John Speller's Web Pages Crystal Palace & South London Junction Railway (LC&DR)

John Speller's Web Pages - SE&CR
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Following the Great Exhibition of 1851 the Crystal Palace was moved to a new site on Sydenham Hill and reopened in 1854. The Brighton Railway had a station nearby, but the Crystal Palace and South London Junction Railway hoped to create a more convenient route and also to gain a lucrative through traffic by providing a connection to other lines in South London. Accordingly the Crystal Palace and South London Junction Railway Act received the Royal Assent on 17 July 1862 and opened on 1 August 1865. Alas, by this time interest in the Crystal Palace was waning and the intended through traffic never materialized. The line was worked by the London, Chatham & Dover Railway, which absorbed it in 1875. Trains originally ran through from Victoria to Crystal Palace (High Level). The line closed for the first time in World War I on 31 December 1916, but reopened again on 1 March 1919. At this point trains ran from Blackfriars instead of Victoria. Somewhat surprisingly the Southern Railway introduced electric service on the line on 12 July 1925. The Crystal Palace burnt down on 30 November 1936 (my father was living in Clapham at the time and got a grandstand view!), removing the line's main raison d' Ítre. Thus the writing was on the wall by the time of World War II, and indeed the line's demise came more slowly than might have been expected. From 6 January 1941 the line was operated as a branch between Nunhead and Crystal Palace, and through trains to Blackfriars were suspended. On 25 May 1944 it closed altogether for the second time, but nevertheless it opened a third time on 4 January 1946, with trains running between Holborn Viaduct, Blackfriars and Crystal Palace. Nonetheless, the writing was on the wall, and following nationalization the line was closed by British Railways on 20 September 1954, the first Southern Electric line to close.
Crystal Palace (High Level) station in 1908. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
Map of the Crystal Palace & South London Junction Railway and associated lines
The polychrome vaulted subway between Crystal Palace (High Level) station and the Crystal Palace is a masterpiece of Victorian brickwork. It happily survived the 1936 fire and was used as an air raid shelter in World War II. It survives in good condition and will hopefully be restored as part of a new development
Lordship Lane Station, Dulwich on the Crystal Palace & South London Junction Railway, 1871. Painting by Camille Pissarro (1830-1903)
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