Cranleigh Line

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The Cranleigh Line was a short railway line that connected Guildford, the county town of Surrey, with the West Sussex market town of Horsham, via Cranleigh, a distance of 19ΒΌ miles (31 kilometres). The branch line closed on 14 June 1965 four months before its 100th anniversary, the only Surrey casualty of the Beeching Axe.


Historical context

The opportunity to construct the Cranleigh Line came about from the fierce competition between the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSCR) and the London and South Western Railway (LSWR) for the lucrative Portsmouth traffic. A branch of the LSWR's London to Southampton line had reached Guildford in 1845, was extended to Godalming in 1849 and then to Havant in 1859. In 1844 the LSWR drew up plans to construct a line to the then important port of Shoreham-by-Sea from a point near Horsham. Upon hearing of this possible encroachment into their territory, the LBSCR (at the time still known as the London and Brighton Railway) acted quickly in promoting a bill authorising a line to Shoreham. The London and Brighton (Steyning Branch) Railway Act received royal assent on 18 June 1846 and the company's engineer, R. Jacombe-Hood, was instructed to survey the line. A line to Horsham from Three Bridges on the LBSCR's direct line between London and Brighton was laid in 1848.

In the meantime, both railway companies began to experience financial difficulties coinciding with the economic recession of the late 1840s, and their plans...
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