Route and Branch in Sussex
Sussex's rail network was a mix of electrified main lines connecting coastal resorts to London, which were the domain of first generation Southern electric multiple units dating from the pre-World War II period. This title presents history of the Sussex railways.
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DescriptionIn the early fifties, the county of Sussex presented a railway scene vastly different from that of today. Its rail network was a mix of electrified main lines connecting coastal resorts to London, which were the domain of first generation Southern electric multiple units dating from the pre-World War II period, steam worked connecting routes that followed meandering paths across the difficult terrain of the Weald, plus several more traditional branch lines which were suffering a steady decline in passenger traffic as bus services and the private car provided increasingly attractive alternatives in terms of travel time and convenience. Steam locomotives of the pre grouping predecessors of the Southern Railway (the SE&CR, LB&SCR and the LSWR) and much of the passenger rolling stock, with a similar ancestry, were still in evidence. It was such a combination that conferred so much charm to the nonelectrified lines that threaded an area of great natural beauty. Time seemed to have stood still in many of these railway backwaters. This book does not purport to offer either a comprehensive or detailed history of the Sussex railways.Rather, it seeks to convey through photographs something of the flavour of a time fifty years past, by focusing on four categories of line. Firstly, a steam main line route, and more specifically, the section that extended south from Tunbridge Wells to the coastal resorts of St Leonards and Hastings. Secondly, my camera recorded the somewhat urbanized branch line that linked the Hastings main line at Crowhurst to Bexhill West. Branch lines in Sussex were characterized by a number of trans-Wealden secondary routes which provided the traveller with a leisurely, but scenic, journey punctuated by frequent stops at stylish stations serving bucolic villages. The example selected here is the East Grinstead - Lewes line, before it made any claim to fame as a pioneer site for rail line preservation. Its counterparts were the appropriately named 'Cuckoo Line' linking Eridge and Polegate, the Eridge - Lewes via Uckfield section which survived partial truncation to assume a new commuter function, and the Christs Hospital - Shorehamby- Sea link, which never attained its theoretical role as a diversionary route for the Brighton main line.Perhaps of lesser significance was the branch line which diverged from the electrified mid-Sussex route at Pulborough and headed in a westerly direction, carefully avoiding most population centres en route, until it joined the Portsmouth direct line at Petersfield in Hampshire. Lastly we visit one of the most obscure backwaters, the Chichester - Midhurst line, which clung to life for many years after the loss of its passenger service and, even in its final years, refused to go quietly.
- Format: Paperback / Softback
- Published On: 30 June 2008
- Publisher: Colourpoint Books
- ISBN / EAN: 9781906578145
- Page Count: 64