Narrator: Keith Farr, Ian Pringle
Format: PAL, 1 hour 45 minutes
Status: In Stock
While its neighbour the Bluebell Railway has survived to become one of Britain’s foremost preserved railways, the ‘Cuckoo Line’ between Polegate and Eridge in East Sussex succumbed to the Beeching Axe in the mid-1960s.
Many railway enthusiasts might argue this rural route to be equally worthy of preservation since it wound its way across the picturesque Wealden landscape and possessed several impressive mock-Tudor stations, typical of the style built by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSCR) in the 1880s.
Sadly such an outcome became an impossible dream.
Nevertheless, as this programme reveals, a rich legacy of cine-film and still images has survived to enable us to enjoy and cherish the memory of a much loved single line branch, once a through route between London and the South Coast and the haunt of a variety of locomotive types.
Drawing on a wealth of excellent archive cine-film and still photographs, the film includes journeys over the Cuckoo Line behind steam in both directions re-living the timeless events at each station along the way.
Scenes are also captured over the last weekend of passenger services on scheduled trains and ‘The Wealdsman’, an enthusiast’s special excursion run by the LCGB.
Latterly the truncated DEMU shuttle between Polegate and Hailsham is seen before it too was withdrawn in the autumn of 1968.
A brief history explains the line’s complex development, followed by a detailed station survey revealing the handsome ‘Wealden’ style of architecture employed on many buildings.
In addition, the living memories of former railway employees are captured, giving a fascinating insight into the day to day life of the line.
In conclusion, a ‘Then and Now’ sequence shows us what is left of the Cuckoo Line in the 21st Century, some forty-five years after the last passenger train made its final journey from Eridge to Polegate – now a treasured memory of times past.