Station Name: SELSDON

 

[Source: Nick Catford]



Date opened: 10.8.1885
Location: At the end of a short access road on the north side of Selsdon Road.
Company on opening: Croydon & Oxted Joint Railway & Woodside and South Croydon Joint Railway
Date closed to passengers: 16.5.1983 (Oxted line platforms closed 14.6.1959)
Date closed completely: 16.5.1983
Company on closing: British Rail (Southern Region)
Present state: The platforms on the Oxted line are intact although all the buildings were demolished c.1963. From the Oxted line down platform there are three steps up to the Elmers End line up platform. The south end of this platform is intact but an access road for a new block of flats has been built over the middle and north end. The down platform is still extant as is the subway. There is a fence around the subway with a locked gate at the top and the bottom. On the wall at the bottom of the steps the gas pipe for one of the station lights can still be seen. The junction with the Oxted line has been lifted although a coloured light shunt signal on the Elmers End line is still working. The track through the up platform has been lifted although some lifted rail has not been removed. The track thorough the down platform is still in place although heavily overgrown. The track is also still in place into the Selsdon oil siding which is now abandoned and overgrown. A buffer stop and some pipework can also still be seen. The lattice footbridge to the north of the station is still in use, it has a WW2 pillbox built beneath it and there are a number of concrete cubes can be seen alongside the track nearby; these are anti-tank defences.
County: Surrey
OS Grid Ref: TQ329638
Date of visit: Spring 1980, September 1981, May 1983, Autumn 1984 May 1989 & 6.1.2008

Notes: Although the South Croydon - Oxted line opened on 10th March 1884 there was no station at Selsdon until the Woodside & South Croydon line opened on 10th August 1885 when a substantial junction station was provided with two platforms on both lines with wooden buildings in typical South Eastern Railway style. The Oxted line platforms has a footbridge with a subway on the Elmers End line platforms which were at a slightly higher level with a short flight of steps linking the Oxted down platform with the Elmers End up platform. For the first month the station appeared in public timetables as Selsdon Road Junction, then it was renamed Selsdon Road. There were two signalboxes, the north box controlled the goods yard and the south box controlled the junction with the Oxted line and was the largest box on that line.

The local Railmotor service over the Elmers End line was withdrawn on 14th March 1915 as an economy measure during WW1 but Selsdon Road Station remained open with one southbound service only Monday - Friday with an extra train on Wednesday, this was further reduced to a Wednesday only train which last ran in February 1916. After that date the
station and the line were closed to passengers and Selsdon Road closed completely on 1st January 1917 apart from the occasional 'special'; Selsdon Road goods yard remained open. The Oxted line platforms reopened on 1st May 1919 but the Elmers End Line remain closed although summer excursions and 'hop pickers' specials ran through the closed station until electrification in 1935 when the Elmers End line platforms were reopened. The station was renamed Selsdon on 30.9.1935 although the station was two miles from Selsdon.

At this time, the north signal box at the north end of the up Elmers End platform was demolished and the south box was renamed Selsdon Junction, the down platform was lengthened and the two road goods yard was enlarged to five roads. The Oxted line platforms were closed on 14th June 1959. The wooden buildings on all platforms were demolished in c.1963 with new short
wooden canopies being provided over the central sections of the Elmers End line platforms above the access steps to the subway; a small wooden booking hut was provided on the down platform. The goods yard closed on 7.10.1968 when it was reduced to two roads becoming a Shell oil tanker depot. In c.1976 the canopies were demolished leaving only the booking hut. At this time the green Southern Railway signs were finally removed and replaced with British Rail white and black signs.

Throughout its life the station was lit by gas and this lighting remained in use until the station closed in 1983 and Selsdon was one of the last stations to be lit entirely by gas.

After closure to passengers, the Shell oil siding remained in use and because the junction faced north the track on the Elmers End line was retained almost up to Croham Road bridge. Selsdon Junction signal box was closed on 1st April 1984 and subsequently demolished and the oil siding finally closed in March 1993 and the junction with the Oxted line was severed
but in 2008 most of the track to Croham Road is still in place.

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ELMERS END TO SELSDON LINE
The Woodside & South Croydon Railway was authorised in 1880 to build a 2 mile 28 chain link from the South Eastern Railway's Mid Kent line at Woodside to a junction with the the Croydon & Oxted Joint (LBSCR & SER) line which opened on the 10th March 1884. The Woodside & South Croydon Railway opened on 19th August 1885 with an intermediate station at Coombe Lane and a junction station with the Oxted line at Selsdon Road. The main engineering feature on the line were three contiguous tunnels under the Addington Hills, Woodside (266 yards), Park Hill (122 yards) and Coombe Lane (157 yards). Rolling stock was supplied by the South Eastern Railway who ran the service until the London Brighton & South Coast Railway took over at the beginning of 1887.

The line had a chequered career from the offset; the first proposal to close came in 1895. With increasing competition from trams and busses in the early 1900's Kitson Railmotors were introduced to try and improve passenger numbers. At the same time two new halts were opened, Spencer Road Halt between Selsdon Road and Coombe Lane and Bingham Road Halt between Coombe Lane and Woodside. Both were very basic built of old sleepers with no buildings. Bingham Road was sited close to the tram terminus in Lower Addiscombe Road and was well used.

Although passenger numbers improved it was not enough and with losses running at over £2000 a year the passenger service was withdrawn as a wartime economy measure in 1915 when the Railmotor service was withdrawn. Coombe Lane and Selsdon Road remained open for some through trains until 1916 but the new halts were closed.

For a while the line was used to store surplus goods wagons but after four years a daily goods service calling at Woodside and Selsdon Road was started. In 1927 the track was re-laid which brought speculation about the restoration of the passengers service, this didn't happen but the line became part of a new through route to the south coast and into Kent for
excursions and special services. The track was again re-laid early in 1935 but this time with an electric conductor rail which was extended onto the Oxted line as far as Sanderstead to allow trains to reverse. Coombe Lane was rebuilt and renamed Coombe Road and Bingham Road Halt was rebuilt as a station. Initially it was going to be renamed Ashburton but on opening it retained its original name of Bingham Road. Selsdon Road was renamed Selsdon while Spencer Road Halt was not reinstated and the remains of the station were cleared away. The new electric service started on 30th September 1935.

The early enthusiasm was however short lived with disappointing passenger numbers bring a reduction of the service during WW2 with still further reductions after the war when off peak trains terminated at Elmers End. With no improvement during the 1950's closure was announced for 4th March 1963. A local pressure group was formed to fight the closure claiming there was no alternative and after several public meetings the Ministry of Transport rejected the closure plans because of the hardship it would cause to the 650 daily passengers using the line.

With no improvements the Saturday service was withdrawn in January 1967 and in 1976 all through trains to London were withdrawn reducing the line to a shuttle service between Sanderstead and Elmers End, seven years later the line finally closed on 13th May 1983. The track was lifted during the summer of 1984 and by the autumn of that year Bingham Road

and Coombe Road stations had been demolished. A short section of track between Selsdon and the footbridge at Spencer Road was retained to serve the Selsdon Oil Siding. This finally closed in 1993 and although heavily overgrown the track is still in situ as is the down platform at Selsdon. The junction has however now been lifted making retrieval of the remaining track very difficult.

In 1986 a study of Greater London transport was undertaken by London Transport and British Rail, one of its proposals was the reintroduction of trams in the Croydon area to ease traffic congestion and to provide a service into New Addington which was poorly served by pubic transport. In 1990 Croydon Council and London Transport began working together to promote the Tramlink project which received considerable public support.

In 1986 a study of Greater London transport was undertaken by London Transport and British Rail, one of its proposals was the reintroduction of trams in the Croydon area to ease traffic congestion and to provide a service into New Addington which was poorly served by pubic transport. In 1990 Croydon Council and London Transport began working together to
promote the Tramlink project which received considerable public support.

In November 1991 the Croydon Tramlink Bill was submitted to Parliament and received Royal Assent on 21 July 1994, allowing London Regional Transport to authorise the construction of Tramlink. Three routes were to be built, Croydon - Beckenham Junction, Croydon - new Addington and Wimbledon - Elmers End.

As the lines from New Addington, Beckenham and Elmers End converged on Croydon (click here for map) they would utilise almost the entire length of the former Elmers End to Selsdon railway line with the three lines joining at a new junction at Sandilands from where they would run into central Croydon. The first Tramlink route to New Addington opened on 10th May 2000 with the line to Beckenham through Addiscombe following on 23rd May.

For a full history and photographs of the Woodside and South Croydon Railway see the Transport of Delight web site. Click here for a photo gallery.

See also Unofficial Croydon Tramlink & Disused Railways and Eighties Rail Heaven web sites. Tickets from Michael Stewart & Brian Halford

Further reading: Croydon's Railways by M W G Skinner - Kingfisher 1985 ISBN 0 046184 14 3
and Croydon Light Rail (Tramlink) a report considered by the Highways & Transportation Planning, Resources, Fiancee & Policy Committees at their meetings on 27.2.1991 & 15.5.1991

To see other stations on the Elmers End to Selsdon Line click on station name: Elmers End, Woodside, Bingham Road, Coombe Road & Spencer Road Halt
See also Park Hill Tunnel


Selsdon Station looking south after 1935 when the goods yard was enlarged to five roads





Selsdon Station looking north c.1960. The Oxted line platforms are on the left with the Elmers End platforms at a slightly higher level on the right. The Oxted line platforms closed on 14.6.1959 and all the buildings were demolished in c.1963.

SCTS Southern Rambler Rail tour approaching Selsdon Station on 19th March 1967. This was the last steam train to visit the Selsdon line. By this date all the original station buildings has been demolished and on the Elmers End line these were replaced by two short canopies over the subway.
Photo from John Gent collection

Selsdon Station looking south in the 1970's. The station buildings were demolished in c.1963 and replaced by the short canopies above the subway and a small wooden booking hut. The canopies were subsequently demolished before closure of the station. Note the gas light on the right, these survived in use until closure in 1983.
P
hoto from Transport of Delight web site

Selsdon Station looking south on the last day of public service, 13th May 1983. A Sanderstead train waits in the down platform while an Oxted train passes through the disused platforms. Selsdon Junction box was closed the following year and subsequently demolished. (a rare view of your webmaster standing behind the tripod!)
P
hoto by Paul Lane

Selsdon Station looking north in May 1989. At this date the oil siding was still in use. The up platform has been partly demolished to make way for the access road to a new block of flats. The Oxted line platforms can be seen on the left.
P
hoto by Nick Catford

Selsdon Station (Elmers End line) looking north in January 2007
P
hoto by Nick Catford
Click here for more pictures of Selsdon Station



 

 

 

[Source: Nick Catford]


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