Friday, 25 September 2015

A hot day near Selham 1977

(All 3.7.1977 copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing)

Until 1955 short passenger trains travelled on a wonderfully scenic branch line that ran from Pulborough to Petersfield, following the line of the South Downs. The line served a number of villages, together with the larger towns of Petworth and Midhurst. The section from Midhurst to Pulborough remained open for freight traffic until 1964, with the section from Petworth which also served Fittleworth lasting until 1966.

On our regular trips to see family in London we often crossed the line at Fittleworth. I can't re
mg any track down, it was probably buried under vegetation. But each time we crossed the station got a little more dilapidated!

Later, in the 70s, I managed to get a motorbike, and a regular trip up from Littlehampton, where I lived, was a visit to this line, either at Fittleworth, or further along, between Selham and Midhurst, where about a mile of trackbed was walkable. This was a particularly nice spot, set deep in the woods with plenty remaining from the railway.

This was the classic disused railway, with dilapidated stations and even the odd signal post or loading gauge. I assume everything today is pretty much the same, though the station buildings at Selham, Petworth and Fittleworth have now all been restored. Fittleworth and Selham are smart homes, whilst Petworth is now a hotel.

No doubt had this pre-Beeching closure not happened the line would be busy today with tourist and commuter travel. There are the very first stirrings of a revival of course, but it may be many more years before trains run again. So for at least a while longer the simple pleasure of walking along an old trackbed can still be enjoyed!

Selham railway station served the village of Selham in the county of West Sussex in England. The station was out in mostly open fields, although a public house was located nearby. The station was on the Pulborough to Midhurst which was originally part of the London Brighton and South Coast Railway. The station opened after the line (which opened in 1866) on 1 July 1872. The station was closed to passenger services in 1955, but freight was still carried up to May 1963, before the station was closed completely. The line through the station remained open for another year serving Midhurst. The station building is now a private home.

A feature on the two stations at Midhurst will follow at a later date!

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