A HERITAGE railway line has launched an appeal to restore a historic station to its former glory.

The Bluebell Railway is hoping to raise at least £500,000 to help repair leaking roofs and rotting beams at the Grade II listed Horstead Keynes station near Haywards Heath.

The railway's appeal co-ordinator Trevor Swainson said: "The station buildings were built in Victorian times and are now showing signs of wear and tear.

"We view Horsted Keynes as our 'jewel in the crown' and we hope this appeal puts the sparkle back into the station."

Horsted Keynes has been used by many film crews and TV production companies as a location for period dramas thanks to its look and feel.

Shows featuring the station habe included Downton Abbey, Poirot and the film version of The Woman In Black.

Built in 1882, Horsted Keynes was originally part of the Lewes-East Grinstead line by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway.

It was bought by the Bluebell Railway in the 1960s, who have preserved, maintained and decorated it in the style of a Southern Railway junction station from the 1930s.

A survey of the station by the railway calculated the first phase of repair work will cost at least half a million pounds, with initial repairs to be made to the station house and platform five.

Members of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society have already pledged £20,000 for the restoration, and the charitable arm of the railway is promising to match all public donations between now and the end of January up to a total of £150,000.

Mr Swainson said: "For its age, Horsted Keynes station is in remarkably good condition, but now is the time to get on top of the deterioration.

"We believe it is one of the largest stations on preserved railways and the only junction station in preservation."

The Bluebell Railway is the oldest heritage railway of its type, running on 11 miles of track from Sheffield Park in East Sussex to East Grinstead in West Sussex.

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