'London & Croydon Railway, from New Cross, Deptford', London, 1839.
© NRM / Pictorial Collection / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by A Dodd from 'The Mirror of Literature, Amusement and Instruction', 9 March 1839. Traffic on the London and Croydon line had initially been hauled by locomotives, but the directors soon decided to convert the line to the atmospheric system, having seen it successfully applied to a railway in Ireland. An iron pipe was laid between the rails for this purpose. The London, Brighton & South Coast Railway was formed in July 1846 by the amalgamation of the London & Brighton Railway and the London & Croydon Railway, and the new company abandoned the atmospheric system. At its peak, the railway formed a triangle with its base along the south coast from Portsmouth to Hastings and its apex in London.