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Site Update Archive 2010


Please be aware that due to the historical nature of this page, some of the links on it may be out of date.

The Current What's New page, the what was new archive, the 2016, the 2015, the 2014, the 2013, the 2012 and the 2011 archives contain all the recent update information.

Also see the 2009, the 2008, the 2007, the 2006, the 2005, the 2004, the 2003, the 2002, the 2001, the 2000, the 1999 and the 1997-8 "What was new" archive pages.


Web Site Update List: further down this page.

Photographic and video reports 2010:
Please note that some photos included below are taken by volunteers and staff during the course of their duties, and so may have been taken in areas not open to the general public. These photos are very valuable, since they enable the public to see these otherwise hidden facets of the railway, but visitors to the railway should note that they may be unable to visit these locations themselves.


Web-site Update Archive 2010

323 steam test - Duncan Bourne - 29 December 2010 30 December 2010:
  • Duncan Bourne supplies this photo showing the boiler for centenarian SECR tank loco No.323 "Bluebell" passing its out-of-frames steam test yesterday. "Bluebell" thus remains on course to be ready for Branch Line weekend. More volunteers helping the Loco Workshop Working Group would help make that a certainty!

  • Reminder that tomorrow, New Year's Eve, we have a slightly modified Service One timetable. This sees the last train of the day, the 4.00pm from Sheffield Park, terminate at Horsted Keynes with no 5.17pm service from Horsted Keynes to Sheffield Park. Thus the last round trip of the line will be the 3.00pm departure from Sheffield Park, arriving back at 4.29pm.

  • Full details now available of extra activities taking place over the New Year Bank Holiday weekend.

  • The 2011 timetable leaflet is available to download, as is the 2011 Golden Arrow leaflet.
    Further special event dates:
    • 21 - 22 May: Bluebell Open Weekend
    • 4 - 6 November: South Eastern Gala
    • 3 December: Horsted Keynes Station Carol Service

    • Note also that, due to engineering works, no passenger trains will operate between Sheffield Park and Kingscote on 22, 23, 29 & 30 January.

  • Major update to the C&W news page for SECR carriage 3360 (The People's Millions coach), filling in the gaps in the news reports on this site thanks to Dave Clarke's updates.


3360 outside the shed - Dave Clarke - 12 December 2010 28 December:
  • Keith Duke has an album of photos from yesterday showing Horsted Keynes station, and the two-train service, in the snow which still covers the ground.

  • Dave Clarke has some more photos from the Carriage Works, taken a couple of weeks ago:
    • SECR 3360 - The People's Millions coach:
      On Sunday 12 December, the coach returned to the dock following its visit to D-road and placement upon its underframe, and is seen outside in the photo on the right during the shunt.
      The roof pots have now received three coats of undercoat and are ready for a couple of coats of gloss paint. The photo shows them in primer (red for steel and etch-primer for the brass fittings).
      Structural repairs to the eastern inward opening guard's door (Door I) have been completed and it has now been hung.
      The six seat backs have now been completed and the trimmers have moved onto the second seat base.
      The Big Lottery Fund has created a series of galleries featuring their projects in the South East including a selection of photos of the work on 3360
    • On Bulleid CK 5768, the western steel bottom rail plates have been tack welded together. The majority of the underframe north of the northern queen post has now been needle gunned and painted to top coat largely through the efforts of MacMillan Enterprises - "Robert Robert" MacMillan, Paul Hailes and Ray Tanner. This photo shows the coach outside while 3360 was shunted back to the dock. The rotted mid rail in B Compartment has been removed and work started on the replacement section.
    • Mk.I RMB 1818 has been raised on the jacks for its axle boxes and horn guides to be freed up. Whilst this was hapenning the opportunity was taken to replace the Wolverton dynamo and regulator. This coach has had a long standing electrical problem that proved difficult to pin down. The old dynamo (WC450) and regulator were then tested by Tony Silcock on the newly completed test rig and within minutes the regulator was found to be the primary culprit. Two other CMD regulators were also tested and were also found to be faulty. WC450 will be put to one side as a spare while another dynamo is overhauled. Once this has happened, WC 450 will receive a thorough clean.
    • The repaint of the Sentinel shunter is taking place gradually - the bottoms of the sides are now in gloss black and the engine cover in green.


672 and B473 leaving tunnel with Santa Special train - Robert Else - 24 December 2010 27 December:
  • Robert Else's photo on the right shows the two LBSCR locos, 672 "Fenchurch" and B473 (Birch Grove), leaving the tunnel with a Santa Special on Christmas Eve. His two photos below show the same combination just a bit further north, and the SECR C-class with the Victorian Christmas train on a departure from Horsted Keynes the same day.

  • David Chappell's photo below shows Bulleid Pacific No.34059 yesterday afternoon approaching Horsted Keynes.

  • You can now book to travel on our Victorian "Scrooge Specials" on 3rd January - includes presents for children, and food and drink for your party.

  • Details now available for the March 12-13 Branch Line Weekend:
    • It is hoped that our P Class locomotive number 323 "Bluebell" should be back in service following an extensive overhaul in our workshop at Sheffield Park
    • We also hope this event will see the debut of our newly reconstructed four wheeled LCDR/SECR carriage number 3360 with accommodation for wheelchair passengers (the People's Millions' coach).
    • Pre-grouping goods wagons will be used in a mixed train, and post 1923 wagons in another goods train.
    • Six locomotives should be in use.
    • Appropriate vintage SR and pre-grouping carriage sets.
672 and B473 at West Hoathley with Santa Special train - Robert Else - 24 December 2010 C-class 592 leaves Horsted Keynes with Victorian Christmas train - Robert Else - 24 December 2010 34059 approaches Horsted Keynes - David Chappell - 26 December 2010


C-class No.592 arriving at Horsted Keynes with the vintage set - Tony Sullivan - 26 December 2010 25/26 December: Happy Christmas
  • Tony Sullivan's photo on the right shows C-class No.592 arriving at Horsted Keynes with the vintage set, having been the 12-noon departure from Sheffield Park today, 26th December. Below No.34059 is seen this morning as it climbs through the cutting towards Three Arch Bridge with the 11.00am Sheffield Park to Kingscote service.
34059 climbs Three Arch Bridge - Tony Sullivan - 26 December 2010
  • Ashley Smith now has an edited video from the Santa trains running last Thursday.

  • Daily from Sunday 26 December to Monday 3rd January we are running an intensive service of Steam Trains.
    Kingscote station is now open as normal, but the advice remains to avoid the Burstow Hill / Hammingdon Lane route from Ardingly to Horsted Keynes.

  • Metrobus route 270 will be linking Haywards Heath to Horsted Keynes station over the period. They are operating a Sunday service on Monday 27th, Tuesday 28th, and then a Saturday service on Wednesday 29th, Thurs 30 and Fri 31. They will be operating a Sunday Service on 1-3 January. Details here.

  • Further details of services this week, including the extra Fairy Godmother Specials, are available here. Please note that, although on Friday 31 December we are essentially operating a Service One timetable, the 4.00pm from Sheffield Park will terminate at Horsted Keynes, with no 5.17 service from Horsted Keynes to Sheffield Park.

  • Don't forget that on New Year's Eve we have our Special Pullman Dining Train.

  • Still looking for Christmas Present ideas: why not give a Footplate Experience session - only being run on 22, 23, 29 & 30 January.


23 December: Photos from today
  • Two photos below from Tony Sullivan, showing the C-class No.592 ready to leave Horsted Keynes for Kingscote with the first of the Victorian Christmas trains, and the E4, whose driver has just taken possession of the single-line token from the signalman, before taking the third set of Santa Special carriages down to Sheffield Park this morning.

  • Ashley Smith was one of the few to brave the lineside today, and his photos are here, featuring all four of today's trains (Sir Archibald Sinclair and the U-class were hauling the other two trains).
C-class No.592 ready to leave Horsted Keynes with the first Victorian Christmas train - Tony Sullivan - 23 December 2010 E4-class No.B473 ready to leave Horsted Keynes with the morning's ECS to Sheffield Park - Tony Sullivan - 23 December 2010

Fenchurch departs from Horsted Keynes with a Santa Special - Dave Clarke - 19 December 2010 23 December:
  • Dave Clarke's photo shows one of Sunday's Santa Special Shuttles, with 'Fenchurch' leading the train south out of Horsted Keynes. 818 passengers were carried during that day, thanks to the dedication of Bluebell staff and volunteers who had worked so hard the previous day to make the railway both operational and safe for visitors.

  • Snow Update, 12 noon today, Thursday 23rd December:
    • We are currently expecting to run all services as planned on Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th December.
    • Please continue to check the Snow Update page for any further updates. Always remember to refresh the page for the latest update.
  • Local Roads
    • Sheffield Park: The A275 is clear of snow and operating as normal.
    • Horsted Keynes: The local country roads around Horsted Keynes station have been heavily gritted and are clear.
      Do not, however, approach Horsted Keynes station via Burstow Hill / Hammingden Lane on the Haywards Heath - Ardingly - Turners Hill Road. Instead make your way into Horsted Keynes village and use the Horsted Keynes - Sharpthorne / West Hoathly Road.
    • Kingscote: This station has no road access (although train services are now operating through the tunnel to this station).

  • As mentionned earlier in the week, details are available of extra services over the next couple of days, and over the New Year, onto which passengers who were booked to travel on the Santa Specials on Saturday 18th December or Victorian Christmas trains on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th December, are encouraged to re-book. Full details are available here.
    Refunds: Any passengers booked on those cancelled services who do not wish to take up one of the alternative offers, if you wish to receive a refund please send your travel tickets back to the Santa Special Booking Office at Sheffield Park Station.
    Whilst we were able to run Santa Special trains on Sunday 19th December, we acknowledge that many passengers were unable to travel that day because of the bad road conditions, and in that case, tickets can also be transferred to these extra trains. More details are available here.
    In each case, phoning the relevant numbers is essential to transfer the booking to a new train.


The stamp 22 December:
  • Snow Update, 12 noon today:
    • The Golden Arrow Pullman train today, Wednesday 22nd December, is due to run as normal.
    • We are currently expecting to run all services as planned on Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th December.
    • Please continue to check the Snow Update page for any further updates as the week goes on. Always remember to refresh the page for the latest update.
  • Local Roads
    • Sheffield Park: The A275 is clear of snow and operating as normal
    • Horsted Keynes: The local country roads around Horsted Keynes station have been heavily gritted and are clear. The hill to the station is passable with care.
      Do not, however, approach Horsted Keynes station via Burstow Hill / Hammingdon Lane on the Haywards Heath - Ardingly - Turners Hill Road. Instead make your way into Horsted Keynes village and use the Horsted Keynes - Sharpthorne / West Hoathly Road.
    • Kingscote: This station is closed.

  • Details of the 50th Anniversary First Day Cover, which features David Haggar's photo of ex-LBSCR E4 0-6-2T loco No.B473 with matching SR carriages, and is available either from the Bluebell Railway Letter Service, or from the Shop at Sheffield Park.


21 December:
  • Details are now available with all the options for people who were unable to travel with us last weekend, to re-book on a variety of extra special services which we are running over the coming weeks.
  • Snow Update, 10am today:
    • The Golden Arrow Pullman trains on Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 22nd December are due to run as normal.
    • We are currently expecting to run all services as planned on Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th December.
    • Please continue to check the Snow Update page for any further updates as the week goes on. Always remember to refresh the page for the latest update.


C-class No.592 approaches Horsted Keynes at dusk - David Chappell - 19 December 2010 20 December:
  • David Chappell's photos show yesterday's Santa Special trains, topped and tailed by Terrier 'Fenchurch' and the SECR C-class. Louise and Shanon (from Reigate) and Fenchurch (from Brighton) were amongst the passengers and locos who thoroughly enjoyed their day out!

  • Snow Update, 11am Monday 20th:
    • As things stand at present, the Golden Arrow Pullman will run on Monday 20th, Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 22nd December as normal.
    • We are currently expecting to run all services as planned on Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th December, but please check nearer the time for updates.
    • Local Roads:
      • Sheffield Park: The A275 is open but please take extreme care
      • Horsted Keynes: The local country roads around Horsted Keynes station are passable but with extreme care
      • Kingscote: This station is closed
    • We will announce arrangements for the rest of the Christmas/New Year period tomorrow, Tuesday. In the meantime, we have further information for passengers whose Santa Special trains were cancelled on Saturday.

  • Details now available on the BRPS Social Sub-committee page, of The 'Severn Special' Coach excursion on Saturday 30 April 2011

  • Please vote for us: We are in the final three in the HRA/Steam Railway Readers' Award, voting for which closes on 31st December. To vote for the preparations for our 50th Anniversary celebrations you need to send to Steam Railway magazine the form (or a photocopy) which has been printed in the last few issues of the magazine.
C-class No.592 arrives at Horsted Keynes - David Chappell - 19 Dec 2010 Louise and Shanon (from Reigate) and Fenchurch (from Brighton) - David Chappell - 19 Dec 2010 C-class No.592 at Horsted Keynes as the sun sets - David Chappell - 19 Dec 2010

Sir Archie passes the lineside gang at 3-Arch Bridge - Brian Kidman - 15 December 2010 19 December:
  • Snow Update, 2.30pm:
    • We are pleased to say that Santa trains operated between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes today (Sunday). Thank you to the customers who came along and to the staff and volunteers who helped get the railway up and running.
    • We are expecting to run our Golden Arrow Pullman on Monday 20th December as normal.
    • Please check back to the Snow Update page for any further updates as the week goes on. Always remember to refresh the page for the latest update.
      Thank you for your support.
  • With national and local road conditions remaining so difficult today, any passengers booked to travel today who were unable to reach us may use their tickets instead over the New Year holiday.

  • The photo on the right is from Brian Kidman, and was taken in a different world (last Wednesday) and shows Sir Archibald Sinclair at 3-Arch Bridge, passing the 'Wednesday Gang' of lineside volunteers who are currently in process of preparing for an even better display of Spring flowers on this section of lineside in 2011.


18 December: Snow Update 3, 4.15pm:
  • At present we intend to run a Santa Special Shuttle service from Sheffield Park Station to Horsted Keynes on Sunday 19th December from 10.30am to 3pm. All passengers should arrive at Sheffield Park when they can, where we will accommodate you on the next available train. We will not expect anyone to get to the station for their booked time.

  • The Victorian Christmas and Golden Arrow Pullman Services for Sunday 19th December have had to be cancelled and all customers will receive a call from us as soon as possible.

  • Any passengers who were booked for today (Saturday 18th December) and who wish to travel tomorrow can come to Sheffield Park and they will be able to use their tickets for the shuttle service.

  • If you are unable to attend on Sunday 19th December we will be operating a special service over New Year's weekend and details will follow. Tickets will be transferred to this weekend on a day of your choice or you are welcome to a ticket for travel any time in 2011. Please contact our Santa Special number 01825 720806 from Monday 20th December 2010.

  • Refunds:
    In the event we can run trains our normal refund policy will apply.

  • Please keep an eye on this and the Snow Update page, on facebook or twitter for any further changes which may become necessary.


Withyham signal box at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 15 December 2010 18 December: (See also Snow/Service Updates above and below)
  • Derek Hayward has posted 54 new photos from Wednesday, showing HLF-funded Woodpax project and the Loco washout pit.
    The photo on the right shows Withyham signal box, installed on its new base, and undergoing refurbishment at Sheffield Park, where it will form part of the museum/interpretation display.
    The photos below show a general view of the Woodpax site and the re-surfaced Platform 2, with work just starting on the repair of the canopy, and its extension back to its original length - the final platform surface must await warmer weather; the new chimney; the exterior of the museum building, and the completed main structure of the loco washout pit, with the three drain chambers alongside.

  • We are expecting a decision about tomorrow's services to be taken later today.
Platform 2 and Woodpax site at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 15 Dec 2010 New chimney on Platform 2 at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 15 Dec 2010 Exterior of new museum building at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 15 Dec 2010 Progress with the loco washout pit at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 15 Dec 2010

18 December: Snow Updates 1 & 2:
  • Update 9.15am: All Bluebell trains today 18th December have been cancelled due to rapidly deteriorating road conditions.

    Refunds: If we are unable to operate our services we will be pleased to offer a full refund or transfer your booking to another date subject to availability.

    Many of our staff are also unable to reach the railway today. However, you can contact us for bookings and other information by telephoning: 07716 202261, or email.

  • 8.30am update: We regret that heavy snow currently falling in the Horsted Keynes area means that today's Victorian Christmas trains are cancelled. Please keep an eye on this and the Snow Update page, on facebook or twitter for information about other services this weekend.


17 December:
  • We currently expect to run all our services this coming weekend - 18th/19th December. If the situation changes the Snow Update page will be updated, or information provided on a "TODAY" page. We are monitoring the snow situation.

    Refunds: If we are unable to operate our services we will be pleased to offer a full refund.
            In the event we can run trains, our normal refund policy will apply.

    Local Roads: To Sheffield Park: A275 East Grinstead and Lewes to Sheffield Park - open
            To Horsted Keynes: All local roads are open as normal. In the event of snow or ice, do not use the local road from the B2028 near Ardingly via Burtsow Hill / Hammingdon Lane (Highbrook). Instead make your way into Horsted Keynes village and then take the Horsted Keynes to Sharphorne / West Hoathly road.

    Please keep an eye on the Snow Update page for updates, or look at the "TODAY" page if that is present on the vistors' information pages.



Sir Archie with a Santa Special train - Martin Lawrence - 5 December 2010 16 December:
  • Martin Lawrence's photo shows 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair" with a Santa Special train on 5 December 2010. Martin also now has photo galleries available for 17th October, and the Giants Of Steam Weekend - 22, 23 & 24th October.

  • Update to the Loco Roster showing what locos we hope to use each day for the rest of the month.


Siding and running line laid down to Imberhorne tip - Patrick Plane - 14 December 2010 15 December:
  • Patrick Plane's photo, taken yesterday morning, shows that the siding and running line now reach the bridge at Imberhorne. There is a bit more work to do on the drainage, and then the track panels seen stacked on the siding will be used to push the running line forward under the bridge and into the area next to the tip which will be used to load the trains a few wagons at a time.

  • We currently expect to run all our services this coming weekend - 18th/19th December. If the situation changes the Snow Update page will be updated. If you have booked seats on any trains that we have to cancel we will endeavour to contact you with details.

  • Details are now available of special services which we are running for Valentine's Day - why not visit us for Full Afternoon Tea on board the Wealden Rambler on Saturday 12th, Sunday 13th & Monday 14th February, or an Evening Meal on board our Golden Arrow Pullman on Saturday 12th & Monday 14th February, with Champagne and Canapés on arrival followed by a Three course set menu. More details here.

  • The Local Accommodation Guide is now hosted on the company's part of the Bluebell site rather than this part of the site.


U, E4 and P with Santa trains at Horsted Keynes - Ian Maggs - 11 December 2010 13 December:
  • Ian Maggs provides some photos from Saturday (right and below), when we were running three Santa Trains, using the U-class No.1638 on one, and medium-sized engines (C and E4) assisted by the P No.178 and Terrier No.672 Fenchurch on the others.

  • Andrew Strongitharm has updated his album with some photos from Sunday (by which time the snow had gone), showing that "Sir Archibald Sinclair" was in use that day, along with the U-class, with Nos.672 and B473 paired on the third train. C-class No.592 had charge of the Pullman Dining train.

  • The Railway's 2011 timetable reveals that we are closing the line over the weekends of 22-23 & 29-30 January for engineering works. As a consequence we are therefore able to offer "Footplate Experience" sessions on those days.
Fenchurch leads the C-class into Horsted Keynes - Ian Maggs - 11 Dec 2010

10 December:


Locos in the snow at Horsted Keynes - Chrissie Nemeth - 1 December 2010 9 December:
  • Another of Chrissie Nemeth's photos from last week - taken on the Wednesday at Horsted Keynes whilst the shunt was taking place to assemble the carriages for the Santa Specials.

  • Station Approach (Horsted Keynes) is currently closed from the Ardingly direction due to ice. Access to the station is currently only possible from the Sharpthorne to Horsted Keynes road.

  • Andrew Strongitharm has 4 pictures from yesterday's 'Santa for Schools'.

  • Update to the Football Competition page, with the latest positions in this competition raising funds for our Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864.

  • More details available for next year:

  • Keep the weekend of 12-13 March free - that is to be the date for Branch Line Weekend 2011.

  • The two photos below, both taken yesterday, are: from Patrick Plane, showing track panels assembled and stacked ready to push the running line forward under the bridge and into the tip at Imberhorne, and from Ian Maggs, showing our VEP in the platform at East Grinstead, alongside the current generation of train operating on the main line.

Track panels for running line south from East Grinstead - Pat Plane - 8 Dec 2010 Vep at East Grinstead in the snow - Ian Maggs - 8 Dec 2010

P-class 178 adding to the atmosphere at Sheffield Park - Michael Hopps - 5 December 2010 6 December:
  • Michael Hopps' photo from Sunday shows P-class No.178 adding to the atmosphere at Sheffield Park.

  • New for 2011 - Footplate Experience on the Bluebell Railway - could this be a good Christmas present idea?

  • Photos from last week from Dave Clarke, with recent activity in the Carriage Works:
    • SECR 3360 - the People's Millions coach:
    • SECR birdcage brake 3363:
      The new second class seat end, constructed from some beautiful reclaimed mahogany, has been finished, trimmed and installed, as seen in the next two photos below.
    • LBSCR Third 328:
      The floor has been removed and the bottom rail dismantled and replacement timber ordered.
    • LBSCR Brake third 949:
      The majority of the roof hoops are in place with only the two either side of the single partition yet to be installed.
    • The above two Stroudley carriages are seen, along with LBSCR Stroudley First No.661, which is in the works for some attention to paintwork, together in Dave's final photo below.
    • Bulleid CK 5768:
      The repair of the centre vestibule and northern half of the cant rail on the west side is virtually complete and the first coats of stain have been applied to the corridor partitions. The overhaul of the steel bottom rail is progressing well and the new steel sections are ready to be secured. This process is beginning with the fixing of the frame work to the steel gusset plates and the counter sinking of the holes by which the steel bottom rail will be riveted to the sole bar.

  • Having realised that this page is effectively a Blog for the railway, it's now headed as such!

Luggage rack and lettered door on SECR 3360 - Dave Clarke - 28 Nov 2010 Second class seat end, Birdcage 3363 - Dave Clarke - 28 Nov 2010 Second class seat end, Birdcage 3363 - Dave Clarke - 28 Nov 2010 Line-up of three Stroudley coaches - Dave Clarke - 28 Nov 2010

Archie with Santa Special near the top of Freshfield Bank - Michael Hopps - 5 December 2010 5 December:
  • Michael Hopps' photos from today's Santa Specials, showing 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair" (right - near the top of Freshfield Bank) and U-class 1638 (below - making a spirited start from SP with the 2pm service).

  • Tim Baker wishes to express his thanks to all the volunteers who helped prepare the railway yesterday so enabling today's trains to run. Martin Lawrence's two photos below from Horsted Keynes yesterday show the E4 B473 which was used to check the line (especially the tunnel), and the cleared platform edges at Horsted Keynes (where platforms 3, 4 and 5 were cleared).

  • Details of some of the special events for 2011 are now available:

1638 making a spirited start from SP with the 2pm service - Michael Hopps - 5 Dec 2010 E4 loco in the snow at Horsted Keynes - Martin Lawrence - 4 Dec 2010 Platform edge cleared of snow at Horsted Keynes - Martin Lawrence - 4 Dec 2010

4 December:
  • As of 12 noon, it is still planned to operate our Santa Special and Golden Arrow trains as scheduled tomorrow, Sunday 5th. Check here for further updates.

  • The Carol Service has been re-scheduled, and will now be held on Saturday 11th December instead of tonight. The service is held on the platform at Horsted Keynes station, and starts at 7.30pm. All welcome.


3 December:
  • Whilst we are not running trains tomorrow (4th) and the Carol service is postponed, currently it is planned to operate our Santa Special and Golden Arrow trains on Sunday 5th. Check here for further updates.

  • Any volunteers able to reach the Railway on Saturday are encouraged to help in ensuring that the platforms are clear of snow ready for Sunday. Since forecasts for tomorrow show icy roads in the morning but a warmer afternoon please do take care on the roads! It is planned to have the C&W department open for work as normal again from the afternoon.


Fenchurch in the snow at Sheffield Park shed - Chrissie Nemeth - 1 December 2010 2 December:
  • Due to the road conditions, we regret that our trains are cancelled tomorrow and Saturday - further information here, and keep up to date with the latest snow reports on the company's web site.

  • Saturday evening's Carol Service at Horsted Keynes has also been postponed. Keep an eye on this web page for an alternative date.

  • Any volunteers able to reach the Railway on Saturday are encouraged to help in clearing the stations so that Santa trains can run on Sunday!

  • Chrissie Nemeth sent this photo from yesterday morning, showing Fenchurch in the snow at Sheffield Park shed. In spite of the snow, it was still possible to carry out a shunt at Horsted Keynes, and the electrical department also made it to Horsted to ensure the Christmas lights come on automatically at the right times for the forthcoming seasonal trains. However, a lot more snow fell yesterday evening and overnight!

  • Martin Lawrence has uploaded some more galleries of recent photos: Sunday 12 September 2010, Sunday 3 October, the weekend of 9-10 October and Saturday 16 October 2010.


Double track laid towards Imberhorne tip - Patrick Plane - 26 November 2010 1 December:
  • Patrick Plane's photo from the Northern Extension shows the tracklaying completed on the siding (nearest the camera) last Friday, and from this angle almost gives the impression of a double track mainline. There was still a little more work to do on the running line, which will pass beneath the bridge to enable the material from the tip to be loaded directly into the trains.

  • Snow: Conditions today were such that it was inadvisable to attempt to reach Horsted Keynes station by road. The forecast for tonight (and reports of there already being 17 inches of snow in the village) makes it unlikely that tomorrow will be any easier.

  • Report/photos from a month back from the South Devon Railway workshops describing some of the work they are doing for the Camelot Locomotive Society on 73082's driving wheels.

  • Michael Hopps' photo below shows the 'new' railings around the relay room at EG which were salvaged from Polegate station, needle gunned, painted and waiting for a top coat of the correct Southern green. We have one left over which can be used as a pattern should others need to be cast. The photo also shows one of the two ground signals at East Grinstead which are operated from the ground frames and interlocked with the points. This one controls the run-round, the other controls access from the main line.

  • The second photo below was taken on Monday afternoon by Tony Sullivan. The frame extension pieces for 84030 (our BR Standard 2 tank conversion) are now in the loco workshop at Sheffield Park and are being assembled prior to final fitting of the complete structure to the back end of the original frames. This shot shows the dragbox (upside down), with the pony truck centre casting fully assembled and painted.
Railings and ground signal at East Grinstead - Michael Hopps - 26 Nov 2010 84030 dragbox and pony truck centre casting - Tony Sullivan - 29 Nov 2010


New running in board for Sheffield Park Platform 2 - John Arkell - 28 November 2010 30 November:
  • John Arkell's photo shows the manufacture of the new Sheffield Park "running in board" in the workshop of Alf Brown Group at Horsted Keynes. The two post anchors have been planted in platform 2 at Sheffield Park and the photograph shows the first layout of the lettering on the sign. This is a reproduction LBSCR pattern sign which replaces the SR-vintage one previously on Sheffield Park, as another step towards the BRPS aim of making Sheffield Park more representative of the pre-grouping period. The SR-period board thus released formed the basis of that now installed at East Grinstead. In the photo are also seen, from left to right, Chris Saunders (BRPS Trustee), Robert Hayward, Martin Oakley and Peter Clark.

  • During November 2010 there were 69,441 total hits on this page, from 38,956 unique visitors (that's roughly 5% up on last month).

  • We have an exhibition at East Grinstead Library for two weeks, until 11th December. The display gives visitors information about the railway, and shows progress on the Northern Extension Project which will take us into East Grinstead. The Library is at 32-40 West Street, East Grinstead, RH19 4SR and is open from 9.30am to 7pm on Mondays, 9.30am to 6pm Tuesday to Thursday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

  • Ashley Smith paid a brief visit to the lineside on Saturday, and got photos of each of the three locos in steam and a deer crossing the line, and also a rather nice short video.

  • Andrew Strongitharm has updated his website with a few photos from Sunday.

  • Keith Duke has some photos from Vintage Bus day.


Track laid on the running line and sleepers in what will be the siding - Patrick Plane - 23 Nov 2010 25 November:
  • Patrick Plane's photo on the right showing the state of track-laying at Imberhorne North as of Tuesday morning, also serves to illustrate a Northern Extension Project update from Infrastructure Director Chris White on the current status of work to clear the cutting.

  • If you are visiting the Railway between Boxing Day and the New Year (when we are running an hourly 2-train service) you may be interested to know that Metrobus are running a Saturday service on Route 270 on the 29th, 30th and 31st December, linking Haywards Heath directly to Horsted Keynes Station.

  • New Year's Eve: 31 December: Details now available for the Special Pullman Dining Train

  • Update to the Volunteering in the Carriage & Wagon Department page, adding a paragraph about the work of our trimmers.


USA tank 30064 at Warley - Peter Johnson - 20 November 2010 22 November:
  • Peter Johnson's photo shows our Southern Railway "USA" tank No.30064 (currently in its WD guise as No.1959) at Warley National Model Railway Exhibition over the weekend. Its attendance at the exhibition was sponsored through the organisers as a major point of interest for visitors, and gave us a huge draw to our sales and publicity stand. It even got us a mention in the Birmingham Mail!

  • A couple of photos from Sunday from Dave Bowles: The standard 4 tank 80151, and SECR P-class 178 with a brace of Bulleid coaches.

  • Peter Churchman's photos below show Crosville TA5, JFM575, an AEC Regal III with Strachan B35R body, of November 1948, and London Country RMC1486, 486CLT, a Routemaster Coach with Park Royal Bodywork, built in 1962, which were taking part in Sunday's Vintage Bus Running Day.
Crosville TA5, JFM575 - Peter Churchman - 21 Nov 2010 London Country RMC1486 - Peter Churchman - 21 Nov 2010


Track laying at Imberhorne North - Patrick Plane - 19 November 2010 20 November:
  • Track-laying on the extension south of East Grinstead continues apace. Patrick Plane's photo shows progress as of yesterday. As well as the sleepers being laid out on the ballast for the siding, and other work at the rail-head, another part of the gang are pre-assembling track panels in the platform at East Grinstead, which are then ferried to site to be laid.


Interior of new museum building at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 16 November 2010 19 November:
  • Derek Hayward has now completed his update (52 new photos) on the HLF-funded Woodpax project, showing the re-surfacing of Platform 2 at Sheffield Park, the start of work towards the rain-water harvesting system, the interior of the new museum building, the new toilets, and the room which will be used for servicing the Pullman train once it is stored in the shed. The photo right shows the Museum part of the building, with the underfloor heating laid in and screed laid on top. This will, in turn, carry the final floor surface. Some of the walls have been painted.

  • Derek also has an update on the construction of the Loco washout pit, also part of the HLF-funded project, replacing the 50-year-old pit which is on the track which becomes the headshunt for the new carriage running shed.

  • Dumpman Films may be of interest, covering many disused railway lines around Sussex, including the closed sections of the Lewes/East Grinstead line and the Ardingly Branch.


USA tank ready to leave Sheffield Park - Tony Sullivan - 17 November 2010 18 November:
  • Two photos from yesterday from Tony Sullivan. First: 30064, our Southern Railway "USA" tank, ready to be collected from the top car park at Sheffield Park. It left by low-loader early this afternoon for the NEC, Birmingham where it is to be the "centre piece" of the Warley Model Rail show this coming weekend. The Bluebell has a sales stand there. Secondly, below is a photo showing track-laying on the extension.

  • Video of the E4 with matching carriages from Richard Newton's photo charter last week from David Haggar.

  • The other photo below is from Derek Hayward, and shows the re-surfacing of Platform 2 at Sheffield Park, which is being undertaken this week as part of the HLF-funded "Woodpax" project. Note that the original block-paved area of the milk-loading dock is being retained. The new surface will not be plain tarmac, but a surface carefully chosen to be in keeping with the Victorian station.

  • There has been more filming work this week for "The Woman in Black", starring Daniel Radcliffe (best known for playing Harry Potter), and John Sandys has a photo of Maunsell U-Class 1638 leaving Sheffield Park Station on Monday in connection with the filming.
Track laying on Extension - Tony Sullivan- 17 Nov 2010 Re-surfacing platform 2 at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 16 Nov 2010


17 November:
  • A275 proposed road closure - Now confirmed that these roadworks (notified on 15th) have been postponed to March 2011.


B473 with the Victorian carriages departing from Horsted Keynes - Martin Lawrence - 30 August 2010 16 November:
  • Four Bluebell photo galleries from this summer from Martin Lawrence: 21 August 2010 (Vintage weekend), 28 August 2010 - including interior shots of the GN and LNWR carriages, 30 August 2010 - featuring in particular Kingscote, and the electric carriage jacks in use in the yard at Horsted Keynes (plus the photo on the right showing B473 with the Victorian carriages departing from Horsted Keynes), and some shots taken at East Grinstead on 7 September 2010.

  • BRPS members wishing to purchase shares to help with the forthcoming excavation of more of the tip may do so through the Society's Share Purchase Scheme - if you make a lump-sum payment by the end of this year you can qualify for next year's shareholder benefits. If you set up a standing order of £25 (or more!) per month running through 2011, then you will qualify for the 2012 benefits.

  • Mike Morant has a gallery of old railtour photos, including Ex-LBSCR C2X 0-6-0 No. 32535 on a BRPS Bluebell Special on 12 July 1959 at Horsted Keynes. The relatively short tour ran from Tonbridge to Lewes via the Bluebell line, returning via the Cuckoo line.

  • Dave Clarke has some photos of SECR birdcage brake 3363 when it was shunted outside the shed, last week, coupled up to SECR 100 seater 1098. With a little imagination we have the foundation of a three coach birdcage set! Another of his photos is seen below. Other recent Carriage Works photos from Dave:
    • LBSCR Brake third 949: The tenons through the two mahogany cant rails have been trimmed flush while the screw holes in the roof hoops have been plugged with dowels. Internally, the boards have been fitted to the northern side of the second seating unit. In due course they (together with the adjacent quarter panelling) will be painted red. Below the seat will be painted `stone' while above will be grain painted or 'scumbled'.
    • LBSCR Third 328: The floorboards have been removed to reveal the bottom rail cross timbers. The damage to the northwest corner can be clearly seen in the bottom rail. This has been severed by the northern door pillar separating an 18" section from the rest. The cross member below the compartment threshold has rotted and become separated from the bottom rail to which it is now attached by a flattened piece of copper pipe.
    • SR Bulleid Corridor Composite 5768:

  • Anthony Hayllar's facebook gallery of the East Grinstead open day is best accessed thorugh this revised link.
    Ashley Smith also has a Video on YouTube of the event.
3363 outside the shed - Dave Clarke - 9 Nov 2010


Hastings Diesel 1001 on the viaduct at the East Grinstead Open Day - Ian Hall - 6 Nov 2010 15 November:
  • This photo was taken by Ian Hall, and shows the Hastings unit 1001 on the viaduct at East Grinstead during November 6th's very successful open day. The weekend raised a total of £4,800 towards the excavation of the tip.

  • A275 Road Closure - Now postponed to March 2011

  • Photos from Richard Newton's photo charter last week from Dave Bowles featuring the E4 with a rake of coaches in matching livery.

  • Update to the Atlantic Project component list, removing those items which have been covered by sponsors since June.

  • Apologies to the members of the Standard Class 2 project for posting an early draft of their newsletter by mistake last week. The correct version is now available in its place.

  • Photo updates from Dave Clarke with updates on progress with SECR 3360, the People's Millions coach:
    • Door V has been hung on the east side of the northern compartment so that all three of the 'old' compartment doors are now in place on that side.
    • The inner mouldings and panelling lining the doors were removed several months ago and the first of these have been cleaned and repaired. With the completion of Door V and the first seat backs it has been decided that the inner door fitting should be varnished and refitted. These have been treated to two coats of shellac and a 50/50 coat of varnish.
    • Over the last week, the trimmers have completed the first seat base and a second back - the later has been reduced in width by about half an inch and is a much better fit than the first. The comfort of the seating matches that in brake second LCDR 106 which was later downgraded to third class as 114. When we trim our next project, LCDR five compartment third 668, the seating will be far more austere!
    • The first brass threshold strips have been fitted in the compartment doorways. They received a coat of etch primer before the madder undercoats and then sealed in with mastic and brass screws.
    • The mouldings have been fitted around the two large saloon sidelights or windows on the western side and the screw holes filled. Primer and a madder undercoat was applied to these, the upper parts of the door frames and the underlying waist panels. These panels were cut from the larger original lower teak panels and have had a thick layer of brushing filler applied to fill the grain. This was then flattened back such that it performs its purpose of filling the grain and other blemishes.
    • The western quarter panels and both partitions of the northern compartments have been grain painted. This is the process by which softwood is painted, in this case, to resemble oak. The daffodil undercoat is painted with a mix of scumble glazes and carrier dilutant. After being applied, the glaze is then drawn with combs and rockers to produce a grain like pattern. This is then softened with a badger hair brush and a rubber to produce a quarter sawn appearance. The resulting matt surface has now received two coats of varnish.
    • The waist rail mouldings have been fitted to the saloon - the last on the west side of the body.
    • On the underframe, the fitting of the steam heat and vacuum pipes is nearing completion. These grey pipe can be seen running through, and crossing over in, the centre of the frames. The rectangular grey pieces of steel on the headstock are to help reinforce the bolts securing the wooden coach body to the steel underframe. Also in grey are part of the metal work for restraining the disconnected vacuum and steam hoses and the position of the patrice for through lighting control cable.
    The first photo below shows the carriage on its new underframe.

  • The second photo below, from Michael Hopps, was taken last Wednesday, and shows members of the extension gang laying the point for the new siding. The remainder of the gang have been making up track panels ready for the laying of the new section of line and the siding.

  • The third photo, from Steve Pilcher, shows what he hoped might turn into a croc of gold on the Dukedog's safety valve on Sunday 7th.
3360 on its underframe - Dave Clarke - 9 Nov 2010 Laying the point south of East Grinstead - Mike Hopps - 10 Nov 2010 Rainbow at dusk - Steve Pilcher - 7 Nov 2010


Preparations for track-laying at Imberhorne - Patrick Plane - 5 November 2010 11 November:
  • Patrick Plane's photo taken last Friday shows the preparations for track laying towards the tip on the extension. The area beyond the bridge will be double track, with a siding off the running line. The main track will continue under the bridge to enable material from the tip to be loaded directly into a few wagons at a time. It had been hoped to run some more waste trains before Christmas (and this may still be possible), but engineering work on the West Coast Main Line may prevent access to the site at which the material is being disposed of, so the next dig may have to wait until the New Year.
    We still need a lot more money to dig out more of the tip, so any donations (which can be made via "Tenner for the Tip" certificate purchases) will be welcome. Anyone wishing to take advantage of Gift Aid can make donations to our 50th Anniversary Appeal.

  • The latest newsletter from the Standard Class 2 project is now available.

  • There was an update on the Maunsell Locomotive Society web site last week, about the tender from 1618 (which is now on loan to the Mid Hants Railway) and from early October with a small update on the S15's overhaul.

  • Update to the C&W Works News pages with the latest on LBSCR Milk/Fruit van No.270 which has now had its overhauled springs and new wheelsets fitted. The photo below from Jim Hewett shows the current state of the van, which has been rebuilt from the underframe, up.

  • Chris Ward has Giants of Steam photos and a video plus photos of the Wandering Willow tour (featuring the Hastings unit and Copyhold Junction)

  • Chris Dadson has three videos on YouTube: Two videos from last Friday at Kingscote:

  • Gallery of photos and great narrative from a week of visits to the Railway from Lee Stephens.

  • The last two photos below, taken this afternoon by Tony Sullivan, show progress with the HLF-funded new washout pit in the Loco Yard at Sheffield Park, and with the main buildings behind Platform 2 rapidly taking shape. The roller shutter door is now in place on the carriage running shed, and the toilet block is well advanced.
270 re-wheeled - Jim Hewett - 31 October 2010 Washout Pit construction - Tony Sullivan - 11 November 2010 Progress with Platform 2 buildings - Tony Sullivan - 11 November 2010


Hastings Diesel 1001 at the East Grinstead Open Day - Mike Hopps - 6 Nov 2010 7 November:
  • The East Grinstead open day yesterday was very popular, with trains (formed of Hastings Diesel unit 1001) being very well loaded. Photo on the right by Michael Hopps shows the service, which extended over the viaduct towards the rubbish tip. Proceeds of the event (plus another open day today, where the Bluebell's VEP plus a 73 will provide the rolling stock) go towards the clearance of the tip. Michael's other photo below shows the historic moment when the first incoming railtour since 1963 passed onto Bluebell metals.

  • More photos from yesterday: from Tom Waghorn and on Facebook from Roger Barton and Anthony Hayllar.

  • We are pleased to report that one of the two locos running on the main part of the Bluebell yesterday was 80151, our Standard 4 tank loco, which has been repaired after the problem with a leaking tube it suffered at Giants of Steam. Let's hope this repair will enable the loco to see out the remainder of its 10-year boiler certificate which expires early next year.

  • David Haggar has an album of photos from Thursday's charter with 30777, plus two short video clips on Youtube - first and second.

  • The shop at Sheffield Park has received a delivery of copies of The Brian Groome Memoirs: East of Eastbourne, West of Waterloo and The Hubert Hobden Memoirs Vol.1 Sussex Engineman and Vol.2 Sussex Motorman (and is now pretty much the only outlet with copies of Volume 1). The shop is also now listing for sale online Southern Region Memories - J J Smith's Photographs from the Bluebell Museum Archive, compiled by John Sharp and Tony Hillman.
Hastings Diesel 1001 arrives at East Grinstead with the incoming railtour - Mike Hopps - 6 Nov 2010


Sir Lamiel at Giants of Steam 2010 - Neal Ball 4 November:
  • Photo gallery available from today's photo charter with 30777 'Sir Lamiel' from Andrew Strongitharm

  • Update to the Football Competition page, with the latest positions in this competition raising funds for our Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864.

  • New photo galleries from Giants of Steam from Linda Chen, from Dave Bowles and Neal Ball, who also supplies today's image, showing Sir Lamiel at Sheffield Park during Giants of Steam.

  • Photos on the Mid Hants Railway site show the arrival of the Maunsell Loco Society's tender from 1618, which has been loaned to the railway to run with 1806 until its own fire-damaged tender can be repaired.

  • Updates to the Stepney Club pages with the new address for their Membership Secretary. This is our popular club for children up to the age of 8.


Sir Lamiel and Sir Archie on Freshfield Bank - Brian Easter - 24 October 2010 30 October:
  • Brian Easter's photos from last Sunday (Giants of Steam) show the double-headed Southern knights (30777 'Sir Lamiel' and 34059 'Sir Archibald Sinclair') on Freshfield Bank, and LBSCR E4 No.B473 with matching coaches at Three Arch Bridge.

  • GBRf class 73 No. 73141 "Charlotte" collected our 4-VEP No. 3417 from East Grinstead yesterday evening, for temporary storage in Tonbridge.

  • Today, as seen in Pat Plane's two photos below, 66721 delivered a consignment of ballast for the track laying at East Grinstead.

  • Update on the overhaul of LBSCR Stroudley Brake 3rd No.949.

  • Don't forget to support us through EasyFundraising - Why not see if you can win £50 for us - they currently have a competition (running until Monday) to send them your scary Halloween photos - why not send them something from the Wizard Weekend.
B473 with matching coaches at Three Arch Bridge - Brian Easter - 24 October 2010 Ballast train at East Grinstead - Pat Plane - 30 October 2010 Ballast being offloaded on the extension - Pat Plane - 30 October 2010


Trackbed clearance and levelling at Hill Place Farm bridge - Pat Plane - 28 October 2010 29 October:
  • Reminder that we have our annual Wizard Weekend this coming Saturday & Sunday (30-31 October). Wizard Shows at Horsted Keynes at 11.30am, 12.30pm, 1.30pm, 2.30pm & 3.30pm, Scary Subway, Hunt the bat competition, Face Painting, Fancy Dress Competition at Horsted Keynes at 1.20pm, Scary story telling and Special train service.

  • David Cockram is coordinating the winter season of library exhibitions, comprising two week dispays at selected libraries. The programme until Christmas is as follows:-
        Horley Library - until 30 October
        Oxted: 30 October - 13 November
        Edenbrdge: 13 November - 27 November
        East Grinstead: 27 November - 11 December
        Crowborough: 11 December - 31 December
    Any offers by volunteer staff able to assist with the occasional manning of any of the exhibitions will be most welcome.

  • Pat Plane's two photos show what is currently going on on the Northern Extension. On the right we see the formation being levelled in preparation for the laying of track further down towards the tip. The photo below shows the delivery to East Grinstead of the pointwork which will be installed south of the viaduct to provide a siding. This work is to enable a revised (and cheaper) form of train operation for the extraction of the spoil from the tip. It also has the advantage that it keeps shunting movements largely south of the viaduct, so greatly reducing the impact of the operation on our neighbours at East Grinstead.
Pointwork being offloaded at East Grinstead - Pat Plane - 28 October 2010


Loco washout pit being built - Derek Hayward - 22 October 2010 28 October:
Inside the carriage shed on Woodpax site - Derek Hayward - 22 October 2010


27 October:


E4 at Holywell - David Haggar - 23 October 2010 26 October:
  • David Haggar's photo right shows the E4 B473 with matching coaches on the Saturday of Giants, at Holywell. Below is his photo of 'Sir Lamiel' on Freshfield Bank the same day.

  • Matthew Nightingale has a set of photos from Sunday, and a YouTube video

  • Also from Giants on Sunday, Brian Easter's facebook album

  • Updates to the Signalboxes page, and the carriage stock list, where Craven-era Brake Second/Third No.221 has been re-instated, since it is now hoped that we will be able to restore this burnt-out body using the original metalwork which has survived, as outlined in Ian White's article in the latest Bluebell News.

  • Ian White has also provided new drawings of our three 1850s' LBSCR (Craven-era) carriages, Second No.35, Brake 2nd/3rd No.221 and luggage brake No.94 which are now included on their respective web pages.
30777 on Freshfield Bank - David Haggar - 23 October 2010


Sir Lamiel leads Sir Archibald Sinclair, arriving at Kingscote - Martin Lawrence - 24 October 2010 24 October:
  • A great day today, the final day of Giants of Steam; eight locos in steam, with plenty of sunshine, and 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair" making it back into service just in time to complete two round trips, double heading with 30777 "Sir Lamiel", as seen in Martin Lawrence's photo on the right (arriving at Kingscote).

  • The loco combination missing from yesterday's photos was the two SECR locos double-heading, and Martin's photo below shows them arriving at Horsted Keynes with the first train of the day today. The other loco combination which I doubt anyone got (in the dark) was today's final train from Horsted Keynes to Sheffield Park, led by Fenchurch, followed by the two knights, with the C-class tacked on the back of the six coaches.

  • The main hic-up today was with "Stepney", which unfortunately had to give up on its brake van rides in the afternoon with a failed injector (which was leaking both steam and water, resulting in the fire having to be dropped at Horsted Keynes).

  • Photo galleries from the event from Ashley Smith, Rebecca Parkes, Keith Leppard, Paul Pettitt, Daniel Hill and Andrew Strongitharm
178 leading 592 into HK - Martin Lawrence - 24 October 2010


30777 Sir Lamiel - Chris Ward - 22 October 2010 23 October:
Two days of Giants of Steam gone, one to go. On Friday we suffered a failure of 80151 with a leaking small boiler tube; the loco is now cooling down so it can be examined, but will clearly play no further part in the event. Also cooling down is Sir Archibald Sinclair, following a successful boiler test on Friday. Some re-assembly has been possible, but the last I heard we were not expecting to be able to use it on Sunday, as had been hoped.

In spite of this we have had 7 locos running today, mostly not giants though! I gather the event will be re-named/re-cast for next year.

The four main sets of carriages were hauled today by 30777 "Sir Lamiel" (seen on the right in Chris Ward's photo from Friday), U-class 1638, E4 B473 (seen below in Michael Hopps photo taken today at Kingscote) and by the C and P double-heading. Fenchurch (as seen in another of Michael's photo below) was on the extension shuttle trains from Kingscote, and Stepney on the Brake Van rides between Leamland bridge and the Ardingly Spur (photo below from Greg Wales).

Vintage Bus Timetable - Sunday 24th October 2010 only
Service 20 - Brighton - Sheffield Park
Brighton Pool Valley: 10.00am then every 15 minutes until 12.30pm, then every half hour until 4pm.
Lewes Prison: 10.18am
Sheffield Park Station: 10.43am

Service 20 - Sheffield Park - Brighton
Sheffield Park Station: 11.05am then every half hour until 1.35pm, then every 15 minutes until 4.50pm. With later buses at 5.05pm & 5.40pm.
Lewes Prison: 11.30am
Brighton Pool Valley: 11.48am


Birch Grove at Kingscote - Mike Hopps - 23 October 2010 Fencurch on Extension Shuttle - Mike Hopps - 23 October 2010 Stepney giving brake van rides at Horsted Keynes - Greg Wales - 23 October 2010

30777 North of Sloop Bridge - Derek Hayward - 22 October 2010 The three photos above are all from today, but the photo on the right (Derek Hayward) and the first below (John Goss) show "Sir Lamiel" on Friday. The carriages being hauled by 30777 in these photos are three SR-designed Bulleid coaches and two Pullmans, plus the LMS brake (currently in Pullman colours). Today that set was hauled by the U-class, as seen below in Michael Hopps photo, which shows it waiting to depart from Kingscote.

As seen in Michael Hopps' final photo from today, Sir Lamiel had the Mk.1 open coaches, including the two crimson-and-cream liveried ones. The three BR side-corridor coaches were marshalled together with recently restored Bulleid Brake 2526 and the GNR Directors' Saloon (serving teas, coffees, toasted tea-cakes and home-made scones and cake) - that was the set hauled by the pair of SECR locos today.

There were many other varied attractions around the railway as well, so plenty to keep the visitors entertained, in addition to our busy timetable of trains.

Two galleries of photos from Friday, from Andrew Strongitharm and Stephen Hunt.
There's also a Facebook Gallery from Barton and Barton.


Sir Lamiel at 3-arch bridge - John Goss - 22 October 2010 1638 at Kingscote with the 'Pullman Pup' - Mike Hopps - 23 October 2010 Sir Lamiel departs southwards from Horsted Keynes - Michael Hopps - 23 October 2010

B473 - David Haggar - 16 October 2010 21 October:
  • David Haggar's photo from last Saturday shows LBSCR E4 No.B473 in charge of the Horsted Keynes set. That loco took the lunchtime Golden Arrow the following day, so, as seen in David Warwick's photo, below, U-class 1638 was hauling that set on the Sunday, complete with an extra-large head-lamp mounted ready for some filming work that evening. Michael Hopps photo below shows the visiting 'King Arthur' 30777 "Sir Lamiel", also on the Sunday.

  • Giants of Steam starts tomorrow, and on all three days the first train departs from Horsted Keynes for Kingscote at 9:25 (departs Kingscote at 10:03). The first departure from Sheffield Park is at 10:00. The last round trip from Sheffield Park is at 4:30 to Kingscote, and the last trip SP-HK-SP is at 5:45pm. Observation Car shuttles from Kingscote up the extension as far as the tip face at Imberhorne South run at regular intervals between 10.30 and 4.55 each day. There are also brake van rides at Horsted Keynes, and guided tours of the Carriage Works at lunch time. Pullmans and the GN Directors' Saloon are attached to some of the trains.

  • Dave Bowles has some photos of Fenchurch on the Autumn Tints specials.

  • John Sandys has updated his Fotopic Site with photos from Tuesday showing Sheffield Park Station looking a little different to the way we normally see it, due to filming work.

  • More from Dave Clarke showing last weekend's work on the People's Millions coach, SECR 3360, Eros ventilators and oil-lamp pattresses fitted on the roof, more undercoat for the scumbled paint finish in the compartments and a general view showing progress.
U-class 1638 on Sunday 17 October - David Warwick 30777 on Sunday 17 October - Mike Hopps


30777 on Sunday 17 October - David Warwick 20 October:
  • David Warwick's photo is one of several received from various photographers, from last weekend. This shows the rather late running 2pm train from Sheffield Park on Sunday, headed by 30777. Hopefully Giants of Steam, which runs from Friday through to Sunday, will go more smoothly than last weekend did! (Apologies that lack of time prevents me posting more of those photos here).

  • The South Devon Railway have just commissioned their wheel press, and the removal of the Mansell wheels from the flawed axle for our Birdcage Brake was its first job - they have a photo of one of our wheels in the press on their site.

  • Update to Carriage & Wagon Works News page for GWR 5-plank open wagon No.87782 with thanks to Jon Elphick and Martin Skrzetuszewski.

  • Update to the web page for our 4 Vep unit. This is currently stored at East Grinstead, but on Friday it is planned that the unit will move off-site again, to enable access for further track-laying south of the viaduct and an incoming ballast train.


30777 on Sunday 10 October - Michael Hopps 14 October:
  • Michael Hopps' photo shows "Sir Lamiel" late in the afternoon last Sunday. The steam leaks at the front end have now been cured, and the NRM-owned 'King Arthur' class loco will be running both this weekend, and for Giants of Steam on 22-24 October, when we should be able to field 6-7 locos, including some of the smaller ones giving brake van rides on the Ardingly Spur, and rides in the LNWR Observation Car north from Kingscote on the extension as far as the tip face at Imberhorne South.

  • Update to the Loco Roster showing what locos we hope to use each day for the rest of the month. It shows that we hope to have the boiler repairs on "Sir Archibald Sinclair" completed in time for a boiler test on the Friday of Giants of Steam, and hopefully therefore a return to service on the Sunday.

  • Ashley Smith now has his video from Sunday on Youtube.

  • Martin Lawrence's gallery of the photo charter with Furness Railway No.20 and the two beautiful Victorian coaches back in August. Photos from this charter (organised by Jon Bowers) have provided covers and centre-spreads for various monthly railway magazines, as well as the cover for the Autumn edition of Bluebell News which has just been published.

  • Update to the Volunteering in the Carriage & Wagon Department page.


30777 at West Hoathly - Ashley Smith - 10 October 2010 13 October:
  • Ashley Smith's photo on the right, showing "Sir Lamiel" passing West Hoathly on Sunday before its steam leak became evident, is from his Gallery of recent photos.

  • This coming Saturday the MG Car Club are celebrating 80 years of the marque. The South East branch are rallying to Sheffield Park and expect at least 60 cars to be on display.

  • The first photo below, also taken last Sunday, is from Michael Hopps, and shows the back-lit U-class at Sheffield Park.

  • Paul Pettitt has redesigned his photographic site over the recent weeks to provide better compatibility with some of the more recent browsers, (but has a little more work to do on the visiting locos pages). He has put up Sunday's photos of "Sir Lamiel" along with new ones of the U-class.

  • The second photo, below, from Dave Clarke, illustrates Sunday's progress on the People's Millions coach, SECR 3360, where a fourth door has been hung, and mouldings and quarter-light (window) frames fitted on part of the exterior. Dave also has another photo, showing the prototype seat back test-fitted, and a photo showing progress on LBSCR Stroudley brake third 949.

U-class 1638 - Mike Hopps - 10 October 2010 SECR coach 3360 in workshop - Dave Clarke - 10 October 2010

30777 departs from Sheffield Park - Roger Haggar - 9 October 2010 11 October:
  • The photo on the right is from Roger Haggar, and shows "Sir Lamiel" on the 3pm departure from Sheffield Park on Saturday.

  • Two photos below from Derek Hayward from Sunday, illustrating the other two locos running in addition to "Sir Lamiel" - the standard tank 80151 approaching Sheffield Park with the Golden Arrow luncheon Pullman, and the U-class 1638 leaving Sheffield Park on the Horsted Keynes-based set. More of his photos from Sunday are in this gallery.

80151 with Golden Arrow - Derek Hayward - 10 October 2010 1638 leaves Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 10 October 2010

10 October:
Sir Lamiel - Martin Lawrence - 9 October 2010 C-class - Martin Lawrence - 9 October 2010
  • Martin Lawrence has a video compilation showing "Sir Lamiel" on the line yesterday, along with the two photos above showing the visiting loco on one service train and the SECR C-class No.592 on the other.

  • Aidan Grant also has a video of "Sir Lamiel" to complement the photo from yesterday.

  • Derek Hayward has a new gallery to cover the visit of 30777. Unfortunately a steam leak at the front end this afternoon resulted in another loco (80151, which had hauled the lunchtime Golden Arrow Pullman) substituting for it on the final train of the day.


Sir Lamiel north of Horsted Keynes - Aidan Grant - 9 October 2010 9 October:
  • Aidan Grant's photo shows "Sir Lamiel" in action today, heading north from Horsted Keynes on the 3pm service train. We had four locos in steam today (30777 "Sir Lamiel", 80151, 592 with 672 "Fenchurch") but the big show is in two weeks - Giants of Steam on 22-24 October, when we should have 8 running.

  • "Fenchurch" spent today shunting at Horsted Keynes (our regular steam shunt now takes place on Saturdays to enable a greater number of loco crews to maintain familiarity with shunting), returning to Sheffield Park with LSWR 488 in tow.

  • Thursday's photo of the LBSCR brake in the workshop is already out of date, since yesterday the final guard's door pillars were fitted, along with the cant rails (the timbers running along the top of the body on either side). The cant rails are so named because the top surface is canted (i.e. sloped) to match the shape of the roof, since they form the interface between the body-side and the roof. On this carriage they are the original timbers, repaired by Malcolm Saker, and each is one continuous piece of mahogany, 26-ft long.

  • Thomas Newble has created an album of his 50th Anniversary Gala photos.


178 with Autumn Tints Obsesrvation Car Special - Tony Sullivan - 7 October 2010 8 October:
  • This photo from Tony Sullivan shows the 3pm (ex Sheffield Park) Autumn Tints Observation Car Special departing from Horsted Keynes yesterday behind P-class No.178. These trains run up to and including the first week in November - except during half-term week and weekends when we have our normal hourly-two-train peak service. Pre-booking for the observation car specials is essential.

  • King Arthur class loco 30777 "Sir Lamiel" will be hauling the 11am, 1pm, 3pm and 4.47pm trains from Sheffield Park this weekend.

  • Major update to the web page for our Southern Railway Travelling Post Office, No.4922 with thanks to Jon Elphick and Martin Skrzetuszewski.

  • Photos showing the maintenance work on Hill Place Farm Bridge, for which West Sussex County Council is responsible, at the north end of Imberhorne Tip from Derek Hayward.

  • The East Grinstead Observer carries a historical article about the wartime newly-weds killed while walking on what is now our line in 1943. The story has been covered in the past in Bluebell News.

  • The photo below shows the progress with the restoration of LBSCR Stroudley Brake Third No.949, where the brake end with its distinctive guards windows has been erected. The only section of body remaining to be completed are the two guard's duckets.
Stroudley Brake 949 - Richard Salmon - 7 Oct 2010


Reproduction SR Target installed at East Grinstead - Chris Dadson - 4 October 2010 6 October:
  • Chris Dadson's photo taken on Monday shows one of the newly installed reproduction SR targets at East Grinstead. Chris' other photos include the running-in board at East Grinstead and Sir Lamiel in the shed at Sheffield Park. Les Haines has organised the reproduction of these targets and other traditional enamel signs for the station. These have been made for us by Stocksigns in Redhill, who are now also enamelling some components for our carriage restorations.

  • There is a report on Sir Archibald Sinclair's firebox repairs on the Bulleid Society web site.

  • Dave Clarke has updated his photos of Carriage Works progress:

  • Derek Hayward has updated many of his loco photo pages:

  • Update to the contact details for the Bluebell Railway Band - David Holland is retiring after 14 years as Chairman of the East Grinstead Concert Band. The next opportunity to hear them is at the Carol Service at Horsted Keynes on Saturday 4 December at 7.30pm.

  • Update to the positions in the Football Competition - raising funds for the overhaul of SR Maunsell Dining Car 7864.


Southern Region Memories - Photos from the Bluebell Archive 4 October:
  • Now available from the shop at Sheffield Park - Southern Region Memories - J J Smith's Photographs from the Bluebell Museum Archive, compiled by John Sharp and Tony Hillman. Finding new photographs of the UK railway scene of the 1950s can be difficult. Often illustrations appear in books and magazines which have been reproduced previously, sometime even on several occasions. It is therefore a privilege to present a collection from a totally new source, originating from the camera of the late J J Smith whose work is now in the custody of the Bluebell Railway Museum. The photographer worked for the railway in a privileged position, one that particularly enabled him to become aware in advance of special and unusual workings. Consequently he was often able to record these, covering unusual locomotives, unusual trains and even unusual routes. Most areas of the Southern Region feature, all superbly composed and full of wonderful detail. An album to bring the joy back into nostalgia. Case bound at £13.95.

  • Roadworks: Two sets of roadworks on the local roads may affect some journeys to the Bluebell Railway. This week, Vowels Lane (past Kingscote Station) will be closed for drainage work. For two weeks, starting today, the A275 through South Chailey is closed; this will affect traffic approaching Sheffield Park from Lewes, but not from the A275 from the north, or via the A272 from east or west.

  • There are some pictures of the new Museum building on the Bluebell Museum website, and new photos of the whole Woodpax project from Derek Hayward.

- Sir Lamiel on Shed at Sheffield Park - Martin Lawrence - 3 Oct 2010 Sir Lamiel on Shed at Sheffield Park - Martin Lawrence - 3 Oct 2010 - Two photos on the left from Martin Lawrence show "Sir Lamiel" in the loco shed at Sheffield Park yesterday. The Loco Roster indicates that it should be operating on each of the next two weekends in addition to the Giants of Steam Gala on 22-24 October.

3 October:
  • King Arthur Class loco 30777 "Sir Lamiel" has now arrived, ready for our Giants of Steam Gala on 22-24 October.

  • Because of unavailability of motive power, the planned East Grinstead open day on 9th October has been replaced by an additional day in November.
    On Saturday 6 November, as previously advertised, train rides at East Grinstead will be available on preserved Hastings Unit No.1001
    On Sunday 7 November there will also now be train rides available at East Grinstead in our VEP unit No.3417 hauled by a Class 73 Electro-diesel.
    Further details available here.


Brickwork on front wall of museum building at Sheffield Park - Tony Sullivan - 23 September 2010 24 September:
  • We have reached the final stage of the HRA/Steam Railway Readers' Award vote, and now need all of our supporters to vote for our 50th Anniversary and the preparations leading up to it, using the slip (or a photocopy of it) from the current edition of Steam Railway magazine (available from the Bluebell Railway Shop). We are up against two loco restoration projects, both of whom mobilised an impressive level of support in the previous round of voting, so your vote is important to us!

  • A Bluebell 50th anniversary radio station is amongst the stations being planned for the "Railways on the Air" weekend 25th and 26th September, at Horsted Keynes, located right at the top of the car park field. Visitors most welcome.

  • A substantial donation of books published by "The Folio Society", in superb condition, have been added to our Amazon sales page. Hopefully this will generate a substantial sum for our Northern Extension Project.

  • A new gallery showing the start of work for the construction of the new loco washout pit at Sheffield Park, part of the HLF-funded Operation Undercover project, is available from Derek Hayward. Tony Sullivan's photo shows progress as of yesterday with the brickwork on the new museum building, another part of the project. The quality and vintage style of the brick-laying, and the stone window frames, has already drawn much praise.

  • We would like to thank the new Bluebells café, juice bar and restaurant, which plans to open this weekend in East Grinstead, for pledging one per cent of their profits to the Railway to help us complete the extension of our line to the town. See the report in East Grinstead Observer. The increased trade in the town over the weekend of our platform opening earlier this month has provided local traders with an indication of the potential benefits of our arrival in the town, and it is gratifying to see this pledge of tangible support for our project.


Presentation of Queens Award - Derek Hayward - 16 September 2010 17 September:
  • Yesterday evening the formal presentation of The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service took place at Sheffield Park, in the presence of local dignatories and representatives of the Railway. Derek Hayward's photo on the right shows BRPS Trustee and "Member No.1", Charles Hudson MBE, receiving the award from Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant for East Sussex, Mr Peter Field. His photo below shows them, with representatives of the 9F Club (our youth section) Paul Booth and Lewis Backus, Chris Cooper (BRPS Trustee), Jack Owen (the Bluebell's first loco driver), Sam Bee (BRPS Vice-Chairman) and Roy Watts (BRPS Chairman). Tony Sullivan's photo below shows BRPS President, Bernard Holden MBE, with the Lord Lieutenant. More of Derek's photos are available here.

  • Update to Carriage Stock List, adding recently arrived SER Saloon No.172, which also now has its own web page.

  • Michael Hopps has a new video of a trip along the line with B473.
Group photo at presentation of Queens Award - Derek Hayward - 16 September 2010 Lord Lieutenant with Bernard Holden - Tony Sullivan - 16 September 2010


C Class loco at Horsted Keynes, having arrived with the Yetties Special train from Sheffield Park - Tony Sullivan - 9 September 2010 13 September:
The Yetties farewell concert at Horsted Keynes - Tony Sullivan - 9 September 2010


Car 88  at Sheffield Park - Laurel Arnison - 5 September 2010 9 September:

73208 breaks the opening banner at East Grinstead - Michael Hopps - 4 September 2010 6 September:
President and VP's inspection at East Grinstead - Tony Sullivan - 5 September 2010 Bernard Holden with Tim Baker, Bill Brophy, Sam Bee and Roy Watts - Derek Hayward - 5 September 2010 After the inaugural train had returned to East Grinstead - Colin Duff - 4 September 2010
  • More photos from the East Grinstead weekend:
    • Above, from Sunday: Our President and VPs conduct an inspection at East Grinstead - Tony Sullivan; BRPS President, Bernard Holden MBE, with Tim Baker, Bill Brophy, Sam Bee and Roy Watts - Derek Hayward; and from Saturday: After the inaugural train had returned to East Grinstead - Colin Duff.
    • Below, also from Saturday: Southern end of the platform and station throat trackwork - Colin Duff; Our Chaplain and Assistant Chaplain blessing the new platform - Derek Hayward; 73208 and the VEP on the viaduct - Michael Hopps
Southern end of the platform at East Grinstead - Colin Duff - 4 September 2010 Chaplain and Assistant Chaplain blessing the new platform - Derek Hayward - 4 September 2010 Train on the viaduct - Mike Hopps - 4 September 2010

Opening of platform at East Grinstead  - Richard Salmon - 4 September 2010 4 September: East Grinstead station platform is OPEN!
  • The Open Weekend at East Grinstead kicked off this morning as seen in the photo, with the Class 73 electro-diesel and our Southern Region 4VEP electric unit carrying the first fare-paying passengers over the viaduct and down to Imberhorne North. The first two trains were well filled, so an extra train was put on at 11.40am.

  • A video showing the breaking of the banner.
  • Robert Philpot has a video taken on board the first trip.

  • For the remainder of the weekend, trains will depart East Grinstead every hour from 10.10am until 5.10pm. In addition, our normal Service 1 steam-hauled timetable is in operation on the main section of the line between Kingscote and Sheffield Park.


73208 and 4VEP at East Grinstead - Andrew Strongitharm - 2 September 2010 3 September:
  • More information about the Open Weekend at East Grinstead tomorrow and Sunday:

    We are pleased to announce the opening of our new station platform at East Grinstead and the commencement of train services for about a third of a mile over the ten arch Hill Place Viaduct to Imberhorne North at the East Grinstead end of the in-filled Imberhorne Cutting.

    Trains (formed of a Class 73 electro-diesel and our Southern Region 4VEP electric unit) will depart East Grinstead every hour from 10.10am until 5.10pm. In addition to our normal Service 1 steam-hauled timetable on the main section of the line, an extra train will run on the Saturday from Sheffield Park at 9.00am, Horsted Keynes at 9.17 to Kingscote with a connecting bus at 9.40, arriving at East Grinstead Bus Station at 9.55. East Grinstead station is open from 9am each day. The first train from East Grinstead on the Saturday, being the first Bluebell Railway service south from there, commands a premium fare, but travel is otherwise unlimited on the remaining trains all weekend. Limited first-class accommodation is available on payment of a £1 supplement per trip. More information, and details of travel and platform ticket prices. All funds raised will be used towards the costs of completing the extension. Please note that car parking is only available in the town and Southern Trains station car park.

    The opening ceremony takes place at 10.45am on Saturday. Bluebell Railway Chaplain, Father John Twisleton, and Canon Clive Everett-Allen, Assistant Chaplain and Vicar of St Swithuns, East Grinstead will be invited to bless the new station, and the train will break a ceremonial banner. Our President Bernard Holden MBE, together with our Vice Presidents, will be inspecting the new works on Sunday afternoon.

  • Another of Andrew Strongitharm's photos taken yesterday shows the class 73 and the 4VEP in our platform.

  • The extension project and the platform opening is covered in Rail News.


Arrival of 73208 and VEP - Andrew Strongitharm - 2 September 2010 2 September:
  • In preparation for the shuttle service over the viaduct as part of this weekend's Open Days at East Grinstead, our VEP has returned from storage at Eastleigh, behind 73208 "Kirsten"; our thanks indeed to Bruce Knights for looking after it under cover for us for the last 18 months. Andrew Strongitharm's photo (more photos available in his gallery) shows it arriving this afternoon, behind our platform just before it crossed onto Bluebell metals (where it became the first movement signalled onto the Bluebell by our new ground/shunt signal which has been commissioned this week). The photo also shows the new platform, which was surfaced yesterday.

  • A sequence of videos is available from Paul Hicks, covering the Sunday of the 50th Anniversary Gala, including footage of the smaller engines in the cavalcade: the Howard loco, Baxter, and Blue Circle.

  • Over the bank holiday weekend, a team from the Carriage & Wagon Department, coordinated and led by Tony Clements, and comprising Dave Clarke, Paul Hailes, Robert MacMillan, Tom Simcock, David Chappell, Deborah & Richard Salmon, Ed Owen and Tony Silcock, released a 19th century SER first-class saloon from the bungalow in Pagham of which it had been a part since the 1930s, and which was kindly donated by the owners who were redeveloping the site to the Bluebell Trust. Thanks are also due to the Trust for funding the transport; it arrived at the Railway on Tuesday 31st August.

    SER saloon at Pagham - Dave Clarke - 29 August 2010 The coach is 33 feet long, and would have been a 6-wheeler. Positive identification is awaited, but it appears to be one of four saloons, two constructed in 1893 and two in 1898, each comprising a first-class saloon and a first-class compartment, with a toilet at one end, and a servants' compartment (a coupe in ours) at the other. The servants' compartment was later converted to a luggage space, and finally (as evidenced by the end windows) a guard's brake.

    This carriage provides us with the first class accommodation for our eventual SECR train to run with the P-class locomotives, for which we already have four vehicles of LCDR origin, restored brake No.114, semi-saloon conversion No.3360, currently under restoration, plus brake third No.48 and full third No.668 which await restoration.

    Dave Clarke's photos show the SER coach at Pagham, on the left the exterior before the external bathroom was detatched, and the rendering removed, and below, the interior of the saloon, looking towards the compartment (the original internal doors are still in place). David Chappell's two photos show the carriage after arrival at Horsted Keynes. The missing end structure at the toilet end had been removed to make a longer room in the bungalow, but had been incorporated into the structure of the bungalow, so has been recovered for re-use in the eventual restoration. A tarpaulin is on order, and the body will be lifted onto an underframe later in the year.

    Dave Clarke has more photos of the coach in his album.


Interior of SER saloon at Pagham - Dave Clarke - 29 August 2010 SER saloon on arrival at Horsted - David Chappell - 31 August 2010 SER saloon on arrival at Horsted - David Chappell - 31 August 2010

Nine Elms reunion train - Peter Austin - 11 August 2010 26 August:
  • This photo from Peter Austin shows 'Sir Archibald Sinclair' at the head of the Nine Elms Enginemens reunion train on 11th August. Regrettably this loco has again succumbed to firebox problems, although with the replacement section already to hand there is not expected to be anything to prevent to loco appearing at 'Giants of Steam'.

  • Photos from the 50th Anniversary Gala from Chris Ward: Saturday and Sunday.

  • Thanks to Michael Hopps, we have another update on the extension progress at East Grinstead; a slightly delayed report, but interesting to see the process of creating the new station platform features.

  • More recently, Derek Hayward has been able to update his album covering the current state of progress at East Grinstead, during the offical visit of the local Mayors to the site on Sunday.

  • John Sandys has provided the photo below, taken today, as part of an album featuring the new lamps at East Grinstead, along with 2 short videos (first and second) of work in progress at the Station Site.
    The new lamps, the provision of which has been organised by Les Haines and paid for by the Bluebell Railway Trust, are a mixture of salvaged and newly cast LBSCR-pattern columns, fitted with new SR-pattern swan-necks and original SR shades. Extra columns were also cast for planned use at Sheffield Park.

  • Two more photos below from Derek Hayward, representatives of the East Sussex MG Club attending the Vintage Transport weekend show on 22 August, and on the same day, the P-class No.178 giving brake van rides at Horsted Keynes.

  • Tony Sullivan's photo below shows the re-erected ex-Isfield LBSCR waiting room at Sheffield Park, this morning. As part of the re-organised facilities on Platform 2 it will form the new Bulleid Society shop.

  • David Haggar's photo shows part of the nameplate display the 50th Anniversary gala, including the rare 75G shed plate from the short-lived Eastbourne Shed (which was downgraded to a sub-shed of Brighton in 1954).

  • The last photo for today was taken by Neal Ball last Friday and shows the C-class at Horsted Keynes with the evening's sell-out Rail Ale train. See also Neal's album from the evening.

New lamp post at East Grinstead - John Sandys - 26 August 2010 East Sussex MG Club at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 22 August 2010 Re-erection of former Isfield building at Sheffield Park - Tony Sullivan - 26 August 2010 Nameplate Display at Horsted Keynes - David Haggar - 6 August 2010 P-class 178 giving brake van rides at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 22 August 2010 Rail Ale train at Horsted Keynes - Neal Ball - 20 August 2010

Presentation of IMechE Heritage Award - David Jones - 22 August 2010 25 August:
  • The photo from David Jones shows Sunday's presentation, by Keith Millard to BRPS Chairman Roy Watts, of The Institution of Mechanical Engineers' Engineering Heritage Award.

  • Photos from the Vintage weekend, including official photos of the prize-winning cars and other vintage vehicles, available from Derek Hayward.

  • We currently have 48 Railway Books for sale through Amazon in aid of our Northern Extension Project. Some of them came from Bill Howe, who was a Station Master at Horsted Keynes in BR days and is now approaching his 100th birthday.

  • A reminder that on Friday 10 September, as just one of three separate special trains running that evening, we have Beer, Brass & Steam! - a late Summer's evening on the Bluebell Railway with the Petworth Town Band.

  • The day before, Thursday 9 September we host An evening with the Yetties for the final time. Advance booking discount on tickets purchased by 31 August.

  • The Bulleid Society is hoping that someone might have a photo taken at Horsted Keynes over the last couple of weeks which they could have use of, showing their three locos (Normandy, Blackmore Vale and Sir Archibald Sinclair) together in the same shot. If you can help, please contact John Fry or Richard Green, via their web site.

  • More 50th Anniversary Gala photos, from David Haggar and Owen Hayward

  • Derek Hayward has an update on the HLF-funded carriage shed at Sheffield Park, where the second half of the floor has now been laid.

  • Apologies that this web site has been unavailable for the last day; it appears to have been a problem with the name-server directing traffic to us, since the server on which the site is hosted was fine.

Traction Engines at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 21 August 2010 Vintage Cars at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 21 August 2010 Works rally car at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 21 August 2010
  • More photos from Derek Hayward from the Vintage Transport Weekend:
    • Above: Traction Engines, Vintage cars, and a Works Rally Car;
    • Below: Surrey branch of the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club, 1910-built motorcycle OA 729, and an Austin Swallow.
Surrey branch of the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 21 August 2010 1910-built motorcylce - Derek Hayward - 21 August 2010 Austin Swallow - Derek Hayward - 21 August 2010

IMechE logo 20 August:
  • Press release from The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) - Bluebell Railway honoured with Heritage Award - downloadable as PDF.
    The Institution of Mechanical Engineers will present the Bluebell Railway and its volunteers with an Engineering Heritage Award (EHA) on Sunday 22nd August at Sheffield Park Station. IMechE Heritage Awards are granted to artefacts, sites, landmarks or groups that are either one of a kind and/or of significant engineering importance. Immediate past President of IMechE, Keith Millard, said: "Some of these items are the only existing examples. It is truly the dedication of the Society, its volunteers and the work they have all done that has made Bluebell undoubtedly one of the most famous heritage lines in the UK."
    The presentation ceremony will take place from 11am at Sheffield Park Station.


80151 arrives back at Sheffield Park - Tony Sullivan - 19 August 2010 19 August:
  • The photo from Tony Sullivan shows the arrival of the 1.55 departure from Kingscote today at Sheffield Park, behind BR 4MT loco No.80151.

  • Three more YouTube videos of interest: The Bluebell Railway Band playing "Sussex by the sea", the sequence filmed on the Bluebell in 1972 from Adolf Hitler - My Part in his Downfall, and the Sheena Easton video of "9 to 5".

  • Another change to the planned loco roster. In addition, No.178 will be giving brake van rides at Horsted Keynes this weekend (the Vintage Transport Weekend), and the Victorian train (Metropolitan Railway carraiges and the two 4-wheelers) are in use every day at present, and at least for the next week as well.

  • The Railway will have a display stand at the Edenbridge and Oxted Show on Sunday 29th and Bank Holiday Monday 30th August 2010.
    A small display of carriage restoration carpentry/joinery work will be part of an Arts and Crafts Exhibition on Saturday 18th September as part of the 150th Anniversary celebrations at St Mark's Church, Alma Road, Reigate.


SECR P-class 178 at Horsted Keynes - Richard Salmon - 8 August 2010 17 August:
  • Filling in the gaps in the coverage of the 50th Anniversary event - on the right is the SECR P-class 178, back in passenger service after some attention to its vacuum ejector feed, seen during the cavalcade, with part of the display of out-of-service locos in the background.

  • Reminder that this coming weekend is Vintage Transport Weekend: Vintage cars and motorcycles, traction engines and trains combine to make a weekend of transport nostalgia.

  • One way for BRPS members to help with the forthcoming excavation of more of the tip is through the Society's Share Purchase Scheme - if you set up a standing order or make a lump-sum payment, you can purchase enough shares in the Railway by the end of this year to qualify for next year's shareholder benefits.

  • Preliminary details now available for the Hastings Blue Belle excursion train on Saturday 6 November.

  • Further update to the loco roster from Lewis Nodes.

  • More of Derek Hayward's photos from Sunday, which was also the Sussex Food Festival at Horsted Keynes, including below, the Bluebell Railway Band and a couple of the stalls (High Weald Dairy from Tremains Farm, Horsted Keynes, and Cooks-Field Bakes) - more on Derek's photo site.
  • Also three more from the 50th Anniversary weekend, my own photo of the Howard petrol loco, in service for the first time since 1969, at the cavalcade on 8th August, and two more from Derek: a vintage RF bus which provided tours of the Northern Extension route, including passing beneath the Viaduct, and the double-heading of the P & C-classes with the 8 vintage coaches, approaching Kingscote.

Bluebell Railway Band playing at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 15 August 2010 High Weald Dairy at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 15 August 2010 Cooks Field cakes at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 15 August 2010 Howard No.957 at Horsted Keynes - Richard Salmon - 8 August 2010 Green Line RF near Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 8 August 2010 178 and 592 approach Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 7 August 2010

Baxter at Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 15 August 2010 16 August:
  • Photos from Derek Hayward taken yesterday. On the right, Baxter, commemorating the 50th Anniversary of its arrival at Sheffield Park, with a goods train to Kingscote. Below, a visitor to Kingscote - one of several responsible for picking many of the vegetables grown in the station garden! The other three photos show the other locos and trains running yesterday.

  • New page detailing the work on the new platform fence being done at Kingscote (preparations) and East Grinstead (installation).

  • Videos from Robert Philpot featuring FR No.20 hauling the Observation Car on the first day of the 50th Anniversary Gala - Horsted Keynes to the Tunnel, and from the Tunnel to Kingscote.

Deer at Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 15 August 2010 80151 at Ketches Halt - Derek Hayward - 15 August 2010 C-class on Golden Arrow luncheon train - Derek Hayward - 15 August 2010 Sir Archibald Sinclair approaches Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 15 August 2010

20 with 4-wheelers - John Goss - 12 August 2010 15 August:
  • Photo from John Goss on the right. Also Dave Bowles has a gallery of photos; both from the charter with Furness Railway No.20 last Thursday morning.

  • Update to the Extension News page, with reports of recent progress at East Grinstead from Nigel Longdon.

  • Updated photos from Derek Hayward on the HLF-funded buildings project at Sheffield Park

  • John Sandys has a photo gallery and short video showing further progress at East Grinstead.

  • The GWR 'Dukedog' loco has now returned to Sheffield Park (it was one of the locos on display at Horsted Keynes over the 50th Anniversary Weekend), for the replacement of its boiler tubes, so should be back in steam this autumn.

  • Update to the loco roster.

  • More from the 50th Anniversary Gala:

  • Withyham Signalbox, recently installed as part of the future Museum display at Sheffield Park, features on the Southern e-mail group's web site.

  • Photos below: from Mark Tewkesbury showing the two oldest locos at our Gala, 1872-built "Terrier" No.672, and 1863-built FR No.20; and from Charlie Rose, showing the moment on 7th August when Chris Campbell (one of the original four founding students) broke a bottle of Bluebell Anniversary Ale on Stepney during the recreation of the Bluebell's first public train, exactly 50 years on.

FR 20 with LBSCR 672 - Mark Tewkesbury - 13 August 2010 50th Anniversary recreation of launch ceremony - Charlie Rose - 7 August 2010

20 with 4-wheelers - Andrew Strongitharm - 12 August 2010 12 August:
C-class arrives at HK - Tony Sullivan - 12 Aug 2010

  • Tickets are now on sale for the first train southwards out of East Grinstead! On 4th September we will be opeining our new platform, and the very first train (formed of our 4-VEP unit No.3417 "Gordon Pettitt" and a class 73 loco) will command a premium fare. Trains will then run hourly on both 4th and 5th September, southwards from East Grinstead, across the viaduct, to the buffer stops at Imberhorne North.

  • The photos taken today, from Tony Sullivan, show No 592 running into Horsted Keynes with the 12 noon Sheffield Park to KIngscote service(right), and Furness Railway No.20 stands at Horsted Keynes before returning to Sheffield Park with this morning's Furness Land Cruise Special (below). Because seats remained available, this working was thrown open to any of our visitors who wished to travel on it.

  • Dave Chambers' photo below shows the first pour of concrete into the floor of the new carriage running shed at Sheffield Park, which took place on Monday this week.

FR 20 at Horsted Keynes - Tony Sullivan - 12 August 2010First pour of concrete in new shed - Dave Chambers - 9 August 2010
  • More photos from last weekend's 50th Anniversary Gala, below: Ed Owen's photo shows the evening special train on Saturday at the northern limit of the line, with the south face of Imberhorne tip looming on the other side of the bridge. Ashley Smith has some photos from the weekend on his gallery, and Rebecca Parkes has a photoset on Flikr, including the second one below, showing the U-class leaving Sharpthorne tunnel.
Special evening train at the tip - Ed Owen - 7 August 2010 U class at West Hoathley - Rebecca Parkes - 8 August 2010

11 August:
Jack Owen on footplate - Clive Emsley - 8 August 2010 Baxter at HK - Alan Bedford - 7 Aug 2010
  • Thank you to everyone who has sent photos, and links to photo galleries, videos, and media coverage from the 50th Anniversary Gala. I'm dealing with the photos as I get time, and the following links are now available from: Blue Circle at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 6 August 2010

  • The first photo above is from Clive Emsley, and shows our first driver, Jack Owen on the footplate with Micky Blackburn, talking to Keith Sturt and Ted Oades on the platform at Sheffield Park on Sunday afternoon.
    The second is a portrait by Alan Bedford of "Captain Baxter" at Horsted Keynes, in light rain on the Saturday afternoon.
    The third shows Blue Circle at Horsted Keynes on the Friday (from Derek Hayward)

  • Updates to the Operational Locos, the Locos under Overhaul pages, and the Loco Stock List, recording the entry into service last week of "Captain Baxter" and Howard No.957.

  • We would like to remind you about the Football competition, entries to which need to be in by mid-day on Saturday. You do not need to know anything about football to enter! Funds raised are to be used for the restoration of our SR Maunsell Restaurant car, No.7864.

  • The first photo below shows the 15-inch gauge "Typhoon" visiting from the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway (Derek Hayward) and then two photos from John Fry show the re-wheeling of the SECR H-class No.263 which took place last Monday.

Typhoon - Derek Hayward - 6 August 2010 Re-wheeling the H-class - John Fry - 2 August 2010 Re-wheeling the H-class - John Fry - 2 August 2010

Bernard Holden - Derek Hayward - 7 August 2010 8 August:
  • Having spent three glorious days down at the railway, please forgive the length of time it will take for the photos many of you have sent from the 50th Anniversary Gala to appear here. The most appropriate one to start with is of the official ceremony yesterday (Saturday) featuring our President, Bernard Holden MBE, (with Chairman Roy Watts amongst others in the background) at the official ceremony at Sheffield Park to mark the event. The photo is by Derek Hayward.

  • Photo galleries from the Gala are now available from:


Furness Railway 20 at Horsted Keynes - Tony Sullivan - 5 August 2010 5 August - part 2:
  • A final update before the 50th Anniversary Gala kicks off tomorrow... Tony Sullivan's photo on the right shows Furness Railway No.20 in steam, at Horsted Keynes today.

  • There's a new web page on the Bluebell Museum web site for the 50th Anniversary, featuring amongst other things, the nameplate display at Horsted Keynes, seen in the photo below from Tony Hillman.

  • We are now just 2.5% behind the leaders in the HRA/Steam Railway readers' awards which closes at 23.59 tonight, so looks as though we're unlikely to top the poll, but will have secured our place in the final, thanks to the support of many readers of this page, on our e-mail discussion list, on facebook and twitter.

  • Barry Coward has posted a YouTube video of superb cine footage from the Bluebell early days, featuring Stepney, Primrose, Bluebell, the Adams Tank and the Mets, plus the BR electric trains at Horsted Keynes, a still from it being shown below.

  • The final photo below, from Tony Sullivan, shows E4 No.B473 arriving at Horsted Keynes with the 1pm train from Kingscote today.

  • Derek Hayward has been allowed access to the Northern Extension trackbed through to East Grinstead to enable us all to see up-to-date photos of progress, and they are now available.

Nameplate display - Tony Hillman - 5 August 2010 still from early Bluebell cine film E4 arrives at Horsted - Tony Sullivan - 5 August 2010

Captain Baxter at Horsted Keynes - Andy Prime - 4 August 2010 5 August - part 1:
  • In preparation for its formal return to service tomorrow, "Captain Baxter" moved under its own power up to Horsted Keynes yesterday, where it is seen in Andy Prime's photo.

  • Also making its debut will be No.957, the Railway's 1927-built petrol-mechanical rail tractor.

  • Further to what is advertised on the main web page for the 50th Anniversary Gala, we also have:
    • Free Guided Tours of the Carriage Works: Friday at 12.45, 1.20, 1.55, 2.30
      Saturday at 12.25, 1.00, 1.35, 2.28
      Sunday at 12.35, 1.10, 1.45, 2.25
    • Guided tours around the carriages stored in the back sidings will take place on Friday and Saturday evenings, starting at 5.30pm from outside the carriage works at Horsted Keynes. For these (as was the case a decade ago, last time we organised such tours) there will be a requested minimum donation of £5 a head, towards the Maunsell Restaurant Car fund. Stout footware is advised.

  • Visitors and staff should note that Selsfield Road (between Turners Hill and Sharpthorne) is currently closed at West Hoathly. Details on the Hoathly Hub.

  • We are now in second place in the HRA/Steam Railway readers' awards which closes tonight, just 4% behind the leaders. Many thanks to everyone who has supported us. The top three go through to the final, so barring a major surge, it's looking good.


FR20 - Michelle Barton - 3 August 2010 4 August:
  • First train north of Kingscote - The first passenger train north of Kingscote, to Imberhorne South, ran yesterday evening behind "Sir Archibald Sinclair". The 50th Anniversary Pullman special was well filled, at £130 a head. Andrew Strongitharm's two photos below show it leaving Kingscote, and arriving at Imberhorne Lane. B473 tailed the train, to return it to Kingscote, reminiscent of the way Bluebell trains were operated 50 years ago. (If the photos appear a little dark, please remember that this train did leave Kingscote at about 8.30pm last night!)

  • More preparations for the 50th Anniversary Gala which starts on Friday. Michelle Barton's photo on the right shows Furness Railway 20 on shed at Sheffield Park yesterday. Timetables for the event are also available.

  • The Bulleid Society web site has been updated with 34059 with its new golden arrows on the deflectors, as also seen in John Fry's photo below.

  • A Funding update from Roger Kelly added to the BRPS Members' Notices page.

First passenger train North of Kingscote - Andrew Strongitharm - 3 August 2010 First passenger train at Imberhorne Lane - Andrew Strongitharm - 3 August 2010 Sir Archie with the new Golden Arrows - John Fry - 3 August 2010

Arrival of Caledonian Single No.123 at Horsted - Roger Haggar - 15 September 1963 3 August:

2 August:
15 inch gauge line at Horsted - Jon Bowers - 1 August 2010 Woodpax building progress - Derek Hayward - 28 July 2010
  • Preparations for our 50th Anniversary Gala on August 6-8 include the levelling and packing of the 15-inch gauge line which has been laid in the yard at Horsted Keynes, as seen in Jon Bowers photo above.

  • Many thanks to all who have already voted for us in the HRA/Steam Railway readers' awards, lifting us to second place at present.

  • The second photo above shows progress with the roofing of the new carriage shed at Sheffield Park as of last Wednesday. Derek Hayward has more photos, including some taken with permission from on the roof, and also an update on the work being done in the Loco Works on No.323 Bluebell, and on preparations for the 50th Anniversary Gala (including 80100 uncovered, the North London Tank painted, and the Howard Petrol Loco No.957).

  • During July there were 77,820 total hits on this page, from 42,585 unique visitors.


B473 at Horsted Keynes - Tony Sullivan - 29 July 2010 30 July:
  • We are currently in third place in the voting for the HRA/Steam Railway readers' awards. Many thanks to everyone who has voted for us; we need to be in the top three to go through to the final when voting closes on Thursday (5th August) at 23:59. One of our closest rivals has however noticed that you can vote once a day! Please do vote for our 50th Anniversary Preparations.
    Amongst the many attractions at our 6-8 August gala will be:
    • The chance to travel in one of our 8 centenarian carriages.
    • Seven of the twelve locos planned to be in steam are centenarians.
    • Ride in one of our 8 SR coaches behind the larger SR and BR locos.
    • Ride up our extension north of Kingscote with panoramic views in the LNWR Observation Car propelled by Furness Railway 20 (the oldest working loco in the country).
    • Newly restored LSWR carriage 1520 will be in service.
    • Ride behind 15" gauge Pacific Typhoon.
    • Vintage Bus service along the route of our extension, including under the restored viaduct.
    • Two Brighton Belle electric Pullman cars on display
    • Behind the scenes tours
    • Miniature and model railways
    • Display of 50 historic steam locomotive name plates
    • Our historic fleet of locomotives, unrivalled outside of the national Railway Museum, displayed to best effect at Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes stations.
    Full details of the Railway Gala event of the year are available here.

  • Tony Sullivan's photo shows B473 waiting to leave Horsted Keynes yesterday morning on the 11.17 service to Sheffield Park.


Bluebell Archives - opening day, 7th August 1960 29 July:
  • The Bluebell Railway Museum's web site has a new 50th Anniversary gallery of photos of important Bluebell events, and other interesting shots from the last 50 years. The photo on the right (from the Bluebell Archives) shows the opening day, 7th August 1960.

  • A poster is now available for The Bluebell Singers' September Serenade on Saturday 18th September in East Grinstead. Featuring semi-professional singers from all over the county, the programme will comprise songs from the shows, operetta and the classics of popular songs. All proceeds to the Bluebell Railway 50th Anniversary Appeal. Book now - it would be good to have a sell-out!

  • John Kortland enjoyed a day at Horsted Keynes yesterday, and his gallery of photos reflects that and the preparations in hand for the 50th Anniversary Gala.

  • The web page for the Gala now carries a special 50th Anniversary edition of Bluebell news Extra, available as a pdf download.


Sir Archibald Sinclair shunting 80100 - David Chappell - 27 July 2010 28 July:
  • With preparations for our 50th Anniversary Gala on August 6-8 at full swing, and ticket bookings continuing to pour in, please do vote for us in the HRA/Steam Railway readers' awards.

  • As part of the preparations, yesterday unrestored BR Standard 4 Tank No. 80100 is seen here in David Chappell's photo being shunted by Sir Archibald Sinclair into the loco shed, where it will be displayed alongside 80064, to show "before and after" ex-Barry scrapyard locos.

  • Beer, Brass & Steam! is an additional event, on Friday 10 September: A late Summer's Evening on the Bluebell Railway with the Petworth Town Band. More details.

  • Minor update to the web page for SECR Birdcage brake No.1061.

  • Tony Sullivan's photo below from yesterday shows how the contractors are getting on with the Woodpax shed. Note also the foundations for the new toilets and rebuilt waiting room on the platform.

  • Yesterday, as seen in David Chappell's photo below, the FoK team completed the installation and painting of the first ten panels of wooden railings behind the platform at East Grinstead. These needed to be in place, along with some platform fittings, for a forthcoming inspection of the works.

  • Derek Hayward's photo below from the loco works on Sunday shows that no time is being wasted in tackling the extra repairs required to 323's boiler, with the faulty sections cut out already.

Woodpax building and platform 2 - Tony Sullivan - 27 July 2010 New fencing erected at East Grinstead - David Chappell - 27 July 2010 Boiler repairs to 323 - Derek Hayward - 25 July 2010

Sir Archibald Sinclair hauling the Golden Arrow - Martin Lawrence - 25 July 2010 26 July:
  • The photo from Martin Lawrence on the right shows 34059 hauling the lunchtime Golden Arrow yesterday. Other photos of its return to action are available from the Bulleid Society, Dave Bowles, and Derek Hayward (as part of a new gallery of the weekend's hugely successful Collectors' Fair).

  • Update to the Loco Works News pages, with the latest progress on the Standard class 2 project, and updates from the Bulleid Society on 'Blackmoor Vale' and 'Normandy'.

  • Details of the major display of Locomotive Nameplates, which will form part of the 50th Anniversary Gala. Bring along your own Railwayana for valuation. More details here.

  • A 1962 photo (by John Smith) showing 32636 (Fenchurch) during the Sussex Coast RCTS tour is to be found on the Disused Stations web site page for Kemp Town.

  • Derek Hayward has an album showing preparations for the 50th Anniversary.

  • Photos below show the two Electric 5BEL cars together at Horsted Keynes (from John Simmonds), and two photos from Derek Hayward, showing the two trains operating on Saturday, together with the two pacifics at Horsted Keynes.

  • Finally two photos from today from David Chappell, showing the new fencing on the East Grinstead platform that has been painted and erected by the Friends of Kingscote team (over 500 hours of labour has been put into this so far, and about a sixth of the fencing has now been erected), and also the new coping stones now in place along the edge of the platform. As always, click on the photos for enlargements.

Car 88 and Doris at HK - John Simmonds - 25 July 2010 1638 with the two Bulleid Pacifics at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 24 July 2010 B473 with SR-liveried train - Derek Hayward - 24 July 2010 New fencing erected at East Grinstead - David Chappell - 26 July 2010 New coping stones at East Grinstead - David Chappell - 26 July 2010

Sir Archie hauls BV to Horsted - Martin Lawrence - 24 July 2010 25 July:
  • The Search Engine for this site has been improved, adding an "advanced" search option. It has also been extended to cover both our new commercial site, bluebell-railway.com, and the Museum's site, bluebell-railway-museum.co.uk

  • Martin Lawrence's photo shows "Blackmoor Vale" being hauled up to Horsted Keynes yesterday where it forms part of the display of engines being prepared for the 50th Anniversary celebrations. This also acted as a test run for 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair" which had, that morning, passed a boiler test following its recent firebox/thermic siphons repair.

  • Martin's photo gallery and Video are also available.

  • Update to the Loco Roster, showing what locos we expect to be working when. "Sir Archibald Sinclair" is now rostered to run every day for the next two weeks.

  • John Sandys has some photos and a video showing work in progress laying the coping stones on the platform at East Grinstead.


Brighton Belle Car 88 at Sheffield Park - David Jones - 20 July 2010 21 July:
  • David Jones' photo on the right shows the first arrival for our 50th Anniversary Gala - Southern Railway Brighton Belle Pullman Car No.88, which will join our own Brighton Belle car, "Doris", on display at the event. Car 88 is the first of the Belle cars to be restored for the 5BEL Trust. Also seen in the photo is our 1877-built 'Fletcher Jennings' loco, "Baxter", which arrived on the Bluebell back in 1960. It makes its debut after its recent overhaul at the Gala, and was observed in steam being tested around Sheffield Park station yesterday.

  • The photo below is another of Derek Hayward's showing the progress on the Woodpax site, in particular the Signal Box from Withyham, now erected on its new brick base, featured in more detail on the Museum's web site. The water crane was also re-erected (after work to stabilise its foundations, and an overhaul of its mechanism) at the same time the signal-box body was craned onto the base. The signal box will be part of the museum display, demonstrating and explaining railway signalling.

  • The next photo below, from Martin Lawrence, shows 80151 arriving at Horsted Keynes on Saturday with a special train for Central Sussex Brownies, which ran in addition to our peak public timetable, with a wedding held on the line, a charter of the GN Saloon, and the now regular Saturday steam shunt. Martin has three recent galleries: from 13 June, 19 June (Family Fun Weekends), and last Saturday, 17 July.

  • The final photo is another of Dave Clarke's showing where we are (as of Sunday) with the compartment end of the People's Millions coach. Exactly half of the carriage (seen here) is now structurally complete, and the other half is not far behind. The red paint is undercoat, the final colour will be the much darker SECR crimson lake. The grey paint is brushing filler, and shows up the new mouldings well!

  • We are sorry to have to report that the planned return to service of 323 Bluebell has been delayed until (probably) October, due to the discovery of a cracked backhead radius on the boiler (for which a method of repair has been agreed with the boiler inspector).

  • Update to the application form for the Deferred Payment Scheme to enable BRPS members to purchase shares by standing order. One feature of the current form is the ability to pay £50 a month for the remainder of the year (to reach a shareholding of 250), and thus qualify for next year's shareholder benefits.

Withyham signal box installed - Derek Hayward - 18 July 2010 80151 arrives at HK - Martin Lawrence - 17 July 2010 Compartment end of SECR 3360 - Dave Clarke - 18 July 2010

New saloon window on SECR 3360 - Dave Clarke - 9 July 2010 19 July:
  • Dave Clarke's photo on the right shows the recent progress on the "People's Millions" carriage Project, SECR No.3360, where the first of the four saloon windows has now been formed in the former brake end. The other end of the coach (two compartments) is now structurally completed, and has been re-clad, and the first overhauled door has been re-hung. The repairs to the roof have also been undertaken over the last few weeks. The underframe is also progressing rapidly, having been shortened and much of the riveting also complete. Dave Clarke has many more photos showing progress on the project, here.

  • The Bluebell Railway regret that we have been advised that repairs to the A1 Class Locomotive "Tornado" are more extensive than first thought. As a result, the locomotive will not now be visiting the Bluebell Railway to participate in our 50th Anniversary.
    We are very sorry for the disappointment this will cause. Customers with bookings will be contacted very shortly by our Customer Service Team.
    Our Gala will still be something very special with special displays, all available locomotives in steam, behind the scenes tours and the first passenger trains over our new extension from Kingscote to Imberhorne South.
    In addition the special Land Cruise Trains with the visiting Furness Locomotive Number 20 will take place the week after the event.

  • Dave Clarke has updates on other Carriage restoration projects: SECR Birdcage Brake 3363, and some more of the same coach here, SR Bulleid Composite 5768, plus maintenance work on Pullman Car 64 and a repaint for Mk1 RMB 1838.

  • Derek Hayward has updates available showing the completion of the structure of the carriage storage shed and museum at Sheffield Park, complete with the installation of the signal box which will be part of the exhibition, and more photos showing progress with the overhaul of 323 "Bluebell". His photo below taken yesterday shows the completed structural steelwork of the shed.

  • Tony Sullivan's two photos below, taken today, show No.1638, having crested the top of Freshfield Bank, heads towards the site of Freshfield Halt with the 1.00pm Sheffield Park to Kingscote service, and a few minutes later, No.B473 having just passed the site of Freshfield Halt with the southbound service.

Completed Steelwork - Derek Hayward - 18 July 2010 U-class 1638 - Tony Sullivan - 19 July 2010 473 heading South - Tony Sullivan - 19 July 2010

18 July:
  • Football Competitions 2010-11: The aim of the competitions (which is to raise funds for the restoration of Maunsell Restaurant Car No.7864) is to predict the final positions in the premiership and the winner of the FA Cup. Entry forms are now available. Many thanks to those who took part in the World Cup competition. Winners' cheques have been sent to those who chose Spain, Netherlands or Germany.

  • Sad to report that Vandal, the cat who had adopted the shop at Sheffield Park, died in her sleep a week ago last Thursday. She was being looked after by two Bluebell members towards the end of her life, therefore died in a home environment and not alone.

  • Details available for the Social Sub Committee's The 'Middy' Special - a visit to the Mid-Suffolk Railway Museum on 25 Sept.


17 July:
  • You may have seen reports in the media of a fire at Horsted Keynes yesterday morning. It is sad to report that the fire, which appears to have been accidental, fanned by extremely strong winds, has consumed the timber work of the following unrestored vehicle bodies: LCDR Horsebox No.1, LBSCR Craven-era Brake Third and LBSCR Goods Van 1590.
    The material lost from the Brighton goods van is in any case largely rotten timber, and since we still have an underframe of the correct pattern, and the remains of the steel-work, we have not, we hope, lost the ability to reconstruct that vehicle much as we would have done in any case.
    Fortunately Ian White has already made a survey of the Craven coach, so some important historical detail had been recorded, which will be published soon in the Brighton Circular. Dave Clarke had also recorded much detail photographically.


13 July:

66402 hauling the empties at Woldingham - Jan Kozminski - 8 July 2010 10 July:
  • Yesterday was the last day of our initial one week trial of tip excavation trains. After a problem with the loco which delayed Wednesday's train by a couple of hours, Thursday went smoothly, with a different loco (66402) used (Jan Kozminski's photo shows it hauling the empties southbound passing Woldingham at about 1pm that day), and the train was loaded by 5pm (with plenty of time to spare before its departure at 9.10pm). Next week the County Council begin 5 weeks of maintenance work on the farm overbridge at the north end of the tip, and three or four more weeks of rubbish removal are planned for October. Subject to confirmation as to how this week actually went, we should have now removed approximately 10% of the rubbish, and should remove about another 10% in October. Clearly if we can raise more money before then, the dig could continue for longer, getting us closer to completion all the time. Please do donate to our 50th Anniversary appeal.

  • Below is David Chappell's photo showing BRPS Chairman Roy Watts in the cab of 66707 'Sir Sam Fay' on Monday. He reports that the view from the train when on the viaduct is stunning!

  • Derek Hayward has some more updates to the Woodpax project - half the structure, and the signal-box base are now complete, and loco works photos for 323 "Bluebell", P-class No.27 (which has entered the works, so that its springs can be transferred to 323), on "Baxter" which is now expected to re-enter service in August (seen in Derek's photo below), and H-class No.263.

  • The third photo below, from Derek Hayward, shows our two LSWR locos, No.96 'Normandy' and Adams Radial Tank No.488, which were moved to Horsted Keynes on Wednesday as part of the display being prepared for the 50th Anniversary Gala.

Roy in cab of class 66 - David Chappell - 5 July 2010 Baxter at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 7 July 2010 LSWR locos at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 7 July 2010

66707 posed with rubbish train at East Grinstead - Ashley Smith - 6 July 2010 7 July:
  • Following the weekend's test train, which departed on Monday evening, yesterday saw the official launch of the one-week trial dig removing 1000 tonnes a day of waste from Imberhorne Cutting, with local dignitaries, the press and invited guests, together with a good number of members of the public and of the Railway who turned out to view the train of 18 wagons, headed by GB Railfreight's 66707 'Sir Sam Fay', which was posed for photographs, as seen in Ashley Smith's photo on the right. The train departs soon after 9pm each day, for a Shanks waste site in Bedfordshire, where it is unloaded over-night, returning to the Bluebell for re-loading early the following afternoon. It takes the team from Land & Water just 10 minutes to load each wagon, which is weighed before dispatch.

  • Article about the rubbish removal in the Mid Sussex Times.

  • The headboard carried is "Project East Grinstead". If you would like to see your own headboard on there, you can sponsor a train. Contact the Railway's fund raising team for more details.

  • Photos of yesterday are available from Ashley Smith, Robert Philpot, and Chris Dadson, a video from Matthew Nightingale.

  • More good news - "Tenner for the Tip" sales have, as of yesterday, broken the £100,000 barrier. Many thanks to all who have contributed - and if you haven't, why not help us shift some more of the rubbish by buying one now.

  • The Bulleid Society web site has an update about the repair of the thermic syphons on 'Sir Archibald Sinclair'.


5 July:
  • Martin Eastland. We regret to inform members that Martin Eastland, one of the "Founding Four", died suddenly on Friday. Martin attended our recent AGM, and was planning to go to Buckingham Palace later this month as part of the small team representing the Railway's volunteers, following our receipt of the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.


Pair of 73s with wagons on the viaduct - Nigel Longdon - 3 July 2010 4 July:
  • As seen in the photo on the right, in preparation for the first official tip excavation train on Tuesday (why not visit East Grinstead for our open evening to see the train), a test train has been at East Grinstead over the weekend, to ensure that everything will go smoothly on Tuesday. See the full report and another photo from Nigel Longdon on the Extension progress page. The photo here also shows the two new ground frames which control the points seen in this photo, and some of the associated point-rodding runs, all of which have been installed in the last couple of weeks by our S&T volunteers.

  • Below is Mike Hopps' photo taken this afternoon at Kingscote, showing 592 leading the Victorian carriages on the 4pm train from Sheffield Park.

  • Also below is a pair of photos from David Chappell, showing progress as of yesterday on the HLF-funded building at Sheffield Park. The first shows the carriage running shed framework, from the south. The second shows the framework for the new museum building attached to the shed to the north of the canopy, which is itself to be rebuilt back to its original length as part of the project.

  • The final photo below, from Tony Sullivan, shows the Yetties last night, in their penultimate performance for us at Horsted Keynes.

C-class and Victorian Coaches - Mike Hopps - 4 July 2010 Carriage Shed frame - David Chappell - 3 July 2010 Museum frame - David Chappell - 3 July 2010 The Yetties at Horsted Keynes - Tony Sullivan - 3 July 2010

Public site for visitors 3 July:
  • Our new web pages specifically for visitors to the Railway are now available.

    The new pages are connected to a system which will (in a few weeks time) offer ticket booking facilities, and replace the timetable, special event, Golden Arrow and Catering services information pages on the existing site. This means that after 12 and a half years, the commercial and heritage (or plc and Society) sides of the web site are now separated.

    The Visitor Information pages will now be maintained by Tim Baker's team in the Sales and Information Office at Sheffield Park, whilst the existing volunteer team will concentrate on the heritage and up-to-date news from the Bluebell on the BRPS pages edited by Richard Salmon, the focus of which will continue to be this "What's New" page. The time which this frees up for futher development of the BRPS side should result in better and more frequent news updates, whilst the visitor-oriented side of the site will be much better focused on what is of interest to the general visitor to the line.

    The new front page at www.bluebell-railway.co.uk links all five areas of the Bluebell's web presence, together with our other "New Media" outlets such as Facebook and Twitter.

  • Details are now available for the annual Sussex Food Festival at Horsted Keynes Station on Sunday 15th August.

  • Further details are now available for the 50th Anniversary Gala on Friday 6th to Sunday 8th August, and a reminder that discounted advance tickets are only available until tomorrow (4th July).


C-class with Victorian Train - Tony Sullivan - 2 July 2010 2 July:
  • Tony Sullivan's photos right and below, taken at today's Victorian Picnic event, show the SECR C-class loco with the Victorian train at Kinscote station, two of our Victorian Music-hall team with LBSCR first-class carriage 661, and the cast of the show on stage.

  • The latest news of progress on the Brighton Atlanic Project was updated with new photos from Fred Bailey last week.

  • With 200 Vintage & Classic Cars now booked to attend, entry for cars for the Vintage Transport Weekend on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 August is now closed.

  • Update from Lewis Nodes to the Loco Roster, indicating what locos we expect to have running each day (always subject to any last-minute changes) through to September.

Two Victorians - Tony Sullivan - 2 July 2010 The Music Hall team on stage - Tony Sullivan - 2 July 2010

26 June:
Family Fun Weekend - P-class No.178 - Derek Hayward - 26 June 2010 Family Fun Weekend - In the stocks - Derek Hayward - 26 June 2010
  • It's the last of our Traditional Summer Fair/Family Fun Days tomorrow (Sunday). Derek Hayward's two photos above from today show 178 "Nettle" shunting the trucks, and someone's grandmother enjoying the welcome relief from the heat of a wet sponge in the stocks!

  • Update to the Golden Arrow Pullman pages, with the sample menu for July.

  • Derek Hayward has updated his loco works photos for "Baxter", 323 "Bluebell" and H-class No.263.


First steelwork erected at Sheffield Park - Tony Sullivan - 24 June 2010 24 June:
  • Our contractors started work on erecting the steelwork of the HLF-funded Woodpax-site carriage running shed at Sheffield Park at 1.20pm today. Tony Sullivan's photo on the right shows the progress by 3.15pm today, and Derek Hayward's gallery has more shots of today's activity, (including images taken on site with the kind permission of the contractors). Chris Dadson also has some photos of this plus one from East Grinstead, where work on the capping of the platform edge is progressing now the rails have been positioned. The point lever on the point at the north end of the platform is also in place.

  • On Tuesday 3rd August there will be an additional 50th Anniversary Pullman Gala Dinner - a six course black-tie meal on board the Golden Arrow, hauled by 'Tornado'. On reaching Kingscote, the train will continue on to Imberhorne Lane, thus becoming our very first public train to run north of Kingscote. Book now - the Gala Dinner Pullman train on 5th August has already sold out.

  • Some good news just in - Mid Sussex District Council has pledged to contribute £50,000 towards the Northern Extension project. This further boost to the fundraising for the removal of rubbish from Imberhorne Cutting represents about 2% of the funds we still need to raise, and comes just as we are about to start the next phase of that removal, by rail, which everyone is invited to observe on 6th July.

  • Update to the Loco Roster - Baxter, which is in the final stages of re-assembly, needs a bit more work before it can steam, so will not be in service this coming weekend. However, the photo below from Derek Hayward, shows that it's not far off!

  • The 84030 group has recently acquired a set of four BR buffers - from a scrapped 08 shunter - to use on our BR 2MT 2-6-2T loco. The shot below from Tony Sullivan shows three of the four buffers. Restoration has already started on the fourth. Tony's next photo below shows the U-class today on the service train, and his final one shows the overhauled printing press which we use to produce our Edmunson Card Tickets. Brian Peacock and Gerry Brown put in many hours producing all the tickets that the railway needs, and the press has now been accommodated in a purpose-built building at Sheffield Park.

Baxter - Derek Hayward - 24 June 2010 Buffers for the Standard 2 tank loco - Tony Sullivan - 24 June 2010 U-class loco with the 3pm departure from Sheffield Park - Tony Sullivan - 24 June 2010 Edmunson printing press - Tony Sullivan - 24 June 2010

Family Fun Weekend - Stephen Hunt - 20 June 2010 22 June:
  • The pilot run of waste removal form Imberhorne cutting by rail is now fixed for July 6th which is very close to the planned opening of East Grinstead station (scheduled for Saturday 3 July) so it has been decided to focus on the long awaited 'Waste by Rail' event rather than the station opening, which will now officially take place in September.

    East Grinstead site will be host to the invited guests and the press from 6pm on Tuesday 6th July (entry via north end site gate 1) in order to see the first official train. Members and public are also welcome to attend (£2.00 entry charge in advance) although space is limited at the site so either book early through Sheffield Park Sales and Information office, or entry on the evening price £2.50 if space permits.

  • Stephen Hunt has some photos of the Family Fun weekend here, including the one shown here of 55 "Stepney" and 473 "Birch Grove" departing from Sheffield Park on Sunday. There is a second weekend of Family Fun this coming weekend, and it is hoped that Loco "Baxter" will make an appearance after overhaul.

  • Details now available for the Santa Specials (Booking opens on 1st July) and the Special Santa trains for Schools and pre-Schools in December.

  • Photos from Chris Dadson, showing the recently returned hand-pump trolley which has been away from the line for a few years for repairs, and also a couple of photos from East Grinstead showing progress on the track and platform.

  • Dave Clarke has had another rummage through the stores at Horsted and found some more moquette samples, and any information on identifying the patterns will be gratefully received.

  • A newly published book, East of Eastbourne, West of Waterloo: The Brian Groome Memoirs features colour photos by popular Bluebell Life Member Clinton Shaw. There is a discount of £1 off the RRP for Bluebell members.
    As with previous Buggleskelly Books publications 10% from all orders received via "East of Eastbourne", 22 Glassenbury Drive, Bexhill-on-Sea TN40 2NY will go to the Bluebell's Brighton Atlantic Project, via Bluebell signalman Melvyn Overbury. Details here, on their facebook page.


19 June:

Normandy at Ardingly show - Tony Sullivan - 10 June 2010 11 June:
  • Tony Sullivan's photo taken yesterday shows LSWR B4 loco 'Normandy' with two Victorian coaches forming our exhibit at the South of England Show at Ardingly. Below, his second photo shows our "Victorian" marketing team of Tim Baker, Jean Sullivan, Bob McLean, Sally Cruse, Chris Pratt, Matthew Cousins and Roger Cruse in front of the Bluebell Railway Marquee.

  • The Bulleid Society have also updated their web site with some photos of 'Normandy' being transported to the show ground.

  • Minor update to the page for the Sentinel shunter, with the information from Jan Kozminski that it was numbered DH27 when working on the Manchester Ship Canal Railway, where it took part in the changeover from steam event in July 1966.

  • The other photo below, from Robert Philpot, shows the tamper which arrived at East Grinstead on Monday to fettle the newly laid track.

Team at Ardingly - Tony Sullivan - 10 June 2010 Ballast tamper at East Grinstead - Robert Philpot - 7 June 2010

Fenchurch fills water tankers at HK - Andy Prime - 5 June 2010 8 June:
  • With the current work on the water column on platform 2 at Sheffield Park, many engines are taking water at Kingscote, and here Fenchurch is photographed by Andy Prime, last Saturday, filling two tank wagons at Horsted Keynes.

  • THE LOCO WORKSHOP WORKING GROUP WANTS YOU!
    The band of volunteers who regularly meet to assist the paid workshop staff are looking to improve the time it takes them to overhaul their 'project' locos and take on bigger projects, but to achieve this they need more people to join the group.
    Previous projects include the overhaul of C-class loco No 592 and P-class loco No.178, and the current project is P-class Loco No.323 'Bluebell'. Click here for more information.
    If this interests you then please e-mail, or speak to the workshop staff next time you're at the railway.
    All you'll need is a current Bluebell Railway membership, be aged over 18, and own a pair of steel toe-cap boots and overalls. No previous engineering experience necessary. Over the next couple of months some members of the team should be working each Sunday to push on with 323.

  • Don't forget to enter the World Cup Football Competition in aid of the restoration of Maunsell Restaurant Car No.7864 - details and an entry form; the closing date to post your entries is 10th June.

  • More photos from the weekend's Open Days at East Grinstead:

  • With the extra July 9th "Murder Mystery" evening on the Pullman train now sold out, two further dates have been added: Friday 13th August and Friday 24th September.

  • Update to the Access to the Railway page with details of the revised timetable for the 246 (Fridays only) bus from Uckfield to Sheffield Park.


Visitors viewing the 'Tip Face' at the East Grinstead open days - Tony Sullivan - 6 June 2010 6 June:
  • Tony Sullivan provides three photos from today's Open Day at East Grinstead. That on the right shows some of the visitors examining the face of the tip which we will start to dig into in the next few weeks. The first photo below shows the railhead (with buffer stops now installed), which is on the wider section of trackbed just outside the narrower cutting, to allow width for loading the rubbish into the trains. The second shows the tracks and points laid at East Grinstead over recent weeks (i.e. the photo is looking the other way compared to yesterday's featured photo). On the left is our connection to the national network (with on the extreme left, under a plastic cover, one of the two new ground frames which will operate the points and signals). In the centre is the track leading into our new platform, and on the right the run-round loop, with leading off it back towards the camera on the right, the refuge siding which will allow us to take a vehicle out a train formation at East Grinstead if required.

  • Nick Talbot's photo below shows Fenchurch arriving back at Sheffield Park yesterday after the steam-shunt session at Horsted Keynes. One of the vehicles in the short train is our second Bo-Rail which is to be placed on loan to the Swanage Railway.

  • The final photo below, from Mike Hopps, again from East Grinstead yesterday, shows volunteers and contractors working together on track laying alongside the platform.

Railhead - Tony Sullivan - 6 June 2010 Pointwork on show at the East Grinstead open days - Tony Sullivan - 6 June 2010 Fenchurch arrives back at Sheffield Park - Nick Talbot - 5 June 2010 Tracklaying at the Open Day at East Grinstead - Mike Hopps - 5 June 2010

Open Day at East Grinstead - Mike Hopps - 5 June 2010 5 June:
  • Photo from Mike Hopps showing some of the many visitors for today's Open Day at East Grinstead - The station site, and the trackbed to the tip is open again tomorrow. The station site is open between 10am and 4.30pm and entry costs £5 per person, towards extension funds.

    Please note that visitors are advised to use other car parks in the town, such as the Station car park on the old high-level site, rather than Sainsburys car park, which is very busy with shoppers.

    Stout footware is advised, due to the need to walk on the ballast for the first section up to the viaduct.

    The open day not only provided the last chance to walk across the viaduct, but the chance to see the P-way work being undertaken at close quarters, with track continuing to be laid next to the new platform during the day, and volunteers continuing to work on the fettling of the points in the station throat.



Band at Sheffield Park, during the 2010 Southern at War weekend 4 June:
  • Reminder that this weekend we have Open Days at East Grinstead - come and see progress for yourself, plus the last chance to walk across the viaduct. The station site is open between 10am and 4.30pm both days, and entry costs £5 per person, towards extension funds.

  • Update to the Loco Roster.

  • Update to the web page for the Bluebell Railway Band, using photos provided by Dave Hewitt and Bob Wolfenden, including the one on the right, showing the band at Sheffield Park on the "Southern at War" weekend last month.


The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service 2 June:
  • The Bluebell Railway Preservation Society is delighted to have been granted one of this year's Queen's Awards for Voluntary Service, the MBE for volunteer groups.

    This prestigious award is given for outstanding work done in local communities. It recognises volunteering work that is of social, economic or environmental service to the local community and is supported, recognised and respected by the people who benefit from it.

    Part of the citation for the Bluebell states the award is for "Pioneering the preservation of Britain's Railway Heritage through Railway Operation" and it goes on to acknowledge the contribution the Railway has made to education and the inclusiveness of the Society with its "welcome to all" philosophy.

    Further information is available in our Press Release, on the direct.gov website, and you can also read the official announcement, as a download from the London Gazette (2nd June 2010, Supplement No.1 Page 5).

    Roy Watts has also circulated a notice around the Railway, which is availble on the BRPS Members' Notices page.



1638 during the run-round at Kingscote - Martin Lawrence - 30 May 2010 1 June:
  • The Isle of Wight Steam Railway has reached the Semi-Finals of the Lottery Good Causes Awards in the heritage category. Just as they supported our successful "The People's Millions" lottery bid, we are pleased to encourage our supporters to vote for our friends on the Isle of Wight.

  • Two photos from Martin Lawrence. He caught the U-class during a run-round at Kingscote on 22nd May (below), and on Sunday (30th May) the E4 is seen departing from Kingscote with the GN Saloon at the head of the train. Martin also has four new photo galleries available, from 15th May (includes photos taken while working on the Northern extension, and of our centenarian GWR wagon under restoration), 22nd May (includes some on the footplate of the C-class), 23rd May (includes the p-way team at work) and 29-30 May.

  • Update to the Loco Roster.

  • Would you like to sponsor a part of our reconstruction of Brighton Atlantic No.32424 "Beachy Head"?
    The component sponsorship list from the Bluebell Railway Atlantic Group has just been updated showing which components of the locomotive remain available for sponsorship.

  • Chris Dadson has added four photos taken on Saturday evening at East Grinstead to his photo gallery. Don't forget the Open Days at East Grinstead next weekend - come and see progress for yourself, plus the last chance to walk across the viaduct.

  • During May there were 69,916 total hits on this page, from 37,468 unique visitors.

1638 during the run-round at Kingscote - Martin Lawrence - 22 May 2010

B473 near Horsted Keynes with the first southbound train of the day - Tony Sullivan - 22 May 2010 29 May:

Stepney and B473 hauling a train - Andrew Strongitharm - 22 May 2010 28 May:
  • Andrew Strongitharm's photo from last Saturday shows two of the locos which have returned to service on the bluebell so far this year, LBSCR Terrier No.55 Stepney, and LBSCR E4-class B473 (Birch Grove).

  • We are re-launching the Football Competitions this year, in aid of the restoration of Maunsell Restaurant Car 7864. The first competition is a sweepstake for the World Cup, and details and an entry form are now available.

  • All three days this weekend, the GNR Directors' Saloon will be running in public service (on the 12.00, 2pm and 4pm departures from Sheffield Park), and home-made cakes and scones will be served - a first class ticket (or payment of a first-class supplement) is required for travel in the saloon.


Baxter coming together - Derek Hayward - 23 May 2010 27 May:
  • Update to the Volunteering page with updated information about volunteering to help complete the Northern Extension.

  • Derek Hayward's photos illustrate various updates to his web pages for loco overhauls, and other projects:
    • Baxter is coming together, and should be the next loco to return to steam, in the next month; also seen on the right;
    • SECR P-class 323 'Bluebell' (frames seen below, with new cylinders in the frames) will be the next, hopefully in time for the 50th Anniversary celebrations in August;
    • SECR H-class No.263 (again the frames are seen below, with the repaired cylinders now back in place) will then be the next to return to steam;
    • SR S15 No.847 is being targeted for a return to steam next year, and Derek's photo below shows the inside of the firebox, where most of the lower stays are being replaced.
    • The replica of 32424 'Beachy Head' continues to make impressive progress.
    • An update on the Operation Undercover Carriage shed and Museum project - more progress with the foundations;
    • and a few more pictures in his 2010 album.

  • Photo of the loco in industrial use added to the page for the new Sentinel.

  • Added two more entries to the Accommodation near the Railway page: Burghurst Lodge, Horsted Keynes and New Wilmington Hotel, Eastbourne.

  • Update to the Carriage Restoration Technical page, with revised links for items on the LMS Carriage Association web site, and on the page for the 4 Cor carriage with revised links to the Southern Electric Group.

Bluebell's frames - Derek Hayward - 23 May 2010 263 frames - Derek Hayward - 23 May 2010 Interior of S15 firebox - Derek Hayward - 23 May 2010

B473, Stepney and Fenchurch at Sheffield Park - Mark Tewkesbury - 23 May 2010 24 May:
  • Mark Tewkesbury's photo taken yesterday shows our three LBSCR locos in steam together at Horsted Keynes.

  • Locomotive "Stamford", which is on long-term loan to the Rutland Railway Museum, has now moved onto the museum's site after many years in storage.

  • Because it was shown on BBC One South East Region yesterday, "The Real Railway Children" is again available for the next week on iPlayer.

  • Web page created for Sentinel No.10241, with details of the loco's industrial service provided thanks to the IRS.

  • Greg Wales took the first of the photos below, showing his son Oliver enjoying the view from the Queen Mary brake van's guard's ducket, on the Ardingly Branch brake-van rides. Because of the failure of the recently restored P-class 178, the brake van rides were provided by the C-class on Saturday, and Fenchurch on the Sunday.

  • Derek Hayward's photos from Sunday below show:
    • 1638 departing from Horsted Keynes. Note the blue carriage, Maunsell 6575, on display, as part of the Open Days held over the weekend;
    • 55 and B473 arriving at Kingscote. 55 was running as part of the Stepney Club's celebration of the loco's birthday;
    • Fenchurch and the Queen Mary brake van;
    • C-class with the Golden Arrow Pullman luncheon train, approaching Ketches Halt.

Son enjoying the view from the guard's ducket - Greg Wales - 22 May 2010 1638 departing north from HK - Derek Hayward - 23 May 2010 55 and B473 arriving at Kc - Derek Hayward - 23 May 2010 Fenchurch and the Queen Mary brake van at HK - Derek Hayward - 23 May 2010 C-class with Pullman luncheon train - Derek Hayward - 23 May 2010

Observation Car from the footplate of 178 - Chris Gardner - 5 May 2010 21 May:
  • Chris Gardner was rostered as a cleaner/third man on P-class 178 on 5th May, and sends this unusual photo showing the loco with the Observation Car on one of the Bluebell Specials run that week. He was rostered on the Dukedog for the following two days, and was able to take the shot below on the Friday, included here also as a tribute to the work undertaken by our PWay gang in relaying the track through the tunnel earlier in the year.

  • On Sat 18 September at 7.30pm, Susan Fleet (one of our 50th Anniversary Appeal Vice Patrons) has organised a gala musical evening in East Grinstead in aid of our 50th Anniversary Appeal.
    The Bluebell Singers present September Serenade in the Chequer Mead Community Arts Centre, East Grinstead.
    Musical Director: Richard Haslam;
    MC: Nicholas Owen - BBC News Presenter and another 50th Anniversary Appeal Vice Patron.
    Featuring semi-professional singers from all over the county, the programme will comprise songs from the shows, operetta and the classics of popular songs.
    Details on the Chequer Mead web site

  • Photo updates from Derek Hayward: The HLF-funded carriage shed and museum at Sheffield Park (showing the pouring concrete for the foundations and general progress on the site), some shots of the new C&W diesel shunter at Horsted Keynes, and a photo of the Bluebell display at Kingscote (also reproduced below).

  • Update to web page for Stepney's overhaul, completing the story.
Dukedog heads out of the tunnel - Chris Gardner - 7 May 2010 Display of bluebells at Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 17 May 2010


Lewis Nodes applies lining to the wheels of 323 'Bluebell' - Derek Hayward - 8 May 2010 20 May:

Bernard Holden flags Stepney and 6575 into Horsted Keynes - Tony Sullivan - 17 May 2010 19 May:
  • The photo (by Tony Sullivan) shows the Bluebell's centenarian President, Bernard Holden MBE, flagging the recreated 50th anniversary train into Horsted Keynes on Monday.

  • Update to the recruitment page - we currently have a vacancy on the Board of Directors of Bluebell Railway PLC.

  • Update to the deferred payment Share Purchase Scheme form.

  • Update to the page for the Bluebell Railway Band.


55 and B473 with special train at Sloop Bridge - Derek Hayward - 17 May 2010 18 May:
55 with its crew - Derek Hayward - 17 May 2010 55 and coach 6575 - Derek Hayward - 17 May 2010

55 Stepney and coach 6575 recreate 50 years earlier - Richard Clark - 17 May 2010 17 May:
  • Today saw the recreation of the events of 50 years ago to the day, as locomotive Stepney brought Southern Railway carriage 6575 into Horsted Keynes station from the direction of Ardingly. The photo on the right is from Richard Clark, who also took that below showing Bluebell President, Bernard Holden MBE, flagging the special train into the platform.

    The BBC were there, and BRPS Chairman Roy Watts is being interviewed at 5.50pm today on BBC Sussex and Surrey, with Joe Talbot presenting. It will also be featured on the BBC web site, and hopefully on South East Today on BBC1 at 6.30pm.

  • Update to the 50th Anniversary Appeal web page with the information about the target remaining to be raised now being £3,000,000.

  • Update to the Who's Who and Membership pages to reflect the appointment at the AGM of Don Brewer as BRPS Membership Secretary.

Bernard Holden flags the recreation of the inaugural train into Horsted Keynes from Ardingly - Richard Clark - 17 May 2010 55 Stepney and coach 6575 recreate 50 years earlier - Richard Salmon - 17 May 2010

B473 shunting - Andrew Strongitharm - 15 May 2010 16 May:
  • Yesterday, B473 was the rostered shunt loco, and is seen here at Horsted Keynes in Andrew Strongitharm's photo. It was a busy day yesterday, with in addition to the shunt, and two service trains, an extra train shuttling up and down the line performing a special charter to carry over 1200 Brownies!

  • A reminder that "Stepney" returns to service tomorrow with a short ceremony at Horsted Keynes to mark the 50th anniversary of its arrival on Bluebell metals.

  • Further photos available from last weekend's Southern at War event from Paul Pettitt, and from Martin Lawrence are Colour and Black & White sets of photos, plus the one below featuring a visit of "Mallard" to the event (thanks to Nick Talbot).

  • Also from last weekend, there are photos of our 4 Vep unit running at Swanage, from Ian Dixon.

  • Dave Bowles has a fine photo of the lineside bluebells (with the C-class passing) taken last Monday. Talking about the C-class, its piston rings have I understand now been replaced, after its failure last Thursday.

  • John Sandys has some photos taken at East Grinstead showing progress with construction of the platform. Wouter Adriaanse has a gallery of photos showing the Dutch / SHM PW visit to work on the track laying.

  • The next fund raising book sale for the extension project will be at Kingscote on 6th, 7th and 8th August. In the meantime, some more high-value books and Davenport plates have been added to the Amazon sales page.

  • Viewers in the BBC One South East Region get their chance to see "The Real Railway Children" next Sunday at 1.30 pm.

  • Amongst the projects reported on at the BRPS AGM yesterday evening, the Operation Undercover project at Sheffield Park, and the Northern Extension were two highlights. Derek Hayward has just updated his gallery of photos reporting progress on the former, and amongst the news was that construction of the steel frame for the shed is set to commence at the start of June. The photo below shows the site for the shed, with piles and some of the concrete foundation pads in place, and the crushed concrete sub-base spread.
    On the extension, the 5-6 June will be the last opportunity to walk down the trackbed across the viaduct. Very soon thereafter we commence 10 days of digging on the tip, and daily trains hauling up to 1000 tons of spoil per train will be departing during that dig. This should enable us to accurately predict the costs for the remainder of the operation. Of the £5,000,000 needed in 2008 to clear Imberhorne Cutting, install the track and signals, and build the new platform that will establish Bluebell in East Grinstead, we have already raised a staggering £1.5million from our dedicated supporters. We have also found ways to reduce the costs. Our current target for the 50th Anniversary Appeal is therefore £3,000,000. This will also provide for other preservation projects, such as Operation Undercover plus carriage and locomotive refurbishment.

  • Your web site editor was delighted to be the winner of the raffle (drawn at the AGM) in aid of the restoration of P-class locomotive No.27. The superb gingerbread engine shed is seen below; several members at the AGM did request that a photo of it be placed here for posterity! I can report it is delicious!

Mallard visiting Sheffield Park - Nick Talbot - 8 May 2010 Woodpax site - Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 8 May 2010 Gingerbread Engine Shed, a delicious raffle prize! - Richard Salmon - 16 May 2010

C-class with 11am train - Tony Sullivan - 13 May 2010 14 May:
  • Details now available for the Baxter's Family Fun Weekends on 19, 20, 26 & 27 June
    Half Price Ticket offer if purchased by 30th May.
    Fun for all the family, with our Traditional English Summer Fayre, and an intensive steam train service.

  • Tony Sullivan's photos taken yesterday show the C-class on the 11am service from Sheffield Park. However, a mechanical failure shortly after departure with the 1pm service (which returned to Sheffield Park and was then cancelled) saw the first use of the 08 Diesel shunter to replace steam on the 3pm service as seen in his photos below. With coach parties booked on the 3pm for afternoon tea, the intending passengers were happy to be able to travel in spite of the unexpected motive power.

  • The Real Railway Children is still available on BBC iPlayer.

  • The ITV Countrywise programme on Monday 17 May at 8pm also features the Bluebell and our 50th Anniversary.

08 with 3pm train from Sheffield Park - Tony Sullivan - 13 May 2010 08 on the 3.55pm from Kingscote - Tony Sullivan - 13 May 2010

Troops at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 8 May 2010 8 May:
  • Derek Hayward's photos on the right and below show some of the activity today at the Southern at War event, which continues tomorrow.

    • Right: Troops defend the Southern end of Horsted Keynes Station,

    • Below: The fire brigade deal with a potentially serious "Fire" before it gets out of hand,
    • Ladies in period costume with a car allocated to a car pool,
    • Troops at Kingscote station.

    Derek also has a photo gallery available from today, to which more pictures and captions will be added in the near future.


Fire brigade bravely deal with a fuel tanker fire at HK - Derek Hayward - 8 May 2010 Wartime ladies with a 'Pool Car' at HK - Derek Hayward - 8 May 2010 Troops at Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 8 May 2010

178 relaunch train - 1 May 2010

  • Derek Hayward's photo from last Saturday shows the relaunch train for 178 soon after emerging from the tunnel.

  • Due to the high level of advance bookings for the Golden Arrow dining trains, we have added an additional evening train:
    'Sussex Pullman' Evening Dining Train on 28th May
    A set menu evening meal, departing from Sheffield Park at 7.30pm, at a special inclusive price (travel and meal) of £46.50 per person. The menu is:
    Warm Asparagus Spears on a Rocket and Parmesan Salad
    Braised Belly of Pork with a Cider and Sage Jus
    Raspberry Crème Brulee with a lemon shortbread biscuit
    See the Pullman Dining web page, or phone 01825 720801 for more information, and to book tickets.
    Please note that this train replaces the previously advertised Sausage & Mash train for that evening.


    View north from Hill Place Farm Bridge - Derek Hayward - 8 May 2010

  • With thanks to help from volunteers visiting from our twin line, Museumstoomtram Hoorn-Medemblik, track laying south of the viaduct is now complete. It still needs to be ballasted, buffer stops put in place, and the alignment honed but we're getting there! Derek Hayward's photo on the left taken today from Hill Place Farm Bridge shows the limit of track laying - the rubbish trains will be loaded at that point since the formation is wider.

    There's also a lot of work being undertaken in the platform area of our East Grinstead site.



7 May:
Baxter in the yard at Sheffield Park - Tony Sullivan - 7 May 2010 Sentinel in the yard at Sheffield Park - Tony Sullivan - 7 May 2010
  • Tony Sullivan's photos taken today show progress with the re-assembly of 'Baxter', and the new C&W shunt loco which arrived today, a 1968 Rolls Royce engined Sentinel (the arrival of which was presaged by the article in the latest edition of Bluebell News). This loco, together with the availability of several steam locos suitable for shunting, means that we will be able to dispense with the hired-in 08 shunter. The current plan is that this loco will perform shunting on an as required basis during the week in the carriage yard, and that the main shunt will take place on Saturdays, using a steam loco, to maintain footplate crew familiarity with shunting.

  • Two forthcoming TV programmes featuring the Bluebell:
    • The Real Railway Children celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Bluebell Railway in Sussex, the world's first preserved standard gauge passenger steam railway. Watch the full programme on Sunday 9 May at 15:45 on BBC One South and BBC iPlayer after transmission.
    • The ITV Countrywise programme on Monday 17 May at 8pm also features the Bluebell and our 50th Anniversary.


55 Stepney being test-steamed - Tony Sullivan - 6 May 2010 6 May:
  • In the build-up to the 50th Anniversary of Stepney's arrival and hauling our first train on the Bluebell on 17 May 1960, the loco works team have retubed the boiler and carried out a few other minor repairs, enabling the engine to be steamed again, carrying the livery it wore in that first season, as seen in Tony Sullivan's photo, taken at Sheffield Park today.

  • Details are now available of the Official start of 50th Anniversary celebrations on Monday 17 May, with a recreation of the arrival of our first train 50 years ago.

  • As part of the main 50th anniversary celebrations in August, we are pleased to announce:
    50th Anniversary Pullman Gala Dinner on Thursday 5 August
    A six course black-tie meal on board the Golden Arrow, hauled by 'Tornado'. More information - book now

  • Used book sales in aid of the Northern Extension Project take place at Kingscote on some special event days, the next being over the 6, 7 & 8 August. Some of the best books are offered for sale by "Bluebell Volunteer" John Sisley on Amazon. John is in need of more quality railway books in good condition, and they can be left marked for his attention at Kingscote, or he is willing to collect locally.

  • Because the spring Murder Mystery evenings on the Golden Arrow Pullman train are booking up well, The Company Upfront have added an additional 'Murder in the Pharaoh's Tomb' on Friday 9th July.

  • Please note a change of date: Vintage Bus Day will now be held a week later than previously advertised, on Sunday 21 November 2010.

  • Two more of Tony Sullivan's photos taken today, below, show 178 leaving Horsted Keynes with the Observation Car "Bluebell" special, and that track laying southwards from East Grinstead is now within sight of the tip (the photo having been taken from the public footpath over Hill Place Farm Bridge).

178 with Bluebell Special at Horsted Keynes - Tony Sullivan - 6 May 2010 Tracklaying as seen from Hill Place Farm Bridge - Tony Sullivan - 6 May 2010

5 May:
This coming Saturday Evening 8th May, as part of our "Southern at War" event, the King George V bar on Horsted Keynes station platform will be open from 7pm to 10.30pm.
  • Fine ales and food will be available (food until 9pm)
  • Una Voce will be performing traditional songs from the 1940's through to the present day West End musicals under the guidance of conductor Andrew Slater and accompanist Anthony Roberts
  • Admission free with a retiring collection - All welcome!

178 and restoration team members at HK - Derek Hayward - 1 May 2010 178 and 592 north of Sloop Bridge - Derek Hayward - 1 May 2010
80151 at Horsted Keynes - Martin Lawrence - 3 May 2010 The Long Man Morris Dancers at Sheffield Park - Tony Sullivan - 1 May 2010


Trackbed north of the tip - Tony Sullivan - 28 April 2010 30 April:
  • Tomorrow (Saturday 1st May) sees the formal re-launch of SECR P-class No.178 into service, in full SECR livery. It will be one of 5 locos in steam over the weekend! It and the C-class will together be heading a rake of 7 pre-grouping carriages each day. Fenchurch will be shunting at Horsted Keynes on the Saturday. The Wealden Rambler runs on the Saturday and Monday afternoons, and the Golden Arrow Pullman Luncheon Train runs on the Sunday. The Great Northern Railway Directors' Saloon is also running (on the Sheffield Park set), with home-made refreshments available to first-class ticket holders. On Sunday lunchtime, you can also partake of the Bluebell Carvery in the Bessemer Arms at Sheffield Park.

  • Tony Sullivan's photo from Wednesday shows the trackbed north of the tip, prepared for track laying.

  • On the Saturday evening of the Southern at War weekend (Sat 8 May) there is a VE Day Dance in East Grinstead. This swing dance evening is raising money for our 50th Anniversary Appeal.

  • Sunday 9th May is Plumpton Racecourse's final race-day of the season and is their Family Race Day. We are sponsoring the 3.10 race, The Bluebell Railway 50th Anniversary Climbing Hurdles.

  • Derek Hayward has a whole series of recent photo updates:
    • A further update on the Woodpax project, with significant progress on the foundations and preparation of the site when compared to last week,
    • 178 being prepared in SECR livery,
    • Progress continues on 323 Bluebell,
    • The team continue to work on Baxter,
    • New tubes have now been installed in Stepney's boiler, the firebox has been refurbished and the frames have been painted black,
    • Work was continuing on the frames from 73082 Camelot prior to the return of the wheels from Devon,
    • Work continues inside the tank on 847's tender,
    • The cab roof and wheels from 263 are being painted,
    • There is a small new feature on the dismantled P class, No.27 Primrose,
    • A general update featuring: Service trains from Sunday 11 and Saturday 17 April, the 9F club working at Sheffield Park, a few pictures of working members, animals that seemed to pop up everywhere on 17 April, and work done by the Friends of Kingscote to clear the undergrowth at Birchstone Bridge (a vast improvement).
    • The refurbishment of the booking office at Kingscote, which took place whilst the tunnel was closed (and subsequent pictures).
    • "Before" pictures north of the tip added to his Kingscote to East Grinstead collection; these were taken for the historical record just before the team started track laying.


B473 amid the primroses at Leamland Bridge - Derek Hayward - 11 April 2010 26 April:
  • Derek Hayward's photo of B473 at Leamland Bridge shows that there are much better displays of primroses to be seen on the lineside than those featured here yesterday!

  • This coming Saturday we are holding another of our "Find out more" days, which are run by Mike Gibbard for anyone interested in becoming more actively involved in the Bluebell as a volunteer. If you are curious to discover what opportunities there are, and what it involves, then why not come along - details here.

  • Job Vacancies currently advertised:
         Silver Service Waiting Staff
         Catering Assistant (based at Horsted Keynes Station)
    See details.

  • Patrick Plane's photo below illustrates the latest report of progress on the extension, with tracklaying now completed across the viaduct. This will now continue over the easier section down to the tip in preparation for the first trains of rubbish which should depart later in the spring. Derek Hayward also has a few photos taken inside Kingscote's south signal box showing extra equipment installed there in preparation for the track north of Kingscote becoming part of the operational line.

  • David Chappell's photo below shows that, on 14th April the newly constructed jacking area in the Carriage & Wagon was commissioned, and the first use of the jacks, which had been overhauled by the Alf Brown Gang, was to lift Mk.I coach No.4957.

  • Dave Clarke's photo below is one of a number providing updates on recent activity in the Carriage & Wagon department. It shows that Maunsell brake composite No.6575 (which is out of passenger service awaiting an intermediate overhaul) has been repainted in blue ready for the May 22-23 Bluebell Open Days. That weekend should see 'Stepney' back in steam, also in its 1960 livery, so the two will represent the first train we ran on our line in May 1960, as also featured in the limited edition Hornby set available exclusively from our shop. Unfortunately, our other original coach, No.320, is currently in no fit condition to run.
    Dave's recent updates:
Track complete across the viaduct - 22 April 2010 - Pat Plane First coach lifted on jacks - David Chappell - 14 April 2010 6575 in the paint shop - Dave Clarke - 18 April 2010


Fenchurch with a Spring Special - Tony Sullivan - 22 April 2010 25 April:
  • Tony Sullivan's photo taken on Thursday illustrates the first week of Spring Specials. Even in this view of the old station site at West Hoathly, the mass of line-side primroses can be seen, along with other spring flowers. The Spring Specials, which consist of one of our smaller engines hauling the 1913-built LNWR Observation Car, continue this coming week. Next week we have our "Bluebell Specials", which essentially follow the same format, although with different timings. Seating is limited, so advance booking is essential for these trains. Phone 01825 720800 or see details here.

  • Today, Dave Clarke (seen below), a volunteer in the Bluebell's Carriage and Wagon Department, ran the London Marathon (all 26 miles 385 yards of it) to raise funds for the restoration of our Maunsell Restaurant Car (Dining Saloon 7864). He completed it in 4 hrs 29 mins and 23 secs. Our congratulations to Dave, and our sincere thanks to those who have already sponsored him; the total raised so far is in excess of £1000.
    It is not too late if you would still like to sponsor Dave or support the project.

  • Update to the Loco Roster, showing what locos we expect (subject to any unforseen changes) to be in steam each day for the next few months, with thanks to Lewis Nodes.

  • Photos from Derek Hayward showing recent progress with the HLF-funded "Operation Undercover" project.

  • On Friday morning, an engineer's special train, formed of B473 and the Observation Car, visited the current northern limit of our line at Imberhorne Lane. Ray Wills has provided a few photographs on fotopic.

  • On Thursday, Jon Bowers organised a photo charter using the U-class loco with appropriate SR stock:

  • More updates and further photos below...
Dave Clarke after completing the London Marathon - 25 April 2010 - Richard Salmon U-class with SR Milk Tank and Maunsell coaches - Andrew Strongitharm - 22 April 2010 U-class with BY and Maunsell coaches - David Haggar - 22 April 2010
  • Edward Hankey supplies the photo below showing some of our visitors enjoying the Rail Ale train on Friday 16th April. There are two further such evenings this year, on 4 June and 20 August. Details of how to book are available here, or just phone 01825 720800.

  • The following day was our spring Collectors' Fair, and Martin Lawrence's photo below shows the stalls set up on platforms 1 & 2 at Horsted Keynes. The timeless scene with B473 entering Horsted Keynes that day is also his.

  • Ashley Smith has edited his HD video from the 1983 weekend last month.

  • Peter Richards has updated the news page for the Signalling Work at Horsted Keynes. There are now four points controlled from the lever frame, as part of the phased changes being implemented. There is also news of signalling developments at Kingscote and East Grinstead in preparation for operations on the northern extension.
Passengers enjoying our Rail Ale train - Edward Hankey - 16 April 2010 Collectors Fair - Martin Lawrence - 17 April 2010 B473 - Martin Lawrence - 17 April 2010


Baxter being re-assembled at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 11 April 2010 12 April:
  • Details now available for:
    • Sat 5 & Sun 6 June Open Day at East Grinstead
      The last chance to walk across the viaduct - see progress with track laid down to the tip, and progress with constructing the new platform at our East Grinstead station site. Tickets now available - discounted if purchased before 1st June.
    • Saturday 3 July Open Day at East Grinstead
      The official opening of our new platform at our East Grinstead station site.

  • Derek Hayward's photo taken yesterday shows Baxter being re-assembled - this should be the next loco to be steamed after overhaul at Sheffield Park.


B473's crew at Horsted Keynes - 9 April 2010 - Bill Vigar 10 April:
  • Apologies for mistakenly having given the impression yesterday that the fares for our 50th Anniversary Gala (6-8 August) would be our normal fares. They are now correctly shown as our normal Special Event fares (as they were prior to yesterday), with a discount applicable if booked before 4th July.

    Please do note however that between Saturday 31st July and Thursday 5th August, when Tornado will be one of the two locos rostered to haul our normal service trains, we are still charging our normal fares, with the Bluebell Bonus discount. The Bluebell Bonus discount applies to tickets booked at least 8 days in advance. You can even reserve a seat behind Tornado on these days.

  • Bill Vigar's photo shows the crew of B473 with their engine at Horsted Keynes yesterday.


Bluebell 50 at Sheffield Park - Matthew Cousins 9 April:
  • Further details are now available of our 50th Anniversary events in August. In particular, we can now confirm the planned dates for the visits of the two main guest locos, the newest and oldest working steam locos in the UK.
    "Tornado" will be running every day from 31 July to 8 August.
    Furness Railway No.20 will be running most days from 6 to 15 August.
    Fares for the Anniversary Weekend (6-8 August) are just our normal Special Event fares, with a discount available if booked before 4th July.
    Guarantee a seat on your chosen train by booking in advance:
    • You can reserve seats on the trains behind "Tornado" for the period 31st July to 5 August.
    • You can reserve seats on special trains behind FR 20 for 11, 12, 14 or 15 August.
    Full details on the 50th Anniversary events page.

  • Matthew Cousins' artwork (right) for the 50th Anniversary shows a recreation of The Pioneer train.

  • Dave Bowles has some photos taken yesterday.

  • Ashley Smith now has compiled HD videos from the Branch Line Gala - Saturday and Sunday


E4 with GN saloon and SR stock - Peter Austin - 4 April 2010 8 April:
  • Another of Peter Austin's photos shows B473 with the 3pm departure from Kingscote on Sunday.

  • Update to the Loco Roster, showing what locos we expect to be in steam each day, with thanks to Lewis Nodes.

  • Update to the page for Locos Formerly Based on the Bluebell, with the latest information on 'Townsend Hook', other minor corrections for some of the other locos, and with various links updated.

  • I gather there are a few tickets remaining for the next Rail Ale train (on the evening of Friday 16th April) - take the opportunity to book now whilst you can! Phone 01825 720800.


C-class with Golden Arrow - Peter Austin - 4 April 2010 7 April:
  • Peter Austin's photo from Sunday shows the Golden Arrow Pullman train has returned following Fingall's repaint. Dave Clarke's picture and an enlargement, below, show the Pullman Car on Thursday when extracted from the Carriage Works, where it had spent the previous three months receiving minor bodyside repairs and a full repaint.

  • The final photo below is another of Peter Austin's, showing the U-class emerging from the tunnel on Sunday.

  • On 25 April Dave Clarke, a volunteer in the Bluebell's Carriage and Wagon Department, will be running the London Marathon (all 26 miles 385 yards of it) to raise funds for the restoration of the Bluebell Railway's SR Maunsell Restaurant Car No. 7864. If you would like to sponsor Dave, please download and complete the sponsorship form here. If you would like to support the restoration with a larger sum of money, through Gift Aid via the Bluebell Railway Trust, please use this Gift Aid / donation form. If you have difficulty opening these PDF forms, choose to "download" rather than simply clicking on the link. You should then be able to open the file with Adobe Acrobat.

  • Updates in the Loco Works News on the overhaul of P-class 323 "Bluebell" (from Duncan Bourne, with Derek Hayward's photos) and on the S15 No.847 from the Maunsell Locomotive Society
Fingall fresh from paint shop - Dave Clarke - 1 April 2010 Fingall fresh from paint shop - Dave Clarke - 1 April 2010U-class 1638 - Peter Austin - 4 April 2010


E4 and C at Sheffield Park - Martin Lawrence - 3 April 2010 6 April:
4 April:

Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 27 March 2010 1 April:
  • Further details now available for the Southern at War event on 8 & 9 May
    Turn back the clock to the days of the Second World War with re-enactors, military vehicles, displays and concert parties.
    We can now confirm a flypast by the BBMF Dakota (on the Saturday only).
    Discount on advanced ticket purchases made before 4th April. Tickets may be purchased in advance via our Sales and Information Office on 01825 720800.

  • Steve Woodmore has a gallery of 3D photos of the Bluebell (you need red/blue anaglyph glasses to view them).

  • We hope you enjoyed this morning's little "Poisson d'Avril" (as the French would have it - purely a coincidence that Radio 4's Today programme was trying to persuade us this morning that Shakespeare might actually have been French).

    Thanks to Andrew Strongitharm for the photo editing - see the first photo below, and Derek Hayward for agreeing the use of his photos of the viaduct.


    Sir Archie on the viaduct??? - Andrew Strongitharm and Derek Hayward - 1 April 2010 This does not take away from the fact that we do actually have track across the viaduct, and the waste extraction will be starting in the next couple of months, by rail. We are hoping to be able to offer rides over the viaduct from East Grinstead as part of our 50th Anniversary celebrations in August (although this is still subject to confirmation, since there's a lot to do to get to that stage). Tornado will be coming in by road, since even if we had £3 Million now, and we'd then be well on the way to completing the clearance of the tip, actually re-opening the full line by August is just a tad ambitious! But don't let that stop you donating to our 50th Anniversary Appeal - since we cannot make progress without money - it's the only thing now holding up the completion of our Northern Extension Project.

  • Derek Hayward's photo (above right) shows the care being taken to maintain the flower beds at Kingscote, and, along with the second photo below, illustrates the canopy on Platform 1 which has received substantial repairs over the period whilst the track replacement in the tunnel was taking place. Derek's third photo, below, shows the great work undertaken by the Wednesday gang on the trackside at Rock Cutting.

  • During March there were 69,257 total hits on this page, from 38,315 unique visitors.

Kingscote canopy - Derek Hayward - 27 March 2010 Kingscote canopy - Derek Hayward - 27 March 2010

42085 passing Birch Farm foot crossing - John Goss - 28 March 2010 29 March:

42085 leaving Kingscote - Tony Sullivan - 28 March 2010 28 March:
  • Tony Sullivan's photo on the right shows No.42085 leaving Kingscote at 11.55am with the first down service this morning.

  • Martin Lawrence's photo below catches the C-class with its Victorian carriages passing a rainbow today. Martin also has two videos from today: A journey with 42085 and 42085 departs from Kingscote.

  • Enjoy Sunday Lunch at the Bluebell Carvery: Sundays 4, 11, 18 & 25 April and 2 May. The cost is £8.95 per head (children under 14 half price, and children under 5 eat free!). Alternatively there is a special all-inclusive price for the carvery (in the Birch Grove Suite at Sheffield Park), with unlimited travel on our trains that day of £18.95 (for adults); advance booking is required. Contact our customer services team on 01825 720800 for more information or to book.

  • Derek Hayward now has photos taken last Friday available: updates of progress with 323 "Bluebell" and 55 "Stepney" in the Loco Works, and on the HLF-funded carriage shed and museum project where the pile-driving has been completed.

  • We are very sorry to have to report the sad news that Norman Blake (a driver and our H&S Manager) passed away in the early hours this morning, following a heart attack. This has come as a total shock to us all, and our thoughts are particularly with his wife and family. The portrait below of Norman on the footplate of the O1 was taken by Dave Bowles on 30 September 2006.

C-class and Rainbow - Martin Lawrence - 28 March 2010 Norman Blake on the footplate - Dave Bowles - 30 Sept 2006

42085 on Freshfield Bank - David Haggar - 27 March 2010 27 March:
  • David Haggar's two photos illustrate two of the three trains running today. Firstly we see the LMS Fairburn Tank No.42085 on the 11am service, on Freshfield Bank, with a set of coaches which included three Bulleids. 42085 is running again tomorrow (Sunday), which will be the last steaming of its current visit to the Bluebell. The second photo shows C-class 592, with 5 teak coaches, approaching Horsted Keynes with the 12 noon service from Sheffield Park. The Metropolitan coaches were in public service and the GN Directors' saloon was hosting a meeting of the Trustees and volunteers of the Howlden Trust, the charity which owns and looks after the saloon. The saloon is behind the engine in Derek Hayward's photo below, taken at Tremains. Tomorrow the GN saloon will be in public service for first-class ticket holders, although not offering its full catering service. For that, one needs the third train, the Wealden Rambler special afternoon tea train, which today was hauled by the Dukedog No.9017 (seen approaching Kingscote in the second of Derek's photos below), in place of B473 which has a leaking joint in its main steam pipe. The GN Directors' saloon will also be running over the Good Friday & Easter weekend, serving home-made scones and cakes.

C-class approaching Horsted Keynes - David Haggar - 27 March 2010 C-class at Tremains - Derek Hayward - 27 March 2010 Dukedog with Wealden Rambler - Derek Hayward - 27 March 2010

LSWR Nos. 488 and 1520 - Derek Hayward - 26 March 2010 26 March:
  • The superbly restored LSWR Brake Third Carriage No.1520 was relaunched today following a complete rebuild from a rotting stripped-out departmental shell. The coach, which is also celebrating its centenary (having been built in March 1910), was re-launched by Andy Pitt, Mangaing Director of South West Trains (effectively the modern-day LSWR). It was also posed with LSWR Adams Radial Tank Loco No.488 at Sheffield Park, and out on the line just north of the station for photos, and is seen on Poleay Bridge in this photo on the right from Derek Hayward. It is also seen as the first carriage in the special train hauled by "Fenchurch" in Andrew Strongitharm's photo below, passing Tremains crossing this afternoon. This is the third loco or coach overhaul completed so far as part of our 50th anniversary year, following on from LBSCR loco B473 and SECR loco 178.
    It should also be noted that significant effort has been put into refreshing the appearance of the Radial Tank in preparation for this momentous occasion.
    More photos of the event are available from Alex Morley, who also supplies the second and third photos below. More of Derek's photos have been added to his current photo album, including the fourth photo below, showing 672 to the North of Sloop Bridge.

  • Tomorrow (Saturday) night David Foale will be presenting a film show in the Bessemer Arms (at Sheffield Park station) at 8pm entitled Steam - Home & Away, a collection of films that David has made. The event is open to all and is free with a retiring collection (probably towards a Bulleid-oriented project!).

  • This year, on several dates, the Bluebell is promoting a Vintage 472 Bus Service between Brighton and Sheffield Park. The first day is Easter Sunday 4th April. Details, dates and timetable.

  • Belated notification of the following which were overlooked earlier:
  • Other recent photo updates:

1520 relaunch special passing Tremains crossing - Andrew Strongitharm - 26 March 2010 1520 with 488 in Sheffield Park Station - Alex Morley - 26 March 2010 488 with 1520 outside Sheffield Park Station - Alex Morley - 26 March 2010 1520 relaunch special, North of Sloop Bridge - Derek Hayward - 26 March 2010

178 and 672 departing from Sheffield Park with the Wealden Rambler - Derek Hayward - 21 March 2010 23 March:
  • The photo on the right from Derek Hayward shows 178 (as "Pioneer II") and 672 "Fenchurch" hauling the Wealden Rambler on Sunday. The first of the photos below shows the U-class hauling the "1983 Service" train on Freshfield Bank. Derek's recent updates: Last Sunday's train service, including LSWR Loco 488 outside the shed, an update on progress in the loco works on 323, and the weather has improved enough for 73082 Camelot's frames to be painted.

  • LSWR Carriage 1520 had a successful test run down the line on Thursday 18th March.

  • Links added to the web site of the Bluebell's resident artist, Matthew Cousins.

  • Peter Skuce has updated his galleries of Bluebell Carriages: (exterior and interior photos of SECR No.1098 and Bulleids Nos.1482 and 2526), plus improved interiors of the Metropolitan Railway carriages. Also updates to the page for the LBSCR E4 "Birch Grove", showing it in BR Black (as 32473, on the Bluebell and when visiting the Spa Valley Railway) and in its current SR olive green as B473.

  • Don't forget that we have two service trains (Service 1) plus the Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea special running next weekend, with the Fairburn Tank. No.42085 in use on one of the service trains - if you missed it at the Branch Line event, now's your chance. The second service train will be formed of the Metropolitan coaches, hauled by the SECR C-class loco, and B473 will be hauling the Wealden Rambler. As previously notified, the tunnel is going to be open and services will be running through to Kingscote, so the originally planned "1990 timetable" has been replaced with our normal one.

  • We will bring you a report on the relaying of the track through the tunnel later, but below are two photos from Mike Hopps, showing the smaller track job at Black Hut, just south of the tunnel which was tackled at the same time. The first photo, taken on 17th March shows the terram and plastic down as well as a new french drain to the right, the ballast graded and first panel of track back in place. Two days later and the job was nearly finished, just awaiting attention from the tamper which is currently visiting us.

U-class on Freshfield Bank - Derek Hayward - 21 March 2010 Relaying track at Black Hut - Mike Hopps - 17 March 2010 Relaying track at Black Hut - Mike Hopps - 19 March 2010

22 March:
  • Job Vacancies currently advertised:
         Silver Service Waiting Staff
         Carriage Works Supervisor
         Carriage Trimmer
    See details.


42085 with Pullmans at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 13 March 2010 18 March:
  • Sat 27 and Sun 28 March: Due to the early completion of the engineering work in the tunnel, the planned "1990" weekend will not now take place. Instead trains will operate the full length of the line to Kingscote, to our hourly Service 1 timetable, with the visiting Fairburn Tank 42085 hauling one of the trains. Derek Hayward's photo illustrates the engine, looking at home at Sheffield Park last Saturday!

  • Update from Derek Hayward to the photo gallery detailing the work being done at Sheffield Park on the HLF-funded "Woodpax" shed and museum project.


Baxter re-assembled - Trevor West - 14 March 2010 15 March:
  • Message from Roy Watts: "On behalf of myself as Chairman, the Trustees, Directors, Staff and the Membership of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society, we would like to wish our President Bernard Holden MBE, a very happy 102nd Birthday.
    "Although Bernard has not been in best health of late, he still retains a keen and active interest in the activities of the Railway and its people and is kept informed of all the progress that is being made.
    "Happy Birthday Mr President!"

    Bernard appeared on the BBC South East local news this evening and there was also a photo and mention of him at the end of the ITV South East news. He has received many cards from Bluebell members and he would like to thank them all for their good wishes. He was in good form when Tony Sullivan saw him earlier tonight.

  • Trevor West's photo, taken yesterday, shows progress with the overhaul of our 1877-built Fletcher Jennings loco "Baxter", which has been re-railed. The boiler has passed its steam test and been re-fitted to the frames. The loco has new axleboxes, and a new front buffer beam, in addition to the work done to the boiler.

  • Derek Hayward also has some photos (from Saturday) of 42085 posing at the head of the Pullman set, Baxter, and of progress on 323 Bluebell where preparations were being made to change the cylinders. The smoke box and cab of S15 No.847 have been replaced by a visiting crane (and there was also a lot of progress on the boiler last week). The driving wheels of H-class No.263 are being painted.

  • We were featured on GMTV on Wednesday, with our carriage restoration project featuring as the example of the current projects out of 75, for the launch of this year's The Peoples' Millions scheme. You can watch it online here.

  • Talking of the 3360 project, Dave Clarke has a photo update here, with the repair of the second end nearly completed, and showing that the coach has moved into the main works area, along with Stroudley third No.328.

  • The second part of Daniel Green's video of the Branch Line Weekend is now available.

  • Dave Bowles has photos from the second of the 1963 weekends.

  • Our thanks to those who bid in the auction for the WSR tickets (see below, 7 March). The tickets will shortly be on their way to the winner, and our Northern Extension fund will be the beneficiary (...and thanks again to the WSR for providing the tickets). If anyone else would like to contribute towards the Northern Extension Project, why not purchase "Tenner for the Tip" certificates. Alternatively you could donate to our 50th Anniversary Appeal - Gift Aid can be applied to donations made under this appeal.


C with Wealden Rambler - Derek Hayward - 6 March 2010 7 March:
  • Auction in aid of the Bluebell Railway's Northern Extension Project.
    In exchange for supplying some photos for use in their Gala programme, the West Somerset Railway have given us two one-day passes (for Saturday 27th March) to their Spring Steam Gala - details of which are here. The photographer in question was unable to use them personally, and, with the kind agreement of the WSR, has offered them for auction in aid of the Bluebell Railway's Northern Extension Project.

  • Derek Hayward's photo on the right shows the C-class with the Wealden Rambler yesterday. Reminder that this train runs next weekend for Mothers Day afternoon tea specials.
    Derek also has an update on the overhaul of P-class No.323 "Bluebell" - the boiler has been lifted.

  • Andrew Strongitharm's photo below shows the 1963 recreation yesterday with 178 "Pioneer II" heading the train northwards. John Goss provides a photo showing 672 "Fenchurch" today, hauling the Chesham set in the reverse direction.
    Andrew also has an update to his current gallery of photos with those taken yesterday.

Pioneer II heads the 1963 recreation - Andrew Strongitharm - 6 March 2010 Fenchurch hauls the 1963 recreation southwards - John Goss - 7 March 2010

Coach over the pit - David Chappell - 4 March 2010 5 March:

178 shunting LCDR coach 114 at Horsted Keynes - 26 February 2010 - Dave Clarke 1 March:
  • Dave Clarke's photo shows "Pioneer II" shunting LCDR carriage 114 as part of its test run last Friday. Dave also has a photo news update on the LCDR coach 3360 (the Peoples' Millions project), as well as some more photos showing 178's test run and shunt on Friday, and the 4 Cor, plus current progress on the overhauls of Bulleid coach 5768 and SECR Birdcage 3363.

  • If any BRPS member wishes to increase their shareholding to a level where they will qualify for benefits (or move up to a higher level of benefits) in 2011 and 2012, then the deferred payment scheme whereby you purchase shares from the society's holding, by instalments, may be of interest. The scheme is raising £104k already, and it all helps our push to clear the rubbish from the tip and get us to East Grinstead.

  • Derek Hayward has pictures from the 1963 service on Saturday, and in the works, a start has been made on painting the driving wheels for 263, with work now progressing on 323 'Bluebell' (Saturday) and Rob Faulkner has some of 323 from Sunday, as well as photos of 178 in steam, and work on preparing the cab doors for 178.

  • With apologies from Gavin for the time it has taken (understandable in the circumstances!) the notes from the October, November 2009 and January 2010 BRPS Committee Meetings are now available on the Society Members' Information page.

  • During February there were 65,965 total hits on this page, from 34,892 unique visitors.


42085 heads South from Horsted Keynes - 21 February 2010 - Edward J Dyer More photos and videos from the Branch Line Weekend:

Edward Dyer's photo showing 42085 near Horsted Keynes taken last Sunday nicely illustrates the superb range of photo galleries and videos notified to us over the last week.



B473 and the '4 Cor' - 27 February 2010 - Derek Hayward 28 February:
  • Sundays in March: BLUEBELL CARVERY in the Birch Grove Suite
    Join us for Sunday Lunch on 7th, 14th (Mothers Day) or 28th March 2010
    £8.95 per head (children under 14 half price) and children under 5 eat free!
    or £18.55 including an all day adult travel ticket, or £16.45 if booked in advance (March only).
    Booking essential - Contact the customer services team on 01825 720800

  • Derek Hayward's photo shows B473 at Horsted Keynes yesterday, alongside the "4 Cor". Derek's photo below shows another departure of the main service train, behind Pioneer II, yesterday. Andrew Waller took the second photo below on a box camera, showing Pioneer II soon after arrival at Sheffield Park in 1969, with Baxter.

  • Talking of "Baxter", I'm told that its boiler passed its hydraulic test last week! Will it be the next loco to steam again, or will "Stepney" beat it back into service? What a year this is shaping up to be!

Pioneer II and Fenchurch depart from Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 27 February 2010 Pioneer II soon after arrival at Sheffield Park in 1969, with Baxter - Andrew Waller

178 (running as Pioneer II) hauls its first train in preservation - 27 February 2010 - Tony Sullivan 27 February:
  • Our SECR P-class tank No.178 hauled its first train in preservation this morning, and Tony Sullivan's photo on the right shows it, the 10.50am Sheffield Park to Horsted Keynes service, led by 178 (as Pioneer II, the name and livery carried when it entered preservation in 1969). The Chesham set is tailed by 672 "Fenchurch" in a re-creation of the service we ran in 1963, in the days before it was possible to run round the train at Horsted Keynes. This "1963 re-creation" continues tomorrow and next weekend, with Bluebell timetables and services from subsequent decades being recalled in the following weeks. Further details of the timetables in use are available here.

  • Tony's photo below shows another aspect of the 1963 scene, with a representation of a 4 Cor unit No.3142 in the once electrified platform at Horsted Keynes. The Southern Electric Group's 4 Cor motor coach is open to visitors this weekend and next.

  • Tim Baker's photo shows B473 with the Wealden Rambler this afternoon. The headboard is the same one which adorned the train we ran on the Bluebell in the 1960s. Also just as it did then, it is a train offering the service of afternoon tea, and is in operation every Saturday and Sunday until end of March. Details here - advanced booking required.

4 Cor recreated at Horsted Keynes - Tony Sullivan - 27 February 2010 Wealden Rambler at Sheffield Park - Tim Baker - 27 February 2010

26 February:
  • Tomorrow sees the return to service of SECR P-class 0-6-0 No.178, celebrating its centenary. Operating for just a few weeks in its 1960s guise as "Pioneer II", it is taking part for the next two weekends in our reconstruction of the Bluebell's 1963 service, with departures from Sheffield Park at 10.50, 11.50, 12.50, 1.50, 2.57 and 4.12. Trains are only running as far as Horsted Keynes, due to track relaying in our tunnel, and Fares will be the usual "One Stop" prices, with return tickets allowing unlimited travel for the day. Further details, including the timetable are available here.

    Just as in 1963, the carriages will be the four-coach "Chesham" set, and the train will be topped and tailed by the "P" and a Terrier.

    1963 was the last year in which Horsted Keynes saw an electric service from Haywards Heath, and the once-electrified platform 2 will be host to the Southern Electric Group's 4 Cor motor coach No.11201 coupled to our three contemporary Southern Railway carriages, to enhance the re-creation. The 4 Cor motor coach will be open to visitors.

  • Mike Floate's photo below shows the loco as it was on arrival at the Bluebell in 1969, and Edward Dyer's photo was taken of it raising steam in the shed at Sheffield Park last Sunday.

  • Our thanks to everyone else who has sent photos and links to galleries and videos of last weekend's event - they will appear here soon!

178 at Sheffield Park - Mike Floate - 26 December 1969 178 in steam - Edward J Dyer - 21 February 2010

178 makes its first in-steam moves in preservation - 21 February 2010 - Derek Hayward 21 February:
  • Derek Hayward's photo shows that SECR 178 made its preservation debut in steam today, just in time for the end of the Branch Line Weekend. This evening it was tested further, moving around within the Sheffield Park station limits - so it's looking good for its use in the recreation of our 1963 timetable next weekend. It will carry the guise of its former industrial identity "Pioneer II" for the next few weeks until the full lining out, and SECR lettering and crest can be applied. This may be a relief to those who feared that the newly made "Nettle" nameplates might have been carried - this having been the informal name the loco has acquired over the last couple of years around the loco works (clearly chosen following the theme set by the other two P-class locos, which have carried the names of other plants common on our lineside, "Bluebell" and "Primrose")!

    Below is another of Derek's photos from today, showing an appreciative crowd on the station platform admiring the loco as it moves about the station on its first test run. Several more photos are available on Derek's photo gallery.

    Robert Faulkner has added some photos of the work which took place on the engine yesterday to his gallery.


  • More Branch Line Weekend Photos and Videos:
178 at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 21 February 2010 Fenchurch with the goods train - Martin Lawrence - 20 February 2010 80151 leads 78019 - Martin Lawrence - 20 February 2010 B473 - Martin Lawrence - 20 February 2010 Backlit Fairburn - John Goss - 20 February 2010 Fairburn - Dave Chambers - 20 February 2010

42085 departs from Kingscote - 20 February 2010 - Andrew Strongitharm 20 February:
  • Well, by general concensus, a successful day today, the first day of our Branch Line event, with the absence of 178 being the only aspect of the timetable not to go to plan. The Fairburn tank is seen on the right in Andrew Strongitharm's photo. I gather that, had it not been for the extra maintenance effort we had to expend on this loco in the last few days, then 178 would also have been running - the last items were completed on it today, and so it should be in light steam at Sheffield Park tomorrow. Derek Hayward's photo below shows the works team swarming over the loco today. He has also updated his album about 178's overhaul.

    The other photos below are from David Haggar (B473 and 42085), another from Andrew (78019 with 80151), from David Warwick (Fenchurch on the goods train, 42085 and B473) and another from Derek Hayward (dusk falls as the C-class departs from Sheffield Park with the superb set of pre-grouping carriages).

    Photo albums are available from


P-class being completed - Derek Hayward - 20 February 2010 B473 - David Haggar - 20 February 2010 42085 - David Haggar - 20 February 2010 78019 with 80151 - Andrew Strongitharm - 20 February 2010 Fenchurch with the goods train - David Warwick - 20 February 2010 42085 - David Warwick - 20 February 2010 Fenchurch with the goods train - David Warwick - 20 February 2010 592 departs from Sheffield Park at dusk - Derek Hayward - 13 February 2010

Fenchurch and the Fairburn in light steam - 19 February 2010 - Andrew Strongitharm 19 February:
  • Andrew Strongitharm's photo shows 672 "Fenchurch" and the Fairburn Tank 42085 being warmed through gently in preparation for our Branch Line Weekend.

  • If any Bluebell members are free this weekend (or any other running day), we could do with help selling "Tenner for the Tip" certificates on the trains. If you can help, please contact our Sales and Information office.

  • Update to the C&W news page for the SECR Birdcage Brake, covering the completion of work on the roof, work on the interior of the former second class compartments and doors, and the first olive green topcoat applied to the exterior.

  • Update: 4.36pm Friday: Unfortunately we are back down to six locos for the Branch Line weekend, since 178 has a couple of minor problems: The reverser does not go full-stroke, thus the valves cannot be set, and in addition the trailing axlebox wedges are too tight. So the plan is to leave it in the works and allow visitors inside to see it. We are confident it can all be sorted out in a few days, so will run the following weekend as part of our 1963 timetable.

  • Stop Press, 10.40am Friday: 42085 should be in steam tomorrow!
  • One attraction only just advised - brake van rides at Horsted Keynes.
  • It looks as though there will be 7 locos in steam this Saturday and Sunday. The P-class will be in light steam at Sheffield Park. If 42085 cannot run, 9017 will be steamed in its place.
  • Other updates on the page for the event:
    • The first train each day is a short goods train hauled by Fenchurch.
    • There is a passenger train from Horsted Keynes to Sheffield Park at 9.33am each day.
    • It has not been possible to shunt Pullman Car Doris into a platform at Horsted Keynes, so it will not be open.
    • The times for Guided Tours of the carriage works are: 12.35, 1.10, 1.50 and 2.25.


16 February:
  • P-Class 178 passed its full steam test yesterday. Subject to its overhaul being completed in time and no issues found, the loco should be in steam this coming weekend for the first time since it entered preservation.


Track laid onto the viaduct - 10 February 2010 - Michael Hopps 15 February:

178 nears completion in the works - 13 February 2010 - Derek Hayward 14 February:

Beer launch with 78019 - 13 February 2010 - Andrew Strongitharm 13 February:
  • 78019 and 9017 and 592 were in steam today, as seen in the photos below. First though there was the small matter of launching the new 50th Anniversary Ale, brewed for us by Harveys of Lewes. Andrew Strongitharm's photo shows Norman Baker (MP for Lewes) and Miles Jenner (head brewer at Harveys) at Sheffield Park station this morning with a presentation pack of the beer.

  • Andrew Strongitharm has added some more photos from today to his current album, including the photo of the Dukedog below.

  • Two of Derek Hayward's photos below show the visiting 2MT 78019 departing from Kingscote, and the C-class with the Wealden Rambler at West Hoathly.

  • Martin Lawrence's photo of the Dukedog with the four 1920s/30s SR coaches rounds up today's report.

  • We apologise for the unreliability of our web site today, we are trying to establish the cause of the intermittent fault. [Now cured by re-starting the TCP/IP process].

9017 after dark - Andrew Strongitharm - 13 February 2010 78019 departs from Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 13 February 2010 592 at West Hoathly - Derek Hayward - 13 February 2010 9017 - Martin Lawrence - 13 February 2010

11 February:
  • Update to the Carriage Works News page for our LCDR coach project funded by The People's Millions/Big Lottery Fund.

  • Aidan Grant has two new videos on YouTube from last Sunday, featuring B473 and 78019. Also from Sunday are videos from "21C123" and PenrithBeacon.

  • Update to the loco roster - unfortunately 42085, which is receiving some repairs in our workshops as part of the loan agreement, is probably not going to be able to run at Branch Line Weekend, but with our other visitor 78019, and the newly overhauled LBSCR B473 and (we hope) the preservation-era debut of SECR 178, it should still be a great event, with hopefully 6 locos in steam. We will keep you informed of developments over the coming week.

  • The Wealden Rambler afternoon tea trains are now completely sold out for Valentines' Weekend. Seats are still available for Saturday 27 & Sunday 28 February and every Saturday and Sunday in March. Advance booking is essential - phone 01825 720800.

Marking out for lining - Derek Hayward - 6 February 2010 9 February:
  • Derek Hayward's photo on the right is one illustrating the new report on the overhaul of SECR P-class loco No.178, which is progressing very rapidly - it's going to be very tight to complete the loco for Branch Line weekend in under 2 weeks time, but that's still the target! 80151 has also been added to the loco line-up for the event.

  • The Bluebell Museum web site has a page with photos showing progress with the HLF funded project to build our new carriage running shed and museum building at Sheffield Park.

  • On Saturday, 13th February, our 50th Anniversary Ale, brewed by Harveys of Lewes will be launched at Sheffield Park Station. At 10.45am, Norman Baker (MP for Lewes) and Miles Jenner (head brewer at Harveys of Lewes) will perform the ceremony to launch the Ale.
    The bottled Ale is brewed with malted barley, pinhead oats, and a blend of English Fuggle and Styrian Hops. There will also be a draught version of the ale on sale throughout the year in the Bessemmer Arms at Sheffield Park. The recipe for this will vary to reflect the changing seasons.
    The current Harveys' brewery building was erected in Lewes in 1881. The line to East Grinstead opened in 1882, so the brewery has watched the Railway come and go. However we are pleased that the Railway is able to continue this link with the County Town of East Sussex in this way.
    Please remember to drink responsibly.

  • The total raised for the Bluebell through EasySearch is now over £500! A very easy way to raise funds for us - simply do your internet searches through this link (bookmark it now) rather than any other search engine.

  • Photos from Dave Bowles and Paul Gildersleve, taken on last Friday's photo charter organised by Jon Bowers, featuring the Dukedog and a train of engineers' wagons.

  • Derek Hayward has updated his gallery of "Bluebell People", adding pictures taken in 2009 and early 2010. The pictures are in random order, and therefore mixed with some from previous years. As always, he is grateful to people who have been caught in a position which allows an entertaining caption! Derek is always pleased to include names of individuals in captions, but requires personal permission from those concerned to do this. Please contact Derek if you would like your name included. Otherwise, by default, pictures remain anonymous unless you are (for example) an office holder in the PLC or BRPS, in which case you can reasonably expect to be identified.


78019 and 42085 on shed - 6 February 2010 - Chris Suitters 7 February:
  • Chris Suitters' photo (right) was taken last night and shows No.78019 on shed at Sheffield Park. The loco is being disposed of after having worked the evening Regency Belle Pullman service. No.42085 rests in the background.

  • Kids for a Quid - February Half Term (Saturday 13th to Friday 19th February) - all children (aged 3-15) travel for just £1 each. Valid on all timetabled service one train departures, for third-class travel.

  • Don't forget you can book your Bluebell Bonus tickets at least 8 days in advance of travel and save 20% on our standard fares - please telephone 01825 720800, or visit the Sales and Information Office above the Shop at Sheffield Park.
    Bluebell Bonus tickets give unlimited travel on the day of your visit (discounts are also available on 1st Class and BRPS members fares)
    Further details available here.

  • The Valentines Weekend Regency Belle Pullman trains are fully booked, but some seats in the Lounge Cars remain on the Wealden Rambler afternoon tea trains. Phone 01825 720800 to book seats.
    Both the Regency Belle and the Wealden Rambler Lounge Cars are operating in March as well - book up now!

  • Matthew Nightingale has a few photos on his Flickr gallery of B473 and 78019 running on Saturday, and a YouTube video

  • Tom Waghorn also has a gallery of photos from yesterday.

  • Derek Hayward has uploaded more of his photos of 78019 from yesterday, as well as some more of B473, some showing work in progress in the loco works on P-class 178 and one of some recent work on P-class 323 plus some photos showing the work undertaken by the Friend of Kingscote in clearing lineside undergrowth around Birchstone Bridge.


78019 running on 6 February 2010 - Andrew Strongitharm 6 February:
  • 78019 and B473 ran today, and photos are available as follows:
    • Andrew Strongitharm has a new album with some photos from today, including the photo on the right.
    • David Haggar provided these two videos of 9017 in a photo charter yesterday on YouTube: Departing from Sheffield Park and the second at Monteswood, and the photo below is from the latter location.
    • Derek Hayward has added two photos from today, with more to come later. The photo of 78019 below is also from him.
    • Martin Lawrence has provided the photo of B473 today, complete with its four matching coaches.

  • Also today as part of pre-arranged engineering work on the visiting Fairburn Tank No.42085, one of its springs has been changed.

  • During the week, the boiler has been put in the frames of SECR P-class No.178.

  • Mk.I composite carriage No.16263 has been removed from our stock list. The carriage has been sold and has now left the Railway. It had been held in reserve in case we had decided that the overhaul of the Bulleid composite carriage No.5768 was not going to be feasible, but having started the work, we are now confident that the overhaul of 5768 will be fairly straight-forward, and the proceeds of the sale will help to fund this overhaul.

9017 on photo charter - David Haggar - 5 February 2010 78019 at Birch Farm Crossing - Derek Hayward - 6 February 2010 B473 - Martin Lawrence - 6 February 2010

78019 at the Great Central Railway - Jon Horrocks - 16 August 2009 5 February:
  • 78019, the BR 2MT 2-6-0 built in 1954 at Darlington, which is visiting us from the Great Central Railway for our Branch Line weekend in two weeks time, will be sharing the two-train Service 1 timetable this weekend with newly returned to traffic LBSCR E4 B473. Jon Horrocks' photo shows 78019 at the Great Central last summer.

  • Work started on 20th January on our LCDR carriage project (Carriage Works News update available) being funded through The People's Millions. Thanks to Dave Clarke for the pictures and story. His own photo site goes into much greater detail than is possible here. His photo below shows the carriage being shunted longside our operational LCDR coach, after being craned onto a temporary underframe on 20th January.
Carriage with 114 ourside the shed - Dave Clarke - 20 January 2010


Birch Grove on relaunch train - 30 January 2010 - Andrew Strongitharm 2 February:

Birch Grove on relaunch train - 30 January 2010 - Tony Sullivan 31 January:
  • The relaunch into service of our LBSCR E4 0-6-2T No.B473 (Birch Grove) took place yesterday, and the sun shone, resulting in lots of great photos! That on the right is from Tony Sullivan.

  • Galleries of photos of the relaunch available from:

  • Below are some more photos from Saturday. Derek Hayward's photo in the yard at Sheffield Park shows that the Fairburn Tank has arrived ready for Branch Line weekend, seen here standing next to the BR Standard 4, the design which displaced the Fairburns from the ex-LBSCR branch lines.
  • Three more of Derek's show the residents of Birch Grove who were invited to take part in the re-launch of the locomotive named after their hamlet, Father Dr John Twisleton, the Rector of St Giles Church, Horsted Keynes and Chaplain to the BPRS, blessing the locomotive, and later in the day, a spirited departure from Sheffield Park.
  • The last photo below, from Michael Hopps, shows the engine at Kingscote in the dark, on the special evening train run for working members of the Railway.
42085 and 80151 at Sheffield Park - 30 January 2010 - Derek Hayward Birch Grove residents with Birch Grove the locomotive - 30 January 2010 - Derek Hayward Chaplain blesses the loco - 30 January 2010 - Derek Hayward B473 departs from Sheffield Park - 30 January 2010 - Derek Hayward B473 at Kingscote after dark - 30 January 2010 - Michael Hopps


30 January:

Birch Grove in January 2010 - Dave Phillips 29 January:
28 January:
  • Major update to the Extension progress page, with photos from Michael Hopps, covering work undertaken over the last 4 months.


27 January:
Stop Press - B473 Launch - Saturday 30th January
Our newly overhauled LBSCR E4-class loco will be relaunched into service on Saturday, with a ceremony at 2pm at Horsted Keynes.

The special train that afternoon will be formed of four coaches in matching Southern Railway livery, and is principally intended for the volunteers and staff who have worked on the project, and our invited guests. However, 80 seats in ex-SECR carriage No.1098 will be available to the public on a first-come - first-served basis. The train will leave Horsted Keynes at 2.45pm for a round trip of the line, and tickets (at normal all-line return fare) can be booked by ringing our Sales and Information office on 01825 720800.

The special train will then leave Sheffield Park at 3.30 for Kingscote, leaving there at 4.30, returning to Horsted Keynes at 4.45 and then back to Sheffield Park. A special evening train for all working members (i.e. Volunteers and Staff) will also run.

B473 will also haul these matching coaches in public service on Sunday 31st January. Timetable service 2 will be in operation for the public services.


Golden Arrow Video produced by Rail TV UK 24 January:


Work progresses on viaduct - Michael Hopps - 2 Dec 2009 23 January:
  • Quite a bit of publicity generated on radio and the Internet, thanks to one of our supporters who is "selling" the rubbish from the tip on eBay to raise funds to help clear the 90,000 tons of rubbish, which is all that is between us and our extension to East Grinstead.

    You can buy a shovel-full for 99p, or a whole barrow load! (In fact 99p pays for 25kg and £10 for a quarter of a ton of rubbish to be removed). Do it now!!!

    If you want to give larger sums of money, for the development of the railway, why not donate directly to our 50th Anniversary Appeal, or purchase a "Tenner for the Tip" certificate.

    If you are not yet registered in eBay, if you register to raise funds for us through EasyFundraising, and then join eBay, the Bluebell gets ANOTHER £4.50.

    In case you haven't heard, we now plan to take the rubbish out by train, 1000 tons per day, each train saving 50 lorry movements. We will be starting this later in the spring, once we have laid track down from East Grinstead to the north end of the tip.

  • Michael Hopps' photo taken in December shows that, following the waterproofing work, the ballast has now been laid right across the viaduct, along with the cable ducts for the signalling.


Horsted Keynes signal box levers - Derek Hayward - 17 June 2009 18 January:
  • Derek Hayward's photo (taken last year) shows the rebuilt lever frame in the Horsted Keynes signal box, to which No.25 points are now connected - see news reported yesterday, below.


Approach to Sheffield Park - 17 January 2010 - Nick Talbot 17 January:
  • Nick Talbot took this photo from the footplate of the C-class at about 12.30pm today, showing the fields of water on the approach to Sheffield Park. The waters were starting to subside by the end of the day.

  • On Saturday Ashley Smith filmed the 1.02pm service at Horsted Keynes - available on YouTube, and also has some stills taken that day.

  • Used postage stamps: The Maunsell Loco Society now have a suitably labelled box for collecting used postage stamps in the Waiting Room at Sheffield Park. The money raised by the MLS in this way at the present time will go towards the overhaul of SR Schools-class loco No.928 "Stowe".

  • Resignalling progress at Horsted Keynes: Following weeks of backroom work, at 5pm on Saturday No.25 points (the dock siding points) were officially transferred to the lever frame and their switch on the back wall of the signal box removed.
    Charles Hudson operated these points for the first time using the refurbished frame by pulling lever 25. Charles now has the honour of being the last person to use the old frame before it was put out of use and the first person to use the new frame.

  • Update on yesterday's photo - whilst this will be the first time that 178 has been operational in preservation, the boiler pictured is actually the one which arrived on No.323, so was in steam on our first day of public service in August 1960. This boiler has however not been used for the last 40 years.


178 boiler steam test - 15 January 2010 - Duncan Bourne 16 January:
  • We can now confirm that we will be running a (steam heated and steam hauled) train service the full length of the line this weekend, Service 2 as timetabled.

  • Duncan Bourne's photo shows the boiler for SECR P-class No.178 undergoing its (successful) out-of-frames steam test yesterday. Now the push is on to get the loco back together and ready to run at the Branch Line weekend next month. This should be the second of six locos to return to service this year!

15 January:
  • We can confirm that we will be running a (steam heated and steam hauled) train service this coming weekend.

    Whilst the ice and snow on the local roads is melting, as of today access to and parking at Horsted Keynes remains less than ideal, so visitors this coming weekend are advised to use Sheffield Park station if possible, although we hope the situation will continue to improve throughout the weekend.

    An inspection of the tunnel will be made in the morning, and if it is clear then Service 2 will operate as normal. If we are unable to run through to Kingscote, then we will operate a Sheffield Park to Horsted Keynes shuttle service.

  • Update to the FAQ page.


34059 comes out of the tunnel - 15 August 2009 - Derek Hayward 13 January:
  • Visit our Facebook Page for a competition: We'd like to know.... What's your favourite part of Bluebell and tell us why? Be it our rolling stock, locomotives, lineside or people? Best answer wins a Bluebell 2010 calendar!

  • David Warwick's photo of No.34059 in the snow on a Santa Special service is Fotopic's front page photo today.

  • Derek Hayward has completed two more galleries, featuring the Dukedog No.9017 "Earl of Berkeley" and Battle of Britain Pacific No.34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair". This photo shows the latter engine leaving Sharpthorne tunnel with its train on 15th August 2009.

  • Yesterday the station platforms at Horsted Keynes were cleared of snow to prepare for the operation of trains this coming weekend, but 3" of fresh snow has fallen overnight, and reports today indicate that Horsted Keynes is again virtually inaccessible due to icy road conditions, with problems also on the A22 and A272 in the area. A thaw is apparently expected on Friday - check this web page for updates later in the week.

  • On Sunday, four of the Carriage & Wagon department made it in to Horsted Keynes, and David Chappell supplies the photo below showing their contribution to clearing the snow from the platforms...

  • Part two of Daniel Green's YouTube video of train services on January 2nd is now available.
Snowman at Horsted Keynes - David Chappell - 10 January 2010


Sam Brown's video on YouTube 12 January:
  • Full details now available for the Victorian Picnic Evenings on 2 & 4 July and 11-12 September. Bookings now being taken.

  • Further details confirmed for the 5 weekends of Timetable Recreations from 1963, 1972, 1983 and 1990, which we are staging during the closure of the line north of Horsted Keynes whilst we re-lay the track through the tunnel in late February and March.

  • Some new YouTube videos:


Steam Test for B473 - Dave Clarke - 30 December 2009 10 January:

1520 in the paint shop - Dave Clarke - 3 January 2010 9 January:
  • Dave Clarke's photo of LSWR brake 3rd No.1520 taken on 3rd January shows that Paul Welch has finished the lining and sign writing of the east side. It now awaits two or three coats of varnish, some more work to complete the interior, and then final mechanical set-up over the pit. It is hoped to have the carriage finished by the end of March.

  • Dave Clarke has also now published his latest photos of various Carriage & Wagon department projects:

  • Andrew Strongitharm has assembled an album of his "Best photos of 2009".


8 January:
  • In view of the uncertainty about the weather next weekend, it has been decided to put the re-launch of B473 (LBSCR E4 "Birch Grove") back to 30th January. Consequent update to the Loco Roster.


7 January:
  • Trains cancelled this weekend
    Because of the problems staff and passengers would have faced in reaching the Bluebell Railway this weekend, we have taken the decision to cancel all our trains, and close to visitors, on 9-10 January.


Sharpthorne Tunnel in the snow - Gary Saunders - 6 January 2010 6 January:
West Hoathly station site in the snow - 6 January 2010 - Gary Saunders 80151 on Saturday - John Evans - 2 January 2010

C-class with the staff of the Victorian Train at Kinscote - Derek Hayward - 2 January 2010 4 January:
  • The next dates for Photographers' Personal Track Safety training sessions, required to qualify for the new certificate (which acts as a lineside photographic pass) are: Friday 15th January, Saturday 6th February, Saturday 13th March and Sunday 21st March.
    To book a training session please contact the General Office.

  • An exhibition, illustrating The Bluebell's operations and the impending extension from Kingscote to East Grinstead, has just opened at [East Grinstead Library] Chequer Mead Arts Centre in East Grinstead. The exhibition also includes material relating to the services this year, and the opportunities for volunteering which help the railway to provide the extensive range of activities on offer.

  • Derek Hayward's photo on the right shows the volunteer crew of our Victorian train at Kingscote on Saturday, and the first photo below is also from Derek from Saturday, showing the Victorian train arriving at Kingscote.

  • The second photo below (from Martin Lawrence) shows the Dukedog, one of the three locos running on Sunday. Martin has videos on YouTube of all three climbing Freshfield Bank: the Dukedog, the C-class which was hauling the last Pullman service until February, and the Standard tank 80151.

Victorian Train arrives at Kingscote - 2 January 2010 - Derek Hayward Dukedog with one of the three trains running on Sunday 3rd January 2010 - Martin Lawrence

C-class with the Victorian Train - Paul Pettitt - 2 January 2010 3 January:
Dukedog backlit at Horsted Keynes - 2 January 2010 - Mike Hopps 80151 recedes into the distance - 2 January 2010 - Martin Lawrence Woodpax sidings clear - 1 January 2010 - Derek Hayward


C-class with the Victorian Train - Tony Sullivan - 2 January 2010 2 January:
  • Update to the web page for the February 20-21 Branch Line Weekend, with details of the locos expected to be in steam, and a couple more attractions which have been notified to me.

  • Photos today from Tony Sullivan showing the Victorian Train at Horsted Keynes, together with the reformed Scrooge and Bob Cratchit who were also there, giving out presents to the children.
Bob Cratchit at Horsted Keynes - 2 January 2010 - Tony Sullivan Bob Cratchit at Horsted Keynes - 2 January 2010 - Tony Sullivan


Dukedog with the Mets, Remembrance weekend 2009 - Mike Hopps 1 January 2010: Happy New Year
  • 2010 is the Bluebell Railway's 50th Anniversary year:

  • Tomorrow (2nd January) we are able to offer passengers with All Line tickets purchased for travel before or on the 2pm train the opportunity to:
    • Visit Mr Scrooge in his office where all children will receive a gift
    • Play the Victorian games (Hoop-la, Splat-a-rat and the shooting gallery)
    Passengers wishing to take advantage of these activities must obtain supplementary tickets, priced at £2.50 per adult and child, available from Sheffield Park & Horsted Keynes Booking Offices or the Sales and Information Office at Sheffield Park.
    Note: Mr Scrooge's office will close at 3pm.
    Visitors wishing to travel on the Victorian Train and receive the refreshment hamper must instead book specifically for the Victorian Train service.

  • Mike Hopps noticed that we'd not had any photos from the Remembrance weekend on here, so here to make up for it are his photos of the two poppy-bearing engines from 7th November 2009.

  • During December 2009, there were 32,905 unique visitors to this page.
U-class with train, Remembrance weekend 2009 - Mike Hopps


The Current What's New page, the what was new archive, the 2016, the 2015, the 2014, the 2013, the 2012 and the 2011 archives contain all the recent update information.

Also see the 2009, the 2008, the 2007, the 2006, the 2005, the 2004, the 2003, the 2002, the 2001, the 2000, the 1999 and the 1997-8 "What was new" archive pages.

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