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The Alton Line is a railway line operated by South West Trains. Today Alton stationmarker is the terminus of a main line branch, although it was at one time the junction for three lines. The branch leaves the South Western Main Line at Pirbright Junction near Brookwoodmarker. The line was electrified (750 V DC third rail) during the interwar years by Southern Railway.

Freight trains operated by EWS and steam trains from the Watercress Line (see below) are often seen on the Alton Line.


The line from Farnham to Alton was opened on 28 July 1852. On 2 October 1865 the Alton, Aldershot & Winchester Railway opened between those three places; Alton station moved to new site. The section of this line between Alton and New Alresfordmarker is now the Watercress heritage railway, having been closed to passengers by British Rail in 1973. On 2 May 1870 connection from Farnham to Pirbright Junction opened. Alton became a junction station on 1 June 1901 when the Basingstoke and Alton Light Railway opened. This line was closed from 1917 as the track was taken up for use in France during the First World War. Local pressure resulted in the reopening in 1924 but traffic was light and the line closed completely in 1933. On 1 June 1903 the Meon Valley Railway opened from Alton to . This line closed to passengers on 7 Feb 1955.

The line was closed briefly in August 2006 between Brookwood and Ash Vale by a landslip at Foxhills Tunnel, causing most commuter journeys to be via Guildford. It reopened on 19 August 2006.

Passenger services

The current terminus at , taken in 1982

There are two trains per hour in each direction between Waterloomarker and Alton at off-peak times during weekdays, each taking between 75 and 78 minutes for the journey. Passenger trains that serve this line during off-peak hours also stop at the following stations (from north to south):

Although timetables show the line as "Suburban", for the purposes of South West Trains Passenger Charter discounts and Void Day refunds for season tickets, most journeys from this line fall into the Mainline group. All journeys from Alton, Bentleymarker and are Mainline journeys. Journeys from and Ash Vale to London Terminals (i.e. all London stations) and Zone R1256 Zones (a journey to London with Underground included) are Mainline. All other journeys from these two stations are suburban.

Freight services

A daily service runs to Holybourne Oil Terminal between Alton and Bentley. Unfortunately this disrupts the half hourly commuter service as the line between Alton and Farnham is single, with a passing place at Bentley and worked on the absolute block system.

See also


Further reading

External links

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