Tattenham Corner line

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Tattenham Corner line
Purley, Red Hill & Stoats Next RJD 130.jpg
A 1905 Railway Clearing House map of the Tattenham Corner line and surrounding lines
Type Commuter rail, Suburban rail
System National Rail
Status Operational
Locale Greater London
South East England
Termini London Bridge
London Victoria
Tattenham Corner
Opened 2 November 1897
Owner Network Rail
Operator(s) Southern
Rolling stock Class 377 "Electrostar"
Class 455
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification 750 V DC third rail
Tattenham Corner line
0m 00ch London Bridge London Underground
London Victoria London Underground
Purley North Junction
15m 13ch Purley
Caterham line
to Caterham
Brighton main line
to Brighton
15m 65ch Reedham
16m 46ch Coulsdon Town
17m 40ch Woodmansterne
18m 41ch Chipstead
19m 27ch Chipstead Viaduct
20m 72ch Kingswood
Kingswood Tunnel 310 yd
Hoppity Tunnel 37 yd
22m 18ch Tadworth
23m 37ch Tattenham Corner

The Tattenham Corner line is a railway line in Southern England that runs between Purley in South London and Tattenham Corner in Surrey.


The line was opened in two parts. The first stage was built from Purley as far as Kingswood as the Chipstead Valley Railway. Local MP and Chairman of the South Eastern Railway at the time, Sir Cosmo Bonsor proposed the line in 1893.[1] However, given the difficult terrain of the route which would have involved deep cuttings and tight bends, the idea was met by some opposition from his fellow directors. Despite this, construction eventually began in 1896 and on 2 November 1897 a single-track line to Kingswood (originally Kingswood and Burgh Heath[2]) was complete.[3]

In 1899 Sir Cosmo Bonsor formed a private syndicate to have the line extended from Kingswood to its current terminus at Tattenham Corner in order to catch the racegoing traffic.[4] By Derby Day on 4 June 1901, the extension to Tattenham Corner was opened, during which time the line was also upgraded from single to double track.[5]

The Chief Engineer to the Chipstead Valley Railway was Lt Col Arthur John Barry.[6]

The line was third rail electrified by Southern Railway at 660 V DC in March 1928, and later upgraded to 750 V DC by British Rail post-war. The line is now part of the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise.

In May 2011 Smitham station was officially renamed Coulsdon Town, following a public vote on a new name for the station.


The line diverges eastwards from the Brighton Main Line at Purley. It immediately splits from the Caterham Line and passes below the Brighton line. It then runs close to the Brighton line as far as Coulsdon Town, after which it turns westwards and follows the Chipstead Valley, eventually climbing to the high ground at Tattenham Corner.

The line is primarily a commuter route, but the station at Tattenham Corner was built to serve the Epsom Downs Racecourse, with large numbers of extra trains for The Derby on Derby day. There is also a railway terminus at Epsom Downs, about 2 km north of the racecourse, which was built by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway and opened on 22 May 1865.

Oyster and contactless payment cards are valid for travel on the entire length of the route. The line from Purley to Tattenham Corner is located entirely within Travelcard Zone 6.



Train services on the line are operated by Southern, and run to London Bridge and London Victoria (peak and weekday evenings). During peak hours trains combine (am) or divide (pm) at Purley, the other section being for the Caterham Line.

Services are provided by a mixture of Class 455 and Class 377 EMUs.


The London and South East Route Utilisation Strategy released in July 2011 lays out a provisional timetable for the Thameslink Programme. Services 'assumed to operate through the Thameslink core in 2018' feature an eight-car Tattenham Corner to Welwyn Garden City service.[7] Should this timetable come to fruition, the Tattenham Corner Line would form part of the Thameslink network.

In December 2013 the old sidings at Tattenham Corner were reinstated to support overnight storage of some of the new trains ordered since 2011, as part of the train-lengthening process.[8]


  1. ^ Chipstead Village Surrey (2012). "Tattenham Corner Railway". chipsteadvillage.org. Retrieved 2012-02-25. 
  2. ^ Southern e-group (2012). "Stations - K". semgonline.com. Retrieved 2012-02-25. 
  3. ^ John Speller (2012). "Chipstead Valley Railway". spellerweb.net. Retrieved 2012-02-25. 
  4. ^ BBC R&D (2012). "BBC Kingswood Warren". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-02-25. 
  5. ^ Adrian Wymann (2007). "Epsom Downs Branch - Early History (1865 - 1928)". Wymann.info. Retrieved 2007-04-18. 
  6. ^ Frederick Arthur Crisp Visitation of England and Wales, Volume 14, London (1906)
  7. ^ London and South East Route Utilisation Strategy page 72
  8. ^ Foster, Alice (7 November 2013). "Plans to cut silver birches beside railway line come under fire in Tattenham Corner". Your Local Guardian. Retrieved 18 March 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Mitchell, Victor E.; Smith, Keith (January 1994). Caterham and Tattenham Corner. London Suburban Railways. Midhurst: Middleton Press. figures 54–120. ISBN 1-873793-25-1. 
  • Moody, G.T. (1979). Southern Electric 1909-1979. Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-0924-4. 
  • Glover, John (2001). Southern Electric. Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-2807-9.