The first funeral train was run by the The London Necropolis and National Mausoleum Company on 7 November 1854. Trains ran once a day from London Necropolis railway station to Brookwood Cemetery. The train carried not only the bodies of the dead, but the parties of mourners who had come to attend the funeral services. Different classes were available for both the living and the dead; a more expensive first class ticket would provide a more ornate coffin and greater care of the body during transit. The London Necropolis Company was run by London and South Western Railway, who feared that regular passengers would shun locomotives which had previously hauled funeral trains, and therefore purchased an entirely new fleet exclusively for the Necropolis line. The public were initially reserved about the project; one bishop expressed fears that "It may sometimes happen that persons of opposite characters might be carried in the same conveyance. For instance, the body of some profligate spendthrift might be placed in a conveyance with the body of some respectable member of the church, which would shock the feelings of his friends". Others felt that the railway industry, which was less than 20 years old and still very much a new technology, was too hectic and loud, ill-befitting the sombre mourning associated with Christian funeral services.
The line ran daily – including Sundays – for almost 50 years until 1900, when the Sunday service was stopped and trains began to run on an "as needed basis". The railway remained in operation through the First World War and Second World War until 16 April 1941, when the London Necropolis station was bombed in the London Blitz. The station was never rebuilt and the line fell into disuse.
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