Bluebell Railway calls for restoration of historic station

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A HERITAGE railway line has launched an appeal to restore a historic station to its former glory.

The Bluebell Railway is hoping to raise at least £ 500,000 to help repair leaky roofs and rotten beams at Grade II listed Horstead Keynes station near Haywards Heath.

Railroad call coordinator Trevor Swainson said: “The station buildings were built in the Victorian era and are now showing signs of wear and tear.

“We regard Horsted Keynes as our ‘crown jewel’ and hope this appeal will make the station shine again.”

Horsted Keynes has been used by many film crews and TV production companies as a location for period dramas thanks to his appearance.

Shows featuring the habe station included Downton Abbey, Poirot and the film version of The Woman In Black.

Built in 1882, Horsted Keynes was originally part of the Lewes-East Grinstead line of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway.

It was purchased by the Bluebell Railway in the 1960s, who preserved, maintained and decorated it in the style of a 1930s Southern Railway junction station.

A study of the station by the railroad calculated that the first phase of repair work will cost at least half a million pounds, with the initial repairs to be made on the station and platform five.

Members of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society have already pledged £ 20,000 for the restoration, and the charitable branch of the railway is pledging to match all public donations by the end of January up to a total of £ 150,000.

Mr Swainson said: “For its age, Horsted Keynes station is in remarkably good condition, but now is the time to weather the deterioration.

“We believe it is one of the largest stations on preserved railway tracks and the only preserved junction station.”

The Bluebell Railway is the oldest heritage railway of its kind, spanning 11 miles of track from Sheffield Park in East Sussex to East Grinstead in West Sussex.

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