Not the Route to the Olympics

London has many unique features, but few are aware that it’s the only city in Europe that can boast a railway line for the dead. The little-known London Necropolis Railway was constructed in the mid-19th century by the London Necropolis and National Mausoleum Company to serve their own Brookwood Cemetery, which is located twenty-five miles from the city in Surrey.

The London Necropolis Railway Station opened in 1854 near London’s famed Waterloo Station. Trains carried both caskets and mourners directly to the cemetery grounds. In the always class-conscious 19th century England, even the cemetery train had First, Second and Third Class carriages for the living and the dead passengers. At Brokwood Cemetery there were even separate stations for Anglicans and non-believers.

In 1900, a new London station was built for the railway of the dead on Westminster Bridge Road. Sadly, the station sustained serious damage during an April 1941 German bombing raid. The historic station was closed and never repaired. Today, the station entrance still stands, but few passersby recognize its significance.

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