Friday, 22 May 2015

Raynes Park - missed opportunity?

(Raynes Park 12.5.1973 Copyright Rail Thing/Steve Sainsbury)

Raynes Park is a busy junction station on the main line west from London, with a constant procession of main line and suburban trains.

So why did a trip back in 1973 only produce these three shots? Two reasons - I was just changing trains, taking the branch down to Chessington. And secondly the usual - the high cost of film and processing. This was a good 30 years before digital photography!

So an hour here back in 1973 would have seen class 33s and 50s on trains to Salisbury and Exeter, perhaps a freight or two, loads of slam doors on suburban trains and perhaps the odd light engine movement.

But I managed to miss all that except for a couple of slam door trains! 


The railway station at Raynes Park was opened on 30 October 1871 on the London & South Western Railway (L&SWR) line that ran from its terminus at London Waterloo to Woking and beyond. The line runs east by north-east in the London direction and has two through lines (for express services) through the middle and platforms to the outsides.
Raynes Park station is the junction station where the line to Motspur Park (and on to Chessington South, Dorking or Guildford) branches off from the South Western Main Line ultimately to coastal resorts and port cities.
The track to Epsom was to compete with the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSCR)'s Mole Valley Lines to Epsom but then use statutory running powers over that line through Ashtead to Leatherhead. From where the London and South Western Railway (LSWR)'s second Guildford track headed via Effingham Junction to Guildford, south-west following its line built from the north. From Epsom, the LBSCR laid the southward track via Dorking (then called Dorking North) to Horsham.
One distinct feature of the station is the long footbridge over the 4 tracks of the main line which is set at an angle because of the offset of the platforms. This stands out as the mainline is on a fairly high embankment (allowing local roads and the Epsom line to pass beneath). Passenger access to the station is via subway at street level on either side of the mainline.
There was originally a LSWR mechanical signal box at the far south, opposite platforms 1 and 2, but this was demolished and replaced by modern automated signalling equipment many years ago.
Raynes Park goods yard was in and beyond the notch between Platforms 3 and 4, and was accessed from the Epsom lines. It did not push right up into the point of the V though. The goods yard is no longer in use and is now occupied by local manufacturing firms.

Accidents and incidents

  • On 25 May 1933, a passenger train was derailed approaching the station, coming to rest foul of an adjacent line. Another passenger train was in a side-long collision with it. Five people were killed and 35 were injured. The cause of the accident was the failure to implement a speed restriction on a section of track that was under maintenance.
  • On 28 November 1967, a newspaper train was derailed entering the station. One of the vans struck the support pillars of the footbridge, severely damaging it. The line was blocked for two days. The cause of the accident was that the guard of the train failed to inform the driver that there were wagons in the train restricted to 45 miles per hour (72 km/h). The train was booked to run at up to 75 miles per hour (121 km/h) and was doing about 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) when it derailed.

Platforms and infrastructure

The station has four platforms on two islands, 1 and 2 on the Up lines, and 3 and 4 on the Down lines.
  • Platform 1 is an eastbound platform for services to London Waterloo that have originated from Guildford, Dorking (both via Epsom) or Chessington South.
  • Platform 2 is an eastbound platform for services to London Waterloo that have originated from Waterloo (via Strawberry Hill on the Kingston loop), Hampton Court or Shepperton.
  • Platform 3 is a westbound platform for trains to Waterloo (via Strawberry Hill on the Kingston loop), Hampton Court or Shepperton.
  • Platform 4 is a south-westbound platform for trains to Guildford, Dorking (both via Worcester Park and Epsom) or Chessington South.
There are no platforms for the two central fast tracks on the mainline.
The Epsom to London line, arriving from the south-west, passes under the four mainline tracks to the west of the station and then curves up and right to platform 1. Beyond the platforms it makes a trailing junction onto the Up Slow line to Waterloo. Opposite platform 2 the Down Epsom line branches off the Down Slow mainline to arrive at platform 4, on the left side of a V formed with platform 3. The line then drops away to the south to parallel the Up Epsom line after the station. The Down Slow continues straight ahead on the right hand side of the V to platform 3.


Services from the station to destinations served are frequent throughout the whole day, with weekend services running at a similar frequency. Almost all of the services either start or terminate at London Waterloo.
The typical off-peak service from the station is:
Weekday services to London Waterloo start at 5:13 with the last direct train at 23:58. The first weekday services from London Waterloo arrive at 5:31 with the last service arriving at 1:07am. Electrified trains provide stopping services only with time to and from London Waterloo of 23-24 minutes.

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