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- Paul Furlong's photo shows the S15 on Freshfield Bank with the 12.15 departure from Sheffield Park yesterday.
- Now that the bluebells are in flower there's no better time to visit the Railway. Although the bluebells will probably fade in the second week of May, our steam trains are running every day until the end of October.
- Updated from the Bulleid Society with further pictures of the overhaul of Bulleid coach No.5768.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster with thanks to Chris Hunford.
- Dave Bowles' photos show our Dukedog's tender running behind 'Dinmore Manor' during a photo charter on the Gloucester Warwickshire Railway to celebrate the locomotive's return to steam. We have loaned 9017's tender, which is of an appropriate design, while its own tender is being made ready.
- Peter Skuce has some photos from The Battlefield Line Steam Gala on Friday 11 April, including SECR P-class No.323 "Bluebell" and Aveling and Porter 2-2-0WT "Blue Circle".
- The GNR Directors' Saloon is running on the trains this weekend (Friday through to Monday), and you can travel on it with a first class ticket or on payment of a supplement. Tea, coffee, Hot Cross Buns, cake and scones all available. The saloon will be on the 11:00, 1:30 and 4:00 departures from Sheffield Park (12:00, 2:30 and 5:00 from East Grinstead).
- John Sandys provides photos from Tuesday including the S15 and H-class in action, plus shunting at Horsted Keynes, including preparations to use the GN Saloon. John also provides videos showing the 08 shunting at Horsted Keynes, the H-class arriving at Horsted Keynes, the S15 departing, and the Wickham maintenance trolley in use.
- We have a new job vacancy for a Finance Manager.
We also currently have vacancies for Shop Assistants (full and part-time), and are always interested in potential new Silver Service waiting staff and other catering staff.
- On the Volunteer side, we run monthly "Find Out More Days". The next such day is Sunday 4th May. David Chappell's photo shows nine potential new volunteers being shown around the Carriage & Wagon Department by Dave Clarke (left), alongside and a seat base for Maunsell carriage No.3687 on the April FOMD. This is just one of the many different departments seen on the tour, in which members can work as volunteers.
- Short film from Ken Duerden, including some great aerial shots of the line.
- Roger Carpenter has some photos showing No.323 "Bluebell" away on holiday at the Battlefield Line in the Midlands, where it met up with an old friend, "Blue Circle".
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
- John Sandys' photo shows the S15 at East Grinstead on Thursday, when the C-class was also running. This weekend we had four locomotives in steam each day; the service trains were again in the hands of the S15 and the C, with the H-class on the Golden Arrow (Saturday charter and Sunday Lunch) assisted by P-class No.178 on the second run on each day.
- Steve Lee had a great day chasing Nos. 847 and 592 all over the line on Saturday.
- Derek Hayward has two updates, one on the Network Rail East Grinstead Station and the other for our own Bluebell Railway East Grinstead Station. The collections cover the period 1998 to 2014.
- Dave Bowles has added some shots from the 1st Anniversary of the opening of the Extension, over the weekend of March 22-23, to his web site.
12 AprilThis weekend sees the launch of our Track Trek fund-raising initiative. The Trek, a walk along the trackbed from Horsted Keynes to Sheffield Park on 28 June 2014 (starting in the early evening, with a train back to Horsted Keynes afterwards, will be the final push for the "Keep Up The Pressure" appeal. The walk is being led by our chairmen, Roy Watts (BRPS) and Dick Fearn (plc).
- Last Sunday was the East Grinstead Bus Running Day, and although it does not directly involve the Bluebell now we are no longer reliant on a bus link from Kingscote, we did get involved, through a special offer for anyone visiting East Grinstead via the first train of the morning from Sheffield Park. Andrew Crampton's photo shows Maidstone & District AEC Reliance 390 DKK near the station.
Two more of Andrew's photos are below, and show London Transport RT 1798 and Green Line liveried RF 28.
- John Sandys' photos from yesterday showing the C-class and S15 on the service trains, and shunting taking place. John's three videos show the C-class preparing for the day's work, the S15 leaving Horsted Keynes and running round at East Grinstead.
Two of John's photos from yesterday are included below. The phone box at Kingscote Station is being refurbished by the Friends of Kingscote, and the C-class coming off the viaduct at East Grinstead with the Victorian set.
- In addition to our regular train service, over the Good Friday - Easter period you can pre-book for our Bo Peep Specials.
- Don't forget that on Saturday 26 April we have a one-day Toy & Rail Collectors' Fair, 10am to 4pm at Horsted Keynes Station.
- The SECR tank-engine pair, Nos.178 and 263, are seen ready to leave Sheffield Park with the Sunday afternoon tea train on 30 March, in Stephen Garratt's photo.
- Photos showing the removal of the copper firebox tubeplate on Schools No.928 "Stowe", and work progressing on the frames. The sanders will now need to be made operational (they've never yet been used in preservation). There is, as is usually the case with most boiler overhauls these day, grooving evident on the steel outer firebox plate where the relatively flexible plate meets the rigid foundation ring, so the bottom section of the steel plate will, as expected, need to be replaced.
- Last Sunday was the East Grinstead Bus Running Day - although independent of the Railway, we've always joined in, and this year was no different. Steve Lee's photo shows ex-LT TD95 in East Grinstead.
- Derek Hayward's photo on the right shows the S15 with Saturday's main service train, which also conveyed the wedding party (and carried the headboard, after the ceremony had taken place at Horsted Keynes) as described below.
- Saturday was the first Bluebell wedding of the year and, with their permission, Derek has provided us with photos showing the newly married Mr and Mrs Montgomery. The ceremony took place at Horsted Keynes, and the reception was held in our recently refurbished Birch Grove Suite, which is seen suitably "dressed" for the occasion. Further images from Derek of Jennifer and Sean, a vintage Rolls Royce, and the Birch Grove Suite, are available here.
- John Sandys' provides photos from yesterday, with the S15 and the C-class handling the two-train service, plus photos of some new stock in the shop.
- The H, P and S15 are seen at the end of their duties on Sunday in Steve Lee's photo.
- For the current school holiday period we are running our peak (2-train) Service Two timetable.
Over the Good Friday - Easter period you also can pre-book for our Bo Peep Specials.
- Special Offer: Saturday 12 April - Save £25 on the Golden Arrow Dining Train - book by mid-day Saturday - phone 01825 720800 now, quoting "Saturday Offer".
- Job Vacancies in the Bookshop added to the recruitment page.
- Martin Lawrence has completed his March gallery and made a start with one for his April photos, including the rockery at Sheffield Park. The large rocks have an interesting history. They were dug out from Beeching Way and dumped in the cutting to the south of Imberhorne Lane bridge. Many years later they were recovered when we were clearing the spoil from the cutting whilst constructing our extension, and were used to create this rockery, which has just been re-planted by the Friends of Sheffield Park.
- Murray Tremellen has uploaded his shots of the 2008, 2009 and 2010 Bluebell Branchline weekends to Flickr.
- Sheila Beaumont's photo shows the SECR C-class with the Victorian train last Sunday. These coaches are expected to provide the second public set throughout the Easter Holiday period.
- Special Offer: Today - Save £25 on Tonight's Golden Arrow Dining Train - book by mid-day today - phone 01825 720800 now!
- Video from Gary & Philip Bull from Sunday 30 March, featuring the S15, the C and the Furness Railway Trust's locomotive No.5643.
- Video from John Sandys showing the S15 running round at East Grinstead yesterday.
- This Sunday, 6th April, is the East Grinstead Bus Rally - we have a Special Offer on the Bluebell that day linked to the event.
- The photo, courtesy of the HMRS, shows the Bluebell's 4 Vep unit in Clapham Yard on 27 March, where it has now been stored for some time due to work that was required to be undertaken on the shed there. A move to under cover storage is expected soon. This and other photos have just been added to our web page for the unit. The Southern Electric Traction Group, who are now looking after the unit on our behalf, have had a couple of working days on it, as reported on SETG's Blog.
- John Sandys' photos and video from yesterday, with the S15 on the service train, and the C-class being used for filming work. Also photos around the loco yard, of the Q-class in the loco works, the tamper leaving, and other vintage stock positioned around Horsted Keynes to "dress the set".
- Another of Peter Edwards' photos shows Saturday's memorial train for Jack Owen, with "Stepney" (note the whitewashed coal) and the H-class.
- Daniel Green has a video featuring three of last Saturday's five trains, including Stepney with its distinctive "terrier" bark.
- Update to the webpage for our 13 Ton Private-Owner coal wagon PBA59685 with thanks to Martin Skrzetuszewski and Nick Beck.
- Sad to have to report that Catherine Redwood, passed away last Tuesday, after a long battle with cancer. With her husband Howard ("H") she was part of the team that restored LSWR brake carriage No.1520. Her funeral takes place this Friday, 4th April.
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows the S15 arriving at East Grinstead with its train yesterday.
- Derek Hayward's photo on the right shows Sunday's Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea train, now formed of four coaches with the addition of the Mk.1 Restaurant Car, hauled by P-class No.178 and H-class No.263 and seen here at Leamland Bridge. Derek now has the start of a 2014 Bluebell gallery available, and also a 2014 Wealden Rambler gallery.
The Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea train runs on a range of dates through the year, and is always very popular, so pre-booking is essential.
- Details now available for the Sussex Food Festival, a celebration of local produce, which is to be held at Horsted Keynes station over the weekend of 5-6 July.
- Photos from Saturday, including of the Jack Owen memorial train, from Kieran Hardy
- John Sandys has a set of photos, and a video from yesterday.
- Brian Lacey provides the photos below, also from yesterday, showing the S15 at East Grinstead, and blowing a smoke ring at Sheffield Park, along with "Stepney", the C and the H on shed.
- Today we see the somewhat unusual sight of full Golden Arrow regalia on a South Wales coal tank as visiting GWR locomotive No.5643 heads last Sunday lunchtime's Pullman train away from Sheffield Park - photo from Sheila Beaumont. The locomotive is already proving itself to be a valuable and useful addition to our fleet for this year.
- Video from Martin Lawrence from Sunday 23 March.
- Comprehensive video report on a visit to the Bluebell from InterCity82, who has an extensive following.
- During March 2014 there were 74,795 total hits on this page, from 43,601 unique visitors. That takes us through the 4-million point since we started keeping track of these stats in January 2010 (by which point this web log (blog) had already been going over 12 years - the 1997/8 page makes interesting reading!).
- No.55 "Stepney" and H-class No.263 are seen in Peter Edwards' photo, hauling Saturday's memorial train for Jack Owen, a founding member and former Bluebell Senior Locomotive Inspector. "Stepney" appropriately had whitewashed coal in her bunker, following the LBSCR (and Bluebell) tradition for special trains.
- John Sandys has a set of photos from Saturday, including the Jack Owen memorial special at Kingscote, and also the service trains behind the S15 and the C-class (hauling the Victorian train) on a very busy day with the trains well filled. John also has a YouTube video, and photos of Chris Eden-Green and Sam Brown launching their DVD "Steaming Back to MetroLand".
- Ian Lynagh has a short video and a few photos from Saturday 22 March.
- Andrew Crampton's photo shows the real star last weekend, the recently overhauled Maunsell S15 No.847, double-heading with the U-class at West Hoathly on the Saturday.
- From tomorrow we are running steam trains every day until the start of November.
- Ashley Smith visited last Saturday morning and presents his first Bluebell shots of the year and a video.
- More videos from Saturday, from GLVMR and Matt Wickham.
- Thanks to Martin Skrzetuszewski and Nick Beck, a new photo of the remains of a worksplate has been added, and minor alterations made to the text, on the web page for LMS wagon PBA66071. This wagon is one of several that has still to be restored to running condition, having never run on the Bluebell.
- Today we feature the official photo of our East Grinstead Station Staff, taken on 23 March, when we celebrated the first anniversary of the opening of our extension to East Grinstead. A full-size version of the photo is available here, and below Roy Watts is seen holding one of the celebration cakes.
- Don't forget it's Mother's Day this Sunday! Still looking for that treat for Mum? We have a few tables left on this Sunday's Golden Arrow Pullman lunch train. To secure you table call 01825 720800.
- Our free-to-join Monday Club for over-60 residents of the East Grinstead area starts up again on Monday 31st March.
Mondays from 31 March through to September (except Bank Holidays). Travel from East Grinstead on the 12-noon departure for lunch in our Bessemer Arms Restaurant at Sheffield Park. Return travel and two course lunch is just £15.00 per person!
Due to its popularity advance booking is essential to avoid disappointment. Call us on 01825 720800 to book or call into the Travel Centre at East Grinstead or the Sales and Information Office at Sheffield Park. More information here.
- Videos from the weekend from Philip Bull, Dan Gosling, traindriver35, Rob John and from ffeog4568: Part 1 and Part 2.
- Videos from Friday's Diesel Gala from Alan Black and jopop0
- The other photos below show Stepney and L.150 in steam together in the yard at Sheffield Park on Sunday (making 8 locos in steam!) from Owen Hayward, 33103 "Swordfish" at the Diesel Gala last Friday from Andrew Crampton, and another from Owen, showing the No.178 proudly (and unusually) hauling the Sunday lunchtime Golden Arrow. The C-class was banking on the rear, which as usual was topped and tailed on the second trip, which only has a short time allowed to reverse at Horsted Keynes. It's more normal to have the P-class at the rear of the train!
- Keith Duke's photo shows the P-class and C-class double-heading the Victorian set on Saturday. These carriages should also be in public service this coming weekend.
- Update on the Bulleid Society web site for the overhaul of Bulleid Carriage No.5768.
- The BRPS deferred share purchase scheme is no longer being advertised for new subscriptions; those standing orders already set up will continue to their planned end-dates, at which point relevant share certificates will be issued. We'd now encourage anyone wishing to contribute funds to the Bluebell to take advantage of the Gift Aid arrangements available through the Bluebell Railway Trust.
- The four photos below show the DMU approaching Horsted Keynes from the North on Friday (Tony Sullivan), the 08, No.13236 with its train at the Diesel Gala (Andrew Crampton), the U and the S15 departing from Horsted Keynes, with the Birdcage Brake leading the Southern set on Sunday (Steve Lee) and the GW pair at West Hoathly on Saturday (Andrew Crampton).
- The Steam Back on the Met Video, filmed and produced by Sam Brown and Chris Eden-Green, will be launched next weekend on the Bluebell Railway, when the Metropolitan Railway coaches (and hopefully L.150) will form one of the trains. They will be in the shop at Sheffield Park selling the DVDs both Saturday and Sunday. A significant percentage from each video sold comes to the Bluebell.
- The Maunsell guys have got the back of Stowe's inner firebox out: two photos showing great progress.
- Details now available for the Vintage Transport Weekend on Sat 9 & Sun 10 August.
- The DMU is now on its way back to The Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, as seen in John Sandys' photos from today.
- More great photos from Saturday from Ben Gray and Alan Edwards, and from Sunday from Steve Lee and Alan Bedford. Videos showing the Victorian, Pullman and GW trains, and Baxter, and the Southern double header from Nigel Watson.
- Keith Duke has an entire album devoted to "Captain Baxter" from Saturday, which is also seen below in Sam Brown's photo, also from Saturday.
- This photo from Steve Lee shows the second departure yesterday morning, where the C-class deputised for the No.263, hauling the Victorian train.
- Great video of the S15 and U from David Haggar.
- Details now available for the Southern at War weekend on Sat 10 & Sun 11 May, and the Edwardian Weekend on Sat 17 & Sun 18 May.
- John Sandys' photos from today show the 09 back, shunting at Sheffield Park, having collected stock from Horsted Keynes, and the DMU about to leave the Bluebell to return to Ecclesbourne.
- The two photos below, show the U and S-15 with SR-liveried set on Sunday from Cameron Smith, and a classic shot of U-class No.1638 on Saturday from Sam Brown.
- The event held this weekend to celebrate the first anniversary of the opening our Extension went very well. Although the weather today (occasional hail between the sunshine) was colder than it has been recently, it was still a lot better than the blizzard which we had a year ago! The H-class was replaced by P-class No.178, so the pairings were maintained almost as planned. The S15 and U seen in this photo by Nathan Gibson, taken yesterday.
- Photos are also available from:
- Keith Duke (from yesterday)
- Nick Burgess (today)
- John Sandys's photos and a video from yesterday
- Chris Ward
- S15 and U at Sheffield Park today from Tom James
- Keith Harcourt has made his Diesel Gala photos available, together with a set from 1st March, mainly of the H-class.
- The two photos below, both taken on Saturday, show "Captain Baxter" giving brake van rides (Brian Lacey) and the Southern and GW trains passing at Horsted Keynes (Richard Salmon).
- By all accounts, excepting the 09 failing and thus the 08 being taken off the brake van rides after two trips to take over, it was a hugely successful day. The first train from East Grinstead was full and standing, but the second, just over half an hour later had space. A total of 512 people visited, with more arriving via East Grinstead than Sheffield Park. Everyone reports a very happy and satisfied crowd of visitors, and on the basis of this event its certainly one which may be repeated in the future if the opportunity arises.
- Reminder that timetables for this weekend's First anniversary of opening our Extension are available to download (as a pdf).
- Keith Duke had a great day with the the diesels yesterday and is back today for the main event - his collection of pictures from yesterday is now available.
- Derek Hayward now has a Diesel Gala gallery, with more photos still to come.
- Steve Lee also provides a gallery from yesterday, and will be back on Sunday for more.
- Chris Ward's photos of the Diesel Gala are also available.
- John Sandys' photo from the Diesel Gala today shows the 08 and the 09 on arrival at Horsted Keynes, where the 08 was detached to undertake brake-van rides around the station. John has further photos from today here.
- This weekend we celebrate The first anniversary of opening our Extension, for which further details and a full timetable are now available to download.
Download details and full timetable (pdf).
- Includes the spectacle of double-headed Southern Railway Maunsell engines, with six carriages all in matching olive green pre-war livery!
- Includes double-headed Great Western tank locomotives, which are currently visiting the Bluebell.
- Includes our Victorian train, and double heading by two of our larger SECR locomotives.
- Captain Baxter, our 1877-built Fletcher-Jennings tank locomotive, will be giving brake van rides at Horsted Keynes between about 11.30am and 4pm each day.
- Normal fares apply.
- Simon Lathwell has just completed assembling a Flickr album of photos of our locomotives (in their various states) from 2009 to 2014.
- The Furness Railway Trust's No.5643 now has an album in Derek Hayward's "Visiting Locomotives".
- John Sandys' photos from yesterday show L.150 in steam, the Pullmans having a heavy clean, and the diesels lined up ready for today's gala.
Today we have something much more like a traditional "Blog" entry, with thanks to Tom James, giving an insight into a day earlier this month on the footplate of the P-class locomotive rostered for station pilot duties at Sheffield Park. The page covering the signalling at the station may help those unfamiliar with the track layout to follow the narative. The photos accompanying it are from Simon Lathwell, Paul Booth, Ben Jenden and John Sandys.Anyone who hasn't visited the railway recently may not have noticed that we now have a regular pilot engine on Sundays, and some Saturdays. As I had the pleasure of firing the turn on Sunday 9 March, I thought I'd explain a bit about what we did to show just how much activity goes on "between the trains".
After preparing the loco, the first engine off shed, at 9.15am, was the "A" engine (1638 on Sunday). That loco took water and then ran onto its stock, which was sitting in the Newick siding overnight, drew it into the station and heated the stock ready for departure of the first up service.
Once 1638 had gone, the pilot engine could go off shed (on Sunday that was 178, with a Senior Fireman and Rules Passed Cleaner as crew). After taking water in Platform 2, we ran back into the Carriage Yard Headshunt (a.k.a. the Pumphouse siding), and - once the signal was cleared and we had permission from the shunter - we moved down into the carriage shed to pick up the "B" stock, which this weekend was the LSWR brake 3rd, SECR 100 Seater, LBSCR Bogie First and SECR Birdcage. After coupling up, we ran back to the Carriage Yard Headshunt and started to steam heat the stock, thus ensuring the carriages had a good hour of heating before the 11am departure.
By using a pilot, the "B" engine (263 this weekend) could run straight out of the loco yard into Platform 2 to take water, then come back onto its stock and draw it into the station ready for departure, without having to spend time shunting and running round, saving the crew time on what would be a long day.
As soon as 263 had drawn its stock away, we were back into the shed to pick up the Pullman set, drawing it back into the Carriage Yard Headshunt and starting to steam heat. Once 263 with the 11am train had departed, we then propelled the stock out into Platform 2, onto the single line north of the station and back into Platform 1 where the catering staff could prepare the train for the lunchtime service. (It is not possible to access Platform 1 directly from the Carriage Yard, hence the move via the single line, staying inside the outer home signal).
The Golden Arrow engine - 592 on Sunday - was quickly onto the train to continue heating, releasing us to run back to the Carriage Yard for our next shunt. This occurred with the arrival of 1638 and the first down service from East Grinstead at 11:32. With the Golden Arrow in Platform 1 and the "A" service needing to arrive and depart before the Golden Arrow departed, 1638 was blocked from running round. Thus on arrival, 1638 uncoupled and ran into the Newick siding; we were then signalled onto the train, coupled and drew the stock into the Carriage Yard, releasing 1638 to get back to the north end of the train. After taking water, 1638 ran back onto its stock, we uncoupled and 1638 drew the stock back into Platform 2 ready for the 12.15 departure, followed about 30 minutes later by the arrival of the "B" service (263 and vintage set) and finally departure of 592 with the Golden Arrow.
After 263 ran round, we had no immediate shunting to do, so we ran into Platform 1 to allow footplate access for any passengers on the station at that time. A small tank engine such as 178 is an ideal non-intimidating size for small children, many of whom came up onto the footplate to experience a loco in steam. Once 263 departed with the 1:30 service, we took water, then went back into the loco yard for coal - not that we needed it then, but with a long day planned, taking coal mid-afternoon saved one job that would otherwise have to take place at the end of the day.
Mid afternoon, the Golden Arrow arrived back after its full line round trip. After the train engine had run round, we ran onto the back of the stock and, at 3.20, departed for the half-trip to Horsted Keynes. The waiting time at Horsted is only twelve minutes, so having the pilot on the back means that 592 didn't need to run round there, saving time in what would otherwise be a very tight schedule. We thus acted as lead engine for the return trip. Because that trip ventured out onto the main running line, we had the spare turn driver travel with us up and down.
Once back to Sheffield Park, 592 uncoupled from the back of the train and, once the passengers were disembarked, we shunted the Pullman stock back into the carriage shed. Normally, that would be the last move, but we had one more shunt to perform, which had to wait to the end of the day - moving the support coach for 45231, which was berthed in the down dock siding. 592 coupled to the south end of that coach and drew it into the loco yard headshunt; then, after we had put the Golden Arrow stock back in the shed, we coupled to the north end of the support coach, drew away into the dock siding to release 592 to go on shed and then propelled the coach back to the extreme south end of the loco yard headshunt. We then waited for 1638 to come back, shunt its own stock into the Newick siding and go on shed, before running out into Platform 2 to wait for the arrival of 263 with the last down service of the day. Once 263 and its train were stopped in Platform 1, we ran out via the single line, berthed the support coach at the north end of the stock in Platform 1 and then returned via Platform 2 to finally go back on shed - after which there was the 45 minutes or so of disposal!
So a long day, but an enjoyable one, and illustrative of just how much activity there is around the station between trains. Apart from the loco crew, there were at least three other people playing an important, but unseen, role. Firstly, the loco department Running Foreman, who is responsible for ensuring that all locos are off shed on time, and controls all movements within the loco yard and, in conjunction with the signalman, any movements between the loco yard and the rest of the station. Secondly, the signalman, who had a lot to do even when there were no service trains around - all moves at the south end of the station are signalled (including to and from the loco yard; and in and out of the carriage shed), even though that fact isn't immediately obvious to a casual observer on the platform. And thirdly the operating supervisor / shunter, who directly controlled all the movements in and out of the carriage shed, as well as the late afternoon shunt of 45231's support coach. It takes a lot of people to run a railway!
I gather that we will have a rostered pilot on any Sunday when the Golden Arrow is running through to the end of the summer, as well as on some Saturdays, so Sheffield Park should be a hive of loco activity between trains every weekend, with at least four engines in service every Sunday and many Saturdays.Tom James
- No.5643 is seen making its debut in Bluebell traffic on Freshfield Bank with the Victorian coaches on Sunday in this photo from Sheila Beaumont. The locomotive is with us until December.
- An update has appeared on the page for March 22-23 when we celebrate the first anniversary of opening our Extension when we'll have seven locomotives in steam each day. The first train of the day will leave Sheffield Park at 9.45, and East Grinstead at 10.40am. The last train departs from Sheffield Park at 5.15pm on Saturday and 4.05pm on Sunday.
Special Saturday Offer
We are offering local residents (RH19 postcodes) discounted fares for Saturday 22nd March. Travel all day for just £5.00 per person! Tickets must be purchased in advance to obtain the discount - tickets will be available for collection on the day. Call us on 01825 720800 for more details.
- Train departure times for Friday's Diesel Gala are now available.
- A small party of Bluebell members attended the Last Post ceremony in Ieper (Ypres) on Saturday. We laid a wreath to remember the war dead of the Southern Railway and the constituent companies (SECR, LBSCR, LSWR). The date chosen was significant as it is also the birthday of our late President Bernard Holden, who witnessed the LBSCR War effort on the Steyning Line where his father was Station Master. Bernard spent time in the Redhill Control during the evacuation of Dunkirk and later in India with the Royal Engineers.
Whilst we did not know at the time we arranged the date, the second Saturday in March is the International Paratroopers Day, and we were in the company of Paras and Commandos from Europe and around the world. Watched by a crowd in excess of 1100 people, and a news crew from Scottish Television, we were the first party to lay a wreath following the 15 ranks of Military wreaths, with about another 15 or so to follow us. The wreath was laid by Gavin Bennett, Clive Emsley and Stuart Barbouleau on behalf of the Officers and membership of the BRPS, supported by Steve Everest who was the "official" photographer, Claire Emsley and Kathryn Sinclair.
- John Sandys photos from today, featuring the Diesels ready for our first ever Diesel Gala on Friday 21 March, and also voluntary work at Kingscote.
- Yesterday was a good day, with four locomotives in steam. GWR 0-6-2T No.5643, on hire from the Furness Railway Trust, entered service hauling the Victorian set, as seen in Derek Hayward's photo. The original plan had been that L.150 would be appropriately matched with the Metropolitan carriages. The U-class hauled the other service set, and the C-class was on the Golden Arrow lunch-time Pullman train, with P-class No.178 as station pilot.
Derek's photo, showing the train approaching Horsted Keynes, was taken from the road near New Road Bridge; the field there now has crops growing in it, so we'd ask photographers to refrain from trespassing and trampling the crop.
- Report and photos from the team working on Schools-class locomotive "Stowe" yesterday. Lots of progress on dismantling the boiler and firebox, and a start on needle-gunning the frames.
- Some photos from Saturday, and the previous Sunday, added to Martin Lawrence's March gallery.
- Photos from Robert Philpott taken at Horsted Keynes on Saturday.
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