Built as LMS No.5231 by Armstrong-Whitworth in 1936, the locomotive has had a number of bases in preservation, starting at Carnforth, and more recently at times on the Great Central Railway. It is privately owned, and now spends much of its time running on main-line tours.
David Haggar's photo shows No.45231 at Eastbourne on a railtour in 2005.
No.33103 "Swordfish" is on hire to the Bluebell from Nemesis Rail for engineering work on the extension. It is not normally planned to be used on passenger trains on the Bluebell.
Martin Lawrence's photo shows it on arrival at Sheffield Park on 11 February 2013.
South Eastern & Chatham Railway No.263
Numbers carried: 263, A263, 1263, 31263
Last major overhaul completed: 28 May 2012 - Report of overhaul
Owner: Bluebell Railway Trust
Built as the standard loco for the SECR's suburban services, the H-class were a popular loco in later years for services on rural branch lines in Sussex, especially after the withdrawal of the LBSCR D3 tanks. This particular locomotive ended up working the line between East Grinstead and Three Bridges and was withdrawn when that line was closed in January 1964. Purchased from BR by the H-Class Trust, it was initially located at Robertsbridge, but soon found a home at the South Eastern Steam Centre at Ashford, where the engine appeared at various open days. However, in 1975 the Trustees decided that the locomotive would have much more scope for running if based on the Bluebell. Since then it has had two periods in steam. In 2008 ownership was transferred to the Bluebell Railway Trust, which funded an overhaul which started in March 2009, with a return to service, again in full Edwardian SECR livery, in July 2012.
SECR Wainwright P-class, No.323 "Bluebell"
Numbers carried: 323, A323, 1323, 31323
Last major overhaul completed: March 2011 - Report of overhaul
Owned by the Bluebell Railway
Long the flagship of the Bluebell's fleet, painted blue (Photo: Right) and named "Bluebell" between 1961 and 1998, this loco was repainted into SE&CR wartime plain green livery, for the 1999 centenary of the SE&CR (Photo: above).
The P-class tank locomotives were, in design terms, an updated copy of the LBSCR Terriers, but, with only eight of them built, made rather less of a name for themselves. However, with four of the eight surviving into preservation, they have blossomed, and are now much more favourably regarded as highly capable little locomotives. Their greater water capacity and larger cabs give them a slight advantage over the considerably older Terriers.
An appeal to raise the funds for the overhaul was started towards the end of 2003. The locomotive was partially dismantled, but the overhaul was suspended whilst the workshops concentrated on larger locomotives. Then in September 2009 the loco entered the works and was lifted from its wheels, signifying the re-starting of its overhaul, with the aim of completing to overhaul for the 50th anniversary celebrations in August 2010. This was thwarted by the discovery of the need for additional boiler repairs, and after this additional work, the loco returned to service just in time to put in an appearance at the Branch Line weekend in March 2011.
Dorking Greystone Lime Company, No.3 "Captain Baxter"
Built: 1877, Fletcher Jennings
Last major overhaul completed: August 2010
Boiler ticket ends: July 2020
Owned by the Bluebell Railway.
Lewis Nodes has provided a video clip of Baxter working the Vintage Goods train in September 1997. The file is a 6MB Mpeg.
"Baxter" arrived at the Bluebell in 1960 after spending its working life at the Dorking Greystone Lime Works at Betchworth station. It was only in 1982 that it returned to traffic after a comprehensive overhaul.
"Baxter" runs a very low mileage each year, so, having received a major mechanical overhaul in the early 1980s and a boiler overhaul ten years later, following the expiry of its boiler certificate in July 2000 it was not expected to take much effort to give it another ten-year certificate. However various items have needed rather more work than expected, and the opportunity is also being taken to fit steam heating and vacuum braking equipment for the first time. This work (reported here) has been undertaken by the volunteer team who undertook the overhaul of "Fenchurch", and "Captain Baxter" (as it had been named until 1947) returned to service at the 50th Anniversary Gala in August 2010.
LBSCR Stroudley Terrier, No.55 "Stepney"
Numbers carried: 55, 655, B655, 2655, 32655
Last major overhaul completed: May 2010
Boiler ticket ends: April 2015
Owned by the Bluebell Railway
Web page - Photos of 2010 overhaul.
Stroudley's famous Terriers survived for decades after more modern designs had been scrapped, working on lightly laid Branch lines. Here these diminutive engines were often the only engines light enough to cross some particular bridge. In later years "Stepney" was particularly associated with the Hayling Island branch, until sold to the Bluebell Railway in May 1960 as our first locomotive.
Repainted into Stroudley's famous "Improved Engine Green" gamboge livery (as seen on the right), it has been a favourite of many children, and some of those children are now introducing their own children to "Stepney the Bluebell Engine". In spite of its fame, "Stepney" has spent considerable periods out of traffic in its fifty years on the Bluebell, but its popularity always causes it to bounce back to the top of the railway's priorities.
In the first few months of 2010 the minimum boiler work to get the loco back into steam for our 50th anniversary celebrations was done, and Stepney will now remain available for limited service for as long as it does not require major repairs. It has been repainted into the black (lined with red) livery it carried 50 years ago in the Bluebell Railway's first season, and will be repainted again at some point soon. At its next major overhaul it will require new cylinders, the castings for which are already to hand, and significant work on the frames.
SECR Wainwright P-class, No.178
Numbers carried: 178, A178, 1178, S1178, 31178
Last major overhaul completed: February 2010
Boiler ticket ends: Feb 2020
Owned by the Bluebell Railway
The last of the four P-class tank locomotives to have steamed in preservation, 178 came to the Bluebell in 1969 after industrial service at Bowaters Paper Mill, where it carried the name "Pioneer II".
Its best chance of restoration was seen to be outside the Bluebell Railway's direct ownership, due to the railway already having two other Ps, and so it was sold to Southern Locomotives Ltd, who commenced its overhaul, at Sheffield Park. However, with the shift in emphasis of that group to become major providers of motive power to the Swanage Railway, it was decided more appropriate to transfer ownership of this 'P' class loco back to the Bluebell. This was achieved in mid 2006, thanks to funding made available by the Bluebell Railway Trust.
The overhaul was undertaken by the Loco Workshop working group, and the loco now runs in full SECR lined green, after just a few weeks initially operating in its industrial guise as "Pioneer II".
LBSCR Billinton Radial Tank, No.B473
Numbers carried: 473 "Birch Grove", B473, 2473, s2473, 32473
Last major overhaul completed: January 2010
Boiler ticket ends: Dec 2019
Owned by the Bluebell Railway
Current Status: temporarily out of service awaiting firebox repairs
Web page and details of the last overhaul
The only surviving locomotive to a design by Robert Billinton, "Birch Grove" is one of a family of locomotives known as Radial Tanks due to the radial axle beneath the cab. Mixed traffic locomotives, they were equally at home on local passenger workings as branch-line goods services. Although almost the oldest, the E4s were amongst the last of the Brighton Radials to survive.
"Birch Grove" itself was one of the first two Brighton locos to be repainted into Southern Railway livery, as B473, in February 1924. It was bought straight out of BR service in 1962 and served the Bluebell for a decade before being withdrawn for a protracted stop-go overhaul. It finally became operational again in 1998 thanks to a bequest which paid for the major boiler repairs required and a team of volunteers who undertook some of the easier boiler work and most of the remaining work, as is well recorded on the following web page.
Remarkably "Birch Grove" retains her original boiler, number 891, fitted new in July 1898. It had been passed to various other Brighton tanks of classes D3, E3 and E4 before being refitted to Birch Grove in 1960.
It was repainted from LBSCR umber livery (right) into BR lined black in February 2005, for a limited period. With a boiler still in good condition, its overhaul was started immediately following the expiry of its boiler certificate in May 2008, and after a major rebuild of its cylinders, which was the most significant item of work required, it re-entered service in January 2010, carrying 1920s Southern Railway olive green livery.
After 5 years in service some star cracking and leaking around the stays have been found, and it is therefore out of service temporarily awaiting boiler-work.
SECR Wainwright goods, No.592
Numbers carried: 592, A592, 1592, 31592
Last major overhaul: 2007
Boiler ticket ends: May 2017
Owned by the Wainwright 'C' Preservation Society
After the amalgamation of the SER and the LCDR in 1899 it fell to Harry Wainwright to put some order into the locomotive designs the new company inherited. The C-class was his standard goods design, and served the SECR, and in turn the SR and BR, well. The steam powered reverser on this locomotive was most successful, and this design was to be found on goods and shunting engines built by the SECR and the SR for more than 40 years afterwards.
Preserved initially at Ashford Works, it moved to the Bluebell in 1970, and finally entered service in 1975 after work on its boiler and a badly damaged axle journal. Its 1994 overhaul at the hands of volunteers saw it returned to service with a spare overhauled tender which we had been fortunate enough to obtain. In 2006-7 we overhauled the spare boiler which we have for this locomotive, since the firebox of the existing boiler was deemed beyond repair. Mechanically the locomotive was in reasonable order, although the condition of the cylinders was expected to determine how long it ran before its next overhaul. It returned to service on 8th October 2007. At that time it was thought likely to require a new cylinder block at a subsequent overhaul, but advances in cylinder lining techniques pioneered with the Atlantic, 178 and B473 at the Bluebell has led to similar work being undertaken on this locomotive, and so the cylinder block was removed for a repair in late 2012, which, with further work on the valves, has now enabled a much stronger locomotive to re-enter service!
SR U-class, No.1638
Numbers carried: A638, 1638, 31638
Last major overhaul completed: 2006
Boiler ticket ends: Jan 2016
Owned by the Bluebell Railway, on long-term loan to the Maunsell Society
One of two U-class locomotives on the Bluebell Railway, both coming via Barry scrapyard, this one was privately purchased and donated to the Bluebell. It has been placed on long-term loan to the Maunsell Locomotive Society, who also own 1618, and was their main restoration project for over a decade. Having lost its tender whilst at Barry, a new one has been built, starting from the remains of a snowplough which in turn had been created using a Schools class locomotive tender as its base. The loco steamed for the first time in preservation in February 2006.
It was always expected that the locomotive would need major work after about 7 years of use, and indeed over the winter of 2012/13 a partial boiler-lift and some re-staying has been undertaken, followed by further copper-welding on the firebox later in 2013. It is not expected to remain in service for the whole of the remaining period of its "10-year" ticket.
Howard Petrol-engined locomotive
Class: 2-speed 7 ton Main Line Loco
Wheel arrangement: 4w, chain driven, maximum speed 8mph
Engine: Dorman type 4-JUD 3970cc developing 41bhp at 1000 rpm
Built: 1926 by James & Frederick Howard Ltd, Britannia Iron Works, Bedford
Maker's number: 957
Arrived on Bluebell Railway: March 1965
Used on Bluebell until 1969, and returned to service: August 2010
Built by Howards in 1926, No 957 was used to shunt their agricultural implement and railway wagon factory sidings in Bedford. The Britannia Iron & Steel Works Ltd took over the site in 1932 to make pipe fittings and continued using it until a larger shunting loco was obtained in 1965. Through the intervention of a local enthusiast the company presented 957 to the Bluebell Railway where it was used for light shunting until about 1969. Under the auspicies of the Alf Brown Group an overhaul (details of which are here) was begun in the 1970s at Horsted Keynes which had to include new wheelsets, and it made its debut at the 50th Anniversary Gala in August 2010.
Although nominally operational, at the present time more work is required to complete the restoration of the locomotive.
Diesel shunting locomotive No.09018 has been purchased by a consortium of members who have set up a company to manage the loco, which is hired by the Railway as and when it is needed. Locomotive No 13236 will leave the Railway once 09018 has been commissioned into service.
The 09 class of 350 HP diesel-electric shunters were a Southern Region version of the ubiquitous 08 class, geared for slightly higher speeds. D4106 was built at British Railways' Horwich Works on 13 November 1961. It was renumbered as 09018 on 31 December 1973. It currently retains HNRC orange and grey livery, but with the lettering removed, since the current priority is the acquisition of a pool of spare parts.
Web Page. Martin Lawrence's photo shows the locomotive on arrival at Sheffield Park on 23 April 2013.
13236, a 350hp diesel shunter built in 1956, has been hired by the Bluebell Railway to assist with shunting and the construction of the extension to East Grinstead. It entered Bluebell service in mid-May 2008. As a short-term plant hire it is not part of the Bluebell's loco stock. It is based at Shackerstone (Battlefield Line) and is now painted in 1950s BR black livery with the early BR crest.
Sentinel/Rolls-Royce/Thomas Hill 4-w Diesel-Hydraulic loco No.10241
Acquired by the Bluebell Railway's C&W department mainly for shunting work around the carriage yard, this loco arrived on 7th May 2010, in working order.
A Sentinel designed loco, this one was built after the company became known as Rolls-Royce and is their No. 10241 of 1966. However, the loco was rebuilt by Thomas Hill (Rotherham) in 1973 (who had by then acquired the Sentinel/Rolls-Royce locomotive business), becoming their No.247V.
Web Page for No.10241
The Loco Roster indicates which locos should be working our trains on what days.
Note: Boiler Certificates. Steam locomotive boilers are certificated by the Insurance Company's inspector, initially for seven years from the date of pressure testing after overhaul. The dates given above assume that a mid-term boiler examination/test allows an extension to a full ten-year term. At the end of this period, unless a futher short extension is granted, the locos must be taken out of service for a boiler overhaul including a complete re-tube, and it is also usual at this time to undertake a full mechanical overhaul.
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