Chertsey Branch Line

Chertsey Branch Line / Chertsey Loop Line

Siemens Class 450 approaching Chertsey from the east
Type Suburban rail, Heavy rail
System National Rail
Status Operational
Locale Surrey, South East England
Stations 4
Opened 1849
Owner Network Rail
Operator(s) South West Trains
Line length 5.5 miles (8.9 km)
Number of tracks 2
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification Yes

Chertsey Branch Line

mi-ch from London Waterloo
Waterloo to Reading Line
19-02 Staines
Staines to
Windsor & Eton Line
23-15 Virginia Water
Waterloo to Reading Line
Mileage change
M25 (Lyne Railway Bridge)
22-25 Chertsey
20-71 Addlestone
River Wey Navigation
River Wey

19-12 Weybridge

South Western Main Line

The Chertsey Branch Line, opened in 1848, connects the Waterloo to Reading Line at Virginia Water to the South Western Main Line at Weybridge. It is also referred to as the Weybridge Branch Line or by its more accurate description since 1866 the Chertsey Loop. For passenger services it has a terminus siding at Weybridge otherwise its other three stations are through stations and serve the modest-population settlements Chertsey, Addlestone and Virginia Water. Day trip steam excursions share in use of the line sometimes calling at London Waterloo, Staines, Woking and stations and others before Salisbury, Yeovil, Dorchester and/or Bath towards the far south-west of the country.


On 16 July 1846, the London and South Western Railway (LSWR) was authorised to construct a railway line from Weybridge to Egham, close to Staines Bridge. This was opened as far as Chertsey on 14 February 1848.[1] The planned section beyond was not built by the LSWR, because a different company – the Windsor, Staines and South Western Railway (WS&SWR) – was authorised on 25 June 1847 to build a line from Staines to Pirbright and a branch from that line to Chertsey, where it would connect with the LSWR branch from Weybridge. The WS&SWR line was not built, and the powers expired.[2]

On 23 June 1864, the LSWR was authorised to construct an extension 2 12 miles (4.0 km) long from Chertsey to meet the Staines, Wokingham and Windsor Junction Railway (SW&WJR) at Virginia Water, and this line opened on 1 October 1866.[3] The line was double-track, and at its northern end there was a single-track spur facing Reading; this spur was doubled on 4 August 1897.[4]

The junction at the Weybridge end was also made triangular: the new curve was authorised on 20 August 1883, and opened on 10 August 1885; it was not regularly used until 4 July 1887. The junction of this curve with the down line near Byfleet was altered to a burrowing junction from 19 February 1903.[4]

The spur at Virginia Water giving access from Chertsey towards Ascot was closed in 1966.

The line was electrified (660v DC third rail) on 3 January 1937 by the Southern Railway.[5]

Demand and population more especially have grown around the two stations exclusively on the line. In 2014-2015 financial years journeys made from or to Chertsey and Addlestone totalled 0.995 million. Being a loop and for tourist services and goods services being a corollary to the South West Main Line, the line many use restrictions, the main barrier being three road level crossings in central urban Egham which have elicited strong opposition by way of petitions to prevent any proposed increased obstruction by trains, see Heathrow Airtrack which produced detailed, abandoned, plans for direct southward Heathrow connections by rail.


On weekdays a half-hourly all-stations service to London Waterloo station runs via Staines and the Hounslow Loop Line. Travel time may be shortened by a few minutes by changing to a fast train at Staines or Weybridge. On Sundays there is an hourly all-stations service which, instead of going to Weybridge, takes the west curve at Byfleet Junction and terminates at Woking. That curve is little used although from 2000 to 2002 the London Crosslink service of Anglia Railways from Colchester and Ipswich to Basingstoke via north London and Staines, which used Class 170 DMUs, took it.

Rolling Stock

The trains that run on the line are operated by South West Trains, originally using Class 450 trains most of the time which have first class, air conditioning and toilets. Now these only operate infrequent services in peak hours, as since 2015 most trains are operated by the Class 458/5 fleet. On Saturdays and in some peak hours Class 455 trains work the line. Class 170 trains worked the line on the cross-country Anglia Railways services.

Lyne Railway Bridge

Lyne Railway Bridge viewed from the M25 to the south and below the level of the railway

Between Virginia Water and Chertsey, the line crosses the M25 motorway by means of a cable-stayed bridge. The bridge is of note because it is one of few such bridges to carry a heavy railway required here as the railway approaches the motorway at an angle of 28 degrees. The bridge consists of two concrete towers set into the central reservation of the motorway. The concrete edge beams are suspended from the towers, and each is supported by a pair of cables linked to the towers. The edge beams support a concrete deck slab on which the tracks run. The bridge is 120 yards (110 metres) long and 72 feet (22 metres) high, and was completed in 1979.[6]


  1. Williams, R.A. (1968). The London & South Western Railway, volume 1: The Formative Years. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. pp. 180–1. ISBN 0-7153-4188-X.
  2. Williams 1968, p. 181
  3. Williams, R.A. (1973). The London & South Western Railway, volume 2: Growth and Consolidation. Newton Abbot: David & Charles. p. 67. ISBN 0-7153-5940-1.
  4. 1 2 Williams 1973, p. 68
  5. Moody, G.T. (May 1958) [1957]. Southern Electric (2nd ed.). Hampton Court: Ian Allan. p. 65. 786/262/100/558.
  6. "Lyne Bridge, Chertsey - Railway Structures". Southern E-Group. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
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