Dorking Greystone Lime Company

Gauge: 3ft 2¼in (970mm)

The Dorking Greystone Lime Company had a quarry at Betchworth in Surrey. Opened in 1865, it closed in 1963.

The great limestone quarry of Dorking Greystone Lime Company stood to the north of the Southern Railway line at Betchworth, Dorking. It once extended to around 1/3rd of a mile wide, and was 300 feet deep, with other workings in tunnels which stretched much further. Dorking Greystone was once a major employer of local people and the quarries were a significant landmark on the North Downs.

The quarry was set up in 1865 by William Finlay, and incorporated the first Hoffmann kilns for lime-burning erected and fired in England. The quarry was served by a standard gauge railway, and narrow gauge internal railways were added. The system grew to become quite extensive. Three gauges were used – 3ft 2¼in was the principal one used throughout the quarry, but there was also an isolated 2 ft gauge line (linked to the main system by a conveyor belt) and a short section of 1ft 7in gauge using rope haulage. All the main trackwork was well engineered, laid in chairs on sleepers. The 3ft 2¼in line brought materials, both basic and processed, to a standard gauge interchange siding, whence the material would be collected and sent over the rail network where required.

Four narrow gauge locomotives worked the site. Two 3ft 2¼in gauge 0-4-0 tank locos were built in 1880 by Fletcher Jennings and named in 1930 Townsend Hook and William Finlay. Two diesels were supplied by Orenstein and Koppel in 1936 and 1937 one of 3ft 2¼in gauge and one of 2ft. The wagons were mainly of side tipping and end tipping design with inside bearings.

The main narrow gauge lines ceased operation in 1959. The quarries ceased working in 1963. Since then much of the site has been reclaimed and most of the former works obliterated. All four narrow gauge locomotives and two standard gauge locomotives survive in preservation.

Number / NameManufacturerTypeNotes
Gauge: Standard
CoffeepotHead, Wrightson & Co. of 18710-4-0VBTWithdrawn 1952. Preserved at Beamish Museum
No.2 Charles AugustusYorkshire Engine Co.0-4-0STEx-Darfield Main Colliery 1875. Sold 1878
No.3 BaxterFletcher, Jennings & Co. No.158 of 18770-4-0TPreserved on the Bluebell Railway
Gauge: 3ft 2¼in
No.4 Townshend HookFletcher, Jennings & Co No.172L of 18800-4-0TPreserved at Amberley Museum
No.5 William FinlayFletcher, Jennings & Co No.173L of 18800-4-0TPreserved at Narrow Gauge Railway Museum
No.6 MontyOrenstein and Koppel No.7269 of 19364wDMPreserved at Amberley Museum
Gauge: 2ft
No.7 The MajorOrenstein and Koppel No.7741 of 19374wDMPreserved at Amberley Museum