News From the Bluebell Railway
Archive - October to December 2003

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.

Stop Press 9th October 2003

60800 "Green Arrow", on loan from the NRM, arrived yesterday, to be the star guest at the Oct 25 - 26 Giants of Steam gala. The locomotive is also expected to be in service on the Bluebell Railway on 11/12/18/19 October.

Dukedog being prepared for return to service 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.

Further News, 11th October 2003

Green Arrow at Horsted 60800 "Green Arrow" was one of four locos in use today (its first working day during its visit from the NRM). It drew the crowds! The other locos in steam were "Fenchurch" with the SECR brakevan at Horsted Keynes on Footplate experience course, 80151 with a special train consisting of just the LNWR Obseration Car (for its owning group's annual get-together), and the SECR "O1" with the scheduled Vintage Branch-line train.

O1 dragging rails These two photos from Dave Bowles show the conclusion of the engineering week at Sheffield Park, which involved rail-changing over the bridges North of Sheffield Park at the foot of Freshfield Bank. On the right the SECR O1 loco is seen dragging rails on Poleay Bridge, and below you can see the technique used by JCBs when loading themselves onto our Southern Railway well wagon.

JCB loading onto well wagon

Dukedog reflective Barry Coward has provided three pages of Photos showing the "Dukedog" being run in at Sheffield Park.

News Update 30th October 2003

Green Arrow pulls in the crowds at Giants of Steam

Green Arrow - Nick BeckGreen Arrow again - Nick Beck

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!

Camelot with Goods train - Jon BowersBirch Grove with Goods train - Jon Bowers

Both "Camelot" and "Birch Grove" had turns on the goods train on Saturday (both: Jon Bowers)

75027 - David Pratt 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!).

Green Arrow emerges from tunnel - Owen Chapman O.V.S.Bulleid on Saturday - Owen Chapman

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)

Brighton Blue Belle - David HarpGreen arrow departs Horsted Keynes on the Sunday - Adrian Lee

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 photo reports from Giants of Steam are available:

... and the fun continues next weekend

Crowds are also expected next weekend for the return to traffic of the GWR Dukedog, since 3 out of the 5 locos which will be in steam are ones which were not in use last weekend. It also offers the chance of riding in our Victorian Metropolitan Railway carriages behind a loco built 131 years ago! Track Gang - Barry Coward

Extension progress:

The Mayor of East Grinstead laid a panel of track over the East Grinstead - Turners Hill road bridge yesterday, as a symbol of our determination to reach East Grinstead. Cllr Beverly Heasman is seen here joining the track gang in their work. More photos available from Barry Coward.

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.

First Video in the Tom Martin collection

Volume One of the Tom Martin Memorial Collection is now available from the shop at Sheffield Park.

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

Sheffield Park development

Planning permission has been received for the improvements to the station entrance, and the installation of the ex-Hove booking office as an information centre. Work has re-started after the summer pause on the new shop, with the main steel frame erected.

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 and News from the Maunsell Locomotive Society.
Visitor Info. - Catering - Contacts - What's New - Extension - Locos - Carriages - Signals - History - Other - Links - Search & Index - FAQ
Why not become a BRPS Member?     -     Get more involved as a Volunteer

Your ideal Film/TV location?

Stop Press, 27th November 2003

The Good Britain Guide 2004

We are very pleased to announce that in their 2004 annual guide, The Good Britain Guide
has voted the Bluebell Railway the

Railway of the Year Award


Sussex Family Attraction of the Year

The guide describes our railway:
"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.

Green Arrow tail-piece

Green Arrow - Clive Groom on footplate - Les Anstey Green Arrow left the Bluebell's metals the Monday immediately after the Giants of Steam weekend. This splendid study taken at Sheffield Park on 19th October acts as a fitting tail-piece to a memorable visit.

Driver Clive Groome looks back from the cab of 60800 "Green Arrow" for the guard's flag (Les Anstey)

Return to Bluebell Home Page, our Official News Releases, 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 - Signals - History - Other - Links - Search & Index - 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:
2003: Jan-March, April-June, July-Sept
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: Jan-April 2004.
Valid HTML 3.2! Compiled by Richard Salmon.
© Copyright, disclaimer and credits.