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16 August:
S15 arrives at East Grinstead - Brian Lacey - 15 August 2018

14 August:
847 departs from Horsted Keynes, passing 21C123 - Brian Lacey - 11 August 2018
  • Brian Lacey's photo shows the S15 departing from Horsted Keynes, passing 21C123 'Blackmoor Vale', during our busy Steam through the Ages event on Saturday.
    His photo below shows the Spitfire, which was on display as part of the wartime theme at that station. This unique handbuilt replica of a Spitfire MK.IX took over 25 years to complete and has been built using copies of the original Spitfire drawings and incorporates many original parts - find out all about it on Simply Spitfire's website.

  • Derek Hayward also has 85 images taken at the Steam through the Ages event.

  • We are currently advertising for a volunteer Buildings Maintenance Person.

  • News Update Not one, but two updates on Project 27's Blog:
    New frames drilled, old frames dismantled, and
    Preparing for conservation work on the cab.
     
  • During our Shareholders' Weekend, on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 of September, in addition to our public Service 2 timetable we will be running an early train out of East Grinstead which we will also be available as a public service. Running just for those two days, it will be hauled by our resident 09 Diesel Shunter D4106 and timings will be as follows:
    Depart - East Grinstead 09.09
    Depart - Horsted Keynes 09.34
    Arrive - Sheffield Park 09.50
    So if you fancy an earlier start and a longer day at the Bluebell Railway that weekend then the 09 Special is for you.
    On the Sunday of course it will be the 09 hauling the 09.09 train on the 09/09 (of 2018)!

  • Bluebell Museum: Every year over 45,000 members of the public cross over to Platform 2 at Sheffield Park to visit our museum.
    Two years ago we launched two quizzes for children (and hid three mice for them to find in the display cases). Our quizzes have been so popular that we have just reprinted the one for younger children (see photo below). Every child who completes the quiz is awarded a badge.
    The museum is open when we are running timetabled services. Once you are on the station either to catch a train, or holding a platform ticket, you can visit the museum at no extra charge.

Spitfire at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 11 August 2018 Museum Children's Quiz

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What's been updated on the Bluebell Web Site?

Older updates are in the What's New Archive
or the 2017, 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.

latestlatestMost recent updates: See top of this page


9 August:
H-class arrives at Horsted Keynes - Huw Lloyd - 6 August 2018
  • Huw Lloyd is making his annual working visit to the C&W department, and provides this photo of the SECR H-class arriving at Horsted Keynes on Monday with the vintage set.

  • Lots going on this weekend across the railway, with our Steam through the Ages - Travel through 100 years of history in one day!
     
    The Victorian era is portrayed at Sheffield Park, with:
    • Live Music from The Daisy Belles
    • Steam-powered transport
    • Victorian re-enactment and memorabilia
    • Victorian Tea Rooms in the Birch Grove Suite - with Magic Lantern Shows
    • Bluebell Railway Museum
    • Bessemer Arms Bar & Restaurant
    • Gift shop
    At Horsted Keynes, the Second World War is at full swing:
    • The Spitfire has landed
    • Alpha & Home Front Bus - an interactive museum depicting life during WW2, housed in a vintage bus
    • Children's Craft Activities
    • Street market traders
    • Vehicle and Military displays
    • Live Music on Saturday from the Perdido Players
    • Vinyl DJ - Jivin' Jim Dandy
    • King George V Buffet - serving authentic wartime menus
    • Carriage and Wagon Workshop will be open all weekend with free 'Behind the Scenes' tours on Saturday at 2pm
    At Kingscote we recreate a 1960s seaside holiday:
    • Donkey Rides with Mike's Donkeys
    • Face painting
    • Punch & Judy and Circus Skills with Crazee Hazee
    • Giant Games
    • Children's playground
    • Vintage Bus rides from Kingscote to East Grinstead
    • Live Music from the Bluebell Band
    • Fish & Chips and Ice-creams available at The Wellhouse kiosk
    Discount tickets available online now.

    Event Guide booklet available to download.

  • Ashley Smith had a free day last Friday so came along and filmed the trains running that day, resulting in a short video and some photos.

  • A reminder (or encouragement) for those who need it - anyone intending to enter this year's football competition needs to make sure that their entry is either emailed through, or at Horsted Keynes, by tomorrow.

    Details and entry form are available here. You don't need to know much about football or railways in either competition. Competition 1 is to predict the final positions for all of the teams in the Premier League, and Competition 2 is to predict who you think will lift the FA Cup next May. You can enter each competition as many times as you like.

    Half of all entry fees are shared among the winners, and the remaining half will go towards the restoration of Southern Railway Kitchen/Dining Saloon No.7864.



1 August:
65 passes through Horsted Keynes with the Wealden Rambler afternoon tea train - Brian Lacey - 28 July 2018
  • Brian Lacey's photo shows SECR No.65 passing through Horsted Keynes with the Wealden Rambler afternoon tea train on Saturday.

  • Short video study of BR No.73082 'Camelot' shot last December, from Philip Bull.

  • Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with plans for locomotive usage through August, although as ever, this may be subject to change.

  • During July 2018 there were 40,755 total hits on this page, from 23,658 unique visitors.

  • News Update Standard Class 2 Tank Locomotive No.84030 - John Jesson has provided the following report and photos, taken during and after the lift of 84030's frames onto its coupled wheels on 26 July.

    On one of the hottest days of the year a 120-tonne crane arrived in the Sheffield Park yard to carry out a number of lifts, including the re-wheeling of the Standard Class 2 Tank.

    The team rebuilding 84030 have been working towards this day for over 2 years so it gave us all a great feeling of achievement seeing the engine now a rolling chassis and housed in the newly erected poly-shed.


Crane lifting 84030's frames - John Jesson - 26 July 2018 Crane re-wheeling 84030's frames - John Jesson - 26 July 2018
Now that we have the engine on its driving wheels and a covered working environment we will be able to press on with the many other jobs in hand including front and rear pony trucks, lubrication pipework, the driving motion, side tanks, bunker... the list goes on.

If you would like to help us in this project to rebuild 84030 please come along to one of the Bluebell volunteer open days or if you are at the railway on a Thursday (our normal working day) just ask for one of us. If you are unable to join the working team but would still like to be involved with 84030, why not join our Project Support Group, an application form can be downloaded here.

A happy 84030 team - John Jesson - 26 July 2018 84030's frames wheeled into poly-shed - John Jesson - 26 July 2018

31 July:
Q-class 541 arrives at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 28 July 2018
  • Another of Brian Lacey's photos from Saturday shows Southern Railway Maunsell Q-class No.30541 arriving at Horsted Keynes, with the 12.15 train from Sheffield Park. The carriages are SECR hundred-seater No.1098 and Maunsells 1309, 1336 and 6686.

  • News Update OP4 News update from Barry Luck, project manager for the Horsted Keynes Carriage Shed extension project:

    Taking advantage of the continuing dry weather last week we have now been able to start work on the dwarf wall around the eastern side of the shed. We are very fortunate in having skilled and willing bricklayers in our midst. The first photo below shows the early preparatory work, and the first block in place. The second shows the work a few days later, with good progress on the first two panels. The walls here will match the rest of the carriage works - SR green and cream cladding, with a dwarf wall below, and windows comparable with the existing shed.


Preparations for bricklaying - Barry Luck - 24 July 2018 Bricklaying in progress on the South-east corner of OP4 - Barry Luck - 27 July 2018
The pointwork is also being progressed as and when time and materials are available. The photos below show the next set of switch blades being positioned, leading towards the new shed. The trackwork to the left of the second photo, leading towards the station, will all be relayed in due course.

The erection of the steel framework and roof of the Skills Centre is planned to have commenced yesterday. In the meantime we are continuing to raise funds for cladding along this side of the shed. If you would like to contribute please visit the 'Cash for Cover' donation page.

Trackwork progress looking South - Barry Luck - 24 July 2018 Trackwork progress looking North - Barry Luck - 24 July 2018

30 July:
S15-class No.847 approaches Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 28 July 2018
Toy and Rail Collectors' Fair at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 28 July 2018
  • S15-class No.847 approaches Horsted Keynes with the 4.05pm train from Sheffield Park on Saturday, ready for the token exchange, and above, the Toy and Rail Collectors' Fair in full swing at Horsted Keynes - both photos thanks to Brian Lacey.

  • We are now running steam trains daily, right through the summer, to our Full (Service Two) Timetable.

27 July:
SECR O1-class at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 21 July 2018
  • Brian Lacey's photo shows SECR O1-class No.65 hauling the 1930s-liveried SR vintage set, arriving at Horsted Keynes last Saturday.

  • Tomorrow we have our Toy & Rail Collectors' Fair at Horsted Keynes. Admission is either via our normal travel ticket, or a £3 platform ticket (free for Bluebell members). In addition to the Collectors' Fair, the Bulleid Society shop is open at Sheffield Park, and at Horsted Keynes the Carriage Shop will be open on Platform1, and there will be tours giving a look behind the scenes in the C&W workshop (access at the South end of Platform 5) starting at 12.35, 2pm and 3.05pm.

    The railway is open all day, and we are running our Full (Service Two) Timetable (with 7 return trains from Sheffield Park station).
    There's a discount available if you buy your travel ticket for tomorrow online before midnight tonight.



26 July:
H-class at Sheffield Park - Tom Downing - July 2018
  • Thomas Downing's photo from earlier this month is a great portrait of SECR H-class No.263.

  • Our Santa Specials run on 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23 December, and on 24 December we have Twas the train before Christmas, our new Christmas Eve service.
    Tickets are now on sale for these hugely popular services.

  • Join our Coffee Morning on 28 September in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.
    Bring along your cakes and for a donation of 10 we will provide a cup of tea or coffee while you travel to East Grinstead and back on our stylish Wealden Rambler carriage set. Your donated cakes will be sold on the train for this good cause.
    Booking is essential - please contact Ruth Rowatt on 01825 720800 or by e-mail.

  • Have you ever wondered how to become a volunteer and what it entails?
    Our next "Find out More Day" is on 12 August. Martin Lawrence's photo below shows David Chappell with the Find out More tour on 8 July.

Coffee Morning on 28 September in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support David Chappell with the Find out More tour - Martin Lawrence - 8 July 2018

23 July:
Q-class and O1-class pass at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 21 July 2018
  • Brian Lacey's photo from Saturday shows the SECR O1-class and the Southern Q-class locomotives hauling the two service trains, which are currently formed of one SECR carriage, three SR Maunsells, two SR Bulleid-designed and three BR carriages.

    These two locomotives will also hauling our trains this coming week; steam trains run to our Full (Service 2) Timetable daily now through to 2 September.
    You can purchase tickets on arrival at our stations, or in advance at a discount.
    A whole-line return ticket allows unlimited travel for the day, and you can break your journey wherever you please.

  • This coming Saturday, 28 July, we have our Toy & Rail Collectors' Fair with a huge variety of stalls at Horsted Keynes Station, 10 am - 4 pm.

  • Update to the Who's Who page, adding James Funnell and Mike Priestley as new BRPS Trustees, appointed after advertising for applicants and subsequent interviews, and The Revd David Howland, who holds the position of Chaplain to the Bluebell Railway.

  • News Update News from our Stroudley Carriage Group:
    Great progress is being made on the Stroudley 5-compt 3rd No.328. The interior is being painted, and has so far received two coats of undercoat, as show in the first photo below. The second photo shows the east side of the carriage, with about half of the exterior panelling completed, and a trial fit of one the doors. The timber for the roof has been delivered so this will be the next major piece of work.

Stroudley Third 328 - Barry Luck - 13 July 2018 Stroudley Third 328 - Barry Luck - 13 July 2018

19 July:
S15 at New Road Bridge - Peter Edwards - 14 July 2018
  • Peter Edwards' photo from last Saturday shows the SR Maunsell S15 at New Road Bridge, approaching Horsted Keynes.

  • Two carriages on each of the trains hauled by 60009 'Union of South Africa' during our October 12-14 'Giants of Steam' Autumn Gala will be reserved for pre-purchased ticket holders, at a charge of just £1 extra. This is to enable those who wish to guarantee travel behind this Gresley A4 pacific as it approaches the end of its time in operation, before retiring to a museum, to be assured of a seat. The other carriages on its trains will be unreserved as normal.

News Update OP4 News update from Barry Luck, project manager for the Horsted Keynes Carriage Shed extension project:

Point which will give access to OP4 installed - Barry Luck - 13 July 2018 Now that the earthworks to complete the embankment around the edge of the new shed are all but complete, we can turn our minds to the next task - relaying the down yard. The first photo shows one of the turnouts in its final position.

The next photo, below, shows another turnout laid out in the Ardingly triangle. This will be broken down into several component parts before being moved across the line to its final place. Relaying the downyard will cause a degree of disruption to the workings of the C&W maintenance routine, so will require careful planning between C&W and Infrastructure.

The last photo shows the Ardingly triangle being tidied and levelled after the removal of the spoil heap, which has been used to fill the embankment.


Point pre-assembled next to Ardingly Spur - Barry Luck - 13 July 2018 Lowered spoil in Ardingly triangle - Barry Luck - 13 July 2018

17 July:
Q-class with the Demonstration Goods Train - Steve Lee - 14 July 2018
  • Steve Lee's photo shows the Maunsell Q-class at milepost 10, with the Demonstration Goods Train which ran last Saturday morning.

  • This same locomotive is hauling services this week, to our Light (Service 1) Timetable.

  • Two photos from Brian Lacey below, taken at the Atlantic House open day on Sunday 8 July. The boiler has been lifted onto a trolley ready for wheeling out of the shed on a temporary trackway for its hydraulic test; as can be see, the backhead fittings have been blanked off in preparation for this. More information about the reconstruction of LBSCR H2 Atlantic 'Beachy Head' is available on the Atlantic Project pages.

    Supporters of the project receive the Atlantic News magazine, which has details of these open days. Atlantic House will also be open on September 8/9 and October 12-14 ('Giants of Steam' Autumn Gala).


Atlantic frames - Brian Lacey - 8 July 2018 Atlantic boiler - Brian Lacey - 8 July 2018

13 July:
65 at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 7 July 2018
  • SECR O1 No.65 is seen with the vintage set at Horsted Keynes, passing Bulleid Pacific 'Blackmoor Vale' and LSWR carriage No.1520 (Brian Lacey - 7 July).

  • Tickets are now on sale for the New Year's Eve Gala Golden Arrow Pullman.

  • Part two of Nick Dearden's video compilation, Best of Bluebell Steam 2007-2017, Visiting Locomotives.

  • The first photo below, from new contributor, Thomas Downing, shows detail at the front of the SECR H-class.

  • Martin Lawrence has now completed his June photo gallery and started on that for July should you care to view them.
    The second photo below, taken by Martin, shows the start of the Track Trek, as Roger Garman gives participants a safety briefing. The trek has so far raised over £5,000 towards the cost of relaying two quarter-mile sections of track over the coming winter. Further donations to the Track Trek TrAction Appeal may be made here.

Detail of H-class - Tom Downing - July 2018 Start of the Track Trek - Martin Lawrence - 30 June 2018

Goods Train times - 14 July 2018

  • We are running one of our regular Demonstration Goods Trains on Saturday morning, expected to be hauled by the SR Maunsell Q-class locomotive No.30541. The timings for the Goods Train are as shown here.

    Passenger trains this weekend will be running to our Full (Service 2) timetable. You can purchase tickets on arrival at our stations, or in advance at a discount. A whole-line return ticket allows unlimited travel for the day, and you can break your journey wherever you please.

    From Monday to Friday this week, trains run to our Light Service (Service One) timetable.

  • Two more photos below, taken by Brian Lacey on Sunday 8 July, show 'Camelot' outside the loco works - its new piston heads are being machined, and its cylinder bores are being examined, prior to fitting the new cylinder heads. All being well the locomotive will be back in service in August.
    In front of 'Camelot' can be seen the extended frames of our new-build/conversion 2MT Tank No.84030. The second photo shows the Poly-shed, relocated from Horsted Keynes, with the wheelsets for the locomotive; it's planned to re-wheel the locomotive shortly.

Camelot and 84030's frames - Brian Lacey - 8 July 2018 84030's wheels in the new poly-shed - Brian Lacey - 8 July 2018

5 July:
Relaxing on the platform at Sheffield Park - Pauline Lacey - 18  June 2018
  • A group of mallards have taken possession of Sheffield Park's platforms this year. Pauline Lacey's photo shows them, and some of our visitors, relaxing there on 18 June.

  • The annual Bluebell Atlantic Open Weekend is on July 7th and 8th. It gives the opportunity for supporters and visitors to see the latest progress with the construction of 'Beachy Head'. Atlantic House at Sheffield Park will be open from 10 am to 5pm both days.
    There will be a small auction of Railwayana, Pictures, Models etc on Sunday afternoon at 2.45pm. Viewing will be from Saturday morning. Commission Bids can be left if you can't attend on Sunday afternoon.
    Items include:
    • A BR Firing Shovel.
    • A S.M.J. 'Beware of Trains' cast iron Notice.
    • An original Matthew Cousins Painting
    • Hornby and Bachmann Locomotives
    • ...and other items.
    There will be a progress report and presentation before the Auction on Sunday, at 2.30pm.

  • Updated web pages for SECR P-class No.323 'Bluebell', SECR O1-class No.65, and Manning Wardle No.4 Sharpthorn, an 0-6-0ST built in 1877, which was one of the contractor's locomotives used to build our line.

  • Update to the web page for Daniel Wilson's Memory of the Bluebell Line: A 1956 visit to the sawmill at Sheffield Park, adding a photo from the Bluebell archives.

  • Entry forms for the 2018-19 Foootball Competitions, raising funds for the forthcoming overhaul of our Southern Railway Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864, are now available. Both are simple to enter and require no knowledge of either football or railways, so if you don't know the difference between a red card and a red signal, fear not!
    In the 22 years the competitions have been running, they have raised funds of over £9,100 for various projects around the railway.

  • Derek Hayward has a comprehensive gallery of photos covering the recent Model Railway Weekend.

  • John Sandys' photos from 3 July, featuring the S15 on the service train, and the completed exterior of the Locomotive shed, expected to re-open to the public later this summer, when it will include the new 'Steam Works' exhibition at the north end alongside the traditional running shed in the southern half.

  • Video compilation from Nick Dearden, The Best of Bluebell Steam 2007-2017, part 1.

  • With the run of Footplate Tasters in November now Sold out, we are now taking bookings for Jan/Feb 2019.

  • Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with plans for locomotive usage through July. It shows that, this coming Saturday, we will unusually, for a normal day, have four locomotives in steam.

  • Film by Ken Shaw of a 1981 visit to Barry Scrapyard in South Wales. Fascinating to see the vast number of rusting hulks. Amazing to think that every single loco in there has now been rescued for preservation (even if the last handful to leave were only feasible as donors for the various new-build projects now under way). The Maunsell Locomotive Society's S15 No.30847, restored at, and now running at the Bluebell, looks to be the one loco which was cared for! BR 4MT Tank No.80100, "Reserved for Bluebell Railway", is the only one of the 11 ex-Barry locos now resident at the Bluebell which has yet to have its restoration started, although lots of spare parts have been gathered or made ready for that day.

    Levelled excavation for Heritage Skills Centre - Barry Luck - 28 June 2018 News Update Barry Luck, the project manager, provides three more photos of the OP4 earthworks.
    On the right we see the east side of the carriage shed with the pile tops partly exposed, where the Heritage Skills Centre will be constructed. The dimples in the soil in the foreground are made by the heavy "sheep's foot" roller used to compact the soil.
    The next stage here is to excavate a trench along the line of the piles, and to cast the ring-beam around the perimeter of the Skills Centre, ready for the steel framework to be erected.

    The reconstruction and stabilisation of the embankment east of the carriage shed into so-called 'Dingley Dell' is now complete, bar a little bit of tidying up, and filling and re-grading of the top few inches, which will use excavated material from the Skills Centre footings. The first photo below shows the area immediately south of the carriage shed levelled and compacted ready for track laying into the eastern two roads, H & J. The second photo shows the view from the south.

  • During June 2018 there were 41,058 total hits on this page, from 23,335 unique visitors.

Levelled and extended shed throat - Barry Luck - 28 June 2018 Embankment stabilisation completed - Barry Luck - 28 June 2018

Older updates are in the What's New Archive
or the 2017, 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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