Brighton to Worthing
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Brighton to Worthing (South Coast Railways) 1983 Version
Vic Mitchell and Keith Smith
0 906520 3 7
The first book in the South Coast Railways series (and the third of Vic and Keiths railway books of this type), it explores the line from Brighton to Worthing as well as the Devils Dyke branch and Kingston Wharf (used by ferry passengers to get to France when bad weather meant the ship could not call at Brighton pier). There are some very old images in this 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. 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.
The introduction to this book also includes a section on locomotive stock, electric stock, accidents and 'The future'. 'The future' contains some details of the Transport 2000 Southern Groups integrated transport strategy for the South Coast (including the use of light rail vehicles) and the formation of the Southern Railway preservation society whose aim was to preserve the section of the Horsham line from Shoreham to Beeding sidings. There are a series of maps,dating from 1850 to 1912, showing the urbanisation of the Brighton to Shoreham area and the rapid growth of Hove following the opening of the Cliftonville spur (which joins Hove to the main London the Brighton line, avoiding Brighton). Sadly there are no pictures of the spur in this book.
Starting at Brighton there are a series of early pictures showing the town, the station and the locomotives. The highlights for me are a circa 1882 photograph shows the building of the curved train shed complete with coaches of that period, an even earlier picture from above the tunnel mouth on the Worthing line depicting the locomotive works and running shed and a chalk hill that is gradually being demolished to make way for new carriage and loco running sheds and a picture of the front of the station showing horse drawn trams and the lighting of the day. There are plenty of pictures of steam trains - including one taken during the train strike of 1955.
Holland Road is up next followed by Hove where there is a picture of a C class complete with snow plough and also one of a number of E, K and a Schools class stuck in Hove good yard during the 'worst winter in living memory' 1963 when coal froze in the wagons and the sea froze too.
The next section covers (Devils) Dyke junction and the Dyke branch itself complete with pictures of the Terriers hauling the motor trains and Railmotor No. 2.
Returning to the main line, Portslade & West Hove. Fishersgate, Southwick are covered before a section on Kingston Wharf complete with circa 1908 pictures of the 2 road jetty, horses being used for shunting and a P class tank - the first train on the wharf.
The section on Shoreham features more early photographs including a postcard showing railway carriages for bungalows fording the Arun, being pulled by horses across the water. There are three contrasting pictures of trains crossing the River Adur. The first showing the original timber bridge complete with Gladstone engine an oil lit coaches, the second features 'Ottery St Mary in 1952 crossing the replacement bridge and finally an electric going over the bridge (with a small amount of graffiti) and Lancing College in the background.
Shoreham Airport (believed to be the fist airport station in the country) is next. It used to be known as 'Bungalow Town Halt' (the book explains why) followed by Lancing, where there are maps and pictures of the carriage works along with an extract from Bluebell news which gives an idea of the work involved in repairing a coach at Lancing.
The book concludes with East Worthing and finally a lengthy section on Worthing itself.
All of Middleton Press books are in black and white