Our ramble twixt the site of the original Lewes Station and the banks of the River Ouse where the "missing" bridge brought us to an abrupt halt, evoked distant memories for Nickelarse who has walked this section of track in years gone by.

Here are his recollections -

1) 1965 to 1969

About the only memory I have of the line during this particular time-span is making a journey from Brighton to South Croydon - Sanderstead actually - where we were living at the time. Our house was situated between Sanderstead and Purley Oaks Stations and I indulged in train-spotting at both but preferring Purley Oaks for the greater variety as well as a middle platform which proved to be a good vantage point. The line from Lewes to Sanderstead was not electrified although it was double-tracked throughout. The rolling stock thus used was generally 3 car Diesel Electric Multiple Units (DEMU) or on occasions - noticed when on a spotting foray at Sanderstead for a change - two 3 car DEMUs' coupled together.

The Southern Region in those days used two character head codes and with help from an Ian Allan book of British Railway Head Codes dated 1965 we learn that '60' was Victoria to Brighton via Ashurst and Uckfield and '47' was shown on trains to and from London Bridge traversing the same route. I think Dad fancied a change from our usual journey back home; this would be from Brighton to East Croydon and then a train from there to Purley Oaks. I remember getting 'psyched-up' to alight at Sanderstead and feeling a little 'put out' when Dad said we would be staying on until East Croydon.

2) Early to Mid 1970s

During a Boys' Brigade Whitsun Camp at Halland in 1973 two mates and I undertook a short  journey by car to Isfield Station to explore and walk as far towards Uckfield as we could. It must be remembered that the line was closed some four years earlier so we were not surprisingly greeted with the sight of a rather dilapidated Station and Signal Box. We had a look around the buildings as best we could and started walking back towards Uckfield. We got as far as a bridge which ironically today is proving to be a stumbling block for the Lavender Line to extend their track northwards. Research on the Lavender Line's website indicates that part of it has subsided and that lack of funds and expertise prevents further progress. The general condition of the main beams and iron-work however is said to be good. One will have to watch this space....

The year after, the same two mates and I decided to walk the trackbed again but this time from Lewes. The scene that greeted us was not much different from recently when I retraced my steps along there with other Ghost-Train team members and declaring  it an "I'VE BEEN 'ERE BEFORE!" moment. There is a greater abundance of graffiti on the overhead road bridges these days but it was pleasing to note that a couple of  sand bunkers (presumably) were still in situ. Upon seeing the relatively new fence  where there was once a bridge over the River Ouse I promptly exclaimed; "Now THAT wasn't there the last time I was here" and was gently rebuked with words similar to "Well, it does look new, Nickelarse!"