Steam Railway (UK) - - News | Focus -

A fur­ther sec­tion of the Kent & East Sus­sex Rail­way’s Roberts­bridge ex­ten­sion is to be built this year – cross­ing the ma­jor hur­dle of Junc­tion Road. The Rother Val­ley Rail­way has plan­ning per­mis­sion to re­in­state the line on one-third of a mile of trackbed be­tween Junc­tion Road and Austens Bridge, which it ac­quired last year (SR468). The first part of the plan, dubbed ‘Pro­ject 4A’, will in­volve the con­struc­tion of a level cross­ing over the B2244, and the sec­ond half (‘Pro­ject 4B’) will be the re-lay­ing of the per­ma­nent way. RVR trus­tee Mike Hart said: “We hope to get track down to­wards the back end of the year – it’ll mean there’s less to do when we get the last bits of trackbed.” He added that the rail­way is “about to sub­mit” its ap­pli­ca­tion for a Trans­port & Works Act Or­der, cov­er­ing the whole three-mile ex­ten­sion from the KESR’s western rail­head of Bo­diam to the main line junc­tion at Roberts­bridge. The RVR has yet to ac­quire Austens Bridge it­self, so named be­cause its con­struc­tion in 1947 was one of the last projects un­der­taken by Colonel H.F. Stephens’ deputy Wil­liam H. Austen prior to na­tion­al­i­sa­tion. The own­ers of the bridge, and of two fur­ther sec­tions of trackbed lead­ing to the RVR’s western sec­tion at Roberts­bridge, are un­will­ing to sell. A pass­ing loop has been pro­posed on the Junc­tion Road-Austens Bridge sec­tion, part of which is al­ready dou­ble-track width, as a sid­ing was orig­i­nally laid here to serve the lo­cal hops in­dus­try. How­ever, RVR Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Of­fi­cer Trevor Streeter clar­i­fied: “We’re cur­rently dis­cussing with the KESR about where they want the loop to go, and it may be the other side of Udiam Farm.” At the line’s Roberts­bridge Junc­tion head­quar­ters, £200,000 is needed to com­plete the sta­tion build­ing, which will be in the Colonel Stephens style but larger. A toi­let block to the same de­sign was erected last year (SR467).

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