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Bluebell Railway Blog:
Archive 2017


Please be aware that due to the historical nature of this page, some of the links on it may be out of date.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

Also see the 2016, the 2015, the 2014, the 2013, the 2012, the 2011, the 2010, 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.


Blog and Web-site Update Archive 2017

25 August:
Bluebell Railway Cricket Match and Barbecue: Saturday 2nd September 2017

We are pleased to announce that the annual Bluebell Railway Cricket match against Scaynes Hill CC will be played on Saturday 2nd September. The team will be captained by Stuart Marks, our Locomotive Superintendent.

This match will take place at Scaynes Hill's beautifully-set new ground at Freshfields, adjacent to to the Railway's Freshfield Bank.

We still require players, and call on anyone with any cricket ability (or their relation) and a connection of any sort to the Bluebell to contact me by email - j.walls1(at)btinternet.com

This has been a great day out over the last two years, and is followed by a barbecue at the Scaynes Hill club house. There is also food and drink on the day, and we may also organise a barbecue during the day for those that can't stay for the evening. We are keen that this event develops into a Bluebell social occasion. If you are interested in attending please let me know at the above email address. Good parking is available at the ground.

We look forward to seeing you!

John Walls (Editor of Bluebell eNewsletter and wicketkeeper)

18 August:
O1 enters Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 16 August 2017
  • The SECR O1, No.65, has been back in action this last week, and was caught by Brian Lacey as it rounded the curve past the C&W works on the approach to Horsted Keynes with the 12.15 service from Sheffield Park on Wednesday.

  • Our 1877-built 'Captain Baxter' is hauling Vintage Goods Trains tomorrow, Saturday 19 August, to this timetable.
    Our public Passenger trains run to our Service Two timetable.
    It's also our Seaside Weekend, so there are lots of extra activities for kids, in the paddock at Horsted Keynes.

  • VehicularBrit's new video showing the visiting 34092 'City of Wells' on a trip on our line.

  • The 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society has posted a photo of 'Camelot' at Eastleigh in August 1961. Taken by Mike Peart, No.73082 was probably on a passenger working from Bournemouth West to Waterloo.

  • Martin Lawrence has completed his gallery for July, featuring No.30541 on a goods train, the visiting No.34092, the return of No.65, and much more.

  • Derek Hayward has added 30 images to his Bluebell 2017 collection.


15 August:
H-class 263 at Deans Crossing - Derek Hayward - 6 August 2017
  • Derek Hayward's photo shows SECR H-class No.263 at Deans Crossing on 6 August.

  • This coming weekend is our special Seaside Weekend, with lots of additional attractions, including a sandy beach and the Bluebell Railway Band providing music.

  • We have raised over £22,000 through EasyFundraising. Many thanks to those people who already support us in this way. If you don't yet, please do sign up to support us when you shop online - it costs you nothing!

  • News Update Report and photos showing the repairs to the north end doors of the Camelot Locomotive Society's CCT van.

  • John Sandys' photos from yesterday, with the O1 and S15 on the trains. Our two-train Service Two timetable continues daily.

  • More details now available for our Steam Through the Ages event over the weekend of 23-24 September. This new event will bring different eras of history to life with a different period recreated at each station.

  • News Update Infrastructure update for 14 August - OP4 with thanks to Jon Goff.
    Following excavation and levelling last week, work on the tramway being installed adjacent to the maintenance road in OP4 moved on today with the laying out of the track. It was also coupled up and straightened out. The first picture below shows a lot of jacks in place to bring it up to the correct height and to get it level.

    The remainder of this week will be spent getting it exactly level and packing under the sleepers so that the jacks can be removed. A lot of shuttering has to be made up to produce a three inch flangeway inside the running edge, putting in drainage from the flangeway to the installed drainage system as any water used for cleaning will invariably end up in the flangeway. It will then all be concreted in. Notice the low blockwork wall to the right which will act as the east side shuttering and also form a good base for the curtain wall when it is installed.

    The rails used came from the pile of second hand flat bottom short sections used for temporary short panels through the cutting when laying the extension. They are too short and in too poor a condition for use on our running line, but fine for track to accommodate bogies etc during maintenance. The sleepers (47 of them) are just about our entire stock of thin concrete sleepers, old and second hand and a good way of using up the odds and ends without spending money. As the rails were odd sizes that were going to be cut down (but didn't get cut) we ended up with a final length of 31.296 m or 102' 8". Hopefully the tramway will be useable next week.


Maintenance tram-track in OP4 shed - Jon Goff - 14 August 2017 South ends of F & G roads in OP4 shed - Jon Goff - 14 August 2017
Tram track in maintenance area F and G roads in OP4

In the background of the tram-track photo are the North ends of F and G road within the shed. In the second photo the South ends of F road can be seen to need about 40' of track and G road about 50' to reach the end of the shed. Since the last report the rails in these two roads have been drilled and fish-plated up. It will probably be after the next track relaying on our main line before further track-laying happens in the shed. The aim however remains to get carriages under cover for this winter.


14 August:
Q-class to the North of Deans Crossing - Derek Hayward - 6 August 2017
  • Derek Hayward's photo shows the Q-class No.30541 to the north of Deans Crossing, with the lunchtime Pullman train. With the Wealden Rambler set under scheduled maintenance, the Mk.1 FO which currently usually also runs with the Pullmans was absent on this occasion.

  • Update to the Locomotive Stock List, recording the operational status of the O1, and also to the page for Operational Locos.

  • News Update A short update to the Project 27 BlogSpot, outlining some of their activities over the last few weeks.

  • Update to the web page for SR Passenger Luggage Van No.1184, with thanks to Martin Skrzetuszewski and Jon Elphick.

  • Update to the Wagon Stock List, adding a list of wagons formerly on the Bluebell.

    The re-built Sheffield Park Inner Home Signal - Brian Lacey - 12 August 2017

  • Brian Lacey's first photo (right) from Saturday shows the re-built structure of the Sheffield Park Inner Home bracket signal, now complete with the refurbished signals, yet to be brought back into use, and shows well the temporary arrangement which has been in place at ground level whilst the work has been in undertaken, with colour lights for the main running signals and the calling-on signals for shunt moves.

    His second photo, below, shows the H-class after its arrival at Platform one at Sheffield Park with the 1.15 service from East Grinstead, forming a nice cameo with 'Fenchurch' in the dock, a view that is not normally available if the Wealden Rambler stock is present in its siding on the right.

H-class and Fenchurch at Sheffield Park - Brian Lacey - 12 August 2017

8 August:
F and G roads going in to OP4 shed - Bruce Healey - 8 August 2017
  • News Update Yesterday the first track was laid in the Horsted Keynes OP4 carriage shed. Using some of track recovered from Freshfield Bank in June, a start has been made on F and G roads. The panels are not yet drilled and fishplated and there is of course ballasting to be done for roads H and J. As we have not used all of the recovered track, more will be laid in OP4 this week.
    Work on the points to connect to OP4 continues alongside the Ardingly spur although we are still awaiting delivery of some parts.
    Two further photos, below, were taken earlier in the day by OP4 Project Manager Barry Luck.

  • John Sandys has added some photos of work taking place in the Locomotive Works at Sheffield Park taken yesterday to his album from Monday.

Track Laying in OP4 shed - Barry Luck - 8 August 2017 Track Laying in OP4 shed - Barry Luck - 8 August 2017


7 August:
Baxter with the Elephant Van - Richard Salmon - 5 August 2017
  • 'Captain Baxter' was on hand on Saturday to celebrate the official launch of the restored Elephant Van as our new Children's Play Carriage at Horsted Keynes. It will be open for public use as from Tuesday. The van, modified in British Railways' days to carry circus elephants, has been restored externally to BR condition and fitted out internally by our staff and volunteers with funding from Arts Council England's Resilience Fund.
    'Captain Baxter', our 1877-built Fletcher Jennings 0-4-0T locomotive, after shunting the van into place for the ceremony, then gave brake van rides around the station under stormy skies as seen in Richard Salmon's second photo below.

  • Keith Duke's pictures from Horsted Keynes on Saturday feature 'Captain Baxter' shunting the Elephant Van into position, and below, the assembled crowd awaiting the arrival of the van in the dock at Horsted Keynes.
    See also a couple of photos of the ceremony from Martin Lawrence.

  • John Sandys' photos from today including the departure of 'City of Wells' by low loader.

  • Keith Duke's set from today.

  • A few shots by Dave Bowles from Sunday morning featuring the H, S15 and the Q.

  • Derek Hayward has updated his Bluebell 2017 collection with 40 images taken during July, including some previously unseen images of 34092 'City of Wells' and the launch of 65.

  • The 2018 Golden Arrow Murder Mystery details and dates are now available.

Awaiting the arrival of the Elephant Van - Keith Duke - 5 August 2017 Baxter with the Queen Mary brake van - Richard Salmon - 5 August 2017


4 August:
H-class and Birdcage Brake at West Hoathly station site - Brian Lacey - 1 August 2017
Wickham Trolley out on a maintenance job - Brian Lacey - 1 August 2017 S15 No.847 bursting out of the tunnel - Brian Lacey - 1 August 2017


27 July:
No.65 near Medhurst Farm - Derek Hayward - 15 July 2017
  • Derek Hayward's photo shows the SECR O1 No.65 near Medhurst Farm on the day it re-entered traffic, with three LCDR/SECR carriages behind the locomotive.

  • A reminder that your last chance to ride behind No.34092 'City of Wells' during its visit to the Bluebell is this coming weekend, which is also our Toy & Rail Collectors' Fair. 'City of Wells' will be hauling the 11:10, 1:30 and 4pm departures from Sheffield Park (12:05, 2:30 and 5pm from East Grinstead).

  • New link to Real Skills who offer Rail Training, Rail Apprentiships and Rail Assessments. Could be of interest to anyone considering turning their passion for railways into a career.

  • Derek Hayward's photo below shows 'Camelot' North of Sloop Bridge with the goods train on 15 July.

  • The S15, having received some maintenance work and passed its annual boiler exam, has been back in action this week, and is seen here in Brian Lacey's photo arriving at East Grinstead in the rain yesterday.

'Camelot' North of Sloop Bridge with the goods train - Derek Hayward - 15 - 15 July 2017 847 arrives at East Grinstead - Brian Lacey - 26 July 2017


26 July:
34092 at Leamland Bridge - Steve Lee - 7 July 2017
  • Steve Lee's photo shows No.34092 'City of Wells' at Leamland Bridge with the 4pm service from Sheffield Park on Friday, the first day of our 'End of Southern Steam' event, Friday 7 July. This visiting locomotive runs for the final time on the Bluebell this coming weekend.

  • This coming weekend is our Toy & Rail Collectors' Fair at Horsted Keynes - Railway Artefacts, Model Railway Equipment and many other goods to be found. Normal travel fares apply. Horsted Keynes station admission ticket £3.00 per person from 10.00am.

  • Throughout August - Summer Fun - Sports, Games, Falconry, Children's farm & Entertainment - see web page for details and dates.

  • 19-20 August: Seaside Weekend - all the fun of the seaside, complete with a sandy beach! This year we have some exciting new displays and entertainers to bring some seaside magic. For lunch why not enjoy traditional Fish and Chips followed by an Ice Cream? Book at least 8 days in advance to get our Bluebell Bonus discount!

  • Updates to the pages for Maunsell carriages 6575, 2356 and 1365, SECR 1098, LBSCR Directors' Saloon No.60 and LSWR/SR 320, with thanks to Martin Skrzetuszewski and Jon Elphick.

  • Photos by Jon Horrocks taken on Sunday, featuring the O1, 'City of Wells' and the S15, as well as other locos around the loco yard and shed.

  • Photos from John Sandys, taken on Thursday 20 and Tuesday 25 July.

  • Photos below from Derek Hayward, taken on 15 July, show the crew of the O1, which entered service that day, and No.73082 'Camelot' approaching Kingscote with the Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea Train.

O1's crew at Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 15 July 2017 'Camelot' approaches Kingscote with the Rambler - Derek Hayward - 15 July 2017


24 July:
No.65 at Three Arch Bridge - Peter Edwards - 15 July 2017
  • Peter Edwards' photo shows SECR O1 No.65 at Three Arch Bridge on the day it re-entered traffic after overhaul, Saturday 15 July, with the 5.15 service from Sheffield Park. The O1 has been performing excellently, and is due to run every day this week, as part of our holiday-time two-train service (Service Two Timetable).

  • We are expanding our Education Department, and are looking for new Education Volunteers to join us.

  • Our latest E-newsletter (corrected link) includes details of the four new Directors of the Railway (who all act in a volunteer capacity). They will be formally confirmed as board members at the plc AGM in August. They each bring an impressive amount of relevant experience to their respective roles.

  • WARNING: Tuesday 25 July - the A275 will be closed between Sheffield Green and Sheffield Park all day for carriageway repairs.

  • News Update SR School's Class No.928 'Stowe' was lifted from its wheels in the works yesterday, following the re-wheeling of 80151's chassis last week. A huge amount of boiler work is in progress on both of these locomotives.


    Culture, Leisure and Tourism award in the Lewes District Business Awards

  • News Update We are pleased to be the winners of the Culture, Leisure & Tourism award in the Lewes District Business Awards - download Press Release (PDF).

  • News Update Great news from the project to overhaul our SECR P-class No.27, as the order is placed for new frames and cylinders! Donations are now urgently needed to enable these components to be completed as soon as possible.

  • Keith Duke has some photos from this Saturday, and some from the previous Saturday.

  • In spite of the weather, Saturday was a great day on the Bluebell, as testified by Reuben Grace's video.

  • The two photos below show 'Camelot' at West Hoathly Station Site with Saturday 15th's goods train (Andrew Crampton) and 'City of Wells' yesterday (Brian Lacey).
    The next goods trains run on 19 August (hauled by 'Captain Baxter') and 9 September (behind the S15).
    'City of Wells' will run for the last time during its visit to the Bluebell each day next weekend, which is also our Toy & Rail Collectors' Fair.

'Camelot' at West Hoathly Station Site with the goods train - Andrew Crampton - 15 July 2017 'City of Wells' yesterday - Brian Lacey - 23 July 2017


14 July:
Bluebell Railway - Making Tracks (Overnight relaying - June 2017)

12 July:
34092 approaches New Road Bridge - Ashley Smith - 8 July 2017
  • Ashley Smith's photo shows No.34092 'City of Wells' approaching New Road Bridge on Saturday 8 July during our 'End of Southern Steam' weekend. The visiting 'West Country' class pacific will be running on the Bluebell, hauling some of our steam trains, each weekend until the end of July.

  • Ashley Smith's other photos, and this video cover the Friday and Saturday of the event, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the end of steam on the Southern Region.

  • There will be a Goods Train running on Saturday morning (15 July), to this timetable.

  • Our next Rail Ale Train, on 21 July, is now sold out, but tickets remain for the final one this year, on 22 September.

  • Our Autumn Tints run on 2, 3, 4, 10, 12, 17, 18 & 19 October. This year these services use the Observation Car (£1 supplement) and our Lounge Cars. Pre-booking is recommended.
    New for 2017: Autumn Tints in our Restaurant Car "At The Sign Of The White Horse" - enjoy a Bowl of Soup at lunchtime, or a Cream Tea, for which pre-booking is essential.

  • This year you can choose to start your journey on our Santa Specials from either Sheffield Park or East Grinstead. They run on 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 22, 23 & 24 December, and initially 3rd-class tickets can be booked online, from 17 July. First Class tickets and phone booking will be available at a later date.

  • From the End of Southern Steam event:

  • "Tim's Video Channel" has some great coverage of our Model Railway Weekend.

  • The two photos below show 'Camelot' at Horsted Keynes (Steve Lee, Friday) and 'Blackmoor Vale' and 'City of Wells' on shed (Mike Anton, Monday).

Camelot at Horsted Keynes - Steve Lee - 7 July 2017 'Blackmoor Vale' and 'City of Wells' on shed - Mike Anton - 10 July 2017


6 July:
34092 on test run - Tony Sullivan - 6 July 2017
  • Tony Sullivan's photo catches No.34092 'City of Wells' on a test run today. The locomotive is visiting to help us mark the "End of Southern Steam" 50th Anniversary with a special event starting tomorrow (Friday), and running until Sunday. The timetable for the event is available to download as a pdf.

    This video shows 'City of Wells' at East Grinstead this afternoon on its test run, thanks to Samuel Murphy-Kelly.

  • Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with expected locomotive use for the remainder of July.

  • News Update Update to the Infrastructure News page with thanks to Jon Goff, illustrating work being done to prepare new points to connect up the new carriage storage shed at Horsted Keynes, the tidying up the exposed foundations of the old shed, and work on the walkways in the Sheffield Park Carriage Shed. Jon's photo below shows the planned line of the access to the shed at Horsted Keynes, coming off the Engineers siding, which itself will need slight re-alignment.

  • Entries are now open for our easy-to-enter Football Competition, where you try to predict the teams' positions in the Premier League and who might win the FA Cup next year. The competition is run to raise funds towards the restoration of Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864.

  • Martin Lawrence has now completed his galleries for April, the Flying Scotsman Gala, for May, including the Branch-Line Weekend, and June. Martin's latest video is a compilation of clips taken at the Bluebell Railway between January and July 2017. It includes, ballasting at Horsted Keynes, the Diesel Gala, Branchline Weekend the vintage goods train and more.

  • John Sandys provides some photos from today, which saw Camelot take over from the Q-Class (which needed more work on its super heaters - we hope both locos will be running tomorrow), a large turnout of coach passengers plus more work on the 01 and City of Wells making its test run.

  • Brian Lacey's photo below shows the Q-class as it arrives at East Grinstead on Wednesday.

Proposed OP4 access rails - Jon Goff - June 2017 Q-class arrives at East Grinstead - Brian Lacey - 5 July 2017


1 July:
34092 unloaded at Sheffield Park - Tony Mallinson - 30 June 2017
  • Yesterday saw No.34092 'City of Wells' unloaded at Sheffield Park, as photographed by Tony Mallinson. The locomotive is visiting for our "End of Southern Steam" event, which starts on Friday 7th July. The timetable for the event is available via the PTI page.

  • Details are now available for August's Summer Fun - Sports, Games, Falconry, Children's farm & Entertainment.

  • Booking is now open for Christmas Dinner on the Golden Arrow Pullman train, on 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22 & 23 December.

  • Next Friday's Fish & Chip evening supper train is sold out. Book early to join us on future dates: 3, 10, 17, 18, 25 & 31 August, 1 & 8 September.

  • News Update The recent newsletter from the Standard Class 2 No.84030 project has now been published on this web site.
    This newsletter is sent to project supporters when produced, and only appears here a while after - if you would like to receive it when first published, why not Subscribe to it and support the project?

  • News Update From Project 27, covering the restoration of SECR P-class No.27.

  • Full coverage of the Bluebell's Model Railway weekend from Derek Hayward, and these photos and video from Ashley Smith

  • A huge album of photos from Carl Simmons, capturing the atmosphere around the railway on 29 June.

  • John Sandys provides photos from Tuesday 27 June - quite a rainy day, which saw Camelot on the one train service very busy with coach parties, also some views of the new play ground at Kingscote and the 01 being prepared for service - and Thursday 29 June, a much drier day with more coach parties enjoying the line, the 09 shunting at Sheffield Park, further work on the 01, and work to install walkways in the Sheffield Park carriage shed.

  • Update (with thanks to Jon Elphic) to the page for 09 shunter D4106, adding Martin Lawrence's photo of it newly repainted into its original livery.

  • During June 2017 there were 44,307 total hits on this page, from 25,746 unique visitors.

  • Brian Lacey's photos below show SECR P-class No.323 'Bluebell' arriving at Horsted Keyenes with the shuttle which provided additional services from Sheffield Park, topped and tailed with No.3 'Captain Baxter' over the Model Railway weekend, and No.65, the SER O1, in the yard at Sheffield Park where the last few things are being done to prepare the locomotive for test running.

Bluebell with Victorian coaches at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 24 June 2017 O1 in the loco yard - Brian Lacey - 24 June 2017


22 June:
Q-class at Horsted Keynes with the service train - Tony Sullivan - 21 June 2017
  • Filming was taking place at Horsted Keynes yesterday. No.263 was used with the stock in the photo below for filming purpose, running into and out of Horsted Keynes on numerous occasions.

    Due to the filming, the service trains were all run through platform 2. This shot on the right shows the 1.15pm Sheffield Park to East Grinstead service with No.30541 running into Horsted Keynes. For filming purpose the station had been renamed 'Plymouth Causeway'. Both photos with thanks to Tony Sullivan.

  • We regret that the Food and Crafts event, planned for the first weekend of July, has had to be cancelled. We apologise for any disappointment this may cause. We will still be open, running our normal steam trains, that weekend.

  • We hope you're looking forward as much as we are to our annual Model Railway Weekend this coming weekend. The enhanced three-train timetable is available here.


H-class with filming train - Tony Sullivan - 21 June 2017


21 June:
H-class No.263 north of Horsted Keynes - Phil Horscroft - 17 June 2017
  • Phil Horscroft's photo shows H-class No.263 north of Horsted Keynes with the 10am service to East Grinstead on Saturday 17 June. Below Q-class No.30541 is seen leaving Horstead Keynes with a north-bound goods train in another of Phil's photos taken the same day.

  • This coming weekend, 24-25 June is our Model Railway Weekend, featuring a fantastic array of model railways and trade stands in a large variety of scales running in our loco works at Sheffield Park, the carriage works at Horsted Keynes, and other locations at both stations. The basic timetable will be Service 2 , to which will be added a third public train.

  • We are currently operating our Service 1 timetable Monday-Friday, and Service 2 at weekends. There is no need to pre-book, but there are 'Bluebell Bonus' discounts if you do book at least 8 days in advance (phone 01825 720800).

  • We are advertising two volunteer positions as Competence Standards Managers. These posts could suit retired or partially retired trainers or assessors. More information here.

Q with goods train north of Horsted Keynes - Phil Horscroft - 17 June 2017


19 June:
Q-class arrives at Horsted Keynes with the goods train - Brian Lacey - 17 June 2017
  • Brian Lacey's photo from Saturday shows the Q-class with an unfitted goods train. At the head of the train are two wagons which have just returned to service after maintenance work to rectify faults, the SECR 2-plank Ballast Wagon, and the LBSCR Box Van. Unless plans change, the next goods trains are expected to run on 15 July and 19 August.

  • News Update From Project 27: Frames, Cylinders and LBSCR Railway Service Badges!

  • Derek Hayward has added photos to his 2017 collection, featuring service trains and a large amount of lineside work undertaken by the Friends of Kingscote, much of it unseen from the train. A huge area of embankment between Birch Farm Crossing and Birchstone Bridge has been cleared, and new fences, stiles, handrails and anti-trespass guards installed. Note the animal-friendly gap next to the stiles for dogs to pass through. Further south the main lineside team have been making great progress near Ingwersons clearing embankments that have been in an overgrown state for several years.

  • Neal Ball has loaded two albums onto Flickr: one from the last Rail Ale evening and one from last weekend.

  • Dave Clarke has updated some of his photo galleries with a few new photos:
    - The start of work on the ex-Bicester Military Railway Mk.1 TSO, which is generally in much better structural condition than most Mk.1s of that age.
    - A few photos from the new OP4 shed.
    - A photo of Mk.1 BCK 21246 which is coming towards the end of its time in the paint shop.
    - The roof boards have been repaired and, with the exception of a few of the outer narrow ones, refitted to the roof hoops of the Camelot Society's CCT. The northern ends doors have been removed for stripping and replacement of a couple of planks - the southern doors will probably need complete replacement as they took the brunt of the weather while stored at Kingscote.
    - The 'Elephant Van' has returned to the dock and is in the final throes of fitting out and should be opened to the public in the next few weeks.
    - The first of the overhauled brake doors is being trial fitted to the LBSCR brake third No.949.
    - Lino has been laid in the third class end of Bullied CK No.5768. Only the sliding doors, arm rests and viewframe pictures remain to be fitted to the third class compartments. The final first class compartment and the adjacent corridor ceilings haves been completed. Fitting out of the final compartment has begun. The third class lavatory is also nearing completion. Externally, attention is focussing on the passenger doors and cant rail strips. The latter so that they are ready for painting with the body side. The inner faces of the doors have been painted to top coat in readiness for the internal panelling to be trial fitted and then varnished. The outer faces have been prepped, filled and had the first coat of green undercoat applied.

  • On Friday 9th June, The Maunsell Society ran a special with the Q class on the Wealden Rambler set, as seen in Dave Bowles' picture.

  • Heritage Painting have been about at Sheffield Park quite a bit recently. First they painted the O1's tender, then the 09, D4106, and finally the SER O1 No.65 itself. The aim with the 09 (photo thanks to Tony Sullivan) is that it represents its original livery, and other work is in hand to return the locomotive to as appropriate a condition as feasible. The O1 (photo from Brian Lacey) has since been having its backhead fittings fitted, and should be in steam very soon.

Freshly painted O1 in the Loco Works - Brian Lacey - 17 June 2017 D4106 also newly painted - Tony Sullivan - 8 June 2017


16 June:
Baxter with Victorian carriages at East Grinstead - Brian Lacey - 13 May 2017
  • Brian Lacey's photo shows 'Captain Baxter' with Victorian carriages at East Grinstead during the Branch Line Weekend (13 May).

  • We are currently operating our Service 1 timetable Monday-Friday, and Service 2 at weekends.

    There is no need to book in advance, but there are 'Bluebell Bonus' discounts if you do book at least 8 days in advance (phone 01825 720800).

    Note that this Sunday, 18 June, is the London to Brighton Bike Ride; this will make access to Horsted Keynes station from the West very tricky, so visitors are advised to approach that station via Danehill or West Hoathly, or to join our trains at East Grinstead or Sheffield Park.

  • There are still tickets available for the next Rail Ale train on Friday 23 June - this evening all the beer is from Harvey's of Lewes. Call 01825 720800 to book.

  • Our next special event is:

  • News Update Infrastructure News update, covering mid-May to last week, with thanks to Jon Goff, covering OP4 and the next big track job.

    Not a third line to Ardingly - Jon Goff - May 2017 A third line to Ardingly? Or preparation for something else?

    Following the frenetic track laying season through the winter, the next job was another 200 yards on Freshfield bank at the end of the Temporary Speed Limit. IN ONE NIGHT!!!

    Ten 60 foot panels were laid successfully on the night of Monday 5 June without disrupting trains on either day. A lot of preparation was required with the ten panels built at Horsted in advance using new flat bottom rail and by using up all our stock of good condition second hand concrete sleepers.

    The track panels were moved from the Ardingly siding down to Freshfield Bank and placed beside the positions where they were going to be fitted early on the morning of Wednesday 24 May (as seen in the photos below) before the service trains started. All the other equipment, machinery and components were transported to site and placed in the correct positions ready for use, over the following weeks.


Last three panels leaving Horsted Keynes - Jon Goff - 24 May 2017 Unloading panels in the mist - Jon Goff - 24 May 2017

On the Monday evening, as soon as the last train had cleared the section, a track possession was taken and a convoy of roadrailers etc. made their way down to the work site - just as the rain started, one of the worst nights of rain of the year!

Track alignment - Dave Wilson - 5 June 2017 All the 200 yards of track was removed, the ballast bulldozed, and whacked smoothed and the 22 ton digger brought up ready to start lifting the new panels in. All this was done just as it was starting to get dark. All the new panels were laid, straightened, lightly ballasted and finished to the point where service trains could run safely at the 10mph temporary speed limit. Just after sunrise the rain stopped and everyone had left for home - very wet!

The following evening was spent fully ballasting, tamping and making final adjustments, all finished by midnight including moving the temporary speed limit signs to the bottom of Freshfield Bank at the end of the straight, significantly reducing the length of the restriction.

Several photos (including that on the right) were taken by Dave Wilson (of London Underground and 9F club fame) during the night. For more of these, and a full explanation of the whole job go to the Infrastructure News web page.


9 June:
LNWR Tank at West Hoathly - Julian Clark - 20 May 2017
  • Julian Clark's photo shows the LNWR Coal Tank on its second weekend with us, when it hauled the vintage set, seen here at West Hoathly, on Saturday 20 May.

  • Heritage Painting completed their work on SECR O1 No.65 yesterday, as seen in these photos on their facebook page. They had painted the tender a few weeks ago.

  • Are you interested in joining us as a volunteer? To help you find which department you'd like to try, you can join one of the 'Find out More' days; the next tour is this Sunday (June 11). The meeting time is 10.30am, at Sheffield Park Station, and the day should end around 4.30pm. Book your place on the tour by contacting the General Office on 01825 720800, or just turn up at Sheffield Park on the day.

  • Project 27 will be selling their limited edition reporductions of LBSCR First World War Service badges from Saturday 24th June, coinciding with our Model Railway Weekend.

  • News Update Infrastructure News update, covering April and May, with thanks to Bruce Healey. The two photos below show work underway on Operation Undercover Phase 4, the carriage shed extension at Horsted Keynes, where the gap around the raised section of roof has been being filled in, and second-hand ballast laid. This week our infrastructure team have been hard at work with our first ever overnight track-relaying sessions.

Roof_sides being installed - Bruce Healey - 10 May 2017 Second hand ballast levelled in OP4 shed - Bruce Healey - 10 May 2017

8 June:
S15 and H at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 1 June 2017
  • The S15 and H are seen passing at Horsted Keynes on 1 June in Brian Lacey's photo on the right.

  • We are currently operating our Service 1 timetable Monday-Friday, and Service 2 at weekends.

    There is no need to book in advance, but there are 'Bluebell Bonus' discounts if you do book at least 8 days in advance (phone 01825 720800).

  • Cycle Crawley have a free guided cycle ride to visit us on Sunday 11 June.

  • Heritage Painting are off home today after their fantastic work on the SECR O1. Hopefully we'll see this locomotive back in action in just a few weeks time.

  • Our next special events are:
    • 10 June: Mystery Tour - Fancy a trip to who knows where? Travel by vintage train to Horsted Keynes Station and then jump aboard a beautiful vintage coach for a journey to a mystery location.
    • 24-25 June: Model Railway Weekend.
    • 1-2 July: Craft & Food Festival at Horsted Keynes.

  • News Update Photos and news from Fred Bailey on our Brighton Atlantic project, some of which are also seen below; the Double Ramsbottom safety valves which are complete and ready for pressure testing, and the fitting of the hinges and other components to Atlantic smokebox door is under way.

Double Ramsbottom safety valves - Fred Bailey - 16 April 2017 Fitting the hinges to Atlantic smokebox door - Fred Bailey - 7 May 2017

6 June:
C-class with goods train - Steve Lee - 29 April 2017
  • Steve Lee's photo shows SECR C-class No.592 with a goods train on 29 April. This locomotive bowed out of service, a day early at the end of its boiler certificate, on 13 May after the first day of our Branch Line Weekend. It is hoped that, with a new cylinder block and tyres in hand, its overhaul will not be too far into the future; the biggest challenge being that both of the boilers we have for this locomotive require new copper inner fireboxes.

  • SECR O1 No.65 is in an advanced state of completion in the locomotive works, and Heritage Painting were on site last week and today to apply the finishing touches to the paint finish, as seen in these photos on their facebook page.

  • News Update From Project 27: news of the status of the new frames and cylinders, plus the restored steam reverser change over valve cover.

  • A major new web page has been created for our oldest locomotive, LBSCR Stroudley Terrier No.72 'Fenchurch' and as part of the preparations for a move of this web site to a new server, the pages and photos detailing this locomotive's last overhaul during which it was converted back to represent its original A1 rather than A1X form, have been relocated.

  • Updated web pages for our North London Railway Goods Tank No.27505, BR 20T "Flatrol SB" wagon B900036, BR 25T Well Trolley Wagon B900920, SR Pillbox Brake Van 55993 and LSWR (lengthenned by SR) third-class carriage 320 (as currently modelled by Hornby) with thanks to Jon Elphick and Martin Skrzetuszewski.

  • Note a change to Colin Tyson's email address, for editorial contributions to Bluebell News.

  • We are currently advertising vacancies to work on the restoration of Pullman Car 54, in addition to casual Catering staff, Silver Service waiting staff and kitchen porters, volunteers to help the commercial department, and the position of Fundraising Director.

  • The Premier League has now finished for the season, so the final positions are now available for our fund-raising Football Competition. Particular congratulations to Andrew Sinclair whose predictions for the teams' positions in the Premier League was closest to the actual results and who successfully predicted that Arsenal would lift the FA Cup.
    The total raised towards the restoration of Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864 from the 16/17 competition is £245; Many thanks to everyone who entered. Winners' cheques and entry forms for 17/18 will be issued shortly.

  • During April 2017 there were 58,779 total hits on this page, from 32,561 unique visitors.
    During May 2017 there were 51,375 total hits on this page, from 28,600 unique visitors.

  • The highlight of our Branch Line Weekend was the visit of the LNWR Coal Tank No.1054, which was paired with our LNWR Observation Car. The Obo brings up the rear of this train, seen in Brian Lacey's photo from the Sunday. The leading four carriages, dating from between 1880 and 1897, were also a good match for the 1888-built locomotive.

  • Julian Clark's photo shows the S15 with a combined Pullman train (for the wedding of a Bluebell volunteer) plus Afternoon Tea Wealden Rambler train on Saturday 20 May.

Visiting LNWR Coal Tank at West Hoathly - Brian Lacey - 14 May 2017 S15 with combined Arrow and Rambler sets - Julian Clark - 20 May 2017

28 April:
Sisters on 'Flying Scotsman' - Mike Hopps - 19 April 2017
  • Locomotive crew rostering brought three members of the same family to the footplate of 'Flying Scotsman' on the final day of our Gala Event, as seen in Mike Hopps' photo. Liz Groome was driving supported by her sisters Ruth and Rebecca (both Firemen), acting as Fireman and Cleaner respectively. Meanwhile their dad, Clive Groome, was driving our Southern Railway S15, No.847.

    Of the experience Liz said "The opportunity to drive 'Flying Scotsman' was one we didn't hesitate to accept. Being rostered with family doesn't happen very often and made the day even more enjoyable; an experience of which we now share fantastic memories. Such a great atmosphere across the railway for the duration of the event and the enthusiasm for the loco itself every time we drew into a station was a clear reminder of how lucky we were to be crewing it."

  • Catering Vacancies - we are urgently looking for casual Catering and Silver Service waiting staff.
     
    Goods Train Timetable for 29 April 2017
  • Tomorrow (Saturday 29th) we have our Toy & Rail Collectors' Fair, with Car Boot Sale at Horsted Keynes.
    The S15 will be hauling a Demonstration Goods Train in the morning to the timetable shown here.

  • A planned event which has yet to receive much publicity is our 7-9 July End of Southern Steam, with visiting Bulleid Pacific: 'City of Wells'.

  • Before then we have another visitor, the LNWR Coal Tank which will be running over the weekend of 13-14 May for our Branch Line Weekend, which will also feature all four operational SECR locomotives, 'Captain Baxter' and the SR Q-class.

  • News Update Project 27 Blog update following fund-raising and publicity stands at the recent gala event at the Bluebell and the Wealden Railway Group exhibition in Steyning. Also mentioned is the forthcoming limited edition replica LB&SCR 1st World War badge - a must for all of our LBSCR enthusiasts!
     
    Taster for 'Flying Scotsman' documentary
  • We are putting together an official documentary video to record the visit of 'Flying Scotsman', and here's a taster from the 5 hours of material which was shot which will be edited down to create the programme. Whether it will be released on DVD or on YouTube has yet to be decided.

  • Alan Bedford photos from Sunday

  • Ashley Smith's photos and video from Flying Scotsman's visit.

  • A pair of photos below from David Long. The Q and the S15 double-heading on the 9.10am service on 17 April, and 'Flying Scotsman' itself.

Q and the S15 double-heading - David Long - 17 April 2017 'Flying Scotsman' - David Long - 17 April 2017
Opposite ends of the line, on Easter day. Brian Lacey's photo below shows 'Flying Scotsman' setting off from East Grinstead with the GN saloon the first of 8 carriages in its train. Then the photo from Graeme & Melanie McAlpine shows the operation which ensued on arrival at Sheffield Park, with 'Flying Scotsman' uncoupled from its train, and moved across to platform 1 to take water and allow footplate visits, whilst the SECR C-class then shunted the GNR Directors' Saloon into the Milk Dock to clear the foot crossing of what would otherwise be an over-long train. The Saloon's next party of passengers would subsequently board the carriage in the Dock before being shunted back onto the train just prior to departure.

'Flying Scotsman' with the GN Saloon at East Grinstead - Brian Lacey - 16 April 2017 'Flying Scotsman' in Platform 1 at Sheffield Park - Graeme & Melanie McAlpine - 16 April 2017
John Goss' photo below shows 'Flying Scotsman' approaching Hazelden Place with 10am service from Sheffield Park on the 16th.

Roy Watts' photo shows the completion of the visit, as 'Flying Scotsman' departs from East Grinstead in the early hours of 20 April.


'Flying Scotsman' approaching Hazelden Place - John Goss - 16 April 2017 'Flying Scotsman' departs - Roy Watts - 20 April 2017

21 April: "Flying Scotsman - Flying South" Gala Report 1
'Flying Scotsman' on Breakfast Special - Paul Furlong - 13 April 2017
  • So the visit of 'Flying Scotsman' came to an end when it left Bluebell metals at around 5am yesterday morning - details summarising the visit are in this Press Release. 'Flying Scotsman' is seen climbing Freshfield Bank with the opening Breakfast Special, in Paul Furlong's photo on the right.

  • Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with expected locomotive use for the remainder of April.

  • Reminder that we have steam trains operating daily - See timetable calendar - Just turn up and ride - no need to book in advance.
    We also have several special events in the coming days and weeks: In addition, on the morning of Saturday 29 April we are running a demonstration goods train, hauled by the S15 locomotive. Times for this will be published here once known.
     
    'Flying Scotsman' at West Hoathly - Gordon Callander - 19 April 2017
  • The photo on the right from Gordon Callander shows 'Flying Scotsman' at the former West Hoathly station site on Wednesday, the last day of the Gala, with the 10am train from Sheffield Park.

  • Today I'll be mainly linking photo galleries (and when I get a chance, in the coming days, videos):

  • The next three photos below are:
    From Roy Watts, showing the opening Breakfast special arriving at East Grinstead;
    Peter Wilson's photo from Sunday shows the token exchange as 'Flying Scotsman' passes non-stop through Horsted Keynes station;
    Robin Willis' photo shows the reception at East Grinstead on Tuesday, with passengers from the train filling the platform, and onlookers on the walkway outside the buffet.

'Flying Scotsman' with the Breakfast Pullman - Roy Watts - 13 April 2017 Token Exchange at Horsted Keynes - Peter Wilson - 16 April 2017 'Flying Scotsman' at East Grinstead - Robin Willis - 18 April 2017
Next we have two from Mike Anton, from the opening day, showing that there was plenty of chance to view the visitor at close quarters, at Sheffield Park, and at the ever-popular foot crossing at the former West Hoathly Station site.

Platform 1 at Sheffield Park - Mike Anton - 13 April 2017 'Flying Scotsman' at West Hoathly - Mike Anton - 13 April 2017
Two photos from Andrew Crampton, also from the opening day, showing the Q-class giving brake van rides around Horsted Keynes (here at Leamland Bridge) and secondly 'Flying Scotsman' heading its 8-coach train away from Horsted House Bridge, with the Great Northern Directors' saloon (built at Doncaster, just like 'Flying Scotsman') bringing up the rear.

Q-class at Leamland Bridge - Andrew Crampton - 13 April 2017 'Flying Scotsman' heads away from Horsted House Bridge - Andrew Crampton - 13 April 2017
Finally for today, a photo of the two Maunsell locomotives, the Q-class double-heading with the S15 on the 9.10am departure from Sheffield Park on 16th April (Robert Else) and Tony Sullivan's photo showing the 10.25-inch gauge Flying Scotsman alongside the larger 15-inch gauge 'Typhoon' from the RH&DR.

Q and S15 - Robert Else - 16 April 2017 Smaller gauges - Tony Sullivan - 14 April 2017

13 April: "Flying Scotsman - Flying South" Gala is underway!
'Flying Scotsman' with pipers - Mike Anton - 13 April 2017
Mike Anton's photos show the first train to be hauled by 'Flying Scotsman' on the Bluebell, accompanied by Gatwick Caledonian pipers: this morning's Gala Pullman Breakfast Train.

Contrary to some reports, the Railway's "Flying Scotsman - Flying South" event is not completely sold out yet.

While the Railway has sold almost all tickets for the 'Flying Scotsman'-hauled services (just a few VIP tickets to travel on the GNR Directors' Saloon for a few trains on some days remain), we still have capacity left on trains hauled by the Bluebell Railway's own locomotives on every day of the event (13-19 April).

For these trains, you can purchase "walk-up" tickets for £25 per adult (50% discount for children between between 3 and 15 years old, inclusive). These tickets will cover travel ALL DAY on trains hauled by our resident locomotives. They also guarantee that you will see 'Scotsman', as platform tickets won't be sold at East Grinstead and might not be sold at our other stations, depending on visitor numbers.

If coming by the mainline rail network, East Grinstead will be the natural place to start your journey. For those travelling by car, and not booked on the 'Flying Scotsman' services, you are encouraged to start your journey at Horsted Keynes (RH17 7BB). Doing so will assist the Railway with car parking demand during this busy time.

Keep watching the Flying Scotsman - Flying South event webpage for the most up-to-date information.

See also the timetable for our trains during this 13-19 April Gala.


'Flying Scotsman' with the Breakfast Pullman - Mike Anton - 13 April 2017

'Flying Scotsman' on route from Keighley - Paul Berry - 11 April 2017 12 April:
  • Paul Berry's photo shows 'Flying Scotsman' on route from Keighley to Southall yesterday before heading down to the Bluebell in the early hours of this morning. It's seen on the right hauling its support coach, passing Hoghton Tower in Lancashire, between Blackburn and Preston.

  • This video from Jason Pollard shows 'Flying Scotsman' at Dormans and East Grinstead in the early hours of this morning, and Brian Seaman's video also covers its arrival at East Grinstead

    Flying Scotsman - Flying South: 13-19 April

  • Come and see everything we have to offer, watch Flying Scotsman at close quarters, and enjoy unlimited travel all day on our own trains for £25. Beat the queues and book e-tickets ahead.
    Children aged 3-15 years half price.
    • Driving: park your car at Horsted Keynes (RH17 7BB)
    • Come by train to East Grinstead (open to those intending to travel only)
    • Bus service from Haywards Heath: catch the specially arranged Compass Service 22
    Limited parking may also be available at Sheffield Park, where car parking is mainly intended for those holding tickets to ride behind Flying Scotsman.
    If you just want to look at the passing trains, admission to our stations at Sheffield Park, Horsted Keynes and Kingscote will be available on the day at £10 per station. Stay as long as you like.

    Food, drink and picnic areas are available. Visit our Museum, Atlantic House, and Loco Sheds at Sheffield Park.
    Brake Van rides behind 30541 at Horsted Keynes - these are free of charge, but a donation will be appreciated.
    Further information is available on the Flying Scotsman - Flying South web page.
    The timetable for our trains during the 13-19 April Gala.
     
    Typhoon at Sheffield Park - Mike Anton - 11 April 2017

  • Mike Anton's photo on the right shows that 'Typhoon', visiting from the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway, has arrived for display at Sheffield Park, to be re-united with 'Flying Scotsman'. More details are available of the recreation tomorrow of the famous 1927 meeting in this Press Release from the RH&DR.

  • If you were lucky enough, a month or so back, to get some of the now sold-out tickets to ride on the trains behind 'Flying Scotsman' itself, you are welcome to spend the entire day with us - your tickets include unlimited travel on the trains hauled by our own locomotives as well.

  • Access to our lineside is restricted to Bluebell PTS passholders, who have received appropriate Bluebell-specific safety training. Visitors must not trespass on the lineside, and please also respect our neighbours' land and property. Parking restrictions are in force on local roads to keep the traffic flowing, and we ask visitors to respect these.

  • For the safety of our trains and visitors, drones or similar airborne photographic platforms must not be operated from Bluebell Railway property or within 50m of Bluebell Railway property, except where specific authority is given. Further information available here - this is based on CAA regulations.
     
  • News Update Finishing the job at Horsted.
    Nicely finished-off 2 and 3 roads at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 8 April 2017 This update on the Horsted Keynes track work, from Jon Goff, brings us up to date with the deadlines met to return the station to full working order in time for tomorrow!

    With 2-road connected at the end of the previous week during the diesel gala, all that was required to get platform 2 usable was some horizontal alignment and tamping the track up to the correct level. It was purposely laid slightly low because tampers can lift track but they cannot lower it. Ballast can get kicked up or dragged up slightly during the sleeper laying and rail insertion processes so it is bulldozed, levelled with the aid of a laser and vibrated 50mm low to allow for this.

    The tamper ran through three times, first with a partial lift mainly to fill the voids under the sleepers, secondly to bring it all up to the correct level and thirdly to remove any final dips and to add an extra 10mm to allow for settlement when traffic starts running over it. Brian Lacey's photo on the right from Saturday shows the nicely finished work, taken from the passing train.

    Prior to the tamper operation there had been a "manual alignment" when the rail was literally pushed horizontally until it was in the correct position by the roadrailer sitting on 3-road. The jib pushed or pulled with a small lift action while one person stood astride the rail directing the driver and checking for the correct measurements from the platform edge. Platform 3 has a quite straight edge but platform 2 varies nearly 100mm over its length with the southern end curved back very slightly. Presumably this is because the road 2 formation primarily went to Ardingly originally. Therefore a slight "by eye" curve was put in starting before the platform end so that the rail face stayed within the correct tolerances. (730mm, plus 15, minus 0) This is not yet perfect and some slight adjustments was intended to be made on Monday earlier this week, right from the existing track at the points at the north end through to the Ardingly points at the south end.

    The alignment and tamping was completed sufficiently on Tuesday evening to open the road for traffic again. Road 3 received another tamp on Wednesday but the last tamp to give the final correct line could not be carried out as the lining wire has not yet been replaced on the tamper. This will be done after Easter when the track has settled.

    The picture below taken from the centre of 3-road shows how good the alignment can be made by just pushing it around with the roadrailer and also show road 2 before being tamped with the hump over the subway being obvious. It shows the difference even an old tamper can make.


Comparison between the tamped 3-road and 2-road before tamping - Jon Goff - 4 April 2017 Camelot on a test run in Platform 2 - Bruce Healey - 5 April 2017
Reinstated north end foot crossing - Barbara Watkins - 7 April 2017 The photo on the right by Barbara Watkins shows the reinstated foot crossing at the north end of the platforms completed last Friday. This can easily be lifted and replaced for maintenance unlike the previous one. It also now sports a very good glass fibre/resin/grit anti-slip surface, with which we intend to cover all wooden walkways as wood can be very slippery when wet.

Since the wires to the signal gantry at the south end of platforms 3 and 4 were reconnected there has been a slight problem with their operation. This was found to be due to the poor state of the timber platform to which the pulley wheels were attached. All the signals at Horsted are in a program to have their planking replaced but not many have yet received the new woodwork. The photo below shows Matt Crawford suitably adorned with the appropriate harness, hard hat, etc. on the gantry with one plank removed and on his phone (there is always someone trying to phone him) "trying to get a good signal!"

The middle photo is of one person very well known around the railway, being a driver and part of the infrastructure gang: John Padgham. He has a cold and nurse Barbara Watkins has given him inhalant in a bowl of hot water and a towel. A caption is still required for this picture...

The final photo shows the signalman's crossing at the south end, partially re-instated as of Monday, which should be completed by now.


Matt trying to get a good signal - Jon Goff - 7 April 2017 Caption required! - Jon Goff - 7 April 2017 Work in progress on Signalman's crossing - Jon Goff - 10 April 2017

S15 leaves Sheffield Park - Mike Anton - 7 April 2017 10 April:
  • Mike Anton's photo, taken using a pole, shows the S15 setting off from Sheffield Park with the 3pm Set B service on Friday.

  • An updated component sponsorship list for the Brighton Atlantic is now available.

  • In advance of the visit of the Flying Scotsman, the South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust have provided a further Defibrillator for the Bluebell Railway. We think that the Bluebell is the only preserved railway with a Defibrillator at every station.
    The picture below show our GM, Gordon Owen MVO, receiving this vital life-saving kit from Tim Fellows of Secamb.

  • Martin Lawrence provides a photo below, showing David Chappell and Dave Clarke in the Carriage Works Yard, with a group of potential new recruits during the April Find Out More volunteer recruitment day.
    Martin has also completed his March Gallery.

Tim Fellows presents the railway with a Defibrillator for Kingscote - 7 April 2017 Find Out More Day tour at Horsted Keynes - Martin Lawrence - 9 April 2017
  • Finally below we see two photos from this Saturday, with the H-class hauling the SECR 100-seater and three Southern Railway Maunsell carriages near Lindfield Wood on the Set A service train (Derek Hayward), and the SECR C-class with the afternoon tea train (Wealden Rambler) the same day, passing though the newly re-opened 2-road at Horsted Keynes (Brian Lacey).
H-class in Lindfield Wood - Derek Hayward - 8 April 2017 C-class at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 8 April 2017

2 and 3 roads completed - Bruce Healey - 5 April 2017 8 April: Infrastructure Report:

News Update Catching up, thanks to Bruce Healey, on the news as of Wednesday from the Horsted Keynes track work. Apparently the updates will get less interesting as the work on the platforms nears completion!

The final tamp of platform 3 road was completed on Wednesday and platform 2 has now also been released back into service (as seen in the photo on the right). However, this is some way from the end of the job, as there are still the inevitable tidying up and odd jobs to do.

Bruce's photos below show the H-class in Platform 3 and 'Camelot' on a test run in Platform 2, having just returned to service after winter boiler maintenance and the re-tyring of its tender wheels.


The H-class in Platform 3 - Bruce Healey - 5 April 2017 Camelot on a test run in Platform 2 - Bruce Healey - 5 April 2017

The triangle at Horsted Keynes has been used as a dumping ground during the work. With 4 inches of material removed from 3-road and 8 inches from 2-road, a large amount of spoil has been added to the triangle. This has now been graded to improve the appearance (as seen below).

Some lengths of rail and other oddments have been moved over to the Salt Yard. Just as soon as the area is being cleared, more is added. With the large dead tree at south end of the triangle felled and a lot more timber from felling work north of Horsted, a stockpile of logs is growing which needs to be dealt with, and Bruce's next photo shows timber being transported to the triangle. A number of such runs were made on Wednesday with many more still needed.


The graded spoil heap in the triangle - Bruce Healey - 5 April 2017 Transporting timber - Bruce Healey - 5 April 2017

Now the tamping has been completed, the crossings between platform 2 and 3 need reinstating. The reinstatement of the one at the north end was well under way by the end of Wednesday.

The first photo below shows a Panlock clip. This chair will be inaccessible under one of the foot crossings and rather than using 'normal' clips which can come loose, these lock in place and don't need maintenance. These clips do not grip the track quite as well as the 'normal' clips which is why they are not used everywhere.

The barrow crossing (below) seen being reinstated, obscuring the chair in the previous photo. The anti-slip material will be used right across. The far section is not yet in place, for which a structure is needed to support the boards whilst not interfering with the signal wires.


Panlock clip and chair - Bruce Healey - 5 April 2017 North end barrow crossing reinstatement - Bruce Healey - 5 April 2017

73082 'Camelot' is seen below at the north end of Platform 1 dropping off some wagons and vans. The locomotive also shunted a wagon into the Ardingly spur.

Barbara Watkins' photo from Tuesday shows the boards on the signal at the south end of platform 3/4 which are being replaced. Two more signals need to be similarly repaired.


Camelot shunting - Bruce Healey - 5 April 2017 Signal boards - Barbara Watkins - 4 April 2017

S15 arrives at Horsted Keynes to cross the H-class - Brian Lacey - 3 April 2017 7 April:
  • Brian Lacey's photo from Monday shows the S15 arriving at Horsted Keynes to cross the pre-war Southern set behind the SECR H-class in platform 3. The newly laid track in platform 2 had been ballasted but not tamped at that stage.

  • Flying Scotsman - Flying South: 13-19 April There are some VIP tickets available at £100 per person now available to travel in the Great Northern Directors' Saloon behind Flying Scotsman - upgrades to existing tickets are possible - give the office a ring on 01825 720800 to check availability and to book. Please be aware that phone lines are very busy at present, so if you don't get through you may need to try again a bit later.

    Other than this, we still have tickets available to travel on trains hauled by our own locomotives during Gala which surrounds the visit of 'Flying Scotsman' (13-19 April), with loads of other attractions around the railway as well as the opportunity to see 'Flying Scotsman' at close quarters.

  • In addition to the two service trains (running daily until 12 April), on Monday there was a third train running, for a party of 180 school children, which is seen below in Brian Lacey's photo leaving East Grinstead behind the Southern Q-class. Brian's second photo shows the S15 waiting to head the 1.30pm departure from Sheffield Park later the same day.

Q-class with school charter at East Grinstead - Brian Lacey - 3 April 2017 S15 waits to leave Sheffield Park - Brian Lacey - 3 April 2017

50049 with the 12-coach train - Julian Clark - 31 March 2017 6 April:
  • Although the photos in today's report are from last weekend's well-received Diesel Gala, on the railway itself we now have a 100% steam service running every single day right through to 1 October.

  • Julian Clark's photo from last Friday shows 50049 'Defiance' at the head of the evening's 12-coach train.

  • Keith Duke's photos from Monday, when we had three locomotives in steam. It also includes a sequence of photos of the operation to re-wheel Camelot's tender after its winter maintenance.

  • Video from John Harwood from Monday.

  • John Sandys' photos from Tuesday, plus photos and videos from today.

  • More information now available for the Bluebell Specials which run in addition to the normal services on 24-28 April, 2-5 & 8-10 May - Booking now open for these Observation Car Specials.

  • Weekly train running information is now available again with thanks to Gordon Dudman.

  • We are currently advertising vacancies for a Funding Director and a Locomotive Works Apprentice. The Director post is a voluntary position, and the Apprenticeship is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of our ASH project.

  • Diesel Gala Report:
    Except when one of the 20s went "pop" and stopped for a while on Sunday, everything ran smoothly at the diesel gala, and everyone seemed to enjoy what had turned into something of an "English Electric" event.

    The photos below show 73119 leading 73107 at Tremains on Friday afternoon (Julian Clark) and 09018 with Saturnday morning's brake van special at Rock Cutting (Steve Lee).


73119 leading 73107 at Tremains - Julian Clark - 31 March 2017 09018 with the morning brakevan special - Steve Lee - 1 April  2017

Class 20s with the 12-coach train - Andrew Crampton - 31 March 2017
The photo on the right from Andrew Crampton shows 20205 and 20189 with the 12-car formation departing Horsted House Bridge.

Videos from:

and photos from:

The photos below show 09018 on Friday afternoon with Brake Van, Observation Car and 100 seater (Andrew Crampton) and 50049 at Horsted House Farm Bridge with the 12-noon Sheffield Park to East Grinstead service on Saturday 1 April (Tony Sullivan).


09018 with Brake Van, Observation Car and 100 seater - Andrew Crampton - 31 March 2017 50049 at Horsted House Farm Bridge - Tony Sullivan - 1 April 2017

5 April: Infrastructure Report:

News Update A further update, from the end of last week, on the trackwork at Horsted Keynes, with thanks to Jon Goff, with photos by him and Barbara Watkins.

Platform 2 Road reconnected! After a very busy week and a good turn out from the infrastructure team, and with a big help from the Thursday gang, road 2 was connected right through on Friday evening at about 6:30 pm.

Wednesday had seen road 3 tamped level but it has not had its finally tamp as the final straight line was not tamped due to a small problem with the tamper (the line broke). However it was finished sufficiently to be safely released back to traffic as reported by Bruce on Wednesday. This is good as most trains in the diesel gala ran over the new formation, which has handily helped settle it before the final tamp this week.

Thursday saw the two rails put back over the subway and three more 56 foot panels were put in by the Thursday gang which is a tremendous effort for bullhead rail as it takes a lot longer to lay than flat bottom rail.


Finished subway covers and exposed water tower pipe - Jon Goff - 31 March 2017 Last two rails to close the gap - Jon Goff - 31 March 2017

Friday saw three more panels go in including the closing rails which had to be cut to a precise length in order to connect up with the existing track. Work was heavily inhibited but almost continuous use of road 3 for the diesel gala. The road-railer had to use road 3 for very short periods then disappear quickly before the next train was due.

It is seen above delivering the last two rails which are second hand rails from our small collection of spare rail.


Nearly there but too many trains in the way - Jon Goff - 31 March 2017 Connection right through, ready for ballast and tamping - Jon Goff - 31 March 2017

The final photo above shows the whole length of road 2 connected and tidied up for the weekend. It was then ballasted and ploughed on Saturday and will be tamped straight next week. There are still some details to be finished off on both roads over the subway. Road 2 is not yet fully screwed down and both roads still require the plastic membrane sealed against the sides of the concrete pads with a silicon sealant below the ballast level. The foot crossings at either end of the platforms still need to be reinstated.

Further pictures below from Barbara Watkins on Saturday show our very good L&W contract driver working on Saturday, having ballasted and ploughed road 2 and removing the digger used to dig out the track bed and drainage diches and place the sleepers. Note the stop board showing the road is not in normal use. Darren had to finish this off on Saturday as he is taking his family on holiday on Sunday for two weeks. We wish him a good break after the extensive very good quality work he has done over the last six months - as well as working on network rail at night!

Further pictures of Darren carrying out the work were taken by John Sandys on Saturday and are shown on his Flickr site.


Darren the L&W driver - Barbara Watkins - 1 April 2017 Removing the digger - Barbara Watkins - 1 April 2017 Ready for Tamping - Barbara Watkins - 1 April 2017

During March 2017 there were 54,806 total hits on this page, from 32,103 unique visitors.

50049 in platform 3 at Horsted Keynes - David Long - 29 March 2017 30 March: Stop Press
  • The timetable for our Diesel Gala, with revised locomotive allocations, has been re-published.

  • The Saturday evening Beer-Ex will be hauled by the class 20s. We hope everyone has a great time!

  • David Long's photo shows 50049 with the two class 20s in the newly reopened platform 3 at Horsted Keynes on Wednesday.

  • Martin Lawrence has added some further photos to his March Gallery, including the wheelsets for Camelot's tender, returned from the South Devon after re-tyring.


GBRf's Class 73s on the viaduct - Roy Watts - 30 March 2017 30 March:
  • We have a Gala! Starting tomorrow, our 3-day Diesel event has come actually together! The best laid plans (for Westerns and Warships) have, after 5 loco failures, become an English Electric event, with 50049 'Defiance', 20205 and 20189, 73107 and 73119, plus resident 09018 on a morning trip. Roy Watts' photo shows the arrival of the 73s this morning.

  • Andrew Crampton's photo below shows 20205 + 20182 & 50049 approaching Hurst Green Junction yesterday afternoon. Julian Clark's photo shows the same formation on arrival at East Grinstead mainline station.

  • Martin Lawrence's short video shows the 20s and 50049 at Sheffield Park yesterday evening, proceeding slowly through the platform as clearances are checked.

20205 + 20182 & 50049 approaching Hurst Green Junction - Andrew Crampton - 29 March 2017 Same formation on arrival at East Grinstead mainline station - Julian Clark - 29 March 2017
Platform 2 roads drainage at Horsted Keynes - Bruce Healey - 29 March 2017
News Update An update on the trackwork with thanks to Bruce Healey. Yesterday was a busy day at Horsted Keynes, hence there are a lot of photos.

Following from Jon Goff's last report, a big vote of thanks to the Infrastructure volunteers who turned up in large numbers to ensure that the deadline of pouring the concrete over the Platform 2's subway was completed at the end of last week. Friday is usually a quiet day for volunteers but their dedication ensured that the concrete had the weekend to cure thus not losing us several days against our schedule.

On Wednesday, the remaining 2-road trackbed was scraped, the drainage trench, terram/polythene/terram, drainpipe and the ballast base completed. We almost finished grading and compacting the ballast.

Platform 3 has been tamped again and passed back to operational use.

Bruce's first photo shows, in the background, the digger cutting the central ditch, while in the foreground all the other operations can be seen. Note the crossing drain up near the digger.

The photos below show more detail, firstly rolling out the Terram in 2-road. Where track has already been laid, S&T need to ensure that track circuits operate and that cable operated signal are still functional. Here, the bond wires across a track joint are being fitted on 3-road.

Rolling out the Terram in 2-road - Bruce Healey - 29 March 2017 Track circuit bonding work in 3-road - Bruce Healey - 29 March 2017

The track chairs over the subway in 2-road are being readied. The concrete pads have been cast. Rubber pads are located between the chairs and the concrete. This task was completed by the end of the day.

Next we see a close-up of the tamper in operation on Platform 3 road. Note the track lifter to the right and the pair of tines either side of the rail. The ballast is only compacted under the rails.

Preparing for fitting chairs over subway in 2-road - Bruce Healey - 29 March 2017 Tamping in progress in 3-road - Bruce Healey - 29 March 2017

The ballast is levelled using a laser and receiver on a staff. The new track in 2-road will be 8 inches lower than the old and the difference needs to be graded in. The laser has a gradient function simplifying this task.

Platform 3 has been released to traffic. The final photo shows the first use of it, as it is gauged for the three visiting locomotives.


Grading ballast in 2-road - Bruce Healey - 29 March 2017 3-road released for traffic - Bruce Healey - 29 March 2017

847 with the combined Wealden Rambler and Golden Arrow on Mothering Sunday - Peter Edwards - 26 March 2017 29 March:
  • S15 No.847 is seen in Peter Edwards' photo at Three Arch Bridge with the combined Wealden Rambler and Golden Arrow on Mothering Sunday.

  • Diesel Gala: 31 March to 2 April
    Sadly 50035 has been withdrawn due to a brake problem, notwithstanding sterling efforts to get it working overnight, but 50049 'Defiance' and the Class 20s have now arrived at East Grinstead. Stepping in to the breach, we say a huge "thank you" to our friends at GBRf who will be supplying us with two Class 73s in the shape of 73107 and 73119, which will join our resident 09018 (on a brake-van turn) and Sentinel shunter 'Skippy' for "Driver for a Fiver" experiences (Saturday and Sunday only) at Horsted Keynes. To be able to obtain replacement locomotives, albeit ones which have visited us before, at such short notice, is a fantastic achievement.
    You can follow the event on Facebook.
    The timetable will remain as published but with the 20s replacing D6700 and the 73s replacing 50035, except for the final 12-coach double-header which will now be re-jigged.

  • Steam-hauled trains between Sheffield Park & East Grinstead run daily 3-12 April to our Service 2 Timetable.
    See Timetable Calendar and Special Events & Offers
    No need to book in advance, but if you book at least 8 days in advance you can save money with our Bluebell Bonus tickets.

  • Last Saturday, Vice President Roy Watts had afternoon tea with Dame Vera Lynn and members of her family and presented her with a card signed by Bluebell Directors, Officers, Trustees and members of the Holden Family to mark her 100th Birthday. Dame Vera was a very close friend of our late President, Bernard Holden, actively supporting him and the Bluebell, most recently at the launch of our 50th anniversary appeal.

    The house was full of so many flowers and naturally there were hundreds of cards, including many from the Royal Family and well known stars from the world of show business. Amongst them was a model of the WD 2-10-0 carrying her name from the owning group. This loco is now subject to an appeal for its restoration.

    You will be pleased to learn our card - thanks to Derek Hayward for his kind assistance - took its place amongst the good and the great! The Society will also make a donation to her children's charity.


Dame Vera Lynn with her Bluebell birthday card - 25 March 2017 Roy wishing Dame Vera Lynn a happy birthday - 25 March 2017
27 March:
  • Mike Anton has experimented with producing a time-lapse video of the preparation of the Q-class shot on Saturday morning.

  • Video shot on Saturday 18 March by Ted Polet from the Netherlands, featuring a journey behind the Q-class and also shots of the C-class.

  • News Update An update covering more of last week's work on the trackwork though platforms 2 and 3 at Horsted Keynes, with thanks to Jon Goff.

    More atrocious weather demonstrated the need (first photo below, on Wednesday) to install the drainage under the tracks when everybody just wanted to go home and dry out. So lunch break was forfeited in order to reach the day's target and go home early. However the afternoon brightened up and we ended up staying later than normal, achieving reconnection of road 3 (second photo below) and putting in the drainage under road 2 north of the subway and ballasting it ready for the next panel to go back.


Clay sub-bed and rain - Jon Goff - 22 March 2017 Platform 3 reconnected - Jon Goff - 22 March 2017

Work then concentrated on the shuttering and the reinforcement for the concrete over the subway. This proved to be quite intense but with help from "the little people" this was completed on Thursday together with dropping all the studs (316 stainless) to be set into the concrete for the rail chairs. To do this the rails were supported slightly higher than the finished height so that an extra nut could be fixed under the chair to stop the studs wobbling around during the concrete pour.

Help from the little people - Jon Goff - 23 March 2017 Detail of studs and reinforcing - Jon Goff - 23 March 2017

Matt Crawford and Mark giving the final float finish - Jon Goff - 24 March 2017 While this was going on further digging out, levelling, drainage and ballasting on a waterproof membrane was carried out on road 2 with two-thirds now done.

Friday was the critical day as the concrete had to be laid then to give it a long enough hardening time before trains can use it over Easter. After some final gauge and position checks (to the millimetre) the concrete was poured and allowed to settle before being given a final float finish by Matt and Mark in the evening, as seen in Jon's photo on the right.

The foot crossing at the platform end was also reistated as it was required for wheelchair access the following day. It has been redesigned so that it can now be removed easily for tamping and other track maintenance.


20189 and 20205 in Birmingham, 2016 - Robert C Jones 26 March:
  • So it's Choppers and Hoovers at our 3-day Diesel Gala which starts on Friday 31 March.
    We are pleased to announce that, subject to final sign-off, we plan to replace D6700 with not one, but two locomotives: 20205 and 20189 are joining 50035 'Ark Royal' and 50049 'Defiance'.

    Real Ale beer tent at Kingscote Station and Real Ale bar "At the sign of the White Horse" on coaching set B.

    Special 'latecomers' tickets are priced at just £8.50 per adult for those arriving after 4pm each day.

    Details of the catering arrangements for the weekend are also available, as is the Timetable (in which the pair of 20s replace the workings allocated to D6700).

    Many thanks to Robert C Jones for the photo, showing the pair of 20s last year at Small Heath, Birmingham.

  • Brian Lacey's photos below show two Southern Railway Maunsell locomotives working yesterday: S15 No.847 pauses at Horsted Keynes for wedding guests to board the Pullman Special, and Q-class No.30541 has just arrived at East Grinstead with its third trip of the day on the service train.

847 at Horsted Keynes as wedding guests board the Pullmans - Brian Lacey - 25 March 2017 Q-class at East Grinstead - Brian Lacey - 25 March 2017
Q and S15 in the spring sunshine at Sheffield Park - Mike Anton - 24 March 2017 25 March:
  • Mike Anton's photo from yesterday afternoon shows the Q and S15 basking in the spring sunshine at Sheffield Park

  • Steam-hauled trains between Sheffield Park & East Grinstead run this weekend to this Modified Timetable and
    daily 3-12 April to our revised 2017 Service 2 Timetable.
    Tickets may be obtained on arrival - Book at least 8 days in advance for Bluebell Bonus discount

  • Next weekend (starting on Friday) is our Diesel Gala: 31 March to 2 April.

  • The countdown to the arrival of 'Flying Scotsman' has started.
    Flying Scotsman - Flying South takes place 13 to 19 April 2017


60103 'Flying Scotsman' at York - Michael J Alderdice - 25 February 2016 24 March:

Flying Scotsman - Flying South
13 to 19 April 2017

Come and see everything we have to offer, watch Flying Scotsman at close quarters, and enjoy unlimited travel all day on our own trains for £25. Beat the queues and book ahead.
Children aged 3-15 years half price.

  • Driving: park your car at Horsted Keynes (RH17 7BB)
  • Come by train to East Grinstead (open to those intending to travel only)
  • Bus service from Haywards Heath: catch the specially arranged Compass Service 22
Limited parking may also be available at Sheffield Park, where car parking is mainly intended for those holding tickets to ride behind Flying Scotsman.

If you just want to look at the passing trains, admission to our stations at Sheffield Park, Horsted Keynes and Kingscote will be available on the day at £10 per station. Stay as long as you like.

Additional attractions include visit of the miniature 'Typhoon' from the RH&DR to recreate the famous 1927 photo of the two locomotives together.
Food, drink and picnic areas are available. Visit our Museum and Loco Sheds at Sheffield Park.

Further information is available on the Flying Scotsman - Flying South web page.

Photo above: 60103 'Flying Scotsman' at York - 25 February 2016, with grateful thanks to Michael J Alderdice.

Bluebell Railway variety


23 March:   We opened our extension to East Grinstead 4 years ago

Typhoon at Horsted Keynes for 50th Anniversary Gala - Richard Salmon - 8 August 2010

  • Flying Scotsman - Flying South: 13-19 April With the visit of the miniature Pacific 'Typhoon' from the RH&DR whilst 'Flying Scotsman' is with us, we will be able to recreate the iconic 1927 photo of the two locomotives together. The photo by Richard Salmon shows Typhoon on a previous visit to the Bluebell, at Horsted Keynes in August 2010 for our 50th Anniversary Gala. On this occasion, the 15-inch gauge locomotive will be on display at Sheffield Park Station.

  • News Update The Bulleid Society have recently updated their web site News Page with pictures covering Sir Archibald Sinclair's boiler repair and some of progress on Coach No.5768.

  • New video covering Winter steam on the Bluebell Railway from Nick Dearden.

  • Cathedrals Express visits The Bluebell Railway - Thursday 13 July - Book via Steam Dreams.

  • Full Steam Ahead Driving Experience - 12, 17 May, 13, 22 Sept - Come along and experience firing and driving one the Bluebell's fleet of historic steam engines, BR 5MT No.73082 'Camelot'.

  • Join our Mystery Tour on a luxury newly renovated 1960s Vintage Bus on 10 June.

  • Unfortunately we have learned that the NRM's class 37 will not now be available for the 31 March - 2 April Diesel Gala due to some issues with its braking system. Obviously this is disappointing news but we are working hard to try to secure an alternative visitor, to work alongside 50035 'Ark Royal' and 50049 'Defiance'.

  • Update with the positions in the Football Competition as of 16 March. This is a fund-raiser for the overhaul of our Southern Railway Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864.

  • News Update A further update with progress on Monday and Tuesday on the trackwork at Horsted Keynes, with thanks to Jon Goff.

    Despite the atrocious weather on Monday, 3-Road had all the levelling compound poured in place for each of the rail chairs on the east rail. Scared of it being washed away, the west rail levelling was left until Tuesday and work moved over to 2-Road. The rails had their ends trimmed and drilled at the south end and the first rails to the north of the subway removed. The subway reinforcement was finished and is now waiting for the rails to be supported over the top so that the stainless steel studding can be hung in place, all of which has now been cut and made ready.

    The first photo shows the state of play at the end of Monday, and the second shows a rail being trimmed to length. The cutter clips onto the rail and pivots down to cut the end square.


Progress as at end of Monday - Jon Goff - 20 March 2017 Trimming rail-ends in 2-road - Jon Goff - 21 March 2017

The next photo below shows the application of levelling compound completed for the west rail in 3-Road and, with the east rail compound set, rubber pads were cut out and put in place and the chairs fitted ready for the rail to be inserted. Some final tightening of the nuts and a bit of juggling with some of the ferrules is all that is required.

By the end of Tuesday, all the track panels up to a few feet from the subway in 2-Road had been completed giving access to the Ardingly siding again. The next two panels north of the subway have been removed, dug out and levelled, as seen in the last of Jon's photos below, ready for the drainage ditch to be dug under the middle of the four foot.

Grouting of chair bases complete in 3-road - Jon Goff - 21 March 2017 Progress as at end of Tuesday - Jon Goff - 21 March 2017


SR Q-class with the GN Saloon at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 12 March 2017 20 March:
  • Brian Lacey's photos from a slightly overcast day this Saturday show, on the right, the Q-class with the Great Northern Directors' Saloon, which usually runs in public service (for first-class ticket holders, or on payment of a supplement) on the third weekend of each month. Check the saloon's page for confirmation of dates and to reserve a table (although reservations are not usually necessary). That below shows the H-class (which would be hauling the Wealden Rambler afternoon tea train) being prepared for service on Saturday 18 March.

  • News Update Report and photos on current work on The 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society's van.

  • Martin Lawrence has added some photos from recent weekends to his March Gallery including that below, showing Jim describing working in the locomotive department during the March Find Out More volunteer recruitment day.

H-class being prepared for service - Brian Lacey - 18 March 2017 FOMD in the Loco Department - Martin Lawrence - 12 March 2017
Platform 2-3 roads at Horsted Keynes - Bruce Healey - 15 March 2017
News Update We catch up with last week's Infrastructure News with thanks to Bruce Healey, Barbara Watkins and Jon Goff. The week saw much better progress than the previous one where other infrastructure distractions, such as the main road-railer failing and trying to catch fire half way down Freshfield bank, had taken work away from the main project!

The first photo from Bruce Healey shows the situation in platforms 2 and 3 at Horsted Keynes at the start of play on Wednesday last week (15 March), with the track taken up over the Platform 2 underpass and enough old concrete removed to allow the metal spreader plates to be located (as on 3-road). Looking now at platform 3 road, the rail over the subway has been taken up to allow the trackbed either side to be lowered (it had been deliberately left too high to allow the concrete to be poured).

During the course of Wednesday, the track bed through platform 3 was lowered either side of the subway, and the remaining sleepers laid. The shuttering from Platform 3 was usable for Platform 2 with only slight modification - this is now in place as is the waterproof membrane (see photo below). We still have a lot to do before concrete can be poured, including completing the reinforcing structure and lay track over the subway (again one inch too high to clear the concrete), attach the chairs, locate the chair studs and bolt them to the reinforcing etc.

The second photo below shows the stripping and levelling of the trackbed at the south end of Platform 2. We also did some fettling of the track on Platform 3. When joining used track, we often find the track at different levels at the join owing to different wear. To overcome this, we use special fishplates with a step in them. We have a stock with differing steps in sixteenths of an inch increments. To get down to a thirty-second of an inch difference, specially made shims are used. Two pairs of track joints needed these step plates. This is standard railway practise.

2-road subway waterproofing membrane - Bruce Healey - 15 March 2017 Digging out 2-road - Bruce Healey - 15 March 2017

By Friday evening, the reinforcing cage over the subway on the platform 2 side had been completed, as seen in the photo below taken from the cab of the road-railer. The south end of Platform 2 has had the centre drain dug, the terram (fibreglass) - polythene - terram sandwich laid, the drain pipe put in place and the section ballasted and compacted as seen in the second photo, prior to track laying. Both these photos were taken by Barbara Watkins.

2-road subway reinforcing and shuttering - Barbara Watkins - 17 March 2017 Ballasted 2-road - Barbara Watkins - 17 March 2017

Jon Goff now brings us up to date as of the end of last week.

The concrete over the subway for road 3 is still being allowed to continue to harden before any major weight is put on it. However it has already reached a very hard state due to being a very strong mix and being well vibrated into place, so the final levelling compound can be put in place. As we want to get the rails levelled very accurately, a 5-10mm depression has been gunned into the concrete surface around the area where the rail chairs will sit and a screw plugged into the centre of each of the chair positions. Using the laser level set up at the reference datum point on the platform, each screw has been adjusted to exactly the same height to within less than 1mm! These then form a local datum for the levelling compound, pored and trowelled in place. The process is seen in Jon's two photos below. This should all be completed for all 16 chair positions on Monday.

Depression cut into concrete surface, with datum screw fitted - Jon Goff - 17 March 2017 Levelling compound to provide accurate height - Jon Goff - 17 March 2017

There will be a rubber pad placed on top of the (fast-setting) compound and the rail chair placed on top of that.

All the original rails from 3-road have had the end 650mm cut off, re-drilled and replaced as the rails were in basically good condition with good heads and running on them. Similarly the majority of the hardwood sleepers were in good condition so they have been put back with only 40 replacements needed to be found and drilled. They are all in position with all the rail replaced and roughly aligned ready for the tamper, except for 4 sleepers by the north end drainage pit and the rail over the subway. Full connection right through and the ability to pass traffic through under caution should be possible by the end of next week. Additionally the approach into road 3 has been realigned to give a much smoother curve between the points and the platform.

Start of relaying Platform 2 road - Jon Goff - 17 March 2017 Turning to 2-road in earnest, the first action was to remove the pair of rails over the subway and start to repeat the work as carried out on 3-road, as described above. In three days as much work has been completed here as in the previous three weeks on 3-road as the job in hand is now well defined. The excavation is complete, the metal plates are bedded down in place, shuttering complete and most of the reinforcement in place, as in the 3-road reports on 2nd, 3rd and 6th March. The concrete should be poured around the middle of this week.

While the work around the subway was being done, the rest of the south end of 2-road was lifted, fully dug out, drainage installed, waterproof membrane installed (Teram - plastic - Teram sandwich) ballasted and the first panel relayed. This panel is critical as it is required to regain access to the Ardingly siding and the ballast pile.

Completion of the bottom half of 3-road this week has enabled the road-railer access to work on 2-road. Jon's photo above/left shows 3-road reconnected and 2-road being relayed 8 inches lower than before.
 
Muddy P-way yard - Jon Goff - 17 March 2017 Other work continues to clear up the yard after the Holywell relay. Many chairs have been removed from the life expired sleepers and the sleepers disposed of with the worst of them being burnt. Scrap has been collected together with some being exchanged for more good sleepers. Matt Crawford has arranged many such deals which has save the railway many thousands of pounds over time.

Finally some security lighting is been put in over the new access gate and infrastructure lobby although that is not yet complete. Some time is required to put our own infrastructure area in order after the road 2 and 3 project is finished as this is the current state of our "office"! It is not a pretty sight from the train and the team have to walk right through it carrying tools several times every day.


SR Q-class runs round at Sheffield Park - Brian Lacey - 4 March 2017 10 March:
  • Maunsell Q-class No.30541 is seen running round its train at Sheffield Park in Brian Lacey's photos from Saturday.

  • We are running public steam trains each weekend in March, to this Timetable. Tickets can be purchased on arrival, but if you do book at least 8 days in advance, you can take advantage of our Bluebell Bonus discount.

  • The Curry Evening supper train planned for 18 March has now been rescheduled to 28 April and a choice of Curry or Fish and Chips can be selected at the time of reservation - phone 01825 720800 to book.

  • News Update We have a further report on the work in Platform 3 at Horsted Keynes, as of Wednesday, with thanks to Bruce Healey.

    With the concrete raft over the subway now setting, we have now laid out the sleepers (except either side of the subway) and some of the remaining rails for Platform 3; some of the replacement sleepers are awaiting their chairs.

    The rail across the subway will have to be taken up to remove the shuttering around the concrete and to put pads under the rail chairs which bolt down on the concrete. The concrete will be allowed to harden until the end of the month before trains pass over it. Bearing in mind that the track over the subway has still to be lowered by an inch, the difference between the new level of the rail in platform 3 to the current level in platform 2 can be clearly seen.


The load bearing concrete over the subway at platform 3 - Bruce Healey - 8 March 2017 Sleepers in place - Bruce Healey - 8 March 2017
Elephant Van S4601S at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 4 March 2017 8 March:
  • Brian Lacey's photo shows the now externally complete BR(S) scenery van, which was modified on BR for the carriage of elephants, and which has now been totally refurbished with the help of an Arts Council England Resiliance Fund grant. Most recently it has been lifted using the new second set of carriage jacks inside the new OP4 shed to have the heating/air-conditioning units fitted. Work is now focused on fitting out the interior to act as a children's play area.

  • Diesel Gala - 31 March to 2 April: Tickets are now available - ring 01825 720800 with any queries and to book. The timetable is available to download here.
    Visiting locomotives are 50035 'Ark Royal' and 50049 'Defiance', plus the BR Type 3 class-pioneer, D6700 (later numbered 37119 and 37350).
    Early morning full line brake van rides behind 09018 will depart Sheffield Park at 8.10am, and include a trip down the Ardingly Siding on the return leg. Tickets for this trip (which includes travel for the rest of the day) are 30pp and are very limited and must be pre-booked. Price will also include a drink and breakfast roll. Ring 01825 720800 to book your space.
    Driver for a fiver at Horsted Keynes station will be running on the Saturday and Sunday only, using our Sentinel Diesel shunter.

  • News Update Update to the Infrastructure News page with thanks to Bruce Healey, collating reports in this Blog about the relaying of track at Holywell, which was completed a month ago.

  • On Sunday 5th March 2017 our Carriage Shop proudly donated £1,500 to the Bluebell Railway Museum to fund the acquisition of an original London, Brighton & South Coast Railway artefact (below) which is now on display in the Museum at Sheffield Park Station. Chris Wilson's photo shows Peter Allibone, a long-standing Carriage Shop volunteer, presenting the donation cheque to Tony Hillman Assistant Curator of the museum.
    This large, 28" diameter, cast iron LBSCR Coat of Arms would have been attached to a bridge or some other structure during the building of a part of the railway in 1865. The original location of this item is unknown though two exist on the bridge which carries the Battersea Park to Clapham Junction line over Battersea Park Road by the entrance to the station.
    The Carriage Shop would like to thank all those that have purchased books, models or other items from the shop at Horsted Keynes, which has made this donation possible. For more information, and to confirm opening times, visit The Carriage Shop's facebook page.

Presentation of cheque - Chris Wilson - 5 March 2017 LBSCR Plaque - Chris Wilson - 5 March 2017
SR Q-class brings its train into East Grinstead - Brian Lacey - 4 March 2017 7 March:
  • Two more of Brian Lacey's photos from Saturday. On the right the Q-class brings its train into East Grinstead, and below the H-class sets off from Sheffield Park with the Wealden Rambler afternoon tea train.

  • News Update Bruce Healey provides another report and photos as of yesterday on work in platform 3 at Horsted Keynes.

    The status at first thing Monday morning was that the Platform 3 track had been laid from the north down as far as the subway (as seen in the photos in yesterday's report, below). Many thanks to the 9F Club, who on Saturday did their usual enthusiastic and effective job of clipping up the track. The reinforcing for the concrete over and beside the subway was also complete, as seen in the first photo below.

    Over the course of Monday, we laid the track over the subway and clipped the chairs to the track, as seen in the final photo below. It is necessary to do this before the concrete is laid for 2 reasons. Firstly, it allows us to pour the concrete to the correct level (note that the track is deliberately one inch higher than necessary, this will be adjusted when the concrete is fully set). Secondly, the studs for the chairs must be clear of any reinforcing rods (which requires some angle grinding) and the studs need to be bolted to the reinforcing. By close of play on Monday, about 50% of the work to locate the studs was complete. This should be finished and the concrete poured on Tuesday. We should also complete the track laying by Tuesday; as of the end of play on Monday about a third of the remaining sleepers had already been laid.


H-class leaving Sheffield Park with the Rambler - Brian Lacey - 4 March 2017 The reinforcing in place at the start of the day - Bruce Healey - 6 March 2017 Track and chairs in place - Bruce Healey - 6 March 2017
SR Q-class enters Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 4 March 2017 6 March:
  • This weekend saw the SR Q-class back in service on the Bluebell, seen here as it enters Horsted Keynes in Brian Lacey's photo from Saturday.

  • News Update Update on Schools-class 'Stowe': boiler work and arrival of the remaining sections of ashpan.

  • News Update Update from The 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society on Sunday's winter maintenance work on their locomotive at Sheffield Park.

  • Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with expected locomotive use for March.

  • Bright Bricks-Build It! Tickets are now on sale for this special weekend, 27-28 May.
    Steam trains and Lego; who could ask for anything more? Enjoy a day at the Bluebell Railway and join in the fun building a mosaic, playing with the Lego or 'Make and Take' a model engine. Fun for all ages.

  • News Update Project 27 Blog update showing cleaning up the wheels and overhauling the cylinder drain cocks.

  • Video compilation from John Harwood of Q-class No.541 on the service train on Saturday.

  • Martin Lawrence has completed his February gallery and started on that for March.

  • Jon Goff's photo below shows the reinforcing in place for the concrete raft over the subway in 3-road at Horsted Keynes. Brian Lacey's photo shows the track now laid (but awaiting final ballasting and tamping) in the northern part of that platform road.

Reinforcing in place - Jon Goff - 3 March 2017 Track laid in platform 3 - Brian Lacey - 4 March 2017
3 March:
  • We are running public steam trains each weekend in March, to this Timetable. Tickets can be purchased on arrival, but if you do book at least 8 days in advance, you can take advantage of our Bluebell Bonus discount.

    Track laid in platform 3 - Barbara Watkins - 2 March 2017

  • Flying Scotsman - Flying South: 13-19 April The bus times between Haywards Heath and Sheffield Park have now been confirmed by Compass Travel during the visit of Flying Scotsman, 13-19 April.
    Our train timetable for each day is also available.

  • News Update Barbara Watkins supplies photos updating us on progress with the work in platform 3 at Horsted Keynes, as of yesterday.

    As seen on the right, track laying has started in platform 3 road. This track is being laid 4 inches lower than previously, and that in platform 2 will be 8 inches lower than at present. This will bring both roads down to the same level, and significantly reduce the step down from the carriages to the platforms, which may see us making greater use of platform 2.

    The first photo below shows the top of the subway with the waterproof membrane in place.
    Next we see the reinforcing being constructed for one of the side beams next to the subway.
    Barbara's final photo shows the shuttering adjacent to the water-crane supply pipe, as it rises over the subway.

  • Jordan Shingler provides this short Facebook video of our P-class No.323 on its visit to the Churnet Valley Railway for their Winter Gala last weekend.

Waterproofing in place over subway - Barbara Watkins - 2 March 2017 Building reinforcing for beam adjacent to subway - Barbara Watkins - 2 March 2017 Water supply pipe over subway - Barbara Watkins - 2 March 2017

Small laser-guided bulldozer in action - Bruce Healey - 1 March 2017 2 March:
  • News Update Bruce Healey provides a further report and photos as of yesterday on relaying the track in platform 3 at Horsted Keynes.

    The ballast for Platform 3 has been levelled and compacted. The very south end of the platform and over the subway are still to be ballasted. This photo shows the small laser 'dozer levelling the ballast. The 'dozer we usually use was too large for the platform area.

    The solution for laying the lowered tacks over the subway is to have 3 steel plates over the apex of the subway to spread the load. These have been concreted in place, as seen in the photos below. The next tasks will be to put down plastic over the whole area to waterproof it, cast 2 reinforced concrete beams at either side and make a reinforced concrete raft over the subway. The track chairs will be bolted directly into the concrete. Platform 2 road will be identically treated.

    Two of the three catch pits have been removed as they were not required. The drain for the south end of platform 3 road was connected to the drain put in when 22 point was changed in 2015. There is provision for platform 2 road drain to be similarly connected.

  • John Harwood provides two videos - Half-term with the S15 and from this week, the new OP4 shed, and shunting at Horsted Keynes.

  • During February 2017 there were 50,672 total hits on this page, from 29,733 unique visitors.

  • The photos below, from Bruce Healey, show the feed pipe for the water columns at the north end of platform 2 and 3/4 rising over the subway at Horsted Keynes, and the steel plates being concreted in place over the crown of the subway. Note that the eyes on the steel plates are temporary and will be taken off with an angle grinder.

Water pipe rises over subway - Bruce Healey - 1 March 2017 Concreting the top of the subway - Bruce Healey - 1 March 2017
  • The final photo below shows the finishing touches being applied. The compactor can be seen in the background. The shuttering round the area shows the extent of the side concrete beams and the raft over the top of the subway. All of this will be on top of a waterproof layer.
Concreting the top of the subway - Bruce Healey - 1 March 2017
Token exchange on arrival at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 25 February 2017 28 February:


27 February:
  • Tickets to travel on general service trains behind our own locomotives during the visit of 'Flying Scotsman' (13-19 April) are on sale from 11am on Monday 27 February via TicketSource.
    These tickets cover an entire day on the railway, allowing travel on any of the eight trains running behind two of our own larger locomotives, but do not guarantee seats on a specific timed train. Parking at Horsted Keynes is advised for these trains, or join us via a special bus link from Haywards Heath to Sheffield Park, or by train via East Grinstead.
    H-class with Golden Arrow Luncheon Train approaching Horsted Keynes - Steve Lee - 26 February 2017 Terms and conditions for these tickets are available here.
    The timetable for the trains is available to download here.
    These tickets are shown as '9am' since they are valid all day, from 9am.
    They are priced at £25 for adults and £12.50 for children, with no concessions or discounts available.

  • Steve Lee's photo on the right shows the SECR H-class with yesterday's Pullman Luncheon Train approaching Horsted Keynes. Tickets for this train, which offer fine dining in beautifully restored 1920s Pullman Cars, tend to book up well in advance! Details of the dates of operation available here. Because of the current engineering work at Horsted Keynes, the lunchtime dining trains are currently doing two complete round trips of the line, rather than the normal one and a half.

  • Two photos below from Brian Lacey:
    • The S15 is framed by the two new platform starters at Sheffield Park. The existing LBSCR-pattern signals were rotten at their bases, and as part of their renewal, have been moved about 30 yards north, allowing for the planned platform extensions to permit regular 7-coach operation (all our other stations already have 7-coach length platforms).
    • The second photo shows the S15 entering platforms 4/5 at Horsted Keynes with the service train on 14 February. This is currently the only platform open for traffic at the station.

S15 framed by the two new platform starters at Sheffield Park - Brian Lacey - 14 February 2017 S15 enters platforms 4/5 at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 14 February 2017
S15 on service train exiting Sharpthorne tunnel - Brian Lacey - 24 February 2017 25 February:
  • Brian Lacey's photo shows the S15 on service train at West Hoathly yesterday. Our trains run this weekend, with the Kids for a Quid Special Offer, to this Timetable.

  • Join us on Saturday 18 March for a Curry Evening, one of our popular evening supper trains. Departing from Sheffield Park Station at 6.30pm for the return journey to East Grinstead, enjoy a main course and a dessert on board one of our historic steam-hauled trains. Booking is essential on 01825 720800 due to limited seating capacity. A selection of drinks are available for purchase on the day.

  • Some members report not receiving their AGM 2017 Notice; it's now also available for download on the BRPS Notices page.

  • Early morning full line brake van rides during the Diesel Gala - 31 March to 2 April, behind our class 09, will depart Sheffield Park at 8.10am and include a trip down the Ardingly Siding on the return leg. Tickets include a drink and breakfast roll. Ring 01825 720800 to book your space.
    "Driver for a fiver" will be available on our Sentinel Shunter at Horsted Keynes station (on the Saturday and Sunday only).
    Trade stand enquiries are welcome. There will be a pitch fee. Please contact our Sales Office on 01825 720800 for more information.
    The Diesel Gala timetable is now available to download.

  • Then and Now around Sheffield Park Station, with photos from Mike Anton and Ian Nolan.

  • Martin Lawrence's February gallery features a couple of shots of the "Find Out More" day on their tour through the C&W department, including that below which shows the group being shown the Arts Council England funded restoration of the SR-designed Elephant Van, which is being fitted out internally as a children's play area.

  • Brian Lacey's photo shows the recently replaced arm (the one with the horizontal stripe) on the calling on signal which permits exit from Platform 2 at Horsted Keynes onto the Ardingly spur.

Find out More Day in the paint shop at C&W - Martin Lawrence - 12 February 2017 Pl 1/2 down starting bracket signals at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 14 February 2017
S15 and track-work at Horsted Keynes - Stewart Moon - 18 February 2017 24 February:
  • News Update After a week's break, engineering work has restarted, focused now on relaying the track in platforms 2 and 3 at Horsted Keynes. Our thanks to Bruce Healey, Stewart Moon and Matt Crawford for the update below.

    Stewart Moon's photo taken last Saturday shows track lifted in No.3 road as the S15 departs in stormy conditions from platform 4/5.

    By Wednesday evening, the track base for Horsted Platform 3 had been lowered by the required 4 inches with only a small amount of spoil yet to be removed. As the feed pipe for the water columns at the north end of the station and the original drain occupied the space between Nos.2 and 3 roads, a new centre drain was not an option. Instead, a smaller drain will run under the track of both platforms 2 and 3.

    Much of the feed pipe for the water columns has been uncovered and so far looks in good condition. The feed is far from level as it wends its way over the underpass and round 3 catch pits.

    The drain under 3 road has been started with the very northern end having the terram/polythene/terram sandwich laid, the drain pipe in and (so far unlevelled) ballast down.

    The opportunity has been taken to renew the wooden walkways on the platform 1/2 up starting signal, with Matt "Tarzan" Crawford doing the difficult bits. The walkways on the up signal on platform3/4 will be similarly renewed in the next few weeks.

  • The photos below, from Bruce Healey, show some of the sleepers recovered from the Holywell track renewal, and Matt Crawford renewing timbers on the bracket signal.

Recovered sleepers from Holywell - Bruce Healey - 22 February 2017 Matt Crawford working on the platform 1/2 up starter - Bruce Healey - 22 February 2017
  • The next photo below, from Stewart Moon, shows the chalk infill covering the drain. Further along it also covers the water column feed pipes. The feed crosses 3 road at right angles which can just be seen in this photo.

  • Whilst most of the digging has been done by mechanical means, that along the platform edge, around catch pits and the water-crane pipe has been done by hand, as seen in Bruce Healey's next photo. His final photo shows the platform 3 drain going under the feed pipe for the platform 3/4 water column.
3-road dug out - Stewart Moon - 22 February 2017 Hand digging around catch pit and water-crane pipe - Bruce Healey - 22 February 2017 The platform 3 drain going under the feed to the platform 3/4 water column - Bruce Healey - 22 February 2017
S15 on service train on the newly relaid track - Steve Lee - 18 February 2017 20 February:
  • Steve Lee's photo shows the S15 with the service train on Saturday, traversing the newly relaid track near Holywell. Our trains are running every day this week, with the Kids for a Quid Special Offer, to this Timetable.

  • Virtually every single one of the 8000 tickets for the trains to be hauled by 'Flying Scotsman' are now sold out.
    Tickets to travel on our other steam-hauled trains behind our own locomotives over the week of Flying Scotsman's visit, go on sale on 27 February. Tickets already purchased to ride behind 'Flying Scotsman' have travel on these further trains included (subject to space being available).

  • BRPS Members' concessions, as described in the letter posted earlier this month, are available for the trains operated by our own locomotives only, during the period of the visit of 'Flying Scotsman' (13-19 April), and only on sale until Friday, 24 February. Please note you will need to show the ticket and your membership card when arriving at the Railway to travel.

  • Calling all holders of Bluebell PTS certificates to support our volunteer lineside stewards by signing up as a PTS 'Gala-maker' in helping keep our lineside safe during the visit of 'Flying Scotsman' (see pdf download). At the same time, we'd like to remind everyone that it is a mandatory requirement to hold a current Bluebell Railway PTS photographic pass or workers' PTS pass, which confirms that the holder has received Bluebell-specific lineside safety training, to access the lineside area within our boundary fence. Anyone without such certification will be removed from the Bluebell lineside by our stewards. Similarly, we should remind visitors wishing to view 'Flying Scotsman' that the fields alongside the railway are private property, and we ask visitors to remain on public footpaths and to respect the private nature of our neighbours' land.

  • Martin Lawrence has completed his January album and started on that for February

  • Mike Anton provides a look at "Ardingly Station, then and now", comparing 1962 photos from Ian Nolan with the equivalent modern view.

  • News Update Photos from the overhaul of Stowe showing the new boiler backhead, preparations for lifting the frames, and components for fabricating the new ashpan. x

  • Brian Lacey's photo below show the H-class arriving at Horsted Keynes with the afternoon tea train on Tuesday last week (note the stockpile of ballast which was used on the trackwork at Holywell, and which will also be used in the current work to re-lay platforms 2 and 3 at Horsted Keynes).

H-class entering Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 14 February 2017
14 February:
  • Fancy a great day out for the family over Half Term?
    We are currently running our Kids for a Quid Special Offer. Steam Trains operatate every day for two weeks, until Sunday 26 February, to this timetable. No need to book in advance (but adult tickets qualify for our Bluebell Bonus discount if you are able to book at least 8 days in advance).

  • During the visit of 'Flying Scotsman' (13 to 19 April) we are pleased to confirm that bus links will be in place between Haywards Heath and Sheffield Park, the details for which are currently being finalised.
    Tickets are still available for most of the trains which the iconic locomotive will be hauling, but several are now very nearly sold out.

  • BritishRailways.tv's video of the Bluebell in 2016 provides 10 minutes of the best of Bluebell from last year!

  • An additional attraction at the Spring Diesel Gala, 31 March to 2 April, will be early morning full line brake van rides behind our class 09. These will depart Sheffield Park at 8.10am including a trip down the Ardingly Siding on the return leg. Tickets for this ride are limited and must be pre-booked. Ticket cost TBA, with a drink and breakfast roll included.

  • The Bluebell Railway is seeking expressions of interest for the provision of additional catering concessions during the visit of Flying Scotsman. Concessions will be awarded by competitive tender. Catering outlets will be required to operate daily between 13th and 19th April 2017, opening hours will be detailed in the tender document. During the visit the Bluebell Railway anticipates welcoming up to 6,000 visitors per day. To express your interest or for further details and receive a tender document please send an e-mail to Neil Glaskin, Retail Director. Tenders will need to be submitted by 1st March 2017.


13 February - 7pm: Stop Press
'Flying Scotsman' Flying South - 13 to 19 April 2017 - 50% of Tickets sold

'Flying Scotsman'

  • Our sincere apologies for the problems with the online booking system this morning, and the consequent complete clogging of our phone system. In spite of the problems, 50% of the tickets have now been sold, but we are very sorry for the frustration caused to so many of our intending passengers.

    We are very pleased to say that the online system has now recovered, and to purchase some of the 50% remaining tickets to travel on Bluebell Railway trains behind 'Flying Scotsman' you can book online through TicketSource.

  • People have been asking about the ticket numbering system. The first letter is the coach. The number is the seat number, but for each number there are two seats, B and F (for "Back to" and "Facing" the engine). Thus D12F and D12B are a pair of seats facing each other in coach D. This is how seats were numbered on the railways going back 100 years, and since our carriages are restored pretty much to their original condition, this includes the original seat reservation numbers!

  • Another frequent query is over the coach layout. Where the seats are shown as complete rows across the coach they are arranged in 6- or 8- seat compartments, such as this (photo by Derek Hayward). Where there is a gangway down the centre, the seats are in an open layout, with bays of four seats either side of a central gangway, like this.

  • Further details below.


13 February:
'Flying Scotsman' Flying South - 13 to 19 April 2017 - Tickets on sale today

60103 'Flying Scotsman' at York - Michael J Alderdice - 25 February 2016

  • Tickets to travel on Bluebell Railway trains behind 'Flying Scotsman' are on sale from 11am today online through TicketSource. These tickets will reserve specific seats for a specific departure (10am, 12.45 or 3.30pm) on a specific day and entitle people to travel for one round trip (Sheffield Park to East Grinstead and return, taking about an hour and three quarters), and will also cover travel on trains hauled by other locomotives during the day (which will provided connecting services to and from our other stations), subject to space being available.

    • Adult Tickets £35.00 per person.
    • Child (3-15yrs) Tickets £17.50 each.
    • Under 3s travel free, but do not get a reserved seat.
    • No other discounts or concessions.
    • Tickets will be issued as e-tickets, which will be scanned on arrival at the Bluebell Railway, and exchanged for physical souvenir tickets (which act as a permit to travel on the booked train).
    • Ticket terms and conditions (pdf).

  • Further details are available on our web page. Any queries, please ask on our Facebook page for the event if possible, since phone lines may be very busy.

  • Tickets at lower cost for services hauled by our own steam engines during the visit will be available from 27 February; but these will not cover travel behind 'Flying Scotsman', and will not guarantee seats on a specific timed train. BRPS Members should refer to the letter posted to them earlier this month for details of availability of Members' tickets for these trains.

  • Admission only tickets (Platform tickets) will also be on sale later. These will be individual tickets for specific stations, issued subject to space being available at the stations. Unfortunately these will not be available for East Grinstead Station due to the restricted space on that platform.

  • You can hire our 1897-built GNR Directors' Saloon for private or corporate parties on 'Flying Scotsman'-hauled services.

    Photo: 60103 'Flying Scotsman' at York - 25 February 2016, with grateful thanks to Michael J Alderdice.



11 February: The news you have all been waiting for - 'Flying Scotsman' tickets on sale Monday at 11am

Flying Scotsman at the NRM - Phil Brown - April 2016

  • Tickets (with seat reservation for a specific time on a specific day) to travel behind 'Flying Scotsman' will be on sale online on Monday 13th February at 11am. These tickets will also allow travel on trains hauled by other locomotives during the day (subject to space being available on those trains).
         Scotsman runs each day 13-19 April.
         Adult Ticket £35.00 per person.
         Child (3-15yrs) Ticket £17.50
         No other discounts or concessions.
         Ticket terms and conditions (pdf).

    Tickets (at lower cost) for services hauled by our own steam engines during the visit will be on sale from 27th February but these will not guarantee seats on a specific timed train, nor will they be valid for the trains hauled by Flying Scotsman.

    To get information on the release of, and how to purchase, each ticket type (Flying Scotsman, other trains hauled by our own engines, and platform tickets): subscribe here for our email updates, or check back with this Blog, on the Flying Scotsman page on our web site, or on Facebook.

  • News Update Update to the Infrastructure News page with thanks to Bruce Healey, collating reports from November's relaying of the Horsted Keynes No.5 Point at Leamland Junction.

  • Many thanks to Phil Brown for supplying this photo, showing 'Flying Scotsman' at the NRM in April last year.


New formation at Holywell, looking north - Bruce Healey - 8 February 2017 10 February:
  • Kids for a Quid Special Offer for Half Term. Steam Trains operatate every day from this Saturday for 2 weeks, to this Timetable.

  • Join us on Saturday 18 February for one of our popular evening supper trains. Departing from Sheffield Park Station at 6.30pm for the return journey to East Grinstead, enjoy Sausage and Mash and a dessert on board one of our historic steam hauled trains. Booking is essential on 01825 720800 due to limited seating capacity. A selection of drinks are available for purchase on the day.

  • News Update Winter maintenance on No.73082 'Camelot' has been largely focused on the tender, plus a little work in the firebox. Having run 12,994 miles since returning to traffic in late 2015, the tender wheelsets have been sent to the South Devon Railway for re-tyring, and these photos show associated work on the tender.

  • We are part-way through a transition from JustGiving and PayPal Giving Fund to using BT MyDonate, because of the latter's much lower deductions from donations received. We are pleased to announce that a new MyDonate page has been created for on-line donations to the ASH appeal (Accessible Steam Heritage) for which we've been awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The appeal is still open, since we need to raise a bit more for our own match funding for what is now a slightly larger project than when first proposed.

  • Dave Bowles' photos of our Q-class with a train of box vans, with a train of mineral wagons and posed in platform 1 at Loughborough on photo charters at the Great Central last week.

  • News Update A final update on the six weeks of track-work undertaken during the engineering occupation which has just ended, with thanks to Bruce Healey and Matt Crawford.

    By the beginning of this week, the new track at Holywell had been aligned, ballasted and tamped. The track now has the correct cant for 25mph operation. This week we have been removing the replaced track panels and completing clearance of the site. The photos above and below show the restored track, looking in either direction.

    The work on Platform 3 at Horsted Keynes continues. The top of the subway has been exposed for inspection, as seen in the second photo below; drainage in this area is a particular concern. Track through Platform 2 will not be lifted just yet.

    One of the Infrastructure tasks which is particularly time-consuming is providing underground conduits for cables currently on the surface or in concrete trunking. The work at the south end of the platforms has given us the opportunity to bury some cables by the foot crossing. This unearthed the feed pipe from the water tower to the water column on platform 2. The third photo below shows the south end of Platform 2. Under the S&T cables, the feed pipe to the Platform 2 water column can be seen running diagonally towards the near right corner of the manhole. This was only visible for a few hours and with the conduits now in place, has been ballasted over.

    Although the work remains ahead of schedule, the formation between the platforms might need somewhat more work than anticipated.

  • Stewart Moon provides the final photo below, showing the Platforms 2 and 3 at Horsted Keynes, as of last Sunday.

  • Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with expected locomotive use for February.

New formation at Holywell, looking south - Bruce Healey - 8 February 2017 The top of the subway at Platform 3 is exposed - Bruce Healey - 8 February 2017
Cables and water-crane pipe, Platform 2 at Horsted Keynes - Bruce Healey - 8 February 2017 Sleepers cleared from Platform 3 at Horsted Keynes - Stewart Moon - 4 February 2017
84030 - driver's brake valve and drawings 3 February:


Lifting sleepers out of Platform 3 at Horsted Keynes - Bruce Healey - 1 February 2017 2 February:
  • News Update A further update on current track-relaying, with thanks to Matt Crawford and Bruce Healey.

    As of yesterday evening, the new track was being tamped at Holywell. There have been 10 ballast drops already and another 2 will be required.

    If the relaying of a third of a mile of track does not sound a lot, the following items were used:

    • 29 track panels each 60 feet in length
    • 795 concrete sleepers
    • 17 wooden sleepers
    • 1590 insulating pads
    • 3180 'biscuits' (which go between a pandrol clip and a concrete sleeper)
    • 3200 pandrols clips
    • 240 holes drilled for fishplate bolts
    • 62 fishplates sets
    • 248 bolts
    • 28 bullhead keys

    As the Holywell work is well ahead of schedule, the opportunity has been taken to start lifting track and sleepers in Horsted Keynes Platform 3, as seen in Bruce's two photos here, taken in less than ideal weather for photography.

  • Services are due to resume on Saturday 11 February: steam-hauled services will run, with our Kids for a Quid Special Offer for Half Term, every day until February 26 to this Modified Timetable.

  • News Update Update on the SETG website: a working day at Strawberry Hill depot, restoring our VEP unit to working order.

  • Lee Andrew Davies provides the photo below, showing our Maunsell Q-class in action at the GCR Winter Gala over the weekend. You can see more in his video and photo gallery.
    In addition, Mat Yardley has some great photos.

Sleepers cleared from Platform 3 at Horsted Keynes - Bruce Healey - 1 February 2017 30541 in action at the GCR - Lee Andrew Davies - 29 January 2017
D6700 - Dr Phil Brown 1 February:
  • 2017 Spring Diesel Gala - 31 March to 2 April
    We are now able to announce a further locomotive for the line up at this event. Joining the two Class 50s already confirmed, 'Ark Royal' and 'Defiance', will be the BR Type 3 class-pioneer, D6700 (later numbered 37119 and 37350). Now part of the National Railway Museum's collection this locomotive will arrive at the Bluebell via our connection with Network Rail at East Grinstead.
    Built in 1960 by the English Electric Company at their Vulcan Foundry this was the first of the 309 Class 37s produced. Currently carrying BR Green livery it is anticipated that D6700's duties will include the hauling of the Beer EX evening special planned for Saturday April 1st. There is more information about D6700 available in this article by Catherine Farrel of the National Railway Museum.
    Timetabling for the event is still at the planning stages - keep an eye on the web page and facebook page for more information.
    The photo of D6700 is courtesy of Doc Brown's Travel Pictures.

  • Further details of most of our 2017 Special Events now available.

  • News Update Engineering update from the Project 27 team. It looks likely that the most economic long-term option will be to make completely new frames for this 1910-built SECR locomotive. If you'd like to contribute towards the project, all donations are much appreciated.

  • For his Fifth Anniversary edition of Steam Locos in Profile, Chris Eden-Green has chosen the BR Std 5MTs, and naturally enough 'Camelot' features prominently.

  • Hornby provide further details of their forthcoming models of the SECR H-class. These can be pre-ordered through our Shop - BRPS members receive a discount.

  • Kevin McElhone's photos below show our Q-class No.30541 and 777 at the Winter Gala on the Great Central Railway on 28 January. The following provide photos and videos from the same event.

  • Shareholders' Weekend moved to October
    As announced at the Bluebell Railway PLC AGM last year, our intention was again to hold a Shareholders' Weekend in 2017, and the dates had been set for April 22/23. April not only sees a Diesel Gala and the Easter break, but we also now have the 7-day visit of 'Flying Scotsman'. So we have decided it best to move the Shareholders' Weekend to later in the year, and it will now be held on October 14/15. This will then give an opportunity to provide, amongst other things, updates on progress with ASH, OP4 and Car 54, as well as a summary of the Railway's summer season. Full details of the October event will be sent to all shareholders in late summer.

  • During January 2017 there were 50,267 total hits on this page, from 30,958 unique visitors.

30541 with 777 at the Winter Gala on GCR - Kevin McElhone - 28 January 2017 30541 with 777 at the Winter Gala on GCR - Kevin McElhone - 28 January 2017
Preparing for embankment stabilisation - Bruce Healey - 24 January 2017 25 January:
News Update Matt Crawford and Bruce Healey again provide an update with some more photos of the Holywell track work.

At close of play on Tuesday evening the new rail was almost all in. Of the 29 track panels, 28 were in and the last one, the transition panel was half in. The transition panel consists of a half panel of flat bottomed rail laid on 11 concrete sleepers and 3 wooden ones which connects to a half panel of bullhead all laid on wooden sleepers.

This last northern part of the relaying has always suffered from the embankment bellying out on the west side. The side of the embankment has been excavated and successive layers of plastic mesh and compacted soil put down to stabilise the formation.

While it might look like the work is almost complete, there is still a lot more to do. The track needs slewing to its final position, about a third needs clipping up. The whole section will then be ballasted and tamped. Then there is the breaking down and removal of the old track panels, clearing the site and finally scraping out the existing ditch on the east side. We are well ahead of schedule and confident of an early completion.

We would like to thank the Saturday and Sunday gangs for their help and in particular the 9F club who energetically and competently assist in clipping up the track.

The photos show:

  • Above right: The mesh for the embankment stabilisation is being cut while the digger is collecting soil to ready for compacting.
  • Below: New unballasted track with the orange insulators and pandrol clips which locate the track on the sleepers laid out ready.
  • Sleepers being moved into position. Some of the replaced bullhead track can be seen in the background. The yellow marks indicate the correct positions for the sleeper ends.
  • The end of the flat bottomed part of the transition panel is in the foreground and sleepers are being laid for the bullhead part. The track in the background under the digger is not being replaced.

Services are due to resume on Saturday 11 February, with steam-hauled services running daily from then until 26 February, during which time we are offering our Kids for a Quid Special Offer.


New track laid - Bruce Healey - 24 January 2017 Sleepers being moved - Bruce Healey - 24 January 2017 Transition panel - Bruce Healey - 24 January 2017
East Grinstead Concert Band - Charity Fundraising Concert - 25 February 24 January:


19 January:
  • 'Flying Scotsman' will be with us 13 to 19 April 2017 - Will You?

    60103 'Flying Scotsman' at York - Michael J Alderdice - 25 February 2016

  • Tickets to travel on general service trains behind 'Flying Scotsman' will be on sale in early February. These tickets will be for a specific time on a specific day and entitle people to travel for one round trip (Sheffield Park to East Grinstead and return), will also cover travel on trains hauled by other locomotives during the day, subject to space being available.

  • Tickets for services hauled by our own steam engines during the visit will be available but these will not guarantee seats on a specific timed train.

  • Admission only tickets (Platform tickets) will also be on sale. These will be individual tickets for specific stations, issued subject to space being available at the stations. Unfortunately these will not be available for East Grinstead Station due to the restricted space on that platform.

  • Details of ticket pricing and on-sale dates will be advised via email (join the mailing list here), or keep an eye on our web page or on our Facebook page. Please bear with us, since our phone lines are extremely busy!

  • At 10am tomorrow morning tickets go on sale for a second 'Flying Scotsman'-hauled Breakfast Train, to run on Thursday 13 April. The other four dining trains hauled by 'Flying Scotsman' have already sold out, so you are advised to book early!
    Update: 11am on Friday 20th: The Breakfast Train on 13th April, for which tickets went on sale this morning, sold out in 35 minutes... sorry to those who failed to get through.

  • To help man the phones, please see this advert for volunteers to help staff our sales and information office.

  • You can hire our 1897-built GNR Directors' Saloon for private or corporate parties on 'Flying Scotsman'-hauled services.

    Photo: 60103 'Flying Scotsman' at York - 25 February 2016, with grateful thanks to Michael J Alderdice.



80151 arrives at HK - Martin Lawrence - 17 July 2010 18 January:
  • Standard Class 4 tank locomotive No.80151, currently under overhaul at Sheffield Park, is 60 years old today. Built at Brighton Works, it was released into traffic on 18th. January 1957. Initially allocated to Brighton shed, in January 1964 No.80151 was transferred to Redhill and, subsequently, Salisbury and Eastleigh, from where it was withdrawn in May 1967. The photo from Martin Lawrence shows it arriving at Horsted Keynes on 17 July 2010.

  • An atmospheric set of photos from Peter Wilson, taken in the rain on Sunday. He reports that the lamb stew and dumplings served in the Bessemer Arms, followed by the chocolate mousse, was amazing and very welcome on a wet and cold day.

  • Updates to some of the dates in the Special Events list (the April week of the planned Bluebell Specials dropped - the May dates remain, and the Seaside Weekend added in August) as well as the addition of the 6-8 October Deltic Gala for the 40th Anniversary of the DPS which was announced on Sunday.

  • With 4 sold-out Pullman Dining trains under our belt, we are now advertising the availability of the GN Directors' Saloon for private or corporate hire on 'Flying Scotsman'-hauled services. Details of public services will be publicised here when released.

  • News Update Matt Crawford and Bruce Healey provide this update and photos of the work at Holywell. The work is being done in 3 phases with Phases 1 and 3 being a straight replacement of track on embankment. Phase 1 is complete except for ballasting and tamping. Phase 2 is mostly in a cutting and requires drainage to be put in on the west side. The photos below show the work on the drainage ditch. A polythene sheet sandwiched between terram (fibreglass matting) goes under a perforated pipe. Used ballast covers this ensemble. A similar sandwich will go under the track and be lapped into the sandwich shown ensuring that any water falling on the formation is properly diverted. The work is presently on schedule and Matt expects the work to be completed in good time.

Phase 2 of re-laying - Bruce Healey - 16 January 2017 Phase 2 of re-laying - Bruce Healey - 16 January 2017
15 January:
  • Tickets are now on sale for a fourth 'Flying Scotsman'-hauled Gala Pullman Dining Train, on 18 April, the other three already having sold out!

  • We are very pleased to announce that, as part of The Deltic Preservation Society's 40th Anniversary celebrations, we have been selected by them to host an all-Deltic gala on Friday-Sunday 6,7 & 8 October.

    Deltics on shed at Sheffield Park - Tony Sullivan - 16 April 2015 The event will feature 4 working Deltics, D9002, D9009, 55019 and 55022 and possibly a surprise visitor. The event is at the early planning stages at the moment but some of the ideas include at least one dining train on the Bluebell and if possible another on the Network organised by AVOCET Travel Management, as well as an evening event on the Friday.

    We hosted two Deltics in April 2015, at what proved to be a hugely popular event. Tony Sullivan's photo on the right shows the Deltics on shed at Sheffield Park on 16 April 2015. Jordi Blumberg's photo below shows 55019 "Royal Highland Fusilier" at Horsted Keynes on the Saturday, and D9009 "Alycidon" is seen on the Friday at Leamland Bridge in Andrew Crampton's photo.

    Further details available to download in this press release from the DPS.

  • See below for details of the Spring Diesel Gala, running from 31 March to 2 April.
55019 leaves Horsted Keynes - Jordi Blumberg - 18 April 2015 D9009 at Leamland Bridge - Andrew Crampton - 17 April 2015

50049 'Defiance' on its return to service, 16 April 2016 14 January:
  • First Class 50s to visit the Bluebell
    The Bluebell Railway's Spring Diesel Gala, taking place from Friday 31 March to Sunday 2 April, is beginning to take shape. Whilst timetables and details of other visiting motive power are still being firmed up, we can announce that the event will include two Class 50 locomotives, 50035 'Ark Royal' and 50049 'Defiance'.

    The two Class 50s (there were 50 such locomotives built by English Electric in 1967/8 as 'Type 4' diesels) are owned by the Class 50 Alliance Ltd and normally resident at the Severn Valley Railway. The '50' theme continues with 2017 representing 50 years since the first of this class was built.

    The Class 50s did not originally carry names, but in the late 1970s BR agreed to their being named after Royal Navy vessels with notable records in the First and Second World Wars. 50035 'Ark Royal' was the first of its class to be preserved, and 50049 'Defiance' was the last passenger diesel powered locomotive built for British Rail. They were withdrawn from service in 1990 and 1991 respectively. No Class 50 has previously visited the Bluebell.

    The photo above shows 50049 'Defiance' on 16 April 2016, on the occasion of its return to service. The photo is supplied via SVR Wiki.

    Since acquisition in 1991, 50035 has been a regular performer on the SVR. In recent years it has been running in a fictitious Load Haul livery (see photo below), but in 2015 it was repainted into BR blue livery, as seen in the second photo below, showing the two together.

    The full text of the press release is available to download here.

  • Bluebell Railway PLC invites applications for the posts of Operations Director and Infrastructure Director.

  • The Churnet Valley Railway are hosting a visit by P-class No.323 'Bluebell' for their Winter Steam Gala on 25-26 February.
50135 Ark Royal at Kidderminster - Tony Hisgett 50035 and 50049 - Tony Middleton

The first photo shows 50135 'Ark Royal' at Kidderminster by Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK - 50135 Ark Royal 2. Licenced under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons. In 2015 this locomotive was repainted as shown in the second photo (courtesy Tony Middleton).

Relaid track near Holywell - Mike Hopps - 10 January 2017 11 January:
  • News Update Matt Crawford wishes to keep everyone updated with the major track relaying project at Holywell, so Mike Hopps provides the four photos here. The Infrastructure gang has been out in force and at close of play yesterday (Tuesday 10 January), 10 new panels had been laid, as seen on the right. The job is going well so far and is on target time-wise. The photos below show the old track being lifted out, new sleepers laid on the re-graded trackbed, and rails being installed.

  • Monday 2 January saw the last service trains until 11 February. Dave Bowles has uploaded a few shots on his flickr site, starting with this photo.
    On Tuesday 3rd, a photo charter was run by Jon Bowers, with No.30541 hauling a goods train. A perfect morning for photography with a heavy frost and a bright sunrise, and at the end of the day a fine evening for some atmospheric shots in the platforms at Kingscote. Dave provides a great selection of photos from the day.

  • Mike Anton's video from Tuesday's goods train charter with Maunsell Q-class No.30541.

  • News Update Brief update for the New Year on the Project 27 BlogSpot.

  • Volunteer recruitment - Find Out More days take place on the 2nd Sunday of each month from February to November. They provide the opportunity for a behind-the-scenes look at the Bluebell, with no commitment unless/until you are ready to start volunteering.

  • Update with the positions in the Football Competition as of 9 January. This is a fund-raiser for the overhaul of our Southern Railway Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864.

  • Martin Lawrence has been filling some gaps in his photo galleries, with photos added recently for January 2009 and February 2009.

  • Update to the details for the 2017 Murder Mystery evenings on the Golden Arrow due to a change of date in July, with that planned for 14th now changed to 7 July.
Old track being lifted out near Holywell - Mike Hopps - 10 January 2017 Sleepers laid near Holywell - Mike Hopps - 10 January 2017 New rails being fitted near Holywell - Mike Hopps - 10 January 2017

847 climbing Freshfield bank - Peter Edwards - 2 January 2017 5 January:
  • Peter Edwards' photo shows S15 No.847 climbing Freshfield bank with the 11am service from Sheffield Park on Monday 2 January.

  • Work started yesterday to replace 1/3 mile of track on our line. We thus have no trains running at present, until services resume on 11 February.
    The Grinsteade Buffet Carriage at our East Grinstead station, and our Restaurant, Shop and Locomotive Sheds at Sheffield Park station are open daily, even on days when no trains are running.

  • Great photo on Facebook from Jonathan Hughes of the last service of the Christmas/New Year period, on Monday.

  • Video by John Harwood of the train at Kingscote and on the viaduct on Monday. The drone shots comply with our policy.

  • This is a fun short video of a family enjoying their trip on one of our Santa Specials.

  • News Update Photos and news from Fred Bailey on the Brighton Atlantic project, as also seen in the photo below; the cab roof is now completed, and otherwise work concentrates on the boiler, with the welding in of the new sections around the mud-holes, and the delivery of the superheater flue tubes. In addition David Jones has just provided an updated component sponsorship list, since we're pleased to say that quite a few items have found sponsors in the last few weeks.

  • Hornby have just announced that they are doing one of the Bluebell's first two coaches: ex-LSWR full third No.320, in Southern Malachite with Sunshine lettering.
    Worth a reminder that Hornby and other models can be pre-ordered through the Bluebell's Shop, with BRPS members receiving a discount.
Top of cab roof - Fred Bailey - 22 December 2016 847 at East Grinstead - Geoff Course - 1 January 2017

847 brings the first train of the New Year into East Grinstead - Brian Lacey - 1 January 2017 1 January 2017:
  • Wishing all our supporters, members and passengers a very Happy New Year.

  • Brian Lacey's photo shows the S15 bringing the first train of the New Year into East Grinstead this morning.

  • Two specials on our Golden Arrow dining train are selling fast:

  • Trains are running tomorrow, 2 January to this timetable, but then not until 11 February. During the intervening period we will be re-laying 1/3 of a mile of track between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes.

    Steam trains will run daily from 11 to 26 February, and on weekends in March.

  • Nick Burgess' photos 17th December

  • Mike Anton's video of SECR 323 'Bluebell' at Sheffield Park with the Victorian Christmas Special on 22 December, and one of loco movements and the first train at the start of the day on 23 December.

  • Dave Bowles' photos from 22 December, including SECR P-class No.323 'Bluebell' out with the Victorian train, and more from the Santa Specials.

  • Jon Barnes provides an album from 23 December featuring Camelot, the Q class and the S15 on Santa Specials, with the H class as Sheffield Park station pilot.

  • Keith Duke has posted pictures from the early part of Christmas Eve at Sheffield Park.

  • During December 2016 there were 43,337 total hits on this page, from 26,428 unique visitors.

  • Steve Lee's photos below, also from today, show the S15 setting off from Sheffield Park, and the Q-class with the lunchtime Golden Arrow Pullman train at West Hoathly. The first photo also shows one of the two replacement LBSCR-pattern starting signals at Sheffield Park, awaiting commissioning. Since new timber posts were required, the opportunity has been taken to relocate the signals slightly further North, to enable the eventual lengthening of the platforms.
847 setting off from Sheffield Park - Steve Lee - 1 January 2017 541 with the lunchtime Golden Arrow at West Hoathly - Steve Lee - 1 January 2017
Please do let me (Richard Salmon) know what you think of this new format.

The Current What's New page contains all the recent update information.

Also see the 2016, the 2015, the 2014, the 2013, the 2012, the 2011, the 2010, 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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