Lavender Line marks 50th anniversary of last train with ‘Thumper’ duet

THE Lavender Line has held a special event to mark the 50th anniversary of the closure of the LBSCR Lewes to Uckfield line on which it is built.

The line’s two ‘Thumper’ DEMUs, Nos. 1118 and 1133, ran services invoking the memory of the last train on February 23, 1969, which comprised sister set No. 1316.

Double ‘Thumpers’ side by side: BR-liveried No. 1133 and No. 1118 in BR blue at Isfield station during the 50th anniversary of the Lewes-Uckfield closure event on February 23. CLIVE HANLEY

The seeds of the Lewes-Uckfield closure were sown in 1964 when Stage 1 of the Lewes Relief Road, built to ease congestion in Lewes, was approved by Minister of Transport Ernest Marples with a 75% grant towards the £350,000 cost.

This stage involved the construction of the Phoenix Causeway bridge to Cliffe High Street, the path of which was blocked by the embankment carrying the Lewes to Uckfield line.

Were the railway to remain open, another road bridge or level crossing would be required at a cost of £135,000.

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