Ardingly railway station
|Area||Mid Sussex, West Sussex|
|Pre-grouping||London, Brighton and South Coast Railway|
Southern Region of British Railways
|3 September 1883||Opened|
|7 July 1935||Ardingly branch electrified|
|2 April 1962||Closed to freight|
|28 October 1963||Closed to passengers|
|1963||Aggregates depot opened in goods yard|
|Disused railway stations in the United Kingdom|
|Closed railway stations in Britain
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|UK Railways portal|
Ardingly was a railway station which served the West Sussex village of Ardingly in England. It was opened on 3 September 1883 by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSCR) closed eighty years later and is currently used as an aggregates depot. The Bluebell Railway owns the trackbed from just east of the station to Horsted Keynes and has long term plans to rebuild the line..
Opening and route
The LBSCR opened a 4½-mile link line between Horsted Keynes on its Lewes to East Grinstead Line and Haywards Heath on the Brighton Main Line. Doubled throughout, the line curved away from Horsted Keynes over Sheriff Mill Viaduct (117 yards and named after the nearby Lower Sheriff Farm), climbing on a gradient to reach Lywood Tunnel (218 yards) before continuing on the level for nearly 2 miles to reach the line's only intermediate station at Ardingly. From Ardingly, the line continued for a further mile to reach Copyhold Junction on the Brighton Line, just south of the Ouse Valley Viaduct. At first there was no signal box at the junction, with services running on an independent line parallel to the Brighton Main Line as far as the north-facing bay platform at Haywards Heath. A box was installed in 1912 which remained in use until 1932 when Haywards Heath was rebuilt with up and down loop platforms, and a new box brought into service there.
The line opened without ceremony, with the first service, a goods train, leaving Haywards Heath at 8.34am to collect freight at Ardingly and continue to Horsted Keynes. It was later to prove its worth as a useful alternative to the Brighton Main Line in both wars and for specials to Lingfield Racecourse.
Station building and facilities
Designed by Thomas Harrison Myres, the main station building was sited at road level away from the platforms. In common with other Lewes and East Grinstead line stations, it was constructed in a neo-Queen Anne style and presented as a two-storey Victorian country cottage. The upper storey is decoratively timbered with plaster patterning (flower patterns in black on a white background) and projecting slightly; unlike the other stations on the line, Ardingly was never tile-hung.
The station's two platforms had fairly basic facilities with platform awnings and an alcove-like waiting room on the down platform; a platform signal cabin was to be found at the western end of the station, overseeing a small goods yard. The yard saw considerable inward traffic in the form of timber for a local sawmill which was subsequently dispatched back out in consignments of prepared boards. The station was run by a staff of four: the stationmaster, signal porter, porter and assistant clerk; the last stationmaster left in 1926, at which point Ardingly came under the control of Horsted Keynes.
The Ardingly branch had a very infrequent service under the LBSCR and following the grouping when the Southern Railway took over the line when it was mainly serviced by push-pull trains, with some through services to and from Brighton. Following electrification in 1935, the new electric service comprised some 18 trains on an hourly service to and from Horsted Keynes daily, around half of which terminated at Haywards Heath whilst the rest ran as far as Seaford. The Ardingly branch was closed on Sundays until 1945, and the connection from the up Ardingly line to the up Horsted Keynes main platform was severed.
Camping coaches were stationed at Ardingly from Summer 1930 until the end of the war, an acknowledgment of Ardingly's popularity amongst ramblers who were ferried to and from the station in special trains. The station was also busy at the beginning and end of term at Ardingly College when up to 450 packages of luggage were sent and received for around 250 pupils.
After the closure of the Lewes to East Grinstead line in 1958 by British Railways (BR), the down line between Horsted Keynes and Ardingly was used as a siding for condemned Kent Coast steam stock and new electric stock, whilst single line working with electric train staff was introduced on the up line. The branch was itself closed on 28 October 1963. The section was however still used occasionally to transport rolling stock to the newly established Bluebell Railway, and the last movement along the line was recorded on 13 May 1964 when Terrier No 32636 passed through prior to lifting of the track. The lifting, which had commenced on 15 July, had reached Horsted Keynes by 21 September. During the summer of 1968, Sheriff Mill Viaduct was demolished as the Mid Sussex District Council wished to straighten the bend on New Lane as it curved under the viaduct; BR was only too happy to relieve itself of the maintenance costs of the structure. The Bluebell Railway had been invited to purchase the line in 1962, but could not afford BR's asking price of between £25,000-£30,000 together with the £10,000 needed to maintain the viaduct.
|Preceding station||Disused railways||Following station|
Line closed, station open
|London, Brighton and South Coast Railway
Lewes and East Grinstead Railway
Line closed, station open
An Amey Roadstone plant (now Hanson Aggregates) was established in the Ardingly goods yard shortly after closure of the line, and was served by a daily freight working from Haywards Heath using the former down local line. Access to the up main and up local lines at Copyhold Junction has been severed. The new occupant demolished the station platforms (except for a short length near the road bridge). The track in the station was removed and a loop installed at the southern end of the former goods yard area. The station buildings remain, used as offices by Hanson Aggregates. A pair of ornamental cast iron station canopy brackets and the ticket office window were sold as lots 302 & 303 by auctioneers T. Bannister & co. at their July 1983 auction at the Ardingly historic vehicle spectacular show at the South of England Showground.
In 1997 the Heritage Bluebell Railway acquired the trackbed, only as far as the Aggregate Depot boundary at Ardingly, and holds long-term aspirations to painstakingly restore and reopen the branch. To help bridge the gap created by the missing (Sheriff Mill) viaduct, spoil from the excavation of Imberhorne cutting (part of the works necessary for the Bluebell's extension to East Grinstead) was used to extend existing embankments, towards Ardingly. Re-signalling work had also taken place at Horsted Keynes, with signals being installed in preparation for the eventual re-laying of the track. Mid Sussex District Council has accordingly safeguarded the route of the line from re-development that would be prejudicial to its reinstatement.
- Marx, K., p. 209.
- Marx, K., p. 68.
- Marx, K., p. 212.
- Marx, K., p. 57-58.
- Marx, K., p. 209-211.
- Marx, K., p. 123.
- Marx, K., p. 213.
- Marx, K., p. 185.
- Marx, K., pp. 161 and 212.
- Marx, K., p. 189.
- Marx, K., p. 215-216.
- Marx, K., p. 249.
- Business Directory.
- Bluebell Railway, "Horsted Keynes Re-Signalling Archive of Progress 3 (2004/5)".
- Bluebell Railway, "Extending the Bluebell Railway", 12 July 2008.
- Mid Sussex District Council, Local Plan, para. 17.18. Archived 7 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
- Butt, R. V. J. (1995). The Directory of Railway Stations: details every public and private passenger station, halt, platform and stopping place, past and present (1st ed.). Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85260-508-7. OCLC 60251199.
- Clinker, C.R. (October 1978). Clinker's Register of Closed Passenger Stations and Goods Depots in England, Scotland and Wales 1830-1977. Bristol: Avon-AngliA Publications & Services. ISBN 0-905466-19-5.
- Jowett, Alan (2000). Jowett's Nationalised Railway Atlas (1st ed.). Penryn, Cornwall: Atlantic Transport Publishers. ISBN 978-0-906899-99-1. OCLC 228266687.
- Marx, Klaus (2000). An Illustrated History of the Lewes & East Grinstead Railway. Shepperton, Surrey: Ian Allan Publishing. ISBN 0-86093-547-7.
- Ardingly railway station on Subterranea Britannica.
- Station on navigable 1948 O.S. map.
- Images of the disused Ardingly branch on the derekhayward.co.uk website.