The Lavender line is a small but attractively preserved steam railway, located between Lewes and Uckfield in East Sussex.
The line was originally opened in 1858 as the Lewes and Uckfield Railway, but was soon absorbed into the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway. Over the years, traffic developed, and the double-track route offered an alternative line from London into Brighton, and between Brighton and Tunbridge Wells. The section between Uckfield and Lewes was closed in 1969, but efforts by local Councils to restore the line to main line traffic are continuing.
In the meantime, in 1983 the station at Isfield was bought by a private concern, and a steam railway operation was established. In 1993, this was taken over by the present voluntary society, who continue to run the operation. Trains operate along a mile of track, alongside the wonderfully-named River Uck. This proved worthy of its name in 2000 when it flooded, taking several hundreds yards of track with it, which took several years to repair. Although the journey is short, the surrounding countryside is very attractive.
Trains run on most Sundays throughout the year, with Saturday services in July and August and on Bank Holidays. At Christmas there are special 'Santa Specials' and various special days for children, as well as a vintage motorcycle day. There is also a 'wine and dine' restaurant car train which can be hired for special parties.
Facilities include the 'Cinder's' Buffet, which provides a range of very reasonably priced hot and cold snacks, a small shop on platform 2 selling books and gifts, and a restored signal box. One of the coaches houses a small museum (mostly photographs) of the line, and another contains a delightful model railway layout. There is a large car-park and a children's play area.
The rolling stock consists mostly of small tank engines and diesel shunters, although there is also a 'Thumper' diesel unit of the type which used to operate the line.
Although it is not on the scale of the nearby Bluebell Railway, it still makes for a lovely afternoon out, especially for families with young children.
The Lavender Line is a truly superb place to visit, full of character and tucked away in an unspoilt part of East Sussex. We would certainly recommend this as a place to go if you are in the area, great for families and enthusiasts alike. Check out our channel dedicated to the Lavender Line for more information and videos. britishrailways.tv/briti…
have been once never again,the only person who found it good was my other half.the train ride did have lots to see, but other than that.not aolt to it.was not that cheap at all it cost about 30 pounds ,the cafe was nice
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