Cranleigh Branch reopening proposal

Friday October 25, 2019 by Cass Morgan


Environmental benefits: Reduction of road traffic, accidents and air pollution. Also, increased national network and new rail journey opportunities. The environment would benefit.

New trains: Vivarail’s new design of D Stock (now class 484) can run on batteries and/or live rails. The latter can be charged from the former at termini. A fleet has been ordered for the Isle of Wight.

New railways: They have had their rail joints welded before being laid. Fresh live rails are not needed. A small waterwheel in Guildford has for long generated some electricity. More could power fresh trains.

Track beds: Land was bought in 1865 to take double track and so there is space for a railway, a fence plus the present path for feet and cycles. Examples exist, in use.

Guildford: Platform 8 already has space for extension at both ends, plus connections to both tracks near the tunnel.

Tunnel capacity: Off-peak passenger trains per hour in each direction number 4 from Haslemere and 2 from Dorking. Peak-time new trains could be lengthened as necessary or some reversed at Peasmarsh Junction to Farncombe or Godalming for connections. Platforms at Artington might be needed.

Bramley: The original pair of platforms still exist and are often used by walkers.

Cranleigh: Two new pairs of platforms or more would be needed to serve the expanding town.

Dunsfold: This would justify a line of its own from Cranleigh, with a number of stops to serve its expanding community.

To Christs Hospital: Some stops could be created to support new housing developments, as could a Horsham Parkway, near the A24. Trains could continue to Horsham. Two platforms are still in use and the old trackbed is clear of buildings.

Journey times: In 1953, the 8¼ miles from Guildford to Cranleigh took 20 mintues and the 9 miles on to Christs Hospital required 24.

The Past: This is illustrated in the first half of my album, Branch Lines to Horsham. Its 8th printing is now available.

Recent debate: My unveiling of the Blue Plaque at Haslemere station on 2nd October 2019 brought many officials keen to discuss the Cranleigh options, most of which are included herein.

Further actions: As Surrey County Council owns most of the track bed and is responsible for local environmental issues, most opinions have been in favour of SCC initiating action by the appropriate
authorities. West Sussex County Council and its southern section could follow.

This 1945 map is scaled at 2 miles to 1 inch and shows the branch from Guildford through Cranleigh to Christs Hospital, which joins the present line from Billingshurst to Horsham, from Christs Hospital. Details of the surrounding lines can be found in Middleton Press albums entitled: Crawley to Littlehampton, Branch Lines around Effingham Junction, Epsom to Horsham, Guildford to Redhill, Reading to Guildford and Woking to Portsmouth.


Vic Mitchell - Author & Publisher
Middleton Press

Andy Castledine BSc (hons) CMILT
Rail Operations Strategy &
Senior Rail Operations Interim & Consultant

22nd October 2019