OUT IN THE FIELD: End of an era in Hampden Park

Luke Arnold on his last shift at Hampden Park signal box
Luke Arnold on his last shift at Hampden Park signal box

As you might imagine, I’m not a natural train buff but this week was another career high point when I got to change the signals and put the barriers down at Hampden Park level crossing on what was the signal box’s penultimate day. Because as from Friday, February 13, the signal box is no more as it is being demolished to make way for new upgraded signalling on the line which will all be controlled from Three Bridges from now on. It’s a shame as it’s probably one of the last old fashioned trades and traditions to be replaced by modern technology. Also being “demanned” at the weekend – but not knocked down – were the signal boxes at Eastbourne, Bexhill, Norman’s Bay, Pevensey, Berwick and Polegate. It’s all, in Network Rail’s words, an upgrade which will provide a better, more reliable service for passengers. And hopefully the line gates won’t be going down quite so often.

Staying in Hampden Park, my home now for the last three months, the crossing may well have been closed from Friday night to Monday morning over the weekend but the businesses in Brassey Avenue and Mountfield Road most certainly were not and were very much open for business with a barbecue and impromptu picnics being organised to support traders and say farewell to the village signal box.

The cycling route debacle at the Flying Angel War Memorial roundabout from the seafront continues with still no explanation from the county council as to the thinking behind the scheme. Presumably those responsible decided that seeing as they had the pot of white stuff out they’d paint short stretches of cycle lanes down Devonshire Place – surely the smartest avenue in the town. If you’re a cyclist then you will be hopping on or off (or having a laugh) about every 50 yards and if you are a good little motorist sticking to what is left of your bit of road, someone is not going to see you and then T Bone your motor when they pull out of one of central parking spaces. Ludicrous.