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- Over 350 people attended the Songs of Praise at Kingscote Station on Sunday evening. The guest preacher was Bishop Mark of Horsham who is seen in the photo with Fr. John (BRPS Chaplain) and Fr. Clive (our assistant Chaplain) at Kingscote Station.
- John Sandys provides a set of photos from last Thursday, when the 09 was very busy shunting, moving all the stock into the right place in preparation for the start of the Summer season at the end of next week. The photos also include a good look at the Q-Class.
- Next Sunday, between 11:30 and 4pm, Chris Green (former Managing Director of Network SouthEast) is signing his books in the shop at Sheffield Park. Chris has recently published The Network SouthEast Story detailing the history of this very successful sector of British Railways. The new book, along with Chris's first title The Intercity Story, will be available to purchase in the shop at Sheffield Park.
- If you have visited the Railway in the past year, either to take a train or just visit a station, please take a moment to fill out this survey. It should take no more than 10 minutes of your time. All entries received by midnight on 8 August will be entered into a draw - the winner will receive a voucher for two Afternoon Tea Lounge Car tickets. We welcome your thoughts, and the results will help the Railway plan for its future.
- Update to the Carriage Restoration technical page listing suppliers, to included Camira Fabrics, our suppliers of carriage moquette (seat fabric), who now own both the Holdsworth transport brand, and Furtex.
- Brian Lacey provides this portrait of the GW "Taffy" tank which was hauling the midweek service yesterday.
- John Sandys has a set of photos taken on Monday, at Sheffield Park where 4 locomotives were in action, 263, 178, 5643, and the 09 shunter. The photo below shows the H-class arriving at Horsted Keynes with Edwardian coaches for use in some filming featuring Sir Ian McKellen starring as Mr Holmes.
His second photo below shows further good progress on fitting the L-frame into the future Kingscote Signalbox. There remains a lot of detailed work to implement the mechanical and electrical interlocking, before the frame can take over control of the Kingscote area from the existing temporary box, some time next year. The installation includes provision for the longer term, since it is planned that it should eventually control the line up to and including East Grinstead.
- Recent article covering a visit to the Bluebell on the UK Heritage Hub & Model Railway Blog.
- Tim Simpson Photography certainly captured the spirit of this wedding at the Bluebell! If you are interested in holding your wedding at the Railway, we have more details here.
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
- Because of a wedding charter (seen below in Derek Hayward's photo, where the wedding party was accommodated in the two Lounge-Car carriages attached to the rear of the Victorian set), an additional relief train, comprising SECR No.178 hauling two SECR carriages, was run at 2.05pm from Sheffield Park, again photographed by Derek (right). The U-class was back in action after attention to a spring hanger, which had seen No.5643 deputising for it during the week.
- Join us for Songs of Praise at Kingscote Station on Sunday 20 July. There is a train from Sheffield Park at 5.15pm, calling at Horsted Keynes at 5.30pm for Kingscote. If you are travelling from East Grinstead there will be a departure at 6.10pm. The evening train service is free of charge with donations split bewteen St Swithuns, St Giles and the Bluebell Railway.
Our service will be lead by Father Clive of St Swithuns, East Grinstead, and Father John from St Giles, Horsted Keynes, Vice Chaplain and Chaplain to the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society. The Bishop of Horsham is our guest preacher.
- John Sandys has some photos from Thursday, a surprisingly busy day at the railway, possibly caused by the Public Service Workers strike. Includes photos of the Q-class, and, as seen below, Camelot and the E4 in the works.
- At the Sussex Food Festival, the Golden Arrow Competition winners were, on Saturday, Gaby Lethbridge from Ardingly, and on Sunday, Charlotte Sumner from Brixham. Both have won a meal for two on the Golden Arrow, which can be taken on a Saturday evening of their choice in October or November
- The final photo below is from Steve Lee, also from Saturday, showing No.5643, which has recently had a new piston ring fitted, heading the main service set up the 1-in-55 approach to Imberhorne Cutting.
- Derek Hayward has uploaded more photos for the food festival, and today's entry is illustrated by more of his photos from the event, on the right is the H-class with Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea train, passing through Horsted Keynes. Below is No.592 approaching Horsted Keynes with the SR Olive-green liveried set, 5643 leaving Horsted Keynes with the other service set, and Mk.1 Brake Second coach No.35207, which has recently been commissioned into service on the Bluebell after overhaul at Cranmore.
- Two photos from Sunday from Chris Beaumont; on the right, the SCER C-class approaches Horsted Keynes station with the Birdcage set, and below, No.5643 is seen with the other service set at Leamland Bridge.
- Two more photos from the weekend, below, from Derek Hayward - Marco the magician is seen working VERY hard on the Saturday, and also an illustration of the face painting on Sunday. (It is probably worth recording here that Derek always seeks permission from parents for the use by us of photos featuring portraits of children. Being in a "public" place, no permission is needed to take such photos, but it is courteous to do so!)
- Reminder that our Summer Festival, a full fortnight of events 26 July - 10 August, includes our Toy & Rail Collectors' Fair (26-27 July) and the visit of 'new-build' steam locomotive No.60163 "Tornado" (28 July - 3 Aug).
- On Saturday 19 July we are offering discounted train travel to visit the East Grinstead Mid-Summer Market.
- Our 6th annual Sussex Food Festival, held this weekend at Horsted Keynes Station saw a great variety of stalls, and entertainment for all the family. Derek Hayward's photo shows Dulci Bella Marshmallows at Horsted Keynes on Saturday, and another of his photos, below, shows the Iberica Delights stall.
Please note that next year the event will be one week later, so as to avoid clashing with Wimbledon and other sporting events.
Derek's gallery of photos for the event is gradually growing, and should be complete by the middle of this week.
- Steve Lee provides the other two photos below, showing the C-class and the 56xx on the two service trains, and the H-class with the Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea service on Saturday.
- The weather forecast looks to be dry from 11am tomorrow, and not too hot - ideal for our Sussex Food Festival.
- John Sandys' photos from yesterday show L.150 standing in for No.1638 (suffering from a broken spring), a test run for No.5643 after some maintenance work in the Loco workshop. Also a look inside the signal box at Kingscote with work progressing, and some fantastic displays of flowers. John's photo on the right shows L.150 emerging from the tunnel, and that below, the L-frame which is being installed in Kingscote signalbox.
- A new newsletter is available, the latest update from the Standard Class 2 project. The photo below shows the front dragbox, with spacers, ready for riveting.
- Brighton Atlantic: Updated list of components available for sponsorship following the addition of some major new items, and several items being removed following their sponsorship. Indeed the smokebox door was snapped up within 24 hours of a new list being produced, so there's a real momentum to it!
- Details of the funeral of Bluebell volunteer Tony Hayllar's wife, Ruth, are to be found on the Society Members' Notices page. See also this article on Ruth in the Crawley Observer.
- Celebrate the finest local food and drink at our 6th annual Sussex Food Festival this coming weekend at Horsted Keynes Station.
Amongst the local producers with stalls lining the platforms are cake bakers, cheese makers, producers of delicious liqueurs, handmade chocolates, wines, juices and some delicious gourmet burgers.
38 exhibitors so far but still rising, plus Zoe's Face Painting, Marco the Magician, Bouncy Castle & Steam Trains!
See also the Facebook page for the event, or join in the Twitter conversations.
- A set of photos from John Sandys from Monday features the U-class on the service train (seen in the photo on the right during its run-round at Sheffield Park), new items in the shop, the boilers of the Q and Stowe back in the loco works, and the current state of the Q-class chassis.
- Yesterday saw the launch of the new local news service on Meridian FM, with local news from East Grinstead, thanks to East Grinstead Online, on the air at 7.30am, 8.30am, 9.30am, 4.30pm and 5.30pm. You can also listen to Meridian FM online.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster with thanks to Chris Knibbs.
- The East Grinstead in Bloom team have done a great job with the East Grinstead station flower beds, as seen in the photo below. The Bluebell Railway cleared the undergrowth and sponsored the plants for this patch of land between the two stations, which the EG in Bloom team kindly arranged and expertly planted. Please do support East Grinstead in Bloom; judging takes place Thursday 10th July.
- Derek Hayward's photos from the Model Railway Weekend are now available. The photo below, taken with kind permission of Bachmann, shows the second engineering prototype for the LBSCR E4.
- Another of Derek's photos below, shows David Chappell, proudly still wearing his Track Trek medal whilst working with the P-way gang on Sunday, with some of his sponsors. David has raised a magnificent £1,088 and any further contributions towards Keep up the Pressure will be much appreciated.
- During June 2014 there were 62,467 total hits on this page, from 36,918 unique visitors.
- The weekend's Model Railway event went off very well, with a fantastic "buzz" all around the railway. Because of the weather, Saturday was a lot quieter. Indeed, we have to express our sincere apologies to those who were unable to access the railway at Sheffield Park at some times on Sunday due to overcrowding. Derek Hayward's photo on the right shows a view on Saturday across the carriage works, which was given over to a variety of layouts and sales stands. His photo below shows a great layout from the Bognor Regis Model Railway Club, "Aldingbourne Central", which was a tremendous hit with children who were able to drive the trains.
- Saturday evening also saw the 2014 Track Trek, which has raised well over £10,000 towards the locomotive boiler appeal - "Keep up the Pressure". Mike Hopps' photo below shows some of the walkers arriving at Sheffield Park. Fortunately the weather held fine for the evening. Many thanks to those who have sponsored or walked, including those who sponsored our Chairmen. Whilst Roy was one of the first to complete the walk, Dick apologises that he was unable to participate in the end, since his wife is recovering at home from a recent hospital operation and he needed to be at home with her that evening.
- Martin Lawrence has updated his June photo gallery to include the Track Trek.
- Keith Duke provides photos from earlier in the day on Saturday.
- News updates on the overhaul of No.73082 "Camelot" are now available here.
- A "nostalgia" article from the East Grinstead Courier featuring the closure of BR's East Grinstead Signal Box in 1987, featuring Clive Emsley, who was a signalman there as well as being a Bluebell volunteer.
- On Saturday 19 July we are offering discounted train travel in conjunction with the East Grinstead Mid-Summer Market
- The other photo below, by Sheila Beaumont, shows the locomotives powering the second service set over the weekend, the SECR pair of 178 and 592.
- Brian Lacey's photo from last Saturday shows the C-class entering East Grinstead station.
- Camelot's frames are seen in the works yesterday in Tony Sullivan's photo below, prior to being wheeled out, and as can be seen the remainder of the workshop is also clear, making space for the Model Railway exhibition this weekend, which is also taking over much of the Carriage Works at Horsted Keynes, as well as station platforms and waiting rooms.
- Further JustGiving pages for people participating in Saturday's Track Trek - please support them, as we really do need to raise money urgently for the overhaul of our loco boilers: Matt Hume, Tony Hayllar, Andrew & Michelle, Callum & Darren, Mark Richardson, Peter Corish, Peter Saunders and Lizzie & Bryan.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the Brighton Atlantic during last weekend's project open day. "Atlantic House", at Sheffield Park, will also be open during the Model Railway Weekend which takes place this coming weekend.
- It's not too late to join in this Saturday's Track Trek
So far we have 190 pre-registered participants - there's capacity for more.
Thank you to those who have already supported our two chairmen and other walkers. The level of donations is very encouraging, but further support is vital to help us fund the overhaul of our steam locomotive boilers (through the "Keep Up The Pressure" campaign).
Please do support the appeal, which is very easy to do via the following who have online fundraising pages for the trek:
- Nick Beck and Martin Skrzetuszewski have updated the webpage for Mk.1 CK No.16210, and added a new photo by David Chappell to the page for wheelchair-accessible multi-purpose saloon No.5034.
- Peter Austin's photo shows the C-class with vintage coaches on Sunday. Another of his photos, below, shows the GWR Prairie Tank currently running as L.150 with the lunchtime Pullman Dining Train.
- This coming weekend - Sat 28 & Sun 29 June is our Annual Model Railway Weekend - it was a great success last year, and this year should be even better - lots of layouts in different scales and gauges, displayed at various locations around the railway, and shop stands, manufacturers and suppliers too. Free entry to the exhibition with Bluebell tickets.
At Sheffield Park, in the locomotive shed and works will be Gauge 1 including live steam, "Thornbury Hill" (00) and other layouts and traders, with additional traders on the platforms and in the Birch Grove Suite.
At Horsted Keynes, inside the Carriage and Wagon Works will be more layouts and traders, including the first showing of the new P4 layout "Plumpton Green", and other layouts in N, OO and O. More traders and layouts will be located on the platforms and in the waiting rooms.
- Yoshi Hashida visited Bluebell over the previous weekend, and provides the photo showing the S15 departing from Sheffield Park last Sunday. Further photos by Yoshi are available here.
- Peter Edwards' photo shows the S15 leaving Sheffield Park on Friday with stock for that evening's Rail Ale train. Neal Ball also provides a set of photos from the evening - there are two more such trains running in July and August.
- Great blog post by Revd. Rupert Toovey, originally published on 18 June 2014 in the West Sussex Gazette.
- Reminder that next Saturday is our Track Trek. If you can't join us for the walk, why not sponsor our two Chairmen?
Don't forget that, because of the event, the last down train from East Grinstead (6.15pm) on Saturday will terminate at Horsted Keynes, and will not continue to Sheffield Park Station.
- Update for our Summer Festival which runs from 26 July to 10 August, adding details of some further attractions. In addition to our regular service of vintage steam trains, of course we have new-build A1 pacific No.60163 "Tornado" visiting, which will be hauling trains daily from 28 July to 3 August. Full details and timetables here.
- Blog update from the Southern Electric Traction Group on our 4VEP unit which is in their care.
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows the LBSCR Milk/Fruit Van No.270 at Horsted Keynes on Saturday. It forms an interesting contrast with our ordinary LBSCR goods van, which was the previous restoration project undertaken by the team who have been restoring No.270.
The next photo, by Joseph Jameson, is of SECR P-class No.323 "Bluebell" on pilot duties at Sheffield Park on Saturday.
MBE for Chairman, Roy Watts
We are delighted to be able to report that BRPS Chairman Roy Watts is appointed a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in Her Majesty's 2014 Birthday Honours List in recognition of his services to the Heritage Railway movement and preservation.
More details available here.
Derek Hayward's photo on the right shows Roy Watts as Station Master at East Grinstead during an open day, on 5 September 2010.
Deborah Salmon's photo on the left shows Roy, also at East Grinstead, with sleeves rolled up in preparation for another open day, in September 2011.
- Derek Hayward's photo from Sunday shows the S15 amidst the daisies at Medhurst Farm. Derek has also added further photos to his galleries of Photos of Bluebell People.
- Very pleased to see this superb blog write-up about a visit to the wheelchair-friendly Bluebell!
- Report and photos of further great progress on the boiler overhaul of Schools No.928 "Stowe", with the first new boiler plate going in, and repairs to the foundation ring.
- On Wednesday we had a visit from the Old Southeronians, the association for retired railway staff in Southern England, with both plc Chairman Dick Fearn and newly elected BRPS President Gordon Pettitt being part of the group. John and May Goss provide the photo of the group below, and another showing H-class No.263 and C-class No.592 ready to leave Sheffield Park with the 1.15pm departure for East Grinstead.
- In a departure from the intended locomotive Duty Roster, yesterday saw the H-class and C-class working together, as seen in Brian Lacey's mid-afternoon photo at East Grinstead, where a temporary works compound for Sainsburys currently restricts photo opportunities from the car park.
- Details are now available for our major special event of the year - the Bluebell Railway's Summer Festival which runs from 26 July to 10 August. A major highlight is the visit of new-build A1 pacific No.60163 "Tornado" which will be hauling trains daily from 28 July to 3 August.
- Notices indicate that the minor road between Danehill and Horsted Keynes is due to be closed for repairs to the surface by WSCC today, Friday and Saturday, 12, 13 & 14 June. An alternative route is from Chelwood Gate, or why not visit us by train via East Grinstead.
- Remember also that Sunday 15th is the annual London to Brighton Bike Ride, in aid of the British Heart Foundation. Whilst the ride doesn't affect us directly, some of the roads to the West of the line will be closed, or become one-way, during the day. You may therefore face diversions, which will add extra time to your journey. And if all that cycling inspires you, remember that East Grinstead station is on National Cycle Route 21, most of which is far easier on the legs than Ditchling Beacon!
- Derek Hayward has just added 25 new images to his Bluebell 2014 collection. Photos taken on 8th June, seen below, show the quiet country station at Kingscote, the repaired handrail on the east side of the platform 3/4 subway steps at Horsted Keynes (a project undertaken by some members of the C&W department), and maintenance work undertaken by the S&T department on the Kingscote Down Advanced Starter, where corroded proving switches are seen being replaced.
- Derek Hayward's photo shows the SECR H-class with the lunchtime Golden Arrow on Sunday at Caseford Bridge.
- Pat Plane - it's with great sadness that we have to report the sudden (and peaceful) death of stalwart extension volunteer Pat Plane last week. Further details, including arrangements for his funeral, are on the page for Society Notices.
- Bluebell policy on e.cigarettes. You will be aware that the Bluebell has a strict No Smoking policy on all platforms, trains, buildings etc. At the recent Board meeting it was agreed that this policy extends to electronic cigarettes of any description. Consequent update to the FAQ on this web site.
- Coming soon: New book: LB&SCR Carriages Volume 1: Four- and Six-wheeled Ordinary Passenger Stock. Forty years after Newbury's work on this topic, this new large-format volume includes many new photographs, plus research by Bluebell C&W members Ian White and Sheina Foulkes, together with Simon Turner of the Brighton Circle. It will be available this December.
- Derek Hayward's photo shows the SECR C-class amid the daisies at Kingscote today, with the SECR Birdcage Brake leading the vintage set. The S15 was on the other service train, and the H-class on the Golden Arrow.
- The H-class also had an outing yesterday, and is seen in Wilson Hill's photo during the token exchange at Horsted Keynes, whilst hauling a wedding special Pullman charter.
- Royal Visit to East Grinstead tomorrow - Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal will unveil the McIndoe memorial statue outside Sackville College in the High Street in East Grinstead on Monday at about 2.10pm. The Bluebell was able to support the fund-raising for the erection of the memorial through a Gala Pullman dining train. Any Bluebell passengers who would like to see the unveiling are advised to travel to East Grinstead on the 11am service from Sheffield Park (11.17 from Horsted Keynes) and return on the 4.30pm service from East Grinstead. More details available here.
- Set of photos from Alan Edwards showing our P-class No.178 on its visit to Tanfield Railway, on 31 May.
- A few photos from Martin Lawrence added to his May and June galleries.
- Nick Beck has added one of David Chappell's photos to the web page for Mk.1 SO No.4754.
- Tony Sullivan's photo shows the Bluebell stand at the South of England Show at Ardingly, which continues tomorrow. We are now booking for the New Year's Eve Pullman Dining Train. If you stop by our tent at the show, do ask about our promotion for that, and other fantastic offers on Pullman Dining, Rail Ale, Fish & Chip supper specials and our Christmas events.
- John Sandys provides a set of photos from yesterday, showing preparations for filming the Downton Abbey Christmas Special, and the S15 on the service train.
- An updated page with the correct Bluebell Railway plc Tangible Fixed Assets figures, which replaces page 16 of the printed 2013 Accounts booklet, is available to download as a pdf.
- Brian Lacey's photo from Wednesday shows No.847 arriving at East Grinstead with the mid-afternoon train, just before the heavens opened and put an end to photography.
- Video from John Harwood, who was also there at the same time that day. But first, the S15 arrives and departs at Kingscote (with the 1.15 service from Sheffield Park), whilst work on the signal box continues. The arrival at East Grinstead started dry but ended very wet especially for the station master on the platform. The passengers, on a quite well-patronised train, decided to stay on board, happy to watch the rain whilst eating their cream teas. The new modern art sculpture (?) at the booking office still looked very neat despite the rain. By the time the S15 got to Kingscote with the return service it was quite dry. (John thanks the driver for the run round shot.)
- We are now booking for the New Year's Eve Pullman Dining Train. If you stop by our tent at the South of England Show, do ask about our promotion!
- Advanced notice that on the day of the Track Trek (28th June), the last down train (the 6.15pm from East Grinstead will terminate at Horsted Keynes, and will not continue to Sheffield Park Station.
- Steve Lee's photo shows the U-class approaching Kingscote with the Vintage set on Bank Holiday Monday, 26 May.
- We have a stand at the South of England Show at Ardingly, which starts tomorrow. If you buy your tickets to the show in advance from our travel office at East Grinstead station, you get a discount!
- Update to the FAQ.
- Update to the "Who's Who" page, including the new appointments as a result of the recent BRPS AGM elections and the first meeting of the new Society Committee.
- Photos from Saturday from Dave Ryding.
- Neal Ball's photos of the S15, from the first Rail Ale Evening of the year, in May. Future dates are 20 June, 25 July and 1 August.
- Aron Stenning's photo shows the S15 in the sun at Sheffield Park on Saturday.
- The final positions in the 2013/14 Football Competition, which is raising funds for the overhaul of our Southern Railway Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864, are now available.
- Entry forms for the 2014/15 Football Competition are now available - you don't need to know anything about football to enter, and it's a great way to support one of our lower profile (but continually advancing) fundraising projects.
- John Sandys's photos below, from yesterday show the SR Q-class and its tender in the loco works, which continues to progress towards completion, and LBSCR Stroudley Brake No.949 in the carriage works, where all the wooden mouldings (which cover the joints between the panels) on the west side are now complete, with all screw-holes plugged, joins fettled, and primed.
- Aron Stenning spent an enjoyable day on Saturday on the footplates of the U and the S15, and provides the photos on the right (U-class No.1638) and below (S15 No.847), providing a nice comparison of the two SR cab designs, of respectively Ashford and Eastleigh origin.
- Outline details are now available for the Bluebell Railway's Model Railway Weekend on Sat 28 & Sun 29 June.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster with thanks to Chris Knibbs and Andy Sabin.
- BRPS members will be interested to see the election results from the Society's AGM, and a notice from the Society Officers and Committee regarding the nominations made by them for the Bluebell Railway plc Directors.
- John Sandys provides a photo update from today, featuring the S15 in service, plus work being done by the Friends of Sheffield Park, and in the Loco and C&W workshops, etc.
- Jon Bowers' photo below shows David Allan, Chairman of Ian Allan Publishing, unveiling our National Railway Heritage Awards "Railway of the Decade" plaque at Sheffield Park on Sunday. The award had been presented to us by Loyd Grossman at the awards ceremony back in December.
- During May 2014 there were 72,503 total hits on this page, from 41,166 unique visitors.
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