Branch Line Britain - celebrating Britain's minor railways

Southern - Beckenham Junction review 1

Beckenham Junction - Platform 1

7/1/08 - Crystal Palace to Beckenham Junction

Cost of ticket £18.00  - London area Travel card

Dept: Crystal Palace 12.55  Arrive: Beckenham Junction 13.02   

Journey time: 7 mins

Distance: 3 miles  Weather: raining

Train type: 4 car  Class 455 EMU  (single track most of the way)

Railway company: Southern

Frequency of trains - one every 30 minutes

Trains start at London Bridge


Crystal Palace station is one of those unusual grand Victorian station buildings still in existence. It has a huge canopy high above the four platforms, which are split into a V formation. Platforms 1 & 2 are for Beckenham and Norwood Junctions, whilst Platforms 3 & 4 are for London Bridge/Victoria. The latter did have four tracks going through it but now there is a wide expanse of gravel between the two tracks. The station itself is set in a deep cutting and as we pull away we see housing on both sides of the tracks, which soon gives way to wide open spaces on the left and a lake on the right. We pass a junction on the right, which has come from the Croydon to London Bridge mainline, which we soon go over. There is now plenty of housing on both sides of the single track, including some high-rise blocks of flats. We once again come into an embankment shortly before Birkbeck station, where the Croydon Tram line joins us on our right. The railway station has just the single platform with a modern bus-shelter, whilst opposite us is the Tram link tram stop at a slightly lower level. Beyond this is a large graveyard. We pull away to terraced housing on both sides of the now double track and from time to time a brightly coloured red tram pulls parallel to us before stopping at one of the tram stops on this stretch. We then join up with the London Victoria to Bromley line on our left and then go over the London Bridge to Hayes line, before we pull into Beckenham Junction station. The tramline goes off to a separate platform to the south of the railway station. Beckenham Junction station has four platforms, with Platform 1 being a bay platform for the London Bridge train. There is a large roof over both sets of platforms and express trains speed through the stations at regular intervals as I wait for my train to go back out of the station again.    

Summary: A rather short branch line with only one station on its route, but it is on a commuter line into London, so it will no doubt continue for years and years.                                                   MC