NEWHAVEN MARINE:A VERY SPECIAL GHOST TRAIN:REPORTAGE.BY STEVEN BENSON

“Do you know the train times From Newhaven Marine station to Lewes”, I asked the Southern rail operator, somewhat disingenuously.

“Newhaven Marine has no train services. The station has been withdrawn from the station and ticketting databases”, she replied.

“But”, I said, “It has a train arriving there at about 8 pm every weekday. There are videos of it on U-Tube{one attached later}. Passengers can board the same train at Newhaven Harbour”.

Bless her; she wikipaediaed it!(i had already done this); and said “No trains have run from there since 2006; you cannot now get the {advertized on the station}replacement taxi{one and a half minutes walk to Newhaven harbour station!}because it is no longer on the station/ticketing database”.

Wow!This is a ghost train with a difference!

A ghost train is also, loosely, called a “Parliamentary” train, referring to an obscure Act of parliament where a railway has to have a minimum service on a line or to a station. It is a way of saving money, but, usually,(just)staying WITHIN the law,so as to avoid the costs of public consultation and closure procedures(replacement bus services are also quite common). So usually, to fulfil this, a line has , for example,a once a week ONE-WAY service, or even a summer only once a week service.This is legal. But the difference between THESE latter ghost trains and the Newhaven Marine ghost train is that you can actually BOARD these other trains(though they are sometimes not even on the platform train indicator!). The roof is unsafe and the station consequently closed for “temporary ” repairs” at Newhaven Marine (though the roof has actualy been dismantled since 2006!)

But is this complex, spectral process at Newhaven Marine legal?; I do not know; I am not a lawyer!What is the station’s status? I would say, that in some senses, this is a TRUE ghost train, because it goes there , it moves, but you cannot get on it!But , nevertheless, it exists- in a fashion.In this video you can see the train entering the stationhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTmumbrKohs

So what is so haunting about this, apart from the legislative no-mans-land?

1. obviously the IDEA/name of a “ghost train”

2. that Southern Rail would take the trouble/time to drive a train into an (effectively) closed but(technically, because not gone through the official closure procedure)open(confirmed as classified as open by the Department of Transport!)station. But, in the real world , not in the “Parliamentary “wraithlike one,the station is (still) allegedly unsafe so you cannot board it so is, to all sensible intents and purposes, CLOSED.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Perhaps, for a part answer anyway, we can return to Walter Benjamin: there is something of the detritus of capitalism here. Newhaven closed one of its ferry terminals, the one next to Marine station. So we have a nearly dead piece of former capitalist enterprise; but which, after its (semi?) demise, acquires a fascination and spectral charm, for the benjaminesque flaneur and collector of curiosities,by its very desuetude(taken , in this case, to risible extremes that would only be equalled by, for examples, Dickens Dept of Circumlocution in his “Little Dorrit”).

So, NEWHAVEN MARINE RAILWAY STATION-r.i.p; and , yet, in parallel, LIVE FOREVER; neither alive nor wholly dead, an exemplar of Derridean deconstructionism of the binaries of life and death.

 

 

 

 

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Published by: decayetude

ENTHUSIASMS: CLASSICAL MUSIC, ESPECIALLY OBSCURE ROMANTIC COMPOSERS; BACH/HANDEL LITERATURE, ESPECIALLY THOUGHTFUL, WELL-WRITTEN(STYLISTICALLY)NOVELS W G SEBALD WALTER BENJAMIN THEODOR ADORNO(JUST BEGINNING!) AESTHETIC PHILOSOPHY GAY MEN'S WRITING;QUEER THEORY STIMULATING DISCUSSIONS(EMOTIONALLY AND INTELLECTUALLY) GOOD RICH THICK ESPRESSO MICHAEL PONTI SPRITUALITY/LIFE'S "AURA"(BENJAMIN), WHATEVER TRANSCENDENTAL THING YOU WANT TO CALL THIS MEMORY-the elusiveness thereof. LOST TIME AND AN ATTEMPT AT ITS REDEMPTION(NON THEISTICALLY/RELIGIOUSLY)

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