Report - Deepdene - WW2 Southern Railway Traffic Control Centre, Jan 2018

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Call me William Blake
28DL Full Member
Dec 6, 2017
Deepdene - WW2 Southern Railway Traffic Control Centre was visited many many times but for these who haven't seen or heard about it...(just in case!)

History: what we know about it originally emanated from a certain Mike Tyrell...
During World War 2, the Southern Railway took over the Deepdene Hotel near Dorking in Surrey for its wartime emergency headquarters. In the grounds they excavated an underground control centre taking advantage of a network of existing natural caves that had been acknowledged 300 years before in the diaries of John Evelyn. Because of the natural protection afforded by the location of the caves they were eminently suitable for the development of a bunker to house both the headquarters' telephone exchange and Traffic Control who also had their underground control centre there with underground divisional controls at Woking (South West Division), Southampton (Western Division), Orpington (South Eastern Division) and Redhill (Central Division)

The lawn between the caves and the house was used as a site for the 99 foot mast supporting aerials for the emergency radio. The bunker was constructed within the caves which were enlarged to house the 30 staff and once complete their emergency headquarters with office staff was moved there from Waterloo. The network of tunnels included a Control Room, meeting room, switchboard, battery room, main distribution frame (MDF)/maintainers room, a bedroom for the night officer and an air plant and toilet facilities. The switchboard was a three-positioned installation with Post Office lines and extensions serving the headquarters staff with direct lines to the various divisional traffic and engineering officers; it was in use 24 hours a day.
The night staff of the Operating, Motive Power, Chief Mechanical Engineer, and Chief Electrical Engineer's Departments also worked in the tunnels, which accommodated a total of 30 clerks. Among the accommodation was a meeting room suitable for any conferences which might have to be held under emergency conditions.
The tunnels were well ventilated and the temperature was regulated by radiators in each room. (of course right now down there it's freezing actually a lot more than other underground places I've been to...)

The Southern Railway General Manager Eustace Missenden. lived nearby and had a switchboard extension in his house. During the air raids he spent many nights there with his wife and it is reputed that the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill was a visitor.


Among the features of the control centre were diagrams of all important junctions on the Southern Railway, giving staff immediate access to all information necessary to enable them to make emergency or alternative arrangements for any diversion of traffic necessitated by damage caused by enemy action. Each of the rooms was fitted with a radio receiver for the reception, under emergency conditions, of any important Government announcements which might have been broadcast. The underground control centre remained operational until the mid 1960's when British Railways moved out of the Deepdene Hotel.
The underground control centre consisted of a series of tunnels driven into the steep hillside to the rear of the house. There were three entrances plus a fourth emergency exit. A 60-foot vertical shaft at the rear of the complex provided an air inlet and the emergency exit. A 4 foot thick concrete slab covered the complex but no protection was provided against a 'near miss'.

Visit: It was not my first time in and probably not the last but this time I wanted to play around a bit with my camera and....sparklers :) so...apology if it is too sparkly and colourful but I do like a little colour :D



haha apology for the last pic, that neon effect thing did not work out so well since my hand wasn't (clearly) steady enough ;P

All in all still a nice, calm explore.
Asbestos is pretty bad though in there and there has been a recent investigation deeming it a bit of a hazard (lots of dust on the ground the type you don't want to disturb too much). I have also noticed whilst I was playing with sparklers that a couple of areas are not very well oxygenated as my lighter's flame was very very weak.

That's all for this one :)

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
May 22, 2017
Nice write up. So interesting. Great shots, though I think there are some doubles there. Would of liked to see more of the bunker, but well done, good job :thumb

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
May 22, 2017
Thanks. No doubles there, but I understand that after a few shots you may start having hallucinations :D

Yep my bad, I looked again and missed the ghostly figure and the closeup first time round, and thought they were double. Great shots though, love the wire wool, and effects, brill photos :cool:


28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
May 31, 2017
Great explore dude that bunker looks like a potential victim if I ever go that deep south of Surrey and those sparklers get me flustered every time I see them. The colours are great on your pictures but they look very over-saturated try playing with the vibrance more instead. Anyway who cares it's your style. Peace dud
Likes: anonurbex