Yapton Railway Station

Little is known of the history of Yapton Railway Station. It was opened on 8th June 1846 when the London & Brighton Railway [1] line from Brighton to Lyminster (the station for Arundel and Littlehampton) was extended westwards to Chichester. However the station was little used (the population of Yapton at that time was only 540) and the station was closed a year later on (1st November 1847).

It reopened on 1st June 1849 and, in 1853, had two trains a day to Brighton, London and Portsmouth. Initially the line was a single track until the line was doubled in 1857.

As Bognor Regis became more popular a branch line was constructed from Barnham to the town, and the stations of Woodgate (the original stop for Bognor) and Yapton were closed for good when the new branch line opened on 1st June 1864.

Although the station was closed the road crossing was still in use and manually operated from the signal box on the north side of the crossing. Fred Osborne was the last signalman and gatekeeper (from 1931) until he retired. He lived in the cottage ("Yapton Gates") attached to the old station waiting room.

Tragically Mr Osborne's daughter-in-law, Sylvia Osborne, was killed in an accident at the crossing during the night of 5th May 1967 while the gates were removed and automatic barriers were being installed. The signal box was demolished two months later, in July 1967.


Yapton Crossing in 1934.


Site of the southern platform in the 1950s.


Fred Osborne in signal box (1950s).


Fred Osborne chatting to the driver of a Penfold's Metallizing (Barnham) lorry.


The sign above is the original sign from the outside of the signal box. It found its way up to Kidderminster Railway Museum where it was hanging on the wall in Aug 2008. In February 2015 the sign was put up for auction (by Mr Michael Dunn the owner who had loaned it to KRM) at the Great Central Railwayana Auctions (Stoneleigh Park), and was subsequently purchased by two Yapton residents, Jim Payne and Jon Carver, who returned the sign home to Yapton, and generously donated it to the village. The sign now proudly hangs in the foyer of the Yapton & Ford Village Hall.

Dec 2015

[1] Note: The London, Brighton & South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) was subsequently formed (the following month) on 27th July 1846 by the merger of the London and Croydon Railway and London and Brighton Railway.


Further reading:
Sussex Main Lines - A Year 2002 Survey by John Blackwell, Sussex Industrial Archaeology Society (link)
The Brighton to Portsmouth Line.  N. Pallant. 1980. The Oakwood Press. ISBN 0 85361 279 X