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The 1973 plan to build a tunnel under the English Channel also included plans to upgrade the infrastructure of the Southern Region between London and the Kent coast.The plan assumed that the main railhead for "The Chunnel" would be at Ashford Kent station.

The Waterloo & City line (nicknamed 'The Drain' by both staff and users), British Rail's only "Tube" service, was given over to London Underground upon privatisation BR in 1994.This plan would have included several branch and secondary lines that were subsequently closed such as the Bluebell and Steyning lines and also those secondary and branch lines in the area which were later dieselized such as the Marshlink and Oxted-Uckfield lines.The lines in Devon and Cornwall were also transferred to Western Region in 1963; most Southern Region services west of Exeter (such as to Bude and Padstow), including the Atlantic Coast Express, ceased in the 1960s.Many "under-used" stations like Walworth Road Goods in southern London, Wilton in Wiltshire, Sheffield Park in Sussex and Kemptown in Brighton, Sussex closed.The surviving line between Ryde and Shanklin was therefore electrified in March 1967 using converted stock originally built for London Electric Railway in 1921. During the mid 1980s these were replaced by Class 483, which were also rebuilt from former London Underground stock.

The first phase of South Western Main Line (beyond the London suburbs) was electrified in 1967 and included the services from London Waterloo station to Southampton and Bournemouth.was approved by the British Transport Commission in February 1956, and public services began in June 1959.Owing to restricted clearances existing electric stock could not be used on the railways of the Isle of Wight.Sheffield Park became part of the Bluebell Railway preserved line.The Beeching Axe severely cut the route mileage of most regions but the Southern Region escaped major losses in the London commuter area due to high passenger numbers on its frequent suburban services.The Southern Railway was still comparatively profit-making despite World War II, thanks to its extensive third rail DC electrification and the intensive service patterns this allowed for.