Sutton & Mole Valley Line
The Sutton & Mole Valley Line is the name given to the commuter services in south London, Surrey and West Sussex operated by Southern from London Victoria and London Bridge to Horsham via Sutton and Dorking. It includes the Epsom Downs railway line to Epsom Downs, although this is often considered a separate line. Also, during the rush hour, some Southern services on this line diverge at Leatherhead and serve Effingham Junction and Guildford.
The line is electrified at 750 V DC third rail. It is double track from Mitcham Junction to Horsham and from West Croydon to Sutton. The Epsom Downs Branch is single track from 0.5 miles south of Sutton. Class 456 and Class 455 electrical multiple units are used; semi-fast services to Horsham are occasionally operated by Class 377 Electrostars. Up to the early 1980s, express services to Littlehampton and Bognor Regis were routed along this line and called at Sutton, Dorking, Horsham and stations to the south coast along the Arun Valley Line.
The line speed is 50 mph, except for 20 mph restrictions at Clapham Junction, Streatham Junction, Mitcham Junction, West Croydon, Sutton and Epsom; 30 mph restrictions at Dorking and the approach to London Victoria; and two 75 mph sections, between Box Hill and Westhumble and Dorking, and between Dorking and Holmwood. Signalling between London Victoria and Ewell East (including the Epsom Downs Branch) is controlled by London Victoria (VC); between Ewell East and Box Hill and Westhumble by Wimbledon (W); between Box Hill and Westhumble and Warnham by Dorking signal box (CBK); between Warnham and Horsham by Three Bridges Signalling Centre (T).
Platform lengths are eight cars except for Sutton, Dorking and Horsham (12 cars). The 2006 South London Route Utilisation Study is currently being written by Network Rail and its findings will have implications for future service levels along the line. There are proposals for a new station at Eastfields north of Mitcham Junction, although it is not clear who would fund its construction.
History of the route
The railway lines used by this service were the result of several schemes:
- 1847: West Croydon to Sutton and Epsom railway opened by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR)
- 1856: Epsom and Leatherhead Railway authorised.
- 1857: Wimbledon and Dorking Railway authorised under the auspices of the London and South Western Railway, reached no further than Epsom. This is why services are run by South West Trains.
- autumn 1857: rival schemes to connect Shoreham Harbour with Horsham and Dorking. The London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSCR) was eventually successful on 1 August 1859.
- 1 February 1859: Epsom and Leatherhead Railway opened
- 4 March 1859: Wimbledon and Dorking Railway opened
- 1861: Shoreham - Horsham opened
- 17 July 1862: Horsham, Dorking and Leatherhead Railway (LBSCR sponsored) authorised. Opened in two sections:
There are two tunnels on the line, both built between 1860 and 1863.
Mickleham Tunnel is midway between Leatherhead and Box Hill & Westhumble. It is 524 yards long and runs through the lower chalk of Norbury Park, entering the hillside immediately north of one of the three viaducts over the River Mole. Restrictions imposed by the landowner, Thomas Grissell, meant that vertical ventillation shafts could not be constructed and he tunnel portals were given lavish architectural treatment.
Betchworth Tunnel is 1/4 mile south of Dorking. It is 385 yards long with a maximum gradient of 1 in 80. It runs through the upper greensand of the Deepdene Ridge to the east of the town. Construction difficulties delayed the line's opening in 1863. It collapsed on 27 July 1887, remaining closed for over six months.
Typical off peak journey times from London Victoria to Horsham (via Mitcham Junction)
|Clapham Junction||2||6||6||4||London Waterloo, Southampton, Portsmouth Harbour|
|Balham||3||-||12||2||London Underground Northern Line|
|Mitcham Junction||4||-||20||2||Croydon Tramlink, Herne Hill, London Blackfriars, Luton|
|Sutton||5||25||29||4||Epsom Downs, West Croydon, Wimbledon|
|Epsom||-||35||40||4||Worcester Park, Raynes Park, Wimbledon|
|Leatherhead||-||42||-||2||Bookham, Effingham Junction, Guildford|
|Box Hill & Westhumble||-||47||-||1|
|Dorking||-||50||-||2||Dorking (Deepdene) station is five minutes' walk|
|Horsham||-||72||-||1||Three Bridges, Gatwick Airport, Littlehampton|
Typical off peak journey times from London Victoria to Epsom Downs (via West Croydon)
Based on the May - December 2006 timetable.
Southern run additional services along the part of this line between London and West Croydon and are branded as "Metro" services.
The line between West Croydon and Sutton has 6 trains an hour off peak and 4 trains an hour during the peak unlike other stations further up the line.
|Battersea Park||2||4||2||Denmark Hill, London Bridge|
|Clapham Junction||2||9||4||London Waterloo, Southampton, Portsmouth Harbour|
|Balham||3||15||4||London Underground Northern Line|
|Streatham Common||3||20||4||Tulse Hill, London Bridge|
|West Croydon||5||31||4||Norwood Junction, London Bridge|
|Waddon||5||36||4||London Bridge (2 trains per hour)|
|Wallington||5||39||4||London Bridge (2 trains per hour)|
|Carshalton Beeches||5||42||4||London Bridge (2 trains per hour)|
|Sutton||5||45||4||Epsom, Horsham, Wimbledon, Mitcham Junction, Luton|