Sutton & Mole Valley Lines

Sutton & Mole Valley Lines

The Sutton & Mole Valley Lines are a group of railway lines constructed between 1847 and 1868 by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, the London and South Western Railway and the LBSCR-sponsored Horsham, Dorking and Leatherhead Railway.

The line from Raynes Park to Horsham via Epsom and Dorking (including the Bookham Branch) is known to commuters as the "Mole Valley Line" (seven out of the fifteen stations on this route are situated in the Surrey district of Mole Valley). The full title "Sutton and Mole Valley Lines" is used for the lines north of Epsom via Sutton. Confusingly, all of the commuter services run by Southern which terminate or call at Sutton are, regardless of origin or destination, branded as "Sutton and Mole Valley Line" services.

The Sutton & Mole Valley Lines include (in order of construction):

*West Croydon to Epsom via Sutton
*Epsom to Leatherhead
*Raynes Park to Epsom
*Leatherhead to Horsham via Dorking
*Leatherhead to Effingham Junction (Bookham Branch)
*Peckham Rye to Sutton via Mitcham Junction
None of the lines leads directly to a London Terminus, however scheduled services use the South Western Main Line to access London Waterloo, the Brighton Main Line to access London Victoria and either the Brighton Main Line (via Norwood Junction) or the South London Line (via South Bermondsey) to access London Bridge.

The following branch lines are associated with the Sutton and Mole Valley Line, but are considered separate:

*Motspur Park to Chessington South (Chessington Branch)
*Sutton to Epsom Downs (Epsom Downs Branch)
*Sutton to Wimbledon (Wimbledon Loop)
The scheduled services run along the Sutton and Mole Valley Line include the commuter services in south London, Surrey and West Sussex operated by Southern from London Victoria and London Bridge to Horsham via Sutton and Dorking. Some Southern services in peak hours on this line diverge at Leatherhead and (via the New Guildford Line) serve Effingham Junction and Guildford.

South West Trains operates services between London Waterloo and Leatherhead via Raynes Park and Epsom. Half of these services continue along the main line to Dorking, while others run to Guildford via Bookham and Effingham Junction.

First Capital Connect operates additional services from Tulse Hill to Sutton as part of the Thameslink services to London Blackfriars and Luton.

Technical information

The line is electrified at 750 V DC third rail. Class 456 and Class 455 electrical multiple units are used, although semi-fast and stopping services to Horsham from London Victoria are frequently operated by Class 377 Electrostars. Up to the early 1980s, express services to Littlehampton and Bognor Regis were routed along this line and called at Sutton, Dorking, Horsham and stations to the south coast along the Arun Valley Line & West Coastway Line.

The maximum line speed is 50 mph, except for 20 mph restrictions at Clapham Junction, Streatham Junction, Mitcham Junction, Raynes Park, West Croydon, Sutton and Epsom; 30 mph restrictions at Dorking and the approach to London Victoria; and two 75 mph sections, between Box Hill and Westhumble and Dorking, and between Dorking and Holmwood. Signalling between London Victoria and Ewell East (including the Epsom Downs Branch) is controlled by London Victoria (VC); between London Waterloo and Box Hill and Westhumble by Wimbledon (W); between Box Hill and Westhumble and Warnham by Dorking signal box (CBK); between West Croydon & Waddon and Warnham & Horsham by Three Bridges Signalling Centre (T).

Platform lengths are eight cars except for Sutton, Dorking and Horsham (12 cars).

History of the route

The railway lines used by this service were the result of several schemes:
* 1847: West Croydon to Sutton and Epsom railway opened by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR)
* 1856: Epsom and Leatherhead Railway authorised.
* 1857: Wimbledon and Dorking Railway authorised under the auspices of the London and South Western Railway, reached no further than Epsom. This is why services are run by South West Trains.
* autumn 1857: rival schemes to connect Shoreham Harbour with Horsham and Dorking. The London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSCR) was eventually successful on 1 August 1859.
* 1 February 1859: Epsom and Leatherhead Railway opened
* 4 March 1859: Wimbledon and Dorking Railway opened
* 1 July 1861: Shoreham - Horsham opened
* 17 July 1862: Horsham, Dorking and Leatherhead Railway (LBSCR sponsored) authorised. Opened in two sections:: 11 March 1867: Leatherhead to Dorking: 1 May 1867: Dorking to Horsham
* 1865 Epsom Downs Line opened.
* 1868 The mainline route from London to Sutton via Hackbridge opened.
* 1901 Route from London Victoria to Sutton via Norbury Electrified AC
* 1938 Route London - Horsham fully Electrified DC and new signalling installed.


There are two tunnels on the line, built between 1860 and 1867. Mickleham Tunnel is midway between Leatherhead and Box Hill & Westhumble. It is 524 yards long and runs through the lower chalk of Norbury Park, entering the hillside immediately north of one of the three viaducts over the River Mole. Restrictions imposed by the landowner, Thomas Grissell, meant that vertical ventillation shafts could not be constructed and the tunnel portals were given lavish architectural treatment.
Betchworth Tunnel is 1/4 mile south of Dorking. It is 385 yards long with a maximum gradient of 1 in 80. It runs through the upper greensand of the Deepdene Ridge to the east of the town. Construction difficulties delayed the line's opening south of Dorking. It collapsed on 27 July 1887, remaining closed for over six months.

Typical off peak journey times from London Victoria to Horsham (via Mitcham Junction)

Based on the May - December 2006 timetable. South West Trains, First Capital Connect and Southern run additional services along parts of this line.

Typical off peak journey times from London Victoria to Epsom Downs (via West Croydon)

Based on the May - December 2006 timetable. Southern run additional services along the part of this line between London and West Croydon and are branded as "Metro" services.

The line between West Croydon and Sutton has 6 trains an hour off peak and 4 trains an hour during the peak unlike other stations further up the line.

ee also

* Epsom Downs Branch Line
* Wimbledon Loop
* Chessington Branch Line

* South Western Main Line
* Brighton Main Line
* New Guildford Line
* North Downs Line
* Arun Valley Line


External links

* [ Route Map and Timetable for Sutton & Mole Valley Line]

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