News From the Bluebell Railway
Archive - April-June 2002

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: 24 April 2002

Visit of Locomotive No.672 "Fenchurch" to Belgium and Netherlands, May 2002

The Bluebell Railway is sending its oldest locomotive, 1872-built LBSCR Stroudley Terrier No.672 "Fenchurch" to run on two lines in Belgium and Holland in the coming weeks. Since Fenchurch is equipped with air brakes, it will be able to haul trains on its own, whereas last time a Bluebell engine visited the continent, it had to run double-headed with a suitably braked locomotive.

The proposed schedule for the trip is as follows:-
Thur 2 May Sheffield Park to Maldegem, Belgium
Fri 3 May Unload and trial run
Sat 4 May Hauling Maldegem line trains
Sun 5 May Hauling Maldegem line trains
Tue 7 May Load and transport to Hoorn, Netherlands

Thur 9 May Steam for special day at Hoorn & trial run to Medemblik
Fri 10 May Work trains Hoorn to Medemblik
Sat 11 May Work trains Hoorn to Medemblik
Sun 12 May Work trains Hoorn to Medemblik
Sat 18 May Work trains Hoorn to Medemblik
Sun 19 May Work trains Hoorn to Medemblik
Mon 20 May Work train Hoorn to Medemblik & Twinning Ceremony at Hoorn Tue 21 May Load and transport back to UK
Upon return, it is hoped that "Fenchurch" will take part in East Grinstead's Jubilee carnival and procession.

It is anticipated that she will go out via Eurotunnel, being the first standard gauge steam loco to pass through the tunnel. The return journey is likely to be by ferry.

Maldegem can be reached fairly easy by road in a day trip from the UK. By train the best route would be by Eurostar to Brussels then to Bruges. From here bus No.58 leaves the station forecourt at 7 mins past each hour direct to Maldegem station in about 25 mins. The return journey leaves at xx19 and arrives at Bruges station xx44. You can check the bus times on tel. 003292109491 or 003259565353

It is anticipated the first train with "Fenchurch" on Saturday will be at 1155 with various combinations with British, Belgian and Polish engines. Also goods trains over the lifting bridge at Balgerhoeke.

At Hoorn the service is generally only one or two trains a day to Medemblik and the schedule is unknown for "Fenchurch" at present. More details can be obtained nearer the time from Stoomtram Hoorn Medemblik on 0031229270002 or Email
The railway can be reached by direct train each half hour from Amsterdam Central to Hoorn at 19 and 49 past the hour and takes 40 minutes.

Operation Undercover appeal and land purchase

Negotiations for the purchase of a small part of the Woodpax site, sufficient to enable us to construct a rolling-stock storage and display shed, are being ably led by Nicholas Pryor and Martin Lock. These negotiations, proving more taxing than we had envisaged, are still continuing. We will only be in a position to start the project properly once contracts have been exchanged. However, at present, with nothing signed, we cannot make firm plans. Be assured that once contracts are signed, more news will be forthcoming.

The appeal has gone extremely well so far, although more pledges of money are needed to enable us to achieve all our objectives, in terms of funding our share of a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for overhead cover for the majority of our rolling stock, of which the new building planned for behind Platform 2 at Sheffield Park is only a part.

Departure southwards from platform 1 at Horsted Keynes

History was made on Monday 15 April when the LSWR brake Third No.1520 became the first vehicle to depart from the south end of this platform at Horsted Keynes since the old trackwork, used only as a siding since 1913, was taken up in 1935. The coach, being restored by a keen team of volunteers, has now had all of its structural timber repaired or replaced, and the steel brackets were bolted in place prior to the move. The coach is now installed in the old part of the carriage shed, where continued restoration will be somewhat faster, given the improved access to the vehicle. The LSWR Road Van, which houses the project's fund-raising shop, will continue to be located in Platform 1.

Loco Works News

Photos and descriptions of recent Loco Works activity is available on the Loco Works Photo News pages. News and photos (updated at the end of March) include: Construction of the new locomotive disposal pit is progressing, and we hope to bring you photos soon.

Easter

Busy as usual! Photos taken by Jon Bowers on Good Friday are available here.

Improved Bluebell Bus service for the summer

Our No.473 Bus between East Grinstead and Kingscote is being re-routed so that it can also serve the National Trust property of Standen, and East Grinstead's historic Jacobean almshouses, Sackville College, daily from Monday 29th July until Sunday 1st September 2002. Revised timings are available on the timetable page.

The bus fare remains the same (£1.50 return, or £1 single), but a bus ticket (or through ticket from National Rail) allows you to break your journey to visit each of the attractions as you wish. Standen is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11.00am, and Sackville College: Wednesday to Saturday in July, daily in August, 2.00-5.00pm.

Bluebell Railway Band

Our Band's programme this year comprises four full concerts, which will take place on Horsted Keynes Station from 2-4 pm. on the last Sundays in April, May, June & July.

Stepney Club

Our club for children aged up to 8 is holding Stepney's Grand Balloon Race on the first four Saturdays in August - 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th - starting from outside the bookshop on platform one at Sheffield Park station. There is a prize of ten pounds for the owner of the balloon which travels furthest. More details of the Stepney Club are on the club's own web page.

Signalling work at Horsted Keynes

As outlined on the Signalling Work web page, in March the S&T made significant progress towards full functionality at Horsted Keynes, enabling trains to use the straight, single sided, Platform 3 in the northbound direction in place of the curved, double-sided Platforms 4/5. This will greatly ease the working of the station on off-peak days when only a single train is timetabled and fewer platform staff are available to assist the guard in seeing the train away from the platform. It also thus reduces the workload of the ground-frame at the North end of the station.

Carriage Works progress

Bulleid Brake 2515 has had its roof painted, but not otherwise needed much work. We have just completed limited repanelling of SECR hundred seater 971, and a full repaint (SR lined Olive again) is nearly finished. Bulleid brake 4279 is being re-canvassed and re-varnished. This means that virtually all of our pre-Mk.1 coaches are now in tip-tip condition, and the backlog is diminishing fast. Then the Mk.1s can be dealt with, and a few more maroon ones will be turning green, which will make them much more useful.

Whilst the work on 971 has been in progress, the Vintage Branch-line train has been formed using the two Metropolitan coaches, the LBSCR Bogie First and our other SECR Hundred Seater.

We are hoping that the third of the Metropolitan coaches, No.368, will be returning to service on 11th May. This coach, nearly scrapped by the Bluebell in the late 1960s, having been riddled from end to end with dry rot, has been restored from a bare skeleton over the last three years by the volunteer "BASH" team.

The SECR Birdcage Brake is progressing well, with only one compartment floor and a couple of partitions requiring overhaul before that phase of the project is completed. More interior woodwork is being completed all the time.

The LCDR Brake 2nd has started to move onto its completed underframe. The move is being made in stages, enabling the underside of the coach body to be painted and galvanised brackets screwed into place, whilst the body is "between underframes".

The Bulleid coach team are progressing southwards with the main structural repairs just above the underframe, and in the northern half, the three surviving ceiling panels have, at the cost of some effort and ingenuity, been joined by four new ones. Bending the plywood to the curvature of the ceilings has been quite a challenge, since the grain goes the wrong way, and we're not yet into making our own ply to suit!

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Return to Bluebell Home Page, or to the Heritage Railways News Express
See also Extension Progress, the Loco Works Photo News and News from the Maunsell Locomotive Society.
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: 10 May 2002

First photos of Fenchurch on Stoomtram Hoorn-Medemblik

Thanks to our Dutch friends, the following photos show Fenchurch in operation on the Dutch line.

Fenchurch at Medemblik Windmill

Photo: © Marcel Vos.

Marcel reports: Fenchurch is doing well on the Hoorn-Medemblik line. A photo series is now in the Fotoboek on our website (http://www.museumstoomtram.nl).

For now I send you a picture of Fenchurch in a "typical Dutch setting" at the windmill in Medemblik, pulling a train of original Dutch steamtram stock. In this train are the carriages that visited the Bluebell in 2000.

Fenchurch at Twisk Bridge

Photo: © Wil Haarsma.

Martijn Huibers writes: Here is a photo of your engine Fenchurch at the bridge near Twisk station on the line Hoorn - Medemblik. It was taken on Wednesday 8th May by Wil Haarsma. She is also a volunteer at our Museum.
Fenchurch in Opperdoes

Photo: Fenchurch in Opperdoes, Thursday 9th May. © Dieter de Jong.

Twinning Ceremony with the Stoomtram Hoorn-Medemblik in the Netherlands, 20th May 2002

An official twinning ceremony between the two railways will take place at Hoorn station in the Netherlands on the above date.

The ceremony is the culmination of exchange visits of locomotives, carriages and staff between the two railways over the last five years. The railway in the Netherlands is longer than Bluebell at 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) but it has fewer items of rolling stock and normally runs just one or two return trips a day from Hoorn to the harbour at Medemblik. Here connection is made with a boat on the Zuidersee which goes to Enkhuizen and a return to Hoorn by electric (NS) train.

Monday 20th May Timetable

13.00hrs   Reception at the SHM station.
13.15      Speeches by both parties
13.30      Signing of Agreement and band playing Bello tune
13.45      Guided tour through locomotive sheds
14.20      Departure of train to Medemblik hauled by Fenchurch
17.25      Return of train at Hoorn
In the morning there will be an 11.05 train Hoorn to Medemblik due back at 13.45 at Hoorn.

The official representatives of Bluebell Railway will be Roy Watts, B.R.P.S. Chairman, Tim Baker, Commercial Director Bluebell PLC and Chris Knibbs, Operations Manager for the railway.

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Return to Bluebell Home Page, or to the Heritage Railways News Express
See also Extension Progress, the Loco Works Photo News and News from the Maunsell Locomotive Society.
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: 13 May 2002

First photos of Return to use of Metropolitan Railway coach 368

The private launch by BASH on 11th May will be followed by the public launch on 18th May by the publisher, Ian Allan. The following photos by Martin Lock show the launch.

368 
restored

368 
restored

368 
restored

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Return to Bluebell Home Page, or to the Heritage Railways News Express
See also Extension Progress, the Loco Works Photo News and News from the Maunsell Locomotive Society.
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?


News Update: 20 May 2002

Visit of Ian and David Allan, 18th May

The publisher Ian Allan with his son David visited us on Saturday to present us with a plaque recording our position as runner up in the 2001 "Heritage Railway of the Year" awards. His speech echoed what he has in the past written in Railway World, namely that he feels that the Bluebell's operation (and the toilets at Kingscote) surpass all others, but that it would be unfair on the others for us to win every year!

An example of the Bluebell's leadership in the world of Heritage Railways was the next item on the day's agenda, as Ian Allan cut a ribbon and ceremonially unlocked a compartment door on the 1898-built Metropolitan railway carriage No.368, which was re-entering public service that day after a gap of some 36 years. The carriage, one of four acquired by the Bluebell in 1961, was very nearly scrapped in the 1970s as beyond redemption, but has now been rebuilt back to its original varnished teak splendour as the third of the four to return to service. The entire project is being undertaken by volunteers, with materials paid for by donations and fund-raising. Following a ride the length of the line and back in the new coach, the Allans were entertained to lunch in the Bessemer Arms.

Photos of the coach (in the now three-coach close-coupled set) are available below, taken on the BASH supporters day, which was arranged to give the railway's volunteers and those who had assisted in the funding of the project, a preview ride in the carriage the previous Saturday, which also acted as the coach's test run. The only significant problem which had to be attended to in the intervening week was a fault on the carriage lighting circuit which made it awkward for the guard to turn the lights off after passing through the tunnel.

The restoration of the fourth coach is already well under way, with the roof and much of the interior panelling removed, the running gear overhauled, and a start already being made on the re-varnishing of components.

Twinning ceremony today

As the culmination of the visit of our Stroudley Terrier "Fenchurch" to Belgium and the Netherlands, today, May 20th, sees the Bluebell formally twinned with the Stoomtram Hoorn-Medemblik in the Netherlands.

Fenchurch's continental jaunt

Photos here from Roger Price show No.672 Fenchurch in both Holland and Belgium, whilst some earlier ones below were sent by three Dutch colleagues.

Fenchurch with a Polish 0-8-0T at 
Baldehoeke
Fenchurch with a Polish 0-8-0T at Baldehoeke at the Stoomcentrum Maldegem, in Belgium, 4th May (Roger Price)

It had been hoped that Fenchurch, on the back of its lorry, would be the first steam engine through the Channel Tunnel, but it was not to be, and it went out by ferry in the end.

Fenchurch on Baldehoeke Bridge
Fenchurch with a goods train on Baldehoeke Bridge, 4th May (Roger Price)

After a weekend at Maldegem, it was off to the Netherlands for two weeks with the Stoomtram Hoorn-Medemblik, who had sent us a locomotive and carriages in the Autumn of 2000.

Fenchurch at Wognum
Fenchurch at Wognum on the Stoomtram Hoorn-Medemblik, 9th May (Roger Price)

Thanks to Fenchurch having air brakes, it was able to operate passenger trains without the need to double-head, as No.323 Bluebell had had to on its visit to the line in June 1998.

Fenchurch at Operdoes
Fenchurch at Operdoes with a mixed vintage train on the Stoomtram Hoorn-Medemblik, 9th May (Roger Price)

The gentleman leaning out of the cab is readilly identifiable as our very own Lewis Nodes, who, in the company of other members of the loco department, has acted as the loco's minder during the tour.

All round view on the web site!

New: 360 degree views of the interiors of our Pullmans and other coaches on our Golden Arrow Pullman Dining train are now available.

Extension News

Dam clearance Lack of news does not mean that nothing has been happening during the last few months. We have been tidying the trackbed and banks that have already been cleared. We have also installed a drain across the width of the trackbed south of Mr Steer's land to link with the drainage ditch that flows along the boundary of Ash Lea Farm. This has enabled the land purchased from Mr Steer to be scraped down to the original trackbed and the water here now drains along the east side. On 11th May work finally started on the removal of the dam across the width of the trackbed at Keepers. This will take some time but will allow the drainage north of the dam to be improved.

The photo courtesy of Nigel Longdon (as is the above report) shows the removal of the dam which formerly retained a large pond on the trackbed at Keepers.

New Loco preparation/disposal pit

The new (very long) pit at Sheffield Park is coming on well, the aim being to have it operational by the Thomas events. It should greatly speed the disposal of locomotives at the end of the day, especially on those (now frequent) occasions when we have four or five locos in steam.

Further details of Special Events coming up:

Day out with Thomas - June 15-16 and 22-23

Our most popular event is already booking up faster than last year!!! Full details and an advance booking form are available here.

Victorian Evening - Wednesday 19th June

from Sheffield Park Station - 7 pm for 7.30 pm

Journey back in time to the days of Queen Victoria as you join a train formed of our famous Ashbury Carriages of 1898 and 1900.

The locomotive on the front will be over 100 years old, and we will travel to Kingscote and back through the delightful Sussex Weald.

On our return a 3-course dinner will be served in our Birch Grove Suite, and the Geoff Hales Travelling Theatre will perform a programme of popular, mostly comic, pieces from the 19th century.

Period attire is optional for this evening, but prizes will be awarded for the best-dressed lady and gentleman.

Tickets: £25.00 including dinner - drinks extra
Contact: Bluebell Railway Catering
    Sheffield Park Station
    East Sussex, TN22 3QL
Tel: 01825 720801 10am - 4pm

Railway Children Day

We regret this event has been postponed until next year.

1920's Evening - Wednesday 17th July

from Sheffield Park Station - 7 pm for 7.30 pm

The time between the two world wars was one of great excitement and hope. The British Empire exhibition opened at Wembley in 1924 with its palace of art, commerce and engineering.

Gentlemen and 'Flappers' are invited to join our 1920's train in carriages of the period, hauled by an even older steam locomotive.

Journey through the scenic Sussex Weald to Kingscote, and on your return enjoy a 3-course dinner, which will be served in the Birch Grove Suite. The Bluebell Band will perform music of the period.

Period 1920's dress is a must. A prize will be awarded for best costume.

The evening is expected to end at about 11.00p.m.

Tickets: £25.00 including dinner - drinks extra
Contact: Bluebell Railway Catering
    Sheffield Park Station
    East Sussex, TN22 3QL
Tel: 01825 720801 10am - 4pm

Emergency Services Weekend - August 10th and 11th 2002

Organised by the Bluebell Railway Fire Service

Starts at 10am, Horsted Keynes Station, Station Approach, Horsted Keynes

Come and see

... and more

Why not also enjoy a day out on the Bluebell Railway itself? The South's Premier Steam Line offers inclusive rail and Emergency Weekend admission tickets.

For Emergency Services Weekend information call 07712 648202 or email or see the web page for the event.

For train information call 01825 720800
Talking Timetable 01825 720825

Friends of the Bluebell Railway Fire Service

Why not join the newly-launched Friends of the Bluebell Railway Fire Service which has been set up to help more people support and become involved in our work?

Joining the Friends of Horsted Keynes Fire Station will help make sure we have badly-needed equipment to allow us to continue the work we do to protect the Railway's valuable infrastructure and ensure the visitors and staff alike are safely looked after.

You'll get a membership card, quarterly newsletter, Friends' badge, Invitations to special Friends' days, Free entry to our Bluebell Railway Fire Service Emergency Services Events (excluding any train travel),10% Discount on our range of Fire Service commercial products and a special Friends' range of exclusive clothing.

We also offer special Friends' days, which are specific days for our Friends to come down for activities that are planned especially for them. This may include: tours, talks, demonstrations, photo/video opportunities (we'll position appliances for you), try out for themselves basic firefighting equipment (age restrictions/supervision applies). And specially for junior members: sit in the appliances, try fire kit on, have photos taken and much more.

We hope some of our Friends may like to get more involved with us and perhaps help us in specific areas, (where maybe they have a particular skill) or generally if they have some spare time. This way they would not be required to get involved on a regular commitment (unless they wanted to of course) which full working members are required to do. Our Friends can then choose when to come down and help us either frequently or infrequently for specific tasks. We may even apply this to major railway events when we are always pleased to have extra help!

To find out more, or to join, please email enquiries@brfs.co.uk, or visit the Friends Web Page

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Return to Bluebell Home Page, or to the Heritage Railways News Express
See also Extension Progress, the Loco Works Photo News and News from the Maunsell Locomotive Society.
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?


Brief News Update: 7 June 2002

Following its return last week from Belgium and The Netherlands, our oldest locomotive, Stroudley Terrier Fenchurch is off again. On Monday 3rd June it took part in the East Grinstead Jubilee procession, and is now down at Ardingly showground for the South of England Show over the coming weekend.

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Return to Bluebell Home Page, or to the Heritage Railways News Express
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 & 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:
2002: Jan-March
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
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