New Beckenham

First Station

This must be one of the most short-lived stations to have ever existed, not only within the former South Eastern Division area, but nationally, too. This, the first station to be christened New Beckenham, opened on 1st April 1864, when the Mid-Kent Railway (incorporated on 23rd July 1855) commissioned the branch line to Addiscombe for public traffic. The double-track branch was an extension of the same company's line from Lewisham to Beckenham via Catford, which had earlier opened on 1st January 1857 and was worked by the South Eastern Railway (SER) from the outset.

New Beckenham station sat immediately south of a junction formed by diverging lines to Addiscombe and Beckenham (Junction). Of the latter, this curved tightly round to the rails of the Mid-Kent (Direct) Railway; the SER had leased this company's line as far as Southborough Road (Bickley) until August 1862, after which the London Chatham & Dover Railway took over. The timetables shown here, sourced from The Bromley Record (dated 1st November 1864), suggest that New Beckenham comprised four platform faces: two on the Addiscombe branch, and another pair upon the tight curve round to Beckenham (Junction) station. The main building was located on the "up" platform of the Addiscombe line and was a substantial brick structure incorporating the Station Master's house.

The exact closing date of the site is not clear, but by 1867 the station had been replaced by a new set of platforms about 250-yards to the north. Presumably, it was soon realised that having a station before the junction offered the flexibility of joining and dividing trains for the alternate routes.

In the mid-1870s, a refuge siding was laid south of the former Station Master's house, this running parallel and making a trailing connection with the "up" line from Addiscombe. The siding's connection with the main line was re-sited marginally north in about 1900, when a road bridge across the tracks was commissioned south of the 1864 station site. The Station Master's house was still marked on maps as late as the 1990s, but its site has since given way to residential development.

23rd February 1963

A snowy scene includes the old Station Master's house just to the right of centre, beside the double-track to Elmers End, Addiscombe, Hayes, and Selsdon, in a southward view from the site which replaced it. The road bridge in the background dates from around 1900. Curving off to the left is the double-track spur to Beckenham Junction. A. Jackson © David Glasspool Collection