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So Long, Smitham!

From Sunday 22nd May 2011 the name Smitham will have disappeared from the National Railway Network to be replaced by Coulsdon Town. (Although, strictly, there is a transitional name change Smitham [Coulsdon Town] and then Coulsdon Town [Smitham] for periods in various processes either side of this date.)

The results of competition between competing railway companies in the late 1800s and early 1900s is evident throughout the south of England, but the Croydon area is a prime example of multiplicity of lines and duplication of facilities. Some sections of line and stations have long since closed but much remains, some routes in operation as Croydon Tramlink lines. Smitham Station opened on 1st January 1904 on the South Eastern Railway's (by then operating with the London, Chatham and Dover railway as the South East & Chatham Railway) Tattenham Corner branch. Smitham Station was built immediately adjacent to the Stoats Nest and Cane Hill terminus station of the London Brighton and South Coast Railway which opened a little over five years earlier. (This station was later renamed Coulsdon and Smitham Downs and then Coulsdon North. This station officially closed on 3rd October 1983.)

With shifting social patterns in the area, over time the use of the name Smitham for the surrounding area lapsed from common usage and the station is close to the current centre of Coulsdon. The construction and opening in December 2006 of the Coulsdon Relief Road (major route A23) required access routes to the station to be changed, which in 2010 also resulted in construction of new station buildings. The new 2009 franchise required to consult over the name of the station and following a prime exercise in local democracy the name Coulsdon Town was selected. The National Rail three letter abbreviation for Coulsdon Town will be CDN (Smitham = SMI).

Ashley Saunders took a trip to Smitham on 10th May to record the soon to disappear name.

Smitham Station Sign on 10th May 2011 Soon to be consigned to station sign heaven (collectors and/or metal recycling) a platform sign pictured on 10th May 2011.
The new booking office with a poster about the name change The new booking office surmounted by a sign advising travellers of the name change from Sunday 22nd May.
455822 at Smitham with the 1439 working to London Bridge on 10th May 2011 455822 about to depart with the 14:39 service to London Bridge on 10th May 2011. Some services terminate at Smitham. Note the station is on a sharp curve taking the branch west towards Epsom Downs (the large expanse of open countryside and racecourse, not the station of the same name!).
Customer Information Disply at London bridge showing a service to Smitham on 10th May 2011 A passenger information display at London Bridge showing a Tattenham Corner service calling at Smitham. At least graphics based electronic displays are easily changed!

Now see what happened on 22nd May in our item Come-On-Down Coulsdon Town!