162 HISTORY OF EAST GRINSTEAD.
This action on the part of the Railway Company gave great dissatisfaction, and so indignant did the residents of East Grinstead become at the delay shown in carrying out the approved proposals that on June 5th, 1848, a public meeting was held and a large number of signatures obtained to a petition to the House of Lords praying them not to grant permission to the South-Coast Company to commence any more new projects until they had completed the East Grinstead and Three Bridges branch. Nothing came of the agitation, however, and in the summer of 1852 the residents of East Grinstead and the district intervening between this town and the main line themselves took the matter up in earnest, formed a Company in September of that year, raised the necessary capital, went to Parliament and got their Bill provisionally approved on May 12th, 1853, the reception of the news being made the occasion of great rejoicing in the town. The Act finally passed both Houses on July 8th. The first sod was cut by Mrs. A. Hastie on November 22nd of the same year, and the first engine passed over the new line on June 6th, 1855. A month later, on July 9th, ordinary traffic commenced. The first train ran out of East Grinstead at 12.15 and returned from Three Bridges at one o'clock, some hundreds of townspeople being carried free of charge. It was a day of great festivity in East Grinstead. All the shops were closed at noon; a band came up from Brighton; the church bells were rung; flags were flying; over 200 sat down to a banquet served on Mr. Hastie's lawn; and the six trains in and out were all well patronised. The building of the line cost £53,000, and incidental expenses brought up the capital expenditure to £60,000, of which £10,000 was raised by debentures and £50,000 by shares of £25 each. The original East Grinstead terminus was where the goods station house now stands. Later, when the line was extended to Tunbridge Wells in 1866, the now disused station below the bridge in London Road came into use, and the entrance on the bridge and down the steps was provided. This finally ceased to be used for passenger traffic on October 14th, 1883, when the present