THE EPSOM DOWNS BRANCH

 

 


Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey
Click on the station names for more information and images

  The Epsom Downs line is situated in Surrey, on the boundary of the North Downs with the Southern ridge of the Greater London area. It branches off the South London suburban mainline at Sutton, serving three stations (Belmont, Banstead, and Epsom Downs) on a stretch of track four miles in length.

Train crossing Banstead Downs on its way from Belmont to Banstead
(July 1987)

EPSOM DOWNS

 
16 miles from London Victoria, the new Epsom Downs station opened in February 1989 after the original station, which had opened to the public together with the entire branch in May 1865, was closed and torn down.

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DRIFT BRIDGE

 
After just a few hundred yards from the new station trains cross the major civil engineering landmark of the branch: Drift Bridge. Once the longest span single-arch railway bridge in Surrey, it remains one of the major features of the branch.

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BANSTEAD

 
14- miles from London Victoria, Banstead station opened to the public together with the entire branch in May 1865.

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BANSTEAD DOWNS

 
Between Banstead and Belmont, the branch passes through a mile-long cutting (excavated for the construction of the railway line) before crossing the chalk hills of Banstead Downs.

BELMONT

 
13- miles from London Victoria, Belmont station opened to the public together with the entire branch in May 1865.

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SUTTON

 
12 miles from London Victoria, Sutton station opened to the public in May 1847 and became a junction with the opening of the Epsom Downs branch in May 1865.

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LONDON VICTORIA

 


Epsom Downs service leaves Victoria
(October 2003)

The destination for most train services throughout the history of the Epsom Downs branch in London (together with, to a lesser extent, London's oldest station, London Bridge), Victoria station opened to the public in 1858/1862.

Overhead display at Victoria announcing Epsom Downs service
(October 2003)

Click on loudspeaker to hear a platform announcement for the 10:25 Southern service to Epsom Downs
(September 2004)

 

Track schematic used by Network SouthEast in the 1980s for the South London Lines

 

 

"She felt hungry; at Sutton her appetite had been keen, and meal-times were always welcome. She entered the refreshment room, and with inward murmurs made a repast which reminded her of the excellent luncheon she might now have been enjoying. All the time, she pondered her situation. Ultimately, instead of booking for Victoria, she procured a ticket for Epsom Downs, and had not long to wait for the train."
(George Gissing, The Paying Guest, 1895)

"They were hard at work there far into the night, and the towering pillar of dense green smoke that rose therefrom could be seen from the hills about Merrow, and even, it is said, from Banstead and Epsom Downs."
(H.G.Wells, The War of the Worlds, 1898)

"They dispersed therefore and joined the vast crowd which was already assembling on the side of the hill and covering the ridge with a dense mass of spectators. The place was like Epsom Downs on the Derby Day."
(Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, When The World Screamed, 1929)

 

 
 

page last updated 1 August 2016


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Text and pictures are (c) Adrian Wymann