Based in the London Borough of Bromley (Hayes area)

A Short History of the Rusper Railway

In 1860 a group of businessmen from Hookwood met with some landed gentry from the area around Rusper at the ‘Rising Sun’ Inn at Charlwood.  The meeting was to discuss how they could improve the movement of cattle to the Hookwood Metropolitan Market from the large estates near Rusper.  

discussions with the dairymen at Smallfield on the outskirts of Hookwood.  The farmers wanted to provide large quantities of milk for distribution by bottles into the Hookwood Metropolitan Borough, and as a result they formed the Smallfield and Tilgate Railway Company.

Both enabling Acts were laid before Parliament in 1861 and received the Royal Assent the same year.  As both companies planned routes to pass through the town of Russ Hill and serve Tilgate, it was enacted that they should have joint stations in both places.

The R&H planned a double track from Hookwood through Orltons, Charlwood, Russ Hill and Tilgate to Rusper with another station near Ifield where Glovers Lane crossed the line.

Although the R&H started construction works before the S&T, it was the S&T that first opened for both passenger and freight traffic in April 1863, followed by the R&H in July the same year.  Both lines had considerable success to start with, but complaints increased as passenger traffic grew.


Droving was becoming more and more difficult due to the big increase in housing on the route.  The outcome of their deliberations was the formation of the Rusper and Hookwood Railway Company.

The Rising Sun, Charlwood

Unbeknown to this group and at about the same time, the dairy farmers in the environs of Tilgate were holding

                                                  Glovers Lane  

The line planned by the S&T would be double track from Smallfield to Russ Hill.  Near Newdigate the line crossed the road linking Charlwood and Rusper, and a further station was planned for this site. From Russ Hill the line was singled and passing through Prestwood, terminated at Tilgate on the west side of the station.