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22 November:
Trekkers approach Sheffield Park - Martin Lawrence - 18 November 2017
  • News Update Martin Lawrence's photo on the right shows a group of the walkers at the end of their 11-mile Track Trek from East Grinstead, on arrival at Sheffield Park on Saturday.
    The 210 walkers were led at a brisk pace by East Grinstead Town Mayor, Councillor Julie Mockford, accompanied by Bluebell Railway plc Chairman, Dick Fearn. The first arrivals at Sheffield Park were at around 12.45 and the last at 4.15.
    Many thanks to those participating, raising over £13,000 in sponsorship monies towards the Tr(ack)Action Appeal, to support the cost of relaying sections of the track between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes. The walkers were given a first hand opportunity to see where their money was being spent as they passed Poleay Bridge as track renewal works were taking place following the works to the bridge itself. It was the track closure for this work which enabled the event to occupy the trackbed, since no trains were able to run that day.
    A team of 52 volunteers, under the leadership of James Young, helped with setting up and managing the event, including 42 who acted as track-side marshalls.
    The BRPS Chairman's Sponsorship Page is still open, should you wish to contribute to the event.

  • Great video from John Harwood showing what's been going on at Kingscote during the last couple of weeks. With the repairs and reglazing of the canopy complete, the scaffolding is down. Slewing of the track in the sidings and a shunt has released Bulleid carriage 1481, which will be stored in the new shed at Horsted Keynes. Fascinating insight into the casting of new concrete gradient posts. The SECR dancehall brake van is being repainted.

  • We are running steam trains to our Service One timetable this coming weekend (25-26 November), and again, after our Santa season, daily 26-31 December.
    The following dates for 2018 are currently advertised on the Event Calendar:
    • 1 January 2018 - Service 2 (No services 2 Jan - 9 Feb dues to track relaying)
    • 2018 is the 60th anniversary of the (second) line closure, the start of two years of 60th Anniversary events. To start this off, we are replicating the "Sulky Service" on 10-18, 24-25 February, 3-4, 10-11 and 17-18 March. This is a four-train service with timings closely following those of the 1958 pre-closure timetable. Since we run trains more slowly, it works well with the Sheffield Park departure times approximating those originally from Lewes. On 16 March we will commemorate and re-create the last passenger service to depart south from East Grinstead.
    • 23-25 March - Diesel Gala
    • Steam-hauled services run daily between 30 March and 30 September
    • 18-19 May - Branch Line Gala
    • 11-12 August - Steam through the Ages
    • 12-14 October - Autumn Gala
    • 29-31 October - Halloween

  • Dates are now available for our Full Steam Ahead Driving Experience days with 'Camelot' in March, July & September 2018

  • Update with the positions in the Football Competition as of 20 November. This is a fund-raiser for the forthcoming overhaul of our Southern Railway Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864.

  • Martin Lawrence's photo, below, shows the H-class having just been shunted by the O1, in preparation for its transfer on Thursday by road to the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition.
    Martin has now added further photos the recently out-shopped H, the 9F club at work, some training turns, the signal post which will form part of the hands-on signalling feature in the Museum's Withyham signal box, and other photos from the Track Trek to his November gallery. He also has a video which includes clips from the mega-shunt at Horsted Keyens in preparation for filling the OP4 shed.

  • Bruce Healey's photo, taken last Wednesday, shows the first pre-cast concrete block already in place, and the smaller block which is located under the walkway being lowered into place. Beneath the square holes there are 4 metre deep concreted piles. Old rail has been used as reinforcing. The piles and blocks stabilise the end of the embankment.

H and the O1 - Martin Lawrence - 19 November 2017 Lowering block at Poleay Bridge - Bruce Healey - 15 November 2017

17 November:
Camelot on Freshfield Bank - Chris Rose - 29 October 2017
  • Camelot powering up Freshfield Bank; another photo from Chris Rose taken on 29 October.

  • A reminder that we're next running trains on the weekend of 25-26 November.

  • Good luck to everyone taking part in our Track Trek sponsored walk, tomorrow, raising money for our Tr(ack) Action Appeal.
    A couple more walkers have created on-line sponsorship pages on BT MyDonate: Pleased to say that the weather forecast looks better than it was last year, particularly in the morning! It will however be cold.

  • The Tr(ack) Action Appeal itself has now reached over £100,000, but more donations are needed to get us to our £250,000 target, to fund the relaying of half a mile of track next January/February.

  • News Update The Bulleid Society's Latest News includes an update on the restoraton of Bulleid composite carriage 5768.

  • Nick Dearden has a short video showing OP4 progress, filmed about a couple of weeks ago.

  • Hornby's The Engine Shed Blog covers the fine detail of the repainting of our H-class by Heritage Painting before its forthcoming trip to Warley for next weekend.

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latestlatestMost recent updates: See top of this page

13 November:
News Update Infrastructure Update: New tracks to OP4! - with thanks to Jon Goff.

The new headshunt and the points that lead off it towards the new shed have been completed. The pointwork, assembled alongside the Ardingly Spur, is now in the process of being moved over into its final position. The points were broken down into three main sections and the long rails taken off. These were then lifted onto the road railer trailers and slowly taken into the yard next to where they will be sited. The out of gauge load cleared the rain water down pipe at the corner of the carriage shed by only 3/4 inch!

Two of the three sections of the points are now approximately in the correct position as seen below. E-road will be temporally disconnected to allow connection to the running in road. The turnout path will curve round though the pile of soil/clay/masonry waste into the shed in line with G-road, which is the second road from the left in the shed. Work to clear the path needs to be done very soon so that we can get the track into the shed in time for its grand opening at the end of November.

More details on the Infrastructure News page.

OP4 access point going into position - Jon Goff - 24 October 2017 These points are now in position and lined up although the crossover section is not yet in position. The new headshunt and engineering sidings are now in their final positions and awaiting ballast. Also the route into the new shed has been cleared ready to connect up for the head opening at the end of November.

New Headshunt and engineers' siding - Jon Goff - 3 November 2017 Route to OP4 F-road - Jon Goff - 3 November 2017

New Headshunt and engineers' siding
Route to OP4 F-road

10 November:
All-SECR train at Town Place Bridge - Chris Rose - 29 October 2017
Q at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 4 November 2017 Hard Standing for 84030 - Martin Lawrence - 5 November 2017 Clear siding at Horsted Keynes - Martin Lawrence - 9 November 2017

1 November:
Camelot at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 28 October 2017
  • 73082 'Camelot' on arrival at Horsted Keynes with the 11:10 service from Sheffield Park on Saturday - photo thanks to Brian Lacey.

  • During the coming month trains run to our Service One timetable, on 4, 5, 25, 26 November only. The line is closed for work on Poleay Bridge (just north of Sheffield Park), and some track relaying, between 6 and 24 November.

  • There are still some tickets available for Thursday 2 November, 7.15pm: An Evening with Nicholas Owen. The talk will cover his life as a journalist, author and keen supporter of The Bluebell Railway. Further details here.

  • On Thursday 21 December we are running Reindeer Special Trains from East Grinstead. As with all our Christmas seasonal special trains, pre-booking is necessary.

  • Also on Thursday 21 Dececember we have our Victorian Christmas Trains from Sheffield Park. The two trains initially advertised have sold out, and a third train has been added, at 11am, and there are only a very few seats left on this too!

  • News Update Two updates on the Project 27 Blogspot which documents the restoration of SECR P-class No.27. The first covers the arrival of the frame components and work on the associated angle sections. The second outlines forthcoming activities, and an opportunity for anyone interested to get involved in the work.
    In addition, some of the items sold in aid of Project 27 are now available via Harrison Brown Models' online shop.

  • News Update Update on the Bulleid Society web site with some pictures John Fry took of the new inner fireboxes for 21C123 and 34059 on his last trip to South Devon Railway (Engineering).

  • Our Locomotive Works is looking for volunteers, both skilled and un-skilled.

  • During October 2017 there were 46,260 total hits on this page, from 27,025 unique visitors.

  • Brian Lacey's photo below shows the SECR O1 at Horsted Keynes with the Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea train on Saturday. Julian Heinemann's photo shows the Camelot Locomotive Society's CCT van on Sunday, stripped to a skeleton (the roof timbers have already been stripped, repaired and replaced, and work is progressing on the repair or replacement of doors) and the steel structure part way through being grit-blasted using our new water-based grit blaster.

The SECR O1 at Horsted Keynes with the Wealden Rambler - Brian Lacey - 28 October 2017 Camelot Society CCT stripped - Julian Heinemann - 29 October 2017

27 October:
323 at Leamland Bridge - Brian Lacey - 25 October 2017
  • Brian Lacey's photo shows SECR P-class No.323 'Bluebell' with its vintage train, forming one of the two services running for half term. Service Two timetable continues this weekend, and then the only public timetabled services before the Santa Season are on 4-5 and 25-26 November (Service One) - Timetables available here.

  • 20 Years ago...
    27 October 1997: Virtually the whole of this site is new, much expanded from the Bluebell's pages formerly hosted on the Heritage Railway Association web pages.

    Thus read the entry 20 years ago on this very page (the entry is still available at the bottom of the 1997-8 archive page). With the term "weblog" not being coined until 17 December 1997, and "Blog" itself another two years later, this is believed to be one of the longest-running continuously-maintained such pages in the history of the Internet.

  • BRPS Chairman Graham Aitken is taking part in the Track Trek - why not sponsor him, or if you feel more energetic, take part yourself on 18 November.

  • Keith Duke's Photos from Tuesday when 'Camelot' and 'Bluebell' were hauling the services.

  • Brian Lacey's photo below shows 73082 'Camelot' exiting the tunnel on Wednesday.

  • Peter Edwards' photo shows S15 No.847 with the Wealden Rambler last Saturday.

Camelot at West Hoathly - Brian Lacey - 25 October 2017 S15 at Sheffield Park - Peter Edwards - 21 October 2017

26 October:
Smokebox door and surround on the smokebox saddle - Fred Bailey - 17 September 2017
  • News Update Fred Bailey has provided another News update on the Brighton Atlantic project.
    On the right we have a view of the chassis with the smokebox door and its surround sitting on the smokebox saddle. Its true position is about a foot nearer the front of the engine, so that the Westinghouse pump will actually be under the smokebox, but with a shortage of space in the shed, this seemed a good place to store the completed door assembly.
    The component sponsorship list for the project has also been updated.

  • Over Easter 2017 the famous steam locomotive 'Flying Scotsman' visited the Bluebell Railway. This promotional trailer provides a taster for the official video, with narration and interviews by Nicholas Owen, covering the excitement of those who rode behind it, the hard work of 750 Bluebell volunteers and staff who made the event happen, as well as our own exclusive drone footage of the visit, its historic reunion with 'Typhoon', and the history of the locomotive.
    The full 50-minute DVD is now available to purchase for just £9.99 from the Bluebell Railway's own shop, and can also be ordered online.
    To launch the video we have a special "Evening with Nicholas Owen" on 2 November, for which tickets are now on sale.

  • Matt Holloway was on hand to capture the unloading of the newly cut frame plates for SECR P-class No.27, delivered from Tata Steel on Tuesday, as seen in the photo below.

Promo video trailer for our Flying Scotsman Flying South DVD New steel frames for No.27 unloaded - Matt Holloway - 24 October 2017

19 October:
847 on Autumn Tints service at West Hoathly - Brian Lacey - 18 October 2017
  • No.847 is seen yesterday on an Autumn Tints service at West Hoathly (photo thanks to Brian Lacey). Although, as the very last S15 built as part of the final batch of the design, it always ran with smoke deflectors, earlier examples of the class ran without then at first. Having been removed for filming work last week, it's understood it may remain in this condition for a couple of months. Today is the final day of the Autumn Tints services.

  • We are running a daily 2-train service (Service 2 timetable) starting on Saturday, for Half Term. Our Kids for a Quid Offer is available each day from Monday 23 to Sunday 29, excepting Friday.

  • An additional date (Friday 1 December) has been added for the Christmas Festive Feast trains since the ones previously advertised have effectively sold out. These trains provide a steam train ride from East Grinstead plus Christmas Lunch at Sheffield Park.

  • All the compartments for the Victorian Christmas Trains running on Thurdays 21 Dec from Sheffield Park have now been booked. If people who have booked a third class compartment wish to increase the size of their party (up to a maximum of 8 people per compartment) they can do so by phoning 01825 720800. Please also phone to enquire about wheelchair access, which is available on this service.

  • Thursday 2 November, 7.15pm at Sheffield Park: An Evening with Nicholas Owen - Nicholas Owen will be interviewed about his life as a journalist, author and keen supporter of The Bluebell Railway - limited places: booking essential. Our new official "Flying Scotsman Flying South" DVD, covering the visit of 'Flying Scotsman' to the Bluebell, will be on sale, and Nicholas will be autographing copies.

  • 4, 5, 11, 12 December: Santa for Schools - a very special train for all our younger visitors from local schools and nurseries, from Sheffield Park

  • John Sandys' photos from 15 and 17 October.

18 October:
S15 at East Grinstead - Brian Lacey - 14 October 2017
  • Brian Lacey's photo shows the S15, currently running without smoke deflectors, at East Grinstead on 14 October. His two photos below, the same day, show 65 with the Wealden Rambler at Horsted Keynes the same day, and 323 with some of the Victorian carriages entering Horsted.

  • Special Half-term Offer: Kids for a Quid - 23-26 and 28-29 October.

  • Thurs 26 & Fri 27 Oct: Hallowe'en Scream Train - a daytime train for kids (Friday), and evening train for adults and accompanied teenagers (Thursday and Friday). These events are being run in association with Fun Fear and Claire White Studios. Full details, including online ticket purchase, here.

    Tr(ack) Action AppealTr(ack) Action Appeal

  • Those of you who have travelled on the Bluebell Railway recently will have noticed there are sections of the line where the journey is a little uneven. This is due to track wear. The Railway wishes to accelerate its programme of track renewal; thus we have launched the Tr(ack) Action Appeal to raise funds to do so. In addition to improving passenger comfort the renewed track will reduce maintenance costs on locomotives and carriages.
    Please do donate to our Tr(ack) Action Appeal now if you are able to. You can read more details about the Appeal here, and there's a superb video available here.

  • News Update An Infrastructure News update with thanks to Jon Goff shows the preparation of reinforced concrete blocks for stabilisation of the embankments around Poleay Bridge, which will be November's main civil engineering activity.

  • News Update On Monday a group from Project 27 and the Fenchurch Fund went to Tata Steel and Premier Patterns to see the progress on the work on the new frames and cylinders. They had a grand day out and came away buzzing from the realisation that we are well on the way to seeing Southern Railway P-class No.A27 working again! Clive has added a picture blog to the Project 27 BlogSpot.
    Another blog entry from a few days ago shows the progress with stripping the old frames and removal of the whitemetal from the axleboxes.

O1 with Wealden Rambler at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 14 October 2017 323 enters at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 14 October 2017

The Deltic Preservation Society 40th Anniversary Gala took place at the Bluebell Railway 6-8 October 2017.

  • There were lots of photos and videos appearing each day, and over the following week, on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.
  • Derek Hayward has added 22 images to his Deltic gallery (which also covers their earlier visit).
  • Nick Dearden's video
  • Sunday afternoon, from Ashley Smith - a short video and some photos.
  • Andrew Crampton's photos below show the 09 approaching Holywell with a brakevan ride (taken with the permission of the farmer), and D9002 'The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry' just south of Horsted Keynes.
  • Then we have Mike Anton's in-cab view from D9009 'Alycidon', and the same loco, from Julian Clark, as it blasts away from Horsted Keynes with Friday's 12 coach train (plus No.19 on the rear).
  • Finally two more from Julian Clark, showing the special photographic line-up at Horsted on the Friday, and the token exchange at Kingscote, as 55019 'Royal Highland Fusilier' arrives with the 3pm service from East Grinstead.
09 approaching Holywell with a Queen Mary brakevan - Andrew Crampton - 7 October 2017 D9002 approaching Horsted Keynes - Andrew Crampton - 7 October 2017 Inside the cab of Alycidon - Mike Anton - 6 October 2017 Alycidon with a 12-coach train - Julian Clark - 6 October 2017 Deltic photographic line-up - Julian Clark - 6 October 2017 Token exchange at Kingscote with Royal Highland Fusilier - Julian Clark - 6 October 2017

4 October:
  • Stop Press: Due to filming taking place the Railway will be entirely closed to the public for the day on 11 October.
    No trains were scheduled to run that day in any case.

  • The Deltics have arrived: Video of the convoy en-route.
    D9009, 55019 and D9002 are visiting us for the Deltic Preservation Society's 40th Anniversary Gala which starts on Friday, and continues all weekend.

  • There are only a few spaces available on the Brake Van Rides during the Gala - book now so you don't miss out. £15 per person to ride the length of the line behind our 09, D4106, and also includes a bacon butty! Call 01825 720800 - office hours.

  • Martin Lawrence was on duty at East Grinstead today and his photos of their arrival are below.
Deltics arrive on Bluebell metals - Martin Lawrence - 4 October 2017 Deltics on our viaduct - Martin Lawrence - 4 October 2017

3 October:
847 on Autumn Tints and D4106 shunting - Huw Lloyd - 2 October 2017
  • Huw Lloyd has been visiting us from Canada to work in the C&W department for a few weeks, and provides this photo taken yesterday, showing the S15 departing from Horsted Keynes with the Autumn Tints service, whilst the 09 shunts stock to form up the three carriage sets required for the Deltic Preservation Society 40th Anniversary Gala, which starts on Friday.

  • John Sandys' photos from Sunday, including the vintage buses, our trains, and a look at the stock in the Carriage Shop at Horsted Keynes, which has extended opening hours (9am to 5pm each day, except closing at 4pm on Sunday) over all three days of the Deltic Gala. The shop currently has large stocks of previously-owned railway & transport books, photographs, models railways, vintage magazines and other collectables.

  • An additional Fish and Chips Supper Special has been added on Friday 20 October. Board the 6:30pm supper train from Sheffield Park Station and enjoy a delicious fish & Chips supper. Tickets cost £30 per person (includes dessert and tea/coffee). To book please call the customer service team on 01825 720800.

  • Advance notice: our Annual Carol Service will take place on Saturday 2 December. Further details awaited.

  • Peter Churchman's photos below, taken during the Bus Running Day on Sunday, feature in particular Eastbourne Corporation No.42, the last surviving bus with a body by Bruce of Cardiff, on an AEC Regent III chassis, built in 1951.

Buses at Sheffield Park - Peter Churchman - 1 October 2017 Eastbourne Corporation 42 at Sheffield Park - Peter Churchman - 1 October 2017

2 October:
65 with a Wedding Charter - Peter Edwards - 30 September 2017
  • Peter Edwards' photo shows No.65 approaching Town House Bridge with a Wedding Charter at around 1pm on Saturday.

  • To connect with the Deltic Gala, we have a Free Preserved Bus Service running from Brighton and Lewes to Sheffield Park on Sunday 8 October. You can download the Service 20 Bus timetable and details here.

  • Another additional attraction at the Deltic Gala is a talk entitled "Trial Trips and Deltic performance on the ECML" given by BRPS President Gordon Pettitt. As a manager on the Eastern Region of British Railways when the Deltics were introduced, Gordon is able to give a first-hand insight into their performance in the early days. The talk, lasting about half an hour, will take place in the Birch Grove Suite above the Bessemer Arms Restaurant at Sheffield Park, starting at 2.15pm on Saturday 7 October.

  • Tickets are now on sale for the Victorian Christmas Trains from Sheffield Park which run on Thursday 21 December.

  • First class tickets can now be booked online for the Santa Specials. Third Class tickets have been on sale for some time, and some trains are already sold out! This year there are departures (each day of the Santa Specials) from East Grinstead as well as from Sheffield Park.

  • During September 2017 there were 42,510 total hits on this page, from 24,950 unique visitors.

  • Brian Lacey's photos below show the S15 at West Hoathley today with one of the Autumn Tints services, which run on certain weekdays through October, and which use both the Observtion Car, giving a all-round view, and the Lounge Car set, offering a range of on-train refreshment options. Pre-booking is recommended for the Observation Car, and essential for the catering options.
    His other photos cover some maintenance work currently taking place in the Locomotive Works, where the SECR H-class, whilst awaiting the fitting of replacement springs, is receiving a partial repaint, and the SR Q-class is receiving a scheduled Valve and Piston overhaul; its valves and one piston can be seen receiving attention in the foreground of these photos.

847 with an Autumn Tints service - Brian Lacey - 2 October 2017 847 with an Autumn Tints service - Brian Lacey - 2 October 2017 847 with an Autumn Tints service - Brian Lacey - 2 October 2017

Older updates are in the What's New Archive
or the 2016, the 2015, the 2014, the 2013, the 2012, the 2011, the 2010, the 2009, the 2008, the 2007, the 2006, the 2005, the 2004, the 2003, the 2002, the 2001, the 2000, the 1999 and the 1997-8 "What was new" archive pages.

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