Bromley South

Today, this is a busy commuter station on an intensively-used main line between London and the Kent Coast, serving a population of about 310,000 in a south eastern suburb of London. Once, however, it was a typical rural affair in North West Kent, providing rail access to the market town’s population of 20,000 (1861).

The station at Bromley opened on 5th July 1858 on a double-track line which, at that time, went as far as Battersea in the west, on the southern bank of the Thames, and stretched to Bickley in the east. The upcoming opening of the line through the town had been reported in The Bromley Record on 1st July 1858:

 

The long expected time has at length arrived, and Bromley this day, Monday, July 5th, will find itself accommodated with no less than twenty trains to London, eleven of which will be supplied by the Mid-Kent to London Bridge, and nine by the West London and Crystal Palace to Pimlico. The companies are reported to be of different opinions respecting the amount of traffic which each of them is entitled to. The consequence is, that the West London and Crystal Palace companies refuse to accept the offer of the South Eastern company to work the line between Beckenham and Shortlands, which is only a single line at present.

 

The route had been commissioned in the following stages:

West End of London & Crystal Palace Railway

Mid-Kent (Bromley to St Mary's Cray)
The Mid-Kent (Bromley to St Mary's Cray) had received Royal Assent on 21st July 1856 and the company was authorised to raise £70,000 capital in £10 shares, in addition to a further £23,000 in loans for this undertaking (Bradshaw's Shareholders' Guide 1862). The line's total length between Bromley (Shortlands) and St Mary Cray was 4 miles 7 furlongs. Although this later became a key part of the East Kent Railway's trunk route, an arrangement between the Mid-Kent and SER companies initially resulted in the latter agreeing to work the line. A formal lease of the route by the SER had yet to receive Parliamentary approval, so in the meantime, this company was to operate the line on similar terms until a lease deal was properly sanctioned.



The Bromley Record and Monthly Advertiser VOL 1 (June 1858 to December 1860)
Mid-Kent (Bromley to St Mary's Cray) Company


At the fifth half-yearly general meeting of the above company, August 16th, 1858, the Directors presented their report, from which we cite the following:

''The Directors have the pleasure of stating that during the six weeks that the railway has been open, the gross receipts at the Bromley and Southborough-Road Stations have amounted to £571 8s. 9d, which show an average £95 5s. per week for passenger traffic alone.

''Accommodation for passengers, goods, and coal is now being provided at Bromley, upon an enlarged scale, at the request of the South-Eastern Company. The cost of those works, therefore, will exceed what had been previously considered sufficient by the Board; but looking to the important and obvious advantages which the Bromley Station will afford to a large and increasing traffic, the Directors felt themselves justified in adopting the requirements of the South-Eastern Company.

''The Directors have to report, that the Bill referred to in the last half-year's report, for powers to lease the undertaking to the South-Eastern Company, has been rejected by Parliament. They deem it necessary also to acquaint you, that Parliament has sanctioned the Bill promoted by the East Kent Company, for enabling them to extend their railway from Strood to join the Bromley and St Mary Cray Railway; rejecting the line promoted by the South-Eastern Company.''




The first Bromley station comprised two platforms set around a double-track. A two-storey-high station building, with a hipped slated roof, existed on the ‘’up’’ platform; this had a not too dissimilar appearance to the main structure which later opened with the LC&DR’s Wandsworth Road station in 1863. The ‘’down’’ side was host to a small waiting shelter and passengers crossed the tracks on the level between platforms (a covered footbridge was provided about twenty years later).

A goods yard existed on the ‘’up’’ side of the line and this comprised coal staithes at its eastern extremity and a tidy goods shed at the western end. The latter sat behind the ‘’up’’ platform and was of familiar brick construction with a slated pitched roof, and accommodated a single through track. Passing over the middle of the yard and across the running lines was a timber footbridge, which formed part of a public footpath.


Bromley South: 1935

Bromley South: 1935
Click the above for a larger version. Drawn by David Glasspool

1957

 

Bromley South: 34087 ''145 Squadron''

An eastward view shows Unrebuilt Battle of Britain Class No. 34087 ''145 Squadron'' approaching with a Dover to Victoria boat train. There is plenty of bygone detail in this view, including the original LC&DR canopies, the Saxby & Farmer signal box, the goods yard (on the right), and the lattice public footbridge. © David Glasspool Collection


17th March 1984

 

Bromley South 1984

A special working from Eastleigh Works to St Leonards Depot, formed of Class 33 No. 33016 hauling freshly overhauled Class 201 “6S” unit No. 1007 in ex-works condition, is seen passing through Platform 4. Part of the lattice girder footbridge spanning the platforms can also be seen in this view. The footbridge was subsequently demolished and replaced by a much larger reinforced concrete bridge carrying the new “Kentish Way”. © David Morgan


24th May 1986

 

Bromley South 1986

Viewed from the eastern end footbridge, 4EPB No. 5107 is seen arriving at Bromley South with the 1426 Victoria to Orpington via Catford service. By this date the platform canopies had been re-clad in corrugated steel sheeting whilst the original footbridge at the rear of the station building can still be seen in the distance, although scaffolding either side of it indicates work on the station refurbishment was already underway. © David Morgan


22nd November 1986

 

Bromley South 1986

Viewed from Platform 2, work is underway to construct a new footbridge at the rear of the ticket office. Whilst this work was carried out, a temporary ticket office was provided on the site of the former permanent way depot in Elmfield Road. Access to the platforms was maintained via temporary stairs and a bridge over the Down Fast Line (Platform 4) which connected into the side of the eastern end footbridge via a hole in the end wall, the position of which can still clearly be seen in the photo taken twenty years later further on in this section. © David Morgan


 

Next: The History Continues >>

 


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