Ouse Valley



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3a The Ouse Valley Railway.
Another railway in the Uckfield area was the abandoned Ouse Valley Railway. This was a pawn in Victorian railway politics designed to block rival plans to capture a slice of the lucrative London to Brighton traffic, but with no hope of it ever being profitable. A London Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) act of 1864 sanctioned the building of a line from the south end of Balcombe viaduct, on the main fine, to Uckfield, then the terminus of the branch from Lewes, and on to Hailsham then also the terminus of a branch from Polegate. A further act extending the line to St Leonards was passed the following year. Work commenced on the first section of line from Balcombe to Uckfield in May 1866, just a few days after the collapse of the great railway banking house of Overend and Guerney. This caused the railway boom of the early 1860s to burst and work on the line was stopped in February 1867, never to restart. Because the line traversed a still sparsely populated area remains can still be found. On the east side of a skew bridge south of Balcombe viaduct at TQ325273 can be seen the brick abutments where the bridge was to be widened for the junction of the Ouse Valley line. Embankments can be found either side of the road at TQ334268 from Borde Hill Gardens to Haywards Heath Golf Club. Near Kenwards Farm at TQ344266 can be seen the eastern cutting which was to have led to a short tunnel, which now forms an ornamental lake. At Lindfield, off Spring Lane at TQ348264 can be found another stretch of embankment near to the proposed site of Lindfield station at TQ351261. Nearer Uckfield are more embankments and abutments around TQ456206. I understand that the embankment with a complete brick bridge at TQ456205 was destroyed for the construction of the Uckfield bypass in the 1990s.

Uckfield Station was demolished on 9th December 2000 because of fire damage and vandalism.

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Last modified: December 27, 2004