Railway Track And The Bunny Arch Bexhill
posted by Sarah Jenkins on 31 Jan 2014 at 7:53 pm
Here is a question.
When Beeching Road was being built it ended near the subway (The Bunny Arch) under the Bexhill West to Crowhurst Railway.
Now this must have been after 1967, and the Downs Road Bridge was already demolished. I have seen it said that the track on the Bexhill West line was lifted in 1965.
The thing is, that there was still a double track railway in good condition, complete with clean ballast, and looking like a used railway on top of the Bunny Arch around 1968-1969. My brother and I used to play on this bit of track (getting off the line when we heard a train coming, but off course none did, the trains were on th eCoast Line!) while our mum was giving her friend driving lessons on Beeching Road, but never went away from the Bunny Arch.
So, why was this bit of railway still there? And how far did it go in each direction?
I remember seeing bits of railway track in the back of a big tipper track when the rest of Beeching Road was being built.
It seems that the Bunny Arch is no more?
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The Bunny Arch
posted by David Nattress on 09 Feb 2014 at 8:30 pm
I remember well the Bunny Arch and of course the railway. Unfortunately the bunny arch is no more. The basic course of the footpath still runs from Downlands Avenue/Colebrook Road through the industrial Estate to Beeching Road and then onto Reginald Road.
I am uncertain when the track was taken away - maybe 1965 as you say, but I think it may have been a bit later than this - as you also wonder. Certainly I remember getting onto the tracks after the trains has ceased running and going into the huge signal box that was near the bunny arch. There were 4 - I think, sidings ending on buffers by Little Common Road next to the railway over-bridge - at the back of where Jewsons now is. I'm sure some trucks remained after the railway was shut down.
We certainly did not ever go on the tracks whilst the railway was still operating but I'm pretty sure the tracks stayed for maybe a couple of years or more after the shut-down in 1964, but, this could be the memory playing tricks.
There are 2 local books on the railway "A Journey Remembered" and "Between the Lines" by a Mr Paul Clark, http://www.heriotbooks.co.uk and a DVD was produced a few years ago. Got it from the library initially and then bought a copy. Also, there are quite a lot of hits and photo's on the internet about the line.
Happy to recall other memories of the line or I'll try and answer other questions. I knew it quite well, but, I don't recall all necessarily in good order!! (If you haven't already), do look on the web for information or try the books.
posted by Sarah Jenkins on 17 Feb 2014 at 7:52 pm
Thanks for the reply.
I have the books on order, but the DVD is news to me. Do you have the title?
I would have loved to find that signal box.
But we were young at the time, and had strict instructions to not wander too far.
That is why we didn't find out how far the rails went.
But, as the Little Common Road Bridge was already gone, it wouldn't have been far to the north!
I wonder why the track wasn't all lifted and taken away by rail? Could there have been a plan to connect the yard and station tracks to the LBSCR Coast line.
I do remember one of our trachers showing us an old Newspaper with a "mock up" photo of a bridge over Terminus Road....
posted by dave on 18 Feb 2014 at 3:53 am
The bunny arch is still there they have bricked up the ends but last time i was there you could still get in there it was very wet and decidedly smelly, I kind of got the impression they didnt want anyone in there.
posted by Dave Nattress on 23 Feb 2014 at 9:27 pm
Good to hear from you about this. Bexhill Library had the DVD for hire!! I borrowed it back in September 2011. I suggest you ask for it for when you're next in the town, there's a good chance they will still have it. I have it and could run a copy but wouldn't want to infringe the copyright or deprive the writer/author/producer of a few pence - seriously. This is why I buy music CD's still - (many), the writers/artists are worth my couple of quid - split 4 ways etc. or whatever they get on the bottom line.
The DVD was called "Bexhill West Railway", the commentary was by Mr Douglas Steadman. A website noted on the cover is http://www.onlinevideo.me.uk
The signal box was to the South of Little Common Road, (between the station and the bridge). At the time of dismantling the railway I am sure there was absolutely no plan to connect up to the Bexhill - Eastbourne - London Victoria line. However, possibly many years before, I think, emphasise think, this plan may have been mooted. I will try and find out. (Don't think I have dreamed this).
There is actually a lot of information about the line on the web. Look for a site "Disused Railway Stations" - you might be surprised how much information there is!
For the avoidance of doubt, I'm not a railway anorak and never was a "spotter" but
I still follow this thread occasionally when I find time. As a young boy back then, it was just one of those things that was of interest and I lived close by and went to school at the old Bexhill Down and obviously one could not miss the trains. As I've got older, haven't got the bus
pass yet thankfully - in a sense, the history of Bexhill and the district has become all the more important and certainly this local branch line is a great interest.
Railways are in great focus again; it's so obvious that so many lines should not have been closed down as now there is a need for alternative routes to spread the ever-increasing load. The Bexhill West connection to the Hastings - London line gave a rather quicker journey into London than Bexhill to Victoria did and does. It's an horrendous journey - did it recently for the first time in years.
Anyway, good luck. I have a fair amount of information including a track layout plan which shows the signal box and all the sidings - said I wasn't an anorak didn't I!! Another memory for me is that after closure of the line - the track was still in place and the 17 arches viaduct, we used to walk the old line - along the tracks, to go fishing in the Coombe Haven River - Stream.
Again, though, there's lots of information and photo's on the web.
posted by Dave Nattress on 23 Feb 2014 at 9:31 pm
Regarding your post of February 18th, are you sure the Bunny Arch is still there?? I'm sure it isn't and is very long gone. I'm sure now the route of it from Downlands Avenue/Colebrook Road through to Reginald Road/Victoria Road is now a surface footpath crossing Beeching Road. I think, that when it was shut and work to build the industrial estate was to start or was in progress, it probably was indeed bricked up.
Anyway, I'll go looking for it when I next can.
posted by Sarah Jenkins on 27 Feb 2014 at 8:01 pm
Hi Dave and Dave N.
It is possible that Dave may be talking about the stream culvert that was just to the North of the pedestrian subway known as the Bunny Arch (Lovely name!).
This would probably still be there....
I have ordered the DVD from the Kent and East Sussex Railway Website...thanks for supplying the title!
When We moved to Sidley C1967 the track was gone around Sidley. Though I seem to remember seeing the footbridge from a passing bus, I never got on it. There were a few steps and a gate left at the top of the bank though....
It seems that some consultants reccomended a connection between the two lines in the 1930s.
Our Teachers Newspaper seemed a lot more recent in the later 1960s though...
posted by dave on 04 Mar 2014 at 2:37 am
turn into beeching road from London road, head west until the bend in the road there is a parking lot off to the right drive down there and head left to the fence look through the fence you will see the bunny arch on the left. good hunting enjoy.
posted by David Nattress on 08 Mar 2014 at 5:16 pm
Thanks for the information; how gobsmacked am I?! I will look very soon.
posted by Brenda on 01 Apr 2014 at 4:34 pm
The bunny arch was virtually at the top of my road. I used to go through it almost daily. I spent many happy hours with a family who used to have an allotment near there. We as kids loved watching the old steam engines on the turn table!! I also recall running like the devil after a young man tried to kiss me in it as he walked me home from the athletic club dance on a Wednesday night. Wouldn't run now lol!!! So sad to hear all that has gone now.
posted by Graham Kent on 26 Aug 2015 at 8:41 am
The Windsor Road gang (of which I was a member) spent a lot of time playing in that area when we were about about 8 or 9. I remember the Bunny Arch very well. We used to borrow our Dad's well is and wade through the drainage pipe and venture out into the allotments on the western end. We used to scrump apples and raspberries and be shouted at by the signal man from the signal box then make a hasty retreat back into the pipe. The stream passed through a horses field which flooded in very wet weather. We used to collect frogspawn in February and sticklebacks from the stream. The stream at the south end passed into a metal-gated culvert which passed under the road on its way to Edgerton Park and exited through a big steel pipe on the beach near the clock tower. Happy childhood memories!
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