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Were You At Guildford or Godalming To See This Special Train in 1959?

Published on: 3 Feb, 2018
Updated on: 6 Feb, 2018

Back in 1959 Guildford railway station and Godalming Goods Yard witnessed a special train to celebrate the centenary of the Portsmouth Direct Route. Were you at either of the locations, and if so what are your memories?

The train waits to depart from Guildford. Photographer unknown. Click on pictures to enlarge in a new window.

The seven-coach tour (including two Pullmans) ran from London Victoria via Stewarts Lane, Pourparts Junction, Balham, Wimbledon, Clandon and Guildford, was initially headed by 0395 Class 30567.

The 0395 Class 30567 that brought the train into Guildford has been uncoupled from its carriages and is seen at the coal stage. Picture by Peter Trinder.

A further picture of 0395 Class 30567. Picture by Peter Trinder.

After changing locomotives at Guildford, 700 Class 30350 continued with the train to Godalming Goods Yard. It then went on to Havant, Fareham, Gosport, Fareham, returning via Guildford, Woking, Chertsey, Staines, Richmond, Clapham Junction, Stewarts Lane and London Victoria.

Former railwayman Geoff Burch, who lives in Worplesdon, and well known for his Rambling Railwayman books, wonders if anyone recognises any of the onlookers or can name the fireman, driver and the guard on that train. Geoff thinks that they could have been a Guildford (70C) footplate crew and a Guildford guard.

With 700 Class locomotive 30350 coupled to the train it leaves Guildford with The Portsmouth Direct Line Centenarian. Eagle-eyed readers may notice a different headboard has been attached. Why? Picture by Peter Trinder.

Here is the train pictured at Godalming Goods Yard. This had originally been the passenger terminus of the line before it was extended south – note the station building behind the loco. The goods yard closed in 1969. Picture: James McColl Collection.

However, Geoff says: “It might be difficult to identify the driver and fireman as they look as if they are in period costume and could be wearing a false beard and sideburns!”

One of the footplate crew (left) and the guard. Picture: James McColl Collection.

Who were they? James McColl Collection.

He adds that he has been told that the late Arthur Brockman (who was a fireman and driver at Guildford) was on one of these specials at about that time.

A crowd gathered to look at the locomotive and the train at Godalming Goods Yard. Picture: James McColl Collection.

When it departed from Godalming Goods Yard the locomotive propelled the train back on to the main line. Picture: James McColl Collection.

If you can add any details, please leave a reply in the box below.

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Responses to Were You At Guildford or Godalming To See This Special Train in 1959?

  1. David Rose Reply

    February 9, 2018 at 8:59 pm

    The Dragon has received an email from railway enthusiast and good friend of mine Norman Hamshere.

    He writes: “I was there! On the footplate of 30350 was Guildford crew with driver Hedgecock and fireman Brockman.”

    I passed these name on to Geoff Burch who adds: “Bill Hedgecock started his railway career at Dover on 4th August 1914 and after transferring to Guildford, ended his driving career as a member of the ‘Old Man’s Gang’ in 1965.

    “His fireman at the time was Bill Moore (who was one of the instigators of the plaque being made. [Unveiled at the entrance to the Farnham Road Car Park on July 9, 2017].

    “Arthur Brockman elected to become a ‘juice driver’ [electric train] at Guildford before steam finished in July 1967.

  2. Aubrey Leahy Reply

    February 10, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    I don’t remember that but do remember, while at Northmead in 1956, the whole school was turned out to stand by the railings and wave at the train carrying Kruschev and Bulganin to London. No one had an iPad, camera or mobile phone…

  3. Robert Hills Reply

    February 12, 2018 at 11:26 am

    I remember very well this centenary train in January 1959 to mark the 100 years since the railway line was extended from Godalming to Portsmouth. I was 13 years of age at the time.

    I saw it from the footbridge at Farncombe which joins Marshall Road with Tottenham Road/Upper Manor Road, from which I was able to enjoy the train arriving at and exiting the then Godalming Goods Depot (the site of the original Godalming station when the Railway arrived in 1849).

    My only regret at the time, and I still regret it today, is that for whatever reason I did not have a camera with me and, therefore, not I was unable to photograph the historic event.

  4. Terry Brockman Reply

    January 9, 2021 at 9:55 pm

    I think Geoff Burch is right that my father, Arthur Brockman, was indeed the fireman on this special train. I think we may still have a newspaper cutting from the Surrey Advertiser of the event.

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