A thorough trek along the disused track bed of this line in January and March 2009.
At the time of filming, there was every indication that a long disputed link road would be built across the stunning Coombe Valley, bisecting the line just to the north of the site of the old viaduct before joining the course of the trackbed from Sidley down to the A259. A huge inspiration was to get out there and capture these images before they were wiped from the landscape forever and replaced by more, senseless, noisy congestion.
Starting at Crowhurst station and then thoroughly working down the track bed, every aspect remaining is examined. See the site of the 17 arch 417 yard viaduct that was blown up in 1969 and get views from either end of where it used to run; a quick nose through the undergrowth shows piles of bricks remaining at both ends that were not removed by demolition contractor. Foundations on the valley floor that would have supported the structure are also featured.
South of the viaduct sees the track converted into a bridleway, whereupon the course of the line is followed by bike, hopping off occasionally to film the underside of bridges. Heading towards a deep cutting on the outskirts of Sidley, the point where the proposed new link road will join the track is speculated upon. Particular attention is paid to bridges from this point on as they will be demolished to create space for the new road. The grand three arch bridge that currently serves Glover’s Farm is a particularly good example.
Arriving at the north end of Sidley station having travelled the deep cutting, a thorough nose around the site is carried out. Close ups of the threatened road bridge, views of the site of the station building at road level and numerous shots of the filled in platform areas are included. Perhaps more exciting is finding evidence of the old footbridge that used to serve the platforms by rummaging around on the steep, eastern bank. Brick remains that used to surround the waiting rooms are seen at platform level. Happily, I managed to get some footage in 2006 showing the goods shed inside and out before it was demolished.
South of Sidley, the track bed turns into a superb, green corridor running through the middle of an urban area. This is followed doggedly down as far as the A259 where a junction is to be formed with the link road. A number of awkward to access sights are enjoyed along the way.
Having appreciated where the large, steel bridge that carried the line over the A259 and Down Road would have been, the track runs through what is now Beeching Road Industrial Estate towards the terminus at Bexhill West station.
A visit inside Bexhill West station building was made possible by the generosity of the current residents and numerous original features remain which were recorded here. Also on the station site, the loco shed remains, at least in part, despite being partially re-clad to make it usable as a current day industrial unit.
Bonus disc added from November 2016. This is not compatible with most standalone dvd players (the one plugged into your telly), but is designed to be viewed in a computer disc drive, more like a cd rom.
It contains over 160 stills that show:
- A trip up into the clock tower at Bexhill West station, showing dates and signatures left by railwaymen who climbed up over the years to adjust the clock, the clock workings, the transparent clock faces from behind and the various ladders and walkways that lead through the loft area to the clock tower.
- Numerous shots of Bexhill West station from inside and outside on a gloriously sunny day, including the platform and canopy remains.
- Bexhill West loco shed as it appears today, inside and out.
- Work being carried out on the bridges at Sidley station site and Glovers Farm in anticipation of the road being opened, with views along the road/track bed from the top of the latter.
- Huge road workings in progress around the site of the viaduct and Adam’s Farm and views along the track bed to the north.
- Views of Crowhurst station, including the disused Bexhill West platform and the track bed immediately to the south.
- Two short video clips; one showing your cameraman emerging into the clock tower at Bexhill West station and another showing the road/track bed being driven towards Sidley station site.