Hellingly Hospital Railway - Operations


Following the railway grouping of 1923, the LBSCR became a part of the newly formed Southern Railway and the agreements between the hospital (renamed the East Sussex Mental Hospital in 1919) and the LBSCR were updated. The wooden platform at Hellingly station was drastically shortened in 1922. Because service levels depended on patient numbers and the hospital's coal and food requirements, the line never operated to a timetable. By 1931, passenger numbers had fallen to such an extent that the hospital authorities no longer considered passenger usage of the line to be economical, and the passenger service was withdrawn. The passenger car was moved to the hospital grounds, fitted with an awning, and became the hospital's sports pavilion. surviving into the mid-1990s before finally being destroyed in a fire started by vandals. The wooden platform at Hellingly station was removed in 1932, and the platform at the hospital end was converted into a coal bay.

There were only two minor accidents throughout the existence of the line: a car which collided with the locomotive whilst driving through the hospital grounds, and a wagon whose brakes failed whilst stabled at Farm Siding, which rolled down the line to Hellingly station.

On 22 November 1939, plans were put in place for the restoration of passenger services on the line, to allow ambulance trains to reach the hospital, and authorisation was given for their operation. However, the line was never used to transport patients, as although Park House was used as a hospital by the Canadian Army during the Second World War, patients were discharged by ambulance trains at Hellingly station and transferred to Park House by road.

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