News From the Bluebell Railway
Archive - May-August 1999

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 Flash - 30 July 1999

O1 back in steam

From: Peter Richards - Thursday, 29th July

This evening the O1 made her first trip up the line to Kingscote and back, and a magnificent sight she was too. Leaving Sheffield Park at 6.25pm on a perfect summer's evening she took the Brighton Directors' Saloon and a brake van up to Horsted where the Brighton Saloon was detached. With just the brake van behind she continued up the line to Kingscote, returning soon after and, having stood briefly in the platform at Horsted, continued on to Sheffield Park. I understand she had a tiny priming problem which prevented the original plan for her to take the Pullmans from Horsted to Sheffield Park, but otherwise seems fine. As one can expect of a loco newly outshopped at Sheffield Park, her paintwork is better than first class.

Don't miss the 7th/8th August SECR weekend when she will be in service both days.

Peter Richards

There are also some stunning photos taken last weekend, and a news report on the SECR O1, available on the O1 and Wainwright interest group's web site.


Peter Jessup has just put up a major news update with latest progress from the Maunsell Loco Society. Great progress is evident on U-class 1638, and also on S15 847.

I'm afraid that, so far this week, Visitweb.com appears to be off-line, which means that we've lost our nice easy alias for the Bluebell's web site, just as the railway was starting to use it in adverts. The whole of the web site is still here, of course, but we just have to use the full address until we can arrange something else, or visitweb.com comes back [which it did in the last week of August].

On the plus side, a search engine has been added to the web site.

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Return to Bluebell Home Page, or to the UK Heritage Railways News Page
See also Lewis Nodes' Loco Works News Photos and News from the Maunsell Locomotive Society.
Visitor Info. - Catering - Contacts - News - Locos - Carriages - Signals - History - Other - Links - Search the site
Why not become a BRPS Member? - Get more involved as a Volunteer

SECR 100 News - 22 July 1999

Full details of the SECR Centenary Weekend on 7th-8th August, and the Kentish Belle Pullman Train on 5th August are now available.

The centenary weekend features three SECR Locomotives, and two SECR carriages are included on the trains along with an SECR Luggage Van, newly repainted and overhauled. Another SECR wagon, fresh from a complete rebuild, is added to the vintage goods train, which will be hauled by the newly overhauled O1 first thing in the morning on each day.

A total of five locomotives will be in steam on the Saturday, and 7 on the Sunday, and LBSCR, LNWR and Metropolitan Railway coaches will feature along with Southern Railway Maunsell and Bulleid coaches.

A reminder also that this coming weekend (24-25 July) is the annual Steam Fair and Vintage Vehicle Rally (with a wide selection of real ale in the marquee).

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Return to Bluebell Home Page, or to the UK Heritage Railways News Page
See also Lewis Nodes' Loco Works News Photos and News from the Maunsell Locomotive Society.
Visitor Info. - Catering - Contacts - News - Locos - Carriages - Signals - History - Other - Links - Search the site
Why not become a BRPS Member? - Get more involved as a Volunteer

News update 12 July 1999

Bus Links to the Railway

Details are now available for Coastlink 1999 and Surrey Hills Leisure bus services, which provide links from South London and Surrey. See the Access to the Railway page.

Locomotive News from Martin Nichols:

In the Works

34023 "Blackmoor Vale". The coupling and connecting rods are being cleaned and polished. The cab fittings are now virtually complete and in place. Otherwise not much to report.

O1 in Loco Works, 4 July 31065. The O1 is close to steaming. The new connecting rod has been delivered (along with a complete new set of motion for 1638). Ray Bellingham has fitted the old big end strap and brasses to the new rod and the whole assembly fitted to the loco. Thus all the motion is now in place. Alan Elliott has applied the final top-coat with mirror finish to the loco, and Tony Funnell has been busy lining out.
The new tender tank is now mounted on the tender chassis and the dragbox repair is complete. The tender was still in undercoat last weekend (3rd / 4th July), but otherwise virtually complete and is coupled to the loco.
O1 in Loco Works, 4 July See further photos on the Loco Works Photo News Page for No.65.

3217 / 9017 "Earl of Berkeley". Progress on the new smokebox tubeplate has been hampered by problems with the motion on 73082. The tubeplate had been set up on the large milling machine for boring the flue tube holes but had to be removed for work of a higher priority (see below). In the meantime we have decided to spend some time to make a special tool for cutting the large diameter holes. The effort was deemed to be worth it since we have a number of locomotives that will soon require new tubeplates.

In the Yard.

As mentioned above 73082 "Camelot" has had some problems with its coupling rods and crankpins. These were discovered following its 5 year boiler exam. The holes in the rods were found to be oval, and the bushes had worked loose. New bushes have been made, and the holes in the rods bored out slightly to restore them to round. This is all now complete and Camelot is back in traffic.

473 "Birch Grove" is out of traffic awaiting a new safety valve spring.

323 has been found to have a leaky cylinder block. This is the usual problem with old inside cylinder locos. The unfortunate chemical concoction in the smokebox eats away at the top of the cylinders and eventually breaks through to the bore, or seamchest or some other vital passageway. This is not a new phenomenon and caused the withdrawal of many of the Isle of Wight O2's in the last year of the line. A temporary repair has been implemented and should last until the end of the boiler certificate.

92240. This has been giving further problems with the firebox doorplate seams and will require more work at some stage.

C1. Charlie has also been playing up with a problematical cylinder lubricator and a leaky foundation ring rivet. The lubricator has now been re-built and will hopefully be the end of these problems. The grate has been removed to allow access to the naughty rivet.

Baxter has had its rear buffer beam timber replaced. This was done at the 11th hour in readiness for the Thomas weekend. Final painting of the new beam is yet to be done.

Operational

3, 55, 96, 592, 75027, 73082

Re-signalling Progress at Horsted Keynes

Peter Richards continues to provide updates on this major project. More of the signals can now be controlled from the signalbox. This reduces the number of hand-signalmen required on busy days. Please note that my earlier comment on this was incorrect, as these signals are connected to the electrical interlocking. Full details are on the HK-work web page.

As those of us from the Carriage & Wagon stood around with our cups of tea on Saturday, we were able to observe just how heavy a point motor is, since the S&T gang were installing a point motor on the Carriage Yard points just outside our mess coach!

Carriage Topics:

A new arrival is Bulleid Brake 2526, which has come from Stewarts Lane. Roger Williams and his gang are considering this as a project to follow on from the second Mk.1 CK, maybe in about 5 years time.

Following asbestos removal by contractors, further contract work on the external repanelling and replacement of the windows in the LBSCR Directors' Saloon is being investigated. All work so far is funded from a legacy but, as with the carriage works extension, we wait to see where the balance of the funding will come from. One way, of course, to help fund the carriage shed extension, is to take part in our Football Competition. This is a very simple competition to enter. All the details are available on-line.
Don't delay; entries have to be in within the next few weeks.

Also, don't forget the sponsored walk for the LSWR Carriage Project.

Our Multi-purpose Coach is attracting increasing bookings. It enables us to offer parties including wheel-chair bound members a high quality carriage, and the problem we now have is finding time when the coach can receive its due maintenance!

Sussex Life:

A five-page photo-feature on the railway should appear in the next issue of Sussex Life, following a trip on the E4's footplate for one of their writers.

SECR Centenary Brew:

The Cottage Brewery based in Castle Cary in Somerset are producing two special Ales for us, which will be available on draught in the Bessemer Arms. The stronger bitter will be named "Stirling" whilst the weaker is named "Wainwright P"...

Bluebell Inn closes

The Pub, once the Station Hotel, opposite the former station site at West Hoathly, has shut up shop on the retirement of its publican, very much a local "character". It has now been converted into a private residence. Its popularity with Bluebell members depended on the individual, but we've lost a pub which always served a good pint, and the dried chillies which accompanied the pizzas were legendary!

Canopy unveiled at Kingscote.

The removal of the scaffolding allows full justice to be done to the new canopy on Platform 2 at Kingscote. The remaining job is the construction of a timber "back wall" to the original pattern, which will not be cheap. The Friends of Kingscote, though, have raised over £120,000 during their ten years of activity, and the canopy back wall is one of the remaining big tasks left.

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Return to Bluebell Home Page, or to the UK Heritage Railways News Page
See also Lewis Nodes' Loco Works News Photos and News from the Maunsell Locomotive Society.
Visitor Info. - Catering - Contacts - News - Locos - Carriages - Signals - History - Other - Links - Search the site
Why not become a BRPS Member? - Get more involved as a Volunteer

News update 11 June 1999

This web site is the Link Rail UK Recommended site of the Month for June.

LBSCR Bogie First returns to traffic

On Sunday May 30th the LBSCR Bogie First, resplendent in fully lined and lettered SR Olive Green as No.7598, and running with the two similarly liveried SECR carriages and the newly repainted SR Van C as the brake vehicle, carried its first fare-paying passengers for 68 years. With LBSCR Locomotive "Birch Grove" this set of coaches operated the scheduled Vintage Branch-line service for the whole of the following week.

On Saturday 29th May an additional Vintage Branch-line Train was also operated, but with the LBSCR coach reserved for those members who had contributed financially and practically to the "rehabilitation" of the carriage. In the evening, a members train was followed by a barbecue for those who had been involved in the restoration work.

LBSCR 7598 after overhaul

The generous proportions of the seats and the spaciousness of the compartments provide an experience quite unlike that of any other carriage I have ever ridden in. As you sink into the deep cushions, stretch your legs out over the reproduction LBSCR carpet, and admire the walnut panelling, you could imagine yourself in your favourite arm-chair.

On the Saturday evening run, during a lay-over at Sheffield Park, several of us availed ourselves of a quick look in the loco works, to see progress on 65, the SER O1. With boiler cladding on and in undercoat, the main work remaining is the completion of the Tender. This is receiving a completely new body, which has been constructed in the works in an impressively short time, and looks most effective.

Other loco snippets:

The Bulleid Q1, No.C1, was renumbered as 33001, with smokebox number and shed plates, and early BR emblems on the tender, for a photographic charter last weekend. The replacement numbering, having been applied as plastic overlays, was only temporary, but was entirely convincing to look at!

Camelot, having had some boiler work done and its 5-year boiler exam, is now stopped awaiting attention to a couple of badly worn crank-pins.

As many of you will have seen from the Railway press, the E4, Birch Grove, will be visiting the Isle of Wight, steaming on their ten peak days between 14 August and 5 September. As an air-braked engine, it is one of the few visiting engines they are able to receive, and is appropriate in that an E4 did run on the island for a few years. See the IoW Railway Pages for details and Press Release.

Carriage latest:

The SECR hundred seaters have been on holiday to the North Norfolk railway, for some filming in late May.

A recent arrival has been the dismantled remains of a very early LBSCR Craven Second (No.35) dating from sometime around 1856. Some members of the C&W consider that it will be possible to reconstruct this coach to operational condition, and this would make it pretty much the oldest operational coach in the country. However, this is some way off, and safe storage is the order of the day for the present.

Roger Barton and Matthew Cousins have reconstructed the west side of the SR Bogie Luggage Van (GBL) with new timber, including fitting doors of the original size, and re-instating the correct ventilator hoods. Peter Milnes has made new main window-frames, and the van should be ready soon for its summer assignment housing an exhibition of paintings with an SECR theme.

Following completion of the last of the structural steel-work repairs, Pete Reid is well into the re-planking of his SECR 7-plank wagon, which it is hoped will join the SECR goods train for the August 7th-8th SECR centenary celebrations.


A reminder of the special events taking place on the railway in the next couple of weeks:
Details are now available for the following events:

BLUES CONCERT at Horsted Keynes

Friday 23rd July 1999

This is similar to the event held last year, and will be staged in the Grand Marquee in Horsted Keynes Station Fields.

Featuring:

The bar will feature 10 real ales and food will be available. The fully working steam fair will be on site.

All bookings and enquiries to: "The Company Upfront", 101 Lingfield Road, Edenbridge, Kent TN8 5DY (or Tel: 01732 862354).

Tickets are priced at £9.50 in advance and £11.50 on the night, with a £2 discount for children under 12.

Please Note: tickets are not on sale at any Bluebell Railway sales point, and NO BLUEBELL TRAIN SERVICE IS RUNNING FOR THIS EVENING EVENT


Summer Open-Air Theatre
at Horsted Keynes Station

From Saturday 7th August until Saturday 4th September 1999

A new departure for 1999 is a series of open-air theatre productions on the platforms of Horsted Keynes Station, produced by The Company Upfront, who are responsible for the Murder Mystery Evenings on the Bluebell's Golden Arrow Pullman train.

Four different productions:

All bookings and enquiries to: "The Company Upfront", 101 Lingfield Road, Edenbridge, Kent TN8 5DY (or Tel: 01732 862354).

Tickets are priced at £13.50, with a £2 discount for children.

Please Note: tickets are not on sale at any Bluebell Railway sales point, and NO BLUEBELL TRAIN SERVICE IS RUNNING FOR THIS EVENING EVENT


Into 2000

Vintage Trains
Vintage Style

Celebrate the turn of the century by travelling in the
style your great-grandparents would have experienced.
Stepney with Metropolitan Railway coaches

>From 31st December 1999 to 3rd January 2000, the Bluebell Railway will be using its oldest locomotives to haul Victorian and Edwardian carriages between Sheffield Park and Kingscote. Come and experience the teak-panelled splendour of our recently restored Metropolitan Railway coaches and the spacious luxury of LBSCR First-Class compartments.

A special timetable (using two vintage trains) will operate on these days, and will also include the use of a vintage goods train.

Birch Grove with the Vintage Branch Line Train

The year 2000 is a special year for the Bluebell as it will be our 40th anniversary. The Bluebell is proud of the fact that it has now operated the railway for longer than each of its previous owners! Special events will be held throughout the year to mark this marvellous achievement. Details will be contained in our 2000 timetable.

New on the Web Site

The competition for Next Season is again going to be run by Peter Richards, and this time will be raising money for the Horsted Keynes Carriage Shed Fund. More details hopefully in the next news.

Film Show

On the evening of Monday 6th September 1999, railway historian John Huntley is presenting a film show about the preserved railways of Sussex and Kent, with the Bluebell Railway featuring predominantly. He will be presenting both amateur and professionally shot footage all on its original film format. The show is at Croydon Fairfield Halls, Park Lane, Croydon, CR9 1DG. Box office: 0181 688 9291.

Sponsored Walk, in aid of the LSWR Carriage

This year's sponsored walk, on Saturday 14 August, is to raise funds for the continuing restoration of the 1910-built London and South Western Railway Lavatory Brake Third coach 1520. When complete this will offer vintage accommodation for our disabled passengers, with the benefit of hydraulic lifts for wheelchairs.

1520 is the only surviving member of its type, and still sports its original wooden `Mansell' wheels. The past year has seen steady progress in restoring the timber framework of the brake end of the coach, including replacement of the bottom rails. Structural work is now under way on the central section.

Full details are on the LSWR coach project web page.

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Return to Bluebell Home Page, or to the UK Heritage Railways News Page
See also Lewis Nodes' Loco Works News Photos and News from the Maunsell Locomotive Society.
Visitor Info. - Catering - Contacts - News - Locos - Carriages - Signals - History - Other - Links - Search the site
Why not become a BRPS Member? - Get more involved as a Volunteer

News update 24 May 1999

Locomotive News from Martin Nichols:

Operational:
55, 96, 323, 473, 592, 33001, 92240.

Washout:
75027

Misc repairs:
3 Baxter. Lewis and the gang are busy making a new rear buffer beam. This is a substantial balk of timber with a wrought-iron backing plate. Unfortunately the timber of the old one is now well beyond its useful life. The wrought-iron plate has been cleaned and painted and the two buffers dismantled for overhaul. A visit to the Horsted chippy shop may be required for the woodwork.

73082 Camelot. This is now due for its 5 year boiler test. Much preparatory work has been done, and some firebox repairs are in hand.

In the works:
31065. The boiler has passed its hydraulic test, and has been clad and re-mounted in the chassis. Much of the pipework and fittings have been overhauled and fitted. The motion is all in place except the new connecting rod which is due back from Central Engineering about now. Tony Funnel has been busy lining the wheels and frames. Some weeks ago it was decided that it was not viable to repair the tender tank. A new tank has been fabricated in super-quick time. The tender chassis has been re-wheeled and attention is now focused on the front dragbox. This was in very poor condition and requires some new heavy platework to bring it back up to scratch. All in all on target for a return to traffic in June. See the O1 web page, and also more recent photos.

34023. Not much has happened due to the concentrated effort on 31065.

3217. Work on the new smokebox tubeplate continues. All the smoke tube and rivet holes have been drilled. The tubeplate has now been transferred from the radial drill to the big vertical mill for machining the flue holes and main steampipe hole. See photo.

Recent news on the overhaul of 72, Fenchurch is also available from Lewis Nodes.


A reminder that LBSCR First-class coach No.7598 returns to public service on Sunday 30th May, on the Vintage Branch-line train.

There is a new page on the web site for the Brighton Atlantic Project. This project seems to be gaining momentum, with drawings and fittings being actively sought, boosted of course by the recent arrival of tender wheelsets and other components.

Now is a very good time to join the BRPS, or upgrade to Life Membership, since subscription rates will rise, for the first time in five years, as from September 1st 1999. Full details are on the Membership page. BRPS membership numbers are now second only to the SVR, with over 8,300 paid-up members, but there's always room for more!

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Return to Bluebell Home Page, or to the UK Heritage Railways News Page
See also Lewis Nodes' Loco Works News Photos and News from the Maunsell Locomotive Society.
Visitor Info. - Catering - Contacts - News - Locos - Carriages - Signals - History - Other - Links - Search the site
Why not become a BRPS Member? - Get more involved as a Volunteer
7 May:

Steam Fair & Vintage Vehicle Rally
Full details of the 1999 Steam Fair & Vintage Vehicle Rally, Saturday 24 & Sunday 25 July are now available. This is one of our really big special events, featuring not just vintage road-going steam locomotives and the steam-powered fun-fair, but also all other forms of vintage land transport and a real-ale beer tent, plus an intensive service of vintage steam trains as well.

New Bus Service
Details of the new Metrobus Route 40 are on the "Access to the Railway" page. This provides a Summer leisure service on Sundays & Public Holidays (2nd May - 26th September only). The route links Wakehurst Place, Haywards Heath main-line station, Sheffield Park Station and Danehill. The service runs hourly, and is a very major improvement in public transport to the leisure attractions of the area. Wheelchair accessible buses are normally used.

Date for return to public service of LBSCR carriage
New photos are available of LBSCR First-class coach No.7598 as it nears the completion of its overhaul. This carriage is due to return to public service on Sunday 30th May after a 7-year-long overhaul which has seen the vehicle transformed from a grounded body used as an aviary into an authentic period-piece representing the quintessential Edwardian railway coach. It will be running as part of our scheduled "Vintage Branch-line Train" with our two SECR third-class carriages.

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Return to Bluebell Home Page
See also Lewis Nodes' Loco Works News Photos and News from the Maunsell Locomotive Society.
Visitor Info. - Catering - Contacts - What's New - Extension - Locos - Carriages - Signals - History - Other - Links - Search the site - FAQ
Why not become a BRPS Member? - Get more involved as a Volunteer
Go to earlier News from the Bluebell Archives:
1999: Jan-April
1998: Jan-June, July-Dec
1997: Jan-June, July-Dec
1996: Jan-July, Aug-Dec
1995: June-Dec
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