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extracted and adapted from

The Illustrated London News

This landslip took place on Thursday  20th October. The following details have been collected by the artist of the 

accompanying sketch: - the land adjoining Binham's Woods, near Kemp’s Farm has been for some time giving signs of 

yielding, and the heavy rain completed the destruction of a natural foundation. At 8 o’clock on Thursday morning. Mr 

Fletcher one of the contractors for the Permanent Way was in the train from Brighton to London when feeling a jolt in the 

carriage and looked out and saw that both lines had sunk more than six inches. Guessing that the landslip he desire the engine 

driver to stop, which he feared to do as an express train was close behind, accordingly he drove on to Three Bridges station. 

As so as Mr. Fletcher reached Three Bridges station he took the pilot engine back at a rate of 60 m.ph. Two other trains were 

allowed to prevent the express train crossing, but was too late, the engine driver having seen the slip and passed over the line 

safely, at the rate of a mile per hour. Two other trains were allowed to pass over. Mr. Fletcher and three other men having



shored up the lines as best as they 

could, now to imminent to permit this 

to continue. Before evening 100 men 

were on the spot; and, the whole 

mass of earth continuing to defend, 

prompt measures were immediately 

taken to secure one of the lines for 

traffic, that next Binham’s wood 

being useless. By means of shoring 

up the opposite side, and shifting the 

rails that line is now tolerably 

secure, the trains passing over it very 

slowly. The full extent of the slip 

proved to be a sinking of 70,000   

cubic yards of chalk, along 200 yards of the line, into the valley wherein stands Binham’s Wood. Here it carried some large

oak trees in a vertical position, ten yards from where they originally stood, and moving the wood en-masse - earth, trees and 

underwood - down towards a considerable brook which takes it’s course through Binham’s Wood.This large tract of land 

moved three or four foot in a day, and ,fearing that it would inevitably stop up the brook, it was deemed advisable to cut a new 

course, about 200 yards long - a task of considerable  difficulty, on account of the timber, and spreading of the roots. On 

Thursday evening week 150 trains on either side of the slip were stopped, and the passengers had to cross by means of 

naphtha lights and fire pans or, as they are technically termed, “ evils” the space was brilliantly lighted up. Great praise is 

due to Mr. Fletcher for his careful  and admirable arrangements, and his unwearied exertions to secure, not only the safety, 

but, as far as possible, the convenience and comfort of the passengers. The line had been rendered secure for traffic, some 

further time most, however, elapse before this one of the most extensive railway land slips on record, will have been fully 



Click on the icon above for

the Brighton Motive Power Depots

Click on the icon above for

the Sussex Motive Power Depots & ASLEF Branches


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