Beech Hurst Park Miniature Railway
Operated by S.M.L.S. - Sussex Miniature Locomotive Society
The Beech Hurst Railway, started in 1951, is operated and maintained by the Sussex Miniature Locomotive Society, a completely voluntary organisation. Situated in Beech Hurst Park, Haywards Heath, 300 metres above sea level, it gives fine views of the Sussex countryside.
The track itself, of elevated construction, is in two gauges, 3 1/2" and 5". Originally it only ran around the bowling greens, but in 1974 it was doubled in length to its present size of almost half a mile. With further improvements over the years the line now boasts two tunnels, steaming bays where locomotives are prepared for running, covered accommodation for rolling stock, fully automatic colour light signalling, club house and extensive workshops.
The locomotives are obviously not toys, but hard working pieces of machinery that cover a considerable mileage every year. All of them are constructed by members of the Society in their own home workshops, and take an average of five years (2,500 hours) to complete.
Members do not have to own an engine, have their own workshop or be qualified in any form of engineering (although of course any of these would be an advantage), they just have to have a few hours at weekends and not mind getting their hands dirty.
Between Easter and October we run a public passenger service from 14.00 - 17.00 Saturdays and Sundays (see timetable), plus bank holidays and Wednesday afternoons in the school summer holidays. This not only requires a minimum hardcore of operating staff such as Traffic Controller, Station Master, Drivers and Guards etc. but also people to carry out other tasks like grass cutting, repairs and even making the tea! During the winter months, when the railway is closed to the public, there is always a full maintenance programme that usually involves complete refurbishment of a section of track, overhauling rolling stock, signals and many other tasks.
It is not all hard work, we have a varied social calendar including talk/slide/video shows, visits to and from other clubs, barbeques etc. and before and after public running times the track is obviously available for members to run their locomotives to gain experience, to test them or simply to enjoy themselves. Help and advice is always freely available to any member constructing their own locomotive, as well as access to our workshop and library facilities.
The Sussex Miniature Locomotive Society is a limited company, the committee members being its directors. The directors serve for three years and are elected from and by the full membership at the AGM in rotation, i.e. three members coming up for re election each year.
Membership of the Society is open to all those with an interest in helping to run the railway and/or model engineering. Written permission is required from the parent/guardian of all applicants under the age of 16.
This page last
28 Dec 2016