Lavender Line remembers 50th anniversary of last train
Location: The Lavender Line, Isfield Station, Isfield, Uckfield, East Sussex, TN22 5XB
Date: Saturday, February 23, 2019, - Sunday, February 24, 2019, 10.00 am - 5.00 pm
The Lavender Line at Isfield Station, near Uckfield in East Sussex, is holding a special event on Saturday and Sunday, February 23 and 24.
This is a delightful, volunteer run, standard gauge heritage railway, which operates preserved steam and diesel locomotives/units (subject to availability).
It offers a two mile round trip from the preserved Victorian station at Isfield to Worth Halt, in the parish of Little Horsted, travelling through wonderful Sussex scenery and is perfect for families, enthusiasts or even those just looking for something different to do for a day out within this lovely county.
The event is rather special for the Lavender Line as it will be remembering the 50th anniversary of the last train to leave Isfield Station when the railway was once part of the main national network, branching off at Lewes to the north east, passing through Barcombe Mills, Isfield and then onto Uckfield, where the national network terminates today.
On Sunday, February 23, 1969, the last British Railways DEMU (Diesel Electric Multiple Unit for non-railway folk) 1316 service train left Isfield Station and the line was subsequently closed, track lifted and trackbed, stations and railway land sold, all in an effort to cut costs and save money.
With this railway now partly relaid as a heritage line, thanks to dedicated and very keen enthusiastic volunteers, the Lavender Line will be using their very own DEMU’s (1118 and 1133) in service, coupled together, and being very similar to that last train.
Cinders Buffet is located in the old station building and offers breakfast, a full range of cooked meals, light lunches, tea, coffee, cold drinks, cakes, etc.
The gift shop, selling souvenirs of your visit, books, railway related DVD’s, model railway stock, etc. can be found on Platform 2. This building is actually the old waiting room from the down platform at Barcombe Mills. (The original building was moved to the Bluebell Railway.)
Victorian signal box
The original Victorian signal box has been restored and is now a Grade II listed building. It is open to the public, where one can view the levers and other equipment used by the signalmen to ensure the safe passage of trains on the line. It also displays many photographs from the days of when the railway was part of the main national network.
A children’s play area can be found by the station building and some visitors may be fascinated by the station’s original goods yard crane, cattle dock, coal office, goods yard, water tower, level crossing and the old type of level crossing gates, preserving and documenting the railway’s past, something which just isn’t seen on today’s modern railways. It is fair to say, this is a living museum.
Riley’s Miniature Railway is located behind Platform 2 and is a fun, not for profit, five inch gauge miniature railway where 100% of fares and donations are sent to the Evelina Children’s Hospital, London. If you visit, please ask about the heart-warming story behind the miniature railway’s conception.
The event will be open from 10am until 5pm on both days. The village of Isfield and the Railway Station (TN22 5XB) lies off the A26 midway between Lewes and Uckfield and is clearly signposted. The 29 bus service calls at Isfield and runs between Brighton and Tunbridge Wells.
There will be a free shuttle service operating from Uckfield Station to the Lavender Line on both Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th (running three times in the morning and three times in the afternoon) on a classic Southdown bus for visitors to the Lavender Line 50th Anniversary event.
In addition, to make a day of it while visiting, may we recommend having a little look around the village and perhaps visiting The Laughing Fish public house.
Updates and further details can be found on The Lavender Line’s website, the Lavender Line Facebook page and the Facebook page for Riley’s Miniature Railway (where details will be shared on what miniature locomotives will be operating on their little line).
If you cannot make this event, not to worry, the Lavender Line will be open every Sunday throughout the year, and additional Bank Holidays. Please check the website for details.