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The Crowhurst Spur

The Crowhurst Spur provided a connection between the "Oxted" line and the Redhill - Tonbridge cross-country line. Situated between Hurst Green and Lingfield (on the "Oxted" line to East Grinstead) and between Godstone and Edenbridge (on the Redhill - Tonbridge line), the Spur was in a rural, open countryside, setting on the Kent/Surrey border.

 
The Crowhurst Spur itself.

photograph by Ray Soper

The Crowhurst Spur
 
Historically the "Oxted" Line was owned jointly by the LB&SCR and the SER between South Croydon and Crowhurst Junction. The Spur, which was 539 yards long, gave SER trains access to that company's (then) main line to Tonbridge and beyond. It was double track with two signalboxes, Crowhurst Junction at the north end, and Crowhurst Junction South at the other end. Having been built by separate companies these boxes were entirely different, the north box being of traditional LB&SCR brick construction and the South box being a wooden SER design. The Spur was on a tight curve and gradient, necessitating a severe speed restriction. Certain classes of locomotive were banned from the Spur, although light Pacifics were permitted.
 
The Crowhurst Spur Crowhurst Junction was a typical LB&SCR Signalbox, solidly constructed using brick. This was the north 'box, though it didn't clarify this on its nameboard!

photograph by Keith Harwood

 
The Spur provided a useful connection between the north-south and east-west lines and offered a number of operating options that were useful in emergency or engineering work situations, such as the closure of Sevenoaks Tunnel. It was also used for extra traffic, especially hop-pickers' specials to and from various locations in the Kent hopfields, including Hawkhurst, Goudhurst and Northiam. Regular passenger workings declined after the late 30s and for many years the only scheduled train to use the Spur was the 7.26am from Edenbridge to London Bridge. This ceased to run when the timetable was recast in 1955. From then on the Spur was used relatively little on a regular basis, but it remained in place and operational until closure, albeit with both signalboxes generally "switched-out".
 
Crowhurst Junction South Signalbox, which was a wooden SER construction.

photograph by Keith Harwood

The Crowhurst Spur
 
The last ever passenger train over the Spur was the Locomotive Club of Great Britain's "Maunsell Commemorative" Railtour on 3rd January 1965. This was run to mark the end of steam-worked passenger trains on the Reading - Redhill - Tonbridge route and was hauled over the Spur by N Class 2-6-0 Nº31411. The train lost time during the day and arrived late at Crowhurst, resulting in it being held on the Spur for several minutes to allow a London-bound "Oxted" Unit from East Grinstead to pass.
 
The Crowhurst Spur The railtour about to leave the Spur by the north 'box, note the LB&SCR lower quadrant signal beside the engine.
The difference in the top surface of the rails says it all!

photograph by Keith Harwood

 
31411 and train exit the Spur!

photograph by Keith Harwood

The Crowhurst Spur
 
After 1965 the Spur fell into disuse and was later severed at each end, subsequently being removed completely in the early 1970s.

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This page was created 30 July 2004

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