|After reading about the recently reported East
Grinstead woodyard railway we have been contacted by another reader
concerning an even more mysterious line. This was apparently located quite
near to East Grinstead in the grounds of a large house in or near Forest
Said to be 10¼" or 15" gauge, over 1 mile long and
powered by several live steam locos it operated in the 1920s and
1930s probably being lifted about the time of the second world war
when the Government tried to collect every piece of "unused" metal
ranging in size from such things as saucepans to park railings. A campaign
said to be more of a morale booster than a desperate metal shortage
- what a waste! Some clues are that there was a main loop line
around the gardens with a long siding going down to the main road.
This was used to bring up the milk and morning papers, although
whether driven by the butler a la the railway in Chigley, we don't
know! Possibly not as there was a full time chauffer/train driver on
the domestic staff, with repairs to track and rolling stock being in
the hands of the garden staff. Small country house railways were by
no means uncommon the the early 20th century sometimes helped by the
large amount of ex-war department track built for use in France
later being sold off very cheaply.
One possible location is a large property, now a school to the east of
Forest Row. On a recent visit to an adjacent home we saw a level
section of roadway that was very reminiscent of railway earthworks,
running in an essentially level gentle curve down to Hartfield Road.
If not built as a railway line then these earthworks must have been
built for a specific reason as they are certainly too good to be
laid as a simple road, and it is not common to see two tracks side
by side both curving off in the same direction.
We have been told no more than this and have just
spent a good few hours studying some old Ordinance Survey maps to
try to find possible sites - there are in fact many large properties
in the area going over towards the Kent border so this line does
seem a distinct possibility.
If you have any knowledge of such a line, especially if you have
any photographs them please get in touch with us at info-at-railwaytrains.co.uk.
With your help we would love to be able to put another old
railway on the internet map.