London, Brighton & South Coast Railway Co

The London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSCR) was formed on 27 July 1846, when the London and Brighton, and London and Croydon Railways were merged together.

The LBSCR stretched from London to Portsmouth and Hastings and the length of the track by the end of 1922 totalled 457 miles. This was comprised of 100 miles of single track, 357 miles of double line, 47 miles with three tracks, 35 miles of four tracks and 14 miles (cumulatively) with five tracks.

The LBSCR entered Victoria station in 1860, agreeing to pay half of the costs for the construction of the station. The line from Victoria to Brighton was electrified in three stages, which reached Tulse Hill and West Norwood by 1912. Due to the increasing threat from the tram network the LBSCR decided to use an overhead line instead of a third rail for electrification.

In 1893 the line was one of the pioneers of electric lighting in carriages, with 300 coaches lit. The company ran a first-class Pullman service named the "Southern Belle" renamed the "Brighton Belle" in 1934. The service made two trips daily from Victoria to Brighton taking exactly one hour in 1909.

LBSCR head offices were in Brighton and the construction of the locomotives took place at Brighton works, locomotives were also built by external contractors, for example Messrs Bury, Curtis and Kennedy, Liverpool. Lancing carriage and wagon works, near Shoreham-by-Sea was built in 1911 in order to relieve pressure of the overcrowded works at Brighton.

The first chairman of the LBSCR was Mr C. P. Grenfell, who was succeeded by Samuel Laing in 1848 (previously the Law Clerk in the Railway Department of the Board of Trade). The first secretary was J. Buckton, succeeded by F. Slight in October 1849. R. Jacomb-Hood was the first resident engineer and Peter Clarke was the first manager, however on the 14 February 1848 strong complaints made against Clarke and he was deemed as inefficient and resigned. He was succeeded by George Hawkins. William Stroudly was appointed locomotive superintendent in 1870. In 1899, William Forbes, (son of the General Manager of the Midland Great Western Railway), became General Manager of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, where he instigated the programme of overhead electrification. He is also credited with rebuilding Victoria station, extending the Pullman services, and building the Quarry line. During the war he was a member of the Railway Executive. He received a knighthood in 1915.

The LBSCR also owned the Terminus Hotel in Brighton and the London and Paris Hotel at Newhaven, to encourage more tourists to use the railway.

In 1923, the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSCR) was absorbed into the Southern Railway, as part of the ‘grouping’ process which organised railway companies into the ‘Big Four’.