TRANSPORT


  

Despite being on one of the main turnpike routes leading away from London, Farnborough has never had a railway link.  Indeed railway development came comparatively late to the surrounding area, despite its proximity to London.  As a consequence partly of inter-company feuding, Bromley, some four miles from Farnborough did not get a railway connection until 1862. Orpington, little over one mile away, did not get a station until 1865. However there were a number of proposals, many of which gained parliamentary approval, but succumbed because of inability to raise the necessary funds. 

The proposals that gained parliamentary approvals are described in detail in this part of the website, see the menu on this page. But there were also some further more speculative ones.

The earliest with a local connection was by the London and Croydon Railway. This company opened the London end of today's Brighton main line from London Bridge to Croydon in 1839, initially sharing the terminus of the London and Greenwich Railway, but swiftly opening its own station alongside.
 
In 1844 they proposed to build a branch off the mainline from Croydon to Orpington and St. Mary Cray via Beckenham, but the plan did not gain approval.
Railway near London Bridge 1837

Ten years later, in 1854, a proposal was made by the West Kent Railway to branch off the newly-built line from London Bridge to Dartford at Lewisham, and then proceed to the east of the eventual route of the South Eastern main line, as far as Foots Cray.

  It would then turn South and follow the river past St Paul's Cray and St. Mary Cray to terminate by Poverest Road, just short of the old centre of Orpington, about two miles from Farnborough.

Again this proposal did not proceed.
The proposed route, and close-up of the approach to Orpington, click to enlarge

Then in 1857 and 1858 railways from two separate companies reached what is now Beckenham Junction. This led to a number of proposals, all approved under the appropriate parliamentary legislation during the period up to 1865 to extend this early main line or build branch lines to or through Farnborough. There were also some small scale proposals at the end of the century.

But it never happened. The main line from Beckenham took a more northerly route, through Bromley to St. Mary Cray and Swanley, and the proposals for branch lines to Farnborough all floundered.. Farnborough never got a railway connection, and it therefore retains a shape and character that would still be recognisable to someone from before the railway age. The various proposals and Acts of Parliament to bring a railway to or near to Farnborough are described in detail in the pages on this part of the website. 

Farnborough also never had a tram service, possibly because of resistance from the powers that be in Bromley to allow trams to run through that town and then continue to the south-east. But it has had motor bus services since 1913, many terminating in the centre of the village outside the site of the old George and Dragon..

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