1840

THE OPENING OF THE FIRST RAILWAY LINE


 INTO BRIGHTON


Extracted & adapted from the Railway Magazine October 1955


The London and Brighton Railway opened its first line into Brighton station on Monday 11th May 1840 linking Brighton with Shoreham. The line ran from Brighton station to Shoreham a distance of six miles. The only major engineering works were the New England Tunnel and the cuttings by which it was approached. The only trouble encountered was a strike at the Brighton end, the cause was of which is obscure.  

The building of the line aroused great interest of the inhabitants of Brighton and Shoreham, 
and a number of the availed themselves of the opportunity of having a free ride on the engine as far as Southwick, then the termination of the permanent track.

There were four engines at work on the line at the time of it’s opening, not three, as usually 
stated. These were named “Brighton,” “Shoreham,” “Kingston” and “Eagle,” the last 
having arrived only a few days before the opening from the works of George & John Rennie, 
together with one first class and one second class carriage and third class carriages and 
luggage vans had already been delivered in readiness for traffic.


Above the scene at Brighton Station on the opening of the Brighton to Shoreham line, on 

Monday 11th May, 1840. 


In the background is locomotive “Kingston” departing with the first train to Shoreham, 
which was driven by Driver Samuel Jackson. In the foreground locomotive “Eagle” who was used to assist the train on its journey to Shoreham.

The official opening of the Shoreham line was fixed for three o’clock on Monday 11th May, 
1840. An hour or two before that time the station at Brighton began to fill with tickets-holders for whom a thousand tickets had been issued, while large crowds gathered along the side of the cutting and the top of New England Tunnel. Inside the station, the band of the 12th Lancers struggled to make itself heard above the noise of escaping steam and excited people.

Soon afterwards, the first train was made up, and it was headed by a Sharp locomotive 
“Kingston,” which painted a bright emerald green* with vermilion lining,  and consisted of 
two open third class carriages each containing about forty passengers mostly directors and 
local tradesmen, two second class and two first class carriages holding about twenty 
passengers each, and occupied by the ladies and finally three luggage vans containing 
temporary benches and accommodating about seventy people, making a total of about 230 
passengers. 

The driver, named Samuel Jackson*, had previously been employed working the same engine during the construction of the line. 

PHOTOGRAPHER UNKNOWN

At three o’clock precisely the all clear signal was given by the waving of a white flag and to strains of the National Anthem the train moved slowly off. Scarcely had the last carriage cleared the end of the station, however, when the train came to a standstill with the driving wheels of the engine slipping violent. On investigation it was found that the brake of the second carriage was locked on. This was soon set right, and at eleven minutes past three a second start was made, this time with the assistance from behind by the engine “Eagle.” 

At Shoreham several hundred people assembles to see the arrival of the first train, and a fete was held at the famous Swiss Gardens to celebrate the occasion.

A second train, hauled by the engine “Eagle” left Brighton for Shoreham at nine minutes past four with a load of passengers, and two other trips were made during the course of the day, on the last of which the band accompanied the train. Altogether about a thousand passengers were carried during the day. In the evening a dinner was held to celebrate the great at the Old Ship Hotel, Brighton.

PHOTOGRAPHER UNKNOWN

On Sunday 17th May, 1840, just a week after the opening of the line, a man named Atherall, while riding on the tailboard of a luggage truck which had been pressed into service for the conveyance of passengers, was thrown off and killed between Shoreham and Southwick. This was the first fatal accident on the London & Brighton Railway.


Extracted & adapted from

the Railway Magazine

October 1955


London & Brighton Railway Loco Sheds


Brighton 1840

Brighton locomotive shed which was opened on the 12th May 1840 by the London and 

Brighton Railway and was situated on the North West side  of Brighton station, on the 

North side of the Shoreham railway line. The shed was built to service the locomotives on the 

Shoreham line. It was originally a one track straight shed. 

On the 21st September, 1841 a second brick built four track straight shed with a gable style 

roof was opened and located to the North of Brighton station on the West side of the line, 

facilities included a turntable, a coal stage and a water tank.


In 1861, the first shed was closed and demolished to make way for track realignment, and 

the second shed was also closed and absorbed into the adjacent Locomotive Workshops. A 

new brick built, sixteen track straight dead-end shed with a multi-pitched style slate roof 

was constructed and was located at the North end of Brighton station in the fork of the 

London and Shoreham railway lines. The facilities included a 40ft turntable, a coal stage 

and a water tank. In 1909 the turntable was enlarged to 60ft. 


Later in 1912 the existing brick built 3 track straight dead end carriage and wagon works 

shed with a twin pitched slate roof was converted into a locomotive storage shed and was 

located to the East of the main shed, and sometime later the three track shed was converted 

to a running shed and in 1939 this shed was converted into a workshop.


In 1938 the main shed was reduced to a ten track straight dead end shed and was re-roofed 

in a North light pattern style with asbestos cladding. The Shed was demolished in 1966.

WORKSHOPS AND MOTIVE POWER DEPOTS

The London and Brighton Railway established a repair workshop at Brighton in 1840. 
Between 1852 and 1957 more than1,200 steam locomotives as well as prototype diesel 
electric and electric locomotives were constructed there, before the eventual closure of the 
facility in 1962. In addition it also maintained a small locomotive repair facilities at the New Cross and Battersea Depots in London.

By the first decade of the twentieth century Brighton works could no longer cope with the 
repair and building of both locomotives and rolling stock. In 1911 the railway therefore built 
a carriage and wagon works in the village of Lancing which operated until 1965. A marine 
engineering workshop was established in the mid 1870s at Newhaven.

The railway had Motive Power Depots at Battersea, Brighton, Bognor, Coulson, Croydon 
(West), Eastbourne, Epsom, Dorking, Portsmouth Town, Fratton (joint) Horsham, Littlehampton, Midhurst, New Cross, South Hayling, Newhaven, St. Leonards, Three Bridges and Tunbridge Wells West.

The headquarters and main offices of the railway were at Brighton Railway Station from 
1846 until 1892, when they were transferred to the former Terminus Hotel at London Bridge 
station. 


PHOTOGRAPHER UNKNOWN

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