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1841: The 9am train to Stoat's Nest

Railway nostalgia evoked by an early Pullman Express poster

Some older readers may recall Hall & Co, they supplied coal and coke and were a builders' merchant active in the West Sussex area. In a rather tatty anniversary book I have of the company I found a very early local train timetable. It was the passing of the London and Brighton Railway Act in 1837 and the opening of the railway as far as Brighton in 1841 that prompted a move by the company to Croydon:

Here, as a matter of interest, is an extract from the first London and Brighton Railway Time-sheet, issued when the line was opened as far as Haywards Heath on 12th July, 1841: the first train to Brighton ran on 21st September of the same year.

By coach from Brighton 7. 0 am

Haywards Heath & Cuckfield 9. 0

Balcombe 9.14

Three Bridges and Crawley 9.28

Horley 9.40

Red-Hill and Reigate-Road 9.55

Merstham 10. 2

Stoat's Nest 10.10

Godstone Road 10.20

Croydon 10.28

Arriving at London 11.0 am

Godstone Road is now Purley, and Stoat's Nest is Coulsdon North.

Two hours from Haywards Heath to London: it was not until November 1908 that a new train of first-class Pullman cars - The Southern Belle - first made the run between Victoria and Brighton in one hour.

The 'time-sheet' shows that the new railway brought Croydon within half an hour of Merstham, and made daily supervision of the new depot easy.


A century and a quarter, the story of the growth of our business (Hall & Co) from 1824 to the present day

by CG Dobson, 1951.

Hall & Co was sold by RMC in August 1998 for £121m to Wolseley, it had 92. 'heavyside' builders' merchant branches in the UK and many years before known for coal and coke distribution.

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.

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