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16 June:
Goods Train times - 17 June 2018
  • We are running one of our regular Demonstration Goods Trains tomorrow morning, expected to be hauled by the SR Maunsell Q-class locomotive No.30541. The timings for the Goods Train are as shown here.
    Passenger trains will be running to our Service 2 timetable. You can purchase tickets on arrival at our stations. A whole-line return ticket allows unlimited travel for the day, and you can break your journey wherever you please.

  • Fathers' Day special offer: Sunday 17th June - Dads visiting the Railway can travel throughout the day for just £5 when accompanied by at least one full-fare-paying child.

  • Earn triple donations from 15 to 29 June: To celebrate the successful launch of AmazonSmile UK just six months ago, Amazon is tripling donations from 15 - 29 June on all qualifying purchases. Simply access Amazon through this Bluebell Railway Trust link.

  • Hattons are bringing out four new versions of their OO-scale model P-class. Two of them are livery variations on our own No.27! Firstly in pre grouping full SECR livery (with bottle buffers and polished brass) and also in ROD green livery as 5027.

  • Final positions in the 2017-18 Foootball Competition, raising funds for the forthcoming overhaul of our Southern Railway Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864, are now available. Particular congratulations to David Pegg who not only cleaned up in competition 1 but successfully predicted a Chelsea v Manchester United FA Cup final.
    The biggest winner is 7864, as the competition added £247.50 to the restoration fund. Many thanks to everyone who entered. Winners' cheques and entry forms for 18/19 will be issued shortly.

  • Brian Lacey's photos below show 847 and 263 at Horsted Keynes today, and the Q-class passing through the station with the Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea train.

847 and 263 at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 16 June 2018 Entrance to Loco Shed - Martin Lawrence - 2 June 2018

6 June:
847 arrives at East Grinstead - Brian Lacey - 6 June 2018
  • Brian Lacey's photo shows the S15 No.847 arriving at East Grinstead with the second train of the day today. Presumably it was decided to give it a test run before its expected appearance in service this coming weekend, to check that recent maintenance work was all OK.

  • We are currently advertising a vacancy for a Locomotive Works Fitter.

  • Martin Lawrence now has a gallery of photos from the East Grinstead Bus Running Day back in April.

  • Reminder to sign up for our annual sponsored Track Trek, which takes place in the evening on Saturday 30 June. If you've already signed up, then you can set up an online BT MyDonate fundraising page for your trek.


Latest updates     -     Earlier updates     -     Latest Project News     -     Weekly train running information     -     Archive News


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What's been updated on the Bluebell Web Site?

Older updates are in the What's New Archive
or the 2017, the 2016, the 2015, 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.

latestlatestMost recent updates: See top of this page


5 June:
65 arriving at Horsted Keynes with the Wealden Rambler - Brian Lacey - 2 June 2018
  • Brian Lacey's photo shows SECR O1 No.65 arriving at Horsted Keynes with the Wealden Rambler afternoon tea service on Saturday.

  • Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with plans for locomotive usage through June. It shows that the Q-class will be hauling a Demonstration Goods Train on the morning of Sunday 17 June.

  • Over the Model Railway Weekend, 23-24 June, we are running an intensive 3-train service (with Locos 65, 263 and 847 planned to be used). The timetable is now available to download.

  • News Update Update from Project 27, with photos (including that below) showing the marking out of the replacement main frame plates for this SECR P-class, and more.

  • John Sandys' photos from today.

  • Video from John Harwood taken today, showing a trip behind the Maunsell Q-class from Horsted Keynes to Sheffield Park and back, plus a detailed look at 1881-built LBSCR Stroudley brake third carriage No.949 currently under restoration. The annual visit by a weedkilling spray vehicle is also seen.

  • Martin Lawrence has now completed his April and May photo albums and started on that for June. It includes the photo below, showing the addition to the locomotive shed, to act as the entrance area for the 'Steam Works' exhibition.

  • Another OO-gauge model LBSCR locomotive has been announced - Rapido Trains are to produce models of the Stroudley E1 0-6-0T for Model Rail Magazine - see Graham Muz's blog for details.

New frame plates for 27 - Matt H - June 2018 Entrance to Loco Shed - Martin Lawrence - 2 June 2018

4 June:
H-class arrives at Horsted Keynes, as the Q-class waits to head south - Brian Lacey - 2 June 2018
  • Brian Lacey's photo from Saturday shows the H-class arriving at Horsted Keynes, as the Q-class waits to head South.

  • For the rest of this month we are running our Service 1 timetable Monday to Friday, and Service 2 each day at the weekends (except for 23-24 June, the Model Railway Weekend). Timetables are here.

  • News Update Updated news of our "Brighton Atlantic" project, with some of the complex sheet metal components for the boiler clothing being delivered.

  • Derek Hayward has added 11 additional images showing progress with the OP4 Shed Project at Horsted Keynes, taken a week ago.

  • The Southern Electric Traction Group (custodians of 4Vep No.3417) have an illustrated update on their website showing work on fitting out the shed at Strawberry Hill to accommodate the trim and spares required for the future running of the unit.

  • Matt Wickham's video review of Dapol's new LSWR B4 shunter 'Normandy'.

  • The tee-shirt to be seen in this year.

  • Greg Wales' photos below, taken on the footplate of the H-class on Saturday during his "third man" turn, show Russell, the driver, and Nick, firing.

  • During May 2018 there were 42,542 total hits on this page, from 24,698 unique visitors.

Russell driving the H-class - Greg Wales - 2 June 2018 Approching Kingscote in the H-class - Greg Wales - 2 June 2018 Nick firing the H-class - Greg Wales - 2 June 2018

30 May:
Q and H at Sheffield Park - Greg Wales - 29 May 2018
  • Greg Wales' photo shows the Q and H at Sheffield Park yesterday.

  • For the remainder of Half Term week, daily until 3 June, we are running our peak Service 2 Timetable.

  • Video from yesterday by John Harwood, featuring 813, and the Q and the H.

  • Details of Bob Bamberough's funeral arrangements are available on the BRPS Members' notices page.


27 May:
813 at East Grinstead with train run in memory of Dave Phillips - Brian Lacey - 18 May 2018
  • Brian Lacey's photo from Saturday shows the visiting GWR Saddle Tank No.813 (which is running each day until Tuesday - see revised special timetables here) taking water at East Grinstead.

  • News Update The latest e-newsletter, including news of loco overhauls and maintenance, work on two Southern Railway luggage vans and how the new General Data Protection Regulations are being applied at the Bluebell.

  • Nicely edited video from Branch Line weekend, from Derek Spicer.

  • There will be a few changes to the annual sponsored Track Trek at the Bluebell Railway this year.
    Track Trek - 30 June 2018Track Trek - 30 June 2018 The event has been moved from November to mid-summer, and it will now be held on the evening of 30 June, 2018. Organisers are hoping that this will bring brighter, warmer, and drier weather. Also, instead of the whole line, the walk this year will start at Horsted Keynes at 6 p.m. and cover the five miles to Sheffield Park. Arrangements are being made for free transport of all walkers, by train, back to their original arrival point at the Railway.
    Money raised will go towards track replacement work on the Sheffield Park to Horsted Keynes section. More details here.

  • A couple of photos from OP4 Project Manager, Barry Luck, from earlier this week, showing progress on the earthworks at Horsted Keynes. We have dug out the loose uncompacted material in the embankment down to the original ground level, and we are now rebuilding the embankment layer by layer, interleaved with geo-tech mesh, compacting each layer before placing the next.

Building up embankment for OP4 - Barry Luck - 26 May 2018 Building up embankment for OP4 - Barry Luck - 26 May 2018

26 May:
Q-class approaches Horsted Keynes with Bulleid carriages - Andrew Crampton - 18 May 2018
  • Andrew Crampton's photo shows the Q-class approaching Horsted Keynes with the set of Bulleid carriages on Friday 18 May.

  • The visit of GWR Saddle Tank No.813 (an ex-Port Talbot Railway 0-6-0ST of 1901), from the Severn Valley Railway, has been extended, and it will be running from Saturday through to Tuesday. We are very grateful to the SVR and the GWR 813 Preservation Fund for this last-minute arrangement.

  • Each day until Tuesday 29 May, a special timetable will operate: Download here.

  • SR Q-class 30541 and visiting GWR 813 are in steam today, and will be joined by further locos on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday!

  • Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with plans for locomotive usage through the remainder of May. The work on the S15 has taken longer than planned, but good to say that the Q-class is running again after suffering from injector problems on Wednesday.

  • Very nicely made video from David Wadley from Friday of the Branch Line weekend, and one he made earlier, from 1990 or early 1991.

  • Some photos and a video by Chris Ward from the Branch Line Weekend.

  • A gallery containing 70 images from the Branch Line gala by Derek Hayward, including the photo below of 323 and 65 at the head of 8 pre-grouping carriages in the cutting approaching Three Arch Bridge from last Sunday.

  • On 17 June, for Father's Day we have a special Fathers for a Fiver Offer.

  • We are now a Blue Peter Badge Attraction.

  • As a new initiative this year, the volunteers of the Carriage & Wagon Department will be running Behind the Scenes Tours of the workshop at 2pm every Saturday from now until the end of September (except on Model Railway Weekend - 23rd June). The tours are free - although donations to the Maunsell Restaurant Car Project are always very welcome. It's not just a chance to see behind the scenes with progress on many different restoration projects, but also to catch up on how the OP4 carriage shed extension project is progressing.

  • Yoshi Hashida's panned photo below captured the visiting 813 at West Hoathly on 18 May.

323 and 65 with 8 vintage carriages - Derek Hayward - 20 May 2018 813 at West Hoathly - Yoshi Hashida - 18 May 2018

19 May:
813 at East Grinstead with train run in memory of Dave Phillips - Brian Lacey - 18 May 2018
  • GWR Saddle Tank No.813 hauled a packed special train last night run in memory of Dave Phillips - see some of the tributes paid to him here. Brian Lacey's photo shows it on arrival at East Grinstead. With representatives from our twin line, Museumstoomtram Hoorn-Medemblik, joining us, the Anglo-Dutch flag combination was appropriate.

  • 813 had impressed staff and visitors alike on the first day of our Branch Line Gala, which continues today and tomorrow.

  • Tornado latest: We are very sorry to say that 60163 'Tornado' will not be able to visit us in August as we had hoped.
    All customers with bookings for the original 60163 'Tornado' visit dates in May and any that had transferred to the proposed alternative dates in August will be contacted by our Customer Service Team as soon as possible.
    Paddington will still be visiting on the 28th & 29th May and our Teddy Bears' Picnics will still be running on the 26th, 28th & 29th May, with own locomotives heading the trains.
    We do still have some availability on the Teddy Bears' picnic trains, and also on other trains running on the 25th - 29th May. If you would like to come along to one of these please call our Customer Service Team on 01825 720800.
    Tickets for a special timetable of trains (hauled by our own magnificent locomotives) on 25th - 29th May are also now available to purchase online.

  • The Q-class running with the Bulleid carriages, seen in Derek Hayward's photo below crossing the River Ouse bridge, and the H-class, No.263, caught by Julian Clark approaching Horsted Keynes, completed the line-up yesterday. They are joined by two more SECR locomotives, Nos.65 and 323, today.

Q-class on departure from Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 18 May 2018 H-class approaches Horsted Keynes - Julian Clark - 18 May 2018

17 May:
323 on test run with two Mets at Horsted Keynes - Reuben Smith - 15 May 2018 H-class at West Hoathly - Brian Lacey - 16 May 2018
  • The Branch Line Gala starts tomorrow, with three locomotives on 3 coaching sets, and with two of our Metropolitan coaches having been for a test run on Tuesday (as seen in Reuben Smith's photo above), we have a fourth coaching set running over the weekend with 5 different locomotives. There's not a Mk.1 carriage in use (except for the Lounge Car attached to the Pullman train on Saturday evening), with two pre-grouping sets, a Southern Maunsell set and a Southern Bulleid set. So of 19 locomotives and carriages in use on the public trains over the Gala weekend, 12 date back to pre-grouping days!

  • Brian Lacey's photo above, taken yesterday, shows the H-class at West Hoathly.

  • There will be guided tours of the Carriage Works at Horsted Keynes over this weekend, starting at 11.20, 12.20, 13.20 & 14.20 on Saturday, and 11.00, 11.45 & 14.00 on Sunday.

  • The Metropolitan carriages return to service after a period of maintenance, which has seen split panels on the brake coach removed and repaired, work on the electrical systems, renewal of worn components in the door locks, and considerable work on brake cylinders which had recently been causing some concern. These two carriages, dating from 1898 and 1900, originally returned to Bluebell service after major overhaul 19 years ago. The third and fourth of these carriages (the composites) will now be attended to, to return the set to its former strength.

  • Update to the page for the OP4 Carriage Shed Project, adding in recent news reports which have featured on this Blog.

  • Sad news to share today - Bob Bamberough, former Station Master at Sheffield Park and Guard from the 1970s to 1990s passed away on Tuesday evening after being diagnosed with leukaemia. Once we have details of the funeral we will let members know.

  • Reuben Smith's photo below from Tuesday shows Bluebell attached to the visiting Ex-Port Talbot Railway 0-6-0ST, GWR No.813 of 1901.

323 and 813 at Sheffield Park - Reuben Smith - 15 May 2018

16 May:
813 at Sheffield Park - Reuben Smith - 15 May 2018
  • GWR Saddle Tank No.813, visiting from the Severn Valley Railway, has arrived for the Branch Line Gala, as seen in Reuben Smith's photo taken at Sheffield Park yesterday.

  • Starting this Friday (18 May) and continuing over the weekend, is our Branch Line Gala featuring 5 locomotives and an array of our vintage carriages, on a very interesting timetable which is available to download.

  • On Friday evening there is a special private train for Bluebell Members and staff to remember the life of the late Dave Phillips - details on the BRPS Members' notices page.


15 May:
Stock in F and G-roads of OP4, and new buffer stop - Barry Luck - 11 May 2018
  • Barry Luck's photo shows LBSCR No.60 and LBSCR No.676 (under a tarpaulin) at the north end of F and G-roads in the OP4 shed. The Buffer stops in F-road are required, since it's envisaged that the southern end of this road will be shunted quite regularly once the shed is permanently connected to track in the yard, a couple of the spaces being used for short-term rather than long term storage. A report on the current position with respect to this project follows below.

  • Update to the web page for LBSCR Stroudley Brake No.676 with a new photo included.

  • We regret to have to report that the Trackfest Music festival scheduled for 16 June has been Cancelled.

  • News Update OP4 Progress Report
    Barry Luck, OP4 Project Manager, updates us on progress with the new Carriage maintenance and storage sheds at Horsted Keynes.

    After an extremely wet spring we have at last had a period of (mostly) dry weather that has dried out the ground and enabled Matt Crawford and his hard-working team to make significant progress on stabilising the embankment.

    The most obvious outcome is that the spoil heap south of the shed has now gone, and the embankment at the south end of so-called "Dingley Dell" has been rebuilt, extending the space available in the yard.

    The ground south of the shed is "made ground"; that is to say, it is not virgin soil, but it has been built up over many decades by the tipping of loose material. This ground is therefore un-compacted and inherently unstable, slowly slipping into the valley. The removal of the spoil heap has reduced over-burden on the embankment, minimising the risk of further slippage.

    To stabilise the embankment, material at the bottom has first to be dug out and then replaced in shallow compacted layers, with reinforced Geotech mesh placed between layers to provide additional stability. Before this work can proceed much further, some small-scale piling is required along the edge of the stream to secure the toe of the embankment. This job is likely to commence within the next week, given continued dry weather.

    7 more vehicles under cover
    On 29 March, the temporary connection was slewed across to G-road, and further vehicles were shunted into the shed. The vehicles currently stored in the new shed are:
           - No.33, SER/Pullman kitchen car "Constance"
           - No.60, LBSCR Directors' Saloon
           - No.320, LSWR Lavatory 3rd
           - No.494, LSWR Corridor 3rd
           - No.676, LBSC 4-wheel Brake 3rd
           - No.1050, SER/SR Composite
           - No.1061, SECR Birdcage Brake 2nd/3rd
           - No.2515, SR Bulleid Saloon Brake 3rd
           - No.2773, LSWR Van
           - No.4279, SR Bulleid Saloon Brake 3rd
           - No.5498, LSWR Ventilated Luggage Van
           - No.6575, SR Maunsell Corridor Brake Composite

    The final disposition of vehicles in the new shed may change later, once the shed and its access roads are completed.

    Heritage Skills Centre
    The materials for the framework of the Heritage Skills Centre (HSC) have been on site since the erection of the main shed, but no progress has been possible until the ground in this area has been reduced to finished levels.

    With the work on the embankment progressing well, it is anticipated that excavation can start before the end of the month, with the spoil being used in the embankment works. Discussions are underway about starting the erection of the framework during June.

    The detailed design of the HSC is progressing well, and we are currently awaiting Building Regulations approval before proceeding further. Completion of the design will provide details of finished ground levels to the east of the building, and crucially enable the northern and eastern wall cladding to be specified and detailed.

    Trackwork


H-road laid in OP4 - Bruce Healey - 28 March 2018 Work to relay track in the down yard is not strictly part of OP4. Plans are being prepared and components assembled for a new layout that will provide significant improvements in the yard's operational efficiency and also facilitate the shunting of stock into the new shed.

However, until a significant proportion of the embankment work has been completed, and the ground stabilised, we can't shunt further carriages into the remaining two roads (H and J).

latest This project is entirely funded by donations, and a further £150,000 is required to complete the brickwork and cladding of the northern and eastern wall, which will provide additional weather proofing for the carriages and provide extra security, screening the vehicles from the road. If you can support this much-needed project, please visit the "Cash for Cover" donation page.

Bruce Healey's photo on the left above shows the almost complete track laid into H-road, taken the day before stock was shunted into G-road.


12 May:
323 'Bluebell' at West Hoathly - Brian Lacey - 12 May 2018
  • Visit of 60163 'Tornado' postponed: Due to the ongoing repairs to 'Tornado' (see the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust web site for details), sadly this locomotive will not be visiting us as had been planned for 25-29 May. However, we are pleased to announce that Tornado's visit is being rescheduled for 3-7 August 2018. [Please see update, 19 May, above.]

    We are just finalising the details of the new visit and will be announcing them shortly. All customers with bookings for the event in May will be contacted by our Customer Services Department as soon as possible.

    However, we are pleased to confirm that Paddington™ will still be visiting us on 28 and 29 May, and that the sold-out Teddy Bears' Picnics will still go ahead on 26, 28 and 29 May, with one of our own locomotives heading the trains.

  • Brian Lacey's photo from today shows SECR P-class No.323 'Bluebell' with the vintage set; guests attending a wedding celebration were travelling on this train, and hence the unusual additional decoration on the SECR hundred-seater behind the locomotive. It was a distinctly SECR day today, with the O1-class on the other service train, and the H-class hauling a Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea train.


11 May:
Baxter at Didcot - Robert Else - 7 May 2018

4 May:
Q-class at West Hoathly - Brian Lacey - 1 May 2018

Older updates are in the What's New Archive
or the 2017, the 2016, the 2015, 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.

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