|Location Map ( geo)|
|From:||Burgh Heath (TQ241577)|
|To:||Kingston upon Thames (TQ180689)|
|Distance:||8.6 miles (13.8 km)|
|Meets:||A217, A2022, A24, A3, A3210, A307|
|Route outline (key)|
Burgh Heath - Kingston upon Thames
The road starts at Burgh Heath on the North Downs near Banstead, at a junction with the A217 Reigate to Sutton road which provides the connection with junction 8 of the M25. From here, it descends in two distinct steps to the Thames at Kingston. The first step, at Nork Park in Great Burgh, involves a wide separation of the carriageways - the uphill stretch being straighter than the downhill, which has a blind (but not sharp) bend at the junction with the B284 which leads to Epsom. After a residential stretch, we then pass under the high viaduct leading to Epsom Downs railway station, which separates the two parts of the staggered junction made here with the A2022. The first element of this junction, for Purley and Addington, is traffic-light-controlled but the second of element, for Epsom, is a roundabout.
Passing NESCOT (North East Surrey College of Technology) and crossing over the London Victoria to Epsom railway line on a bridge, we arrive at the roundabout for the Ewell bypass. The A240 and A24 used to multiplex through the middle of Ewell, but now we turn right, joining the A24 on the bypass, meeting the A232 in the process, until the A24 turns off to the right to rejoin its original route towards Sutton and London.
Our route continues straight on, passing under the London Waterloo to Epsom railway line near Stoneleigh just after we've rejoined our original route. We then continue to Tolworth, marked by a solitary, but very large, office tower block. As the A243 Hook junction affords no access to or from the A3 except towards London, the Tolworth junction is the first opportunity to leave the A3 Londonbound within the Greater London area (and the last opportunity to join it in the other direction), and is consequently very busy. The main A3 passes underneath a large three-lane roundabout controlled by traffic lights. We press on along Tolworth Broadway. The next set of traffic lights sees a spur of the A240 bear off to the right to join the northbound A3 (in reality it joins the onslip from the main A240 roundabout mentioned earlier) and then we meet the short A3210 at another set of lights on the edge of Surbiton.
Surbiton! Almost synonymous with suburbia, and forever associated with Gerry and Margo Leadbetter of The Good Life, but it does have other claims to fame. On the right, at the traffic lights on the corner of Hollyfield Road we pass the site of John Cooper's garage (he of Formula 1 motor racing and Mini Cooper fame), later used by the Police Traffic Division. While the Coopers were doing their stuff, just down the road at Hollyfield School, Anne Wood (creator of the Tellytubbies) was teaching English to a teenage Eric Clapton (yes, that one).
Surbiton's name means "southern farmstead" (there is a Norbiton nearby), and was little more than a farm until the coming of the railway in the 1830s. Whether because Kingston upon Thames didn't want to encourage the newcomer, or because the railway company simply wanted to take a straight line course avoiding the river (and Hampton Court Palace!), is not clear, but this is as close to Kingston as the main line came. The station, originally called Kingston, became a railhead for Kingston (and because of its superior service, remains so for many to this day, despite the construction of the Kingston Loop line some twenty years later), and a town grew up around the station. This was originally known, semi-officially, as Kingston-on-Railway.
By avoiding Kingston, the railway was forced to make a deep cutting near Surbiton, and the A240 crosses this on a high viaduct a short way east of the station, before descending Surbiton Hill Road, the second step in the descent from the Downs to the Thames. At the bottom of the hill, the road continues along Surbiton Road. The original line of Surbiton Road goes straight on along the B3365, to meet the Portsmouth Road (A307, originally A3) by the Thames, but the present route bears right along Penrhyn Road, past the offices of Surrey County Council (should someone tell them that for the past forty years they have been in Greater London, and not Surrey at all?). The A240 then arrives at the College Roundabout, in Kingston upon Thames, where it enters the Kingston One Way system, never to be seen again.
Original Author(s): Tim Lidbetter