Archive for December 1st, 2008

Bluebell Railway starts the dig at Imberhorne

Monday, 1 December 2008

bernard_holden

100 year old, Bernard Holden being interviewed
by BBC TV on 25 November 2008
Photo Bluebell Railway

(Click to see picture in original context on Bluebell Railway Extension website.)

Plans by British Railways to close the railway line from East Grinstead to Lewes date back to 1954. These were challenged by local residents, and the matter was debated by Parliament, but after a four year battle, the line closed in March 1958.

In 1959 Bernard Holden formed the Lewes and East Grinstead Railway Preservation Society, the forerunner of today’s Bluebell Railway Preservation Society. His initial aim was to re-open the whole line from East Grinstead to Lewes, and to operate a community railway service using a diesel railcar. But the Society were unable to purchase the whole line; and only a small section of the line from Sheffield Park to Bluebell Halt just south of Horsted Keynes was at first leased and eventually purchased from British Railways. This section reopened under the Society’s auspices in August 1960 and developed as a steam operated heritage railway and as a railway museum.

The Society sunsequently acquired the station site at Horsted Keynes and then in 1994 extended the line in an East Grinstead direction as far as Kingscote. The Society has launched a public share issue to finance the rebuilding of the line from Kingscote to East Grinstead, where the line will once again connect with the National Rail network. A major problem is a former landfill site at Imberhorne that fills a 50 metre deep cutting for 500 yards of the route.

Work on removing some 300,000 cubic metres of rubbish from the tip started on 25th November 2008.

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