Station Name: BRAMLEY & WONERSH

 

[Source: Nick Catford]


Date opened: 2.10.1865
Location: On the north side of Station Road
Company on opening: London Brighton & South Coast Railway
Date closed to passengers: 14.6.1965
Date closed completely: 14.6.1965
Company on closing: British Railways (Southern Region)
Present state: The platforms and concrete stations signs are still extant with a bridleway running along the track bed. The station buildings were mainly demolished in the late 1960's.
County: Surrey
OS Grid Ref: TQ010451
Date of visit: September 1967 & May 1976

Notes: In the mid 1800's there were two proposals for a railway linking Guildford & Horsham. One from the Horsham & Guildford Direct Railway and the other from the Wey and Arun Junction Canal Company who wanted to drain 16 miles of their canal and build a railway along the canal bed. The Wey and Arun scheme was quickly forgotten but a bill to incorporate the HGDR was put before Parliament, and on 16th February 1860. Initially the London Brighton & South Coast Railway opposed the Bill but following an agreement that the LBSCR should run the line they withdrew their opposition.

The Horsham and Guildford Direct Railway Act was passed on 6th August 1860, with a clause that required the London & South Western Railway to allow the company to use one and a half of its line, still unfinished at that time, between Peasmarsh and Guildford.

Construction of the Horsham & Guildford Direct railway started early in 1862 with five stations planned at Bramley, Cranley, Little Vachery (later changed to Baynards), Rudgwick & Slinfold. The branch opened on 2nd October 1865 and was single track for its entire length with a passing loop at Baynards Station.

In 1867, Cranley's name was changed to Cranleigh at the request of the Post Office because badly written letters were sometimes mistaken for Crawley and vice versa. During 1876 passing loops were added at Bramley station and another at Cranleigh in 1880. In 1888 Bramley was renamed Bramley and Wonersh as the station equidistant from the two village centres.

In 1902 Christ's Hospital Station was opened at Stammerham Junction at the southern end of the line, this was built to serve the new Christ's Hospital School. The station had seven platforms (three on the Guildford line and four on the main line) to cater for the expected large number of pupils expected daily. These numbers never materialised as the school was opened to borders only and it was only busy at the end of a term.

There was a proposal to electrify the line between Peasmarsh and Cranleigh in the 1930's to allow a through service to Waterloo but the proposal was dropped with the coming of WW2.

During the 1950's passenger numbers were poor and the branch was considered for closure. The railway strike of 1955 proved disastrous for the line with freight traffic being forced onto the roads. The traffic didn't return after the strike and the line began losing money. The goods service was withdrawn from the five stations in 1962 and with only 5000 passengers a week using the line and 5000 tons of freight passing over it, branch was listed for closure under the Beeching report 'The reshaping of British Railways' and closed on 14th June 1965.

With the growth of the population of Cranleigh, Surrey County Council commissioned a study to look into rail improvements in the county in 1964, one of the proposals was to reinstate the rail service between Guildford and Cranleigh and in 1996 British Rail looked into the technical feasibility of reinstating the line but the proposal was not economically viable and was dropped.
Much of the line is now part of the Downs Link long distance footpath and bridleway.

On 16th December 1942 a train packed with Christmas shoppers was departing from Bramley when it was attacked by a German aircraft. The plane fired its machine gun at the train and dropped a bomb that exploded on the embankment narrowly missing the train. The train was badly damaged and seven people, including the driver and guard, were killed.

Books:
Branch Lines to Horsham by Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith
Middleton Press 1982 ISBN 0906520 02 9

Other web sites:
Railways of Southern England
The Cranleigh Railway Line
Sussex Industrial Archaeology

To see the other stations on the Horsham & Guildford Direct Railway click on the station name: Cranleigh, Baynards, Rudgwick,
Slinfold
& Christ's Hospital

 

Bramley & Wonersh Station in September 1967
P
hoto by Nick Catford



Commercial postcard of Bramley & Wonersh Station


Bramley & Wonersh Station in May 1976
P
hoto by Nick Catford

Early 20th C

1966

1966

1966

1967

1967

1967

1976

1976

1976

1976

 


Click on thumbnail to enlarge


 

 

 

[Source: Nick Catford]


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