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Letter: I Have Long Advocated Reopening the Guildford to Cranleigh Line

Published on: 29 Mar, 2023
Updated on: 29 Mar, 2023

The Railway Enthusiasts Club special at Cranleigh on June 12, 1965.

From: Ben Darnton

In response to: Transport Matters – The Most Ill-judged Cut of All

I’ve long advocated the reopening of the Guildford to Cranleigh railway line and as a former Cranleigh resident, who moved away 30 years ago because the traffic was getting unbearable, I know the congestion far worse now on the potholed roads out of Cranleigh.

The Downslink is a wonderful local asset but I’m sure it could be rerouted slightly to run alongside either a new line or tramway similar to that in the Croydon area.

When the 1,800 + new homes in Dunsfold Park are built, all with no doubt a couple of cars per household, the pressure on the A281 will become unbearable, even with more people working from home, so perhaps now is the time to at last give some serious thought to reopening the line north to Guildford.

I said when HS2 was debated that money could be better spent on local schemes such as Guildford-Cranleigh and Uckfield-Lewes lines.

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Responses to Letter: I Have Long Advocated Reopening the Guildford to Cranleigh Line

  1. Adrian Chandler Reply

    March 29, 2023 at 9:03 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree.

  2. Hilda Roberts Reply

    March 29, 2023 at 10:32 pm

    Public transport out of Cranleigh is provided by the unreliable Stagecoach bus service. The only other way to travel is by road in vehicles mostly carrying one person.

    Because of the enormous amount of house building in Cranleigh, with Dunsfold about to be developed, the already congested A281 and B2128 will become more polluted and gridlocked by vehicle journeys.

    A tramway or rail link is desperately needed and should have been a pre-requisite for the granting of planning permission.

  3. H.Trevor Jones Reply

    March 29, 2023 at 11:36 pm

    It should be noted that Guildford-Cranleigh, although only ever single track apart from passing loops, was built with a double-track formation in case of later double-tracking, so I believe it should be possible to re-open it as a single-track railway with the Downslink alongside in the space available for the second track.

    • Mike Smith Reply

      March 30, 2023 at 9:56 pm

      The Downslink has become a popular cycling and walking route but, as usual, has been allowed to become overgrown and is falling into disrepair. Perhaps whoever gets the contract for any new public transport shuttle could be obliged to fund the path’s repair and maintenance.

  4. Mike Turner Reply

    March 30, 2023 at 11:47 am

    I also wholeheartedly agree – and a contribution under the Community Infrastructure Levy for Dunsfold Airfield is still a real possibility.

    Much forward-thinking is required.

  5. Jan Messinger Reply

    March 31, 2023 at 1:14 pm

    The congestion on the A281 has not been thought about properly at all. There is not only the extra housing at Dunsfold but also in Guildford borough and around Horsham. There is population overload in this area and everywhere throughout Surrey and Sussex.

    The road infrastructure is not keeping up for example the insufficient number of charging points for electric cars.

    As Ben Darnton says trams or railways would have been wise to invest in locally.

    I think the people who have a horse and cart or bicycle will be laughing at the rest of us soon. They could be the only ones going anywhere.

  6. Chris Stanton Reply

    April 1, 2023 at 11:23 am

    When we know the outcome of May’s elections that will provide a timely opportunity for the joint management team running Guildford and Waverley Borough Councils – together with Surrey County Council – to make formal representation to Government. They could even seek support from our local Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, to reopen the line between Guildford and Cranleigh, ideally adding an extension to Dunsfold Park.

    The rural economy served by both Boroughs will benefit if they can succeed in reversing the effects of the Beeching Report – getting people out of their cars and back onto trains.

    Commuters from the Cranleigh area to Guildford or London currently have no choice but to drive – and for London workers that may mean using congested Surrey lanes to the nearest stations with parking, including Milford, Farncombe, Clandon or Horsley.

    Also, with Guildford’s Local Plan and Sustainable Movement Corridor in mind, is there not a case for getting the proposed Guildford West station built as soon as possible to serve the Hospital, Surrey Research Park and the University?

    That would take a lot of traffic off the Hog’s Back and Ash/Aldershot Roads providing a new option for rail travellers through the railway hub that is Guildford Station, the junction for no fewer than five lines into our town.

    Reopening to Cranleigh would make that six!

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