More than £120,000 raised for Bluebell Railway restoration

Horsted Keynes station at Bluebell Railway has been used for many TV shows and films, including Downton Abbey. Image © Mick Blackburn

An appeal by the Bluebell Railway for restoration work at Horsted Keynes station has raised more than £120,000

The station on the Heritage Line has featured in many TV shows and films. Funds are required to repair leaking roofs and replace rotting beams.

The railway’s appeal co-ordinator Trevor Swainson said: “The ‘Jewel in the Crown’ appeal is beginning to sparkle as more donations roll in. So far, we have raised more than £120,000 from members, shareholders and friends of the Railway with the result that we are 70% towards our target of £170,000 from the public. We have had a really good response to our appeal and this will help us carry out vital restoration work to our 140-year-old station at Horsted Keynes.

“The station at Horsted Keynes is one of the finest preserved stations dating back to the opening of the East Grinstead to Lewes railway line in Victorian times. It is a Grade II listed site and it has been carefully preserved throughout its working life but time is catching up with it and now is the time to restore the buildings and platforms to their former glory.”

The look and feel of the station has made it an ideal filming location for period dramas, appearing in Downton Abbey, The Woamn in Black, Poirot, Grantchester and a remake of The Railway Children.

The station, originally built in 1882 by the London Brighton and South Coast Railway as part of the Lewes – East Grinstead line, was bought by the Bluebell Railway in the 1960s.

The first phase of the required repair work is expected to cost at least £500,000 with initial work planned at the station house and Platform 5. Work on the other platforms will follow in later phases.

Members of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society have already pledged £20,000 and the railway’s charitable arm is promising to match-fund on a pound-for-pound basis all public donations between now and the end of January up to a total of £150,000.

Further details of the appeal and how to donate can be found on their website