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Author Topic: Crawley to Littlehampton (Southern Main Lines), By Vic Mitchell and Keith Smith Review  (Read 898 times)

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Crawley to Littlehampton (Southern Main Lines), By Vic Mitchell and Keith Smith

Book Review: There were two main reasons that I became interested in railways from a very early age. One was Clapham Junction and the other was Arundel. Now you probably wouldn’t think of this country town as being a hot bed of railway activity, but the Arun Valley line is one of the most beautiful in the country - in a sort of ‘England’s green and pleasant land’ way. I will never forget travelling on this line passing the castle and cathedral with the mist rolling across fields and the meandering river - it was like the stuff of legend!

Enough of this sentiment and on to the book!

Vic Mitchell's books have a common format starting with the geographical setting, historical background and a description of the train services before discussing each line and the stations on it (with many early pictures and maps). There are plenty of timetables, maps, images of tickets, railway company notices etc.throughout the book. The books are reliant on old photographs being available and when a station appears in more than one book, the authors endeavour to put different pictures. They are a must for anyone planning to model specific places.

Starting with a comprehensive section on Crawley, featuring some very early pictures of the old station, the line passes through Ifield, Faygate, Roffey Road Halt and Littlehaven before reaching Horsham. This section has 20 photos plus a two page 1932 map of the station area. Amongst the images are those of the old station, an electrification train in 1937, the up junction being relaid, the Royal Train and the Chipmans weed killing train.

Next up is Christs Hospital including photos of the junctions with the Cranleigh and Guildford line and the Shoreham line, then Billingshurst and Pulborough where the turntable, a de-icing unit, Hardham junction for Midhurst feature amongst the images.

Amberley features views of the sidings to Balcombe pit of Pepper & Son, the first electric down train in 1938 and camping coaches provided by SR for walkers. A short section on Pepper & Sons showing photos from 1905 precedes a section on the Chalk pits museum with photos of the 2ft gauge railway.

Arundel features a magnificent two page picture of the goods yard with the castle, cathedral and Anglican church in the background, followed by a two page 1902 picture of D1 Banstead with a down passenger train. More images include the steam ‘Littlehampton Shuttle’, a circa 1930 interior of the LBSCR box, a DMU on a Slough to Bognor Excursion.

Moving through Arundel Junction, where there is a striking image of the damage caused to the substation as a result of a direct hit from enemy aircraft in WW2 and diagrams of the junction, the book concluded with Littlehampton where there are plenty of images of the station, trains, station staff, the engine shed plus maps of the station and the goods yard. There is also a photograph of the turntable.

All of Middleton Press books are in black and white and the link below is to the Middleton Press website


ISBN: 0 906520 34 7

Score: 5
Just one Pendolino, give it to me, a beautiful train, from Italy


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