Bluebell Railway Blog:
Please be aware that due to the historical nature of this page, some of the
links on it may be out of date.
Most recent updates
Older updates are in the What's New
or 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 2009:
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.
- Andrew Strongitharm's "Best photos of 2009".
- YouTube video of No.80151 near Town House Farm from Martin Lawrence - 27 December 2009
- Mark Andrews' photos showing all four of the trains running on Christmas Eve, in the snow
- The Bulleid Society page for 'Sir Archibald Sinclair' has several photos of the loco hauling Santa Special services in the snow - 19-20 December 2009
- Dave Clarke's photos of Horsted in the snow - 18-20 December 2009
- Mike Floate's video of 34059 in the snow - 20 December 2009
- Photos from Andrew Strongitharm - 20 December 2009
- Gary Smith has a YouTube video, featuring the U-class emerging from the Tunnel - 20 December 2009
- Ashley Smith's photos in the snow - 19 December 2009
- Matt Allen has a very nice small gallery of snow shots - 19 December 2009
- Keith Duke's album of photos of Horsted in the snow - 19 December 2009
- Photos of the restoration of SECR P-class loco No.178 from Derek Hayward and Rob Faulkner - 13 December 2009
- Derek Hayward's photos showing progress with the overhauls of 263, B473 and 847, and of the current state of the North London Tank - 13 December 2009
- Derek Hayward's December photo gallery 1-13 December 2009
- Keith Duke's photo gallery from the fiirst day of the Santa Specials 5 December 2009
- Andrew Strongitharm has updated his winter photo gallery - 5 December 2009
- Ashley Smith has added Santa Special photos to his current gallery of Bluebell photos - 5 December 2009
- Photo galleries of the Vintage Bus Day from Derek Hayward (including this photo) and from Keith Duke - 15 November 2009
- John Evans' gallery of photographs from the photo charter with BR Standard 4MT Tank 80151 - 6 November 2009
- Paul Gildersleve's album of photos from the photo charter with 80151 with the engineer's wagons - 6 November 2009
- Paul Pettitt has an update to his gallery for Sir Archibald Sinclair - 1 November 2009
- Official photo gallery for Phase 3 of Operation Undercover, from Derek Hayward - October 2009
- Giants of steam photos (23-25 October 2009) from:
- Ken Upton was able to take some photos on the footpate of the Dukedog (with thanks to the footplate crew, Tony Leaver and Clive Williams) - 12 October 2009
- Ashley Smith and Rebecca Parkes have photos of our trains, as running on 10 October 2009
- Report and photos from the East Grinstead Open Weekend - 10-11 October 2009
- Derek Hayward added today's service trains, plus a few shed photos - 10 October 2009
- Derek Hayward has split his Loco Works photos up into separate galleries:
- Paul Pettitt's updates to his galleries for Standard 4MT No.80151, No.9017, "Earl of Berkeley" and Terrier 672, "Fenchurch" - 1 October 2009
- Martin Lawrence's video on YouTube: 9017 at Sloop Bridge with the Sunday Lunch Pullman train - 27 September 2009
- Derek Hayward's photo update features the trains in service, and locos on shed, in store, and in the loco works - 27 September 2009
- Andrew Strongitharm's recent photos - 27 September 2009
- Behind Bluebell open day photos from Derek Hayward and Andrew Strongitharm, and YouTube videos from SteamNutter: P-Way demonstration and 9017 at Horsted Keynes - 12 September 2009
- Martin Lawrence's video of the C-class hauling an 8-coach Victorian train, and a second video of the BR Standard 4 tank - 5 September 2009
- Andrew Strongitharm's Summer photo album updated - 3 September 2009
- Martin Lawrence's video on YouTube of 80151 emerging from the Tunnel - 31 August 2009
- Photos of the relaunch of Bulleid brake carriage No. 2526 from Tom Waghorn, and from Dave Clarke who also has photos of the test run on the previous Thursday - 29 August 2009
- Dave Clarke's photo album illustrating the recovery of the carriage from Battle - 26 August 2009
- John Kortland's photos at and around Horsted Keynes station - 27 August 2009
- Photos from John Sandys showing work at East Grinstead station site - 16 August 2009
- Vintage Transport Weekend - 15-16 August 2009
- The launch, by Dame Vera Lynn, of our 50th Anniversary Appeal is reported on the BBC web site, and Derek Hayward has a gallery of photos from the event - 7 August 2009
- YouTube Video from the footplate of 34059 'Sir Archibald Sinclair', by Jon Bowers - 2 August 2009
- Andrew Strongitharm's latest photos - 30 July 2009
- Derek Hayward's album showing the Toy and Collectors Fair - 25-26 July 2009
- Derek Hayward's set of photos of the Northern Extension taken to illustrate the trackbed and lineside between Kingscote and East Grinstead - please note that the area remains strictly OUT OF BOUNDS to all visitors, including lineside permit holders - 20 July 2009
- Dave Clarke's photos of Bulleid brake carriage No.2526 shunted out of the paint shop - 13 July 2009
- Derek Hayward and Andrew Strongitharm have created new photo galleries to mark the end (7 July 2009) of the current boiler certificate of SECR O1 No.65.
- Family Fun Weekends, photos from Derek Hayward and Ashley Smith - 20-28 June 2009
- Gallery from Derek Hayward covering the Founder Members event - on 17 June 2009
- Andrew Strongitharm's gallery featuring activity on the railway - late May/early June 2009
Behind the scenes at the Bluebell photos on the BBC Sussex and Surrey website.
- "Normandy" back at the Bluebell (after its visit to Eastleigh) from Chris Dadson - 29 May 2009
- Photos showing our presence at Eastleigh 100 (23-25 May 2009) available from:
- Photos from Derek Hayward along with an update to his Sheffield Park Shed/Works collection - 24 May 2009
- Ken Upton's track walk sequence - 12th May2009
- Southern at War - 9-10 May 2009
- Dave Humphries' Mobile Phone Picture of No.65 resting on the A22 en-route back to Sheffield Park from the KESR - 7 May 2009
- Andrew Strongitharm's gallery of photos of No.65 now includes photos from the KESR "Last Train's Gone" gala. Further photos of this event are available from Ashley Smith and Peter Skuce - 2-4 May 2009
- Martin Lawrence's video of 80151 - 2 May 2009
- Recent developments from Chris Dadson - 2 May 2009
- Repaint of 4279: Dave Clarke's sequence of photos - 2 May 2009
- Paul Pettitt's page update on U-class No.1638, New page for C-class, No.592, and photos of ED Class 73 - 1 May 2009
- Large number of photos from Wouter Adriaanse covering the working visit of P-way volunteers (Weg & Werken on Tour) from our twin railway, Museum Stoomtram Hoorn-Medemblik, when they were helping us with track maintenance on the Bluebell at the end of April.
- Derek Hayward: the spoil train/Imberhorne Lane, Spring Specials, Vintage buses at Kingscote on 26 April and general photos covering the new memorial garden at Horsted Keynes; Ketches Halt (prior to dismantling); Repaint of 4279 etc,
- The Return to Steam of 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair" - 24, 25, 26 April 2009
- Chris Dadson's new photos of Imberhorne Lane cutting, showing the tidied up south end of the cutting following removal of the inert spoil from under the bridge up to the start of the rubbish tip proper - 9 April 2009
- Andrew Strongitharm's photos of 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair" nearly completed and undergoing final testing, after final painting, numbering and lining, and a video on YouTube - 6-7 April 2009
- Photos from Saturday from Matthew Toms - on Flickr and Fotopic (jointly with James Cummins) - 4 April 2009
- Ashley Smith's gallery of photos - 4 April 2009
- Photo charters with the Dukedog at Llangollen in BR black: Paul Maycock's gallery of photos, Jon Bowers' video compilation of No.9017 on two photo-charters, Richard Thomas' gallery of photos of a Goods Train charter - 26 March -1 April 2009
- Dave Clarke's photos showing the completed excavation of inert spoil from under and north of Imberhorne Lane bridge on our East Grinstead extension, and a photo of the SECR H-Class being dismantled for overhaul in the loco works - 22 March 2009
- Derek Hayward's gallery of photos including members of the 9F club with our President Bernard Holden, four locos in steam, and the Bluebell Railway Band playing at Sheffield Park - 22 March 2009
- Dave Clarke's photos of the relaunch train for SR Maunsell drop-light open third carriage No.1336, and also the re-instatement of the Kingscote running-in board following overhaul by members of the C&W department - 16 and 14 March 2009
- Martin Lawrence's videos: No.80151 at Sloop Bridge, No.592 on Freshfield bank, No.592 at New Coombe Crossing, No.592 at Sharpthorne, No.80151 at New Coombe Crossing, No.80151 at Lindfield Wood, No.592 in Lindfield Wood, No.1638 at Nobles Bank with the Lunchtime Pullman, No.80151 at Nobles Bridge, P-way Wickham car heads toward Horsted Keynes, No.80151 from Nobles Bridge to Caseford Bridge and No.592 at Caseford Bridge - 14-15 March 2009
- Keith Duke has a gallery of spoil extraction and spoil train pictures - 13th March.
- Chris Dadson's videos of the spoil removal, from the rear cab of the loco:
The JCB digger at the Imberhorne Lane railhead loading inert spoil into the Grampus wagons, a loaded spoil train departing from the railhead at Imberhorne Lane, and a laden spoil train passes through Kingscote Station on its journey from Imberhorne Lane to Horsted Keynes - 10 March 2009
- The Wealden Exclusive - hauled by 73136 (E6043) "Perseverance" - is covered with a video from Martin Lawrence at Sharpthorne, a photo gallery from Paul Pettitt, a report on the SEG web site from Colin Duff, and a video of the morning's ECS movement from Richard Salmon - 7 March 2009
- Derek Hayward has a gallery of wildlife found on the Bluebell's linside - 7 March 2009
- Chris Dadson's series of photos showing the excavation of spoil from the south end of Imberhorne cutting - 20, 26 February, 6 March 2009
- Paul Pettitt's photos of the Branch Line Gala and of the visit of the P-class No.753 - February 2009
- A video from Martin Lawrence shows 73136 at West Hoathly with a spoil train, and another of it arriving and unloading at Horsted - 26 February 2009
- Gallery of photos of the Branch Line weekend from Dave Bowles
- Dave Clarke's photos: testing the electric jacks in the Carriage & Wagon works, and current progress at Imberhorne Lane - 22 February 2009
- Photos and videos from the Branch Line weekend - 21-22 February 2009
- Andrew Strongitharm has added photos from half-term week to his page of February photos, and also some photos and a video of the spoil train today to his gallery of current Extension photos - 19 February 2009
- Photos of Bluebell Railway Staff are now on the "Who's Who" page. These are available as personal albums from a variety of contributors. More are welcome (albums rather than individual photos please!)
- Martin Lawrence's video shows the visiting P-class with SECR and LNWR coaches on Freshfield Bank - 14 February 2009
- Photos of the spoil extraction from the South end of the tip on the Northern Extension from Ian Purvis (6 Feb) and from Chris Dadson (9-10 Feb)
- The P-class specials:- 7-8 February 2009
- Dave Clarke's latest from around the Carriage & Wagon Works: GN Directors' Saloon, Installation of emergency lighting, Medfit 3-plank No.M480222, Birdcage Brake No.3363, Painting of Bulleid brake No.2526 and Volunteers of the C&W department - 7 February 2009
- Martin Lawrence has 4 new YouTube videos: 9017 "Earl of Berkeley" charges Freshfield Bank in a flurry of snow, 672 "Fenchurch" approaches Sheffield Park, 9017 leaves Sheffield Park, and 672 passes Ketches Halt - 1 February 2009
- Andrew Strongitharm's new gallery of photos of visiting P-class 753, photos of the extension, and the visit of 73136 "Perseverance" - 30 January 2009
- Martin Lawrence's video on YouTube shows the O1 leaving Horsted Keynes - 24 January 2009
- Chris Dadson has also provided a small gallery describing the start of the engineering work just south of Imberhorn Lane - 26 and 31 January 2009
- YouTube Video from Martin Lawrence of the 73 being used for goods guard training - 24 January 2009
- Report, photos and videos of the East Grinstead Open Day, and arrival of the 4 Vep - 17 January 2009
- Album on Fotopic from John Sandys showing work in progress at East Grinstead, and the hired 73 shunting - 15 January 2009
- Ken Upton has some photos of activity to unfreeze the Dukedog on Saturday morning, 10 January, and some photos from around the Loco yard at the Autumn Steam Gala.
- Striking gallery of photos in frosty conditions, from Nigel Pitt - 10 January 2009
- Jon Bowers' video on YouTube showing the P-way gang doing ice-clearance in the tunnel, and No.9017 approaching Horsted Keynes - 4 January 2009
- Martin Lawrence's videos on YouTube: The Dukedog northbound at Nobles (3-Arch) bridge, and the same loco at Sloop Bridge - 2-3 January 2009
Web-site Update Archive 2009
31 December 2009:
- Reminder that there is an extra day of Victorian trains on Saturday 2nd January, for which public booking is open. "Scrooge", who has made a New Years resolution to be kind to children, will give out presents!!! Includes a hamper of food and drink. The Victorian Train will operate at 11.40 and 1.40pm from Horsted Keynes. Booking details here - or call 01825 720800 to reserve a compartment.
- Tomorrow, and over the weekend (i.e. 1st, 2nd and 3rd January) there will be free guided tours of the Carriage Works, starting at 12.30 and 1.30pm, at Horsted Keynes.
- Update to the C&W Works News of the restoration of LBSCR Fruit/Milk Van No.270 with thanks to Jim Hewett.
- Update to the Loco Works News on the overhaul of the SECR H-class loco No.263, with photos from Derek Hayward.
Also, the LBSCR E4, No.B473, passed its steam test yesterday, and was seen moving about the yard at Sheffield Park. It is now back in the works for final adjustments, and is due to enter service over the weekend of 16-17 January. [ Note: In view of the weather, it has been decided to put the relaunch back to 30th January]
- Details now available for the special 50th Anniversary weekends from 27th Feb to 28th March 2010 when we will use versions of our
1963, 1972, 1983 and 1990 timetables, whilst the line is closed north of Horsted Keynes for track re-laying through the tunnel.
- Information from Metrobus on the operation of their 270 bus service next week (Haywards Heath to Horsted Keynes) with additional services calling at Horsted Keynes station during the week:
- Tony Sullivan's two photos above record that the Victorian Christmas Special trains did indeed run yesterday, as they will today. Amongst the side-stalls, Mick and Heidi were running the roast chestnut stall.
- There is an extra day of Victorian Christmas trains on Saturday 2nd January, for which public booking is open. "Scrooge", who has made a New Years resolution to be kind to children, will give out presents!!! Includes hamper of food and drink. The Victorian Train will operate at 11.40 and 1.40pm from Horsted Keynes. Booking details here - or call 01825 720800 to reserve a compartment.
- Preliminary details now available for the Branch Line Weekend on Sat 20th & Sun 21st February 2010. A superb start to our 50th Anniversary year, with two visiting engines, Fairburn Tank No.42085 and BR standard class 2 2-6-0 No.78019
The Fairburn 2-6-4 tanks were a common sight on Southern Region branch lines until they were replaced by the BR Standard tanks. Although an LMS design, this loco was built at Brighton Works.
The photo on the right (by Duncan Harris, used under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 License) shows 42085 in July 2009 at the Great Central Railway, its first ever visit away from its preservation home at the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway.
The event will also feature the special-event debut of LBSCR E4 No.B473 freshly outshopped in Southern Railway lined green and, providing its restoration is completed in time, the first public appearance in steam since it was preserved of SECR P-class No.178.
Discount available on advance ticket puchases until 31 Jan 2010.
- Service Update:
The Bluebell Railway are hopeful of running all trains on Wednesday 23rd and Thursday 24th December.
We continue to recommend that passengers allow plenty of time for travelling to the railway and for car parking.
Update on local roads:
The A275 is clear and roads into Sheffield Park are open.
Unfortunately West Sussex County Council did not grit the road into Horsted Keynes station yesterday as they advised us they would try and do.
The road between Danehill - Horsted Keynes and Sharpthorne is open and clear, although particular care should be taken between Danehill and Horsted Keynes.
The road down to the station from the Sharpthorne - Horsted Keynes road is passable, however extreme care is required.
Passengers for the Victorian Christmas trains are advised to use the roads via Horsted Keynes village or Sharpthorne and NOT off the B2028 Ardingly - Lindfield Road.
- A photo from one of our passengers on Sunday is on the BBC News website - 7th photo.
We also feature in the Editor's 2009 Blog in Management Today.
- More photos and videos:
- Above right is David Warwick's photo showing Fenchurch heading the first train of the day on Sunday, departing from Horsted Keynes, with 34059 on the rear of the train.
John Goss has provided the photo below of 34059 approaching Horsted Keynes with the 12.40pm from Sheffield Park.
- Ian Bowskill's photo on the right catches the sun glinting off 80151 with its Santa Special train yesterday.
- Service Update: The Bluebell Railway remains able to operate a train service during the current weather conditions.
Passengers travelling on the Santa Specials and Golden Arrow Dining Trains are requested to allow much more time than usual to travel to Sheffield Park and to park their cars.
Victorian Christmas: Roads to Horsted Keynes station remain almost impassable. We are in contact with West Sussex County Council regarding this situation, and our Customer Service Team will be in contact as soon as possible with those booked on the Victorian Specials whose trains were cancelled over the weekend. The alternatives we are able to offer are shown below:
Please feel free to contact our Customer Service Team on 01825 720800, and they will do their best to accommodate your requirements.
- To try to accommodate you, we will run additional Victorian Christmas Specials from Horsted Keynes on Thursday 24th December at 10.25am and 4.30pm.
- On Saturday 2nd January, as Father Christmas has gone back to Lapland, Scrooge will be visiting to hand out presents to the children, with the Victorian Train operating at 11.40 and 1.40pm, again from Horsted Keynes.
- Alternatively if customers whose trains were cancelled wish, they can transfer their booking instead to our Victorian Evening Picnic trains, on 2nd or 4th July, 11th or 12th September.
- Another alternative is that bookings can be held over to next year's Victorian Christmas trains, which will run on 18,19,23 and 24 December 2010.
We apologise for the disappointment these cancellations and alterations have caused.
- The additional Victorian trains on 2nd January will also be available for public booking. Call 01825 720800 to reserve a compartment.
- Matt Allen's photo below shows 'Sir Archibald Sinclair' with its Santa Special train on Saturday.
- Santa Specials: 20 December: We intend to run our Santa Special services as planned tomorrow. Passengers are advised to allow extra time to travel to the railway at Sheffield Park, and for car parking.
If any passengers are unable to travel with us on Sunday, and would like to transfer their booking to Wednesday 23rd, please contact us on 01825 720806.
- We regret that, because the roads around Horsted Keynes are largely impassable due to ice, we have been attempting to contact all passengers booked on the Victorian Christmas Specials to explain that they have been cancelled (today and tomorrow, Sunday 20th Dec).
If you wish to transfer your booking to Wednesday 23rd, some accommodation is available that day; please contact us on 01825 720800.
We are hoping to operate additional Victorian Special Services to carry passengers who had booked for this weekend, and our customer services team will be contacting all passengers affected for a second time, early next week, once plans have been finalised for these additional trains.
- We wish to thank everybody for their forbearance in the circumstances, especially all the volunteers and staff who kept the three Santa Special trains running today.
- Jon Bowers' photo on the right shows Mike Hawkins driving the C-class (scheduled as the loco for the cancelled Victorian specials), which was the first loco up the line today; it went light engine through to Horsted then on to Kingscote to de-ice the points.
- Keith Duke took an album of photos at Horsted in the snow today.
- Paul Pettitt's photo below shows 1638 with one of the three Santa Special sets running today.
- Service update - 3pm: Due to the recent heavy snow fall, we advise passengers booked onto the Santa Specials tomorrow to allow extra time to travel to the railway, and for car parking. We are intending to run our services as scheduled tomorrow, and our locomotives will be prepared earlier in advance than is normal, to allow extra time for heating the trains.
The evening Pullman dining train tonight (18 December) has however been cancelled.
- Andrew Strongitharm's photo shows SR Maunsell U-class 1638 arriving at Kingscote with its Santa Special train on the afternoon of 5th December. The first three coaches are also SR Maunsell designs.
- The Crown, a 14th century coaching inn, in Horsted Keynes village has now re-opened after its reconstruction. It is now offering Bed & Breakfast accommodation - see our Accommodation near the Railway web page.
- Update to the C&W Volunteering and Operation Undercover pages.
- News report and photos from the Brighton Atlantic project thanks to Fred Bailey.
- The photos below, from Tony Sullivan, were taken yesterday. The first shows locos 80151 and 34059 'Sir Archibald Sinclair' passing at Sheffield Park with their respective Santa Special trains. The second photo shows the Terriers, 'Stepney' on display in the dock, and 'Fenchurch', which is acting as station pilot at Sheffield Park over the Santa season, and here seen offering visitors the chance to inspect its footplate. Whilst some work (such as removal of boiler tubes) has been undertaken in preparation for Stepney's forthcoming overhaul, the dismantling required to give the boiler a fresh certificate ready for the 50th anniversary of its arrival on the Bluebell next May, is expected to commence in the New Year, such that it can remain on display until then.
- Details now available for the February and March 2010 Regency Belle evening Pullman Dining trains.
- Derek Hayward's photo shows the first Christmas Golden Arrow (a charter) on 1st December. His latest photo gallery covers this train, the start of the Santa Specials, and a wedding at the Railway last weekend.
- Keith Duke also has a photo gallery featuring the four trains running last Saturday.
- Update from Jon Elphick and Martin Skrzetuszewski, with Andy Prime's photo, on the web page for newly overhauled LMS 3-plank drop-side medium open goods wagon No.474558, which has been back-converted to its 1937 appearance.
- New web page for the LSWR open wagon acquired from Preston Park last year. The photo is by David Chappell, the text from Martin Skrzetuszewski, and the page was created by Jon Elphick.
- Andrew Strongitharm provides the photo here, taken on 28th November, and has updated his web site with some new winter photos.
- John Evans has a gallery of photographs, taken during the recent Jon Bowers-organised photo charter of November 6th with BR Standard 4MT Tank 80151.
- Ashley Smith has added photos taken last Saturday to his current gallery of Bluebell photos.
- From the Loco department: It's that time of year again when we have to both clean and wrap up our locos to protect them against frost damage. The rag store in the pump house is virtually out of rags. If you have any cotton rags (preferably with buttons and zips already removed) or old blankets, then please if you are able to, deliver them to Sheffield Park (or put them on the train at any other station with a request to the guard to unload them at Sheffield Park).
- Details of 2010 Special Events are now available, as well as our 2010 programme of Lounge Car and Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea services, evening Fish & Chips Specials, Sausage & Mash Evenings and a Curry Evening, plus the very popular Rail Ale trains.
- We've made it easier for US taxpayers to donate to the Bluebell Railway Trust - with a new page with details of how to use our 510(C)(3) affiliation with The American Fund for Charities
- During November 2009, there were 57,293 total hits on this page.
- The photo on the right was taken by Edward Hankey at Kingscote on arrival of first Santa Special train of the day on Saturday 5th December. From L to R: Mike Jackson (Station Master), Phillip Jemmison, John Woods, Santa, Roger Garman, Brillo the clown, Graham Smith, David Gooch and Adam Langley. Loco Crew: David Foale, Bob Blake, and Martin Foreman.
- There's a backlog of updates and photos awaiting my attention, so here to start clearing them are three photos from the Wizard Weekend, including a ghostly Sir Archie, from Michael Hopps.
- Update to the Loco Roster from Lewis Nodes. Whilst LBSCR Loco No. B473 is nearly ready for service, it is not required for our Christmas train. It will be run-in during December, and a formal re-launch into service will take place early next year.
- A reminder that this weekend is the last normal operating weekend until after Christmas. In December we have our popular Santa Specials and Victorian Christmas trains (book now if you've not got your tickets yet!) - and then we are operating a two-train (steam hauled and steam heated!) service between 26th December 2009 and 3rd January 2010.
- Don't forget our free Horsted Keynes Station Carol Service with the Bluebell Railway Band and the Rector of Horsted Keynes; from 7.30pm on Saturday 5 December.
- There is some great vintage film footage on YouTube of SR 'USA' class locos in action, including many shots of our own 30064.
- The full special events listing for 2010 will be available soon, but the first dates to put in your diary are Branch Line Weekend on 20 & 21 February, 17 April: Toy and Rail Collectors Fair at Horsted Keynes station, 8 & 9 May is Southern at War weekend, the start of our major 50th Anniversary celebrations on 22 & 23 May, with Open Days marking Stepney's arrival on the line on 17th May 1960, and then an Open Weekend with the official opening of our new platform, at East Grinstead on 5 & 6 June.
- With our Pullman Kitchen Car 'Fingall' receiving heavy maintenance (after 18 years in Bluebell service) in the new year, our Pullman service in February and March will be a fixed-menu meal on board the Regency Belle using our two 1928-built Pullman cars "Christine" and "Lilian". More details soon, or phone 01825 720801 to book now.
- We did it! - Many thanks to everyone who voted for our project in The People's Millions.
The ITV Meridian East news at 6pm today (Thursday) showed Fred Dinenage presenting a large cheque for £49,500 to Rowan Millard, our Carriage & Wagon Works Manager.
The level of support we've received from across railway preservation, and the wider heritage movement, from our visitors, members and their friends, from local people and from access groups has been tremendously encouraging. Our sincere thanks to you all.
- It's a shame there had to be winners and losers in the vote, and our commiserations to the Uptown Players. We wish them all the best for their fundraising to realise their plans to record and dramatise the experience of Eastbourne residents during the Battle of Britain.
- The News item, featuring the presentation, was only available on ITV Player for 24 hours.
- The People's Millions - Please Vote Today
Our project to restore London Chatham & Dover Railway carriage No.51 as our wheel-chair accessible Victorian carriage project needs your support today.
Voting closed at midnight, Wednesday 25th November
Votes were cast by calling 0871 626 8851. Calls cost 10p each from BT land-lines; calls via other operators may cost more. Only UK originated calls are counted.
See The People's Millions web site for more details.
- Two of Tony Sullivan's photos from yesterday show filming for ITV Meridian (East) in preparation for "The People's Millions" vote on 25th November, where we are putting forward our project to restore another Victorian carriage to also enable passengers in wheelchairs to travel on our Victorian Train. Remember - we need your votes on 25th November - the phone number to call (which will be available on 25th) and details of the project are here. More photos from yesterday are also available via our page on the People's Millions web site.
- In conjunction with Sunday's Vintage Bus Day, Dave Clarke and Richard Salmon will be giving guided tours of the carriage works - everything has changed in the works since the last tours in October, with Bulleid CK No.5768 and Mk.I No.4941 (which is also being adapted to carry passengers in wheelchairs) now in the works, and LSWR Brake Third No.1520 having entered the paint shop. Donations collected in the carriage works are currently being divided between the extension of the carriage shed to get more of our carriages under cover, and towards the materials which will be needed to restore our SR Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864.
- Update to the Loco Roster from Lewis Nodes. All being well, B473 (Birch Grove) should be completed around the end of the month, and in traffic in December.
- The train service running on Sunday 15th for the Vintage Bus Day will be our hourly-two train "Service 1" timetable, with the addition of an extra morning train: departing 10am from Sheffield Park (10.25 from Horsted Keynes) to Kingscote, returning at 11am from Kingscote (11.17 from Horsted Keynes) to Sheffield Park.
- Another of Derek's photos from his "Woodpax" album, showing the cleared site, and the view of the modern industrial buildings on the remainder of the site which our HLF-funded buildings will largely screen from view.
- An update on the overhaul of SECR P-class loco No.178 from Duncan Bourne of the Loco Workshop Working Group.
- Paul Pettitt has a new Picture of the month, featuring 'Sir Archibald Sinclair' at the former crossing near Three Arch Bridge, and also photos from Giants of Steam, and an update to his gallery for Sir Archibald Sinclair
- During October 2009, there were 31,030 unique visitors to this page.
- As was reported last month, work has now started on the Woodpax site, on Phase 3 of Operation Undercover, which will provide covered accommodation for up to 17 carriages, a new museum building, a new loco washout pit, the repair and reconstruction of the platform buildings and canopy and provision of toilets on platform 2 at Sheffield Park, with a large proportion of the cost covered by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The work visible so far is just site clearance, and construction of the (now occupied) bat roost (seen on the right), but we expect to appoint a construction contractor soon. Derek Hayward has been appointed as official photographer for the project, and his first gallery of photos taken over the last month is now available.
Please note that the area is a construction site and is strictly out of bounds to both Bluebell members and the public.
- Brian Easter's photo shows 1638 with the Maunsell coaches on Freshfield Bank on Sunday.
- Additional information about the Recycling/Fundraising Scheme for Mobile Phones, PDAs, Printer Inkjet or Toner cartridges now available on the "How can you help us" page.
- Update to the Wagon stock list, with changes to some stock numbers to reflect the running numbers currently carried, and adding photos of the two wagon underframes acquired in September 2008 from Preston Park, an LBSCR van underframe, No.1577 (photo with thanks to Trevor Stone) and a so-far un-identified LSWR underframe (photo from David Chappell). A link added to the NYMR York Area Group, which is very active in the overhaul and maintenance of engineers' wagons.
- We are pleased to announce that the Bluebell's project to restore LCDR carriage No.51 has been short-listed for The People's Millions, which is part of the Big Lottery Fund. The important date is 25th November when we need as many people as possible to vote for our project on that day.
The purpose of the project is to create a wheelchair-accessible carriage which will be part of our Victorian Train. This is the major reason for putting forward the restoration of this 1889-built 4-wheeled carriage, which we recovered from a bungalow in 2003, for this competitive funding.
We will need your help on the 25th November - you do not have to be in Kent or East Sussex to vote. Anyone can support our project on the day. If you would like to see this carriage being available for wheelchair users for years to come please vote for us - details of how to vote are here.
- More Giants of Steam photos:
- Update to the Loco Roster, showing what engines we expect to use on what day (if all goes to plan!).
- More Giants of Steam photos:
- Derek Hayward's photo of the Dukedog with the Mets yesterday, at Mill Place Bridge, and below his photos of London Jack in the Museum display on Platform 1/2 at Horsted Keynes, and 'Fenchurch' giving brake-van rides, also at Horsted.
- Richard Thomas has photos of Thursday's Autumn Tint Specials, and of the Friday of GoS;
- Tom Waghorn;
- Paul Gildersleve;
- Matt Allen.
- Ken Upton was able to take some photos on the footpate of the Dukedog a fortnight ago (with thanks to the footplate crew, Tony Leaver and Clive Williams)
- Giants of Steam turned out to be an unexpectedly popular event, in spite of the lack of a visiting engine. After the full-and-standing trains on Saturday, an extra early-morning train was added to Kingscote this morning, and the Dukedog found itself hauling the Metropolitan Railway carriages rather than the freight train. In terms of visitor numbers and revenue the event eclipsed last year's S&D-themed event by a significant margin. Over the three days Dave Clarke and Richard Salmon led 18 guided tours around the Carriage & Wagon, and the Brake Van Rides behind Fenchurch carried around 450 people over the weekend. The weather was not kind to the photographers, although the sun shone at last this morning! Bulleid carriage 2526, making its public debut in service after restoration drew much admiration, as did the entirely olive-green liveried train behind the SR U-class mogul.
- Tony Sullivan's photo on the right shows the extra early morning train to Kingscote this morning behind the U-class No.1638, with the 9F and 4MT locos now on static display at Horsted. Footplate visits to the 9F were another popular attraction. Another of Tony Sullivan's photos below shows members of the Pullman Car Society, who were showing visitors around Brighton Belle Pullman Car 'Doris' over the weekend, enjoying a traditional beakfast of kippers on Saturday, as preparation for the day ahead.
- Stephen Hunt's photo shows 'Sir Archibald Sinclair' with a train of Bulleid coaches on the Friday (in the rain).
- Andrew Strongitharm's two photos below (taken this morning) show the SR U-class mogul with its SR Maunsell train, and 80151 with its BR(S) Bulleid train. Andrew's gallery of photos from today is also available.
- David Haggar's photo of 9017 approaching Horsted Keynes with the Engineer's Freight train yesterday. The loco's nameplates have been edited out by David.
- Other photo galleries from the weekend are available from:
- SR U-class No.1638 was tested today, after the fitting of a new crank pin to one of the driving wheels, and is now confirmed fit for its participation in the forthcoming Giants of Steam.
1638 carried out some shunting at Sheffield Park this morning and then hauled dead engines 92240 and 75027 to Horsted Keynes in the afternoon (as seen in Neil Glaskin's picture). The two out-of-ticket standard engines have been moved to Horsted Keynes in connection with forthcoming work on the Woodpax site and to create space for the efficient operation of our Santa Trains. They will be on display over this weekend behind platform 1.
- Update to the Loco News report on the overhaul of LBSCR E4-class B473
- Two new adverts (for both volunteer and paid posts in the Infrastructure department) added to the recruitment page.
- New version of the Gift Aid form now available for donations to the Bluebell Railway Trust, and also an updated version of the Society's Share Purchase and Deferred Payment Scheme form.
- Further update to details of the coming weekend's Giants of Steam, which starts on Friday.
- Added details of first and last trains, and passenger train departure times from Sheffield Park for the weekend.
- Added timings for Carriage & Wagon Works guided tours at Horsted Keynes: Friday at 1.30, and on both Saturday and Sunday at 12.30, 1.05, 1.40 and 2.15.
- Added details of a fund-raising sale at Horsted Keynes (Platform 1/2) being run by the Bluebell Museum Group.
- Andrew Strongitharm has updated his gallery with photos taken on Sunday, and provides today's photos here too, the Dukedog with the Metropolitan and Great Northern carriages, 80151 with the lunchtime Pullman train, and the site clearance nearly completed in preparation for the Operation Undercover building on the Woodpax site at Sheffield Park.
- Running in conjunction with next weekend's Giants of Steam, we now have the Timetable and details of the Service 20 Free Vintage Bus service (Sunday only) between Brighton and Sheffield Park available.
- Brighton Atlantic Project Funding
Contrary to what you may have read in the railway press, fund-raising continues for this project. We may well receive a sum of money (as yet this is an unknown sum) left for the project as a legacy via the Bluebell Railway Trust, but we are still well short of the final amount needed to complete this project, so all continuing donations and standing orders are vital and definitely still very much needed over the coming years. Roy Watts is also very definite that he was mis-quoted in the magazine.
- Update to the Loco Roster.
- Giants of Steam - Friday 23rd - Sunday 25th October:
The final plans for this event are now available - it will be a busy three days, with loads of extra attractions, and the weekend features an intensive four-train service, including a freight train behind our BR-black liveried Dukedog, plus brake van rides behind Fenchurch. Further timetable details should be available as from this coming Sunday.
As per the poster on the right, Pete Waterman is visiting to sign copies of his new book on modelling railways. The book signings are taking place at Sheffield Park on Saturday 24th October, between 10.30 and 11.30am, and from 2.00 to 4.00pm.
Further attractions now confirmed for the event include:
- Atlantic House open - see the current state of the re-construction of 32424 "Beachy Head"
- Carriage Works Tours at Horsted Keynes on all three days
- Free vintage Bus service (Sunday only) between Brighton and Sheffield Park: Service 20 - Regular departures from Brighton to Sheffield Park between 10am and 4pm
- Second-hand book sale at Kingscote Station - on Platform 2 - in aid of the Northern Extension Project (Friday and Saturday)
- Pullman Car 'Doris', which was part of the famous "Brighton Belle" electric Pullman service between 1932 and 1972, open for inspection at Horsted Keynes.
- On the Saturday and Sunday there is a mini model railway exhibition on the upper floor of the Bessemer Arms at Sheffield Park featuring N Gauge "Little Horsted" and East Grinstead Model Railway Club layouts, and also a sales stand by the Railway's resident artist, Matthew Cousins.
- Display of working Stationary Engines at Horsted Keynes
- Giants of Steam:
We regret that, due to a mechanical fault, 30777 'Sir Lamiel' is unable to visit the Bluebell. Because of this, the event is being re-cast - please be patient as we work through the planning of revised attractions, but be assured that it is still very much our intention to put on a good show over that weekend. We hope to have finalised details of the event available at some time this coming Sunday. [Actually available now (Friday)]
- The Open Weekend at East Grinstead Station site was well received, and over 1300 people attended the event. As part of the event we launched our Guide to East Grinstead Station which details the history of the station, our own progress to date and our future plans. This is available from the Sales and Information office at Sheffield Park for £2.50.
Prints of the painting (right) by Matthew Cousins, showing our planned platform and water tower at East Grinstead, are available to anyone making a donation of £50 or more to the fund to build the water tower.
Another photo album is also available via the report on the open weekend.
- Saint Hill Manor are holding a Gala Charity Concert this coming Sunday, and the Bluebell will be one of the charities to benefit.
- Ashley Smith and Rebecca Parkes took some photos of the trains running on the Bluebell on Saturday.
- Update on progress with the overhaul of BR Class 5 No.73082 'Camelot' on the Camelot Loco Society's web site.
- An update on the overhaul of SECR P-class loco No.178 from the Loco Workshop Working Group.
- Many photos and links to external galleries from the weekend are now available as a photo report from the East Grinstead Open Weekend, including tht above from David Middleton, showing the drainage and ballasting work on the viaduct.
- Derek Hayward has updated photo galleries with photos taken on Saturday:
- Paul Pettitt's photo below shows 80151 on Saturday with the newly ovehauled Bulleid Brake carriage.
- Peter Austin's photo shows 9017 with the 3pm Autumn Tints Special today.
- If you are coming to the East Grinstead open weekend, in view of the recent rain, you would be well advised to wear appropriate shoes or boots!
- Update to the Loco Roster, giving planned loco workings for October through to December. It shows that Sir Archibald Sinclair should be working this coming weekend
- Jon Bowers' photo charter with 30777 is now fully booked.
- Derek Hayward as split his Loco Works photos up into separate galleries:
- Derek Hayward's photo (one of three) taken a week and a half ago, shows the progress at that stage on the LBSCR E4, which is to appear as Southern B473. Lining is progressing well, and the side tanks and their cladding are now on. Watch this space as to whether it will be completed in time for Giants of Steam.
- Don't forget that this weekend, 10-11 October, we have open days at East Grinstead Station site where you can view extension progress, and discuss the project with team members.
The station site, with access over the viaduct to the trackbed beyond, will be open from 10.30am to 4pm each day. More details.
- Severn Valley Railway Engineering's range of Carriage Repair Services added to the Carriage Restoration Technical Page listing suppliers
- An additional evening of Murder Mystery & Mayhem on the Golden Arrow: Wednesday 2nd December - with a special Christmas Theme
- Update from Fred Bailey of progress on the Brighton Atlantic project, including the photo on the right, which shows Derek Barlow operating the large horizontal borer in the main works. The item is the main bogie stretcher and he is "in-line boring" the holes to take the pins for the swing links. This just demonstrates how much "heavy engineering" there is on this project - a frame stretcher sounds like a fairly simple and straightforward item, but as you can see, this one is quite a complex and substantial piece of the loco in its own right.
- Please note that the meeting of the London Area Group scheduled for Tuesday 13 October 2009 has been CANCELLED due to non-availability of school hall.
- Paul Pettitt has a new Picture of the Month: "Preparing for the day ahead", and updates to his galleries for Standard 4MT No.80151, No.9017, "Earl of Berkeley" and Terrier 672, "Fenchurch".
- Some unusual photos, taken inside the viaduct, are included in Nigel Longdon's latest update on Northern Extension progress. This photo shows one of the voids which acts as a drainage chamber within the viaduct.
Don't forget that on 10-11 October you can see for yourself the progress at East Grinstead, both on the station site and on the viaduct, where the drainage system now being installed will feed into a storage tank for use in watering the locomotives.
The Station site will be open from 10.30am to 4pm each day. Because track laying over the viaduct is set to commence very soon, this will probably be the last opportunity for visitors to walk across the viaduct. Soon afterwards it is hoped to lay track from the station site, across the viaduct and towards the tip face.
- Update to the web page for Bulleid Brake carriage No.2526
- During September there were a total of 48,192 hits on this page.
- We have two extra Sunday Lunch Golden Arrow Pullman dining services running on 27th December 2009 and 3rd January 2010, after which the Golden Arrow service will resume on Sunday 28th March 2010.
- A summary of the BRPS Committee meeting
held on 18th September 2009 is now available on the Society Members' information page, as is the Carriage and Wagon Restoration Policy, which was agreed by the BRPS Trustees back in 2003. The aim is to gather all the railway's agreed policies onto this site.
- The Bluebell's 2010 Calendar is now available from the Bluebell Railway Shop -
Fifty Years of Progress:
A total of fourteen pictures take you through 2010 and show some of the Railway's locomotives that have pulled trains since the line's opening in 1960. Some photographs feature engines that have not worked for many years, including the Adams radial tank and the USA tank.
Our first locomotive, Stepney, graces the cover and is seen with our first two carriages at Sheffield Park.
Each page covers one month with space for brief notes as well as identifying public holidays during the year.
- The photo of the signals at the north end of Horsted Keynes platforms is from Martin Lawrence, who also has a Video on YouTube: 9017 at Sloop Bridge with the Sunday Lunch Pullman train.
- Dates and brochure now available for the 2010 Murder Mystery evenings on the Golden Arrow - there may also still be a few places left for the three remaining 2009 dates.
- Derek Hayward has added photos from last Sunday to his photo gallery - it features the trains in service on Sunday, and locos on shed, in store, and in the loco works.
- Giants of Steam, 23-25 October - have added details of the Second-hand book sale at Kingscote Station on the Friday and Saturday of the gala, in aid of the Northern Extension Project
Don't forget the discount on advance ticket purchases made before 30th September. Two-day rover tickets are also only available until tomorrow - ring 01825 720800.
- Update to the list of Vice-Patrons of the 50th Anniversary Appeal - we now, appropriately, have 50 Vice-Patrons.
- With four trains running each day this weekend, a slight re-jig of the coaching sets was required, since "Fenchurch" was having problems with priming, so was taken off the Metropolitan set and given the Observation Car on Sunday afternoon.
Andrew Strongitharm's photo on the right shows it passing the foot crossing at Tremains. More of his photos are on his web site, and his photo of 80151 on the other service set this weekend is included below.
- The Bulleid Society web site has an update about the award for the restoration of Sir Archibald Sinclair, and also pictures of Blackmoor Vale being pulled around a muddy field in Dorset. John Fry's photo below shows 21C123 next to a traction engine from the Blackmore Vale Haulage Company. This is a Burrell 6nhp road locomotive owned by Nick Baker from Gillingham, Dorset and named Duke of Kent. Finally there are some pictures of the clearing of the Bulleid Society shop, which is being relocated and rebuilt as part of Phase 3 of Operation Undercover.
- U-class 1638 is currently out of action, for an investigation of the recent hot big end and irregular
valve events. The cause was found to be that its right driving crankpin (the one which was replaced at the loco's overhaul) has come
loose. Derek Hayward's photo below shows the loco on the weel-drop after the offending wheelset had been removed. The wheelset is going away on Wednesday this week for a replacement pin to be fitted.
- Peter Richards has added an update to the Horsted Keynes Signalling Work page with text and photographs from Chris Majer, including the photo below showing the electric lever locks and controllers.
- The photo below of the restoration team in front of 2526 (from Jon Bowers) is part of an update on the restoration of that Bulleid Brake carriage which now available.
- The final two photos below, from Derek Hayward, show the other two trains running on Sunday - the Grandparents Weekend Wealden Rambler Lounge Car train, behing the C-class, and the Dukedog with the Lunchtime Golden Arrow Pullman.
- Giants of Steam, 23-25 October: We can confirm that Atlantic House will be open over the three days of the gala event. View progress on the reconstruction of 32424 "Beachy Head" - also sales of secondhand books and models, with the possibility of tours at various times depending on work being undertaken on the locomotive.
Pullman car "Doris" will be open at Horsted Keynes on the Saturday and Sunday, manned by members of The Pullman Society.
Carriage & Wagon Workshop, also at Horsted Keynes: New exhibition open. There will also be guided tours of the works on the Friday as well as over the weekend.
Discount on advance ticket purchases - A reminder that this is available until 30th September, and that two-day rover tickets are also only available until 30th September.
- Andrew Strongitharm's photo on the right shows Friday evening's Sausage and Mash train by gaslight at Sheffield Park station.
- The Bulleid Shop at Sheffield Park has now closed until further notice. This is in readiness for the demolition of the buildings on platform 2 as part of Operation Undercover and the rebuilding of the museum.
The Bulleid Society would like to thank everyone who has supported them over the many years that the shop has traded, and are look forward to reopening on completion of the
rebuilding work with a bigger and better shop for their customers.
Meanwhile, if you would like to donate any items for the shop please leave them at the booking office at Sheffield Park or contact Sally Cruse on 0208 5728821.
- Derek Hayward's photo below from yesterday shows the C-class with the Victorian carriage set passing the Kingscote Up Home signal.
- Congratulations to the Bluebell Railway 34059 Battle of Britain Locomotive Group for being awarded the Southern Railways Group's prestigious 'Denys Fletcher' award for the restoration to service of 'Sir Archibald Sinclair'.
- The second set of coaches this weekend (as it has been for the last two) is formed of the Railway's Victorian train. Our hourly two-train service 1 timetable will be in operation.
- Details of Giants of Steam (Oct 23, 24 & 25), our big autumn Gala event, now available. Fare details also available, with a discount on advance ticket purchases made by 30th September.
- If you sell things on eBay, you can save money on listing fees if you donate some of the proceeds to the Bluebell Railway Trust. Details of our eBay for Charity entry are here - just choose "Sell". You can choose to donate between 10% and 100% of your final selling price. (5% to 100% in eBay Motors). There is a £1 minimum donation if your item sells, and the donation element can be gift-aided.
Alternatively you can use the "Donate Now" tab on the page to gift-aid a donation to the Trust through PayPal.
- An article last week in the East Grinstead Courier and Observer highlighted how the Railway and other local organisations have benefitted over the summer from people taking holidays at home.
- More of Derek Hayward's photos from last weekend: on the right, the Dukedog with a special charter consisting of just the GN Saloon, and below, 80151 approaches Sheffield Park passing the LBSCR-pattern Inner Home signal, the 73082 'Camelot' team, and the interior of Pullman Car 76 'Lilian'.
- Derek Hayward has now completed his gallery of photos from Saturday's Open Day, including: Service trains (Saturday and Sunday including a Special), PWay, Loco Workshops update, Pullmans and
the interior of the newly outshopped Bulleid coach (as seen on the right).
- Two YouTube videos from SteamNutter, from the Open Day: P-Way demonstration and 9017 arriving and departing Horsted Keynes.
- A summary of the BRPS Committee meeting
held on 17th July 2009 is now available on the Society Members' information page.
- Another of Andrew Strongitharm's photos (below) from last Saturday, illustrating the superb new Carriage & Wagon display which is now installed in the viewing area in the C&W workshop at Horsted Keynes.
- We can now confirm a second visitor for our 50th Anniversary celebrations in August 2010: Furness Railway No.20. Together with "Tornado", this means we will have both the oldest and the newest steamable main-line engines to help us celebrate 50 years of standard gauge preservation.
This photograph (by Ray/Tall Fool), showing No.20 at Haverthwaite on 23 July 2006, is reproduced under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.
- Derek Hayward's photo below shows the Permanent Way volunteers giving a demonstration at Saturday's Open Day.
Our next similar behind-the-scenes event is the Open Weekend at East Grinstead on 10 & 11 October.
- Photos from Saturday's Behind Bluebell open day from Derek Hayward (including that on the right, showing the latest progress on LBSCR E4 No.B473) and Andrew Strongitharm (including that below, with the Dukedog on the Victorian set).
- Please Note: on Wednesday 16th September, the 3:00pm train from Sheffield Park will only be a return trip to Horsted Keynes, not traversing the full length of the line.
- Martin Lawrence's photo from Saturday shows that the second train this weekend was the C-class with the Victorian coaching set, which was also running in the evenings for the Victorian Picnic service. His video highlights the fact that the C-class was actually hauling an 8-coach train! The other train running over the weekend was hauled by the BR Standard 4 tank - seen in this second video.
- Reminder about our popular Wizard Weekend on 31st October and 1st November. A discount is available for advance ticket puchases.
- Subject to final confirmation, King Arthur Class No.30777 "Sir Lamiel" will be visiting the Bluebell this October to take part in the Giants of Steam gala. Hence we have the unique opportunity to run a photographic charter with the loco on some Bulleid coaches. If you would like to join the charter - details are available here.
- Andrew Strongitharm has updated his latest photo album with some photos taken yesterday showing amongst other things the P-class, 323 "Bluebell", being shunted into the Loco Works, as seen on the right. With much of the work on the loco already done, and it having the best of the P-class boilers, might we see two P-class locos in steam next year on the Bluebell?
- With the First-class selling out, the only seats remaining for the Wealden Rambler Grandparents Afternoon Tea are in the "Country" class lounge car.
- John Fry's photo shows Blackmoor Vale yesterday before it was loaded onto Allely's low-loader for transport to the 2009 Great Dorset Steam Fair (Wednesday 2nd - Sunday 6th September) where it will be the centre piece of the heavy haulage display. The transport has been arranged and paid for by Allely's, and there are more photos on the Bulleid Society web site.
- David Warwick has a photo of Sir Archibald Sinclair on the Fotopic.Net front page today.
- Martin Lawrence has a video on YouTube of 80151 emerging from the Tunnel on Monday this week.
- Dave Clarke has two new sets of photos, showing the test run of Bulleid Brake No.2526 last Thursday, and the celebration of the completion of its overhaul on Saturday.
- Yesterday the story of the carriage body which arrived last Wednesday, and which we thought was of SER origin, but which didn't match the dimensions of any recorded SER vehicle, took a new turn...
An "archeological" dig beneath the tarred horsehair and further coating of tar covering one of the doors has revealed strong evidence of LB&SCR origins, with the outline of what is most probably an LB&SCR carriage garter emblem with a number which is probably 221 in the centre and "THIRD" on the waist panel of the door.
- Dave Clarke's photo on the right is from his photo album illustrating the recovery of the carriage from Battle, and shows it being craned onto an old SR Maunsell carriage underframe at Horsted Keynes last Wednesday, before being covered with an overall tarpaulin.
- Yesterday saw No.80151 hauling a rake of three Bulleid carriages in the evening, as a volunteers' special train for those who had been involved in the restoration of Semi-open Brake Third No.2526 (as seen in Richard Salmon's four photos). Whilst there are just a few little things to be sorted before the carriage can enter passenger service, it is essentially finished, and the team are now starting to look at their next project, SR Bulleid composite No.5768.
Tom Waghorn has posted a gallery of photos of the evening (including the second of the three photos below).
With Bulleid open third No.1482 currently in the paint shop, and brake No.2515 hopefully to be smartenned up for what is expected to be its last year in service, we should be able to turn out a rake of 5 Bulleid coaches for events and photo charters in the coming months.
- John Kortland spent yesterday at and around Horsted Keynes station and from that album provides this photo of the Dukedog indulging in some early morning shunting.
- Yesterday also saw a successful test run for Bulleid Brake Carriage No.2526, which will soon be available for service.
- Although the 16 first-class compartments on each of the Victorian Picnic evening trains next weekend (5-6 September) are pretty much sold out, third class compartments remain available, and remember the special offer for Sunday 6th September only for 6 passengers, in a third class compartment, at just £100.00, including the picnic hamper with wine and soft drinks, and the music hall show. Book now!
- Two photos taken on Saturday of what we think [... OK, we thought, but now believe isn't] a South Eastern Railway carriage of about 1860-62, which was recovered yesterday from Battle in East Sussex, where it had been in a garden since 1901. It had a luggage space with double doors at one end, three compartments (without partitions above the seats) and then what may have been a guard's compartment. This last short section of the carriage body is missing, but the last 4ft of the underframe and floor remain in place beneath what became a patio . The coach is 22ft long and 8ft wide with a very shallow arc roof. The first [wide-of-the-mark...] stab at an identity is (p.16 of David Gould's 1976 Oakwood Press book "Carriage Stock of the SE&CR") one of the Brake Thirds built by Brown Marshalls in 1862, but before we publish the new web page for the carriage we'd be very pleased to hear (c/o Richard Salmon) from anyone with any pertinent information. Clearly there are several avenues for research which will now be followed.
We are most grateful to the owners of the property in Battle, Julian and Clare Hooton, for their very great desire to see this historic vehicle preserved for the future, for donating the carriage to the Bluebell, and for their very considerable assistance in preparing and facilitating its removal. The Bluebell Railway Trust have funded the transport costs and a tarpalin to protect it, which is now in place on the carriage at Horsted Keynes.
- Derek Hayward's photo album from Sunday's "Sussex Food Fair" now also includes full captions, and photos of that day's trains, a look around the Loco Works, and coverage of the Bluebell Railway Band, who were playing at Horsted Keynes.
- On BBC Radio 4 yesterday was a programme ("Train Tracks") about music inspired by trains. The only real trains were ours (and yes, we got a good plug), with loco No.80151 and Trainee Fireman Katie Favell explaining how locos bark. It is available to Listen Again for another 6 days.
- Update to the Deferred Share Scheme application form - for new applications the monthly payments have again been re-arranged so as to enable the minimum shareholding to be reached during 2010, and thus applicants will receive the shareholder benefits applicable in January 2011. (This scheme enables Bluebell members to purchase shares in the Railway from the Society's holding, and thus help us towards our target of extending the line to East Grinstead. If you are not already a member, then you can of course join the Society, and then join the share purchase scheme.)
- It is sad to report that Mike South died, after a long fight with cancer, in the early hours of Tuesday 25th August. He was involved in the very early days of operating the Bluebell Railway, and his reminiscences of those days are in the historical section of this web site. He later became the leading light and inspiration amongst a group of LBSCR/SR modellers in Calgary, Canada, and a well respected member of the Southern E-mail Group.
- Derek Hayward's photo from Sunday shows the Dukedog on the lunchtime Pullman train at Birch Farm Crossing.
- Two phatos from Dave Chambers, taken before the first train last Thursday morning, showing the C-class "taking the dog for a walk". The Dukedog was hauled (out of steam) into the station platform at Sheffield Park by the C-class, and subsequently returned to the yard by 'Sir Archibald Sinclair', thus saving a separate shunt/run-round operation (which is hard when the platform always has some carriages in it!)
- Special Offer on the Victorian Picnic evening trains for Sunday 6th September only: 6 passengers, in a Third Class Compartment, for just £100.00
- More Vintage Weekend photos, these from Stephen Hunt, including this one of "Sir Archibald Sinclair" leaving Horsted Keynes on Sunday.
The Bulleid Society report that this locomotive has proved to be a reliable performer on the Bluebell since entering service in April, and has required very little work other that the usual routine running maintenance and two boiler washouts.
- Photos from John Sandys showing work at East Grinstead station site this weekend. Whilst the back wall of the platform (being constructed at present) is blockwork, the front wall will be traditional brick.
- Update from Duncan Bourne on the Loco Workshop Working Group's restoration of SECR P-class No.178.
- The Bulleid Society reports that "Blackmore Vale" will be going to the Great Dorset Steam Fair, representing the Bulleid Society and the Bluebell, both organisations also having a presence at the event.
The locomotive will be there from the 2nd until the 6th of September and will be included in the loading and unloading demonstrations, and being hauled around the display arena.
- Another update on the extension with photos from Patrick Plane showing progress with the first week's work building the platform at East Grinstead, and on the viaduct.
- The Vintage Transport Weekend went exceptionally well (about 40% up on last year, from what I gather), thanks in part to the dry but not-too-hot weather, a lot of hard work by everyone involved in running the event, and our record number of exhibitors. The brake van rides (see videos below) proved very popular, raising £1,300 towards the extension project. Next year the event will be a week later, 21st and 22nd of August 2010.
- The visiting dignitaries (Mayors and deputy Mayors from surrounding towns) and competition judges, together with the Prize winners and vintage buses have now been added to Derek Hayward's Fotopic gallery - the photos above show Mike Hallett's Southdown Cup winning (best overall exhibit) Post Office van, a vintage bus on the free service to Brighton on the Sunday, and the Austin Healey 3000 works rally car. Below is the winner of the traction engine category, Gareth Jones' Foden steam lorry.
- Robert Philpot has a video and some photos
- Videos from Dave Humphries showing a ride behind 80151, and other action from the weekend, and a separate video of the brake van rides.
- Photos from Alan Bedford including that below showing Br 4MT No.80151 and the LBSCR Bogie First at Kingscote on Sunday
- Bernard Holden, our centenarian President, photographed (below) by Tony Sullivan on Saturday (VJ Day). Bernard is now back at home after a short stay away.
- Photos available from Derek Hayward, from the first day of the Vintage Weekend, which continues on Sunday.
The above photos show The Handlye Special (a one-off Rolls Royce Phantom II powered by a Rolls Royce Merlin Aero engine), traction engine "Endurance", some guests celebrating a birthday, in period costume appropriate to the vintage atmosphere, and below, Stroudley Terrier 672 'Fenchurch' giving brake van rides at Horsted Keynes, Post Office van, and cars, and some of the vintage motorcycles.
- A further update on the extension is now available thanks to Nigel Longdon, together with details of an Open Day at East Grinstead Station Site on 10-11 October.
- An additional attraction at the Vintage Transport Weekend will be the first chance to travel new ground over the Ardingly Branch. 'Fenchurch' and the Queen Mary brake van will be operating shuttles from Horsted Keynes to the end of the Ardingly Branch on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th August. The fare for this ride will be £3, with all proceeds going to the Northern Extension.
- Tony Sullivan's photo from last Saturday shows the lunchtime Pullman Wedding special; Horsted Keynes station has become a very popular location for wedding ceremonies.
- Tickets for the Wizard Weekend (31 Oct & 1 Nov) are Half Price if purchased during August.
- Songs of Praise will be on Sunday 20th September this year - a
special train departs from Horsted Keynes at 5.45pm. Come and meet the Railway's new Chaplain, Father John Twisleton.
50th Anniversary Appeal launched today.
This Appeal celebrates the founding of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society in 1959 and the commencement of steam operated services in 1960. Funds raised by the Appeal will help secure the Railway's future by seeing it connected to the national railway network at East Grinstead, and helping to preserve its unique collection of locomotives and rolling stock.
A new web site specifically for the appeal explains what the aims are. Please help us to achieve those aims!
Over the coming year we are also planning a series of 50th Anniversary Events.
- 'Sir Archibald Sinclair' was running today (seen in this photo leaving Horsted Keynes this morning). It is rostered to run every day for the next couple of weeks.
- Two very special cars (photos below) should be present as additional attractions at the Vintage Transport Weekend (15-16 August) - The Handlye Special (a one-off Rolls Royce Phantom II powered by a
Rolls Royce Merlin Aero engine), and Austin Healey 3000 Mk1 BN7 Works rally car, SMO 744 (on the Sunday only). More details on the Vintage Transport Weekend web page.
- For the month of August, Waitrose in East Grinstead has the Bluebell Railway Trust as one of the three charities which they will support - vote for us the using the tokens given to you at the supermarket checkout.
- Tony Sullivan's photo shows 80151 approaching Horsted Keynes yesterday afternoon.
- Andrew Strongitharm has a new web page featuring photos taken yesterday, including one showing the boiler of B473 in steam for the boiler inspector.
- The last Extension News update is now illustrated with a photo (taken by Derek Hayward through the fence at East Grinstead station site) showing the progress on digging the footings for the back wall of our new platform.
- The Bluebell Railway's 50th Anniversary Appeal will be launched on Friday 7th August - press release here.
A micro-site for the appeal is at an advanced stage of preparation, and will be available by the launch date. Working members of the Railway will be briefed on the appeal at a meeting on 8th August - see notices at the Railway for information.
- This photo from Monday was submitted by Peter Austin: Dukedog 9017, still retaining its black livery, at the head of the 4pm train from Sheffield Park, approaches Horsted House Farm bridge. The coaches are Bulleid Open Third 1464, Maunsell Open Thirds 1336 and 1309, Maunsell Brake Composite 6686, and LBSCR Bogie First 7598.
- We are very pleased to recommend the following event, the whole proceeds of which are supporting the Railway's push to East Grinstead:
Tickets are on sale now for The Jive Aces' Summertime Swing on 2nd August, 1:00pm at Saint Hill Manor in Sussex. Tickets available from www.seetickets.com or call 08444 122 706. They are £15 in advance (£13 conc.) Group bookings for 10 or more at £13 each, are available - just call 01342 300 075.
Keely Smith, Kenny Ball, Keith Ball and Toni Elizabeth Prima will be returning as special guests as well as May-Jean Lewis (R 'n' R legend Jerry Lees's niece) and the Flitinis. As usual the King of Wax himself Mr Terry Elliott will be spinning the discs.
- Derek Hayward has added some photos from road-level of the bridges on our extension, and one new photo taken through the fence at East Grinstead station site, to further illustrate the trackbed and lineside between Kingscote and East Grinstead - please note that the trackbed area remains strictly OUT OF BOUNDS to all visitors, including lineside permit holders.
- James Young's photo is from one of the Victorian Music Hall shows earlier this month. This show forms part of our Victorian Picnic evenings. The next such events are on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th September - tickets available by phone: 01825 720800, and through our online shop.
- The first day (today) of the Toy and Collectors Fair was a great success, with crowds of visitors enjoying both the fair at Horsted Keynes, and a ride on our trains. The event continues on Sunday.
- Peter Austin's photo taken yesterday shows 80151 approaching Horsted
Keynes with the 4pm ex Kingscote.
- Update to the Deferred Share Scheme details and application form - for new applications the monthly payments have been arranged such as to enable the minimum shareholding to be reached by the end of 2010, and thus applicants will receive the shareholder benefits applicable in January 2011. (This scheme enables Bluebell members to purchase shares in the Railway from the Society's holding, and thus help us towards our target of extending the line to East Grinstead. If you are not already a member, then you can of course join the Society, and then join the share purchase scheme.)
- We are pleased to announce that the first visiting guest locomotive which we have secured to attend our 50th Anniversary Celebrations in August 2010 will be none other than Peppercorn "A1" Pacific 60163 "Tornado". Further details are on a new web page which will develop as the plans for the events around our 50th Anniversary are confirmed.
Tim Easter's photo of "Tornado" was taken on 25th April during the London to Edinburgh run filmed for the BBC "Top Gear 1949" race to the North
- If we can complete our extension by next August, "Tornado" could come in by rail!
One of our fund raising initiatives towards that objective is the sale of Tenner for the Tip certificates to passengers on our steam trains - if you might have a spare day over the summer to help with that, please see the information on the BRPS Members' Information page, and give our Customer Service Team a call on 01825 720800 and they will be pleased to introduce you to the rest of the team and help you get involved.
- Details now available for the Behind Bluebell Open Day on 12th September.
Come and see behind the scenes as we celebrate 50 years of Bluebell preservation and progress.
- Stephen Hunt's photo from Saturday (right) shows SECR No.592 waiting to leave Sheffield Park with the 4pm service to Horsted Keynes.
- Now very close to being released into traffic (expected towards the end of August) after a complete restoration from departmental condition, Bulleid brake carriage No.2526 was shunted out of the paint shop yesterday; Andy Prime and Dave Clarke have both supplied photos (below). More of Dave's are on his fotopic site. The carriage is now going to be lifted to fit the refurbished wheels and bogie at the north end, and then requires the brake gear to be set up.
- Update, thanks to Andy Prime, on the renovation of LMS designed (BR Built) 3-plank wagon M480222, added to the C&W Works News, including the photo below.
- Derek Hayward has created a new photo gallery, as has Andrew Strongitharm, to mark the end (last week) of the current boiler certificate of SECR O1 No.65. We hope that the loco will be back in action again in relatively few years time.
- Details now available for the Toy and Rail Collectors Fair over the weekend of 25 & 26 July.
- Update, thanks to Nigel Longdon, on recent progress on the extension - amongst other things, groundworks and laying in of services are progressing on our East Grinstead Station site. The focus will shortly also fall on fund-raising, since we need to raise a significant sum of money before we can excavate any more of the tip.
- The photo on the right illustrates today's update to the C&W news page for Maunsell Brake Third No.3687, showing the recently erected corridor partition.
- Photo of yesterday's concert by The Yetties, from Tony Sullivan.
- Today was probably the last public service for SECR O1-class No.65 before the expiry of its 10-year boiler certificate - Paul Pettitt's photo shows it in the yard at Sheffield Park this evening.
- The third photo, also from Paul, shows the SECR C-class No.592 ready to leave Sheffield Park this evening with The Victorian train, headed for the Victorian Music Hall show in The Paddock at Horsted Keynes. The next Victorian Picnic special trains are in September - book now.
- Derek Hayward's photo on the right shows Standard tank 80151 as it enters Horsted Keynes station, passing the new memorial garden, on 27 June 2009.
- More retro railway ringtones are now available from the Beulah audio archive. Profits from the following ringtones contribute to the Bluebell's East Grinstead Extension:
- Steam train working the Kemp Town branch in Brighton, with a Stroudley Terrier working hard. Recorded 1957.
- Train Spotters - Two boys compare numbers, British Railways Southern Region, recorded in 1960.
- Manic Signal Box Bell - recorded in Horsted Keynes 'box 15 years ago.
- More photos here from the Family Fun weekends, from Derek Hayward.
- With profits from some downloads going to the Bluebell's Northern Extension fund, some retro railway ringtones are now available, at a price of just 95pence each, from the Beulah audio archive and include:
- A manic signal box bell
- Egham level crossing bell
- Train spotters listing loco numbers (BR Southern Region)
- A steam engine having a mega slip
- HST horn
- Diesel loco horn
- Pee Wee warning tone
- Santa Special details now available, with postal and on-line booking opening today. N.B. online booking is only for 3rd class tickets - First Class and Observation Car tickets only available by post (or phone after 5th October).
- The Pilstyes, in Lindfield, offering both B&B and self-catering accommodation, added to the Accommodation near the Railway page.
- Update to the FAQ page, adding details of our gradients, and noting that the line closures pre-dated the appointment of Dr Beeching as Chairman of the British Railways Board, and explaining the dual closure of the line.
- With the SECR O1-class No.65 coming to the end of its boiler certificate, and the loco roster only showing two more days in service, the photo on the right from Ashley Smith illustrates it in use on 20th June on the Fathers' Day Wealden Rambler special during the Family Fun weekend.
- Update to loco news page on the overhaul of B473 (LBSCR E4 'Birch Grove')
- Update from the Maunsell Loco Society, reporting the re-wheeling of the S15, and also their success in winning the Rail Category in the Eastbourne Historic Vehicle Club 2009 Awards Scheme for the restoration of their SR PMV (Parcel & Miscellaneous Van). See Derek Hayward's photo of the van here.
- Photo today shows the miniature train service at Kingscote on Sunday, from Derek Hayward
- Report and photos on the restoration of LBSCR Fruit/Milk van No.270 added to the C&W Works News, with thanks to Jim Hewett. This includes the first use of the electric lifting jacks, last week.
- On Sunday 23rd August we are hosting the 'Flavours from Sussex' Food Fair between 10am and 5pm in our field at Horsted Keynes Station, in conjunction with the Haywards Heath Co-op. There will be stalls with local suppliers selling and giving samples of local produce. Entry will be by train travel ticket or platform ticket and you can of course save money by purchasing Bluebell Bonus travel tickets at least 8 days in advance.
- Update to the loco roster, showing what locos we currently expect to work on what days over the next 3 months (always subject to change), from Lewis Nodes.
- Update with 10 photos added to the news of the Brighton Atlantic Project
- Photo gallery from Derek Hayward, illustrating the last two weekends' Family Fun days, and a few lineside shots from Ashley Smith.
- On Wednesday, 17 June, the four original students that thought up the idea
of the Bluebell Railway in 1959, and were instrumental in organising the
original meeting in Haywards Heath where the Bluebell Railway Preservation
Society came into being, attended a grand re-union at Sheffield Park
Station. The founder members and other invited guests toured Sheffield Park Shed, the Workshops, the Brighton Atlantic project, the Carriage and Wagon Works and the signal box at Horsted Keynes. Pictures from Derek Hayward, including the one on the right, which shows (from left to right): Alan Sturt, Chris Campbell, Bernard Holden MBE (who chaired that inaugural meeting, and is now our President), David Dallimore and Martin Eastland.
- Major revision to the web page for Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864 to coincide with the publication of an article in Steam Railway magazine with details of our restoration plans for this coach.
- Update to the Component sponsorship list for the Brighton Atlantic Project.
- Andrew Strongitharm's photos of the three locos in use yesterday (U-class 1638 and Dukedog 9017 on the two service trains plus O1-class No.65 on a Wedding Belle special) link to his gallery featuring activity on the railway over the last two weekends.
- 2009 sees a joint celebration at the Bluebell Railway; it's our 50th Anniversary and also the 80th anniversary of The Golden Arrow, originally linking London to Paris via Dover, now the name used for the Bluebell Railway's Pullman dining train. Leading philatelic specialists Buckingham Covers have created a special commemorative cover (with collectable envelope, see below) to mark the occasion, which is also available from the Bluebell Shop.
- The photos below (from the backlog which have built up over the last couple of weeks) show:
- 34059 'Sir Archibald Sinclair' in action on 24 May (Martin Lawrence)
- 96 'Normandy' at Eastleigh on 23rd May (David Chappell)
- Visitors boarding our 4 Vep at Eastleigh on 23rd May (David Chappell)
- 'Normandy' seen again on 24th May (John Simmonds)
- Andrew Strongitharm's photo on the right shows one of our representatives at Eastleigh 100 over the Bank Holiday weekend. "Normandy", our 1893-built LSWR B4-class Dock Tank, is now back at the Bluebell (as seen in this photo, from Chris Dadson).
We were also represented by our 4 Vep, which was open to visitors, and contained some Bluebell stands and exhibitions, and which is seen in the two photos below (from Andrew, and the one showing Roy Watts, BRPS Chairman, by Tony Sullivan).
Photo Albums showing our presence at Eastleigh available from:
- Updates to the Loco Works News, with the latest from the Loco Workshop Working Group showing new rivets and other work on the boiler of SECR P-class 178, as well as recent photos showing progress on the H-class and E4.
- Jon Bowers has produced his "Bluebell Annual DVD", showing a variety of
events both on and around the Bluebell during 2008 (ie. a mix of galas,
lineside & footplate footage, as well as behind the scenes coverage of
maintenance work, staff training events, Northern extension developments
etc). There are more details and a trailer on the web page.
The DVD is being sold to raise funds mainly for the Northern Extension tip
removal fund, and £10 from each £15 copy sold will be donated to this cause. Other "good causes" directly associated with the railway will also benefit
from any proceeds left over once production costs are deducted. So buying
one is a good way to both remind yourself of what went on in 2008 but also
pay for a quarter of a ton of rubbish to be removed from Imberhorne tip!
- On 21st May we had a visit from a crane. Maunsell S15 No.847 was
re-wheeled, and Camelot's frames were lifted into the space
vacated by 847, as seen in Tony Sullivan's
photo (also below). A photo from Tom James (24 May) shows the frames in the yard.
Camelot's wheels will be sent away for re-tyreing shortly - the tyres have
already been ordered (in a joint order with 73096 on the Mid Hants). Tom James
has also provided a photo of No.847 re-wheeled.
- Photos from 24th May from Derek Hayward along with an update to his Sheffield Park Shed/Works collection.
- Election results from the BRPS AGM, 17 May - three Trustees to be elected:
At the AGM we made £208.81 profit on the teas and
the retiring collection amounted to a total of £484.42, making a
total of £693.23 raised for the Northern
Extension, along with £970 of Tenner for the Tip certificates sold.
- Neil Glaskin 215 Votes Elected
- Chris Cooper 164 Votes Elected
- Lewis Nodes 155 Votes Elected
- Martin Skrzetuszewski 92 Votes
- Sinclair Spencer 85 Votes
- Chris Dadson has come across two vintage photos (1 and 2) of 9017 at Moat Lane on the former Cambrian Railway, by Tony Gillett.
- To kick start our 50th anniversary celebrations we will be holding an Open Day on Saturday 12 September 2009. More details later, but it is now listed on the Special Events page.
- Southern at War photos available from:
- Photos of the SECR O1, and all the other action, at the KESR "Last Train's Gone" gala from Peter Skuce.
- The BBC is starting to make archive programmes available, and two so far feature the Bluebell - The Getaways, featuring the lives of several Bluebell volunteers from 1980 and The Train Now Departing - The Survivors, featuring the restoration of Port Line from Barry Scrapyard through to steaming on the Bluebell, in 1988.
- There have been several updates to the Loco Roster over the last few weeks, as plans have evolved.
- As many of our regular readers have surmised, I've been rather busy, and then away, over the last few weeks. So apologies for that... to make up for it, I will be gradually including the photos and links I've been sent over the last few weeks, and start here with a topical shot from yesterday (thanks to Peter Austin) of the Dukedog back at home, on the 4pm train from Sheffield Park, emerging from the tunnel.
- There is a photo and report of the scattering of Pat Berry's ashes on 8th May on the BRPS notices pages.
- One major update I was able to do, but not advise here, was the publicity for the Family Fun weekends in June. Advance ticket purchases attract a 1/3 discount if booked by the end of May, so don't delay! The event is our annual "Traditional English Summer Fayre", with activities and attractions to interest all the family, plus of course an intensive service of steam trains.
- The first day of the Southern at War event went exceptionally well, with a very good number of visitors enjoying the fine weather and the great atmoshpere of wartime bustle, including the Dakota flypast as seen right (Richard Salmon) and below (Derek Hayward) - see also Derek's gallery of photos.
- Andrew Strongitharm has a gallery for today's event, and a video of the Dakota flypast (seen also in his photo, the second one below).
- Two more photos below showing the locos in use today, both taken by Martin Lawrence: Battle of Britain class 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair" (with the repainted Bulleid coach 4279 seen immediately behind the loco), and the U-class 1638 on the other set which consisted of 2 SR Bulleid coaches and 3 SR Maunsells. Martin also has a video from today (featuring 34059), and another from last weekend (with 80151).
- Update from Peter Richards to the Horsted Keynes Resignalling News, illustrated with the photo below by Chris Majer showing Bert Bassett, one of the Bluebell's original signalmen, inspecting the completed frame. The mechanical locking is now complete, with a walkway constructed over the operating floor locking trays. The work has now shifted to downstairs in the locking room where the electrical locking is being applied.
- Large number of photos from Wouter Adriaanse covering the working visit of P-way volunteers (Weg & Werken on Tour) from our twin railway, Museum Stoomtram Hoorn-Medemblik, when they were helping us with track maintenance on the Bluebell at the end of April.
- Dave Humphries took this Mobile Phone Picture of No.65 resting on the A22 en-route back to Sheffield Park from the KESR this week.
- Stephen Gardiner's photos of the Steel
Steam and Stars 2 at Llangollen, including several photos of our Dukedog.
- Photos from Ashley Smith, taken at the K&ESR gala on Monday, including our SECR O1 loco
- Updates provided by Martin Skrzetuszewski and edited by Jon Elphick for:
Page 1 of the Kingscote Station History, updated to incorporate recent research by Roger Barton on Porter-Signalman Alfred Hillman, and an update with further information about BR Standard 4MT loco No.75027's BR service.
The latest publication from Buggleskelly Books, with 10% from all orders received via this web site at the address below going to the 32424 (Brighton Atlantic) Project, is:
Sussex Motorman , The Hubert Hobden Memoirs Volume Two: 1935 - 1961
148 gloss pages, 136 photographs, illustrations and maps including 62 colour images, A5 Laminated Card Covers
In this sequel to the acclaimed companion volume Sussex Engineman, The Hubert Hobden Memoirs Volume One: 1913 - 1935 Hubert recounts his period as a Motorman on the Southern Railway up to his retirement in 1961. This unique account, which covers nearly three decades, describes his experiences as one of the very first drivers to work the newly-electrified line to Eastbourne and Hastings. Based at Ore depot, but no stranger to the Brighton Belle, he relates working practises, the perils of the war years, and recalls a host of long-gone railway characters. Also included are the previously unpublished accounts of four of Hubert's contemporaries; signalman Pat Harmer, driver Peter Dove, and Lancing electricians Bill Oliver and Lionel Pilbeam.
Sussex Motorman, which is a limited edition of 1000 copies only, is priced £11.95 (plus 95p P&P). Payment should be made out to "Buggleskelly Books" and sent to:-
"Sussex Motorman", 22 Glassenbury Drive, Bexhill-on-Sea, E. Sussex TN40 2NY.
To coincide with the publication, Volume One: Sussex Engineman has been reprinted. Copies are priced £10.95 (plus 95p P&P).
- David Haggar's photo on the right shows our SECR O1-class No.65 passing Bodiam Castle with SECR coaches on a photo charter at the Kent & East Sussex Railway on Friday 1st May. The first photo below was also taken by David at that event.
- Andrew Strongitharm's photo below, shows the O1 on a goods train (banked by P-class No.753), at the KESR gala on Monday. Andrew has updated his gallery of photos of No.65 with photos from the weekend's event.
- Richard Salmon's photo, also taken on Monday, shows the SECR C-class at Horsted Keynes about to take the freshly re-painted Bulleid brake 4279 down to Sheffield Park, where it was due to be used in service this week.
- The on-loan Electro-Diesel No.73136 "Perseverance" left the Bluebell today at then end of a very useful and successful spell clearing spoil from the south end of Imberhorn cutting on our Northern Extension.
- Update to loco roster, due to a late change in the locos expected to run this weekend.
- Photo updates available from:
- Paul Pettitt: Picture of the Month (featuring Sir Archibald Sinclair), a new gallery for No.34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair", page update on U-class No.1638, New page for C-class, No.592, and photos of ED Class 73.
- Derek Hayward: the spoil train/Imberhorne Lane, 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair", Spring Specials, Vintage buses at Kingscote on 26 April and general photos covering the new memorial garden at Horsted Keynes; Ketches Halt (prior to dismantling); Repaint of 4279 etc,
- Chris Dadson: Spoil being loaded on the NORTH side of Imberhorne Lane Bridge, views showing how the triangle at HK is being landscaped to form an amenity area, a photograph of a damp but readable newspaper dated 9th December 1965 found amongst the excavated spoil, and progress on re-painting SR Bulleid carriage 4279 (photo right).
- On the topic of the repaint of 4279, C&W volunteers who offered last year to undertake work on it have now been able to give it a quick spruce up, which has taken just two weeks and is nearly finished. Dave Clarke's sequence of photos follows the work, although such is the pace of progress this week that these photos are already out of date! If the weather holds, the work should be finished on Monday, with the carriage back in traffic next weekend. The carriage is due in the workshop at the end of the year for maintenance work, which will include a full repaint. Our other SR Bulleid brake 2515 is also expected to receive similar treatment in the coming weeks.
- This photo from Brian Easter was taken on Sunday: The Bluebell's Dukedog 9017 near the Glyndyfrdwy outer home, on the 4.15 from Llangollen.
- Nigel Pitt has a gallery of photos from a "Cambrian Coast Express" recreation charter featuring 9017 early last Wednesday morning.
- Closer to home, below we see David Haggar's photo of the C-class with Bulleid and Maunsell carriages on Saturday, and two from Matt Allen showing 34059, also on Saturday.
- Next below we see the 4 Vep unit in the test shed at Eastleigh on Friday, when its Bluebell Railway ownership plates were attached. It and "Normandy" will be representing us at Eastleigh 100, May 23-25.
- Finally below we see that B473 (Birch Grove) has been re-wheeled in the loco works (photo from Ashley Smith).
- This coming weekend, being a bank holiday, will see the GNR Directors' Saloon running, serving toasted tea-cakes and cream teas for anyone with a first-class ticket (or on payment of a first-class supplement). Also there will be guided tours of the Carriage & Wagon Works at Horsted Keynes at 1.25pm each day over the weekend.
- This photo from David Haggar taken on Saturday, shows 34059 in public service.
More recent photos and videos:
- The second photo below from Derek Hayward shows that the track-laying has emerged beneath Imberhorne Lane Bridge. More photos are also available as part of his Kingscote to East Grinstead album.
A new Extension Report fills in the remaining details, thanks to Nigel Longdon.
- Brian Easter's photo below shows the Dukedog leading the 10-loco cavalcade on the final day (yesterday) of the Llangollen Railway/Betton Grange Steel, Steam & Stars II gala.
- The photo on the right from Derek Hayward shows Viscount Thurso after unveiling the name plates on 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair" on Friday, with Father John, the Rector of Horsted Keynes and Chaplain to the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society preparing to bless the engine. Derek's other photo below (taken at Sloop Bridge), and Brian Kidman's also, show the Loco hauling the special Pullman train for the invited guests.
The event has been well covered:
- The third photo below is from Ashley Smith, showing the C-class running on the Spring Specials, also on Friday.
- Derek Hayward has also provided a photographic update from Thursday and Friday, covering the Spring Specials, Golden Arrow, 34059, an update from Sheffield Park Shed and Workshops, Planning at West Hoathly, and the first spring lambs have appeared to entertain the children!
- The photo below showing the trial assembly of one of the valve chests from Fred Bailey is taken from a new update to the pages on the Brighton Atlantic project, which also show that the coupling rods have now been delivered, and photos of the first work being carried out on the fabricated valve chests and cylinders.
- Finally some photos by Clive Hanley of our Dukedog 9017 taken last Saturday 18th April where it really was the big star at Llangollen, including the one below showing it in a recreation of a Festiniog Railway Special, together with photos of the loco near Carrog with the first train of the Gala, on the headshunt at Llangollen, and crossing the River Dee, plus this magnificent model of Dukedog 9065 Tre Pol and Pen
- Andrew Strongitharm's photo illustrates the outshopped Battle of Britain pacific 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair" on Tuesday with a special train for members of the "300 Club" which has financed much of the work done on the locomotive over the last two decades. An update was also made to the Bulleid Society's page for the loco at the weekend. Tomorrow sees the official launch by Viscount Thurso (grandson of Sir Archibald Sinclair, who was the wartime Secretary of State for Air from 1940), with the loco then making its public debut over the coming weekend, hauling trains on both days.
- On Sunday 26th, in connection with East Grinstead Bus Running Day, we will run an extra early morning train: 10.17am from Horsted Keynes to Kingscote, 10.55am from Kingscote.
- Andrew's photo below shows the first day of the Observation Car Spring Specials, on Monday this week. See also his photo gallery featuring both these and Sir Archibald.
- Gallery of photos of the Branch Line weekend in February from Dave Bowles
- Could you help us by filling the voluntary post of Community Fundraiser for our forthcoming 50th Anniversary Appeal?
- 34059 visited Horsted Keynes for a photographic session on Monday afternoon. Ray Wills has posted half a dozen (unofficial) pictures on his fotopic site
- Chris Dadson's photos from Tuesday - with Fenchurch on the Spring Specials, Sir Archibald Sinclair on the 300 Club train, and the 08 on an extension works train - the track is being extended further northwards this week into the newly cleared section of cutting.
- Neil Glaskin has provided details for the BRPS Social Sub Committee's HorstedFest event, which includes a Volunteers Reunion on Sunday 24th May at Horsted Keynes Station.
- Another minor update to the Loco Roster, which now sees 34059 rostered for AGM day.
- Minor update to the Loco Roster, following 65's failure on Saturday evening with a broken spring - 592 replaces it this week - and the workshop staff have been fitting a replacement spring to 65 today, since it is due to leave for a visit to the Kent & East Sussex Railway next week.
- This substitution is illustrated by Dave Chambers' photo taken on Tuesday showing the C-Class with the Horsted Keynes set of coaches, formed of the three Maunsells and the Obo, emerging from the smoke-filled tunnel at West Hoathly.
- Tony Sullivan's photo below shows the U-class on the Sheffield Park set at Horsted Keynes with the 3pm ex-Sheffield Park today.
- Tony has also provided a photo of the main frame extension plates for 84030 in the workshop at Sheffield Park today, so the web page for the BR Standard Class 2 project has been updated.
- Photos today from Brian Kidman showing the Wednesday gang packing up after working just to the north of Ketches Halt last Wednesday (8th). It was arranged that the down service train would stop at 2.25pm to pick up workers returning to Sheffield Park - probably one of the last times the Halt will be used as the platform sections are due to be relocated to East Grinstead shortly. After the service train had arrived at Sheffield Park the Wickham was able to proceed up to Horsted Keynes, picking up the remainder of the team plus tools at Ketches on the way. Ian Aitken is seen supervising loading of the down train then awaiting arrival of the Wickham, driven by Maurice, prior to loading up.
- Article in the East Grinstead Courier and Observer today about the award by Mid Sussex District Council of a £25,000 donation towards our work to restore Imberhorne Viaduct on our Northern Extension Project.
- News update from Duncan Bourne with photos from Rob Faulkner, showing current progress of the Loco Works Working Group on SECR P-class No.178.
- Richard Thomas has a splendid gallery of photos of the Dukedog on a Goods Train charter taken at Llangollen on 1st April.
- Chris Dadson has posted new photos of Imberhorne Lane cutting, showing the tidied up south end of the cutting following removal of the inert spoil from under the bridge up to the start of the rubbish tip proper.
- Two YouTube videos from Aidan Grant: 1638 and 592 emerge from Sharpthorne Tunnel on Monday.
- This weekend, in addition to the children's Easter Eggstravaganza activities, there will also be free guided tours behind the scenes in the Carriage & Wagon Department at Horsted Keynes, on Good Friday, Saturday, and Easter Monday, starting at 1.30pm.
- Update to the pages on the Brighton Atlantic project with news and photos of the first motion components being water-jet cut from the forged billets.
- The photo on the right (from John Fry) is part of another update to the Loco Works News page for the LBSCR E4 locomotive, and shows the two cylinders, one of which now has its liner fitted.
- Update to the page for volunteering in the Carriage & Wagon department.
- Norman Blake has provided the required information about the new siding behind the pumphouse siding (known as the "Hawkins" siding) to enable a correction to the track layout at Sheffield Park page.
- On some special event days when we have an RML bus on the 473 service from East Grinstead to Kingscote, the bus will start from Brighton as a new 472 service to East Grinstead via Lewes. Details added to the Access to the railway page.
- Andrew Strongitharm took some photos of 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair" at Horsted Keynes today (including that on the right), and a video on YouTube. The painting is now finished with numbering, lining and crests completed, and it is seen being lit up before returning to the Sheffield Park loco works in the late afternoon. Smoke deflectors and a few other parts will be fitted once back in the works.
- There was an update last week on the Bulleid Society web site, about final work on "Sir Archibald Sinclair" in preparation for its return to service expected on 24, 25 & 26 April.
- There is also a new Loco Works News page about the overhaul of LBSCR E4 No.2473 (Birch Grove)
- Photos from Saturday from Matthew Toms - on Flickr and Fotopic (jointly with James Cummins)
- Update to photo page for U-class No.1638 thanks to Jon Elphick
- Ashley Smith has a gallery of photos from today, including that shown here with the C-Class waiting to depart from Sheffield Park following the arrival of the Inspection Saloon special which ran today for the owners of "Perseverance".
- Reminder that tickets can be booked now for the Victorian Picnic Evening specials - the last few first class compartments are still available, but probably not for much longer!
- Don't forget the Toy and Rail Collectors Fair at Horsted Keynes station tomorrow. Service 1 (hourly) timetable in operation, with an additional train departing Horsted Keynes at 10:25am to Kingscote and returning from there at 10:55am. Also, daily running starts tomorrow - we have steam trains running every day from now until November 15th!
- Today's photo, showing 9017 in black on a photo charter at Llangollen on Tuesday, is included here with thanks to Paul Maycock, who has a gallery of photos of the engine in black.
- Minor update to the Loco Roster from Lewis Nodes.
- Did you fall for it? - I don't think we're quite ready for a diesel gala just yet!
- 10-13 April Easter Eggstravaganza - Good Friday to Easter Monday
Easter fun for everyone:
At Horsted Keynes Station: Easter Card making, Grass heads, Easter surprise box making, Badge making
Other activities include: Guess the name of the bunny competition, Easter Egg hunt, Railway Easter quiz
All included in normal ticket prices - book at least 8 days in advance for 20% off with Bluebell Bonus discount tickets.
- Rail Ale: There are still tickets available for the Real Ale evening on 17th April. Book now!
- Davey Mills has photos from a visit to the line on 22 March
- Congratulations to the Swanage Railway on the arrival of their first through train from London yesterday (BBC report) over their own "northern extension".
- The Howlden Trust held their AGM on board their GNR Directors' Saloon, attached to one of the service trains on Saturday. In a recreation of one of the saloon's last journeys on the main line (in October 1971 - attached to a Clapham Junction to Woking Yard parcels train behind an EDL) on arrival at Sheffield Park at the end of the day, E6043 "Perseverance" took the saloon for two extra trips to Kingscote in the early evening for members of the Trust (one of whom is also a part-owner of E6043) and their guests. Richard Salmon's photos (both at Kingscote) show the saloon at dusk on the second trip, and with the 73 during its run-round on the first. This operation neatly enabled the saloon to end the day safely tucked up in the shed at Horsted Keynes, so saving a separate shunting move.
- Update to the Loco Roster from Lewis Nodes, giving details of the locos expected to be in use each day in April, May and June.
- Derek Hayward's photo on the right shows our centenarian President, Bernard Holden, with the railway's future, the young volunteers of our 9F Club, plus our 137-year old loco "Fenchurch", together with some of the adult 9F Club helpers. Derek also has a gallery of photos from yesterday (when with 2 service trains, the Golden Arrow lunch train and the Mothers' Day lounge-car special, we had four steam locos in action). The first two photos below are also from Derek, and show the C-class with the Lounge Cars, and the Standard Tank 80151 with the Pullmans.
- An article about Bernard Holden appears in this week's Country Life. It is the first article in their series "Best of British". Tony Sullivan's photo below shows Bernard in Pullman Car Lilian, where some of the photos to accompany the article were taken last month.
- An update from Duncan Bourne on the Loco Worshop Working Group's work on our P-class No.178, and also (belatedly) I have come across a roundup of 2008's activities from the 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society.
- Tony Sullivan's two photos from Sunday, below, completed the loco line-up; the U-class and the O1 were used on the service trains both days this weekend. The Class 73 seen in the Carriage yard at Horsted Keynes has now had its last use on the spoil trains, 10,600 tons of inert spoil from the extension having now been moved to Horsted Keynes.
- Talking of the Class 73, there has been more rubbish written recently in the specialist railway magazines. One talked about it breaking our "no diesel policy", which is something that has never actually existed. Another referred to the text about the policy on diesels on the FAQ pages on this web site, saying that the sentence:
The "policy" is that
the Society will consider any request to bring in any item of rolling stock
(be it a loco of any type, a wagon or a carriage) on its individual merits,
taking into account its potential usefulness to the railway, how it will
be maintained, and how it fits into our collection.
had recently been added. That sentence has in fact been there since the FAQ was written 10 years ago, and is the policy adopted at a BRPS AGM well over a decade ago when the diesel issue was hotly debated. The policy wording (specifically not a "no diesel" policy!) was agreed by democratic vote of the meeting. However, once all is said and done, the electro-diesel loco will leave the Bluebell in the next two weeks; job done very efficiently, and with the entire costs of hire and fuel for shifting the 10,600 tons of spoil covered by the one public special train.
- With dismantling for its overhaul now under way in the loco works, SECR H-class 0-4-4T No.263 has been moved from the Locos on static display page to the Locos under overhaul page.
- Keith Duke has a gallery of spoil extraction and spoil train pictures from 13th March.
- Derek Hayward's final photo below features the Bluebell Railway Band, playing at Sheffield Park for Mothers' Day yesterday.
- Update to the Loco Roster from Lewis Nodes
- Paul Pettitt has posted a new Picture of the Month, showing the visiting P-class on Freshfield Bank, photos of the Branch Line Gala, of the visit of the P-class No.753, and also of the Wealden Exclusive
- Photo on the right (Saturday 14th) and videos from Martin Lawrence:
Saturday 14th March:
Sunday 15th March:
and finally from Saturday 7th: No.73136 at Sharpthorne with the Wealden Exclusive
- No.80151 at Sloop Bridge
- No.592 on Freshfield bank with the Met coaches and Observation Car
- No.592 at New Coombe Crossing
- No.592 at Sharpthorne
- No.80151 at New Coombe Crossing
- Notes from the January Committee meeting now available via the BRPS Notices page, thanks to Gavin Bennett.
- On Monday this week the magnificently restored Southern Railway Maunsell drop-light open third carriage No.1336 was re-launched into service with a special train formed of Maunsell carriages hauled by Maunsell U-Class loco No.1638. This train was run as a thank-you to those members of the railway who have worked on the restoration of the carriage over the last decade. The overhaul has seen the carriage rebuilt literally from the bottom up. Dave Clarke's photos right and below show the occasion, and more of his photos are here.
- The photo below, from John Fry, shows the loaded test run of Sir Archibald Sinclair on Wednesday last week. The report is on the Bulleid Society web site. The loco is now in the paint shop at Horsted Keynes for final painting, transfers and lining, and then there is a little more work to do on the electrics (and fitting smoke deflectors) before the re-launch into service.
We are pleased to announce that on Friday 24th April No.34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair" will be formally launched into traffic at Horsted Keynes station. The special ceremony will take place at 11am in the presence of Viscount Thurso, the grandson of Sir Archibald Sinclair himself.
The locomotive will then haul a special Golden Arrow Pullman for invited guests.
On Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th April, the locomotive will haul its first public timetabled trains. It will haul the 11am, 1pm and 3pm services from Sheffield Park on these days.
- Dave Clarke also has photos showing the re-instatement of the Kingscote running-in board following overhaul by members of the C&W department.
- The Dukedog left last week for its visit to Llangollen, and a repaint into BR black livery for the Steel, Steam & Stars II gala in April.
- Today's and tomorrow's are expected to be the final spoil trains from the tip for the present, since all the inert material under and north of Imberhorne Lane bridge has now been excavated. Chris Dadson has some videos from last week, all filmed from the rear cab of the loco:
- Today's main photo, from John Fry, shows the historic moment (reported yesterday) when 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair" became the first rebuilt BoB to steam in preservation. There is a full report on the Bulleid Society web site. There is still considerable work to be done before it re-enters service later in the spring. The re-launch date will be announced when known.
- Today's Wealden Exclusive - hauled by 73136 (E6043) "Perseverance" - is represented by photos below from John Simmonds, a report on the SEG web site from Colin Duff, and this YouTube Video of the morning's ECS movement.
- Tony Sullivan's photos below illustrate today's timetabled service trains, hauled by the SECR O1-class No.65 and BR 4MT No.80151.
- Derek Hayward has a gallery of wildlife found on the Bluebell's linside, a sample of which is also included below.
- Martin Lawrence's photo shows the O1 with the SECR/SR/LNWR train last Sunday.
- We can report that 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair" successfully passed its insurance boiler steam test and initial static steam
test on 3 March. The following day 34059 moved in steam for the first time in preservation,
movements being made within the yard at Sheffield Park.
The locomotive has now returned to the workshop for attention to some minor issues which were revealed during
the test. On completion of these, further testing and running in will be undertaken, along with completion of the painting.
The Bluebell is now the proud owner of the first rebuilt Battle of Britain to steam in preservation, the first Bulleid pacific to
carry a 5250 gallon tender and the first Bulleid to carry a newly constructed tender (frames as well as body).
- Current track layout at Sheffield Park station is now available.
- In preparation for tomorrow's unique event, the Wealden Exclusive - the Bluebell's first special passenger train to be hauled by a diesel, it is worth adding a few other comments: The magazine claiming that it breaks 127 years without diesel haulage is wrong - diesels were to be seen hauling trains on the line in the 1950s. The magazine claiming that we have had an 08-hauled train in the past is also disingenuous - the 08s have only been used for spoil trains, shunting, empty-stock, testing and training purposes. However, it is also worth re-stating that the Bluebell remains committed to a 100% steam regular timetable. Visitors who arrive expecting a steam loco will not find a diesel substituted, as can happen on occasions on some other heritage lines.
- Further update to Chris Dadson's album of extension spoil extraction photos from today. Another week has seen about another 1840 tons of inert spoil removed. There's probably just one more week of digging before this phase is completed. Tom Waghorn's photo below shows the spoil train at West Hoathly this afternoon, and Chris Dadson's shows the exposed Imberhorne Lane Bridge from the North.
- Full details of the Rail Ale trains (Fridays 17 April, 29 May and 14 August 2009) now available - an evening of Steam, Real Ale and Jazz. A limited number of tickets are also available for non-travelling visitors to Horsted Keynes station. Tickets for the first evening are already selling fast, so book now!
- Both Wealden Rambler afternoon tea special trains over the Mothers' Day weekend are now fully booked (but the last few tickets remain for the Saturday Evening and Sunday Lunchtime Golden Arrow Pullman dining trains)
- Dave Clarke's photo shows the line-up of the four SECR engines in the loco yard on Saturday. Dave also has a few other photos of the Branch Line weekend, testing the electric jacks in the Carriage & Wagon works, and current progress at Imberhorne Lane - see also Chris Dadson's latest photos of the spoil extraction (another 400 tons was moved yesterday) - as also featured in his photo below, and a video from Martin Lawrence shows 73136 at West Hoathly with a spoil train yesterday, and another of it arriving and unloading at Horsted.
- The Mothers' Day Wealden Rambler on 22nd March is now fully booked, but a few tickets remain on the Saturday Wealden Rambler (afternoon tea train) and also for the Golden Arrow for Mothers' Day Sunday Lunch.
- A new Bluebell Recycling/Fundraising Scheme for Mobile Phones, PDAs, Printer Inkjet or Toner cartridges is now available - simply drop them off at any of our station booking offices.
- It has just been confirmed that we will get a flypast from the Dakota from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight on the Saturday (9th May) of the Southern at War weekend.
- Met-Camm 1960-built Pullman "Eagle" (owned by he NRM) left on Wednesday at the end of its period on hire to the Railway. It is understood to be going on hire to the Mid Hants Railway. The visiting SECR P-class No.753 from the K&ESR also left the same day.
- Martin Lawrence has some more videos on YouTube, showing the SECR Triple header, 80151 departing Kingscote, on Sunday.
- Coincident with Simon Baker's funeral yesterday, we heard further sad new of the passing of George Jones who was a member of both the Loco and C&W departments. See the BRPS Notices page.
- Photos from Sunday from Brian Easter including this one of 753 climbing Freshfield bank with the mixed train on the Sunday (when the lighting conditions were much harder than on the Saturday)
- The Northern Extension Team would like to thank all those who supported their book sale at Kingscote on Saturday and Sunday, which they mounted along with a display of photographs in the station waiting room. They raised just over £450 for the Extension funds, and are planning to have another book sale on March 7th at Kingscote.
The guided tours of the C&W Works were equally successful, and participants donated £210 towards the planned restoration of the Maunsell Restaurant Car, No.7864.
- Other photos and videos from the Branch Line weekend:
- Update from the Bulleid Society on the overhaul of Sir Archibald Sinclair. John Fry's photo below shows the loco shunted out of the workshop to allow testing of the springs.
- Derek Hayward's photo here shows the U-class on Sunday, hauling the SR milk tanker and SR Maunsell liveried coaches (plus the Observation Car).
- Mike Snow now has a series of videos of the event on "Steam on the Web".
- Martin Lawrence has another on YouTube, showing the Dukedog approaching Kingscote on Sunday.
- The photo below is another of Derek's showing the SECR Triple-header on Sunday afternoon.
- Today's Triple SECR Header is seen here in Derek Hayward's photo (which also illustrates well the darker skies today!)
- Photos albums and Videos from this weekend's Branch Line Gala:
- Derek Hayward,
- Matt Allen,
- David Warwick,
- Andrew Strongitharm,
- Stephen Hunt,
- Neal Ball,
- Chris Ward,
- Keith Leppard,
- Videos from Martin Lawrence: Nos 592 & 65 doublehead at Mill Place Wood, 80151 also at Mill Place Wood, No 592 & 65 at Dean's Crossing, No 80151 southbound near Birch Farm, No 753 southbound at New Coombe Bridge and No 9017 northbound at Mill Place Wood
- Photos below show, from Saturday: The Dukedog with the SR train (Edward Dyer), Fenchurch with the mixed train (Derek Hayward), 80151 (David Haggar) and then from today: 9017 (Tony Sullivan), U-class 1638 back in action after boiler work (John Simmonds) and the triple header with the O1, C and the Dukedog (John Goss)
- This weekend's Branch-Line Gala got off the a fantastic start, with perfect weather, and six locos in action. With the new springs ariving for the SECR C-class on Friday and fitted, the brakes re-connected in the morning and the weight distribution on the wheels and the safety valve setting checked, it was able to run in the afternoon. The SR U-class will also be running on Sunday, paired with the SR Maunsell liveried coaches.
- Many thanks to everyone who's sent photos - I'm afraid I'm spending most of the time at the railway myself this weekend - they will get used and galleries linked in the coming days! The impromptu double-header with the re-juvenated C-class and the O1 seen here was sent by Derek Hayward. Below is David Warwick's photo of the P-class heading the mixed train.
- Our centenarian President, Bernard Holden, was at Sheffield Park today for a magazine photo-shoot for Country Life. Photos were taken with the Dukedog and inside Pullman Car 'Christine', at a table which was specially laid up for the occasion.
- Further update for this weekend's Branch-Line event - the U-class No.1638 is to replace No.672 "Fenchurch" on the Sunday.
- Chris Dadson has a series of photos showing the 11th day of excavation of spoil from the south end of Imberhorne cutting - good progress is being maintained, as seen also in his photo here, taken today.
- Tony Sullivan's photo on the right shows No.9017 leaving Horsted Keynes with the 2.00pm Sheffield Park to Kingscote service today.
- Note added to the web page for this weekend's Branch-Line Gala - we should still have six locos in steam, but with the new springs for the C-class only expected to arrive tomorrow, it is not expected to be running until Sunday. The U-class should however be in light steam as a spare engine.
- Andrew Strongitharm has added photos from this week to his page of February photos, and also some photos and a video of the spoil train today to his gallery of current Extension photos
- Andrew's volunteers gallery has been added to the list of Photos of Bluebell Railway Staff and Volunteers
- Peter Austin's photos below, taken on Monday this week, show 80151 on
the 3:55pm train from Kingscote, and 9017 on the 4:20 from Horsted Keynes, both taken near Horsted House farm.
- In addition to the web page with a form to send in to obtain "Tenner for the Tip" certificates, you can now buy a certificate through our on-line shop - each £10 given equates to a quarter of a ton of rubbish removed from the tip which currently blocks our extension to East Grinstead.
- Another photo from Tony Sullivan, shows the 1.55pm train today, headed by Standard Tank No.80151, ready to leave Kingscote, whilst the '73' arrives with empty wagons, headed for Imberhorne cutting where the removal of inert material is progressing that little bit further on every weekday.
- Photos of Bluebell Railway Staff, added to the "Who's Who" page. These are available as personal albums from a variety of contributors. More are welcome (albums rather than individual photos please!)
- Don't forget the Kids for a Quid promotion this week for half term - and a two train (hourly) steam-hauled (and steam-heated) service.
- Tony Sullivan's photo from this morning shows the first spoil-train of the day, carrying spoil from Imberhorne cutting on our Northern Extension, making its way south through the West Hoathly station site.
- Update to the web page for the LMS BGZ (six-wheeled guard's brake), showing its new livery.
- Arrangements for Simon Baker's funeral now available via the BRPS Notices.
- Pat Plane's photo illustrates an update to the [an error occurred while processing this directive]extension news page reporting the start of the latest phase of work on the extension, the extraction of inert spoil from under (and beyond) Imberhorne Lane Bridge, at the south end of the tip last Friday. This work is expected to continue every weekday until the end of March.
- A new web page is available, with details of how to purchase "Tenner for the Tip" certificates - every £10 donated pays for the removal of a quarter of a ton of waste.
- New Link added for Escape and Explore, a tourism guide with ideas and suggestions for your holidays (including of course, a visit to the Bluebell).
- The Working Timetable and Event Guide for the Branch Line Weekend is available in advance or on the day, priced at £2.50 (post free, from the Sales and Information Office, Bluebell Railway, Sheffield Park Station TN22 3QL). It should go for printing tomorrow.
- Photo right from Paul Pettitt shows the P-class returning to Sheffield Park after the conclusion of its P-class special duties yesterday, and shows just how much larger the P-class is than a 'Terrier'!
- Andrew Strongitharm has a gallery covering the weekend's activities
- A video of the P-class Special today from Martin Lawrence, and more videos from yesterday:
- Paul Smith has a gallery including photos from the Bluebell Railway in the 1980s
- James Attwood has just started a fotopic gallery which will largely feature the Bluebell.
- John Simmonds' photo left shows the P-class at Horsted Keynes today.
In the background is our signal box, which has recently featured as a limited edition Hornby Magazine/Skaledale model (which apparently sold out almost as soon as it became available).
- The first day of the P-class specials went off very well, after an initial slight problem connecting the steam heat and vac. brake pipes to the carriages was resolved by fitting new hoses to the loco. The photo on the right, and the first two below are from David Haggar, and that on the right below is from Martin Lawrence. Tomorrow's P-class specials will depart from Horsted Keynes at 10.45, 12.47 and 2.48 and some seats remain available for purchase on the day.
- Martin also has a short video of the P-class special today.
- Ashley Smith has some photos from today, featuring the three locos running today - the P-class, the SECR O1 and Fenchurch
- Update to the Branch-Line weekend web page with more details of the attractions on offer.
- Update from Nick Beck to the web page for pre-grouping GWR wagon No.87782 which is the subject of a fund raising appeal towards its overhaul.
- On the Northern Extension, the spoil trains extracting inert material from the south end of the tip were up and running yesterday, with 5 round trips achieved, equating to over 400 tons of material removed.
- Update to his fotopic pages from Dave Clarke with the latest from around the Carriage & Wagon Works
- Simon Baker
It is with regret we have to advise members of the passing of Simon Baker, Station Master at Horsted Keynes, in the early hours of Saturday 7th February.
Simon has been a long standing member of the railway, a former Director, Trustee and Membership Secretary and his role in particular at Horsted Keynes station will be sorely missed.
We will try and advise members of funeral arrangements when known.
- Don't forget the P-Class specials this coming weekend, featuring visiting P-class Loco 753, hauling our superbly restored LBSCR and LCDR 4-wheel carriages. Advance booking required. N.B. the 2.48pm trip will now only operate on Sunday 8th.
- Note from Roger Kelly to Bluebell Railway PLC shareholders: it is planned that share certificates and 2009 benefits should be with shareholder by 17 February.
2008 shareholder vouchers remain valid until 31/12/2009. Please note that travel ticket vouchers are not valid on the following special event days:
21/22 Feb, 9/10 May, 20/21 and 27/28 June, 25/26 July, 15/16 August,
23/24/25/31 Oct, 1/15 Nov, and 5/6/12/13/19/20/23/24 Dec 2009.
Pullman vouchers are not valid 4/5/6/11/12/13/17/18/19/20/21/22/23 December 2009.
- This photo, showing the SECR O1 No.65 with a lunchime Pullman charter yesterday, was provided by Martin Lawrence.
- Martin has also 4 new YouTube videos taken yesterday:
- Chris Dadson has added a couple more photos showing track laid at Imberhorne Lane bridge, taken on Saturday, in preparation for the start of spoil clearance. I understand there is a little more track-work required before the trains can start running, and today's heavy snow has probably delayed things further.
- Today's photo, by Richard Salmon, shows 137-year-old "Fenchurch" running into Horsted Keynes with the 1pm train from Kingscote - which serves to illustrate that we are back to our normal weekend 2-train hourly service after the January lull. The other loco in service today was the Dukedog.
- Tony Sullivan is running a coach trip to the Chemin de Fer de la Baie de Somme for their "Fête de la Vapeur" on Saturday 25th April 2009 - Further details on the BRPS Social Sub-Committee page.
- The Bulleid Society have an update with a couple more pictures of Sir Archibald Sinclair, including one (right, from John Fry) showing the brake test.
- LBSCR Craven-era full brake carriage No.94 added to the carriage stock list. This vehicle was recovered from the Preston Park Pullman sheds in September last year.
- Details now available, and tickets on sale, for the Bluebell's first Diesel hauled passenger train: the Wealden Exclusive, on Sat 7th March.
- Photo of our Vep at Eastleigh station last Thursday added to the unit's web page.
- New page for the forthcoming visiting P-Class No.753 from the KESR, with photos from Andrew Strongitharm, including that on the right, taken on the KESR in 2005.
The loco features in:
A discount is available on tickets for both the above events if purchased before 31st January.
- YouTube Video from Martin Lawrence of the 73 being used for goods guard training.
- The first photo below (from Duncan Bourne) provides a contrast with that above - and indicates that there's another update on the Loco Worshop Working Group's page detailing the work on our P-class No.178.
- The other photos below (from Paul Robinson) show the start today of track laying at Imberhorne Lane, with waterproof sheeting, followed by ballast sleepers and rails, and the bridge showing the spoil present beneath it which is to be cleared in the coming weeks. Chris Dadson has also provided a small gallery describing the start of the engineering work today.
- Revision to the planned Loco Roster for January and February.
- Three photos from Gavin Bennett showing the departure of the 4 Vep behind 73205 & 73209 for warm, secure and dry storage at Eastleigh yesterday. We are very grateful to Bruce Knights for his kind offer and rapid arrangement for this move.
- Headline News: Although she was only delivered on Saturday, the railway now needs to honour its commitment to ensure that the 4 Vep is looked after. Following the hugely successful Open Day, the East Grinstead site has now reverted to a construction site and is therefore now inaccessible to people, thus isolating the unit.
With construction works due to start at East Grinstead and the unit in an exposed position, the Bluebell Railway has accepted the offer of short term accommodation at Eastleigh railway works.
Knights Rail have generously sponsored the move to the works where she will be under cover and back on the 3rd Rail. She will receive care and attention whilst she is in the works and she will certainly, along with LSWR B4 No.96 " Normandy" be representing the Bluebell at the forthcoming Eastleigh 100 event in May.
All this has happened very quickly (it left at 12.50 today in a special move organised at remarkably short notice) and we are grateful to everybody who has made this move possible an excellent example of team work co-operation to ensure that the unit will be in a much safer store.
The unit remains in Bluebell ownership, and will of course return at an appropriate time later.
Roy Watts, Chairman
- With the Auction for the East Grinstead platform tickets going very well, we are now offering for auction "Tenner for the Tip" certificate No.1 - more details of both auctions are here.
- Reminder that the BRPS Members' Survey is online here. Members are encouraged to complete it as soon as possible - the closing date is 24th January.
- Update to Carriage & Wagon Works news with reports collated by Simon May covering the adaptation of the BGZ to its role as support vehicle for the Pullman train.
- Update to the Loco Works News with news from the Bulleid Society as Sir Archibald Sinclair nears completion. The photo on the right from John Fry, shows the fitting of the feed pipes to the clack valves.
- More news, photos and videos from the Open Day on Saturday:
- Derek Hayward has updated his photos of the East Grinstead to Kingscote section of his trackbed tour with photos taken on Saturday, and re-organised and updated the gallery.
- More from yesterday's event at East Grinstead:
Feature on the BBC web site
- YouTube Videos of 73109 and 3417 en route to the Bluebell yesterday:
- Today we held a hugely successful Open Day at East Grinstead, including the arrival of 4 Vep unit 3417 "Gordon Pettitt". Tom Waghorn's photo on the right shows the hand-over ceremony for the unit, presented to the Bluebell by South West Trains. The speakers were Roy Watts (BPRS Chairman), Mac Macintosh (former Engineering Director SWT), Gordon Pettitt (former General Manager of the Southern Region of British Rail), Ginnie Waddingham (Mayor of East Grinstead), and Graham Flight (Chairman of Bluebell Railway PLC). Further photos are displayed below (described separately) and in the following personal albums and videos:
- A photo here from Ashley Smith marks the departure, after just a couple of months under 30 years on the Bluebell, of GWR departmental Tool Van No.92, which left today for the Gloucester Warwickshire Railway, following the decision that it did not fit within the Bluebell's carriage & wagon strategy, as a GW internal departmental vehicle.
- The further photos from today, below (with many thanks to the photographers in question), show:
- 73109, South-West trains EDL named in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, hauls the Vep into East Grinstead (Derek Hayward)
- Network Rail staff remove the fence across our new main-line connection (Colin Duff)
- The moment that unit 3417 crosses the boundary to the Bluebell - our main-line connection is inaugurated (and 3417 becomes the first item of rolling stock to arrive on the Bluebell by rail since the Ardingly branch closed in 1963.) (Colin Duff)
- The Mayor of East Grinstead, Councilor Ginnie Waddingham, was among the speakers, welcoming the Bluebell to East Grinstead. (Derek Hayward)
- Gordon Pettitt, former general manager of the Southern Region of British Rail, stands next to the Vep unit named after him. (Andrew Strongitharm)
- Guided tours were offered over the viaduct. This is the view of the countryside on leaving East Grinstead. (Martin Lawrence)
- The view of the town which will greet our passengers travelling towards East Grinstead, also showing participants of the guided tours. (Martin Lawrence)
- Guided walks also continued southwards towards Imberhorne tip. (Martin Lawrence)
- Portrait of Unit 3417 at East Grinstead. (Derek Hayward)
- Our first arrival via East Grinstead: The 73 hauling the Vep is coming down from Clapham via Herne Hill and Tulse Hill, though East Croydon around 12.30 for its arrival at East Grinstead just before 1pm tomorrow (Saturday). The 73 runs round in East Grinstead station before propelling the unit onto Bluebell metals - see today's photo of the connection on the Extension News page.
- Today's photo is from Duncan Bourne who provided it as part of an update to the work on P-class No.178. The photo shows Rob drilling out corroded rivets on the inner firebox prior to the fitting of patch screws.
- Photo and article in The Times today about Property in East Grinstead, and how important to the town the railway is set to become.
- Today's photo from East Grinstead (thanks to David Chappell) shows that, except for a little work to gauge, screw-down and ballast the last bit of track tomorrow, all is set for our Open Day on Saturday.
The photo is taken from the end of the viaduct looking northwards. The track heading off to the right, where the digger is, will run into our new station platform, and that on the left is our main-line connection.
- Entry forms now available for Vintage and Classic Cars or Motorcycles for the August 15 & 16 Vintage Transport Weekend
- Album on Fotopic from John Sandys showing work in progress at East Grinstead, and the hired 73 shunting today.
- Stop Press: In overnight engineering work, last night Network Rail connected us to the main line at East Grinstead! The Bluebell track at East Grinstead for the present will only run as far as the viaduct, and although there is more work to be done on it, we should be set to receive the 4 Vep unit on Saturday as part of our Open Day on the East Grinstead station site. If you are attending the open day, it might be advisable to wear stout footwear.
- Tom Waghorn's photo shows the arrival at Sheffield Park this morning of the EDL.
As indicated in the earlier news update, Class 73 Electro-diesel locomotive
E6043 'Perseverance', will be on short-term hire to haul trains of inert spoil extracted from the southern end of the in-filled cutting at Imberhorne Lane. No.73136 (E6043) is owned by the Class 73 Locomotive Preservation Co Ltd, and will be on hire for about two months.
- GWR Prairie tank No.5199 leaves us this afternoon, headed for the Churnet Valley Railway. A further low loader should bring a GUV in tomorrow, and take away the tender of 53809. The 7F locomotive itself is due to leave on Thursday. The next arrival should then be SECR P-class No.753 visiting from the Kent & East Sussex Railway for February.
- Share Issue raises over £ 2/3 Million!
We would like to thank the 1,100 applicants who subscribed a magnificent total of £670,000 through our 2008 share issue (which closed at the end of the year). This has enabled us to make tangible and very real progress on the East Grinstead extension. BRPS members who wish to contribute (or contribute further), can join the BRPS Deferred Share Purchase Scheme to purchase shares by installments.
- Track laying at East Grinstead had almost reached the viaduct by Saturday evening - as seen in Phil Jemmison's photo on the right. Do visit our future station site for our Open Day next Saturday (17 Jan) - stalls, displays, children's games, vintage vehicles, free bus service to Kingscote, walking tours over the viaduct and optionally beyond onto the trackbed. Details here.
- Ken Upton has some photos from Saturday - unfreezing the Dukedog, and some photos from around the Loco yard at the Autumn Steam Gala.
- Further update to the planned Loco Roster for January and February.
- Updates relating to the share offer made to the FAQ and How to Help Us pages.
- Correction to the track layout at Horsted Keynes page with thanks to Bill Dyer for noticing that the long (Ardingly) siding now comes off the middle of the 5 back roads in the up yard.
- News update on the Extension web page showing track laying now in progress on the East Grinstead station site, in preparation for the arrival of the 4 Vep train and the East Grinstead Open Day next Saturday. Details also added of how to find the station site in East Grinstead.
- Striking gallery of photos taking full advantage of yesterday's frosty conditions, from Nigel Pitt.
- Updates thanks to Simon May, to the Carriage and Wagon news pages, using Dave Clarke's reports and photos. Updated so far: LBSCR Stroudley Brake 3rd No.949 and SR-designed Bulleid brake No.2526.
- Dave Bowles' photo on the right shows the icicles at the North end of the tunnel, on Saturday morning. These are potentially not the largest, which are usually to be found inside the ventilation shafts, which in 1997 grew to 20 feet in length. There was also a foot depth of ice built up on the rails under the northern ventilation shaft, which explains why trains were limited to the Sheffield Park to Horsted Keynes section this weekend. It was decided that it would be unsafe to attempt to clear the ice under those conditions.
- Further apologies to passengers on Saturday - the first trains of the day were on the chilly side because the loco being used, in spite of being in the shed, and with vulnerable areas wrapped up against the cold, was found to have frozen injectors and a frozen tender of water, and so was too late getting onto the train to heat it! The temperature at Horsted Keynes on Saturday morning was reported as being as low as -11 degrees Celsius. We hope the complimentary hot drinks on the train helped!
- Derek Hayward has assembled photo collections marking the visit of both 53809 and 5199.
- Due to the inclement weather conditions, there has been another build-up of ice in the tunnel. Unfortunately, this one is more severe than last weekend's, which means that no trains can run through the tunnel this weekend. We are therefore running between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes only both today and tomorrow (Sunday 11th January). Trains leave Sheffield Park at 11.00, 12.00, 1.00, 2.00, 3.00 and 4.00, and leave Horsted Keynes at 11.30, 12.30, 1.30, 2.30, 3.30 and 4.30.
- News report from the Maunsell Locomotive Society - covers work on the overhaul of the S15, maintenance on the boiler of U-class 1638, and an update on 'Stowe'.
- John Sandy's photo on the right was taken at Sheffield Park on Friday 2nd January.
- Sussex (in common with the rest of the country) has had a very cold few days! Jon Bowers' video on YouTube shows the P-way gang doing ice-clearance in the tunnel on Sunday; bear in mind that the previous build-up of ice had only been removed 3 days earlier. No.9017 is also seen in action approaching Horsted Keynes.
The icicle clearance took about an hour (after taking nearly as long to get the Wickham trolley working and up to site), and was completed in time for the first train of the day through the tunnel.
- During 2009 the Bluebell Railway Band will be playing at Sheffield Park Station from 2 to 4 pm on the following dates:
The band will also be playing for the Bluebell Railway Carol Service - Saturday 5th December 2009, 7.30 pm at Horsted Keynes - wrap up well!
- Sun. 22nd March, Mothers' Day
- Sun. 10th May, (Southern at War weekend)
- Sun. 21st June, Fathers' Day
- Sun. 27th September
- Update to the Volunteering "Find out more" Days page, with the dates of the introduction to the railway days for 2009.
- Andrew Strongitharm has updated his web site with two pages of photos covering the visits of Large Prairie No.5199 and S&D 7F No.53809. To the right is his photo of the 7F at Horsted Keynes in December.
- Updates to foreign language pages with details of operating dates and fares for 2009.
- More details of the East Grinstead Station site Open Day on 17th January, now illustrated with photos of the 4 Vep which is to arrive that day (photos thanks to Hentis-Rail).
- We are auctioning the first of our new East Grinstead platform tickets, Nos.0001 to 0005, in aid of extension funds - details here.
- Many of the links on this site to fotopic.net pages are currently dead. The Fotopic web site has been down for a couple of days, due it appears to a major techncal failure which could not be fixed over the holiday period thanks to the impossibility of obtaining replacement parts. Update: The fotopic site reappeared at about 10.30am on 5th January.
1 January 2009: Happy New Year
- The BRPS Members' Survey is online here. Members are encouraged to complete it as soon as possible - the closing date is 24 January.
- The current position in our fundraising Football Competition are now available, with thanks to Garry Smith. We hope to have updates on the positions about every month now until the end of the season.
- The Social Sub Committee are running "The Battlefield Special" - a visit to the Shackerstone line, on Saturday 18th April - More details here.
- Updates to the Who's Who and Contacts pages, in relation to Museum (Curator, Archivist and Historian) and Social Sub Committee (Secretary).
- Update to the BRPS Rules (adding the amendments agreed at the AGM on 17 May 2008)
- Update to the wap (mobile) pages (wap.bluebellrailway.co.uk) with details of operating dates for 2009, and the dates of operation of our 473 bus service. Postcodes of stations added to the location (access by car) wap page.
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