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Bluebell Railway Blog:
Archive 2006

Please be aware that due to the historical nature of this page, some of the links on it may be out of date.

Archive of the Blog/What's New pages

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Older updates are in the What's New Archive
or the 2022, the 2021, the 2020, the 2019, the 2018, the 2017, the 2016, the 2015, the 2014, the 2013, the 2012, the 2011, the 2010, the 2009, the 2008, the 2007, the 2006, the 2005, the 2004, the 2003, the 2002, the 2001, the 2000, the 1999 and the 1997-8 "What was new" archive pages.

Web Site Update List: further down this page.

Photographic and video reports 2006:
Please note that some photos included below are taken by volunteers and staff during the course of their duties, and so may have been taken in areas not open to the general public. These photos are very valuable, since they enable the public to see these otherwise hidden facets of the railway, but visitors to the railway should note that they may be unable to visit these locations themselves.

Web-site Update Archive 2006

30 December 2006:
DVD - Bluebell Railway, Lost and found 29 December:
  • The first DVD (right) in a new series is now available from the Bluebell Shop: Bluebell Newsreel - The Bluebell Years was filmed in 2006 by Rail TV with the full support of the railway, and is presented as their first look at the railway. Simon Farmer tells the history of the line and Jennifer Johnston introduces two of the larger locomotives - 75027 and The Earl of Berkeley.
    There is a bonus feature on Normandy on one of her last turns before she was retired from traffic and a railway architecture feature on England's second largest brick masonary structure - the Chappel Viaduct.
  • Photos from yesterday's Vintage New Year trains from Sean Tompsett
  • New feature: Aerial Photos of the Line from 1940s, made available by the Geography Resource Centre, University of Sussex.
  • Shaun McCann is in the process of setting up a new website on which he intends to chronicle as many, if not all, of the UK's Heritage Railways as he can. We are promised that the Bluebell will feature strongly! There's also a forum.

Victorian Chistmas Special train - Dave Jefferys - 24 Dec 2006 28 December:
24 December:
  • Reminder that, between December 26th and January 1st, we have our Vintage New Year trains - an hourly service from 11am to 4 pm using two sets of vintage and Victorian carriages, and two of our older locomotives. Your chance to travel in steam-heated comfort in the Metropolitan coaches, the newly restored LCDR brake coach, or the two LBSCR first-class carriages.
    (Note: The 473 Bus does not run on Boxing Day, and also note that Christmas Day is the one day of the year when the Railway is closed!)
  • Bluebell News magazine is with the printers, and should be available very early in January.

22 December:
Victorian Chistmas Special train - Derek Hayward - 21 Dec 2006 21 December:

Sunrise over the Bluebell - Dave Clarke - 17 Dec 2006 20 December:
  • Photo collections from Dave Clarke showing:
    • Santa Specials arriving at, and departing from, Horsted Keynes last weekend, the Sunday morning sunrise over the railway from Highbrook (one of which is seen here) and Sir Archibald Sinclair in the works at Sheffield Park;
    • A new collection which will record the overhaul of the S15 (847) and also covers the U class 1638;
    • A photo showing the mouldings on the northwest corner of LSWR carriage No.1520. Once everything has been aligned they will be fitted permanently. The four compartments have had their first coats of chrome buff (undercoat for grain paint) on the walls and white undercoat on the ceilings.

Santa Special - Tim Easter - 17 Dec 2006 18 December:

16 December:
15 December:
412 on test run - Richrad Salmon - 14 Dec 2006 14 December:
  • Successful test run today for Metropolitan carriage No.412. It enters service on the Victorian Christmas Train on 21st December. The photo shows the coach at Kingscote half way through the test run. More photos here.

Imberhorne Cutting looking south - 12 Dec 2006 - Chris Dadson 13 December:
  • A significant milestone has been reached on the extension to East Grinstead; all of the spoil to the south of Imberhorne Lane bridge has now been cleared. This spoil came from the widening of the old railway cutting in East Grinstead in the 1970s to form the "Beeching Way" town-centre by-pass. This inert spoil has now been removed, by rail, to Horsted Keynes.
    Chris Dadson's photos illustrate the now clear cutting - the photo on the right is one of them.
    We have all the permissions in place which are required to remove the contents of the old council tip, which fills the cutting to the north of the bridge. We are just now awaiting the transfer of ownership of the council land which includes the tip; this is the last piece in the jigsaw required before fund-raising for the removal of the main tip and completion of the extension can commence.

  • Details now available of the December 26th to January 1st Vintage New Year trains.
  • Photo updates from Dave Clarke:

12 December:
Christine in service - Andrew Strongitharm 11 December:
  • Dates and preliminary details available for 2007 Special Events.
  • Andrew Strongitharm has put together an album showing rolling stock, including ones taken following the re-launch of Pullman Car 64 ("Christine"). The photo on the right shows "Christine" in use on 9th December.
  • Andrew has also added photos taken on Saturday, including several of Eddystone, to his Recent Photos album.
  • Further update from Peter Richards to the Signalling Bell Codes page.
  • Minor correction to the Loco Roster.

412 and team 9 December:

7 December:
DVD - Bluebell Railway, Lost and found 5 December:

Pullman Car 64 - 1 December 2006 - Jim Hewett 4 December:

Santa at Kingscote - 2 Dec 2006 - Derek Hayward 2 December:

30 November:
Pullman Car 64 - 26 November 2006 - Dave Clarke 28 November:
25 November:
  • A visit to Thames Tunnel and Brunel Museum, Rotherhithe has been organised by the BRPS London Area Group for Saturday 24 March 2007 - Details of this visit are available at group meetings.

21 November:
19 November:
S&D photo charter - 17 November 2006 - Jon Bowers 18 November:
  • Jon Bowers has provided a page of photos and videos from yesterday's Somerset & Dorset themed photo charter. Jon comments "Although at times the wind was so strong it was difficult to hold the camera still, we got the better of the weather in the end!" An example of what proved possible between the rain showers is shown on the right.
  • Another reminder that this coming week is an engineering week on the track. Proposed work is re-sleepering at Sheffield Park, some work on Freshfield Bank (rail and sleepers) plus work around the Leamland Bridge area. More details here. Free lunch if working by 09.00. Meet on Monday at Horsted Keynes Pway hut at 08.20, and Tues-Fri at Sheffield Park, though this could change depending on how work progresses through the week.

80154 with Bulleid coaches - 12 November 2006 - David Chappell 17 November:
  • The one train running at the Terrier Gala which hasn't until now featured here is the Standard 4 tank, No.80151 (running as 80154) with the four SR-designed Bulleid coaches.
    The photo on the right is from David Chappell, taken on Sunday 12th November.
    The significance of running the loco as 80154 is two-fold. Firstly it was the last engine built at Brighton Works, where all the Terriers, and the E4 were also built. It was also one of the very last engines to run over the Bluebell line on the day it closed in 1958.
  • Photos from this evening's night shoot at Horsted Keynes with locos 75027 and 34028 "Eddystone" from Tony Pearce
  • Chris Dadson has a few photos showing today's photo charter in operation.
  • Update to News of Operation Undercover. Following a recent meeting with the HLF, we were asked to appoint external consultants to carry out a full review of the design and costs estimates of the building and to produce a timetable and project management scheme to complete stage 2. After seeking competitive tenders for the review, Atkins have been appointed and start work today.
  • Photos of Terriers from Friday 10th November from Margaret Easter.
  • Scans of slides taken at previous Bluebell events from Brian Easter, arranged by pre-nationalisation company.
  • City of Truro left Sheffield Park this morning, ending its visit to the Bluebell.

662 on photo charter - 14 November 2006 - Tony Pearce 16 November:
  • Another great set of photos from Tuesday's Photo Charter with Martello and the Metropolitan coaches from Chris Nevard.
    The photo on the right, from the charter, is by Tony Pearce.
  • A substantial photo gallery of the Saturday of the Terrier Gala from Owen Chapman
  • Reminder of the Members' Film Show and Forum - this Saturday at Oathall Community College, Appledore Gardens, Lindfield.

662 with victorian train - 12 November 2006 - David Chappell 15 November:

Triple header - 11 November 2006 - David Chappell 14 November:

5 terriers - 13 November 2006 - Sean Tompsett 13 November:

32678 and 32473 - 12 November 2006 - Tony Pearce 12 November:

Fenchurch and 65 with Victorian carriages - 11 November 2006 - Richard Thomas 11 November:
  • Photos from today (the second day of the Terrier Gala) from It occured to me, as I watched the procession of trains coming through Horsted Keynes today that every single one of the carriages making up the four trains was of pre-BR design, and that the majority were actually pre-grouping!
  • Photos from yesterday (the first day of the Terrier Gala) from
  • Photo gallery update from Chris Dadson on 7th November, showing spoil excavation to the south of Imberhorne Lane, which is noticeably nearing completion, while the 'triangle' at Horsted Keynes is beginning to show signs of filling-up.
  • Photos of Giants of Steam from Richard Thomas

Freshwater with goods train - 10 November 2006 - Tony Pearce 10 November:
  • Locomotive Number 3 "Bodiam"
    We regret that due to a serious crack on the cylinder cover of the above locomotive, it has not been possible to repair in time for its planned visit to the Bluebell Railway and participation in the weekend's events.
    The Kent and East Sussex Railway have undertaken many hours trying to rectify a repair on the locomotive, but regret time has overtaken events - it had been hoped that it would arrive today if repairs were completed yesterday.
    We are very sorry "Bodiam" is unable to appear but hope this will not spoil your visit to the Bluebell Railway where five other Terriers are still in operation.
  • Consequent updates to various other pages relating to the visit. Freshwater added to the Operational Locos page.
  • Update to the Loco Roster - we should have 8 locos in steam on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Six photos from Chris Dadson, showing the operation of the wheelchair lift, and the interior of the vehicle, added to the page for Mk.I coach 5034
  • Update to the contacts page, with new editorial address for Bluebell News

6 November:
Stepney with 114 and 661, 4 November 2006 - Jon Bowers 5 November:
  • London Chatham and Dover Railway coach No.114, built in 1889, which ended its days on hop pickers special trains in 1925, and then spent the next 50 years in a bungalow, returned to service yesterday. In the morning there was a special train for the volunteers involved in the restoration, representatives from the Bluebell Railway, and the Bluebell Railway Trust (which had funded the cost of the materials used in the restoration) and with specials guests, the Mayors of East Grinstead and Haywards Heath. In the evening there was another run, for the railway's volunteers, again behind "Terrier" No.55 Stepney, and with LBSCR coach No.661 to complete the train. The photo on the right from Jon Bowers shows the re-launch special.
    The coach will be in public service for the first time during the forthcoming Terrier Gala.
  • Consequent update to the Carriage Stock List, the web page for LCDR coach No.114, and the Carriage & Wagon works news, including a report and more photos of the return to traffic.
  • Nick Beck has also provided a gallery of photos of the day's events.
  • Photos taken by Rob Faulkner showing progress in the overhaul of the C-class as of today's Loco Works Group working day (the page for which is also updated)
  • Dave Jefferys has made some photos from the last couple of weeks available.
  • Photos from the Wizards Weekend from Nick Beck

3 November:
  • Is it a Gala tomorrow? No, but we do have 5 steam locos out and about on the line: LBSCR Terriers 55 Stepney and 672 Fenchurch, SECR O1-class 65, SR U-class 1638 and BR 4MT 80151! And then the Vintage Bus Running day on Sunday, with probably four steam locos in use.
  • Ever thought you'd like to join a Photo Charter? Here's your opportunity - an S&D recreation with 75027 and 34028 on Friday 17 November. Full details here.
  • The Annual Steyning Railway Evening run by Steyning Adult Education Centre - Friday 10th November - Archive film, interviews with men who worked on the line, new material including a completely new look at the line using latest computer technology, plus a preview trailer of the forthcoming 'Bluebell Railway: Lost And Found' DVD. More details.

32678 arrived at Sheffield Park, 2 November 2006 - Jon Bowers 2 November:

31 October:
  • Update to the web page for Pullman Car No.64, correcting the information about where the coach was built (which had been taken from an erroneous entry in one of the reference books on Pullman coaches!) Also includes a photo of one of its worksplates.
  • New link to Stephen Parker's photos of a day out on the Bluebell Railway in 1963.
  • All first-class compartments on the Victorian Christmas train on 21st December have now been sold, and the remaining third-class compartments on the 2.40pm train that day are booking fast. The other two days are already completely sold out - book now or wait for next year!

30 October:
  • Update to the Accommodation near the Railway page, adding an interactive map showing the locations of the various entries on the page, and adding Southover Cottage in Chiltington.

LCDR 114 over the pit - Rchard Salmon 29 October:

27 October:
Station Staff at Giants of Steam - Eduardo de Felipe 25 October:
23 October:
  • Further photos from the weekend's Giants of Steam event, from Tom Waghorn and Christopher Ward. Tom's photos also include the use of the hand crane to lift the SR Queen Mary bogie brake van in the carriage yard, to allow access for welding, which is one of the last items required to be done to complete this vehicle's restoration.
    All photographic and video reports from Giants of Steam are now linked from a page reporting the event.
  • Update from Gary Smith, showing the current positions in our fund-raising Football Competition.

City of Truro and Earl of Berkeley, 21 Oct 2006 - David Chappell 22 October:
20 October:
  • Update to the Loco Roster from Lewis Nodes. In addition, it appears that Eddystone will be in light steam at Sheffield Park over the forthcoming Giants of Steam weekend.

City of Truro and Earl of Berkeley, 15 Oct 2006 - Nick Beck 19 October:
18 October:

17 October:
  • Details now available for the Wizard Weekend - All kinds of mysterious happenings around the railway. Sat 28 - Sun 29 October
  • Details now available for the Vintage Bus Running Day on Sun 5 November - Vintage buses will be operating various routes to and from the Bluebell Railway

15 October:
  • Photos from Nick Beck (including the one on the right) of tonight's night shoot with City of Truro and Earl of Berkeley.
  • Update to the page for the visit of City of Truro, with photos from John Goss, Nick Beck, Tony Pearce and Jon Bowers.
  • Photos of Friday's "City Limited" breakfast train from Daniel Crofton-Green.
  • The Maunsell Loco Society have updated their latest news page, with a round-up of what they've been up to recently, including news of awards received for their restoration of the U-class No.1638.
  • Update to the Locos Under Overhaul page, adding the Maunsell S15, which the Maunsell Locomotive Society have started to overhaul.
  • Apologies for yesterday's brief problem with the front page of this web site and links from it. If you find it persists, you should refresh or reload the page, or use this link.

14 October:
12 October:
8 October:
  • We apologise that due to a crack in the steam brake cylinder of City of Truro, it will not be in operation over the weekend of 7 & 8 October.
    It is hoped that repairs can be undertaken in time for our Giants of Steam Weekend on the 21st & 22nd October.
  • Update thanks to Gary Smith, showing the current positions in our fund-raising Football Competition.

5 October:
City of Truro - Tony Pearce 1 October:

29 September:

City of Truro - Chris Dadson 27 September:
  • An additional "Victorian Christmas" train has been added, a 2.40pm service on Thursday 21st December. The Victorian Christmas trains on 23rd and 24th December are selling fast, with the first-class compartments already sold out!
  • Photos from Chris Dadson showing City of Truro, still on its low loader today. Its tender has also now arrived. More details of its visit and steaming dates.
  • Demand for tickets is high for City of Truro's extra 'The City Limited' Pullman Trains being run on Friday 6th October. The afternoon tea train is nearly fully booked, so why not visit us for traditional breakfast at 10.30am on board this extra special train. Advance booking essential - details here.
  • Volunteer appeal for Autumn Engineering Work from Jon Bowers. Do come and join in, even only for a day or two: Monday 30 October to Friday 3 November and Monday 20 November to Friday 24 November - further details here - please get in touch in advance so that enough lunches can be provided each day.
  • The web page for the 9F Club (our young volunteers' club) has been updated, along with revised club membership application forms. The club is so popular that there is currently a waiting list for new members!
  • Note added to Giants of Steam details concerning engineering work affecting trains to East Grinstead that weekend - a replacement bus service from Three Bridges provides the best route to East Grinstead (and remember we have free vintage buses from Brighton to Sheffield Park on the Sunday).
  • "Southern Steam" - An Evening of Railway Archival Film at East Grinstead Library - Thursday 12th October at 7.30pm - Tickets at £3.00 available from East Grinstead Library, 32-40 West Street, East Grinstead, RH19 1SR (Tel.01342 410050) - This event is organised by West Sussex County Council.

26 September:
  • GWR locomotive City of Truro arrived at Sheffield Park at 4.10 this afternoon.
  • Details of additional attractions added to the page for the forthcoming Giants of Steam gala. These include timetables of the enhanced 473 Bus service (including use of a vintage RML) and also a free vintage bus service from Brighton on the Sunday. Variety of trade stands, Mechanical Horse Club vehicles, and stationary engines.
  • Photos from Rob Faulkner showing the working day on 17th September on No.592.

17 September:
  • Details added to the Visit of City of Truro page for the Evening Photo shoot with City of Truro and Earl of Berkeley, which will take place from 6-8pm on 15th October under flood lights at Sheffield Park station, with the locos standing side by side.

14 September:
12 September:
11 September:
Eddystone - David Chappell 5 September:

2 September:
31 August:
25 August:
  • Update to the BRPS London Area Group page, with details of the groups meetings from October to January, thanks to David Mark.

24 August:
19 August:
15 August:
14 August:
11 August:
10 August:
  • Two documents for members added to the BRPS Notices page - notes from the July Committee meeting and an invitation to contribute suggestions for the next revision of the Long Term Plan.

9 August:
  • Preliminary details now available for December's Santa Specials - booking opens on 2nd October.
  • The next meeting of the Loco Workshop Working Group will be on Sunday (13th August) to work on the rapidly progressing C class overhaul. Meet at 9:30 in or around the loco yard or lobby.
  • Update to details of how you could help with Publicising the Railway - an updated list of shows at which we hope to be represented is now available - many thanks to all the members who have already offered their assistance. An additional publicity stand is planned for the Royal Berkshire Show, Newbury over the weekend of 16th & 17th September and if anyone can assist with manning this or other publicity stands please do contact the General Office (telephone 01825 720800).
  • Update to the Loco Roster from Lewis Nodes, indicating what locos we expect to have running during the August and September.
  • New picture of the Month: No.9017 passing the open farmland at Town Place farm, and updates to pages for No.75027 (carrying wreath in memory of John Potter, former Chairman and Company Secretary) and for the SER O1 No.65 from Paul Pettitt.
  • Updated link to information from Trainsimmers against Trespass: Stay safe on the Railways - Don't Trespass - Don't be another accident statistic
  • New link to Cravens Heritage Trains.
  • Steam on Southern Metals by George Marsh and Michael Webb, is available at the special price of £6.95 (plus 75p P&P) a saving of £1 off the RRP. 10% from orders received via the Bluebell website goes direct to the 32424 "Beachy Head" project. Payment should be made out to "Buggleskelly Books" and sent to:-
         "Steam on Southern Metals", 22 Glassenbury Drive, Bexhill-on-Sea, E. Sussex, TN40 2NY.
    Alternatively, it is available in the Bluebell Railway Shop.

1 August:
  • Update to the Loco Roster from Lewis Nodes, indicating what locos we expect to have running during the next two weeks.
  • One of Derek Hayward's Bluebell photos is the featured "Photo of the day" on Fotopic web site today.
  • Derek has updated his own gallery with photos taken on Saturday: As well as the normal service trains, the Footplate Days and Ways Course was in progress, and the Haywards Heath Fire Brigade kindly provided another (unexpected) attraction for the visitors.
  • Photos showing Sunday's activities by the volunteer team progressing the overhaul of the SECR C-class loco, from Rob Faulkner.
  • Dave Clarke has updated his gallery with images of the SECR Birdcage brake's lift from its underframe, and work on LSWR coach 1520.
  • Note from Gavin Bennett: Mike Salkeld passed away peacefully on Sunday 23rd July following a long fight with bone cancer. Funeral details, etc. in the BRPS Members' notices.
  • Advance notice (and apologies) that the Bluebell web site will be unavailable for a period of up to 24 hours commencing 4pm on Friday 4th August. This is due to installation of a new mains power supply to our host's site.

27 July:
  • As part of the national Heritage Open Days the Bluebell Railway planned to run conducted tours onto the viaduct at East Grinstead on Saturday 9 & Sunday 10 September - Note: Now Postponed until later date due to site access difficulties.

25 July:
21 July:
  • We have added an extra Fish & Chip Evening Special on Fri 1st September - pre-booking essential - this extra date has been added due to all the other planned Fish & Chip evenings now being fully booked! To book please contact our customer services team, Tel: 01825 720800

20 July:
17 July:
14 July:
13 July:
11 July:
9 July:
7 July:
5 July:
3 July:
2 July:
1 July:
30 June:
  • Further update to Carriage Restoration news, with details of the canvassing of the roof, and other restoration progress, on the LSWR brake third No.1520.
  • Photo gallery showing what's been going on around the Railway in June, from Chris Ward. Includes the C-class, 80151 and Sir Archibald Sinclair in the loco workshop, the Ivatt tank returned to the Bluebell, and Birch Grove, which has emerged from the works.

29 June:
27 June:
  • Advance purchase of tickets for the coming weekend's Day out with Thomas event are now only available in person from Horsted Keynes Booking Office, between 11am and 4pm each day, as we can not now guarantee tickets arriving by post in time.

25 June:
20 June:
19 June:
15 June:
13 June:
  • Loco Availability paper - presented at the 2006 BRPS AGM by Lewis Nodes, Director and Trustee for Locomotives and Rolling Stock. A full analysis of the current and future challenges facing the railway in maintaining sufficient locos in working order. (The files are in pdf format - a free pdf reader is available from Adobe).

10 June:
8 June:
5 June:
1 June:
30 May:
  • Photos from the weekend, including the Ivatt tank back for another spell on the Bluebell, from Derek Hayward.
  • Details and entry forms available for the World Cup Football Competition - Entries must be in by Friday 9th June, so don't delay. All you have to do is pick which team you think will win the World Cup. 50% of the competition entry monies will be put towards "Operation Undercover" which is the project to build suitable housing for the Bluebell's historic rolling stock, whilst the other 50% will be returned as winnings to those lucky enough to select the winning and runner-up teams. Thanks to Gary Smith and Peter Richards for organising this, and putting together the web pages.
  • Photos from Rob Faulkner of Saturday's second Loco Workshop Working Group Day

29 May:
27 May:
26 May:
23 May:
22 May:
21 May:
20 May:
  • Updated page for Day out with Thomas events in June/July, with details of Schools trains and Thomas' bedtime specials. Reminder that an advance booking discount is available until 31st May.
  • The booking phone number for the music festival has a problem. As a result, bookings are now being taken on 01825 720831.

18 May:
  • New web page for the Locomotive Workshop working group:
    Following the success of the very first working day on 30th April the next two days have been organised for 27th May and 4th June. Includes details from David Pratt and Stephen Lacey of how to join in and help get the C-class back into service.
  • Only a few seats left on 'The City Limited' Pullman Train on October 13th - Book now for breakfast or afternoon tea on board our luxury train, hauled by "City of Truro".
  • New Bluebell-related photo site from Derek Hayward.
  • On Tuesday, the Spoil Train was being operated by SECR O1 loco No.65. Photos from Chris Dadson. This is partly because the 08 diesel has problems, and partly because the O1 was being used for filming work.
  • Update to the web page for Mk.I Carriage 5034 provided by Nick Beck and Martin Skrzetuszewski.
  • Update to the Loco Roster from Lewis Nodes.

15 May:
14 May:
12 May:
  • Fathers' Day Special on June 18th - a ploughman's lunch on board the 1pm train with a bottle of Pullman Beer included in the very reasonable price of £20 per person (including travel). For more information, or to book, please contact our Customer Services Team, Tel: 01825 720800 or e-mail
  • Good news, Blackmoor Vale has been repaired and is back in use from this weekend! This means that the passenger trains will be hauled by three appropriate locos, for the "Southern at War" event.
  • Photos and latest on the restoration of No.34059 from the Bulleid Society, along with an update and photos of 21C123 Blackmoor Vale.
  • Update to the Loco Roster from Lewis Nodes.
  • The status of C-class locomotive No.592 (webpage updated) has moved from "Static Display" to "Under Overhaul".
  • 12 photos from around the yard at Sheffield Park from Chris Ward

11 May:
9 May:
8 May:
6 May:
  • Update to the FAQ page, with financial information for 2005. The Bluebell Railway PLC recorded a profit of £258k, although this figure is clearly thanks to donations totalling £310k, with much of this being spent on capital projects (such as the East Grinstead Extension) - as a not-for-profit organisation, the "profit" is re-invested in the railway. Also the latest web site statistics added: we recorded over 4 million hits (individual files downloaded to unique destinations) in April, and over 17,000 people checked our on-line timetable during the month (and we had 866 Japanese visitors!). Interestingly, whilst nearly double the number of people are accessing the site, each visitor is looking at an average of 15 pages, compared to 30 pages just a couple of years ago. Maybe the improved site navigation is helping them find what they want more quickly - your feedback or alternative explanations welcome (but hopefully not from every one of the tens of thousands of people who look at this page each month!).
  • Our two "Terriers", Stepney and Fenchurch, are visiting the KESR this weekend, joining three others. Chris Ward's Fotopic page reporting today's activities also acts as a taster for our own six-terrier gala in November.

5 May:
3 May:
2 May:
  • Update from Jon Bowers to the Extension Interactive Maps with new photos of progress on the excavation of spoil from Imberhorne Cutting.
  • New video from David Chappell showing Fenchurch and the Mets departing from Horsted Keynes on Sunday.
  • Minor update to the Operation Undercover page.

28 April:
  • More information and a menu available for the Victory Belle Pullman evening dining train on Friday May 12th - a special dining train with 1940s' theme to kick off the "Southern at War" weekend's events.
  • A reminder that if you book now you can take advantage of the advance booking discount for the Bluebell Railway Music Festival.
  • Update to the web page for the 9F Loco No.92240 from Nick Beck with additional text from Martin Skrzetuszewski.

25 April:
24 April:
23 April:
  • Full details now available for the May 13 - 14 Southern at War Weekend - Turn back the clock to the days of the Second World War, with soldiers, military vehicles, displays and even concert parties for you to enjoy.
  • Photos from Chris Dadson, showing the completed work on the Sheriff Mill embankment at Horsted Keynes.

21 April:
20 April:
  • Pete Reid's funeral will take place on Thursday 27 April, at 11.00 a.m. at Faversham Cemetery. We hope that as many of Pete's friends and acquaintances as possible will be able to attend.
  • Five new photos from Chris Dadson, showing work on the extension: There's not much spoil still to be removed south of the bridge now, and the rail-head is being extended another two panels (120 feet) northwards, but first, the five temporary panels are being lifted out and ballast laid. Normandy is also seen arriving at Kingscote with a ballast train.

19 April:
  • Note from the Bulleid Society: No.21C123 has failed due to typical Bulleid firebox problems. The extent of the problem is still being investigated.

18 April:
16 April:
  • Information available about the "Blubell Special" trains, using the 1913-built observation car, running in early May, the ideal way to view the magnificent display of lineside bluebells.
  • Update on the Bluebell Railway Atlantic Project with photos from Fred Bailey showing the shed construction nearly completed.
  • Update on the latest news of the Horsted Keynes Re-signalling from Peter Richards, with photos from Chris Dadson.
  • Update to the Loco Stock List, noting the return to traffic of the U-class, the arrival of D3023 on hire, and the loss of "Blackmoor Vale" from the currently available locomotives, awaiting major boiler repairs.
  • Ex-Brighton Belle Pullman Car "Doris" added to the carriage stock list.

12 April:
  • Further update to the loco roster from Lewis Nodes with an indication of locos should be running for the remainder of the month.

11 April:
  • A report on the Goods Train weekend, with photos from various contributors, together with movies taken at the event, and links to all other photo-reports that we've been made aware of, now available on this site.
  • Further pictures from the Goods Train weekend, from Matt Allen.
  • Update to the loco roster from Lewis Nodes with a "best guess" as to what locos will be running for the remainder of the month.

10 April:
8 April:
7 April:
  • Reminder that this coming weekend is the Goods Train Weekend - all our normal passenger trains, together with steam-hauled goods trains and shunting. New this year, the return to operation of the LBSCR Box Van, and an SR "pillbox" brake van freshly overhauled.
  • Update (from Jon Bowers) to web page for the Volunteer Permanent Way Gang, with details of how you could assist with the maintenance of the trackwork, including in the tunnel over the coming months - for a different view of the railway!
  • Updated Picture of the Month, and a new web page of photos of the U-class No.1638 from Paul Pettitt.
  • Minor update to the Carriage & Wagon Department front page

31 March:
30 March:
27 March:
18 March:
14 March:
  • Reminder that James Rennick would be pleased to receive more contributions for next year's calendar. The theme is "People and the Bluebell Railway". We are looking for those images that paint an interesting day-to-day picture of people interacting with the railway, either working on it or visiting it. If you wish to contribute please your photos to James Rennick at Sheffield Park. We can accept positives, slides, JPEGs and pictures on CD. More details on the Society web pages.
  • Update to the FAQ.

12 March:
  • The Ecurie Bluebell Car Club are holding their annual Classic car drive-in on Saturday 1st April 2006. Details and entry form now available.
  • Small update to the latest news of the Horsted Keynes Re-signalling from Peter Richards and Chris Majer.
  • Addition of B900036, a "Flatrol SB" built in 1958 at Lancing, to the wagon stock list. Originally a trolley wagon for continental working, it arrived at Sheffield Park in February, and is to be used in the loco yard as a trolley wagon for small loco boilers.
  • Two more recent arrivals are ADB 977182 and 977183, Barrier vans converted from 1947-built PMVs, which are having their (badly rotted) bodies removed to provide underframes for two more vintage carriages. As usual, all re-usable metal-work on the bodies is being retained for re-use elsewhere.

8 March:
  • The Mothers Day cream tea special is now fully booked, so unless you already have your ticket, I'm sorry to say it's now too late!

7 March:
  • Fotopic gallery from Tom Waghorn with photos taken on Sunday. It shows "Blackmoor Vale" back in steam after a couple of months when it was "winterised". I'm pleased to say the "failure" of the U-class was no more than the tender brakes sticking due to dirt in the brake cylinder, and this, and scoring of the brake piston rod, are being attended to this week.

5 March:
4 March:
3 March:
2 March:
28 February:
26 February:
25 February:
  • Photos taken today at the Branch Line event by Tony Pearce and Chris Ward.
  • We regret that 672 "Fenchurch" has failed and will be unavailable for the Branch Line weekend. It is expected that the loco will be repaired in time for its forthcoming visit to the Mid Hants Railway.

23 February:
  • More details now available for our Branch Line event this weekend:
    • First and last train times
    • 473 Bus times, route is worked partly by an RML
    • Details of Carriage Works visits - limited to the lunch-hour
  • Reminder of two forthcoming special evenings on board our Golden Arrow Pullman Dining Train:
        March 4th: Murder Mystery Night
        March 17th: St Patrick's Day - with special themed menu.
  • Update to the P-Way pages, with a selection of photos illustrating the replacement of No.16 points at Sheffield Park

20 February:
19 February:
18 February:
17 February:
16 February:
  • Update to BRPS Members' page with notes from the November and January BRPS Committee meetings.

15 February:
  • A reminder that on Sunday March 26th we're providing Mother's Day Cream Teas on board the 3pm service. Seats in the reserved coaches are booking up fast, and we've already added one extra coach. Pre-booking is therefore essential - don't delay - phone 01825 720801.
  • Dave Clarke has updated his fotopic site with latest developments around the Carriage and Wagon Dept.
  • A minor news snippet of progress on the Bluebell's Brighton Atlantic project. The castings of the final pair of driving wheels were delivered last week. We now have all the wheels!

14 February:
13 February:
12 February:
  • Update to the Loco Roster from Lewis Nodes, indicating what locos we expect to be running over the next few weeks.
  • Web-site and name-server down-time
    The supplier of our web services has informed us that due to the installation of a new power supply our services will be powered by a diesel generator next weekend, with down-times for switching onto and off the generator, as follows:
        Friday 17 February - 16:00 services close down
            Approx 20:00 services resume.
        Sunday morning 19 February - approx 2 hours down-time.
    The work will eliminate one of the problems which has in the past caused unreliability.

    The new on-line Bluebell Shop is unaffected.

10 February:
  • The discount period for advance booking for the Photograpic Evening on 25th February, the Saturday of Branch Line Weekend has ended, but you can still book up for the photo event, or the early morning breakfast trains - phone 01825 720800.
  • Star of the show for the Branch-line weekend, U-class No.1638, has been out for another test run, yesterday, photographed by John Sands. The lettering on the tender is now part-complete.

9 February:
7 February:
  • We are pleased to announce that the Bluebell Railway On-line Shop is now open for on-line transactions. The on-line shop is continually being updated and expanded. For products not yet listed on-line please phone or email to place an order by Credit Card.
  • The U-class No.1638, currently without lettering and smoke-deflectors, has made it the length of the line on a test run, hauling a set of coaches, as seen in this photo from Lewis Nodes.
  • Dave Clarke has updated his fotopic site with a few photos from the weekend. These include new No.16 points, the new loco running shed wall and the newly delivered outward opening guard's door for LCDR coach 114.
  • John Sands took some detailed photos this morning, which show just what a superb job has been made of the No.16 points.

6 February:
5 February:
3 February:
  • Photos taken at Sheffield Park today and yesterday, on the General News page, and also including details of train service alterations tomorrow, and a photo showing latest progress on the restoration of the LCDR Brake coach.
  • Videos from David Chappell now available showing the U-class No.1638 moving about at Sheffield Park.
  • Update to the Loco Roster showing planned loco useage for February and March.
  • To celebrate its 60th birthday tomorrow (it entered service on 4th February 1946), the Bulleid Society have put a special birthday card for No.21C123 "Blackmoor Vale" on their web site!
  • Back in November, Nic Doncaster, who is involved with Australian heritage lines, visited the Bluebell. Here is his report of his visit.
  • Photos taken yesterday around Sheffield Park by John Sands - the completed shed wall brickwork, engineering work to the north of the station, and the U-class test steamings.

2 February:
  • Note change to previously advertised details of the evening photo shoot on 25th February, the Saturday of Branch Line Weekend. The Ivatt tank No.41312 will feature in place of No.96, with the Goods Train.
  • Update to the location map of the line, removing the removed and filled-in Otye bridge.

1 February:
  • February Sat 4 Engineering Works
    Trains operate only between Horsted Keynes and Kingscote, due to engineering works at Sheffield Park. Train fares charged only at "half-line" rate. Free replacement bus service to Sheffield Park - Shop, Loco shed, Museum and Bessemer Arms open as normal. The evening Golden Arrow Pullman Dining Train departs as normal at 7.30pm from Sheffield Park, but to a slightly altered pathing. Full details
  • More details of the evening photo shoot on 25th February, the Saturday of Branch Line Weekend. The photographic evening features Maunsell U-class No.1638 and Maunsell carriage stock; also Ivatt tank No.41312 and Goods Train. Participation costs £10 if booked and paid in advance - phone 01825 720800 - or £15 if paying on the night.
  • New photos from Paul Pettitt: February Picture of the Month - Class O1, No.65 climbs Freshfield bank on its way to Horsted Keynes, and a couple of new pages of Winter Steam 2006 photos.
  • New link to Ian Richardson graphics, who have an A3 illustration of our loco "Camelot" on their web site.

31 January:
  • Updates, with photos from Dave Clarke, to the Carriage Works News reports on LBSCR Stroudley brake No.949 and Metropolitan Railway Composite No.412.
  • For the first time in our history, last weekend Sheffield Park saw no trains on an operational weekend. Engineering works for the replacement of No.16 points to the north of the Ouse Bridge and the filling in of Otye Bridge resulted in all services starting from Horsted Keynes. As a result, the O1 (rostered to haul the service and any spoil trains) and Normandy (for shunting) were stabled in the down yard at Horsted. Photos illustrating this are on Dave Clarke's fotopic site.
  • Date of East Grinstead Bus Running Day (Sunday April 23rd) added to the Special Events List. (This is not actually a Bluebell event as such, although the event does connect to our trains at Kingscote). Also a link to a report on the 2005 event.

30 January:
26 January:
23 January:
22 January:
19 January:
18 January:
17 January:
  • Preliminary information available for the Branch Line Weekend on February 25 - 26. Remember that the advance booking discount is only available until 24th Jan. This event should see the public debut of the SR "U" class 2-6-0 loco No.1638, as well as the last working by the Ivatt tank during its current visit to the Bluebell.

16 January:
14 January:
13 January:
9 January:
8 January:
6 January:
4 January:
  • Correction to Golden Arrow details for the St Patrick's Day Evening Special. This, and the Valentines Day special, are both priced the same as a normal Golden Arrow meal.

2 January:
1 January 2006:
  • Major updates to the Catering pages for 2006, and details of Golden Arrow Pullman Train dates and other arrangements for 2006 - which includes a very special menu for the themed evening for St Patrick's day.
  • Details and timetable for the Victorian Weekend on Saturday 28 - Sunday 29 January 2006 now available. A free replacement bus service will operate between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes. The train service between Horsted Keynes and Kingscote will operate using the 1896-built O1 locomotive and three 1898-1900-built Metropolitan Railway carriages. Anyone travelling in Victorian costume will be able to travel at half price.
  • Update to the Loco roster, for January.
  • Update to the Operation Undercover main page.
  • Updated photo album from Andrew Strongitharm, including a photo of the freshly re-varnished Met 368 (used to update the appropriate C&W Works news page).
  • Several new photo albums from Nick Beck.
  • Notice to members: SANTA SPECIALS - from Tim Baker:
    Many thanks to all the volunteers and staff who helped out over the Santa Special Season.
    A debrief meeting will be held at Sheffield Park station, in the Birch Grove Room, on Saturday 7th January 2006, commencing at 12.00
    If you have any comments, ideas or suggestions and are unable to attend the debrief, please send a note, or email, to Tim Baker, c/o the General Office.

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