Welcome to this Summer edition, in which we have revised the layout. Sufficient copies have been printed, I hope, for each volunteer working member to have their own copy.
Compared with last year it's not been so good this year. What with slips, foot and mouth, less foreign tourists ( due no doubt to the high pound), we have suffered along with other attractions. At the end of July receipts were down by 7% on last year. Total visitor figures for Jan to July 2001 are 95,691 compared with 106,052 for the same period in 2000. That's a 10% decrease. Provisional figures for August also so a revenue decrease of 7% compared with last year. However it was noted that the last week of the school holidays was buoyant.
However the two Thomas weekends were very successful and only four written complaints were received. Next year Thomas will come from the Llangollen Railway and Percy from the Gwili Railway. Mike Williams will be able to talk to them in Welsh!
228 tickets were sold to non-members for the Yetties concert. The concert next year moves to the former Steam Fair weekend to coincide with our West Country Crafts and Arts weekend.
Son of "Giants of Steam" was a reasonable success even though some visitors thought the double headed Bulleid train was to run both days! 34081 has now returned to the Nene Valley Railway with our thanks for allowing 92 Squadron out again. We look forward to the return of 80151 a loco I saw hauling the 'sulky service' in 1958 before the line closure.
9449 Blue Circle has been sold to Mike Smith at Quainton Road where he has restored the loco, at his expense. Quainton Road is a more suitable home for this engine. The sale of this engine will allow a proposed vacuum brake to be fitted to Baxter which will increase the usefulness of this loco.
Chris Cooper Trustee and Internal Information Officer
We welcome Paul Robertson as manager of the Permanent Way Department.
Plans are to renew and improve the formation from Sheffield Park, Poleay Bridge to Freshfield Bank in October. There may even be help from the Army! Another planned project will be to dig out and replace ballast from Horsted Keynes Station to Leamland Bridge.
Chris White has supplied the following plans for engineering possessions of the line:
08.00 Monday 1st October to 18.00 Friday 5th October
08.00 Monday 8th October to 18.00 Friday 12th October
The line will be closed between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes for track maintenance. This involves removing complete sections of line and there is no possibility of reinstatement to run trains during this period.
08.00 Monday 15th October to 18.00 Wednesday 18th October
S&T work at Horsted Keynes Station area will limit access to and from the station for long periods.
08.00 Monday 19th February to 18.00 Friday 23rd February
08.00 Monday 26th February to 18.00 Friday 1st March
Remedial work on Fire and McMillan slips north of Horsted Keynes and other engineering work throughout both Sheffield Park to Horsted Keynes and Horsted Keynes to Kingscote sections. It will not be possible to run trains on either section during this period.
We welcome David Baldwin to the railway as our coach painter. Now perhaps we can catch up on the backlog of vehicles awaiting painting or varnishing.
The works extension was offically opened on 9th September. Heating and dust extraction are yet to be installed. Donations will be very welcome for this last part of the project. Don't forget you can give by Gift Aid. Ask Richard Salmon, Eric Earnshaw or Martin Lock for a Git Aid form to fill in.
806 the 'semi-royal saloon' named Camilla by some C&W wag, is now in service following its final painting, in a pragmatic 40's livery (Crimson LMS Period 3).
The C&W Yard gate is now subject to new security measures that means it will be locked between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. weekdays. If you need access at any other times contact Tony Funnell or Sheina Foulkes.
Here's a drawing of the North End of the loco shed. It includes the extra bay. Work on this long awaiting project is expected to start in the not too distant future.
Work proceeds on the line extension to East Grinstead with a concrete cattle crossing being installed at Hazledene Farm.
By Chris Cooper and Russell Pearce
Many compliments are still received about the good service we offer on our prestigious dining train. The carriage cleaning department regularly wash the outsides and polish the brass while 'Shirley' cleans the insides of the Pullmans. Eagle's saloon has been re-upholstered with a bottle green moquette and repainted. It is of a standard where it can booked out to the public. Arrangements have been in place for this happen for some time, but due to the extended replacement of Camilla, by Car 64, this has not proved to be necessary because of the extra seating provided by Car 64. However Car 64 has now been withdrawn from the train and it is hoped Eagle will now come into its own.
By Steve Pilcher
We are pleased to report that 1638 now has a complete tender. Work has started on Stowe's tender which is now no more as a new tank and coal space will need to be constructed.
By Peter Clark
Not the start of a series of crossword clues, but the numbers of signals the Alf Brown Group is currently constructing as part of the Horsted Keynes resignalling project.
The signals control access to the single line southwards from platforms 3 and 4 respectively. 24A covers the shunt from platform 4 to the down yard.
They will be carried on an equal "T" bracket situated just south of platforms 3 and 4, and work has been ongoing for some time, using the site of the dock road at Horsted Keynes. This is the only signal that will be constructed on this work site, so if you wish to see how Southern rail built signals are constructed just look down from outside the new Carriage Works extension. The main project milestones are :
The equal "T" bracket, like most of the brackets Bluebell has acquired, had been in use on the Southern Railway and Region for many years and rust worm had taken hold. Fortunately, the curved bottom sections, which we are unable to fabricate, were in good condition so these have been cleaned off and reused.
All other material has been replaced, and the parts were successfully riveted together. This is the first time we have undertaken riveting on a large scale and our thanks go to Keith Sturt and Tony Funnell for advice and the best way to proceed.
Construction of the post to carry the bracket was bedevilled by a number of problems. First the rail required was in short supply and it took some time for four reasonable quality rails to become available. The rails were sawn to length and the frontispiece of Summer 2001 Bluebell News shows the start of this operation.
At a critical point the rail saw sheared its crank pin and as it is an obsolete piece of equipment we foresaw difficulties. However, for once we discovered that the makers sales agent actually had a crank pin on his shelves and remarkably at a reasonable price. The rails, sawn to length, were drilled, bolted together in pairs, and positioned one pair on top of the other.
The baseplate and angle anchors were ordered from our steel suppliers. These have been drilled, fitted to the four railed post and currently the whole assembly is being painted.
The equal "T" bracket, following its overhaul, has been fitted to the jig outside our workshop so that it can have deck planking, lattices and handrails trial fitted. The jig is designed so that we can work on the assembly near to ground level and will also be used for the next three bracket signals in the Horsted resignalling programme.
Following any adjustments required, the assembly on the jig will be lettered to represent its constituent parts, dismantled and transferred to the dock site for installation which is scheduled for October 16th 2001.
The recent appointment by the Trustees of Neil Glaskin as chairman of the social Sub-committee, aided by Clive Emsley as the committee's secretary, signals an overhaul for our the committee in which new blood is expected to join. Focus of events for members young and young at heart will supplement Chris Cooper's coach trips and his planned revival of the annual re-union and dinner in March next year.
Chris' next coach trip is : The Kent Collier Saturday 6th October
A special steam hauled train on the East Kent Light Railway, Shepherdswell. There will be two round trips over the line including the old spur to the now closed Tilmanstone Pit not normally used by passenger trains. This former line was once used by 65 and 488 (No. 5). A journey through Golgotha Tunnel is also included. We will return via Elham Valley after a visit to Canterbury, if time permits.
Executive Coach departs:
Connecting Mini Coach departs:
Fare £19. Refreshments extra. Make your cheques payable to BRPS Social Sub-committee.
Send your cheque with an S.A.E. to :
7 Rickwood Park,
Chris Knibbs has a new supply of Operations Department grade cards which also encompasses all volunteers who do not work for departments such as C&W, Loco, P. Way and S&T who issue their own cards.
Just a reminder that the railway goes into wartime and austerity mode on 15th and 16th September. Booking clerks please note fares are increased for this weekend to 172/- adult, 86/- children and 500/- family. Doesn't it look a lot written in 1940's money!
Our next Giants weekend is October 27 and 28 and its the last weekend this year that every seat should be filled so please promote the event with all your friends. We need the revenue.
On 1st October bookings open for our Santa Specials. Volunteers will be sought by Tom Winsor to man the Santa trains. Look out for his appeal in Bluebell News.
By Richard Parfitt
The Hard worked Sheffield park date presses have undergone a truly wondrous tansformation. They are smooth to work and actually put a date on the back of the ticket.
This revolution in dating technology has come about courtesy of David Philips and the S&T workshop. David has offered to do the same magnificent work on the Kingscote date press this winter.
As Approved by the Trustees 17th August 2001
It is the policy of the Bluebell Railway to restore and maintain its carriages and wagons, and those it is responsible for, to a high standard of safety, reliability and authenticity.
To ensure this is achieved the following directives are in place:
Excluded from this policy are railway vehicles determined by the C&W rolling stock committee and agreed by the T&RS director to be for permanent non-rail service use. Any variation from this policy will require the agreement of the Trustees of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society.
This is the first attempt at a new format for POINTS AND CROSSINGS. We propose to publish this quarterly but the next edition will be in November in order to space it out from Bluebell News. thereafter it will be published in the months of February, May, August and November. If you have any ideas on layout or content, please let the editor know your views by writing to Chris Cooper at Sheffield Park.
Don't forget to take time to read the Draft Rules published with the Summer Bluebell News and send any comments to Richard Parfitt at Sheffield Park. The Rules govern our Society so its important for us all to get it right. There's a Rules Forum in the Bessemer Arms on Saturday 6th October.
Tours Officer Great Western Society, Bristol Group
Just a brief note to thank Norman Blake, all all of his colleagues who contributed to the enjoyment of my Group's Visit to the Bluebell Railway on Saturday 9th June. We were made to feel very welcome by your volunteers, my thanks to them all, especially the loco crew for allowing a 'named train' on the line!
Whilst we appreciated the reservation of seats in the Buffet Car, the rival attraction of travelling elsewhere on the train in a genuine SR coach proved a little too much for most of our party, notwithstanding the complete absence of lights in Sharpthorne Tunnel!
Although Colin Turner was too far into a 9F firebox to give us a guided tour of the works, his deputy (Derek) did a grand job.
My wife and I had a most enjoyable visit to the Bluebell Railway last Saturday and were impressed by what you are doing.
Some ex-BR members may remember Bill Bradshaw at Paddington. He left the sinking ship to be come an academic and now he's a Labour peer sitting on the Lord's Transport Committee.
The Editor welcomes contributions to POINTS AND CROSSINGS.
Please send your contributions to Chris Cooper at Sheffield Park. In addition to hard copy it would help the sub-editor if copy could be provided on computer disc (HTML, Text or Word formats are OK) or they can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org