2 Worthing to Ford



John Blackwell 

Firstly a note and correction to Part 1. A coupe was a half compartment, at the end of a carriage with a window in the carriage end. These were exclusively fast class, seating three in privacy and attached to the rear (or front) of the train, giving a panoramic view providing you were not next to the engine. A forerunner of the observation cars
Apologies for not knowing east from west; Holland Road Halt was to the WEST of the road bridge. The Cliftonville and West Brighton Station building is to the EAST, and the present station to the WEST of the footbridge at Hove. Thanks to Mike Slamo for noticing this.

The line from Shoreham, which had opened in 1840, was extended to Worthing, opening on 24th November 1845. A westward extension to Lyminster, (for Littlehampton) opened on 16th March 1846 and to Chichester on 8th June. Portsmouth being reached in 1847.

West Worthing station was built by the railway contractor J.T.Firbank and opened on 4th November 1889. The station was part of an ambitious plan for the development of West Worthing as a seaside holiday resort with hotels and a pier at the end of Grand Avenue. A distinguished company of railway directors, developers and local worthies was entertained to lunch at the newly opened West Worthing Club (recently demolished) and combined business with pleasure with an auction of some plots of land which fetched high prices. Unfortunately these rosy hopes were not fuelled and in 1893 financial difficulties intervened bringing the development to a temporary standstill. In the same year the progress of Worthing as a resort was severely retarded by a disastrous typhoid epidemic that caused serious financial loss to the railway company, In August of that year there was not a single visitor and it was to be many years before the town recovered from this set back, In 1905 a large goods yard was added at West Worthing to cope with the produce from market gardens that had sprung up around the area. In 1932, on part of this yard, carriage sheds were erected, now very dilapidated, for the inauguration of the electric train service between London, Brighton and West Worthing, which commenced on 1st January 1933. The station house, which remains, was built in the Italianate style favoured by the LB&SCR for many stations ?? coast (Portslade being one) during the 1870s and 80s, with heavy window hood mouldings and eaves corbels. When built, the stucco rendering was left unpainted giving a very drab appearance. The up platform buildings have gone as have the canopies both to the platform and over the pavement at the entrance. The re-signalling of the late 1980s eliminated most of the attractive late Victorian signal boxes on the line. A huge modern footbridge occupies the site of Elm Grove level crossing at TQ 132 033, to the west of the carriage sheds.

Durrington is an example of the 'Southern' style station with brick buildings and extensive use of concrete for platforms often, as here, completed with a concrete footbridge. The platforms and bridge were constructed using pre-fabricated sections cast at the Southern Railway's Exmouth concrete works. The station was built on green fields and opened on 4th July 1937; it is now encircled with development. Of interest is the concrete road bridge for which the site engineer was apparently Henry Greenly better known for designing the miniature locomotives of the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway. Goring was an original station on the line but whether the present building dates from 1846 is doubtful as it is not built of flint with brick quoins. However the station is a simple single storey building largely obscured with a large angled modern platform canopy. The footbridge, which has lost its southern arm, is a typical product of H Young iron founders of Pimlico . The level crossing keeper's cottage at Ferring at TQ 095 031 is typical of the many that once existed on this line. Built like the stations in knapped flint with brick quoins they were L-shaped with a bay window facing the track. These and the other windows had attractive interlaced cast iron frames that can now only be seen in old photographs of the buildings. Angmering is an 1876 replacement of the 1846 original station. It has some very decorative cast iron columns and brackets supporting the platform canopy of a design not found elsewhere in Sussex. The simple single storey goods shed which survives, although not in railway use, probably dates from the rebuilding. The empty and dilapidated station master's house had operational use on the ground floor with living accommodation above. Some 200 yards east of Lyminster level crossing at TO 028 039 was the site of the 1846 Littlehampton Station, which closed in 1863 when the branch from Ford station was opened. A new halt was opened at the crossing for the motor train service in 1907 but this was short lived, closing in 1914. Nothing remains except the modern lifting barriers and an attractive contemporary cobbled flint inn called 'The Locomotive'. The next station westward is Ford which opened in 1846 as Arundel, being renamed Ford for Littiehampton when the Littlehampton branch and the Arun valley line from Pulborough to Ford were opened in 1863. The present building probably date from then, the station being rebuilt with an island platform to serve the branch. A toll road from the station to the outskirts of Arundel was constructed by the railway company. Tolls were collected until the end of 1938 when ownership passed to West Sussex County Council. A siding, the alignment of which can still be followed, opened in 1850 to a wharf on the river Arun. Walking south along the riverbank the junction with the Portsmouth and Arundel Canal can be discerned. This ran just to the north of St Andrew's church TQ 003 037 and dosed in 1847 the same year as the railway arrived at Portsmouth. To the north of the wharf where the railway crosses the river, the 1846 wooden telescopic bridge carried a single track. A portion mounted on wheels could be moved laterally allowing the main span, also on wheels, to be withdrawn into this space creating a passage for shipping. A second iron bridge with double track that operated on a lift and roll principle was completed in 1862, and which took half an hour to open. By the 1930s shipping up to Arundel had long ceased and the present fixed span bridge was constructed in 1938 when this section was electrified. On January 1st 1887 a new alignment was opened to allow through running to Littlehampton from both the Arun Valley Line and Brighton eliminating the need to change at Ford. Until a few years ago the original line could still be seen to the south when travelling between Lyminster Crossing and Ford. Modern ploughing has almost obliterated it.

To be continued


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