Eastbourne Memories - A Victorian Perspective

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Chap. XL] East Sussex Railway projects.                  129
have been 13^ miles long, and with East-Bourne Station at the back of the Terminus Road somewhere near what is now Tideswell Road.
The Battle scheme was in a sense the outcome of a great Parliamentary fight in 1863 when the London, Chatham, and Dover Company inspired a direct aggression on the Brighton Company by a proposed line called " The Beckenham, Lewes, and Brighton Rail­way," of which Mr. C. L. Peel, of Cuckfield (afterwards Sir C. L. Peel, Clerk of the Privy Council) was Secretary. The scheme was fiercely contested by the Brighton Company and was rejected. It was revived in 1864 with the addition of branches to Westerham and East-Bourne. Its route was through West Wickham, Tatsfield, Oxted, East Grinstead, Newick, Lewes, and Rottingdean. It was, of course, again contested and was again thrown out, but these struggles had the effect of stirring up the Brighton Company to realise that if they did not do something very comprehensive to improve the railway accommodation of East Sussex they would have to face a further invasion of the County by their late rivals or by others. Accordingly in 1864 the Brighton Company obtained Bills for a net-work of lines covering nearly the whole of East Sussex with the ostensible object of benefiting East-Bourne and Hastings but with the real object of keeping out intruders. There was to have been a line from Balcombe through Uckfield (the " Ouse Valley " line) and Hailsham to Hastings (the " St. Leonards " line), and a line from Groombridge through Heathfield to Hailsham (the " Tunbridge Wells and East-Bourne " line) which might become a main line from Croydon to East-Bourne if Parliament sanctioned a line called " The Surrey and Sussex Railway " projected in the interests of the Brighton Company by independent promoters, from Croydon through Edenbridge to Groombridge and Tunbridge Wells.
The Bills for the two of these lines received the sanction of Parliament in 1864, but owing to the opposition of Mr. Curteis, of Windmill Hill, the St. Leonards section was not passed at the same time
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