In 1800, still known as Southwould, the population was only around 800 and this rose in the next 100 years to 8,500. This figure included the staff and patients of Hanwell Asylum, and resident staff and scholars at St Marylebone School (more later). In 1837 Mr Dodds, a businessman, donated enough money to build St Johns Church, Rectory and School. This was the first offshoot from St Marys, Norwood. Consecrated by the Bishop of London, the first Vicar was Revd F. Hewson. In 1868 St Johns Fees were — Publishing Banns 2/- (10p); Marriage 5/- (25p); Baptismal Certificate 7d (3p) but, if obtained later than fourteen days, 2/6 (12½p). The old rectory has gone, so has the school, but the old church still remains, so does St Johns Hall built in 1892 (King Street), but in 1982 is now an Indian Religious Temple (more about St Johns later).
Between 1830 and 1850 railways were being constructed all over England and a Bill was passed through Parliament, with the help of Lord Wharncliffe, for the Great Western Railways. It came through Southall 1838. When first constructed it was wide gauge, 7 ft. between rails, but this was later altered to 4ft 81/2 ins., as now. Brunel was the Engineer. The Wharncliffe Viaduct, 300 yards long, 65 ft. high with eight arches, was constructed by Messrs Grissell and Peto, costing £40,000, to get the railway over the Brent, and what we know as The Iron Bridge although mostly of wood, came over the Uxbridge Road. This got badly burned in 1841 and reconstructed in iron.
Southall Station was opened in 1839, a hut on a level crossing. Southall Station, as now, and bridge were built in 1859, the year Brunel died. In the literature issued by the railway at the time, Southall Station is a quarter of a mile from a hamlet Southall Green in the precinct of Norwood and on the south border of Northcote.
Brentford branch, built in 1858, included the building of The Three Bridges, an aqueduct to carry the canal over the railway and Windmill Lane over the top of that. The line opened July, 1859.
The cost of land on which the railway was built was £400 per acre. As recorded in the Southall News, Rate value of line of railway 1886 £315.0.0 but the total rates including station cleaning sheds, land and exits, £3,050. Station Masters — Mr Coleshill, 1860; Mr Gray, 1886; Mr Aston during First World War. Southall Green Lane (South Road) became Station Road. The bridge was widened in 1926 at a cost of £21,700. A few years ago part of the station was demolished as unsafe and has never been rebuilt so, in 1982, Southall — with a population of around 87,000 — has half an out-of-date station. But maybe there is hope, as a new plan to give Southall an uplift did make mention of the station.
The Subway, a tunnel under the railway leading from Dudley Road to the gas works, was constructed in November, 1885 at a cost of £300. This came about through the prosecution of a Mr Andrew Hardy for trespassing on the railway. This established that a footpath which the railway had not provided for, and which actually went right through the gas factory site.