London to Brighton train alterations, 1846

Many Brighton and Sussex train passengers know the pain of disrupted rail services, but they are nothing new. This poster, published on 22 January 1846 by the London and Brighton Railway company, announces the closure of several services with just over a week’s notice.

London to Brighton Railway poster, 1846
London to Brighton Railway poster, 1846



London and Brighton Railway.

On and after the 1st of February, the following ALTERATIONS will take place.

The 3.50 P.M. DOWN, and 5.30 P.M. UP Trains WILL BE DISCONTINUED.

The 7 A.M. UP TRAIN, on Mondays, performing the Journey in 2 hours, WILL ALSO BE DISCONTINUED.

The 2 P.M. UP and 3 P.M. DOWN, will carry 1st, 2nd and 3rd class Passengers, CALLING AT ALL STATIONS.

The 6.30 P.M. UP TRAIN will consist of 1st, 2nd, and Parliamentary Carriages.

By order, T.J.BUCKTON, Sec.

London, Jan 22nd, 1846.

J. Francis, Printer, 5 and 6 Charles Street, Brighton

One interesting aspect of the poster is its mention of ‘Parliamentary Carriages’. Although this may seem to suggest the presence of special carriages reserved for local Members of Parliament and Peers travelling to London, these were actually a section of the train used by the poorest people in society.

They were the result of a law passed in 1844, two years before this poster was published, which required rail companies to provide one ‘Parliamentary Train’ a day. Unlike third class accommodation, which would often consist of an open wagon, these were to be covered carriages. They were also price controlled, and a ticket on these trains could cost no more than a penny per mile.

You can read more about Parliamentary Trains at the Victoria Commons blog.

Kevin Bacon, Digital Development Officer



5 Responses

  1. SilverTiger

    Another interesting feature of the poster (and, presumably, of rail service information at the time) is the use of the terms “up” and “down” to specify that direction of travel. I think if announcements and posters used those terms today, most passengers would be confused by them, not knowing which direction was “up” and which “down”. Using the names of the destination stations instead is a lot clearer.

    Does this mean that Victorian railway travellers were more intelligent than we or is it just a question of what one is used to?

    • Royal Pavilion & Brighton Museums

      Interesting point. ‘Up’ and ‘down’ suggest a familiarity with maps of Britain or the South East, as they don’t mean a great deal otherwise. ‘North’ and ‘south’ would be more accurate but still require some knowledge of British geography. I suppose that talking about London-Brighton or Brighton-London is more accessible to those without that knowledge, particularly foreign visitors.

  2. Robin Houghton

    I don’t think ‘up’ and ‘down’ refers to compass direction, rather to the idea that London is the centre and all lines to ‘up’ to London. As a schoolgirl I took the train everyday from Mottingham in SE London and station announcements were always preceded by ‘Atttention please on the Up platform…” (ie direction London)

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