Everyone knows the course of the Bluebell Railway as it appears today, but much less in the way of current material exists showing the original course of the line to the south of Sheffield Park station.
Apart from the obvious fact that trains no longer run this way, it is also some of the most inhospitable and overgrown disused track bed left in Sussex. Whereas many disused track beds are cycletracks, footpaths or even just permissive routes used by a few locals, this route is largely overgrown with no sign of regular human traffic.
This film faithfully traces very nearly the entire track bed the whole way from Sheffield Park right in to Lewes station. Permission was sought from various landowners to gain exclusive access to some of the most hidden away sections of the line that have stayed out of sight for most of the last 40 to 50 years.
The camera was left rolling through nearly the whole trip, taking in as much detail as could be found on the track, including plenty of views taken from the track of the surrounding landscape. Great emphasis is placed on recording the change of the lie of the land from cutting to embankment and back as the journey progresses and as many brick structures as possible are included in some detail.
Even those who are familiar with the line are likely to find some surprises that are uncovered here, such as the giant, twin bore culvert that is big enough to walk through just south of Newick, to name but one. Of no surprise but nice to see is Cinder Hill tunnel.
Views that were popular with railway photographers of old are recreated as faithfully as possible, such as views from the bridge at Lane End Common, the various views at Culver Junction and the fabulous Barcombe Cross station.
Of particular interest are the various structures on Hamsey Island which have been covered in great detail. The course of the line as it crossed Lewes has also been recreated as accurately as possible in relation to the modern day layout of the area. Views across Railway Land nature reserve are included.
Includes constant running commentary.
The most thorough video trip ever made along the line ? I like to think so…
Note: discs issued after 1st February 2008 include a detailed look at Barcombe Cross station as permission to film was granted after the initial release.