Lancing Carriage Works

Lancing Carriage Works

Lancing carriage and wagon works was in the village of Lancing in the county of West Sussex in England from 1911 until 1965.

History under the LB&SCR

The cramped situation of Brighton railway works and the lack of space to expand was a constant problem for the chief engineers of London, Brighton and South Coast Railway(LB&SCR). In 1910 the company therefore purchased 66 acres of land at Lancing near Shoreham-by-Sea for a carriage and wagon works to relieve the pressure on Brighton. These were constructed in 1911 and opened the following January with many employees transferred from Brighton.

Because of the rural situation of the new factory it was necessary fo the railway to operate a special daily train from Brighton for the workforce. This became known as the Lancing Belle.

In 1913 Lawson Billinton the Chief Mechanical Engineer presented proposals to the LB&SCR board to close Brighton and concentrate all locomotive building and repair at Lancing, but the advent of the First World War in 1914 put an end to this plan.

Grouping

Following the merger of the LB&SCR and other railways in southern England to form the Southern Railway, during the Railways Act grouping of 1923, the Lancing works became one of three such facilities owned by the new railway, the others being at Ashford and Eastleigh. The new railway decided to concentrate carriage construction at Lancing and close the carriage works at Ashford. As a result 500 workmen and their families eventually moved to the village.

In 1927 a new moving 'assembly line' system was introduced for repairing coaches more efficiently.

During the second world war the works was kept busy repairing bomb damaged carriages and wagons and in coverting carriages to mobile hospitals for support the army during the D-Day invasion. Likewise they were involved in constructing Bailey bridges and the tail planes for Airspeed Horsa gliders for the invasion.

British Railways & Closure

The works continued to operate after the nationalisation of British Railways (BR) in 1948 and gained a reputation for its efficiency and industrial harmony. By the 1960s had over 1500 employees. However, by 1962 it was decided to further rationalise the manufacturing capacity and close Lancing in favour of Eastleigh railway works under the Beeching Plan. Many of those concerned felt the decision to close Langing rather than Eastleigh was for political rather than economic reasons. The run down and closure took place over the next three years.

Subsequent use of the site

West Sussex County Council purchased the site, which became the Churchill Industrial Estate. The original carriage shop remained in 2002, occupied by a furniture manufacturer.

Sources

  • John Walker, 'History of Lancing Railway Carriage Works', http://www.northlancing.com/History/The%20history%20of%20Lancing%20Railway%20Carriage%20Works/Lancing%20Railway%20Carriage%20works%20history.htm
  • John Blackwell (2002), 'Sussex Main Lines - a year 2002 survey' http://www.sussexias.co.uk/articles/main_brighton_to_worthing.htm
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