The Bluebell Railway Trust

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Appeals:   Jewel in the Crown Appeal   |   OP4 Cash for Cover   |   Keep Up The Pressure

The Bluebell Railway Trust is a Charitable organisation which supports the conservation of
skills and heritage on The Bluebell Railway in Sussex.
For details of how the Trust operates, please see the Governance and Management Regulations.

Jewel in the Crown Appeal Our current major appeal is the Jewel in the Crown Appeal aims to raise at least £500,000 to help in the restoration of Horsted Keynes station, which has featured in scores of TV programmes and films, to repair leaking roofs and replace rotting beams at the Grade II-listed station.

The Railway's appeal co-ordinator Trevor Swainson said: "The station buildings were built in Victorian times and are now showing signs of wear and tear. We view Horsted Keynes as our 'jewel in the crown' and we hope this appeal puts the sparkle back into the station."

Please Donate

The Bluebell Railway Trust needs your help to conserve, preserve, restore, and maintain in operational condition the Railway's steam locos, carriages and infrastructure. The volunteer-run Bluebell Railway re-opened a closed branch line in 1960, and recently completed its extension to East Grinstead. The Trust is a Registered Charity, No. 292497.

263 light engine move - Peter Edwards - 28 July 2012 The Trust is the owner of several historic locomotives and carriages:
SECR H-class Locomotive No. 263, seen on the right in Peter Edwards' photo at Three Arch Bridge on the day of its re-dedication after overhaul, Saturday 28 July 2012, SECR C-class Locomotive No. 592, and 45 Ton Steam Crane RS 1083.

LBSCR Stroudley Carriages Nos. 661, 949 and 328 (plus 6 other historic Brighton carriage bodies - 35, 94, 204, 221, 676 and 992), LSWR No. 25, three SER carriage bodies (172, 2159 and a brake third) and LCDR carriage No. 3188.

Historic wagons: LBSCR 1577, and LSWR 91 and 2773, plus storage van 86722.

Accredited Museum The Bluebell Railway Trust is also the governing body for the Bluebell Railway Museum, which is now an Accredited Museum.

The Bluebell Railway Trust is able to accept legacies, gift-aid donations, Memory-Giving, Payroll-giving or CAF vouchers, either for the Trust's general funds or for specific projects which fall within its remit.

Full details of the way the trust works are available, in terms of Funding opportunities and mechanism, and the advantages in leaving Bequests/Legacies.

At present the Trust is actively seeking funding for the Jewel in the Crown Appeal, COVID Emergency Appeal, Cash for Cover (OP4) Appeal, Keep up the Pressure Appeal, the Bluebell Atlantic Project, the provision of Apprentice positions in the locomotive workshops, as well as general donations towards many other worthwhile Bluebell Railway projects, such as the overhaul of the Schools Class No. 928 "Stowe", the Standard Class 2 project, the Steam Crane, the SR Maunsell Dining Saloon, SECR P-class No. 27 and 9F No. 92240.

Stepney with 114 and 661, 4 November 2006 - Jon Bowers Donate online You can give to The Bluebell Railway Trust on-line using your credit or debit card, with the Gift Aid recovered on our behalf. If you wish to donate through this to a specific project or appeal, there is provision for adding a message to that effect.

Gift-Aid it! If you are a UK tax payer and you complete a Gift Aid Form, this enables us to increase the value of your donation by 25%. Higher rate tax payers are also able to claim additional relief from the tax they have paid via their tax return. A Gift Aid Form for general donations and all other projects is available here to print out. The same form also has details of how to set up a regular Standing Order.

Send this, or any other donation or a CAF cheque voucher, either to the individual fund raising group, or to:
      The Bluebell Railway Trust,
      Sheffield Park Station,
      Nr Uckfield, East Sussex TN22 3QL
Please note that, to keep costs down, acknowledgement of donations may not be sent unless you include a Stamped Addressed Envelope.

Photo above right: The trust funded the cost of materials for the restoration of both of the carriages seen here, LBSCR 661 and LCDR 114. LBSCR Terrier "Stepney" is hauling the coaches on the day that 114 returned to service, 4 November 2006 (Jon Bowers).

Current Projects

In addition to the above, the Trust is currently involved in the funding of the following projects: Other projects have been approved in principal for funding, and are awaiting specific requirements.

Track relaying in Rock Cutting - Paul Booth - 13 January 2018 Track relaying in Rock Cutting - Paul Booth - 13 January 2018

The Trust funded the re-laying of half a mile of track on either side of Rock Cutting, in part by donations through the Tr(ack) Action Appeal, and partly with unrestricted legacies left to the Trust. (Paul Booth, 13 January 2018)

Supported using public funding by Arts Council England

We are grateful to the Arts Council Museum Resilience Fund who awarded us the sum of £84,150 for the restoration and adaptation of a railway vehicle as a play and educational facility. The vehicle chosen, "The Elephant Van", is now open to the public daily at Horsted Keynes at the south end of platform 5.

Past Projects

LCDR Brake Third 114 - 4 Nov 2006 - Richard Slamon The Trust has been involved in the following projects, to a greater or lesser extent:
  • Relaying of track between platforms 2-3 at Horsted Keynes, at Leamland Junction, and on numerous sections of the line between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes where the original 1882-built formation needed significant work, including replacing worn rails dating back over 100 years.
  • Funding for materials to complete the overhaul of SR Bulleid Composite Carriage 5768.
  • Funding the completion of the fit-out of training rooms, offices and mess spaces above our loco workshop.
  • Funding a new disabled lavatory at Horsted Keynes, plus upgraded disabled-access and staff hand-washing facilities in our carriage workshop.
  • The addition of an LBSCR-style canopy to the Bessemer Arms at Sheffield Park.
  • The restoration and adaptation of the Elephant Van as a play and educational facility.
  • Funding for materials for the overhaul of LCDR carriage 3188.
  • Funding of the Northern Extension project, from bequests specifically left for the purpose as well as through the 50th Anniversary Appeal.
  • Fund raising for the boiler repair for Battle of Britain class pacific "Sir Archibald Sinclair"
  • Lengthening of the platform 1 canopy at Sheffield Park to its original length
  • The NRM Drawings Project - undertaken by Bluebell volunteers, assisting in the cataloguing of the NRM's extensive collection of SR engineering drawings. The Trust has funded accommodation and travel costs.
  • Funding though grants obtained from outside bodies of the conversion of Mk.I carriage 4941 into a wheelchair-accessible saloon.
  • Funding for land-purchase and museum aspects of Operation Undercover phase 3 at Sheffield Park.
  • Funding for the overhaul of the Trust's own locomotive, SECR H-class No. 263, completed in 2012.
  • Provision of a significant proportion of the match funding for the Heritage Lottery Fund-supported project completed at Sheffield Park in 2012, which provided a carriage shed, museum, toilets, refurbishment of Platform 2 including extension of the platform canopy back to its original length, new loco washout pit and new locomotive department welfare building.
  • Materials for the restoration of two SECR Open Wagons - restoration report.
  • Funding to enable the Bluebell Railway's original two locos to play their part in the Bluebell's 50th Anniversary celebrations.
  • Funding to rescue LBSCR full brake 94, and LBSCR and LSWR wagon underframes from Preston Park, the recovery of two other Craven-era LBSCR carriage bodies, and parts of an LBSCR Balloon Carriage body.
  • Funding of items required in overhaul of locomotive No. 3 Baxter.
  • Funding of the materials used in the restoration of the body of LCDR Brake 3rd carriage No. 114 (seen in photo, Right). The carriage body had been used as a bungalow from 1926, and was rescued by the Bluebell in 1977. It is now running on an adapted SR van underframe, after 8 years restoration.
  • Purchase of tarpaulins to protect historic railway carriages.
  • Funding of the design of the museum portion of the Sheffield Park Heritage Lottery Fund application.
  • Funding the repurchase of SECR P-class Locomotive No. 178
  • Funding to bring one of the railway's historic ticket printing machines into operational order.
  • Transport costs and tarpaulins for LCDR, LSWR coach bodies, and LBSCR Stroudley carriage bodies, and replacement tarpaulin for LBSCR coach 676.
  • Provision of the majority of the funds required to complete the Loco Running Shed East wall (photo above).
  • Providing 80% of the costs of construction for a shed for the Brighton Atlantic project.
  • Funding for decorative posters in Brighton style for the exterior of the new Shop building.
  • Phase 3 of the Horsted Keynes Canopy project; the new buildings on Platform 1 and 2, plus the electrical installation for the building.
  • Materials to complete the restoration of the unusual SR 10-ft wheelbase Open Wagon.
  • Replacement of the paint-shop roof in the carriage works with a modern insulated roof.
  • The restoration of LBSCR Box Van No. 8196, for which an almost completely new underframe has been constructed.
  • The restoration of the body of LBSCR Stroudley coach No. 661, which is owned by the Trust.
  • Funding for a signwritten tarpaulin for the Bluebell's LBSCR tarpaulin wagon.
  • Funding of the artwork and production of LBSCR Carriage transfers.
  • Complete funding of new overhead cranes for the Locomotive Workshop.
  • Funding part of the cost of the completion of north end of the Locomotive running shed.
  • Provided the majority of the funding for the acquisition of rail and sleepers for the last two miles of the Northern Extension.
  • Funding of a proportion of the costs of the construction of the Carriage Works extension.
    SECR 7-plank completed, 4 June 2003
  • Provision of materials for the restoration of SECR 7-plank wagon No. 5542 and SECR 7-plank wagon No. 16194 (Photo right).
  • Substantial support of the Bluebell Railway's Northern Extension.
  • Part funding of materials for the construction of phases 1 & 2 of the New Canopy on Platform 1 and 2 at Horsted Keynes.
  • Provision of Luggage Racks and costs of some other work on LBSCR Bogie First Carriage No. 7598.
  • Transport and some restoration costs for moving the Horsted Keynes goods shed to Kingscote.
  • Funding a replica stained glass window at Horsted Keynes Station.
  • Organised manufacture of reproduction LBSCR carriage carpets, both for sale and to provide carpets for our LBSCR carriages.
  • Signwriting and part-funding the re-tyring of some wheelsets for Metropolitan Railway Carriage No. 394, mechanical work on the bogies of No. 368, and casting of new luggage rack brackets for No. 412.
  • Purchase of LBSCR Stroudley brake coaches Nos 676 and 949.
  • Transport costs for the recovery of SER Gilbert Car No. 33.
  • Funding towards the purchase of locomotive No. 3 Baxter.
  • Support of restoration work at Kingscote station.
  • Assistance with restoration of seats, lamps and the footbridge at Sheffield Park Station.

Rebuilt canopy as of March 2003

Horsted Keynes Platform 1/2 canopy, during the course of construction.

Who's Who in the Bluebell Railway Trust

Trustee: BRT Trustee Ltd

BRT Trustee Ltd is a company set up to act as sole Trustee of the Trust, and is run by its Governors. The changes, which took effect as from 12 March 2018, bring the governance and management of the Trust into line with current Charity Commission requirements and reflect the Trust's growing significance to the Railway. The current Governor/Directors are:

Vernon Blackburn (Chairman and Administrative Governor)
Sam Bee
Terry Cole
Richard Salmon
Trevor Swainson (Funding Governor)
Colin Tyson (Governor nominated by BRPS)
Roy Watts MBE

Company Secretary: Lance Allen

Locomotive Curator: Bill Brophy
Carriage & Wagon Curator: Richard Salmon
Museum Curator: Tony Drake
Archivist: Roger Price


The Governors will stand for re-election every three years.

Although the Trustee function has changed, there is no change at all in the role and operation of the Trust itself. It remains exactly as before, acting as the charity that supports the Bluebell Railway by receiving donations and legacies from supporters and making grants to the Railway. Therefore, there is no need for any donor to make any changes to the method of making donations to the Trust. Similarly, any Will in which a gift or legacy has been left to the Trust does not need to be changed.

The principal objects of The Bluebell Railway Trust, and how they are applied, are explained in the Trust's Governance and Management Regulations.


Home   |   Donate   |   Bequests/Legacies   |   Project Funding   |   Trust Regulations   |   Who's Who

Appeals:   Jewel in the Crown Appeal   |   OP4 Cash for Cover   |   Keep Up The Pressure

The Bluebell Railway Trust is the governing body for the Bluebell Railway Museum
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Last updated by Richard Salmon, 30 November 2021
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The Bluebell Railway Trust is a Registered Charity, No. 292497