About SideTracked Caches
This cache belongs to the SideTracked series. It is not designed to take you to a magical place with a breath taking view. It's a distraction for the weary traveller, but anyone else can go and find it too. More Information can be found at the SideTracked Website
About Polegate Station
The first station opened on 27 June 1846 when the London and Brighton Railway built a line from Brighton to Hastings via Lewes. The station was built at Polegate to serve the nearby towns of Hailsham and South Bourne, the latter now part of Eastbourne. The first station was on the site of the present station. It then became a junction station on 14 May 1849 when an east facing branch headed northwards to Hailsham was opened and another southwards to Eastbourne, the station had enlarged to three through platforms and a bay platform for Hailsham services. The station then also had a one road engine shed and small freight yard complete with granary and weighing machine.
In 1881 the second station was opened in connection with the construction of a new westward facing line to Hailsham and the 1880 extension of the Cuckoo Line to Eridge, and the re-aligned branchline to Eastbourne which the present line follows today. The second station had four through platforms. The East Coastway line through Polegate was electrified in 1935 bringing in faster more frequent services. In 1965 the Cuckoo line north of Hailsham was closed followed in 1968 by complete closure of the branch to Hailsham. On 6 January 1969 the spur line to Pevensey (Stone Cross Junction) was closed and the up line was lifted, leaving the down line open for departmental trains until 1974 when the line became a mile long engineers siding with access only from Stone Cross Junction, this was then lifted in August 1984. and once extensive goods sidings were gradually closed and removed.
The station closed in 1986 when a newer station opened 440 yards west, although caused controversy when the subway under the station connecting the platforms was also closed as it offered a short cut for non rail travellers to cross from one side of the town to the other without walking towards the high street and using the level crossing. The level crossing is the only means from crossing from one side of the town to the other. The street level building was demolished in May 2017.
The current building is the third station to be built in Polegate and is on the site of the original station. It was completed in 1986 by Network SouthEast, and officially opened by Ian Gow in 1987. The station has a booking hall, and three waiting rooms. A footbridge connects both platforms although step-free access is available by the Level Crossing. The site of the goods yard is now developed with a shopping precinct and car park to the north of the station and a housing estate to the south-east of the station.
The closed lines to Hailsham and Pevensey are still evident. The trackbed of the branch to Heathfield is now a cycle path – Cuckoo Trail – beginning at the north end of the town. The trackbed to Pevensey is mostly intact with the A22 road cutting though the route.