New Guildford Line
|New Guildford Line|
|Type||Suburban rail, Heavy rail|
South East England
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|New Guildford Line|
The New Guildford Line, presently operated by South West Trains, is a commuter line between London and Guildford. It branches off the South Western Main Line just south of Surbiton, at the same point as the short branch line to Hampton Court. On timetables, trains on this route are advertised as going to Guildford via Cobham.
Rush hour services provide one (inbound) morning service and one (outbound) evening service non-stop between Surbiton and Waterloo. Off-peak services run only twice per hour (once on Sundays) and are considerably slower, stopping at intermediate stations between Surbiton and Waterloo.
At present on Monday to Saturday there are two trains per hour to Guildford. All services on the line call at all stations on the line between Surbiton and Guildford. These trains also stop at the following stations between London Waterloo and Surbiton:
There is one additional train during the morning peak period to London and conversely in the evening to Guildford on weekdays. This extra train runs non-stop between London Waterloo and Surbiton in both directions. On Sundays there is just one train per hour in each direction.
South West Trains also operates another service from Waterloo to Guildford which runs via the Mole Valley Line between Raynes Park and Leatherhead then follows the branch through Bookham and joins the New Guildford Line at Effingham Junction and runs in parallel with the Cobham trains to the terminus at Guildford. Southern Railway also operates peak time services between Guildford and Effingham Junction. These trains go to London Victoria and London Bridge via Sutton and West Croydon, with one train per hour in each direction on both routes.
On 9 May 2011 Network Rail submitted an application to Elmbridge Council to extend the platforms at Hinchley Wood, Claygate, Oxshott and Cobham by between 47m and 54m to take 10 car trains as part of the Q4 2012/13 network rail plan that also includes platform lengthening at Effingham Junction, Horsley, Clandon and London Road.
The 'New Line', originally referred to as the "Guildford, New Line", was opened on 2 February 1885 by the London and Southwestern Railway. Successor companies to run the line were the Southern Railway, British Railways (Southern Region), and presently Southwest Trains. A note on the geology of the line at the Guildford end was made by Goodwin-Austen in 1884. Originally the line left the main line at Hampton Court Junction with two parallel tracks off the main line. The bridge just south of the down line junction is to this day big enough for two tracks when it now only has to accommodate one track. In 1908 the up line was diverted under the main line to reduce congestion. Details of this venture were noted in The Railway Magazine in 1908 which referred to the bringing into use of a "new burrowing line".
Electric train service and its development since 1916
Electric train stock is kept and serviced at Durnsford Road depot, Wimbledon and formerly at Effingham Junction. The latter depot was closed in 1990 and has been refurbished as a servicing centre for track maintenance Multiple Purpose Vehicles (MPV) for AMEC SPIE and Railtrack. Electric service from Waterloo was initially to Claygate, starting in 1916 with onward steam connection to Guildford – see extract from Electric Railway J which reported that this was the last section of the LSWR to be electrified at the time. A separate quote extracted from the same journal noted that "The electrification of the Claygate portion of the London & South-Western Railway's suburban lines has been completed, and a half-hourly service of electric trains between Claygate and Waterloo, covering the journey in twenty-nine minutes, has begun. There will be extra steam trains morning and evening". An accident at Waterloo between the 8:10 am Claygate bound electric train consisting of two sets of 3 car units and a steam train from Leatherhead is analyzed in a report to the Board of Trade at. The first electric train on the line arriving at Guildford on 12 July 1925 is shown at. This article refers to the long proposed station at Merrow, between Clandon and London Road stations. From electrification to the early 1960s train stock was formed of 3 and latterly 4 car 3-SUB and 4-SUB units – see Southern Electric Railway Assn (which erroneously states that these units were withdrawn in the 1950s). In the early 1940s a new 4-SUB was introduced, as shown in this photo by the Southern Railways Group[dead link] Subsequently, following world war 2, a large number of a sleeker design of 4-SUB was made as shown by Hart and Law. It is not known if this type of unit was used on the line in its early years, but presumably so. 4-SUB units were used exclusively on the line in the early 1960s, replacing the newer EPB units (below), and then once again exclusively substituted by EPB stock around 1964. For a while around this period the line was the only route from Waterloo that had 4-SUB units substituted by EPB units. For many years new train stock was tested for long periods on this route – a real benefit to users of the route. New mainline 4LAV units were tried out in public service in the spring of 1932 on the Waterloo – Cobham – Guildford route, where the best known publicity shot was taken of an unidentifiable unit carrying headcode H with a bar above. (This reference needs confirming – see photo at which shows a supposed Reigate line train with an H-bar headcode, and it is not clear if this photo is truly from the Reigate line or whether the previous reference is to this photo and erroneously assumes that the headcode indicates a Guildford via Cobham train). The line received the first post second world war EPB (Electro Pneumatic Brake) electric stock that became the standard for British Railways Southern Region for many years. In January 1952 4EPB set number 5001 entered service on the line – a Southern Electric Group Video gives an idea of what a journey in one of these units was like. One of the new electric trains in the 1950s is illustrated in (Sep 1959 The Railway Magazine). For a brief period starting in October 1973, first class service was provided but the number of seats was much reduced from the former second class only stock (772 to 560 seats) and this resulted in much dissatisfaction – not least of which from people who paid for first class and had crowds of second-class passengers, who had no space, join them in their compartments. However, for most of the life of the New Guildford line only second (formerly known as third) or standard-class service has been available. First-class train stock was of the 4VEP type (latterly designated class 423), a typical 4VEP in 1970s livery is shown at. Owing to a shortage of this stock on the stopping services between Waterloo and Woking first-class service was abruptly withdrawn and second-class only service reinstated. Typical first and second-class 4VEP EMU (Electric Multiple Units) trains used on this line are illustrated at. During this period of first-class service, a number of trains ran as stopping services to and from Portsmouth with an 84 headcode (see next paragraph). The abrupt withdrawal of first-class service can be seen with hindsight as marking the end of a very high standard of service on the Cobham line. Since this time, service intervals and journey times have disintegrated on the line, and the quality of stock has never been better than other suburban routes, as it had been in the past. Very occasionally during times of disrupted working, 4-COR and 2-LAV/2-BIL units and that had been displaced from the main line would be seen – the former causing substantial delays owing to the lack of doors for quick rush-hour loading.
Trains show a headcode of 42 on the front to identify this route. Prior to 1962 old train stock showed a headcode of H with a bar on top. Non-stop trains occasionally run on this route when there are track works on the main line that runs via Woking. The route codes seen in this case are 84 Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour and 74 to Portsmouth and Southsea. Prior to 1967 the respective codes were 5 and 6. A Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour train with a 6 headcode composed of a buffet car set 4BUF leading one or two 4COR sets (and most likely a main line route 80 service diverted due to engineering works) is shown between Hampton Court Junction and Hinchley Wood in reference The 42 code has never changed. A photograph of the very first EPB unit manufactured at the Eastleigh works, number 5001, with 42 headcode has been published on the web by the Suburban Electric Railway Association. This same unit (5001) repainted in its original colour is shown at London Bridge station in 1993 – it was scrapped the following year. This unit would no doubt be shocked to know that the 21-minute journey time it consistently provided daily for years from Waterloo to Hinchley Wood, the first station on the branch line, is now typically 10 minutes longer using modern train stock that is 50 years its younger – see BR SR Timetable June 1966 vs. 2010 National Rail Lv Waterloo 17:32 (exactly same time) Arr Hinchley Wood in 1966 at 17:51, in 2010 at 18:05. Although a 4CIG, a photograph taken at Eastleigh in 2009 shows what a 4VEP with headcode 42 looked like when working this route in the 1970s.
Mitchell and Smith have published a book on the line.
Proposed extension to the line
Since the mid-1990s it has been proposed that part of the former Guildford to Horsham line should be reopened as far as Cranleigh with an intermediate stop at Bramley and Wonersh. In 2009 a national report put this proposal firmly in place, but recent government spending constraints would appear to make this proposal unlikely to be implemented for many years. Ironically, these two stations were never part of the LSWR, the original builder and operator for many years of the New Guildford line, even though Bramley, Wonersh and Cranleigh are some of the closest villages close to the end of the New Guildford line. If this extension is eventually made to the line, it would seem most appropriate for regular nonstop service from Surbiton to Wimbledon or Waterloo using the fast lines to be restored so that the journey time from London to Cranleigh would not be onerously long.
Current Rolling Stock
Currently the Services to Guildford and London Waterloo are using South West Trains Class 455 sets built in the early to mid-1980s, which have now all undergone an extensive refurbishment program which was completed in 2008.Sometimes a Class 450 or Class 444 'desiro' may be used.
Typical journey times from London Waterloo
Based on the December 2006 – May 2007, and the 1966–67 timetable.
Stations in italics are prior to the start of the New Guildford Line at Hampton Court Junction. NS = Not stopping
|Destination||Peak fast service
|Offpeak in 1966/7||Change for, and notes|
|Vauxhall||NS||5||NS||London Underground Victoria Line|
|Clapham Junction||NS||9||NS||London Victoria, East Croydon, Gatwick Airport, Brighton, Eastbourne, Littlehampton|
|Wimbledon||NS||16||11||London Underground District Line, Tramlink, Sutton, Luton, London Blackfriars|
|Surbiton||18||24||18||Thames Ditton, Hampton Court, all mainline services. Note: 1966 time to Surbiton and later stations was 2 minutes less for rush hour trains that did not stop at Wimbledon – so, 16 mins to Surbiton, 19 mins to Hinchley Wood ..etc.|
|Cobham and Stoke D'Abernon||32||38||31|
|Effingham Junction||36||42||35||Bookham, Leatherhead, Epsom. Note: Many post rush hour trains had rear 4 cars detached at Effingham and returned to sheds. Front four cars continued to Guildford with 3 minute later timing from Effingham Junction to Guildford.|
|London Road (Guildford)||49||55||48|
|Guildford||55||60||52||Havant, Portsmouth, Aldershot, Ascot, Reading, Redhill, Gatwick Airport, formerly Horsham line, and proposed for Bramley and Wonersh, and Cranleigh.|
Accidents and their significance
Shortly after the line to Guildford was electrified there were three minor accidents. In each case the drivers lost control of their trains due to unfamiliarity with the new style Westinghouse brake equipment. These incidents happened on 16, 23 and 31 July. The report of the Ministry of Transport Inspector notes that the trains were coming into the new Bay platform (now platform 1) at Guildford. This platform had recently been installed for the new electric service to Guildford via Cobham. (The main line was not electrified until 1937). The report refers to the present platform 2 at Guildford as being the "down Cobham platform" – from the days of steam. This is once again the case today, owing to the large number of trains to Guildford that are routed via Bookham in recent timetables. But, for many years from 1925 until quite recently, platform 2 was only normally used by down fast Portsmouth trains. The Bay platform was sufficient to cater to the electric service via Cobham, given that services to Guildford via Bookham were rare as trains via Bookham usually terminated at Effingham Junction.
On 18 September there was another incident of the same type as in 1925 when a driver overshot the buffers and ran into the station offices, killing the assistant station master. Once again the driver was not familiar with the new type of brakes that had been introduced with the new train stock – this time 1951 electro pneumatic brake electric multiple units. The report notes that the 4EPB units had been gradually introduced from 1951 and that all trains on the line were at that point of this type. The train was the 3:12 pm from Waterloo which stopped at Wimbledon, Surbiton and then all stations down the branch line. It arrived at Guildford at 4:0 pm (sic, and standard terminology at the time for 4:00 pm or 16:00). (Note the scheduled arrival time would have been 4:04 pm which accords more with the statement in the report that fire engines arrived within 4 minutes and the first ambulance at 4:10, but in any case this is not relevant to the accident as excessive speed was not considered as a cause).
On 5 November 2010, a lorry fell off a bridge over the railway line near Oxshott railway station, landing on the 3:05 pm South West Trains service from Guildford to London Waterloo. The lorry driver and one passenger suffered serious injuries; a further five passengers suffered minor injuries.
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- Connecting Communities
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to New Guildford Line.|
- Mallinson, Howard (2006). Guildford via Cobham: The Origins and Impact of a Country Railway. ISBN 978-0-9543934-2-7.