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Cranleigh Branch Revival
Wednesday February 05, 2020
by Cass Morgan
Following the good news that the Department for Transport is to pledge £500m to reinstate some previously axed local services, this is a golden opportunity to propose the reopening of the line between Guildford and Cranleigh.
The Midhurst Model Show is the next occasion for more Middleton Press details to be presented. The show is at the Grange in Midhurst (Sat Nav GU29 9HD) on Sunday 9th February 2020 (10am-4pm). From 2-3pm, Vic Mitchell will be available for questions on the South Downs Light Railway stand. This line is the nearest pleasure railway to the Cranleigh route.
The Cranleigh Reopening Proposal scheme was announced at Vic’s unveiling of the Blue Plaque at Haslemere Station on 2nd October 2019. All the local councillors present were supportive. Four months later, the following was announced in The Railway Magazine, February 2020 issue.
The National Recovery Plan:
‘Transport Minister Baroness Vere of Norbiton said: “To help communities across the country, we have pledged £500million to start reopening lines closed following the Beeching report, reconnecting smaller towns, regenerating local economies and improving accessibility to jobs, homes and education.”’
Summary of Cranleigh proposal:
Environmental benefits: Reduction of road traffic, accidents and air pollution. Also, increased national network and new rail journey opportunities. Climate change would thus be reduced locally, particularly air pollution in Guildford.
New trains: Vivarail’s new design of D Stock (now class 484) can run on batteries and/or live rails. The batteries could be charged at Guildford. A fleet has been ordered for the Isle of Wight, already.
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 now.
Guildford: Platform 8 already has space for extension at both ends, plus connections to both tracks near the tunnel entrance.
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: The original pair of platforms at Bramley still exist and are often used by walkers. At Cranleigh, two new pairs of platforms or more would be needed to serve the growing town.
The Past: This is illustrated in the first half of Middleton Press album, Branch Lines to Horsham; see www.middletonpress.co.uk.
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.