Wealden Line Campaign

Friday 22 February 2019

History of the Uckfield line

1844 - Brighton, Uckfield & Tunbridge Wells Railway obtained authorisation for the construction of a line from Brighton to Hastings via Lewes.
1856 - 27th July - Lewes and Uckfield Railway Company incorporated and granted permission to construct the rail line between Uckfield and Lewes on the London, Brighton and South Coast Railways (LBSCR) Brighton to Hastings Line.
1858 - 11th October - Lewes to Uckfield line opens for goods traffic. Passenger traffic followed one week later.
1864 - LBSCR absorbs the Lewes and Uckfield Railway Company.
1868 - 1st October - new section of track opens near Hamsey, allowing Uckfield trains direct access to Lewes and positioned in correct direction for Brighton. Lewes to Uckfield line also extended north to Eridge and Tunbridge Wells and Uckfield railway station opened.
1894 - Uckfield line double-tracked.
1962 - Diesel-electric units begin operating on the Uckfield Line.
1964 - Stage One of the Lewes Relief Road approved, sowing the seeds for the closure of the Uckfield to Lewes line. Ministry of Transport advised that Lewes Viaduct requires high cost maintenance in the near future.
1968 - 13th December - British Rail Board engineers announce that for safety reasons, the up line between Lewes Viaduct and Barcombe Mills had to be closed.
1969 - 4th May - Lewes to Uckfield rail line closed. Embankments, bridges and viaduct over the River Ouse are quickly cut or demolished for the Lewes Relief Road and the Phoenix Causeway completed in Summer of 1969.
1983 - Isfield station with a length of trackbed purchased by a rail enthusiast planning to restore and re-open the station.
1984 - Isfield station re-opens as a preservation line.
1987 - February - Network SouthEast proposes to re-instate Lewes to Uckfield line, but fails due to lack of funding and interest by Kent Country Council and East Sussex County Council.
1991 - Replacement Uckfield "portakabin" station opens on the eastern side of the level crossing, with the rails and footbridge in the High Street removed soon afterward. The Lavender Line preservation society takes over Isfield station and length of trackbed.
1996 - The Tunbridge Wells and Eridge Railway Preservation Society opens the Spa Valley Railway, running trains between Tunbridge Wells and Groombridge. Kent County Council commissions Mott McDonald feasibility study into re-opening Tunbridge Wells to Eridge. The feasibility study found in favour, but the project made no further progress.
2000 - Connex includes re-instatement of Uckfield to Lewes, but failed to get the South Central franchise renewed.
2000 - 9 December - The original Uckfield station demolished due to flood damage and vandals.
2002 - On advice from the Strategic Rail Authority, the Department of Transport concludes cost of electrification of Uckfield to Hurst Green too costly, but would be kept under review.
2004 - Central Rail Corridor Board consisting of regional, county and distric levels, local MPs and Southern set-up.
2005 - March - Central Rail Corridor Board decides to proceed with a full feasibility study.
2008 - 23rd July - Central Rail Corridor Board feasibility study released, with the conclusion that re-instatement is technically feasible, but not economically viable due to a poor business case.
2009 - 26 May - Network Rail publishes draft Route Utilisation Strategy for Sussex, stating the lines re-instatement would provide potential capacity relief to the southern end of the Brighton Main Line.
2010 - 16th March - Uckfield "portakabin" station replaced with new modular pre-fabricated building.
2011 - March - The Spa Valley Railway extension from Birchden Junction to Eridge opens.