Sutton & Mole Valley Line

From TrainSpottingWorld, for Rail fans everywhere

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.

South West Trains operates additional services between Epsom and Dorking and First Capital Connect operates additional services from Sutton to Mitcham Junction.

Technical information

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:

13 July 1863: Leatherhead to Dorking
1 May 1863: Dorking to Horsham


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)

Based on the May - December 2006 timetable.
South West Trains, First Capital Connect and Southern run additional services along parts of this line.

Destination Travelcard
per hour
Change for
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
Hackbridge 4 - 23 2
Carshalton 5 - 26 2
Sutton 5 25 29 4 Epsom Downs, West Croydon, Wimbledon
Cheam 5 28 32 4
Ewell East 6 32 36 3
Epsom - 35 40 4 Worcester Park, Raynes Park, Wimbledon
Ashtead - 39 - 2
Leatherhead - 42 - 2 Bookham, Effingham Junction, Guildford
Box Hill & Westhumble - 47 - 1
Dorking - 50 - 2 Dorking (Deepdene) station is five minutes' walk
Holmwood - 58 - 1
Ockley - 62 - 1
Warnham - 67 - 1
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.

Destination Travelcard
Journey time
per hour
Change for
Battersea Park 2 4 2 Denmark Hill, London Bridge
Clapham Junction 2 9 4 London Waterloo, Southampton, Portsmouth Harbour
Wandsworth Common 3 13 4
Balham 3 15 4 London Underground Northern Line
Streatham Common 3 20 4 Tulse Hill, London Bridge
Norbury 4 21 4
Thornton Heath 4 26 4
Selhurst 4 29 4
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
Belmont 5 49 1
Banstead 6 53 1
Epsom Downs 6 56 1

External links

Railway lines in South-East England:
Main lines:   Arun Valley Line   Ashford via Maidstone East Line   Ashford-Ramsgate via Canterbury Line   Brighton Main Line   Chatham Main Line   East Coastway   Hastings Line   Channel Tunnel Rail Link   Kent Coast Line   London–Ashford–Dover Line   North Downs Line   Portsmouth Direct Line   South Western Main Line   Thameslink   West Coastway   West of England Main Line
Commuter lines:   Alton Line   Ascot-Guildford Line   Bexleyheath Line   Caterham Line   Catford Loop   Chessington Branch   Dartford Loop   Eastleigh-Fareham Line   Eastleigh-Romsey Line   Greenwich Line   Hayes Line   Hounslow Loop   Mid-Kent Line   New Guildford Line   North Kent Line   Oxted Line   Sheerness Line   Slough-Windsor & Eton Line   South London Line   Staines-Windsor & Eton Line   Staines to Weybridge Line   Sutton Mole Valley Line   Tattenham Corner Line   Waterloo-Reading Line   West London Line
Rural lines:   Brockenhurst-Lymington Line   Henley Branch Line   Island Line   Marlow Branch Line   Marshlink Line   Medway Valley Line   Redhill-Tonbridge Line