News From the Bluebell Railway
Archive - Jan-June 1997

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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Update 23/6/97

Unique loco arrives at Sheffield Park.

The big news is the arrival, at Sheffield Park, of the sole surviving South Eastern Railway locomotive. The 'O1' class 0-6-0 No.65 (BR 31065) was built to Stirling's 1878 'O' class design by the SER in 1896, and rebuilt by Wainwright in 1908 with an H-class boiler. It was re-united with the Bluebell's SECR H and C class locomotives after a 21-year separation; all three had been together at Ashford. The locomotive, long described in books as "dismantled on a farm in Kent", was seen in public for the first time since it's Ashford days when the frames and wheels arrived at Sheffield Park on Saturday 21st, followed by the tender, with its distinctive outside springs above the running plate, on Sunday. The final major component, still to arrive (in about three weeks time), is the boiler, which is reported as being in good condition. I have to say that the rest of the loco did not appear to be in particularly bad condition either!

Since he has more of the background information, the following is quoted from Peter Jessop's Maunsell Loco Society e-mail bulletin:

"This 0-6-0 engine is to be restored and run at the Bluebell following a deal brokered between the Bluebell and Mr Esmond Lewis-Evans. The engine is in good shape despite having been split into chassis, boiler and tender, and being located at multiple sites in the South East. As he is mindful of his age, and being of a desire to see the engine work once again, a deal was struck that allows the Bluebell sufficient scope to invest in a general overhaul and run the engine on its metals. The timescale here is as flexible as preservationists allow it to be of course, but a target of 1999 has been quoted, which is the 100th anniversary of the founding of the South East and Chatham Railway, on which it served. As this is such a significant engine, that had quite frankly been thought to have been lost to preservation, an independent web site is being created with historical info. and restoration information for it."

The arrival of this locomotive gives the Bluebell a much more complete locomotive collection. Six of the eight preserved SECR locomotives are now at Sheffield Park, along with three spare boilers. It also gives the Bluebell a complete sequence of SR 0-6-0s from the O1, through the C and the Q to Bulleid's unforgettable Q1. Each of these four locos is the sole survivor of its class.

GNR Saddle Tank completes its visit

The NRM's GNR J52 saddle tank No 68846, visiting the Bluebell from the East Somerset Railway, completed its working visit to Sussex yesterday, double-heading one of the trains with the SECR H-class. The second service train was headed by the S15, and the SECR C-class was on the Lunch-time Pullman service. With its axle-box problem apparently cured, the GNR locomotive has been in service regularly in the last three weeks.

Carriage News:

The Bluebell's oldest carriage, LBSCR Stroudley First No.661 of 1880 was united last week with the railway's newest underframe. The underframe was shortened from an SR PMV underframe, and all the horn-guides, headstock and draw-gear at one end had therefore to be re-riveted in new positions. Work to repair the body-timbers of the one-time bungalow are already well underway.

One of the Bluebell's newest carriages, the ex-travelling college TSO No.4957, has been repainted in maroon over the last few weeks, since it is the partner vehicle to the maroon Buffet car No.1838, and was usually the odd green vehicle in an otherwise maroon set of BR standard steam stock.

Sheffield Park developments:

The extension to the Buffet is nearly completed. In the public area this includes new lavatories, enabling the removal of the old ones, thus opening out the Bar into a much more sensibly-sized area. This area is due for completion in the coming week. The rest of the extension was made necessary by food-handling regulations which require the separation of areas used for the preparation of different types of food.

The Canopy Race:

In a bid to keep up with progress on the new Horsted Keynes Platform 1 canopy, Kingscote's new canopy on Platform 2 is coming together in leaps and bounds, with the first roof-joists now installed. Horsted pulled ahead when they installed the first of the zinc roofing sheets, but this work hit a snag relating to the curved edge on "Platform 0", so they have since been concentrating on the woodwork, with all the main transverse members installed going south from the completed section. Kingscote claims to be about to leap ahead, with much already-prepared material now ready for erection, but they also have the advantage of a shorter, single-sided canopy!

Other Kingscote News:

The Signal Box is now, virtually, complete externally. The frame has had all the levers installed, but further work cannot be done on this until the track and signalling plans towards East Grinstead are confirmed. Signalling will probably continue to be controlled from the temporary "South Box" until the final part of the extension is completed.

The footings for the relay room behind the signal box have been dug. As at Horsted Keynes, this will be built at a considerably lower level so as not to intrude on the period scene.

Royal Mail Wall Box No.871 (dating from the early 1880s) has been provided and installed in the front wall of the station building by the Royal Mail. The last collection is at 4pm.

The GWR Tool Van (No.92) has now been moved to Kingscote as their work-shop-cum-store. In its 18 years on the Bluebell it has so far only moved the nine miles from Sheffield Park to Kingscote, via a spell at Horsted Keynes. It was exchanged for the Blue-Spot fish van, which now becomes the tool-van for the SR hand crane. The Kingscote team have done some work on the van to make it watertight, presentable and fit for purpose.


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Update 29/5/97

Headlines:

BR Standard Tank 80064 returns to Bluebell

This loco returned to Sheffield Park yesterday from Devon. The background to its owning group's decision on the move of the loco is explained in the following Press Release:

The 80064 group have decided to move their locomotive back to the Bluebell Railway.

80064 operated on the Bluebell until 1990 when its boiler certificate expired, and was moved to the SDR in 1993 to be overhauled. Although only a small group, the 80064 Loco Fund has members active on several preserved railways, including the Bluebell and the South Devon. It had been expected that under the guidance of group member, and full time employee of the SDR, Alan Gosling, the overhaul would start this year. Alan was a central player in the original restoration of 80064 through the seventies to the early eighties at Buckfastleigh. However in March this year, due to ill health Alan decided to leave the SDR where for a number of years he had been Mechanical Foreman.

Group Secretary Martin Nichols said "We have chosen to return the loco to Sheffield Park because a greater number of our active members will able to be more closely involved with the restoration. We felt, now that Alan cannot be actively involved, this would, on balance, better serve our interests. We would still like to see 80064 running at Buckfastleigh and hope that 80064 will pay a return visit to the West Country at some future date."

SDRT Director Chris Stokes said "We have been talking with the group for some time about the agreement to restore and operate 80064. Subject to that agreement being reached we were committed to it being our next major project and naturally we are disappointed that this will not now happen. We recognise that the group want to get the maximum enjoyment from their locomotive and we are not going to get bent out of shape over that. I am sure those who wanted to drive 80064 will be delighted with the groups offer to loan us the engine; even if realistically this is unlikely to be before the millennium. We wish the group well"

Visiting GNR Loco arrives and fails

The GNR J52 0-6-0ST, which arrived for a month's visit last week, failed at the weekend with a hot left trailing axlebox. It appears that the lubrication reaching the journal is inadequate for an 18 mile round trip. It is not yet known whether we will attempt a repair, or if the loco will just appear on display in light steam for the duration of its stay.

Bluebell wins 1996 AIRPS Carriage & Wagon Competition Coach Award

For the third time the Bluebell's C&W department have won the Coach award, this time for the restoration of LMS six-wheeled Guard's Brake van (BGZ) No.32975. Announced at the AIRPS General Meeting at Leighton Buzzard on Saturday May 17th, "The award is for restoration to the highest standards. The Judges found it difficult to fault this entry." Full results are available on the AIRPS server.

Final results of HK Signalling Fund Football Competition

Peter Richards writes:
The two football competitions the Railway ran to raise funds for the Horsted Keynes Signalling Fund have now concluded, and the lucky winners can plan how to spend their winnings! The winners of the Premiership Competition were:
First: Ian Maylin with 64 points [Ian is actually one of our Internet community!]
Second equal with 72 points: D Jessup, E W R Hazel, Roy Crouch, Ben Stepney and Ian Fribbens

Winners of the FA Cup competition were: with Chelsea: Paul Barnett, M D Bentote, Paul Ellis, D Jessup, Barry Knight, G M Lyndsell, Mark Richards, Keith Stamford and Bill Steingass, and with Middlesborough: A G S Davies, Jack Summers and Michael Topliss.

Full details of the competitors' positions are posted in the Members' Room at Sheffield Park. Anyone wanting one by post please send S.A.E. to:
10 Foxwarren, Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH16 1EN

The entry fee for the 1997/8 Competitions is still only £5 each entry, so don't delay sending yours in. The forms will be sent out shortly with the Summer edition of "Bluebell News". Anyone wishing to enter who is not a member of the BRPS can obtain an entry form by sending an S.A.E. to the above address - please say that you read about the competitions on the Internet. Overseas entries welcome, but we can only accept entry fees drawn on a UK bank.

BR Standard Class 4 75027 boiler ready for hydraulic test

Martin Nichols reports on the BR Standard 4-6-0:
The fitting of the firebox stays has been completed, and the replacement crown stays have been delivered. These stays have now been finish machined (see last report), fitted and caulked. Various pads for the boiler fittings have been re-faced and new studs fitted. The boiler has been re-tubed.

The boiler was filled with water on Monday 26th. Some leaks to sort out but hopefully a hydraulic test will be carried out this week.

The chassis is now complete with coupling and connecting rods in place and ready for the boiler to be fitted.

Other loco news from Martin Nichols

92240 - BR 9F 2-10-0.
This is in the works for a valve and piston exam, plus attention to other defects. The cylinders and valve chests were found to be quite worn now and it was decided to re-bore them. This is well under way, but will entail making new pistons and valve heads and obtaining new rings. The 9Fs started life with 20 inch cylinders and 11 inch piston valves. The cylinders are cast steel, with cast iron liners. 92240 will be about 20 5/16 after re-bore. This will probably be the last re-bore before new liners will be required.
The pony truck wheelset has been sent to Swindon for the tyres to be re-profiled and the journals to be skimmed.

473 - LBSCR E4 0-6-2T.
All the firebox stay holes have been tapped out and are ready for the delivery of the stays.

Nos 847, 592, 3, 263, C1, 323, 96 are all in service.

73082 Camelot was due a boiler washout, as of 18/5/97, which may have taken place by now.

34023 Blackmore Vale - SR West Country Pacific
The boiler has now been completely gutted (ie all tubes, flues and the regulator removed). The inside of the barrel looks to be in good condition and the boiler inspector will be examining the whole structure in the near future.

Schools class tenders.
The Maunsell men are busy on these. Some modifications will be required to the drag box as the Schools and U classes have their drawbars at different heights.

84030 - Standard Class 2 2-6-2T
Colin Turner and I (MN) paid a visit to the SVR at the end of April and were fortunate enough to be able to secure two front steam chest covers. We are still short of a rear steam chest cover, but if all else fails, the East Lancs are having a pattern made (they have an Ivatt 2) which will be suitable for the Standard 2.

Way off site:
Congratulations to Southern Locos on the return to steam of 80104 at Swanage the end of April. This loco has several Bluebell made bits including both injectors and overflow valves (made by MN), front cylinder covers, ejector exhaust ring and numerous other bits made by Mike Carrol.

The loading / unloading track continues and is now through the yard gate and into the top car park, ready for the arrival of the GNR tank on Wednesday last week and the Standard 4 yesterday.

Carriage restoration progress

Martin Lock has sent the following: "At the end of the BASH working week we have all of 387's passenger doors ready to fit and all but one hung. The first four droplights are ready to be fitted. All bolections are ready to be fitted. The luggage doors are being panelled as is the east side of the luggage area. The trim that was in the vehicle must have been done in 1940 or earlier, probably at conversion into the Chesham shuttle; we know this because one of the seat ends has shrapnel damage that must have happened after the vehicle was trimmed. All droplights are fitted in 394 so the vehicle is weathertight. 368 is now roofless bringing new meaning to the term open carriage. No money was found when we stripped the seat trays but we did find an original "Wait Until the Train Stops" enamel sign actually sewn into the padding."

Two milestones were passed during yesterday's regular Wednesday evening session: on the LBSCR bogie coach the lighting was made operational for the first time, showing off the intricate restored ceilings to great effect. Secondly I completed the long task of the manufacture of the exterior mouldings for the Metropolitan Brake 387.


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Update 14/5/97

Following completion of its winter maintenance, the GNR Directors' Saloon has been turning heads on the railway. Some have been asking where this new coach has come from, such is the radical alteration to its appearance caused by the application of LNER lettering and lining to this teak-panelled clerestory coach. It is next available for public use (with a first-class ticket) over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend, which also sees the arrival in Sussex of the GNR J52 saddle tank No 68846.

Baxter, our 120-year-old Fletcher-Jennings 0-4-0T has been quietly spending its Saturdays, this month, on demonstration Goods Train duties. The train it hauls is an all Southern Railway liveried one.

Due to emerge from the paint shop this coming week is Pullman Car 76, now carrying the name "Lilian" in honour of the wife of our long serving Superintendent of the Line, Bernard Holden MBE. Bernard chaired the inaugural meeting in 1959, and has never been far from the action in the 38 years since then, with Lilian's constant support.

BASH, the Carriage & Wagon project carrying out the restoration of the four Metropolitan Railway coaches, is holding its "Strollathon" sponsored walk on Sunday June 15th. Sponsorship forms for those wishing to join this 9-mile walk are available from station booking offices, or direct from Richard Salmon. As last year, he is himself walking, and any sponsorship from readers of this web page will be gratefully received!

The walk will include, for the first time, the trackbed between Horsted Keynes and Ardingly, and will also cross the existing line several times, affording photographic opportunities of the two service trains and the Golden Arrow Pullman dining train along the way.

The Maunsell Society, based at the Bluebell, and custodians of five SR Maunsell-designed locomotives, is now up and running with its own web site. They also have an email circular. If you want to receive these then send an email to maunsell@ndirect.co.uk with "subscribe" in the subject panel. Their latest restoration update on U-class 1638 includes details of the extensive work being done on the ex-schools class tender from St Lawrence (No.934), which has spent the last few decades masquerading as a snowplough. This is now stripped to its frames, with the brake gear removed and overhauled. The locomotive itself has been re-wheeled and now has a complete running plate, steps all round, and both cabsides up.


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Update 29/4/97

The Maunsell Brake Composite No 6686 ran in service (albeit not for the public) this Sunday. The train, formed of 5 pre-war SR and SECR coaches was hauled by S15 No.847, as a belated celebration by the Maunsell Loco Society for the 60th anniversary of the entry of their loco into service. The coach 6686 was reserved for members of the MLS, and the runs really acted as a test run for the vehicle. There were fewer defects than are normally found during a vehicle's first outing after a long overhaul, although there's a currently unexplained problem with one of the bogies.

A reminder that GNR J52 saddle tank No 68846 is visiting the Bluebell from the Spring bank holiday for a month until the end of June. The GNR Director's saloon is receiving the final lining, lettering and coats of varnish this week, and will be running this coming weekend, and the Spring bank Holiday weekend.

Your private saloon for the day:
As part of the centenary celebrations for the GNR Directors' Saloon, it is running on four whole-day officers' special tours, with the GNR locomotive. These champagne day tours will be limited to 16 places each day, and will operate on the weekends of 7/8 and 14/15 June 1997. Prices, tickets and a fully detailed leaflet of the specials can only be obtained by enclosing an sae to:

The Howlden Group
c/o 'Coppins'
Longmoor Road
GREATHAM
GU33 6AQ
Please note, details are NOT available from the railway itself.

Future Events:


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Update 1/4/97

Loco News:

Martin Nichols reports (and helps explain why the 9F was not working over Easter, when the trains were in the hands of the S15, Camelot and the C-Class) as follows:

BR 9F No.92240
Having run about 18000 miles it is due for a valve and piston exam, so it is in the works at the moment. There are a number of other jobs that need doing as well, and I expect it will be 6 - 8 weeks before it is in traffic again. The other jobs are: Broken leaves in the driving wheel springs, ashpan needs attention, pony wheelset to be dropped for examination of the journals and axle-boxes. Drivers steam brake valve requires attention, paintwork and tender transfers need same.

SR Q1 class No.C1
Now back in traffic.

BR 4MT 4-6-0 No.75027.
New smokebox being made. New smokebox door made. New ashpan under construction. New ejector exhaust ring made (known as a snail). I think that a new chimney casting will be fitted. We already have this in stock, so the front bit will be virtually all new.
Boiler work continues. New crown stays are to be delivered in a part complete state (see last report). This means we will have to put the thread on one end. Small batch of copper side stays made Sunday & Monday by Fred Bailey and I. Steve Czech is busy replacing patch screws in the firebox lap seams.
Chassis: almost complete. Ray Bellingham is making new gradient pin bushes. When these have been fitted the coupling and connecting rods can be re-fitted.

SR S15 No.847, BR 5MT 73082 "Camelot", SECR C No.592, "Baxter" No.3,
In service.

SECR P No.323.
Boiler washout.

Schools class tenders.
Two of these former snow ploughs are being prepared by the Maunsell Loco Society for use with 1638 and 830 (maybe). The old plough gear has been removed and the tanks cut up for scrap. Inside the tank of each was 28 tons of concrete. This was broken up by a specialist contractor.

The construction of the loading / unloading tram-track continues and will soon reach the yard gate.


Dave Devlind has sent me some notes as to current S&T activities:-
Horsted Keynes replacement up Inner Home signal. Wiring nearly complete, awaits installation of new location cases, new cable from signal box, new track circuit, installation of electric point detector (this replaces the existing mechanical one near the signal) & a lot of wiring under Horsted Box.

Other projects are:-

Dave says these signalling improvements are all being done to 40mph (or higher) running standards. The speed limit remains 25 mph!
Carriage News
Whilst 1935-built Maunsell Composite Brake No.6686 is now externally finished, some work remains on the interior. Pullman Car 76 has replaced it in the Paint Shop, and is now being stripped back to bare metal before receiving a full repaint. Quotations have been received for making the remaining missing luggage racks, and also new brass netting for these and the existing racks.

The repanelling of Southern Railway Bulleid open-third 1482 continues apace, with the whole of the north end saloon repanelled. Whilst the interior is put back together (currently dismantled and stored in the south saloon) attention is turning to the coach end. The gangway connector was removed on Monday.

The Great Northern Directors' saloon is looking good for its centenary return to traffic on May 3rd. Travel over this, and the late May Bank Holiday weekends is an experience not to be missed. All it needs is a First class ticket (or first-class Supplement payable on the trains.) Look out for details of the special centenary events in June, with the visiting GNR Saddle Tank locomotive. Details in Railway World.


Horsted Keynes Platform 1 Canopy has now (as of today, I hope) the first two bays covered in zinc sheeting on the East side. Once the west side has been covered, the next bay southwards will be constructed.
Carriage Works Guided Tours: I will be taking guided tours around the Carriage Shed on the May 5th Bank Holiday, and on AGM Day, May 10th. Chris Cooper will be taking parties round on May 25th and 26th. The tours over Easter Sunday and Monday generated £101.50 in donations towards the restoration of our four Victorian Metropolitan Railway coaches.
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Loco Update 20/3/97 - Martin Nichols

C1: SR Bulleid Q1 0-6-0. The main steam pipe between the regulator and the smokebox tubeplate had developed a hole where there shouldn't be one, and several leaking superheater elements were evident.

The steam pipe has now been replaced, but since its five year boiler exam was due later in the year, it was decided to bring it forward while the internals are accessible. So the inspection and hydraulic test are to be done this week. The faulty elements have been repaired.

75027: BR Standard 4 4-6-0. All the major new boiler platework has now been welded in. The foundation ring is being re-riveted. The new stays for this loco have also been found to be faulty. The problem is that with all boiler stays the threads at the two ends have to be 'in pitch'. This means not just the same number of threads per inch, but the threads (to use an electrical analogy) have to be 'in phase' from one end to the other. Crown stays, which are about 2 feet long and with different diameter threads at one end to the other, are thus quite difficult to make.

473 BIRCH GROVE: LBSCR E4 0-6-2T. Tapping holes for the new boiler stays continues.

72 FENCHURCH: LBSCR "Terrier" 0-6-0T. Wheels (old and new) are being painted. Work on the cylinder pattern continues.

592: SECR C-class 0-6-0. Back in traffic.

92240: BR 9F 2-10-0. Boiler washout was done last weekend.


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Update 13/3/97

Loco News:
Following the derailment of its tender at Horsted Keynes, the SECR C-class has been in the works for repairs to the tender running gear, which are now complete, and the loco is back in traffic.

Vintage Bus day:
Sunday 20th April

Visiting Loco:
Great Northern Railway J52 saddle tank No.68846 will visit the Bluebell (subject to a mechanical inspection) from the Spring Bank holiday weekend at the end of May, for a month.

It is hoped that this 1899-built NRM owned loco will be in traffic over the bank holiday weekend. The weekends of the 7/8 and 14/15 June will see it hauling our GNR directors' saloon, to mark the centenary of this coach. Details of the weekends' events will be in Railway World.

Carriage news:
The painting of Maunsell Composite Brake 6686 (following it's three-year long rebuild) is nearly complete, although I don't know what date is planned for its release into traffic.

The work required on SR Bulleid Brake 4279 mentioned in my last report has turned out to be more serious than expected, with several body timbers rotten around the windows. This contractor built coach suffers from the post-war shortage of decent quality timber. The main timbers are also only 2-by-2, rather thinner than in later Bulleids.

Last Saturday saw the Brighton Directors' Saloon shunted over the pit for a mechanical inspection, since consideration is currently being given to having this coach overhauled under contract.

The new teak panels have been fitted to the GNR Directors' Saloon, and a start is being made this week on its revarnish.

Permanent Way:
The track through platform 2 at Horsted Keynes is currently dug-out to try to cure the long-term drainage problems which eventually resulted in the above-mentioned derailment. The track-bed has been excavated to a decent depth to allow a reasonable thickness of ballast, but of course this is limited over the subway!

Kingscote Station:
The signal box now has windows fitted to its base, and steps to the cabin. The bridge parapets to the south of the station are now complete, and attention is turning to the wing walls below.

Extension to East Grinstead:
The good news is that Sainsburys have withdrawn their planning application to use part of our intended station site. The bad news is that the Millennium commission have declined funding for the extension. Alternative grant funding is now to be pursued. Further maintenance work just commenced on the viaduct involves repairs to the brickwork of another arch.


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Update 3/2/97

I now have further details of this coming weekend's "Little & Often" event, as well as some other up-to-date news.

The four-train service provides departures from Sheffield Park at the following times on both Saturday and Sunday, 8,9 February. Departures from Horsted Keynes are a quarter of an hour later.

Ex Sheffield Park (SP), for Horsted Keynes (HK) and Kingscote (KC) and return:
10.30, 11.02, 11.34, 12.06, 12.38, 1.10, 1.42, 2.14, 2.46, 3.18,
4.20 (Double Headed)

And on the Saturday only:
5.20 (Double Headed)
5.50 Goods Ex HK to KC, and thence to SP
7.00 Passenger Ex SP to HK and KC, and return
8.10 Goods Ex SP to HK
8.27 Passenger Ex SP to HK only

The normal 473 vintage bus service from East Grinstead to Kingscote is running throughout both days, starting at 9.55, then 10.35, 11.05, 11.40, 12.15, 12.50, 1.35, 2.00, 2.35, 3.10 and 4.10, with the last return from Kingscote at 4.55. In addition, on the Saturday evening, there are departures from East Grinstead at 5.10 and 6.25, with return journeys from Kingscote at 6.10 for East Grinstead, and 7.35 to Crawley.

This bus service will also depart from Crawley for Kingscote (calling at Three Bridges BR Station 5 minutes later) at 9.15, 10.15, 11.15, 12.15, 2.15, 3.15, and 4.15.

A free "Country Lanes" bus service leaves Horsted Keynes at 11.00, 12,00, 1.40, 2.40 and 3.40, and is running between Lindfield, Skeynes Hill, Horsted Keynes and Sharpthorn.

Lewes Coaches is running a service from Lewes to Sheffield Park at 10.10 and 12.10. Other Scheduled services run from Haywards Heath and Crawley. Phone the 24-hour information line: 01825 720825 for full details.

An events guide to whole weekend with full timetable, loco workings, rolling stock and facilities is available: send £1 + SAE to
Booking Office, Horsted Keynes Station, West Sussex RH17 7BB
Enquiries: 01825 723 777 (office hours).


Cliff Wood has provided the following News from Sheffield Park:

The loco yard headshunt has been extended by 10ft onto reclaimed land on road bridge. The old point to the top shed has been replaced with a sharper radius point and relocated 20ft further north so that the head shunt from the top shed can now accommodate 2 large engines coupled together - just.

Also, the Newick siding extended 10ft and pump house siding an extra 45ft.


Further Loco News:

The LSWR T9 loco, on short term loan from the NRM at York, is possibly to remain on loan in the longer term, and its condition is being considered to see if it can be returned to operational condition.

Maunsell Locomotive Society:
Following the receipt of a large bequest, the MLS have purchased Southern Railway S15 No.830 from a member, and are able to progress the machining of the connecting and coupling rods for U-class 1638 (which is expected to cost over £20,000) and to have a 4000 gallon tender body made for the ex-Schools class tender frames which have come from a snow-plough. By good fortune, the later members of the U-class had identical tenders to the Schools. The steel for a new front tube-plate and smokebox have been delivered.


Latest Carriage News:

Maunsell Brake 6686 has left the work area and entered the paint shop, as it nears the end of its 3-year long heavy overhaul.

Bulleid Brake 4279 has entered the work area for an intermediate overhaul, which will concentrate on re-canvassing the roof and rebedding the windows, plus any remedial work required to the woodwork discovered in so doing.


Horsted Keynes Signalling Fund

Peter Richards reports that the two football competitions which the fund is running are well under way. The premiership competition has seen entrants' fortunes waxing and waning, with early leaders slipping down the table, and some slow starters now making good headway! With some of the teams who performed below par at the start of the season now getting into their stride, the points incurred at the top of the table have started to go down. The situation as at 20th January was:

1st, with 68 points: P T Saaler
2nd equal, with 70 points: Ian Maylin and Peter Spooner
4th (72 points): G M Lyndsell, M A Foster, M D Bentote, Roy Couch and Jason Bell

Regular updates of competitors' positions are posted in the Members' Room at Sheffield Park. Anyone wanting one by post, please send an S.A.E. to:
Peter Richards, 10 Foxwarren, Haywards Heath RH16 1EN

The FA Cup competition is now well under way, also with its share of upsets! Both Liverpool and Newcastle out, as well as the only non-premier league team picked - Norwich - leaving only eight selections in the running.


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Update 24/1/97

February 8-9: Branch Line Weekend: "Little & Often"

Using the new signalling at Kingscote to its full, the Bluebell Railway is offering a winter feast of steam trains:
* An intensive 4-train daytime      * A spectacular finale to the daytime
  service, 10.30am to 4.00pm          trains - two double-headed trains.

* Trains passing at all three       * Special enthusiasts' and
  stations approx. every 30 mins.     photographers' facilities.

* All trains headed by steam        * Victorian buffet and bar at Horsted
  locomotives from the 1890s'         Keynes, Bessemer Arms bar and
  to the 1950s'.                      restaurant at Sheffield Park.
I will be giving guided tours of the carriage works at Horsted Keynes during both days.

Make a weekend of it! Saturday evening 5pm to 9pm features passenger and goods trains, stations lit by gas and oil lamps and the Bessemer Arms open for drinks and meals.

Events guide to whole weekend with full timetable, loco workings, rolling stock and facilities available: send £1 + SAE to
Booking Office, Horsted Keynes Station, West Sussex RH17 7BB
Enquiries: 01825 723 777 (office hours)


Martin Nichols has again provided an update on the loco situation at Sheffield Park:

75027 BR Standard 4MT 4-6-0
This loco is still progressing rapidly.
New piston valve heads and rings fitted. Piston valves replaced in loco. Pistons and rings fitted. New piston rod spindle packing assembly being made and fitted. This will use 'soft' synthetic packing rather than the original segmented cast iron type. We have already converted several other locos to this arrangement which gives less trouble than the old type.
Lubrication pipework complete.
Boiler fittings being overhauled.
New crown stays arrived. Firebox patch plates arrived from Pridhams, and welding should start this week.

473 LBSCR E4 0-6-2T "Birch Grove"
Firebox stay holes being tapped. Unfortunately the new stays have proved faulty so this will slow things down.

592 SECR C 0-6-0
In works for replacement of a broken spring.

263 SECR H 0-4-4T
Operational again.

73082 BR Standard 5 4-6-0 "Camelot"
Washout last weekend.

92240 BR 9F 2-10-0
Winterized. Some work to do on the drivers steam brake valve.

323 SECR P 0-6-0T
Operational.

34023 SR West Country 4-6-2 "Blackmoor Vale"
Work continues on gutting the boiler in preparation for entry to the works. This is likely to be when 75027 re-enters service.

1638 SR U 2-6-0
New cab sides being made. Temporary drawgear made to allow it (and other similar locos) to be shunted from the cab end when no tender is attached. This will hopefully prevent a re-occurrence of damaged rear ends when shunted with chains etc.

96 LSWR B4 0-4-0T
Operational.

C1 SR Q1 0-6-0
Operational (running last Sunday)

Martin also reports on alterations to the yard at Sheffield Park:

The track through the old loco shed has been lifted as part of the preparation for the new rail / road loading point which is to be in the top car park. This will allow the current loading point, behind the Buffet, to be removed to make way for the extension.


The carriage yard has been occupied by the Golden Arrow Pullmans for the last month, for their annual heavy maintenance, since no Golden Arrow trains are run in January. Fingall has spent the time in the paintshop, and looks a lot better for it! Car 64 will continue in service for the present, whilst the remaining work to complete Car 76 is undertaken.

The first of our Metropolitan coaches to be restored featured briefly in the second programme in the Channel 4 series "Classic Trains", during a discussion of commuting (which completely failed to recognise the electric services on the Southern!)

The Great Northern directors' saloon now has all its iron knees galvanised, and refitted with galvanised bolts. Most of the varnish has been stripped from the coach and the new teak panels for the lower body side are just about ready to go on, having been trimmed to size and backed with hessian.

The two May Bank Holiday periods provide the next opportunity for a ride in this centenarian coach. The next edition of Bluebell News should have details of the Centenary events on the weekends of the 7-8 and 14-15 June. These will probably take the form of a Luxury all-day rail-cruise, including a champagne reception. The coach will form a train in its own right and it is hoped that it will be hauled by a GNR loco! E-mail me for details of how to book for this event.

The Hastings line Maunsell coach is back on it's underframe, although spaced off it by sleepers, so that it is again mobile. This will also enable the frames of the Howard petrol loco to be craned out from in front of the pump house and re-wheeled!


On the signalling side, the bracket for the replacement Horsted Keynes South inner home and route-indicator has been craned onto its post, and is now being "dressed".
Our 1997 timetable is on the web (note the slight change of www address). It includes David Mills e-mail address as assistant membership secretary, and he has already had one membership enquiry as a result.
We are now listed in the UK Index
Return to Bluebell Home Page, or to the UK Heritage Railways News Page
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Future Events:

Here is the full published list of special events for 1997.
February: Sat 8 - Sun 9: Branch Line Weekend: Little & Often
March: Sat 15 - Sun 16: Children's Fun Weekend
April: Sun 20: Vintage Bus Day
June: Sat 28 - Sun 29: Friends of Thomas the Tank Engine© Weekend
                       (Event licensed by Britt Alcroft Limited©)
July: Sat 19 - Sun 20: Toy and Rail Collectors Fair
July: Sat 26 - Sun 27: Steam Fair & Vintage Vehicle Rally:
                       Vintage Vehicles and Machinery, Steam-driven
                       Fun Fair, Intensive Train Service.
October: Sun 26: Giants of Steam and Military Vehicle Display

Extra attractions for 1997:

Vintage Goods Trains: Saturdays in May, August and September
             - Please telephone for confirmation and timings.
Vintage Branch Line Trains: These will run in addition to
                  Service 3 on Saturdays in April and October. 

The centenary of the GNR Directors' Saloon will be celebrated throughout the coming year, and specifically on the weekends of the 7-8 and 14-15 June.
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