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Billingshurst

When the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway was formed on 27th July 1846 it's route map looked a little like an inverted "T" with the main lines from London to Brighton, Brighton to Hastings and Brighton to Portsmouth, plus a few branches. Under construction at the time was a line from Three Bridges to Horsham which subsequently opened in 1848 (some twelve years after the "Railway Hotel" had opened in Horsham) and was then extended to Petworth by way of Billingshurst and Pulborough, the new line opening on 15th October 1859.

The photographs on these pages were all taken on 26th October 2002.

 
Billingshurst The up platform looking south, the nearest building is the former goods shed.

photograph by Glen Woods

 
A view showing the underside of the canopy on the up platform (No. 1).

photograph by Glen Woods

Billingshurst
 
Billingshurst The Station Building from the access road.

photograph by Glen Woods

 
A crowded signal! The up starter (a good example of a Southern Railway rail-built one) with a plethora of notices attached, including one instructing drivers to "Check Signal Aspect"!

One of the features of the line is it still retains its semaphore signalling from Amberley to south of Horsham.

photograph by Glen Woods

Billingshurst
 
Billingshurst Billingshurst Signalbox, crammed in between the station and the road.

photograph by Glen Woods

 
The Signalbox at Billingshurst is not the original as it was built in 1876 (although it might possibly have been built a little earlier), and is now unique in being the sole remaining Saxby & Farmer Type 1b 'box in use. The rocker frame is definitely from 1876, it is just the building itself where there is a slight query on its age. Not the most attractive of Signalbox designs, this S&F timber one has horizontal lapped boarding of 6½ inches width and a roof that seems a size too small!

The firm of Saxby & Farmer started off as plain Saxby. John Saxby was foreman of the LB&SC's Brighton works and, it is said, became interested in signalling in 1854 after observing the pointsman at Bricklayers Arms Junction making a mistake. He experimented with the interlocking of points and signals and, having several installations in place on that railway, in 1857/8 set up his own business in premises rented from the LB&SC at Haywards Heath, whilst still working for the railway. He was now in a position to supply other railways, but there were virtually no orders which would suggest that there was virtually no interlocking of points and signals outside the LB&SC before 1860. In 1862 he left the railway, now well positioned at the forefront of modern signalling, to concentrate on his own business. In 1863 one John Farmer, who was the LB&SC's Assistant Traffic Manager, left the railway to join Saxby and add his name to the firm. Incidentally, had Saxby not missed his train in 1861 he would have been involved in the Clayton Tunnel accident, which could well have been the end of his work!

 
Billingshurst Signal Box from the down platform showing the access steps between the box and the footbridge.

photograph by Glen Woods

Billingshurst
 
Billingshurst The former goods shed from the road access side.

photograph by Glen Woods

 
One of the windows of the former goods shed, also found on other goods sheds such as Arundel and Pulborough.

photograph by Glen Woods

Billingshurst
 
Billingshurst The new platform shelter on the down platform.

photograph by Ron Strutt

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This page was last updated 19 January 2005

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