Current Operational Steam Engines

In the late 1950’s a new type of suburban diesel unit was introduced in the form of the DEMU Units or Thumpers, these powerful diesel units provided their own power unlike the Electric multiple units which meant they could travel along the less busy branch lines and lines which did not have an electric link.

The Lavender Line purchased 205033 in early 2005; just a few months after the final rail tour named ‘The Last Thump’ took place of which 205033 had the honour of leading the 9 coach thumper special out of London Bridge at the head of the train. After covering almost 2.5 million miles on network rail 205033 was in need of much care and attention, within months of her arrival work was started and our resident thumper specialist Chris set to work stripping and rubbing down the paint to ensure that she will one day look as good as she did when being rolled out the works!

Due to the immense amount of necessary work needed on the unit the bulk of the restoration has continued on the power car unit to ensure that the work has been carried out properly. This left the railway with one trailer unit still in Connex colours, fortunately in late 2007 a newly restored trailer unit belonging to Hastings Diesels arrived at Isfield which enabled our own power unit to join with the freshly painted trailer unit number 1121.

Although the work still continues on 205033 she can often be seen on thumper special days paired with the Hastings trailer car recreating the perfect picture of how these humble thumpers would have look 50 years ago along the southern region.

The Gift Shop

Our gift shop situated on platform 2 is home to a small collection of railway gifts, ranging from children’s colouring books to railway DVD’s.

The shop itself is a replica of the railway’s original waiting room of which was removed in the early 1970’s and relocated at the nearby Bluebell Railway as their model railway centre. In the early 80’s the then owner of the line Mr Millham erected a new replica building to house the railways gift shop.

Signal Box

This grade 2 listed building was one of the first buildings restored on the site when it was privately purchased back in the early 1980’s. To this day it still provides the insight into what it would have been like when the railway was in its heyday, from watching the first goods trains making their way to London to tracing the footsteps of secret trains making there way to Newhaven during the preparation of D-day during the Second World War.

Beautifully restored inside and out this building provides the perfect background to a typical country station, The starter signal can still be moved just outside the box by pulling one of the red levers!

Children’s Playground

At the Lavender Line you will find a small but adventurous playground in the gardens of the station master’s house for children of all ages. With swings, climbing frames and slides there is enough here to keep any small child entertained whilst waiting for the train to arrive.

We also provide a small number of picnic tables as well as chairs to accommodate families at lunchtimes if they wish.

The Picnic Area

Situated at the far end of platform 2 our newly built picnic area has several picnic tables within a fenced off area for families to enjoy their lunch whilst watching the trains departing from the station.

When the steam engines are running and you may be lucky enough to watch the crew taking water from our newly restored water tower, don’t get too close though!

The Viewing Area

If you feel adventurous you can explore the lesser known areas of the railway such as the viewing area which is situated at the top of the embankment past the engine shed.

Take a stroll to the end of the car park, turn left and you’ll find a secret path which runs alongside the engine shed, walk for about 3 minutes along side the shed and you will eventually arrive at the railway viewing area where you can enjoy unique views and photo opportunities from the top of the embankment. In spring you will find at times this area is awash with bluebells.

The Buffet Boach

Our buffet coach is a typical example of a 1960’s bar car which would have been a common sight on many trains in the days of steam.

Finished in a beautiful southern railway green lined in yellow this coach can host up to 40 people during wine and dine events and on our ever popular bangers and mash nights. With its fully licensed bar on board and drinks facilities, this coach can provide accommodation for anything from children’s birthdays parties to cream teas.

The Castle Dock Crane

As at most stations in the countryside, the cattle dock was one of the key parts of the station. The dock provided the only real means of loading and off loading goods such as cattle, parcels and coal arriving to or departing from the station.

Our original LBSCR dock crane can be seen next to our model railway office and shows how the dock would have looked during the railway’s heyday.