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- David Chappell's photo shows the new rail acquired for the relaying of 11 track-panels in Lindfield Wood. Work on repairing the long-standing "river slip" has now reached the stage where the ballast is levelled, and the rail moved to site.
- OP4 News Bulletin No.1 now available for the Horsted Keynes Carriage Shed Extension. This is the first in a series of News Bulletins which will be issued by the Project Steering Group to keep all interested parties up to date with project progress.
There has also been a series of updates to the various pages for the various phases of Operation Undercover.
- Following repairs to potholes and ditching work, it appears that the roads are now open again around Horsted Keynes. However the 270 bus did not run to the station today.
- Reminder that our line is closed this weekend while we undertake engineering work. Sheffield Park Station, with the Locomotive Shed, Museum, Restaurant, Bar and Shop, is open every day, as is The Grinsteade Buffet at East Grinstead Station.
- Updated: The road between Horsted Keynes Village and the Station has been closed for emergency repairs this week, but it's reported it may have re-opened, or the closure moved to the Sharpthorne Road. Anyone driving that way is advised to be very cautious. Any staff/volunteers intending to arrive on the 270 Bus this Saturday may find they need to make alternative arrangements (or walk from the village). Horsted Keynes Station is still accessible from the Ardingly / Highbrook (via the low bridge) directions.
- Kevin McElhone's photos here show (right) a conventional view of the H-class ready to leave Sheffield Park on 10 January, and below, the locomotive's crew, and another unconventional "glimpse" of the engine, taken from within the Museum.
- Quiz Evening
The BRPS Social Sub-Committee in conjunction with the Maunsell 7864 Group present a professionally-run quiz evening, including evening meal, on Saturday 21 February 2015 in the Bessemer Arms at Sheffield Park Station.
Tickets must be reserved in advance - More details here.
- The latest poster from Heritage Rail Posters is of our new-build/reconstruction Brighton Atlantic project. Copies available to purchase!
Several new 2015 Bluebell Wall Calendars are also available as free downloads.
- We have now received a fantastic sum of over £15,000 from EasySearch and EasyFundraising! You could help us increase that by signing up to support us, with many retailers offering us a donation when you buy online having signed up on the Bluebell EasyFundraising portal. Donations raised can even be automatically Gift-Aided.
The Trains for the coming week page is updated weekly, with detailed information for visiting enthusiasts - but please note that notification of a train or service on that page does not necessarily imply that it is available to the public - all public services are listed in the Timetable.
Note: Throughout this site many of the photos are presented as small versions which can be clicked on to access the full-size image.
Most recent updates: See top of this page
- Tony Sullivan's photo of Standard Arthur No.73082 "Camelot" on the right shows the partially completed new smokebox in place along with its boiler.
His photo below shows the locomotive being shunted into the workshop on Monday.
The 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society have an update with photos from their chairman, Peter Gibbs.
Now is a great time to join the 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society, and a membership application form is available here.
- Another photo from Tony Sullivan below shows the frames of P-class No.27 being lifted from its wheels, and swung round so that the cylinders are more easily accessible.
- Kevin McElhone took some unconventional photos of the H-class on 10 January, including that below.
- News and photos of progress on the Maunsell Q-class, from the Loco Works Working Group. The photo on the right, taken by Tony Sullivan yesterday, was afforded by the temporary absence of "Camelot". It will run as No.30541 in BR livery for a short time following its return to service, for which no firm date is yet available, but it won't be long!
- Mike Hopps' photos below show work to stabilise the long-standing "River Slip" using piles. More detail available in this Infrastructure News update.
- Video from John Harwood, showing maintenance work at Kingscote, plus work in the signalbox and relay room.
- Another photo from Tony Sullivan below shows the Camelot's boiler being craned back into its frames yesterday.
- Tony Sullivan's photo shows the overhauled boiler of No.73082 "Camelot" being craned back into its frames at Sheffield Park earlier today. The return of the boiler from LNWR Heritage, Crewe, earlier today brings the return to service of this, the only surviving BR(S) "Standard Arthur", a step closer.
- We are pleased to announce that Tim Parkin has been appointed to the voluntary post of Filming Facilities Manager. Tim is a member of the Signals & Telecommunications team at Kingscote and, with a background in project management and the TV/film industry, is well-placed to understand both the requirements of production companies as well as the needs of the operating Railway.
- Stuart Marks has been appointed volunteer Locomotive Superintendent, and will head up the Locomotive Operating Department in the new structure, reporting to the board via the Operations Director. His post became effective on 1 January; on the same day the old posts of Shedmaster and Chief Loco Inspector lapsed, and our thanks go to Ian Wright and Lewis Nodes for their work in these positions. Following this restructuring of the Loco Department, the Railway is looking to recruit additional support to ensure the efficient running of the department, including a Locomotive Shed Foreman and Chief Clerk (both volunteer posts). More information and application details can be found here - the closing date is 24 January 2015.
- This four-page gallery from Keith Duke shows photos covering many decades of Bluebell history, and he also supplies this album of locomotives which have visited the Bluebell over recent years.
- Brian Lacey's photo from last Saturday shows the H-class taking its train of two Bulleid coaches and two Mk.1s north out of Kingscote. This nicely illustrates the current state of the north end of the station, with the repainted Class A Petroleum Products Tanker, No.1603, retained there as an emergency water supply for our locomotives, the SR-concrete loading gauge, and the relaid/relaigned trackwork and pointwork installed prior to the opening of the extension. The signalbox seen should become fully operational later this year, replacing the temporary cabin installed in 1994 to the South of the station.
- Reminder that, whilst our line is closed for the next two weekends while we undertake engineering work, Sheffield Park Station, with the Locomotive Shed, Museum, Restaurant, Bar and Shop, is open every day, as is The Grinsteade Buffet at East Grinstead Station.
- Ashley Smith spent a very nice day travelling on the trains on the 2nd January, and grabbed a few photos as they changed trains at Horsted Keynes, to launch his gallery for 2015.
- Derek Hayward's photo of the porch at Horsted Keynes station below illustrates another article in the latest e-mail newsletter. This porch was restored to its original condition, complete with stained glass, by volunteers from the C&W department in memory of late station master Simon Baker. The Friends of Sheffield Park now wish to rebuild the porch at their station to the same original L&EGR conditon, and are looking for sponsorship, possibly as a special Valentine's gift including a named inscription, of £4000 (plus Gift Aid) to cover the costs. Details from Graham Aitken, FOSP Fundraising Secretary, by email. The second photo shows the style of inscribed glass used at Horsted Keynes.
- On 3rd January we received a visit from a number of volunteer staff from the Severn Valley Railway, and Kenny Felstead provides this photo on the right showing the S15 at Sheffield Park, and below, the same engine, together with the H-class, at Horsted Keynes.
- The No.73082 "Camelot" Locomotive Society are pleased to report the successful out-of-frames hydraulic and steam tests on their boiler at LNWR Crewe. The boiler will now return to Sheffield Park, and re-assembly of the locomotive will then commence. Because the BR Standard designs have many items fixed on the boiler rather than the frames, this is a good few months work, but all being well the loco will be back in service in the middle of the year.
- As reported in the latest e-mail newsletter, this month's engineering work during our 3 week (2 weekends) closure is focussed on rebuilding the formation at "River Slip" in Lindfield Wood, just south of Waterworks Bridge. This has always been a problematic area and was pressure grouted in the 1980s, which went some way to arrest the problem, but did not effect a long-term cure. Preliminary work has already been undertaken including improved drainage and work on a culvert, and now the line is closed the formation is being dug out.
- Update with the current positions in the Football Competition which is raising funds for the overhaul of our Southern Railway Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864.
- Dave Braley has a gallery of photos taken over the Christmas period on some very cold and frosty days.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the H-class running round prior to working the 1:30 departure yesterday, having been back to the shed to take on more coal.
- Keith Duke made a visit to the railway and rode on the 11.00 service yesterday, resulting in this great gallery of photos.
- 2015 details are now available for our Monday Club - Enjoy a steam train ride through the Sussex countryside plus a delicious two-course meal in our restaurant at Sheffield Park. On Mondays from April to September (except Bank Holidays) you can travel from East Grinstead on the 12-noon departure to Sheffield Park for lunch in our Bessemer Arms Restaurant. Full details here.
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows the H-class at Sheffield Park on Friday 2nd January.
- Steve Lee's photo shows the same locomotive as it departs from Sheffield Park with the 11am service yesterday.
- Steve Lee's photo shows the SECR H-class with its train at West Hoathly last Saturday.
- A News update on SECR No.27, the first of what should be a regular feature from Project 27 - our fund-raising and restoration project for our third SECR P-class locomotive - marking the start of what are planned as monthly working days on the locomotive. Clive Emsley's photo below, from 3 January, shows Stuart Bardouleau drifting out a pin from a brake hanger. With thanks to Clive, and Nick Beck, for the update.
- A few pictures from Jon Horrocks' visit last Sunday, a very misty day but which finished off sunny. Jon now has also completed a gallery from 12 June 2012, the day the Sheffield Park Carriage Shed was opened.
- Nick Beck and Martin Skrzetuszewski have updated the web pages for our Mk.1 CK No.16210 (with two recent views of the interior by David Chappell) and LMS 12-Ton open wagon PBA 66071, adding a photograph of the remains of the Birmingham Carriage & Wagon Company cast iron builder's plate, and a recent view showing its deteriorating condition - to restore it will require us to obtain a replacement underframe.
- Paul Simpson has four fine photos from 29 & 30 December.
- Brian Lacey's photo below, from Friday last week, shows out-of-service LBSCR Terrier No.55 "Stepney", with its repaint into Stroudley livery nearing completion.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the sunset over Horsted Keynes last Friday, 2nd January.
- We are running Steam hauled and heated trains to our revised Service One Timetable this weekend.
- Deltics for 2015 Diesel Gala
The Bluebell Railway and the Deltic Preservation Society are pleased to announce the visit of D9009 "Alycidon" and 55019 "Royal Highland Fusilier" for the Bluebell Railway Diesel Gala on 18 and 19 April 2015. This will be the first time two Deltics have visited us, with both locos arriving via the Bluebell's mainline connection at East Grinstead. A two train service will be in operation each day with the locos switching diagrams on the Sunday. Further details will be available our website later, or call the Bluebell Railway on 01825 720800 or email the Deltic Preservation Society on secretary(AT)thedps.co.uk
- To help with the cost of repairing 34059 Sir Archibald Sinclair's firebox, the Bulleid Society are inviting membership of their 2015/16 "500+ Club". Please do support this important fund-raising initative, which also offers the chance for members to win cash prizes. More details here.
- Paul Furlong's photo below shows the S15 to the south of Lindfield Wood on Friday last week.
Brian Lacey's shows the H-class at Sheffield Park the same day.
- Brian Lacey's photo from 30 December shows the H-class approaching East Grinstead.
- Aron Stenning's gallery of photos from Friday.
- Martin Lawrence has completed his December photo gallery, and made a start on that for January.
- John Harwood provides this video from yesterday, shot at West Hoathly, Kingscote and East Grinstead, with thanks to the loco crew for assistance with the filming at East Grinstead.
- Steve Lee's photo below shows the S15 at West Hoathly on New Year's Day
- Yoshi Hashida's photo shows the Maunsell S15 at Three Arch Bridge last Sunday.
- We are running Steam hauled and heated trains to our (slightly revised) 2015 Service Two Timetable this weekend, and to the Service One Timetable next weekend. The Service one timetable has also been revised, to allow a slightly longer day for visitors who use the Bluebell to visit Sheffield Park National Trust Gardens.
There are no trains operating over the weekends of 17-18 & 24-25 January due to engineering work, although Sheffield Park Station, with our Museum, Locomotive Shed, Bar, Restaurant and Shop will be open.
- Some photos of shunting at Sheffield Park yesterday from Keith Duke.
- During December 2014 there were 57,523 total hits on this page, from 33,994 unique visitors. In total there were 4,764,885 hits in the month across 23,322 pages and photos on the site, accessed from 64,224 different servers.
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows the SECR H-class with the LNWR Observation Car at East Grinstead on Tuesday.
2 January 2015
- Peter Edwards' photo shows the H-class on Freshfield Bank with the 1.30pm train from Sheffield Park on Monday. It has been sharing the services this week with the S15.
- The 18th Project Newsletter is available from the Standard Class 2 locomotive project.
- John Harwood's video shows the H-class No.263 with the first Fairy Godmother train at Kingscote, and work in progress in the Signalbox, plus the S15 at East Grinstead.
- GWR 0-6-2T No.5643 has now completed its contracted steamings with us, and will move to The Furness Railway Trust's base at the Ribble Steam Railway in January for winter works.
- Sad to have to report (see more on the BRPS Members' Notices page) that midweek Booking Clerk and former Assistant Membership Secretary Ron Cheeseman passed away on Saturday 20 December in hospital where he had been undergoing treatment for cancer. The funeral is on Wednesday 7th January at 11:15 at Beckenham Crematorium.
- Fred Ivey's videos show our Metropolitan Carriages on their way to, and returning from Steam on the Met last summer.
- Tony Sullivan's photos below show the Q-class, the C-class and "Camelot" in the loco works yesterday. Once the Q-class and C-class are completed, the BR Standard 4MT tank No.80151 is planned to enter the works - new tyres for the driving wheels have already been ordered and are being held down at the South Devon Railway ready for fitting. With Camelot's boiler due to return from overhaul at Crewe within a few weeks, that locomotive will be re-assembled over the coming few months. Once Camelot is completed, the SER O1 No.65 will enter the works, since the boiler which is to be fitted (our spare H-class boiler) is nearing completion at The Flour Mill Workshop.
24 December 2014
- We now have a listing for the main Special Events for 2015.
- After Christmas our scheduled steam-hauled and steam-heated services run on 26-31 Dec & 1-4 Jan: See our timetable for more details - You can buy tickets on the day, but if you book at least 8 days in advance you can get Bluebell Bonus discounted tickets.
- 27-31 December: Fairy Godmother Specials from Sheffield Park (27-29 Dec), and New for 2014: East Grinstead (30/31 Dec).
- 27, 29, 30, 31 Dec & 2, 3 Jan: Saturday service on Metrobus Route 270 which provides a Direct Bus Service from Brighton, Burgess Hill and Haywards Heath to Horsted Keynes station - we are offering a discount on passengers who arrive on this service.
- A Happy Christmas to all our readers!
- On the right is a spectacular photo from Nick Burgess, taken at Horsted Keynes at sunset on Saturday as the S15 arrives with the empty coaching stock from Sheffield Park, whilst the E4 waits to return the Reindeer Special train to East Grinstead. The first photo below, also from Nick, shows the visiting GW tank arriving there with its Santa Special train. If you didn't see them yesterday, do take a look at Nick's full set of photos from Saturday.
- Keith Duke's gallery from Saturday, features the S15, E4, U, 5643 and "Bluebell" all in action.
- Chris Jennings has provided some shots taken on the Bluebell in the early 1980s which people may find of interest, including that below, showing the Maunsell Schools-class locomotive "Stowe" on 9 May 1982. We are looking forward to the day (not so far away now) when that classic Southern Locomotive returns to working order!
- Derek Hayward now has just over 100 images in his Santa collection, covering the various events that have been taking place before Christmas. The pictures are in random order, and not arranged by date. The remaining four photos below are also from Derek, and were taken last Saturday.
- Into the last few days of the busy Santa season - Derek Hayward's photo from Saturday shows the U-class with the second trip of "Set X" at Medhurst Farm. The other two Santa Special trains from Sheffield Park were hauled by the S15 and the visiting GW tank No.5643; the S15 also hauled the evening Golden Arrow Pullman dining train.
- The LBSCR E4 was also in use, on the late afternoon Reindeer Special service from East Grinstead, hauling the Edwardian coaches. This and other engines feature in a set of photos from Nick Burgess taken at Horsted Keynes at the end of day on Saturday.
- On Saturday 17th January, the 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society sales team will be at the Brambleton MRE exhibition in Harpenden. The team will provide a friendly welcome for you with a wide range of railway related merchandise, books and DVDs.
- The fifth loco in use was SECR No.323 "Bluebell", acting as station pilot at Sheffield Park, seen below in Nick Talbot's photo, which shows two members of the 9F Club, Charlotte Talbot and Jane Booth, acting as Elves ready to give Santa a hand distributing presents on Saturday, as they waited to join the 1.15pm Santa Special at Sheffield Park.
- Derek Hayward's other photos below show "The Pantry", set up in the waiting room on platforms 1 & 2 at Horsted Keynes, and the beautiful sunset seen at Sheffield Park on Saturday.
- Nick Burgess provides an album of photos from a brief visit to Horsted Keynes last Saturday, including that on the right showing SR S15 Class No.847 waiting to return its Santa Special train to Sheffield Park.
- Martin Lawrence has now re-created his old album of Bluebell photos from November 2008.
- Another busy weekend in prospect, with Santa Specials both days, as well as 23rd and 24th, Golden Arrow Dining Trains every evening until Tuesday (with some seats still available), a weekend of Sold-out Reindeer Specials, and our fabulous Victorian Christmas Trains on Monday 22nd.
- Nick Burgess' photo below shows The Furness Railway Trust's GWR Tank No.5643 arriving at Horsted Keynes Station with a Santa Special train last Saturday.
- Derek Hayward's photos below show more from last Saturday - Santa with the Reindeer at Kingscote, and two shots at Horsted Keynes.
- Derek Hayward's photo from Saturday shows the Reindeer, which are a huge hit with the children, with Santa's sleigh at Kingscote.
Our remaining Reindeer Specials run from East Grinstead on 20 and 21 December.
Derek now has a large gallery of superb photos from the Santa and Reindeer specials.
- After Christmas, Metrobus will be operating a Saturday service on most days (not Sunday or Bank Holidays), and thus providing a direct service on Route 270 from Brighton, Burgess Hill and Haywards Heath to Horsted Keynes station for a day out at the Bluebell Railway - and we are offering a discount on passengers who arrive on this service. Download the Metrobus timetable here. Their Saturday timetable applies on 27, 29, 30, 31 December and 2 & 3 January.
- Update to the Infrastructure News page - Planning the new shed at Horsted Keynes.
- Dates of operation in 2015 now available for our Golden Arrow Pullman Luncheon and Dining trains.
- Photos of recently arrived carriage No.16012 added to its web page, with thanks to Nick Beck, David Chappell and Dave Clarke.
- The first two photos below are from Derek Hayward, again showing the reindeer at Kingscote, and the H-class approaching Kingscote with the Edwardian carriages used for the Reindeer Specials, on Saturday.
- The Bluebell's LNWR Observation Car has re-entered service, in time for the Santa Specials, after an intermediate overhaul in our carriage works. It will return there for a final coat of varnish in January. Richard Salmon's photo shows it at Sheffield Park on Saturday.
- Saturday evening saw our annual carol service take place at Horsted Keynes. No.323 "Bluebell" here acts as a platform for our Assistant Chaplain, Fr. Clive. This and the photos below are from David Chapman.
- This sequence of photos reveals why Stowe's boiler overhaul is going to be even bigger than hoped. We urgently need donations!
- Job Vacancies advertised for a Customer Services Assistant at East Grinstead (a paid position), and we also have some volunteer opportunities advertised - Can you help? - we are looking for clerical help in the Operations Department, and a Buildings Manager. Details here. And a reminder that we're also always on the lookout for potential new Catering and Silver Service Waiting Staff.
- The December Bluebell Safety Newsletter for staff is now available.
- David Chapman's other photos, below, show Fr. John (BRPS Chaplain) and the Bluebell Railway Band at Horsted Keynes on Saturday.
- We also have another of Brian Lacey's photos from Monday showing the H-class with the Edwardian set at West Hoathly.
- Brian Lacey's two photos from Monday show the H-class with the Edwardian set, in use on the Christmas Shopping train (just £5 per person) and the Festive Feast (£7.00 for travel - or £11 for first-class - from East Grinstead plus just £11.50 for a 2-course Christmas Lunch in the Bessemer Arms at Sheffield Park). These trains operate for the last time this year on Monday 15 December.
- The same carriages are used for the Reindeer Specials which operate from East Grinstead over the next two weekends - advance booking is essential since these trains are becoming booked up!
- Yoshi Hashida's photo shows the U-class with first Santa Special train of the year, on Saturday.
- John Sandys' photos from 4 December cover the Christmas Wealden Rambler at Sheffield Park, new stock in the shop, progress with the Q-class (the boiler has subsequently been fitted to the frames), and Christmas preparations.
- The Furness Railway Trust's Locomotive No.5643 has had a successful test run following repairs to its vacuum brake pump and is now available for traffic again.
- The photo below, showing progress on the Brighton Atlantic, with its running plates going on, is part of a significant news update with thanks to Fred Bailey.
- Pre-grouping splendour - Brian Lacey's photo from 30 November shows the SECR H-class with the LSWR brake third at East Grinstead.
- Derek Hayward's photo shows the H-class yesterday on the "Wealden Rambler" Afternoon Tea train passing the Sheffield Park advanced starter.
- Don't forget: this Saturday is our Carol Service - Free entry - 7.30pm at Horsted Keynes Station, with the station refreshment room open from 6pm. Led by the Bluebell's Chaplain, and with the Bluebell Railway Band.
- We're about to get into the Santa Special and Reindeer Special season: Book now for these, and many other Christmas events. Note that Santa Specials on 13, 14, 20 & 21 December are already fully booked.
- Mondays 8 & 15 December:
Christmas Shopping Specials - Cheap tickets from Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes;
Festive Feast Christmas Meal - Catch a special steam hauled train from East Grinstead at 11am with Christmas Lunch in our restaurant at Sheffield Park.
- The next Find Out More day for people interested in joining us a volunteer will take place on Sunday 1st March 2015, with further days scheduled for the first Sunday of each month (excluding December). The days start at 10.30am at Sheffield Park Station.
- Dave Braley has posted a new album of photos from the Bluebell on Sunday 30 November.
- Keith Duke has pictures from Saturday 22 November.
- Martin Lawrence has completed his November 2014 gallery, and also his photos from October 2008.
- Updates to the Kingscote Track Layout and Sheffield Park Track Layout pages.
- Change of date for the August 2015 Personal Track Safety course for Bluebell lineside photographers.
- Update to the web page for potential new recruits to the Locomotive Dept.
- Advance notice that, due to engineering possessions, no trains will run on the Bluebell between 12 and 30 January; Sheffield Park station will remain open to visitors.
- Please note that, 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 in part on CAA regulations.
- During November 2014 there were 60,292 total hits on this page, from 34,851 unique visitors.
- Kieran Hardy's photo below shows No.B473 entering the platform at Sheffield Park whilst S15 No.847 waits to depart, last Saturday.
Derek Hayward's two photos from yesterday show the Christmas Tree in the booking hall at Sheffield Park, and No.488 decorated in Victorian style for Christmas.
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