Dorking Deepdene Railway Control Centre

During World War 2, the Southern Railway group took over the Deepdene Hotel, near Dorking, as their War Headquarters. On their take over, it was discovered that the grounds to the rear of the buildings contained a series of caves. It was decided that the natural protection of the caves would be utilised for the Traffic Control bunker of the Southern Region network. The caves were enlarged slightly in order to house 30 staff that were relocated from the Waterloo control centre.

The tunnel network contained a control room, a meeting room, 3-position switchboard, battery room, night officer bedroom, plant rooms and toilets. A 60 foot emergency shaft was excavated at the rear of the tunnels and was used as the fresh air inlet. A 4 foot thick slab covered the complex, yet no near miss protection was provided. The bunker was used throughout the war and was occupied by operators well into the 1960’s. British Railways left the control centre in the mid 1960’s, and the hotel was demolished in 1969. The bunker lay dormant until it was rediscover by local children in 1997 and set fire too. Since then, it has been sealed due to asbestos.

Modified: 23rd May 2022