Latest Updates - Earlier updates - Latest Project News
Weekly train running information - Archive News
- Last weekend was the second to be operated to a restricted timetable, running between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes only. The bonus was that this enabled a P-class to operate the service with the Metropoilitan Railway "Chesham Set", and here 323 is seen leaving Horsted Keynes on 22 November, in Steve Lee's photo.
- This coming weekend, 28-29 November, we are running steam-hauled and steam-heated trains between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead to our Service Two Timetable. These are the last ordinary trains until our post-Christmas daily running - 26 December to 3 January 2016 - also Service Two. In the interim we have our Santa Specials and a variety of other Christmas services, many of which are already sold out - phone 01825 720806 for availability on Santa Specials, and 01825 720800 for all other special Christmas services.
- John Sandys' album from Monday includes the Oxford Diecast Adams Radial just arrived in the Shop, and two P-class locomotives in steam, Nos.323 and 178.
- Keith Duke's photos from Saturday 14 and Saturday 21 November both feature No.323 "Bluebell" running the service.
- Philip Bull's video from 25 October, showing Camelot's relaunch with its owning group's AGM, and hauling the Golden Arrow luncheon train.
- With the departure of Pullman Car "Doris" and the SEG's 4 Cor motor coach, their pages, and that of Pullman Car "Carina" (which is now owned by the Bluebell) have been updated. The Carriage Stock List has also been updated, also adding a major new section covering all the carriages which have been considered as "Bluebell stock" at one time, but are no longer otherwise on the list.
- The first Preservation Standards Newsletter from Chris Saunders (Preservation Standards Trustee) is available to download as a pdf: Newsletter No.1 - November 2015
- At a recent Heritage Railway Association meeting Trevor Rapley was presented with the HRA's 2015 Carriage & Wagon Awards "Best Coach" award for SECR Birdcage Brake No.3363. John Crane's photo below shows Trevor having received the award plaque from Brian Simpson, HRA Chairman. This is the third successive award collected by Trevor, who also led the restoration of LBSCR Bogie First No.7598 and played a leading role in that of Maunsell Open Third No.1309. A fuller report is available here. Rather belatedly the Carriage Works News page for this carriage's overhaul has been completed.
- Derek Hayward's photo below shows the Birdcage Brake as the first carriage behind "Cheltenham" on a departure from Horsted Keynes at the recent Giants of Steam event on 31 October.
- On the right is another of David Warwick's great photos from our "Giants" weekend - here we see the named BR(S) 5MT 73082 "Camelot" newly resturned to service on the Saturday.
- Reminder that this weekend our trains are only running between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes, to a temporary timetable.
- We've just heard that £720.05 (including Gift Aid) is on its way to us, thanks to some of our fantastic supporters shopping online during the summer with easyfundraising! This money will help us with the earlier restoration of larger steam locomotives via our "Keep Up the Pressure" appeal. If you shop, book hotels or renew your insurance online, why not join in and help us raise even more in the coming months.
- More photos from Giants - this time from Neal Ball, who was on the lineside around West Hoathly.
- Last Saturday, Geoff Harris of the Bluebell Railway's S&T Department was given the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers, Minor Railways Section, S&T Volunteer of the Year award. The photo below shows Geoff, with (left) Major Ian Hughes, and (right) Mike Tyrrell, the chairman of the IRSE Minor Railways Section. A full report with more photos is available here. Many thanks to Kevin Weston for the photo.
- Steve Lee's photo below, of the Q-class at the Sheffield Park advance starter, is from the photo charter on 4 November.
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, from the Standard Class 2 project and - 20, 15 June, 16, 6 Feb, 20, 19, 2 Jan 2015
- Infrastructure News page - Completion of work on the historic "River Slip" and more track relaid on Freshfield Bank - 13 February 2015
- Operation Undercover - Phase 4: Horsted Keynes - Carriage Shed Extension: OP4 News Bulletin No.1 - 24 January 2015
Beyond Phase 3: Above Workshop Facility fit-out - 16 October 2014
- Carriage & Wagon Works News - repair of SR 8-plank wagon No.30004, Overhaul of Bulleid Carriage, No.5768 on the Bulleid Society web site, various photos from Dave Clarke, and an update on the restoration of GWR 5-plank open wagon No.87782 - 19 Nov, 29 Sept, 15 April 2014
- The latest news of the Horsted Keynes Re-signalling - 13 January 2014
- East Grinstead Extension: Steam at East Grinstead proving very popular - Further work to complete the project continues - 8 May 2013 - Main Extension Project page
- Kingscote Goods Yard Project - last update 4 May 2012
- Archive news from the Bluebell June 1995 to December 2006
What's been updated on the Bluebell Web Site?Older updates are in the What's New Archive
or the 2014, the 2013, the 2012, the 2011, the 2010, the 2009, the 2008, the 2007, the 2006, the 2005, the 2004, the 2003, the 2002, the 2001, the 2000, the 1999 and the 1997-8 "What was new" archive pages.
Most recent updates: See top of this page
- Right: 4464 "Bittern" at speed - photo with thanks to Yoshi Hashida.
- If you're planning on visiting us this weekend or next (14/15 or 21/22 November), don't forget that we are only running between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes. This will be to a revised timetable, and the service train will consist of our Victorian Metropolitan Railway carriages.
We recommend that anyone travelling by public transport catches a train to Haywards Heath and then the 270 Metrobus service to Horsted Keynes, or travels to either Lewes or Cooksbridge stations and catches the 121 Compass service to Sheffield Park. Please note that these bus routes only operate on Saturdays.
Thank you for your patience whilst we carry out essential engineering work.
- Some fantastic shots from Giants of Steam from Dave Bowles, and a great video covering the Saturday from Anthony Leith.
- Last Saturday saw three locos in operation, with the H-class seen below leaving Sheffield Park with the Afternoon Tea special (photo by Brian Lacey).
- Last Sunday evening the accessible-compartment in the LCDR semi-saloon was reserved from Horsted Keynes for a Mr. S. Nowman, whose party is seen in the photo below preparing for the journey up to East Grinstead, where they will be greeting our visitors over the coming festive season.
- Steve Lee's photo on the right shows the Q-class on Jon Bowers' photo charter on 4 November.
- Nick Burgess' photos of last Monday's Q-class Charter.
- The Project 27 Blog records work in progress on the locomotive's steam reverser and by the young volunteers of our 9F Club.
- From the Bulleid Society: To enable No.21C123 "Blackmoor Vale" to be overhauled and returned to traffic it requires a new inner firebox costing £199,900. They have therefore launched an appeal, for which you can download the donation form here.
- John Sandys' photos from Tuesday, around the Loco yard, including Bittern sitting ready for collection for its move to Crewe, and the Wickham trolley in use.
- Brian Lacey's further pair of photos below, from the rainy Saturday of last weekend, show the A4 waiting for its transfer to Crewe for overhaul, making a contrast with the P-class tanks, and the Q and C passing at Horsted Keynes with the service trains.
- The weekend's "Giants of Steam" gala was a huge success, with a very large number of visitors on the Sunday, and the Saturday, when the weather was better, must rank as one of our busiest ever days! Our consequent apologies for the queues to buy tickets at Sheffield Park and East Grinstead, where on Saturday it just about proved possible to clear the queue by the time the next train from London and Croydon arrived and disgorged another crowd of visitors, even with tickets being sold in three places at the entrance.
4464 Bittern, the star of the show, is seen on Saturday in Andrew Shapland's photo to the right.
- The 15-vehicle vintage goods train kicked of the day, with the Q-class on the Saturday and S15 on the Sunday, and then newly restored 73082 "Camelot" and the visiting A4 4464 "Bittern" and Schools-class 925 "Cheltenham" saw lots of action on the intensive 4-train service. Our SECR H-class locomotive acted as station pilot at Sheffield Park over the weekend.
Our grateful thanks to The Mid Hants Railway and Icons of Steam for providing the visiting engines.
Many fantastic photos and videos from Giants of Steam are now available, with thanks to the following:
- A selection of photos from Derek Hayward;
- Photos from Jonathan Hughes from Saturday;
- Video covering both days from Martin Lawrence, as well as some photos;
- Saturday's photos by Keith Leppard;
- Video from Nick Dearden;
- Keith Duke's photos from Saturday;
- Photos, principally of the evening mini-photo shoot on Saturday, from Paul Simpson
- Christopher Lawton shot videos at Horsted Keynes, at Sheffield Park, at Kingscote and at East Grinstead;
- Photos by David Warwick;
- Video of Saturday's action by Dan Gosling;
- Photos from Dave Stubbings;
- Very atmospheric video of the S15 on the goods train on Sunday morning from 'Unseen Steam';
- Photos from Chris Ward, and his video;
- Photos from Sunday by Nick Burgess;
- Photos from Saturday by Robert Else;
- Photos from Kieran Hardy;
- Adam Ashford's video;
- Dan Green's photos;
- Video from Derek Spicer;
- Video from Simon Mulligan;
- Ashley Smith's photos and a video from Sunday;
- Photos from Rebecca Smith.
- The photos below show "Camelot" at Three Arch Bridge on the Sunday (the train, which included two Pullman Cars, being headed by three SR-designed Bulleid carriages) by Steve Lee, and from Derek Hayward, the Maunsell locomotives double-heading the Southern Railway Maunsell-liveried set at Birchstone Bridge.
- The Q-class is seen on the right with the vintage goods train at Mill Place Cutting in Derek Hayward's photo from Saturday. The train was worked un-fitted in the northbound direction, and with a fitted head (the first 5 vehicles being vacuum brake fitted) in the Southbound direction.
- At the start of this week, Jon Bowers organised a series of photo charters with the Q-class:
- On Monday the locomotive was paired with three Bulleid carriages - photos from Paul Simpson;
- On Wednesday 4 November, from Paul Gildersleve, with 3 Mk.1 carriages;
- More photos from Wednesday, from Jonathan Hughes;
- Also on Wednesday, photos from Martin Lawrence.
- The latest weekly update to the Project 27 Blogspot covers progress on removing the hornguides in preparation for welding repairs to the locomotive's frames.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with planned loco usage for November - and a reminder that on the weekends of 14-15 and 21-22 November trains run between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes only to this Temporary Timetable, due to our Autumn engineering work.
Kids for a Quid applies at weekends in November.
- "Bittern" is seen leaving Horsted Keynes on Saturday in Robert Else's photo below. Andrew Crampton's photo shows the Q-class with the goods at West Hoathly that morning.
- Sunday was a misty day to start with! "Bittern" added to the atmosphere thanks to a sticking cylinder drain cock... and is seen on the right as it emerges from the clouds at East Grinstead, captured perfectly by Brian Lacey.
- 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!
- Three videos from a quiet Bluebell on Tuesday from John Harwood. At Horsted Keynes we see the stored tarpaulined carriages. Work on the new carriage shed area continued. At Kingscote also work continued, not only on the trackside but also the signalling installation. With permission of a senior S & T person John took some shots in the box. The 'L' Frame installation takes the era of each station a bit further forward. L Frames were installed in the 1930's up to the 1950's, so it makes the railway a true timeline, going forward the nearer you get to London. From Imberhorne Lane bridge the cutting sides are almost back to normal cover. At East Grinstead, with the Viaduct Gates closed and no Southern EMU in the Network Rail siding, it was extremely quiet. Only the welcoming buffet crew were still in their places.
- We are pleased to confirm that, as part of our strategy for the delivery and development of our Golden Arrow service, the ongoing negotiations between the Bluebell Railway and the 5BEL Trust have now been completed. This has resulted in the long planned exchange of ownership of Pullman cars No 282 ' Doris' and No 307 'Carina', and 'Doris' was expected to be leaving the railway in early November.
- Four final photos below, again from Saturday. David Long's again shows the Q on the goods train, and David Warwick's shows the Q-class with the train it hauled for the rest of Saturday, whilst not on the goods.
- Peter Wilson's photo below shows Schools-class "Cheltenham" leaving Horsted Keynes, and Derek Hayward's shows 73082 "Camelot making it's return to public service in fine style, at Birch Farm Crossing.
- A stunning image to act as a warm-up for the weekend's gala: Mike Anton's photo from his new photo gallery shows 4464 "Bittern" in light steam as dusk approached today.
- Apologies, if anyone has been trying to view the information on this weekend's Giants of Steam using Safari under iOS (on iPhones or iPads). Safari only showed the first page of the pdf. Having got to the bottom of the problem, a work-around for this Safari bug now enables it to be seen in full.
- Latest news now available from our Brighton Atlantic project. If you're about at the weekend, you can see the work in progress for yourself! Fred Bailey's photos below give a flavour of recent progress - full description in the full news report.
- "Camelot" is photographed climbing Freshfield Bank on Sunday, with the combined Golden Arrow Luncheon Train and Camelot AGM special, by Yoshi Hashida.
- Report and photos: minor prep work to 73082 prior to the Giants of Steam weekend from Peter Gibbs - the 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society Chairman.
- Graham Mallinson's funeral is on Thursday 12th November at St Mary's Church in Newick at 2pm, followed by a private family committal.
Donations given in Graham's memory are being collected through MemoryGiving, for The Bluebell Railway Trust, specifically for the "Brighton Atlantic Project".
- Inspired by the visit of another Schools-class? Stowe's boiler is making real progress with weld-prep on the new steel firebox outer half-sides, and also progress with the repairs to the copper of the inner firebox - photos/report on the V-Class-928-Stowe page.
- Kevin McElhone's photo taken in the rain yesterday shows the two Malachite Green Schools together at Sheffield Park.
- Derek Hayward's photo shows the H-class, which has been sharing the Half-term services this week with the S15, North of Three Arch Bridge on Sunday.
- Mike Anton's panorama shows No.925 "Cheltenham" on shed with "Camelot" yesterday afternoon, as we gear up for the weekend's gala.
- The full working timetable and event guide for Giants of Steam is now available for £1 from Bluebell stations, or can be sent by email from our enquiry office or phone 01825 720800, also for £1.
- There is also a final update to the Giants of Steam advanced programme, adding details of the Photographic evening and Carriage Shop opening, and a bit more about the early morning goods train.
- Tony Sullivan's photo shows Bittern having arrived at Sheffield Park this morning.
- Calling all photographers!
This coming Saturday evening there will be a short photographic shoot at Horsted Keynes station as part of the Giants of Steam gala.
This will feature (subject to availability on the day) Q-class No.30541 and a goods train. Photography will be undertaken from a specially cordoned off section of the station platforms, with the train posed under flood-lights. Entry to this cordoned off area will be by payment of a fee of £10 per person (payable on the day).
Anyone wishing to take part should please assemble outside the buffet on platforms 3 and 4 at Horsted Keynes from 5:15pm onwards. Photography will start at approx 5:40pm, continuing for approx 30 minutes (excluding a pause half-way through to allow 2 service trains to pass through the station).
- Martin Lawrence's latest October photos show long-serving Bluebell signalman Derek Osborne's retirement surprise event yesterday, plus clearance in the C&W yard in preparation for the new OP4 shed. His video highlight's Derek's last day in Horsted Box, and the trains running behind the S15 and H-class.
- The newly agreed BRPS Van Strategy and the recent Pullmans Strategy Update added to the BRPS Members' information page.
- Update to the 2016 Golden Arrow Murder Mystery programme, adding an additional date: 15 April.
- Peter Wilson visited Sheffield Park for a superb Sunday roast, and also took this great photo of "Camelot" complete with the Golden Arrow regalia it carried for the lunchtime dining train.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the S15 on one of the busy half-term trains arriving at East Grinstead.
- As has been announced by Icons of Steam, sadly No.70000 "Britannia" failed on Saturday evening, and will be unable to visit the Bluebell for our Giants of Steam Gala. Happily, Icons of Steam and the Mid Hants Railway have made arrangements for LNER A4 Pacific No.4464 "Bittern" to stand in for "Britannia". This is most timely, since it will be everyone's final opportunity to travel behind "Bittern" before she is retired for overhaul, and will be moving to the LNWR Heritage facility in Crewe in the days following the event at the Bluebell Railway.
- Tony Hisgett's photo shows "Bittern" at Kidderminster.
- Updated and expanded details of the Giants of Steam Gala on 31 Oct & 1 Nov are now available to download. The final locomotive diagram is still being adjusted with the new locomotive arrangements. Note that there is an evening "Pie, Mash and Beer" event on the Saturday evening, with evening trains.
- Following the re-launch of 73082 "Camelot" on Sunday, when it hauled a special train for the AGM of its owning group, formed of the GN Saloon and LNWR Observation Car, which was later joined to the Sunday Luncheon Pullman train, the locomotive will re-enter public service next Saturday at Giants of Steam.
To mark 60 years since 73082 was constructed at Derby in 1955, although it will run complete with its nameplates at the Giants of Steam weekend, it is then the owners' intention to run the loco for a period of time without nameplates, to mark this anniversary. Camelot received its nameplates at Eastleigh works in August 1959, whilst still carrying the early BR tender emblem.
- Martin Lawrence's video shows the departure of Camelot from Sheffield Park with Sunday's lunchtime Pullman with the additional saloons on the rear for The 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society's AGM.
Martin also has photos from yesterday include this one of No.925 Cheltenham having arrived at Sheffield Park in the evening.
- Yoshi Hashida's photo below shows "Camelot" with its AGM special, at West Hoathly on Sunday.
- Derek Hayward's shows "Camelot" with the saloons attached to the Pullman luncheon train approaching New Road Bridge in the late afternoon sun. More of Derek's images of Camelot are in his Camelot collection and those of the other service trains running on Sunday are in his Bluebell 2015 collection.
- Derek Hayward's photo shows 73082 Camelot on a test train at Sheffield Park Advance Starter on Tuesday this week.
- There are further photos and videos from Tuesday of Camelot on loaded test run, when it made a return trip to Kingscote, and then two to East Grinstead; this was the first time the locomotive had reached our Northern Terminus:
It was running test runs again on Wednesday, but in the rain!
- Video from Martin Lawrence,
- Camelot at East Grinstead - video from John Harwood,
- John Sandys' photos and video clips,
- Derek Hayward's photos.
- Derek Hayward's
- photos of the Autumn Tints trains on his completely revised new web site
- With all the remaining Golden Arrow Pullman Dining trains for 2015 being fully booked, we have now added two additional dates, for which bookings are now open, on the evening of Thursday 17 December 2015 and Sunday Lunch on 3 January 2016.
There are a few tickets remaining for the New Year's Eve Golden Arrow Special
- Update to the Signalboxes page, updating information on Kingscote, and adding links to photos of the former box at West Hoathly.
- Julian Heinemann's photo below shows Camelot being prepared for its test run on Tuesday, and that from Peter Edwards shows the test train near Three Arch Bridge.
- Brian Lacey's photo here shows the H-class with one of yesterday's Autumn Tints services, approaching the tunnel.
- We are advertising for a General Manager. It is many decades since the Bluebell has employed anyone in this role! The reasons for making such an appointment now were explained at the BRPS AGM in May this year.
- Have you watched the new "Where there's a Will..." video? The PDF version of our Legacy Giving leaflet is now available to download.
- Our Steam Train services over the coming month and a half:
- This week until Friday: Autumn Tints services.
- Sat 24 to Fri 30 Oct: trains run to our Service Two Timetable - with Half Term "Kids for a Quid" offer and Events.
- Sat 31 Oct & Sun 1 Nov: Giants of Steam - Download further details here.
- Weekends 7-8 and 28-29 November: Service Two Timetable.
- Weekends 14-15 and 21-22 November: trains run between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes only - Temporary Timetable.
- Keith Duke has a series of photos taken yesterday showing 73082 "Camelot" being prepared for a light-engine test run to Horsted Keynes.
- Michael Hopps' photo on the right shows 73082 "Camelot" at Horsted Keynes yesterday.
- Derek Hayward's photo below, taken on Saturday 10 October, shows the C-class at Mill Place cutting hauling the Wealden Rambler afternoon tea train. One coach of the train was carrying that day's wedding party (as seen in the photo we shared in the previous update). The Bluebell is able to offer an enormous variety of options for Wedding celebrations, with two registered venues for the ceremony, and many options for the wedding breakfast and any subsequent celebrations. Further details are available here.
- No.323 "Bluebell" is seen in another of Brian Lacey's photos, hauling the Observation Car with another of yesterday's Autumn Tints services, at West Hoathly.
- Steve Lee's photo shows the S15 ready to leave Horsted Keynes on Saturday 10 October.
- Further details of the Giants of Steam Gala on 31 Oct & 1 Nov are now available to download. This includes an outline of the timetable, details of the locomotives, of other attractions, and of the free bus service from Brighton and Lewes to the Railway on the Sunday. A vintage goods train will run early each morning.
Sunday 18 October is the last day to book advance tickets for the event at a discount. There is no need to book in advance; tickets will be available at our booking offices each day, as normal, but you'll miss out on the discount!
- The Heritage Painting team have been down, and waved their brushes over 73082 "Camelot" to fantastic effect. Fingers crossed for it running at our Giants of Steam Gala. A complete transformation thanks to 5 days of hard work! Just chimney, name, shed and number plates to fit, reassembly of the contents of the smokebox and adjustment of the springs to give the correct weight distribution and ride height. Minor problems with pipework are also being addressed and the water level indicator in the tender has been adjusted to give a correct reading.
- Our Victorian Christmas trains on Tues 22 December are now completely sold out, so we've added an extra train on the evening of Wednesday 23rd Dec, departing Sheffield Park at 5.15pm.
Bookings for this train are now open - phone 01825 720800 - details here.
- As from Saturday 24 October, for an experimental period on Service 2 days, the carriage sets are being swapped over, such that Set A (the 9.45, 12.15 and 2.45 departures from Sheffield Park and 10.40, 1.15 and 3.45 from East Grinstead) will be the vintage set, and set B, on the 11am, 1.30 and 4pm departures from Sheffield Park (12.00, 2.30 and 5pm from East Grinstead) will be formed of the Mk.1/Bulleid carriages. This experiment is to see if there are advantages in terms of better accommodating coach parties, and hopefully less crowding on the popular 12 noon departure from East Grinstead.
- The two photos below are also from Derek Hayward, from Saturday 10 October, and feature in his updated 2015 album. Mike and Miranda were married at Horsted Keynes that day - this picture of this private event is used with the consent of the bride and groom. The second photo shows the C-class with that morning's goods train at New Road Bridge. The same locomotive hauled the Wealden Rambler in the afternoon, which accommodated the wedding party.
- Legacy Giving Campaign
With no major Appeal this year our stalwart video production team of Nicholas Owen, David Allen and Alex Mansfield were still keen to make another video to help our fundraising efforts. The result can be seen here, as the Railway promotes leaving a legacy to help secure its future. Funding Director, Roger Kelly said "I am extremely grateful to Nicholas, David and Alex. Not just for the series of videos that have helped raise so much money over the past few years, but putting up with me as their producer!"
- Martin Lawrence provides this video of a ride with P-class No.323 "Bluebell" and the LNWR observation No.1503 on an "Autumn Tints" service. The remaining Autumn Tints services are tomorrow and Monday to Friday next week.
- Keith Duke has some pictures from Saturday - mainly concentrating on the goods train behind the C-class. Over the last week or two several other goods vehicles have been given an inspection to determine which are fit to run for Giants of Steam, which should result in a rather longer train of vintage goods vehicles for the early morning goods train runs!
- Also from last Saturday, this video of goods train and and other video clips from the day from Nick Dearden.
- Derek Hayward also has some images from Saturday, including the goods train, a wedding, service trains and the Friends of Kingscote.
- John Sandys provides some photos from Tuesday, including 80151 being prepared for its boiler lift, and photos from today.
- The first photo below, from Brian Lacey on Saturday, shows the SECR H-class departing from Sheffield Park with the Victorian set.
- The other photo, by Roger Cruse, shows No.70000 "Britannia", one of our visitors for Giants of Steam, on the outward leg of the Railway Touring Company's "Golden Arrow" train from Victoria to Paris via Dover. The train is seen leaving the distinctive Shakespeare tunnel. The tour returned from Paris in darkness on Sunday night.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the SECR H-class arriving in light rain at East Grinstead yesterday with the larger of the two Autumn Tints trains, formed of two Bulleid-designed carriages built in 1950/51. With their deep, comfortable seats, these carriages are considered by many as the peak of comfort offered to ordinary passengers on any railway at any time. Their large windows give an exceptional view of the lineside, and their open saloons, panelled with fine veneers and with chrome plated fittings, were strikingly modern when this design of carriage was introduced by the Southern Railway just after the 2nd World War, compared to the railways' normally conservative approach to carriage interior design.
- Derek Hayward's first photo below shows the H-class No.263 crossing the River Ouse bridge on leaving Sheffield Park with Sunday's Pullman luncheon train. Having done one return journey to East Grinstead, the lunchtime train makes a further trip to Horsted Keynes and back, usually with the station pilot for the day (in this cases No.323), attached to the back to enable a quick reversal at Horsted.
- The second of Derek's photos shows the 1949 AEC Regal IV prototype/demonstrator at the old Coal Office at Forest Row, during the Bluebell's Bus Running Day on Sunday. This prototype had a body by Park Royal, whilst the 700 production RFs had a Metropolitan Cammell body on the AEC Regal IV chassis.
- The photo on the right, from John Sandys, shows No.323 "Bluebell" with the LNWR Observation Car, one of the two trains running for the Autumn Tints service, which continue Monday to Friday until 23 October. This photo if from John's gallery of photos from yesterday which shows more of the day's activities. More details and the timetable of the Autumn Tints specials are available here. Advance booking, particularly for the Observation Car, is essential - phone 01825 720800 - substantial discounts are available if you book at least 8 days in advance.
- New adverts on the Jobs/vacancies page - we are advertising for a full time Customer Services Assistant, and also looking for help from a Medical Practitioner.
- Derek Hayward's photo, below, shows Southdown Leyland National PCD 80R at the Crown at Turners Hill on Sunday.
- Two more of Brian Lacey's photos from the Bus Running Day are also below. 50-year-old Southdown 'Queen Mary' Leyland PD3/4 No.277 stands at East Grinstead bus station, having just arrived from Uckfield. Eastbourne 72, a Leyland Titan PD2A with an East Lancs body built in 1966, at East Grinstead prior to working a late afternoon service to Uckfield.
- We are pleased to announce a visitor for the Spring! This photo, provided courtesy of John Hillier and the Bahamas Locomotive Society, is of the unique LNWR Coal Tank, No.1054, which will be visiting the Bluebell in March from its base at Ingrow on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, Yorkshire. The engine will be in steam for 2 weekends, one of which will cover our Branch Line event on 19-20 March 2016. Further details of the visit and the locomotive are available here.
- The latest weekly update to the Project 27 Blogspot covers progress on removing the hornguides in preparation for welding repairs to the locomotive's frames.
- Update to the Component sponsorship list for the Brighton Atlantic project. The project's superb newsletter/magazine is the best way to keep up to date with 'Atlantic News', and is distributed free to project supporters. If you wish to receive a copy, simply support the project with a regular donation or the sponsorship of components! The new Autumn 2015 edition is Issue 26, and the editorial will be of interest to those curious as to which loco the team might consider building next.
- David Stubbings had another enjoyable day down at the line on Sunday, and has posted 5 photos to his photostream.
- Martin Lawrence has started his October gallery with photos from the Vintage Bus day.
- Some items are currently being sold by supporters via eBay for Charity, a share of the proceeds from which will help support the railway.
- We're in the list of Ten of the best Great British rail journeys in the Telegraph.
- Derek Hayward has posted 40 photos from Sunday in his Bluebell 2015 collection. His photo below shows the S15, which replaced the C-class on the Victorian set passing the Sheffield Park Advance Starter on Sunday (when we had 4 locomotives in steam, the others being the Q-class, and the SECR H-class and P-class No.323).
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows a pair of single deckers at East Grinstead for our bus running event on Sunday. Southdown 490 was about to work the 2.15pm service to Haywards Heath. This 45-year-old Marshall bodied Bristol RESL, stands together with UMP 227, which is the 1949 AEC Regal IV prototype/demonstrator, with a Park Royal body, preserved at the London Bus Museum at Cobham.
- The next photo below, by Brian Lacey, shows London Transport AEC Regal IV, RF 146, at East Grinstead prior to working the 11.50am service to Oxted, and Derek Hayward's shows ex-Maidstone & District DH400, a 1951-built Leyland PD2, at Sheffield Park with 1952-built RF 368 (MXX 10). RF 146 is in the livery carried by LT vehicles after downgrading to bus use, with a yellow stripe in place of the LT 'Green Line' light green.
- This photo from Saturday shows the H-class setting off from Horsted Keynes with the Victorian set, which is running again in public service this weekend.
- We are very sorry to report that one of our Society's Vice-Presidents, Geoffrey Cope, passed away last Saturday. A brief obituary and details of funeral arangements are provided on the BRPS Members' pages.
- Video of Camelot in steam on Tuesday from Martin Lawrence, who has also completed his September photo gallery, with some shots of Camelot, the Q-class, and preparations for the Operation Undercover 4 building work at Horsted Keynes.
- Video from Brian Seaman showing the S15 "going to the end of the line" while running round at Sheffield Park.
- John Harwood's video from last Friday including the incoming private-charter railtour with DEMU 1001.
- These three photos by John Sandys, taken at Sheffield Park yesterday, show:
- LBSCR No.672 "Fenchurch" enjoying the sun,
- BR Standard 4 tank No.80151 in the loco works - having been prepared for dismantling over recent weeks and months it is now rapidly coming apart,
- The restoration of the porch to original condition, a project being undertaken by the Friends of Sheffield Park.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the Maunsell Q-class, which is running the mid-week trains at present, on arrival at East Grinstead with the early afternoon train yesterday.
- Monday to Friday for the coming three weeks (5-23 Oct) we have our Autumn Tints specials - there are two trains operating - take the LNWR Observation Car behind SECR P-class No.323 "Bluebell", or travel in a pair of our comfortable Southern Railway designed Bulleid carriages behind SECR H-class No.263. Advance booking, particularly for the Observation Car, is essential - phone 01825 720800. Tickets are valid for one return trip, and substantial discounts are available if you book at least 8 days in advance - timetable and full details here. Note that these trains do not stop at Kingscote.
- A reminder that Sunday is our Vintage Bus Day, with free vintage buses to and around the railway on 6 routes - download the event guide with routes and full timetables.
- The date for the Murder Mystery evening planned for Friday 5 August next year has been changed to Friday 12 August. Details of all the 2016 Murder Mystery events are available to download here.
- John Sandys reports (and provides photos of) a busy day at the railway today with the Q-class and C-class in steam, and the 09 shunting. Michael Portillo was there for some filming, and in the loco workshop work has started on No.80151 whilst Camelot is in the final stages of preparation for (hopefully) Giants of Steam. Also work is well under way on the restoration of the Sheffield Park entrance porch to original condition. It was also nice to see Fenchurch out in the sunshine whilst being shunted.
- BR Standard Tank No.80151 having moved into the Locomotive Works for overhaul, this is reflected by its addition to the Locos under overhaul page, and other relevant pages have also been updated.
- During September 2015 there were 53,190 total hits on this page, from 31,791 unique visitors.
- Keith Duke has some photos of Friday evening's private charter with the Hastings Diesel unit on the Bluebell, and Peter Edwards provides the photo of 1001 below.
- Another of Julian Heinemann's photos shows 73082 "Camelot" in the platform at Sheffield Park on Tuesday after its successful boiler test. A few minor adjustments are currently being made back in the works.
- This photo from Julian Heinemann shows that 73082 "Camelot" was moving around within the confines of Sheffield Park Station yesterday following the successful steam test for insurance purposes. There now follows a period of commissioning, finishing and lining out. More of Julian's photos here. Looking good, we hope, for a re-entry into service as one of our 5 "Giants of Steam" on 31 October / 1 November.
- A photo here from Andy Kelly shows "Camelot" in steam on Monday for the first time in 10 years, being made ready for yesterday's insurance inspection.
- More photo blog posts by New Yorker, "Super Train Station H" concluding the first day of his visit in May:
- A look around the engine shed at Sheffield Park;
- Around Sheffield Park station;
- Observing the volunteers preparing the Ale Train;
- On board the Ale Train;
- Concluding the trip on the Rail Ale Train;
- Blog and video summarising H's first day on the Bluebell.
- Dave Clarke has updated his photo site with the Railway's tribute to the late Graham Mallinson, and the latest progress in the C&W Department on SECR 7-plank 16194, RMB 1818, SR CK 5768, Bulleid TO 1464, Elephant Van 4601, LBSCR 949 and SECR 3188.
- Alan Bedford's photos from yesterday, with the Q-class on the train and Camelot in steam.
- On Friday evening, in addition to the last Fish & Chip train of the season, the railway also paid host to Hastings Diesels' unit No.1001, which was on a private railtour to celebrate the retirement from the big railway of a Bluebell and Hastings Diesels volunteer. Martin Lawrence's video shows its arrival at East Grinstead, and Julian Clark's photo below shows it approaching Horsted Keynes.
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows the S15 at Kingscote on Saturday.
- The Bluebell Railway is delighted to report that our application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for our ASH (Accessible Steam Heritage) Project, has received a first round pass. Further details are available in this Press Release. The artist's impression on the right shows the new exhibition area to explain to our visitors how steam locomotives work. The project includes repairing and refitting the current locomotive shed to better display the locomotives present within it, and the construction of a new locomotive servicing facilty, covering the washout pit and adjacent track, as seen in the drawing below.
- Sunday 4 October is our annual Bus Running Day. Free vintage buses will be running on the following routes:
Further details and full timetables available to download here.
- Service 20 between Brighton, Lewes and Sheffield Park.
- Service 92 between Uckfield, Maresfield, Nutley, Forest Row and East Grinstead.
- Service 409 between Lingfield, Felbridge, East Grinstead and Forest Row.
- Service 88 between East Grinstead, Turners Hill, Ardingly, Lindfield and Haywards Heath.
- Service 434 between East Grinstead and Turners Hill.
- Service 494 between East Grinstead, Lingfield, Crowhurst Place, Tandridge and Oxted.
- News and photo update on Stowe's overhaul - the new throatplate and steel half sides have arrived.
- An additional date (10 Dec) has been added for the Murder Mystery evenings on the Golden Arrow - Download updated 2015 details - "Murder, Rattle & Roll".
2016 details and dates are also now available.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with various changes, the most important being the move of the next Vintage Goods Train to 10 October for operational reasons.
- John Sandys' photos from Tuesday featuring the Q-class on the service train, new lighting in the Loco Works and progress on Camelot.
- Brian Lacey's photo from Wednesday shows the Q-class running round the service train at East Grinstead.
- As a taster for the Giants of Steam on 31 October and 1 November, Keith Duke's photo shows No.925 "Cheltenham" at the Mid Hants Railway in February this year.
- Today's adventure blog from SuperTrainStationH has a few snapshots and video from his second south trip on the Bluebell Railway on 22 May.
- John Sandys' photos below show the SECR H-class on the Maunsell set, arriving at Horsted Keynes with the 2nd train today, and an ever-more complete "Camelot" in the Loco Works, together with a cherry picker which is installing new low-energy lighting in the works.
- With Camelot returning to steam, why not purchase a copy of this signed limited edition print (82 copies only) by transport artist Malcolm Root G.R.A.
The cost of the print is only £82.00 which includes one year's membership of The 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society - details here.
- A RailFuture article about the Sussex Route Study, particularly as it applies to Lewes-Uckfield, has been published.
- Today's episode of SuperTrainStationH's photo blog has him fawning over some of the Bluebell Railway's corridor coaches.
- Chris Pratt's photo below, taken while he was waiting to exchange tokens with the approaching train, shows the pair of 73s on the final part of their journey back from London on Wednesday.
- Brian Lacey's photos below show a visitor to Kingscote box, and the S15 at Horsted Keynes, both taken last Saturday.
- Brian Kidman's photo shows the Maunsell Q-class, passing the Wednesday lineside gang at the Hill Place PW Cabin (originally built as the weighbridge cabin for the outgoing spoil trains), yesterday.
- Details now available for the long-awaited return of Giants of Steam - 31 October and 1 November.
Subject to availability we should have the following locomotives on an intensive service:
Discounts on tickets purchased by 18 October. Full details here.
- BR Class 7 Pacific No.70000 "Britannia"
- SR Schools-class No.925 "Cheltenham"
- SR S15-class 4-6-0 No.847
- SR Q-class No.30541
- ...and the return to service of the only surviving named BR Class 5, No.73082 "Camelot"
- We are currently advertising a number of vacancies for full-time and part-time posts on the railway.
- A series of insightful and detailed photo blog posts by "Super Train Station H" who visited us from New York in May, and joined in everything that was happening on the railway for a week, has started to appear:
Looking forward to seeing more posts, which are arriving regularly!
- Arrival at East Grinstead;
- Waiting at East Grinstead for my first steam train;
- The Q-class brings its train into East Grinstead;
- Boarding the train at East Grinstead;
- Departure from East Grinstead - first ride aboard a steam train;
- Video exploring some of the corridor coaches;
- My first journey from East Grinstead to Horsted Keynes;
- My first arrival at Sheffield Park station;
- My first northbound journey on the Bluebell Railway.
- Our four Metropolitan Railway carriages returned home from London yesterday, behind Nos.73107 & 73136, and running as Nos.99387, 99412, 99368, and 99394 (their main-line registration numbers being the Met. numbers with a "99" prefix). The transfer is seen here in Nicholas Woollven's photo at Clapham Junction, and on Bluebell metals in Brian Kidman's photo at Hill Place, just north of Imberhorne Cutting. Further photos available here.
- Brian Lacey's photo on the right shows the E4 B473 with the Maunsell coaches and Observation Car at Kingscote on Saturday, and that below, the S15 arriving at East Grinstead with the Mk.1 set last Wednesday.
- Photos from John Sandys from yesterday, featuring the Q-class on the service trains, and a look around the yard and the shop at Sheffield Park.
- Martin Lawrence has produced a new video "Sheffield Park To East Grinstead in five minutes" as an update to his 2008 "Sheffield Park to Kingscote in four minutes" video - be the driver as H-class No.263 goes from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead in 5 minutes - as always many thanks to the volunteers and staff of the Bluebell Railway who made this possible.
- The second photo below, from Varsha Ratna, shows L150, the Met. Milk Van and our four Chesham set coaches at Harrow On the Hill Station on Saturday. The real-time train-running report for our carriages' return shows they left West Ruislip depot at 5.47 this morning bound for East Grinstead.
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