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Lewes and East Grinstead Railway The Bluebell Line

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  • ISBN13:9780711038516
  • ISBN10:0711038511
  • Publisher:Ian Allan Publishing
  • Language:English
  • Author:Richard Long
  • Binding:Hardback
  • SUPC: SDL746350771


The Lewes East Grinstead Railway opened in 1882 to link the rural communities between these two Sussex towns. It was shortly afterwards taken over by the London, Brighton South Coast Railway then absorbed into the Southern Railway at the Grouping in 1923. For much of its existence it quietly carried passengers and goods through the Weald but when BR submitted an application to close the line in 1954 due to declining passenger numbers fierce local opposition brought the railway to national attention. BR briefly closed the line in 1955 but public pressure forced it to reopen the line the following year. The struggle to keep the line open continued for another two years until BR finally persuaded Parliament to allow it to close the line in 1958. By the time of the closure, the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society had already been formed and was able to take over the line. From 1960 it was able to run a preserved steam service from Sheffield Park to Horstead Keynes - in effect, the first such standard gauge heritage railway in England. The extension to East Grinstead had been planned for many years, the first section north from Horsted Keynes opening in 1990, but the extension was not completed until 2013. This book is an accessible history of the Lewes East Grinstead railway from its 19th century origins to its closure in the 1950s, with a final section on the reopening of the heritage Bluebell Railway in the 1960s, taking the story up to the present day when it now runs once again to East Grinstead. The book is illustrated throughout with historical photographss, many from the Bluebell Railways archives, as well as a colour photographs of the Bluebell Railway in action up to the present day.

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