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RAILWAYS IN BECKENHAM

Within the former Borough of Beckenham there were twelve railway stations. On the main line from Victoria there are Penge East, Kent House, Beckenham Junction and Shortlands; on the Catford Loop line Ravensbourne; on the Mid-Kent line Lower Sydenham, New Beckenham, Clock House, EImers End, Eden Park and West Wickham; and on the Crystal Palace line Birkbeck. Ironically 'Beckenham Hill', near Southend, is not within the Borough area.

The development of local railways is most interesting, and friction and competition between rival companies was acute.

The first railway was the Mid-Kent line opened on 1st January 1857, a junction being made with the North Kent line at Lewisham. Beckenham was a terminus, the turntable being near where the bridge is now; the roof over the line was painted red, white and blue. Soon after this line was opened a coach! ran from, and returned to, Sevenoaks; also Sir John Lubbock and his sons used Beckenham Station morning and evening, coming from 'High Elms' in his carriage with a postillion, en route for the City.

About a year later a railway company called the West London and Crystal Palace Company made the line on to Shortlands, at first named 'Bromley', which was opened in 1858 by a service from there to the Crystal Palace calling at Beckenham; the first train was greeted by a peal of cannon from Martin's Hill, Bromley.

Where the Birkbeck line crosses Beckenham Road, between Blandford and Mackenzie Roads, there was a small station known as 'Beckenham Road, (now Beckenham Rd tram stop) or Birkbeck Halt', built in 1858. The first, and I might say only passenger to use this station; he was not an Englishman, but in those far off days a German, Julius Kressmann (who lived in the High Street): he afterwards became Chairman of the first Beckenham School Board reason of his knowledge of 'Kultur', I suppose! Now to return to the Railways"

The South Eastern Railway Company extended the line from Shortlands to Southborough Road (now known as Bickley). Between Beckenharn and Shortlands it was only a single line.bout this time the Volunteer Movement was making headway, and the first Volunteer review was held at Bickley Park. This taxed the resources of the railways.

George Hannan, afterwards Station Master at New Beckenham, was appointed Pilotman for the single line. He wore a red coat and no train was allowed to go without him personally giving permission to the driver.

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