Tuesday 22 June 2021

Rail Re-openings, Ridiculous or Realistic (2)

 Shoreham to Guildford? Really?

fbbs first model railway, operated from 1958 to 1963 was called "Cranleigh". It made no pretentions to be a model of the real Cranleigh, but it did have green "Southern" coaches and a Hornby Dublo R1 0-6-0 tank engine. 

"Why Cranleigh?" we hear you cry. For no other reason than it was one of the names on a free page of station signs supplied with The Model Railway Constructor magazine. A similar freebie (VERY similar) arrived more recently with Hornby Magazine!
The English Regional Transport Association (ERTA) is one of a plethora of groups determined to campaign for the re-opening of long-closed railway lines.

Like the route from Shoreham-on-Sea to Horsham or Guildford.

The line was closed from 1965 and track was removed soon afterwards. Signalboxes and stations were soon demolished. Southern Transit ...
... had developed its "tourist" bus route between Shoreham and Horsham which had been operating on Thursdays only.
But, sadly:-

28-01-2021 - Route3 Last Day
Due to ongoing covid-19 restrictions, low ridership and expensive ticket machine upgrade that is not affordable at this time. We are mothballing our Shoreham – Horsham Thursday service until further notice. We hope to resume services when better times return and the ticket machine hurdle has been overcome. We thank you all for your support with our unique service.

But the ERTA is preparing a campaign for re-opening. It has drawn a map!
In practice, the line from Shoreham joins the Arun Valley line just south of Christs Hospital Station ...
... whence the line to Horsham is still well and truly open. The route to Guildford veers off left via a now closed triangular junction. That left hand fork had closed much earlier but a train service from Horsham to Guildford remained until 1965.
Above is the original four platform Christs Hospital station on the present Arun Valley line (now just two) with the three platforms for Guildford beyond and upper left. The Guildford platforms are still in situ.
But fbb digresses a tad.

So, running north from Shoreham, we note the the line remained open for a while to give access to Beeding Quarry ...
... but, a little further north, part of the trackbed has become the Steyning by-pass.
Although huge chunks of the line have become a rather splendid footpath and cycle route (The Downs Way), the residents of a small estate in Henfield, built on the site of Henfield station ...
... might not be so keen to see the properties compulsorily purchased and demolished to clear the way for the ERTA plans!
And what a delightful address these homes will have on their letter heading!

Then in Partridge Green ...
... light industrial premises abound on and around the former station site ...
... some of the buildings blocking the path of any reopened line. Assuming you didn't want a big demolition job ...
... a diversion would be possible, but horrifically expensive. There could be pitchforks at dawn as the public enquiry began its unenviable task/

We can now move on the Cranleigh where the station ...
... is now Stocklund Square shopping "precinct" and Sainsbutrys. Round the back is where the tracks used to run ...
... with the white building in the far distance being the level crossing keeper's residence.
It was once an attractive brick building ...
... but is now much extended.

Threading a re-opened line through the gap would just about be possible, but would, yet again, not go down a bundle with the locals.

The conclusion has to be that not all re-openings are realistic.

Health Warning (fbb's health!)
This week is one of those frantic weeks which shouldn't really happen for a retired old codger. Apart from on-going blogs and modelling projects (including exterior cupboard stabilising!), this week the old boy is preparing a church service which he and Mrs fbb will lead this coming Sunday; the next leaflet to go out to the Sunday and Monday group "congregation" that they run in Seaton plus what are laughably called "study notes" to distribute after Sunday's service.

Blogs may have to be reduced in scope to preserve some attempt at sanity.

A heartening tale of six picnic tables, plus more speculative rail stuff.

 Next Rail Re-opening blog : Wednesday 23rd June 

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