The c.1680 name of 'Abbey' is incorrect since the Augustinian house was always just a priory.
The (punctuation-free) inscription reads: "Here stood once the High Altar and part of the Church of Merton Priory A house of Austin Canons 1117-1538"
Pictured in 1959, a pre-war 3SUB (augmented to 4SUB with a trailer coach from a former trailer set) passes through the former Tooting Junction station at the eastern end of the Merton Abbey branch. The (disconnected) branch tracks are just visible to the left.
A fine pair of cast iron signs guard the abandoned level crossing where the Merton Abbey branch crosses Robinson Road, near Tooting station.
The lower sign gives instructions where to get permission from the company's servants, to open the gate and pass traction or other road engines across the railway. It is signed Godfrey Knight (Secretary).
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Built by the ´Tooting, Merton & Wimbledon Railway´ and opening in October 1868, the Merton Abbey branch line ran from Merton Park station in the west to Tooting ´Junction´ station in the east (a distance of less than two miles) with a single intermediate station at Merton Abbey.
Tooting station was relocated in 1894, standing on the Wimbledon-Streatham line which was electrified in 1929. The branch line was not electrified, and passenger services ceased at that time, although Merton Abbey station had temporarily closed between 1st January 1917 and 27th August 1923.
The connection at Tooting was severed in 1934 but the station retained the title ´Junction´ until 1938.
The branch then being only accessible from Merton Park, it survived to serve the Lines Brothers ´Tri-ang´ factory which was rail connected from around the 1950's until that factory closed, and had a private connection to the Merton Board Mills site adjacent to Merton Abbey station.
There was a scheduled morning freight from Wimbledon yard and pathways existed for a second (afternoon) and (most exceptionally) third movement if required.
Finally closing around 1979, the line of the track at Merton Abbey became the Merton relief road (Merantun Way) in 1989.
The Merton Park line closed in 1997 and subsequently became part of Croydon Tramlink.
The track-bed nearer Tooting has been given over to housing, and the old Tooting ´Junction´ station building survived for 108 years as a private residence but was demolished at the end of 2002.
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Original prints on Ilford 'Ilfospeed' (3.1M) paper.
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Railways are dangerous places. Never trespass on railway property.