The Dutch train will operate pre-booked services daily between Saturday 2nd September and Sunday 10th September in addition to our normal timetable. Full details are available here.
The photos, taken by Lewis Nodes at Sheffield Park, show Wednesday evening's test run. High resolution versions of the pictures are available: click here.
Following a sucessful test run last Thursday (photographed right by Tony Pearce - see his web page for full-size photos) it was hoped that Bulleid Pacific Blackmoor Vale would run as planned at the weekend. However, a subsequent test run on the Friday say the loco failed with two tender axleboxes running hot. None the less, it was in steam on the Saturday for its re-naming ceremony, performed, as in 1976, by artist David Shepherd, together with H.A.V. Bulleid, the loco designer's son, and his grandson was also in attendance. The Pullman special for the Bulleid Society's guests, and an evening members' train were hauled by the BR 9F.
With two service trains and the Stepney Special vintage train also running, a four-train timetable was therefore in operation, achieved whilst maintaining the advertised public timetable. A revised loco roster is now available covering the rest of August.
Handel Kardas, a one-time Bluebell Signal & Telecoms volunteer, and former editor of the Railway World, died on Friday after a long battle with cancer. Photographed in 1986 with one of his Staffordshire Bull Terriers, "Dinah", and fellow volunteer Dave Dare, Handel (on the right) produced the Bluebell's in-house newsletter, "The Flying Pig", prior to moving on the bigger things in railway journalism.
Handel was a leading light in the team responsible for the construction of the LBSCR-pattern Inner Home Signal at Sheffield Park (Photo right) and was largely responsible for driving the project forward. He obtained the long lenghts of pitch pine required, and made patterns for the castings, confounding the sceptics who said it couldn't be done.
Handel also instigated the Bluebell's Stepney Club some eleven years ago, which now has a membership of over 400. This is our club for children between 3 & 8 years of age.
National Railway Museum owned Met-Cam Pullman Kitchen First "Eagle" has arrived on the Bluebell Railway on loan. The move has been prompted by the sale of Pullman Car "Bertha" by its owner to an individual connected with the Swanage Railway. Bertha, which has run on the Bluebell's Golden Arrow dining train for ten years, is a former SR 6-Pul electric vehicle. During the 1980s its interior was restored from a stripped-out shell by its owner. It was modified to be suitable for service behind steam engines by volunteers at Horsted Keynes, involving changes to the lighting, heating, braking, electrical, refrigeration and cooking facilities, as well as the gangway connectors. The sale comes at the end of the 10-year agreement between the owner and the railway.
Eagle, which has run on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway until recently, requires minor maintenance before it can enter service on the Bluebell's "Golden Arrow" Pullman dining train.
A reminder that the sponsored walk, which is being run in support of this project, is on Saturday 23 September. Full details are here on the web site.
For one week only, Locomotive No.18 Leeghwater, built in 1921, will be visiting the Bluebell Railway from the Stoomtram Museum Hoorm-Medemblick. It will be accompanied by two vintage carriages, built in 1904 and 1915, which feature clerestory roofs and varnished woodwork.
The Dutch train will operate daily between Saturday 2nd September and Sunday 10th September. Seating is limited to 80 seats per train, and pre-booking is essential. Fares are Adult: £10.00, Child: £5.00 - your ticket also allows unlimited travel on scheduled Bluebell trains in addition to the 13-mile ride on the special Dutch service.
Bookings can be made by post to:
Bluebell Railway goes Dutch
Horsted Keynes Station
West Sussex RH19 4BB
or telephone 01825 790185 (between 10.30am and 4.00 pm daily)
2. Bulleid Light Pacific "92 Squadron"
34081 '92 Squadron' is to make a return visit to the Bluebell Railway this autumn. It is scheduled to enter service on 30th September and run each weekend up to and including 19th November. Highlight of the visit will be the double heading with the Bluebell's resident West Country 'Blackmore Vale' at the Giants of Steam event in October.
The Battle of Britain Loco Society and
the Bluebell Railway also plan a couple of private photo charters with both
Bulleids sometime in November. Proceeds from these events will go towards
transport costs. Details from Ian Bowskill
The Football Competition is very easy to enter. The easier of the two competitions is to predict the winner of next year's FA cup. My wife picked Chelsea for this year, which shows just how easy it is! The other competition is as easy to enter, but harder to win, the aim being to predict the final order of the teams in the Premier league. Full details on the web site for the competition.
Volunteer Experience Days - Friday 18 & Saturday 19 August 2000
We can always make use of more volunteers to help run our railway, so this is your chance to find out what it's all about! Details on a special web page here. With the railway experiencing an 11 per-cent increase in passenger numbers in the first half of the year, we need all the additional help we can get.
The Dutch steam tram Locomotive No.18 "Leeghwater" and two vintage tram carriages will be visiting the Bluebell between 1st and 11th September. Following a test run on the 1st, it is intended that the tram will venture up the line each day until Sunday 10th September. A marquee at Sheffield Park will feature a "Taste of Holland" week with Dutch food.
Trackwork and resignalling at Horsted Keynes station:
This massive project continues to progress. The last bit of track to give Horsted four platform roads for the first time since 1913, and complete the junction towards Ardingly, is close to completion. Last Tuesday the Alf Brown Group dug the hole in which will be planted their latest creation; the elevated shunt signal at the exit of the up yard.
Malachite Bulleid Pacifics:
The paint finish on "Blackmoor Vale" is apparently going to be a sight to behold, and we're hoping for a re-launch on 19th Aug, with its first public trains the following day. Plans are also well advanced (but subject to final confirmation) for the visit of "92 Squadron" for an extended stay in the Autumn.
Memories of the LBSCR - 18th & 19th November
Plans are progressing well for this event, which will include the Starlight Special evening on the Saturday. It looks as though there could be more than one visiting Stroudley Terrier!
Mk.1 TSO Carriage For Sale
With so many pre-grouping and Southern Railway coaches in service, we have a spare Mk.1 TSO for disposal. See the web page for TSO No.4921 for details.
This is the second year running that the Bluebell has won this award, last year's winner being LBSCR locomotive "Birch Grove". Trevor Rapley commented that it had been a pleasure showing the judges over the vehicle, all the more so in that they evidently had a real appreciation for the effort and skills which had been put into the overhaul of what is believed to be the first bogie coach to return to traffic on a preserved line on a reconstructed underframe.
This photo, again from Lewis Nodes, shows the cab and bunker structure of this 1872-built Stroudley "Terrier" in the course of being painted. The distinctive wrought-iron domed cab roof has been extensively repaired. The firebox door-hole layout has been re-engineered to enable the door to open fully. This problem went back to the new inner firebox fitted in the late 1970s.
Full photo reports are available on both of these projects on the Loco Dept Photo News pages.
SR "U" No.1638
The Maunsell Locomotive Society's news page (from which this photo is taken) reports that they have decided that there's no reason to wait for contract welders to become available to construct the new tender body, and so the society's volunteers are pressing ahead with this themselves, and the photo shows the significant progress achieved so far.
Over 500 vintage cars, tractors, commercial vehicles, motor bikes and steam road engines will assemble at Horsted Keynes Station to take part in the annual Bluebell Railway Steam Fair.
Harris Brothers' vintage fun fair will be powered by two mighty Showman's Steam Locomotives all weekend, helping to give a taste of yesteryear to the many visitors who attend.
Martin Lock, the project organiser, is running a joint working week, where work on both the Metropolitan coaches and the building work will be progressed. If anyone would like to join us for even one of the days in the week 31 July-4 August, then you'd be made very welcome. E-mail Martin Lock for more details.
There will be a choice of three routes ranging from 4 1/2; to 11 miles through beautiful countryside, and full instructions will be given on the day. The selected routes offer opportunities to explore the Bluebell Railway's setting on foot, with options to visit stretches of the former Ouse Navigation (see Bluebell News, Spring 2000), the remaining operational section of the Ardingly branch, remnants of the planned but never completed Ouse Valley Railway and the famous Ouse Valley Viaduct. Full details are here on the web site.
The coaches will be returning home in time for the second Victorian Evening on 7th June, for which the last remaining tickets are still available. Ring the catering Department to book for a journey back to Victorian times plus fine food and entertainment.
The appointment of two new Vice Presidents of the Society was ratified. One is Dr David Quarmby, currently Chairman of the British Tourist Authority. The second, as previously reported, is Sir Alastair Morton, Chairman of the Shadow Strategic Rail Authority.
One speech of particular note was from David Ratcliff, chairman of the Bluebell Railway Trust, who reported on the Trust's activities in the last year, and announced the Trust's largest grant yet, being £20,000 towards the Carriage Works Extension project. This represents approximately half the cost of the cladding and roof. The interval teas and retiring collection also raised £445 towards this essential project, and further donations are always welcome, since there will still be much to be done to finish the workshop once the structure of the building is complete. With the completion of the Football Premier league matches, results for this part of the our fund-raising competition are now available.
Although these two evenings are booking up fast, there are still some tickets available. For full details see the web page for these events.
More information is available on the Pete Coleman's Web Site.
The purchase of the remaining sections of trackbed continues to progress frustratingly slowly. The reluctance of some of the existing owners to sell at a reasonable price as well as circumstances outside of our control, are our main problems. As the number of sections remaining to be purchased falls so the asking price can increase with the railway more or less held to ransom. For these reasons and the fact that we do not have a bottomless pit of money, has meant that negotiations are complex and protracted, which is why precise details relating to land purchase cannot be divulged on a regular basis.
The remaining work on Imberhorne Viaduct is another area of the extension that has become protracted. The appointed contractor had been due to start as long ago as September 1998 but withdrew the week before arriving on site. This has led to a long-running contractual dispute which only now appears to be reaching a conclusion which should allow work to commence this year. Completion of the viaduct is a vital part of the extension and in particular of the removal of the tip, as it is hoped to move as much of the waste as possible by rail.
Under the original planning permission to reinstate the line granted in 1986, we are required to gain the approval of Mid Sussex District Council prior to removing the tip. To achieve this we are currently modifying the feasibility report to form the basis of our submission and have consulted East Grinstead Town Council in order to address any concerns they may have about the works. Hopefully full details of how the tip will be removed will be published in the near future.
Obviously all this work needs to be funded, to which end we have been pursuing finance through the Landfill Tax Credit scheme. Unfortunately we have been unable to obtain any further LTCs in the last 12 months so the total so far remains at £300,000. This is a long way short of the £6,000,000 required to remove the tip. Some of this money has already been spent on testing of the tip and the feasibility study to remove it, as well as the purchase of the land between the viaduct and the tip to allow removal of waste by rail. All remaining funds will be used to complete repairs on the viaduct.
Obtaining further LTCs is dependant on a number of issues being resolved, including completing the purchase of the entire trackbed and gaining the approval of MSDC to remove the tip. This is due to the reluctance of landfill operators to commit funds to a project until other issues that may cause delay have been resolved. It is therefore unlikely that we will receive any more money from this source until the autumn at the earliest.
And finally, East Grinstead Station. In reality it is unlikely that any funds will be available to construct a station building initially, so the realisation of the plans shown in the past is some way off. For this reason no further design work has been undertaken on the future station, although the existing proposals have been discussed with East Grinstead Town Council to gauge their opinion. Unsurprisingly they have their own ideas for the station, which are generally based on the reconstruction of the original station building to serve both Railtrack and Bluebell. A pipedream maybe, but not impossible.