On a recent trip to London, I was surprised and pleased to see that my local railway station, Eridge, had received a tidy up and repaint since I last used it around a year and a half ago. To be honest, the station had become very run-down, especially the wooden footbridge, which had been suffering from badly peeling paintwork.
As I walked down the steps, I could see that the paint was new inside the covered structure, and I was welcomed by the newly applied green and cream paint on the waiting rooms on the main platform. The station forms part of the Spa Valley Railway which it shares with the current mainline operator, Southern. While there are two tracks through the station, only the south-side platform is for main line trains, with the northern-most taking the preserved line trains.
The lines don't actually join and just half a mile north of the station the Spa Valley line turns off on its way to Tunbridge Wells via Groombridge. The buildings are owned by the SVL and have always been kept in a reasonable condition in the former Southern Region colours of Green and Cream. In a nice gesture, Southern have refurbished their buildings to match, and very nice they look as well. In addition to the overhaul to the buildings and footbridge, there are also a couple of neat posters that have been put up, one in the form of an old painted route map, while the other contains a history of the station and the routes it served. There is a new car park being built on the mainline side, which will alleviate traffic parking in the lane outside, and a lift from the booking hall to aid disabled passengers. So, improvements all round; well done Southern!
This is what greeted me as I got down to the platform, not the usual two-toned pea greens of the modern Southern livery.
The wooden footbridge had also received a coat of paint after years of neglect.
The lovely painted route map is on the far wall of waiting room. It shows all the routes that used to run in the area and reveals that the station would have been part of the Cuckoo line via Horam to the South.
This is the building on the Spa Valley side of the station, which has been painted Green and Cream since the line opened in 2010.
A poster tells the history of this station, which sits almost on the Kent and East Sussex border and dates back to 1868. It was built so that residents of a local castle could catch a train!
The outside of the station which straddles the lines. Note the old-style telephone box, which still houses a payphone.