All material is copyright of Christopher Parker or their credited owners - 2022
Introduction Brief History Caterham Whyteleafe South Whyteleafe Kenley Purley Rolling Stock Contact Centenary Pictures Railway Operators Track Renewal

Brief History - The Beginning

The railway line as we know it today sweeps along the bottom of a valley from Caterham, until it reaches high up to Purley station.  In the 1800’s most of this land was made up of farms, pockets of houses, and the odd public house along the Godstone Road.  

The Victorian era was a time when railways were being built all over Britain and the empire.  Fortunately there was a group of gentlemen who were planning on creating a single tracked line to which this website is dedicated to.

The first Chairman of the Caterham Railway Company was John Campbell Colquhoun from Chartwell, Westerham.  The Directors were George Drew of Kenley House, Alfred Smith of Tupwood, Charles Dingwall of Caterham, Alexander Beattie of Sydenham, Alexander Greig, and Francis Fuller, also from Sydenham.  They managed to persuade the local railway companies (London, Brighton & South Coast Railway and South Eastern Railway) and Parliament that the line was worthwhile, and the Caterham Railway Act was passed on the 16th of June 1854.

There were many delays in the whole process.  The LBSCR and SER were large companies, and didn’t get on well with each other!  A lot of correspondence was needed to be able make sure that they could build the line on SER territory, but also join the tracks at the LBSCR station.  The station in question was Godstone Road, which we know today as Purley.  This was in fact closed at the time due to a lack of passenger numbers, and would require the LBSCR to reopen it and then allow trains to run from here to London on its railway track.

After more headaches to the Board, the line was formally opened with a special train arriving at Caterham from London Bridge on the 4th of August 1856.