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- John Sandys' photo shows the Q-class with a signalling test train at Kingscote on Tuesday, and below the icing on the cake - a replica of the LB&SCR name-board which the original Kingscote Box carried until the line closed, now in place. See more in John's other photos from Tuesday.
- The first Fish & Chip evening supper train of the year is already fully booked! The next one is on 12 March. Phone 01825 720800 to book.
- 2016 dates now available for PTS courses which are required for Bluebell Lineside photographic passes.
- Major news update from the Brighton Atlantic project with thanks to Fred Bailey. His photo below shows the connecting rods now in place, ready to use the specially made wheel rotators to set the valve gear. Other developments reported are castings arriving for the safety valves and backhead valves, and fittings starting to go into the cab to enable the piping up to be done. Work on the boiler will be starting fairly soon too.
- Julian Heinemann's photos taken on 10 January, show "Camelot" over the washout pit, the start of a short period of winter maintenance, further details of which, along with other loco news, are in the latest edition of our e-Newsletter.
Let's hope the rainbow hitting Sheffield Park is a good omen for this year!
- Our steam-hauled and heated services resume on Saturday; we expect to have LBSCR E4 No.B473 and BR Standard 5 No.73082 "Camelot" hauling the trains, to our Service 2 timetable.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with planned loco usage for February.
- With 2016 expected to be a busy year, we are currently advertising a variety of Casual Catering Vacancies. We are still also advertising for a Customer Services Assistant for our East Grinstead Travel Centre, and a practicing Doctor to undertake medicals for footplate and other volunteer staff.
- Two photos below from Martin Lawrence: the first taken last Friday shows some of the new zinc sheeting now fitted to the platform 2 canopy at Sheffield Park, and that from today shows a brace of class 20s at Sheffield Park, (Nos.20142 and 20189) which dropped in via East Grinstead. Martin has more photos of the class 20s in his new February album.
- During January 2016 there were 55,114 total hits on this page, from 32,172 unique visitors.
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
- John Sandys has an album from 12 & 14 January, featuring E4 "Birch Grove" in light steam after its intermediate boiler and valve maintenance, and others showing the wheels from No.80151 off to South Devon for the fitting of its new driving wheel tyres (as seen below).
A gallery from Thursday 21 January shows the E4 having a steam test (one photo seen here on the right), and new stock in the shop at Sheffield Park.
From this Wednesday, a further gallery has shots around the loco shed, at Kingscote, and work taking place on another project being undertaken during January's line closure. That part of the canopy on platform 2 at Sheffield Park which did not receive new zinc sheeting a few years ago is now being resheeted thanks to surplus funds from the platform 1 canopy project, a donation to the Friends of Sheffield Park, and funding from the Bluebell Railway Trust, enabled by recently received bequests. A photo of this is also seen below.
- Update on No.73082 "Camelot", indicating the level of fine-tuning required after an overhauled locomotive re-enters traffic.
- If you missed Tuesday's appearance of the Bluebell on Michael Portillo's Great British Railway Journeys it's now available on the UK on BBC iPlayer.
- Due to a member reporting not finding the notice of the 21 May 2016 EGM and AGM included with their copy of Bluebell News, the notice is also posted on the Members' information page, and available to download (as a PDF) here.
- New for 2016: We are now offering Season Tickets covering our normal timetabled trains.
- Some old film footage of "Bluebell on Parade" from May 1976 is available on YouTube.
- The work to switch Kingscote's signalling over from the temporary box to the South of the station to the L-frame in the new box to the North of the loop platform has been completed, and is now, subject to formal commissioning, ready for next weekend's resumption of services - a huge credit to our volunteer S&T department. Just the nameboard to go on the Box.
Derek Hayward provides a large update on this signalling work, on pages 5 and 6 of his Kingscote collection, and also in the three photos here:
- Right: the fully commissioned L-frame.
- Below: the three token machines (HK-Kc, SP-Kc, and Kc-EG). The middle of these is the new long-section working to enable Horsted Keynes Box to be switched out, which will come into its own when we are running evening dining trains.
- A new shunt signal (seen below) has been installed, enabling moves into the down-siding from the loop platform. All shunt signals visible from the station platforms are now rotating discs, like this.
- First details announced for this year's Diesel Gala (Friday 15 to Sunday 17 April) in association with GBRf. See also the Facebook event.
- The forthcoming Branch Line Weekend is now to be a three-day event, starting on Friday 18 March. Further details of this event are still to be confirmed.
- Details for the 2016 Volunteer Recruitment Find out more days are now available - they take place on the second Sunday of every month from February until November, and are your chance to find out what what makes the Bluebell tick! Dates, and details of how to book on to the days, are available here.
- Several updates on the Project 27 Blog reporting progress on repairing the locomotive's frames, and progress with the drawings for the new cylinders, amongst other things, plus some historic photos of the locomotive.
- Martin Lawrence provides some photos from the Q-class photo charter on Monday 4 January, and his monthly gallery including works at Sheffield Park, Horsted Keynes and Kingscote. Martin has also compiled some video clips shot around the Railway during December 2015. It includes shots of Nos.263, 592, 73082 and 09018 plus some night-time shots and a low loader. (Note - as one of our approved photographers, Martin was able to obtain permission for access to some non-public locations).
- Dave Bowles also has some photos from the charter with No.30541.
- Nick Burgess provides a substantial gallery from Monday's photo charter (organised by Jon Bowers) with No.30541 and a goods train, including this early morning "sunrise" shot on Freshfield Bank.
- John Sandys' album from 29 December includes new and recent items available in our shop, and the slightly revised timetable which comes into force on 6 February (see below).
- Note that what had been advertised as an evening train on 14 February, has now been changed to a St. Valentines Day Golden Arrow Luncheon train.
- The first train on Service 2 days has been put back 15 minutes, and this enables a (tight) connection (not guaranteed!) from the first off-peak main-line service into East Grinstead; this should also reduce overcrowding on the 12 noon departure from East Grinstead. Another change for service 2 is that the 11am service (12 noon from East Grinstead) will be formed of the corridor set, since it often has party traffic booked on it, as it is on Service 1 days, with the earlier train formed of more vintage stock. Timings at Kingscote have been adjusted to account for the token exchange taking place at the new signal box rather than the temporary South box, important for trains which may cross Wealden Rambler or Golden Arrow services there.
4 January 2016
- Andrew Shapland's photo shows No.73082 climbing Freshfield Bank with the 12.15 departure from Sheffield Park on 29 December - just before a heavy shower!
- Our Special Events page now includes dates for all our major 2016 events, and details of catering services and those offers which are known at the present time. The Branch Line Weekend and Food Festival are back, alongside all the regular events: Diesel Weekend in April, Toy & Rail Collectors' Fairs in April and July, Southern at War in May, Model Railway Weekend in June, Seaside and Vintage Transport weekends in August, and three days for Giants of Steam in October.
- Our next trains operate on 6 February - See the Timetable for further details. In the interim, we are undertaking major signalling changes at Kingscote, but which also cover the remainder of the line, as we bring the Westinghouse L-frame in the new signalbox at Kingscote into operation, and also commission the long-section token equipment which will enable Horsted Keynes box to be switched out on days when only one train is operating, and when we are running evening trains.
- Video from Philip Bull covering the H-class preparing for its train at Sheffield Park, blowing down on the river bridge, and then hauling the Edwardian set to East Grinstead on New Year's Eve.
- St. Valentines Day Sunday 14th February - Celebrate on board our Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea train or the Golden Arrow Luncheon Pullman.
- Saturday 20 February Fish and Chip train - Join us on the very first Fish and Chip train of 2016.
- Some photos from Dave Bowles from 23 and 28 December.
- Jonathan Hughes caught a little late afternoon sunshine in these three photos of the last Santa special on Christmas Eve, hauled by No.73082: passing Town House bridge, rounding the curve, at the top of Freshfield Bank.
- Thanks to SETG, who are looking after it, our 4-Vep 3417 moved on 22 December from Ilford, following the completion of Bombardier's corrosion repair and high-quality repaint, to Strawberry Hill depot. There is a photo of the unit here, tucked up safely at its new home.
- Update with the current positions in the Football Competition which is raising funds for the overhaul of our Southern Railway Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864.
- Maunsell Q-class No.30541 is visiting the Mid Hants Railway for their Spring Steam Gala on 12-14 February.
- Julian Clark's photo below shows No.73082 on arrival at East Grinstead on New Year's Eve, and Steve Lee's shows the H-class with the Edwardian set approaching Horsted Keynes on New Years Day. These two locomotives hauled most of the services between Boxing Day and 3 January, although yesterday the Q took the Edwardian set and the S15 was steamed for the Golden Arrow luncheon train after a problem experienced with the lubrication on the H-class the previous evening.
22 December 2015
- Steve Lee's photo shows No.73082 at Milepost 10 with the first Santa Special of the day on Saturday.
- Update and photos on boiler work in progress on Schools-class No.928 "Stowe" - the backhead has now been removed from the boiler.
- Don't forget we have a two-train public service over the whole line daily from 26 December to 3rd January - no need to book in advance, although if you do book at least 8 days in advance, you get our "Bluebell Bonus" discount.
- Two more of Steve Lee's photos below:
H-class No.263 leads Q-class No.30541 towards New Road Bridge with set 'Z', the 12.30 Santa Special from Sheffield Park, on Saturday.
This unusual working was to get the H-class up to Horsted Keynes to take the Edwardian Set onwards to East Grinstead for the Reindeer Specials. The Q had brought the 5-coach Edwardian set up first thing in the morning from the carriage shed at Sheffield Park, returning there with set 'Z' which is stored in the platforms at Horsted overnight.
The second photo shows the H-class now attached to the Edwardian set in the Ardingly Spur, whilst the Q-class completes its run-round at Horsted Keynes.
- Sunday saw an Edwardian-themed "Last Sunday Before Christmas" event in East Grinstead, and the steam bus seen here in Brian Lacey's photo, its coal sponsored by the Bluebell, was giving rides in support of the Peanut Ward at Queen Victoria Hospital.
- This video from Nick Dearden acts as his round up for 2015. Lots of nice shots!
- You may well have seen this before, but don't think it's been featured in this Blog: Some historic footage of The Bluebell Line before and after closure which has been put on YouTube by Southern Railway Films.
- Derek Hayward has added more pictures to his December gallery. Martin Lawrence has done likewise to his
- Keith Duke provides these pictures from Saturday.
- Steve Lee's photo below shows No.847 at Waterworks with the 11.45 Santa Service from Sheffield Park.
- Last Thursday "Stepney" was shunted to make space for some filming in connection with the forthcoming appeal for the ASH project (Accessible Steam Heritage) for which we have a first round pass from the HLF. The day's events feature in John Sandys' photos. Tony Sullivan's photo below, taken the same day, is most timely, as we celebrate No.55's 140th birthday - "Stepney" entered service with the LB&SCR on 21 December 1875.
- The second of David Pool's early Bluebell scans is presented here - we see the LSWR Adams Radial Tank No.488 on the day it arrived at the Bluebell, 15 July 1961, at Sheffield Park at the head of the Chesham set.
- Update to the Wagon Stock List, adding a section (with a few entries yet to be added) for vehicles which are no longer on the Bluebell.
- Derek Hayward has just uploaded 15 images taken (with permission) inside Kingscote North Signal Box, including that below, showing the completed panel now being used for testing and training. The arrangement whereby the panel can be connected to a test/simulator rather than the actual signals and track circuits, enables the training (for which the messages and photos attached to the panel are an aid) to take place while trains operate outside. To keep the images in a logical order, they will be found about 2/3 of the way down page 4 of the recently revised Kingscote collection. There is also a shot of the shunt disc (currently wrapped) at the north end of the Loop Platform, which will signal movement into the east siding.
- Derek has also taken a very small number of images of the Horsted Keynes Carriage Shed Extension (OP4) site. As seen below, the main feature on the cleared and marked site is the arrival of a piling machine. The site is of course now a construction site and there is no access even to Bluebell staff and volunteers, except those authorised to be in a segregated area, to undertake carriage maintenance. The photos have been added to the top of his C&W yard gallery, which already contained a number of photos showing work to prepare the site earlier this year, and the initial groundworks done to secure planning permission.
- This video from John Harwood also shows work starting on the foundations for the carriage shed extension.
- C-class and Q-class are seen together at Horsted Keynes at dusk on Saturday with their sold-out Reindeer and Santa Special trains, in this photo from Nick Burgess. More of Nick's photos from Saturday are available here.
- Due to upgrades to the back-up power arrangements in the data centre hosting the BRPS web site, there are some planned outages, as follows:
All timings are approximate. Our main visitor information web site is unaffected.
- Wednesday: offline 19:00 to 20:00.
- Saturday: offline approx 07:00 to 10:15, and again 18:00 to 18:30.
- Derek Hayward is making a start on his gallery of Santa-season images.
- Keith Duke has pictures available taken at Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes on Saturday.
- Update on Project 27 with further news of progress on SECR P-class No.27.
- New link to the website for the Bulleid 4-DD Double Deck EMU Group, providing a focus for interest in this unusual and unique pair of experimental units, two motor coaches from which still survive.
- The following web pages have been updated with thanks to Martin Skrzetuszewski and Nick Beck:
The latter Grampus is represented in model form by the latest 00-scale wagon commission from Dapol, available exclusively from the Bluebell Shop at Sheffield Park (as seen in the photo here).
- SECR 6-wheeled Birdcage brake van No.719
- LSWR ventilated passenger luggage van No.5498
- Grampus wagon No.DB988395 (now sold)
- Grampus wagon No.DB985854 (now sold)
- Another photo from Nick Burgess below, shows the C-class at Horsted Keynes heading North with the empty coaching stock for Saturday's Reindeer Special.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows 73082 at West Hoathly with one of last week's Christmas Shopping/Christmas Lunch trains.
- Brian Lacey's photo on the right shows No.73082 arriving at East Grinstead on Tuesday morning with the Christmas Shopping by Train special from Sheffield Park, which would then form the 11:00 departure, the "Christmas Lunch Special", to Sheffield Park.
- The first weekend of Santa Specials got off to a great start. We just have a few seats remaining across some of the Christmas festivities - so if you fancy joining in, do give us a ring to check on remaining availability.
- Good to be included as one of the 10 Downton Abbey locations featured in this Blog from Wayfair.
- Martin Lawrence has added to his December album with photos including the 09 being loaded onto a low loader to go away for tyre turning and the stained glass work within the porch at Sheffield Park.
- Update on Project 27 with news of the condition of the wheel sets.
- Deiniol Willis took the photos below at the wonderful but windy Carol Service on Saturday evening at Horsted Keynes - thanks as ever to the Bluebell Railway Band, and our Chaplain, the Rector of Horsted Keynes.
- Derek Hayward has a new photo gallery for Q-class No.30541, with images taken since it re-entered service, The photo here was taken by him at 3-Arch Bridge on the Saturday of Giants of Steam weekend.
- The Bulleid Society have updated their latest news with a few more pictures of Bulleid coach 5768's continuing overhaul.
- David Pool has kindly provided scans of some of his historic Bluebell photos, and the first is presented below - the Adams Radial Tank is seen at Brighton on 12 July 1961 whilst in transit to the Bluebell.
- John Sandys' photos from Thursday including the newly fitted stained glass in the porch at Sheffield Park, which has been re-constructed to LBSCR condition (as also seen in his photos below), and the C-class with the staff & volunteers' Christmas Lunch train. Congratulations and thanks are most certainly due to the Friends of Sheffield Park, the generous sponsor, and the excellent contractors involved in the work on the porch. There is still a small amount of work required to complete the project.
- Martin Lawrence has started on his December album with photos of the works preparing scaffolding for the Sheffield Park Down Inner Home signal, and some added today, including "Camelot" working a staff christmas dining train.
Martin's photo from yesterday, below, shows the wheelsets from 80151 at Sheffield Park, ready for dispatch to the South Devon Railway for re-tyring. The replacement tyres have been obtained in advance, and are already at Buckfastleigh.
- Steve Lee's photo shows the SECR C-class ready to leave Sheffield Park with the Edwardian carriages on Saturday 28 November.
- This coming Saturday, 5 December, we have our Free Horsted Keynes Carol Service. The Buffet will be open from 6pm for the sale of hot snacks and mulled wine. The Carols, led by our Chaplain, start at 7.30pm.
- In the run up to Christmas 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.
- Our next ordinary public trains are not until our post-Christmas daily running - 26 December to 3 January 2016 - when trains run to our Service Two timetable. The railway will then not be running any trains until February, since the rest of January will be taken up with commissioning the new signalling at Kingscote, and the long-section working, enabling Horsted Keynes box to be switched out if only one train is on the line.
- Several updates on Project 27 with details of work in progress, including yesterday's update as well as reports from November.
- Derek Hayward has put his best images of the Q-class since it entered service in a new No.30541 gallery, including some which have been held back for this gallery. He has also vastly enhanced his "Kingscote Station and Signal Boxes" collection, which now includes about 175 images taken in the period 1998 to 2015.
- During October and November 2015 there were 123,457 total hits on this page, from 69,055 unique visitors.
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows the H-class on Saturday, preparing to haul the Wealden Rambler afternoon tea train, for which 2016 dates are now available, and for which booking is now open.
- Steve Lee's photo shows the Q-class arriving at Horsted Keynes with the 12.15 service from Sheffield Park on Sunday.
- 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.
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