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Campaign Group Invites Support in Bid to Reopen Guildford to Horsham Railway

Published on: 28 Aug, 2023
Updated on: 28 Aug, 2023

A campaign group that would like to see a railway line reopened from Guildford to Horsham is appealing for people to help its cause.

The English Regional Transport Association (ERTA) is a voluntary membership-based, pro-public transport improvement association.

It says: “Re-opening railway lines is right up our street in advocacy, campaigning and nurturing congenial agreement and resolution, bringing people together and making a common cause.

“There’s been a lot of talk and campaigning over the years to get this railway line reopened for regular passenger and possible freight-by-rail use.

“To these ends, how ERTA operates is for people to join as members and offer to voluntarily assist with tasks which need doing.

“Having more local people involved brings not only the wealth of their local knowledge, but also the prospect of more other local people identifying and being willing to also join and get involved.”

The railway line from Guildford to Horsham via Cranleigh was closed by British Railways in June 1965, as part of the cuts outlined into the famous “Beeching report” into the future of the nation’s railways.

Cranleigh railway station after the line had been closed in June 1965. Picture copyright: David Salmon, Geoff Burch collection.

ERTA is offering to host once-a-year public meetings in Guildford but says it needs a working group to pursue and take on delegated roles and collaborate with a view to moving an agenda towards ultimate delivery.

It adds: “Getting a study needs local people to write to existing and prospective politicians and winning their support and getting councils on board.”

The route of the former Guildford Horsham railway line is currently the Downs Link path, seen here from the A281 at Shalford, looking in the direction of Bramley.

It hopes to form a working group starting in November. To do this it says it needs…

Field officers who know the route of the line well now, compile lists and photographic evidence of issues to be addressed in a systematic and chronological order. For example, level crossings and bridges, pinch-points, any blockages or threats of blockages. To keep on top of it.

Contact with local authorities with a view to “winning them over so that the gains outweigh the pains”.

Getting professionals interested and establishing a funding pot, albeit via local authorities or ring-fencing via ERTA.

Building local support along and at both ends of the proposed railway line and feeding into ERTA membership.

Seeking to act as local area representatives for ERTA, recruiting members and giving support.

Communication with local media, selling the good idea concept of reopening the railway line and to encourage the idea to be adopted in planning policy, and actions towards processes for rebuilding the line as a local, modern public transport asset.

ERTA’s diagram that shows a wider view of railway proposals it is campaigning for.

Those interested in becoming involved are asked to contact ERTA’s chief executive officer, media and newsletter co-ordinator, Richard Pill, at 24c St Michaels Road, Bedford, MK40 2LT. By phone on 01234 330090, or by email to:

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Responses to Campaign Group Invites Support in Bid to Reopen Guildford to Horsham Railway

  1. S Le Poidevin Reply

    August 28, 2023 at 9:45 pm

    I remember travelling on train to Horsham. Why on earth was this ever stopped?

    • Rob Spalding Reply

      August 30, 2023 at 12:18 pm

      Nice idea, if you can get it off the ground. It’s been tried before over the years, and not gone anywhere. And that was just to restore the busy section to Cranleigh. The line south to Horsham was a dead loss even when the line was in use.

  2. Gail Brownrigg Reply

    August 29, 2023 at 10:39 am

    What are the plans for the Downs Link?

  3. John Lomas Reply

    August 29, 2023 at 12:03 pm

    When we used the line to get to Bognor we used to change at Christ’s Hospital.

    I don’t know why we changed there rather than going up to the larger station at Horsham. Did the Bognor train not stop at Horsham or was there a train that actually started from Christ’s Hospital?

    • Geoff Burch Reply

      August 31, 2023 at 4:18 pm

      In response to John Lomas he would have changed at Christ’s Hospital as it wouldn’t have been possible to continue to Horsham. Christ’s Hospital station is situated south of Horsham and nearer to Bognor.

    • Tim Truscott Reply

      August 31, 2023 at 7:22 pm

      Christ’s Hospital was the rail junction. If you went into Horsham then you would have had to come back through Christ’s Hospital again to get to Bognor.

  4. Jana Phillips Reply

    August 30, 2023 at 3:39 pm

    Great idea! Let’s hope it gathers support, I’d like to see the line re-instated.

  5. Keith Francis Reply

    August 30, 2023 at 11:01 pm

    The enormous installation cost against the use has been previously considered and the arguments now would be extended as were it be a third-rail line to connect up at each end or be a light rail system which could nowadays be battery or hydrogen-powered. But where would its secure depot(s) be and its charging points?

    There is already enough difficulty with the 54 points provided by the government. And at £500,000 each, hydrogen-powered buses for SCC will need to be kept in a new depot at Crawley operated by Metrobus as there is nowhere secure for them in Surrey. You’ll probably see them operating in the Gatwick Airport and Horley area first.

    I know the much-used, for leisure, former single-track railway line in North Wales known as the Mawddach Trail. It’s similar to the Downs Link path pictured and featured in a Julia Bradbury programme. At one point, in heavy rain, the cattle leave the field and go up onto the track above the level of the flood water.

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