Hailsham Common (under construction)

A London, Brighton & South Coast Railway model to be set in the Victorian era






Related sites – East Grinstead Town - Rowfant Grange - LB&SCR Scratch Builds


Member:  The Brighton Circle (see also their LB&SCR site) and the Historical Model Railway Society




Hailsham is a market town in East Sussex, about 8 miles north of Eastbourne. It is situated on flat land with the South Downs to the south-west, and the Wealden sandstone hills to the north. In Victorian times there was a fortnightly cattle market, and its notable industry continues to be rope and string making (the 1875 map showed 5 rope walks: NLS map). The station opened in 1849 as the northern terminus to a 3 mile branch line which connected to the Brighton-Lewes-Hastings line at Polegate, and it was located to the south of the then town area, on Hailsham Common. A branch from Polegate to Eastbourne opened at the same time. In 1880 the Hailsham line was extended north to Heathfield and later that same year to Redgate Mill Junction near Eridge, thus creating a through link to Groombridge and Tunbridge Wells [West].


The Hailsham to Eridge line gained the title “The Cuckoo Line” as Sussex tradition has it that the first cuckoo of spring is released each year at Heathfield Fair on April 14th by an old woman who keeps them throughout the winter months! The route closed in 1968 (see Disused Station web site) and is now a walking and cycling path known as the Cuckoo Trail. There is a detailed history of the line by Alan Elliott, entitled The Cuckoo Line (Wild Swan Publications).


The model called Hailsham Common (plan) is set in 1880 and based on Hailsham just prior to the changes which took place that year (map) but sometimes operated with stock from as late as c.1910.


Kit and scratch built models depict stock from the late 1840s onwards, thus covering a few of Craven’s 72 locomotive classes, as well as the less diverse but equally colourful offerings of his successors, Stroudley (1870-1889) and Billinton (1890-1904).


The Prototype





The plan of Hailsham station is based on the 1875 Ordnance Survey map (NLS map). However, that survey did not show any crossovers. An early photograph clearly shows a crossover, and what looks like part of a second crossover (Hailsham Historical Society), and the plan given here shows their approximate positions (note that there is also a possibility that the apparent second crossover reflects a quite different track plan in the 1860s to that known from the 1870s). The station was small and if faithfully modelled in 4mm would measure about 9ft from the first point to the end of the platform line, and the entire station area could be modelled in 12ft. However, the brickyard siding which served William Beeny’s brickworks would make it about 7ft deep!


The membership of The Brighton Circle have been extremely help in making suggestions, and furnishing details extracted from Working Timetables, signalling records, photographs and other documents; special thanks to Jonathan Abson, Michael Ball, Richard Barton, Derek Coe, Nick Holliday, Barry Luck, John Minnis, John Ritter, David Searle, Geoff Smith, Simon Turner, Mike Waldron.


Permanent Way


The opening survey report (National Archives, MT 29/8) noted that the station stood on a common near to Hailsham, whose population probably did not contain more than 1,600; cattle traffic was expected as was supplying coal. No embankment was more than 15 feet high, laid with a slope of 2 to 1; track was ballasted with chalk; rails of 31 lb/yard of “bridge type” and laid on cross sleepers. It was noted that these rails were taken second-hand from another line which needed to be re-laid with heavier rail. Mention was also made of the footpath under the line.


Even the old London & Brighton Railway had used 75 lb rail (Howard Turner, 1:139) and the LB&SCR continued to do so until the 1890s. Ballast was usually of beach shingle topped with gravel.


Services 1849 - 1858


Initially the Eastbourne and Hailsham branches were operated by a single train reversing at Polegate (The Brighton Circular 30: 113). However, the locals had objected to that arrangement as early as 1850 (The Brighton Circular 29: 198). The timetable of 1852 apparently still showed a single working from Eastbourne via Polegate to Hailsham (The Brighton Circular 14: 96). Sample working timetables from 1853 onwards have been consulted and from that date all trains were Polegate to Hailsham only, with Polegate to Eastbourne being separately timetabled; the passenger timetable of 1856 stated that passengers between Hailsham and Eastbourne had to change carriages. Amongst the few samples of Eastbourne working timetables consulted, Eastbourne had more workings but where they coincided with a train to Hailsham there were simultaneous arrival and/or departure times at Polegate.


In the mid-1850s there were 9 trains a day (7 Sunday), with the first train departing Polegate at 0640 and the last arriving back there at 1945; all trains were designated as “passenger” but we may assume goods could be attached. Despite the absence of crossovers on the 1875 map there must have been at least one crossover throughout the terminus period. The line was operated as “one engine in steam” and as it was forbidden to push a train from the rear (1848 and 1857 LB&SCR rule books), a run round facility was essential. Curiously the Working Timetables of the mid-1850s had the train arriving and departing Hailsham at the same instant, but we may assume that simply meant that the train should arrive, run round, and return as soon as ready.


Hailsham Shed and Services 1858 - 1880


The locomotive shed at Hailsham was built in 1858 (The Brighton Circular 15: 126). In the late 1850s and early 1860s there were 10 to 11 trains a day (7 Sunday). Again, all trains were “passenger” but from 1864 it was clearly stated that goods could be attached to any service. The weekday service started and finished the day at Hailsham. There was an extra train on market day (alternate Wednesdays) which originated in Brighton to take passengers and cattle; it was timetabled to run up the branch while the Hailsham train was held at Polegate.


From 1867 only the first two trains of the day were permitted to have goods attached. During the winter of 1866/7 a specific goods service was introduced which departed Hailsham in the early evening and returned just thirty minutes later, having exchanged its wagons at Polegate. The loco was then almost immediately allocated to the next passenger service. The cramped station layout may have made the handling of a goods train when passenger stock was in the station difficult. It may account for the outer crossover as the passenger stock would have blocked the inner. The goods service was short-lived, being withdrawn later in 1867. At about the same time the market day extra working also appears to have been reduced in scope to an “empty” from Polegate followed by a service train back to Polegate. By 1872 the market day service was no longer listed in the branch timetable.


By 1878 a two way goods service had been reinstated. The Hailsham loco started the day with a return passenger service to/from Polegate. That was followed by a return goods service. The following two morning services left Hailsham with passenger stock but on the return they were permitted to have goods attached. The last morning service was passenger only but upon arrival at Polegate, the loco was then used to work wagons between Polegate and Gosden’s Sidings. The loco then resumed passenger workings, completing a further four trips to Hailsham where it remained overnight.


After the northern extension of the line in 1880 there were still some “short” workings from the south which terminated at Hailsham in the old manner, and on weekdays these continued to start and end the day at Hailsham, i.e. the locomotive shed was still being used to stable a locomotive overnight. Again, two workings a day were permitted to take goods as well as passengers. Once again a dedicated goods working was introduced but as a one way shuttle; a light engine left Hailsham at 0715 and arrived back at 0825 with goods from Polegate; all outward goods either left on the through goods workings or attached to the two permitted passenger-goods workings. By 1887 the locomotive shed had closed.


Signalling and Station Staff


Census data gives some idea of the LB&SCR staff employed in the parish of Hailsham, which also included the station at Polegate, sometimes making it difficult to suggest which station a particular person worked at. At the time of the 1861 census there was no signalman and Polegate simply had a “switchman”. Although there is an unconfirmed report of a signal box from 1869 (Signalling Record Society) it was unlikely there was anything more than a ground frame. The 1871 census listed two signalmen resident in the parish, one of whom lived in Polegate and the other in Otham, which is also close to Polegate. Had a small box been provided at Hailsham at that date it would almost certainly have been a Saxby and Farmer Type 1b, such as that which used to stand at Withyham and now preserved at the Bluebell Railway.


Other Hailsham Parish census data were: in 1861 there were three clerks, a fitter, a driver (lived in Eastbourne Rd.), a fireman (lived near Common Pond, Hailsham), a guard (lived in Eastbourne Rd.), an inspector (at Polegate), three labourers, four porters, and two telegraph clerks (presumably Railway; both lived in Polegate). In 1871 there were two clerks, a driver (lived in Eastbourne Rd.), two fireman (presumed railway; both lived Eastbourne Rd.), a guard (Cobden Place, by Station Rd. Hailsham), three labourers, two plate layers, six porters, two station masters (one in Railway Cottage, Eastbourne Rd.; the other at Polegate Station) and the telegraph clerk who was the signalmen’s son living in Otham, near Polegate. Thus it appears that train crew were resident in Hailsham by 1861 but there is no census evidence of a signal box.


There are some notes on the Polegate Station staff (The Brighton Circular 14: 98), with a plan of that station, which  dates from the 1870s (The Brighton Circular 14: 168). The plan can be dated by its similarity to the 1876 OS map (NLS map) and the staff listed have common features with the 1861 and 1871 census data, but do not exactly match either; further details of Polegate station were discussed in The Brighton Circular 30: 110-129. Some of the staff attributed to Polegate in the old notes were the Hailsham train crew noted above. The notes also indicate that Polegate had a one road engine shed and one might suppose it was used in the early days when a single service ran both the Hailsham and Eastbourne branches. That 1870s plan depicted a signal box at Polegate with signal posts fitted through its roof, and distant signals of the double disc turnover design (right hand in photo of a model). It is therefore unlikely that the signalling at Hailsham amounted to anything more than a single “station signal”, i.e. a sort of early home signal but placed by convenience near the centre of the station area.


Goods Shed and Local Merchants


The design of the goods shed is not known. The c.1870 photo shows part of the goods shed (LB&SCR Carriages Volume 1, Plate 5.11), although that part of the photo is usually cropped off when reproduced (e.g. in the Hailsham Historical Society description of the station). What little can be seen in an uncropped print suggests that the shed was to the same style as one known from Bexhill.


To the west of the goods shed (1875 plan) there was a siding and a “kick back” siding which was likely to have been for the private use of William Beeny (c.1825 – 1875). According to Brickmaking in Sussex (M. Beswick, Middleton Press) his brickyard to the west of the station operated from c.1860 – c.1880, and he advertised as a brickmaker from 1859 to 1874. In 1863 his lease described the site as a brickyard with shed, ozier bed, brick kilns and ponds and excavations, tramway sidings and metals. The “tramway sidings” may have been temporary contractor tracks across the brickfield or the track seen on the plan, in which case it may have been no more than a lightly built temporary track. The 1875 map also showed substantial granaries and as the 1871 census also described him as a corn and coal merchant the granaries are likely to have been his, although there were other corn merchants in the area.


William Beeny was from Hurstmonceaux and he was a coal merchant there by 1855 (PO Directory of Sussex). By 1859 he was described as a brickmaker, coal and ale & porter merchant in Hailsham (PO Directory of Sussex). By 1866 he was operating as a coal merchant from Hailsham, Eastbourne and Hurst Green (nr. Hastings) but only gave his address as Hailsham for his brick and corn interests (PO Directory of Sussex). In 1871 William Beeny was advertising the delivery of coal in his own trucks to any station on the LB&SCR (The Cuckoo Line, p.35), so he was (or at least claimed to be) a coal factor sending loaded coal wagons out from Hailsham as well as bringing coal in. William died in 1875 but the PO Directory of Sussex for 1878 listed “Beeny and Son” under the Hailsham section, and gave the address as Terminus Rd., Eastbourne.


The 1881 census shows that Wiilliam’s wife Caroline (c.1824-96) continued as the “corn and coal merchant” (NB: Beeny was wrongly transcribed as Berny in the available 1881 data) and we may presume the “son” referred to in 1878 was the oldest son William Lemmon Beeny (1854-1920) but by 1881 he had moved to Hurstmonceaux where he managed a corn business and by 1890 to Uckfield and by 1899 his business there was furnishing (Kelly’s Directory of Sussex). In 1881 his younger brother Arthur Leopold Beeny (1861 - 1930) was an “assistant in stores”. By 1887 a local store keeper, Daniel White (1813-89), a grocer and draper, had partnered a Mr. Beeny to form the company of White and Beeny (there is an 1887 handbill listing their coal prices in the East Sussex Records Office) [not seen].


At the time of the 1891 census both Arthur Leopold Beeny and the late Daniel White’s son Josiah John White (1848-1923) included coal merchant in their list of interests, which suggests that they were the partners. Josiah White traded from the grocer and draper store in Market Square and the twin addresses of Market Square and Railway Station, Hailsham, were given for the company of White & Beeny. In 1911 the partner was named as Leopold Beeny and “Arth.L. Beeny” was listed separately (Kelly’s Directory of Sussex). There is confusion here as there is birth data for an Albert Leopold Beeny (b.1891) but in the 1901 census William L. Beeny’s son was also called Arthur L. Beeny, born c.1891 (in 1901 William gave his trade as Corn Merchant).


In 1911 the census listed Arthur Leopold Beeny, born c.1862, as a coal merchant and employer. Josiah John White described himself as grocer and coal merchant, and employer. It is likely that they were the partners in White and Beeny. It may be significant that Josiah named his son Leopold.


A 1926 list of Commuted Charge Companies in the Southern Railway area (The Brighton Circular 16: 60) included White & Beeny of Hailsham but there is no evidence of them having had their own wagons in the early days of the company. A post-grouping wagon of White and Beeny is known from a 1931 photograph (The Cuckoo Line, p.37) which noted that they were coal factors based in Hailsham, rather than merely coal merchants.


Note that Arthur Leopold Beeny (1861-1930) should not be confused with Arthur John Beeny (1858 – 1933) who traded coal in Eastbourne. Arthur John was also born in the Hailsham area but was not William’s son, as has been reported elsewhere. He was the son of Herbert Beeny, a grocer (1861 census). Herbert had a brother called William Beeny born c.1826 (1841 census; Herstmonceux) but as there was another William Beeny of almost identical age (b.c.1824; 1841 census; Hellingly) there is ambiguity. None the less it appears reasonable to assume that Arthur John was some sort of cousin to Arthur Leopold. He was trading in Eastbourne by 1891 (Kelly’s Directory of Sussex).


Dumb buffered wagons marked “Beeny” have been identified in photographs (The Brighton Circular 41: 19, 20), one of which also showed the word Eastbourne, and a drawing has been published (The Brighton Circular 20: 28, 63). The above details of the company of William Beeny of Hailsham and Eastbourne, and the subsequent separate companies of White & Beeny in Hailsham and Arthur John Beeny in Eastbourne, are restricted to those data known from public domain sources. There are further complication to the story which are not apparent from those data and have been the subject of research carried out by another member of the Brighton Circle (not yet published).


Other Hailsham coal merchants included George Giles who is known to have had private owner wagons in about the 1870s or 1880s (The Brighton Circular 18: 52), and a kit has been produced (5 and 9 models). George Giles (1842-1925) was listed as a farmer, and landlord of The Prince of Wales pub in Heathfield, in both the 1871 and 1891 census.


The 1926 list of Commuted Charge Companies also included H. Harmer and Son, in Hailsham. The wagon of Hiram Harmer has been described (The Brighton Circular 17: 85, 88-89). At the time of the 1891 census Hiram Harmer (b.1859) was already listed as a coal merchant, then aged 31. Amongst several other coal merchants in the area there was also a Joseph Harmer of Heathfield, then aged 32, and it is likely there was a family connection.


The following Eastbourne locomotives are likely to have worked to Hailsham before it acquired its own shed:


·       c.1850: Sharp 2-2-2 No.44 of 1839 became No.39 and then No.110, under which number it apparently worked from Eastbourne until withdrawn in 1851 (Bradley pp.28, 35, 51).

·       1852-60: 2-2-2WT No.14 was one of Craven’s first Brighton locomotives (the other being No.26 noted below); see model by Chris Cox.  It replaced the Sharp single on the Eastbourne branch where it remained until sometime after 1860 (Bradley p.51).

·       1853-55: Nos 8 and 9 were originally Rennie 2-2-2 Nos 13 and14 of 1840, rebuilt as 2-2-2WTs in 1849. Following the explosion of No.10 in 1853, the boilers of Nos 8 and 9 were found suitable for light duties and they were allocated to Eastbourne shed. No.8 was sold in 1855 and No.9 was withdrawn in 1855.


The following locomotives had an association with Hailsham from the time its shed was built:


·       1859-67: 2-2-2WT No.12 was built in 1841 by Fairbairn as a 2-2-2 tender loco. It was Joint Committee No.72 (L&B No.22, then LBSCR No.17, then No.12). Based as Eastbourne for the Polegate – Hailsham services from 1859 (Bradley pp.32, 36; Burtt Fig.4). It was badly damaged at Eastbourne in 1867 and then withdrawn.

·       1863-68: No.115 was built by Jones in 1845 as 2-2-2 No.39. In 1863 it was converted into 0-4-2T No.115 and it then worked the Hailsham and Eastbourne branches along with No.136 (Bradley p.32, Fig.2). It was later transferred to the Lewes-Uckfield branch, and in October 1868 to Hayling Island. Later in 1868 it was involved in an accident at Groombridge and in 1875 it was renumbered again to No.260 (Bradley p.32). It appears as No.B115 in bunker end view in the early photograph of Hailsham (Hailsham Historical Society), which must therefore have been taken before 1875 and most probably no later than 1868.

o   c.1865: No.136 was a 4-4-0T built in 1859 as one of the very few outside cylinder locos on the LB&SCR (see also No.27). Bradley’s account of the loco makes no mention of it working at Hailsham (Bradley p.74, Fig.40) but he does imply that in his account of No.115, with which he said it worked (Bradley p.32).

·       1864: No.78 was built by Sharp Brothers in 1847 as 2-2-2 No.87. It became a 2-2-2WT in 1858 and then 2-4-0T in 1864 for use on the Hailsham and Eastbourne branches, before being moved to Lewes (Bradley p.45; no drawing but Burtt Fig.16 of No.72 similar).

·       1868-c.1871: No.27 was an outside cylinder 0-4-0ST built in 1868 using recycled parts from 2-2-2 No.24 (Bradley p.122, Fig.100) with the intention it would operate on the Polegate – Hailsham shuttle. It was a bad runner and soon returned to Brighton to be converted to 0-4-2ST. Running was improved but the branch traffic sometimes proved too heavy for it and early in the 1870s it was transferred.

·       c.1870: No.72 was built by Sharp Brothers in 1848 as a 2-2-2 then then rebuilt as 2-4-0ST in 1865; withdrawn 1871 while based at Eastbourne for the Hailsham branch. It went there sometime late in the 1860s having been at Horsham in from 1866. (Bradley p.45; Burtt Fig.16).

·       c.1875: 2-4-0T No.144 was built in 1861 as a 4-4-0T and rebuilt in 1868, then put on suburban duties at New Cross. When D class 0-4-2T tanks took over the duties it was moved to Eastbourne to be used for Hailsham trains until withdrawn in 1877 (Bradley p.76, Fig.41).

·       c.1877: No.368 was one of four 0-4-2s built in 1863 as Nos 164-7. Nos 166-7 were soon converted to 0-4-2SWT (photo of model). No.164 was renumbered 299 in 1876 and then 368 in 1878 by which time it was working local goods from Eastbourne, including to Hailsham (Bradley p.87, Fig.60).

·       1877: 0-6-0T No.76 was a Class A1 Terrier named Hailsham and allocated to Hailsham, “as a replacement for the old Craven tank No.212” (Bradley p.153); the reference to 212 appears to have been an error for 213/414 or 214/369 (see notes below).


The following Eastbourne locomotives are likely to have worked to Hailsham but were not specifically recorded as doing so:


·       c.1861: 2-2-2WT No.26 was another of Craven’s first Brighton built locomotives (see No.14 above). It was based at Eastbourne in the early 1860s. (Bradley p.51).

·       1866: 0-4-2ST No.22 was built in 1855 for the newly opened East Grinstead branch (photo of model) and then transferred to Eastbourne when that branch was extended in 1866; withdrawn 1874 (Bradley p.73, Fig.44).

·       c.1867: No.32 was a 2-4-0ST (from 1866) based at Eastbourne for local services, but originally built as a 2-2-2T in 1862 (Bradley p.76).

·       1868: A photograph of 0-4-2T No.230, built in 1866 for Midhurst but working in South London a year later, shows it with a short train including an Eastbourne/Worthing Composite. The photograph was taken at Eastbourne and labelled as showing a Polegate train in 1868 (The Brighton Circular 30: 111).

·       c.1872: Hackworth 2-4-0 No.55 was originally built in 1848 as a 2-2-2, but rebuilt in 1854. It was withdrawn in 1873, its last base being Eastbourne (Bradley p.39; Bennett Fig.11E).

·       1877: No.170 2-4-0T was built in 1863 and spent its last year working between Polegate and Eastbourne (Bradley p.78).

·       c.1879: No.414 was originally No.213 0-4-2T built 1865. It was renumbered 414 in 1880 by which time it was working between Polegate and Eastbourne; withdrawn 1881 (Bradley p.80).

·       1880: No.503 was a 2-4-0 long boiler loco originally No.145 of 1861. It was renumbered 503 in 1880 and withdrawn that year, having by then been based at Eastbourne (Bradley p.59).

·       After 1880 a great variety of Stroudley and Craven locos based at Eastbourne and Tunbridge Wells would have worked through Hailsham, including some express classes. The following are notable curiosities:

o   No.369 0-4-2T, built as 0-4-2WT No.214 in 1865, was photographed at Eastbourne with D39 brake First in 1881; it was withdrawn in 1882.

o   No.373 (ex No.18 then 262) 0-4-2T was another Eastbourne loco known to have worked the Hailsham branch (Bradley p.132). A kit has been produced by E.B.Models.

o   Kitson 0-4-2ST No.76 of 1869 was called Bognor after 1870, renumbered 358 in 1877, then 496 in 1895; it was transferred to Eastbourne in 1891 and withdrawn in 1895 (Bradley p.120).

o   In 1885 the South Eastern Railway ran a passenger train to Eastbourne via Tunbridge Wells, using an old Mail class engine.

The Model





Scale: 4mm to 1ft

Gauge: 16.5mm using C&L track and hand-built points (00 fine).

Dimensions: Inclusive of 3ft storage yard, 10ft x 2ft

Operator team if at exhibition: 2 people


I wanted to model a small LB&SCR terminus, suitable for operation by one/two persons at exhibition, and with a fiddle yard to the right when viewed from front. It also needed to have light weight boards which fitted the car easily. Discounting the large London and seaside termini, there were few permanent LB&SCR termini. Epsom Downs and Tunbridge Wells [West] were obviously too large. Other examples were Kemp Town which was soon expanded and Dyke was a very unusual location. Although Hailsham was only a temporary terminus, it lasted over thirty years whereas others such as East Grinstead, Horsham and Petworth were soon rebuilt into through stations. The period over which Hailsham was a terminus also happened to correspond with the period of most of my locomotive and rolling stock models.


Hailsham has been used as the basis of other model railways. Hartsbridge is a 7mm scale terminus closely based on Hailsham (see also photos on Uckfield MRC site). Horselunges is a 4mm scale (P4) model of the fictional Upper Dicker Tramway and all of the buildings are modelled on examples from the Upper Dicker, Horselunges and Hailsham area (S4 web site; Uckfield MRC web site; S4 News 171:21, 178:19). There is also a project in progress to model Hailsham as a through station set in the 1960s, or possible as a “might have been” set in the 1980s (RMWEB).


Hailsham Common is shortened from a correct 9ft to just 7ft long by omitting one of the two crossovers. While two crossovers may have assisted in marshalling a mixed train they were not essential, except perhaps when a dedicated return goods working was operational. The brickyard sidings will be reduced so that the entire scene can fit a depth of 21 inches and a pond will be modelled where the granaries should be. Hailsham has a large pond called the “Common Pond” which is located to the back right of the modelled area.


The backscene will be photographic but the Hailsham area is very flat and it would be difficult to create an attractive scene based on the modern surroundings of Hailsham. Instead I plan to use rural panoramic views at least partly from the Bluebell Railway just to the north of Horsted Keynes; see initial mock up. The left end could be used to suggest the town to the north of the station and I have experimentally split foreground and background layers and inserted two sections of East Grinstead street scene.


The “kick-back” siding will be gated as a private siding used to accept wagons that might be associated with brickmaking, or the coal and corn trades, and it will extend back into the fiddle yard to solve the problem of exchanging full wagons for empties. The exit of this front siding from the layout will be masked by an industrial building and the plan is to use a flour mill. There are still some water mills near Hailsham. One is Michelham Priory Mill and another is at Horselunges (author’s photo 1; photo 2); the former would be too small and the latter too large. Instead I have chosen to model Haxted Mill in Surrey which is now a Watermill Museum; author photo. Old photographs in the Mills Archive were consulted to indicate which windows and other features were modern additions. There were also two large granaries next to the siding at Hailsham and Prewett’s Mill, Horsham provided the basis of a suitable building to go between the siding and the running line, thus completing the required scene breaks.


Note that the plan includes two “bays”. Bay 1 is an end loading dock. Bay 2 also ends by a platform but there is a possibility that it was not a loading dock but rather a coal stage siding for the loco shed.


Couplings are of the Sprat and Winkle type. Uncoupling magnets in sidings are of the permanent type but those on the platform line are electromagnets. They are selected using a rotary switch and powered via a low cost delay circuit set to switch off the magnet if the on-off switch is left in the on position for more than about eight seconds. Details are as follows: one DC supply is connected to the circuit board via one side of a double pole switch; when “on” current is passed to the circuit; the other pole of the switch connects another DC supply to the magnet and to a green indicator lamp (12v LED), via the normally-on side of the relay on the circuit board, i.e. both the manual and timer switches must be on to power the selected magnet; a red indicator lamp is wired through the other side of the relay to indicate when the switch is still on but the timer relay has gone off. This handy little board is equipped with an adjustment to set it from 1-10 seconds.


Photo Gallery

















Images labelled “[FS]” were compiled using CombineZM focus stack software.





Operating and Stock




Whilst Hailsham was still a terminus, the Monday to Saturday services would have been operated by the one loco stabled at Hailsham’s own shed, and the carriages would have remained the same too. Charming as the stock may have been, such a lack of variation would be unacceptable to most operators and viewers! At some exhibitions we I might run a system where one loco arrives and goes on-shed in place of the loco which hauled the previous service coming off-shed, thus ensuring there is nearly always a loco on display.


My previous layouts (Rowfant Grange and East Grinstead Town) both used a strict operating sequence arranged along a timeline to avoid impossible combinations of stock such as a loco scrapped in the 1870s being on display at the same time as stock that was not even built until the 1890s. That required an awkward jump back in time every hour or so and proved difficult for some operators.


·       To avoid historically implausible combinations of stock I propose to divide the stock into four periods, as follows: 1 – before 1870 (or later loco without Westinghouse pump fitted to model); 2 – 1870-1889 (i.e. Stroudley, with Westinghouse brake [but excluding Boxhill]); 3 – 1890-1904 (i.e. Billinton); 4 – 1905 onwards. Stock from period 2 can be run with stock from either period 1 or period 3 but not both; stock from period 4 with period 3; stock from periods 1 and 3, and 2 and 4, should not appear simultaneously.

·       Rules for goods:

o   Outbound and most inbound goods from periods 1 and 2 will have to be attached to the rear of passenger trains and delivered to, and collected from, the goods shed road; in addition, some inbound goods without passengers will be permitted in period 2 (preceded by an outbound light engine to collect); they will be delivered to the private siding.

o   Period 3 goods will be by dedicated goods services timed to arrive between passenger turns so the single run round loop can be used.


Such flexibility of “timetabling” offers operators scope to choose if they would like to keep things simple and just run a passenger service, or run a mixed passenger-goods service which will involve shunting.





Class dates


Loco dates









Parts cut


Jenny Lind (E.B.Wilson) 2-2-2




5 and 9 kit



Croydon 2-4-0




Scratch + parts








Eastbourne 1866-74


2-4-0 (long boiler)











Own etches + scratch



Small Single 2-2-2







Manning, Wardle 0-6-0




Scratch + parts







Own etches + scratch



Victoria 2-2-2


256 Victoria


Scratch + parts





262 (373 from 1881)


EBM kit

Under construction; Eastbourne c.1880-86


B (Belgravia) 2-4-0


205 Kensington


EBM kit



E1 0-6-0T


100 Calvados


Albion kit

Eastbourne from 1880s


A1 (Terrier) 0-6-0T


76 Hailsham


Loddon Models body + scratch; Branchlines chassis

Body under construction; Eastbourne 1877-?


D1 0-4-2T


233 Handcross


SEF kit



G Singles 2-2-2


325 Abergavenny


Scratch (part 3rd party)



B1 (Richmond) 0-4-2


212 Hartington


EBM kit

Under construction


C1 0-6-0




Scratch (3rd party)



B1 (Gladstone) 0-4-2


198 Sheffield


Mixed kits + scratch



D3 0-4-4T


379 Sanderstead


Chivers kit



B2 4-4-0


320 Rastrick


Scratch + parts



E4 0-6-2T


469 Beachy Head


Stenning kit



A1 (Terrier) 2-4-0T + autocoach


82 Boxhill


Keyser body + scratch; Westward chassis + Roxey autocoach

Near complete


I3 4-4-2T




SEF kit







I’m not aware of any signalling plan for Hailsham prior to the northern extension of the line in 1880. The only available information about the signalling of the branch comes from an 1870s plan for Polegate showing a double disc turnover signal at the start of the branch (The Brighton Circular 14: 98-99, 105). There is a very early photo of Hailsham station showing the base of a tapered post placed in line with the edge of the goods shed (LB&SCR Carriages Volume 1, Plate 5.11), although that photo is usually cropped to remove that detail (e.g. Hailsham Historical Society web site). That post may have been a loading gauge or possibly a signal post, although as we can’t see any details of a ladder or rodding, a loading gauge appears more likely. The station was operated as “one engine in steam” so there was no need for any signalling. At most there may have been a tall slotted post signal known as a “station signal” with an “in” arm to block any potential arrival if the station was obstructed in any way. Signals of that type were placed by convenience rather than at the stop positions (see the Signals Explained diagram prepared for use with East Grinstead Town) so it would have been on or near the platform.


While a single “station signal” might have been appropriate to the 1860s and 1870s their use was banned in the early 1880s. It is likely that immediately prior to the northward extension of the line the need to move construction materials into the area would have necessitated the station handling additional trains and to do so it would have to have become a “staff and ticket” station. As Hailsham Common is to be operated with some later stock it will be signalled as if “staff and ticket”, with a home signal fitted within the modelled area, as well as a starting signal. A small signal box will therefore be provided.


Study of LB&SCR signalling plans for other locations indicates that ground signals were not used to control almost every possible shunt until at least the 1890s and even then may have been considered superfluous for small stations given that the rule book allowed for shunting to be controlled by hand and verbal signals where they were not provided. Given the concentration of points next to the signal box position I could therefore have dispensed with them altogether. Early pattern LB&SCR ground signals are not often seen on layouts (suitable etched parts are supplied by E.B. Models) so I opted for a single ground signal to control exit from the yard and release road. Such economical fitting of ground signals is appropriate for c.1880.


Trap sidings (then called blind sidings by the LB&SCR) were common place at least on new track layouts by 1880. However, they were lacking in the 1870s track plan used as the basis of Hailsham Common. Rather than deviate from a prototype track layout I might model mechanical Scotch blocks where runaway protection would have been expected (the aforementioned Polegate plan confirms that such devices were used).





The station buildings will be as per Hailsham and produced from the excellent plans included by Alan Elliott in The Cuckoo Line. The well-known brick built station building appears to originate from about 1860 (The Brighton Circular 6:16) and we might suppose that the original structure would have been wooden and similar to that at Eastbourne. The latter was replaced in 1866 but then rebuilt on a new site where it lasted until the 1950s (Mitchell & Smith, Brighton to Eastbourne, plate 104). The prototype included a canopy but experimentation showed that its inclusion will largely hide the attractive building. As canopies were not a universal feature of small stations in the early days it might be omitted.


As noted above there was unlikely to have been a proper signal box before 1880 but the signalling added to the model requires one. The chosen box (photo) is to an 1880 design and similar to that built at the north end of the up platform added when the station was converted to through running that year. The choice also fixes the date of the model to that year and enables the inclusion of an example of one of the magnificent 1880s Myer’s designed and Longley built structures found at other stations along the Cuckoo, Bluebell and Lavant lines (see example).


Signal box parts were cut using a Silhouette Cameo cutter (see RMWEB), which was also used to produce parts for construction of a water wheel (photo).


In 1875 the only buildings behind the modelled area were two terraces of houses to the right, and a school to the left. One terrace will be modelled using a bespoke brickpaper from scaled and edited photographs; see Barry Luck’s notes on the use of design software to produce bespoke brick papers. The school was demolished in the 1890s and in the absence of a photograph of it I have made a low-relief model of the gable end of another Victorian Hailsham school, based on internet photos, for example (photo by Paul Gillett).

Layout Construction




The baseboards are of 6mm birch ply and thanks are due to the LMS Carriage Association for their help with cutting the wood (I am a volunteer there).


The track layout was designed using the Templot software and the entire site arranged on a slight curve to improve the visual appearance of the model. An 1866 track definition was used (diagram) in which track was in 21ft lengths with 8 sleepers per length (East Grinstead – Tunbridge Wells opening survey; National Archives, MT 6/41/21); see also The Brighton Circular 1(5): 20. All points were set to B6 and although the gauge was set to 00-BF the flangeway gap was reduced from the default 1.25mm to 1.2mm. Point timbers have been interlaced following conclusions reached by Mike Waldron and others in the Brighton Circle e-group (example). For reasons of practicality the rail is Code 75 bullhead which is modelled on 95lb/yard rail, which is only really appropriate to the late 1890s onwards. Note that trap/catch points/sidings were not a feature of these early days.


Point specification: I wanted to use a mix of Markits wheels (back to back set to 14.5mm) and the narrower Gibson wheels (back to back best set to 14.8mm) but also wanted to close any unsightly gaps. Both calculation and experimentation showed that using a flangeway setting of 1.2mm (a M6 penny washer proved to be 1.2mm thick!), followed by the DOGA check gauge to set the stock rail (widens the gauge through the common crossing by about 0.2mm) and then setting the check rail to 1.0mm with a feeler gauge, provided a good compromise. Note however that a mix of differing flange and check gauge settings may not be possible with complex formations. The alternative of using the system described on the C&L website to narrow the gauge through the crossing by 0.3mm was not adopted as it only works for a single wheel standard (back to back 14.5mm).



















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