The Bluebell Railway perfectly captures the atmosphere of the great age of steam. Running for almost 10 miles through the unspoilt Sussex Weald, 1995 is a milestone year for Bluebell celebrating 35 years of operation.
It's atmosphere all the way as a magnificently restored steam locomotive challenges the uphill grade from Sheffield Park. There's the drama of the near half mile West Hoathly Tunnel, the surprising scale of Horsted Keynes station and magnificent views from your carriage window.
At the Bluebell Railway, you will discover what is acknowledged to be the biggest and most historic collection of locomotives and rolling stock outside the National Railway Museum and it doesn't end there. The detail that surrounds the railway is stunning, the tiny signal cabin on Sheffield Park station where you can watch the signalman perform his mysterious art, the period luggage waiting for dispatch, the milk churns, the guard with his green flag. The joy of the Bluebell Railway is that it all still works just the way it always did, when the country railway was an everyday part of life.
The most surprising and appealing thing about the Bluebell Railway is that it has been created and maintained mostly by volunteers, people achieving excellence simply for the love of it. At Bluebell we will not seek to impress you by the price tag of a restoration undertakem for any commercial gain. Instead you will marvel, for example, at the incredible attainment of turning the rusting remains of a steam engine, hauled out of a scrap yard, into a living, breathing thoroughbred machine; representing years of often back breaking work.
Return to Top - Membership - How to get there - Other information - Operating Dates - Latest News
The Bluebell Railway has the UK's largest and most comprehensive collection of ex-Southern Railway locomotives and those of its three main constituents. It also, surprisingly, has the largest collection of BR standards designs. It is one of only two UK preserved railways where you can guarantee not to see (or hear) a diesel. Our one non-steam loco, the Howard Rail Tractor, is petrol driven, and is quite incapable of moving anything much larger than a single truck.
All steam locomotives require a complete strip-down, for a boiler overhaul and insurance inspection, after ten years operation. At any time, therefore, only a selection of our locomotives are serviceable. With our oldest locomotives now over 120 years old, the work required to keep them in a serviceable condition is, as might be expected, phenomenal.
The majority of these locomotives are on static display in the Loco Sheds at Sheffield Park when not in use. For safety reasons, those undergoing repairs in the Loco Works are not accessible.
Return to Top - Rolling Stock - How to get there - Other information - Operating Dates
The railway runs on more than 200 days each year, including every Sunday. It
needs around twenty people each day just to run the railway - drivers,
fireman, guards, signalmen, station staff, carriage cleaners, booking clerks,
shop and catering staff. members are encouraged to take part in all these
What do you get out of joining?
By car Sheffield Park Station is the best point to join the Bluebell
Railway. This is situated on the A275 East Grinstead - Lewes main road, about
two miles north of its junction with the A272. The Bluebell Railway, Sheffield
Park is well signposted with brown tourist direction signs from the A22 and
A23 trunk roads.
By train you can travel direct to the Bluebell Railway from London Victoria and itermediate stations on the Network SouthCentral East Grinstead line. From East Grinstead station a connecting vintage bus service runs to the Bluebell Railway.
By bus travel to East Grinstead and join the Bluebell Railway's vintage bus service from East Grinstead station. Buses are also available from Haywards Heath to Horsted Keynes on certain days.
Return to Top - Rolling Stock - Membership - How to get there - Operating Dates
Sheffield Park Station,
Other information : 01825 723777 - office hours
Return to UK Railway Preservation Home Page
Last Updated 15 December 1995 by Mark Dewell.
This page presents the Bluebell's first web pages,
prepared by Richard Salmon and Mark Dewell, in 1995. Some information
on the pages, including contact phone numbers, is therefore not current.