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Petworth, Midhurst & Petersfield Line

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Petworth, Midhurst & Petersfield Line

The twenty miles of rural railway that once lay between Pulborough and Petersfield is wonderfully immortalised in this film from the mid-fifties

Amateur film 1955 20 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Screen Archive South East

Overview

Rattling over heathland at Ambersham and Heyshott, our train calls at sleepy rural stations like Selham, Petworth and Fittleworth before reaching the mainline at Pulborough. We return by ‘push-pull train’ to Midhurst before continuing on to Petersfield, on the Portsmouth mainline. The film also shows a railtour’s arrival at Midhurst on 6 February 1955 - where crowds gather to see one of the last trains of such length on their local line before its inevitable closure.

Once British Rail's plans for the wholesale closure of routes became known, enthusiasts organised railtours along those soon to be closed lines. As you can see from this film, the chance to travel along a condemned line for perhaps the last time, proved exceedingly popular. For the bulk of this film, the service trains along the route consist mostly of a few carriages, carrying miniscule numbers of passengers. These trains contrast sharply with the very long, for this particular line, Railtour which arrives at Midhurst, bringing large numbers of rail enthusiasts to witness, along with crowds of locals, this historic but melancholy occasion.