Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Barcombe in 1977

(All 4.7.1977 copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing)

The Bluebell Railway is developing into quite a network with the line extended back to East Grinstead and the line to Haywards Heath in the bag.

But south of Sheffield Park a short stretch of the line is still an authentic disused railway, with two closed stations at Barcombe and Newick and Chailey. The intention to restore this stretch of the route, which will give access to the honeypot seaside towns along the south coast, is buried in their 25 year plan, so this line's disused status will not remain for many more decades!

Back on 4 July 1977 I visited Barcombe station. Interestingly this was like an alternative version of Sheffield Park, the top shot of this group of photos giving a pretty good idea of what Sheffield Park would have looked like if the Bluebell hadn't moved in!

These were taken 19 years after closure, another 38 years have now passed so I suspect the scene is a little changed now!

This to me is what 'real' disused railways were all about - derelict stations and overgrown platforms and, if you were lucky, stretches of trackbed you could walk along. Future generations simply won't have this experience with most if not all of these lines restored - but I suppose there'll be plenty of closed and overgrown roads to give them that Gothic sense of dereliction and despair we were lucky enough to have experienced!

More info (from Wikipedia)

Barcombe was a railway station serving the village of Barcombe in East Sussex. It was part of the East Grinstead to Lewes line, more popularly known as the Bluebell Railway. The station was originally opened as "New Barcombe" to distinguish it from the nearby station of Barcombe Mills (then called 'Barcombe') and was changed to its more usual name on 1 January 1885. In 1897 goods sidings were installed at a cost of £1450.
It was planned to close the line and the station on 13 June 1955, although they actually closed on 29 May due to a railway strike. The line closure was found to be illegal under the original acts authorising construction of the railway and British Railways were forced to reopen it in August 1956. However the station was not reopened as it was not mentioned in the legislation.
After Parliament repealed the sections in question, the line was closed in March 1958 under the British Railways Branch-Line Report (prior to the Beeching Axe) and the track was lifted in 1960 from south of Sheffield Park to Culver Junction. Subsequently Barcombe station building was sold and was converted into a private house. The platform edge is still visible but the trackbed has been infilled up to about one foot below platform level.

No comments:

Post a Comment