Eastbourne station in East Sussex is getting a new ‘look and feel’ thanks to a £5 million project by Network Rail.
The enhancement works on the Grade II listed station include canopy refurbishment, slate roof replacement, masonry work to the front of the station and new roofing above the atrium. This will prolong the buildings lifespan while returning it to its original heritage; giving a better experience for those using the station.
Eastbourne grew into a thriving coastal resort in the Victorian era, and in 1849 the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway constructed a much-needed railway link to cater for growing numbers of holidaymakers and day-trippers.
The historic signal box at Eastbourne was then built in 1882 which had an impressive 108 Lever frame controlling the station, goods yard and carriage sidings; this was later replaced on 14 November 1934 with a 72-lever frame.
In 1991, the signal box was changed into a power signal box when the semaphore signals were replaced by colour light signals and an “entrance-exit” control system installed. The signal box closed in 2015 with the re-signalling of the line between Lewes and Bexhill controlled from a new signalling centre at Three Bridges.
Shaun King, Sussex route director for Network Rail, said: “The quality of work on site is being completed to a very high standard and we’re taking great care to restore the Grade II listed building to its former glory.
“We’re modernising the rail network with a record level of investment to improve passenger journeys across Sussex. Passengers expect a better all-round experience and this investment brings us a step closer to delivering the service they rightly deserve.”
Most passenger services along the coast served Eastbourne station as they do today. Trains reverse at the station to continue their journey along the East Coastway by using a junction north of Hampden Park railway station; services run either east (to Bexhill, Hastings and Ashford International) or west via Lewes (to Brighton or London Victoria) from the station.
Chris Fowler, Customer Services Director for Southern and Gatwick Express, said: “On behalf of our customers we welcome Network Rail’s careful, comprehensive restoration that will prolong the life of our historic and well-loved station while preserving its character. It creates a smart backdrop for the new seating, security features and landscaping that we are undertaking over the coming months as part of our own network-wide, multimillion-pound station improvement programme.
“Throughout this work our passengers can travel with confidence as we continue our stringent cleaning regime in stations and on trains.
“Eastbourne’s historic building is home to one of our most modern stations in terms of customer facilities. It’s among the first to have barcode ticket reading technology, which speeds up the journey through the station, minimises contact and supports social distancing.”