Haywards Heath railway station

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Haywards Heath
National Rail
Haywards Heath station from car park.jpg
General information
LocationHaywards Heath, District of Mid Sussex
Grid referenceTQ330245
Managed bySouthern
Other information
Station codeHHE
ClassificationDfT category B
Key dates
12 July 1841Opened (terminus)
21 September 1841Opened (through)
1883[1]Ardingly branch opened
1933Electrification and Rebuilt
28 October 1963[1]Ardingly branch closed
2017/18Increase 4.393 million
 Interchange Increase 0.562 million
2018/19Decrease 4.382 million
 Interchange Increase 0.673 million
2019/20Increase 4.487 million
 Interchange Decrease 0.607 million
2020/21Decrease 0.955 million
 Interchange Decrease 0.102 million
2021/22Increase 2.575 million
 Interchange Increase 0.270 million
Passenger statistics from the Office of Rail and Road

Haywards Heath railway station is on the Brighton Main Line in England, serving the town of Haywards Heath, West Sussex. It is 37 miles 59 chains (60.7 km) down the line from London Bridge via Redhill and is situated between Balcombe and Wivelsfield. It is managed by Southern.

Trains calling at Haywards Heath are operated by Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express. Until 2008 a small number of CrossCountry services also stopped here.[2]


Northbound view of platform 2 in 2008
Northbound view of the station in 2008
A former Connex South Central train at Haywards Heath station in 2002

The London and Brighton Railway opened its main line from a junction with the London and Croydon Railway at Norwood as far as Haywards Heath on 12 July 1841, with a coach service to take passengers on the remainder of their journey towards Brighton. This was the result of a roof fall during the construction of Haywards Heath Tunnel just south of the station on 2 January 1841, which killed three men.[3] The remainder of the line to Brighton opened shortly after on 21 September of the same year.

The original station was designed by the architect David Mocatta and included a central passing line, and an awning over the platform.[4] The station retained its importance as a junction following the construction of the line to Lewes from Keymer 3 miles (4.8 km) to the south. From 1846 the railway became the London Brighton and South Coast Railway.

On 3 September 1883 the Lewes and East Grinstead Railway opened a branch line from Copyhold Junction, just north of the station, to Horsted Keynes railway station on their existing line between those towns.[5] There was an intermediate station at Ardingly.[1] As a result, Haywards Heath station was enlarged by the provision of two bay platforms. As soon as the line was opened, the Lewes and East Grinstead Railway merged with the London Brighton and South Coast Railway, but until 1912, there was no physical connection between the tracks of the branch line and those of the main line; they ran parallel all the way to Haywards Heath station.[6] Once the connection was made, it provided a relief route for the congested Brighton Main Line from Croydon to Brighton via Oxted, East Grinstead and Haywards Heath. This double-track branch line was closed to passengers on 28 October 1963, but a single-track section remains to serve a freight and aggregates terminal at Ardingly.[1]

Haywards Heath station was the site of the first use of the practice of "slipping" coaches from the rear of express trains, at intermediate junctions, for onward transmission to smaller stations. The earliest recorded example was in February 1858, when coaches for Hastings were slipped from a London Bridge to Brighton express.[7] This practice was a regular feature at the station until the electrification of the line during 1932/3. The station and surrounding structures such as bridges were also totally rebuilt at this time. A single signal box, alongside platform 4 (the westernmost platform face), replaced the former north and south boxes.

In 2014, work began on a new "Station Quarter", which would include construction of a new multi-storey car park and footbridge to service the platforms, a new Waitrose supermarket on site and a regeneration of the existing station buildings.[8] The multi-storey car park was opened in late 2016 along with the new footbridge, while the new Waitrose supermarket was opened in March 2017.[9]

In 2021, a tactile map was installed, in collaboration with the Royal National Institute of Blind People, to help blind and partially sighted passengers navigate the station.[10]


The station lies on a quadruple-track[a] passing loop (the line either side of the station is double-track), which allows fast services to overtake stopping services. As such, it has a total of four platforms, one per track, numbered 1 to 4.[11]

  • Platforms 1 and 2 are used for southbound services to destinations such as Brighton, Littlehampton, Eastbourne and Hastings. Non-stop services usually pass through platform 2.
  • Platforms 3 and 4 are used for northbound services towards London and beyond. Non-stop services usually pass through platform 3.

Unusually, the platforms have been numbered "right-to-left" (when facing London), instead of "left-to-right" which is the usual numbering scheme on the Brighton Main Line.

Platforms 1 and 4 are signalled bidirectionally, which allows trains to reverse here or run "the wrong way" through the station at times of disruption. Platforms 2 and 3 are partially signalled in both directions, allowing trains running to/from the south to reverse here.[12][13]

A short distance north of the station lies a single-track unelectrified freight-only line, which runs to an aggregates terminal at Ardingly; this branch can only be accessed via platform 1.[1][14]


There are three entrances/exits at the station. The main one is just off Commercial Square; access to platforms is in the form of a subway under the railway line. The other two entrances and exits use the new footbridge on the southern end of the platforms; one end of the footbridge leads onto Market Place and the other end connects with the station car park at Clair Road. All routes in and out of the station offer step-free access via lifts from footbridge or ground level to the platforms.


Off-peak, services at Haywards Heath are operated by Southern and Thameslink using Class 377 and 700 EMUs.

The typical off-peak service in trains per hour is:[15]

During the peak hours and on Saturdays, the service between London Victoria and Littlehampton is increased to 2 tph and an additional hourly service between London Victoria and Eastbourne also calls at the station. There are also a number of peak hour Thameslink services to Littlehampton.

In addition, the station is served by a number of peak hour Gatwick Express services which usually pass through Haywards Heath. These services run non-stop from Gatwick Airport to London Victoria and are operated using Class 387 EMUs.

Preceding station National Rail National Rail Following station
Balcombe or Three Bridges   Thameslink
  Wivelsfield or Burgess Hill
Gatwick Express
Peak Hours Only
Disused railways
Line and station closed
  London, Brighton and South Coast Railway

Freight sidings[edit]

The freight sidings at Haywards Heath were constructed during the First World War when the railway received a rapid growth in its freight traffic as a result of munitions trains travelling to Newhaven. They were intended to enable passenger trains to overtake slower freight traffic.

Today a sidings track does remain from Old Wickham Lane Bridge, 700 meters north of the station to Folly Hill Tunnel entrance. This line is not often used anymore, however it is protected for future extension to the Bluebell Railway. An area imminently east of platform 1 is also protected for the potential terminus platform / station for the Bluebell if it does reach Haywards Heath.[16] The new terminus would have a maximum of 1 platform, but would not be numbered platform 0.


  1. ^ There is also a fifth track through the station, however it is unelectrified and rarely used; it is located next to platform 1.


  1. ^ a b c d e Ardingly railway station on Disused-Stations.org.uk - Nick Catford - Accessed 9 September 2007
  2. ^ "Crosscountry Trains FAQ - Timetable Change". Archived from the original on 17 December 2007. Retrieved 13 January 2008.
  3. ^ Gray, Adrian (1978). The London to Brighton Line 1841-1977. Oakwood Press. p. 119.
  4. ^ Turner, John Howard (1977). The London Brighton and South Coast Railway 1 Origins and Formation. Batsford. ISBN 0-7134-0275-X. pp.126-38.
  5. ^ Turner, John Howard (1979). The London Brighton and South Coast Railway 3 Completion and Maturity. Batsford. ISBN 0-7134-1389-1. pp.23-34.
  6. ^ Mitchell, Vic and Smith, Keith (1986). Southern Main Lines - Three Bridges to Brighton. Middleton Press. ISBN 0-906520-35-5
  7. ^ Ellis, C. Hamilton (1970). The London Brighton and South Coast Railway. Ian Allan. pp. 98–9.
  8. ^ "Haywards Heath Station Information - Southern Railway". www.southernrailway.com.
  9. ^ "New Waitrose store opens in Haywards Heath". www.midsussextimes.co.uk. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  10. ^ Holden, Alan (19 May 2021). "Railway stations in Hertfordshire and Sussex mapped for blind and partially sighted passengers". Rail Advent. Retrieved 19 May 2021.
  11. ^ "Station facilities for Haywards Heath". www.nationalrail.co.uk.
  12. ^ "Three Bridges to Brighton on YouTube
  13. ^ "Brighton to Gatwick (Airport)" on YouTube
  14. ^ TRACKatlas of Mainland Britain (3rd ed.). Platform 5. 2017. p. 12. ISBN 978 1909431 26 3.
  15. ^ Table 184, 188, 189, 190 National Rail timetable, May 2022
  16. ^ "Bluebell Railway Plans Haywards Heath" (PDF). Retrieved 29 December 2018.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°00′18″N 0°06′18″W / 51.005°N 0.105°W / 51.005; -0.105