Branch Line Britain - celebrating Britain's minor railways

Southern - Epsom Downs review 1

Epsom Downs railway station

30/8/07 Sutton to Epsom Downs

Cost of ticket £18.00 (London area travel card)

Dept Sutton:  16.11  Arrive Epsom Downs: 16.21

Journey time: 10 minutes  (single track all the way)

Distance: 4 miles  Weather: cloudy

Train type: Class 455 4-car EMU

Railway company: Southern

Frequency of trains - one every hour

Sutton station is a busy junction station with trains from both London Victoria and London Bridge going through to Epsom Downs, Epsom/Dorking, West Croydon, St Albans and Wimbledon. It has four platforms two of which (3 and 4) serve the Epsom Downs branch. At off peak times there is only one train an hour in each direction and the train I get is a couple of minutes late and quite empty. We go straight into a cutting then emerge to detached houses on both sides of the track, which is now single. Our first stop is Belmont station, which has a single platform in use, though there is the remains of a second platform, which is very overgrown. The in-use platform has the usual perspex shelter with some cycle racks. We leave and start to see some countryside, but it is very bushy on both sides of the track, which has now become a cutting again. There is evidence of more than one track here as we come into Banstead station. Again this was once a two-platform station, with a used and overgrown platform on the right. The platform that is still used doesn't have a shelter, just five uncovered seats. Banstead does have a nice station building over the track on a bridge, though this is hard to see from the train. There is a builder's yard next to the platform, with its buildings covered in graffiti. As we leave Banstead we get a view of open countryside as we start to go downhill, though again there are plenty of bushes spoiling the view. We start seeing houses again as we slow down and come into Epsom Downs station. It has just a single platform, with a large car park next to it on the left., but there is no station building to be seen. Apparently, the track used to go on further but it was shortened to allow for a housing development.

Summary: Although this line is still on the edges of suburban London, it suffers from the busier line through the centre of Epsom and so could be in danger one day if more passengers don't start using it.    MC