Woking's Railway

Today, Woking is one of the busiest stations in the region, and a major gateway to London, the South West and the south coast.

The first railway station in Woking opened in 1838, when the line linking London with the port of Southampton was constructed across common land, and the station built upon Woking Heath. This common land reached from the original town in the south, now called Old Woking.

When the station first opened it was the end of the line but Woking became an even more important junction fourteen years later when the line linked up with Portsmouth.

During the 1830's and 40's there was little incentive to build upon the heath closer to London, owing to the costs involved in enclosing undeveloped land. It was the development of another part of the heath - by the London Necropolis and National Mausoleum Company in the 1850's - that really brought about the 'new' town of Woking.

During the 1840's, churchyards in the capital were becoming full, resulting in the Burials Act of 1850 which prevented further burials in London and allowed cemeteries to be built away from the city. It was suggested that sparsely populated areas with good transport links to the capital should be used for these cemeteries.

In 1854, 400 acres of the land bought by the 'London Necropolis' company, at Brookwood in the west of Woking Borough, were used for a national cemetery. The railway was used to transport London's bodies to the cemetery during the night, and the remaining heath land was sold for development from 1855 onwards.

Brookwood has its own station, which opens directly onto the cemetery on one side. The main station at Woking has a grand entrance on its south side, to serve the original town, and still remains today. However, most people use the less prominent north-side exit, which faces the 'new' town centre.