Lavender Line – history of the line

When railways took off in the early part of the 19th century, a vast array of rail networks soon spread throughout the country creating the opportunity for goods, post, live stock and people to travel long distances in the shortest amount of time. Isfield station was no exception, and by October 1858 the Uckfield and Lewes railway soon opened its link through the village allowing the community to expand with the newly opened railway providing direct trains to London and Lewes. This enabled live stock and goods to be transported quickly from the countryside stations in the south east to the busy depots of London and then allowed further distribution throughout the rest of the country.

Between 1859 and 1922 the London Brighton and South Coast Railway took over the running of the line along with a vast portion of the network in the south of England. By this time the line had become extremely busy with readily accessible trains to London, Brighton, Lewes, Eastbourne and Hastings, and although not all trains called at Isfield, there was still an intensive timetable for such a small station. By 1923 the railway network had been divided into the great four and so Isfield station became part of the Southern Railway and today Isfield is painted in the cream and green colours of the that organisation which helps provide a perfect picture of how the station would have appeared some 80 years ago.

By 1948 the entire railway network had been nationalised due to its dilapidated state following world war two and something then had to be done to save money which the railway was loosing rapidly! In the early 1950’s a certain Dr Beeching was put in charge of sorting out the UK rail network and began by making major cut backs and closures to the lines that were loosing the largest amounts of money. Unfortunately by 1965 plans had been made to sever the line between Uckfield and Lewes to save heavy money from maintenance bills and from running empty trains and so by February 1969 the railway had been ripped up and sold leaving the stations between Uckfield and Lewes, such as Isfield and its sister station at Balcome Mills to become abandoned and derelict.