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A Walk through the tunnel

We hatched a plan

The two photographs here were taken sometime in 1965 when Kemp Town Station was still operational. Myself and two friends, all from Woodingdean, were interested in taking a trip to Kemp Town Station before it was closed. Between us we hatched a plan to access the whole line from London Road Station. These were the only shots I took, and I think the one looking out of the tunnel mouth into the station complex must be unique!

Do you have memories of the station? Please share them by posting a comment below.

No trains on a Sunday

We managed to scramble through a hole in the fence onto the track and walked over Lewes Road Viaduct. We proceeded to walk through the approach cutting near Elm Grove and walked through the tunnel to Kemp Town Station. Fortunately we had remembered our torches and also made sure we went on a Sunday when presumably there were no trains running.



The approach to the tunnel
Photo by Dave Crockatt
The station complex
Photo by Dave Crockatt

Comments about this page

  • Dave I’m impressed. A friend of mine and I had planned a similar venture two years earlier because we knew there was some interesting points and track work at the tunnel entrance. We never got round to it unfortunately. Luckily you took a couple of pictures for us to see.

    By Julian Saul (12/11/2014)
  • Hi Dave. I too grew up in Woodingdean in the 1940s and 50s and walking through that tunnel was something we often thought of doing but never got round to it.  So well done You for getting the job done, great photos too. In 1963 I worked for Endeavour Motor Company Commercial Vehicle Department we were often sent along to Kemptown Station to carry out repairs and maintenance on delivery lorries mostly Ford Thames ET6 4Ds and BMC FGs owned by Associated Deliveries Ltd (ADL) who where based there. I believe the company at that time was part of United Biscuits (UB) most of the vehicles carried dedicated liveries for McVities, Peek Freans, Jacobs etc. 1963 is probably better remembered for its severe winter weather, and working on lorries out in the open in sub-zero temperatures was no joke!  In order to stop us walking off the job we were supplied with copious amounts of hot soup also the odd pack of Custard Creams came our way (if you know what I mean) I remember one particularly cold snowy day we walked up to the entrance of the tunnel only to be met with an icy blast of wind it was difficult to stay on your feet, needless to say we didn’t venture to far into the tunnel. I also remember the serious accident that occurred at Kemptown Station in January 1963 when a locomotive crashed through the buffers and demolished part of the station building. Fortunately no one was seriously hurt although two members of the platform staff had a lucky escape. The subsequent inquire into the accident blamed ice on the rails?  Check out David Fisher’s very interesting abandoned railway projects page on this site.  It does seem a shame that nowadays the only visual reminder that Kemptown station ever existed is that nonsensical model steam locomotive at the front of the Bingo Hall.   

    By Chris Wrapson (14/11/2014)
  • Hi Julian, thanks for those comments. As regards the trackwork going into the tunnel, I believe I was informed that it’s almost unique, being the only example in the country where four separate tracks merge into one set of points. I do stand corrected on this! As a matter of interest the most informative book about Kemp Town Station is the Kemp Town Branch Line by Peter Harding which does contain a track diagram although even this publication hasn’t got a picture like mine, which might have merited inclusion!

    By Dave Crockatt (15/11/2014)
  • I remember back in the late 50s/early 60s when one train a week used to rattle through the tunnel. I was at Elm Grove School then and you could hear the rumbling in the school. I think it was a Friday when it went through. During the Second World War my grandfather, Alfred Brooker, would park his steam train in the tunnel at night so that German bombers did not see sparks from the engine.

    By Jenny Wilson (24/04/2015)

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