Kenneth Young interview: Transport memories - Trains
Prior to its major re-building in 1930, Wimbledon Station, dating mainly from the late Victorian era, could only be described as a shambles. When I knew it in the early 1920s, you entered it from Wimbledon Hill Road down a sloping yard area open to the sky with – on the left – a number of coal-merchants’ huts, while the main booking office was in a “room” on the right. It was very dark and gloomy and opened directly on to the up platform for trains to Waterloo. A one-legged porter/ticket collector sat on a stool at the entrance to the platform.
One odd thing I remember is that occasionally, even in the rush hour, a train would draw in (steam-hauled of course) and started discharging milk churns. This was the time for the porter/ticket collector to yell out: “Next train for Waterloo - over the bridge” and the waiting commuters had to dash out and cross by a narrow footbridge to another platform. Many trains, both local and mainline, were still steam-hauled in the 1920s.
When I started work in the City in 1931 my season ticket to Bank via Waterloo cost the sum of £3 10s per quarter. In 1938 a day return ticket from Wimbledon to Dorking cost 2s (10p). In the 1930s I used to be the leader of our church Rambling Club. I had to make all the arrangements for travel, teas etc for our country breaks. It now seems incredible but true that in those pre-war days I could reserve two compartments for our party on the 2.40pm train from Wimbledon to Dorking on a Saturday afternoon. Not only that, but when the train arrived at Wimbledon a porter would be on hand to show us our reserved compartments.