Latest Updates - Earlier updates - Latest Project News
Weekly train running information - Archive News
- Brian Kidman's photo, taken while working as part of the "Wednesday Gang" whose efforts on the lineside are clear to see here, shows the C-class on last week's service train, in the rain at Horsted House Farm. The C has returned to service, on a restricted basis, following a successful annual boiler exam, and some work on its leading wheelsets.
- Next week - Sat 28 May to Sun 5 June: Kids for a Quid special offer, while we are running our peak Service Two timetable for half term.
- This Friday, 27 May, we still have some tickets left for the Rail Ale evening train from East Grinstead - phone 01825 720800 to book.
On the train:
Long Man Session IPA 3.8%
Long Man Best Bitter 4.0%
Hammerpot Brighton Belle 4.6%
At Sheffield Park Station:
Founders Best Bitter (Hurst Brewery - Hurstpierpoint) 4.2%
Hornblower (Anchors Brewery - Littlehampton) 4.5%
At Horsted Keynes Station:
South Downs Ale (Beachy Head Brewery) 4.6%
Sunfire (Yates - Isle of Wight) 4.3%
Standard Bearer (Deventio - Derby) 4.5%
- No fewer than four updates to the Project 27 blog over the last week.
- Derek Hayward's Southern at War gallery is now complete. There are about 150 images, including Sunday's two-seater Spitfire, and Sweetheart Swing, both seen below.
- Have you read the latest edition of our eNewsletter from 22 May? You can sign up to receive the eNewsletter fortnightly by e-mail. Back issues available on the eNewsletter archive.
- The eNewsletter reports Saturday's BRPS AGM election results; congratulations to our newly elected Chairman, Graham Aitken, pictured below by Derek Hayward, and to new Vice Chairman, Stephen Bigg and Trustee Tim Parkin. Consequent update to the Who's Who page.
- Final Results in the Football Competition are now in. Congratulations to Trevor Summerfield who, in picking Leicester to top the League, gave himself an unassailable lead in our competition, and those who picked Manchester United to win the FA Cup. The competition raises funds for the overhaul of our Southern Railway Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864, which we hope to be in a position to start rebuilding in a couple of years time.
- Martin Lawrence has added a few more photos to his May 2016 gallery.
- John Sandys provides galleries from Tues 17 May, a beautiful day at the railway with the C-class in charge of the service train, packed out with several coach parties, Monday 23 May with 73082 running, new stock in the shop, and further progress at Horsted Keynes on the OP4 Carriage Shed. Those from yesterday feature 73082 in the sunshine, and a few of the Wickham trolley in use.
- Calling all cricketers - Details here. We'd like to play another game against the Railway's neighbours, Scaynes Hill Cricket Club, on Saturday, July 16, 2016, both as a social event and a fundraiser for both the Railway and for SHCC. So, we are looking for cricketers of all ages and skill levels, ideally with a connection to the Railway (member, volunteer, staff, etc.), to play in our XI.
- BritishRailways.TV provide this compact overview video of the Bluebell in 2015. Some great moments are included!
- Interesting 15 Minute Photo Challenge at Horsted Keynes with Gavin Hoey.
- Brian Lacey's photos below show No.B473 arriving at Horsted Keynes on 14 May (during the Southern at War event) with a matching set of 5 SR-liveried carriages, and the C and H-classes together on the third set of coaches that day, led again by a matching carriage, wheelchair-accessible semi-saloon No.3360. The weekend saw the return to service of the H-class after winter maintenance which included the use of our wheel-drop for work on wheel bearings.
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 - see also the Project 27 Blog, on Schools No.928 "Stowe", from the Loco Works Working Group on SR Q-class No.541 and from the Standard Class 2 project
- Infrastructure News page - Completion of work on the historic "River Slip" and more track relaid on Freshfield Bank
- Operation Undercover - Phase 4: Horsted Keynes - Carriage Shed Extension
Beyond Phase 3: Above Workshop Facility fit-out
- 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
- The Horsted Keynes Re-signalling
- Kingscote Goods Yard Project
- 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
- Brian Lacey's photo taken yesterday shows Nos.323 and B473 top-and-tailing the service train, whilst the run-round loop at Sheffield Park was temporarily unavailable.
- The three-train timetable is now available for this weekend's special event, the Southern at War weekend, when we'll have a great array of military vehicles, Concert party shows, the Sussex Home Guard doing Firearms and Bayonet practise, and a Spitfire display (Sunday only, at 2pm, weather permitting). This year we have, in addition, an Evening Tea Dance with a special evening train on 14 May.
- Loco update: The SECR H-class has emerged from the loco works, and has been running around on test over the last couple of days, and the SECR C-class may also be back in service at the weekend - the final part of its annual boiler exam takes place tomorrow. If it passes this, it will see restricted service to coax it though the coming year, the final one before withdrawal for overhaul. S15 No.847 is back from wheel turning on a ground lathe, for which the entire locomotive went away. It still needs a few more stays replaced, and the completion of work on valves and cylinders before it re-enters service. The SR Q-class has been stripped in preparation for half a dozen stays to be replaced.
- Steve Lee's photo shows No.323 "Bluebell" with vintage carriages at Leamland Bridge last Saturday.
- Dave Clarke has updated his Flickr site with photos of the latest progress on the shed extension, and some from inside the carriage works: the first First Class seat back for Bulleid coach No.5768 has returned from the contract trimmer. The west side of Elephant Van, which is nearing completion with the metal work being fitted to both pairs of doors. The window frames fitted and the first of the vents installed below them. The large doors have been trial fitted to the southern end.
- Keith Duke's photos taken on Monday, when services were topped and tailed by 323 and B473.
- Two more photos below from Saturday's railtour, which ran from Hastings to Sheffield Park and return, organised by Hastings Diesels, from Derek Hayward (at Three Arch Bridge) and Steve Lee (near Rock Cutting).
- Hastings Diesel's railtour is seen to the North of Sloop Bridge on Saturday in Derek Hayward's photo. Derek has also uploaded 15 images taken on Saturday to his Bluebell 2016 gallery. There are more to come.
- Monday to Friday this week we are running to our Service One timetable.
- Next weekend is our Southern at War event. We hope to be able to publish the train timetable for this towards the end of the week. We are hoping to run a three-train service, but there are still a few things to be confirmed.
- Martin Lawrence has added a few photos from Saturday to his May gallery.
- Bluebell members (and others) might be interested in some of the A2SN (The Archives and Artefacts Study Network) conferences. Their next conference is in Ellesmere Port at the National Waterways Museum on 9-10 September this year. Whilst this conference will focus mainly on waterways, they also have Pete Skellon from the Bahamas Locomotive Society speaking on "LNWR Coal Tank No.1054 - Research, Writing, Overhaul & Archaeological Dig".
- Andrew Crampton's photo below shows the Hastings unit, No.1001, at West Hoathly on Saturday afternoon.
- Steve Lee's photo shows No.73082 at Leamland Bridge the same day.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows B473 taking water at East Grinstead on Wednesday.
- We are looking forward to welcoming the Hastings Diesel Unit when it arrives at the Bluebell on its railtour tomorrow. Timings available on the Hastings Diesels website.
- We have busy weekend ahead with a two-train public service plus a third locomotive hauling the Afternoon Tea train tomorrow and the Golden Arrow on Sunday, and a fourth loco in steam as station pilot on Sunday too.
- Project 27 are planning to 3D print a 1/10 scale pair of cylinders to help publicise the work on SECR P-class No.27.
- To get us into the mood for our Southern at War 1940's event in a week's time, here's a blog post and some photos from Atomic Amber, who visited us for a photoshoot a few weeks ago.
- On Wednesday, on BBC Sussex Drive, Sarah Gorrell talked to BRPS Chairman Roy Watts about the ASH project. You can hear it online, about 55m into the programme.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows No.323 at Leamland Bridge yesterday with one of the Bluebell Specials. At this particular location the primroses outnumber the bluebells!
- John Sandys' album from a visit on Tuesday, a lovely sunny and warm day for the Bluebell Specials, with the E4 on the main service set. The Railway is looking a real picture with the bluebells and primroses in full bloom, and a beautiful display of tulips at Horsted Keynes station.
- Project 27 has launched its Cylinder Replacement Programme for SECR P-class No.27. A set of cylinder castings for No.178 will be obtained at the same time.
- Martin Lawrence has now completed his April gallery and started on that for May.
- Derek Hayward has now completed a major update to his Bluebell 2016 collection, including Saturday's goods train, an update to the Horsted Keynes Carriage Shed, and photos from Saturday's Toy and Rail Collectors Fair at Horsted Keynes.
- Our next special event is on 14-15 May: the Southern at War weekend, when we'll have a great array of military vehicles, Concert party shows, the Sussex Home Guard doing Firearms and Bayonet practise, and a Spitfire display (Sunday only). This year we have, in addition, an Evening Tea Dance with a special evening train on 14 May.
- On 25-26 June we have our annual Model Railway Weekend, as advertised below in Mike Hopps' poster, which is also available to download from heritagerailposters.co.uk.
- During April 2016 there were 56,928 total hits on this page, from 32,142 unique visitors.
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows the E4 at West Hoathly yesterday afternoon.
- John Sandys' photo shows the latest progress with the OP4 shed at Horsted Keynes, with the lower-level section of the maintenance road approaching completion, and the frame-work advancing for the 4-road storage portion.
- With the bluebells in full bloom, the second week of Bluebell Specials run Tuesday 3 to Friday 6 May, with No.323 and the Observation car - Pre-booking advised. Brian Lacey's photo shows No.323 "Bluebell" running round a Bluebell Special at East Grinstead on 27 April.
- A reminder that tomorrow, Saturday 30 April, is our Toy & Rail Collectors Fair at Horsted Keynes.
- In addition, as previously notified, tomorrow there is also a goods train running in the morning, using the locomotive which will be hauling the Wealden Rambler in the afternoon. This is the timetable for the goods train, which will be hauled by E4 No.B473.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with planned loco usage for May.
- On Monday 2 May we have a £5 Excursion Ticket offer for the East Grinstead Lions May Fayre.
- John Sandys' album from his visit on 21 April, includes progress at Horsted Keynes OP4, and the tiled floor in the lobby at Sheffield Park, plus new stock in the shop. He also provides an album from Thursday 28 April, with three locos in steam: No.73082 on the main set, "Bluebell" in charge of the Bluebell Special and the E4 on shunting duties.
- Dave Clarke provides:
- A batch of photos from the last couple of weekends showing progress on the carriage shed extension;
- Last Saturday afternoon saw a brief visit by five hot rods from London;
- The first metal work has been fitted to the doors on the west side of the Elephant Van, and the first of the large end doors has been trial fitted to the south end.
- Now that the second coat of varnish has been applied to the east side of LCDR/SECR carriage No.3188, the brass work work has been fitted. The east side has received its first overall coat of varnish.
- Derek Hayward has added some photos of the OP4 Carriage shed extension taken last weekend, and there are now 50 images in his completed Diesel Gala gallery.
- There is an updated Component Sponsorship List for the Brighton Atlantic Project.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows No.73082 approaching East Grinstead on 27 April, and Steve Lee's photo shows No.323 hauling a lightweight vintage train as the second set last Sunday.
- Lots of photos, and much great feedback received, for our three-day joint GB Railfreight and Bluebell Diesel Gala.
We start with Andrew Wood's great aerial view of 66770 and 73119 on the viaduct (which is confirmed as complying both with CAA regulations, and the Bluebell's own rules on the use of drones near the line) from Saturday.
- Jonathan Hughes reported that it had been a great first day... here are some of his photos from Friday morning.
- Keith Duke provides a couple of galleries of pictures from Friday, with a selection taken from the North-bound brake van trip, and another covering the visiting loco's and a few of 73082 - not another 73, but our 5MT steam loco, which was hauling Friday Evening's Golden Arrow Murder Mystery charter.
- Derek Hayward provides an initial selection of images from the gala.
- Martin Lawrence has updated his April Gallery with photos from the gala, and also further progress erecting steelwork on the new carriage shed extension at Horsted Keynes.
- It's back to normal now, with steam trains running every single day from tomorrow until 30 October!
Our next special events are:
In addition, we are hosting a Jensen Car Display at Sheffield Park on Sun 24 April.
- Bluebell Specials: Mon 25 to Thurs 28 April and Tues 3 to Fri 6 May, with a small engine and the Observation car - Pre-booking recommended (with discounts if booked at least 8 days in advance).
Our normal unreserved ordinary trains also run on those days;
- Toy & Rail Collectors Fair at Horsted Keynes on Sat 30 April.
- Further coverage of the diesels at the gala from:
- Tom Oliver;
- Chris Ward's photos and a video;
- Jamie Squibbs;
- Matthew Burdett;
- Mark Saunders;
- Lewis Smith;
- Tony Ashcroft;
- and Tom Waghorn (including the private evening special with our GN saloon).
- Robert Else's photo below shows the resident 09 with the unusual formation of the combined brake van and Observation Car trip this afternoon, just about to cross Keysford Lane Bridge near the waterworks.
- Martin Lawrence's photo below shows the Class 20s and 73964 on shed on Thursday evening. Sadly both the 20s failed on Saturday with unrelated problems, and so the loco rotations on the Sunday did not happen; it did however result in double-headed 73/1s and a 73/1 and 73/9 working the TC set.
- Brian Lacey caught the Q and 73082 passing at Horsted Keynes on Saturday 9 April.
- Diesel Gala - 15-17 April in association with GB Railfreight, and with a proportion of the proceeds going to charities.
- Download the timetable here, or view online.
- Advance ticket sales are available online or phone 01825 720800, for collection at your specified station on arrival - beat the queues.
- Locomotives from GBRf:
- Class 73/9 No.73964
- Class 20s Nos.20901 & 20905
- Class 47 No.47739 (courtesy of Colas Rail)
- Class 66 No.66770
- In addition, Class 73/1s Nos.73107 "Tracy", 73119 & 73136 will be acting as brake translators with the two sets of Bluebell carriages.
- The Bluebell's own 09018 is giving brake van rides over the line first thing each morning (limited to 15 places, pre-booking recommended; £10 per person - phone 01825 720800)
- Evening Beer trains on Friday and Saturday, details here, or download a pdf to print out.
- Cab Ride Raffle: win an afternoon cab ride from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead on either the 4.10 or 5.25 trains (the winner chooses). Tickets will be on sale only on the day from the stand at Sheffield Park on Platform 2 at £5 each. The draw will take place at 3.00pm. The locomotives currently allocated to these departures are the Class 73/9 and Class 47 respectively. Raffles will be held for trips on all 3 days of the event. Good Luck!
- A selection of Sales stands will be in attendance, including a special GBRf stand where limited edition GBRF 15th Anniversary memorabilia will be available to purchase.
- Extended opening hours for the Carriage Shop at Horsted Keynes. Loads of second hand railway books and models.
- Keith Duke's photos, and those by Keith Leppard from around the railway on Saturday 19 March include the goods train with No.323 "Bluebell".
There are more crew-training runs using the goods train on 30 April, 28 May, 11 June and 23 July.
- Phil Horscroft has selected his best pics from the 17 March photo charter arranged by Jon Bowers.
- Two great, contrasting, Blog Posts about recent visits to the Bluebell: A family visit over Easter and a visit including a ride in the SECR Birdcage Brake.
- Martin Lawrence provides a video of the fireman's view of a trip from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park in 3 minutes, a short video compilation for March featuring OP4, goods trains and onboard action, a completed photo gallery for March, and a start on that for April which includes some featuring the 73/1s with the 4TC set which arrived today for the Diesel Gala.
- We have launched our Accessible Steam Heritage (ASH) appeal, aiming to raise £210,000 to match the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Round 2 grant we are seeking of £840,000 which has received approval at Round 1 of the HLF application. Therefore every £10 donated is worth £50 to the Project, and even more if Gift Aided. The new web pages explaining the appeal are now available, in addition to the Appeal Video. Please do donate generously to help us achieve this target.
- As an additional event on our Southern at War weekend, we also have an Wartime Tea Dance including a special evening train, on 14 May.
- Bluebell Specials with a small engine and the Observation car, run on Mon 25 to Thurs 28 April and Tues 3 to Fri 6 May - Pre-book (discounts if booked at least 8 days in advance) for these Observation Car Specials.
- Video giving a bit of the atmosphere around the loco shed, from Philip Bull. There has been some concern amongst members that the ASH development will spoil this atmosphere, but the plan sees the southern part of the shed remaining as it is at present, as a working steam shed.
- The first photo below, from Roy Watts, shows No.57312, the first Class 57 to work onto Bluebell metals. The Belmond Northern Belle is seen arriving at Kingscote in this video from John Harwood. This was the mystery destination for the guests at the Telegraph Travel Awards yesterday, which we were very pleased to be able to play a part in hosting.
Roy's second photo below shows Mk.1 RKB (kitchen car) No.1566, which was once in Bluebell stock, before going main-line.
- Dave Clarke's photo here shows progress on the OP4 carriage shed as of 3 April 2016. The section constructed so far is the roof over the maintenance road ("E-road"), and ends at present at the junction between the two different roof heights - the higher section over the pit and lifting jacks, already constructed, and the section remaining to be built, with a lower roof, which will extend a further 100 feet southwards. The 4-road storage shed is now being constructed to the right of the structure over E-road, and the first section of this can be seen in Dave's more recent photo, here. Further details of progress are available in this news update.
- This great BritishRailways.tv video describes a visit to the Bluebell last weekend.
- The Bulleid Society have recently put a letter from Roger Cruse on their web site explaining the trials and tribulations of 34059 Sir Archibald Sinclair's firebox and how this may inadvertently help with the replacement of 21C123's firebox!
The letter also mentions that the closing date for the 500+ Club has been extended to 25th April - if you can help with this fund-raising venture, it will be appreciated; ... and you might even win something as well!
- Staff and volunteers booked onto the SMS update session on 22 April should note that it's been cancelled, and they are asked to please contact their Manager to re-book for one of the other dates. Details here.
- Project 27: Wheels on the move! - update on the overhaul/restoration of SECR P-class Locomotive No.27.
- We have now received a fantastic total of over £18,000 from EasySearch and EasyFundraising! See this web page to see how you could help us with this painless fundraising opportunity!
- During March 2016 there were 54,297 total hits on this page, from 32,024 unique visitors.
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows Captain Baxter with goods train at West Hoathly on 2 April. That from Peter Edwards, taken the following day, shows No.73082 at Town House Bridge.
- Steve Lee's photo shows the E4 with a Milk Train as part of yesterday's photographic charter with B473.
- We are running a vintage goods train to this timetable tomorrow, in addition to the normal two-train Service 2 timetable which applies over the weekend.
Daily running starts on Good Friday - we then have trains running every day until the Autumn! Over Easter we have our Bo Peep Specials for which advance booking required - phone 01825 720800. Our normal public timetabled services (again Service 2 timetable) also run on these days.
- A Hastings Diesels railtour to the Bluebell on 7th May is now open for booking - details on their website.
- The Project 27 Blog provides the first view of the new CAD drawings for the P-class cylinder block, as seen below.
The fundraising required for the rough castings, transport and machining, is expected to be in the region of £10,000 to £15,000. If you would be interested in helping us to pay for the castings please do not hesitate in contacting the project for details of how you can help, or donate via JustGiving.
- All Bluebell staff (volunteer and employed) should note details of the Safety Management System Relaunch which includes the dates on which they can meet the new General Manager, and be updated on the changes to the SMS.
- Dave Clarke reports on last week's work on the shed extension and SECR No.3188:
The majority of the shed skeleton over the maintenance road has been erected and progress can be seen in Dave Clarke's photos from the office steps and from the south (taken from beyond the limits of the building site).
The signwriter has spent the equivalent of 2 days working on SECR 3188, the next carriage to be outshopped from the C&W department. Alex Morley took a series of photos showing progress after both the first and second days. By 13 March Dave himself had applied the last of the lining with only snagging to be done. Mike had broken the back of the signwriting with only the black shading and a second coat of gold colour on the exterior letters and numbers which were due to be completed this week. The nearly-completed sign writing is seen in Richard Salmon's photo below.
- Martin Lawrence's updated March 2016 Gallery, shows Wednesday's photographic charter with the E4, and the new tiles laid in the porch at Sheffield Park.
- Paul Simpson also provides images from the Photo Charter with B473 on 16 March.
- Apologies for confusion of the dates for Kids for a Quid. The next such offer runs over the late May half-term week.
- The Great Northern Director's Saloon, seen behind the E4 at New Coombe Bridge last Sunday, will be running in public service for first-class ticket holders, or on payment of an upgrade supplement, serving cream teas, home-made sponge cake, sparkling wine and morning coffee etc., on the following dates this year: 23/24 April, 21/22 May, 18/19 June, 23/24 July, 20/21 August, 24/25 September and 15/16 October.
- Our Golden Arrow Pullman Dinner and Luncheon trains usually sell out well in advance, but, because it was added to the programme relatively recently, there are still some tickets available for this Saturday evening, 19 March. Phone the office on 01825 720800 to book.
- The planned timetable for the April 15-17 Diesel Gala is now available to download as a PDF. (To read the PDF you need Acrobat Reader, or another similar programme; if you don't already have Acrobat installed you can download it free of charge from Adobe.) Loco diagrams will follow nearer the event, which is being run in conjunction with GBRailfreight.
- John Sandys' photos from Saturday 12 March, showing the two locos on the service trains; in addition the Q-class hauled the Afternoon Tea train, and No.323 was station pilot at Sheffield Park.
- Update on the Brighton Atlantic project which now has the valves set, and the coupling rods erected. The major effort now transfers to the boiler, which is in excellent condition. As seen in Fred Bailey's photo below, the new superheater header has been cast and machined, and has being trial-fitted to the boiler.
- The second photo below, with thanks to Derek Hayward, shows the C-class with the Edwardian train at Leamland Bridge on Sunday 28 February.
- For the next two weekends we are running our two-train Service 2 timetable, with the Edwardian carriage set on the 10am service from Sheffield Park, and the SR Bulleid and BR Mk.1 coaches on the 11am, and subsequent alternate departures.
Please note that, following the withdrawal of the Branch Line event, we are not running any public trains on Friday 18 March.
- We have added additional dates for the Golden Arrow Pullman Dinner and Luncheon trains on 19 and 20 March respectively.
- Tony Sullivan's photo on the right shows 73082 leaving Sheffield Park with the special train run on 3 March to celebrate the commissioning of the new Kingscote signalling, and the introduction of the historic Westinghouse L-frame.
- Mike Hopps has a gallery of photos from that occasion, including the group photo below.
- A fuller report on the recommissioning will be included in a future edition of the Bluebell's e-newsletter.
- Dave Clarke's photo below shows the erection of steel framing for the carriage shed extension at Horsted Keynes, as of last weekend. There has been further progress this week. The first of the two spans is that over "E-road", including the maintenance pit and lifting jacks, which accommodates a single track. The second span, which will follow once the ground beams for it have been completed, is for the 4-road storage shed, and the two-storey range of offices/workshops/stores on the Eastern side. For the short term the shed will remain as just the frame and roof only, until funds are raised to complete walls and doors, and internal fitting out of the buildings. The funding to enable what is currently being constructed was raised in the Autumn of 2014 from many generous members and supporters, for which we are extremely grateful.
- David Long's photo on the right shows the C-class putting its goods train back in the sidings at Horsted Keynes at the end of its runs on 27 February. That from John Ede below shows the train earlier the same day, and was taken just to the North of Horsted Keynes.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with planned loco usage for March.
- Derek Hayward has added images of service trains, from 28 February, to his Bluebell 2016 gallery.
- Dave Clarke's photos from around the C&W department from last weekend show the LCDR 5-compartment 3rd No.3188 rapidly approaching completion, as well as work on the Elephant Van, Bulleid Composite No.5768, and the Shed Extension.
- Martin Lawrence's March Gallery includes photos showing the work on the footbridge at Sheffield Park, on the shed at Horsted Keynes, and in the Carriage Works, on the Elephant Van.
- "Operation Bluebell" is a film documenting the early months of the preservation of our line, up to the delivery of "Stepney" in May 1960. This is available through the BFI (but sadly, only to viewers in the UK).
- The photo below, from Peter Wilson, taken on 13 February, shows detail, including the Davies & Metcalfe Class-K injector, on No.73082. This is the device which, using steam, enables water to be fed into the locomotive's boiler. As a continuation of our 16-year-long, mutually beneficial, project to catalogue some of the NRM's collection of works drawings (Southern locomotives and carriages having been dealt with so far), a team of Bluebell volunteers (with funding provided by The Bluebell Railway Trust), have now been asked by the NRM to conduct a survey of the collection of drawings from Davies and Metcalfe Ltd dating back to 1878.
- On Saturday the C-class was out and about with a splendid vintage goods train, as seen in Alex Fisher's photo. Run essentially for crew training purposes, to maintain experience and expertise in the operation of unfitted and part-fitted goods services, it also gives us an excellent opportunity to showcase some of our collection of vintage goods stock, adding an additional attraction for visitors.
- Keith Duke also provides a set of photos from Saturday.
- On Operation Undercover Phase 4, the carriage shed extension at Horsted Keynes, the concrete ring beam has been poured for the first of the two large spans, with fixings visible to connect the steel structure. Note that, since the area is a construction site, access is prohibited, but Derek Hayward's long lens enables us to see progress in this updated photo gallery. Since these photos were taken earlier this week the steel-work for this first span has started to be erected around 'E-road', the existing carriage maintenance/pit/jacking area.
- Martin Lawrence has uploaded his February Bluebell video. The is a compilation of clips taken around and about the railway during February featuring steam and diesel traction, goods trains, Kingscote signalbox (first day of service) and onboard action.
- A number of photos have been added to page 3 of Derek Hayward's Kingscote Station collection showing the progress on the restoration and improvement of the former railway cottages. The new photos are about 3/4 of the way down the page.
- Video from Philip Bull, taking us back to Giants of Steam last October.
- During February 2016 there were 53,978 total hits on this page, from 31,371 unique visitors.
- Peter Wilson's photo below, from Saturday 13 February, provides a close-up of the dining portion of Mk.1 Restaurant Buffet No.1674, operating on our Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea train that day.
- Richard Salmon's photo shows the E4 heading south from Horsted Keynes with the first round-trip of the day on Saturday 20 February with the Edwardian set.
- Bluebell Railway Directors have reluctantly decided to withdraw the Branch Line event scheduled for 3 days in March. A star attraction of the event was to have been visiting LNWR Coal Tank 1054. This locomotive is based at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway and temporary weight restrictions imposed on two local bridges following bad weather have prohibited transfer by road. Though we had hoped that these restrictions would be lifted, they in fact remain in place. We have also been unable to source a suitable replacement locomotive.
The planned event would have seen an intensive timetable, centred around Horsted Keynes, and possibly include the re-entry into traffic of the 50 seater LCDR 4 wheel 3rd Class carriage.
Those with pre-booked tickets have been contacted. The Branch Line event remains a core Gala event for us but an alternative slot in the 2016 schedule is unfortunately unlikely to be available, so we must now plan for early 2017.
Communications Director - Bluebell Railway Plc
- The appointment of Gordon Owen MVO as our new General Manager has been announced by Dick Fearn, Chairman of Bluebell Railway Plc. He takes up his post on 7 March. Further details are available to download in this Press Release, as a PDF.
- In addition to our timetabled steam-hauled and steam-heated two-train passenger service this weekend, we are running a vintage goods train, expected to be hauled by our SECR C-class, on Saturday. The timetable for the goods train is available here.
- This video from John Harwood features carriage restoration work, in particular on Stroudley Brake 949, along with other carriages in the Works at Horsted Keynes.
- We're at the top of the Daily Telegraph's list when it comes to spots in the UK to relax and watch the trains go by!
- Following last Saturday's sold-out train, the next Fish & Chip evening supper train is on 12 March.
- We have a special £5 excursion ticket offer in conjunction with the 12-13 March East Grinstead Model Railway Exhibtion at Sackville School and 10 April East Grinstead Bus Running Day.
- James Corben's video features 73082 raising the echoes last Sunday
- Join in with Southern at War 2016: Saturday 14 - Sunday 15 May. We welcome 1940s' vehicles, re-enactors and displays. Call Charlotte on 01825 720800 if you are interested.
- 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.
- Peter Wilson's photos below, from Saturday 13 February, show two of the three locomotives on our trains that day.
- John Sandys' photo of the E4 taking water at East Grinstead is from his album showing the two locomotives in steam yesterday.
- Kids for a Quid continues today and through the weekend. We are running a two-train service.
- MKT Transport Video provide coverage of BR Standard 5 No.73082 'Camelot' on 6th February.
- Photos by Keith Duke from showing Camelot and Birch Grove on Monday's half-term services.
- Lots of positive coverage, and great comments about its performance, for the visit of our SR Q-class No.30541 to last weekend's gala on the Mid Hants. Thanks to the following for sharing their videos:
- JS Rail Video,
- Dan Gosling,
- Phillip Bull,
- British Loco Films,
- Nick Dearden and
- James Corben, all of which feature 30541 extensively!
- Two videos from the days of the Ashford Steam Centre (which functioned back in the late '60s and early 1970s): one showing the H-class No.263, now on the Bluebell (as is the Birdcage Saloon Brake, which now stored under a tarpaulin). and one featuring, in addition to the H-class, O1-class No.65, BY van 404 and Bulleid Coach 1464 (also all now on the Bluebell).
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows No.73082 passing West Hoathly on Tuesday.
- Mike Hopps has produced this great poster to help advertise our forthcoming Diesel Gala being run jointly with GB Failfreight. The photo reminds us of the fantastic partnership we had from GBRf in the removal of the rubbish tip to enable us to complete our extension to East Grinstead.
- Brian Lacey's photos from last Saturday show No.73082 at Kingscote, passing the late-running first train of the day from East Grinstead behind the E4, and B473 once it had arrived at Horsted Keynes. A combination of brake and lubrication problems caused its second train to be cancelled, but it was back in action for its last round trip that afternoon after swift attention by works staff. The E4's train was formed by the Rambler set, due to most of our vintage carriages being elsewhere.
- The latest newsletter from the Standard Class 2 No.84030 project has now been published on this web site.
Note that it appears here a while after it is sent to project supporters - if you would like to receive it when first published, why not Subscribe to it and support the project?
The photo below shows the riveting completed on the frame stretchers under the cab. The riveting has also been completed on the front drag-box and buffer beam.
- Album from John Sandys, showing the resumption of services on 6 February.
- Our Maunsell Q-class No.30541 is at the Mid Hants Railway this weekend for their Spring Gala.
- Why not combine a trip to the railway with this Great British Dog Walk event at Sheffield Park on 13 March.
- John Waterford's video on Unseen Steam shows Camelot at Giants of Steam, giving our resumption of services last weekend a nice push!
- The second photo below, from Alan Black, shows that over the winter the Model Railway in the building on Platforms 1/2 at Horsted Keynes has been re-worked as double-track, to give more action - the railway runs for 2 minutes for 50p, and is very popular with our younger visitors. It is based (very loosely) on Sheffield Park.
- John Sandys' photo shows the Q-class with a signalling test train at Kingscote on Tuesday, and below the icing on the cake - a replica of the LB&SCR name-board which the original Kingscote Box carried until the line closed, now in place. See more in John's other photos from Tuesday.
- The first Fish & Chip evening supper train of the year is already fully booked! The next one is on 12 March. Phone 01825 720800 to book.
- 2016 dates now available for PTS courses which are required for Bluebell Lineside photographic passes.
- Major news update from the Brighton Atlantic project with thanks to Fred Bailey. His photo below shows the connecting rods now in place, ready to use the specially made wheel rotators to set the valve gear. Other developments reported are castings arriving for the safety valves and backhead valves, and fittings starting to go into the cab to enable the piping up to be done. Work on the boiler will be starting fairly soon too.
- Julian Heinemann's photos taken on 10 January, show "Camelot" over the washout pit, the start of a short period of winter maintenance, further details of which, along with other loco news, are in the latest edition of our e-Newsletter.
Let's hope the rainbow hitting Sheffield Park is a good omen for this year!
- Our steam-hauled and heated services resume on Saturday; we expect to have LBSCR E4 No.B473 and BR Standard 5 No.73082 "Camelot" hauling the trains, to our Service 2 timetable.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with planned loco usage for February.
- With 2016 expected to be a busy year, we are currently advertising a variety of Casual Catering Vacancies. We are still also advertising for a Customer Services Assistant for our East Grinstead Travel Centre, and a practicing Doctor to undertake medicals for footplate and other volunteer staff.
- Two photos below from Martin Lawrence: the first taken last Friday shows some of the new zinc sheeting now fitted to the platform 2 canopy at Sheffield Park, and that from today shows a brace of class 20s at Sheffield Park, (Nos.20142 and 20189) which dropped in via East Grinstead. Martin has more photos of the class 20s in his new February album.
- During January 2016 there were 55,114 total hits on this page, from 32,172 unique visitors.
- John Sandys has an album from 12 & 14 January, featuring E4 "Birch Grove" in light steam after its intermediate boiler and valve maintenance, and others showing the wheels from No.80151 off to South Devon for the fitting of its new driving wheel tyres (as seen below).
A gallery from Thursday 21 January shows the E4 having a steam test (one photo seen here on the right), and new stock in the shop at Sheffield Park.
From this Wednesday, a further gallery has shots around the loco shed, at Kingscote, and work taking place on another project being undertaken during January's line closure. That part of the canopy on platform 2 at Sheffield Park which did not receive new zinc sheeting a few years ago is now being resheeted thanks to surplus funds from the platform 1 canopy project, a donation to the Friends of Sheffield Park, and funding from the Bluebell Railway Trust, enabled by recently received bequests. A photo of this is also seen below.
- Update on No.73082 "Camelot", indicating the level of fine-tuning required after an overhauled locomotive re-enters traffic.
- If you missed Tuesday's appearance of the Bluebell on Michael Portillo's Great British Railway Journeys it's now available on the UK on BBC iPlayer.
- Due to a member reporting not finding the notice of the 21 May 2016 EGM and AGM included with their copy of Bluebell News, the notice is also posted on the Members' information page, and available to download (as a PDF) here.
- New for 2016: We are now offering Season Tickets covering our normal timetabled trains.
- Some old film footage of "Bluebell on Parade" from May 1976 is available on YouTube.
- The work to switch Kingscote's signalling over from the temporary box to the South of the station to the L-frame in the new box to the North of the loop platform has been completed, and is now, subject to formal commissioning, ready for next weekend's resumption of services - a huge credit to our volunteer S&T department. Just the nameboard to go on the Box.
Derek Hayward provides a large update on this signalling work, on pages 5 and 6 of his Kingscote collection, and also in the three photos here:
- Right: the fully commissioned L-frame.
- Below: the three token machines (HK-Kc, SP-Kc, and Kc-EG). The middle of these is the new long-section working to enable Horsted Keynes Box to be switched out, which will come into its own when we are running evening dining trains.
- A new shunt signal (seen below) has been installed, enabling moves into the down-siding from the loop platform. All shunt signals visible from the station platforms are now rotating discs, like this.
- First details announced for this year's Diesel Gala (Friday 15 to Sunday 17 April) in association with GBRf. See also the Facebook event.
- The forthcoming Branch Line Weekend is now to be a three-day event, starting on Friday 18 March. Further details of this event are still to be confirmed.
- Details for the 2016 Volunteer Recruitment Find out more days are now available - they take place on the second Sunday of every month from February until November, and are your chance to find out what what makes the Bluebell tick! Dates, and details of how to book on to the days, are available here.
- Several updates on the Project 27 Blog reporting progress on repairing the locomotive's frames, and progress with the drawings for the new cylinders, amongst other things, plus some historic photos of the locomotive.
- Martin Lawrence provides some photos from the Q-class photo charter on Monday 4 January, and his monthly gallery including works at Sheffield Park, Horsted Keynes and Kingscote. Martin has also compiled some video clips shot around the Railway during December 2015. It includes shots of Nos.263, 592, 73082 and 09018 plus some night-time shots and a low loader. (Note - as one of our approved photographers, Martin was able to obtain permission for access to some non-public locations).
- Dave Bowles also has some photos from the charter with No.30541.
- Nick Burgess provides a substantial gallery from Monday's photo charter (organised by Jon Bowers) with No.30541 and a goods train, including this early morning "sunrise" shot on Freshfield Bank.
- John Sandys' album from 29 December includes new and recent items available in our shop, and the slightly revised timetable which comes into force on 6 February (see below).
- Note that what had been advertised as an evening train on 14 February, has now been changed to a St. Valentines Day Golden Arrow Luncheon train.
- The first train on Service 2 days has been put back 15 minutes, and this enables a (tight) connection (not guaranteed!) from the first off-peak main-line service into East Grinstead; this should also reduce overcrowding on the 12 noon departure from East Grinstead. Another change for service 2 is that the 11am service (12 noon from East Grinstead) will be formed of the corridor set, since it often has party traffic booked on it, as it is on Service 1 days, with the earlier train formed of more vintage stock. Timings at Kingscote have been adjusted to account for the token exchange taking place at the new signal box rather than the temporary South box, important for trains which may cross Wealden Rambler or Golden Arrow services there.
4 January 2016
- Andrew Shapland's photo shows No.73082 climbing Freshfield Bank with the 12.15 departure from Sheffield Park on 29 December - just before a heavy shower!
- Our Special Events page now includes dates for all our major 2016 events, and details of catering services and those offers which are known at the present time. The Branch Line Weekend and Food Festival are back, alongside all the regular events: Diesel Weekend in April, Toy & Rail Collectors' Fairs in April and July, Southern at War in May, Model Railway Weekend in June, Seaside and Vintage Transport weekends in August, and three days for Giants of Steam in October.
- Our next trains operate on 6 February - See the Timetable for further details. In the interim, we are undertaking major signalling changes at Kingscote, but which also cover the remainder of the line, as we bring the Westinghouse L-frame in the new signalbox at Kingscote into operation, and also commission the long-section token equipment which will enable Horsted Keynes box to be switched out on days when only one train is operating, and when we are running evening trains.
- Video from Philip Bull covering the H-class preparing for its train at Sheffield Park, blowing down on the river bridge, and then hauling the Edwardian set to East Grinstead on New Year's Eve.
- St. Valentines Day Sunday 14th February - Celebrate on board our Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea train or the Golden Arrow Luncheon Pullman.
- Saturday 20 February Fish and Chip train - Join us on the very first Fish and Chip train of 2016.
- Some photos from Dave Bowles from 23 and 28 December.
- Jonathan Hughes caught a little late afternoon sunshine in these three photos of the last Santa special on Christmas Eve, hauled by No.73082: passing Town House bridge, rounding the curve, at the top of Freshfield Bank.
- Thanks to SETG, who are looking after it, our 4-Vep 3417 moved on 22 December from Ilford, following the completion of Bombardier's corrosion repair and high-quality repaint, to Strawberry Hill depot. There is a photo of the unit here, tucked up safely at its new home.
- 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.
- Maunsell Q-class No.30541 is visiting the Mid Hants Railway for their Spring Steam Gala on 12-14 February.
- Julian Clark's photo below shows No.73082 on arrival at East Grinstead on New Year's Eve, and Steve Lee's shows the H-class with the Edwardian set approaching Horsted Keynes on New Years Day. These two locomotives hauled most of the services between Boxing Day and 3 January, although yesterday the Q took the Edwardian set and the S15 was steamed for the Golden Arrow luncheon train after a problem experienced with the lubrication on the H-class the previous evening.
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