Cuckoo Line - Accidents


The line had a good safety record: there was only one reported accident on the line. On 1 September 1897 at Tooth's Bank, 2 miles north of Heathfield, the 08:18am service from Eastbourne was running around 4 minutes late and was trying to pick up time in order to meet a connecting train at Groombridge. As the train entered the curve at around 40 mph it left the tracks. Driver James McKinlay was killed and Fireman Lewis Minns seriously injured, whilst 30 passengers suffered minor injuries.

In April 1968 a lorry collided with a low road bridge under the line at Horsebridge north of Hailsham damaging the bridge causing immediate closure of the line. As the freight train service between Hailsham and Heathfield was due to be withdrawn the following month it was not considered worthwhile repairing the bridge so the line was prematurely abandoned forthwith. Some wagons isolated at Heathfield goods yard were cut up on site.

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