Wandsworth Road

On 1st June 1912, steam was wholly eliminated from the South London Line, and just under four years later, on 3rd April 1916, the three platforms of the ex-LC&DR station were closed. On the same day, closure also came to SE&CR platforms at Battersea Park Road and Clapham, eliminating all stops between Brixton and Victoria for ‘’Chatham’’ trains. On maps from the early Southern Railway period, the disused platforms and the lattice footbridge at the ‘’country’’ end of the station are still indicated.

Early changes under British Railways involved replacing the dilapidated signal box at Factory Junction, an all-timber affair which dated back to the days of the LC&DR. Immediately to its north, an austere brick-built cabin was brought into use on 21st January 1953. Later in the same decade, as part of the Kent Coast Electrification Scheme, colour light signals were installed between Factory Junction and Ramsgate, via both Herne Hill and the Catford Loop lines. In addition, colour light signals replaced semaphores along that section of the South London Line between Wandsworth Road and Denmark Hill. At Wandsworth Road, the ‘’up’’ relief line, which until this time was without third rail, was electrified. On 8th March 1959, colour light signals between Wandsworth Road and Denmark Hill, and from Factory Junction to Herne Hill, were brought into use.

On Sunday 20th July 1975, the London Bridge Panel came into operation, controlling the lines from the terminus to Anerley and North Dulwich, and the South London Line tracks through to Wandsworth Road. Just over four years later, in September 1979, a trailing crossover was brought into use between ‘’up’’ and ‘’down’’ main lines. The ‘’up’’ and ‘’down’’ main lines were slewed onto a new alignment over the former site of the SE&CR island platform, thus removing the kink in both tracks. Further signalling alterations were enacted on 17th May 1980, when the signal box at Factory Junction was closed, its functions being taken over by the Victoria Panel at Clapham Junction.

In 1988, partial rebuilding began at Mitcham station, on the Wimbledon to West Croydon line. This sought to provide a new booking office at platform level, a rebuilt road over bridge, and elimination of a redundant lattice footbridge. The latter had gone out of use as far back as 1971, having formerly linked ‘’up’’ and ‘’down’’ platform surfaces. After a landslip at Mitcham in that year, it was deemed economical to take the ‘’up’’ platform and line permanently out of use. In the true SR tradition of recycling, it was decided to dismantle this footbridge and re-erect it at Wandsworth Road, where it could replace the existing subway at the northern ends of the platforms. An unfortunate consequence of this was the demolition of the LB&SCR timber waiting shelters on both platforms, to provide room for the staircases. In 1996, frugal glazed shelters eventually came into use, in place of the rather more commodious timber structures. In that year, redevelopment of the land behind the Victoria-bound platform was completed, new residential property having been built – this was on the area once occupied by the Station Master’s house.


29th December 1991

Still standing, but derelict and with impending demolition, the former Station Master's house of the LB&SCR station is seen on the right of this southbound view from the footbridge. The garden around the house was extensive and, naturally, the land became ripe for redevelopment. "Celebrity" 4-EPB No. 5001 is seen forming the empty stock of the "Emerald Water Witch" rail tour, which was a special organised by the Southern Electric Group to mark the end of daily passenger ferry crossings between Folkestone Harbour and Boulogne, France. On both 28th and 29th December 1991, four shuttle services under this name ran between Ashford and Folkestone Harbour. "Water Witch" (or, in some publications from the time, "Waterwitch") was the name of a wooden paddle steamer built in Harwich in 1835, and used by Directors and friends of the South Eastern Railway on 24th June 1843 on a return trip from Folkestone to Boulogne to demonstrate the feasibility of regular channel crossings. "Emerald" was one of three vessels owned by the "New Commercial Steam Packet Co.", which the SER entered into an agreement with in 1843 to run daily passenger services across the Channel. © David Glasspool


1997

Class 37 Nos. 37198 (in "Mainline" blue livery) and 37025 (in BR "Large Logo" colours, albeit minus the "Large Logo" emblem) are seen just after passing the station, heading southbound. It is likely that the pair were Hither Green-bound. By this time, the area behind platform 1, formerly occupied by the LB&SCR's Station Master's house and garden, and been redeveloped into housing. © David Glasspool