A bid to extend a steam railway has gone up in smoke.

Trustees of the historic Bluebell Railway, near Haywards Heath, wanted to provide a service along the Kingscote to East Grinstead line.

But they now fear that time restrictions on steam trains using the soon to be completed seven-carriage platform in East Grinstead would make the four-mile extension unworkable.

The not-for-profit organisation applied to lift a restriction imposed last summer preventing use of the platform after 10pm because it would lose essential customers.

But they withdrew their application to lift the time limit after council officers at Mid Sussex District Council recommended it be refused.

A Bluebell Railway spokesman said: "The Bluebell Railway were disappointed to be notified that Mid Sussex District Council planning officers had decided to recommend that our application relating to hours of use at East Grinstead be refused.

"This had not been expected and rather than risk an adverse decision, the application was withdrawn. The project to re-connect the Bluebell Railway with the historic town of East Grinstead is both complex and expensive.

"A set-back of this nature and at this late stage could have a serious impact on the project viability.

"It is therefore imperative to assess the implications carefully.

"The plan is to meet with local councillors and the planners in January to decide how best to proceed."

The district council received 12 letters of objection and one of support for the time limit to be lifted. Council officers found favour with residents, who cited noise and disturbance from trains as reasons for opposing it.

The council imposed 12 conditions on the railway when it granted planning permission for the new station between the current Network Rail station and the Viaduct, last summer.

At the time Bluebell's infrastructure director Christopher White said they would impact on the long term development of the railway, curbing themed trains and excursions which often run into the night.

In their recent application the railway proposed a regular finish time of midnight to services using the Kingscote to East Grinstead line.

A Mid Sussex District Council spokesman said the Bluebell's service contributed to the annual £124 million tourist trade.

The picturesque railway line has appeared in countless films and adverts.

Would you back Bluebell Railway's bid to increase the time limit or would it be too noisy? Tell us what you think below.