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View from platform 8, looking westward towards platform one.
|Location||Brighton, City of Brighton and Hove|
|Owned by||Network Rail|
|Classification||DfT category B|
|Opened||11 May 1840|
|Brighton main line in England, and the principal station serving the city of Brighton, East Sussex. It is 50 miles 49 chains (81.45 km) from London Bridge via Redhill.
It was built by the London & Brighton Railway in 1840, initially connecting Brighton to Shoreham-by-Sea, westwards along the coast, and shortly afterwards connecting it to London Bridge and the county town of Lewes to the east. In 1846, the railway became the London Brighton and South Coast Railway following mergers with other railways with lines between Portsmouth and Hastings.
With over 17 million passenger entries and exits in 2018/19, Brighton is the seventh-busiest station in the country outside London.
History and development
The London and Brighton Railway (L&BR) built a passenger station, goods station, locomotive depot and railway works on a difficult site on the northern edge of Brighton. This site was 0.5 miles (0.80 km) from, and 70 feet (21 m) above the sea shore, and had involved considerable excavation work to create a reasonable gradient from Patcham Tunnel.
The passenger station was a three-storey building in an Italianate style, designed by David Mocatta in 1839–40 which incorporated the head office of the railway company. (This building still stands but has been largely obscured by later additions.) The station is said to have many similarities to the Nine Elms railway station of the London and Southampton Railway (1838) designed by Sir William Tite. Baker & Son were paid £9766 15s for the station building between May and August 1841. The platform accommodation was built by John Urpeth Rastrick and consisted of four pitched roofs each 250 ft long (76 m). It opened for trains to Shoreham on 12 May 1840, and to London on 21 September 1841.
The station site was extended for the opening of the Brighton Lewes and Hastings Railway on 8 June 1846 (which had been purchased by the L&BR in 1845). In July 1846, the L&BR merged with other railways to form the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway.
Further extensions to the station occurred during the mid-19th century but only a limited number of additional platforms could be added because of the awkward sloping site. By the late 1870s the facilities were inadequate for the growing volume of traffic and so the existing platforms were lengthened to be able to accommodate two trains, and the three separate roofs were replaced by an overall roof during 1882/1883.
The station has an impressive large double-spanned curved glass and iron roof covering all of the platforms, which was substantially renovated in 1999 and 2000.
At the front of the station is a bus station. The station taxi rank is outside the rear of the station. A tunnel runs under the station which once provided an open-air cab run at a shallower gradient than Trafalgar Street outside, which had been the main approach to the station before the construction of Queen's Road (which was financially supported by the railway, and intended to improve access). The cab run was covered (forming a tunnel) when the station above was extended over it on cast iron columns. The cab run remains in situ but has been sealed at the station end.
Southern, which also operates many of the trains. Thameslink, Gatwick Express and Great Western Railway also operate some trains from Brighton.