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S15 on Freshfield Bank - Paul Furlong - 16 April 2014 17 April

Find out more day participants with Dave Clarke - David Chappell - 6 April 2014 14 April

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latest 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.

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S15 at East Grinstead - John Sandys - 10 April 2014 13 April

Track Trek poster 12 April

News Update This weekend sees the launch of our Track Trek fund-raising initiative. The Trek, a walk along the trackbed from Horsted Keynes to Sheffield Park on 28 June 2014 (starting in the early evening, with a train back to Horsted Keynes afterwards, will be the final push for the "Keep Up The Pressure" appeal. The walk is being led by our chairmen, Roy Watts (BRPS) and Dick Fearn (plc).

Maidstone & District AEC Reliance 390 DKK - Andrew Crampton - 6 April 2014 11 April

London Transport RT 1798 - Andrew Crampton - 6 April 2014 Green Line liveried RF 28 - Andrew Crampton - 6 April 2014 Phone Box at Kingscote - John Sandys - 10 April 2014 C-class arriving at East Grinstead - John Sandys - 10 April 2014

178 and 263 ready to leave Sheffield Park with the Sunday afternoon tea train - Stephen Garratt - 30 March 2014 10 April

S15 passes the Sheffield Park advanced starter - Derek Hayward - 5 April 2014 9 April

Mr & Mrs Montgomery at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 5 April 2014 On the footplate of the S15 at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 5 April 2014 Birch Grove Suite set out for the wedding reception - Derek Hayward - 5 April 2014

H, P and S15 at the end of their duties - Steve Lee - 6 April 2014 8 April

C-class with Victorian train - Sheila Beaumont - 30 March 2014 5 April

Vep at Clapham - Keith Harcourt/HMRS - 27 March 2014 4 April

Stepney and the H on the Jack Owen memorial train - Peter Edwards - 29 March 2014 3 April
847 at East Grinstead - Brian Lacey - 2 April 2014

178 and 263 with the Wealden Rambler service - Derek Hayward - 30 March 2014 2 April

847 at East Grinstead - Brian Lacey - 1 April 2014 847 blows a smoke ring - Brian Lacey - 1 April 2014 Stepney, C and H on shed - Brian Lacey - 1 April 2014

5643 with the Golden Arrow - Sheila Beaumont - 30 March 2014 1 April

Stepney and the H on the Jack Owen memorial train - Peter Edwards - 29 March 2014 31 March

S15 and U at West Hoathly - Andrew Crampton - 22 March 2014 28 March

27 March
East Grinstead Station Staff official photo - 23 March 2014

Roy holding 1st anniversary cake - 23 March 2014 Stepney and L.150 in yard at Sheffield Park - Owen Hayward - 23 March 2014
33103 Swordfish at the Diesel Gala - Andrew Crampton - 21 March 2014 178 at the head of the Golden Arrow! - Owen Hayward - 23 March 2014

P 178 and C-class with Victorian set - Keith Duke - 22 March 2014 26 March

DMU approaches Horsted Keynes from the North - Tony Sullivan - 21 March 2014 08 at Diesel Gala - Andrew Crampton - 21 March 2014
The U and S15 departing from Horsted Keynes - Steve Lee - 23 March 2014 GW pair at West Hoathly - Andrew Crampton - 22 March 2014

Steam back on the Met Video 25 March
Baxter on brake van rides - Sam Brown - 22 March 2014

C-class with Victorian set - Steve Lee - 23 March 2014 24 March

U and S-15 with SR-liveried set - Cameron Smith -23 March 2014 Classic shot of U-class 1638 - Sam Brown - 22 March 2014

S15 and U - Nathan Gibson - 22 March 2014 23 March

Baxter giving brake van ride - Brian Lacey - 22 March 2014 SR and GW pairings at Horsted Keynes - Richard Salmon - 22 March 2014

33103 exchanges token at Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 21 March 2014 22 March

08 and 09 on arrival at Horsted Keynes - John Sandys - 21 March 2014 21 March

20 March
Today we have something much more like a traditional "Blog" entry, with thanks to Tom James, giving an insight into a day earlier this month on the footplate of the P-class locomotive rostered for station pilot duties at Sheffield Park. The page covering the signalling at the station may help those unfamiliar with the track layout to follow the narative. The photos accompanying it are from Simon Lathwell, Paul Booth, Ben Jenden and John Sandys.

178 at Sheffield Park - Simon Lathwell - May 2012 Anyone who hasn't visited the railway recently may not have noticed that we now have a regular pilot engine on Sundays, and some Saturdays. As I had the pleasure of firing the turn on Sunday 9 March, I thought I'd explain a bit about what we did to show just how much activity goes on "between the trains".

After preparing the loco, the first engine off shed, at 9.15am, was the "A" engine (1638 on Sunday). That loco took water and then ran onto its stock, which was sitting in the Newick siding overnight, drew it into the station and heated the stock ready for departure of the first up service.

Once 1638 had gone, the pilot engine could go off shed (on Sunday that was 178, with a Senior Fireman and Rules Passed Cleaner as crew). After taking water in Platform 2, we ran back into the Carriage Yard Headshunt (a.k.a. the Pumphouse siding), and - once the signal was cleared and we had permission from the shunter - we moved down into the carriage shed to pick up the "B" stock, which this weekend was the LSWR brake 3rd, SECR 100 Seater, LBSCR Bogie First and SECR Birdcage. After coupling up, we ran back to the Carriage Yard Headshunt and started to steam heat the stock, thus ensuring the carriages had a good hour of heating before the 11am departure.

By using a pilot, the "B" engine (263 this weekend) could run straight out of the loco yard into Platform 2 to take water, then come back onto its stock and draw it into the station ready for departure, without having to spend time shunting and running round, saving the crew time on what would be a long day.

As soon as 263 had drawn its stock away, we were back into the shed to pick up the Pullman set, drawing it back into the Carriage Yard Headshunt and starting to steam heat. Once 263 with the 11am train had departed, we then propelled the stock out into Platform 2, onto the single line north of the station and back into Platform 1 where the catering staff could prepare the train for the lunchtime service. (It is not possible to access Platform 1 directly from the Carriage Yard, hence the move via the single line, staying inside the outer home signal).

592 comes off shed whilst 178 awaits its next task - Paul Booth - 16 March 2014 The Golden Arrow engine - 592 on Sunday - was quickly onto the train to continue heating, releasing us to run back to the Carriage Yard for our next shunt. This occurred with the arrival of 1638 and the first down service from East Grinstead at 11:32. With the Golden Arrow in Platform 1 and the "A" service needing to arrive and depart before the Golden Arrow departed, 1638 was blocked from running round. Thus on arrival, 1638 uncoupled and ran into the Newick siding; we were then signalled onto the train, coupled and drew the stock into the Carriage Yard, releasing 1638 to get back to the north end of the train. After taking water, 1638 ran back onto its stock, we uncoupled and 1638 drew the stock back into Platform 2 ready for the 12.15 departure, followed about 30 minutes later by the arrival of the "B" service (263 and vintage set) and finally departure of 592 with the Golden Arrow.

After 263 ran round, we had no immediate shunting to do, so we ran into Platform 1 to allow footplate access for any passengers on the station at that time. A small tank engine such as 178 is an ideal non-intimidating size for small children, many of whom came up onto the footplate to experience a loco in steam. Once 263 departed with the 1:30 service, we took water, then went back into the loco yard for coal - not that we needed it then, but with a long day planned, taking coal mid-afternoon saved one job that would otherwise have to take place at the end of the day.

178 takes water - Ben Jenden - 16 March 2014 Mid afternoon, the Golden Arrow arrived back after its full line round trip. After the train engine had run round, we ran onto the back of the stock and, at 3.20, departed for the half-trip to Horsted Keynes. The waiting time at Horsted is only twelve minutes, so having the pilot on the back means that 592 didn't need to run round there, saving time in what would otherwise be a very tight schedule. We thus acted as lead engine for the return trip. Because that trip ventured out onto the main running line, we had the spare turn driver travel with us up and down.

Once back to Sheffield Park, 592 uncoupled from the back of the train and, once the passengers were disembarked, we shunted the Pullman stock back into the carriage shed. Normally, that would be the last move, but we had one more shunt to perform, which had to wait to the end of the day - moving the support coach for 45231, which was berthed in the down dock siding. 592 coupled to the south end of that coach and drew it into the loco yard headshunt; then, after we had put the Golden Arrow stock back in the shed, we coupled to the north end of the support coach, drew away into the dock siding to release 592 to go on shed and then propelled the coach back to the extreme south end of the loco yard headshunt. We then waited for 1638 to come back, shunt its own stock into the Newick siding and go on shed, before running out into Platform 2 to wait for the arrival of 263 with the last down service of the day. Once 263 and its train were stopped in Platform 1, we ran out via the single line, berthed the support coach at the north end of the stock in Platform 1 and then returned via Platform 2 to finally go back on shed - after which there was the 45 minutes or so of disposal!

178 shunting at Sheffield Park - John Sandys - 8 March 2012 So a long day, but an enjoyable one, and illustrative of just how much activity there is around the station between trains. Apart from the loco crew, there were at least three other people playing an important, but unseen, role. Firstly, the loco department Running Foreman, who is responsible for ensuring that all locos are off shed on time, and controls all movements within the loco yard and, in conjunction with the signalman, any movements between the loco yard and the rest of the station. Secondly, the signalman, who had a lot to do even when there were no service trains around - all moves at the south end of the station are signalled (including to and from the loco yard; and in and out of the carriage shed), even though that fact isn't immediately obvious to a casual observer on the platform. And thirdly the operating supervisor / shunter, who directly controlled all the movements in and out of the carriage shed, as well as the late afternoon shunt of 45231's support coach. It takes a lot of people to run a railway!

I gather that we will have a rostered pilot on any Sunday when the Golden Arrow is running through to the end of the summer, as well as on some Saturdays, so Sheffield Park should be a hive of loco activity between trains every weekend, with at least four engines in service every Sunday and many Saturdays.

Tom James

5643 on Freshfield Bank with the Victorian coaches - Sheila Beaumont - 16 March 2014 19 March

The wreath laid at Ypres, 15 March 2014 18 March

5643 appraches HK with the Victorian coaches - Derek Hayward - 16 March 2014 17 March

Older updates are in the What's New Archive
or 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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