The surrey iron railway after 1846

In the March 1984 Newsletter Roger Hardman raised the possibility that part of the Surrey Iron Railway might have remained open after the official closure date. It is the purpose of this article to show that this was not the case.

The closure was announced in "The Railway Times" (RT) on Saturday 29th August 1846, p1221 - "The passage of waggons on this line will be stopped on Monday".

In November B.C.Luttly, Clerk to the Company, placed an advertisement (RT 14/11/46, p1637) seeking tenders "for taking up the whole of the Iron and Stone" of the line "from their Basin at Wandsworth to Pitlake" and the branch to Carshalton, the materials to be taken to the wharf at Wandsworth. The contractors were "to make good all turnpike and other roads not belonging to the Company" with completion by 31st January 1847. The clear implication is that (what would now be called) private sidings were not included.

An advertisement dated 9th December (RT 19/12/46, p1803) says that "they are now removing the Iron Tram-way Plates from their line", and invites offers for their purchase from Wandsworth. The crucial statement is "the whole quantity is estimated at 1200 tons" which figure accounts for the whole of the rails required for the (mostly) double track line and branch. Some of the rails may have been lifted at an earlier date if, as is claimed, the line was partially singled before closure.

The Act of Dissolution (9&10 Vic cap333), and the auction of the Wandsworth premises in 1848, would in any case seem to preclude any further use.

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How long the former sidings remained in place is unknown. As Hardman pointed out, that to Childs' Mill is described as "tramroad" in the Wimbledon Tithe schedule, and is just discernable on the Tithe Map. The Dissolution Act provided for continued road access to the mill across the former trackbed. The siding to Shepley Mills seems to have survived into the1860s. The coal warehouses on each side of the line at Mitcham, at least one of which had sidings, were probably not removed until the Wimbledon & Croydon Railway was built in the mid 1850s.

Brayley's statement, ca 1850, that "only small detached portions remain" would appear to be correct in every respect.

(c) Contributor Geoff Smith, April 2003.

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