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- 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.
The Trains for the coming week page is updated weekly, with detailed information for visiting enthusiasts - but please note that notification of a train or service on that page does not necessarily imply that it is available to the public - all public services are listed in the Timetable.
Note: Throughout this site many of the photos are presented as small versions which can be clicked on to access the full-size image.
Most recent updates: See top of this page
- 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.
- Brian Kidman's photo shows the S15 with one of the photo charter sets passing the location where he was working with the Wednesday Lineside Gang on 11 March.
- Compass Travel's bus route 121 recommences its Sunday/Bank Holiday services to Sheffield Park on Good Friday, with some buses going beyond Lewes to/from Newhaven. The service also serves Sheffield Park on Saturdays. Download the Timetable here.
- On Thursday 14 May we host a Rail Ale & Jazz Evening in aid of The McIndoe Memorial Statue Fund.
Our regular series of Rail Ale evening trains start on May 22, and are booking up well already.
- Martin Lawrence has further photos in his March photo gallery, and a video showing the Q-class returning from Horsted Keynes with 92240 in tow on Thursday, and later 09018 shunts the 9F into the bay road. 80100 had gone to Horsted with 09018 earlier and the move round will probably see Blackmore Vale on display in the Locomotive Shed.
- Railway Station Cottages has been added to our links page. It provides fully searchable information for self-catering holidays in railway cottages, carriages and stations across the UK.
- John Sandys' photo from Thursday shows progress with the construction of the new canopy at East Grinstead, which includes a disabled-accessible lavatory, and is funded by The Bluebell Railway Trust, with a contribution from East Grinstead Town Council.
- David Stubbings provides this photo of the SECR H-class No.263 with our Edwardian train last Saturday.
- Martin Lawrence provides this video of the same locomotive, with the first service to East Grinstead for three weeks, at the end of January, after the engineering possession in order to fix "River slip". Combine this with a very cold icy day with a light dusting of of snow and the scene was set for a trip where the driver needed all his skill to keep the train rolling up the long 1-in-75 to and through the tunnel, and the even steeper 1-in-55 climb beyond Kingscote.
- Martin has also uploaded a video of Baxter on the goods training working on Saturday 7 March. This train was run for training for our Guards, and should become a regular feature this year.
- Derek Hayward's pictures from 7 and 14 March include the Goods Guard Training, and the current state of the cutting-side south of West Hoathly Tunnel where we suffered a major slip a year back.
- The Q-class is gradually going through an iteration of steaming and the fixing of minor issues, and was filmed shunting the loco yard on Tuesday 11 March by Martin Lawrence and Nick Dearden, and on 13 March by John Sandys and Martin Lawrence again.
- Derek Hayward provides photos from 14 March when the engines in service were 847, 263 and B473.
- Yesterday we notified you of the February news update from Project 27, and today we can bring you the March update on the overhaul of SECR P-class No.27!
In addition we have details of a Special Evening Train of vintage coaches hauled by Loco No.3 Baxter on Sunday 3 May in support of Project 27, and a further event on Saturday 25 April, commemorating the Centenary of No.27's departure for war service in France. Further details are available via posters at the links above, and also within the news report.
- Our Monday Club returns for 2015 - An all-inclusive ticket covers a return steam-train ride from East Grinstead and a two course lunch in the Bessemer Arms at Sheffield Park, every Monday (except Bank Holidays) from April to September. Full details here. Available to residents in the locality of East Grinstead Station who are over 60 years of age.
- One of our main groups working on keeping our lineside in good order is the "Wednesday Gang", which is split into two teams. Currently the "Northern Gang" is working north between Caseford and Nobles/Three Arch, while the "Southern Gang" is working north from Monteswood Lane towards Rock Cutting. Since the middle of last year, the lineside from a point south of Monteswood to just north of Horsted Keynes has received attention, with the Northern Gang spending 3 months or so in Lindfield Wood, mainly thinning out trees on the 'down' side to improve sight lines, reduce the risk of trees falling across the line in high winds and generally opening up views to our passengers. Nature has a habit of growing back very rapidly, however!
The photograph below from Brian Kidman shows the Northern Gang at work on Wednesday 11 March, when they had the added bonus of the S15 and vintage Southern stock on Jon Bowers' photo charter thrown in for entertainment!
- John Sandys' photo below shows the Q-class in steam at Sheffield Park this morning, and it undertook a light-engine test run to Kingscote and back. However, we do not yet have a date for its re-entry into service. Behind the locomotive is the underframe which is shortly to be fitted to SECR Carriage 3188, which should be the next vintage coach to enter service. The underframe is at Sheffield Park for additional riveting, and for Tony Funnell to undertake some engineering work on the hornguides.
- Steve Lee was one of a number of photographers on the S15 Photo Charters organised by Jon Bowers on 10 and 11 March. Here we see the locomotive with a trio of Maunsell carriages at Freshfield Curve - Steve's other photos.
Other photo albums from the charters, for which once again we were blessed with superb weather:
- Dave Bowles,
- Nick Burgess,
- Martin Lawrence,
- Paul Gildersleve,
- Paul Simpson: Tuesday 10 and Wednesday 11 March,
- Tony Teague,
- John Sandys' photos from 10-12 March, showing the Q-Class, and some shots of the S15 on Photo Charter duty
- Discounts on Travel tickets for the Diesel Weekend (with two "Deltic" diesel locomotives, Friday 17th - Sunday 19th April) are available on advance purchases until 31 March. Details here, and ring 01825 720800 for tickets.
Other features of the Weekend:
- Timetable for the three days available here.
- Deltic Golden Arrow Pullman - Friday evening 17th April - Details here
- Brake Van Rides at Sheffield Park with the Bluebell's 09
- "Driver for a Fiver" at Horsted Keynes with the Sentinel shunter (Saturday and Sunday)
- Curry & Beer Evening - Saturday 18th April - in the Bessemer Arms restaurant at Sheffield Park. Discount on advance booking for this meal. Details on this poster.
- Loco News updates from the projects working on SECR P-class No.27 and No.73082 "Camelot".
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with thanks to Chris Knibbs, showing intended loco usage for the next few weeks.
- Video from Philip Bull from 22nd February featuring the H-class, S15 and U.
- Update to the web page for our North London Railway Class 75 locomotive No.27505 with thanks to Martin Skrzetuszewski, Malcolm Peakman, Brian Spurle and Nick Beck.
- Clive Emsley's photo below from Sunday night shows the smart new gangway shields now fitted to the Pullman train.
Neil Sloane's image below puts a sepia-toned historic imprint on the H-class at Sheffield Park.
John Goss provides a photo showing the S15 backing onto the tour train at Horsted Keynes last Saturday.
- Andrew Shapland's photo shows our S15 heading The Cathedrals Express at Black Hut yesterday morning, and that below, exiting the tunnel, is from Andrew Crampton. Sadly, since our S15 is not main-line certificated, it had to come off at East Grinstead, as seen in Brian Lacey's photos below, leaving 47580 to head the 11-coach tour, which originated at Horsted Keynes, running to Ely and return. The Steam Dreams tour should have been headed by LNER B1 "Mayflower" but this locomotive had failed its fitness-to-run exam on Friday.
- Martin Lawrence's video from Friday shows the 47 on arrival at Horsted Keynes, initially checking clearances in Platform 4/5 and then drawing its train into the platform and running round. The train was stabled and started from there, due to the great difficulty of handling such long trains at Sheffield Park.
- Today's E-newsletter will enable you to catch up with what's been going on at the Bluebell over the last fortnight whilst the editor of this web site has had a holiday! Updates to this site covering news and photos over the last couple of weeks will appear as time permits.
- We are pleased to report that the Arts Council Museum Resilience Fund has awarded us the sum of £84,150 for the restoration and adaptation of a railway vehicle as a play and educational facility. The funding is routed through The Bluebell Railway Trust, and further details are available here (PDF).
- Nick Burgess provides a gallery of photos from his visit to Sheffield Park on 21st February.
- John Sandys' gallery from Tuesday includes photos showing the start of construction of the canopy at East Grinstead, the Q-class in steam (although there remain a few teething troubles to sort out before running in), and new stock in the Shop.
- Martin Lawrence has completed his February gallery.
- Brian Lacey's atmnospheric photo below shows the S15 ready to leave Sheffield Park on Saturday 28 February.
- During February 2015 there were 61,511 total hits on this page, from 35,034 unique visitors.
- Brian Lacey's photos from today show, on the right, the H-class arriving at a wet East Grinstead, and below, the U-class taking water in platform 2 whilst the S15 prepares for the 2.45pm departure from Sheffield Park, and the LBSCR E4 warming though in the shed.
- Work has started in the last few days on the provision of a short canopy and facilities on the platform at East Grinstead.
- With the retirement from active involvement on the Bluebell of Peter Forrestier Smith we regret that The Bluebell Railway Letter Service ceased operation some while ago. The relevant web pages have been updated to reflect this.
To complete the record on this web site, a new web page for the 23 March 2013 First Day Cover based on artwork by Mike Hopps for the opening of our Extension to East Grinstead has been added. The cover sold out early on the opening day!
- Steve Lee's photo shows 847 getting away from Sheffield Park in fine style with the 2.45pm service on 17 February.
- Update to the web page for the GWR 'Dukedog' locomotive, with details of the three different tenders it has run with in preservation.
- Dave Clarke's two photos below are from a recent update to his photographic record of the restoration of SECR Carriage No.3188 (an 1897-built LCDR 5-compartment 3rd). The first photo shows five of the restoration team testing the prototype seat - which was proved entirely adequate, and is now being replicated. The second photo shows the carriage pretty much as complete as it can be before being craned onto its underframe, which is imminent.
- Peter Edwards' photo on the right shows S15 No.847 approaching New Road Bridge with a mix of Bulleid and Mk.1 coaches forming the 9.45am train from Sheffield Park on Wednesday 18 February.
- Station staff at East Grinstead will no longer have to climb up the ladder to the water tower to check whether it is full. A new external gauge has been made by Mike Hopps of the Infrastructure department and was fitted to the side of the tank this week. The design is based on the age-old concept of a float inside the tank, counter balanced by a weight on the outside which indicates the water level. In true SR style using anything to hand, the wheel at the top is an old Southern Region signal cable wheel and the slide bars are old sections of point rodding. Stewart Moon and Clive Anstice helped with the installation, and it's shown in Mike's photo below.
- Paul Furlong's photo below shows the S15 with the 12.15 departure from Sheffield Park on Tuesday 17 February, at Sloop Bridge.
- Join us for Track Trek 2015 on Sunday 24th May
We are holding our 3rd sponsored walk - the Track Trek - between Kingscote and Horsted Keynes stations on the evening of Sunday 24th May, providing the rare opportunity to walk through the 731 yard long Sharpthorne tunnel. See registration information and walk details here.
- The webpage for the North London Tank has been updated by Nick Beck and Martin Skrzetuszewski.
- Further details of the 17 - 19 April Diesel Weekend - with Deltics! The plan is that our 09 will also be giving brake van rides, and the C&W Sentinel Shunter will be offering "Driver for a Fiver" opportunities over the weekend. On the evening of Friday 17 April we have our special Deltic Golden Arrow Pullman dining train.
- It's timely to record that Horsted Keynes Station was one of the locations used in the film "The Theory Of Everything", where Stephen Hawking is seen stumbling while running for the train at 'Cambridge' Station.
- On Saturday, the BRPS Social Sub-Committee and the Maunsell 7864 Group held a very enjoyable and successful Quiz Evening at Sheffield Park, which raised over £368 towards the overhaul of our Southern Railway Maunsell Dining Saloon. We also have an update with the current positions in the Football Competition which is raising funds for the same project.
- Brian Lacey's photos below show the S15 coming off the viaduct at East Grinstead on Tuesday of Half-term week, and the H-class ready to leave the same station the following day.
- Keith Leppard's photo on the right shows H-class No.263 approaching Horsted Keynes on 8 February.
- We have a two-train service every day this week, and don't forget we have our "Kids for a Quid" special offer too.
- Video of the four locomotives in steam on Sunday from Simon Mulligan.
- A couple of new photos on the page for No.928 Stowe's overhaul, showing preparations for getting the new firebox wrapper rolled.
- Review of Bachmann's model of LBSCR E4 radial tank in SR livery as No.B473 on Graham 'Muz' Muspratt's blog.
- The photos below from Mike Anton, taken in the C&W Works on Sunday, show work on Southern Railway Bulleid Composite No.5768. The first shows the pretty-much completed northern end of the carriage, which has been filling and rubbing back in preparation for painting. The interior shot is of first-class compartment C, with ceilings etc in place, and an overhauled seat-back structure. The third photo shows the South end, where the steel bottom-plate has just been renewed, and the main end pillars put in place - these are replacements which were salvaged from Bulleid carriage No.4035. The two corner pillars will soon also be re-erected, with one being the repaired original, and one a brand new one. Mike also has an album of more general, interesting Bluebell photos here.
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Weekly train running information - Archive News
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