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Marjorie remembers the last train on old Bluebell Railway

By East Grinstead Courier  |  Posted: February 21, 2013

By Lewis Dean

  • memories: Marjorie Marshall was on the final train from Kingscote to East Grinstead in 1958 RESL20130219E-001_C

  • Bluebell Railway

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MEMORIES of the Bluebell Railway have come flooding back for an East Grinstead resident who travelled on the final train to the town 55 years ago.

Unbeknown at the time to Marjorie Marshall and late husband Ernie, the couple were aboard the last trip in March 1958 from Kingscote Station to East Grinstead before the route was axed by British Railways.

The 91-year-old, who for 16 years lived at Kingscote Station with stationmaster Ernie, said the couple's years by the rail line were some of the happiest of their lives.

Now living at Elm Court, East Grinstead, Marjorie described her excitement after reading in the Courier & Observer that the Bluebell line was close to being reconnected to the town.

And Mrs Marshall, who is recovering from a stroke suffered several weeks ago, said she would always remember the last time she travelled on the historic line.

"We knew that the line might be closing but didn't know this would be the last one to East Grinstead," Marjorie said.

"It cost me five pence to travel on that journey and I remember everybody was homely and lovely.

"There were quite a few people about that day, smiling and happy. They certainly weren't miserable like a lot of people today.

"I think that the train stopped along the line for about 20 minutes but nobody seemed to mind; people liked looking out of the windows.

"When I read in the newspaper that it was coming back I told my daughter about it. I said 'Cor, wouldn't it be nice to go on there again'. But I don't think it will happen; I have arthritis in my knees."

When services on the line from Kingscote to East Grinstead ended that year, so did Marjorie and Ernie's tenure at the station.

Ernie secured a job as a gardener at Sheffield Park Station, where the Bluebell Railway starts, but Marjorie will always remember the years spent at Kingscote.

"We were there for 16 years and thoroughly loved it; they were some of the happiest times of my life," the former housewife added.

"We never found a home like it again. My husband and I had always been interested in the railway from when he worked at Hailsham station and we used to get the train down to Brighton.

"Reading about the line again has brought back some terrific memories. There was no electricity at the home and if we ran out of water I would walk up and down near to the track to the water pump and get it myself. I couldn't do that now."

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  • dsimmo  |  February 27 2013, 1:40PM

    It would be really nice if the paper arranged for Marjorie to take the trip from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead and when she gets to Kingscote a nice bunch of flowers are given to her. I remember when I was a child living in Cuckfield, we used to cycle to Haywards Heath and catch the steam train to East Grinstead via Ardingly. Then catch the Bluebell train via Kingscote and Sheffield Park to Lewes. We then boarded another train back via Cooksbridge, Plumpton to Haywards Heath, then cycling back to Cuckfield for dinner. Happy memories.

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