Welcome to the 'New Somerset and Dorset Railway'
Friday, March 25, 2011
the last closure?
31.8.1988 copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing
This is the other Tunbridge Wells station, on a route that used to link this part of Kent with many places in Sussex. It closed in 1985, possibly the last major rail closure in the UK. Most of the line has been reopened by the Spa Valley Railway, but the link to the network, at least at this end, still eludes them.
It was strange to see a large station decaying as recently as the 1980s. It was more of a scene from the 1960s.
The Spa Valley serves an excellent role as a heritage railway, and will probably do so for a decade or two to come. But really this route, and those others that linked in (such as the Eridge to Three Bridges route, the Uckfield-Lewes and the Cuckoo line to Hailsham and Polegate) will all need to be restored over the coming years. This was an extremely short-sighted closure, based merely on the cost of remodelling the junction at Tunbridge Wells Central when the main line to Hastings was electrified. It had little to do with maintaining a service to a rural part of England, and to my mind really was the last time that such dodgy reasoning was used to justify cutting into our essential rail infrastructure. There again who knew about Peak Oil back in 1985? Not me!