- Brighton Main Line
The Brighton Main Line is a major running from London Victoria and London Bridge to Brighton. The route is approximately 50 miles (80 km) in length. It is operated by Southern and
First Capital Connectand is electrified throughout. Several other operators Gatwick Express, South Eastern Trainsand Cross Country also operate on certain parts of the route.
History of the line
There were no fewer than six original proposals to build a railway between
Londonand Brighton: the London and Brighton Railway(L&BR) emerged with an Act of Parliamentof 15 July 1837. The scheme was to build a line from a junction with the London and Croydon Railway(L&CR) (with its terminus at London Bridge) to Brighton, with two branches: one to Newhaven, the other to Shoreham-by-Sea.
Opening took place as follows::12 May 1840: Brighton to Shoreham-by-Sea (all the materials for the line having arrived by sea.):12 July 1841: Norwood Junction, London (L&CR) to Haywards Heath.:21 September 1841: the final section from Haywards Heath to Brighton.The Newhaven section did not materialise until 1846, when the Brighton -
Hastingsline opened. Also in 1846 the L&CR and L&BR amalgamated; the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway(LB&SCR) came into being. In 1860 the line between London Victoria and Balham opened, and the Brighton Main Line was completed in 1862.
In the early days, the LB&SCR and the South Eastern Railway (SER) had been forced by an Act of Parliament to share the route southwards from London as far as Redhill. This caused a great deal of friction, since Redhill was an SER station, and quarrels broke out between the two companies to the extent that the LB&SCR built an avoiding line between Coulsdon North and Earlswood which became known as the "Quarry Line", still used by fast trains avoiding Redhill. It was opened on 8 November 1899 (1 April 1900 for passenger traffic).
The LB&SCR began electrification of its lines on 1 December 1909 when its
South London Linewas equipped with high-tension single-phase system with overhead conductors; within three years many more of its suburban services were converted. After the 1923 grouping the main line as far as Coulsdon North came into use using overhead conductors, but the new Southern Railway had by now decided upon the third-rail system, as adopted by another of its constituents, the London and South Western Railway. In 1928/29 the entire network was converted to third railoperation, and subsequent conversion followed on that basis. The third rail system is electrified at 750V DC and underwent a recent power supply upgrade prior to the introduction of the new Electrostarstock operated by Southern
Dates of electrification were are follows:
* 12 May 1911: Victoria – Balham – (Crystal Palace)
* June 1912: Balham – Selhurst
* 1 April 1925: Selhurst – Coulsdon North
* July 1932: Coulsdon North – Three Bridges
* 1 January 1933: Three Bridges – Brighton (and also to West Worthing)
There are now many more trains from Victoria to Brighton than from London Bridge: a reversal of the original services. The line is four-tracked, except along the Quarry Line, the section through the Balcombe Tunnel between Three Bridges and Haywards Heath, and from Haywards Heath to Preston Park which passes through
Clayton Tunnelsouth of Hassocks.
The fastest services from Brighton to Victoria stop only at East Croydon and Clapham Junction, though some "express" services also call at
Gatwick Airport. First Capital Connect services from Brighton to London Bridge using the Thameslinkroute continue across London to Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon and St Pancras, and then on to Luton and Bedford.
From Victoria, the following other services use the Line, but branch off where shown:
* at Battersea Park, the
South London Lineto London Bridge
* at Balham, where the line via Crystal Palace diverges
* at South Croydon, the
* at Purley, the Caterham and
Tattenham Corner Lines
* at Redhill, the branch to Reigate and the
North Downs Lineto the west; and the Tonbridge line to the east
* at Three Bridges, the
Arun Valley Lineservices to Portsmouth; here was also the line to East Grinstead, closed 1967
* at Haywards Heath, the line via Ardingly and
Horsted Keynes, closed 28 October 1963: Currently Network Rail Sidings to Ardingly only; Horsted Keynes section is now part of the Bluebell Railway
* at Wivelsfield (Keymer Junction), the
East Coastway Lineto Eastbourne and Hastings via Lewes
* at Preston Park, the
West Coastway Lineservice to Littlehampton, avoiding Brighton
* at Brighton, the
West Coastway Line; and the East Coastway Lineto Eastbourne and Hastings and also to Seaford all via Falmer
* The current fast service running between Brighton and London is 55 Minutes, which is 5 minutes faster than in 1953 [http://www.mybrightonandhove.org.uk/page_id__5465_path__0p115p212p923p.aspx]
* [http://www.lobsterpictures.tv/webcom/lonbri.php London to Brighton in two minutes] - time-lapse video.
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