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Bluebell Railway History

The Bluebell Railway was the first preserved standard gauge passenger line in the world. The history of its preservation is itself an epic tale. Peter Richards recounts the story of railway's first five years in four articles:

The earlier history of the L&EGR is adapted from Chailey through the Centuries by Edwin Matthias 1983, having been originally published on the web on the currently defunct Chailey web site.

Predating the L&EGR, the Ouse Valley Railway was planned as a line cutting though our area. Construction was started but abandonned at an early stage. Had this line been built, it is certain that the present Bluebell line would never have existed! You can read about the history and remaining artefacts of the line on the HorstedKeynes.com web site and an article which appeared in The Railway Magazine in September 1951, reproduced as a pdf file with permission, by SEmG.

Iron was made in the Weald from pre-Roman times until the beginning of the 19th century. There are hammer ponds and forge sites near the Bluebell. For more information, see the Wealden Iron Research Group web site.

A series of pages about the history of Kingscote Station with material from Roger Barton and Martin Skrzetuszewski.

Photographic Tours from Derek Hayward of the Ardingly Branch and southwards from Sheffield Park towards Lewes.

The tragic story of the wartime newly weds killed whilst walking home down the line in 1943 is told on the HorstedKeynes.com web site.

Personal Recollections of the Bluebell Line
This section of the web site features individuals' recollections of past visits to the railway. If you have such a memory which you wish to submit for possible inclusion here, please e-mail the Web Site Editor, Richard Salmon.

  1. Daniel Wilson recounts a visit, by train, in 1956 to the Sheffield Park Sawmill.
  2. Martin J.N. Payne remembers the 1955 closure, and a local Sharpthorne character.
  3. Martin Ternouth recalls his visits, in 1957 and on the day of the second closure, 16 March 1958.
  4. Mike South's account of why the LSWR Gate Stock didn't get preserved, and other memories of Early Bluebell Days.

Recording the lives of railway staff and personalities.

  1. Stepney's Driver: Frederick Hutchings - 50 years with the LBSCR, SR & BR

This diagramatic Map shows how the Bluebell line relates to other railways in the locality.

The history of the extension of the Bluebell, from its original 5-mile length, to its present nine miles, together with the planned and possible further extensions are covered on the extension page.

The development of the Bluebell can also be traced by the changing track layouts of the various stations:

Other station track layouts will be added as I get round to them.
Aerial Photos of the Line
Taken in 1947, and made available by the Geography Resource Centre, University of Sussex, the following are large (about 1MB photos).
Return to Bluebell Home Page, to the Timetable or to Special Events
History of the Bluebell:- L&EGR - Early Days 1 - Early Days 2 - Early Days 3 - Early Days 4 - Kingscote Station - Fenchurch
Personal Recollections of the Bluebell Line: Daniel Wilson - Martin J.N. Payne - Martin Ternouth - Early Bluebell Days: Mike South
Biography: Frederick Hutchings - 50 years with the LBSCR, SR & BR
Track Layouts through the years: Horsted Keynes - West Hoathly - Kingscote. More to come later!
Map showing how the line relates to other railways in the locality.
The Extension

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