ROUGH NOTES OF THE TALK BY ALAN
EDWARDS AT CHILWORTH VILLAGE HALL
SATURDAY 28TH FEBRUARY 2004
These notes have been provided for
anyone who went along to Chilworth Village Hall on the day or for anyone who
missed the talk.
Any notes shown in ITALICS were not mentioned to save time
RECORDINGS ARE SHOWN IN HEAVY TYPE
I was born in Magazine Cottages (No. 6) in 1943 with steam trains passing
all of the time, this is very likely why I had the interest in the steam
trains. In 1966 I started working on the Railway in the Station masters
Office at Guildford Station, 1969 I Married and moved away to East Surrey to
Lingfield and later to Warlingham.
Arriving by Train at Chilworth. 'U' class on an Up train approaches from Tangley and clanks
to a stop.
Train heads off towards Gomshall with the exhaust hitting Lockner Bridge.
BEFORE THE RAILWAY CAME TO CHILWORTH
The road now known of as the A248 Dorking Road and New Road was very much
different in the days prior to the building of the Railway line through
Chilworth. Imagine the situation of the roads as they are now, heading from
Albury to Chilworth you now turn left to cross the railway at Tangley
Crossing, instead of turning left the original road continued in a fairly
straight line along past Magazine Cottages and followed the course of the
railway that we know today, a new road was constructed that turned left and
crossed the formation of the railway at Tangley Crossing leading through the
village, and was given the name 'New Road'.
THE OPENING OF THE RAILWAY
The Reading, Guildford and Reigate Company line opened in 1849 in stages
Chilworth Station was opened on 20th August 1849.
Charles Henfrey built the Dorking to Shalford Section of the line.
At around this period of time while the Railway line was being built, St
Martha's Church was being rebuilt using the old materials where possible,
after being damaged by a Gunpowder Works explosion leaving it in ruins by
1845, just think for a moment, all that work taking place in and around
The Chilworth Church Of England School was not opened until 1873.
OTHER OPENING DATES
Tonbridge to Redhill 26th May 1842, 7 years before the Redhill to Reading
It is interesting to note that Waterloo Station in London opened on 11th
July 1848 and London Victoria opened on 1st October 1860
The railway line from Guildford to Bramley, Cranleigh and Horsham opened in
1865 and closed almost 100 years later in 1965.
WHO RAN THE RAILWAY
1849 Reading Guildford and Reigate Railway
1852 South Eastern Railway
1899 South Eastern & Chatham Railway
1923 Southern Railway
1948 British Railways Southern Region
London Central and London West (later Central and South Western Divisions)
Divisional Divisional Boundary between Tangley Crossing and East Shalford
1982 British Railways London and South East Sector
1986 Network SouthEast
1994 Thames Trains 'Go Ahead' (Reading)
1st April 2004 'First' Thames Trains (hot off the press information from the Guard on the train from Redhill today)
TRAINS THAT WHISTLED
Ruined recording of a journey from Guildford to Chilworth, by the Driver
whistling too many times.
Schools Class speeds past Magazine Cottages with an up Passenger train, the
Distant signal is at caution, the train with plenty of steam to spare the
driver gives a warning whistle and prepares to stop outside Chilworth
The driver gives a thank you whistle as the Chilworth signalman pulls off
his signal and the train draws into the station with a 3 cylinder beat.
'N' class on the 12 10 pm Moreton Cutting (Near Didcot) to Tonbridge Freight train storms
past Tangley Crossing and up the 1 in 100 grade and gives a friendly whistle
to the signalman at Chilworth Station for giving him a clear run.as the
exaust hits the Station footbridge.
The rare sound of a QI Class loco on an up passenger train passing Tangley
Crossing gives a throaty whistle to the signalman at Chilworth.
STATION MASTER'S AT CHILWORTH STATION
1948 Mr Jack Hovell,
1950's Jack Fordham the Station Master at Gomshall & Shere, he was known of
as (Applejack) by the local railwaymen because he used to sell the Apples
that grew alongside the railway line.
Later, the Station Master was based at Reigate.
Porter / Signalmen at Chilworth 1950's / 60's
Mr Bailey, Henry Downing, Graham Vincent, Stan Overington
Porter / Signalman Wages in 1928 47/- per week (£2 35p)
THE FACILITIES AT CHILWORTH STATION
Chilworth Station had a Booking Hall on the up side, there was a separate
Ladies Room which was accommodated at the far end of the booking hall, the
Gents was found on the up platform, the Station Master's Office was a
seperate room which was reached through the booking office, the booking
office which had the small traditional glass window and a stable style door
which would be opened if there was a parcel to be handed in for despatch or
collected. A popular service in the old days was Passengers Luggage in
Advance (PLA) as it was known as, it also had another name Passengers
Luggage in Arrears which was unfortunately true on occasions. I can remember
sending off some suitcases at Chilworth Station to Braunton in Devon and
sending them back again after the holiday and there was no problem.
There was an open fireplace in the booking hall and I can recall seeing a
lovely fire burning in the grate late one afternoon when there was a
Ramblers Excursion train due to return to East Croydon and London Victoria.
The Conducted Ramblers Excursions ran from London and the Suburbs to various
places in the country, a popular trip was from London Victoria, East Croydon
to Gomshall and Shere, Chilworth & Albury and Shalford, then the walkers
would head off on an organised ramble and head back later in the day from
another Station. One particular excursion of 11 coaches unusually brought
one of the Schools Class 4-4-0 locomotives, it was number 30918 named
'Hurstpierpoint', this was another engine to underline in my Ian Allan ABC
book of engine numbers. The Schools Class were the most powerful 4-4-0
locomotives in Europe and these engines hauled most of the Express Trains on
the Waterloo - Guildford - Portsmouth Line before it was electrified in
1937. During the last few years of steam they were regular performers on the
The Signal Box was on the Down side.
There was a footbridge Bridge No. 1300A which was useful for pedestrians
when the crossing gates were closed, I can remember standing on the bridge
when a down train had stopped, sometimes the engine would be right under the
bridge and looking down the engine chimney and experiencing the exhaust as
the train started off. (Bridge No 1300 is a small culvert under the line mid
way along the station)
At the Gomshall end of the down platform was a corrugated iron shed which
was used as a lamp room, the oil for the Signal and Crossing gate lamps was
There was quite an extensive Goods Yard at Chilworth Station,
Sidings 362 ft
Long Siding 1017 ft
5 Ton Crane
In 1960 there were
163 Received wagons
Coal - Shephard and Hayward delivered by the wagon load,
Corn - C.A. Botting, Albury Mill. Yellow Lorries
16 Wagons forwarded,
Sugar Beet - Farmers. Jack Bailey, New Road and T F Butler of Manor Farm.
East Shalford Lane
There was also a loading dock where I can recall seeing open wagons being
loaded with Sugar Beet.
Sometimes a freight train would be shunted back into the long siding at
Chilworth for a Passenger train to precede. This siding almost reached back
as far as Tangley Crossing.
There was a narrow gauge (800mm, 2ft 7 ½ inch gauge) tramway line that
operated around The Chilworth Gunpowder Factory, this tramway was extended
in 1885 to run from the Gunpowder Works to Chilworth Goods Yard, it used to
come across the stream on a swing bridge and up what is now the footpath
that runs beside the current Chilworth School and crossed the Dorking Road
where Mrs Bartlett's Chilworth Stores used to be.
The owners of the factory organised special trains from Chilworth Station to
convey their staff on trips to the seaside.
The Gunpowder factory closed down in the 1920's.
THE LEVEL CROSSINGS AND GATE KEEPERS COTTAGES
Between Shalford Station and Gomshall & Shere Station there were several
Level Crossings and Gate Keepers Cottages.
EAST SHALFORD LANE CROSSING
GOMSHALL LANE CROSSING
On regular occasions Full Water Cans were set down and empty cans loaded at
some of the Crossing Keepers Gate houses, because these old houses did not
have the mains water supply, I can remember being on a train that called at
Combe Crossing between Dorking and Gomshall and watching this happening.
In the 1950's and 60's Bill Seymour lived in the Crossing Keeper's house.
Other names associated with Tangley Crossing at that time were Harold
Whittaker and Charlie Greenaway who lived in the Pre-fabs at Hornhatch.
I can recall seeing Charlie looking through a pair of binoculars to see if
there was train coming in the direction from Shalford, or was it perhaps
that someone had just lit a bonfire in their back garden down at Hornhatch !
THE TRAIN SERVICE
Up Trains from Chilworth called at
GOMSHALL & SHERE, DORKING TOWN, DEEPDENE, BETCHWORTH, REIGATE, REDHILL,
NUTFIELD, GODSTONE, EDENBRIDGE, PENSHURST, LYGHE HALT, TONBRIDGE
Down Trains from Chilworth called at
SHALFORD, GUILDFORD, WANBOROUGH, ASH, NORTH CAMP, FARNBOROUGH NORTH,
BLACKWATER, SANDHURST HALT, CROWTHORNE, WOKINGHAM, READING
The Train service was displayed to the travelling public on departure
posters, pasted onto boards at the Station, massive double width posters
that also showed loads of other lines and connections that by the time you
had worked out where to look for Chilworth, the train would be coming
anyway. There were also public timetable books which even in the 1950's and
60's were priced at 1/- for the complete book of times for the whole of the
Southern Region with 636 pages in the winter 1950 edition.
There were the Timetables that the Railway used, these were called 'WORKING
TIMETABLES' in other words, the public timetables were ' TIMETABLES THAT DID
1954 3rd class Single Fare
Chilworth to Guildford 7d (3p) 30th August 1954
1/- (5p) 10th October 1963
Chilworth to Waterloo 5/4d (27p)
Chilworth to London Bridge / Victoria 6/- (30p)
Season Ticket rate to London Waterloo via Guildford £10. 6s (£10.30p)
Return Tickets had to be torn in half, keeping the return half for the
Early Morning Return (Workmans) tickets
Excursion fares Brighton 9/9d (49p) Hastings 14/9d (74p)
Platform Tickets 1d
PARCELS and FREIGHT TRAINS
Christmas Mails and Parcels trains to the Post Office mail depot at Redhill.
BR Standard Class 4 2-6-0 clanks past Tangley Crossing with a train of
assorted 4 wheel and bogie vans conveying Christmas mails and parcels.
12.10 Moreton Cutting (East of Didcot on the Western Region) to Tonbridge,
10 past 7 pm
A rare recording of a N Class with plenty of steam to spare on a down train
of empty Carflat wagons from Newhaven to the West Midlands trundling past
Tangley Crossing. The guards van on the rear has the brakes slightly
applied. All my other recordings are of 'Up' trains heading towards Redhill.
The connecting rods clank and the wagons squeal as N Class 2-6-0 makes a
wonderful sound on the 12 10 pm Moreton Cutting to Tonbridge freight passing
U Class 2-6-0 on an up passenger train gives a short whistle as she
approaches Tangley Crossing and gallops on towards Chilworth
S15 4-6-0 No. 30847 has been shunted back into the long siding at Chilworth
Station to let a passenger train precede. This recording was made on the
Bridge at Lockner and the train can be heard making progress towards Albury
N Class 2-6-0 working a heavy freight train has been held at Tangley
Crossing signals waiting for a clear run. The train restarts with no
difficulty at all. There seems to be a Hot Box (Axle Box) on one of the
Pick Up Freight calling at all stations that had a Goods Yard to detach and
4.0 am Mondays exceted Norwood to Guildford
5.5 am Mondays Only Redhill to Guildford
Traffic is waiting at Tangley Crossing as 'all singing and dancing' sounds
come from Q1 class 0-6-0 clanks past Magazine Cottages on an up Ballast
Train from Meldon Quarry to New Cross Gate. The crossing keeper clunks the
Gates open for road traffic to carry on as the train slogs up the hill
Q1 Ballast Trains conveying the chippings hewn from the rock face at the
Railway owned Meldon Quarry, near Okehampton deep in Devon to the Permanent Way
yards at New Cross gate or Tonbridge were a regular sight passing through Chilworth.
TWO WORLD WARS
Two World Wars brought a tremendous volume of traffic, both Passenger and
Freight in the lead up and during the days of conflict.
Pre - WW1
One Train did not make it as far a Chilworth
On February 11th 1903 or 20th 1904 a Troop Train from Woolwich Arsenal to
Spectacularly derailed at Gomshall Station with the O class loco number 284
ending up facing in the opposite direction.
A fatal accident between Chilworth and Gomshall around 1910
A troop train became stuck near Postford and the assisting engine sent to
help ran into the back killing the Guard and a number of soldiers. A
commemorative Yew tree clipped like a Bird (Known as Jesse's Seat) was
planted in respect of the Guard and is still there today.
Lots of traffic to and from the Gunpowder factory via the private siding
On Wednesday night 29 May 1918 at 23 45 a 12 coach train from the LSWR to
Folkestone conveying 7 Officers and 576 Men worked by a LSWR engine with a
SECR Pilot Driver
On Thursday morning 30 May 1918 at 01 45 another train from the GWR to
Folkestone with 4 Officers and 377 Men worked by a GWR loco with a SECR
The train waited at Ashford Kent for Engine purposes and to draw the
From the Afternoon of Friday September 20th through to the Early Morning of
Saturday September 21st 1935 there were 12 extra Troop Trains associated
with Military Manoeuvres that passed through Chilworth.
Each Regiment had 2 trains.
These trains conveyed the following troops
1st Royal Scot's
2ND East Surreys
HQ 12th Infantry Brigade,
1st Royal Berks
2nd Royal West Kents
2nd Seaforth Highlanders
with a total of
2772 Other Ranks
113 Horses = 46 Officers Horses and 67 Riding Horses
10 Carden Lloyd Tanks
45 Limbered vehicles
50 Two wheeled vehicles
13 ¾ Tons of baggage.
During the Dunkirk evacuation May 27th to June 4th 1940 the public service
of trains were withdrawn for 9 days around 600 trains some Ambulance trains
conveying troops, many in a bad way, traversed the line through Chilworth.
The Southern Railway did not have enough carriages to make all the trains up
so they did rustle up 55 trains, the LNER 47, LMS 44 and the GWR 40.
On 11th April 1944 a train of loaded Petrol Tanker wagons collided with a
Light Engine at Shalford Station, there was a terrific blaze and some of the
tank wagons were under the A281 road bridge, the heat causing the bridge to
buckle. Driver Arthur Griffen received the British Empire Medal for dividing
the burning train and moving the front part to safety.
East Shalford Sidings opened during the WW2 years
6 through lines 4 shorter sidings
1950's Guildford turntable out of action
Crippled wagons were stored there also
Withdrawn Electric trains
P Way PAD (Pre Assembly Depot) making up track for Bournemouth
French diesel shunting engine made by the firm 'Secmafer' was used at East
1949 23rd July Daily Express AIR PAGEANT at Gatwick Airport
3 Extra 6 coach each way Trains between Guildford and Redhill.
Christmas Day 1951
Up trains ( 5 ) Down trains ( 6 )
THROUGH TRAINS FROM MERSEYSIDE TO KENT AND SUSSEX COAST
Birkenhead and Hastings and Dover, ran from 1863 - 1866
resumed again in 1897 Liverpool and Folkestone Harbour.
many variations over the years and by 1938
Birkenhead via Chester, Shrewsbury, Birmingham, Reading, Guildford, where an
attachment was made with a portion from Bournemouth via Alton, then the
whole train headed off through Chilworth to Redhill where it split up into
portions for Brighton, Eastbourne, Hastings, Dover and Deal.
These through trains ceased during the WW1 and WW2 years, although there was
a busy through train that ran during part of the war years from Ashford
(Kent) to Newcastle mainly for military personnel.
Resumed again after the war as Birkenhead to the Kent and Sussex Coast
Known affectionately as The 'CONTI' (Continental Express)
Standing on the platform at Guildford in the summer of 1950 the announcement
for the down train would sound like this..
NORTH CAMP - READING GENERAL - OXFORD - BANBURY GENERAL - LEAMINGTON SPA -
BIRMINGHAM (SNOW HILL) - WOLVERHAMPTON (LOW LEVEL) - WELLINGTON -
SHREWSBURY - GOBOWEN - RUABON - WREXHAM - CHESTER (GENERAL) and BIRKENHEAD
I never heard the announcement for the up train but these are the stations
that the train served
Where the train split into portions for
BRIGHTON - EASTBOURNE - BEXHILL CENTRAL - ST LEONARDS WEST MARINA - ST
LEONARDS WARRIOR SQUARE and HASTINGS
TONBRIDGE - ASHFORD (KENT)
Where the train split again with portions for
SHORNCLIFFE - FOLKESTONE CENTRAL - DOVER PRIORY - MARTIN MILL - WALMER -
DEAL and SANDWICH.
CANTERBURY WEST - MINSTER (THANET) - RAMSGATE - DUMPTON PARK - BROADSTAIRS
Guildford Station timings were 12 15 Down and 13 58 up
Alternate SR / WR stock Refreshment car and several brake coaches
Summer Saturdays many additional trains ran such as
10 20 Birmingham Snow Hill to Margate
10 35 Birmingham Snow Hill to Hastings
1042 Wolverhampton Low Level to Ramsgate
and more besides.
These through trains ceased at the end of the summer timetable in 1964.
THE STEAM LOCOMOTIVES
Although unlikely to have been ever been seen at Chilworth, there was a
LBSCR Steam Locomotive that carried the name 'CHILWORTH' she was a Class E4
0-6-2 Tank engine number 504 built in September 1900 at Brighton Works, a
very interesting fact is that she was 1 of 12 of this class that operated
with the ROD Railway Operating Department during the First World War in
France between 1917 and 1919, returning to England again after the war.
During Southern Railway days she carried the number 2504 and in 1948 she was
renumbered 32504 by British Railways. Her days in England were mainly spent
at the place of her birth, Brighton and she was finally withdrawn and
Scrapped at Ashford in Kent in November 1961.
Two of these locos were shedded at Guildford during the 1950's and early
1960's which had the numbers and names as follows 32505 Annington
32506 Catherington but why the engine with the local name could not have
been used locally is a mystery, my own thoughts are maybe if someone
standing on the platform at Guildford Station waiting for a train to
Chilworth (SECR train), then a Horsham Line train (LBSCR) arrives with the
name CHILWORTH on the side of the engine, it could be read to mean that this
train was going to go to Chilworth !.
There is still one of these locomotives in existence at the Bluebell
Railway, No 473 named Birch Grove.
Steam Locomotives from The Southern Region some dating from the early 1900's
were the most frequent performers, during the WW2 years and into the early
1950's the WD 2-8-0 locos were used on the heavy freight trains. I can
remember clearly E Class 4-4-0 number 31315 which still had the engine
number painted in yellow on the front Red buffer beam in the 1950's. Western
Region engines regularly worked one passenger train each way on weekdays to
familiarise the WR crews with the line, with Manor Class named engines in
later years. WR locos would be seen more often on Summer Saturdays working
the through trains from the West Midlands to the Kent and Sussex Coast.
During 1964 a London Midland Region Black 5 number 45346 and an Eastern
Region B1 number 61313 were definitely seen and heard after they had both
broken down on Inter regional trains on the Brighton Main line and were
repaired at Redhill shed. New BR Standard class locos were seen from the
In 1964 a regular freight train working from Banbury to Redhill was pulled
by one of the Standard Class 9F 2-10-0 egines, these were the largest of the
BR Standard engines, and one of these locos number 92250 was the last steam
loco to be built by British Railways and was appropriately named Evening
In the 1950's
Steam Engines from the early 1900's were in regular use at Chilworth
D 1901 No. 31737 was a regular performer seen at Chilworth and is now
preserved in the NRM at York Museum.
D1 class 1921
E class 1905 No. 31315 still had the number painted in yellow on the front
E1 class 1919
L class 1914
L1 class 1926
THE LATER YEARS
U class 1928
U1 class 1925
N class 1917
N1 class 1922
Q class 1938
QI class 1942
S15 class 1927
V class 1930
WR locos class 43xx, Manor Class, Freshford Manor, Frilsham Manor
Standard class 4 2-6-0 76053 - 76062
Standard class 9F 2-10-0 used on the Banbury - Redhill freights in 1964.
In 1964 Steam engines from all four BR regions could be seen at Chilworth
SR BR STD WR LMR ER
LMS Class 5 No. 45346 and LNER Class B1 No. 61313 running in after repairs
Alongside ex GWR Manor class, SR classes and Standard locos, all together at
READING LOCOSHED 70E CLOSED 1/1965
GUILDFORD LOCOSHED 70C CLOSED 9/7/1967
REDHILL LOCOSHED 75B CLOSED 6/1965
TONBRIDGE LOCOSHED 74D CLOSED 1/1965
SECR Green with Brass
SR Black or Green
BR Steam Black, Black Lined or Green
BR Blue for Diesels
NSE Red White and Blue
SECR Birdcage sets
1st Class Saloon coach Armchairs
BR Red for local stock, Carmine and Cream, then back to Green for Southern
Birkenhead SR Green / WR Maroon - Chocolate and Cream.
Then Blue, Blue and Grey
NSE Red White and Blue
Thames Trains Navy Blue Green and White.
U Class 2-6-0 on an up passenger train takes a leisurely departure from
Chilworth Station towards Lockner Bridge.
THE CLOSURE OF THE GOODS YARD
Chilworth Goods Yard closed down on 7th May 1962.
INTRODUCTION OF DIESEL SERVICES
On January 4th 1965
Tadpoles, named as such because the first coach (an old electric driving coach) was wider than the other two coaches (which were old narrow width Hastings line Diesel coaches) started running on the Reading to Tonbridge service to a regular interval timetable,
WR DMU Network SouthEast
Front seat for good views along the line, just as the driver sees it.
Through trains to Gatwick Airport commenced on 12th May 1980.
Class 33 Crompton Diesel Electric locos worked the 'Conti' in later years
WR Hymek, Warship, Western, Class 31 and Class 47 Diesel locos worked the
inter regional freight and parcels services.
THE CLOSING OF BOOKING FACILITIES
Tickets were sold from inside the Signal Box for a short period prior to
5th November 1967 when Conductor Guards PayTrain, Omniprinter machines.
End of original Edmondson Card tickets sold since opening of the line in
First ticket in my collection of tickets, SR Platform Ticket No. 305 bought
from the Booking Office at Chilworth 14th October 1954 cost 1 old Penny.
Recording made inside the Booking Hall at Chilworth Station as S15 engine
pulls the 12 10 Moreton Cutting to Tonbridge freight on the 1 in 100
gradient. The last vehicle, the Guards van has just cleared as the signalman
re opens the crossing gates for anyone coming from or going to Blackheath.
THE INTRODUCTION OF AUTOMATIC HALF BARRIERS
Tangley Crossing, the Automatic half barriers were in operation from the
11th July 1974
Chilworth Station, barriers started on 9th June 1978. The old Gates went to
the Dart Valley Railway in Devon.
THE REMOVAL OF THE FOOTBRIDGE
The famous artist David Shepherd had arranged for the footbridge to go to
the East Somerset Railway, then to Shackerstone Railway (Battlefield Line)
Market Bosworth, Leicestershire.
The train from Chilworth has just arrived at Guildford and the station
announcer calls out the stations to Reading. The driver gives a whistle as
he pulls away, just as an electric train formed of 2-BIL units also leaves
heading for Waterloo via Woking.
FILMING AT CHILWORTH STATION
Film. The Passionate Stranger (1957)
Margaret Leighton, Ralph Richardson, Thorley Walters and Patricia Dainton.
Ralph Richardson played Professor Roger Wynter and Sir Clement Hathaway.
Margaret Leighton played Leonie Hathaway and Judith Wynter.
Patricia Dainton played Betty and Emily
Carlo Justin played Mario and Carlo.
In the 1950's Women's Magazines Quaker Sugar Puffs Henry Downing, the Porter
/ Signalman scratching his head while watching A train being driven by Bears
being loaded with Honey and Sacks of Wheat
Steam Train Memories
Footplate rides with the driver on a steam train.
Dorking Town to Chilworth. GWR 2-6-0, very fast and rock and roll, a bit
like a fairground ride. The GWR museum at Swindon has a mock up of a GWR
footplate and it truly is just like the real thing.
The talk came to an end at this point
>> Return to my Chilworth Railway website contents page <<