The full list of Special Events is also now available, and changes this year include the mutation of the July Steam Fair into a "Steam and Country" fair, the change from a November Military Vehicles day to a major "1940's Weekend" event in mid-September, and the "Giants of Steam" becoming a full weekend in October following the outstanding success of this year's event.
The dates of operation and full details of the 2001 Golden Arrow Pullman Dining Train are also now available.
It was the LBSCR Gala though that provided the drama. Everything went relatively smoothly on the Saturday, but on the Sunday Knowle came close to running out of water, and ended up dropping its fire close to the tunnel, and had to be rescued by Birch Grove taken off the following train. As a result the train service for the rest of the day was cut back to three sets of locos and coaches, but Knowle, having had a few hours to recover in the sidings at Horsted, was fully fit again to play its part in the triple header as scheduled, seen here in Tony Pearce's photo. More of his photos of the event are to be found here, and a fine photo of the two Bulleid-liveried Terriers with a 4-coach Bulleid train has appeared in the latest edition of "Steam Railway".
Whilst the weather was not the best, it was a most enjoyable event. The evening service formed of Stepney and the Observation Car (representing a Brighton Balloon Auto-trailer) and Knowle with the two Metropolitan coaches were kept busy on the Saturday evening, and Freshwater, posed with the goods train under floodlights at Horsted, provided additional interest.
There were plenty more Terriers and other Brighton locos to be seen in model form in the model railway exhibition at Horsted Keynes, and this was also adjudged a success, although a power failure caused by a lightning strike curtailed the operation of the superb collection of finescale layouts slightly prematurely on the Sunday afternoon.
Unfortunately over Tuesday night (12th Dec) there were two landslips on the line caused by torrential rain. A minor slip in the cutting near Three Arch Bridge has been repaired, with eight wagon-loads of spoil excavated, allowing a Golden Arrow Pullman Dining Train to operate on the Thursday evening. Unfortunately a more serious landslip at Ingwersons, between West Hoathly and Kingscote, will take more time to rectify.
In spite of these problems, our Santa Special timetable will be unaffected, with departures from Sheffield Park maintained at their published times.
The repairs are of a temporary nature, since the roof needs complete recovering, and considerable unsound timber is known to remain in the body, so the Car will require much more major work next year to keep it serviceable in the longer term. A survey of Car 54 is being undertaken, and initial indications are that this may be an easier proposition for overhaul, since the body itself is in much better overall condition, and many spare parts have been gathered by the Horsted Keynes Pullman Car Group to complete the vehicle over the past decade.
Maunsell BCK 6575 has been withdrawn from service pending intermediate overhaul, which it may receive later this year. Again the principal problem is the failure of the roof covering, and the coach is currently in the carriage shed where it is "drying out".
The photo shows that from Keepers (where the pond has been drained) there is now an
unobstructed view north for about 450 metres - almost to the south end of
the tip. Much of the trackbed has been "skimmed" which will hopefully enable it to
drain. However it is in no way ready for track to be laid! Much
of the original bed is damaged and will need work to make it fit for ballasting.
With the arrival of the three visiting "Stroudley Terriers" (2678 [photo right] yesterday and W8 & W11 expected next Tuesday) preparations are well under way for this event. Completing the LBSCR loco line-up are our own "Stepney" and "Birch Grove" which will be running. "Fenchurch", in the final stages of its overhaul and re-build back to original A1 shape, will be on static display along-side the others. There is a photo-news update for Fenchurch on the Loco pages.
Recently restored Bulleid Pacific "Blackmoor Vale" (also built at Brighton) and the 1896-built "O1" will also be running that weekend, and in addition to being able to ride in LBSCR, SECR, Metropolitan and Southern Railway coaches, on the Saturday evening and Sunday morning "Stepney", with the help of our Observation Car, will be re-creating a Brighton "Balloon" Motor Train. A pre-grouping goods train will also operate Saturday morning and evening.
Further details are available: Click here. Note particularly that engineering work means that Connex trains to East Grinstead are not running that weekend. An hourly Connex bus from Three Bridges to East Grinstead connects with our own 473 bus to Kingscote. The 270 bus from Haywards Heath to Horsted Keynes is another alternative, as is RDH Service 121/122 from Lewes to Sheffield Park on the Saturday.
Donations in memory of Lilian may be sent to the Brighton Saloon Fund
c/o Bowley Funeral Services,
30 Keymer Road,
Hassocks BN6 8AN
This project also benefits from donations when you buy Historical Transport Film videos from Beulah through this link. Another project supported in this way is The Brighton Atlantic project.
Most recent progress on the Carriage Works Extension has seen the laying of a concrete floor on the raised dock area, and the laying of drains has started. A block-work wall now separates the two halves of the south end of the existing shed.
Whilst the Works Extension may look superficially fairly complete, much is still to be funded on the interior of the building, including the remaining concrete floor, fitting doors, fire and intruder alarm systems, electrics, heating, installation of existing woodworking machinery from elsewhere on site, fitting dust extraction, moving the existing paint shop and internal partitioning, and fitting out the mess room, toilets and showers. A fire-break is also required down the length of the existing shed to separate the rolling-stock storage area from the workshop. The electrical system, involving lighting, three-phase and single-phase power distribution and a new power intake area, is the biggest part of the project, and will cost several tens of thousands.
All of this means that we cannot lay off from fund-raising, so please do download the Calendar, and send in a suitable donation (no matter how small, but the larger the better!)
A reminder that a Bluebell Railway Screensaver is also available for downloading to your PC. This is raising money for the overhaul of SECR 323 "Bluebell".
Sundays 10th, 17th and 24th December,
Wednesday 20th, Thursday 21th and Friday 22nd
We need 14 volunteers a day just to serve the refreshments on the trains, and also volunteers to heat mince pies on all days.
These are enjoyable trains to work on so come along and help to raise thousands of pounds for our railway.
No previous experience required!
New Volunteers welcome.
Please contact Tom Windsor (Santa Special roster clerk)
72 Kilmartin Ave, Norbury, London SW16 4QZ (020) 8764 0879
or C&W dept. Horsted Keynes.
If you prefer the fresh air and a little less physical work, David Mark and Roger Price are also looking for people to help at the various car parks at Sheffield Park. Contact David at 39A Marius Road, Upper Tooting, London SW17 7QU, or leave a message for Roger at Sheffield Park. Days when more help is still needed are: Sun 3, Sat 9, Sun 10, Sun 17, Wed 20, Thu 21, Fri 22, Sat 23 and Sun 24 December.
Due to LSWR loco "Normandy" requiring works attention (it's now back in action) the works trains were hauled by LBSCR E4 "Birch Grove", which was based at Horsted Keynes for the week. Since this loco has air braking, and the P-way mess coach also retains air-braking, we can now claim to have run our first air-braked train!
These volunteer gangs have made a big impact on the dropped rail-joints and other problem areas over the last year, and the HK gang have also been involved in laying the new Ardingly junction trackwork at the south end of Horsted Keynes.
On behalf of Graham Flight, Chairman of the Bluebell PLC, myself, as Chairman of the Preservation Society, and extensions Director Jim Turtle, I am pleased to be able to confirm that the Bluebell Railway has completed the purchase of the last two pieces of land between Kingscote and East Grinstead in private ownership.
There are two remaining tracts of land not in private ownership for which negotiations are at an advanced stage.
This means that Bluebell owns the Trackbed immediately north of Kingscote to the land north of the viaduct.
Extensions Director Jim Turtle will begin planning the works and infrastructure required immediately. Line clearance and fencing operations have already begun and can progress northwards in earnest.
Please note that access to the trackbed is not permissible under any circumstances.
The Bluebell Railway can at last begin the final push northwards and achieve its principal objective... a terminus at East Grinstead.
A full story detailing the history of the extension will appear in the Christmas edition of Bluebell News.
Further details of the Bluebell's Extensions are available here.
This project is no pipe dream. The Bluebell already have a boiler and tender frame and wheels, plus many of the smaller parts. However there is much to do so if you want to help with skills, services or just money please e-mail Barry Coward.
A web page about this project was made available last year.
A Bluebell Website 2001 Calendar will also be available in a few weeks time - watch this space!
Privately owned, and restored at Tyseley in 1989 with the help of a MSC scheme, this vehicle was purchased privately by a Bluebell member in October 2000, and moved to the line to act as part of the Bluebell's dining train. It was in use yesterday for filming work.
The total cost of cladding the walls and roof (both are insulated double skins) was about £40,000 and we are grateful to the Bluebell Railway Trust for contributing half the cost of the cladding. Other funding to get to this stage has come from a legacy and a large number of very generous individual donations.
Since this photo was taken, the windows have been glazed and the drainage work is under way. The next major step is laying the floor on the upper (dock) level, which will exhaust the currently available funding, so please refer to the web page for this project to see how you can help us complete this project.
The system, which enables a user to read information on a very small screen on some mobile phones, is in its infancy. Many commentators predict that it will not become a widespread service and that it will be overtaken by the next generation of such services, which will be very much more powerful. I don't see that as any reason not to offer a WAP service, since the experience of doing so can only help when more advanced services become available in the future, and in the meantime, it offers a useful service.
The future on the Bluebell Railway of Southern Railway No.928 "Stowe" has been secured. The Maunsell Locomotive Society have announced that they have been able to strike a deal with Lord Montagu at Beaulieu for "Stowe", one of the three surviving Schools class express engines. The purchase has been partly funded by some very considerable individual donations, and partly from the sale of 830 (see below). Stowe will unquestionably be the flagship of the MLS collection, complementing their other Maunsell Locomotives (Q 541, Us 1618 and 1638 and S15 847).
2. Arrival of Bulleid Light Pacific "92 Squadron"
34081 '92 Squadron' arrived last Thursday, and is expected to run each weekend up to and including 19th November. The undoubted highlight of the visit will be the double heading on a 12-coach train with the Bluebell's own malachite green pacific, 'Blackmore Vale', at the Giants of Steam event on October 22nd.
The locomotive was unable to steam this last weekend, since unfortunately the insurance documentation was not immediately to hand, and to make up for this the locomotive may additionally steam for a couple of days during the half-term week.
3. Ex-Barry S15 No.830 sold to group on NYMR
The low-loader which brought in '92 Squadron' returned north with our second ex-Barry scrapyard S15. The Maunsell Locomotive Society decided last year that they would sell 830 if a suitable group could be found who could restore it to operational condition. 830 now joins 825 and 841 on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, where 825 is currently nearing completion of its overhaul, using the boiler from 841. The sale included the frames of the ex Schools-class tender which had been salvaged from use on BR as a snow-plough, specifically for use with 830.
All the railway magazines have carried tributes to Handel, who died in August just days after his 48th birthday. Involved heavily with the Bluebell, and more recently the Ffestiniog's Welsh Highland project, his final articles for Railway World (which he edited for a number of years before he was diagnosed with cancer) were an in-depth, critical look at the Bluebell, and the last in the line of "Young Isambard" columns which he had written anonymously over many years.
BR Standard 4MT 80151 and Stroudley Terrier "Fenchurch" are in strong competition to see which loco will be the next out of the works. Fenchurch is touch-and-go for the Terrier gathering in November. If it does run then, it will do so without many of the modifications intended to return it to its original "A1" class condition. The formal re-launch of the locomotive is therefore expected to take place in February, following completion of these final items, the crowning glory of which will be a genuine Terrier chimney cap, taken from 2647 in the 1930s when it was at Newhaven shed and obtained by F.C.Hambleton who bequeathed it to Dick Riley who has now very kindly given it to us to put on the engine.
However the project leader, Martin Lock, is already looking forward with the next phase of planning, which will ultimately give us a 24-vehicle storage shed, and also cover over the maintenance siding with its inspection pit. This storage shed (dubbed "the garage") is, according to our Chairman, Roy Watts, quoted in Steam Railway magazine, our second most important priority after completing the extension to East Grinstead.
After a week of frequent downpours across West Sussex, the 23rd September proved to be a glorious day for the sponsored walk. The good weather ensured an excellent turnout for the event, with participants from as far afield as Germany and Canada. Given the weather, most opted for the longest of a choice of three routes, which included glimpses of the Ardingly branch, the Ouse Valley viaduct and canal, and some of the few surviving remnants of the Ouse Valley Railway.
Early walkers evidently disturbed the solitude of a visitor to Three Arch Bridge, who had taken up residence with a generous supply of alcoholic refreshment. There was some puzzlement on both sides when he was assumed to be a marshal, but failed to respond as expected to the walkers' questions! Otherwise, the event ran smoothly, and some very positive feedback has been received.
The Group would like to extend a very big 'thank you' to all those who took part, to their sponsors, and those who made personal donations. Your efforts are very much appreciated. Early indications are that this year's sponsored walk will make a significant contribution to the purchase of the remaining structural timber for the coach body, and to the manufacture of new brake end doors, which will give a big boost to the project.
Regular visitors to Horsted Keynes will have noticed the progress made with the restoration during the summer months. On the day of the sponsored walk itself useful progress was made with the preparation of the next section of 'bottom rail' and a further area of brake end exterior panelling.
As ever, anyone who feels able to make a 'hands on' or financial contribution to the restoration of this vintage coach would be very welcome. Please call the project leader, Tim Preston, on 01243 530955 for further details. Any donations (payable to 'LSWR Restoration Project') should be sent to the group Treasurer, Andrew Smith, 15 Hurst Farm Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex RH19 4DQ (e-mail: email@example.com).
The 3rd of the Met coaches (Composite No.368) is getting more complete. It now has a third coat of paint on the canvas roof. The south end bogie has been overhauled and refitted, and the south end panelling is going on. Third class seats are being trimmed and the 3rd class quaterlights are being fitted. The doors for 412 (the last one) are now being worked on. Bogie No.7 is being painted and bits machined for it, and 8 new side bearing springs are on order for it and bogie No.8. No.368 should be back in service next year.
We still have 7 first class, and quite a few 3rd class, tickets left for the first train so, if you want to sample the delights of the first train of 3 Mets since 1967, you only have to send a cheque to Sheffield Park for £50 (3rd) or £100 (1st) for each ticket, made out to BASH.