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Track Layout at West Hoathly/New Coombe Bridge

This page presents a diagram of the track layout at West Hoathly station on the former Lewes & East Grinstead Railway, as it was in 1910, and also the layout of the temporary terminus at New Coombe Bridge, as used by the Bluebell Railway between 1992 and 1994.
1910: The track layout was probably little changed between construction in 1882 and 1910, or for that matter up until closure of the line in 1958. The down-side buildings and footbridge were removed in 1964, the tracks were lifted in 1964/5, and the main station building demolished in late 1967, and cleared to make way for housing development, which fortunately never took place.
West Hoathly track layout in 1910

The station site was purchased by the Bluebell Railway in 1974 but it was to be many years before rails were laid to bring steam trains through the half-mile long Sharpthorne tunnel back to the station site. The delay was caused by the complexities of the planning system, culminating in a public enquiry which resulted in the railway being granted planning permission and a Light Railway Order for the extension to East Grinstead.

1992-4: The Bluebell Railway's extension reached New Coombe Bridge in 1992. For two years this was a temporary terminus with no platform, and the simple run-round loop shown, just to the north of the former West Hoathly station platforms. It was not possible for passengers to alight from the trains, since one of the stipulations of the planning permission was that there should be no such facilities, thus protecting local residents from an increase in road traffic.
New Coombe Bridge run-round loop, 1992-4

In 1993 the rebuilding of New Coombe Bridge was completed, allowing the construction of the railway line to continue northwards to Kingscote, which was reached early in 1994. With the opening through to Kingscote the run-round loop at New Coombe Bridge was removed and the line through the site is now a single track plain line. There are still no plans for passenger facilities or a platform at West Hoathly, although this may not be ruled out for the longer term, since when the extension is completed to East Grinstead the line could provide a useful public-transport facility for the residents of West Hoathly and Sharpthorne. These adjacent villages are the only substantial population along the length of the current line, Horsted Keynes village being some considerable distance from that station.

The Subterranea Britannica's site for disused stations has a page with details, a map and photos of West Hoathly Station
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Last updated 6 March 2009 by Richard Salmon.
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