LAVENDER LINE, ISFIELD, 2009
This line is part of the old London, Brighton & South Coast Railway line from Uckfield to Lewis, which opened in 1858. Ownership passed to the Southern Railway in 1923, and in 1948 it became part of the Southern Region of British Railways. It was closed in 1969, after the discovery of unsafe bridges in the Lewis area.
A mile of track bed and Isfield station with buildings was acquired in 1983 and the new owner began relaying track. However, he was unable to continue, and in 1992 the Lavender Line Preservation Society purchased the railway. Full restoration began after that. The centre of activities is Isfield station, which now has a large and pleasant café, a souvenir shop, and a signal box. All buildings have been restored to resemble the era of the Southern Region, and are open to the public. The track extends for one mile northwards from Isfield Station. However, there is no station at the other end and passengers cannot alight there. Having reached the end of the line, trains reverse to Isfield station.
The photographs below were taken on Sunday 10th May 2009.
An authentic-looking sign at the entrance to the station yard.
The original station building still stands but is now the railway's café, called "Cinders".
The station houses - now private residences despite being "surrounded" by the railway.
From the road it looks almost timeless with level crossing
gates and the signal box.
However, note that there are no rails crossing the road - they are under the tarmac!
The entrance way to the station and all facilities.
The train was leaving from the down platform. The single
carriage is a driving unit from a DMU
which was popular on the services out of Marylebone in the 1970s and 1980s.
The DMU unit was being hauled by diminutive Peckett 0-4-0 ST.
Officially called "Teddy" after its former owner, it was built in 1941 and supplied to the Royal Ordnance Factory, Poole, Dorset.
It was used within the factory during the war period.
"Teddy" was dwarfed by the DMU. He is on loan to the railway.
On the up platform a couple of Mk 1 BR coaches were standing
idle. They are often used
for children's parties and other celebrations.
The shelter on the down platform is authentic. It now houses the souvenir shop.
The signal box is original, although it no longer controls track or trains. It is now a Grade II listed building.
The interior of the signal box has been restored sympathetically.
The former ticket office, ticket hall, and waiting room have been opened up into the "Cinders" restaurant.
View of the station from the northern end of the down
platform. The yellow-fronted vehicle
is a Wickham diesel Railbus. Dating from the 1960s, it is on loan to the railway from one of
its members. It is intended to use the vehicle for rail trips on non-steam days.
The down platform, looking south. On the platform is the
To the right are the buffer stops with the level crossing gates beyond.
The engine shed and workshop was built on land created by the removal of an embankment.
The DMU returns to Isfield station, being pushed by the 0-4-0
ST "Teddy" which is too small to be seen.
The rising smoke above the DMU is the give-away!
"Teddy" stops for water. The passengers in the carriage had to wait!
Rear view of "Teddy" as he returns to the platform.
A full history of "Teddy" is available on the Lavender Line website.
© Copyright M J Smith, 2009
No photographs to be reproduced elsewhere without permission.