writing, I have of course learned many of the facts recounted here thanks to other sources. Rather than indicate sources every time by means of footnotes, I have decided to list these sources and publications further below on this page. Whilst I do claim copyright to the text the way any author of a book or article would, I have undertaken both research and writing right from the start with the intention of placing the results in the public domain. This means that all text on this website may be used without restriction if the website is indicated as source.
Photographs, illustrations and multimedia clips taken from my own personal photo files and collection may also be used freely, although this is restricted to non-commercial use (where, again, indicating the website as source is all I ask). This applies to all photographs and illustrations which have no added source/copyright indication. Pictures and illustrations which carry such an indication (e.g. John Smith, used with kind permission) are part of my private collection, but I do not hold the copyright. They are featured on the website only because the copyright holder has given me permission to do so, but this is limited to the Epsom Downs Branch website. They may only be used for other purposes if the copyright holder grants permission. Respecting copyright is in the interest of free internet access to sites as this one.
A special copyright situation exists concerning old photographs and postcards, which are available for purchase through various sources. An important such source used to be the famous Lens of Sutton (which used to be located not too far away from Sutton station and thus the starting point of the Epsom Downs branch). In many cases, the original photographer is unknown, and acquiring a copy thus conveys publication right (but not copyright).
This website is committed to respecting copyright completely. If you should feel that a copyright has not been observed, please contact me with details so that necessary corrections can be made.
CAN YOU HELP?
My first memories of the Epsom Downs branch date back to about 1970, when a chocolate and sweets vending machine on the up platform at Banstead station held quite a bit of fascination for a six year old... During subsequent annual holidays spent at my grandmother's house, Banstead station - a five minutes walk away - was a regular starting point for trips to Sutton or London during my holidays.
Slowly, a growing interest for this quite unspectacular branchline started to set in, and learning more about the past of the Epsom Downs Branch added quite some fascination to what otherwise is a very personal (and sometimes sentimental) perspective. And so, since 1987, I have attempted to record the developments on the branch by taking photographs and building up a collection of items from its past and present. However, that isn't too easy if you are living some 800 miles away for all except one week of the year.
I am therefore very much dependent on help from others. Given the fact that not many people care(d) to document the branch, and even fewer know of this website, quite a number of people have provided me with fascinating information and photographs, featured on this website.
If you feel you can add something - information or photographs from any period - please drop me a line. I am also happy to answer any questions.
The first time I ever thought of taking a photograph of what seemed such a commonplace thing was in July 1987. It turned out to be the one and only picture I have of a slam-door EMU on the branch, 2EPB (Cl. 416/3) no. 6325.
Not surprisingly, there is but one book entirely dedicated to the Epsom Downs Branch. Published in 1983, J.R.W. Kirkby's "The Banstead and Epsom Downs Railway" (published as Locomotion Papers Series No. 145 by the Oakwood Press, ISBN 085361-300-1) is a short (30 pages) but interesting account of the branch's history. The focus is clearly on the past (with 24 b/w photographs and station track diagrams accordingly depicting the line during the first half of the 20th century), but as such, this booklet (which is still available) is indispensable reading for anybody interested in the line.
George Reeve's and Chris Hawkins' "Branch lines of the Southern Railway Vol. Two" (published also in 1983, by Wild Swan Publications Ltd., ISBN 0-906867-14-2) covers three Southern branchlines, the first of which is the Epsom Downs line. Spread out over 45 pages, the wealth of photographs, drawings and text information make this the primary text to turn to if looking for detailed information on the line. (Unfortunately, this book is out of print)
Another must for anybody interested in the Epsom Downs branch is Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith's "West Croydon to Epsom (including the Epsom Downs branch)", published in 1992 (still in print) as part of the London Suburban Railways Series by the Middleton Press (ISBN 1-873793-08-1). Within the usual Middleton format, the emphasis is on pictures, but here and there text snippets provide interesting and sometimes unusual information.
Alan A. Jackson's "London's Local Railways" (2nd ed., 1999), published by Capital Transport Publishing (ISBN 1854142097), features a short chapter on the Epsom Downs branch. Basically a collection of basic historical facts and travel notes together with photographs of a journey made for the purpose of the publication, the text is rather somber and reflects not only a wet and drab day but the generally downtrodden atmosphere of the Connex era on the branch.
The most recent publication (2002) to feature a couple of pages on the Epsom Downs branch is Leslie Oppitz's "Lost Railways of Surrey" published by Countryside Books (ISBN 1853067717) in a series of books on the subject from the perspective of a specific county. Whilst mostly a synopsis of information found in Kirkby and Reeve & Hawkins, the chapter on the branch features some photographs not previously published. The "lost" in the case of the Epsom Downs branch refers to horse racing traffic.
This concludes the list of publications which feature more than the odd page or photograph on the line - example books from this category which will also provide the researcher into the Epsom Downs line with interesting reading are:
1992 - Mitchell, Vic & Keith Smith: "Mitcham Junction lines". London Suburban Railways Series, Middleton Press, ISBN 1-873793-01-4
1995 - Hornby, Frank: "London Suburban. An illustrated history of the capital's commuter lines since 1948", Silver Link Publishing SLP, ISBN 1 85794 039 3
1999 - Jackson, Alan A.: "The Railway in Surrey". Atlantic Transport Publishers, ISBN: 0906899907
2001 - Welch, Michael: "Surrey Steam". Capital Transport Publishing, ISBN 1854142380
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page last revised: 16 May 2011