Programme Archive

Reports on recent meetings and visits.

(This part of the website is under construction)


Saturday 8th June
10:30 am

Visit Bishopstone Station and Tidemills

Bishopstone station is a fine example of the work of James Robb Scott (See SIH50 where one of his Bishopstone drawings is on the cover) but when we last saw it in July 2017 it was in a very sorry state despite being listed. Since then it has been adopted by The Friends of Bishopstone Station (FOBS) who have restored some of the rooms for community use, installed replica Southern railway signage and redecorated the booking hall. It all looks superb.

Meet at 1030 at Bishopstone station (Station Road BN25 2RB, TV469998) where we will be met by Jim Stanford of FOBS who, after coffee (donations welcome) will shew us the completed rooms and those where work is still in progress. After this we will proceed to the abandoned 18C village of Tidemills where we will be given a guided tour by Will Pilfold of Newhaven Museum. As there are no eateries around Bishopstone please bring a packed lunch and drink which we can enjoy on the beach as it will be a fine warm day (!) If there is time left at the end of the tour we can proceed to the Garden Centre in Newhaven for a cup of tea and a quick visit to the adjoining museum.

Please register with Alan Green ( or 01243 784915) if you intend to attend. Mobile number on the day only 07503 727047

Sunday 26th May
10:30 am

Guided walk around Brighton’s historic Lanes and North Laine led by Geoffrey Mead.

This walk will be around Brighton’s Old Town [The Lanes] with a short foray into the former industrial quarter of North Laine. The Old Town is now upmarket tourist content, but well into the 20th  century there were a wide range of industries located there, along with storage areas and distribution; we will weave through the streets, passages and twittens to discover some of this lost industrial heritage.

Meet at Brighton Museum entrance in Royal Pavilion Gardens.. Walk will be about 2 hours. Bus stops nearby at Old Steine and at North Street or a 15 minute walk from Brighton Station. Car parks [expensive! ] at Church Street or at Brighton Station.

Saturday 16th March
2:00 pm

A history of the Southern Region Diesel-Electric Multiple Units – their introduction, use in service and preservation.

Presentation by Jim Gibbons a member of the voluntary group who are renovating the units.

The line between Tunbridge Wells and St. Leonards was constructed during one of the ‘Railway Manias’ in the mid-19th Century. The newly constructed tunnels were in danger of collapsing due to insufficient courses of lining brickwork. The issuewas resolved by providing the additional required brick courses inside the existing structures resulting in a reduced clearance and trains having to be of lesser width than the rest of the then system.

The 1955 ‘Modernisation Plan’ sought to eliminate steam traction from the UK’s railway system by electrification, and where not justified, by dieselisation. The then Southern Region opted for a Diesel-Electric multiple unit option for the route and introduced them in 1957. The trains soldiered on until the line was electrified and re-signalled in 1987 when the lines through the restricted tunnels were singled permitting standard width vehicles to be used.

The Hastings Diesels Group was formed in 1986 aimed at preserving one or more of the unique vehicles. It is now Hastings Diesels Ltd. and owns 16 vehicles including 5 motor coaches of which 9 are currently operational.

Jim Gibbons was for 32 years in British Railways operations management ultimately becoming Network South East’s Professional Head of Operations. He is currently an independent consultant working across the railway industry and is the voluntary operations consultant for Hastings Diesels.

Saturday 17th February
2:00 pm

Martin Snow and his famous Film Nite (matinee)

Back by popular demand. Martin Snow will be showing an informative and entertaining series of film clips from many obscure sources. All material not shown to us before on too many subjects to mention here.


Saturday 18th March
2:00 pm

By Rail to Chichester 1846 to 2016

Alan Green describes the long history that Chichester has had with railways. The railway reached Chichester in 1846 when what was to become the West Coast Line of the LBSCR was extended from Shoreham. The following year it opened to Havant and then on to Portsmouth. Passengers for London had to change at Brighton, but the journey time was still a fraction of what it had been by stagecoach. In 1881 a new line opened to Midhurst and in 1897 the infamous Selsey Tramway opened, so it was now possible to travel North, South East and West of the city by train. Chichester was also the freight frontier between the Central and South Western sections of the SR and had a large marshalling yard, so there was still plenty of steam activity even though the line had been electrified in 1938.
In this illustrated talk the rise of the railways serving Chichester will be plotted and also the decline from 1935 when the lines north and south were closed following the Beeching report and the ending of wagon-load freight

Saturday 18th February
2:00 pm

Martin Snow and his famous Film Nite (matinee)

Back by popular demand. Martin Snow will be showing an informative and entertaining series of film clips from many obscure sources.
All material not shown to us before on too many subjects to mention here.

Saturday 21st January
2:00 pm

Sussex and its wonderful Narrow Gauge

Our member Peter Williams takes us on a journey from west to east across our County to look at narrow gauge railways. We shall travel from Chichester in the west to Rye in the east and look at many railways from 18 inch to 3 foot gauge that our County supported, both in industry and as a means of passenger transport. Some of these lines are well-known but this talk will reveal those that are more obscure.