Hellingly Hospital Railway - Closure

Closure

In the late 1950s, the hospital—under the control of the Hailsham Hospitals Management Committee since the 1948 establishment of the National Health Service—decided to convert the hospital's boilers from coal to oil. The railway was therefore no longer needed to transport coal; the last load was delivered on 10 March 1959, and the empty coal wagon returned to Hellingly on 25 March 1959.

Under the terms of the agreement between the hospital authorities, the LBSCR, and its successors, the hospital authorities were obliged to keep the railway in good repair to allow its use by LBSCR/Southern/British Railways wagons. With a greatly reduced need for goods traffic to the hospital following the conversion of the boilers, it was decided that the railway was not worth the expense of continued maintenance and necessary upgrading, and the line was officially closed on 25 March 1959 following the departure of the last coal wagon.

The line was used for irregular and occasional excursions by railway enthusiasts for a short period after its official closure, using the electric locomotive and a brake van borrowed from British Railways. The exact date of the last running over the line is not recorded; the last recorded use of the line was an excursion organised by the Norbury Transport and Model Railway Club on 4 April 1959, but it is known that later excursions were run on the line before the track was lifted. In the early 1960s a railway society in Yorkshire proposed to buy the track as a preserved railway. However, as the psychiatric hospital was still open the request was not considered practical, and the track was lifted in the early 1960s. The fittings and locomotive were disposed of by H.Ripley and Sons of Hailsham.

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