Three Bridges

Three Bridges is an area and a railway station in Crawley. It used to be a big part in my life. My dad was a commuter up to London. Come rain, snow, storm or sunshine he used to cycle to Three Bridges which was on the main line between London and Brighton and from there he could get a train up to London Bridge.

When my grandparents lived in Tunbridge Wells we could get a train to there from Three Bridges and that was a chuffing steam train. Later they moved back to their original home town of Bexhill and we still had to use Three Bridges, changing trains at Haywards Heath.

And then I became a train spotter and Three Bridges was a great station for that. We could guarantee to see 16 electric trains per hour plus the hourly steamer to East Grinstead. In addition there’d be an occasional steam hauled goods train and also engineering trains for the railway had a large depot just by the station. There was also a steam engine shed which supplied locos for various steam operated lines in the area as well as for the goods and engineering trains.

On summer Sundays the excursion trains would just stream down to the coast. The notebook always needed to be in hand to record these.

From the outside the station had a very unassuming air – very much a quiet country station as seen in this postcard.

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To judge by the cars that dates from the 1950s so it represents a station that I knew.

Strangely it hasn’t changed much, despite the building of Crawley New Town all around it.

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That area out the front was the car park. Now it is utterly a drop off point only. The old goods yard, as at many a station, is now quite a substantial car park.

What has really changed is the road. What was a quiet lane is now a four laned highway. Just behind the photographer traffic in huge quantities weaves from lane to lane.

But the building retains something of the old world charm although I believe even more trains might stop or pass through the station now.

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