Branch Photos

An early photo of Farnham Station in the days of the London and South Western Railway taken from the down platform looking towards Aldershot around 1870. The bridge beyond the level crossing has since been demolished

Farnham Station in the period during the first world war with an early Aldershot & District Traction Company bus on a service  to Haslemere.  Since this photo was taken, the foot bridge has been built and a more modern signal installed.

 Crew change at Woking with a down Semi Fast Portsmouth Harbour Train

 Trouble on the Trains

The poor Driver on this 1936 vintage SUB unit is experiencing some trouble at Clapham Junction on a freezing cold day in the 1970's. 

The Guard's help is greatly appreciated at times like this.       Having to 'paddle up' the collector shoe from the third rail to isolate the electrical supply before removing the  shoe fuse. 

These units were built before the Second World War and retired from service in 1984.

All the electrical equipment  on these trains operated on 750 line volts, they had no speedometer or brake gauge. There wasn't communication equipment  between the Guard and Driver.   To give the signal to start the train, the Guard would waved a green flag by day or a green lamp by night. 

 These Trains were not for the faint hearted


 The Old Man's Gang 

Our collection of Farnham Characters from the past. click on an image to enlarge

On a cold day during the winter of 1967/68 at Frimley Junction,
Driver Mick Stokes of Farnham expertly holds down the D.S.D of the Bil unit on an Ascot to Aldershot train whilst preparing to receive the token for the single line from Signalman Jack Hills


Mickey Stokes over-seeing replacement bus operations at Alton railway station.

Mick was a life time railwayman, spending over forty five years on the job with over thirty years as a driver at Farnham.

Sadly Mick passed away in March 2009.

With his bag packed and good book to hand, 

Spud waits patiently for his train on the up platform  at Farnham.

Off the Beaten Track:

Waterloo & City unit is a long way from home on a test run down  the Alton Line, stands at the up platform Farnham in the mid 70’s

A diverted Bournemouth bound train passing through Farnham in the 1960’s The Mid-Hants Line was invaluable as an alternative diversion for main line trains during engineering works and other operational difficulties                                          

"He who commands all"..

The Farnham Signalman takes in the fresh Surrey air  between trains, Since 1980 the responsibility of the Farnham Signalman has exstended to Alton

With a train in the 'Up' platform, a train down at Alton and one on its way down' from Aldershot...
The Farnham Signalman is kept on his toes

Aldershot Signalbox

 A  delicious Cup of Tea from the Aldershot Signalman

Ash Vale Signalbox
End of an Era
As from Tuesday the 27th of August 2013 the Alton Line came under control of the Woking Signalman
Thus the
remaining Signalboxes at Ash Vale, Aldershot and Farnham  were closed
Ending rougly 114 years service.
Farnham Signalbox was installed when the line from Farnham to Alton  (Butts Junction) was doubled in 1901
and the Basingstoke & Alton Light Railway was built.

The 'Absolute Block' system between Aldershot and Farnham has now been replaced with 'Track Circuit Block

After 112 years of service, Farnham Signalbox is closed

The Block Instruments have been removed

The drivers view looking towards Alton on a down train from Waterloo.
The track layout has change a bit since 1976 and houses now occupy the down yard and coal sidings

Further around the corner towards Alton, the London & South Western Railway old mechanical semaphore signals show the subsidiary signal on the right is in the“off” position for the route into the shed in 1976

Running along side  the 1937  Farnham carriage shed on the up line with the Southern Railway outer home signal at clear in 1976. On the right hand side of the track is the old gasometer in Weydon Lane

The interior of the 1937  five road carriage shed just before the major renovations  took place in August 2004

In the photo below we see a  four Vep unit standing on number five road while a light cleaning service is carried out by the cleaning staff during a short turn round time.



Launching the new  Class 458

Thirty class 458 units were ordered by South West Trains in 1998 to replace the ageing “slam door” units built by British Rail.
Initially the 458’s were stabled at Wimbledon Park depot as Farnham shed could not cater for the servicing of new trains.
The units worked on the Alton Waterloo line and the Guildford Ascot branch.

          458016 on the single line at Mychett bound for Ascot


The class suffered from major technical problems, such as leaky roofs and failing electronics, reliability was so poor that SWT planned to return them to the leasing company and replace them with new Class 450 Desiro trains.
At that time, the trains only managed an average of 4,300 miles between failures, compared with an average of 21,000 miles for a Class 450 Desiro and 50,000 miles for the previous slam-door trains.

 On the commencement of the December 2005 time table the use of the class 458 was severely   reduced to three units.
Their lease expired on February 28th 2006 and South West Trains continued to operate them on a pay-per-use basis
Subsequently the class have received major modifications and their reliability has greatly improved. 
They are now  the main-stay on the Waterloo to Reading line working  permanently  coupled as eight coach trains with the single units working the Guildford Ascot branch


458016 on a down Reading Service is the inspiration of this vibrant painting by local artist Carole Robins

To see more of Carole's work covering a multitude of subjects  click on the badge below

  Redevelopment of Farnham Shed

Before and After

Doug the Carriage Shunter poses for the camera at the back of the carriage shed and sidings in 2004.   The site was originally a sand pit but during the Southern Railway 1937 electrification program of the Portsmouth Line, part of the sand pit was filled in with chalk from excavation works over the system, including chalk excavated from the extended sidings at Andover.

In 2006 Doug is standing at the same spot as in the previous photo.
The sidings have been laid to stable the new Siemens Desiro electric trains.

A carriage washer has been installed at the entrance to the depot and two special sidings have been laid to cater for the on train septic tanks

Also new messing facilities have been constructed for a team Depot Shunt Drivers and a Gang of dedicated Carriage Cleaners who work tirelessly every night to prepare the trains for the next days service

Above are two views of the land behind the shed taken in 2004, this land is known as Farnham Tip and was used as a dump by the Civil Engineer’s Department for used ballast from engineering works from all over the Southern Region.

During the second world war, spoils and rubble from bombed out buildings of London were taken by train and dumped alongside the shed.

In 2004 when the land  was excavated for the construction of the new sidings, countless items of interest were unearthed, such as  milk bottles from  “Morgan’s Hygienic Dairy” of Tooting to grand ornate Victorian fire places.

The above photo is of a first generation electric stock on an Alton to Waterloo service passing Farnham Shed in the mid 1960's
The track on the right was laid to take trains to and from the sand pit and later ballast dump at the back of the shed.
This track is now the reception line for the carriage washer and sidings for the new Desiro and Alstom electric rolling stock

The above photo  was taken at the same location as the above but shows a second generation electric stock on an Alton to Waterloo service passing Farnham Shed in the summer of 2004


VEP unit stands in number two road of Farnham Shed while construction work is being carried out of the sidings for the new  Desiro Trains in 2004



Work is well on the way laying down the new sidings and a new reception road is constructed providing an alternative route to and from the shed

Electric Traction 2005: The new Siemens Desiro 450 unit approaches Farnham on a down Alton service

Steam Traction 2005: LMS Class 5MT 4-6-0 no 45231      "The Sherwood Forester" rumbles through Farnham

                                                                                                                                                                                                 Painting   by David  Molyneux

A nostalgic view of the level crossing at Farnham during a period in 1950

The Signalman in the signalbox, has just  opened the crossing gates, and the traffic is starting to move.

With kind permission of David Molyneux and  the Aldershot and District Bus Interest Group

In the above photo a four VEP unit on a Waterloo to Alton train passes  Bridge Cottage Binsted just beyond  Bentley Station in the late spring of 1982

Almost thirty years later to the day at the same location in 2012 and the scene is totally different.

The down line has been removed for economy reasons, the old cottage has been swept away along with the old 1963 electric stock.  



In conjunction with the electrification and modernisation of the Bournemouth line, a diverted Waterloo to Bournemouth Train passes Bridge Cottage in 1966. (T.B Owen)

Twenty two years later the empty Holybourne Tanks pass the same location in 1986                    

Thanks to David Warwick for this  photo