East Grinstead railway station


East Grinstead railway station

East Grinstead railway station serves the town of East Grinstead in West Sussex. The station was formerly divided into two levels: the higher level platforms serving the Three Bridges to Tunbridge Wells Central Line, whilst the lower level platforms received services from the Oxted Line 49 km (30¼ miles) south of London Victoria and the East Grinstead to Lewes Line.

Only the lower level platforms remain open today, the high level having closed in 1967 following the withdrawal of the Three Bridges Line as part of the closure programme proposed by the Beeching Report. [http://www.subbrit.org.uk/sb-sites/stations/e/east_grinstead/index.shtml East Grinstead High Level railway station on Subterranea Britannica] ]

Low Level

Infobox UK station
name = East Grinstead Low Level


manager = Southern
locale = East Grinstead
borough = Mid Sussex, West Sussex
code = EGR
usage0405 = 1.074
usage0506 = 1.099
usage0607 = 1.213
platforms = 2
years = 1 August 1882
events = Opened

History

The current East Grinstead station is the fourth to have been constructed in the town. The first was opened on 9 July 1855 in Swan Mead off the London Road. It was the terminus of a 6 mile long line to Three Bridges. Constructed at a cost of £3,000, the station comprised a sandstone main building which survives to this day, as well as timber goods and engine sheds which had slate roofs. The first stationmaster was a Mr Nesbitt. In 1861 parliamentary approval was obtained for the extension of the Three Bridges Line to Tunbridge Wells. The extension required East Grinstead station to be relocated a few yards north at a lower level in order to allow the line to pass under London Road. The new station building straddled the double track with basements at platform level which contained the stationmaster's office and porter's room. A large brick goods shed replaced the previous timber structure, whilst the site of the old station became a goods yard. The new station was officially opened on 1 October 1866.cite book | last = Gould | first = David | title = Three Bridges to Tunbridge Wells | publisher = The Oakwood Press | date = 1983| isbn = 978-0853612995 ]

The third re-modelling of East Grinstead station was made necessary by the arrival of two lines. First, the arrival from the south of an extension of the Lewes and East Grinstead Railway (L&EG) on 1 August 1882, which was followed on 10 March 1884, by an extension from the north of the Croydon, Oxted and East Grinstead Railway (CO&EG). The L&EG would approach the Three Bridges line from the south at a right angle and the CO&EG would make an end-on junction with it. In order to accommodate the L&EG the 1866 station would have to be enlarged and modified, entailing the purchase of the adjoining timber yard. The railway company was not prepared to go to this expense and instead decided to relocate the station 300 yards to the west.

The new station was officially opened and the old one officially closed from 15 October 1883. It was arranged on two levels: the higher equipped with two island platforms serving four tracks on the Three Bridges Line, the lower a double line two-platformed station set at a right angle to the L&EG. A sharply curving spur line (later known as the "St. Margaret's Loop") would enter the high level station from the CO&EG, requiring a deviation of the Three Bridges Line on its western approach to the new station in order to ease the sharpness of the bend. In 1907 the entire structure of the 1866 station was sold for scrap for £15.cite book | last = Mitchell | first = Vic | authorlink = | coauthors = Smith, Keith | title = Branch Lines to East Grinstead | publisher = Middleton Press | date = 1984 | location = Midhurst, West Sussex | isbn = 090652007 ]

In February 1970 after the closure of the High Level station British Rail carried out a remodelling of the station, replacing the old station building with a smaller modern construction which reflected its new status as the terminus of a branch line from Oxted.

Services

The typical off-peak service is two trains per hour to London Victoria.

Bluebell Railway

The heritage Bluebell Railway is extending its line from Kingscote to link up with East Grinstead where it has obtained planning permission for a new station. The Bluebell Railway also intend to move former South West Trains 4Vep unit no. 3417 to the station. [ [http://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/bluebell/ext/extprog.html Bluebell Railway Extension Programme] ]

High Level

Infobox UK disused station
name = East Grinstead High Level


gridref = TQ388383
manager = London, Brighton and South Coast Railway
owner = Southern Railway
Southern Region of British Railways
locale = East Grinstead
borough = Mid Sussex, West Sussex
platforms = 4
years = 1 August 1882
events = Opened
years2 = 2 January 1967
events2 = Closed to passengers
years3 = 10 April 1967
events3 = Closed to freight

Opened in 1883, the timber accommodation provided for the High Level station was not as comfortable as that in the Lower Level station. It was, however, equipped with a refreshment room on each platform, as well as two signal cabins on either side - East Grinstead West and East Grinstead East. A private siding also led into Stenning's adjoining timber yard. The first train to use the station was a 0550 service from Three Bridges to Brighton via East Grinstead.

The closure of the Three Bridges Line on Sunday 1 January 1967 spelt the end for the High Level station which would receive no further traffic. The goods yard had been virtually closed for some time except for coal, and all freight facilities were formally withdrawn as from 10 April. The last train to use the station in February 1968 was a tracklifting train hauled by a Class 33 diesel locomotive. Until its demolition in 1970, the station was used by passengers as a short-cut to the Low Level which saved them the trouble of going around a nearby housing estate. Protests from passengers at the loss of the short-cut led to British Rail erecting a footbridge. The goods yard area was taken over by the A22 which runs parallel with Railway Approach. The East Grinstead Society had attempted to save the brick goods shed for reuse as a drama and arts workshop, but were unable to secure the necessary funds.

Future

With regard to the possible reopening of the remaining section of the line from Tunbridge Wells to Three Bridges, number of obstacles would appear to stand in the way of such action, most notably:

1) An industrial site currently occupies the former location of Forest Row railway station as well as a small recycling centre to west.

2) The formation has been built across in several places notably in East Grinstead where about one mile of the trackbed from Station Road to the Lewes Road tunnel has been taken over for a relief road (the A22 ironically named "Beeching Way" after Richard Beeching whose recommendations closed the railway line). As there is no feasible alternative route into the station, this road would need to be reconverted back to rail. Any such action would in all likelihood result in a cut in capacity on an already highly congested road network.

3) The site of Grange Road has disappeared under a small parade of shops as well as housing which block 0.64 miles of the formation.

4) In 1974 East Sussex County Council created the Forest Way linear Country Park using the trackbed of the line from East Grinstead (just to the east of "Beeching Way") as far as Groombridge. Similarly, in1979 West Sussex County Council created the Worth Way linear Country Park using the disused Three Bridges to East Grinstead line. Both have now been incorporated in to the Sustrans National Cycle Network.

Gallery

References

External links

* [http://www.eastgrinsteadmuseum.org.uk/ East Grinstead Museum]
* [http://www.eastgrinsteadsociety.org/ East Grinstead Society]


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