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Then and Now


Guildford is an interesting station to visit. On the main London to Portsmouth line, it is an interchange station for two other railway lines. One is the North Downs Line running to Reading to the north and Redhill to the east. There is a connecting line from the Reading line to Aldershot and Alton. The other line is the New Guildford Line, an alternative route to Waterloo, via Cobham or Epsom.

Until 1967 there was a modest motive power depot (MPD) with a steam allocation that in its last year or two mainly worked engineering trains in conjunction with the electrification work on the main Waterloo to Bournemouth line.

The 1967 pictures were taken on a visit on 21 April whilst the 2017 pictures were a week later - 28 April. 

The locomotive shed was nestled beneath the cliffs of the North Downs. Due to the limited space, it was a semi- roundhouse with engines having access from a turntable. The picture below shows BR Standard class 5 no. 73093 moving forward into the shed. 

Following the end of steam in July 1967, the shed was demolished and the Farnham Road multi-storey car park occupies the land. 

Whilst the shed was tucked away, the rest of the yard was visible from the station and the station footbridge. Above we see 73093 again and a present day shot of the same location. 

In the background on Stag Hill is Guildford Cathedral, now partly hidden from the growth of trees in the intervening years.

The cathedral was completed in the early 1960's and the campuses of Surrey University was developed around it.

Below are a couple of shots of BR Standard class 4 no. 75076 whilst shunting in the yard.

The footbridge survives and continues to provide a back entrance/exit to the station, handy for those using the university.

After the old Southern Railway N, U and Q1 classes were withdrawn early in 1966, a number of standard class engines found their way to Guildford shed to work the engineering trains.

One new arrival was BR Standard class 3 no. 77014. It arrived on the Southern in March 1966 having been transferred from Northwich shed in Cheshire. This class of engine was unknown to the Southern, being based in the North West. 77014 was the only one of the class to be allocated to the Southern and went on to be the last of its class. 

It also had the dubious honour of working the final steam hauled train on the Southern on Sunday 9 July 1967. Whilst the attention was on Merchant Navy no. 35030 which hauled the final passenger train from Weymouth to Waterloo that afternoon, 77014 quietly worked the 8.50pm parcel train from Bournemouth to Weymouth that evening - this being the very last steam hauled train.

A set of pictures taken from the footbridge. 

75076 is featured again and is shunting Battle of Britain locomotive no. 34077 which had been withdrawn from service.


A view from the footbridge in the opposite direction. 

What is now the station car park used to be part of the motive power depot with the coaling stage, a line of condemned engines and 75076 on shunting duties. 

Finally, a couple of pictures from 1968 and 1998.

Whilst steam had finished on the Southern in 1967, there was an unexpected passage of two engines through Guildford on 7 April 1968.

They were BR 9F 2-10-0 no 92203 and BR Class 4 no. 75029. Having recently been bought by the artist David Shepherd, they were on their way from Crewe to the Longmoor Military Railway where he was instrumental in establishing a base for a number of preserved engines. There is a marvelous account of the move of these engines in David Shepherd's book "A Brush With Steam" (Chapter 4).

The building work for the university can be seen in the background. Today, this view is completely hidden by trees.

BR Standard class 5 no. 73096, then based on the Mid Hants Railway, runs round its train whilst on its way to Salisbury on the 15 February that year. Apart from some newer houses and the modern electric units, little seems to have changed over the intervening 31 years.


Published 20 May 2017

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