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- Major update to the Brighton Atlantic Project News page, including, as seen in Fred Bailey's photo on the right, the running plate and splashers coming along very well.
- The BRPS AGM is tonight - don't forget to bring your membership cards. We have a "Double Donation Dash" for the Keep Up The Pressure appeal, with £1,000 offered by a donor as match funding against donations collected on the evening, a Champaign Raffle in aid of Project 27, the refreshments being sold in aid of Cash for Cover, and the retiring collection is to be split between KUTP and CfC.
- There are a good number of people walking the Track Trek on 24 May who have created JustGiving pages, to attract additional sponsorship. Please support them:
If you are taking part, then you also can create your own JustGiving Fundraising page.
- Roy Watts and Dick Fearn (the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society and PLC Chairmen) who are leading the walk;
- Martin and Alex Widdowson;
- Samantha Kellow;
- Callum and Darren Roberts;
- Charlotte Talbot;
- George Alan Smith;
- Mark Richardson;
- David Chappell;
- Deborah Salmon.
- The Mid Sussex Times reports on Scaynes Hill Cricket Club's new ground, adjacent to our line. The scene bears a remarkable similarity to one of Revd. Awdry's stories in Stepney the Bluebell Engine!
- The Bulleid Society have an update on 34059 and 21C123, which includes the photo from John Fry, below, showing the steam combine (i.e. manifold) from 34059, on which the faces are being machined at Sheffield Park, after the body of the casting had been bead blasted.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the S15 running round at East Grinstead in the rain on Thursday.
- Derek Hayward's photo shows the Home Guard at Horsted Keynes on Saturday.
- The last few tickets are still available of tomorrow night's McIndoe Rail Ale & Jazz Evening - phone 01342 414295 now! If you can't come to that, the next normal Rail Ale evening train runs on Friday 22 May.
- Peter Trimming's video from Sunday's Southern at War event shows some of the attractions at Horsted Keynes that day.
- It's not too late to sign up for the Track Trek, on Sunday 24th May, when this year's walk takes us from Kingscote to Horsted Keynes through the Tunnel. Please see details here.
Once you have signed up, why not create your own JustGiving Fundraising page for the Trek.
Roy Watts and Dick Fearn (the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society and PLC Chairmen) are leading the walk - and if you'd like to sponsor them, do it on JustGiving here.
The aim is to raise much needed funds as a final boost to the Keep Up The Pressure and Cash for Cover appeals to overhaul some of our steam locomotive boilers, and to provide overhead cover to ensure the survival of our most vulnerable as-yet unrestored historic carriages.
- The cylinder block was removed from the frames of P-class No.27 on Friday. This can be seen in the photo below by James Parker. The next move will be to split the two halves of the block so that the internal parts can be surveyed and assessed. However, it is more than likely that a new set of cylinders will need to be cast.
- On the Atlantic Project, as a taster for a forthcoming major update to that project's news page, we see below in Fred Bailey's photo the eccentric rods which have been connected to the expansion links.
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.
Latest Project News
- Sign up for our free e-mail Newsletter - Back issues available via the eNewsletter archive.
- Loco Works News: updates on the Brighton Atlantic project, No.73082 "Camelot", the Bulleid Society on 34059 and 21C123, for SECR P-class No.27, on Schools No.928 "Stowe", from the Loco Works Working Group on SR Q-class No.541, from the Standard Class 2 project and - 16, 6 Feb, 20, 19, 2 Jan 2015, 9, 8 Dec, 17 Nov 2014
- Infrastructure News page - Completion of work on the historic "River Slip" and more track relaid on Freshfield Bank - 13 February 2015
- Operation Undercover - Phase 4: Horsted Keynes - Carriage Shed Extension: OP4 News Bulletin No.1 - 24 January 2015
Beyond Phase 3: Above Workshop Facility fit-out - 16 October 2014
- Carriage & Wagon Works News - repair of SR 8-plank wagon No.30004, Overhaul of Bulleid Carriage, No.5768 on the Bulleid Society web site, various photos from Dave Clarke, and an update on the restoration of GWR 5-plank open wagon No.87782 - 19 Nov, 29 Sept, 15 April 2014
- The latest news of the Horsted Keynes Re-signalling - 13 January 2014
- East Grinstead Extension: Steam at East Grinstead proving very popular - Further work to complete the project continues - 8 May 2013 - Main Extension Project page
- Kingscote Goods Yard Project - last update 4 May 2012
- Archive news from the Bluebell June 1995 to December 2006
What's been updated on the Bluebell Web Site?Older updates are in the What's New Archive
or 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.
Most recent updates: See top of this page
- Sunday, the second day of Southern at War, was crowned with a superb display from the Hawker Hurricane from Biggin Hill. Train services were hauled, appropriately, by the SR-liveried S15, U and E4-class locomotives, and two of the three coaching sets matched the locomotives and period, something few other heritage lines can achieve.
Again, Derek Hayward's photos illustrate the event. On the right two of the land girls are seen at Horsted Keynes with two of the home guard. Below we see the Hurricane, the signalman at Sheffield Park catching up with the weekend's news, and a line-up of military vehicles at Sheffield Park.
- The BBC ONE South East documentary about the post-VE-day holiday mood, transmitted last night, is now available in the UK on iPlayer.
- Three new photos from The 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society, showing the ashpan ready for fitting, the cylinder drain cocks and pipework, the bogie re-assembled and back in place, and the sanding gear, just awaiting delivery nozzles.
- We have a Fathers' Day Lounge Car Breakfast on Sunday 21 June. Start the day perfectly by treating your father to a special morning train journey with a Full Cooked Breakdast served to you on board. Tickets are valid for further travel all day, so it's also a good chance to explore the railway!
- Our Kids for a Quid special offer is running for the May Half-term holiday, Saturday 23 to Sunday 31 May inclusive.
- Update to the FAQ page, adding financial data for 2014.
- Yesterday seems to have been a good day, at the Southern at War event, which continues today. Hurricane flypast at 2pm.
Derek Hayward provides a few photos from yesterday, presented here, and more in this album, which contains at present just an initial selection, with more to follow. On the right we see a tank destroyer and home guard, protecting Horsted Keynes, and below, some of the atmosphere at Horsted Keynes as well as the T-6 Harvard during its flypast.
Great album of photos from ARW Photography from yesterday.
- Very moving interview about the Ginea Pig Club, and Archibald McIndoe's wartime work at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead on BBC Radio 4 yesterday morning. Now available on the iPlayer here, starting at approx 35 minutes.
Of all the badges on the mayoral chains for East Grinstead, the Guinea Pig Club is the one of which all the mayors are justifiably most proud.
- Update to the Component sponsorship list for the Brighton Atlantic project. The project's newsletter/magazine is the best way to keep up to date with the news, and 'Atlantic News', which also contains historical articles about the Atlantics and reminiscences of lives spent working with LBSCR steam locomotives, together with invitations to supporters' events, is distributed free to project supporters. If you wish to receive a copy, simply support the project with a regular donation or the sponsorship of components! The new Spring 2015 edition is Issue 25.
- Roy Peters' photo to the right shows the H-class at Sheffield Park on Sunday, and Brian Lacey's the same loco on Tuesday, on a Bluebell Special service (the last day of which is tomorrow).
- The flypasts arranged for Southern at War weekend are at 2pm each day, at Horsted Keynes (weather permitting). On Saturday we have a T-6 Harvard, and a Hurricane on Sunday. See the timetable for the special three-train service.
Bring ration cards if you wish to purchase food. Is your journey really necessary? - Yes, on this occasion!
In addition to the display of No.27's side tank in R.O.D. condition, Project 27 will be having a sales stand at Sheffield Park on the Sunday, plus a display of military models by the fund's treasurer Stuart Bardouleau.
There will be free guided tours of the Carriage Works at Horsted Keynes, starting at 12.35 and 2.20, each day over the weekend.
Lots more going on ... Further details here.
- John Sandys provides his last update for a while. Today's album includes photos of the 09 shunting, the Bluebell Special with No.263, and the main service train hauled by the S15.
Martin Lawrence has also started his May Album with a few photos from today.
- Steve Lee's photo below shows the S15 approaching Horsted Keynes on Monday, which Andrew Crampton's is a further shot of the evening test train on Sunday with 'Captain Baxter'.
- The two runs to East Grinstead, using 'Captain Baxter', on Sunday evening (3rd May) went well and proved that Baxter could be used on passenger trains if the need arises. The loco made a good account of itself arriving at East Grinstead in fine fettle on both trips. The trains were reasonably well loaded with members and their guests, together with the directors who organised the special test trains.
The fares paid for the privilege of travelling on the trains were collected by the Fenchurch Fund - PROJECT 27 to be used for the restoration of SECR loco No.27 and thanks must go to the Directors responsible for the test for this. Thanks must also go to the loco crew, signalmen and EG Gateman for giving up their Sunday evening. Don't forget to keep reading the PROJECT 27 blogspot for up to date information regarding restoration progress and news of forthcoming events.
- Andrew Crampton's photo on the right shows 'Captain Baxter' at Holywell on Sunday evening.
David Long's photo below shows the train on its way to East Grinstead, and that from Brian Lacy shows it arriving there.
- Keith Duke has an album of pictures from Sunday including the outing with Baxter, as does Tom Waghorn.
- Next weekend is our Southern at War 1940's weekend, with flypasts, military vehicles, Sussex Home Guard, concert parties and much more. A three-train service (timetable here), with locos all in SR livery, with a general theme of celebrating VE day.
- The Friday evening special VE-day Golden Arrow dining train still has some seats available.
- Tim Parkin, our new filming coordinator, reports that scenes were shot on the railway in April for a documentary entitled 'The First Days of Peace (Back To The Beaches)' narrated by Anthony Horowitz. The programme will be transmitted on Monday 11 May at 7.30pm on BBC ONE in the South East region only, and will be available in the UK here on iPlayer after transmission. A couple of familiar Bluebell working member "faces" can be expected to be seen in addition to other shots that were filmed on the railway. The programme explores the sudden change to a Britain that wanted to holiday, and how the Sussex and Kent coastal towns handled that, following their wartime role as our "front line".
- Photos from the Camelot Locomotive Society, showing the completed ashpan, and cladding going on the boiler.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the S15 amongst the spring flowers at Horsted Keynes on Monday.
- Quick reminder that tomorrow is our Toy & Rail Collectors' Fair at Horsted Keynes. Normal train fares apply (with Horsted Keynes platform tickets at £3 for anyone not travelling) - 4 locos in steam - Carriage Works Guided Tours at lunchtime - Camelot Locomotive Society sales stand.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with thanks to Chris Knibbs, showing intended loco usage for May, as it currently stands - as always subject to change without notice if circumstances change (as they did this morning).
- Update on the restoration of P-class No.27, from Clive Emsley, with thanks to Nick Beck. This is also illustrated by one of Clive's photos, below, which shows the cylinder block stripped down and nearly ready to be removed from the frames.
- Update on the repair of SR Wagon No.30004, from Martin Skrzetuszewski, with thanks to Nick Beck and David Rhydderch. Richard Salmon's photo below shows the completed project, which has received three replacement steel corners and a number of replaced or repaired side and floor planks.
- During April 2015 there were 65,224 total hits on this page, from 36,524 unique visitors.
- Peter Edwards' photo shows Maunsell Q-class No.30541 with the 4pm service from Sheffield Park, at Holywell yesterday.
- Reminder that this Saturday we have our one-day Toy & Rail Collectors' Fair at Horsted Keynes - something for all the family - steam trains, railwayana, railway models and toys.
- We are again running our £5 steam travel offer on Saturday for the East Grinstead Marathon and on Bank Holiday Monday for the East Grinstead Lions Club May Fair - Travel to East Grinstead on the 9.45am service from Sheffield Park to benefit from this offer - see East Grinstead Events page for terms and conditions.
- Ashley Smith made a short video of the Q on one of its passenger trains yesterday, and has added a few photos to his 2015 Bluebell Album.
- Martin Lawrence has added some photos featuring the Q-class yesterday, the S15, the ROD 27 side-tank and Great War re-enactors on Saturday, and the spring flowers around the Railway to his April gallery.
- Brian Lacey's photos below from Tuesday show the Q-class approaching Leamland Bridge from the north, and the H-class with the Observation Car on the Bluebell Special service on departure from Horsted Keynes.
- Today's photos form a somewhat delayed report from 7 March, when 'Captain Baxter' hauled a short goods train, both as a crew training exercise, and as an opportunity to run a goods train for the interest of our visitors. Further dates for such trains are planned this year, and it's hoped both that more vintage stock can be used, and that we will be able to publicise the date better. The photos are by Brian Lacey.
- The photos also act as a final advert for Sunday's test Passenger Train with Baxter and the 4-wheel coaches, details of which are available here. The train is being run as a fund-raising venture in support of Project 27, and it's essential to reserve tickets in advance since supper is included, and we need numbers by tomorrow, Thursday.
- Update on the restoration of P-class No.27
- Video from John Harwood taken yesterday, showing the Q-class passing through Kingscote with the service train, where S&T staff permitted him to film from the signalbox, and also to show wiring work progressing for the new signalling system there. The H-class is seen with the "Bluebell Special" train at East Grinstead, where progress on the new canopy is also covered.
- John Sandys' videos from yesterday of the H-class on the Bluebell Specials and the Q's departure from Sheffield Park, plus his photo album.
- Update to the pages for Operational Locos and Locos under overhaul following the entry into service of the Q-class, yesterday, and also to Bluebell Locos on loan elsewhere (with an update to the page for No.24 'Stamford' adding a 1966 photo by Charlie Verrall) and Locomotives formerly based on the Bluebell, and also that for 'The Blue Circle', recording its move this January to Rushden, and also adding a 1964 photo from Ben Brooksbank.
- Half a dozen interesting early Bluebell photos are available in "The Early days on the Bluebell Railway" gallery from Geoffrey King.
- Some fantastic film footage of "The Blue Circle" and other Bluebell locos running on 21 June 1964, is provided by Paul Plowman.
Stop Press: No.30541 re-enters service today.
The SR Maunsell Q-class is seen here in John Sandys' photo, at the head of the 11am train this morning. The locomotive, belonging to the Maunsell Locomotive Society, was restored from Barry scrapyard condition, entering service on the Bluebell in 1983. Its latest overhaul started in 2011, with much input from our volunteer Loco Works Working Group, in addition to our workshop staff.
- The unveiling of the side-tank from SECR (ROD) 27 on Saturday went without a hitch apart from P-class No.178 failing before the day started resulting in substitution by the 09, sadly not too in keeping with 1915!
The re-enactors of the 10th Essex Regiment, lead by Capt Thrush and Lt Cobden, were in attendance providing cameos of families waving to soldiers on departing trains and providing bayonet drills at the front of the station. They also recruited a number of our younger visitors, who were tempted by the King's (chocolate) shilling!
The unveiling of the tank was carried out by Graham Aitkin and Russell Pearce and attended by a guard of honour provided by the 10th Essex Regiment. The Exultation was read by the Regiment's Chaplain before a wreath was laid by Clive Emsley. The tank will be on display adjacent to the Bookshop on Platform 1 at Sheffield Park until 30th September 2016, which marks the 100th anniversary of the repatriation of the loco, when we hope to stage a similar event.
Thanks must go to Jim Turtle, Steve Booth and Matthew Cousins for the excellent job they have done on the side-tank from No.27.
- Brian Lacey's photo on the right shows the H-class with the LNWR Observation Car yesterday, on the first day of our Bluebell Specials, which continue daily this week, and then Tuesday 5 to Friday 8 May. The lineside display of Bluebells and other spring flowers is magnificent, but the Railway's band of volunteer gardeners have also clearly been hard at work, as can be seen here at Horsted Keynes.
- David Stubbings has photos from Saturday showing the H-class on a wedding special, and the C-class back in service with the Edwardian carriage set.
- We also have the pleasure of sharing this video of spring-time steam on the Bluebell from Nick Dearden
- Brian Lacey's two photos below show the S15 arriving at East Grinstead on Sunday, and the E4 with the Pullman train there as well, that day.
- Today marks the 100th Anniversary of the first two standard gauge ROD (Railway Operating Division) locos going to France.Both locos, Nos.27 and 753, are preserved and both are SECR P-Tanks. As a commemoration, Matthew Cousins has painted a depiction of the two locomotives on the quayside at Boulogne, as seen here. The original of this will be on display at Sheffield Park on Saturday. There will be prints available (at £15 each) and indeed if the right offer is made, the original can be purchased!
Full details available of tomorrow's Commemoration of the Centenary of Locomotive No.27's departure for war service in France. See also the Project 27 Blogspot.
The right-hand side-tank has been painted, lettered and will be positioned on Platform 1 at Sheffield Park today. It will be placed to the left the shop door, agaist the wall; Jim Turtle and Matthew Cousins have done us proud, it looks magnificent! Please come along tomorrow, if you can, to see it unveiled at 2:15pm.
A commemorative badge has been struck to commemorate the event and will be available at a cost of £5 with the proceeds going to the restoration of 27. The design can again be seen below.
We will be welcoming the 10th Essex Regiment, a 1st World War Reenactment group, who will be putting on drill demonstrations and providing a guard of honour for the unveiling ceremony. Also in attendance will be John Arkell from the SECR Society; the members of the group all have a passionate interest in the SECR and its constituent companies.
It is looking as though most things are in place for a good day tomorrow, all we need now is a good weather forcast! Hope to see some of you there!
- John Sandys' photo below shows the S15 backing onto the service train yesterday morning at Sheffield Park.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the H-class arriving at East Grinstead yesterday, having taken over from the C-class on Tuesday. Brian's photo below shows the current state of progress with the new Canopy at East Grinstead.
- Further details available of this Saturday's Commemoration of the Centenary of Locomotive No.27's departure for war service in France.
This Friday, the 24th April, is the 100th anniversary of the SECR sending two P tanks to France as the first two standard gauge ROD locomotives.
A detachment of the 10th Essex Regiment, under the command of Lt Cobden (son of ex-Bluebell Guard Alan Cobden), will be attending and giving Drill demonstrations during the day. They will then provide a Guard of Honour at the unveiling of the side-tank from SECR Loco No.27 in the ROD livery at 2:15.
The ceremony will be opened with an "Edwardian" girl singing 'Keep the Home Fires Burning', followed by the Guard of Honour being called to Attention, and our Society Chairman Roy Watts will say a few words before unveiling the tank.
The day will continue with a drill exercise on the station forcourt before the soldiers depart for the "front" on the 4pm departure.
It is hoped that there will be a "recruiting office" in the waiting room at Sheffield Park so that you can experience the feel of the kit used during the 1st World War.
A commemorative badge will be available at the event, these will cost £5 each with the proceeds going to aid the restoration of SECR Loco No.27. Project 27 will of course also be selling their usual range of quality merchandise.
- Photos on the Camelot Locomotive Society's page, showing work taking place on the locomotive's bogie.
- Such has been the level of interest in our Diesel Gala, that the week's posts on our Facebook page have had a reach of 22,116, by far the highest ever.
- We are currently advertising vacancies for Locomotives Works Manager, and a Carriage & Wagon Fitter.
- John Sandys' photos from today show the S15 on the service trains.
- Update to the web pages for our twoMk.1 Corridor Second carriages No.25769, and No.25728, and the Elephant van, No.4601 with thanks to Martin Skrzetuszewski, Martin Lawrence and Nick Beck.
- We are one of the Heritage Lines included within the Great Railway Treasure Hunt for 2015, organised by Peter's Railway.
- I had intended that a line would be drawn under the comprehensive coverage of the Diesel gala, but we also now have a superb video from David Pearson of the Deltics on Sunday 19 April 2015, and photos of the interior of a Deltic cab and engine compartment from Martin Lawrence.
- David Long's photo below shows the E4 with a Pullman Dining Train lunchtime charter on Wednesday.
- The Deltics have left, and travelled to the Severn Valley Railway today. They are seen on the viaduct ready for their main-line departure this morning, photographed by Roy Watts.
- The railway is very pleased to have received so many hugely positive comments about the Diesel Gala, for which many thanks. We are so pleased that such a large number of people enjoyed themselves! Photos and videos have been notified from:
- Ashley Smith, who visited Friday for the Gala - a video and some photos,
- A video from Gary Smith, from Friday,
- Chris Ward's photos and video from Saturday,
- Martin Lawrence's photos and a video from the weekend,
- Steve Lee's photos
- Keith Duke's photos at Horsted Keynes and the tunnel on Saturday morning. His photo below shows the 09 being used with the Queen Mary brake van, on Brake Van Rides at Sheffield Park on Friday.
- Mike Anton' panoramic photo below shows the four locos used on trains over the weekend, on shed together on Saturday morning, and his other photos are here.
- More photos from the Gala from Clive James, from Saturday, from Paul Booth and from Tom Oliver.
- Two photos below, from Derek Hayward, show U-class No.1638 with Saturday's Wedding Special, and the C&W Sentinel Shunter which was giving "Driver for a Fiver" rides in Horsted Keynes dock and down-yard headshunt. These raised over £500 for the Cash for Cover Appeal. The coincidence of a steam loco which shares a nickname ("U-boat") with the Deltics was not lost on some!
- Andrew Crampton's photos below from Saturday show both Deltics near Holywell.
- D9009 "Alycidon" is seen on Friday in Nick Farrant's photo below, whilst Tony Sullivan's shows 55019 "Royal Highland Fusilier" at Horsted Keynes with the first train of the day on Saturday.
- Derek Hayward's photo below shows the C-class, standing in for the U (which failed on Saturday Evening after its Golden Arrow duty with a leaking superheater element) on Sunday's Lunchtime Golden Arrow dining train, whilst Jordi Blumberg's photo shows 55019 on the 10:02 departure from Horsted Keynes on Saturday.
- Our Diesel Gala continues over the weekend.
- Derek Hayward's photo shows D9009 "Alycidon" at Waterworks yesterday. His lineside pictures of the Deltics are in a growing collection here.
- Robert Else has photos from yesterday here.
- Keith Duke's pictures from yesterday.
- We have a number of special offers for £5 steam travel:
- Sun 26 April: East Grinstead St George's Day Parade and for other East Grinstead town events
- London Connection Ticket on Saturdays until 24th October
- Shopper Specials on selected dates.
- Two photos below taken yesterday, from Andrew Crampton, show 55019 approaching Holywell and D9009 to the north of Horsted Keynes.
- The visiting Deltics, D9009 "Alycidon" and 55019 "Royal Highland Fusilier" were the stars of the show today, for our Diesel Gala, which continues over the weekend. John Sandys' photos show Alycidon at Hill Place Farm Bridge, and below at Sheffield Park, plus 55019 approaching East Grinstead across the viaduct. All his photos from today are available here.
- Don't forget the Curry & Beer Evening tomorrow at Sheffield Park. A coach will be attached to the back of the 9.30pm Golden Arrow departure from Sheffield Park for those wishing to return to East Grinstead or Horsted Keynes.
- Martin Lawrence's video from Wednesday showing the gauging run with the Deltics, and shunting at Horsted Keynes.
- Nathan Gibson's video of the Deltics attracting a lot of attention at Clapham Junction on Tuesday evening.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with thanks to Chris Knibbs, showing intended loco usage for the rest of the month.
- A fine video from Sunday 12 April from British Loco Films featuring 1638, 263 & B473.
- Sorry to say that, due to insufficient bookings, tonight's Deltic-hauled Pullman Dining Train has been cancelled.
- Tony Sullivan's photo shows the Deltics looking magnificent at Sheffield Park this morning. The Bluebell's first ever real Diesel Gala starts tomorrow, with full details and timetables here. Alan Gomme took the photo below of the pair being hauled on their gauging run by our 09 yesterday from his vantage point as one of the "Wednesday Gang" working on the lineside at Imberhorne. The locomotives have been ruled out-of-gauge for Horsted Keynes platforms 4 & 5, so the trains will pass through platforms 2 & 3.
- It's very easy to get to the Bluebell for the Diesel Gala. There's free parking at Horsted Keynes and Sheffield Park, as always, or travel to East Grinstead by train from East Croydon and London, or Bus from Three Bridges and Gatwick. If driving, even though Sheffield Park is on the main A275, allow plenty of time - rural Sussex is not noted for fast roads!
- It was 25 years ago this week that we ran our first public trains on our extension north of Horsted Keynes, as a half-mile shuttle, to Horsted House Farm and back again. The service was entirely segregated at the north end of the station, and ran from what was then Platform 1 (now Platform 2). Mike Esau's photo below was taken on the first day of operation, 14 April 1990, and shows No.323 "Bluebell", which was frequently the motive power used, at the then northern railhead. Two Southern Railway Maunsell carriages (as seen here) were usually used on the train, and 1929-built Brake Composite No.6575 had been turned round, so that a driver's cab could be formed by provision of a modified gangway shield at the brake end. This form of operation continued for two years, until rails were laid through the tunnel to a run-round loop at West Hoathly, at which point the shuttle was replaced by an extension of the Railway's main passenger service. This itself was 16 years after our first land-purchase and first planning application for the extension - building extensions is not a quick thing!
- Martin Lawrence has added to his April gallery, including shots of the Deltics, the North London Tank and the Elephant Van, taken yesterday.
- A fine video of a visit to the Bluebell on Tuesday from Brian Seaman.
- Update to the web page for our Mk.1 Corridor Second carriage No.25728 with thanks to Martin Skrzetuszewski and Nick Beck.
- The visiting Deltics, D9009 "Alycidon" and 55019 "Royal Highland Fusilier" arrived last night after an all-day journey from the North, as seen in Deborah Salmon's photo at East Grinstead, and Roy Watts' photo on the viaduct, ready for the Diesel Gala, which starts on Friday. They are being gauged for our platforms and line today, hauled by our 09.
- The Bessemer Arms at Sheffield Park will be open throughout the Diesel Gala weekend including Friday evening, and don't forget our Curry and Beer evening on Saturday. Details of the opening times, and times when meals will be available are here.
- Photos of yesterday's movement of the Deltics are on the DPS web site, and there's a video from Xavier Guerra showing them at the southern end of the GN main line, plus a photo from Martin Clitheroe of the Deltics at East Grinstead last night.
- Atlantic House (in the loco yard at Sheffield Park) will be open for all three days of the Diesel Gala, for the sale of railway-related items, raising funds for the construction of our Brighton Atlantic. You will also be able to view the current state of the project.
- John Sandys' provides photos from yesterday, a beautiful Spring day, with No.1638 in charge of the service trains. He also has a video showing the East side of the line on the climb from Kingscote to East Grinstead.
- Derek Hayward now has a large number of photos in his growing "Bluebell 2015" collection.
- The three photos below are all from Brian Lacey. The first two show the H-class on Saturday, having left Sheffield Park, with the Maunsell coaches (and the GN saloon which was working a private charter), and the same stock on arrival at East Grinstead (also showing the canopy, which is being painted this week). His third photo, taken yesterday, shows the U-class leaving the Tunnel.
- Derek Hayward's photo from Friday shows E4 No.B473 amidst the primroses at Leamland Bridge, with that day's Wealden Rambler charter. There have also been good displays of primroses at Three Arch Bridge (where Derek caught U-class No.1638 and H-class No.263 on the service trains that day) as seen in the photos below.
- Update with photos showing progress on the overhaul of the "Schools" class locomotive thanks to the Maunsell Locomotive Society.
- Three new photos showing progress on Camelot's boiler, from Peter Gibbs, The 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society's Chairman.
- Video from Martin Lawrence from 9 April, showing the Q-class shunting and on one of its test runs, plus the U-class and H-class on service trains at Kingscote.
- Updated web page for Mk.I Corridor Second No.25769 including a photo of it after its repaint earlier this year into Carmine & Cream livery.
- The visiting Deltics have started their journey South, with D9009 "Alycidon" starting from the NRM in York, picking up 55019 "Royal Highland Fusilier" at Barrow Hill. They should arrive with us this evening, in preparation for the Diesel Gala, which starts on Friday. In addition to the two Deltics, 09018 will be providing brake van rides at Sheffield Park, and 10241 will be giving "Driver for a Fiver" rides at Horsted Keynes (Sat & Sun). Don't forget the Curry & Beer Evening on Saturday at Sheffield Park, and we will also have guided tours of the Carriage Works at Horsted Keynes, starting at 12.35 and 1.50 on the Saturday and Sunday. The Great Northern Directors' Saloon will be on the trains over the weekend, appropriate as it was on occasions Deltic-hauled on the ECML, and the Camelot Sales stand will be at Sheffield Park Station all three days.
- There are several model railway items currently being offered on eBay for Charity, to benefit the Bluebell.
- 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. The competition remains very close, with only 2 points separating the top four!
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with thanks to Chris Knibbs, showing intended loco usage for the rest of the month. Please note that the date for the re-entry into service of the Q-class is yet to be confirmed. We are also pleased to see the C-class returning to steam following the replacement of a number of firebox stays.
- Tony Sullivan's photo from yesterday shows the U-class departing from Horsted Keynes.
- John Sandys also provides a set of photos from yesterday, showing the Q-class climbing through Imberhorne Cutting, progress on the canopy at East Grinstead, and around the Loco Yard at Sheffield Park.
- John has also been continuing to experiment with live 'Periscope' broadcasts. To catch them you either need to follow him on Twitter and view broadcasts through your browser, or if you have an iPhone, use the Periscope App, which will notify you of the start of each broadcast (again linked to John via Twitter). Broadcasts from East Grinstead appear quite successful, but at Sheffield Park the only place where a reliable mobile data connection can be obtained to enable broadcasting appears to from the footbridge.
- East Grinstead Online carries reports today about the return, next week, of our popular "Monday Club" and on the arrival at East Grinstead on its test runs of the Maunsell Q-class locomotive.
- The Maunsell Q-class made three loaded test runs to East Grinstead yesterday, and Brian Lacey's photo shows it there with a six-coach test train, consisting of the Wealden Rambler set plus the Observation Car and GN Saloon. We gather all went well, but there is no word yet on when it will enter service. The photo below is also from Brian, taken during the run-round at East Grinstead.
- Paul Booth provides this photo and video of the Q on its test train yesterday.
- Further details of our involvement with this Sunday's East Grinstead Bus Running Day are available, including details of the £5 steam travel offer.
- There's a new Blog site for Project 27 - our volunteer team raising funds for and undertaking the restoration of SECR Locomotive No.27.
- John Sandys' photos from Tuesday, a beautiful sunny day, include a look in the workshop with progress on 'Camelot', the Q-class warming through, plus the two locos in service, the H-class and the U-class. John also started to experiment with live 'Periscope' broadcasts for iOS from the railway today.
- Apologies that I missed providing a link to Dave Braley's album of photos from Jon Bower's superb photo-charter on Wednesday 11 March.
- Preliminary details are available for our Summer Festival which runs from Saturday 25 July to Sunday 9 August. Further details are expected within a few weeks.
- The second photo below, from Derek Hayward, shows the S15 with its train in Lindfield Wood on Monday.
- Derek Hayward's photo shows the H-class with the Maunsell Set and GN Saloon at Caseford Bridge on Easter Monday. The H-class replaced the U-class on Set B on Sunday morning, when a broken spring was discovered on No.1638's pony truck; the spring was replaced with a new one yesterday.
- Hornby have photos of another pre-production sample of their 00-scale S15 model on their blog. They also include some photos of 847 being scanned/measured at Sheffield Park.
- The recently released Bachmann models of the LBSCR E4 0-6-2T have been well received, and are in high demand. One of the models represents our own No.B473 in its 1920s/early '30s condition. Most of these have already sold though pre-order, but there may still be a few available through the Bluebell Railway Shop. The LBSCR-liveried version is still awaited.
- Martin Lawrence has completed his March 2015 Photo Gallery, and started that for April, with photos of the Great Northern Directors' Saloon in service and progess with the canopy at East Grinstead.
- John Sandys' photos from yesterday, including a ride in the GN saloon.
- The photos below, from Brian Lacey, show the U-class approaching East Grinstead with the Edwardian set on Thursday, the S15 at Horsted Keynes on Saturday, and the U-class preparing to couple up to the Great Northern Saloon the same day. The fourth Locomotive in service over the weekend was the LBSCR E4.
- This photo showing the S15 at Sheffield Park is part of a blog post of a visit to the Bluebell from "LocoYard".
- We are now in the daily running season, and, excepting our 17 - 19 April Diesel Weekend, we are running steam-hauled trains daily from now until 1 November.
- Photos from Monday from John Sandys, including the S15, new stock in the shop, and the canopy at East Grinstead, plus a video of the journey from Kingscote to East Grinstead, and from today, with more progress evident on the canopy at East Grinstead, new stock in the shop, and the U and S15 on the 2-train service.
- Video from John Harwood from Monday showing the U and the S15 at East Grinstead.
- Saxon Warrior Tour: A tour to the Czech Republic and Germany between Thursday 8th and Sunday 18th October 2015. Some places still available - details here.
- The 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society report on recent progress on their locomotive in our Loco Works, with a couple of photographs courtesy of Peter Gibbs, the Society Chairman, and the Bluebell Railway Workshop staff and volunteers. The boiler has been removed from the frames to enable the attachment of the smokebox which now has the door ring fitted. The current state of fabrication of the new ashpan is also shown.
- The photo below, from Brian Lacey, shows the U-class at Horsted Keynes on Monday.
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