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Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace is a station whose fortunes have waxed and waned considerably over the years since it first opened. The LB&SCR was enjoying a good year in 1851, the new terminus at London Bridge was completed, the Great Exhibition created a huge amount of extra traffic and then it was announced that Paxton's masterpiece would be moved to a permanent site at Sydenham, where it became known as "The Crystal Palace". With the prospect of much new traffic the directors of the railway authorised a new station at Sydenham in 1852 and a branch from there to "The Crystal Palace" was opened on 10th June 1854. During the company's half yearly meeting on 27th July 1854 the shareholders were told that it was having "Derby Day" traffic every day taking 10,000 people, or more, to and from Crystal Palace daily. Expansion of the railway continued throughout the nineteenth century and on 1December 1856 the line from Crystal Palace, through a considerable clay tunnel, to Wandsworth Common was opened, subsequently on to Battersea Wharf on 29th March 1858. The line from Norwood Junction to Crystal Palace opened on 1 October 1857 and the West End and Crystal Palace line, authorised in 1853, was leased in 1858 and taken over during 1859 (although that line's Farnborough, Kent, section went to the LC&DR. Subsequent development of the railway led to having both a high level and low level (the original) station, the former being opened by the LC&DR with a branch from Nunhead and named Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood. Passengers could now depart from Crystal Palace in four directions, albeit by using two stations. From this high point Crystal Palace has declined to the station we know today - the High level station and line to Nunhead are long gone and the low level station is a shadow of its former six-platform-with-sidings self. Below are some photographs of the now four platform low level station as it is today.
 
Crystal Palace The main station buildings, photographed on 1st January 2010.

photograph by Gregory Beecroft

 
The eastern side platforms of Crystal Palace station shows it's wonderful building. This was the original route, from Sydenham and once there were sidings in the middle section and both sides of each platform in use.

photograph by Paul Ferbrache

Crystal Palace
 
Crystal Palace The western side of Crystal Palace station with the lines from Norwood Junction and Beckenham. Note that the main building covers the eastern platforms only.

photograph by Paul Ferbrache

 
This picture shows the modern roof structure and was taken from platform level.

photograph by Paul Ferbrache

Crystal Palace
 
Crystal Palace A view looking down the stair wells to the eastern platforms. The centre stair well, which remains for track workers, was once access to the sidings.

photograph by Paul Ferbrache

 
A view taken on top of the stair wells showing the building and roof design.

photograph by Paul Ferbrache

Crystal Palace
 
Although the high level station has long given way to housing, there are plenty of reminders of its existence. There is an ornate subway, unfortunately presently closed, that led from the station to the Crystal Palace itself. This is today grade two listed and there is a move to have it re-opened.

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This page was last updated 11 January 2010

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