A look at very nearly all the old track bed left between Uckfield and Lewes in late 2007/early 2008.
Quite apart from the fact that filming old railway lines is my thing, I read in the press that the local council was pouring £140,000 into a feasibility study on the re-opening of this line, so I thought I’d better do one of my own before they decided to re-open it !
Ever since closure in 1969, the Uckfield to Lewes line has been a hotly debated topic, with strong campaigning from the Wealden Group for re-opening. Anyone who has studied the subject in any detail will know that it probably is the most likely line in Sussex to be re-opened, despite the various complications involved, as the original route into Lewes is no longer an option.
On the other side of the coin, despite the obvious and strong arguments for re-opening, you have the now quiet, beautiful, rural communities along the route that could be once again subject to industrial invasion. In particular, questions about the Lavender Line and Hamsey are not satisfactorily answered when re-opening is talked about with local residents.
The vast majority of the line is walked or cycled to give the viewer as thorough a view as is possible of where the line used to run and what the track bed looks like now. All brick structures are looked at in detail and any remaining clues to show that a railway used to run this way are sought out and included. Unlike many dismantled lines, this one has a surprising amount of furniture left in place, like level crossing gates, ballast, sleepers, railchairs and even track in some places.
Views that were popular with railway photographers of old are recreated as faithfully as possible, such as various views at Culver Junction.
Of particular interest are sites at Uckfield (old) station, the beginning of the Doomed Ouse Valley line, numerous bridges over the flood plains of the Ouse near Barcombe and 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 around the old siding area in Lewes are included.
Please note: The footage south of Culver Junction is exactly the same as the footage on the Sheffield Park to Lewes film. As both lines share the track bed I could see no reason to shoot the same stretch twice just for the sake of it.
Includes constant, well informed running commentary.