The Hellingly Hospital Railway
was a light railway
owned and operated by the East Sussex County Council
. It was used to deliver coal and passengers to Hellingly Hospital
, a psychiatric hospital
, via a spur from the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway
’s Cuckoo Line
at Hellingly railway station
The railway was constructed in 1899 and opened to passengers on 20 July 1903, following its electrification in 1902. After the railway grouping of 1923
, passenger numbers declined so significantly that the hospital authorities no longer considered passenger usage of the line to be economical, and the service was withdrawn. The railway closed to freight in 1959, following the hospital's decision to convert its coal boilers to oil, which rendered the railway unnecessary.
The route took a mostly direct path from a junction immediately south of Hellingly Station to Hellingly Hospital, past sidings
known as Farm Siding and Park House Siding respectively, used as stopping places to load and unload produce and supplies from outbuildings of the hospital. Much of the railway has since been converted to footpath
, and many of the buildings formerly served by the line are now abandoned.
Construction and opening
In 1897, East Sussex County Council purchased of land at Park Farm, about three miles (5 km) north of Hailsham
, from the Earl of Chichester
, to be the site of a new county lunatic asylum
which would eventually become known as Hellingly...