Also see 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.
- Steve Lee's photo shows the LSWR Adams Radial Tank, shunted out of the shed, and on display in the loco yard at Sheffield Park, captured alongside the U-class yesterday. The Radial Tank, and our LSWR carriage No.1520, will shortly feature in an exhibition at Hampton Station as part of the 150th anniversary celebrations of the Shepperton Branch.
- The BBC web site carries an article about the surge in visitors to the railway since we opened the extension to East Grinstead.
Inside Out on BBC 1 South East on Monday 1st September at 7:30pm features the Bluebell.
We will also feature in the BBC Sussex Breakfast programme with Neil Pringle on Monday morning between 06:00 & 09:00. It will be available live on the BBC Radio iPlayer too.
- Over the next few weeks, Deborah Salmon and Dave Clarke will be cycling and running a total of 50 miles, in two events, to raise funds for the restoration of our unique Southern Railway Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864. Please do sponsor their efforts via this JustGiving page.
- On the BRPS Members' information page we report belatedly the passing of two long-serving Bluebell volunteers, Eric Nutland and Alan Pegg. My apologies for having been unable to post the news at the time.
- Martin Lawrence's photo below shows the Adams Radial Tank on display in the loco yard at Sheffield Park, which is amongst the shots taken yesterday and added to his August photo gallery;
- Derek Hayward's photos, taken from his C&W Works photo gallery, show the LNWR Observation Car rapidly approaching the end of its intermediate overhaul (the green is an undercoat, and the coach will return to service in full LNWR livery), and LCDR/SECR third-class carriage No.3188, which is also progressing rapidly.
- Latest news from the Brighton Atlantic project - illustrated by the photo on the right from Fred Bailey, taken last Sunday, showing the cylinder cladding, crosshead and bogie splasher in place on "Beachy Head". Would you like to sponsor a specific part of the locomotive? The latest component list is available, from which you can choose a wide variety of important parts of the locomotive.
- Details are now available for the Autumn Tints services, which run on weekdays from 29 September to 24 October. This year we are expanding the service to offer six departures on most days, and publishing leaflets targeting new markets, through connections from London and Bedford by train to East Grinstead, and by bus from Brighton.
- Two photos below, from Brian Lacey, taken on Wednesday, show the Southern Railway locomotives (U-class 2-6-0 No.1638 and S15 4-6-0 No.847) and Southern Railway stock (the SECR Birdcage at the head of the pre-war rake coming off the viaduct into East Grinstead, and an SR-designed Bulleid carriage behind the S15 at Horsted Keynes).
- Mike Hopps' photo on the right shows the U-class No.1638 at West Hoathly with the 1.30pm train from Sheffield Park on Tuesday this week.
- News update from the 73082 'Camelot' Locomotive Society showing work progressing on their boiler at Crewe.
- Bluebell Railway Locomotive Director Chris Hunford has supplied photos showing progress with the boiler repair of 34059 'Sir Archibald Sinclair' at LNWR Heritage at Crewe.
- Update to the web page for Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864, adding a photo taken by Ian Nolan of the carriage soon after its arrival at Sheffield Park in March 1962.
- John Sandys has a gallery of photos from today, the penultimate day of the two-train weekday service. Covers shunting at both Horsted Keynes and Sheffield Park, the Mets being shunted in the shed after returning from London, new stock in the shop, and a look in the Loco Works - his photo below shws the U-class entering Horsted Keynes, just prior to the token exchange. He also provides photos from Tuesday, with the S15 on Set A and the U-class on Set B, plus photos inside the carriage works.
- Derek Hayward also has some photos taken during a tour of the C&W Works on Saturday. The photos (lower down page one and on page 2) show the main working area, the paint shop (in this case a touch-up and re-varnish) and the cleared area to the east of the workshop where the new extension will be constructed.
- Visitors using some of the minor roads in the area may like to note that an eight week road closure started in the Kingscote area this week. There are also some shorter periods of works in West Hoathly.
- Our Metropolitan Railway coaches were returned home from Ruislip yesterday by a pair of GBRf 73s - seen below in Nicholas Woollven's photo at West Brompton, and Brian Lacey's at Sheffield Park.
- Today we remember Lord (Richard) Attenborough, seen here at the Bluebell during the filming of the 1999 version of "The Railway Children", who has died at the age of 90.
- News update from the Maunsell Locomotive Society, covering Stowe and Nos.847, 541 and 31638, and the latest on the Stowe Facebook page
- Simon Mulligan has footage from Tuesday with the U Class and S15 in action.
- Martin Lawrence has a video of the service trains yesterday with 847 at Rock Cutting and 1638 at West Hoathly, and has added a few photos to his August gallery.
- John Sandys' photo, from a set of photos taken yesterday, shows the S15 departing from Horsted Keynes with Set A. The U-class was in charge of Set B, the Birdcage set, seen preparing to leave platforms 4/5. Those who fear the Bluebell is becoming just another Mk.1 railway should note that the two six-coach trains seen here, and which have been the sets for most of the peak summer season, consist of one LBSCR coach, two SECR coaches, 5 SR (Maunsell and Bulleid designed) caoches, and just 4 Mk.1s.
- The Bulleid Society have just updated their web site with news about the replacement of brake components on Blackmoor Vale's tender, the original parts being in use with 34046 Braunton.
- Update to the Carriage Restoration technical page listing suppliers, with revised contact details for AJ Wells & Sons, the Isle of Wight based vitreous enamellers.
- Updates to the web pages for BR "Grampus" Engineers' Drop Side Wagons Nos.DB 986419, DB 984506, DB 988395 and DB 985854 with thanks to Nick Beck and Martin Skrzetuszewski, and to that for Van C (BY) No.442.
- The Murder Mystery Evenings on the Golden Arrow Pullman train in September and October have now sold out. An updated synopsis for 2014 is now available to download, as is the Murder Mystery synopsis and dates for 2015.
- The Bluebell Railway Band have recently launched their new web site. Having played at the Vintage Weekend, they are next on the Railway for the annual Carol Service at Horsted Keynes on Saturday 6 December.
- Steve Lee's photo shows the ex-LBSCR E4 with the lunchtime Pullman Luncheon train on Sunday, after further firebox attention. His photo below shows the S15 with one of the service trains the same day.
- Update to the Special Events and Offers page with details of Santa Specials and other events in December, including our new Reindeer Specials running from East Grinstead.
- Tim Easter's photos show our Met stock at Clapham Junction on the evening of 23 July, on their way to West Ruislip depot, and this almost timeless scene with Sarah Siddons with the Chesham set, approaching Farringdon.
- Robert Else's photos of Tornado.
- Roger Carpenter has updated his Bluebell album to show some pictures of the morning, to complement the earlier shots of the train making its way to London.
- Martin Lawrence has uploaded a new video of recent clips. Starting with the Sunday P-Way gang working at Horsted Keynes and followed by diesel 09018 with the Queen Mary brake on a special evening train during the vintage vehicle weekend. Finally U-class No.1638 climbs Freshfield Bank with the evening Golden Arrow service. Martin has also now finished his July gallery and added to his August one.
- Last weekend's Chesham 125 celebrations, featuring our ex-Chesham Branch carriages has been well covered on video, including by Matt Wickham (who also has a few photos), from 'GC Met' and from Dan Gosling.
- Matt Wickham, from OLDBOYSTEAMING and 'MrKnowwun' provide coverage of the previous two Saturdays' Hammersmith & City 150 runs.
- John Sandys' photos from Monday 18 August show Swordfish leaving Sheffield Park, the S15 back on Set A after its maintenance, 1638 working Set B, and progress on the Q-Class.
- News update from our volunteer Locomotive Working Group on the overhaul of the Q-class, and an earlier update on Stowe, showing great progress on the firebox overhaul.
- Updates to the Locomotive Stock List and Operational Locos, accounting for the departure of the on-loan diesel locomotives 33103 and 13236
- The last two photos below show Tornado at Sheffield Park (Simon Jeffs/Laurel Arnison, 2 August) and 5643 taking water at East Grinstead the day before (Paul Marlton)
- So, with apologies from your editor for having been rather busy away from the Railway over the last 3 weeks, and a consequent lack of updates (you can always keep up-to-date on the latest goings on via our Facebook page, even if you are not a Facebook user) ... to catch up, firstly we report the phenomenon which is the "Tornado" which swept in for seven days of action on the Bluebell. New-build LNER A1 pacific No.60163 is seen here on 30 July as it approaches Imberhorne Lane Bridge with a 7-coach train, in this photo from John Goss.
- Martin Lawrence provides a video showing Tornado's arrival, behind a DRC Class 31, on Saturday 26 July.
- Rob Faulkner provides a couple of photos of Tornado heading towards Farnborough Station in Hampshire, on her way to Sheffield Park from Swanage.
- Derek Hayward's photos covering the visit of Tornado.
- Neil Munro-Thomson visited Horsted Keynes on Tuesday 29 July to see Tornado in the late afternoon sunshine.
- John Sandys provides this gallery of photos of Tornado on 28 July, its first day in Bluebell service, including this video of it at West Hoathly.
- The day Tornado arrived found Horsted Keynes heaving with a large number of people attending the annual Toy and Rail Collectors Fair. The event took place on the station platforms, in the adjacent field and on stalls arranged in a "car boot" format, with parking for the public displaced to a nearby field to make room. Derek Hayward provides a gallery for the event.
- Our four Metropolitan carriages returned to London (by rail, hauled by two class 73s) for use as part of the LU heritage train, operating between Met1 and Sarah Siddons over the Hammersmith and City Line over the last two weekends, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of that line's opening. This weekend they are operating, with L.150 and Met.1, back on their old stamping ground, on the Met's Chesham Branch.
Tim Easter's photo on the right shows the H&C 150 train at Farringdon last Saturday. Tim has a complete set from Hammersmith & City 150 here.
- Martin Lawrence has this video of some of the action surrounding the Mets leaving the Bluebell by rail.
- Video of the Mets passing though Lingfield from Tom Waghorn.
- Great photos from Roger Carpenter including the Mets passing over the viaduct at Oxted, and at Clapham Junction.
- Photos from Ian Wylie showing our carriages on the Piccadilly line on Saturday 9 August.
- More video footage from Martin Lawrence covering Bluebell activities between 3rd May and 5th June, including a ride behind Taffy tank No.5643, footage from the model railway weekend, plus C-class No.592 through the tunnel and beyond.
- Neal Ball enjoyed another great visit to the railway when Tornado was down as part of the Summer festival, particularly for the Real Ale & Jazz evening.
- The Murder Mystery Evening on the Golden Arrow Pullman train on Friday 7th November has now sold out, however the train has been chartered for another on Friday 14th November. An updated synopsis showing the new date is now available to download.
- Alan Edwards had a great day out at the Bluebell on Thurdsay 7th August, resulting in this album with 20 photos and a short video of the Westinghouse Brake pump on E4 No.B473 at Sheffield Park.
- Vintage Transport Weekend - 9-10 August: Owing to severe adverse weather in the area of Horsted Keynes on the Sunday morning, and heavy thunderstorms in the afternoon it did not prove possible to hold the judging of vehicles as planned. The judges were also aware that some owners attended on the Saturday instead, having taken account of the weather forecast. That being so, the judges are also considering a large number of photos taken on the Saturday, and prize winners will be announced at a later stage when they have deliberated.
Two galleries of photos are available here, from Derek Hayward and Keith Duke.
Derek's photo below shows some of the many road-going steam engines which attended.
- Alan Jenkins' photo below from 7 August shows that ex-LBSCR E4 No.B473 has returned to action after a period out of use, following completion of complex copper-welding repairs to its firebox. It has subsequently required further minor attention to its firebox, now completed.
- Over 350 people attended the Songs of Praise at Kingscote Station on Sunday evening. The guest preacher was Bishop Mark of Horsham who is seen in the photo with Fr. John (BRPS Chaplain) and Fr. Clive (our assistant Chaplain) at Kingscote Station.
- John Sandys provides a set of photos from last Thursday, when the 09 was very busy shunting, moving all the stock into the right place in preparation for the start of the Summer season at the end of next week. The photos also include a good look at the Q-Class.
- Next Sunday, between 11:30 and 4pm, Chris Green (former Managing Director of Network SouthEast) is signing his books in the shop at Sheffield Park. Chris has recently published The Network SouthEast Story detailing the history of this very successful sector of British Railways. The new book, along with Chris's first title The Intercity Story, will be available to purchase in the shop at Sheffield Park.
- If you have visited the Railway in the past year, either to take a train or just visit a station, please take a moment to fill out this survey. It should take no more than 10 minutes of your time. All entries received by midnight on 8 August will be entered into a draw - the winner will receive a voucher for two Afternoon Tea Lounge Car tickets. We welcome your thoughts, and the results will help the Railway plan for its future.
- Update to the Carriage Restoration technical page listing suppliers, to included Camira Fabrics, our suppliers of carriage moquette (seat fabric), who now own both the Holdsworth transport brand, and Furtex.
- Brian Lacey provides this portrait of the GW "Taffy" tank which was hauling the midweek service yesterday.
- John Sandys has a set of photos taken on Monday, at Sheffield Park where 4 locomotives were in action, 263, 178, 5643, and the 09 shunter. The photo below shows the H-class arriving at Horsted Keynes with Edwardian coaches for use in some filming featuring Sir Ian McKellen starring as Mr Holmes.
His second photo below shows further good progress on fitting the L-frame into the future Kingscote Signalbox. There remains a lot of detailed work to implement the mechanical and electrical interlocking, before the frame can take over control of the Kingscote area from the existing temporary box, some time next year. The installation includes provision for the longer term, since it is planned that it should eventually control the line up to and including East Grinstead.
- Recent article covering a visit to the Bluebell on the UK Heritage Hub & Model Railway Blog.
- Tim Simpson Photography certainly captured the spirit of this wedding at the Bluebell! If you are interested in holding your wedding at the Railway, we have more details here.
- Because of a wedding charter (seen below in Derek Hayward's photo, where the wedding party was accommodated in the two Lounge-Car carriages attached to the rear of the Victorian set), an additional relief train, comprising SECR No.178 hauling two SECR carriages, was run at 2.05pm from Sheffield Park, again photographed by Derek (right). The U-class was back in action after attention to a spring hanger, which had seen No.5643 deputising for it during the week.
- Join us for Songs of Praise at Kingscote Station on Sunday 20 July. There is a train from Sheffield Park at 5.15pm, calling at Horsted Keynes at 5.30pm for Kingscote. If you are travelling from East Grinstead there will be a departure at 6.10pm. The evening train service is free of charge with donations split bewteen St Swithuns, St Giles and the Bluebell Railway.
Our service will be lead by Father Clive of St Swithuns, East Grinstead, and Father John from St Giles, Horsted Keynes, Vice Chaplain and Chaplain to the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society. The Bishop of Horsham is our guest preacher.
- John Sandys has some photos from Thursday, a surprisingly busy day at the railway, possibly caused by the Public Service Workers strike. Includes photos of the Q-class, and, as seen below, Camelot and the E4 in the works.
- At the Sussex Food Festival, the Golden Arrow Competition winners were, on Saturday, Gaby Lethbridge from Ardingly, and on Sunday, Charlotte Sumner from Brixham. Both have won a meal for two on the Golden Arrow, which can be taken on a Saturday evening of their choice in October or November
- The final photo below is from Steve Lee, also from Saturday, showing No.5643, which has recently had a new piston ring fitted, heading the main service set up the 1-in-55 approach to Imberhorne Cutting.
- Derek Hayward has uploaded more photos for the food festival, and today's entry is illustrated by more of his photos from the event, on the right is the H-class with Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea train, passing through Horsted Keynes. Below is No.592 approaching Horsted Keynes with the SR Olive-green liveried set, 5643 leaving Horsted Keynes with the other service set, and Mk.1 Brake Second coach No.35207, which has recently been commissioned into service on the Bluebell after overhaul at Cranmore.
- Two photos from Sunday from Chris Beaumont; on the right, the SCER C-class approaches Horsted Keynes station with the Birdcage set, and below, No.5643 is seen with the other service set at Leamland Bridge.
- Two more photos from the weekend, below, from Derek Hayward - Marco the magician is seen working VERY hard on the Saturday, and also an illustration of the face painting on Sunday. (It is probably worth recording here that Derek always seeks permission from parents for the use by us of photos featuring portraits of children. Being in a "public" place, no permission is needed to take such photos, but it is courteous to do so!)
- Reminder that our Summer Festival, a full fortnight of events 26 July - 10 August, includes our Toy & Rail Collectors' Fair (26-27 July) and the visit of 'new-build' steam locomotive No.60163 "Tornado" (28 July - 3 Aug).
- On Saturday 19 July we are offering discounted train travel to visit the East Grinstead Mid-Summer Market.
- Our 6th annual Sussex Food Festival, held this weekend at Horsted Keynes Station saw a great variety of stalls, and entertainment for all the family. Derek Hayward's photo shows Dulci Bella Marshmallows at Horsted Keynes on Saturday, and another of his photos, below, shows the Iberica Delights stall.
Please note that next year the event will be one week later, so as to avoid clashing with Wimbledon and other sporting events.
Derek's gallery of photos for the event is gradually growing, and should be complete by the middle of this week.
- Steve Lee provides the other two photos below, showing the C-class and the 56xx on the two service trains, and the H-class with the Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea service on Saturday.
- The weather forecast looks to be dry from 11am tomorrow, and not too hot - ideal for our Sussex Food Festival.
- John Sandys' photos from yesterday show L.150 standing in for No.1638 (suffering from a broken spring), a test run for No.5643 after some maintenance work in the Loco workshop. Also a look inside the signal box at Kingscote with work progressing, and some fantastic displays of flowers. John's photo on the right shows L.150 emerging from the tunnel, and that below, the L-frame which is being installed in Kingscote signalbox.
- A new newsletter is available, the latest update from the Standard Class 2 project. The photo below shows the front dragbox, with spacers, ready for riveting.
- Brighton Atlantic: Updated list of components available for sponsorship following the addition of some major new items, and several items being removed following their sponsorship. Indeed the smokebox door was snapped up within 24 hours of a new list being produced, so there's a real momentum to it!
- Details of the funeral of Bluebell volunteer Tony Hayllar's wife, Ruth, are to be found on the Society Members' Notices page. See also this article on Ruth in the Crawley Observer.
- Celebrate the finest local food and drink at our 6th annual Sussex Food Festival this coming weekend at Horsted Keynes Station.
Amongst the local producers with stalls lining the platforms are cake bakers, cheese makers, producers of delicious liqueurs, handmade chocolates, wines, juices and some delicious gourmet burgers.
38 exhibitors so far but still rising, plus Zoe's Face Painting, Marco the Magician, Bouncy Castle & Steam Trains!
See also the Facebook page for the event, or join in the Twitter conversations.
- A set of photos from John Sandys from Monday features the U-class on the service train (seen in the photo on the right during its run-round at Sheffield Park), new items in the shop, the boilers of the Q and Stowe back in the loco works, and the current state of the Q-class chassis.
- Yesterday saw the launch of the new local news service on Meridian FM, with local news from East Grinstead, thanks to East Grinstead Online, on the air at 7.30am, 8.30am, 9.30am, 4.30pm and 5.30pm. You can also listen to Meridian FM online.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster with thanks to Chris Knibbs.
- The East Grinstead in Bloom team have done a great job with the East Grinstead station flower beds, as seen in the photo below. The Bluebell Railway cleared the undergrowth and sponsored the plants for this patch of land between the two stations, which the EG in Bloom team kindly arranged and expertly planted. Please do support East Grinstead in Bloom; judging takes place Thursday 10th July.
- Derek Hayward's photos from the Model Railway Weekend are now available. The photo below, taken with kind permission of Bachmann, shows the second engineering prototype for the LBSCR E4.
- Another of Derek's photos below, shows David Chappell, proudly still wearing his Track Trek medal whilst working with the P-way gang on Sunday, with some of his sponsors. David has raised a magnificent £1,088 and any further contributions towards Keep up the Pressure will be much appreciated.
- During June 2014 there were 62,467 total hits on this page, from 36,918 unique visitors.
- The weekend's Model Railway event went off very well, with a fantastic "buzz" all around the railway. Because of the weather, Saturday was a lot quieter. Indeed, we have to express our sincere apologies to those who were unable to access the railway at Sheffield Park at some times on Sunday due to overcrowding. Derek Hayward's photo on the right shows a view on Saturday across the carriage works, which was given over to a variety of layouts and sales stands. His photo below shows a great layout from the Bognor Regis Model Railway Club, "Aldingbourne Central", which was a tremendous hit with children who were able to drive the trains.
- Saturday evening also saw the 2014 Track Trek, which has raised well over £10,000 towards the locomotive boiler appeal - "Keep up the Pressure". Mike Hopps' photo below shows some of the walkers arriving at Sheffield Park. Fortunately the weather held fine for the evening. Many thanks to those who have sponsored or walked, including those who sponsored our Chairmen. Whilst Roy was one of the first to complete the walk, Dick apologises that he was unable to participate in the end, since his wife is recovering at home from a recent hospital operation and he needed to be at home with her that evening.
- Martin Lawrence has updated his June photo gallery to include the Track Trek.
- Keith Duke provides photos from earlier in the day on Saturday.
- News updates on the overhaul of No.73082 "Camelot" are now available here.
- A "nostalgia" article from the East Grinstead Courier featuring the closure of BR's East Grinstead Signal Box in 1987, featuring Clive Emsley, who was a signalman there as well as being a Bluebell volunteer.
- On Saturday 19 July we are offering discounted train travel in conjunction with the East Grinstead Mid-Summer Market
- The other photo below, by Sheila Beaumont, shows the locomotives powering the second service set over the weekend, the SECR pair of 178 and 592.
- Brian Lacey's photo from last Saturday shows the C-class entering East Grinstead station.
- Camelot's frames are seen in the works yesterday in Tony Sullivan's photo below, prior to being wheeled out, and as can be seen the remainder of the workshop is also clear, making space for the Model Railway exhibition this weekend, which is also taking over much of the Carriage Works at Horsted Keynes, as well as station platforms and waiting rooms.
- Further JustGiving pages for people participating in Saturday's Track Trek - please support them, as we really do need to raise money urgently for the overhaul of our loco boilers: Matt Hume, Tony Hayllar, Andrew & Michelle, Callum & Darren, Mark Richardson, Peter Corish, Peter Saunders and Lizzie & Bryan.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the Brighton Atlantic during last weekend's project open day. "Atlantic House", at Sheffield Park, will also be open during the Model Railway Weekend which takes place this coming weekend.
- It's not too late to join in this Saturday's Track Trek
So far we have 190 pre-registered participants - there's capacity for more.
Thank you to those who have already supported our two chairmen and other walkers. The level of donations is very encouraging, but further support is vital to help us fund the overhaul of our steam locomotive boilers (through the "Keep Up The Pressure" campaign).
Please do support the appeal, which is very easy to do via the following who have online fundraising pages for the trek:
- Nick Beck and Martin Skrzetuszewski have updated the webpage for Mk.1 CK No.16210, and added a new photo by David Chappell to the page for wheelchair-accessible multi-purpose saloon No.5034.
- Peter Austin's photo shows the C-class with vintage coaches on Sunday. Another of his photos, below, shows the GWR Prairie Tank currently running as L.150 with the lunchtime Pullman Dining Train.
- This coming weekend - Sat 28 & Sun 29 June is our Annual Model Railway Weekend - it was a great success last year, and this year should be even better - lots of layouts in different scales and gauges, displayed at various locations around the railway, and shop stands, manufacturers and suppliers too. Free entry to the exhibition with Bluebell tickets.
At Sheffield Park, in the locomotive shed and works will be 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, inside the Carriage and Wagon Works will be more layouts and traders, including the first showing of the new P4 layout "Plumpton Green", and other layouts in N, OO and O. More traders and layouts will be located on the platforms and in the waiting rooms.
- Yoshi Hashida visited Bluebell over the previous weekend, and provides the photo showing the S15 departing from Sheffield Park last Sunday. Further photos by Yoshi are available here.
- Peter Edwards' photo shows the S15 leaving Sheffield Park on Friday with stock for that evening's Rail Ale train. Neal Ball also provides a set of photos from the evening - there are two more such trains running in July and August.
- Great blog post by Revd. Rupert Toovey, originally published on 18 June 2014 in the West Sussex Gazette.
- Reminder that next Saturday is our Track Trek. If you can't join us for the walk, why not sponsor our two Chairmen?
Don't forget that, because of the event, the last down train from East Grinstead (6.15pm) on Saturday will terminate at Horsted Keynes, and will not continue to Sheffield Park Station.
- Update for our Summer Festival which runs from 26 July to 10 August, adding details of some further attractions. In addition to our regular service of vintage steam trains, of course we have new-build A1 pacific No.60163 "Tornado" visiting, which will be hauling trains daily from 28 July to 3 August. Full details and timetables here.
- Blog update from the Southern Electric Traction Group on our 4VEP unit which is in their care.
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows the LBSCR Milk/Fruit Van No.270 at Horsted Keynes on Saturday. It forms an interesting contrast with our ordinary LBSCR goods van, which was the previous restoration project undertaken by the team who have been restoring No.270.
The next photo, by Joseph Jameson, is of SECR P-class No.323 "Bluebell" on pilot duties at Sheffield Park on Saturday.
MBE for Chairman, Roy Watts
We are delighted to be able to report that BRPS Chairman Roy Watts is appointed a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in Her Majesty's 2014 Birthday Honours List in recognition of his services to the Heritage Railway movement and preservation.
More details available here.
Derek Hayward's photo on the right shows Roy Watts as Station Master at East Grinstead during an open day, on 5 September 2010.
Deborah Salmon's photo on the left shows Roy, also at East Grinstead, with sleeves rolled up in preparation for another open day, in September 2011.
- Derek Hayward's photo from Sunday shows the S15 amidst the daisies at Medhurst Farm. Derek has also added further photos to his galleries of Photos of Bluebell People.
- Very pleased to see this superb blog write-up about a visit to the wheelchair-friendly Bluebell!
- Report and photos of further great progress on the boiler overhaul of Schools No.928 "Stowe", with the first new boiler plate going in, and repairs to the foundation ring.
- On Wednesday we had a visit from the Old Southeronians, the association for retired railway staff in Southern England, with both plc Chairman Dick Fearn and newly elected BRPS President Gordon Pettitt being part of the group. John and May Goss provide the photo of the group below, and another showing H-class No.263 and C-class No.592 ready to leave Sheffield Park with the 1.15pm departure for East Grinstead.
- In a departure from the intended locomotive Duty Roster, yesterday saw the H-class and C-class working together, as seen in Brian Lacey's mid-afternoon photo at East Grinstead, where a temporary works compound for Sainsburys currently restricts photo opportunities from the car park.
- Details are now available for our major special event of the year - the Bluebell Railway's Summer Festival which runs from 26 July to 10 August. A major highlight is the visit of new-build A1 pacific No.60163 "Tornado" which will be hauling trains daily from 28 July to 3 August.
- Notices indicate that the minor road between Danehill and Horsted Keynes is due to be closed for repairs to the surface by WSCC today, Friday and Saturday, 12, 13 & 14 June. An alternative route is from Chelwood Gate, or why not visit us by train via East Grinstead.
- Remember also that Sunday 15th is the annual London to Brighton Bike Ride, in aid of the British Heart Foundation. Whilst the ride doesn't affect us directly, some of the roads to the West of the line will be closed, or become one-way, during the day. You may therefore face diversions, which will add extra time to your journey. And if all that cycling inspires you, remember that East Grinstead station is on National Cycle Route 21, most of which is far easier on the legs than Ditchling Beacon!
- Derek Hayward has just added 25 new images to his Bluebell 2014 collection. Photos taken on 8th June, seen below, show the quiet country station at Kingscote, the repaired handrail on the east side of the platform 3/4 subway steps at Horsted Keynes (a project undertaken by some members of the C&W department), and maintenance work undertaken by the S&T department on the Kingscote Down Advanced Starter, where corroded proving switches are seen being replaced.
- Derek Hayward's photo shows the SECR H-class with the lunchtime Golden Arrow on Sunday at Caseford Bridge.
- Pat Plane - it's with great sadness that we have to report the sudden (and peaceful) death of stalwart extension volunteer Pat Plane last week. Further details, including arrangements for his funeral, are on the page for Society Notices.
- Bluebell policy on e.cigarettes. You will be aware that the Bluebell has a strict No Smoking policy on all platforms, trains, buildings etc. At the recent Board meeting it was agreed that this policy extends to electronic cigarettes of any description. Consequent update to the FAQ on this web site.
- Coming soon: New book: LB&SCR Carriages Volume 1: Four- and Six-wheeled Ordinary Passenger Stock. Forty years after Newbury's work on this topic, this new large-format volume includes many new photographs, plus research by Bluebell C&W members Ian White and Sheina Foulkes, together with Simon Turner of the Brighton Circle. It will be available this December.
- Derek Hayward's photo shows the SECR C-class amid the daisies at Kingscote today, with the SECR Birdcage Brake leading the vintage set. The S15 was on the other service train, and the H-class on the Golden Arrow.
- The H-class also had an outing yesterday, and is seen in Wilson Hill's photo during the token exchange at Horsted Keynes, whilst hauling a wedding special Pullman charter.
- Royal Visit to East Grinstead tomorrow - Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal will unveil the McIndoe memorial statue outside Sackville College in the High Street in East Grinstead on Monday at about 2.10pm. The Bluebell was able to support the fund-raising for the erection of the memorial through a Gala Pullman dining train. Any Bluebell passengers who would like to see the unveiling are advised to travel to East Grinstead on the 11am service from Sheffield Park (11.17 from Horsted Keynes) and return on the 4.30pm service from East Grinstead. More details available here.
- Set of photos from Alan Edwards showing our P-class No.178 on its visit to Tanfield Railway, on 31 May.
- A few photos from Martin Lawrence added to his May and June galleries.
- Nick Beck has added one of David Chappell's photos to the web page for Mk.1 SO No.4754.
- Tony Sullivan's photo shows the Bluebell stand at the South of England Show at Ardingly, which continues tomorrow. We are now booking for the New Year's Eve Pullman Dining Train. If you stop by our tent at the show, do ask about our promotion for that, and other fantastic offers on Pullman Dining, Rail Ale, Fish & Chip supper specials and our Christmas events.
- John Sandys provides a set of photos from yesterday, showing preparations for filming the Downton Abbey Christmas Special, and the S15 on the service train.
- An updated page with the correct Bluebell Railway plc Tangible Fixed Assets figures, which replaces page 16 of the printed 2013 Accounts booklet, is available to download as a pdf.
- Brian Lacey's photo from Wednesday shows No.847 arriving at East Grinstead with the mid-afternoon train, just before the heavens opened and put an end to photography.
- Video from John Harwood, who was also there at the same time that day. But first, the S15 arrives and departs at Kingscote (with the 1.15 service from Sheffield Park), whilst work on the signal box continues. The arrival at East Grinstead started dry but ended very wet especially for the station master on the platform. The passengers, on a quite well-patronised train, decided to stay on board, happy to watch the rain whilst eating their cream teas. The new modern art sculpture (?) at the booking office still looked very neat despite the rain. By the time the S15 got to Kingscote with the return service it was quite dry. (John thanks the driver for the run round shot.)
- We are now booking for the New Year's Eve Pullman Dining Train. If you stop by our tent at the South of England Show, do ask about our promotion!
- Advanced notice that on the day of the Track Trek (28th June), the last down train (the 6.15pm from East Grinstead will terminate at Horsted Keynes, and will not continue to Sheffield Park Station.
- Steve Lee's photo shows the U-class approaching Kingscote with the Vintage set on Bank Holiday Monday, 26 May.
- We have a stand at the South of England Show at Ardingly, which starts tomorrow. If you buy your tickets to the show in advance from our travel office at East Grinstead station, you get a discount!
- Update to the FAQ.
- Update to the "Who's Who" page, including the new appointments as a result of the recent BRPS AGM elections and the first meeting of the new Society Committee.
- Photos from Saturday from Dave Ryding.
- Neal Ball's photos of the S15, from the first Rail Ale Evening of the year, in May. Future dates are 20 June, 25 July and 1 August.
- Aron Stenning's photo shows the S15 in the sun at Sheffield Park on Saturday.
- The final positions in the 2013/14 Football Competition, which is raising funds for the overhaul of our Southern Railway Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864, are now available.
- Entry forms for the 2014/15 Football Competition are now available - you don't need to know anything about football to enter, and it's a great way to support one of our lower profile (but continually advancing) fundraising projects.
- John Sandys's photos below, from yesterday show the SR Q-class and its tender in the loco works, which continues to progress towards completion, and LBSCR Stroudley Brake No.949 in the carriage works, where all the wooden mouldings (which cover the joints between the panels) on the west side are now complete, with all screw-holes plugged, joins fettled, and primed.
- Aron Stenning spent an enjoyable day on Saturday on the footplates of the U and the S15, and provides the photos on the right (U-class No.1638) and below (S15 No.847), providing a nice comparison of the two SR cab designs, of respectively Ashford and Eastleigh origin.
- Outline details are now available for the Bluebell Railway's Model Railway Weekend on Sat 28 & Sun 29 June.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster with thanks to Chris Knibbs and Andy Sabin.
- BRPS members will be interested to see the election results from the Society's AGM, and a notice from the Society Officers and Committee regarding the nominations made by them for the Bluebell Railway plc Directors.
- John Sandys provides a photo update from today, featuring the S15 in service, plus work being done by the Friends of Sheffield Park, and in the Loco and C&W workshops, etc.
- Jon Bowers' photo below shows David Allan, Chairman of Ian Allan Publishing, unveiling our National Railway Heritage Awards "Railway of the Decade" plaque at Sheffield Park on Sunday. The award had been presented to us by Loyd Grossman at the awards ceremony back in December.
- During May 2014 there were 72,503 total hits on this page, from 41,166 unique visitors.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the S15 on a service train on Thursday, with the 09 also seen shunting at Horsted Keynes. His photo below shows No.1638 on the SR set the same day.
- Video from John Harwood, showing the Southern Railway U-class with the SR set, at Kingscote yesterday.
- The second photo below, from David Chappell, shows L150 with the last down train on Wednesday.
- Loco news update for the Brighton Atlantic project, with thanks to Fred Bailey. As seen in his photo on the right, the frames are now on the wheels, or at least, at present supported about 10 inches above them, whilst the final work between the frames is completed. See the full report here.
Your support is vital to the success of the project, and the sponsorship of components is an important ongoing method of support - could you sponsor a patch screw for the firebox or a cylinder stud, or maybe one of the larger components, on the updated list?
- Update earlier in the week for progress on Schools No.928 "Stowe".
- Members of the Stepney Club are seen below, with "Stepney" at Horsted Keynes on 18 May, in Derek Hayward's photo. (Note the bandage on Stepney's chimney). The next photo below, taken the same day, illustrates the Edwardian Weekend, and Derek has a gallery from the event here.
- Derek's next two photos illustrate the work being undertaken that day also at Horsted Keynes by two teams from the 9F Club, who were working under instruction in the various aspects of Permanent Way work in a blocked section of the Down Yard at Horsted Keynes, and on the cosmetic refurbishment of the Ransomes & Rapier Steam Crane
- No.5643 has been in service this weekend, and is seen here in Steve Lee's photo, passing through the West Hoathly station site. Steve's other photos from the wet Bank Holiday Monday are also available.
- The next of our monthly "Find Out More Days" is Sunday 1st June. This is the opportunity for anyone interested in finding out more about what is involved in volunteering to join a tour around different departments across the railway. David Chappell's photo below shows the May 4th "Find Out More" tour, with Fireman Harry Brampton (on the left) and nine potential volunteers being shown round Carriage & Wagon by Dave Clarke (right).
- On 14 May, the H-class became the first locomotive to take water from the fully operational water crane at East Grinstead, during a special "thank you" train run for the volunteers involved in the construction of the water tower and crane. The tank takes its water in part from rainwater from the station and viaduct collected in a sump at the bottom of the tower, and part from the mains. Mike Hopps' two photos below show the events.
- Martin Lawrence has added a few more photos to his May gallery.
- John Sandys has photos from 22 May, quite a busy day at the railway with several coach parties. Included are photos of Mk.1 TSO No.4754, newly arrived from MOD Bicester, "Bluebell" back from her Spring break, the new 2015 Calendar is now available in the shop (and very good it is too), and more progress on the Q-class in the Loco workshop.
John has an earlier update from a week before, including filming at Horsted Keynes, the water tower completed at East Grinstead, and Kingscote's telephone box and temporary track-work laid into the sidings, plus work starting on the North Signalbox, with photos and a video.
- Update to the web page for the third of our wheelchair-accessible carriages, Mk.1 saloon No.4941, with thanks to Martin Skrzetuszewski and Nick Beck.
- Update from the Southern Electric Traction Group on the current status with VEP unit No.3417.
- The new Southern Timetable which came into force last week includes an extra late night train on Saturdays, at 22.54 from East Grinstead to London Victoria, calling at Oxted, East Croydon and Clapham Junction.
- Derek Hayward's photo here shows the crew of the C-class at East Grinstead back on 26 August last year. It illustrates Derek's "People 4" gallery, which is now available. The images were taken mainly (but not exclusively) in 2013 and the early part of 2014. Some pictures have been seen before, others held back for this album. With the exception of office holders in the BRPS or plc, by default individuals are not named, unless they have been previously. If an individual included in the gallery is happy to be named in captions, please would they send Derek an e-mail to that effect.
Derek's main Bluebell People Index (covering approximately 450 photographs) also provides access to the previous galleries.
- The H-class ran a special train today as a "thank-you" for those involved in the construction of the watering facilities at East Grinstead, and the Water Crane was officially thus officially inaugurated.
- The results for the "Best Decorated" shop competition from the weekend are published in the East Grinstead Online Blog - our congratulations to Aldridge & Trillwood (see photo included in yesterday's report, below), who took the cup, and The British Red Cross and Wear It Again Sam who came second and third.
- If you're planning to participate in this year's Track Trek on 28 June and haven't registered yet, it would help the organisers if you could register soon (full details here) - it helps to assess the resources required to run the event.
If you would like to support the event but are unable to participate you can sponsor our Chairmen on their JustGiving page.
Please support this event in aid of the Keep Up the Pressure appeal.
- Nice to ready this blog entry from Unique and Chic about a visit to the Bluebell last month.
- John Harwood's video shows a very quiet scene at Horsted Keynes today, with a few preparations in hand for the Edwardian Weekend. U-class 1638 is seen with the 2.15 from East Grinstead, through the cutting and at Kingscote.
- Article and photos in today's East Grinstead Courier about the Southern at War weekend.
- Photo from John Sandys from Monday, when peace returned, with the U-class on the service train.
- Edwardian Weekend: We now have more information about the coming weekend's event:
- Overview, Timetable and fares - Two vintage trains running - Kids for a Quid special offer,
- The classic Swing boats - a true Edwardian fairground ride,
- Edwardian Roundabout - all the fun of the fair,
- Edwardian Hall of Mirrors,
- Splat the Rat as he tries to escape by sliding down the drain,
- The High Striker - a real test of strength,
- Edwardian Crazy Cottage,
- Afternoon Band Concerts,
- The Edwardian Pantry in the Grand Marquee at Horsted Keynes.
- Two more photos from last weekend's wartime event, from Andrew Crampton, taken on Sunday, showing the Queen Victoria Hospital burns unit display at East Grinstead, and one of several local shops which joined in the spirit of the event, Aldridge & Trillwood. The third photo below is from John Sandys, from Saturday at Horsted Keynes.
- Derek Hayward's photo shows the Spitfire flypast at Horsted Keynes on Saturday as part of our Southern at War event. The 1944-built Spitfire HF MkIX, TA 80, put on a fantastic display for about 10 minutes.
- Paul Pettitt provides an atmospheric set of photos from Saturday, including the first photo below.
- John Sandys was also there on Saturday, and provides a great set of photos despite the windy and showery weather! We were fortunate that both flypasts were able to take place.
- Steve Lee's gallery of photos showing the four locomotives in steam on Sunday - the U-class with an all-interwar SR set, as seen in Steve's photo below, the S15 and the H, plus Baxter shunting at Sheffield Park.
- Derek Hayward is still sorting through the 500 photos he took over the weekend, but two more from him below show the Home Guard at Horsted Keynes on Saturday, and the US Navy T-6 Harvard, and an initial selection is already available.
- David Stubbings took the photo on the right, showing the U-class with the vintage set last Saturday at Horstead Keynes. He also has photos of the H-class on the Wealden Ramber and visiting 56xx No.5643 on the other service train.
- We hope you are looking forward to the Southern at War event this weekend. We are running an intensive 3-train service, with all the locomotives (SR S15 and U, and the SECR H-class), and the majority of the carriages being appropriate to the era.
In addition to the information linked on Wednesday we also have details of the Best Dressed Shop in East Grinstead.
- John Sandys has some photos and a video taken today, including continuing work on the Q-class, preparations for the Southern at War weekend and No.1638 passing through Imberhorne Cutting with the first train of the day.
- Our SECR P-class locomotive No.178 is visiting the Tanfield Railway near Gateshead, appearing at events there on 24-26 & 31 May and 1 June.
- David Chappell's photo shows Mk.1 BSK No.35207 on arrival at Horsted Keynes. This coach, overhauled to a high standard at Cranmore, is on the Bluebell under a "storage with use" agreement with its owner.
- We have also succeeded in puchasing another Mk.1, TSO No.4754, from MOD Bicester. Once overhauled it will enable us to sell TSO No.4957, which has forescent lighting and a formica interior, which had been modified as part of the Travelling College. No.4754 in contrast has the much more interesting earlier style of veneer-panelled interior, and the acquisition of such a vehicle has been a heritage/preservation aim of the Carriage & Wagon Department's volunteers for some years.
- New webpages have been produced by Martin Skrzetuszewski and Nick Beck for TSO No.4754 and privately-owned BSK No.35207, which arrived last week. The webpage for wheelchair-accessible carriage No.5034 has also been updated to reflect its brief service on the Southern Region in 1963, and the page for TSO No.4957 has also been updated.
- News update on the overhaul of locomotive No.73082 "Camelot".
- Our congratulations to Radio Redhill, whose 2013 feature about our re-opening to East Grinstead won the Bronze Award in the Speech Package category at the recent National Hospital Radio Awards, held in Bristol. The judges commented that the five minute entry painted a real picture for the listeners, taking them on the journey itself with a good use of sound and a good variety of voices.
The award has generated a great deal of useful publicity for both Radio Redhill and the Bluebell Railway locally (and nationally). You can hear the Bluebell Railway entry via the Radio Redhill website.
- This video by "JoeS231989" shows locomotives Nos.5643, 1638 and 263 in action on Saturday.
- John Sandys photos and video from Monday show the U-class on the service train, carrying a good load from East Grinstead in glorious sunshine, and more progress in the workshop on the Q-class, and a display of diesel models in the shop.
- Sad to report that the third of our triumverate of cats, Gizmo, has passed away on Monday morning at about 18 years of age. He officially lived in one of the Sheriff Mill Cottages but had adopted the railway several years ago. Dave Clarke's photo on the left (click on the photo for an enlargement) shows him in 2011 ensuring he was the first to sample the luxury of a brand new carriage seat, even before it was installed in a coach. (The recent passing of both Rioja and Vandal has also left vacancies at Sheffield Park).
- Some pictures from Keith Duke (mainly of GWR No.5643) taken on Saturday.
- Ben Gray provides an album from the Toy & Collectors Fair last month.
- Dave Clarke has a few photos taken on Monday, showing LCDR 5-compartment third No.3188 under overhaul in the Carriage Works; the hand rails and lamp brackets have been positioned on the end to enable the mouldings to be relieved to accommodate them, prior to further painting. The last of the external panelling was also fitted, leaving only the doors to complete; about half of the 10 doors have had structural repairs so far.
- We now have more information about the weekend's Southern at War event:
- Timetables and fares
- Souvenir Programmes with details and listings of all events, timetables and detailed information on the Spitfire & Harvard displaying. It is a great souvenir to take away from the weekend.
- On Saturday we will have a Spitfire Display at Horsted Keynes Station (weather dependent) at 2pm. The display will be a 1944 Spitfire HF MkIX - TA 80.
- On Sunday we have a T-6 Harvard Display at Horsted Keynes station (weather dependent) at 2pm.
- Shows and Displays.
- Attractions at Sheffield Park Station.
- Attractions at Horsted Keynes Station.
- Attractions at East Grinstead Station
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster with thanks to Chris Hunford and Chris Knibbs.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows Southern Railway U-class No.1638, which is hauling the services this week, arriving at East Grinstead on Wednesday.
- We have a busy Bank-holiday weekend in prospect, with three or four locomotives in steam each day.
- Horsted Keynes and Cahagnes have been twinned since 1971, although links between the places go back to the Norman invasion, and "Keynes" is derived from an anglicisation of Cahaignes. This weekend's visit by a party of 50 from Cahagnes will include a trip on the Bluebell Railway, as described in this interesting article in the Mid Sussex Times.
- Since the 11 July Murder Mystery evening is now sold out, an extra date, Friday 18 July, has been added. There is limited availability for Friday 13th June, and just one table of two available on Friday 8 August. You can download the dates and synopses for the remaining 2014 Murder Mystery evenings here.
- This year marks the 175th anniversary since the arrival of railways in Derby. To help celebrate this, the LMS Carriage Association have been given permission by the British Film Institute to share a film that shows carriage building at the Litchurch Lane works from 1930. Although the original film was silent, a commentary and sound effects have been added to breath new life into the film. Although it is clearly not "Southern", and the film is very much a celebration of "Derby", there is nonetheless a lot in common between the techniques shown in the film and the way carriages were built at Ashford, Eastleigh and Lancing.
- During April 2014 there were 71,290 total hits on this page, from 41,305 unique visitors.
- Steve Lee's photo from Sunday shows the S15 among the bluebells.
- Video from Sunday by Simon Mulligan showing the S15 and the U-class on the service trains, the H on the Wealden Rambler, and L.150 on the Golden Arrow.
- A superb set of photos showing the evening Golden Arrow Pullman on Saturday from Ian Wylie.
- Daniel Green's great set of photos from Good Friday.
- Bluebell Railway has stands at the Ardingly Spring and Country Show this coming Sunday and Monday (4-5 May), and at The South of England Show at Ardingly on Thursday 5, Friday 6 & Saturday 7 June. If you purchase your tickets to the South of England Show in advance from our Travel Centre at East Grinstead you can buy them at a special discount rate.
- Aron Stenning's photo was taken from the cab of the H-class on Saturday 19 April.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster with thanks to Chris Hunford.
- Reminder of the services, special events and offers in May:
We are running steam-hauled trains between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead every day until 2 November.
Monday 5 May: East Grinstead Lions Club are running a May Day Fair in the High Street from 10am until 4pm. We have a special offer for travel on the first train up to East Grinstead on the Bluebell that day.
Sat 10 & Sun 11 May: Southern at War - Turn back the clock to the days of the Second World War with re-enactors, military vehicles, displays and concert parties
Sat 17 & Sun 18 May: Edwardian Weekend - Our Edwardian locomotives and carriages will be in service with a traditional summer garden party and fair.
- John Sandys' photo shows Prairie tank L.150 with the "People's Millions" coach, SECR No.3360, yesterday.
- Reminder that tomorrow is our spring Toy & Rail Collectors Fair at Horsted Keynes.
- Dave Bowles provides photos of the service trains and Wealden Rambler on Easter Monday, starting with this photo (then click 'next' to see more).
- Four new photos showing progress with dismantling Schools-class "Stowe" for its overhaul. Please support the "Keep Up The Pressure" appeal to help us raise the money for the boiler work required.
- Kieran Hardy paid a short visit to the Battlefield Line on Good Friday and photographed visiting P-class No.323 arriving and departing Shenton.
- Four photos found on the web of our LBSCR E4 "Birch Grove" at Vauxhall on 19 June 1962, and three showing it when running on the Bluebell in BR livery as No.32473: Light engine, with SR non-corridor caoches and a portrait.
- David King's photo from Good Friday shows L.150 (among the bluebells) with the Victorian set, from which LCDR brake No.114 is currently missing, resulting in the temporary substitution of Maunsell open third No.1309. The loco has also been in use today, again with these coaches, due to some filming taking place on the line.
- News update on the Brighton Atlantic project from Fred Bailey, with more great progress reported, including photos showing the virtual completion of the valve gear/reversing gear.
- East Grinstead Lions Club are running a May Day Fair on Monday 5th May, in the High Street from 10am until 4pm. We have a special offer for travel on the first train up to East Grinstead on the Bluebell that day.
- The May and August Murder Mystery evenings are now sold out, although seats remain for June (and just a few for July). You can download the dates and synopses for the remaining 2014 Murder Mystery evenings here.
- John Sandys provides a set of photos from today.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the U-class as it backs onto the train at Sheffield Park yesterday. The S15 had run the first two round trips, but a lubrication problem meant it was felt advisable to steam the U-class (still warm from Monday) for the final trip.
- Today is the 20th anniversary of the re-opening of Kingscote station as the Bluebell extended northwards. This video covers both that event, and footage of the construction of the railway from New Coombe Bridge to Kingscote over the proceeding couple of years.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster with thanks to Chris Knibbs.
- 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.
- To ensure we can continue to run steam trains through the tunnel to East Grinstead in cold weather, in 2013 the Bluebell Railway fitted a lining to the inside of sections of Sharpthorne Tunnel, to prevent the build up of ice on the railhead, and icicles forming from the tunnel roof. This video tells the story of the work, explaining what has been done and how. Our thanks to Alex Mansfield and David Allen for shooting and producing the video.
- Recent photos and videos:
- Yesterday: Photos and a video as the S15 shunts the stock for the 11am train from John Sandys.
- Easter Monday: Photos, including No.1638 in action on Set B from John Sandys.
- Holy Saturday: with the U and S15 on service trains, and the H-class on a wedding special. Photos from Steve Lee, Keith Duke and Ashley Smith who also provides a video. Also this video from Saturday afternoon the newly-wed couple and their guests set off from Horsted Keynes on the Bluebell Railway's Golden Arrow Pullman train, hauled by the H-class locomotive, with appropriate celebratory detonators on the track.
- Good Friday: a set of photos from Daniel Green.
- Diesel Gala: Keith Harcourt has produced a video from 21 March.
- Paul Furlong's photo shows the S15 on Freshfield Bank with the 12.15 departure from Sheffield Park yesterday.
- Now that the bluebells are in flower there's no better time to visit the Railway. Although the bluebells will probably fade in the second week of May, our steam trains are running every day until the end of October.
- Updated from the Bulleid Society with further pictures of the overhaul of Bulleid coach No.5768.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster with thanks to Chris Hunford.
- Dave Bowles' photos show our Dukedog's tender running behind 'Dinmore Manor' during a photo charter on the Gloucester Warwickshire Railway to celebrate the locomotive's return to steam. We have loaned 9017's tender, which is of an appropriate design, while its own tender is being made ready.
- Peter Skuce has some photos from The Battlefield Line Steam Gala on Friday 11 April, including SECR P-class No.323 "Bluebell" and Aveling and Porter 2-2-0WT "Blue Circle".
- The GNR Directors' Saloon is running on the trains this weekend (Friday through to Monday), and you can travel on it with a first class ticket or on payment of a supplement. Tea, coffee, Hot Cross Buns, cake and scones all available. The saloon will be on the 11:00, 1:30 and 4:00 departures from Sheffield Park (12:00, 2:30 and 5:00 from East Grinstead).
- John Sandys provides photos from Tuesday including the S15 and H-class in action, plus shunting at Horsted Keynes, including preparations to use the GN Saloon. John also provides videos showing the 08 shunting at Horsted Keynes, the H-class arriving at Horsted Keynes, the S15 departing, and the Wickham maintenance trolley in use.
- We have a new job vacancy for a Finance Manager.
We also currently have vacancies for Shop Assistants (full and part-time), and are always interested in potential new Silver Service waiting staff and other catering staff.
- On the Volunteer side, we run monthly "Find Out More Days". The next such day is Sunday 4th May. David Chappell's photo shows nine potential new volunteers being shown around the Carriage & Wagon Department by Dave Clarke (left), alongside and a seat base for Maunsell carriage No.3687 on the April FOMD. This is just one of the many different departments seen on the tour, in which members can work as volunteers.
- Short film from Ken Duerden, including some great aerial shots of the line.
- Roger Carpenter has some photos showing No.323 "Bluebell" away on holiday at the Battlefield Line in the Midlands, where it met up with an old friend, "Blue Circle".
- John Sandys' photo shows the S15 at East Grinstead on Thursday, when the C-class was also running. This weekend we had four locomotives in steam each day; the service trains were again in the hands of the S15 and the C, with the H-class on the Golden Arrow (Saturday charter and Sunday Lunch) assisted by P-class No.178 on the second run on each day.
- Steve Lee had a great day chasing Nos. 847 and 592 all over the line on Saturday.
- Derek Hayward has two updates, one on the Network Rail East Grinstead Station and the other for our own Bluebell Railway East Grinstead Station. The collections cover the period 1998 to 2014.
- Dave Bowles has added some shots from the 1st Anniversary of the opening of the Extension, over the weekend of March 22-23, to his web site.
12 AprilThis weekend sees the launch of our Track Trek fund-raising initiative. The Trek, a walk along the trackbed from Horsted Keynes to Sheffield Park on 28 June 2014 (starting in the early evening, with a train back to Horsted Keynes afterwards, will be the final push for the "Keep Up The Pressure" appeal. The walk is being led by our chairmen, Roy Watts (BRPS) and Dick Fearn (plc).
- Last Sunday was the East Grinstead Bus Running Day, and although it does not directly involve the Bluebell now we are no longer reliant on a bus link from Kingscote, we did get involved, through a special offer for anyone visiting East Grinstead via the first train of the morning from Sheffield Park. Andrew Crampton's photo shows Maidstone & District AEC Reliance 390 DKK near the station.
Two more of Andrew's photos are below, and show London Transport RT 1798 and Green Line liveried RF 28.
- John Sandys' photos from yesterday showing the C-class and S15 on the service trains, and shunting taking place. John's three videos show the C-class preparing for the day's work, the S15 leaving Horsted Keynes and running round at East Grinstead.
Two of John's photos from yesterday are included below. The phone box at Kingscote Station is being refurbished by the Friends of Kingscote, and the C-class coming off the viaduct at East Grinstead with the Victorian set.
- In addition to our regular train service, over the Good Friday - Easter period you can pre-book for our Bo Peep Specials.
- Don't forget that on Saturday 26 April we have a one-day Toy & Rail Collectors' Fair, 10am to 4pm at Horsted Keynes Station.
- The SECR tank-engine pair, Nos.178 and 263, are seen ready to leave Sheffield Park with the Sunday afternoon tea train on 30 March, in Stephen Garratt's photo.
- Photos showing the removal of the copper firebox tubeplate on Schools No.928 "Stowe", and work progressing on the frames. The sanders will now need to be made operational (they've never yet been used in preservation). There is, as is usually the case with most boiler overhauls these day, grooving evident on the steel outer firebox plate where the relatively flexible plate meets the rigid foundation ring, so the bottom section of the steel plate will, as expected, need to be replaced.
- Last Sunday was the East Grinstead Bus Running Day - although independent of the Railway, we've always joined in, and this year was no different. Steve Lee's photo shows ex-LT TD95 in East Grinstead.
- Derek Hayward's photo on the right shows the S15 with Saturday's main service train, which also conveyed the wedding party (and carried the headboard, after the ceremony had taken place at Horsted Keynes) as described below.
- Saturday was the first Bluebell wedding of the year and, with their permission, Derek has provided us with photos showing the newly married Mr and Mrs Montgomery. The ceremony took place at Horsted Keynes, and the reception was held in our recently refurbished Birch Grove Suite, which is seen suitably "dressed" for the occasion. Further images from Derek of Jennifer and Sean, a vintage Rolls Royce, and the Birch Grove Suite, are available here.
- John Sandys' provides photos from yesterday, with the S15 and the C-class handling the two-train service, plus photos of some new stock in the shop.
- The H, P and S15 are seen at the end of their duties on Sunday in Steve Lee's photo.
- For the current school holiday period we are running our peak (2-train) Service Two timetable.
Over the Good Friday - Easter period you also can pre-book for our Bo Peep Specials.
- Special Offer: Saturday 12 April - Save £25 on the Golden Arrow Dining Train - book by mid-day Saturday - phone 01825 720800 now, quoting "Saturday Offer".
- Job Vacancies in the Bookshop added to the recruitment page.
- Martin Lawrence has completed his March gallery and made a start with one for his April photos, including the rockery at Sheffield Park. The large rocks have an interesting history. They were dug out from Beeching Way and dumped in the cutting to the south of Imberhorne Lane bridge. Many years later they were recovered when we were clearing the spoil from the cutting whilst constructing our extension, and were used to create this rockery, which has just been re-planted by the Friends of Sheffield Park.
- Murray Tremellen has uploaded his shots of the 2008, 2009 and 2010 Bluebell Branchline weekends to Flickr.
- Sheila Beaumont's photo shows the SECR C-class with the Victorian train last Sunday. These coaches are expected to provide the second public set throughout the Easter Holiday period.
- Special Offer: Today - Save £25 on Tonight's Golden Arrow Dining Train - book by mid-day today - phone 01825 720800 now!
- Video from Gary & Philip Bull from Sunday 30 March, featuring the S15, the C and the Furness Railway Trust's locomotive No.5643.
- Video from John Sandys showing the S15 running round at East Grinstead yesterday.
- This Sunday, 6th April, is the East Grinstead Bus Rally - we have a Special Offer on the Bluebell that day linked to the event.
- The photo, courtesy of the HMRS, shows the Bluebell's 4 Vep unit in Clapham Yard on 27 March, where it has now been stored for some time due to work that was required to be undertaken on the shed there. A move to under cover storage is expected soon. This and other photos have just been added to our web page for the unit. The Southern Electric Traction Group, who are now looking after the unit on our behalf, have had a couple of working days on it, as reported on SETG's Blog.
- John Sandys' photos and video from yesterday, with the S15 on the service train, and the C-class being used for filming work. Also photos around the loco yard, of the Q-class in the loco works, the tamper leaving, and other vintage stock positioned around Horsted Keynes to "dress the set".
- Another of Peter Edwards' photos shows Saturday's memorial train for Jack Owen, with "Stepney" (note the whitewashed coal) and the H-class.
- Daniel Green has a video featuring three of last Saturday's five trains, including Stepney with its distinctive "terrier" bark.
- Update to the webpage for our 13 Ton Private-Owner coal wagon PBA59685 with thanks to Martin Skrzetuszewski and Nick Beck.
- Sad to have to report that Catherine Redwood, passed away last Tuesday, after a long battle with cancer. With her husband Howard ("H") she was part of the team that restored LSWR brake carriage No.1520. Her funeral takes place this Friday, 4th April.
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows the S15 arriving at East Grinstead with its train yesterday.
- Derek Hayward's photo on the right shows Sunday's Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea train, now formed of four coaches with the addition of the Mk.1 Restaurant Car, hauled by P-class No.178 and H-class No.263 and seen here at Leamland Bridge. Derek now has the start of a 2014 Bluebell gallery available, and also a 2014 Wealden Rambler gallery.
The Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea train runs on a range of dates through the year, and is always very popular, so pre-booking is essential.
- Details now available for the Sussex Food Festival, a celebration of local produce, which is to be held at Horsted Keynes station over the weekend of 5-6 July.
- Photos from Saturday, including of the Jack Owen memorial train, from Kieran Hardy
- John Sandys has a set of photos, and a video from yesterday.
- Brian Lacey provides the photos below, also from yesterday, showing the S15 at East Grinstead, and blowing a smoke ring at Sheffield Park, along with "Stepney", the C and the H on shed.
- Today we see the somewhat unusual sight of full Golden Arrow regalia on a South Wales coal tank as visiting GWR locomotive No.5643 heads last Sunday lunchtime's Pullman train away from Sheffield Park - photo from Sheila Beaumont. The locomotive is already proving itself to be a valuable and useful addition to our fleet for this year.
- Video from Martin Lawrence from Sunday 23 March.
- Comprehensive video report on a visit to the Bluebell from InterCity82, who has an extensive following.
- During March 2014 there were 74,795 total hits on this page, from 43,601 unique visitors. That takes us through the 4-million point since we started keeping track of these stats in January 2010 (by which point this web log (blog) had already been going over 12 years - the 1997/8 page makes interesting reading!).
- No.55 "Stepney" and H-class No.263 are seen in Peter Edwards' photo, hauling Saturday's memorial train for Jack Owen, a founding member and former Bluebell Senior Locomotive Inspector. "Stepney" appropriately had whitewashed coal in her bunker, following the LBSCR (and Bluebell) tradition for special trains.
- John Sandys has a set of photos from Saturday, including the Jack Owen memorial special at Kingscote, and also the service trains behind the S15 and the C-class (hauling the Victorian train) on a very busy day with the trains well filled. John also has a YouTube video, and photos of Chris Eden-Green and Sam Brown launching their DVD "Steaming Back to MetroLand".
- Ian Lynagh has a short video and a few photos from Saturday 22 March.
- Andrew Crampton's photo shows the real star last weekend, the recently overhauled Maunsell S15 No.847, double-heading with the U-class at West Hoathly on the Saturday.
- From tomorrow we are running steam trains every day until the start of November.
- Ashley Smith visited last Saturday morning and presents his first Bluebell shots of the year and a video.
- More videos from Saturday, from GLVMR and Matt Wickham.
- Thanks to Martin Skrzetuszewski and Nick Beck, a new photo of the remains of a worksplate has been added, and minor alterations made to the text, on the web page for LMS wagon PBA66071. This wagon is one of several that has still to be restored to running condition, having never run on the Bluebell.
- Today we feature the official photo of our East Grinstead Station Staff, taken on 23 March, when we celebrated the first anniversary of the opening of our extension to East Grinstead. A full-size version of the photo is available here, and below Roy Watts is seen holding one of the celebration cakes.
- Don't forget it's Mother's Day this Sunday! Still looking for that treat for Mum? We have a few tables left on this Sunday's Golden Arrow Pullman lunch train. To secure you table call 01825 720800.
- Our free-to-join Monday Club for over-60 residents of the East Grinstead area starts up again on Monday 31st March.
Mondays from 31 March through to September (except Bank Holidays). Travel from East Grinstead on the 12-noon departure for lunch in our Bessemer Arms Restaurant at Sheffield Park. Return travel and two course lunch is just £15.00 per person!
Due to its popularity advance booking is essential to avoid disappointment. Call us on 01825 720800 to book or call into the Travel Centre at East Grinstead or the Sales and Information Office at Sheffield Park. More information here.
- Videos from the weekend from Philip Bull, Dan Gosling, traindriver35, Rob John and from ffeog4568: Part 1 and Part 2.
- Videos from Friday's Diesel Gala from Alan Black and jopop0
- The other photos below show Stepney and L.150 in steam together in the yard at Sheffield Park on Sunday (making 8 locos in steam!) from Owen Hayward, 33103 "Swordfish" at the Diesel Gala last Friday from Andrew Crampton, and another from Owen, showing the No.178 proudly (and unusually) hauling the Sunday lunchtime Golden Arrow. The C-class was banking on the rear, which as usual was topped and tailed on the second trip, which only has a short time allowed to reverse at Horsted Keynes. It's more normal to have the P-class at the rear of the train!
- Keith Duke's photo shows the P-class and C-class double-heading the Victorian set on Saturday. These carriages should also be in public service this coming weekend.
- Update on the Bulleid Society web site for the overhaul of Bulleid Carriage No.5768.
- The BRPS deferred share purchase scheme is no longer being advertised for new subscriptions; those standing orders already set up will continue to their planned end-dates, at which point relevant share certificates will be issued. We'd now encourage anyone wishing to contribute funds to the Bluebell to take advantage of the Gift Aid arrangements available through the Bluebell Railway Trust.
- The four photos below show the DMU approaching Horsted Keynes from the North on Friday (Tony Sullivan), the 08, No.13236 with its train at the Diesel Gala (Andrew Crampton), the U and the S15 departing from Horsted Keynes, with the Birdcage Brake leading the Southern set on Sunday (Steve Lee) and the GW pair at West Hoathly on Saturday (Andrew Crampton).
- The Steam Back on the Met Video, filmed and produced by Sam Brown and Chris Eden-Green, will be launched next weekend on the Bluebell Railway, when the Metropolitan Railway coaches (and hopefully L.150) will form one of the trains. They will be in the shop at Sheffield Park selling the DVDs both Saturday and Sunday. A significant percentage from each video sold comes to the Bluebell.
- The Maunsell guys have got the back of Stowe's inner firebox out: two photos showing great progress.
- Details now available for the Vintage Transport Weekend on Sat 9 & Sun 10 August.
- The DMU is now on its way back to The Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, as seen in John Sandys' photos from today.
- More great photos from Saturday from Ben Gray and Alan Edwards, and from Sunday from Steve Lee and Alan Bedford. Videos showing the Victorian, Pullman and GW trains, and Baxter, and the Southern double header from Nigel Watson.
- Keith Duke has an entire album devoted to "Captain Baxter" from Saturday, which is also seen below in Sam Brown's photo, also from Saturday.
- This photo from Steve Lee shows the second departure yesterday morning, where the C-class deputised for the No.263, hauling the Victorian train.
- Great video of the S15 and U from David Haggar.
- Details now available for the Southern at War weekend on Sat 10 & Sun 11 May, and the Edwardian Weekend on Sat 17 & Sun 18 May.
- John Sandys' photos from today show the 09 back, shunting at Sheffield Park, having collected stock from Horsted Keynes, and the DMU about to leave the Bluebell to return to Ecclesbourne.
- The two photos below, show the U and S-15 with SR-liveried set on Sunday from Cameron Smith, and a classic shot of U-class No.1638 on Saturday from Sam Brown.
- The event held this weekend to celebrate the first anniversary of the opening our Extension went very well. Although the weather today (occasional hail between the sunshine) was colder than it has been recently, it was still a lot better than the blizzard which we had a year ago! The H-class was replaced by P-class No.178, so the pairings were maintained almost as planned. The S15 and U seen in this photo by Nathan Gibson, taken yesterday.
- Photos are also available from:
- Keith Duke (from yesterday)
- Nick Burgess (today)
- John Sandys's photos and a video from yesterday
- Chris Ward
- S15 and U at Sheffield Park today from Tom James
- Keith Harcourt has made his Diesel Gala photos available, together with a set from 1st March, mainly of the H-class.
- The two photos below, both taken on Saturday, show "Captain Baxter" giving brake van rides (Brian Lacey) and the Southern and GW trains passing at Horsted Keynes (Richard Salmon).
- By all accounts, excepting the 09 failing and thus the 08 being taken off the brake van rides after two trips to take over, it was a hugely successful day. The first train from East Grinstead was full and standing, but the second, just over half an hour later had space. A total of 512 people visited, with more arriving via East Grinstead than Sheffield Park. Everyone reports a very happy and satisfied crowd of visitors, and on the basis of this event its certainly one which may be repeated in the future if the opportunity arises.
- Reminder that timetables for this weekend's First anniversary of opening our Extension are available to download (as a pdf).
- Keith Duke had a great day with the the diesels yesterday and is back today for the main event - his collection of pictures from yesterday is now available.
- Derek Hayward now has a Diesel Gala gallery, with more photos still to come.
- Steve Lee also provides a gallery from yesterday, and will be back on Sunday for more.
- Chris Ward's photos of the Diesel Gala are also available.
- John Sandys' photo from the Diesel Gala today shows the 08 and the 09 on arrival at Horsted Keynes, where the 08 was detached to undertake brake-van rides around the station. John has further photos from today here.
- This weekend we celebrate The first anniversary of opening our Extension, for which further details and a full timetable are now available to download.
Download details and full timetable (pdf).
- Includes the spectacle of double-headed Southern Railway Maunsell engines, with six carriages all in matching olive green pre-war livery!
- Includes double-headed Great Western tank locomotives, which are currently visiting the Bluebell.
- Includes our Victorian train, and double heading by two of our larger SECR locomotives.
- Captain Baxter, our 1877-built Fletcher-Jennings tank locomotive, will be giving brake van rides at Horsted Keynes between about 11.30am and 4pm each day.
- Normal fares apply.
- Simon Lathwell has just completed assembling a Flickr album of photos of our locomotives (in their various states) from 2009 to 2014.
- The Furness Railway Trust's No.5643 now has an album in Derek Hayward's "Visiting Locomotives".
- John Sandys' photos from yesterday show L.150 in steam, the Pullmans having a heavy clean, and the diesels lined up ready for today's gala.
Today we have something much more like a traditional "Blog" entry, with thanks to Tom James, giving an insight into a day earlier this month on the footplate of the P-class locomotive rostered for station pilot duties at Sheffield Park. The page covering the signalling at the station may help those unfamiliar with the track layout to follow the narative. The photos accompanying it are from Simon Lathwell, Paul Booth, Ben Jenden and John Sandys.Anyone who hasn't visited the railway recently may not have noticed that we now have a regular pilot engine on Sundays, and some Saturdays. As I had the pleasure of firing the turn on Sunday 9 March, I thought I'd explain a bit about what we did to show just how much activity goes on "between the trains".
After preparing the loco, the first engine off shed, at 9.15am, was the "A" engine (1638 on Sunday). That loco took water and then ran onto its stock, which was sitting in the Newick siding overnight, drew it into the station and heated the stock ready for departure of the first up service.
Once 1638 had gone, the pilot engine could go off shed (on Sunday that was 178, with a Senior Fireman and Rules Passed Cleaner as crew). After taking water in Platform 2, we ran back into the Carriage Yard Headshunt (a.k.a. the Pumphouse siding), and - once the signal was cleared and we had permission from the shunter - we moved down into the carriage shed to pick up the "B" stock, which this weekend was the LSWR brake 3rd, SECR 100 Seater, LBSCR Bogie First and SECR Birdcage. After coupling up, we ran back to the Carriage Yard Headshunt and started to steam heat the stock, thus ensuring the carriages had a good hour of heating before the 11am departure.
By using a pilot, the "B" engine (263 this weekend) could run straight out of the loco yard into Platform 2 to take water, then come back onto its stock and draw it into the station ready for departure, without having to spend time shunting and running round, saving the crew time on what would be a long day.
As soon as 263 had drawn its stock away, we were back into the shed to pick up the Pullman set, drawing it back into the Carriage Yard Headshunt and starting to steam heat. Once 263 with the 11am train had departed, we then propelled the stock out into Platform 2, onto the single line north of the station and back into Platform 1 where the catering staff could prepare the train for the lunchtime service. (It is not possible to access Platform 1 directly from the Carriage Yard, hence the move via the single line, staying inside the outer home signal).
The Golden Arrow engine - 592 on Sunday - was quickly onto the train to continue heating, releasing us to run back to the Carriage Yard for our next shunt. This occurred with the arrival of 1638 and the first down service from East Grinstead at 11:32. With the Golden Arrow in Platform 1 and the "A" service needing to arrive and depart before the Golden Arrow departed, 1638 was blocked from running round. Thus on arrival, 1638 uncoupled and ran into the Newick siding; we were then signalled onto the train, coupled and drew the stock into the Carriage Yard, releasing 1638 to get back to the north end of the train. After taking water, 1638 ran back onto its stock, we uncoupled and 1638 drew the stock back into Platform 2 ready for the 12.15 departure, followed about 30 minutes later by the arrival of the "B" service (263 and vintage set) and finally departure of 592 with the Golden Arrow.
After 263 ran round, we had no immediate shunting to do, so we ran into Platform 1 to allow footplate access for any passengers on the station at that time. A small tank engine such as 178 is an ideal non-intimidating size for small children, many of whom came up onto the footplate to experience a loco in steam. Once 263 departed with the 1:30 service, we took water, then went back into the loco yard for coal - not that we needed it then, but with a long day planned, taking coal mid-afternoon saved one job that would otherwise have to take place at the end of the day.
Mid afternoon, the Golden Arrow arrived back after its full line round trip. After the train engine had run round, we ran onto the back of the stock and, at 3.20, departed for the half-trip to Horsted Keynes. The waiting time at Horsted is only twelve minutes, so having the pilot on the back means that 592 didn't need to run round there, saving time in what would otherwise be a very tight schedule. We thus acted as lead engine for the return trip. Because that trip ventured out onto the main running line, we had the spare turn driver travel with us up and down.
Once back to Sheffield Park, 592 uncoupled from the back of the train and, once the passengers were disembarked, we shunted the Pullman stock back into the carriage shed. Normally, that would be the last move, but we had one more shunt to perform, which had to wait to the end of the day - moving the support coach for 45231, which was berthed in the down dock siding. 592 coupled to the south end of that coach and drew it into the loco yard headshunt; then, after we had put the Golden Arrow stock back in the shed, we coupled to the north end of the support coach, drew away into the dock siding to release 592 to go on shed and then propelled the coach back to the extreme south end of the loco yard headshunt. We then waited for 1638 to come back, shunt its own stock into the Newick siding and go on shed, before running out into Platform 2 to wait for the arrival of 263 with the last down service of the day. Once 263 and its train were stopped in Platform 1, we ran out via the single line, berthed the support coach at the north end of the stock in Platform 1 and then returned via Platform 2 to finally go back on shed - after which there was the 45 minutes or so of disposal!
So a long day, but an enjoyable one, and illustrative of just how much activity there is around the station between trains. Apart from the loco crew, there were at least three other people playing an important, but unseen, role. Firstly, the loco department Running Foreman, who is responsible for ensuring that all locos are off shed on time, and controls all movements within the loco yard and, in conjunction with the signalman, any movements between the loco yard and the rest of the station. Secondly, the signalman, who had a lot to do even when there were no service trains around - all moves at the south end of the station are signalled (including to and from the loco yard; and in and out of the carriage shed), even though that fact isn't immediately obvious to a casual observer on the platform. And thirdly the operating supervisor / shunter, who directly controlled all the movements in and out of the carriage shed, as well as the late afternoon shunt of 45231's support coach. It takes a lot of people to run a railway!
I gather that we will have a rostered pilot on any Sunday when the Golden Arrow is running through to the end of the summer, as well as on some Saturdays, so Sheffield Park should be a hive of loco activity between trains every weekend, with at least four engines in service every Sunday and many Saturdays.Tom James
- No.5643 is seen making its debut in Bluebell traffic on Freshfield Bank with the Victorian coaches on Sunday in this photo from Sheila Beaumont. The locomotive is with us until December.
- An update has appeared on the page for March 22-23 when we celebrate the first anniversary of opening our Extension when we'll have seven locomotives in steam each day. The first train of the day will leave Sheffield Park at 9.45, and East Grinstead at 10.40am. The last train departs from Sheffield Park at 5.15pm on Saturday and 4.05pm on Sunday.
Special Saturday Offer
We are offering local residents (RH19 postcodes) discounted fares for Saturday 22nd March. Travel all day for just £5.00 per person! Tickets must be purchased in advance to obtain the discount - tickets will be available for collection on the day. Call us on 01825 720800 for more details.
- Train departure times for Friday's Diesel Gala are now available.
- A small party of Bluebell members attended the Last Post ceremony in Ieper (Ypres) on Saturday. We laid a wreath to remember the war dead of the Southern Railway and the constituent companies (SECR, LBSCR, LSWR). The date chosen was significant as it is also the birthday of our late President Bernard Holden, who witnessed the LBSCR War effort on the Steyning Line where his father was Station Master. Bernard spent time in the Redhill Control during the evacuation of Dunkirk and later in India with the Royal Engineers.
Whilst we did not know at the time we arranged the date, the second Saturday in March is the International Paratroopers Day, and we were in the company of Paras and Commandos from Europe and around the world. Watched by a crowd in excess of 1100 people, and a news crew from Scottish Television, we were the first party to lay a wreath following the 15 ranks of Military wreaths, with about another 15 or so to follow us. The wreath was laid by Gavin Bennett, Clive Emsley and Stuart Barbouleau on behalf of the Officers and membership of the BRPS, supported by Steve Everest who was the "official" photographer, Claire Emsley and Kathryn Sinclair.
- John Sandys photos from today, featuring the Diesels ready for our first ever Diesel Gala on Friday 21 March, and also voluntary work at Kingscote.
- Yesterday was a good day, with four locomotives in steam. GWR 0-6-2T No.5643, on hire from the Furness Railway Trust, entered service hauling the Victorian set, as seen in Derek Hayward's photo. The original plan had been that L.150 would be appropriately matched with the Metropolitan carriages. The U-class hauled the other service set, and the C-class was on the Golden Arrow lunch-time Pullman train, with P-class No.178 as station pilot.
Derek's photo, showing the train approaching Horsted Keynes, was taken from the road near New Road Bridge; the field there now has crops growing in it, so we'd ask photographers to refrain from trespassing and trampling the crop.
- Report and photos from the team working on Schools-class locomotive "Stowe" yesterday. Lots of progress on dismantling the boiler and firebox, and a start on needle-gunning the frames.
- Some photos from Saturday, and the previous Sunday, added to Martin Lawrence's March gallery.
- Photos from Robert Philpott taken at Horsted Keynes on Saturday.
- Derek Hayward's photo shows U-class No.1638 at Birch Farm Crossing last Sunday.
- Various changes to plans which had been made for today... L.150 hauled the first train from Sheffield Park this morning, but was replaced by 33103 on the 12.15 service. The C-class is hauling the Victorian set. See more at this set of photos from John Sandys from today.
- The Event Guide for next Friday's Diesel Gala is on sale from today in the Bluebell's Travel Centre at East Grinstead, from Horsted Keynes, and from our Sales & Information Office at Sheffield Park, price £3.00. They can also be ordered by phoning 01825 720800.
The first train on Friday is at 9.45am from Sheffield Park (10.40 from East Grinstead), and the second is 10.05. The last train of the day arrives at East Grinstead at 4.41pm and Sheffield Park at 5.39. Full details are in the event guide.
- David Chappell took this last photo of No.45231, the departing Black 5, as it paused at Horsted Keynes on Wednesday night to drop off the Edwardian carriages. The loco then continued northwards, making an overnight move via our main-line connection to Southall. It is due to double-head a railtour with another Black 5, No.44871, on Saturday.
- The Locomotive Duty Roster has been updated; we have three locos in steam this Saturday, and four on Sunday, seven in steam each day on March 22-23 for the First anniversary of opening our Extension, and 5 each day over the last weekend in March, which is not a special event, just a busy Bluebell weekend! We are now rostering a steam shunt (one of the P-class locos) on both Saturdays and Sundays, mainly to provide training for our crews, as well as acting as station pilot at Sheffield Park, a duty which keeps everyone busy, and provides added interest for our visitors.
- John Sandys' a set of photos from today incudes the ballast tamper fettling the recently relaid trackwork Horsted Keynes, good progress on the Maunsell Q-class in the workshop, and recent arrivals (i.e. new stock) in the shop.
- Privately owned LNWR Semi-Royal Saloon No.806, which was off-site for a filming job, and which has been offered for sale for some time since it is no longer required on the Bluebell, has not returned to us, and is currently located at Isfield.
- No.323 "Bluebell" is seen heading round the M25 this morning, heading for Shackerstone, where it is to be one of the guest stars at the Battlefield Line's Spring Steam Gala on 11 - 13 April. (Photo from Tony Haylar)
- The Dinmore Manor Group have taken on hire the tender from Dukedog No.9017, for a minimum 12 month contract. The colour and design of the tender fits with the appearance of the recently overhauled Dinmore Manor and the Bluebell is pleased to be able to assist the group while they complete the overhaul of their own tender.
- Clive Emsley writes:The Fenchurch Fund spent the weekend of the 8th and 9th of March at the Leamington and Warwick Model Railway Club exhibition at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire publicising Project 27. We handed out many of our own leaflets along with those for the Keep Up The Pressure campaign, and other loco groups as well as many timetables and Stepney Club information. There was a lot of interest in the stand partly due to a small model railway atracting the children, and a slide show of pictures of 27 in the many liveries the loco carried during its career. We were also selling the new edition Tee shirts and Sweatshirts showing a line diagram of 27. The shirts are in bottle green with a gold coloured logo. We were also selling award winning jams from Brendon Hill Crafts, a small producer in Barnstaple which is run by ex-Bluebell staff, Derek and Ruth DeMaid, and jolly fine it is too!
We hope to have a small stand to sell the new PROJECT 27 shirts and baseball caps at the Railway soon, and will also be having a stand at the AGM.
Clive's photo shows Claire Emsley flying the flag for Bluebell at Stoneleigh Park with the Project 27 stand.
- Another of Derek Hayward's photos, this time showing the SECR C-class with Sunday's lunchtime Golden Arrow dining service, approaching Kingscote.
- The Bulleid Society have just put a short report on the overhaul of their coach No.5768 on their site.
- John Sandys provides a set of photos of the S15 on shed this morning.
- As from 29 March we have steam trains running every single day through to 2nd November. Remember that if you plan in advance you can save £s with our Bluebell Bonus tickets.
- Yesterday was another stunning day for photos, with four engines in steam. Derek Hayward's photo shows the SECR H-class with the four SECR, LBSCR and LSWR carriages which make up our Edwardian set, at Mill Place Farm yesterday. It's planned that the same carriages will be used next weekend on one set, with again a mix of SR Bulleid and BR Mk.1s on the other service set.
- If you're interested in taking part in this year's Track Trek, put the 28th June in your diary - we are planning an evening walk from Horsted Keynes to Sheffield Park, with return by train, as a sponsored event to raise money for our Keep Up The Pressure Appeal. More details available at the end of the month.
- Just two weeks to go to our first special events of the year:
Bluebell Bonus discounted tickets are available for the steam event - these must be purchased at least 8 days in advance. Call 01825 720800 to book.
- Friday 21 March: Our first ever Diesel Gala - Class 33, 09 and DMU 101/108 on the trains, and brake van rides behind the 08. Last chance to ride behind them before all except the 09 leave the Bluebell.
- Sat 22 & Sun 23 March: First anniversary of opening our Extension to East Grinstead with 7 locos in steam to celebrate - double heading - three trains running - formal re-launch of SR S15 locomotive No.847 - our two GWR visitors in steam together - Brake Van rides at Horsted Keynes - guided tours on and off the railway.
- On the right we see the U-class with the first service over the new No.23B points at Horsted Keynes yesterday morning. The other locomotive in service yesterday was the SECR H-class. They ran through platforms 2 and 3 because the new point will not be fully commissioned until next week.
- Locomotive News: in-depth update on the Brighton Atlantic project.
- A sequence of photos from Roger Carpenter, showing the operation of Kingscote signalbox (the current temporary box, which is due to be replaced in the coming year or two by the box at the North end of the station) to signal trains through Kingscote station to and from East Grinstead. This illustrates the full description given on the Kingscote Signalling page of this website.
- Steve Lee's photo from last Sunday shows the C-class on one of the two service trains, with P-class No.178 banking on the rear. Note the touched-up paintwork/lining and fresh coat of varnish on the locomotive.
- John Harwood's video from yesterday shows the final bit of track being connected up at Horsted Keynes.
- This weekend we are again running steam-hauled and steam-heated trains to our peak Service Two timetable. In addition there will be a third engine in steam on Sunday for the Golden Arrow Pullman luncheon train, plus one of the P-class locomotives which undertakes shunting, and assists with the second run of the Golden Arrow.
- Steve Lee's photo shows L.150 with the lunchtime Pullman train last Sunday.
- Photos of the start of boiler work on Schools No.928 "Stowe".
- A superb and extensive set of photos is available from Dave Braley from the Black Five on the Photo Charter last Wednesday. The loco is leaving, by rail, overnight in the middle of next week.
- John Sandys provides a set of photos from Tuesday plus this Video, showing the work in progress at Horsted Keynes, and photos and videos from Thursday at Sheffield Park where the Black 5 was in steam.
- On Sunday the final work was done by the Alf Brown Gang to complete the replacement Horsted Keynes Down Advance Starter, as seen in Robert Hayward's photo on the right. The work to replace the No.23B points at Horsted Keynes is also progressing well, and as of Wednesday evening was not far from being connected up (photo from Alan Dengate). This weekend, whilst trains will run over the new point, it will be clipped and padlocked, and as a consequence trains will pass through platforms 2 and 3 at Horsted Keynes.
- Video from Sunday from Martin Lawrence showing P-class No.178 assisting C-class No.592 with a service train to East Grinstead. Martin also has a final February picture (a sunset at East Grinstead), and a belated photo showing the 56XX No.5643 at East Grinstead on its test run a couple of weeks ago, and has also started his March gallery.
- To celebrate the First anniversary of opening our Extension to East Grinstead, a special service will operate on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd March, featuring appropriate double-heading of locomotives, and brake van rides. More details here.
- Steve Lee's photo on the right, taken last Saturday (22nd February), shows the U-class at Three Arch Bridge with its service train.
- News update from the Bulleid Society with the latest progress on the boiler overhaul for Sir Archibald Sinclair, taking place at LNWR Crewe, focusing at present on the replacement thermic syphons.
- Video from Philip and Gary Bull taken a couple of weeks ago, featuring the U-class on the Pullmans (the first weekend that Fingall was back in service, hence the Mk.1 kitchen car was also attached to the train) and the C-class on one of the two service trains.
- Shadows In The Dark Paranormal Events are doing a Paranormal Investigation at Horsted Keynes Station in the evening of 8th March. There are still a few tickets available: book directly with Shadows in the Dark.
- Nathan Gibson's photo on the right taken last Sunday shows the H-class hauling the lunchtime Golden Arrow, which is now back to its normal formation with the return of our 1924-built K-type Pullman car "Fingall" after three years under overhaul.
Nathan also provides this video of Prairie tank L.150 showing its capabilities on the climb from Kingscote to East Grinstead, also shot last Sunday.
- Dave Bowles has put together a great on-line book (mostly) of his railway photos from 2012, including a host of images taken on the Bluebell line. Go to the book here and click on "preview". Well worth looking at full-screen.
- Apologies that the Locomotive Duty Roster for this weekend is not yet available. It does however show something rather special is probably planned for the weekend of 22-23 March, which will be the first anniversary of opening the extension to East Grinstead.
- Bring the family to the Bluebell over Easter - from Good Friday through to Easter Monday, in addition to our regular services, we are running Bo Peep Easter Specials. Bo Peep will be travelling on board special carriages where she will meet all children and present them with an Easter Gift and Creme Egg. Advanced booking essential.
- During February 2014 there were 74,171 total hits on this page, from 42,726 unique visitors.
- Jon Bowers yet again arranged beautiful weather for his photo charter with the visiting Black Five No.45231 on Wednesday. There are superb albums from Paul Simpson, from Paul Gildersleve, and from David Haggar, who also has a video showing 9 different runs and provides the photo seen on the right.
- John Sandys' provides some photos taken around Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes yesterday.
- This weekend we are running steam-hauled and steam-heated trains to our peak Service Two timetable, as indeed we are each weekend in March. In addition there will be a third engine in steam on Sunday for the Golden Arrow Pullman luncheon train, and probably a fourth which undertakes shunting, and often assists with the second run of the Golden Arrow.
- Our Rail Ale trains are starting to book up already, not least due to a great write-up in the Sussex CAMRA magazine.
- The photo on the right from Paul Pettitt shows the H-class, approaching Horsted Keynes, with the Wealden Rambler afternoon tea train on Saturday.
- This video from Saturday from James Batcheler features the other two locomotives running on Saturday, the U-class and Prairie Tank L.150.
- Keith Leppard's photo has been added to the web page for SR bo-rail wagon No.57949.
- With the overhaul of Schools Class "Stowe" gathering pace, it's interesting to see Roger Haggar's photo of the locomotive on Eastbourne shed in 1962.
- Due to staff training the Sales and Information Office at Sheffield Park will be closed on Thursday 27th February. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
The Travel Centre at East Grinstead will be open, as normal, from 9am to 5pm offering a full range of Bluebell products and information, as will our telephone booking line: 01825 720800.
- Patrick Plane's photo from last week illustrates the work which is well advanced in preparing the new points at Horsted Keynes, as the H-class departs for Sheffield Park. The points will be installed next week, as reported in this Infrastructure News update from Chris White.
- Six photos from the Schools-class "Stowe" project showing that no time is being wasted in starting on the major work required on the boiler, following its lift during the week.
- Following the return to service of Pullman Kitchen First "Fingall" last week, this video shows the H-class hauling the Pullman luncheon train yesterday, formed with all three 1920s Pullmans and no Mk.1, seen passing though Horsted Keynes. In addition, with the 6-wheeled brake/pantry van also now having a white roof, we have the whole set now in totally the same livery for the first time.
- Steve Lee's photo shows that L.150 has been in use on one of the two service trains this weekend, in place of the C-class which is still receiving smokebox repairs.
- If you're coming to East Grinstead as part of your visit the Bluebell, why not also pop into East Grinstead Museum. Admission is free.
The Bluebell's Museum team has set up a display in East Grinstead Town Museum, which will run until 20 July, 2014. The exhibition was officially opened by Nicholas Owen on 15 February.
The theme of the display is "The Bluebell Railway: Then and Now." There are "then and now" photographs of all the stations, plus various artifacts and as a centre piece, the five-inch gauge model of locomotive Beachy Head. Copies of some of the original plans of the Bluebell Railway also are on display.
- Details now available for the Monday Club in 2014, which enables local over 60s to avail themselves of an all-inclusive train-and-meal deal on Monday lunchtimes.
- Reminder that our half-term services continue this weekend, with three or four locomotives in steam each day, operating to our peak Service Two timetable with steam trains running over the full line between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead. Our Kids for a Quid special offer still applies, and the Bluebell Bonus discount on adult tickets is currently being made available for bookings made 24 hours (rather than 8 days) in advance.
- John Sandys' photo from yesterday shows the 1.47 departure from Horsted Keynes behind the SECR H-class. John also has a few photos and a video of the ride from Kingscote to East Grinstead from today.
- Dave Clarke has updated his Flickr site with photos of the latest progress in the Carriage & Wagon Department.
This includes the replating of SECR No.3188's western bottom rail. During its 70 odd years as a bungalow, this rail sat on the ground and has suffered from some surface rot. This was one of the primary reasons for the replacement of the bottom rail at each end. On the west side this was mainly superficial. As a result,the coach was moved about 11" to the west to reveal the underside of the rail so that Richard Salmon could route off 3/8" - enough to remove all signs of rot. The underlying teak was found to be in almost perfect condition. It was then built up again by the attachment of second hand 3/8" teak panelling removed from the ends of the coach. Photos covering work on 3188 start here.
In the main part of the shed 3188's place in the dock has been taken temporarily by LBSCR No.270 so the perishable Van could be sign written and varnished; again a sequence of photos starts here. It is painted in the same gloss umber that was used by the LBSCR and sign writen to identify it as a passenger rated vehicle.
The LNWR Observation Car has been stripped and four marine ply panels have been removed due to rot. Two doors have been partially rebuilt with new teak stiles.
Finally Mk.I wheelchair accessible special saloon No.5034 has been brought into the paint shop for a well deserved repaint.
- Kieran Hardy had a prolific day at the Bluebell on Tuesday, and the results, including a rare glimpse of the sun illuminating the U-class as seen here, are in this atmospheric gallery of 43 photos.
- Details now available for the next BRPS Social Sub-Committee visit, which is to the Mid Norfolk Railway on Saturday 10 May. Please note that bookings are required 30 days in advance.
- We now have a report of our receipt of the Heritage Railways Association's "Large Groups" award.
- Stowe's boiler was lifted from its frames yesterday in the works, as seen in this video. Now we'll be able to do a full inspection to establish the likely cost of the boiler overhaul. Please donate towards the cost, so that we can actually get the work required done, since it's currently un-funded.
- John Sandys has photos from today taken around the Railway.
- In response to feedback from our visitors, the admission charges (platform tickets) at Sheffield Park have been reduced to £3.00, with children half price. On non-running days it remains £2.50. Bluebell Members of course have always benefited from free admission.
- The photo of LSWR goods van No.8112 has been re-scanned at much better quality.
- Yoshi Hashida's photo shows the visiting LMS Black 5 No.45231 with its train climbing Freshfield Bank on Sunday.
- New web page for GWR sleeper wagon No.100677, with thanks to Martin Skrzetuszewski and Nick Beck, who have also recently revised those for SR Borail wagon No.57949 and GWR open wagon No.87782.
- Great set of photos from yesterday from Daniel Green.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster from Lewis Nodes, showing the expected changes resulting from the failure of the DMU, and the need to do some work on the smokebox door of the C-class.
- This photo from yesterday shows the SECR H-class at East Grinstead, one of the photos taken at East Grinstead by John Sandys. In addition, John provides a video of the H-class running round its train in preparation for the 12 noon departure from East Grinstead.
- The plan to use the visiting heritage diesel railcar on the first service of the day this week has had to be dropped, following a mechanical failure, since the required replacement part is not easily available. The 9.45am service from Sheffield Park (10.40am from East Grinstead) will therefore run with a steam engine. Subsequent steam departures run, as planned, every hour and a quarter until 4pm from Sheffield Park, as per our two-train Service Two timetable.
- The Maunsell Locomotive Society have provided a news update on their own web site, covering the return to service of their S15, and work on Schools Class "Stowe" and the Q-class.
- Sadly we have to report that Jack Owen passed away on Sunday night. As many will already know, Jack was the leading light in the locomotive department right from the arrival of our first locomotive in May 1960, and was unsurpassed in his skills and expertise on how to maintain, rebuild and drive steam locomotives, his experience at Three Bridges Shed standing the Bluebell in good stead. Sadly this also further reduces the ranks of those who were involved in the original formation of the Bluebell. We believe there will be a small private family funeral at their Shropshire home, where Shirley is unfortunately not doing well at the moment.
- 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.
- Stop Press: due to a mechanical problem, the Diesel Railcar which was due to run the first train of the day this week is currently unavailable, so until further notice, all trains will be steam hauled!
- The SECR C-class No.592 is seen on one of the service trains yesterday in this photo from Paul Pettitt. The train is formed of three Southern Railway Maunsell carriages from the 1930s, plus one Bulleid coach of Southern Railway design.
- Our peak Service Two timetable is in use daily this week for half-term, until Sunday 23 February, with steam trains running over the full line between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead.
Save money with our Kids for a Quid special offer, and the Bluebell Bonus discount on adult tickets is currently being made available for bookings made 24 hours (rather than 8 days) in advance. The first train of the day will be operated by the visiting heritage diesel railcar, and the remaining services will be hauled by two of our steam locomotives. We are currently using the Southern Railway U-class and either the SECR H-class or C-class.
- David King provides this well-planned photo as today's Golden Arrow Pullman Luncheon Train, hauled by the U-class, is reflected in one of the small puddles adjacent to the line!
It enables us to mark the return to service (on Friday, following its intermediate overhaul) of Pullman Car "Fingall", which is the second carriage in the train. The Mk.1 Kitchen Car has remained attached to the end of the train this weekend, whilst Fingall's kitchen beds in.
- Update to the web pages and membership forms for the 9F Club, which allows young people between 9 and 15 years of age to take an active role in helping to run the Railway.
- Keith Duke's photos from Saturday cover the DMU both on its "first train" passenger service, and on a subsequent staff training run, along with the C-class and the Black 5 which hauled the two passenger sets.
- John Sandys provides photos from Friday, showing GWR 0-6-2T No.5643 on test, and U-class No.1638 being prepared for the various Valentine's Day special trains, and also a set of photos from Saturday.
- Martin Lawrence's photo shows the SR U-class shunting stock at Sheffield Park on Thursday (yesterday), when it was also used for a special School Train. It is also rostered as train engine for today's Valentine's Day Golden Arrow dining and Wealden Rambler afternoon tea trains. The C-class was also in steam for a test after its recent mechanical repairs, as seen in Martin's other photos, added to his February gallery.
- A veritable feast of steam over the next 9 days, as shown in an update to the Locomotive Duty Roster. The U-class, C-class, H-class and the Black 5 will be in charge of the service trains, Wealden Rambler and Golden Arrow, and P-class No.178 will also be in steam for shunting on each Sunday - up to four locomotives in steam on any one day. In addition, the visiting heritage railcar unit will be used for the early morning trains.
- This coming Sunday (and most Sundays for the rest of the year) we have our lunchtime Carvery in the newly refurbished first-floor restaurant at Sheffield Park. This year we are offering combined tickets for special discounted train travel plus either a one-course or two-course meal; booking is essential.
- These two photos, taken by Mike Hopps yesterday, show the planting of the new post for the Down Advanced Starter signal at Horsted Keynes. The rail-built post, to the standard SR pattern, has been constructed by the Alf Brown Gang and was planted by our Infrastructure and S&T teams. The base of the old wooden signal post is badly rotten, and the signal has been supported for quite some time by two rails at the sides. However, the upper part of the old post will be re-used for a repair to the Down Inner Home at Sheffield Park.
To construct the post, the Alf Brown Group was given some of the rail removed from the platform road at Sheffield Park when it was relaid last year. Whilst cleaning it up with a wire brush John Arkell found the rolling mill's mark which was 'Dowlais Steel 5 1910 LB&SCR' indicating that the rail was over 100 years old when taken out of service!
- Our line is fully open between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead, with our peak Service Two timetable daily over half-term, 15-23 February - book now for the Kids for a Quid special offer, and the Bluebell Bonus discount on adult tickets is currently being made available for bookings made 24 hours (rather than 8 days) in advance. The first train of the day will be operated by the visiting heritage diesel railcar, and the remaining services will be hauled by two of our steam locomotives.
- The same cannot, sadly, be said for the main line from London to East Grinstead, which is currently partially closed, just north of Oxted. If travelling down to visit us by train, please check with National Rail Enquiries for the best route (which may be via Three Bridges with a rail replacement bus to East Grinstead, or on Saturday via Haywards Heath and Metrobus Route 270 to Horsted Keynes). The line down from London is currently not expected to reopen before Monday 17 February, at the earliest.
- The date of the November Murder Mystery evening has now been changed to Friday 7 November.
- Martin Lawrence's picture brilliantly captures the sunlit signalbox at Horsted Keynes amidst the stormy skies. The work to replace partially rotten timberwork on the Grade 2 listed structure has just been completed, and we have been highly commended by the district council's conservation officer for the Bluebell's efforts and standard of workmanship.
Martin's other photos from this weekend show, amongst other things, the work on pre-assembling the new HK No.23 points (which it is planned should be installed during the first week of March), recently overhauled SECR 7-plank wagon No.5542, and SECR composite coach No.5546 (later SR full-third No.1050), which lost its tarpaulin in the storms, and for which a replacement tarpaulin has been purchased, which will be fitted once it can be brought into the shed to dry out.
- Dave Clarke's photostream has had recent photos from around the C&W Dept added.
- Nathan Gibson's photo shows GWR No.5643 on shed at Sheffield Park on Saturday. The Furness Railway Trust's 5600-class 0-6-2T will be with us until the end of the year, to help keep our services running, while we concentrate on getting the SR Q-class, Sir Archibald Sinclair and 73082 "Camelot" back into steam.
- After the completion of the track re-laying on Freshfield Bank, our line is fully operational again between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead, with our peak Service Two timetable daily over half-term, 15-23 February - book now for the Kids for a Quid special offer, and Bluebell Bonus discount. The first train of the day will be operated by the visiting heritage diesel railcar, and the remaining services will be hauled by two of our steam locomotives.
- Two new videos on the Schools-class No.928 "Stowe" page show the removal of the chimney and smokebox in preparation for the boiler lift. However, we still have a lot of money to raise to pay for the boiler work; the vast majority of the money we still aim to raise though KUTP is needed for Stowe's boiler. Please help!
- John Sandys provides a few photos from his visit on Saturday.
- This poster design, from Heritage Rail Posters, is to advertise our forthcoming Diesel Gala on Friday 21 March - book in advance for discounts. This is a day when we would not normally be running trains.
- John Sandys' has a set of photos from Tuesday including the tamper, newly arrived at Sheffield Park. This was immediately off to work on the newly laid formation on Freshfield Bank that day, and will also be used on some other specific areas of the line both South of Horsted Keynes, and North of Kingscote. They also show the non-slip surface now installed on the foot bridge.
- New job advert for a Locomotive Fitter, added to the Vacancies page.
- The Murder Mystery evening on the Golden Arrow Pullman train on March 28 has Sold Out already. You can download full details of the Murder Mystery Evenings here.
- Mike Hopps' photo shows the 09 with the ballast wagons being loaded from the track-side stockpile, last Friday. With the top-ballasting now done, the track is expected to be tamped this week, whilst the volunteers, staff and contractors move to Horsted Keynes to work on No.23 points, which are the ones right at the South end of the station.
- Newsletter available from the Standard Class 2 project; the photo shows the substantial pattern, made by our volunteer team, for casting the rear truck frame for 84030, which is also to be used for the new-build Standard Class 3 tank at the Severn Valley Railway.
- There were 15 potential new volunteers taking part in yesterday's "Find out more day". The next such day is 2nd March, and details of how to join in are here, as seen in the photo below.
- John Sandys' photos from today include shots of the flooding of the River Ouse which has again covered the fields around Sheffield Park, as also seen in his photo on the right.
- Keith Duke's photos from today feature the DMU running between Horsted Keynes and East Grinstead.
- On the weekend of 15 & 16 March there is a Model Railway Exhibition in East Grinstead with a Bluebell special train/bus offer on the Saturday.
- On Sunday 6th April there is the annual East Grinstead Vintage Bus Rally, and we have a Special Offer on the Bluebell that day linked to the event.
- During January 2014 there were 88,501 total hits on this page, from 49,459 unique visitors.
- Pat Plane's photo was taken on 22 January and shows the amount of plant etc. needed for the quarter of a mile of track-relaying on Freshfield Bank. A 30-foot track panel is seen been brought down to the site ready for laying once the track alignment has been checked. Since the photo was taken, all the 30 foot rails have been removed and replaced by brand new 60 foot rail and the two ends of the railway have been rejoined and ballasted and await tamping.
- A comprehensive video of the DMU service on Sunday 19 January is provided by from Philip and Gary Bull. The 1950s-vintage railcars are running again this weekend, due to the engineering work on the line south of Horsted Keynes - full details and timetables here.
- Details and pre-booking now available for the Bo Peep Specials over Easter, from Good Friday (18th) to Monday 21 April.
- On Friday 21 March we will be holding our first ever Diesel Gala - book in advance for discounts. This is a day when we would not normally be running trains.
- Great news (in the East Grinstead Courier) that permission has been given for the McIndoe memorial statue to be erected. We have our own special event, a Black-tie Pullman Dining evening, to help with the fund-raising for the memorial.
- John Sandys has a few photos and a video from his visit on Tuesday. With the release on 21st February of "The Invisible Woman" (see the trailer here, especially noting scene at 1m40s) John can now share his photos and video taken during the filming in June 2012.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, showing that the DMU will also be used for early morning trains over February half-term week.
- This cab view from the Class 108 driving motor second at Horsted Keynes by Alan Bedford is from last Saturday. A reminder that this weekend (and the next two), because of the engineering work between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes, we are running a special service using 1950s-vintage railcars between East Grinstead and Horsted Keynes (not stopping at Kingscote) with a bus link from Horsted Keynes to Sheffield Park station for those wishing to visit the Bessemer Arms restaurant, shop, museum and engine sheds.
- At Horsted Keynes Station our first class Restaurant Car "At The Sign of the White Horse" will be serving a special menu between 10.30am - 2.30pm each day this weekend, the menu for which is also available.
- Tim Field provides a video from last Saturday featuring lineside shots, and a ride on the DMU, plus the Crompton setting off on a test run after the completion of some minor repairs.
- A photo from the late 1970s (when it was painted as SR No.1178) has been added to the web page for SECR P-class No.178.
- The cost of the Photographers' Personal Track Safety training session and assessment has been re-assessed, and reduced back to £30.00 per person.
- John Sandys has some atmospheric shots of Sheffield Park, taken in the morning mist yesterday, including that on the right.
- Alan Bedford has some photos from Saturday.
- Update to the Volunteer Recruitment Find Out More Days page, with dates for behind the scenes tours of the Railway in 2014 - the first Sunday each month until November.
- Paul Pettitt's photo from today shows the visiting DMU running our current special service between East Grinstead and Horsted Keynes. Visitor numbers over the weekend have been encouraging, but the 2-coach DMU was never overloaded, so available seats matched demand well. We were pleased to welcome a coach party from the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway yesterday, from whom the unit is on loan. Paul has a gallery of photographs of the DMU also taken today.
- Steve Lee has a gallery covering the DMU at various locations on its first day of public operation, yesterday.
- John Harwood provides a video covering a ride on the DMU yesterday, and in addition a great Horsted Keynes to East Grinstead in 3 minutes feature!
- Neal Ball has recently found some photos he took on a visit to the Bluebell in July 2008.
- Photographs showing the new stock in the shop, and a look around Sheffield Park taken yesterday by John Sandys. It includes photos of the newly released Bachmann 00-gauge model of the Dukedog, seen here in its green version.
If you pre-ordered a Bachmann Dukedog through the Bluebell Shop there should be a message left for you already. All pre-orders are now packed up and awaiting collection. Only two green Dukedogs are left for sale, all others are sold out! Call the shop on 01825 720803 to purchase one.
- John Sandys' photos from today show the lake in Firbank Way this morning alongside our station at East Grinstead.
- We now have a web page covering the visiting LT-liveried GWR Prairie Tank L.150 (No.5521), produced with thanks to Martin Skrzetuszewski, Martin Lawrence, Cameron Smith, John Sandys and Nick Beck. The locomotive is on loan to the Bluebell courtesy of The Flour Mill Ltd. until July, when it is due to return to London for a further spell of running on the Met, with public trains, also including the Bluebell's Metropolitan carriages, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Hammersmith and City line in August and, it is reported in one monthly magazine, also potentially on the Chesham branch, although we understand this is subject to confirmation.
- 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.
- Tony Sullivan's photo shows the DMU, on loan from the The Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, on one of last Saturday's staff training runs. It has been brought in for use on the next four weekends to provide a special service between East Grinstead and Horsted Keynes (not stopping at Kingscote) whilst the line south from Horsted Keynes is closed for track relaying (which has already started, and is progressing well so far). Normal fares apply between East Grinstead and Horsted Keynes, but with the ticket valid all day rather than a single round trip, and will also provide admission to Sheffield Park station via a bus link we are providing from Horsted Keynes.
- Photos, with thanks to Nigel Longdon and John Arkell, have been added to the page for LSWR ventilated goods van No.2773
- Paul Pettitt has moved many of his Bluebell photos onto his new, improved, web site. He has a specific area for his Bluebell photos, including galleries for resident and visiting locomotives, plus recent Southern at War events, and the Bluebell also features in the section for photographic charters.
- Peter Richards just uploaded a small addition to the latest news of the Horsted Keynes Re-signalling following the transfer of the control of the last signals from the panel switches to the frame on Saturday, using photos courtesy of Jon Bowers - the P-way trolley was the first movement past signal 24A (from platform 4/5 to down headshunt) at lunchtime yesterday. 24B (from dock) and 26 (from headshunt) are also now fully operational.
- Update to the page for recruiting platform staff at Sheffield Park Station, with thanks to Chris Pratt, one of the Station Masters there.
- Martin Lawrence provides a short video of the DMU on a crew training run on Saturday.
- "CJE" provides this video featuring the H-class on service trains and the DMU, on Sunday.
- As part of this winter's routine maintenance of the Golden Arrow set, the bogies from Pullman Car "Christine" (Car No.64) are at Ashford for turning of the wheelsets, seen in this photo tweeted by Danny @DSW_Photography.
- Pat Plane's photo shows the scale of the slip near the tunnel. The work undertaken, and that still to be done in the future, is outlined in the updated Infrastructure News.
- Due to the additional work required to repair the slip, the engineering work planned for the next four weeks (three weekends) is now expected to run into an further week, so the line closure south of Horsted Keynes, and the Special Diesel Service, is now scheduled to continue each weekend until 9th February.
- David Haggar has just completed a web album of slide scans from some photos he took during the SECR Centenary Gala back 7th August 1999.
- The SECR H-class is seen heading through Imberhorne cutting towards East Grinstead in Tony Sullivan's photo taken today, the first day we've run services through it for some weeks. The DMU was also running today for crew training, ready for next weekend.
- I'd like to express my personal thanks to Peter Richards, who has, for 15 years, maintained and updated weekly without fail the "Public Train Information" pages on this web site, providing details of what trains are running each week, including timetables for special events, etc. The mantle has been taken up by Tony Hayllar, so the service, greatly appreciated by many, is to continue. Our thanks to them both.
- Martin Lawrence provides a few photos from around the railway from yesterday.
- Photos from today, taking advantage of the sunshine, from Steve Lee and Neil Munro-Thomson featuring both the H-class on the service train, and the DMU's training runs.
- Alan Bedford's atmospheric photo from last Saturday shows the timeless scene generated by the gas lighting and the two platform canopies at Sheffield Park, both now restored to their full LBSCR length and appearance.
- We are pleased to announce that trains are able to run the full length of the line, between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead, this weekend. As scheduled, we are therefore operating steam-hauled and steam-heated trains to our Service 1 timetable. This follows confirmation that work has successfully taken place on the recent landslips affecting the section between Horsted Keynes and Kingscote.
- We are sorry to have to report that Chris Edwards, a volunteer in the Carriage & Wagon department, sadly and unexpectedly passed away over the Christmas period. More details and funeral arrangements on the BRPS Members' pages.
- Alan Bedford's photo from last Saturday shows the SECR H-class locomotive at Horsted Keynes in the rain.
- The February Golden Arrow Murder Mystery Evening has sold out. You can download the dates and synopses for the remaining 2014 Murder Mystery evenings here.
- John Sandys has photos from Sheffield Park yesterday morning, and a video showing the DMU being moved over the pit for its commissioning. It is due to enter service on 18th January, to cover the period when the line south of Horsted Keyens is severed for engineering work. It has now been moved to Horsted Keynes, and will be undertaking training runs for drivers and guards this coming weekend.
- Any Bluebell members who are having difficulty playing the KUTP "Stowe" DVD which was included with Bluebell News on a computer should find they are able to play it if, after waiting a few seconds, they click on the white rectangle alongside the word Campaign. Alternatively, you can see the video in HD here on YouTube. Further details of the KUTP appeal are here.
- Updated link to the comprehensive Glossary of Railway Terminology from Mark Dewell - just the place to look if you come across a word on this site you don't understand! Mark also maintains summary details of all UK & Ireland Heritage Railways, and a locomotive database. A bit of history here - it was Mark who in 1994/5 started me on the path that led to the creation of this web site, when I provided him with a few web pages on the Bluebell, including our timetable. Those web pages from 1995 are now available again here, as an archive feature.
- Chris White has released this photo showing the cutting slip just South of Sharpthorne Tunnel, which has caused our line to be closed north of Horsted Keynes since Christmas. It shows the scene after initial tidying up at rail level last week.
The plan is to have sufficient short term repairs in place to safely open the railway for normal service on Saturday 11 January, which we are on course to do. Whilst the picture shows what appears to be a fairly small-scale slip, its position in the cutting, surrounded by numerous trees and with continuous surface water flow, means there is risk of further movement, which makes it a difficult and hazardous work site in view of the current poor weather conditions.
- Alan Bedford has a gallery of pictures from the railway taken on Saturday, when the H-class was in service.
- Dave Braley has some photos from 29th December, during some unusual sunny afternoon weather.
- Andy Prime's photo shows Pullman Car "Fingall" fresh from the paintshop, and positioned yesterday on the lifting jacks for mechanical maintenance.
- Two photos taken yesterday by Jim Hewett, show Fingall being shunted out of the paint shop, and LBSCR Milk/Fruit Van No.270 being shunted in.
- Loco Works News update on the Brighton Atlantic project, showing the delivery of the four eccentric rods, which means we now have all the major parts to complete the valve gear. With the driving wheelsets now in the works, the bearings in the axleboxes are being machined to fit.
- New poster advertising the Southern at War weekend from Heritage Rail Posters.
- Video from Philip Bull from 28th December, featuring LMS Black Five No.45231 & SECR H-Class No.263.
- A reminder that, due to the minor landslip near the tunnel, which is being attended to, we are currently unable to run trains north of Horsted Keynes this weekend. Therefore, we will be running steam-hauled and steam-heated trains between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes only to the temporary timetable shown below on 4-5 January, and following an update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, is expected to be hauled by H-class No.263.
2 January 2014
- John Sandys' photo shows the S15 No.847 in service at Sheffield Park on Boxing Day
- Two photos taken yesterday by Steve Lee, including the first train of the New Year, added to his photostream.
- During December 2013 there were 81,789 total hits on this page, from 45,925 unique visitors.
- We regret that due to a landslide caused by the heavy rain, we are currently unable to run trains north of Horsted Keynes. Therefore, we will be running steam-hauled and steam-heated trains between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes only to the temporary timetable shown here, on 4-5 January.
The Current What's New page contains all the recent update information.
Also see the 2013, the 2012, the 2011, the 2010, the 2009, the 2008, the 2007, the 2006, the 2005, the 2004, the 2003, the 2002, the 2001, the 2000, the 1999 and the 1997-8 "What was new" archive pages.
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