SOUTH FOR ‘SULKY SER­VICE’: TRAINS HEAD FOR NEWICK & CHAILEY

Steam Railway (UK) - - News | Focus -

Trains de­parted south­wards from Sh­effield Park to­wards Newick & Chailey for the first time in 60 years at the Blue­bell Rail­way’s ‘Sulky Ser­vice’ week­end of March 16-18. Mark­ing six decades since BR closed the Lewes-East Grin­stead route on March 16 1958, the event re­called the pre­ced­ing two-year pe­riod in which BR was forced to run a min­i­mal timetable over the line, af­ter a cam­paign led by Madge Besse­mer re­sulted in the ini­tial 1955 clo­sure be­ing de­clared il­le­gal. With Maun­sell ‘Q’ 0-6-0 No. 30541 and ‘S15’ No. 847 in steam, trains from East Grin­stead ar­riv­ing at Sh­effield Park on the Satur­day then con­tin­ued south­wards for ap­prox­i­mately 250-300 yards on the line to­wards Newick & Chailey, now a car­riage sid­ing. Cor­re­spond­ing north­bound trains also started from the sid­ing be­fore call­ing at Sh­effield Park. The ‘Q’ car­ried a replica of the head­board worn by BR ‘4MT’ 2-6-4T No. 80154 on the fi­nal train in 1958, the 4.28pm East Grin­stead-Lewes. Although the Rid­dles tanks (along with LBSCR ‘C2X’ 0-6-0s and ‘E4’ 0-6-2Ts) were the usual mo­tive power dur­ing the ‘Sulky Ser­vice’ era, one ‘Q’ – No. 30540 – was recorded on the line on April 1 1957. The rail­way marked the ac­tual an­niver­sary with a spe­cial ser­vice for pas­sen­gers who trav­elled on the last train.

IAN WRIGHT

Maun­sell ‘Q’ 0-6-0 No. 30541 ap­proaches Im­ber­horne Lane with the 9.30am Sh­effield ParkEast Grin­stead on March 18, com­plete with a replica of the head­board car­ried by the last train in 1958.

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