Devil's Dyke

The Dyke Railway

Reproduced with permission from the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder, 1990

Please note that this text is an extract from a reference work written in 1990.  As a result, some of the content may not reflect recent research, changes and events.

b) The DYKE RAILWAY: A conventional railway also operated from Brighton to the Devil's Dyke. Opened on 1 September 1887 by the Brighton and Dyke Railway Company, it left the Shoreham line at Aldrington and ran alongside Amherst Crescent, Rowan Avenue and Poplar Avenue (which were, of course, built later), past Brighton and Hove Golf Course, to a station at Devil's Dyke Farm, some 200 feet below and over half a mile from the hotel; the total length from Aldrington was about 3.5 miles at an average gradient of 1:45. However, as the popularity of motoring increased and the masses were able to drive all the way to the hotel, the line lost its attraction and eventually closed on 31 December 1938. Dyke Junction Halt, later Aldrington Halt, had opened on 3 September 1905, and there was another stop at Rowan Halt in Rowan Avenue from 12 January 1934. From 1891 trains also stopped on request at Golf Club Halt for the Brighton and Hove golf-course; an automatic bell in the clubhouse would warn members that a train was about to leave the Dyke Station. The platform at the Dyke Station and the site of Golf Club Halt may still be seen. The course of the railway itself now forms a pleasant walk from Hangleton Way (near The Downsman public house) to the Golf Club Halt. There was also a bogus 'Hangleton Halt' which was marked on maps by an unscrupulous developer! {81,82}

Any numerical cross-references in the text above refer to resources in the Sources and Bibliography section of the Encyclopaedia of Brighton by Tim Carder.

Photo:Dyke Railway Station, c. 1920s: Train at Dyke Railway Station.

Dyke Railway Station, c. 1920s: Train at Dyke Railway Station.

Image reproduced with kind permission from Brighton and Hove in Pictures by Brighton and Hove City Council

This page was added on 18/02/2007.
Comments about this page

I have never seen a picture of the Aldrington end of the Dyke Road railway. I am sure there has never been a photo as I have never seen one in any of the books I have borrowed from the library. Does one exist?

By jill simkins (26/02/2007)

I would draw Jill's attention to 'The Dyke Branch Line', a booklet by Peter A. Harding, published in 2000 by the author himself (ISBN 0 9523458 5 4) and currently still available from specialist transport bookshops (at the time of writing this). This is an excellent short history and description of the line with many pictures. It includes one of a Terrier and 'balloon' trailer at Aldrington Halt when the halt was known as Dyke Junction Halt, plus another of the same train passing the nearby actual junction. There is also one of the Dyke branch's own Sentinel steam railcar at Aldrington Halt platform.  I also commend the same author's similar booklet 'The Kemp Town Branch Line, 1999 (ISBN 0 9523458 4 6), a similarly comprehensive portrait of Brighton's other 'white elephant' railway branch.

By Len Liechti (26/04/2007)

I lived at 46 Poplar Avenue from 1974 to 1984. My dad dug up the end of our garden for vegetables and discovered railway sleepers from the old Dyke Railway - wish he had kept them! Great to have seen evidence of this bygone railway!

By Jo (15/04/2010)

With regard to ALDRINGTON HALT railway station - I have one of the 'Totem' signs from there.

By G Reeve (07/06/2010)

With regard to the Dyke Railway, I draw attention to the book written by Paul Clark The Railways of Devils Dyke (1976).Though out of print, it is possible to borrow copies from local libraries. I co-produced, with Paul, a short documentary film about the history of the Devil's Dyke, which contains some rare archive film of the railway including scenes of the old Dyke station. The programme is now available on DVD.JOHN PAYNE

By John Payne (12/05/2011)

There's a great video on YouTube showing the train branching off at Aldrington, going behind Amherst Crescent, Rowan Avenue and I think Northease Drive. Then arriving at the Dyke Station. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCxflHd2MjY I would love to see a photo of Rowan Halt; my dad still lives in the road.

By Lydia (17/07/2011)

My father worked on the Dyke railway when he left school at 14 - children worked in his day - so that would have been around 1936. He travelled every day from Brighton Station to The Dyke and he told me that it was a lovely job. I assume that it was quite busy in the summertime. By 1939 he was in the army, eventually heading out to North Africa. I often look at the images of the Dyke Railway and picture my dad as a young teenager in the prickly worsted uniforms the railway had in those days! 

By Henry Vernon Page (22/07/2013)

"I also commend the same author's booklet 'The Kemp Town Branch Line, 1999 (ISBN 0 9523458 4 6), a similarly comprehensive portrait of Brighton's other 'white elephant' railway branch. The Kemp Town branch was no white elephant! It was built to forestall any possibility of the South East Railway Co seeking to enter Brighton from the East, thereby to protect its territory.

By Henry Vernon Page (23/07/2013)

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.