News from the Bluebell Railway
Archive - January to June 2005

This is an Archive for the main News from the Bluebell page. Please note that due to the historical nature of this page, some links may no longer work correctly.
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News update 8 June 2005

The lack of news posted here is largely because most other recent events have been covered elsewhere on these pages in greater depth than could be managed on this single page. Revisions of the "What's New" page should, I hope, have made it easier for readers to access the latest news on these other pages. This posting also represents the tenth anniversary of the availability (initially only by e-mail) of "News from the Bluebell" over the Internet.

Start of excavation of the inert part of the tip

First spoil is loaded into Grampus Wagons

Monday was a historic day: on 6th June 2005 the Bluebell Railway started the excavation (Photo right - Nigel Longdon) of inert matter (mainly sandstone and earth) on the southern section of the tip blocking the route of the extension to East Grinstead. The material is being moved off site by train.

The first day involved hired Ivatt tank No.41312 with just two wagons on a single train, to establish working patterns and procedures for the coming weeks. Yesterday the train, extended to 4 wagons, ran two trips from the tip down to Horsted Keynes, where the excavated material is being unloaded and used to rebuild the embankment on the line towards Ardingly.

Photo reports are accessible via the extension page.
Jon Bowers' report goes into considerable detail with many photos, and also includes three videos.
Chris Dadson, in addition to photos from Monday, has further ones from Tuesday.


Spoil train at Kingscote - Jon Bowers

Photo left: 41312 with the first spoil train at Kingscote - Jon Bowers).

The spoil trains are set to continue on weekdays only for the next few months, and of course all are steam hauled, with a variety of motive power rostered. Our normal passenger trains also continue to run daily during this time.

Spoil train arrives at Kingscote -Chris Dadson Photo right: Ivatt Class 2MT No.41312 arrives at Kingscote with the first extension spoil train of the day on 7th June 2005 - Chris Dadson.

The extra grampus wagons we had been aiming to purchase for this work have been moved by mistake to a scrapyard, so we have had to revise our plans, running shorter trains consisting of our own vacuum fitted grampus wagons, our two BR Medfits, and a bogie wagon on loan from our friends at Isfield.

The Ivatt tank, normally based on the Mid Hants Railway, is due to remain on the Bluebell until November, and will be used both on spoil trains and on scheduled passenger services. SECR O1 0-6-0 No.65 (of 1896) and LBSCR E4 0-6-2T No.32473 (of 1898) will share the spoil train duties with 41312.


Signalling changes for start of works trains

There has been much activity wiring-up and testing the alterations ready for the running of the spoil trains from Imberhorne tip, with the introduction of the new arrangements at the North end of the station commissioned on 3 June.

Trains can now be signalled over the Loop as well as the Main route, in either direction and with all points controlled from the Signalbox. This brings the so-called "Leamland Junction" (where the Loop and Main join north of Leamland Bridge) into full use for the first time. For the first time since the resignalling project started, it is possible to signal trains to and from platform 2 at the north end. The final bracket signal, to be positioned at the end of platform 1/2, is presently under construction.

Full details and photos are on the Horsted Keynes re-signalling pages

USA tank for Ardingly

It was not just the Ivatt tank that left the Bluebell's main line towards Ardingly on Monday. Whilst the Ivatt was only able to go as far as the buffer stops near the demolished Sherriff Mill viaduct, USA tank "WD 1959" made it all the way to the South of England showground at Ardingly, to represent the Bluebell Railway at the South of England Show, which starts tomorrow, and runs until Saturday 11th June. These two photos from Andrew Strongitharm show the loco on route, and on arrival.

USA on route USA arrives at Ardingly

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Return to Bluebell Home Page, or to the Heritage Railways News Express
See also Operation Undercover News, Extension Progress, C&W Works News, the Loco Works Photo News, latest News from the Maunsell Locomotive Society, and Volunteer P-way Gang news.
Visitor Info. - Catering - Contacts - What's New - Extension - Locos - Carriages & Wagons - Signals - History - Other - Links - Search the site - FAQ
Why not become a BRPS Member?     -     Get more involved as a Volunteer

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News update 26 June 2005

Fire in the Business park

Huge Fire adjacent to station at Sheffield Park

Just before the 6pm departure of the 'Thomas' Bedtime Story train on Friday evening, a bolt of lightning is thought to have hit one of the buildings, used by Oak Transport, in the Business Park on the old Woodpax site adjacent to Sheffield Park Station. The resulting fire destroyed the building and several vehicles in it, but fortunately there were no injuries amongst the staff working in the building at the time. The blaze was attended by 6 fire tenders and was brought under control in two hours, and damped down by 9pm.


Fire in the Business park

 

These two photos, from Howard Strongitharm, show the blaze burning fiercely, and left, almost extinguished. The direction of the wind carried the smoke southwards, and no Bluebell Railway property was affected.

For Oak Transport it is a second major blow in 5 years, having relocated to Sheffield Park after their premises in Lewes were flooded in 2001.

cutting being excavated

Tip excavation continues

Whilst Ivatt 2-6-2 tank No.41312 was the mainstay of the spoil trains over the first two weeks, last week the two daily return journeys between Imberhorne cutting and the Ardingly Spur have been operated by the SECR O1-class 0-6-0 No.65.

This photo from Dave Clarke, taken last week, shows the magnitude of the task just to reach Imberhorne Lane bridge, which is expected to take 3 months.


Contractor's Locomotive "Sharpthorn" at 'Day out with Thomas' events

Sharpthorn with goods train

 

 

This photo by Jon Bowers shows Manning Wardle No.4 "Sharpthorn" of 1877, one of the original contractor's locomotives used to build the Bluebell line, apparently in steam, as part of the last two weekend's special events.

USA tank at show

USA tank at Ardingly

Southern Railway USA-class 0-6-0 tank "WD 1959" is seen here, in this photo by Chris Ward, representing the Bluebell Railway on our stand at the South of England Show at Ardingly showground a couple of weeks ago.

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Return to Bluebell Home Page, or to the Heritage Railways News Express
See also Operation Undercover News, Extension Progress, C&W Works News, the Loco Works Photo News, latest News from the Maunsell Locomotive Society, and Volunteer P-way Gang news.
Visitor Info. - Catering - Contacts - What's New - Extension - Locos - Carriages & Wagons - Signals - History - Other - Links - Search the site - FAQ
Why not become a BRPS Member?     -     Get more involved as a Volunteer

Your ideal Film/TV location?


Go to earlier News from the Bluebell Archives:
2004: Jan-April, May-July, Aug-Dec
2003: Jan-March, April-June, July-Sept, Oct-Dec
2002: Jan-March, April-June, July-Sept, Oct-Dec
2001: Jan-March, April-July, Aug-Dec
2000: Jan-April, May-Aug, Sept-Dec
1999: Jan-April, May-Aug, Sept-Dec
1998: Jan-June, July-Dec
1997: Jan-June, July-Dec
1996: Jan-July, Aug-Dec
1995: June-Dec
or the latest news page, or the more recent archive: July-Dec 2005.
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