The original Penge station was opened by the London and Croydon Railway in 1839, probably more for logistical reasons than anything else: the railway crossed the nearby High Street by a level crossing, and the station would have provided a place for trains to wait while the crossing gates were opened for them. The population of Penge was only around 270 at this time, not enough to make the station commercially viable. It was closed in 1841, and the level crossing was converted to a bridge soon afterwards. The entrance to the station was actually on Penge High Street, and not its current position. Evidence of the original entrances can still be seen in the brickwork on either side of the bridge as the track passes over the road. By the early 1860s, Penge's population had risen to over 5,000 - more than eighteen times its level just twenty years earlier. There was also a demand for improved transport to the Crystal Palace nearby, so the station was reopened by the London Brighton and South Coast Railway on 1 July 1863. This was the same day that the London Chatham and Dover Railway opened its own Penge Lane station on its line to London Victoria. The two stations were renamed Penge West, and Penge East by the Southern Railway on 9 July 1923. Penge was once a small town, which was recorded under the name Penceat in an Anglo-Saxon deed dating from 957. Most historians believe the name of the town is derived from the Celtic word Penceat which means "edge of wood" and refers to the fact that the surrounding area was once covered in a dense forest. The original Celtic words of which the name was composed referred to "pen" ("head"), as in the Welsh "pen", and "ceat" ("wood"), similar to the Welsh "coed", as in the name of the town of Pencoed in Wales.
After the Crystal Palace was moved to Penge Place, a fashionable day out was to visit the Crystal Palace during the day and to take the tram down the hill to one of the 'twenty-five pubs to the square mile' or two Music Halls: The King's Hall and, after 1915, the Empire Theatre. Music Hall comedians were in the habit of making fun of the locale in which they appeared and consequently Penge became the butt of many jokes. The 1863 station building remained in use until April 2005 when it was damaged in a fire set by arsonists. After a period of limited station facilities, reconstruction work commenced in the Summer of 2006 and was completed in December 2006. A large building on the down platform served as a ticket office and goods office and included the waiting room and Station Master's office. A wide road from the corner of Oakfield Road and Penge High Street provided access to these buildings and sidings which served a coal yard and timber yard on the site of the old brickfield. Penge East station is a short walk away and has services to London Victoria. The sidings were removed, the buildings demolished and the access road closed when the land was sold for the construction of a Homebase store. Since then access to the down platform has been via a footbridge from the up platform. Previously the only passenger access between the two platforms was via Penge High Street. The station is in Travelcard Zone 4 and has wi-fi, help points, boarding ramps, a bridge, waiting room and toilets.
Connections: National Rail. London Buses routes 176, 197, 227 and 354 serve the station.