Photographic and video reports 2008:
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.
Timetable, fares and special event fares for 2009 now available. Whilst some fares have risen (in reaction to the steep increase in coal costs which could see our coal bill rocket by an estimated £63,000 in 2009), most Bluebell Bonus advance purchase fares have actually reduced, so it really pays to buy your tickets in advance.
Details of our Kids for a Quid special offer for February Half-term are now available.
If you have £250 or more available to help us on the way to East Grinstead, why not visit the railway tomorrow for a ride on our trains (Table 1 is in operation, as it is every day until 4th January), and hand in your share application at Sheffield Park by the deadline of 3pm tomorrow. Prospectuses are available from our booking offices.
Extension News update: The removal (by train) of inert spoil from the south end of Imberhorne Cutting is set to re-start in January. The remaining spoil material could not be removed until we had taken ownership of the whole tip site, which was only completed once we were ready to commence extraction a couple of months ago, so this is the next major task on the extension, and as with the three-week dig on the main tip, is funded through the 2008 share issue. The full report is here.
Andrew Strongitharm has updated his web site with photos from yesterday and today, including this one of the O1 on the 3.21pm departure from Horsted Keynes today.
One of Derek Hayward's photos (Right: Eddystone on a Santa Special last year) goes live as the fotopic front page featured photo for 24 hours from midnight tonight.
BRPS Membership rates increase on January 1st (as agreed at the AGM in May). The new application forms (with the new rates) are now on the web site, but you can still obtain the old rates in person at the booking offices, or on-line through the Bluebell Shop until then.
Booking is now open for the 2009 Victorian Christmas Trains. This year's sold out, so people are booking already to avoid disappointment!!!
The Share Issue will close at 3pm on 31st December. Prospectuses remain available from Bluebell stations, and completed application forms with cheques can be handed in at Sheffield Park booking office. There has been a late surge in applications, which is very helpful as we move towards the next stage of the excavation of Imberhorne Cutting on our extension to East Grinstead.
Two Boxing Day photos and two videos from Martin Lawrence - showing that, even if few trains were running elsewhere in the South of England, we had an hourly (two-train) service as well as doing some engineering work. Our trains now run every day until Sunday 4th January.
Video 1 - 80151 simmers in the platform at Horsted Keynes as the Dukedog arrives from Sheffield Park. Video 2 - 9017 departing from Horsted Keynes - also seen in the photo on the right. The first photo below shows the P-Way gang on Boxing Day, working off their Christmas lunches.
This old film on YouTube features the Bluebell's Terriers in the 1960s: Stepney with our Metropolitan coaches and Fenchurch with SECR coaches, No.1050 and the Birdcage brake 1061.
Stephen Hunt has added new photos of the Santa Specials to his fotopic site. His two photos below show our Santa trains running on Christmas Eve, including the 7F on its last day of Bluebell service.
The photo to the right is one of Ashley Smith's from Saturday.
I have also been alerted to another YouTube video by Martin Lawrence which features our Wednesday gang doing some lineside management, which complements yesterday's video of the Sunday gang.
The photo on the right is from Paul Pettitt and features the 7F on a photo charter on Friday (which was organised by Jon Bowers).
Matt Allen has some photos from the charter available on his site, and says "Had a marvelous day at the railway on Friday with a Jon Bowers' photo charter. We were very lucky with the light and mist early on; some of the best photos I've ever taken!"
The Bluebell Railway Museum has exhibitions on the new museum plans, and is running a survey, over the next few weeks at our stations.
This survey is also available on the museum website.
A further 62 share applications have been received during the past six days, raising the total to £557,781. There is just one day left to request a share prospectus, and applications for shares under the current offer must be received by 31st December.
Photos from the Victorian Christmas trains (on which every seat is sold on every train we are running!):
Martin Lawrence has sent some photos, below, showing our Victorian platform staff, plus this video on YouTube, and also a photo and video the P-way maintenance volunteers at work today in the yard at Horsted
Details now available for the Deferred Payment Scheme to enable BRPS members to purchase Bluebell Railway Shares by instalments.
If you are not already a member of the BRPS, but would like to support the line and its extension through this scheme, you can very simply Join the BRPS.
A further 26 share applications were processed at the weekend, bringing the total to £524,650. The publicity surrounding the start of the dig seems to have given a real
boost to the share issue - Michael Wilson's photo from last week shows a view not seen until now - looking towards the tip from the North under the cleared bridge. In November a total of 87 share applications were
processed, whereas the total so far for this month is 114. The share issue closes on 31st December - there is just time to request a prospectus now. (Those requested in the last week should have been sent out today).
The Bluebell Railway are highly delighted to have been chosen by the
new Crawley Library in Southgate Avenue, to mount the first exhibition
in the new facility. The exhibition which celebrates the impending
extension to East Grinstead, illustrates the history of the historic
Bluebell Line and shows how it was brought back to life by a small
group of volunteers after closure by British Railways in 1958. It shows
the great strides that have been taken to reconnect the line with the
national rail network.
There will be opportunities to meet current Bluebell volunteers and to
discover how one can help the Railway to achieve its aim of extending
the line, currently only reaching Kingscote, to East Grinstead.
There will be special events at the Library relating to the Bluebell,
on three Saturdays, 20th December, 2008, 10th and 24th January, 2009.
At various times during the exhibition there will be 200 Friend's
Railcards given away to enable
visits to be made to the Bluebell at a reduced rate.
The Exhibition is open from Tuesday 16th December, 2008 to Saturday
31st January, 2009 from 9.30 am to 7.30 pm Monday to Friday and
Saturday 9.30.am to 5pm
With repairs to the ends progressing well, work on the LBSCR Milk/Fruit van No.270 has moved onto the sides.
We have a provisional date for the arrival of the 4 Vep at East Grinstead in January. It is planned to make something of an "event" of the arrival! See the 2009 Events listings for more information.
Use the easysearch engine via this link - it costs you nothing, and you earn the Bluebell Railway commission!
easysearch combines results from several of the Internet's top search engines to help ensure you find what you are looking for. Bookmark the easysearch page now (or make it a Favourite), and use it for all your Internet searches - especially for things you want to buy!
The Victorian Christmas trains are now completely sold out. Seats remain on the Santa Special trains, so book now! And a reminder that after Christmas we run a daily 2-train service from Boxing Day right through to Sunday 4th January.
Share Offer tops £500,000:
The Share Offer has now raised over £500,000. "This is a tremendous response bearing in mind the economic times we are living through" said Funding Director, Roger Kelly. "Whilst there have been many applications for the minimum of £250 the average per applicant is over £500. The money raised has permitted us to carry out a three week trial excavation at the Imberhorne Cutting and the publicity surrounding the start of the excavation has generated further interest". The Offer is open until 31st December, so there is still to apply for shares and receive the three years of shareholder benefits which are described in the Prospectus. Request a prospectus here - this on-line form is available until 17th December.
Update to the Atlantic Project news page - another significant step forward - the forged billets for the coupling and connecting rods have arrived.
The photo on the right is from John Simmonds, showing the 7F on the 12.40pm Santa Special yesterday.
Robert Hayward's photo of Robin Elliott and Ted Anderson was taken following the presentation to the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society of a FirstGroup Skills AwardRunners-up certificate at the National
Railway Heritage Awards, in relation to the reconstruction of Horsted Keynes Station Platform 1 & 2 buildings. Particular
praise was given to the high level of workmanship and the care taken to ensure that the materials used in this new building
accurately replicate the original construction appearance in keeping with the adjoining buildings on Platforms 3 & 4.
Robin Elliott and Ted Anderson accepted the award on behalf of the Society; the presentation being made by Paul Atterbury
(of Antiques Road Show fame) on Wednesday 3rd December at Merchant Taylor's Hall in the City of London.
The overall winner of this particular award was for the restoration and refurbishment of the High Level Railway Bridge across
the River Tyne between Gateshead and Newcastle; a significantly larger project and was won by Network Rail jointly with May
Gurney and Mott McDonald.
There is just one 3rd-class compartment on the 5.15pm Victorian Christmas train on 23rd December remaining - first come, first served - ring 01825 720800 tomorrow morning!
Yesterday's photo from Patrick Plane is one of several which illustrate a series of reports of progress with the excavation of the rubbish tip on the East Grinstead extension this week. Real progress is being made. This work is being funded through the share issue, and another £40k has been subscribed in the last week, bringing the total so far to about £495k. If you can help us maintain this progress by subscribing to the share issue, you can request a prospectus now, but since the issue closes at the end of the year, you should not delay! The report and photos are provided with thanks to Nigel Longdon, Patrick Plane and Michael Wilson.
The photo shows two of the six rear frame stretchers which Derek
Barlow has completed machining. These two, seen here trial assembed, are the ones which will go to the rear of the firebox.
This photo of the Dukedog, which is now back in action on the Bluebell, was taken by Martin Lawrence on 23rd November.
Details of the increasingly popular Lounge Car services for 2009, including the Wealden Ramber special trains for Valentines Day, are now available and booking is open.
The Bluebell Railway Museum now has its own web site www.bluebell-railway-museum.co.uk - run by Tony Hillman. It currently has details of Museum activities, recent acquisitions and developments, and is going to become a major research resource, with a major project under way to catalogue the photographic archive and then make it available on-line.
These photos taken over the weekend are from Martin Lawrence.
Videos from David Mylchreest from this spring, showing the visiting GW Auto train, and Stepney with the Observation Car, both at Three Arch Bridge, are now available.
Work was this morning officially inaugurated on the excavation of the tip on our Northern Extension.
Full report and Press Release available here.
Expect to see reports on a variety of media including TV and national press. The diggers and lorries are now active, and the first lorry loads of rubbish have left the site! All that remains in essence to complete the extension is raising the remainder of the money required - the share issue is still open, and closes at 3pm on 31st December. You can request a prospectus here and help us get through to East Grinstead.
The BBC News web site already has a written report, and this piece (YouTube version) appeared on the 1.30pm BBC SouthEast News. Watch out for more, we hope, on the BBC SouthEast (and possibly BBC South) News at 6.30pm, and also on Meridian.
Three photos below from Phil Jemmison, all taken yesterday:
The engineering work at Sheffield Park - the Southern end of the work site;
Towards the end of the day - replacement of trackwork along-side the old loco shed;
The BGZ in its new guise as a Pullman Pup, marshalled within the Golden Arrow formation. In addition to providing guard's accommodation, it also now has washing up facilities, storage and office accommodation. It will thus replace 'Eagle' which is on hire from the NRM, although here it is seen coupled to 'Eagle' for a change-over period. This will take the Arrow back to being an all-pre-war formation.
Martin Laurence visited the carriage works yesterday, and this photo shows that the work on Metropolitan composite 368 is nearly complete. The lettering and lining is now finished, and just two more coats of varnish to go on before its revarnishing is complete.
The roof has had four fresh coats of paint. Prior to entering the paint-shop the BASH team had replaced 9 split teak panels (and consequently 39 mouldings). The floor in the third class has been re-sealed, and the dummy blinds in the first class have finally been fitted.
The coach was returned to traffic after overhaul six years ago, but the gold leaf lettering had suffered badly during some filming work three years ago. The repairs to the lettering made at the time have not lasted, so all the gold leaf has now been re-done from scratch.
Martin's other photo, below, shows the ex-SR van underframe which is to be shortenned to carry LBSCR Stroudley third-class carriage No.328.
Photo galleries from Martin Creese, featuring Earl of Berkeley during its recent visits to the Severn Valley Railway, and in a night shoot at Tyseley.
The other photo below from Peter Churchman shows some more of the many vintage buses at Sheffield Park last Sunday for the Bus Running day.
Progress report on the East Grinstead Extension with photos from David Chappell, showing the advanced state of preparations for track-laying at our station site at East Grinstead.
Today's update includes these three of Martin Lawrence's photos taken on Sunday 16th, all showing the visiting 7F.
YouTube Video of the open day at Tyseley on October 26th, with our Dukedog as 3200 "Earl of Mount Edgcumbe".
Notes from the September and October BRPS committee meetings now available via the BRPS Members' page.
Four photos taken today - the Vintage Bus Running Day (from Nick Talbot) and also two (thanks to Phil Jemmison and Gary Smith) showing the S&D 7F No.53809 at the start and the end of the day.
The P-Way fortnight starts tomorrow at Sheffield Park, with a continuation from January's major work in and around Sheffield Park loco-yard. Volunteer effort from anyone would be appreciated, starting from Wednesday this week, though to Wednesday next week. The team will meet up at the Park each day at 08.45. E-mail Jon Bowers for more information.
News update from Duncan Bourne with photos from Rob Faulkner added to the page for the Loco Works Working Group's activities on P-class No.178. Note that if you are interested in joining the activities of the group, there is a slight change to the usual pattern of dates in December.
Details just available (and bookings open - phone 01825 720800) for some special trains running on February 7 and 8 during the visit of SECR P-class locomotive No.753 early next year. Discount available on tickets purchased before 31st January.
Departures from Horsted Keynes at 10.45, 12.47 and 2.48 for a round trip of the line.
Seats limited to 24 First and 24 Third per trip.
East Grinstead Extension:Latest progress reports and photos from Nigel Longdon and David Chappell, and on progress with the share issue and about the planned official start of the dig from Roger Kelly.
Nigel's photo on the right shows one of the newly constructed roads, which provides the exit from the temporary works compound for the tip extraction.
Further details available for the Carol Service on the platforms of Horsted Keynes station from 7.30pm on Sat 6 December.
The Bluebell Railway Band will be in attendance along with our oldest steam locomotive "Fenchurch" who is known for joining in with a carol or two!
This year we are pleased to welcome the Revd Alan Carr, the Vicar of neighbouring All Saints Church at Highbrook, which can be seen from our trains as they depart Horsted Keynes station en route to Kingscote. Alan will lead us in our service of song and prayer, which will last about an hour.
The station refreshment room will be open for the sale of teas, coffees and mulled wine through out the evening from 6.30pm
Details are now available for the July and September 2009 Victorian Picnic evening trains, for which booking is now open.
Further to my note concerning the visiting 7F steaming on Sunday 16th November, agreement has now been reached for the engine to remain on the Bluebell until the end of the year, with several further steamings possible. Anyone wishing to sponsor a steaming for a date of their choice is invited to contact the railway to discuss possibilities further.
The 'Dukedog' is back at Sheffield Park; Edward Hankey took the opportunity of taking this unusual photo of it without its tender on Friday. A second photo from Edward is available here.
A snippet of news on the extension: I understand that temporary roads into and out of the temporary compound are being laid, and portacabins are on site ready for the start of excavation, expected later this month. Details of the official start of the excavation of the tip will be announced once they are known. Any further share purchases in the coming weeks will enable greater progress in the initial phase of extraction - if you would like a prospectus for the share issue, it is available here.
Other loco news:
The S&D 7F No.53809 has been sponsored to steam for an additional day, and will be operating the 11:00, 1:00 and 3:00 services
from Sheffield Park on The Bluebell Railway Vintage Bus Day Sunday 16th
The U-class No.1638 is having some broken and worn stays replaced, which will involve a partial boiler lift.
A further update from Duncan Bourne with photos from Rob Faulkner added to the page for the Loco Works Working Group's activities on P-class No.178. If you fancy giving them a hand in the loco works on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month, then your assistance would be most welcome.
Due to a problem with the railway's e-mail system, we are not currently receiving e-mails sent to bluebell-railway.co.uk addresses, so if you have sent such an e-mail but not received a reply this may well explain it. Our IT team are working to resolve the problem. We apologise for this inconvenience! [The problem has now been resolved, although the cause is still being investigated]
Photos from last weekend's Wizard Weekend from Derek Hayward, including that on the right.
The Northern Extension Team would like to thank all those who supported their book sale at Kingscote over the Gala Weekend. They managed to raise £473.90 towards the Northern Extension. The guided tours of the Carriage Works raised donations of just over £300 towards the fund for the restoration of our SR Maunsell Restaruant Car.
The Somerset & Dorset 7F and the LMS Jinty were both in steam yesterday. The 7F ran a succesful test run yesterday (seen during gaugeing checks at Horsted Keynes in Brian Kidman's photo), and the Jinty will be tested on the Shunt turn today. Another attraction added for this weekend's Autumn Steam Gala:
On the Saturday and Sunday there is a mini model railway exhibition on the upper floor of the Bessemer Arms at Sheffield Park featuring 009 and N Scale layouts, and also a sales stand by the Railway's resident artist, Matthew Cousins.
Bus Service 246 (Uckfield to Sheffield Park) has been replaced by a new Community Bus Service. Call CTLA on 01273 517332 for more details.
The Somerset & Dorset 7F No.53809 arrived at Sheffield Park yesterday. The low loader was then going on to collect the Jinty from Tunbridge Wells. Added to the page for this weekend's Autumn Steam Gala are:
Details of the enhanced 473 Bus service between East Grinstead and Kingscote, using a Routemaster in addition to the usual bus.
Details of the Free vintage bus service (Route 20) from Brington and Lewes to Sheffield Park on the Sunday
Details of the availability of the Event Guide which includes a working timetable for the event
Second-hand book sale at Kingscote Station in aid of the Northern Extension Project.
Also at Kingscote: Exhibition of the progress being made on the extension to East Grinstead.
Quiz Evening - in the Bar at Sheffield Park on the Saturday evening - £7 for Sausage and Mash Supper and Quiz.
Further details added for the S&D-themed Autumn Steam Gala on Friday 17th - Sunday 19th October. 7 locos will be working over the event, including two visitors - Somerset and
Dorset Joint Railway class 7F No.53809 and LMS Jinty 0-6-0T No.47493. Further information about these locos has been added to the Operational Locomotives page.
Update to details of the Murder Mystery & Mayhem evenings on the Golden Arrow for 2009 - the remaining dates for this year are sold out, barring cancellations.
We now have another visitor to join the S&D 2-8-0 for the S&D themed Autumn Steam Gala - the Spa Valley Railway has released the news that they hope that their LMS Jinty will be visiting us, subject to final confirmation. Since 47493 is also now on our Loco Roster, newly updated by Lewis Nodes (covering October, November and December), we can confirm this to be correct!
Great photographic coverage in several monthly railway magainzes in the last week, featuring the goods train with the double-headed SECR locos, and also of the Dukedog on the SVR - coverage of the Dukedog appears to have eclipsed even City of Truro's presence on the line!
The first photo below is from an album by Andrew Strongitharm from the last weekend, and shows the C-class with the current incarnation of the SR vintage train (SECR Hundred seater and two Maunsells plus the Obo) which now replaces the Chesham set in regular service allowing Met composite No.368 to be withdrawn for repairs to split teak panels, and a revarnish.
Also below is another photo from the SVR's recent Gala, featuring our Dukedog, which was one of the stars of the show. This is from Stephen Gardiner's photo gallery of the event.
The photographic charter on 13 September which featured the two SECR 0-6-0s on a goods train has provided the photos (from David Haggar) shown here. Those below include one featuring an Austin 7 car in the Carriage Yard at Horsted Keynes. A video on YouTube is also available from Jon Bowers. Jon says a very big thank-you to everyone involved in the charter. To the train crew and signalmen for
coming in for what was a very early start; to the Ops department and
shunters for assembling a train that really looked "the business"; to George
Jones for providing the vintage car; to everyone who helped out with the
lineside clearance, and to the workshop staff who got 592 running.
Brian Easter's photo taken yesterday features 9017 leading 7802 with GW coaches at the SVR's autumn gala. Two of Tim Easter's photos taken the same day, showing 9017 with the GWR coaches, and also double heading with 'City of Truro', are below.
Details now available for the Autumn Steam Gala on Fri 17, Sat 18 & Sun 19 October.
This year's special autumn event takes a Somerset and Dorset theme - complete with visiting S&DJR locomotive. Discount on advance ticket purchases until 30th Sept.
Clearing of Imberhorne Cutting - In September work will begin on construction of the site
compound at Imberhorne Lane in readiness for removal of the waste contained in the cutting. The work will be jointly undertaken by the Bluebell and our partner, contractor Land & Water Services, and will be followed by a pilot run
of about two weeks of waste clearance.
The press release, which explains what is planned in more detail is available here.
It has been announced by Tyseley that the Dukedog is to appear at their open day on 26th October, where it will feature as 3200 'Earl of Mount Edgcumbe' alongside the newly restored Castle-class 5043 bearing the same name. To coincide with its current tour Derek Hayward has a new gallery featuring 9017. Derek has also added some more photos, including those below showing the Horsted railway cottages and the ventilation shaft above the tunnel, to his Lineside Tour covering Horsted Keynes to Kingscote.
The photo on the left shows the Dukedog passing though Bewdley just after its arrival at the Severn Valley Railway on 30th July (with my thanks to P Sharpe for permission to use it. He has a complete gallery of photos from the day here). The loco has since been receiving planned attention to its valves and pistons in the works at Bridgnorth. The valve chests have been rebored and the valves were refitted on Saturday 23rd August.
Our Grandparents Special "Wealden Rambler" train on Sun 21 September is full so we have added Afternoon Tea on Pullman Car Lilian at 2.30pm -
Pullman Train Fare: £20.00 plus Afternoon Tea at £10.00 (total £30.00 per person). Please telephone 01825 720800, or visit the Sales and Information Office above the Shop at Sheffield Park.
The What's New entry for 23rd June this year included a report and photographs about the newly installed elevated shunt
signal (SP No 1) for the exit from the Newick siding at Sheffield Park.
On 23rd July 2008, after several weeks of work both on and off site, an S&T team led by Mick Sargeant successfully
commissioned this new signal, and removed the old one.
The photos below taken that day show Mick Sargeant and Dave Devlin with the newly
commissioned signal, and Mick Sargeant carrying out alterations to the electrical wiring for the signal, in
the adjacent equipment location case. My thanks to Alan Grove for this report and photos.
Details now available for The Bluebell Ramble on Sat 6 & Sun 7 September -
Join us for a 5 mile ramble from Horsted Keynes.
Some more of David Chappell's photos from the Saturday of the Vintage Transport Weekend. The first of the photos below shows a pair of railway vehicles, a Scammell mechanical horse and a platform luggage-trolley tug.
This coming Bank Holiday Weekend there will be Guided tours of the Carriage & Wagon Workshop at Horsted Keynes, at 1.20 and 1.40pm each day (Sat, Sun and Mon), led by Dave Clarke, John Coleman and Richard Salmon.
News report from the Maunsell Locomotive Society with the latest on the overhaul of S15 No.847, the results of the boiler survey on Stowe, plus the news that the Q-class has moved up the queue for attention in the Works.
David Chappell's photos, right and below, are from Saturday - the first day of what turned out to be a very popular Vintage Transport Weekend.
Further photos to follow here later this week, and the following collections are also now available:
Reminder that the next Victorian Picnic evening trains are on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th of September - your party will be provided with a hamper containing a finger buffet, with wine and soft drinks, and there will be a Victorian Music Hall show for your entertainment and delictation. Some tickets remain - particularly for the Friday evening - book now!
The photo on the right shows the Prairie Tank approaching Horsted Keynes with the first train of the day on Saturday (with the GN Directors' Saloon attached - photo below). The other locos running were the O1 on the Chesham set (plus the LNWR Observation Car - photo below) and the U-class with a Golden Arrow Wedding charter.
Update to the Contacts page, to make it easier to find the information you may be looking for.
Paul Pettitt has a new picture of the month, featuring Clive Groome at Horsted Keynes in February 2007.
David Chappell's photo, taken yesterday afternoon, shows the last train of the day back from Horsted Keynes, which is sometimes double-headed, although more often the engine from the Horsted-based set travels down separately as a light-engine movement. The first two coaches are the recently re-painted SR 1935-built pair of Maunsells. Click on the photo for an enlargement.
This is a good image to advertise the busy train service which will form part of our Vintage Transport Weekend (16-17 August), for which further details are now available.
Below is a photo from Tony Sullivan of a gathering at Isfield of Bluebell personalities on Sunday 3rd August. Click on the photo for an enlargement.
Working Timetable for the Vintage weekend (16-17 August) now available for download as a PDF. Also, on Sunday 17 August, Service 20, a Free Vintage Bus Service
will run every half-hour from Brighton Pool Valley to Sheffield Park from 10.30am. The last return will probably be at 5pm from Sheffield Park.
Photos from Ashley Smith from Sunday 27th July, including that on the right showing the Dukedog at West Hoathley. This loco left the Bluebell two days later for an extended visit to the Severn Valley Railway, which will involve it receiving some attention to valves and pistons in their workshops (which should cure that rather curious groaning noise!), after which it will be in use on their line until October.
Jon Bowers' next photo charter (why not come along and join it?) is on Saturday 13 September, featuring the two SECR liveried 0-6-0s - O1 Class No.65 and C Class No.592. Details available here. That page also has details of two photo charters which will benefit the Bluebell during the Dukedog's visit to the SVR.
Statement from Paul Churchman (Operations Director) and Lewis Nodes (Loco & Rolling Stock Director) responding to the article in Bluebell News magazine concerning Footplate Days and Ways, added to the Information for BRPS Members pages.
Brian Easter spent last Sunday on the Railway, and the resulting photos include that on the right, showing 5199 leaving the tunnel and passing the site of West Hoathley Station.
Press Release about the Bluebell Railway Playroom at the Valley Presbyterian Hospital in California. A new concept in playrooms, it is designed to expose the children of patients to a virtual experience that will make them feel comfortable in a sometimes frightening hospital environment. The Bluebell Railway Playroom was recently opened by actor Goran Visnjic, renowned for his role as Dr. Luca Kovak in the hit series, ER.
Photographic images taken by Bluebell photographer Derek Hayward were prepared by Anna-Marie Buss of Bussroot Limited, a graphic designer based in Paddock Wood. Photos and a
YouTube video are also available.
Chris Gardner, some-time cleaner in the Loco Dept, now lives just six miles from Barrow Hill, so is currently popping in there for an hour every Saturday morning to give Normandy a quick clean, to maintain Bluebell standards! His photo shows it there, on a line with a LMS Jinty and between 'Blue Peter' and a class 20 diesel.
Update to the details of the Murder Mystery & Mayhem specials on the Golden Arrow, with an additional date for this year, and advance notice of dates for next year. Gift Certificates are also available for these evenings.
Details of the Social Sub-Committee's The Bluebell Himalayan, a members' visit on Sunday 21st September, to the Beeeches Light Railway.
Update to the Special Events list - due to a distinct lack of "Giants", an Autumn Gala is now being planned for October. More details once confirmed.
Reminder that this coming weekend is the Toy and Rail Collectors' Fair at Horsted Keynes.
Model Railways - both new and second-hand, RTR and kits
Die-cast models such as Dinky/Corgi
Railwayana - cast iron / enamel signs and plates etc.
Preservation groups etc.
About 33 stands divided between a marquee, the station site and the station field.
Public opening 10.30am - 4pm both days.
Catering in both field and on station site.
Free parking. Admission £2.50 per person. (Note: there is no car boot event this year).
Hourly train service (train ticket required)
Guided Tours of Carriage & Wagon Workshops at 1.20pm and 1.50pm.
Today's photo is one from Sean Tompsett taken last Friday, showing 5199 at Sheffield Park.
Update to the FAQ page adding financial and traffic information for 2007.
Target: East Grinstead - The Bluebell Railway has launched its 2008 Share Offer to help raise the funds we need to extend the line through to East Grinstead.
More details of how you might be able to help us are available here.
The Vintage Car section of the Vintage Transport Weekend on Sat 16 and Sun 17 August is now full, although there are still a few spaces remaining in the Vintage Motorcycle section - book soon on this form.
The photo on the right shows the new "Bluebell Railway Playroom" at the Valley Presbyterian Hospital, San Fernando, which used some of Derek Hayward's photos as their inspiration. The hospital's press release is here, and there was an article today in the Kent & Sussex Courier
Running until Sunday 2nd November 2008, East Grinstead Museum is hosting
An Exhibition Celebrating the Impending
Arrival of the Bluebell Railway - further details are available in this pdf of the flyer or on the Museum's web site - this weekend is one of the featured "Meet the Bluebell Volunteers" special events.
Photos from the second weekend of the Traditional English Summer Fair/Family Fun event from:
The photos left and below (our North London Tank on Imberhorne Viaduct and West Grinstead on the Steyning Line) are from Terry Cole's new book: 'Southern Colour in the Sixties'. 96 pages of previously unpublished colour for £14.95, the book includes chapters on the
Lewes & East Grinstead and the early Bluebell days, the
Cuckoo Line, Steyning line, etc.
Available from the Bluebell Shop, the author or Post free from the publisher:
Kevin Robertson (Noodle Books), PO Box 279, Corhampton, Southampton SO32 3ZX.
Details added for the Bluebell Summer Saver, our half price offer for tickets purchased in advance over the summer.
Update to the Loco Roster from Lewis Nodes, showing planned engine usage for the summer.
Photo on the right is from David Chappell, and shows the three light engines arriving at Horsted Keynes last Sunday morning ready for their services over the English Summer Fair family fun event, which continues over the coming weekend - 28-29 June.
Train service on Sat 22 and Sun 23 November:
With confirmation that the engineering works planned for the above weekend will be based around the loco yard at Sheffield Park, and will not affect the main running line, a NORMAL SERVICE ONE timetable will operate on the above weekend and the Pullman train will also operate as normal over the whole line.
On 6th June, members of the Alf Brown Group completed the installation of the new elevated shunt signal controlling the exit from the carriage siding (former Up line from Newick) at Sheffield Park as a replacement to the existing ground signal (SP No. 1 signal). The signal has been designed to allow greater visibility of the signal, particularly for the Train Guard when starting trains, as the existing signal is obscured by the elevated walkway known affectionately as Cackle House Halt.
The S&T Department will now carry out alterations to mechanical connections to bring the new signal into operation during the next few weeks.
The photo on the right shows the completed signal with the existing signal alongside. The red and white striped post is used by locomotive crews as a marker for shunting. The photo below shows Group members (L-R) Chris Saunders, Peter Clark, Robert Hayward, Martin Oakley and John Arkell (Nicholas Clark not present when photo taken).
Photo on the right from John Fry - The smokebox has been attached to the boiler of No.34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair" and the combined item was successfully, albeit temporarily, reunited with the loco's frames on Wednesday 11th June.
The photo on the right (from Andrew Strongitharm) shows 'Stepney' at Kingscote with a final train for working members on Tuesday evening. Ken Upton also has a gallery from the evening - the driver was Mick Blackburn and the fireman was Liz Groome.
Neil Munro-Thomson caught Stepney's last public train arriving back at Horsted Keynes yesterday evening (right) and also has a gallery of photos from yesterday.
No time is being wasted in preparing 473 "Birch Grove" for its overhaul - the photo below (taken yesterday) shows that dismantling has already started - the advantage of this loco is that it needs very little boiler work beyond the routine lift and re-tube, so it complements our other current overhauls which are all heavy on boiler-work.
The photo on the right shows Stepney and 592 ready to leave Horsted Keynes on the last train of the day today. Short video (YouTube) also available here. This was Stepney's final bow in public service (although there is a train for working members on Tuesday evening), but also good to finally welcome 592 back into service after a protracted period of difficulties over availability of suitable springs.
Paul Pettitt's picture of the month for June features Stepney.
Three photos below from Derek Hayward, also taken today. (More photos in his Gallery here). On the left Stepney and 592 again doubleheading on the last train of the day. The middle photo shows U-class 1638 with the other service train (including a private party - the Camelot Loco Society's AGM - in the GNR Directors' saloon) heading north from the tunnel at West Hoathly. Thirdly the visiting Prairie tank was heading the lunchtime Golden Arrow Pullman dining train - today's formation was unusual in that recently overhauled first-class carriage 3064 deputised for "Lilian" which was at the South of England Show.
We are very pleased to say that our stand at the South of England Show has again won the award for "Best Trade Stand".
"Nine Elms" is the latest publication from Buggleskelly Books. As with all previous publications 10% from all orders received by Bluebell signalman Melvyn Overbury at the address below will go to the the Bluebell's Brighton Atlantic Project.
The book, by George Marsh, Clinton Shaw and Driver Jim Evans (Nine Elms Top Link) is A5 size, perfect bound, 52 pages plus 3-colour laminated card cover with 39 B/W and 42 colour photos (including 16 full page images).This book combines the largely previously unseen work of two accomplished photographers, George Marsh and Clinton Shaw, along with the notes and captions of former driver Jim Evans.
Copies are priced £7.45 (inclusive of FREE P&P). Payment should be made out to "Buggleskelly Books" and orders sent to:- 22, Glassenbury Drive, Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex TN40 2NY
Web Site down-time: On Sunday morning (8th June) we regret that it is planned that there will be a temporary loss of access to this web site between about 8am and 10.30am, whilst essential maintenance work to allow for the replacement and standardisation of key networking equipment takes place.
This photo from Bill Vigar taken last Friday shows the exchange of tokens at Horsted Keynes on the Standard 4, with the Dukedog waiting to depart southwards from platform 2 with the vintage set.
This weekend Stroudley Terrier 'Stepney' will double-head with the recently overhauled SECR No.592 (the C-class), hauling the Metropolitan carriages and Observation Car. This will be last time for some years that Stepney will be seen working public trains, since Stepney's boiler certificate expires at midnight next Tuesday.
Two new first day covers have been added to the Bluebell Railway Letter Service page - a Definitive Issue featuring "Blackmoor Vale" was issued on 19th May, and a Commemorative Cover to mark the Centenary of Bernard J Holden M.B.E. was issued on 8th May 2008.
The re-surfacing of the B2028 appears to have been scaled back compared to the signs that were in place a week ago (see note of 31 May below). The Railway again has a major presence at Ardingly's South of England Show yesterday, today and tomorrow. Visitors to the show will be able to enter Pullman Car 'Lilian' which is being displayed on a short section of track.
Two photos, below, taken by John Fry, illustrate recent updates to the Bulleid Society web site. LSWR No.96 'Normandy' is seen at the NRM's 1968 and all that exhibition, and the first 100psi steam test on the boiler of No.34059 'Sir Archibald Sinclair' on Wednesday this week.
Update to Who's Who page, adding Roger Kelly, who was elected as a BRPS Trustee at the recent society AGM.
Anyone visiting the railway in the next couple of weeks (especially Horsted Keynes via Ardingly/Lindfield) should note that this coming week (work started yesterday) the B2028 from the Copthorne Hotel, Kings Head roudabout, Crawley Down, Ardingly to Lindfield is being resurfaced. Also next weekend is the South of England Show at Ardingly, and then on Sunday 15 June the same road will be partly closed (and best avoided totally) as it is taken over for the British Heart Foundation's London to Brighton Cycle Ride.
This photo from Andrew Strongitharm shows No.5199 with the stock for today's Pullman wedding charter, at Horsted Keynes.
The last day of Stepney's 10-year boiler certificate is Tuesday 10th June, after which it has to be withdrawn from service pending overhaul. Its last days in public service will be the weekend of 7-8 June.
Notes of the last two BRPS committee meetings are available via the Society pages
Dave Clarke now has an extensive photo gallery taken during last Tuesday's mega-shunt at Horsted Keynes. All sorts of carriages which have not been seen for some years came out, and some even got put away again...
One carriage that has been kept out is LSWR/SR No.320 (seen on the right), which was one of the Bluebell's first two carriages in 1960, and has been extracted to be dried out and have a new tarpaulin fitted.
Klaus Marx's new book on Robert Billinton (Oakwood Press) is now out and is available at our bookshop at Sheffield Park. This follows on from his volume last year on Lawson Billinton, Robert's son. Robert Billinton was appointed Locomotive, Carriage & Wagon Superintendent of the LBSCR upon the death of William Stroudley, and was the designer of our locomotive 'Birch Grove' and carriage No.7598.
Update to the mobile/Wap page for access to the Railway by bus, reflecting last week's timetable changes. wap.bluebellrailway.co.uk
Update to the extension pages reporting offically on the progress on the clearance of the station site at East Grinstead.
Update to the Access to the Railway by Bus details - as from yesterday the 270 Bus times to/from Horsted Keynes were slightly altered at weekends.
The photo on the right is from Brian Kidman, who was working on the scrub clearance at our East Grinstead station site on Tuesday - rapid progress is being made.
Tomorrow (Bank Holiday Monday) will see the GNR Directors' saloon running in public service on the Horsted Keynes (vintage) set, which also includes the Metropolitan carriages. Why not get a first-class ticket and join us on the saloon for toasted tea cakes or scones and cream?
Also tomorrow, Dave Clarke and I will be running guided tours of the Carriage & Wagon works at 1pm and 1.30pm - meet at the South end of Platform 5 at Horsted.
It had been thought that Stepney's last day before withdrawal for overhaul would be 11th June. It may in fact be earlier than that - check this page for more details over the next few days.
Photo on the right from David Chappell showing the big shunt at Horsted Keynes on Tuesday - a complete re-arrangement of the long siding which extends from the North end of the station right down, past the back of the signal box and on to the end of the Ardingly spur. Carriages which need new tarpaulins have been extracted, along with carriages and wagons which are higher up the overhaul queue. The photo below shows the unusual sight of the empty siding behind the platforms.
David Chappell's photo taken yesterday shows the delivery to Horsted Keynes of our latest LBSCR coach body - an as-yet unidentified Stroudley 5-compartment third. It is seen being lifted over the similar No.328 (under the tarpaulin) onto an ex-SR van underframe behind.
The photos below, taken last Saturday by David Chappell, show the start of work on the clearance of scrub at our East Grinstead station site, which has now been fenced off from the Network Rail land so enabling us to work on the site. The photo on the left looks north from our existing compound. The one on the right shows the view southwards at the northern end of our station site.
Also last Saturday was the Society AGM. Amongst the presentations was one from Graham Flight, plc Chairman, indicating that the Share Issue documents should be ready to be sent out in the next few weeks, and explaining the complexities of getting to that stage. In essence, subject to raising £4 million, we should be able to open the extension to East Grinstead in Spring 2010. The first stage of that fund raising will be the share issue, which needs to raise £1 million in the first few weeks, so that we can start excavating the rubbish tip in July. East Grinstead here we come!
Photos from Kingscote from the Southern At War Weekend from Tracey Wheatley, right and below, show the temporary Post Office esablished in the station waiting room, and a general scene of the military encampment there.
Photos from the weekend now available from John Sandys, taken most appropriately using an original 1940's Leica!
I can now positively confirm the arrival of Diesel Shunter No.13236 (D3236, or 08168) which has arrived on hire, from Shackerstone. It was at Horsted Keynes last night, and carries plain 1950s BR black livery with the early BR crest. Consequent updates to various loco pages.
With the impending end of the boiler certificate of LBSCR Terrier 'Stepney', Clive Groome's Footplate Days and
Ways courses are regrettably no longer based on the Bluebell. His courses have seen countless hundreds of participants and their families visit the Railway over the years, and provided the bonus of a visitor attraction with an additional small engine in steam, and highly visible to our visitors, at Horsted Keynes virtually every Saturday.
Updates to the Volunteering page with changes to contact details in Loco department.
The Spitfire used on Saturday was P7350, a Mk IIa, the oldest airworthy Spitfire
in the world and the only Spitfire still flying today to have
actually fought in the Battle of Britain. She is believed to be
the 14th aircraft of 11,989 built at the Castle Bromwich
'shadow' factory. Sunday's (as featured in Dave's photo here) was, as previously notified, one of the last, Griffon-engined Mk19 PS915. The earlier one has the three-bladed prop.
Please Note: The Fathers' Day Ploughmans' Lunch is now Sold out.
The sun shone for the Southern at War weekend, and the photos of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfires (different ones each day) are from Derek Hayward. The photos below are from Stephen Hunt, with some more from Derek. Click on any photo for an enlargement.
Albums of photos from the event have so far been notified from:
Update to the Weddings page adding new photos of the room at Horsted Keynes which is licenced for civil ceremonies.
Update to the information given below about Birch Grove - the E4's last passenger working was in fact an additional 5.32pm departure from Horsted Keynes to Sheffield Park. The E4 was used to return the Observation Car to Sheffield Park for the following day's Bluebell Specials, but the train was made available to the public and did convey passengers back to Sheffield Park.
Derek Hayward has commenced a new photo gallery featuring the visit of 5199, following its entry into service on the Bluebell yesterday. Derek's photo to the right shows it returning its Pullman charter to Sheffield Park yesterday, and also illustrates the current use of the SR Van 'C' with the Pullman set whilst the LMS BGZ is adapted internally (and temporarily) as a service vehicle for the set.
An update on the Work on the Extension - completion of clearing the vegetation on the tip - has now been made available, with apologies for the length of time it takes to get news of the extension onto the web site. For members attending the AGM Nigel Longdon is hoping to have a presentation available showing the extension team's recent work north of Kingscote.
More photos available from the "Built at Brighton" event:
Ashley Smith: "... a few pictures from around Horsted Keynes on the Sunday of the Gala."
Ken Upton: "... a few photos of Sheffield Park yard on Saturday morning with the engines coming into steam."
The photo on the right, from Saturday, is from Stephen Hunt, and shows Birch Grove on one of the goods turns. A good display of primroses on the lineside too. Stephen's photo below showing 80151 also on Saturday, shows that the Bluebells are ready for this week's Bluebell Specials.
and a video from Jon Bowers: "Very well done to everyone involved in the planning and operation of this
The photo on the right, taken yesterday, is from David Haggar, and shows the terriers paired on the Victorian set.
New web page for visiting GWR Prairie Tank loco No.5199, including a photo of it at Llangollen earlier this month, and on the low loader on arrival at Sheffield Park - from a gallery of photos from John Sandys. The photos below show it on Bluebell metals, from Andrew Strongitharm and Derek Hayward.
Update to the Loco Roster, covering May and June, and showing that visiting locomotive GWR 2-6-2T No.5199 (which has now arrived at Sheffield Park, on loan from the Llangollen Railway) is due to enter Bluebell service on 1st May, subject to testing and gauging.
Photo of 32473 'Birch Grove' in action today from Andrew Strongitharm - this serves as a reminder that this weekend is the "Built At Brighton" event where we have five Brighton-built locos running, as a farewell to 'Birch Grove' and 'Stepney', both of which will be bowing out of service in the next few weeks at the end of their current boiler certificates.
Details now available for the SOUTHERN at WAR weekend on Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th May 2008.
This year the event features the superb 23rd Sussex (Hastings and Bexhill) Battalion of the Home Guard, and (weather permitting) a SPITFIRE FLYPAST.
Reminder that as an adjunct to this weekend's "Built at Brighton" event, on the Sunday evening, the Social Sub-committee present a Film Show, 7.30pm Bessemer Arms, Sheffield Park Station
This film show is open to all Volunteers, Members and the General Public; proceeds will go towards the Northern Extension Tip Removal. Food available in the Bessemer Arms before the show; bar available. More details here.
Apologies to Simon Barker over last week's confusion on the Who's Who page. Simon remains as Catering Manager; Rob Salmon has joined us as the new Head Chef.
Stephen Hunt's photo (right) from yesterday shows the Dukedog ready to leave Sheffield Park.
Locomotive 21C123 'Blackmoor Vale' returned to service today after its winter break, which was followed by major attention to its regulator, a boiler exam and renewal of its brake-blocks.
Matt Allen's new book "The Bluebell Railway" (details as pdf)
will be launched with a signing in the shop at Sheffield Park on the Saturday of the
Built at Brighton weekend (26th April) between 1pm and 3pm. A 144 page
photographic journey along the Bluebell Railway, the book is priced at
£14.99, and will be available through the Bluebell's shop.
Sadly we have to report the death of Derek Winkworth on Friday 4th April. Derek was the well known author of Bulleid's Pacifics, probably the definitive volume of Bulleid pacific performance, as well as the author of Maunsell's Nelsons and The Schools 4-4-0s.
Derek was a quantity surveyor by profession but was also a prolific writer and author, who always credited his correspondents for the assistance received. In addition to his writing skills, his work was enhanced by his own talented photographic skills.
Update on the Bulleid Society web site from John Fry and Richard Green, with a round-up of the recent boiler work on Sir Archibald Sinclair, and other work on the engine, and an update on Blackmoor Vale detailing, amongst other things, the work carried out to sort out the incomplete closing of the regulator.
One of Derek Hayward's photos from today is seen on the right - the Dukedog was in charge of the main goods train today. His other photos from today are starting to appear in his gallery for the event.
If members of the 9F club are experiencing difficulty in contacting the railway to sign up for activities, please be assured that we are working with our telephone service providers to try to rectify the problem. It appears that the phone system works correctly from a land-line and the problems are confined to phone calls made from mobiles, so please try to use a land-line to make your activity bookings. Sorry for the inconvenience.
The big news is that we have been given the Stage 2 pass from the Heritage Lottery Fund for Phase 3 of the Operation Undercover project at Sheffield Park which will see covered accomodation for carriages, a new museum building, a new loco washout pit, and the repair and reconstuction of the platform buildings and canopy and provision of toilets on platform 2 at Sheffield Park.
The photo from David Chappell shows Maunsell open third carriage No.1309 outshopped from the Carriage Works at Horsted Keynes after a full re-paint. The carriage has been in service 24 years now since its overhaul - Operation Undercover will help to conserve carriages like this for the future.
The Social Sub-committee present: Film Show - Sunday 27 April 2008, 7.30pm Bessemer Arms Sheffield Park Station
This event is open to all Volunteers, Members and the General Public; proceeds will go towards the Northern Extension Tip Removal. This is the evening of the second day of the "Built at Brighton" weekend.
Yesterday (Sunday) was the occasion for our President's official 100th birthday party, and Captain Bernard Holden MBE (Retired) inspected a guard of honour formed by members of the Royal Engineers Association on his arrival, and there followed an afternoon of special events at the Railway for him and the invited guests who stretched back to the committee elected at the inaugural meeting of the preservation society which Bernard had chaired on his birthday 49 years ago.
In a first for the Bluebell Railway, a bell team from the Society (another photo below) rang 1260 Grandsire Triples at St Andrew's, Steyning, on Saturday as a 100th birthday compliment to Bernard. Further details are here.
The two cakes (photos below) were quite splendid! One featured a page from the LBSCR Occurrence Book detailing
an outline of Bernard's life so far, and the second was decorated in the form of the number plate of an LB&SCR Locomotive.
They were made and decorated by a member of the Society.
Today is the 100th birthday of our President, Bernard Holden MBE. A number of Bluebell members visited him in the morning to sing 'Happy Birthday', 'For he's a jolly good fellow' and 'Sussex by the Sea' to him at his house. He wore the LBSCR hat which had been issued to his father in the year he was born (1908), and is seen here with one of the 70+ cards already received by that stage. Later in the afternoon there was to be a family party, and tomorrow the official celebration at the Railway.
Details now available for the June Family Fun Weekends - Traditional English Summer Fair with activities taking place at all stations, including Clowns, Punch and Judy shows, Face Painting, The Squire and his Stocks, Fancy Dress Competitions and a Miniature Railway.
Tickets are now available and if booked before 31st May are HALF PRICE! Details of
fares and how to get your tickets also available
The photo is one of Paul Pettitt's, from his 80151 gallery - this one taken on 17th February, hauling the Golden Arrow Luncheon train.
This Weekend: To mark the 50th anniversary of closure of our line, locomotive No.80151 will be operating as 80154.
Also this coming weekend we celebrate the 100th birthday of our President, Bernard Holden MBE. Details on the Members' Information page - the celebrations start at 2pm on Sunday at Sheffield Park. If anyone wishes to send him a card or gift then please do so via the General Office at Sheffield Park Station, and we will ensure he gets it on the day.
Update to the Carriage Technical pages, with updates for the information available from the LMS Carriage Association and the LNER Coach Association.
Update to the details of the Goods Train Weekend (29-30 March) with a slight change to the planned loco line-up.
Matt Allen's recent photos from the Branch Line Weekend, and other photos from February. The one on the right shows the SECR O1 No.65 with a mixed train of LCDR, LBSCR, SECR and SR carriages, plus goods vehicles, from the Branch Line weekend.
Two useful webcams in Horsted Keynes village, particularly handy for seeing what the weather is like in the area added to the links page - always bearing in mind that it can be snowing at one end of the carriage shed and brilliant sunshine at the other, and the village is much further away than that!
Correction to the text of the entry for S15 No.830 on the page for locos which have left the railway.
Update to the Extension Progress page with a photo from Stephen Fairweather and report from Nigel Longdon. After last Wednesday's working day, Nigel adds:
"We really have been blessed with good weather these last five and an half
weeks. The volunteer support has also been excellent with 25 working
Photos from today (four locos in service with four trains running) from Ashley Smith, including that on the right, which shows 'Fenchurch' hauling the Metropolitan coaches up the 1-in-75 towards the tunnel.
Paul Pettitt's photo from the Sunday of Branch Line Weekend shows our GWR Dukedog paired with Auto-coach 178.
The Bluebell Railway is currently advertising the following job vacancies:
Carriage and Wagon Fitter
Expressions of interest for: New engineering apprenticeship - starting in the Autumn
These two photos from Tom James illustrate the more unexpected side of the Branch Line Weekend - the GWR tank paired with the Observation Car and Met carriages, and BR road vehicles outside Horsted Keynes station, both taken on the Sunday.
Photos from Branch Line Weekend (23-24 February) from:
Also the photos here: on the right 'Fenchurch' and 32473 with the LCDR carriage from Stephen Hunt;
the black and white one below from Nick Talbot;
and the second one below, showing 32473 with the LMS BGZ and the two new crimson lake and cream Mk.Is, from David Haggar
Update to the Loco Roster for March from Lewis Nodes. Consequent update to the page for the Goods Train weekend, showing the locos we expect to be using.
At the Vintage Transport Weekend (16 - 17 August) this year there will also be a vintage motorcycle section - space
is limited so book early if you have a suitable motorcycle which you wish to exhibit, using this form (pdf).
The photo on the right is another of Stephen Hunt's from Branch Line Weekend, showing the O1 shunting wagons at Horsted.
Note about the dress code for the Golden Arrow Pullman Dining Train updated and moved from the FAQ to the Golden Arrow Reservation page. The dress code is 'smart casual' (so not jeans and trainers which simply spoil the 1920s' ambience - but the days when full evening dress was the norm have sadly passed!)
Update to the web page for Maunsell carriage 3687, with further details of the two 'Emergency Control Trains' of which it was a part.
Preliminary details available for the 2008 Santa Specials - Postal booking opens on 1st July, and telephone bookings will be taken from Monday 6th October 2008 - full details will be available in the late spring.
Details for the Sunday 20th April one-day Toy and Rail Collectors Fair at Horsted Keynes now available. Starts at 10am, entrance by platform ticket - stalls on station and dock. Car Boot section in field from 8am. More details from Barry Jones, 01903 244655.
Thanks to Mark Tewkesbury for some additional information about the renumbering of Loco No.178 as s1178 from March 1948 (while the loco was based at Brighton).
Booking details for Going Dutch 2008 -
Thursday 22nd May to Monday 26th May 2008
In connection with the 40th Anniversary of the Museum Stoomtram Hoorn Medemblick, with which we are twinned in the Netherlands, and a steam festival in Friesland, we are putting together a short break for BRPS members to Hoorn.
Details of fares (discounted if purchased before 1st April) now available for the Built at Brighton weekend at the end of April.
Bernard Holden MBE (BRPS President) will be 100 on 15th March. Details of how we are planning to celebrate the occasion are available in a note to members from Chairman Roy Watts on the BRPS Members' Notices page.
Details now available for the Built at Brighton event on Sat 26 - Sun 27 April - An enthusiast weekend to say goodbye to 55 'Stepney' and
32473 ('Birch Grove'), both due to be withdrawn for overhaul, operating an intensive service with the help of three other Brighton-built engines.
Kate James' photo on the right illustrates the service operated two weeks ago, when the line was closed south of Horsted Keynes for engineering works. The SECR O1 No.65 heads the four Metropolitan Carriages on the 2.20pm service out of Horsted Keynes on Sunday 27th January. The crew was AJ Barrett (driver); Liz Groome (fireman) and Tom (the photographer's husband) was third man.
Update to the Volunteering pages, with details of the "Find out more" days, which we now hold every month - why not join us for the next one this coming Sunday, 10th Feb?
The Bluebell Railway Battle of Britain Locomotive Group have opened membership to the
2008 300+ Club to raise funds to restore rebuilt Battle of Britain
class locomotive No.34059 'Sir Archibald Sinclair' to running order.
The club will consist of at least 300 memberships, each allocated a
unique number for the year March 2008 to February 2009. A draw for
cash prizes will take place on the 25th of each month. Club application details are available here. Club members additionally benefit by receiving copies of the Bulleid Society's 'Bulleid Express' magazine.
These two photos illustrate the launch of the February "Auto Train" specials this weekend - the photo on the right is from Paul Pettitt, and that below from Andrew Strongitharm, both taken on Saturday. Because of the Auto trains, Golden Arrow on Sundays and Footplate Days and Ways on Saturdays, we have 4 engines in steam every weekend at present!
News update on the Extension - we should, as from today, have agreements with the County Council in place to enable the start of clearance of vegetation and fencing of the tip site - could you help by joining the Wednesday or Saturday volunteer gangs?
Update to Loco Works News page on the overhaul of 'Baxter', showing work in progress on the rivetting of the firebox (with thanks to Ken Upton and Nick Talbot for their photos).
Ken's photo on the right shows Paul Russell, the member or the rivetting team who was inside the firebox.
Reminder that, for Valentines Day, there's an afternoon tea on the Sussex Belle and an evening meal on the Golden Arrow. Phone 01825 720800 for more information, and to book tickets.
Details available for The Bluebell Marshlander on
Saturday 26 April 2008 - a
Social Sub-Committee trip arranged for Bluebell Members, visiting the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway, including our own special express train.
Photo (right) from yesterday from member Keith Duke, showing the Auto Train at Sheffield Park. Keith (who first visited the railway in 1966) has more photos from yesterday, and many earlier Bluebell photos on his fotopic site.
Correction to error in the text of BRPS Rules: Rule 11(b) such that it is consistent with the printed rule-book.
Four locos in steam today! GWR 1450 was in steam with the Auto Coach at Sheffield Park for crew training, but 32473 (on the corridor set) limped back to Sheffield Park after its first round trip with too much steam leaking around its pistons, so the Auto Train was pressed into service to form the 1pm departure. The other service train was the four Met coaches hauled by "Fenchurch", which was in superb fettle, with the crew aiming to achieve 2-minute early arrivals at every station! Stepney completed the quartet with a Footplate Days and Ways course at Horted Keynes. The 3pm departure from Sheffield Park was the corridor set with 1450 and 32473 double-heading.
Dave Clarke's photo shows Tim Baker, Barbara, Julia and James Young with last Sunday's test run of the new Lounge Car service. A couple of other photos here.
In addition to actress Judy Cornwell, The High Sheriffs of both East and West Sussex and the Mayors of Lewes, Haywards Heath and East Grinstead will also be in attendence next Sunday (2.30pm at Sheffield Park) for the formal launch of the Lounge Car service.
David Chappell's photo was taken on Sunday whilst he was on P-Way duties in Lindfield Wood. The train, headed by 80151, was the first service of the day.
Details for the Branch Line Weekend (23-24 February) now available. Six locos in steam. Intensive service. Because of the low seating capacity, it will be possible to reserve seats on Auto Train workings in advance.
Press release concerning one of the conditions attached to our planning permission for building East Grinstead station.
The photo on the right is a reminder that freshly overhauled Mk.I Open First No.3064 will be used to inaugurate the new Lounge Car service next Sunday, when TV actress Judy Cornwell ("Keeping up Appearances") will officially launch the service. Book now!
A small gallery of photos of 75027, recalling its last few years in service before withdrawal pending overhaul last year.
GWR autocoach 178 was over the pit at Horsted today, being prepared for service. Photo by Richard Salmon.
Bluebell members are invited to participate in a seminar organised by the Electric Multiple Unit Preservation Society at Horsted Keynes next Saturday. Details on the Society Notices page.
Mike Little's GWR loco 1450 and autocoach 178 arrived yesterday from the West Somerset Railway. The Autotrain will be with us until the end of February and is to operate each weekend in February - details here. The photo to the right (thanks to Andrew Strongitharm) shows the loco in the yard at Sheffield Park today, but not parked conveniently for photos!
Nick Beck has just got round to organising his photos of the 2007 Goods Train weekend into an album. This is a useful reminder that the 2008 event will be held on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th March. See a wide variety of goods trains throughout the day - take the 18 mile round trip whilst travelling on our vintage passenger trains. Period British Railways road vehicles will be delivering and collecting parcels for conveyance by goods trains. Advance (discounted) ticket sales available until 29 Feb.