50 years on - Beeching’s lasting impact on Horsham district rail links

Southwater station in the 1950s/60s.
Southwater station in the 1950s/60s.

Fifty years ago today (Wednesday March 27) a report was published that had a major impact on rail travellers across the country.

Dr Beeching’s plans for modernising the British railway network were announced which included closing a number of stations in the Horsham district.

The County Times announced the news with the headline ‘Coast and village links to go?’

It reported that the direct link from Horsham to Brighton would disappear as between Itchingfield junction, south of Christ’s Hospital station and Shoreham junction, the line would be closed to passenger traffic.

Stations which would close would be Southwater, West Grinstead, Partridge Green, Henfield, Steyning and Bramber.

Also due for the axe were Slinfold, Rudgwick, Baynards and Cranleigh.

It was noted that at Slinfold there was only an average of 20 people going out and coming in per day.

Southwater had an average of 35 commuters.

Steyning was the hardest hit as it had about 800 people travelling per day, with takings in the region of £1,000 per month.

In an editorial, the editor commented that the Horsham to Brighton line never stood a chance of surviving as it had ‘antiquated engines and old-fashioned dirty rolling stock’.

It added: “Whatever the outcome of the shake-up, one thing is certain - an even greater burden will be placed on the roads of the county.”