Also see 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.
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.
- 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 returned 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.
- 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.
- Brian Lacey's photo here shows the Q-class with the Wealden Rambler at Kingscote on Saturday.
- Photos from John Sandys from last Thursday, a lovely warm sunny day - includes 847 on the service trains, and several photos of progress on Camelot.
- Camelot update from Peter Gibbs, with thanks to the Workshop staff.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with a few changes to accommodate some maintenance requirements.
- Roger Carpenter has returned to take some more photos at the new box at Kingscote, with some explanatory notes. The most important piece of equipment (kettle excepted) for the signalman has also now arrived!
- It was a great weekend of steam on the Metropolitan line. The photos below, from Mark Armstrong and Varsha Ratna, show Met.1, Sarah Siddons, and our four Chesham set coaches at Harrow On the Hill Station on Sunday and Saturday respectively. Our carriages should be returning by rail to East Grinstead on Wednesday morning.
Videos of the Steam event on the Metropolitan Line this weekend are available from:
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the S15 arriving with the service train at East Grinstead yesterday. We have a public train service every day through September.
- Postal booking for Santa Specials is also open, with forms available at the Railway, from the enquiry offices, or for you to print from here. In addition, 3rd-class (i.e. standard) tickets for those Santa Specials starting at Sheffield Park may be purchased online now, as can all tickets for the Reindeer Specials.
- Booking is also now open for the Victorian Christmas Trains from Sheffield Park on Tuesday 22 December. Phone 01825 720800 or book online.
- Great to see the Bluebell featured as part of a topical skyNEWS report yesterday comparing Queen Victoria To Elizabeth II.
- There are just a few tickets remaining for this weekend's London Transport Museum Vintage Summer Steam event, running between Watford, Chesham and Harrow-on-the-Hill. Carriages B, C, D and E are the Bluebell's Victorian Metropolitan Railway carriages, which again have been loaned to London Underground for the event.
- Martin Lawrence provides this view of the C-class on arrival at East Grinstead on Sunday, with the Edwardian set. The photo is taken from a restricted area only accessible to our Authorised official photographers. It is one of the photos Martin has added to his September gallery.
- During September, residents in the locality of East Grinstead Station who are over 60 years of age can take advantage of our Monday Club Cream Tea Offer, which is available Monday to Friday, for pre-booking only. Call us on 01825 720800 to book, or drop in to our Travel Centre at East Grinstead Station.
- Booking details are now available for Autumn Tints 2015 which run on weekdays only, 5-23 October. You can start your journey from Sheffield Park or East Grinstead. Seating capacity is limited on some departures, so pre-booking is recommended, and for tickets booked at least 8 days in advance there is a substantial discount.
- Online and postal booking is now open for our hugely popular Santa Special trains in December. Telephone booking for Santa Specials opens on 5th October, but 3rd-class (i.e. standard) tickets for Santa Specials starting at Sheffield Park may be purchased online now.
Booking for our Reindeer Specials is now also open: phone 01825 720800 or book online.
- Roger Carpenter had the chance to see the progress made in the new box at Kingscote yesterday afternoon, and has added a few pictures to his Bluebell 2015 folder on flickr, with some explanatory notes.
- Martin Lawrence's two photos below illustrate two volunteer projects currently in progress. As part of the Kingscote Goods Yard project, the ex-Horsted Keynes Goods Shed has had major structural and roof repairs and a full repaint, undertaken by some volunteers from the Friends of Kingscote. On the Elephant Van project (materials being funded by the Arts Council Resilience Fund, with work being undertaken by many volunteers from the C&W department), the metal structure of the van has, after grit-blasting and anti-rust treatment, received a coat of primer and two undercoats. Repairs to hardwood planks from the sides are in hand, and new roof hoop timbers and floor timbers have been delivered (the pile of timbers seen stacked on the right in the photo).
- Martin Lawrence provides this photo showing GBRf's 73136 & 73107 at Horsted Keynes yesterday, having just collected our four Metropolitan carriages, with more in his new September gallery, together with this video of the occasion.
- An obituary for Graham Mallinson is provided on the BRPS Members' pages, with thanks to Roger Cruse.
- Not one, but two updates to the Project 27 Blogspot with what appears to be good news on the frames, which will save time, effort and money!
- Gavin Bennett's photo below shows the Met coaches en-route to West Ruislip, at South Croydon yesterday evening.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows Baxter with Observation Car at East Grinstead on Sunday.
- Brian Lacey's photo illustrates Sunday evening's Special fundraising/test train with "Captain Baxter", seen here preparing to take the second train of the evening out of Sheffield Park.
- We are immensely saddened by the news of the death of Graham Mallinson at the Shoreham airshow crash. This tribute to him has been issued by his family, to whom we offer our sincere condolences.
- Further photos and a report on progress towards the return to service of No.73082 "Camelot".
- On Sunday Bob Palmer handed over a cheque for £111,492.52 which was most gratefully received by Roy Watts, Chairman B.R.P.S. and Bill Brophy, Chairman of The Bluebell Railway Trust. Cheques for similar amounts were presented to representatives of the R.S.P.C.A. and Guide Dogs for the Blind, representing three very generous legacies left by the Will of the late Colin Palmer.
Full details in this press release - photo by Martin Lawrence.
Legacies left to The Bluebell Railway Trust are becoming an increasingly important element of the funding which enables the continued preservation and development of the Bluebell Railway.
- The timings for tonight's trip of our four Metropolitan carriages, to be hauled by a pair of GBRf Class 73s from Horsted Keynes to West Ruislip Depot, are available from RealTimeTrains. They will be in use on the Metropolitan Line for the Sept 12-13 London Transport Museum "Vintage Summer Steam" event, running between Watford, Chesham and Harrow-on-the-Hill.
- Derek Hayward's photo below shows S15 No.847 approaching Horsted Keynes on Saturday 22 August. This locomotive has been performing reliably on the main service set for the last few weeks, and is the service engine for this week too.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows Sunday evening's Special fundraising/test train paused at Horsted Keynes. The first coach behind "Captain Baxter" is our LBSCR Stroudley First No.661. The evening raised over £1,400 towards the restoration of our Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864, and thanks are due to Russell Pearce, Simon Barker and the catering team, Roy Watts at East Grinstead, and our train crew and signalmen for enabling this test train to be used as a fund-raising special.
- Keith Duke provides a gallery of photos of the Baxter specials, and other evening photos around the Railway.
- It is with sadness that we report that Lord Montagu, who established the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, and was initially responsible for saving our Schools-class locomotive "Stowe" and Pullman Car "Fingall" for preservation, has died aged 88. He had been President of Bluebell Railway PLC since its formation in November 1985. We offer condolences to his wife Fiona and son Ralph, both of whom have had connections with the Bluebell over the years, and the rest of the family.
- Martin Lawrence has added some final photos to his August gallery, including updates on the Elephant Van project (funded by the Arts Council Resilience Fund) and the preparations to move the permanent way facilities from their current location at Horsted Keynes to consolidate the S&T at that location.
- We are currently advertising a vacancy for a Chef, to work at Sheffield Park and on our Pullman Dining Train.
- The Locomotive Duty Roster is now available for September, together with the first draft for October, with thanks to Chris Knibbs. As always, this may be subject to changes without notice, if required.
- Our Museum web pages include one describing Withyham Signal Box.
- Video study of our Maunsell Q-class, from Philip Bull.
- Visitors to Horsted Keynes station should note that the road from the Ardingly/Lindfield/Highbrook direction (Station Approach via Burstowhill Lane/Hammingden Lane) is likely to be closed from today for up to two weeks whilst a major water main is laid across the road. Horsted Keynes station can still be reached from Horsted Keynes village and from Sharpthorne via Horsted Lane and Cinder Hill.
- Steve Lee's photos show the Sunday lunchtime dining train behind B473 and the H-class with the Victorian set plus Observation Car, both seen at Horsted Keynes. The four Metropolitan carriages are due to leave on Thursday this week, by rail via East Grinstead, for the forthcoming London Transport Museum's "Vintage Summer Steam".
- A new web page has been created for the Carriage Shop on Platform 1 at Horsted Keynes, with thanks to Chris Wilson for the content.
The shop, selling a large range of second-hand railway items, is open right across the August Bank Holiday Weekend:
The shop also has a facebook page:
- Friday 28th: 10 am - 5 pm
- Saturday 29th: 11 am - 4 pm
- Sunday 30th: 11 am - 4pm
- Monday 31st: 10 am - 5pm
- The first photo below is one of Derek Hayward's from Saturday, showing the H-class approaching Ketches Halt with the 7-coach Victorian set.
- Photos from John Sandys from today, three engines in steam, shunting at Horsted Keynes, and a look at the Stroudley carriage restorations in the carriage works. One of John's photo from today, below, shows the C-class shunting at Horsted Keynes. The engine later returned the 9F and "Blackmoor Vale" to Sheffield Park, now the work to reclad the Locomotive Works has been finished.
- Full details are now available to download for the 2016 Murder Mystery evenings on the Golden Arrow - see also details for the remainder of 2015.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the H-class (with 7 Victorian carriages in tow) approaching Kingscote on Saturday, where "Captain Baxter" is waiting to leave with the vintage goods train.
- We're now well into Kids' Week which runs until Monday 31 August: Kids for a Quid - Punch & Judy shows and Circus Skills - see full details.
- For a rare chance to ride behind Baxter on a special Evening Train, join us on Sunday 30th August. The special trains leave Sheffield Park at 6pm and 8.30pm - tickets still available: ring Richard Salmon on 07799 890750 or e-mail - we need passenger numbers for catering - see details on this poster. The event is helping to raise funds for the restoration of Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864.
- Further photos and report from Peter Gibbs of the 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society.
- John Sandys provides an album from last Thursday, and another from yesterday, a very busy day at the railway despite the wet weather!
- Martin Lawrence provides a video of the procedure involved in "running round" the goods train at Kingscote from Saturday.
- Derek Hayward has added 30 photos to the start of his 2015 Bluebell album, with photos from Saturday.
- The first two photos below, from Brian Lacey and Derek Hayward, show Saturday's cricket match between the Bluebell Railway and Scaynes Hill Cricket Club, who have recently commissioned a second cricket ground right next to the Railway. A great day was had by all. Scaynes won the toss and batted first. Bluebell bowling and fielding fielding was tight, taking nine wickets whilst Scaynes put on 165 in the allotted 35 overs. Unfortunately, the Bluebell's batting fell short, totalling 87 all out. There will be a full report in the forthcoming issue of the Bluebell's e-Newsletter.
- The third photo below, from Huw Lloyd who was working in the C&W, shows Baxter being oiled round after taking water in the down yard at Horsted Keynes on Saturday.
- Steve Lee's photo below shows Baxter with the demonstration goods train on Saturday, and John Sandys' shows the S15 arriving at Horsted Keynes yesterday with the first train of the day from East Grinstead.
- John Sandys' photo from Tuesday shows our four Metropolitan Railway carriages back in service, approaching Horsted Keynes behind the H-class, with LBSCR 661 and LCDR/SECR 3360 bringing up the rear.
- Advance notice and information about our Vintage Bus Day on Sunday 4 October - free vintage buses to and from Bluebell Railway stations.
- Photos from Dave Bowles showing the first two service trains last Saturday (and some rather nice photos from later the same day from the Eastbourne Air-show).
- Martin Lawrence has added a few photos of the Elephant Van being grit-blasted by a contractor, and the C&W's electric yard truck (milk float) which has been obtained for use moving spare parts around the extended site, now that the storage containers are being moved much further from the workshop.
- Bulleid Society update on the overhaul of Bulleid Composite Carriage No.5768.
- Brian Lacey's photo below from last Wednesday shows the S15 arriving at East Grinstead.
- Baxter will again be hauling a vintage goods train this coming Saturday, to the timetable below.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the crew of the C-class at Horsted Keynes on Wednesday 12 August.
- Baxter Evening Trains
Join us for a round-trip of the line from Sheffield Park behind "Captain Baxter" on Sunday 30th August.
Book for the 6pm or the 8.30 pm train - Tickets £18, including Evening Meal.
Bar and food from 7.30pm in the Bessemer Arms. The bar will be open until 10.30pm.
Tickets available from Dave Clarke and Richard Salmon in the C&W at Horsted Keynes, or phone Richard & Deborah Salmon on 01737 772811, or e-mail Richard Salmon - or send a cheque (payable to "Maunsell 7864 Group" - specifying on which train you wish to travel) to: Deborah Salmon, c/o C&W Dept, Bluebell Railway, Horsted Keynes Station, Nr. Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH17 7BB
"Baxter" will be hauling a test train formed of the Obo, plus LBSCR 661 and SECR 3360. Please note also that there will be no extra charge for travelling in a first class compartment, but this will be "first come first served"!
We are very grateful for the opportunity offered by this test train as a fundraising opportunity for the restoration of our Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864.
- Kids' Week - Monday 24 to Monday 31 August
Between these dates Kids for a Quid special fares will apply. Break your journey at Horsted Keynes where, in addition to the model railway, King George V buffet serving light snacks including pasty and chip lunches, and Carriage Works viewing gallery and exhibition, the following shows will take place:
Full details of Kids' Week here.
- Monday 24, Wednesday 26, Friday 28, Saturday 29, Sunday 30 & Monday 31 - Punch and Judy Shows at 11.30, 12.45, 2.00 & 3.15
- Tuesday 25 & Thursday 27 - Circus Skills including learning to spin plates: all day 11.30 to 3.30
- John Sandys' photos from today show the Metropolitan coaches back in service, following a lot of work done over the last six months, including retyring one coach, repairs the end of one underframe, new brake cylinders, and much other mechanical work.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with thanks to Chris Knibbs, with further changes to intended loco usage for the rest of August.
- Keith Duke has some pictures from Saturday, mainly of the brake van trips behind No.323 "Bluebell".
- Derek Hayward has completed his album of the Vintage Transport Weekend, including photos of all the prize-winners.
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows ex-Southdown Leyland National No.34, PCD 80R at East Grinstead, on the free bus services on Sunday.
- Huw Lloyd is currently visiting from Canada, working in the C&W department, as his summer holiday, and provides the photo below showing the 09 shunting the re-commissioned Metropolitan Railway set yesterday.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows C-class No.592 approaching Kingscote with the 11am service from Sheffield Park on Wednesday. That below shows the S15's crew oiling the locomotive prior to the 2.45pm departure from Sheffield Park.
- Baxter Evening Trains. Join us for a round-trip of the line behind "Captain Baxter" from Sheffield Park on Sunday 30th August at 6pm or 8.30pm - tickets from Dave Clarke and Richard Salmon at the Railway this weekend - more details to follow. Funds raised will be used for the restoration of Maunsell Dining Saloon 7864.
- Three photos and report from the 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society, showing continued good progress in the works on their engine.
- John Sandys' live video tour from yesterday of work in progress at Kingscote's new signal box, now on YouTube.
- Through August we are offering August Offer discounts on advance child ticket purchases. And if tickets are booked 8 days in advance, there's a "Bluebell Bonus" discount for Adults too!
- Report about four historic and diverse items recently added to our museum collection.
- Further Vintage Transport Weekend photos, from Jonathan Hughes.
- No.323 "Bluebell" will be giving Brake Van Rides at Sheffield Park station tomorrow, as a fund-raiser for the Friends of Sheffield Park, between about 10.30am and 4.30pm.
Huw Lloyd's photo below shows "Bluebell" shunting at Horsted Keynes yesterday, in the rain.
- Derek Hayward's photo shows some of what was an especially good contingent of steam-powered traction engines and rollers at the Vintage Transport Weekend. Further photos are here, with more to come. Derek's photo below shows Mike Ryan posing with the Southdown Trophy for Best in Show with his Bentley 4 1/4 Overdrive EYX 395.
- This coming Sunday, 16 August, there are Free Vintage Bus Services between East Grinstead and Uckfield, and in the Uckfield area. Details here.
- Whilst we are not about to rush off and start building it, we are starting to think about issues and opportunities regarding an eventual Western extension of the line from Horsted Keynes to Ardingly, and possibly Haywards Heath, in line with our Long Term Plan. With that in mind, visitors to the line are being encouraged to complete this survey.
- John Sandys provides some photos from today, another very busy day, with the S15 carrying a "Nine Elms Enginemen" headboard for their visit, and the vintage set hauled by the C-Class. There are also photos of Kingscote North Signal Box, which should be ready for service early next year, and East Grinstead Canopy.
- Martin Lawrence has an experimental/test video of the view from No.B473 as it departs from East Grinstead and arrives at Horsted Keynes. Martin has also added a few more photos to his August gallery.
- Other photos of the Vintage Transport Weekend are available from Christopher Ward and Keith Duke.
- Tony Sullivan's photo below shows the ex-LBSCR E4 No.B473 leaving Horsted Keynes on Thursday last week, with the 11am service from Sheffield Park.
- Brian Lacey's photo from Monday shows the C-class and H-class double heading, at the exit from the tunnel. His photo below shows the E4 at West Hoathly with the LCDR/SECR coach No.3360, restored by a team of our volunteers, and converted to carry passengers in wheelchairs, with funding provided by the Big Lottery Fund's "People's Millions" scheme a few years ago.
- Reminder that this weekend is our Vintage Transport Weekend - we have a special intensive 3-train service, displays of vintage and classic cars, stationary engines, commercial vans, steam road engines, vintage farm tractors, and motorbikes, with a BBQ and Real Ale tent in the rally field.
- Every Monday, Wedsday & Friday in August we have Punch & Judy Shows.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with thanks to Chris Knibbs, with some changes to intended loco usage for the remainder of August.
- Dave Clarke has recently updated his albums of work being done in the Carriage & Wagon department, showing work on LCDR/SECR Third No.3188, SR Maunsell "Hastings" brake 3rd No.3687, SR 8-plank wagon No.30004, Elephant Van No.4601, the work on which is being supported by the Arts Council Museum Resilience Fund, Mk.1 RMB No.1818, LBSCR Brake 3rd No.949, and LBSCR 3rd No.328, plus Chloe, the new supervisor.
- We are currently advertising a full-time post for an Infrastructure Assistant. Other vacancies on that page also remain open.
- Derek Hayward has uploaded a large number of additional images of last Saturday's goods train and service trains to his Bluebell 2015 collection, including B473 shunting at Kingscote, plus a limited number of images of the Seaside Weekend.
- Aron Stenning has a gallery from a visit last week.
- Peter Edwards' photo below shows the E4 on the Brighton Belle Breakfast Pullman train on Saturday morning.
- David Long's photo shows the E4 with its vintage goods train on Saturday at West Hoathly.
- At the Vintage Transport Weekend (8-9 August) we have a special intensive 3-train service, and the timetable is available here
- Reminder that on Saturday evening, 8 August, there is a Horsted Keynes Sidings Tour giving the rare chance to view stock stored there. There will also be tours of the C&W works over lunchtime that day.
- More news and photos from The 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society with photos from Peter Gibbs, as their locomotive gets ever closer to returning to service.
- Martin Lawrence has completed his July album, including some photos of Dick Fern celebrating his birthday with some friends and the E4 and Obo, and also of the new stairlift in the Bessimer amongst others. He has also started on his August gallery with the new posters and adverts on the East Grinstead canopy, a few photos in the C&W, and of the Seaside Weekend.
- Dave Bowles has some pictures from a pleasant trip to the Bluebell on Saturday morning.
- John Sandys has a gallery from Tuesday.
- Mayor opens East Grinstead Station's New Canopy
Roy Watts MBE, Chairman Bluebell Railway Preservation Society, was delighted to welcome East Grinstead's Town Mayor Councillor Dick Sweatman to the railway on Monday.
The Mayor had been invited to formally open our new East Grinstead platform canopy and disabled persons facility. The photos below from Martin Lawrence and Richard Clark show the ceremony, and the canopy now adorned with appropriate period adverts, litter-bin and posters, which Colin Tyson and Richard Clark had fitted over the weekend, with thanks also to Richard Hill of the Friends of Kingscote for restoring the original BR posterboards. More details and photos are available in this press release.
- Steve Lee's photo from Saturday shows the C-class waiting to leave Horsted Keynes with the Wedding Special. In the background, appropriately accompanied by a Bulleid carriage, is the out-of-ticket 21C123 "Blackmoor Vale", which has recently been relocated from the loco shed to make space for workshop activities whilst the loco works itself is being re-clad and re-roofed.
- Tomorrow's Vintage goods train should be hauled by the ex-LBSCR E4, No.B473 (timetable here).
There should be another goods train running on Saturday 22 August, with "Captain Baxter" doing the honours.
- Update from The 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society with photos from Peter Gibbs, showing lots of progress over the last week, including the chimney now in place.
- Details and timetables for the Free Vintage Bus Service between East Grinstead and Uckfield on Sunday 16th August 2015, to celebrate the centenary of the incorporation of Southdown.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with thanks to Chris Knibbs, showing intended loco usage for August (as always, this may be subject to changes without notice).
- Brian Lacey's two photos below show the H-class as it pulls out of Sheffield Park with the Maunsell coaches and Observation Car, forming the 1.30pm service yesterday, and the Q-class taking water there before hauling the following service. Note the water pump carried on the tender in case of the need to put out lineside fires.
- John Sandys provides the photo on the right showing the SR Maunsell Q-class running round its train at Sheffield Park, yesterday afternoon. More of John's photos from yesterday are available here. That below shows the SECR H-class on the vintage set at Sheffield Park, with our 1880-built LBSCR First No.661 behind the engine.
- On Saturday we have a Brighton Belle Breakfast Pullman Special service, and also the Vintage goods train - the timetable for which is here.
- The following weekend, 8 - 9 August, is our annual Vintage Transport Weekend. Displays of vintage and classic cars, stationary engines, commercial vans, steam road engines, vintage farm tractors, and motorbikes. A 3-train steam-hauled service will operate all day and there will be a BBQ and Real Ale tent in the rally field at Horsted Keynes.
- In the evening on Saturday 8 August Dave Clarke and Richard Salmon will be leading a Horsted Keynes Sidings Tour. This is a rare opportunity to view the carriage stock stored in the sidings at Horsted Keynes. Meet at 5.45pm at the entrance to the Carriage Works on platform 5 at Horsted Keynes.
A donation of £10 is requested (towards Operation Undercover and Maunsell Restaurant Car funds). The tour is expected to take 2 hours; stout footware and a moderate level of fitness is required. Contact Richard Salmon for more information.
We regret that the planned look at the LBSCR Craven and Balloon coach sections sadly will not be possible after all - instead we will plan to go inside one or two of the SR Maunsell coaches stored in the sidings.
- Tony Sullivan's photo below shows P-class "Bluebell" and Fletcher Jennings No.3 "Captain Baxter" at Sheffield Park on Thursday last week, having been prepared for their annual boiler inspections.
- Steve Lee's photo shows the C-class at Horsted Keynes yesterday with the Pullman train, on a wedding special.
- Our Summer Festival is now under way - we have our peak 2-train steam-hauled service daily until the end of August.
Details now available for Thursday's special.
Don't forget it's our Kids for a Quid special offer for Children's Week, Sat 1 - Fri 7 Aug.
- The Locomotive Shed is shown as "closed" due to building work taking place, however some public access is now possible, but restricted to the north end of the shed, so that "Stepney" and a few other engines are on show.
- Derek Hayward's photos below show two of the stalls in the Marquee in the field at Horsted Keynes at last Weekend's Toy and Collectors' Fair.
- Brian Lacey's photo on the right shows the C-class No.592 departing from Sheffield Park with Saturday's Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea train.
- Over the coming couple of weeks, from Saturday 25 July to Sunday 9 August, we have our Summer Festival - lots of tours off the railway and events on the railway, with a 2-train steam-hauled service. It includes our Children's Week, Sat 1 - Fri 7 Aug, with the Kids for a Quid special offer.
- Two more photos from The 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society showing 73082 Camelot coming back together.
- An update on restoration progress is available on the Project 27 Blog.
- Brian's photo below shows No.847 waiting to leave Horsted for East Grinstead with the 12:15 from the Park.
- Derek Hayward's photo shows some of the stalls in the Marquee in the field at Horsted Keynes at the Weekend's Toy and Collectors' Fair. More photos are available in Derek's gallery from the weekend.
- Derek Hayward's photo shows the Toy and Collectors' Fair in full swing at Horsted Keynes on Saturday. With Platform 2 back in public service, platforms 4 and 5 contained lots of stalls, along with the marquee and car-boot section in the field. Derek's gallery of photos from the weekend is now available.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with thanks to Chris Knibbs, showing intended loco usage for the remainder of July (as always, this may be subject to changes without notice).
- We have obtained some "match" funding from a kind sponsor for the proposed the cricket match at the new ground alongside the line. So please help our joint effort with Scaynes Hill Cricket Club to use this event for some fund-raising!
- The Bluebell News Backnumber Service is now the responsibility of The Bluebell Railway Museum. Back issues may be obtained for 50 pence per copy plus postage (except recent issues, which will continue to be sold in the Shop for full price). Please write initially to the Museum Curator at Sheffield Park or e-mail the curator to check availability of particular issues and the total cost.
If anyone has copies of Bluebell News for 2008 to 2012 (and no longer requires them) please consider giving them to the "back issue store". Copies may be left at the Bluebell or Bulleid shops at Sheffield Park.
- Photos of Stowe's new throat-plate on their facebook page.
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows 30541 arriving at Horsted Keynes with the 1:30 from Sheffield Park on Saturday. Note the birdcage coach behind the loco, and the LBSCR van No.270 in the goods dock in the background.
- Tony Sullivan's photo shows "Camelot" looking ever more complete in the loco yard last Thursday. The tender has moved up to Horsted Keynes for painting in the Carriage & Wagon paint shop.
- Derek Hayward's photo shows the H-class with the vintage set on Saturday, approaching Kingscote. Derek has added three pages of new photos from Saturday at the start of his 2015 Bluebell Album, showing the four locos in steam, the fantastic flower-beds at Kingscote station, and much more.
- Martin Lawrence has been adding photos to his July Gallery including the Met brake No.387 back on its bogies yesterday, earth-moving in preparation for the OP4 carriage shed extension project, and showing the recent work to lift, renew the drainage and ballast, and reinstate No.22a points at Horsted Keynes.
- This coming weekend is our big Toy & Rail Collectors' Fair on the platforms and in a marquee at Horsted Keynes. In addition there is a car boot sale for railwayana, toys and collectables on the hard standing in the car park between 10am and 4pm each day.
- On Sunday we have our annual Songs of Praise at Kingscote Station - free connecting train service from East Grinstead, Horsted Keynes and Sheffield Park.
- Also on Sunday, for the East Grinstead Lions Donkey Derby, we have our £5 steam travel offer.
- Photos and report on progress towards Camelot's return to service, from their Society Chairman, Peter Gibbs.
- Chris Thomas has posted some photos from the Sunday of the Model Railway weekend on his website. At the bottom of the same page is a collection of photos from the Extension 1st anniversary gala in March 2014, which may also be of interest.
- With the recent news that U-class No.1638 has been withdrawn from service after nearly 10 years, Nick Dearden has put together a short video compilation to commemorate the years of sterling service put in by this locomotive.
- The Bluebell was a winner in the inaugural Lewes and Wealden Business Awards announced on 19 June 2015. The purpose of the awards, sponsored by Rix and Kay solicitors, is to offer formal recognition of business excellence, providing a much-needed boost to the business community in the area. There were 16 categories of awards including one for Hospitality, Tourism, and Leisure, where the Bluebell Railway was a joint winner along with Pelham House Hotel.
- On Saturday our twinned Dutch railway, Museum Stoomtram Hoorn Medemblik, were asked to come to the rescue of a EMU stranded when a lorry brought down the overhead on a single line section of the line between Hoorn and Enkhuizen. So they did - with steam!
- Apologies that the goods train didn't in the end run on Saturday. The S15 just made it to Horsted Keynes with the first service train, where it was failed due to excessive priming (foam in the boiler carrying water over into the superheater and cylinders), so the C-class was taken off the goods to haul (the shortenned) passenger train up to East Grinstead. With the H-class following on the vintage set, the Q-class then took over on the following round trip with set A. The S15 was tested again later in the day, running in tandem with the C-class on the Wealden Rambler, as seen in Derek Hayward's photo below.
- Kieran Hardy's photo below shows the Q-class at Kingscote on Saturday 4 July with the vintage set.
- Paul Furlong's photo from Tuesday shows the Q-class No.30541 approaching Horsted Keynes.
- In the light of the decision to withdraw U-class No.1638, Derek Hayward has updated his gallery for the locomotive, where 170 images now cover the entire period of service from February 2006 to July 2015 (in random order).
- We currently have a vacancy for a Kitchen Porter.
- Peter Gibbs from The 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society provide four photos, and accompanying report, on progress with their locomotive, which is now being worked on in the (closed) locomotive shed, whilst the Loco Works is being re-clad. Stephen Desmond, who lives in New Zealand, looks after their website, which is worth a look to find out more about the Locomotive and the Society.
- This Saturday morning we have a Goods Train running, to the timetable shown on the left. The plan is to use the SECR C-class goods locomotive, which will be hauling the Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea Train later in the day.
- Derek Hayward's photo below shows Baxter leading (with the H following on behind the LNWR Observation Car) on the special additional shuttle near Ketches Halt on 27 June.
- Tom James' photo below shows the state, as of Sunday, of the work to re-clad and re-roof the locomotive works. The upgraded building will be a lot easier to heat in the winter! Thinvestment in improving and upgrading our facilities is being funded by a grant from The Bluebell Railway Trust, made possible by bequests left to the Trust last year.
- Brian Lacey's portrait of U-class No.1638 at East Grinstead on 30 May serves to illustrate the locomotive as it comes to the end of a very good nine-and-a-half years, during which it bore the brunt of our front-line services. With several relatively minor faults and a hydraulic boiler test required if repairs were carried out, it's been decided, rather than committing workshop time and money to gain just a few months extra on its boiler certificate, that it would to more sensible to use those resources in expediting the current overhaul of 'Camelot'.
- Great set of photos from Dan Green, taken on Saturday, featuring the Q, S15 and C-class locomotives.
- Update to web page for Stepney, and pages for operational and static-displayed locomotives
- The Maunsell Q-class makes a fine sight with the Southern set at Three Arch Bridge on 27 June, in Phil Horscroft's photo below.
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows the Q-class at East Grinstead yesterday, with Bulleid Brake No.2526.
- Derek Hayward's photo, from the Saturday of the Model Railway Weekend, shows the S15 on the Bulleid/Mk.1 set, leaving Sheffield Park.
- Kieran Hardy has a gallery of photos from Saturday, showing the S15, Q and C-class locomotives in action.
- Martin Lawrence provides a short video of a Sentinel steam wagon at Sheffield Park yesterday, and has made a start on his July gallery, including showing the new tables and chairs outside the Bessemer Arms at Sheffield Park station.
- Entry forms are now available for the annual fund-raising Football Competition - you do not need to know anything about football to enter - just try to predict the Championship or FA Cup Final results! There's also an update to the web page showing the funds raised over previous years by these Football Competitions.
- The Watercress Line is the only preserved line to be a finalist in the Best Heritage Project category of the current National Lottery Awards and wishes to send a clear message as to how much we all value the National Lottery sponsored apprenticeship schemes for the future. It is in all of our interests to support this, so please do take a look at their entry, and offer your support if you wish.
- Gas main works on the A22 at the London Road/Imberhorne Lane junction are finishing, but next week work is due to start on installing a new water main in Imberhorne Lane, which will result in further delays on the roads in the area at times over the summer, including a partial one-way system in Imberhorne Lane on some occasions.
- Three photos below, from Mike Hopps, taken during the filming of the Mercedes-Benz promotional video, illustrate the work of the Bluebell's recently-formed filming coordination team, which is led by Tim Parkin.
- So this is what we have been doing all last week for Mercedes-Benz & Samuelson Wylie Associates as part of last week's Mercedes-Benz "Goodwood Festival of Speed" experience, which enabled journalists and writers from all over the world to travel in this "smart forrail" last Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Bluebell.
A great Promotional Video was shot on the railway on Monday 22 June, and is now available. More information is provided in the official Mercedes-Benz Press Release, and our own.
We're already getting some great coverage, from all over the world!
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with thanks to Chris Knibbs, showing intended loco usage for July (as always, this may be subject to changes without notice).
- The next Demonstration Goods Train is on the morning of Saturday 11 July, and will hauled by SECR C-class 0-6-0 No.592.
- Latest newsletter now available from the BR Standard 2 tank No.84030 project.
- Update and photos on the overhaul of SR Schools Class No.928 "Stowe".
- Update on BR 5MT No.73082 "Camelot"
- Gabriel Phillips' time-lapse video from Sunday on the gate at East Grinstead.
- Steve Lee's photos from Saturday show the 1.30pm service approaching Kingscote behind the Q-class, and Baxter leading the Observation Car shuttle South from Horsted Keynes. This shuttle service, topped-and-tailed with the H-class so that it could achieve a quick turn-round at Horsted Keynes, and thus fit in a return journey from Sheffield Park between each service train, was very well patronised, and provided significant extra capacity and flexibility for those visiting the model railway weekend, which was focussed on Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes.
- Richard Salmon's photo on the right shows the layouts in Loco Works over the weekend.
- Derek Hayward has a gallery featuring images from the Model Railway Weekend.
- Martin Lawrence has also added some photos to his June gallery to include his adventures around the railway this weekend, featuring a walk under a U and a P, and preparations in hand for re-cladding the loco workshop at Sheffield Park.
- The re-cladding the loco works will necessitate access to the loco shed being restricted for several weeks.
- We are reluctantly now stopping our recycling scheme for mobiles, printer cartridges, etc, which has been used as a fund-raising opportunity. This is because the amount paid for such items has recently fallen, such that an estate-car load only raises a few pounds, and so the volunteer effort and storage space required is no longer an effective use of our resources. We thank Phil Jemmison for having initiated and run the scheme for the last 5 years.
- During June 2015 there were 56,626 total hits on this page, from 33,165 unique visitors.
- Derek Hayward's photo below shows an item of Southern interest on the Bachmann stand at the show - the ex-SR Van 'U' (CCT). That from Richard Salmon shows Oxford Rail's Engineering Prototype of their Adams Radial Tank. Amongst their plans is a limited edition of just 55 models of our own No.488 as preserved, which will be available exclusively though our own shop.
- Over the coming Model Railway Weekend we have not just our own full-size steam, but also P4 and N, 00, 0 and Gauge 1, including live steam models. Over 100 layouts and traders.
- The photo on the right shows a "Fenchurch" diorama prepared for the Project 27 display upstairs in the Bessemer Arms at Sheffield Park. The display in the Birch Grove Suite will include a selection of Bluebell and other locomotive models; a selection of P-tanks in various liveries, Terriers also in various liveries, a couple of 009 gauge layouts plus a few dioramas. Hopefully there will also be a display of some of the parts removed from the loco for restoration, and a few new parts that have been made for No.27.
An update on restoration progress is also available on the Project 27 Blog.
- There will be layouts and sales stands all over the railway. Visit the locomotive works at Sheffield Park for Gauge 1 including live steam, Thornbury Hill 00, and other layouts and traders, with additional traders on the platforms and in the Birch Grove Suite.
At Horsted Keynes the Carriage and Wagon Works will feature more layouts and traders, including the first showing of the new P4 layout Plumpton Green, and many other layouts. More traders and layouts will be located on the platforms and in the waiting rooms.
- See the 23 June entry below for details of our train timetable over the weekend.
- On Sunday there will be a sales stall at the Atlantic House, with a chance to view work in progress. After that, the next open days for the Brighton Atlantic project will be over Giants of Steam.
- Brian Lacey's photos below from last Saturday show Baxter in steam at Sheffield Park, and the Q-class arriving at East Grinstead with the Vintage set.
- Brian Lacey's photos above show the Q-class with the GNR Directors' Saloon in tow, on Saturday, together with another view of "Stepney" within the loco shed at Sheffield Park - the loco shed is open daily (except Christmas Day).
- This coming weekend we have our annual Model Railway event. The timetable is available here - in addition to our normal two service trains there is an additional shuttle between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes, with limited seating capacity, formed of our LNWR Observation Car. (Note, on Sunday, the "GL" Golden Arrow Luncheon train is for pre-booked passengers only). We hope to have more details of the layouts soon.
- More of Peter Gibbs' photos showing the latest progress with Camelot's overhaul.
- The photos below are also from Brian Lacey, from Saturday, and show the S15 on arrival at Sheffield Park with the 1.15pm train from East Grinstead, and one of the resident Horsted Keynes train spotters.
- Brian Lacey's photo on the right shows C-class arriving at Horsted Keynes last Saturday; that below shows the S15 there also.
- As you may have gathered from the photos of the Q-class running this week, it's been "all-change" compared to the planned loco roster, thanks to the Q being available. An updated Locomotive Duty Roster, reflecting the current expectation for the rest of the month is now available.
- Reminder that tomorrow, Sunday 21 June, is the annual BHF London to Brighton Bike Ride, which runs down from The Duke's Head roundabout, via Crawley Down and Ardingly, with some roads being one-way for part of the day. Approaching the railway by road from the West, particularly towards Horsted Keynes, will need careful planning.
- Photos from last weekend's Open Days in the Atlantic House added to the Brighton Atlantic project news page. Fred Bailey's photo below illustrates the great progress which was on show.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the Q-class arriving at East Grinstead with the first service of the day today.
- The selection of beer for is Friday's Rail Ale evening train is:
On train: Dark Star (W Sussex) - Hophead
Dark Star - Partridge Best Bitter
Dark Star - Sunburst
At Sheffield Park: Joseph Holt (Manchester) - Two Hoots
Westerham Brewery - Hop Rocket
At Horsted Keynes: Lacons (Gt. Yarmouth) - Falcon Ale
Adnams (Southwold) - Jester
1648 (E Hoathly) - Signature
The last few tickets are still available at £34.50, which includes the steam train ride, a sausage & mash meal, live Jazz and first pint free; subsequent pints (or glasses of wine) are £2.50. Details here.
- three further photos from The 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society showing progress on the locomotive as of the weekend.
- John Sandys' photos from yesterday, with the Q-class running well.
- Keith Duke took a few pictures after carriage cleaning on Monday, showing the Q getting ready to head out with the 1.30 service, views around the shed, and the resident house martins.
- The photos below are also from Brian Lacey, from Saturday, and show the S15 with Baxter at Sheffield Park, and Stepney now on display in the shed at Sheffield Park.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the current state of the Atlantic during the last weekend's open days.
- Martin Lawrence has also added pictures of the Brighton Atlantic open day and progress on the Elephant van and other coaches, and of the Rover car enthusiasts meeting at Horsted Keynes to his June Gallery.
- Clive Emsley has updated the weekly Project 27 Blog. There are a few notes and pictures of what is going on with the project.
- Following on from the glimpse seen in their video of the running sample of the Adams Radial Tank, last week, Hornby have today announced their plans to release models of the SR 58-foot rebuilds of 48-foot LSWR carriages, such as our own No.320.
- Pullman Car "Lilian" represented the Bluebell at our stand at the South of England Show at Ardingly at the end of last week, as seen in Rob Langham's photo.
- The three photos below are also from Brian Lacey, from Saturday, and show the C-class at East Grinstead, the S15 at Horsted Keynes, and other locos on shed.
- S15 No.847 has been in charge of the trains this week, and is seen arriving at East Grinstead with the 1.30pm service from Sheffield Park on Wednesday in Brian Lacey's photo. It's possible the Q-class will be used next week (starting on Monday).
- A Smartphone App has been developed to allow visitors to gain more information about items in our Museum at Sheffield Park. The App makes use of a special WiFi system system installed in the Museum.
- Gas main works are starting on Monday 15 June, lasting a few weeks, on the A22 at the junction of London Road and Imberhorne Lane at Felbridge, just north of East Grinstead. Previous roadworks at this location have caused significant and lengthy delays, so please bear this in mind if travelling to the railway from this direction.
- Five new photos from The 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society showing the tender returned from having its tyres turned at Ashford, and progress on the locomotive itself.
- John Sandys provides a few photos from Tuesday.
- Martin Lawrence provides this photo showing Stepney in the sunshine on Sunday; his other photos are in his June gallery, showing more detail of the engine, with Captain Baxter. As also shown in the gallery, Stepney is now on public display in the Locomotive Shed at Sheffield Park.
- Atlantic House 2015 Open Weekend this coming weekend, 13-14 June, 10.30am to 4.30pm
Construction of our new Brighton Atlantic locomotive on view, with group members on hand to explain/discuss the project
Sales stand - lots of bargains
Auction Sunday 2.45pm (viewing from Saturday morning).
Items include: Full-size replica brass 9017 Cabside plate - Original LNWR Framed hand coloured drawing of Webb Compound (1889) - 2 original Matthew Cousins paintings
Further details here.
- 20 years of electronic "News from the Bluebell"
The first Internet News Update from the Bluebell, using e-mail and "usenet" discussion groups, and later posted on our web site, was distributed by Richard Salmon, with loco news provided by Martin Nichols and encouragement from Malcolm Roe, in June 1995. This basic service, initially intended for BRPS members and enthusiasts, lasted over a decade until superseded by more regular news updates on this Blog/What's New page, and now also our more recent E-newsletter. The news archive is still available online, and the first edition makes for an interesting comparison both in style and content with the current service - back then e-mail was relatively new, and "plain text" was the only option.
- The two photos below by Brian Lacey, from Saturday, show the U-class ready to depart from Sheffield Park, and the C-class arriving at Horsted Keynes.
- Last year Derek Hayward took 20 images in the private garden of Barcombe Station (with permission). We now have permission from the occupier for them to be made available for public display, and hence Derek's Barcombe Station collection has been augmented, including the photo on the right. The full range of galleries along the closed (and open) sections of our line can be found from Derek's Photographic Tours index. Please note that this is private property. Image taken by arrangement with the Bluebell Railway and displayed with the consent of the occupier.
- The work on our Elephant Van, No.4601, being funded by a grant from the Arts Council Museum Resilience Fund, is now covered on this new page, created by Nick Beck with a report from Sheina Foulkes covering the work carried out to date, illustrated by photographs from Martin Lawrence.
- Reminder that The South of England Show at Ardingly started today, running through to Saturday, so traffic in that area to the west of Horsted Keynes will be heavy. Also the following Sunday, 21 June, is the London to Brighton Bike Ride, using that same road, so approaching the railway by road from the West, again particularly towards Horsted Keynes, will need careful planning.
- The first photo below, by Anthony Morris, is a charming portrait of his daughter Sophie making use of our historic public telephone.
- Brian Lacey's two photos then show the E4 with Saturday's wedding special, and the Spitfire which flew high over Sheffield Park the same day.
- John Sandys has photos from a very wet & windy day at the railway on Tuesday, and a rather better Thursday, which includes this photo of "Stepney", as repainted into its original Stroudley colours.
- On Sunday 7th June our 1875-built Terrier "Stepney" will be showing off its new coat of Stroudley Golden Ochre paint at Sheffield Park Station. Stepney was the Bluebell Railway's first engine, arriving in May 1960.
Members of our Stepney Club will be on hand on the platform to talk to visitors about Stepney. We are also running our "Kids for a Quid" special offer that day. Further details here. Although initially advertised to take place at Horsted Keynes Station, the event will now take place at Sheffield Park Station.
- Photo report: On Friday 29th May representatives from the Southern Electric Traction Group visited Bombardier's Ilford Carriage Works to assess progress on the restoration of the Bluebell Railway's unique 4VEP EMU No.3417.
- Article in East Grinstead Courier about a new children's book about the Bluebell. The picture book, A Tale Of The Bluebell Railway, is written by East Grinstead resident Valerie Stothard and illustrated by local artist Sheila Hay, and is available from our shop.
- Final results are now available for the Football Competition. The Winners' cheques and entry forms for the 15/16 competition will be issued shortly.
This year's competition raised £235.50 towards the restoration of Maunsell Restaurant Car No.7864. Many thanks to everyone who has entered and congratulations to the winners, including those who picked Arsenal in the FA Cup. Your support of the competition is greatly appreciated.
- We are currently advertising a vacancy for the role of Safety Manager. The vacancy for Locomotive Workshop Manager also remains open at present.
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows the U-class No.1638 arriving at East Grinstead with the service train on Wednesday. The Locomotive Duty Roster has been updated to reflect the replacement of the Q-class with the U this week.
- Tony Sullivan's photo shows Standard Tank No.80151 in the shed next to "Captain Baxter" yesterday. The onging preparations for the overhaul of 80151 have reached the stage where they are starting to be visible. New steel tyres are already in stock at the South Devon Railway's workshop (where Camelot's wheels were also retyred).
- Three photos from Brian Lacey from Saturday, here showing the C-class and LSWR Brake Third 1520 at West Hoathly, and below "Captain Baxter" with its goods train, and the S15 with the other service train that day. The C-class had replaced the Q after its first round-trip. Baxter's train consisted of two LBSCR and two SECR goods vehicles, plus the SR pill-box brake van. The return to service of the Bluebell's SECR dance-hall is considered a high priority by the C&W, with suitable replacement wheelsets being investigated, to complete the pre-grouping goods train. SECR 7-plank No.16194 is the department's current wagon overhaul project, and the SECR box-van will receive attention, once the re-trimmed seating stored in it is installed in the Bulleid composite coach.
- We are pleased to have been awarded another Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor, thanks to the great reviews we've received from our visitors.
- The latest issue of the Bluebell's "Safety News" is available to download via the Society Members' information area of the web site.
- During May 2015 there were 62,867 total hits on this page, from 35,438 unique visitors.
- David Long's photo shows Captain Baxter approaching Horsted Keynes with its demo goods train, yesterday morning. It's planned that further goods trains will run on Saturday 27 June and Saturday 22 August (subject to confirmation). Another of David's photos is shown below.
- Six new photos illustrating work in hand on the overhaul of the Maunsell Locomotive Society's Schools class No.928 "Stowe".
- Keith Duke provides pictures of Baxter and also a couple of the S15 on the first service train. .
- Tom James took a few snaps taken between trains of the Baxter goods train yesterday.
- A comprehensive web page has been created for 1957-built Standard BD type Goods Container BD49908B, which is also added to a new section of the wagon stock list, which will eventually feature the three containers we are planning to designate as heritage items in our collection. With thanks to Martin Skrzetuszewski and Nick Beck.
- Martin Lawrence has added a few photos to complete his May album, including the East Grinstead canopy lit up, for yesterday evening's Golden Arrow.
- Steve Lee's photo from last Monday, showing the U-class with the vintage train near Town Place, is also included below. The U was back in action today, deputising for the Q, which requires attention to a water leak in its tender.
- The Q-class has been in regular service for 2 weeks now, and is seen here with the Pullmans at Medhurst Farm on 17 May (Derek Hayward)
- Dave Ryding provides a small gallery of the Q-class, taken on Sunday 24 May.
- The Track Trek was hugely successful, with around 250 participants, raising much-needed funds for the Keep Up The Pressure and Cash for Cover appeals. If you wish to support the two Chairmen, Dick Fearn and Roy Watts, you can sponsor them on JustGiving here.
Mike Hopps provides a photo below showing the Track Treck approaching New Coombe Bridge and West Hoathly.
- Mike Anton took some 360-degree panoramic shots during the Track Trek and you'll find the static images here. Each image has a link to the scrollable versions such as this one.
- Martin Lawrence has added a few more photos to his May photo gallery, which includes the Track Trek, the Q-class in action, and the finishing touches to the canopy at East Grinstead.
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows the Q-class just north of Leamland Bridge on Thursday 21 May.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with thanks to Chris Knibbs, showing intended loco usage for the remainder of the month and for June (as always, this may be subject to changes without notice).
- Captain Baxter is again running a goods train, for guards training, tomorrow. The timetable is to the right.
- Derek Hayward has a number of updates to his galleries:
- Bank Holiday Monday (25 May) have been added to the Bluebell 2015 collection (scroll down page 1);
- Wickham Trolleys - Pictures include the refurbished DX68078 (DB965992, Works No.10708) of 1974, prior to re-entering service;
- Ransomes and Rapier Ltd Steam Crane which has moved from its dedicated siding at Horsted, but restoration still progressing;
- BR Standard tank No.80100, now moved to Horsted and pictured before being again covered with a tarpaulin;
- North London Tank No.27505, also moved to Horsted for storage and pictured there;
- USA tank WD1959 (BR No.30064) also in store at Horsted.
- Nick Dearden hase a short video of Bluebell goods engines at work from Sunday 17 May, featuring the Q-class, S15 and the C-class with the Birdcage brake and other vintage coaching stock.
- Roger Carpenter was recently on duty as Signalman at Kingscote, and since this will be the temporary box's last summer, decided to record the box and its views. The same day, some external video shots from Mike recorded the token exchange with the C-class and the Q-class arriving, passing the S15, which is seen departing southwards.
- Two new photos from The 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society showing the ashpan attached to the firebox, and pipework progressing on the chassis. The photo below, from Brian Lacey, shows the boiler and ashpan now back in the frames.
- John Sandys provides a few photos taken at Sheffield Park yesterday.
- Dave Bowles provides a couple of dramatic shots of the Q-class.
- Derek Hayward's photo below shows the U-class leaving Sheffield Park with the vintage set, amidst the daisies on 25 May, Yoshi Hashida's shows the S15 at Three Arch Bridge on 17 May, and Brian Lacey captures the Q-class at the occupation bridge on the approach to Kingscote Vineyard (Mill Place) with the 1:30pm from Sheffield Park on 23 May.
- Major update to the Brighton Atlantic Project News page, including, as seen in Fred Bailey's photo on the right, the running plate and splashers coming along very well.
- The BRPS AGM is tonight - don't forget to bring your membership cards. We have a "Double Donation Dash" for the Keep Up The Pressure appeal, with £1,000 offered by a donor as match funding against donations collected on the evening, a Champaign Raffle in aid of Project 27, the refreshments being sold in aid of Cash for Cover, and the retiring collection is to be split between KUTP and CfC.
- There are a good number of people walking the Track Trek on 24 May who have created JustGiving pages, to attract additional sponsorship. Please support them:
If you are taking part, then you also can create your own JustGiving Fundraising page.
- Roy Watts and Dick Fearn (the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society and PLC Chairmen) who are leading the walk;
- Martin and Alex Widdowson;
- Samantha Kellow;
- Callum and Darren Roberts;
- Charlotte Talbot;
- George Alan Smith;
- Mark Richardson;
- David Chappell;
- Deborah Salmon.
- The Mid Sussex Times reports on Scaynes Hill Cricket Club's new ground, adjacent to our line. The scene bears a remarkable similarity to one of Revd. Awdry's stories in Stepney the Bluebell Engine!
- The Bulleid Society have an update on 34059 and 21C123, which includes the photo from John Fry, below, showing the steam combine (i.e. manifold) from 34059, on which the faces are being machined at Sheffield Park, after the body of the casting had been bead blasted.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the S15 running round at East Grinstead in the rain on Thursday.
- Derek Hayward's photo shows the Home Guard at Horsted Keynes on Saturday.
- The last few tickets are still available of tomorrow night's McIndoe Rail Ale & Jazz Evening - phone 01342 414295 now! If you can't come to that, the next normal Rail Ale evening train runs on Friday 22 May.
- Peter Trimming's video from Sunday's Southern at War event shows some of the attractions at Horsted Keynes that day.
- It's not too late to sign up for the Track Trek, on Sunday 24th May, when this year's walk takes us from Kingscote to Horsted Keynes through the Tunnel. Please see details here.
Once you have signed up, why not create your own JustGiving Fundraising page for the Trek.
Roy Watts and Dick Fearn (the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society and PLC Chairmen) are leading the walk - and if you'd like to sponsor them, do it on JustGiving here.
The aim is to raise much needed funds as a final boost to the Keep Up The Pressure and Cash for Cover appeals to overhaul some of our steam locomotive boilers, and to provide overhead cover to ensure the survival of our most vulnerable as-yet unrestored historic carriages.
- The cylinder block was removed from the frames of P-class No.27 on Friday. This can be seen in the photo below by James Parker. The next move will be to split the two halves of the block so that the internal parts can be surveyed and assessed. However, it is more than likely that a new set of cylinders will need to be cast.
- On the Atlantic Project, as a taster for a forthcoming major update to that project's news page, we see below in Fred Bailey's photo the eccentric rods which have been connected to the expansion links.
- Sunday, the second day of Southern at War, was crowned with a superb display from the Hawker Hurricane from Biggin Hill. Train services were hauled, appropriately, by the SR-liveried S15, U and E4-class locomotives, and two of the three coaching sets matched the locomotives and period, something few other heritage lines can achieve.
Again, Derek Hayward's photos illustrate the event. On the right two of the land girls are seen at Horsted Keynes with two of the home guard. Below we see the Hurricane, the signalman at Sheffield Park catching up with the weekend's news, and a line-up of military vehicles at Sheffield Park.
- The BBC ONE South East documentary about the post-VE-day holiday mood, transmitted last night, is now available in the UK on iPlayer.
- Three new photos from The 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society, showing the ashpan ready for fitting, the cylinder drain cocks and pipework, the bogie re-assembled and back in place, and the sanding gear, just awaiting delivery nozzles.
- We have a Fathers' Day Lounge Car Breakfast on Sunday 21 June. Start the day perfectly by treating your father to a special morning train journey with a Full Cooked Breakdast served to you on board. Tickets are valid for further travel all day, so it's also a good chance to explore the railway!
- Our Kids for a Quid special offer is running for the May Half-term holiday, Saturday 23 to Sunday 31 May inclusive.
- Update to the FAQ page, adding financial data for 2014.
- Yesterday seems to have been a good day, at the Southern at War event, which continues today. Hurricane flypast at 2pm.
Derek Hayward provides a few photos from yesterday, presented here, and more in this album, which contains at present just an initial selection, with more to follow. On the right we see a tank destroyer and home guard, protecting Horsted Keynes, and below, some of the atmosphere at Horsted Keynes as well as the T-6 Harvard during its flypast.
Great album of photos from ARW Photography from yesterday.
- Very moving interview about the Ginea Pig Club, and Archibald McIndoe's wartime work at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead on BBC Radio 4 yesterday morning. Now available on the iPlayer here, starting at approx 35 minutes.
Of all the badges on the mayoral chains for East Grinstead, the Guinea Pig Club is the one of which all the mayors are justifiably most proud.
- Update to the Component sponsorship list for the Brighton Atlantic project. The project's newsletter/magazine is the best way to keep up to date with the news, and 'Atlantic News', which also contains historical articles about the Atlantics and reminiscences of lives spent working with LBSCR steam locomotives, together with invitations to supporters' events, 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 Spring 2015 edition is Issue 25.
- Roy Peters' photo to the right shows the H-class at Sheffield Park on Sunday, and Brian Lacey's the same loco on Tuesday, on a Bluebell Special service (the last day of which is tomorrow).
- The flypasts arranged for Southern at War weekend are at 2pm each day, at Horsted Keynes (weather permitting). On Saturday we have a T-6 Harvard, and a Hurricane on Sunday. See the timetable for the special three-train service.
Bring ration cards if you wish to purchase food. Is your journey really necessary? - Yes, on this occasion!
In addition to the display of No.27's side tank in R.O.D. condition, Project 27 will be having a sales stand at Sheffield Park on the Sunday, plus a display of military models by the fund's treasurer Stuart Bardouleau.
There will be free guided tours of the Carriage Works at Horsted Keynes, starting at 12.35 and 2.20, each day over the weekend.
Lots more going on ... Further details here.
- John Sandys provides his last update for a while. Today's album includes photos of the 09 shunting, the Bluebell Special with No.263, and the main service train hauled by the S15.
Martin Lawrence has also started his May Album with a few photos from today.
- Steve Lee's photo below shows the S15 approaching Horsted Keynes on Monday, which Andrew Crampton's is a further shot of the evening test train on Sunday with 'Captain Baxter'.
- The two runs to East Grinstead, using 'Captain Baxter', on Sunday evening (3rd May) went well and proved that Baxter could be used on passenger trains if the need arises. The loco made a good account of itself arriving at East Grinstead in fine fettle on both trips. The trains were reasonably well loaded with members and their guests, together with the directors who organised the special test trains.
The fares paid for the privilege of travelling on the trains were collected by the Fenchurch Fund - PROJECT 27 to be used for the restoration of SECR loco No.27 and thanks must go to the Directors responsible for the test for this. Thanks must also go to the loco crew, signalmen and EG Gateman for giving up their Sunday evening. Don't forget to keep reading the PROJECT 27 blogspot for up to date information regarding restoration progress and news of forthcoming events.
- Andrew Crampton's photo on the right shows 'Captain Baxter' at Holywell on Sunday evening.
David Long's photo below shows the train on its way to East Grinstead, and that from Brian Lacy shows it arriving there.
- Keith Duke has an album of pictures from Sunday including the outing with Baxter, as does Tom Waghorn.
- Next weekend is our Southern at War 1940's weekend, with flypasts, military vehicles, Sussex Home Guard, concert parties and much more. A three-train service (timetable here), with locos all in SR livery, with a general theme of celebrating VE day.
- The Friday evening special VE-day Golden Arrow dining train still has some seats available.
- Tim Parkin, our new filming coordinator, reports that scenes were shot on the railway in April for a documentary entitled 'The First Days of Peace (Back To The Beaches)' narrated by Anthony Horowitz. The programme will be transmitted on Monday 11 May at 7.30pm on BBC ONE in the South East region only, and will be available in the UK here on iPlayer after transmission. A couple of familiar Bluebell working member "faces" can be expected to be seen in addition to other shots that were filmed on the railway. The programme explores the sudden change to a Britain that wanted to holiday, and how the Sussex and Kent coastal towns handled that, following their wartime role as our "front line".
- Photos from the Camelot Locomotive Society, showing the completed ashpan, and cladding going on the boiler.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the S15 amongst the spring flowers at Horsted Keynes on Monday.
- Quick reminder that tomorrow is our Toy & Rail Collectors' Fair at Horsted Keynes. Normal train fares apply (with Horsted Keynes platform tickets at £3 for anyone not travelling) - 4 locos in steam - Carriage Works Guided Tours at lunchtime - Camelot Locomotive Society sales stand.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with thanks to Chris Knibbs, showing intended loco usage for May, as it currently stands - as always subject to change without notice if circumstances change (as they did this morning).
- Update on the restoration of P-class No.27, from Clive Emsley, with thanks to Nick Beck. This is also illustrated by one of Clive's photos, below, which shows the cylinder block stripped down and nearly ready to be removed from the frames.
- Update on the repair of SR Wagon No.30004, from Martin Skrzetuszewski, with thanks to Nick Beck and David Rhydderch. Richard Salmon's photo below shows the completed project, which has received three replacement steel corners and a number of replaced or repaired side and floor planks.
- During April 2015 there were 65,224 total hits on this page, from 36,524 unique visitors.
- Peter Edwards' photo shows Maunsell Q-class No.30541 with the 4pm service from Sheffield Park, at Holywell yesterday.
- Reminder that this Saturday we have our one-day Toy & Rail Collectors' Fair at Horsted Keynes - something for all the family - steam trains, railwayana, railway models and toys.
- We are again running our £5 steam travel offer on Saturday for the East Grinstead Marathon and on Bank Holiday Monday for the East Grinstead Lions Club May Fair - Travel to East Grinstead on the 9.45am service from Sheffield Park to benefit from this offer - see East Grinstead Events page for terms and conditions.
- Ashley Smith made a short video of the Q on one of its passenger trains yesterday, and has added a few photos to his 2015 Bluebell Album.
- Martin Lawrence has added some photos featuring the Q-class yesterday, the S15, the ROD 27 side-tank and Great War re-enactors on Saturday, and the spring flowers around the Railway to his April gallery.
- Brian Lacey's photos below from Tuesday show the Q-class approaching Leamland Bridge from the north, and the H-class with the Observation Car on the Bluebell Special service on departure from Horsted Keynes.
- Today's photos form a somewhat delayed report from 7 March, when 'Captain Baxter' hauled a short goods train, both as a crew training exercise, and as an opportunity to run a goods train for the interest of our visitors. Further dates for such trains are planned this year, and it's hoped both that more vintage stock can be used, and that we will be able to publicise the date better. The photos are by Brian Lacey.
- The photos also act as a final advert for Sunday's test Passenger Train with Baxter and the 4-wheel coaches, details of which are available here. The train is being run as a fund-raising venture in support of Project 27, and it's essential to reserve tickets in advance since supper is included, and we need numbers by tomorrow, Thursday.
- Update on the restoration of P-class No.27
- Video from John Harwood taken yesterday, showing the Q-class passing through Kingscote with the service train, where S&T staff permitted him to film from the signalbox, and also to show wiring work progressing for the new signalling system there. The H-class is seen with the "Bluebell Special" train at East Grinstead, where progress on the new canopy is also covered.
- John Sandys' videos from yesterday of the H-class on the Bluebell Specials and the Q's departure from Sheffield Park, plus his photo album.
- Update to the pages for Operational Locos and Locos under overhaul following the entry into service of the Q-class, yesterday, and also to Bluebell Locos on loan elsewhere (with an update to the page for No.24 'Stamford' adding a 1966 photo by Charlie Verrall) and Locomotives formerly based on the Bluebell, and also that for 'The Blue Circle', recording its move this January to Rushden, and also adding a 1964 photo from Ben Brooksbank.
- Half a dozen interesting early Bluebell photos are available in "The Early days on the Bluebell Railway" gallery from Geoffrey King.
- Some fantastic film footage of "The Blue Circle" and other Bluebell locos running on 21 June 1964, is provided by Paul Plowman.
Stop Press: No.30541 re-enters service today.
The SR Maunsell Q-class is seen here in John Sandys' photo, at the head of the 11am train this morning. The locomotive, belonging to the Maunsell Locomotive Society, was restored from Barry scrapyard condition, entering service on the Bluebell in 1983. Its latest overhaul started in 2011, with much input from our volunteer Loco Works Working Group, in addition to our workshop staff.
- The unveiling of the side-tank from SECR (ROD) 27 on Saturday went without a hitch apart from P-class No.178 failing before the day started resulting in substitution by the 09, sadly not too in keeping with 1915!
The re-enactors of the 10th Essex Regiment, lead by Capt Thrush and Lt Cobden, were in attendance providing cameos of families waving to soldiers on departing trains and providing bayonet drills at the front of the station. They also recruited a number of our younger visitors, who were tempted by the King's (chocolate) shilling!
The unveiling of the tank was carried out by Graham Aitkin and Russell Pearce and attended by a guard of honour provided by the 10th Essex Regiment. The Exultation was read by the Regiment's Chaplain before a wreath was laid by Clive Emsley. The tank will be on display adjacent to the Bookshop on Platform 1 at Sheffield Park until 30th September 2016, which marks the 100th anniversary of the repatriation of the loco, when we hope to stage a similar event.
Thanks must go to Jim Turtle, Steve Booth and Matthew Cousins for the excellent job they have done on the side-tank from No.27.
- Brian Lacey's photo on the right shows the H-class with the LNWR Observation Car yesterday, on the first day of our Bluebell Specials, which continue daily this week, and then Tuesday 5 to Friday 8 May. The lineside display of Bluebells and other spring flowers is magnificent, but the Railway's band of volunteer gardeners have also clearly been hard at work, as can be seen here at Horsted Keynes.
- David Stubbings has photos from Saturday showing the H-class on a wedding special, and the C-class back in service with the Edwardian carriage set.
- We also have the pleasure of sharing this video of spring-time steam on the Bluebell from Nick Dearden
- Brian Lacey's two photos below show the S15 arriving at East Grinstead on Sunday, and the E4 with the Pullman train there as well, that day.
- Today marks the 100th Anniversary of the first two standard gauge ROD (Railway Operating Division) locos going to France.Both locos, Nos.27 and 753, are preserved and both are SECR P-Tanks. As a commemoration, Matthew Cousins has painted a depiction of the two locomotives on the quayside at Boulogne, as seen here. The original of this will be on display at Sheffield Park on Saturday. There will be prints available (at £15 each) and indeed if the right offer is made, the original can be purchased!
Full details available of tomorrow's Commemoration of the Centenary of Locomotive No.27's departure for war service in France. See also the Project 27 Blogspot.
The right-hand side-tank has been painted, lettered and will be positioned on Platform 1 at Sheffield Park today. It will be placed to the left the shop door, agaist the wall; Jim Turtle and Matthew Cousins have done us proud, it looks magnificent! Please come along tomorrow, if you can, to see it unveiled at 2:15pm.
A commemorative badge has been struck to commemorate the event and will be available at a cost of £5 with the proceeds going to the restoration of 27. The design can again be seen below.
We will be welcoming the 10th Essex Regiment, a 1st World War Reenactment group, who will be putting on drill demonstrations and providing a guard of honour for the unveiling ceremony. Also in attendance will be John Arkell from the SECR Society; the members of the group all have a passionate interest in the SECR and its constituent companies.
It is looking as though most things are in place for a good day tomorrow, all we need now is a good weather forcast! Hope to see some of you there!
- John Sandys' photo below shows the S15 backing onto the service train yesterday morning at Sheffield Park.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the H-class arriving at East Grinstead yesterday, having taken over from the C-class on Tuesday. Brian's photo below shows the current state of progress with the new Canopy at East Grinstead.
- Further details available of this Saturday's Commemoration of the Centenary of Locomotive No.27's departure for war service in France.
This Friday, the 24th April, is the 100th anniversary of the SECR sending two P tanks to France as the first two standard gauge ROD locomotives.
A detachment of the 10th Essex Regiment, under the command of Lt Cobden (son of ex-Bluebell Guard Alan Cobden), will be attending and giving Drill demonstrations during the day. They will then provide a Guard of Honour at the unveiling of the side-tank from SECR Loco No.27 in the ROD livery at 2:15.
The ceremony will be opened with an "Edwardian" girl singing 'Keep the Home Fires Burning', followed by the Guard of Honour being called to Attention, and our Society Chairman Roy Watts will say a few words before unveiling the tank.
The day will continue with a drill exercise on the station forcourt before the soldiers depart for the "front" on the 4pm departure.
It is hoped that there will be a "recruiting office" in the waiting room at Sheffield Park so that you can experience the feel of the kit used during the 1st World War.
A commemorative badge will be available at the event, these will cost £5 each with the proceeds going to aid the restoration of SECR Loco No.27. Project 27 will of course also be selling their usual range of quality merchandise.
- Photos on the Camelot Locomotive Society's page, showing work taking place on the locomotive's bogie.
- Such has been the level of interest in our Diesel Gala, that the week's posts on our Facebook page have had a reach of 22,116, by far the highest ever.
- We are currently advertising vacancies for Locomotives Works Manager, and a Carriage & Wagon Fitter.
- John Sandys' photos from today show the S15 on the service trains.
- Update to the web pages for our twoMk.1 Corridor Second carriages No.25769, and No.25728, and the Elephant van, No.4601 with thanks to Martin Skrzetuszewski, Martin Lawrence and Nick Beck.
- We are one of the Heritage Lines included within the Great Railway Treasure Hunt for 2015, organised by Peter's Railway.
- I had intended that a line would be drawn under the comprehensive coverage of the Diesel gala, but we also now have a superb video from David Pearson of the Deltics on Sunday 19 April 2015, and photos of the interior of a Deltic cab and engine compartment from Martin Lawrence.
- David Long's photo below shows the E4 with a Pullman Dining Train lunchtime charter on Wednesday.
- The Deltics have left, and travelled to the Severn Valley Railway today. They are seen on the viaduct ready for their main-line departure this morning, photographed by Roy Watts.
- The railway is very pleased to have received so many hugely positive comments about the Diesel Gala, for which many thanks. We are so pleased that such a large number of people enjoyed themselves! Photos and videos have been notified from:
- Ashley Smith, who visited Friday for the Gala - a video and some photos,
- A video from Gary Smith, from Friday,
- Chris Ward's photos and video from Saturday,
- Martin Lawrence's photos and a video from the weekend,
- Steve Lee's photos
- Keith Duke's photos at Horsted Keynes and the tunnel on Saturday morning. His photo below shows the 09 being used with the Queen Mary brake van, on Brake Van Rides at Sheffield Park on Friday.
- Mike Anton' panoramic photo below shows the four locos used on trains over the weekend, on shed together on Saturday morning, and his other photos are here.
- More photos from the Gala from Clive James, from Saturday, from Paul Booth and from Tom Oliver.
- Two photos below, from Derek Hayward, show U-class No.1638 with Saturday's Wedding Special, and the C&W Sentinel Shunter which was giving "Driver for a Fiver" rides in Horsted Keynes dock and down-yard headshunt. These raised over £500 for the Cash for Cover Appeal. The coincidence of a steam loco which shares a nickname ("U-boat") with the Deltics was not lost on some!
- Andrew Crampton's photos below from Saturday show both Deltics near Holywell.
- D9009 "Alycidon" is seen on Friday in Nick Farrant's photo below, whilst Tony Sullivan's shows 55019 "Royal Highland Fusilier" at Horsted Keynes with the first train of the day on Saturday.
- Derek Hayward's photo below shows the C-class, standing in for the U (which failed on Saturday Evening after its Golden Arrow duty with a leaking superheater element) on Sunday's Lunchtime Golden Arrow dining train, whilst Jordi Blumberg's photo shows 55019 on the 10:02 departure from Horsted Keynes on Saturday.
- Our Diesel Gala continues over the weekend.
- Derek Hayward's photo shows D9009 "Alycidon" at Waterworks yesterday. His lineside pictures of the Deltics are in a growing collection here.
- Robert Else has photos from yesterday here.
- Keith Duke's pictures from yesterday.
- We have a number of special offers for £5 steam travel:
- Sun 26 April: East Grinstead St George's Day Parade and for other East Grinstead town events
- London Connection Ticket on Saturdays until 24th October
- Shopper Specials on selected dates.
- Two photos below taken yesterday, from Andrew Crampton, show 55019 approaching Holywell and D9009 to the north of Horsted Keynes.
- The visiting Deltics, D9009 "Alycidon" and 55019 "Royal Highland Fusilier" were the stars of the show today, for our Diesel Gala, which continues over the weekend. John Sandys' photos show Alycidon at Hill Place Farm Bridge, and below at Sheffield Park, plus 55019 approaching East Grinstead across the viaduct. All his photos from today are available here.
- Don't forget the Curry & Beer Evening tomorrow at Sheffield Park. A coach will be attached to the back of the 9.30pm Golden Arrow departure from Sheffield Park for those wishing to return to East Grinstead or Horsted Keynes.
- Martin Lawrence's video from Wednesday showing the gauging run with the Deltics, and shunting at Horsted Keynes.
- Nathan Gibson's video of the Deltics attracting a lot of attention at Clapham Junction on Tuesday evening.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with thanks to Chris Knibbs, showing intended loco usage for the rest of the month.
- A fine video from Sunday 12 April from British Loco Films featuring 1638, 263 & B473.
- Sorry to say that, due to insufficient bookings, tonight's Deltic-hauled Pullman Dining Train has been cancelled.
- Tony Sullivan's photo shows the Deltics looking magnificent at Sheffield Park this morning. The Bluebell's first ever real Diesel Gala starts tomorrow, with full details and timetables here. Alan Gomme took the photo below of the pair being hauled on their gauging run by our 09 yesterday from his vantage point as one of the "Wednesday Gang" working on the lineside at Imberhorne. The locomotives have been ruled out-of-gauge for Horsted Keynes platforms 4 & 5, so the trains will pass through platforms 2 & 3.
- It's very easy to get to the Bluebell for the Diesel Gala. There's free parking at Horsted Keynes and Sheffield Park, as always, or travel to East Grinstead by train from East Croydon and London, or Bus from Three Bridges and Gatwick. If driving, even though Sheffield Park is on the main A275, allow plenty of time - rural Sussex is not noted for fast roads!
- It was 25 years ago this week that we ran our first public trains on our extension north of Horsted Keynes, as a half-mile shuttle, to Horsted House Farm and back again. The service was entirely segregated at the north end of the station, and ran from what was then Platform 1 (now Platform 2). Mike Esau's photo below was taken on the first day of operation, 14 April 1990, and shows No.323 "Bluebell", which was frequently the motive power used, at the then northern railhead. Two Southern Railway Maunsell carriages (as seen here) were usually used on the train, and 1929-built Brake Composite No.6575 had been turned round, so that a driver's cab could be formed by provision of a modified gangway shield at the brake end. This form of operation continued for two years, until rails were laid through the tunnel to a run-round loop at West Hoathly, at which point the shuttle was replaced by an extension of the Railway's main passenger service. This itself was 16 years after our first land-purchase and first planning application for the extension - building extensions is not a quick thing!
- Martin Lawrence has added to his April gallery, including shots of the Deltics, the North London Tank and the Elephant Van, taken yesterday.
- A fine video of a visit to the Bluebell on Tuesday from Brian Seaman.
- Update to the web page for our Mk.1 Corridor Second carriage No.25728 with thanks to Martin Skrzetuszewski and Nick Beck.
- The visiting Deltics, D9009 "Alycidon" and 55019 "Royal Highland Fusilier" arrived last night after an all-day journey from the North, as seen in Deborah Salmon's photo at East Grinstead, and Roy Watts' photo on the viaduct, ready for the Diesel Gala, which starts on Friday. They are being gauged for our platforms and line today, hauled by our 09.
- The Bessemer Arms at Sheffield Park will be open throughout the Diesel Gala weekend including Friday evening, and don't forget our Curry and Beer evening on Saturday. Details of the opening times, and times when meals will be available are here.
- Photos of yesterday's movement of the Deltics are on the DPS web site, and there's a video from Xavier Guerra showing them at the southern end of the GN main line, plus a photo from Martin Clitheroe of the Deltics at East Grinstead last night.
- Atlantic House (in the loco yard at Sheffield Park) will be open for all three days of the Diesel Gala, for the sale of railway-related items, raising funds for the construction of our Brighton Atlantic. You will also be able to view the current state of the project.
- John Sandys' provides photos from yesterday, a beautiful Spring day, with No.1638 in charge of the service trains. He also has a video showing the East side of the line on the climb from Kingscote to East Grinstead.
- Derek Hayward now has a large number of photos in his growing "Bluebell 2015" collection.
- The three photos below are all from Brian Lacey. The first two show the H-class on Saturday, having left Sheffield Park, with the Maunsell coaches (and the GN saloon which was working a private charter), and the same stock on arrival at East Grinstead (also showing the canopy, which is being painted this week). His third photo, taken yesterday, shows the U-class leaving the Tunnel.
- Derek Hayward's photo from Friday shows E4 No.B473 amidst the primroses at Leamland Bridge, with that day's Wealden Rambler charter. There have also been good displays of primroses at Three Arch Bridge (where Derek caught U-class No.1638 and H-class No.263 on the service trains that day) as seen in the photos below.
- Update with photos showing progress on the overhaul of the "Schools" class locomotive thanks to the Maunsell Locomotive Society.
- Three new photos showing progress on Camelot's boiler, from Peter Gibbs, The 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society's Chairman.
- Video from Martin Lawrence from 9 April, showing the Q-class shunting and on one of its test runs, plus the U-class and H-class on service trains at Kingscote.
- Updated web page for Mk.I Corridor Second No.25769 including a photo of it after its repaint earlier this year into Carmine & Cream livery.
- The visiting Deltics have started their journey South, with D9009 "Alycidon" starting from the NRM in York, picking up 55019 "Royal Highland Fusilier" at Barrow Hill. They should arrive with us this evening, in preparation for the Diesel Gala, which starts on Friday. In addition to the two Deltics, 09018 will be providing brake van rides at Sheffield Park, and 10241 will be giving "Driver for a Fiver" rides at Horsted Keynes (Sat & Sun). Don't forget the Curry & Beer Evening on Saturday at Sheffield Park, and we will also have guided tours of the Carriage Works at Horsted Keynes, starting at 12.35 and 1.50 on the Saturday and Sunday. The Great Northern Directors' Saloon will be on the trains over the weekend, appropriate as it was on occasions Deltic-hauled on the ECML, and the Camelot Sales stand will be at Sheffield Park Station all three days.
- There are several model railway items currently being offered on eBay for Charity, to benefit the Bluebell.
- 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!
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with thanks to Chris Knibbs, showing intended loco usage for the rest of the month. Please note that the date for the re-entry into service of the Q-class is yet to be confirmed. We are also pleased to see the C-class returning to steam following the replacement of a number of firebox stays.
- Tony Sullivan's photo from yesterday shows the U-class departing from Horsted Keynes.
- John Sandys also provides a set of photos from yesterday, showing the Q-class climbing through Imberhorne Cutting, progress on the canopy at East Grinstead, and around the Loco Yard at Sheffield Park.
- John has also been continuing to experiment with live 'Periscope' broadcasts. To catch them you either need to follow him on Twitter and view broadcasts through your browser, or if you have an iPhone, use the Periscope App, which will notify you of the start of each broadcast (again linked to John via Twitter). Broadcasts from East Grinstead appear quite successful, but at Sheffield Park the only place where a reliable mobile data connection can be obtained to enable broadcasting appears to from the footbridge.
- East Grinstead Online carries reports today about the return, next week, of our popular "Monday Club" and on the arrival at East Grinstead on its test runs of the Maunsell Q-class locomotive.
- The Maunsell Q-class made three loaded test runs to East Grinstead yesterday, and Brian Lacey's photo shows it there with a six-coach test train, consisting of the Wealden Rambler set plus the Observation Car and GN Saloon. We gather all went well, but there is no word yet on when it will enter service. The photo below is also from Brian, taken during the run-round at East Grinstead.
- Paul Booth provides this photo and video of the Q on its test train yesterday.
- Further details of our involvement with this Sunday's East Grinstead Bus Running Day are available, including details of the £5 steam travel offer.
- There's a new Blog site for Project 27 - our volunteer team raising funds for and undertaking the restoration of SECR Locomotive No.27.
- John Sandys' photos from Tuesday, a beautiful sunny day, include a look in the workshop with progress on 'Camelot', the Q-class warming through, plus the two locos in service, the H-class and the U-class. John also started to experiment with live 'Periscope' broadcasts for iOS from the railway today.
- Apologies that I missed providing a link to Dave Braley's album of photos from Jon Bower's superb photo-charter on Wednesday 11 March.
- Preliminary details are available for our Summer Festival which runs from Saturday 25 July to Sunday 9 August. Further details are expected within a few weeks.
- The second photo below, from Derek Hayward, shows the S15 with its train in Lindfield Wood on Monday.
- Derek Hayward's photo shows the H-class with the Maunsell Set and GN Saloon at Caseford Bridge on Easter Monday. The H-class replaced the U-class on Set B on Sunday morning, when a broken spring was discovered on No.1638's pony truck; the spring was replaced with a new one yesterday.
- Hornby have photos of another pre-production sample of their 00-scale S15 model on their blog. They also include some photos of 847 being scanned/measured at Sheffield Park.
- The recently released Bachmann models of the LBSCR E4 0-6-2T have been well received, and are in high demand. One of the models represents our own No.B473 in its 1920s/early '30s condition. Most of these have already sold though pre-order, but there may still be a few available through the Bluebell Railway Shop. The LBSCR-liveried version is still awaited.
- Martin Lawrence has completed his March 2015 Photo Gallery, and started that for April, with photos of the Great Northern Directors' Saloon in service and progess with the canopy at East Grinstead.
- John Sandys' photos from yesterday, including a ride in the GN saloon.
- The photos below, from Brian Lacey, show the U-class approaching East Grinstead with the Edwardian set on Thursday, the S15 at Horsted Keynes on Saturday, and the U-class preparing to couple up to the Great Northern Saloon the same day. The fourth Locomotive in service over the weekend was the LBSCR E4.
- This photo showing the S15 at Sheffield Park is part of a blog post of a visit to the Bluebell from "LocoYard".
- We are now in the daily running season, and, excepting our 17 - 19 April Diesel Weekend, we are running steam-hauled trains daily from now until 1 November.
- Photos from Monday from John Sandys, including the S15, new stock in the shop, and the canopy at East Grinstead, plus a video of the journey from Kingscote to East Grinstead, and from today, with more progress evident on the canopy at East Grinstead, new stock in the shop, and the U and S15 on the 2-train service.
- Video from John Harwood from Monday showing the U and the S15 at East Grinstead.
- Saxon Warrior Tour: A tour to the Czech Republic and Germany between Thursday 8th and Sunday 18th October 2015. Some places still available - details here.
- The 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society report on recent progress on their locomotive in our Loco Works, with a couple of photographs courtesy of Peter Gibbs, the Society Chairman, and the Bluebell Railway Workshop staff and volunteers. The boiler has been removed from the frames to enable the attachment of the smokebox which now has the door ring fitted. The current state of fabrication of the new ashpan is also shown.
- The photo below, from Brian Lacey, shows the U-class at Horsted Keynes on Monday.
- Brian Kidman's photo shows the S15 with one of the photo charter sets passing the location where he was working with the Wednesday Lineside Gang on 11 March.
- Compass Travel's bus route 121 recommences its Sunday/Bank Holiday services to Sheffield Park on Good Friday, with some buses going beyond Lewes to/from Newhaven. The service also serves Sheffield Park on Saturdays. Download the Timetable here.
- On Thursday 14 May we host a Rail Ale & Jazz Evening in aid of The McIndoe Memorial Statue Fund.
Our regular series of Rail Ale evening trains start on May 22, and are booking up well already.
- Martin Lawrence has further photos in his March photo gallery, and a video showing the Q-class returning from Horsted Keynes with 92240 in tow on Thursday, and later 09018 shunts the 9F into the bay road. 80100 had gone to Horsted with 09018 earlier and the move round will probably see Blackmore Vale on display in the Locomotive Shed.
- Railway Station Cottages has been added to our links page. It provides fully searchable information for self-catering holidays in railway cottages, carriages and stations across the UK.
- John Sandys' photo from Thursday shows progress with the construction of the new canopy at East Grinstead, which includes a disabled-accessible lavatory, and is funded by The Bluebell Railway Trust, with a contribution from East Grinstead Town Council.
- David Stubbings provides this photo of the SECR H-class No.263 with our Edwardian train last Saturday.
- Martin Lawrence provides this video of the same locomotive, with the first service to East Grinstead for three weeks, at the end of January, after the engineering possession in order to fix "River slip". Combine this with a very cold icy day with a light dusting of of snow and the scene was set for a trip where the driver needed all his skill to keep the train rolling up the long 1-in-75 to and through the tunnel, and the even steeper 1-in-55 climb beyond Kingscote.
- Martin has also uploaded a video of Baxter on the goods training working on Saturday 7 March. This train was run for training for our Guards, and should become a regular feature this year.
- Derek Hayward's pictures from 7 and 14 March include the Goods Guard Training, and the current state of the cutting-side south of West Hoathly Tunnel where we suffered a major slip a year back.
- The Q-class is gradually going through an iteration of steaming and the fixing of minor issues, and was filmed shunting the loco yard on Tuesday 11 March by Martin Lawrence and Nick Dearden, and on 13 March by John Sandys and Martin Lawrence again.
- Derek Hayward provides photos from 14 March when the engines in service were 847, 263 and B473.
- Yesterday we notified you of the February news update from Project 27, and today we can bring you the March update on the overhaul of SECR P-class No.27!
In addition we have details of a Special Evening Train of vintage coaches hauled by Loco No.3 Baxter on Sunday 3 May in support of Project 27, and a further event on Saturday 25 April, commemorating the Centenary of No.27's departure for war service in France. Further details are available via posters at the links above, and also within the news report.
- Our Monday Club returns for 2015 - An all-inclusive ticket covers a return steam-train ride from East Grinstead and a two course lunch in the Bessemer Arms at Sheffield Park, every Monday (except Bank Holidays) from April to September. Full details here. Available to residents in the locality of East Grinstead Station who are over 60 years of age.
- One of our main groups working on keeping our lineside in good order is the "Wednesday Gang", which is split into two teams. Currently the "Northern Gang" is working north between Caseford and Nobles/Three Arch, while the "Southern Gang" is working north from Monteswood Lane towards Rock Cutting. Since the middle of last year, the lineside from a point south of Monteswood to just north of Horsted Keynes has received attention, with the Northern Gang spending 3 months or so in Lindfield Wood, mainly thinning out trees on the 'down' side to improve sight lines, reduce the risk of trees falling across the line in high winds and generally opening up views to our passengers. Nature has a habit of growing back very rapidly, however!
The photograph below from Brian Kidman shows the Northern Gang at work on Wednesday 11 March, when they had the added bonus of the S15 and vintage Southern stock on Jon Bowers' photo charter thrown in for entertainment!
- John Sandys' photo below shows the Q-class in steam at Sheffield Park this morning, and it undertook a light-engine test run to Kingscote and back. However, we do not yet have a date for its re-entry into service. Behind the locomotive is the underframe which is shortly to be fitted to SECR Carriage 3188, which should be the next vintage coach to enter service. The underframe is at Sheffield Park for additional riveting, and for Tony Funnell to undertake some engineering work on the hornguides.
- Steve Lee was one of a number of photographers on the S15 Photo Charters organised by Jon Bowers on 10 and 11 March. Here we see the locomotive with a trio of Maunsell carriages at Freshfield Curve - Steve's other photos.
Other photo albums from the charters, for which once again we were blessed with superb weather:
- Dave Bowles,
- Nick Burgess,
- Martin Lawrence,
- Paul Gildersleve,
- Paul Simpson: Tuesday 10 and Wednesday 11 March,
- Tony Teague,
- John Sandys' photos from 10-12 March, showing the Q-Class, and some shots of the S15 on Photo Charter duty
- Discounts on Travel tickets for the Diesel Weekend (with two "Deltic" diesel locomotives, Friday 17th - Sunday 19th April) are available on advance purchases until 31 March. Details here, and ring 01825 720800 for tickets.
Other features of the Weekend:
- Timetable for the three days available here.
- Deltic Golden Arrow Pullman - Friday evening 17th April - Details here
- Brake Van Rides at Sheffield Park with the Bluebell's 09
- "Driver for a Fiver" at Horsted Keynes with the Sentinel shunter (Saturday and Sunday)
- Curry & Beer Evening - Saturday 18th April - in the Bessemer Arms restaurant at Sheffield Park. Discount on advance booking for this meal. Details on this poster.
- Loco News updates from the projects working on SECR P-class No.27 and No.73082 "Camelot".
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with thanks to Chris Knibbs, showing intended loco usage for the next few weeks.
- Video from Philip Bull from 22nd February featuring the H-class, S15 and U.
- Update to the web page for our North London Railway Class 75 locomotive No.27505 with thanks to Martin Skrzetuszewski, Malcolm Peakman, Brian Spurle and Nick Beck.
- Clive Emsley's photo below from Sunday night shows the smart new gangway shields now fitted to the Pullman train.
Neil Sloane's image below puts a sepia-toned historic imprint on the H-class at Sheffield Park.
John Goss provides a photo showing the S15 backing onto the tour train at Horsted Keynes last Saturday.
- Andrew Shapland's photo shows our S15 heading The Cathedrals Express at Black Hut yesterday morning, and that below, exiting the tunnel, is from Andrew Crampton. Sadly, since our S15 is not main-line certificated, it had to come off at East Grinstead, as seen in Brian Lacey's photos below, leaving 47580 to head the 11-coach tour, which originated at Horsted Keynes, running to Ely and return. The Steam Dreams tour should have been headed by LNER B1 "Mayflower" but this locomotive had failed its fitness-to-run exam on Friday.
- Martin Lawrence's video from Friday shows the 47 on arrival at Horsted Keynes, initially checking clearances in Platform 4/5 and then drawing its train into the platform and running round. The train was stabled and started from there, due to the great difficulty of handling such long trains at Sheffield Park.
- Today's E-newsletter will enable you to catch up with what's been going on at the Bluebell over the last fortnight whilst the editor of this web site has had a holiday! Updates to this site covering news and photos over the last couple of weeks will appear as time permits.
- We are pleased to report that the Arts Council Museum Resilience Fund has awarded us the sum of £84,150 for the restoration and adaptation of a railway vehicle as a play and educational facility. The funding is routed through The Bluebell Railway Trust, and further details are available here (PDF).
- Nick Burgess provides a gallery of photos from his visit to Sheffield Park on 21st February.
- John Sandys' gallery from Tuesday includes photos showing the start of construction of the canopy at East Grinstead, the Q-class in steam (although there remain a few teething troubles to sort out before running in), and new stock in the Shop.
- Martin Lawrence has completed his February gallery.
- Brian Lacey's atmnospheric photo below shows the S15 ready to leave Sheffield Park on Saturday 28 February.
- During February 2015 there were 61,511 total hits on this page, from 35,034 unique visitors.
- Brian Lacey's photos from today show, on the right, the H-class arriving at a wet East Grinstead, and below, the U-class taking water in platform 2 whilst the S15 prepares for the 2.45pm departure from Sheffield Park, and the LBSCR E4 warming though in the shed.
- Work has started in the last few days on the provision of a short canopy and facilities on the platform at East Grinstead.
- With the retirement from active involvement on the Bluebell of Peter Forrestier Smith we regret that The Bluebell Railway Letter Service ceased operation some while ago. The relevant web pages have been updated to reflect this.
To complete the record on this web site, a new web page for the 23 March 2013 First Day Cover based on artwork by Mike Hopps for the opening of our Extension to East Grinstead has been added. The cover sold out early on the opening day!
- Steve Lee's photo shows 847 getting away from Sheffield Park in fine style with the 2.45pm service on 17 February.
- Update to the web page for the GWR 'Dukedog' locomotive, with details of the three different tenders it has run with in preservation.
- Dave Clarke's two photos below are from a recent update to his photographic record of the restoration of SECR Carriage No.3188 (an 1897-built LCDR 5-compartment 3rd). The first photo shows five of the restoration team testing the prototype seat - which was proved entirely adequate, and is now being replicated. The second photo shows the carriage pretty much as complete as it can be before being craned onto its underframe, which is imminent.
- Peter Edwards' photo on the right shows S15 No.847 approaching New Road Bridge with a mix of Bulleid and Mk.1 coaches forming the 9.45am train from Sheffield Park on Wednesday 18 February.
- Station staff at East Grinstead will no longer have to climb up the ladder to the water tower to check whether it is full. A new external gauge has been made by Mike Hopps of the Infrastructure department and was fitted to the side of the tank this week. The design is based on the age-old concept of a float inside the tank, counter balanced by a weight on the outside which indicates the water level. In true SR style using anything to hand, the wheel at the top is an old Southern Region signal cable wheel and the slide bars are old sections of point rodding. Stewart Moon and Clive Anstice helped with the installation, and it's shown in Mike's photo below.
- Paul Furlong's photo below shows the S15 with the 12.15 departure from Sheffield Park on Tuesday 17 February, at Sloop Bridge.
- Join us for Track Trek 2015 on Sunday 24th May
We are holding our 3rd sponsored walk - the Track Trek - between Kingscote and Horsted Keynes stations on the evening of Sunday 24th May, providing the rare opportunity to walk through the 731 yard long Sharpthorne tunnel. See registration information and walk details here.
- The webpage for the North London Tank has been updated by Nick Beck and Martin Skrzetuszewski.
- Further details of the 17 - 19 April Diesel Weekend - with Deltics! The plan is that our 09 will also be giving brake van rides, and the C&W Sentinel Shunter will be offering "Driver for a Fiver" opportunities over the weekend. On the evening of Friday 17 April we have our special Deltic Golden Arrow Pullman dining train.
- It's timely to record that Horsted Keynes Station was one of the locations used in the film "The Theory Of Everything", where Stephen Hawking is seen stumbling while running for the train at 'Cambridge' Station.
- On Saturday, the BRPS Social Sub-Committee and the Maunsell 7864 Group held a very enjoyable and successful Quiz Evening at Sheffield Park, which raised over £368 towards the overhaul of our Southern Railway Maunsell Dining Saloon. We also have an update with the current positions in the Football Competition which is raising funds for the same project.
- Brian Lacey's photos below show the S15 coming off the viaduct at East Grinstead on Tuesday of Half-term week, and the H-class ready to leave the same station the following day.
- Keith Leppard's photo on the right shows H-class No.263 approaching Horsted Keynes on 8 February.
- We have a two-train service every day this week, and don't forget we have our "Kids for a Quid" special offer too.
- Video of the four locomotives in steam on Sunday from Simon Mulligan.
- A couple of new photos on the page for No.928 Stowe's overhaul, showing preparations for getting the new firebox wrapper rolled.
- Review of Bachmann's model of LBSCR E4 radial tank in SR livery as No.B473 on Graham 'Muz' Muspratt's blog.
- The photos below from Mike Anton, taken in the C&W Works on Sunday, show work on Southern Railway Bulleid Composite No.5768. The first shows the pretty-much completed northern end of the carriage, which has been filling and rubbing back in preparation for painting. The interior shot is of first-class compartment C, with ceilings etc in place, and an overhauled seat-back structure. The third photo shows the South end, where the steel bottom-plate has just been renewed, and the main end pillars put in place - these are replacements which were salvaged from Bulleid carriage No.4035. The two corner pillars will soon also be re-erected, with one being the repaired original, and one a brand new one. Mike also has an album of more general, interesting Bluebell photos here.
- Keith Leppard's photo shows the H-class approaching New Road Bridge on Sunday, with its train of SECR, LBSCR and Maunsell carriages. His photo below shows the U-class heading southwards at the same location with the Bulleid/Mk.1 coaching set the same day.
- Kids for a Quid over half term: Our Service Two timetable is in use every day from Saturday 14 to Sunday 22 February. Children aged 3-15 travel for £1 in 3rd class.
- Tickets are selling well for the Quiz Evening on Saturday 21 February in the Bessemer Arms at Sheffield Park Station.
There are still some tickets available - these must be reserved in advance - more details here. This is both a social event and a fund-raising event for the Maunsell Restaurant Car.
- Infrastructure News update - Completion of work on the historic "River Slip" and more track relaid on Freshfield Bank, with thanks to Mike Hopps.
- John Sandys' set of photos from Tuesday includes the Q-class being warmed through in preparation for its steam test the following day, and new stock in the shop. His photos from Thursday show the Ballast tamper at Horsted Keynes, preparing to bed down the recently re-laid track (three new panels on Freshfield Bank, laid this week), a few shots around the loco yard and further new stock just arrived in the shop.
- The Q class had its steam test on Wednesday, and the boiler inspector was happy with the test. There are several issues which still need attending to which we hope will be completed over the weekend. There will still need to be a further steaming to prove the work and then a period of running the locomotive in.
- Brian Lacey's photos below, taken on Saturday, show the U-class taking water at Sheffield Park and the H-class arriving at Horsted Keynes.
- In spite of not having the Q-class back in service this weekend, we still have our Service 2 timetable, with two locomotives in steam. Steve Lee's photo shows the Q-class in light steam last weekend; a leaking blowdown valve meant that we were unable to go ahead with the planned boiler test, but we hope that the test will take place over the coming week, at the point when the boiler inspector is available to visit.
- John Sandys' set of photos from Thursday, including U-class No.1638 in light steam (as seen below), the 09 shunting at Sheffield Park, and new items in the shop.
- News reports of recent work on SECR P-class No.27, with thanks to Clive Emsley and Nick Beck. The photo below shows that, with the frames lifted from the wheels, the axle-boxes and connecting rods have been removed. The bearings were inspected prior to being wrapped in protective "Denso Tape". This and other work is reported in more detail here.
- Another of Derek Hayward's re-mastered ex-Fotopic images from October 2006, when No.3440 "City of Truro" was visiting the Bluebell, seen here in Lindfield Wood.
- This coming weekend's services: The previously indicated change to our published timetable for the coming weekend (7-8 Feb) was due to an incorrect assumption, and we can now confirm that we will be operating steam-hauled and steam-heated trains to our Service 2 timetable (i.e. two locomotives in steam) this coming weekend.
Sorry for the confusion.
- On the right is another of Derek Hayward's re-mastered ex-Fotopic images from September 2006, showing Ivatt tank No.41312 on Freshfield Bank, as another example from his visiting locomotives collection.
Below are a couple from his Vehicles collection, showing a Scammell mechanical horse at Ardingly and, from a private 2014 meeting of the Rolls Royce Owners Club at Horsted Keynes, one of the participants photographed with the owner's permission and consent. To illustrate the Bluebell locomotives collection we see the U-class approaching Kingscote with the Golden Arrow dining train last August.
- Keith Duke provides photos from yesterday, with the H-class on a school charter, and Stepney and the Mets posed in the platform at Sheffield Park for a few hours.
- John Sandys provides photos taken today showing Progress in Kingscote Signal Box, and new stock in the Shop at Sheffield Park.
- Video 125 have published a preview of their Lynton & Barnstaple / Bluebell Railway "Railway Renaissance" DVD.
- Steve Lee's photo shows the H-class with its train of pre-war carriages at Leamland Bridge yesterday.
- Steam hauled and heated trains operate this coming weekend, 7-8 February to our Service One Timetable - note this is a change to published plans, with just a single train running, since the hoped-for re-launch into service of the SR Maunsell Q-class has been put back to a later date, since there's just a very little bit more work required.
Stop Press: The proposed change to our published timetable for the coming weekend (7-8 Feb) was due to an incorrect assumption, and we can now confirm that we will be operating to our Service 2 timetable (2 trains) this coming weekend.
Sorry for the confusion.
- We are again running our Kids for a Quid special offer over Half Term, Saturday 14 to Sunday 22 February.
- Details on the Southern Electric Traction Group web site, about the agreed plan for work at Bombardier's Ilford Carriage Works on our 4VEP multiple unit, No. 423 417 'Gordon Pettitt'.
- During January 2015 there were 63,808 total hits on this page, from 36,737 unique visitors.
- John Sandys' photo shows the H-class preparing for its turn of duty amidst a light dusting of snow at Sheffield Park this morning, the first day of services after the successful completion of work on rebuilding the formation and relaying the track over it at the historically problematic "River Slip" in Lindfield Wood. His other photos from today are available here.
- The 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society's next outing with their sales and publicity stand is to The Festival of British Railway Modelling at Doncaster on 7-8 February. Their sales team will be on hand to answer questions and offer a wide range of Railway related items including how to obtain a limited edition print of the locomotive with a year's free Society membership. You can join the Society while you're there and help to support the, with getting 'Camelot' into steam again.
- 21 March sees a Cathedrals Express steam railtour, behind LNER B1 No.61306 "Mayflower" from Horsted Keynes to Cambridge and Ely. Details from, and all enquiries to, the organisers, Steam Dreams.
- Our line re-opens this weekend after our winter engineering work, with steam-hauled and steam-heated trains operating to our Service One Timetable.
- Derek Hayward has added a large number of further photos to his various albums, including this photo showing 21C123 "Blackmoor Vale" behind 35005 "Canadian Pacific" on 23 October 2005. It demonstrates how cameras have improved in the last decade, and is amongst the photos formerly on Fotopic which Derek has re-mastered and added to his current Bluebell locomotives and visiting locomotives collections. In addition he has a new major topic: "Vehicles" which brings together Vintage Transport events, Bus Running Days and things like mechanical horses.
- Dates now available, and booking open for, Full Afternoon Tea on the Wealden Rambler Lounge Car Service. Lounge Car Gift Vouchers are also available.
- We are running our Kids for a Quid special offer over Half Term, Saturday 14 to Sunday 22 February.
- Back in November, on the last weekend of regular service before the Santa Specials began, Dan Green visited the Bluebell for his last steam of 2014 - his photos are here. Running that day were the H-class No.263 and S15 No.847, as well as E4 No.473 which undertook some shunting during the day before running the late afternoon 'Wealden Rambler' Afternoon Tea Train.
- There are some fantastic pre-closure photos from our line on this Sussex Railway Scenes page from the Sussex Motive Power Depots website.
- David Chappell's photo shows the new rail acquired for the relaying of 11 track-panels in Lindfield Wood. Work on repairing the long-standing "river slip" has now reached the stage where the ballast is levelled, and the rail moved to site.
- OP4 News Bulletin No.1 now available for the Horsted Keynes Carriage Shed Extension. This is the first in a series of News Bulletins which will be issued by the Project Steering Group to keep all interested parties up to date with project progress.
There has also been a series of updates to the various pages for the various phases of Operation Undercover.
- Following repairs to potholes and ditching work, it appears that the roads are now open again around Horsted Keynes. However the 270 bus did not run to the station today.
- Reminder that our line is closed this weekend while we undertake engineering work. Sheffield Park Station, with the Locomotive Shed, Museum, Restaurant, Bar and Shop, is open every day, as is The Grinsteade Buffet at East Grinstead Station.
- Updated: The road between Horsted Keynes Village and the Station has been closed for emergency repairs this week, but it's reported it may have re-opened, or the closure moved to the Sharpthorne Road. Anyone driving that way is advised to be very cautious. Any staff/volunteers intending to arrive on the 270 Bus this Saturday may find they need to make alternative arrangements (or walk from the village). Horsted Keynes Station is still accessible from the Ardingly / Highbrook (via the low bridge) directions.
- Kevin McElhone's photos here show (right) a conventional view of the H-class ready to leave Sheffield Park on 10 January, and below, the locomotive's crew, and another unconventional "glimpse" of the engine, taken from within the Museum.
- Quiz Evening
The BRPS Social Sub-Committee in conjunction with the Maunsell 7864 Group present a professionally-run quiz evening, including evening meal, on Saturday 21 February 2015 in the Bessemer Arms at Sheffield Park Station.
Tickets must be reserved in advance - More details here.
- The latest poster from Heritage Rail Posters is of our new-build/reconstruction Brighton Atlantic project. Copies available to purchase!
Several new 2015 Bluebell Wall Calendars are also available as free downloads.
- We have now received a fantastic sum of over £15,000 from EasySearch and EasyFundraising! You could help us increase that by signing up to support us, with many retailers offering us a donation when you buy online having signed up on the Bluebell EasyFundraising portal. Donations raised can even be automatically Gift-Aided.
- Tony Sullivan's photo of Standard Arthur No.73082 "Camelot" on the right shows the partially completed new smokebox in place along with its boiler.
His photo below shows the locomotive being shunted into the workshop on Monday.
The 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society have an update with photos from their chairman, Peter Gibbs.
Now is a great time to join the 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society, and a membership application form is available here.
- Another photo from Tony Sullivan below shows the frames of P-class No.27 being lifted from its wheels, and swung round so that the cylinders are more easily accessible.
- Kevin McElhone took some unconventional photos of the H-class on 10 January, including that below.
- News and photos of progress on the Maunsell Q-class, from the Loco Works Working Group. The photo on the right, taken by Tony Sullivan yesterday, was afforded by the temporary absence of "Camelot". It will run as No.30541 in BR livery for a short time following its return to service, for which no firm date is yet available, but it won't be long!
- Mike Hopps' photos below show work to stabilise the long-standing "River Slip" using piles. More detail available in this Infrastructure News update.
- Video from John Harwood, showing maintenance work at Kingscote, plus work in the signalbox and relay room.
- Another photo from Tony Sullivan below shows the Camelot's boiler being craned back into its frames yesterday.
- Tony Sullivan's photo shows the overhauled boiler of No.73082 "Camelot" being craned back into its frames at Sheffield Park earlier today. The return of the boiler from LNWR Heritage, Crewe, earlier today brings the return to service of this, the only surviving BR(S) "Standard Arthur", a step closer.
- We are pleased to announce that Tim Parkin has been appointed to the voluntary post of Filming Facilities Manager. Tim is a member of the Signals & Telecommunications team at Kingscote and, with a background in project management and the TV/film industry, is well-placed to understand both the requirements of production companies as well as the needs of the operating Railway.
- Stuart Marks has been appointed volunteer Locomotive Superintendent, and will head up the Locomotive Operating Department in the new structure, reporting to the board via the Operations Director. His post became effective on 1 January; on the same day the old posts of Shedmaster and Chief Loco Inspector lapsed, and our thanks go to Ian Wright and Lewis Nodes for their work in these positions. Following this restructuring of the Loco Department, the Railway is looking to recruit additional support to ensure the efficient running of the department, including a Locomotive Shed Foreman and Chief Clerk (both volunteer posts). More information and application details can be found here - the closing date is 24 January 2015.
- This four-page gallery from Keith Duke shows photos covering many decades of Bluebell history, and he also supplies this album of locomotives which have visited the Bluebell over recent years.
- Brian Lacey's photo from last Saturday shows the H-class taking its train of two Bulleid coaches and two Mk.1s north out of Kingscote. This nicely illustrates the current state of the north end of the station, with the repainted Class A Petroleum Products Tanker, No.1603, retained there as an emergency water supply for our locomotives, the SR-concrete loading gauge, and the relaid/relaigned trackwork and pointwork installed prior to the opening of the extension. The signalbox seen should become fully operational later this year, replacing the temporary cabin installed in 1994 to the South of the station.
- Reminder that, whilst our line is closed for the next two weekends while we undertake engineering work, Sheffield Park Station, with the Locomotive Shed, Museum, Restaurant, Bar and Shop, is open every day, as is The Grinsteade Buffet at East Grinstead Station.
- Ashley Smith spent a very nice day travelling on the trains on the 2nd January, and grabbed a few photos as they changed trains at Horsted Keynes, to launch his gallery for 2015.
- Derek Hayward's photo of the porch at Horsted Keynes station below illustrates another article in the latest e-mail newsletter. This porch was restored to its original condition, complete with stained glass, by volunteers from the C&W department in memory of late station master Simon Baker. The Friends of Sheffield Park now wish to rebuild the porch at their station to the same original L&EGR conditon, and are looking for sponsorship, possibly as a special Valentine's gift including a named inscription, of £4000 (plus Gift Aid) to cover the costs. Details from Graham Aitken, FOSP Fundraising Secretary, by email. The second photo shows the style of inscribed glass used at Horsted Keynes.
- On 3rd January we received a visit from a number of volunteer staff from the Severn Valley Railway, and Kenny Felstead provides this photo on the right showing the S15 at Sheffield Park, and below, the same engine, together with the H-class, at Horsted Keynes.
- The No.73082 "Camelot" Locomotive Society are pleased to report the successful out-of-frames hydraulic and steam tests on their boiler at LNWR Crewe. The boiler will now return to Sheffield Park, and re-assembly of the locomotive will then commence. Because the BR Standard designs have many items fixed on the boiler rather than the frames, this is a good few months work, but all being well the loco will be back in service in the middle of the year.
- As reported in the latest e-mail newsletter, this month's engineering work during our 3 week (2 weekends) closure is focussed on rebuilding the formation at "River Slip" in Lindfield Wood, just south of Waterworks Bridge. This has always been a problematic area and was pressure grouted in the 1980s, which went some way to arrest the problem, but did not effect a long-term cure. Preliminary work has already been undertaken including improved drainage and work on a culvert, and now the line is closed the formation is being dug out.
- 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.
- Dave Braley has a gallery of photos taken over the Christmas period on some very cold and frosty days.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the H-class running round prior to working the 1:30 departure yesterday, having been back to the shed to take on more coal.
- Keith Duke made a visit to the railway and rode on the 11.00 service yesterday, resulting in this great gallery of photos.
- 2015 details are now available for our Monday Club - Enjoy a steam train ride through the Sussex countryside plus a delicious two-course meal in our restaurant at Sheffield Park. On Mondays from April to September (except Bank Holidays) you can travel from East Grinstead on the 12-noon departure to Sheffield Park for lunch in our Bessemer Arms Restaurant. Full details here.
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows the H-class at Sheffield Park on Friday 2nd January.
- Steve Lee's photo shows the same locomotive as it departs from Sheffield Park with the 11am service yesterday.
- Steve Lee's photo shows the SECR H-class with its train at West Hoathly last Saturday.
- A News update on SECR No.27, the first of what should be a regular feature from Project 27 - our fund-raising and restoration project for our third SECR P-class locomotive - marking the start of what are planned as monthly working days on the locomotive. Clive Emsley's photo below, from 3 January, shows Stuart Bardouleau drifting out a pin from a brake hanger. With thanks to Clive, and Nick Beck, for the update.
- A few pictures from Jon Horrocks' visit last Sunday, a very misty day but which finished off sunny. Jon now has also completed a gallery from 12 June 2012, the day the Sheffield Park Carriage Shed was opened.
- Nick Beck and Martin Skrzetuszewski have updated the web pages for our Mk.1 CK No.16210 (with two recent views of the interior by David Chappell) and LMS 12-Ton open wagon PBA 66071, adding a photograph of the remains of the Birmingham Carriage & Wagon Company cast iron builder's plate, and a recent view showing its deteriorating condition - to restore it will require us to obtain a replacement underframe.
- Paul Simpson has four fine photos from 29 & 30 December.
- Brian Lacey's photo below, from Friday last week, shows out-of-service LBSCR Terrier No.55 "Stepney", with its repaint into Stroudley livery nearing completion.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the sunset over Horsted Keynes last Friday, 2nd January.
- We are running Steam hauled and heated trains to our revised Service One Timetable this weekend.
- Deltics for 2015 Diesel Gala
The Bluebell Railway and the Deltic Preservation Society are pleased to announce the visit of D9009 "Alycidon" and 55019 "Royal Highland Fusilier" for the Bluebell Railway Diesel Gala on 18 and 19 April 2015. This will be the first time two Deltics have visited us, with both locos arriving via the Bluebell's mainline connection at East Grinstead. A two train service will be in operation each day with the locos switching diagrams on the Sunday. Further details will be available our website later, or call the Bluebell Railway on 01825 720800 or email the Deltic Preservation Society on secretary(AT)thedps.co.uk
- To help with the cost of repairing 34059 Sir Archibald Sinclair's firebox, the Bulleid Society are inviting membership of their 2015/16 "500+ Club". Please do support this important fund-raising initative, which also offers the chance for members to win cash prizes. More details here.
- Paul Furlong's photo below shows the S15 to the south of Lindfield Wood on Friday last week.
Brian Lacey's shows the H-class at Sheffield Park the same day.
- Brian Lacey's photo from 30 December shows the H-class approaching East Grinstead.
- Aron Stenning's gallery of photos from Friday.
- Martin Lawrence has completed his December photo gallery, and made a start on that for January.
- John Harwood provides this video from yesterday, shot at West Hoathly, Kingscote and East Grinstead, with thanks to the loco crew for assistance with the filming at East Grinstead.
- Steve Lee's photo below shows the S15 at West Hoathly on New Year's Day
- Yoshi Hashida's photo shows the Maunsell S15 at Three Arch Bridge last Sunday.
- We are running Steam hauled and heated trains to our (slightly revised) 2015 Service Two Timetable this weekend, and to the Service One Timetable next weekend. The Service one timetable has also been revised, to allow a slightly longer day for visitors who use the Bluebell to visit Sheffield Park National Trust Gardens.
There are no trains operating over the weekends of 17-18 & 24-25 January due to engineering work, although Sheffield Park Station, with our Museum, Locomotive Shed, Bar, Restaurant and Shop will be open.
- Some photos of shunting at Sheffield Park yesterday from Keith Duke.
- During December 2014 there were 57,523 total hits on this page, from 33,994 unique visitors. In total there were 4,764,885 hits in the month across 23,322 pages and photos on the site, accessed from 64,224 different servers.
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows the SECR H-class with the LNWR Observation Car at East Grinstead on Tuesday.
2 January 2015
- Peter Edwards' photo shows the H-class on Freshfield Bank with the 1.30pm train from Sheffield Park on Monday. It has been sharing the services this week with the S15.
- The 18th Project Newsletter is available from the Standard Class 2 locomotive project.
- John Harwood's video shows the H-class No.263 with the first Fairy Godmother train at Kingscote, and work in progress in the Signalbox, plus the S15 at East Grinstead.
- GWR 0-6-2T No.5643 has now completed its contracted steamings with us, and will move to The Furness Railway Trust's base at the Ribble Steam Railway in January for winter works.
- Sad to have to report (see more on the BRPS Members' Notices page) that midweek Booking Clerk and former Assistant Membership Secretary Ron Cheeseman passed away on Saturday 20 December in hospital where he had been undergoing treatment for cancer. The funeral is on Wednesday 7th January at 11:15 at Beckenham Crematorium.
- Fred Ivey's videos show our Metropolitan Carriages on their way to, and returning from Steam on the Met last summer.
- Tony Sullivan's photos below show the Q-class, the C-class and "Camelot" in the loco works yesterday. Once the Q-class and C-class are completed, the BR Standard 4MT tank No.80151 is planned to enter the works - new tyres for the driving wheels have already been ordered and are being held down at the South Devon Railway ready for fitting. With Camelot's boiler due to return from overhaul at Crewe within a few weeks, that locomotive will be re-assembled over the coming few months. Once Camelot is completed, the SER O1 No.65 will enter the works, since the boiler which is to be fitted (our spare H-class boiler) is nearing completion at The Flour Mill Workshop.
The Current What's New page contains all the recent update information.
Also see 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.
Your ideal Film/TV location?