Picture Postcard Parade: Balcombe Tunnel, Brighton Railway, Looking South

20 Apr

Continuing on from last week’s postcard, the subject of this postcard is another stretch of the London to Brighton line, but a bit further north than last week’s one.

This is the northern entrance to Balcombe Tunnel, which is between Balcombe and Three Bridges stations in West Sussex. I was intrigued by the number of labourers at work on the railway, with apparent disregard for the train which appears to be emerging from the tunnel mouth (or is that just my imagination). I had a look at an aerial view of the area on Google Maps.


There is a bridge across the railway line just north of the tunnel, although it looks rather overgrown now, and looking at some old maps it looks like it pre-dates this postcard, but it is almost certainly where the photographer of this postcard was standing, but I still can’t quite work out what the labourers are doing. My guess is that they are working on stabilizing the embankment or on some form of drainage.

This is one of the delights of postcard collecting, some postcards were intended to capture events such as fun fairs or accidents, but this one has probably quite unintentionally captured something much more mundane, but just as important. It is most unlikely that the photographer set out to record men at work on the railway, but that is what he ended up capturing.

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