In 1856 an independent company known as the ''Mid-Kent Railway'' was established with the initial intention of constructing a line between Lewisham and Beckenham, with a later proposed extension southwards to Addiscombe and, after the latter was reached, progressing even further south. In 1857 the concern completed its line between Lewisham and Beckenham and seven years later, in 1864, opened its intended extension to Addiscombe. In the following decades, rather than the Mid-Kent Line extending further southwards as envisaged, it was actually extended both eastwards and westwards by means of two branch lines: Elmers End to Hayes and Woodside to Selsdon. The first of the two branches to be completed was that to Hayes, being opened on 29th May 1882 as double-track throughout; the Woodside to Selsdon line came into use three years later. Both the line from Lewisham to Addiscombe and the two branch lines were worked by the South Eastern Railway from the outset.
Naturally, the station structures at Hayes were SER-inspired, being of the typical clapboard single-storey building, following the company's tradition of erecting stations at a ''modest cost''. One terminating island platform had been provided at Hayes, serving two lines, one of which fed onto a turntable. It should be made clear that the arrangement was different to that now seen: the station building was parallel with the platform rather than behind it, thus the south terminating line was shorter than the north line by the length of the clapboard structure.
Traffic on the Hayes Branch was light from the outset, with just a shuttle service to and from Elmers End, but commuter traffic began to increase steadily come the 1900s and through services to and from Charing Cross were inaugurated shortly afterwards. The trend of electrifying London suburban lines had began back in 1909 when the London Brighton & South Coast Railway installed overhead wires on its South London Line, and this practice continued thereafter, albeit with the LSWR 660 Volt DC third rail. The electrification empire was somewhat accelerated by the Southern Railway, the company of which would soon install third rail on South Eastern Division suburban routes out of the London termini. At the time of Grouping the Hayes branch was serving considerable levels of traffic to guarantee its inclusion in one of the SR's early electrification schemes, third rail being installed along the branch in 1926. Thereafter, 3 SUB EMU units frequented the line, providing quicker and quieter travel between the village and the capital. The urban sprawl of the 1930s had the knock-on effect of increased traffic on the branch, partly helped by the 1926 electrification. From the mid-1920s onwards and throughout the 1930s the SR were in full swing of modernising stations, which in effect meant completely rebuilding the existing SER establishments. The shabby old SER clapboard structure at Hayes was replaced by a much more permanent-looking brick-built affair in 1933, typical of SR design. The terminating island platform arrangement was maintained, this time both lines being roughly the same length (now based on a tight curve).
The turntable also succumbed during the station modernisation, but a run-a-round loop was still provided, despite motive power being exclusively electric. An added convenience to passengers was the incorporation of shops into the new station building, a great improvement on previous facilities, whilst the customary SR trellis barriers were also installed. A goods yard was maintained on site, originally or SER origin, and like many independent station facilities such as this, it closed on 19th April 1965, its main customer formerly being coal merchants. Despite being damaged by an air raid during in 1940, the station ploughed on into Nationalisation, when British Railways repaired the damage some sixteen years after it occurred.
The quaint terminus is seen on 26th September 2004, illustrating the typical Southern Railway
canopy design and the modern (for the day) brick-built station building. Today, the station still
displays the vivid red of disbanded British Rail sector Network SouthEast. David Glasspool
Another view from 26th September 2004, this time looking westwards, clearly showing both
platform faces. On the right is the station car park which, naturally, was the former site of the
goods yard. Platform faces have the capacity to hold ten-coach trains and the canopy dates
from Southern Railway days. David Glasspool
The branch is double-track throughout, and is used by direct services to and from the capital.
The headcode for Charing Cross to Hayes services is 34, when using the Lewisham avoiding
line between St Johns and Ladywell. David Glasspool
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