Lancing Carriage Works

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Coordinates: 50°49′23″N 0°19′52″W / 50.823°N 0.331°W / 50.823; -0.331 Lancing carriage and wagon works was a railway carriage and wagon building and maintenance facility in the village of Lancing in the county of West Sussex in England from 1911 until 1965.

History under the LB&SCR[edit]

The cramped situation of Brighton railway works and the lack of space to expand was a constant problem for the chief engineers of London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR). In 1910 the company purchased 66 acres (270,000 m2) of land at Lancing near Shoreham-by-Sea for a carriage and wagon works to relieve the pressure on Brighton. The works were constructed in 1911 and opened the following January with many employees transferred from Brighton.

Because of the rural situation of the new factory the railway operated a special daily train from Brighton for the workforce. This became known as the Lancing Belle.

In 1913 Lawson Billinton the Chief Mechanical Engineer presented proposals to the LB&SCR board to close Brighton and concentrate all locomotive building and repair at Lancing, but the advent of the First World War in 1914 put an end to this plan.

Grouping[edit]

Following the merger of the LB&SCR and other railways in southern England to form the Southern Railway, during the Railways Act grouping of 1923, the Lancing works became one of three such facilities owned by the new railway, the others being at Ashford and Eastleigh. The new railway decided to concentrate carriage construction at Lancing and close the carriage works at Ashford. As a result, 500 workmen and their families eventually moved to Lancing.

In 1927 a new moving 'assembly line' system was introduced for repairing coaches more efficiently. A plan of the works, dating from 1931, shows large carriage and paint shops, together with smaller shops for springs, frames, wheels, gas and brakes, accumulator cells. There was also a traverser between the roads of the carriage shop, and a separate shop for Pullman cars.[1]

During the Second World War the works was kept busy repairing bomb damaged carriages and wagons and in converting carriages to mobile hospitals to support the army during the D-Day invasion. The works were also involved in constructing Bailey bridges and the tail planes for Airspeed Horsa gliders for the invasion.

British Railways and Closure[edit]

The works continued to operate after the nationalisation of British Railways (BR) in 1948 and gained a reputation for its efficiency and industrial harmony. By the 1960s over 1500 employees worked at Lancing. In 1962 efforts to rationalise BR's manufacturing capacity resulted in the decision to close Lancing in favour of Eastleigh railway works. Many of those concerned felt the decision to close Lancing rather than Eastleigh was for political rather than economic reasons, due to Eastleigh being a marginal Parliamentary constituency in the 'sixties that the Government of Harold Macmillan was fearful of losing, whilst Lancing fell within a 'safe' Conservative Parliamentary seat. The run down of the carriage works took place over the next three years, with final closure coming on 25 June 1965.

Subsequent use of the site[edit]

West Sussex County Council purchased the site, which became the Churchill Industrial Estate. The original carriage shop remained in 2002, occupied by a furniture manufacturer.

Departmental Motive Power[edit]

The works had a number of small locomotives used for shunting purposes. These included A1/A1X classes nos. DS 680 and 681, a four-wheeled petrol locomotive DS499, and two former USA class locomotives DS 236 and 237.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vic Mitchell and Keith Smith, The South Coast Railway: Brighton to Worthing, Middleton Press, 1983, 98-99. 090652037
  2. ^ Mitchell and Smith, (1983) 100-104.

Sources[edit]