One of the more delightful quirks of British Railways could come to an end, with the planned closure of Newhaven Marine station. Newhaven is a sea port town not far from Brighton, with a couple of town centre railway stations, but also a smaller station on a spur line right next to the ferry port.

(c) DfT

This little station, Newhaven Marine, opened in 1886 to provide a rail link from the continental railways direct to London Victoria. There’s still a ferry to France, but as the port is a mere few minutes walk from the town’s main station, use declined and by 2006, there was just one train per day calling at the station.

In August 2006, it closed to the public entirely following storm damage to the station canopy which was deemed uneconomic to repair. Both the canopy and the station building were demolished in 2017.

However, it’s still legally classed as a working railway station, so a Parliamentary Train service operated — running one train per day to the station and back to maintain the legal fiction of a working service, even though no one was allowed to be on the train itself.

Junction to Newhaven Marine station (c) DfT

As closing a station is an exceptionally difficult thing to do, it’s often easier to run these weird little shuttle services and keep the station legally, if not practically, open.

The empty shuttle train stopped calling at the station early last year due to signalling system upgrades nearby, and there is now a train-replacement-taxi-service for the few people who manage to find themselves outside the station waiting for a train.

This railway oddity is soon to come to an end though, as plans have been announced to legally close the station for good.

Newhaven Marine station platform (c) DfT

The proposed closure would see the remaining platform demolished and the track remain as a siding for berthing trains, as now, but also for freight train access to Newhaven Port where a new dock and freight handling facility is due to open. Network Rail expects the closure to save it around £1.9 million by avoiding the costs of upgrading the existing station to modern standards for passengers.

If the consultation agrees that it’s time to finally close this abandoned station, then the Newhaven port authority is already eying up the site as part of its plans to upgrade the area.

It is proposed that, subject to successful completion of the closure process, the station will be closed, on or after 26 September 2020. But wouldn’t it be fun to run some trains along that bit of track to the station just for a weekend to mark it’s closure?

Note, if you wanted to visit, the Port of Newhaven does not allow public access to the station.

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8 comments on “Government plans to close Newhaven Marine rail station
  1. Jon Jones says:

    So, you can’t get a train to the station. You’re not allowed to walk to the station – and even if you could, you wouldn’t be allowed on the platform. Yet we still need an act of parliament to close it.

    Gotta love the British legal system.

    • ChrisC says:

      No you don’t need an Act of Parliement to close it you just have to follow the processes set out by various Acts.

      A Parliamentary Train is simply one that operates so the train operators don’t have to go through the what can be the arduous process to close a station / rail line

      In this case I really don’t see much, if any, opposition to the closure but that might not always be the case

  2. Jon Jones says:

    PS – I checked the National Rail journey planner and Newhaven Marine station isn’t showing as a valid station.

  3. Alex McKenna says:

    Surely they’ll allow Geoff Marshall (and his mates) to visit before closure?

  4. Nick says:

    The station was described as “ The most depressing place in the world” by soldiers departing back to France on the “ Leave boat “ at the end of their leave from the trenches during the First World War.

  5. Geoff L says:

    Used it several times, was a great way of getting to Europe. The 2040 boat train from Victoria non stop to NM, cross platform on to the ship, off at Dieppe Maritime in the early hours, cross platform onto train for Paris arriving about 7 am. The French station is long gone, and the ferries stop further out in the docks now so its a fair trek to Dieppe Ville station.
    Was more fun than Eurostar though.

  6. Sam says:

    If they’d just called it Newhaven Harbour platform 3(and indeed, I think at some stage it was considered as such) then they wouldn’t have had to go through all this.

    When were the last boat trains to Newhaven Marine? 1994?

  7. Joseph Kerrigan says:

    I believe it became a separate station in 1995 when the station leases were set up for privatisation. If it had remained part of Newhaven Harbour station, rather than a separate station in its own right, it could have been closed under the “Minor Modification” procedure, which does not require any public consultation.

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