The Miscellaneous Page of the BDR (Bromley Direct Railway) alias the Bromley North Branch Line
This page is under constuction
Steam on the BDR
It is most probable that steam locomotives operated freight on the BDR up to 1968 when the goods yard closed (although steam on the southern region was probably withdrawn a few years earlier). Electric passenger services would have taken over in the 1920s following electrification of the branch.
Do you have any pictures depicting steam on the BDR? IF so, I would be grateful if you could share these photos with me and the website as the history of the BDR is incomplete without record of the Steam which ran freights and earlier passenger trains.
Generally, any historical photos of the line would be appreciated! Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
"Amongst my very earliest memories is myself sitting in my pushchair and watching “Edward” as mum used to call the 0-6-0 shunting the coal sidings at Bromley North. Our vantage point was the footbridge at the Grove Park end of the station and sidings. That must have been from very early in the 1950s. And I must have watched the same shunting operations later on as I walked down from home, over that footbridge on my way down to watching the trains at Bromley South. An altogether much more interesting place to me in the late 1950s!" Bryan Benn
The Five Wonders of the BDR
1. Bromley North Station Building
2. Allotment Embankment
3. Sundridge Park Station
4. Double Track?
5. The Popper
The station building of Bromley North was built during the Revamp and Electrification of the branch which included a complete remodeling of Bromley North Station from a 3 Road arrangement with 2 platforms to a Island platform with a large (5 road) goods yard.
The building, after it's west wing was demolished to make way for a block of offices was listed and happily, it's future is now secure. This is not only because of it's Grade II status but also because a variety of company s use the various rooms- A restaurant, a antiques shop, a barbars, a taxi centre and a cafe, the building's ticket office is still open and this uses up the area to the west.
Of course the most delightful aspect is the Copper Covered Copula, now green with oxidation but looking just as nice as the gold color it originally was.
"... a handsome brick building with a copper coloured copula." Description of the building from the Railway Magazine.
Of course, I do not pretend that my local suburban, short route is comparable with the scenery of any country line but this embankment get's close to that illusion. Looking east from your train as you proceed along the tree crowded embankment, you can see a field of allotments and beyond that, the beautiful fields of the scenic Sundridge Park Golf Course. The latter is literally a square mile or so of countryside in the middle of the world's greatest metropolis. Of course by 'middle' I mean it in terms of the fact that London doesn't end for a few miles south of this.
IF the trees were cleared a bit there would be a great photographic opportunity from the Green Chain Walk which divides the allotments and the golf course. The viewpoint just mentioned is were this photo was taken, thanks go to whoever constructed that large beacon like structure!
Sundridge Park Station is unique in being extremely close to it's neighbor Bromley North, so close that many people wouldn't deem in necessary. However, whilst a station further north would have preferred, Sundridge Park is still the station for the people of Burnt Ash and other areas north of the Station.
One of the things which makes Sundridge Park Station so nice is the fact that it was built on a cutting. This cutting came to be because a horticulturalist connected to the main landowner complained about the route destroying shrubs in a nursery garden and duly, the route was revised a few chains off course.
Many photos are needed and really a visit to appreciate how excellent the station is.
I have included this in the 5 Wonders because it is a wonder how double track was retained throughout cuts elsewhere on the network from the 60s to the 80s. Seldom now do trains pass on the Bromley North branch line but two tracks still stretch throughout the line, barring the bit just before the single platform at Grove Park when the area was rationalized.
Trains are still signaled onto each track according to their direction (to it's left) and the two tracks mean that, should future demand require it, a much more intensive timetable can be run.
Despite this website's dreams of longer trains running on the branch and grand expresses leaving Bromley North for even grander central London termini it can still appreciate the niceness of how things are now. The Bromley North branch line is simply a branch line- a modest yet intriguing title, provoking thoughts of station cats and porters in a country setting where no-one rushes and no-one has a care in the world. The 2 carriage 466 which usually runs the 'Popper' shuttle service fits in with this in it's modesty. In fact it was built specifically for the Bromley North branch and for another Kent branch line- the beautiful Medway Valley Line which runs between Strood (Rochester) and Paddock Wood via Maidstone West. It's easy to complain about it's lack of seats and breathing space during peak hours- but during the off-peak the unit is very much sufficient and gives the Bromley North branch it's unique status among London's suburban railways.