A History of Effingham Junction Station

Many people may not realise that there are two railway stations in East Horsley, which is unusual for a village with a population of around 4,500. The second station is Effingham Junction, which despite its name, has always been in East Horsley.

The line our two stations are on was a late addition to the British rail network. When it was built in 1885 there were already over 13,500 miles of track in Britain run by over 100 competing railway companies in a non-standardised patchwork railway system. First mooted in the 1860s, the New Line as it was called which goes from Guildford to Surbiton via Cobham only happened after two local wealthy aristocrats started lobbying for it. They were William Noel-King, 1st Earl of Lovelace whose seat was at Horsley Towers and William Hillier, 4th Earl of Onslow whose seat was Clandon Park. Their motivation was not altruistic but personal. The New Line would provide a cheaper and quicker carrier of their agricultural products and they could sell some of their land for it to be built on and then for the houses that would inevitably follow.

Competing ideas and interests had to be reconciled before a compromise route was put through Parliament as the London South Western Railway Act 1881. The company Lucas and Aird was appointed to build it and in 1882 hundreds of navvies arrived to start construction, setting up their temporary camp initially in Guildford. The line opened in 1885 and this part of Surrey was suddenly catapulted into the modern railway era.

Smart modern brick-built station buildings, including the one at East Horsley, were constructed and are still in use today. But at Effingham Junction there was only a signal box. The original Act of Parliament had included a station between Horsley and Stoke D’Abernon/Cobham, but the railway company did not think there would be sufficient demand for it. There had also been ideas of other branch lines from Effingham Junction including one going north to Downside but the only one built was via Bookham to Leatherhead.

Effingham Junction finally got its station after the involvement in 1885 of another well-connected aristocrat, James Mackenzie, who owned the Hatchford Park estate nearby. The station cost £1,382 and opened on 2 July 1888, being called Effingham Junction to distinguish it from the existing Horsley station. However, the company was not sure it would be viable and hedged its bet by using prefabricated wooden buildings that could be moved elsewhere if the station was unsuccessful. The station also had no concourse, carpark or goods yard unlike the other stations. The prefabricated buildings were only replaced in 2012 with the current structures.

In its early years, the station had more passengers at weekends than in the week. Effingham village is 1½ miles away and its population then was only 585. Bookham Station was as close and had better access and facilities. Effingham Common Road was just a dirt track. There were then few houses on the Horsley side of Effingham Junction. What saved it was its popularity with Londoners keen to get out of the city at the weekend and it became a ramblers’ station with a café opening next to it.

The large carriage shed was added in the mid-20th century where there was already a siding. King George VI spent at least one night there in the royal train during the Second World War when, because of enemy raids, it was too dangerous for the train to travel after dark. The engine shed is currently operated by Colas Rail as a maintenance base for Network Rail.

With more houses being built and increased car use in the early 20th century, a small car park was built in 1935 on land on the eastern side of Effingham Common Road given to Effingham Parish Council by the lord of the manor. A larger car park on the current site replaced it in the late 1940s, where there were also houses for railway workers and the station master. These were all demolished in 1988 when the carpark was enlarged to its current size.

Effingham Junction’s annual passenger numbers peaked at 300,000 in 2017/8 but have fallen since the Covid pandemic and only recovered to 150,000 in 2021/2. Similarly, the carpark was often over capacity pre-Covid but is operating at below capacity since.

In 1929 the journey time from Effingham Junction to Waterloo Station was 36 minutes. The standard return fare was 5s 6d and the off-peak fare 2s 9d. In 2024 the journey time is generally 45 minutes and a standard fare is £22.60 and £18.40 for off-peak. Such is progress.

This article was written by Vivien White, a local historian and member of the Friends of Effingham Junction Station, part of East Horsley Parish Council’s Railway Task Group. Vivien is also Chairman of the Effingham Residents Association (EFFRA) and a longer history of the station with more photographs can be found on EFFRA’s website https://effinghamresidents.org.uk/effingham-junction-railway-station Vivien thanks Stephen Spark for his help in researching the history of the station.

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New Wardens For ‘Our’ Woods

The Parish Council owns The Forest and Great Ridings Wood, both of which were purchased through public subscription about 20 years ago.

They are important local green spaces and provide some protection against development around the north and east of the village. Working on our behalf, The Forest (bordering The Drift) is managed by Surrey Wildlife Trust and Great Ridings Wood (at the top of Effingham Common) is managed by the Woodland Trust. In each case we also have volunteer wardens who keep a general eye on things and liaise with the Parish Council’s Countryside Task Group and the managers of each wood.

Volunteer wardens Brian Austin and Nigel & Martina Watson have recently retired after more than 20 years of valuable work in The Forest and Great Ridings Wood, respectively, and we would like to thank them for their vital contribution to protecting the village. In their place we would like to welcome Sally Ollett and Shaw Stapely.
Sally moved to East Horsley four years ago from Cobham and lives close to The Forest. Recently retired, she enjoys walking the village’s green spaces. She’s keen to improve the access and quality of paths in The Forest (which can get extremely muddy in the winter), while ensuring the continued protection of the wildlife in this special site.

Shaw grew up in East Horsley and after living in London moved back here 10 years ago. He is a lawyer but prefers to be outside as much as possible; mountain biking and camping with his sons, and walking the family’s golden doodle, Bertie. He is in Great Ridings Wood most days.

Welcome to both Sally and Shaw in their new roles.

We would also like to thank Councillor Steve Punshon for his unstinting work on the Parish Council’s Countryside Task Group over the past seven years. As chair of the group since September 2020, Steve has significantly contributed to the enhancement and preservation of our local countryside. He has recently retired from the Council and his role has been taken over by Councillor Juliet Robinson.

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Seeking Volunteers for The Friends of Horsley Station

Four years on from their formation, The Friends of Horsley Station (FOHS) are looking to grow their team of volunteers.

The remit is to support the Station Ambassador in their ongoing project to constantly upgrade this key community asset.

Since 2019, great progress has been made including the arrivals of numerous planters, soon to be installed, fully accessible toilets as well as bird boxes in which no less than14 chicks hatched last year.

The homely ticket office now exudes a welcoming warmth for station users when buying tickets, seeking assistance or just popping in for a chat, while waiting rooms have been given a cosy makeover, jazzed up by the piano and adorned with local art and information displays that make them worth a visit even if you're not catching a train.

The Horsley Cycles Garden is another Friends initiative, and so the list goes on.

But there’s still much to do, so if you would like to be part of this continuing success story, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or complete an application form available at the ticket office and the FOHS will be in touch.

Great Ridings Wood

This 70 acre site is steeped in history, brimming with wildlife and a delight to walk in.

It contains a mix of woodland of different ages including some introduced species such as Scots pine and western red cedar. There’s also a charming wildlife pond.

Entry points on foot are at the top of Heath View and also at the furthest end of High Park Avenue but, take note, there is no parking. Once in the wood, walkers have the option of taking a circular way-marked route or wander along any of the three miles of footpaths that criss-cross the site.

Clues to the age of this ancient woodland are provided by ‘indicator’ plants such as bluebells, wood anemone and common spotted orchid and they suggest it can be traced back at least 1000 years to Saxon times.

The site is split by Old London Lane, a packhorse route of bygone times from Tillingbourne Valley to London, and contains earth banks, some still standing up to six feet high.

Many of the wood’s hornbeams have been coppiced (cut back), identifiable by the ring of trunks growing from one single base. For centuries, this woodland practice provided a ready supply of poles and timber for both domestic and industrial use.

The pond adds to the wildlife diversity and is home to frogs, newts and dragonflies.

The wood changes with the seasons and there is always something new to see so why not pay a visit?

Station in Bloom Awards

As colour starts to brighten our flower beds once more, Effingham Junction begins its quest to go one better in this year’s Stations in Bloom competition in which it won Silver Gilt in 2023. 

Aside from the well maintained floral displays, the judges noted also the cleanliness and litter-free appearance of the station. They went on to say “A Silver Gilt Award was a great recognition of the work the volunteers put in both horticulturally and environmentally. Hopefully, a Gold might be somewhere in the near future.”  

Sylvia Igglesden

Meet Your Newest Councillor - Sylvia Igglesden

The lastest volunteer to join the Parish Council is Sylvia Igglesden. Sylvia has lived in Horsley for almost 29 years. She and her husband Charles raised 3 boys who attended the Raleigh and the Howard. Before children Sylvia had a successful career in advertising working on blue chip accounts such as Kodak and Coca Cola. As a new mother she helped start a successful ski company Flexi Ski which continues today. While raising the boys she worked part time as marketing consultant, retrained as an Interior Designer, enjoyed a stint at Woking Football club, became a director at Catquin a company set up to increase the number of women in boardrooms. Now retired she continues to work as a volunteer. Over her 28 years membership at the tennis club, she has taken on many voluntary roles as well as playing team tennis. She also volunteers for Homestart charity, at the Lightbox in Woking and at West Horsley Place. It was only in the last 10 years that she picked up a paintbrush again and began a passion for expressive abstract painting. Spurred on by her art loving sister-in-law Jane, who was sadly diagnosed with Alzheimers in her late 50s, she now raises funds for the Alzheimer’s Society through the sale of her art.A real eco warrior Sylvia likes to repurpose old artworks and charity shop finds. She regularly exhibits her work at West Horsley Place and recently at the Mall Galleries in London. 

The Nomad Theatre Celebrates 25 Years’

The brand-new Nomad Theatre, constructed with a generous grant from the National Lottery, opened in October 1998 with the first two productions Under Milk Wood followed by Peter Pan.  The story of how the new Nomad Theatre came to be built will feature in the next edition of the Parish Council Newsletter.

New councillor – Hilary Gullen

Our newest parish councillor, Hilary joined the Council in July and is looking forward to helping build our community and improve the local environment.

She currently works for a London borough Democratic Services team and has a good grasp of local authority decision making. Prior to that, she worked as a mayor’s personal assistant and managed charity and civic events. Previous work roles mean she also understands how schools and the health service work. Her personal interests include history, music and science.

Hilary moved to East Horsley two years ago and has been really impressed with the vibrant community. She would like to become a more integral part of that community and help ensure it continues to thrive.


Using Music To Bring Back Memories

East Horsley has its own Dementia Music Therapy Group – for those living with dementia and Parkinson’s Disease. This is a local success story.

The music therapy group, called ‘Music Memories’, was set up on the back of fundraising by Joe Dimmock and Sian Lewis from the Duke of Wellington, who cycled from London to Paris in 2022 and raised £16,000. Led by a specialist music therapist - Val Marciano - the group emphasises ‘therapy’ in a structured way – including singing and a range of other activities. The group meets weekly with those attending accompanied by a carer, friend or neighbour. 

The power of music therapy is undeniable. Scientific research shows that music stimulates many different parts of the brain. For people with dementia, music can change mood and reduce anxiety; bring back words, memories and feelings; and connect people with loved ones. The first steps in using music might involve finding music they love, making a playlist (possibly through a streaming service) and then playing that music throughout the day as part of their care. 

Music therapy can have a very powerful personal impact and also offers benefits for the carers. The Music Memories team also hold workshops tailored for carers to explain how to harness the power of music therapy and to teach some basic techniques for using music in their day-to-day caring.

Music Memories is managed by The Loop – a local charity which was set up by the owners of Home Counties Carers. The Loop helps and supports care charities and voluntary groups across Surrey. Ingrid Clift from The Loop is passionate about Music Memories and says “The results of music therapy on people living with dementia and Parkinson’s can be amazing and profoundly moving.”

If you think this might help someone in your family, why not give it a try. 

Music Memories – the Dementia Music Therapy Group

Meets every Tuesday 10.30 to 11.30, in the Canterbury Rooms at St Martin’s Church, KT24 6RL

For further information, or to discuss what is involved, please contact Ingrid Clift at The Loop. Her details are:

T: 01483 964638 E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. W: theloop.org.uk