Redhill to Tonbridge Line
|Redhill to Tonbridge Line|
|(from west to east)|
|Leigh (originally called Lyghe Halt)|
The Redhill to Tonbridge Line is a British railway line running from Redhill, Surrey to Tonbridge, Kent in southeast England. It branches off the Brighton Main Line at Redhill station and, after 30 km, joins the London to Ashford to Dover Line at Tonbridge station.
It was originally part of the South Eastern Railway having been sanctioned by Act of Parliament in 1836 as part of the first rail route from London to Dover. See London to Ashford to Dover Line for further details. This may explain its remarkably straight route: serving the settlements en route was a secondary consideration.
It also must be noted, aircraft coming into London's Croydon Airport in the early part of the 20th Century used this line as a point of navigation. All the stations along this route had their names written in bold white paint on the roofs.
It starts with an initial curve just outside Redhill where it passes over the Quarry Line which is in a tunnel. The Bletchingley Tunnel (grid reference TQ340486), about 2 km southeast of Bletchingley is about 1 km long. At grid reference TQ400480 the "Crowhurst Spur" connected with the East Grinstead branch of the Oxted Line but this was lifted in the early 1970s. Just west of Edenbridge, in a hamlet called Troy Town it crosses, but does not connect with, the Uckfield branch of the Oxted Line.
The line was electrified (750 V DC third rail) in 1993. Stations and services on the line are operated by Southeastern using Class 377 units. They provide an half hourly service from Tunbridge Wells running alternately to Horsham and to London Bridge via East Croydon and vice versa.