Report by Rob Cope
Early sun quickly changed to fog and gloom as our train entered Sussex. Despite this, 18 people turned out for the brief 3 mile ride Uckfield-Isfield, where we more or less took over the pub and hopefully boosted the profits of next-door Lavender Line's Santa Special steam trains. Large piles of splendid food arrived, including probably the year's best treacle puds. However, the ever-helpful Connex Rail proceeded to cancel most afternoon trains back from Uckfield. The keener types went on to Lewes and (despite one slow puncture) successfully returned from there. The rest drank more beer or took the kids to see Santa before taking pot-luck on the Uckfield train being restored which (by 1700) it was. Cold and clearly in need of a clean, but at least it went in the right direction.
Despite the weather and train problems, participants seem to have had a good time. The search is on for next year's venue!
Incidentally, the pub was the Laughing Fish in Isfield, which did us proud and is worth a detour: log fires, huge sandwiches, the works! Plus an oft-forgotten preserved line next door. A good day out & v bikable (Connex permitting) from Uckfield or Lewes.
Great isn't it when you try to encourage use of underused lines, pull in a few non-regular train users, only to have the rail co let you down? No wonder they all flock to their cars...
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Last updated: 14 December 1998