9017 "Earl of Berkeley" has passed all its examinations, and is ready for its return to steam on Saturday 1st November after a major overhaul.
Charles Hendry MP, a Bluebell Railway member, will formally re-dedicate Great Western Loco "Earl of Berkeley" on the morning of 1st November. The ceremony will take place at Horsted Keynes Station, whereupon 9017 will haul the Bluebell's Golden Arrow Pullmans to Sheffield Park. It will spend the rest of the weekend heading the railway's vintage train.
The photo, by Dave Bowles, shows it in steam at Sheffield Park today, where it was undergoing some final tests and adjustments in preparation for its return to service.
Mayor to assist with track laying on East Grinstead Extension
The Town Mayor of East Grinstead, Cllr Beverly Heasman, will assist in the laying of a track panel over the Turners Hill Road, East Grinstead at the end of October, signifying the Bluebell Railway's progress towards the town.
"Birch Grove" back from its travels
Our 1898-built LBSCR E4 tank ran over 2000 miles on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway this summer. The locomotive returned to the Bluebell last week via a short stay on the Mid Hants Railway, where it played a larger than expected role in their gala due to the unavailability of other locos.
The Carriage and Wagon Department played host to East Sussex County Council's Wood Season on 28 September and will again on 19 October. The first day included guided tours centered on the restoration of unique wooden carriages, vans and wagons, led by John Coleman. Peter Milnes will give his tours on 19th October at 12 noon and 2 pm at Horsted Keynes Carriage and Wagon Works. All welcome.
Two photos of "Green Arrow" in fine form (both: Nick Beck)
Last weekend saw the Bluebell Railway running its largest engines, with trains at full capacity, and running to time throughout the weekend. Horsted Keynes was the place to be, with trains leaving in both directions on an intensive 35-minute interval service, although if you wanted a seat on the full-and-standing double-headed train (O.V.S. Bulleid and Green Arrow) which was the climax of the event, you needed to have got on at Sheffield Park!
Both "Camelot" and "Birch Grove" had turns on the goods train on Saturday (both: Jon Bowers)
We had 7 steam locos running, freight trains and a shunting demo on the Saturday and a branch-line train on the Sunday. With road vehicle displays, three different guided tours, plus the chance to take tea in the GNR Directors' Saloon coupled immediately behind Green Arrow, there was plenty to keep our visitors entertained and many came on both days.
The photo on the right, from David Pratt, shows the Standard 4 No.75027 ready to leave Sheffield Park with the Pines Express, double headed with "Camelot" (I assume, although you can't see it!).
Two more photos taken on the Saturday: "Green Arrow" emerges from the Tunnel,
and "Blackmore Vale" (as O.V.S. Bulleid) hauling the Atlantic Coast Express, which included four SR Bulleid carriages in the rake.
(Both: Owen Chapman)
Left: The Bluebell's last main-line tour was re-created on the Sunday, almost exactly 40 years after it took place,
using the same locomotives and very similar rolling stock. (David Harp)
Right: "Green Arrow" gets away from Horsted on the Sunday (Adrian Lee)
Further north, the Extension team have spent the last couple of weeks working on the clearance of a considerable growth of ivy on the bridge just north of the tip.
The Video includes Stepney shortly after arrival on the Bluebell, and the Brighton Blue Belle with Birch Grove and Stepney on the last passenger train on the Ardingly Branch. The last part is titled "Operation Dukedog" with 9017 travelling to Sheffield Park. The loco is seen at Kensington, Addison Road and then on the Brighton Line before arriving at Horsted Keynes for handing over. Some familiar faces appear, but looking much younger!
Everyone who got chance to watch the preview said how good the video is. The quality is very high and hard to believe that the original film material is 40 years old.
This video is available for £18.95 from the Bluebell Shop. Telephone 01825 720803
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We are very pleased to announce that in their 2004 annual guide, The Good Britain Guide
has voted the Bluebell Railway the
"Whenever you see a period railway on television or in films, it's more than likely to be this one: everything here has a wonderfully genuine feel of the past, from the period carriages to the splendid stations decked out with nostalgic advertisements."
The editors of the guide are also responsible for The Good Pub Guide and The Good Hotel Guide.
Driver Clive Groome looks back from the cab of 60800 "Green Arrow" for the guard's flag (Les Anstey)
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