Notes: The station was opened as Reading; it was renamed Reading
South on 26.9.1949 with another name change to Reading Southern
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE READING
- REDHILL LINE
The Reading, Guildford & Reigate Company had been incorporated
in 1846 to build 45 3/4 miles of line between Reading and Reigate
(Redhill) on the London-Brighton line. On the grounds of its
utility as a through link between the Great Western and the
Channel ports, the South Eastern willingly supported the scheme.
In 1852 the independent Company was purchased by the South Eastern
The Reading terminus adjoined the GWR's station; from Reading
the line ran south-east to Farnborough and on to Ash junction,
where it joined the South Western's Alton branch. Running powers
were exercised from there over the 51 miles into Guildford and
on over the Godalming extension for two miles through the narrow
Wey Gap through the North Downs to Shalford Junction. Here the
cross-country concern regained its own metals.
The Redhill-Dorking and the Reading-Farnborough sections were
opened simultaneously on 4 July 1849. The extensions of these
two sections to Shalford junction and to Ash junction came into
use on 20th August, enabling the South Eastern to run from Reading
to Guildford. Through running between Reading and Redhill began
on 15 October 1849. On 30th August 1855 the station at Reading
was resited 300 yards to the west, closer to the Great Western
At first the Redhill, Guildford & Reigate was useless as
a through route, for there was no 'narrow gauge' continuation
beyond Reading until 1858. As a route from London it competed
unfavorably at every important point west of Reigate. But though
it could offer nothing in the way of speed, the South Eastern
undercut fares, and hired vans to collect goods for dispatch
from as far afield as Farnham and Newbury. But it got no profit
from this and a tariff agreement was reached with the Great
Western and the South Western in 1858. Subsequently the line
became even more wayward than the general run of South Eastern
branches until improvements by the Managing Committee and, in
its turn, by the Southern, gave it a local service which was
quite respectable. From 1897 through services were established
between the Midlands and the Kent and Sussex resorts.
Goods services were withdrawn from Reading South on 1.10.1947.
The passenger service was threatened by the Beeching Plan, but
in the end an interval service of diesel-electric trains was
introduced and the line remains open.
From 6.9.1965 services were diverted into new platforms at
Reading General and Reading Southern was closed.