Worcester Park 2008

Why Worcester Park?


Why Worcester Park?  As we have said before, suburban London is a product of its transport history.  And in some cases, transport history is a result of suburban London.  The area around Worcester Park grew up around the railway, built in 1859 to link Wimbledon and Epsom, which crossed the main road by a bridge with limited clearance.  This is the story of that bridge.


When the London General Omnibus Company started route 213 (then numbered 113) from Kingston to Sutton in 1921, the route had to use single-deck buses because of this bridge and that at New Malden Station. Single-deck buses, with two crew but half the number of passengers, were generally uneconomic and London Transport preferred wherever possible to convert routes to double-deck.


The bridge in wartime

Newly double-decked in 1941, the 127 was initially operated by borrowed Manchester Corporation buses.  Note that, unlike the Scooter shown above, the loaned buses did not carry the black-out white circle on the back.

Photo Charles Klapper © Omnibus Society, Alan Cross collection


Other routes in the area were operated by standard double-deckers, and as a result could not pass under the bridge.  Worcester Park Station has therefore been an enforced terminus of buses arriving from the west, including over the years routes 5, 32, 77A and 189.


Last days of the 127

August 1958, and the 127 is about to be withdrawn; RLH67 heads for Morden.  The bridge now carries the usual 'Frequent Electric Trains' sign, and a height warning notice.  The Guinness ad is still in place but has been updated.

Photo © Bruce Jenkins (thanks to Bruce for the loan of the slide)


The road beneath the bridge was lowered in 1962.  This was achieved by building a second carriageway to the south, then lowering the original road to produce today's dual carriageway.  The road was completely closed for only one day, Sunday 4 Nov 62, on which day the 213 worked in two sections.  See photo sequence by Andrew Hicks.


After the road was lowered ...

After the bridge was rebuilt, the 213 was converted to double-deck RT operation in 1963.  The RTs continued to operate the route until 1972.  Here, near the end of RT operation, RT1282 on a short-working to New Malden passes Worcester Park Station with the bridge in the background.  The zebra crossing has now been replaced by traffic lights, but otherwise the scene is much the same.

Photo © John Parkin