Passenger services from three companies originating south of the Thames will feature on Basilica Fields, viz; the London Brighton and South Coast Railway, the South Eastern Railway, and the London Chatham and Dover Railway. The latter, known as the East Kent Railway until 1859, was empowered under the Metropolitan Extension Act of 1860 to build a line from Beckenham to Herne Hill where a junction took a line north west to Victoria, and another due north towards the then projected Metropolitan Railway at Farringdon Street (then known as Victoria Street). The line to Victoria was complete three years later, and the City line was opened as far as Blackfriars Bridge in June 1864. Within six months the line had crossed the Thames to a temporary station, Ludgate Hill, but the final stretch from there to an end-on junction with the Metropolitan at West Street took considerably longer as it fell foul of inspections by the Board of Trade, and it wasn’t until the beginning of 1866 that all objections were satisfied, and the line opened.

LCDR services from Ludgate Hill to the GNR terminus at Kings Cross and back commenced immediately, and within two days the GNR was itself running trains between the two stations. Eventually the long arm of the LCDR reached into both Middlesex via the GNR and Midland, and Hertfordshire, with services from Victoria or Herne Hill to destinations such as Hatfield, Enfield, Kentish Town, Hendon, and Alexandra Palace.

Key to Basilica Fields, a eastwards spur between Snow Hill and the Great Western Railway’s depot at Smithfield was proposed, to which the BoT objected, due to the safety aspect of the flat crossing between the spur and the outward line from the depot. After much petitioning, the BoT relented, and the spur was eventually sanctioned in 1871, so Moorgate Street became an alternative destination for the Chatham until the Extended Circle was rolled out in the late 1880s, and Basilica Fields became the terminus for Chatham trains.

The RCH Junction diagram from the turn of the century shows the relationship between the Chatham, the Metropolitan and the Widened Lines companies, although as the diagram is dated post-1899, the Chatham line comes under the aegis of the SECR Committee.

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