Bluebell Railway web site:
Please be aware that due to the historical nature of this page, some of the
links on it may be out of date.
Site Update Archive 2003
The Current What's New page and the 2004 archive
contain all the recent update information.
Also see the
2002, the 2001, the 2000, the 1999 and the 1997-8 "What was new" archive pages.
Photographic reports 2003:
Web-site Update Archive 2003
30 December 2003:
- The 2004 Bluebell Railway Timetable is now available. The most notable feature is
that there are only three weekends in the year (in January) when we have only one train running. This marks a notable
increase in the use of the Vintage Branch-line train as part of the two-train Service 2 timetable. The Vintage
Branch-line train is formed of either our LBSCR/SECR (Southern liveried) set, or of the varnished teak Metropolitan
Railway set, hauled by one of our smaller, older locomotives.
- Please Note: Our 473 bus stop near East Grinstead
Station has moved into the main bus lay-bys on the corner of the main
ring road, on the other side of the road to the Esso petrol
- Update to the web page for the Bluebell Railway Band, with new photos, and details
(also featured on the Special Events page) of their appearances at the railway in 2004.
- Added to the Carriage Restoration suppliers page: Arnold (Tarpaulins) Ltd
who supply us with heavy duty tarpaulins for covering out-of-use carriages.
- A reminder from the Membership Department:
Because most subscriptions are going to rise from January 1st 2004, many members who pay their annual subscription as of
that date (and others) by Standing Order will need to change the amount paid by their bank, as otherwise they will be
paying too little. Under payment is technically non-payment.
Relevant "Standing Order" members who recently received a letter from the Membership Secretary, and have still to take
action, are reminded to send the completed payment amendment form to their bank (not BRPS) as soon as possible. Don't
delay, your bank processing deadline is rapidly approaching. Should you have any questions, please email Assistant
Membership Secretary, firstname.lastname@example.org. ("Concession"
members are not affected.)
- Beat the deadline: If you are thinking of joining the railway, do so before
1st January at the exisiting rates.
- Revision to the Loco Roster for December, since "Blackmoor Vale" is out of
service at present for a rebuild of its centre engine valve gear.
- New Year Vintage Trains: Celebrate the
New Year in Style - This event is now extended through to January 4th - a two-train service with both trains
formed of pre-grouping (Victorian and Edwardian) locos and coaches.
In their 2004 annual guide, The Good Britain Guide
has voted the Bluebell Railway the
Railway of the Year Award
Sussex Family Attraction of the Year
- Confirmed details and dates of Special
Events for 2004 are now available. These include several new events, including a Goods Train Day in March, The
Southern at War in May, Sussex Bus Rally in July, and A Wizard Time at the Bluebell Railway in October, in addition to
the regular events such as Branch Line Weekend, two Railway Toy & Collectors' Fairs, evening concerts, and the ever
popular Thomas and Giants of Steam events.
- New link to Trading Boundaries,
importers of Indian furniture & artifacts, with a licenced bar serving drinks and light meals as well. They are
located just north of Sheffield Park on the A275, in what used to be the Sheffield Arms coaching inn. We are
developing a good relationship with them, and they have been good enough to allow us to use their hard standing for
overflow car-parking on occasions.
- New link to the Spa Valley
- New Permanent Way Gang News Report
available, with details of what they've been up to in the last month,
including the track-work week, and an exchange with the Mid Hants
- New photo added, of "Green
Arrow" with the GNR Directors' Saloon, on October 18th 2003 at
Sheffield Park. You can ride in this splendid carriage behind "Green
Arrow" over the forthcoming Giants
of Steam weekend!
- Preliminary details of Special
Event Dates for 2004 are now available. These dates are
provisional and will be confirmed in the next few weeks.
- Update to the Giants of Steam web page,
adding details of guided tours of the extension and East Grinstead
Viaduct, details of a free vintage bus service from Brighton and
Lewes, and the timetable for the 473 Bus service between East
Grinstead and Kingscote.
- New page of recent Photos from around the
Railway from Jon Bowers, including Birch Grove on the Mid Hants,
and Green Arrow running on the Bluebell yesterday.
- Additional Event added: October
19th: Bluebell Gas-Up - Sussex Engines and Machinery Society
display at Sheffield Park, 10am-4pm
- Update to London Area Group
page with full details of their Tuesday evening meetings for the
next four months.
- "Stop Press" news report available:
- 60800 "Green Arrow" arrived yesterday,
- 9017 "Earl of Berkeley" has passed all its examinations and is
ready for its return to steam - photo available,
- The Town Mayor of East Grinstead will assist in the laying of a
track panel over the Turners Hill Road Bridge,
- "Birch Grove" ran over 2000 miles on the Isle of Wight,
- The railway is taking part in East Sussex County Council's Wood Season.
- Update to the page for the Giants of Steam gala event,
including Nick Beck's photo of loco 21C123 carrying "O.V.S.Bulleid"
- Just come across the latest news on the Isle of Wight Steam
Railway's web site, with photos of Birch
- Nick Beck, a recent new volunteer (in both the Loco dept and on
the Permanent Way) has been taking a lot of photos around the
railway, as well as keeping a diary of his experiences as a
volunteer. See his web
site - and then click on "Preserved Lines".
- Peter Richards and Chris Majer put up an update to the latest news of the Horsted Keynes
Re-signalling earlier this week.
- New PW-Gang News Report
available yesterday. Includes news of track-work starting on the
extension north of Kingscote, and further maintenance work in the
Tunnel. Also includes information on the autumn Engineering Week,
between Monday 6th and Friday 10th of October.
- Update to information about the Bluebell
Railway MBNA Credit Card. We are awaiting a revised draft
agreement from MBNA, which we hope will be acceptable to us. They
are, as a goodwill gesture, continuing to pay commissions to the
railway pending the outcome of negotiations, which should be
concluded at a meeting scheduled for the end of this month.
- Update to page for the Giants of
Steam gala weekend when, on the Sunday, we will additionally be
re-creating the very last passenger train to run on the Ardingly
line 40 years ago, the "Brighton Blue Belle", which was formed of
the Lancing Works train hauled by Stepney and Birch Grove, 27th
- Update to BRPS Social Sub-committee
page, with details of the Pub Quiz and Social evening, and
details of a social event in memort of the late Peter Cox.
- Details of the A275 River Ouse Bridge Closure at Sheffield
Park added to "Access to the Railway"
Access to Sheffield Park Station from the South is not directly affected.
Work will start on the bridge on Monday 8th September.
Until Sunday 21st September the bridge will be passable by all road
vehicles controlled by traffic lights.
From Monday 22nd September until Friday 26th September the
bridge will be CLOSED TO ALL TRAFFIC.
Pedestrians will however, still be able to cross the bridge.
During this week, the road north from the bridge as far as Ketches
Lane (Sheffield Arms) crossroads will also be resurfaced.
On Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th September the bridge
MIGHT STILL BE CLOSED TO ALL TRAFFIC.
Details of diversions and alternative
routes are here.
- Preliminary details available for Giants of Steam: Sat 25 - Sun
- New link to the 24 Hour Museum, a gateway
to over 2,500 UK museums, galleries and heritage attractons.
- Update to the Timetable page to make it
easier to understand.
- Update to the Frequently Asked Questions
(FAQ) page taking account of the railway's change of status to
become formally a "Not for Profit" organisation.
- Minor update to Wagon Stock List
- The unrestored Mk.1 RU(B) No.1987,
later in departmental service as an HST Barrier Coach, has been sold
to the KESR and has now left the Bluebell.
- Update to the News Page with photos from the Open Weekend at Doncaster Works.
- A quick reminder that with just over 2 weeks to go until the new football season starts, you haven't got that long
left to enter this years Football Competition, which is raising funds for Operation
Undercover. Full details of the simple-to-enter competition are available here.
- Full news report with photos now available - Loco and Carriage news, Birch Grove arrives
on Isle of Wight, reports and photos on Special Events, including the repaint of the USA tank for the 1940s' event, and
photos of progress on the extension.
- Update to Membership Application Form also available now as a pdf with details of subscription increases as of 1st January 2004. Why not get life
membership now to beat the increase!
- Entry details and forms available for the 2003/4 football
competition, provided by Jon Bowers. This raises funds towards Operation
Undercover through two simple-to-enter competitions, in which contestants try to predict the winner of the FA Cup,
and the order in which teams will finish in the Premier League.
- Minor update to Locomotive Roster, and page for the forthcoming Day out with Thomas reflecting the Isle of Wight Steam Railway requiring No.37 to remain
on the Island to haul trains.
- Two updates in the last two days to the latest news of the Horsted Keynes
Re-signalling page, with pictures and text from Adrian Lee of the new signals brought into use to the North of
Horsted, and with developments inside the
Signalbox from Chris Majer.
- Added contact details for the Bluebell Railway Band.
- The Bluebell Railway Visa Card is no longer available. Existing card holders may continue to use their cards, but
MBNA have now terminated the agreement under which use of the cards resulted in a financial
contribution to the Railway. We would like to thank those members who, through their use of their Bluebell Railway Visa
cards, have raised several thousands of pounds each year for the railway through this scheme since it started in 1995.
- Added further details of the "Grenestede Rambler" Bus Route 473 - Sponsored by the
Bluebell, the National Trust and the Countryside Agency, this is a "Low Floor, Easy Access" vehicle, running between
East Grinstead and the Bluebell Railway via the National Trust property of Standen on Table 1 and 2 days.
- New web page for the E.F.Howlden Charitable Trust, which came into being last
month, and has assumed responsibility for the ownership, maintenance and crewing of the Great Northern Railway
- New photo showing the interior of the GNR Saloon added to the updated web page for
- Minor updates to FAQ and Fares information.
- Full details of train (and 473 bus) timetables added to the page for the The 1940's
Years event on 10th and 11th May, together with details of cut-price Saturday evening train service, and free
- New Loco Works News, with photos of recent work on the GWR
Dukedog loco, which is nearly ready for its first boiler steam test.
- Update to Stepney Club page, html and pdf membership application forms and Bluebell Membership
and contacts pages with temporary address for Stepney Club Membership matters.
- Updates to the following pages due to minor changes to Bus routes 121 and 146 serving Sheffield Park:
Access to the Railway
Hoe komt u bij (equivalent Dutch page)
Wap page (on wap.bluebellrailway.co.uk ) for access by Bus.
- Update to the News page on Wap.
- ADVANCE NOTICE - Web-site Down-time. The server hosting this web site will not be available for a period
tomorrow, Wednesday 9th April. Normal service should be resumed fairly soon.
- Update (thanks to Lewis Nodes) to the planned Loco Roster, showing which engines it
is intended to use on which days in April, May and June.
- New photos of the newly completed first stage of the building under the canopy on
Platforms 1-2 at Horsted Keynes.
Stop Press Due to the numbers of visitors travelling on the Bluebell Railway over the
last few weekends, this coming weekend's service will be upgraded from Service
3 (one train, every 90 minutes) to Service 2 (two trains, departing
hourly, one being the SR vintage Branch-line train).
- Update re. Saturday week's Classic Car Drive-in at Sheffield Park
Station: Such has been the response to this event that we have now had to close the entry list. This means that
we shall be able to offer visitors the sight of many more classic cars than we had been expecting, so come down and take
a look round as well as riding on our steam trains.
- Updates to web pages for Bulleid coaches 1482 and 1464,
with interior photos added.
- New photo page from the first day of the
Branch Line event with Dave Bowles' and David Chappell's superb photos.
- New photos (taken this week) of the visiting 41312 added to the page for this weekend's Branch Line Special Event. Also added details of our bus timetable from East
Grinstead, and Sunday engineering works on SouthCentral.
- Updated pages and logo for The 9F Club - note various changes, including the
age range covered, new contact address, and revised cost of membership. With thanks to Fleur Wood; the pages should now
be updated more regularly, possibly including occasional news of the club's activities.
- Added to the Carriage Restoration Suppliers page:
- Dunn & Son - Marqueterie (that's how they spell it, and they should know!)
- John Holdsworth & Co Ltd - Designers & Manufacturers of Transport Fabrics / Moquettes
- Pickerskill-Kaye - Carriage Door Slam Locks, striking plates and handles
- News update from the Volunteer P-Way Gang: Full details of the plan for doubling the track on the
- Latest positions in the Operation Undercover fund-raising football
competition from Jon Bowers.
- Update to the Dutch page: Hoe komt u bij de Bluebell Railway (with many thanks to
- AltaVista Babel Fish machine translation of this site is now available from the home page.
- A late addition to the details of the February 22-23 Branch Line
Weekend is the use of a seventh locomotive, LSWR B4 "Normandy" on a rare passenger working on the Saturday.
- Revised links to Tony Hillman's pages:
- News update from the Volunteer P-Way Gang: The start of work on the new Ardingly spur.
- Details and entry form for the Classic Car Drive-in at Sheffield Park
Station on Saturday March 15 now available.
Today's Brighton Evening Argus contains a story about the East Grinstead Station site.
Whilst reporting our success with the Rail Regulator, they assume
that we have already purchased it, that we are talking to Sainsbury's
and that we stand to make a big profit from it.
Before anyone gets excited, we have not yet
purchased the site. Any sale to us would have to be authorised by
the Rail Regulator after consultation with the relevant bodies. We
have not yet reached a deal with Network Rail. In any case, any sale
to us may well contain restrictive covenants to prevent us from
- Jon Horrocks has recently put some new photo galleries on his web
- Update to the Loco Roster with
details of intended loco usage for January, February and March.
- Updates to the Access to the Railway by
Bus page (and the wap page for Bus links) with details of the
useful new CountryLinks Bus 121; a new hourly service from Lewes,
Cooksbridge, Newick and Chailey to Sheffield Park on weekdays.
- Latest positions in the Operation Undercover fund-raising football
competition from Jon Bowers.
- News Release from Tim Baker: Ivatt tank to visit Bluebell.
- Updates to the Bluebell's Japanese, German, French, Dutch,
Spanish and Korean pages, with 2003 dates and fares information.
- Updates to the Wap site.
2 January 2003:
- Dates and subjects for the next quarter's meetings of the BRPS London Area Group now available.
- Visiting engine confirmed for the February 22-23: Branch Line
Weekend - 41312 (2MT tank) from the Mid Hants Railway. It
also run the previous weekend.
Return to Bluebell Home Page,
to the Timetable or to Special Events
The Current What's New
page - the 2004, the 2002, the
2000, the 1999 and the 1997-8 "What was new" archive pages.
Visitor Info. - Catering - Contacts -
What's New - Extension
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