“There is only a perpetual arrival, a timeless condition of infinite awareness.”*

*Frederick Lenz (1950-1998).

Image: The Network Rail bridge (maximum weight 3 tonnes) at Richmond station which carries Church Road over the railway.

Leslie Freeman wrote in the Barnes and Mortlake History Society Newsletter of June 1996:

“…The project for a railway to Richmond was revived six years later in 1844, when the prospectus of the Richmond & West End Junction Railway appeared. The capital was to be £260,000 in £20 shares. The route was to be similar to that of 1836 from a terminus either in the City or near what is now Waterloo, but running on a more northerly course through Barnes and Mortlake with the terminus at Richmond on the south side of the present station.

…Under the Act (for what later became the London & South Western Railway (LSWR) ) the company had 14 directors, with William Chadwick as chairman. Three of the directors were appointed by the LSWR and included William James Chaplin, the outstanding figure in the early history of the LSWR. A former coach proprietor, he became chairman of the LSWR in 1842. Joseph Locke (1805-60), already engineer to the LSWR, was appointed to a similar post to the new railway. A pupil of George Stephenson, he was one of the foremost of the early railway engineers, his principal achievements being the main lines from Waterloo to Southampton and Exeter. The route of the new railway was hardly a test of his abilities. It ran through virtually level countryside and the only major works were a viaduct 1,000 feet long at Wandsworth, carrying the line over the Wandle and the Surrey Iron Railway, and a cutting at Putney.

In September 1845 Joseph Locke informed the directors he had received an offer from Henry Knill to complete the works (except for land, stations, iron rails and chairs) for £50,000. The offer was accepted and Knill commenced work from the junction with the LSWR at Falcon Bridge, Battersea (a short distance east of Clapham Junction, which did not then exist)…

…Progress by Knill was sufficiently good for Joseph Locke to order 1,000 tons of iron rail from the Coalbrookdale Company at £10 10s per ton in November 1845, but only a month later Locke was worried that the Coalbrookdale Company wished to cancel the contract (perhaps getting a better price elsewhere), so the directors agreed to make an immediate part payment of £5,250. This is all we know about the actual work on making the railway…

…Despite the delays in obtaining land, Knill built the line in only nine months at a cost of £195,000 (a little over £30.000 a mile) and, although Mortlake and Richmond stations were unfinished, a directors’ special of 16 carriages drawn by the locomotive Crescent left Nine Elms terminus of the LSWR at 2pm on Wednesday, 22 July 1846. The Times recorded that “At a few minutes after the hour named, the train started, and moved slowly along the main line of the South Western for two miles; it then turned off to the right, and proceeded at a more rapid rate along the newly-constructed portion to Richmond. The pace, although not great, yet was sufficiently fast, and, from the very slight motion experienced, there is no doubt when it has been longer used all unpleasant motion will entirely cease.”

Herepaths Journal considered the line wanting in the picturesque though crossing beautiful country, a defect compensated on reaching Richmond where the station was decked with flags bearing the word “Welcome” in large letters. There was the usual band and the bells of the parish church were ringing as the train arrived…”

From Wikipedia:

“The wide gap between platforms 3 and 4 originally had a third, run-around track for steam locomotives.”

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