3 miles (Crystal Palace Branch)
- Nunhead 1st (opened 1871, closed 1925); Nunhead 2nd (opened
- Honor Oak
- Lordship Lane
- Upper Sydenham (opened 1884)
- Crystal Palace High Level r/n 1898 Crystal Palace & Upper
Norwood r/n 1923 Crystal Palace High Level.
After the Great Exhibition of 1851 closed, the unique prefabricated
glass building housing it was re-erected near Penge in south
London and became known as the Crystal Palace. The Crystal Palace
& South London Junction Railway (CP&SLJR) was backed
by the LC&DR and was absorbed by that company when it opened
in 1865. The established LB&SCR route to the Low Level station
(opened in 1854), however, also provided direct access to the
Palace and its existing stations were relatively close to those
on this branch so traffic was sparse. In 1910 trains ran every
half hour from either Victoria or Moorgate with 30 minutes allowed
to cover the 9 miles from Victoria. The branch was closed between
January 1917 and March 1919 and again between May 1944 and March
1946. The Palace itself burnt down in 1936 and the line closed
to all traffic in 1954.
Route - when open
At Nunhead Junction (GR355760) it diverged from the Greenwich
Park branch, turned south and after a mile parted company with
the line to Bromley. It climbed continuously at 1 in 78 all the
way, after 1 mile reaching Honor Oak station. Continuing south
it bridged London Road, passed Lordship Lane station and Upper
Sydenham station, which was located between two tunnels, the
second of which gave access to Crystal Palace station (GR337708).
This terminal station was connected directly to the Palace by
an ornate and patterned colonnaded subway built in white and
red brick by Italian crypt builders.
Route - today
From Nunhead there is nothing to be seen until one reaches
Brockley Way from where the alignment can be followed through
Brenchley Gardens. Cross Forest Hill Road and continue past Camberwell
Old Cemetery to pick up the course through Horniman Gardens.
Cross the South Circular Road and follow a path through to Sydenham
Hill. Follow this road, turn left into Wells Park Road and drop
down to the trackbed to view the first tunnel. Then walk along
Vigilant Close, High Level Drive and The Gradient (a cul-de-sac)
where the entrance to the second tunnel can be seen. Return to
High Level Drive, turn right into Westwood Hill (A212) and walk
along Crystal Palace Parade to view the site of Crystal Palace,
the station and the tunnel exit.
- Nunhead station (2nd) - still open (SE Trains London
- Honor Oak demolished - site built over by high rise
- Lordship Lane - demolished. Site built over by flats.
- Upper Sydenham demolished but station house over
- Crystal Palace High Level the large twin-vaulted terminal
with vast train shed demolished - housing now covers a substantial
part of the site but the subway survives as does a vast retaining
wall alongside Crystal Palace Parade.
Bridge carrying Forest Hill
Road (B238) at Honor Oak missing;
Footbridge south of Lordship Lane survived in 2005;
Bridge over London Road (A205) at Lordship Lane, missing;
Crescent Wood Tunnel: 400yds aka Upper Sydenham, both portals
Paxton Tunnel: 439 yds under Sydenham Hill and College Road,
both portals bricked up with opening doors.
(The above text courtesy of Ralph Rawlinson ©2005.)