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Bluebell Railway Blog:
Archive 2011

Please be aware that due to the historical nature of this page, some of the links on it may be out of date.

Archive of the Blog/What's New pages

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

Web Site Update List: further down this page.

Photographic and video reports 2011:
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.
Please note that the Bluebell Railway is not responsible for the content of external web sites.

Fotopic Please note that in early March 2011 all Fotopic domain names became inaccessible. It is not known whether they will return, but if people are able to provide links to alternative galleries, then those links will be updated. Regrettably, therefore, many links to useful and informative galleries below are now dead.
Apologies also that this list is not yet complete for the latter few months of the year.

Web-site Update Archive 2011

30 December 2011
  • Dave Clarke and Richard Salmon will be giving free guided tours of the Bluebell's Carriage Works at Horsted Keynes (donations always welcome towards Maunsell Dining Saloon 7864's restoration) at lunchtimes over the coming weekend (Saturday at 1.25 and probably 12.25 and 1.25 on Sunday and Monday).

  • Over the Bank Holiday weekend we have a 2-train public service running, with Maunsell, Bulleid and Mk.1 coaches in use.

    In addition, on Saturday and Monday our Victorian Special trains are running for pre-booked passengers.

U-class with Fairy Godmother Train - Tony Sullivan - 29 December 2011 29 December
  • Tony Sullivan's photo shows U-class No.1638 waiting to leave Sheffield Park with the 1.00pm Fairy Godmother special to Kingscote today.

  • In addition to the hourly public service trains running over the next few days (daily 26th Dec to 2nd Jan), we have more Victorian and Fairy Godmother Specials.

  • Further 2012 Special Events added to the chronological events listing on this site.

  • Alan Bedford has a nice gallery of photos from yesterday.

  • John Sandys has sequence of photos taken on Boxing Day, showing the two locos running (the U and the E4), and, amongst other things, the freshly repainted subway at Kingscote.

  • The first photo below shows the crew of Santa Train 'X' on Christmas Eve; from left to right Tom Waghorn (guard), Ben Bartlett, Ricky Smith, David Chappell, Tony Hayllar, John Wigley, Dave Clarke, Pat Wigley, Simon Brown, David Mills and Phil Jemmison. This was just the crew of one of the three trains running, and along with the Santa, numerous elves, loco crew, platform staff and entertainers, illustrates just how many people are involved in making the Santa Specials the success they have been this year!

  • David Chappell's photo below shows the E4 with the three Maunsell coaches yesterday, just before he got roped (literally) into helping members of the Howlden Trust who were putting a new tarpaulin on their stores van (BY 653). This van (seen below in Alan Pragnell's photo taken just before the tarpaulin was fitted), is going to the Mid Hants Railway for overhaul to operational condition and will be replaced in its function as the Howlden Trust's stores van by a BR-built CCT, which is currently being overhauled off-site. Very conveniently, there was already a possession/block of tracks giving access to the sidings, enabling the re-tarpaulining work to proceed un-interrupted.

  • A further move of stock to the Mid Hants is also to take place soon, with Southern Railway (Bulleid) open third No.1456 going on a 25-year loan for restoration and operation as part of the Mid Hants' planned 3-coach Bulleid set. With four of our own Bulleids ahead of it in the restoration queue, 1456 would otherwise have sat unused for another 25 years, so this is a very positive agreement for both railways, and for the coach itself.

Crew of Santa Set X - David Mills - 24 Dec 2011 B473 with Maunsell coaches - David Chappell - 28 Dec 2011 BY 653 before being tarpaulined - Alan Pragnell - 28 Dec 2011

80151 near 3-Arch Bridge - Paul Furlong - 4 December 2011 23 December
  • New contributor Paul Furlong provides this photo of No.80151 near 3-Arch Bridge with a Santa Special on 4 December.

  • Just a reminder that we are running a 2-train timetabled (Service 1) - steam-hauled and steam-heated - daily from 26th December to 2nd January 2012.

  • Further videos from "locomotive67": The 1982 (line centenary) cavalcade (including the visiting Caledonian and KESR tanks and a triple header of LSWR and SECR locos): part 1 and part 2, and a wintery day - 16 February 1986 (featuring Stepney and the NLR tank): part 1, part 2 and part 3.

  • Tony Sullivan's photo below shows the Brighton E4 with the Victorian Special train at Horsted Keynes yesterday. This train is running again on 31st December and 2nd January, for pre-booked passengers.
Brazier at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 10 Dec 2011

B473 just south of New Road Bridge with Victorian Christmas Special - Derek Hayward - 22 December 2011 22 December
  • Derek Hayward's photo shows B473 just south of New Road Bridge with today's Victorian Christmas Special.

  • Derek has more photos from today in his album covering the Christmas trains, as well as the photos below, showing some of the sidestalls and attractions at Horsted Keynes. Parents of all children shown in these photos have agreed to the use of these images.

  • The Santa Specials have gone extremely well this year; the new format has gone down well with our visitors, as has the reduction in the fare charged, which has resulted in many more people booking! As usual, the next two days are pretty much fully booked.

  • Three videos of by-gone times on the Bluebell; the May 1983 Parade day from locomotive67, featuring the Adams Radial Tank, the Dukedog, "Stowe", "Fenchurch", "Baxter" (complete with its shunting bell), "Stepney", the Bulleid Q1, "Blackmoor Vale", the USA and 75027; from Glen Beadon from August 1991 featuring Schools class "Stowe", and a 1992 video from "HenryHVideoFan" showing the North London Tank, and the SR Maunsell Q-class, which the currently being overhauled by our Loco Works Working Group.

Victorian Christmas at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 22 Dec 2011 B473 with Victorian train at Ketches - Derek Hayward - 22 Dec 2011 Father Christmas with Children at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 22 Dec 2011 Victorian stalls at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 22 Dec 2011 Victorian stalls at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 22 Dec 2011 Victorian stalls at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 22 Dec 2011 Victorian stalls at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 22 Dec 2011

E4 appraches 3-Arch Bridge - Ashley Smith - 18 December 2011 20 December
  • Ashley Smith's photo shows the E4 No.B473 at 3-Arch Bridge with one of the Santa Specials on Sunday. He has also compiled a video covering all three trains, and an album of photos.

  • Keith Duke took some photos and a video of the Santa Specials on Saturday.

  • Further to yesterday's update on the progress with the creation of Standard 2 Tank No.84030, Tony Sullivan provides the two photos below, taken this morning, showing the frames (Black, and red inside) with frame extension (grey) welded on. You can't see the join - even if you know where it is! Our welders Paul and James have done a great job, and are to be congratulated.

  • Derek Hayward's photo below shows the brazier lit on 10 December to stop the water column freezing up at Sheffield Park.

84030 frames welded up - Tony Sullivan - 20 Dec 2011 84030 frames welded up - Tony Sullivan - 20 Dec 2011 Brazier at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 10 Dec 2011

Preliminary sketch of proposed carriage shed extension - Matthew Cousins - 2008 19 December
  • News Update Operation Undercover Phase 4a now has planning permission. The details of the plans to put the remainder of our pre-nationalisation carriages undercover at Horsted Keynes are outlined on these new web pages, and Matthew Cousins' sketch shows the initial thoughts on the project design back in 2008 - the finalised (2011) plan actually has 4 tracks rather than 3 in the storage part to the right, and just one road (the maintenance/pit road) in the other part of the extension. The two sections on the left are the existing carriage shed/works. The plans have been developed over the last 4 years with intensive consultation and discussions between all relevant stakeholders at Horsted Keynes, and the Railway's management, since it covers both carriage and component storage plus our current outdoor maintenance facilities. Now planning permission has been granted, work will commence as funding permits, with a start made within 3 years to secure the planning permission.

  • News Update The Autumn Newsletter is now available for the Bluebell Standard 2 Tank Project (No.84030). The frames were moved into the workshop on 1st December, and the rear frame extension has now been welded to the main frames, a very significant step forward for the project, recreating a class of loco not otherwise represented in preservation.

  • The Events page has been updated with dates and details of those special events for 2012 for which details are currently available, including Toy and Rail Collectors' fairs, Fish and Chip trains, Rail Ale trains, Spring specials, Bluebell Specials, Autumn tint specials, Murder Mystery and Lounge Car services. Golden Arrow Pullman dining train details for 2012 are also available.

  • The 2009 "Bluebell Annual" DVD is now available. There is a preview of the video here. The DVD, which is produced by Bluebell P-way volunteer and charter organiser Jon Bowers, covers all the major happenings on the railway in 2009, and will bring back many memories. It is available online from the Bluebell Shop, priced at £15.99 plus postage. Profits go to the Northern Extension Project's Imberhorne cutting clearance.

  • Privacy and Cookies policy outlined, to prepare the site for implementation in May 2012 of The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2011.

  • With Santa Special and other services not running through the tunnel, the line North of Horsted Keynes is currently closed under an engineering possession to enable preparation work to continue for laying the track north to East Grinstead and the associated signalling infrastructure. The Sunday permanent way gang went to Kingscote to change sleepers yesterday and David Chappell took these pictures. The first one taken just north of the signal box, looking towards the station, shows Jon, Paul and Jon in front of our Type 18 Wickham Trolley. The second shows the trench being dug for signalling cables. Also in the pictures you can see the blue water pipe being installed to supply running water to the signal box.

P-way sleeper-changing gang at Kingscote - David Chappell - 18 Dec 2011 Signal cables and water supply trench at Kingscote - David Chappell - 18 Dec 2011

U and 323 on shed - Chris Suitters - 10 December 2011 14 December
  • Chris Suitters' photo shows U-class No.1638 on shed on Saturday evening, with 323 "Bluebell" beyond.

  • In addition to his Santa Special photos from Saturday, Derek Hayward has also updated his galleries of the Sheffield Park Carriage Shed and Loco Washout Pit (showing the trunking installed). The carriage shed now has its buffer stops on A-road, and this road is being used to stable one of the three Santa Special sets (so the shed looks relatively empty because the set was in service while the photos were being taken).

  • Matthew Nightingale has edited his and his father's videos from the Vintage Trains gala in November.

  • John Sandys has a gallery of photos showing the Santa Specials on Saturday 10th December and another showing yesterday's activities, which included the Volunteers' Golden Arrow Christmas lunch train, also seen on this video. Also some photos and a video from last week at the tip site. Since the Imberhorne Tip site is now shut down for the winter whilst work proceeds elsewhere, we'd ask people not to visit the site, since some of those visiting the site have upset the Railway's neighbours in the area, with whom we need to remain on good terms.

  • Brian Easter's photo below shows the U-class on one of Saturday's three Santa Special sets, when the lineside photographers had to suffer a persistently stuck-open cylinder drain cock on this loco; it appears to have resisted all attempts to cure the problem.

  • Derek Hayward provides the other two photos below, also taken on Saturday, showing No.80151 leaving Horsted Keynes, and the new model railway at Horsted Keynes, which boasts two different versions of "Stepney" as well as a GBRf Class 66 on a (somewhat shortened) "Waste by Rail" train, a bit off-route at the station, which uses the Bachmann models of Sheffield Park.

1638 near Horsted Keynes - Brian Easter - 10 Dec 2011 80151 leaves Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 10 Dec 2011 Model Railway at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 10 Dec 2011

B473 at Ketches with Santa Train - Derek Hayward - 10 December 2011 12 December
  • Derek Hayward's photo shows E4 No.B473 at Ketches with one of Saturday's three Santa Train sets. Derek's other photos from Saturday are available here.

  • News Update Extension update: During the last two weeks a further eight Waste by Rail trains ran, four trains each week. During the first week on Monday the train arrival was unfortunately delayed making it impossible to fully load the train before the scheduled departure time and during the final week the Friday train was cancelled due to GBRf's contractual commitment to de-ice the track in the Southern and South Eastern Trains areas, their staff being placed on standby for these duties. The trains run during the final week were always going to be a bonus.

    At the end of the final week (of the 4-week-long WBR5) the total waste removed by road and rail is now 90,981 tonnes; remember volume is more important than weight. The site will now be shut down until the New Year. An assessment will be made early in 2012 to determine whether further waste needs to be removed before Landfill Tax becomes applicable (1st April 2012). Meanwhile other preparatory work for the completion of the Northern Extension Project will commence.

    The photo below (from Nigel Longdon) was taken looking south towards Imberhorne Lane bridge on Friday.

  • Many thanks to all who donated last week - the total raised for the Extension project through The Big Give Christmas Challenge, together with subsequent donations and Gift Aid, has now exceeded £100,000. Further donations may be made via our normal 50th Anniversary Appeal web site since we still need to raise a lot more money to complete the extension.

    As seen by the banner (provided free by JustTextGiving, in the photo below) we are now targetting shoppers at East Grinstead. Hopefully the opportunity to donate £5 to "Help the Bluebell steam into East Grinstead" by texting "BEXT11 £5" to 70070 will achieve a significant take-up. The JustTextGiving scheme is good value for us, since all admin and payment charges are met by Vodafone's sponsorship of the scheme. Donations via the Bluebell Trust of £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 can be made in a single donation (it's added to your mobile bill), and the option is offered to add Gift Aid if you are a tax-payer and wish us to receive an extra 25%.

  • News Update Update on the overhaul of the SR Q-class No.541 from the Loco Works Working Group, added to the Loco Works News. The group also has a new Facebook page.

  • Ben Gray, who is almost 9 years old, and a member of the BRPS and 9F club, has provided this gallery of photos of the Santa Special trains, around the loco yard and at Horsted Keynes, all taken on 10th December under the supervision of his father, a member of the loco dept. Good to see a new generation of photographer making such a promising start!

  • Derek Hayward's final photo below shows one of the Bluebell's former "Travelling College" coaches, Mk.I TSO No.4941, which has just returned to Bluebell metals following a contract overhaul of the body at Cranmore Train Maintenance Services, involving repairs to the non-toilet end, door pillars and the lower body-sides, as well as re-sealing of the gutters and side-lights (windows). The other end of the coach had already received repairs and a conversion (involving removal of the toilet compartments and their replacement by double doors) to enable this vehicle to become our third wheel-chair accessible coach. A new interior and electric lifts will be fitted at Horsted Keynes, to make this vehicle pretty much comparable to No.5034.

Looking south along the excavated cutting towards Imberhorne Lane Bridge - Nigel Longdon - 9 Dec 2011 JustTextGiving banner at East Grinstead - Text 'BEXT11 £5' to 70070 - 10 Dec 2011 4941 returned to Bluebell metals - Derek Hayward - 10 Dec 2011

323 'Bluebell' at Horsted Keynes - Andrew Strongitharm - 3 December 2011 9 December
  • Andrew Strongitharm's photo shows 323 "Bluebell" at Horsted Keynes last Saturday.

  • From the Extension: In spite of the cold and high winds, which caused the suspension of passenger services on the Uckfield Line last night, GBRf's No.66740 took 1002.50 tonnes of rubbish away, departing from East Grinstead bang on time. That train has turned out to be the last of "Waste by Rail 5", since the Class 66 has been pulled tonight for de-icing duties. The next step is that a thorough assessment of the cutting will be made to determine how much more, if any, rubbish needs to go out by train. As reported in Steam Railway we are looking at track laying next summer, followed by disposal of the inert spoil capping, probably using the material to form a turning triangle at Horsted Keynes, and then a full opening of the line at Easter 2013, funding permitting.

    Trial fitting of new stained glass in porch at Horsted Keynes - Ray Wills - 8 Dec 2011

  • The Bulleid Society Shop on Platform 2 at Sheffield Park will be open every weekend up to Christmas. If you are looking for a present, we may have it. Recently we have had two large deliveries of second hand books all in very good condition, and we also have some new framed prints, Christmas Cards and of course our usual selection of other second hand goods. Do come and visit; you will be most welcome, and will be helping towards getting 34059 back to steam by early 2013 and then 21C123 back as soon as possible after that.

  • Ray Wills' photo (left) shows the trial fitting of the first stained-glass panel for the front porch of Horsted Keynes station yesterday morning. The remaining panels can now be constructed and should be installed early in the New Year. The porch is being restored to its original design as a memorial to our late Horsted Keynes Station Master, Simon Baker. Ray has another photo, taken from inside the porch.

  • John Sandys provides the photo, below, of the U-class at Sheffield Park yesterday, with the Schools Santa Special, and also has a video of the train's departure.

  • Sunday 8th January, and then the first Sunday of each month through the rest of 2012 is your opportunity to find out what volunteering on the Bluebell actually involves, so come and join us on one of our Find Out More Days. The photo below from David Chappell shows Clive Soper our Volunteer Recruitment Officer on the left and Phil Stoneman from the Locomotive Works Working Group on the right with six potential new volunteers being shown around the loco yard at Sheffield Park. Why not come along on January 8th?

1638 at Sheffield Park - John Sandys - 8 Dec 2011 Potential new volunteers in the loco yard - David Chappell - 4 Dec 2011

80151 on a Santa Special - Andrew Strongitharm - 3 December 2011 8 December
  • Andrew Strongitharm's photo shows 80151 on a Santa Special last Saturday. Everyone is very pleased to see it running again after last month's worry with the foundation-ring leak.

  • David Haggar has an album of photos from a Jon Bowers' photo charter we had with GWR No.1450 and its Autocoach back on the 15th February 2008.

  • John Sandys has some photos and a video of Tuesday's Golden Arrow Pullman, departing from Sheffield Park.

  • Two more of Robin Willis' photos, below, from Saturday evening's Carol Service at Horsted Keynes, featuring the Bluebell Railway Band.

  • Tony Sullivan's photo, taken today, records the arrival back at Sheffield Park of the driving wheelsets of 73082 "Camelot", following retyring, and work to overhaul the cannon box roller bearings (which required some of the wheels to be removed from their axles), the work having been undertaken at the South Devon Railway's workshops.

Carol service at Horsted Keynes - Robin Willis - 3 Dec 2011 Bluebell Railway Band playing at the Carol service at Horsted Keynes - Robin Willis - 3 Dec 2011 Camelot's wheelsets returned to Sheffield Park - Tony Sullivan - 8 Dec 2011

7 December
  • The Big Give Christmas Challenge: Message from Roger Kelly: I want to say a big thank you to everyone who donated to the Big Give Charity event. Despite having severe problems on their server on Monday resulting in the service being suspended until Tuesday we still raised the necessary donations to release in full the matched funding by early Wednesday morning. This is a terrific result and together with the applicable Gift Aid you have raised about £80,000 - enough to pay for three loaded waste trains.

    If you were unable to donate before we reached our target there are still other ways to donate and bring the completion of the Northern Extension Project closer.

  • The Big Give Christmas Challenge: Target achieved
    Many thanks to all who donated - we achieved the final total of £60,734 (to which Gift Aid will be added) in just 11 minutes this morning!

    Further donations may be made via our normal 50th Anniversary Appeal web site since we still need to raise a lot more money to complete the extension.

    Old News: 10am: Looking at our current position, it's apparent that we're in competition with some big players, and we need to raise the final £7K today, as soon after 10am as possible, to ensure we get the £7K match funding.

6 December
  • Stop Press: The Big Give Christmas Challenge. We have so far raised a staggering £46,157 in donations and match funding, plus £4,563 of Gift Aid to come. Many thanks to all who have donated so far. Because we have now reached our match-funding limit for the first two days, there is no more match funding available to us until 10am tomorrow morning.

    If you were intending to donate yesterday or today, please do try again at 10am tomorrow morning. We are aware of some continuing problems with the Big Give web site, particularly today that it sometimes took several attempts for the site to accept donors' card details. Thank you for your patience.

  • "The Big Give Christmas Challenge" really has started today at 10am.
    If we can raise £30,000 online during this week (starting 10am each morning, until 9th December), then we receive another £30k in match funding. We need everyone to help with online donations large and small through the "The Big Give" web site during the course of this week to help fund the completion of our Extension to East Grinstead.

    Note: Match Funding is available from 10am each morning until the funding available for that day is all used up, so please be aware that donations made after that money has been used up will not be matched. A new tranche of matching funding becomes available at 10am each morning.

    Go That Extra Half Mile With the Big Give, 5-9 Dec.

    Over the last few years we have made a series of unprecedented appeals for funding the extension of the Bluebell line to East Grinstead, and you have responded magnificently. Well, the end of the waste extraction phase really is in sight.

    The Big Give Christmas Challenge

    By donating online, starting 10 a.m. each day this week, you can help fund this final push.

    Any donation to this project made online to the Big Give (and not directly to the Bluebell Railway) during this drive will be matched pound for pound by an equal combination of our major donors and the Big Give sponsor fund. To donate, click here.

    Please consider "Gift Aiding" your donation to increase its value to the Bluebell Railway; an option box can be found on the Big Give donation page.

    The Big Give's sponsor funding is not exhaustive, and they allocate it on a daily basis, so to guarantee their 50% match, it is best to make a donation as near to 10 a.m. as possible, on any of the five days (5 to 9 Dec.) The opportunity ends after five days, and our target is £30,000 in online donations. You can follow our progress 'live' on the Big Give website.

    We know the call for funding this project has pushed your generosity to the limit, especially in the current economic climate, but with a landfill tax imposed deadline of 1 April, 2012, now is the time to really make the extension happen!

80151 and 323 at Sheffield Park - Peter Edwards - 3 December 2011 5 December
  • Stop Press 2: The Big Give web site has failed under the demand from people trying to donate. They say they expect to be able to re-launch the Christmas Challenge at 10am tomorrow morning (Tuesday). If you were unable to donate today, please do try again tomorrow morning.

    "The Big Give Christmas Challenge" starts today at 10am.
    If we can raise £30,000 online during this week (closing 9th December), then we receive another £30k in match funding. We need everyone to help with online donations large and small through the "The Big Give" web site during the course of this week to help fund the completion of our Extension to East Grinstead.

  • News just in at the weekend - because of the good weather (which has enabled GBRf to release a locomotive, which had been reserved for snow clearance, to haul our waste trains), we have been able to add a fourth week to "Waste by Rail 5". Using this extra week to remove waste now, rather than as originally planned for next year, helps move the project forward and assists in getting the cutting to a state where final surveys and designs can be undertaken sooner. It still needs to be paid for - hence the importance of meeting the Big Give Christmas Challenge.

  • Peter Edwards' photo shows the first day of our Santa Specials - with 80151 on one of the Santa trains and 323 on the tail of the Golden Arrow Pullman, which had 592 at its head - the dining trains are top-and-tailed this year, and run up as far as the South end of the tunnel, while the Santa Specials run to Horsted Keynes, where a variety of on-station entertainment, including Victorian Side-shows, entertainers and a model railway are on offer. This is to ensure that in the event of icy weather closing our tunnel we can continue to offer our visitors the same high-quality Christmas attractions we always have done, without disruption. Of course, at present it seems that all these preparations have simply ensured an incredibly mild start to December!

  • Ashley Smith followed the waste train on Thursday, and has a photo from Dormans of the incoming empty train.

  • Robin Willis has sent several photos from Saturday evening's Carol Service at Horsted Keynes. The first photo shows our Chaplain, Fr John Twisleton with No.323 'Bluebell'. More of Robin's photos will follow later in the week.

Fr John Twisleton with 'Bluebell' at Horsted Keynes - Robin Willis - 3 Dec 2011 Carol service at Horsted Keynes - Robin Willis - 3 Dec 2011

U-class at Kingscote - Steven Lofting - 26 November 2011 2 December
  • Steven Lofting, of the 9F Club, has sent me the photo on the right, and those below. They show the U and the E4 during run-rounds at Kingscote, and Ketches Halt with the Sheffield Park Outer Home, and then a fine silhouet shot of the Inner Home.

  • Film Dirctor Ken Russell died earlier this week, aged 84. He was a regular visitor to the railway, and used is as a location for several of his films in the 1970's. Mahler featuring the GNR Saloon, Listomania (Fenchurch driving through an exploding grand piano at Freshfield), and Savage Messiah. All three of the trailers linked here include scenes shot at the Bluebell.

  • We are now at the end of the final of the three weeks of the current "Waste by Rail 5" operation on our extension to East Grinstead. A total of 5119 tonnes of waste was removed during the first week of WBR5 and 5016 in the second week. The total waste removed so far from the tip is 82,882 tonnes. After this week's trains have run, the situation will be reviewed to decide whether further waste trains will be needed.

    We still need to finish paying for the current dig - it is vital that we raise enough to secure the match funding through The Big Give Christmas Challenge, for which we've been accepted. That starts next Monday, 5th December, at 10am, so please do save your pennies (and pounds) for it. More details next week!

  • Mark Armstrong happened to be at Willesden Junction on Wednesday just as the empty waste train was passing, heading in our direction behind No.66722 'Sir Edward Watkin', and managed to get this video. Makes you realise just how long our train is!

  • Our supporters have some more new listings on eBay for CharityeBay for Charity raising money for our Northern Extension. One of our members has recently generated, with gift aid, £45.55 from the recent sale of stamps on eBay for Charity. We also have some second-hand magazines for sale through the Trust's own direct selling accounts.

  • John Sandys has some photos from last Saturday.

  • David Haggar has uploaded some photos from the last photo charter with the E4 before its previous boiler ticket expired back in 2008. It was organised by Jon Bowers, and was staged on the 8th April 2008.
    David has also just added an album of photos from a Russ Hillier charter with Eddystone running as classmate No.34100 Appledore from 6 November 2007, and also from the charter we had with 34007 & 34092 on 30th October 2007

B473 at Kingscote - Steven Lofting - 26 Nov 2011 The disused Ketches Halt, and Sheffield Park Outer Home signal - Steven Lofting - 26 Nov 2011 Sheffield Park Inner Home signal - Steven Lofting - 26 Nov 2011
E4 shunting in the works - Tony Sullivan - 1 December 2011
  • Tony Sullivan's photo on the right shows that yesterday the E4 shunted the frames of Camelot into the loco works on accommodation trollies. This is to enable work to proceed on the horn-guides and also on the new rear dragbox. The photo below shows the frames before entering the works. The frames of the Standard 2 also entered the works, to have the new rear section welded on, a great step forward in the conversion of this one-time tender loco to the 2-6-2T variant of the design.

  • Derek Hayward has an update to the gallery of photos for the new Sheffield Park Carriage Shed. The buffer stops have been delivered for 'A' road, but await fitting. The re-laying of the track work around the old wash out pit is continuing, and 80100 has been moved to facilitate the works.
    Another update shows progress with the painting of 92240 and 75027.

  • The Loco Works Working Group will be at Sheffield Park this coming Sunday (4th) so if you're interested in helping get the Q-class into service quickly, why not come along and give them a hand.

  • Dave Chambers has now uploaded photos taken during a ride in the Birdcage Guards chair last weekend, covering the departure of the 11am train being pulled by the U-boat, then the arrival of the noon train with the Birdcage and loco 473 (substituted for 178 due to an electrical failure on the water pumping facilities at KC), and shots of the trip up the line and back from the Guard's high seat.

  • During November 2011 there were 96,326 total hits on this page, from 53,251 unique visitors.

Camelot's frames - Tony Sullivan - 2 Dec 2011

Rear of the frames of 84030 - Tony Sullivan - 24 November 2011 24 November
  • Tony Sullivan's photo taken today shows the rear of the exisiting main frame of 84030 which is being "prepped" ready for the attachment and welding of the frame extension. The frame extension, which is already in the workshop, has already been prepped.

  • The first edition of our new e-Newsletter has now been published. Do take a look, people seem to think it's rather good! The gremlins did however strike, and the advance notice of the date of the 2012 AGM of course refers to the BRPS (the Society) rather than to the Trust.

    To subscribe to future editions, sign up here - e-mail addresses will only be used for Bluebell Railway purposes, and will not be passed to third parties. The sign-up page will also provide access to an archive of past newsletters.

  • SECR P-class Loco No.27 has moved into the "Locos under overhaul" category. The overhaul is being undertaken by the Villas Team, supported by the 'Fenchurch Fund', now that the overhaul of "Baxter" is complete. The loco had previously been dismantled, but the component parts have been moved (in part to make way for the construction of our new "above workshop" lobby facilities) and are being further stripped. Major work is required on the boiler, and it looks as though a section of the main frames will need to be replaced, as well as some significant mechanical renewal and the replacement of much of the platework, including the tanks and bunker. It will not be a quick job, but then again with 2 P-class locos currently in service, it is not urgent.

  • Updates with thanks to Martin Skrzetuszewski and Jon Elphick for the web pages (some new, with new photos) of our Grampus wagons, DB 984082, DB 984506, DB 985854, DB 986591, DB988395 and DB 991391.

34059 - Mike Anton - 18 November 2011 23 November
1638 at SP - 360-degree panorama - Mike Anton - 20 November 2011
  • Mike Anton has been experimenting with a Tilt Shift lens (see Sir Archie at Sheffield Park on the right) and has uploaded some interesting extra-wide shots to his gallery. He has also added some interesting 360-degree panoramas, including this one of 1638 at Sheffield Park on Sunday morning left.

  • Martin Lawrence has some new galleries:

  • Michael Hopps brings us a bit of news in a sequence of three photos below; the old washout pit is no more... it was constructed by the late Freeland Eastwood, Bluebell driver and local bricklayer, when the line re-opened, and was now life-expired. As part of the HLF-funded project at Sheffield Park it has been replaced, although we will be working for the next few months without washout facilities - a carefully calculated piece of planning - only 178 will not be due a washout by the time the new pit is fully commissioned early next year. The final photo shows the view towards pump house with ballasting in progress.

    As well as the pit, two track panels have been lifted to replace life expired sleepers and chairs. Ducting for the new repeater signal, new washout pit water connection and spare cable access also being laid at the same time. Ballast is being laid wide at the old washout pit location ready for the new point to connect the sleeping coach siding (west of pump house siding), which is being extended as part of the improvement work to turn the pump house siding into a headshunt for the new carriage shed.

  • One of our members is developing models of our line and some of its locos for "Railworks 3 Train Simulator 2012", as payware packs, as fund-raising for Bluebell projects - the Adams Radial tank may be completed first, and as a taster, the current state of its development is shown below.

The old washout pit - Mike Hopps - 22 Nov 2011 The washout pit removed - Mike Hopps - 22 Nov 2011 Ballasting ready for plain-lining - Mike Hopps - 22 Nov 2011 work in progress on No.488 simulator

592 with two SECR carriages - Andrew Strongitharm - 19 November 2011 21 November
  • Andrew Strongitharm's photo shows SECR No.592 with two SECR carriages on the 2pm Sheffield Park to Kingscote service on Saturday afternoon.

  • Roger Carpenter was on duty in the sunshine on Saturday, and took a few shots of the scene at Horsted Keynes. One aspect covered is the signalling, for example the wire run for the new signal No.18, to show just how much work is needed just to get a single small signal linked up to the lever frame. Two nice looking trains running, the Standard 4 with a mixed Bulleid and Mk.1 set, and the SECR C-class with a couple of SECR coaches.

  • Preparations for Christmas are well under way, with facilities being installed at Horsted Keynes to cope with the crowds. The trains are now booking up fast, so do take a look at our Santa Special trains and Victorian Christmas and New Year Specials if you are thinking of coming to visit us in December.

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  • Robert Carroll has an old photo of our Maunsell corridor third No.2356 which was taken at Grove Park whilst it was still in service.

  • We've successfully completed the first week of the current three week "Waste by Rail 5" operation on our Extension. It's all going to plan with very little waste left to go out, but please remember that this work has to be paid for! A chunk of it is being funded by "The Big Give Challenge", which takes place over the week of 5-9 December - if we can raise £30,000 online that week, then we receive another £30k in match funding. We already have offers that will get us half way to that target, but we need everyone to help with online donations large and small through the "The Big Give" web site during the course of that week.

  • Barry King met No.66728 at Clapham Junction on Wednesday, with our incoming empty waste train, as seen in the photos below, and this video.

66728 with WBR5 empties at Clapham Junction - Barry King - 16 Nov 2011 66728 with WBR5 empties at Clapham Junction - Barry King - 16 Nov 2011

66728 heads towards East Grinstead with the empty wagons for today's waste train - Tony Sullivan - 16 November 2011 16 November
  • No.66728 runs between Hurst Green and Lingfield with today's incoming empties for the current 3-week "Waste by Rail 5" operation on our Northern Extension, photographed by Tony Sullivan. Above the retreating 377 in the far distance can just be seen the low steel-span bridge which carries the Redhill - Tonbridge line across the East Grinstead line, beyond the much higher brick-built farm occupation bridge. The Class 377 is working the 13.07 East Grinstead to London (Victoria) service.

  • We still need to raise some of the money required for the current 3-week dig! Three of our supporters have some new listings on eBay for CharityeBay for Charity raising money for our Northern Extension.

  • The BRPS Social Sub-Committee present "The Broadsman Tour", a coach trip to the Bure Valley Railway on Saturday 28th April 2012. Now open for booking.

  • Another good video showing the three locos in steam on 12 November, from Gary Bull and his father Philip.

  • David Haggar's album of photos taken at Jon Bowers' 80017 charter last Friday and a short video clip he took of a run-past at Freshfield Bank.

80151 approaches Horsted Keynes - David Chappell - 13 November 2011 15 November
  • David Chappell's photo on the right shows No.80151 approaching New Road Bridge at Horsted Keynes with the first train of the day on Sunday morning.

  • Richard Green has updated the Bulleid Society's web site, with various news items. He is doubling the donation from sales of his print of 34059 to £10 to help with raising money for the repairs to "Sir Archibald Sinclair", and there's also a news update on work on their carriage, Bulleid Composite No.5768.

  • Further Personal Track Safety training sessions for Lineside Photographers will be held at Sheffield Park on the following dates:
    Saturday 28 January
    Wednesday 29 February
    Saturday 10 March
    The course runs from 10am to 1.30pm on each day. More details here. [N.B. 10am is revised start time, in place of 9.30 previously advertised]

  • Three rather good YouTube videos from "Philip2010uk", from visits to the line on 29 October, which features the newly restored Birdcage Brake quite a bit, on 24 Oct and 4 September

  • Michael Hopps' photo below shows No.80151 as it might have been in November 1957, when it was brand new.

  • Matthew Cousins' photo below illustrates the progress of the now rather 'red faced' No.75027, at close of play on Thursday 10th November at Horsted Keynes. It is hoped that weather permitting the team working on it can get the second coat of primer onto the two locos so as to make them more weatherproof ready for the oncoming inclement weather. Many coats of paint still to go, but at least the cleaning down and preparation is well under way ready for their transformations!

80151 - Mike Hopps - 12 Nov 2011 75027 in primer - Matthew Cousins - 10 Nov 2011

323 with the goods - Mike Hopps - 12 November 2011

80151 as 80017 - Stephen Leek - 11 Nov 2011 80151 as 80017 - Stephen Leek - 11 Nov 2011 80151 as 80017 - Stephen Leek - 11 Nov 2011

14 November

Gas lamp at Sheffield Park - John Sandys - 10 November 2011 10 November
  • The gorgeous sunlight this afternoon really brings out the paintwork on this newly refurbished gas lamp in John Sandys' photo; see a few other photos from around Sheffield Park today.

  • This Saturday, 12 November we have our Vintage Goods Train running in addition to the normal passenger service (which is Service 2 this weekend). The loco on the goods train, as shown in the updated Loco Roster is expected to be No.323 "Bluebell".

  • Update to the 9F Club pages; this is our club for young volunteers aged 9-15, for which there is currently a waiting list.

  • Bulleid Pacific No.34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair" was withdrawn during October 2011, in need of further firebox repairs, which will take about 9-months work, and which probably won't start immediately. More details here.

U-class with Bullleid coaches - Ashley Smith - 5 November 2011 8 November
  • Ashley Smith's photo shows the SR U-class No.1638 hauling the 4-coach Bulleid set on Saturday.

  • More photo galleries and videos from the weekend's Vintage Trains gala:

  • Update to the Football Competition page, with the latest positions in this competition raising funds for the overhaul of our Southern Railway Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864.

  • Peter Edwards' photo below shows the LBSCR pair, "Stepney" piloting No.B473, on Freshfield bank with the 1.40pm Vintage Train from Sheffield Park on Sunday 6th November, on what turned out to be a very dull and windy day.
'Stepney' pilots the E4 - Peter Edwards - 6 Nov 2011

B473 with LSWR carriage - Chris Ward - 5 November 2011 7 November
  • Chris Ward's photo on the right shows B473 with LSWR, LBSCR and LCDR carriages in tow, on Saturday. Chris also has a gallery from the weekend.

  • A note for anyone who might consider visiting Hill Place Farm Bridge to view work on excavating our tip, following a complaint from one of the farmers that his access was blocked at the weekend.
    The metalled road that leads from Turners Hill Road is private though it does form part of a public footpath. No one should park their car anywhere in the lane or on the hard stand in front of the business premises. If you want to view the tip from Hill Place Bridge then park on the main road and walk along the footpath (you'll need sturdy footwear especially if has been raining recently).
    The issue with parking in the lane is becoming an increasing problem. We need to be on good terms with our neighbours and if visitors coming to view the work create a nuisance this will undermine that relationship.
    Thank you for your cooperation.

  • Below:
    • Peter Trimming's photo from Friday shows the E4 sitting patiently at Horsted Keynes as the C arrives from Kingscote with one of the three pre-grouping coach sets running that day;
    • Ashley Smith provides this photo of Saturday's goods train, hauled by the SECR C-class. Ashley also has a great video compilation, and a few photos at the start of his current gallery;
    • Nathan Gibson's photo shows "Captain Baxter" at the end of Sunday, having completed its first weekend of Brake Van rides, possible following the recent fitting of Vacuum braking;
    • Keith Leppard's two photos below from Saturday show B473 arriving at Kingscote with SECR carriages led by the Birdcage brake, and Stepney leading the two "P"s into Horsted Keynes from the North on the triple header. His gallery from Saturday includes a nice selection of photos of the Birdcage Brake, the SECR 2-plank and the People's Millions carriage, all recently returned to traffic.
    More of the weekend's activities below this batch of photos...

E4 sits patiently at Horsted Keynes as the C arrives from Kingscote with one of the three pre-grouping coach sets - Peter Trimming - 4 Nov 2011 C-class with goods train - Ashley Smith - 5 Nov 2011
Captain Baxter with brake van - Chris Ward - 6 Nov 2011 B473 with Birdcage brake - Keith Leppard - 5 Nov 2011

Triple Header - Keith Leppard - 5 November 2011

  • Martin Lawrence has now put online more of his recent photos - the first set is mainly from August, and includes some featuring the Rail Ale train, then there is a gallery from September and more from October.

  • More from the Vintage Train Weekend - interestingly the Sunday (the only day without a goods train running) was the quietest of the three days, although there were still plenty of people about.

  • On the afternoon of Saturday 5th November 2011, the "Mine of Serpents" train tour arrived at East Grinstead, where it visited the Bluebell Railway's northern extension. This train consisted of ten coaches, top and tailed by class 73 locomotives, 73141 "Charlotte" and 73208 "Kirsten". Patrick Plane's photo catches "Charlotte" leading the special onto Bluebell metals at East Grinstead. The train then proceeded down the line, as seen in Stephen Fairweather's photo, approaching Hill Place Farm Bridge at the northern end of Imberhorne Cutting; is this a taster of things to come?

    The tour organisers kindly held a raffle on the train for Bluebell Extension funds, which raised about £1,000, and we raised about a further £1,500 through the opening of the station platform at East Grinstead, including the receipt of one substantial donation, so that's another 100 tonnes of waste removal funded!

    Patrick Plane's next photo shows that Kirsten next led the tour train into our platform, and the special was stopped with the leading coach fully in the platform, although fouling the run-round loop point, which of course was not needed on this occasion. Stephen Fairweather's next photo shows the South end of the train, with "Charlotte" and the tenth coach, plus part of the 9th just off the end of the platform. We can therefore now confirm that our new platform is able to comfortably hold eight and a half coaches!

    Finally, Nathan Gibson's photo shows 73208 leading the way back North through Purley. He also has a few other photos of the special.

The visiting special passes onto Bluebell metals - Pat Plane - 5 Nov 2011 Charlotte leads the special towards the tip at Hill Place Farm Bridge - Stephen Fairweather - 5 Nov 2011 Kirsten at the head of the train in the Bluebell's platform at East Grinstead - Pat Plane - 5 Nov 2011 Charlotte at the South end of our Platform - Stephen Fairweather - 5 Nov 2011 Kirsten leads back up through Purley - Nathan Gibson - 5 Nov 2011

178 with one of today's three vintage passenger trains - David Haggar - 4 November 2011 4 November
  • David Haggar's photo on the right shows No.178 with one of today's three vintage passenger trains, forming the 11:30am from Sheffield Park taken just north of Tremains. If today was just a taster for the rest of the Vintage Trains Gala, then we're in for a treat, with 7 locos running tomorrow.

  • David also has a small gallery of photos from today.

  • The Fenchurch Fund (currently raising funds for the overhaul of SECR No.27, is hoping to have a display stand and a sales of preserves and chutneys at Sheffield Park over the weekend, weather permitting! The display will include a few models and some photographic items together with information on the fund and their activities, so please pop along and see them (and make a donation to the restoration of SECR 27 if you wish!).

  • There is an e-petition on the Government web site which we would hope all followers of railway preservation could support, given the current high incidence of metal theft from the UK's preserved railways. It calls for appropriate changes to the Scrap Metal Merchants Act 1964, and needs to have 100,000 signatories, but currently only stands at about 22,000. Please visit the site and click 'Sign this petition'.

  • John Sandys has two 16-minute videos showing the complete "Autumn Tints" experience, filmed yesterday. Sheffield Park to Horsted Keynes and then on to Kingscote.

  • The first photo below, from Tony Sullivan, shows 323 "Bluebell" with the Birdcage Brake, at Horsted Keynes before departing with the 1.20pm service to Kingscote, even though apparently bound for East Grinstead!

  • Two SECR Wagons, both associated with the late Pete Reid, were running today. The 7-plank was Pete's own wagon, restored some years ago, and just returned to service following tyre turning at Ashford in October. The second is the 2-plank Ballast wagon which we've created using the underframe from our fourth such 7-plank wagon, which is very nearly finished! They are seen in Martin Skrzetuszewski's photo taken on Tuesday.

  • David Haggar's photo shows B473 with the goods train today, with these two wagons leading, on Freshfield Bank. The goods train runs again tomorrow.
323 and Birdcage - Tony Sullivan - 4 Nov 2011 SECR Wagons - Martin Skrzetuszewski - 1 Nov 2011 B473 with Goods train - David Haggar - 4 Nov 2011

178 at Sheffield Park with the Autumn Tints service - John Sandys - 1 November 2011 3 November
  • The final version of our Updated Appeal Video is now available here - Since the updated commentary was shot, another 25 trains have run, and another 15 are now planned for later this month, leaving just a final few more to run next year.

  • The 3-day Vintage Trains Gala starts tomorrow. The event guide with full timetable will be available to purchase from stations on your arrival. The first trains on Friday are at 11.00 am from Sheffield Park and 11.55 am from Kingscote. The first trains on Saturday are a goods train at 10.34 from Sheffield Park, and passenger trains at 10.50 from SP, 11.08 from Horsted Keynes, and 11.58 from Kingscote. On the Sunday, the first trains are 10.45 from SP, 11.05 and 11.28 from HK, and 11.53 from Kingscote. In addition to the information in the event guide, and that on the web site, guided tours of the Carriage Works at Horsted Heynes will take place at 1.35 & 2.20 on Friday, 12.20, 1.00, 1.35 & 2.10 on Saturday and 12.50, 1.25, 2.00, 2.35 on Sunday. The Goods train runs on Friday and Saturday, and "Captain Baxter" will give Brake Van Rides at Horsted Keynes on the Saturday and Sunday.

  • Martin Lawrence provides this video of a ride in the Birdcage end of No.3363. This also provides a good view of the lineside trees, which this year have provided a stunning selection of autumn colours.

  • John Sandys provides today's main photo, right, taken on Tuesday, showing 178 at Sheffield Park with the Autumn Tints (the last day of which is today), and also has some videos from Tuesday, showing 178 with the Autumn Tints Special leaving Sheffield Park, and then a sequence taken from Hill Place Farm bridge at the northern end of Imberhorne cutting, showing the last day of the current sequence of "Waste by Rail" trains, digging the cutting out to clear the way through to East Grinstead. The first stage each day has been the transfer of rubbish excavated from the cutting northwards to the loading point, the empty train arriving and being loaded; finishing loading of the first three wagons, which are then shunted clear of the loading area.

  • Ashley Smith has some photos from his visit to the line on 16th October.

  • Tony Sullivan's photo below shows some more parts for the Standard 2 tank, No.84030. The original rear spring hangers for the trailing coupled wheels of the tender loco are a different pattern to those required for the tank engine, so a new pair have been cast. This shot shows the new pair which have been machined as necessary and painted. They are now ready to be riveted to the new rear stretcher.

  • Another photo, taken yesterday, following the 'co-operation between departments theme'. This is one of a pair of SR style rail-built elevated shunt signal posts recently constructed by Mike Hopps of the Infrastructure Department and which is in the process of being commissioned by the S & T Dep't. Operated by lever 9 in the SP box, it controls the exit from the new carriage shed and the Dock Road. The other new signal post is located on the Pumphouse Siding by the old washout pit and will accommodate a repeater for the new shunt signal and route indicator into the carriage shed throat. Regrettably it's no longer possible to use old LBSCR pattern shunt signals, since these are not reliably "fail-safe".
Standard 2 tank - new rear driving wheel spring hangers - Tony Sullivan - 13 Oct 2011 Elevated shunt signal at SP - Mike Hopps - 2 Nov 2011

Ashley Smith's video compilation on YouTube - 16 October 2011 1 November
  • Ashley Smith's short video compilation showing the three trains running a couple of Sundays ago.

  • Last night, GBRF loco 66722 'Sir Edward Watkin' and 20 MLA wagons took 1026.65 tonnes of rubbish away to Appleford. Today is the final day of the current "Waste by Rail 4" operation on the extension. All being well, we are now about three-quarters of the way through removing the tip material that is planned!

  • John Sandys has some photos from today, when No.178 was in charge of the Autumn Tint specials, and he also recorded some of the activities on the last day of WBR4.

  • That leaves us, as has been stated before, needing just under a million pounds to complete the extension to East Grinstead. As part of our fund raising, we have been accepted for the Reed Foundation's "Big Give" Christmas Challenge which enables us to obtain some match funding for the extension. What we have to do is raise £30,000 in 5 days (starting at 10am on 5th December) through the Bluebell's page on the Big Give web site. Any donation made in that week will be matched POUND FOR POUND by a combination of our major supporters and the Big Give's sponsor funds. If you are eligible for Gift Aid as well, this will, for example, turn a £10 donation into £22.50 for the extension project. You'll be hearing more about it on here nearer the time!

  • Derek Hayward has four pictures showing further progress on repainting locos 75027 and 92240 at Horsted Keynes today, where Dave Martin, Michelle Barton and Matthew Cousins were hard at work, trying to make progress before the forecast rain.

  • During October 2011 there were 90,691 total hits on this page, from 51,971 unique visitors.

  • Since the photo showing the recent track changes by Network Rail north of East Grinstead station have generated some interest, Chris Morris has posted lots of pictures of the crossover being built up on the site of St Margaret's Junction and then installed. Chris says "It was very interesting to see how Colas Rail built both crossovers in a clearing at St Margaret's, then jacked up the complete panel and moved them both 100's of yards up the line. Unfortunately the final lift took place late on the Saturday and it was took dark to get a decent picture."

  • Every photo tells a story. That below from John Sandys' collection from last week shows one of the newly refurbished platform benches at Sheffield Park. It had been refurbished by Friends of Kingscote members led by Richard Hill, and was moved down to Sheffield Park in the capacious guards van of LSWR coach No.1520 on Tuesday afternoon. It was then arranged for a shunt to take place on Wednesday morning to move that stock over to SP platform 2, to allow the Friends of Sheffield Park to unload the bench closer to its final destination. So, a little story of cooperation across several Bluebell departments to achieve the required result!
Platform Bench at Sheffield Park - John Sandys - 27 Oct 2011

80151 on shed - Steven Lofting - 29 October 2011 31 October
  • Steven Lofting's photo shows 80151 on shed on Saturday, prior to taking the evening pullman train.

  • At the BRPS committee meeting on 21st October 2011, a presentation by Chris White outlined the options and considerations for turning locos and stock, with a triangle being the currently favoured option. Further details are available via the BRPS Members Notices.

  • For a behind the scenes tour of the whole Railway this coming Sunday, why not book onto of our "Find out more" day.

  • Our supporters are currently offering 42 items for sale on eBay for Charity eBay for Charity, with a proportion of the sale price going towards the Bluebell Trust, for the Northern Extension project. Many thanks to those people supporting us in that way.
    Raise funds for the Bluebell with easyfundraising Another small fundraising initative, EasyFundraising, has raised £584.21 over the period July to September, thanks to commission and free funds offers from 2000 on-line retailers. Your webmaster's better half has just changed our home and contents insurance through this, and as well as saving about £200 compared to our previous insurers, she also earned the Bluebell a donation of £30.

  • Ray Wills has a photo of 'Captain Baxter' venturing up the line to try out his new vacuum brake on a test run to Kingscote.

  • News Update Latest from the Northern Extension:
    During week five of WBR4 a total of 5134 tonnes was removed, with all wagons being loaded close to the maximum capacity. The current phase concludes with further trains running on 31st October and 1st November. An announcement regarding the next phase (WBR5) will be made in due course
    • Greg Wales' photo below shows waste being loaded into the train on Friday.
    • Gordon Callander's photo from Monday shows that we are now loading the wagons three at a time, since that reduces the distance the rubbish has to be moved once it is deposited in the loading area by the dumper trucks. To enable the positionning of one of the diggers to the south of the "pile", an addition length of track was laid over the previous weekend.
    • Robert Hayward's photo shows the slightly extended track.
Loading rubbish into the WBR train - Greg Wales - 28 Oct 2011 Three loaded wagons ready to be taken away - Gordon Callander - 24 Oct 2011 Extended track - Robert Hayward - 24 Oct 2011

29 October
  • Further to yesterday's entry, the incoming "The Mine of Serpents" railtour is indeed on 5th November, which is of course next Saturday, not Sunday. The tour is completely sold out, but we are opening our platform to the public whilst the tour is on Bluebell metals.

66721 'Harry Beck' with half a train loaded - Greg Wales - 28 October 2011 28 October
  • Greg Wales' photo shows 66721 'Harry Beck' with half a train loaded earlier today. We've just two more days digging in the current phase of the project, after which we'll be preparing for the final push (both in terms of digging and fund raising).

  • Mike Wadie has a full set of photographs from around the Railway on Wednesday, including the steam shunt at Horsted Keynes, lots of signalling progress there, a look in the C&W works, the two trains running, and also the work of the new Friends of Sheffield Park. The photos show the Vintage set with the Obo replacing the Birdcage; today however, the Birdcage was back, with a newly re-metalled axle-box.

  • There are currently 99 books on John Sisley's Bluebell Amazon Marketplace website, being sold in aid of the Northern Extension Project.

  • On Saturday 5th, in addition to the weekend's Vintage Trains Gala we have an incoming special excursion at East Grinstead. It will be with us at about 3.40pm, so the Bluebell's station there will open at 3.15 and close after the special has left, at 4.55. Platform tickets will be on sale price £1.00. The special train will be formed of ten coaches top and tailed by Class 73s.

  • John Sandy's reports that yesterday (Thursday) was really busy again at the the Railway, the Kids a Quid offer seems to be working! Photos show work on the Milk Dock Buffer Stop, and our newest Guard (Joseph Wright) on his first working day after qualifying. Videos show Work on Buffer Stop, 80151 arriving at Kingscote, Uncoupling at Kingscote and Ian Wright chatting to our newest guard.

  • Two of Nathan Gibson's photos below were taken by him whilst on a cleaner's turn at Sheffield Park last Sunday.
80151 - Nathan Gibson - 23 Oct 2011 B473 with Vintage coaches - Nathan Gibson - 23 Oct 2011

66721 'Harry Beck' arrives at East Grinstead with the empties - Robert Hayward - 24 October 2011 26 October
  • Robert Hayward's photo shows No.66721 'Harry Beck' hauling the empties over the new trackwork as it approaches platform 1 at East Grinstead with 20 empty wagons early on Monday afternoon. The photo shows the recently doubled section of track just to the north of the platforms, which replaces the single-lead approach to the platforms. The last wagons of the train are just on the further of the newly installed crossovers. This engineering work both increases track capacity at East Grinstead, and paves the way for the forthcoming platform extension.
    Compare the scene with Malcolm Porter's photo from 3 months ago.

  • A newly updated version of the appeal video is now available, as seen below. It reports that we still need just under a million pounds to complete the extension, with the urgency being to raise half of that by Christmas so that we can complete the clearance of enough rubbish by the end of the Landfill Tax Exepmtion, at the end of March 2012. Apologies for the slight glitch a minute into the programme, but since this part is the same as the previous version, we felt it more important to release the new version than wait for this very minor fault to be corrected. [New version now available here - 3 Nov 2011]

    Donations to the appeal, large and small, are urgently sought and may be made by various routes - online, by phone or by post. UK taxpayers can Gift Aid their donations to increase their value to us, and US taxpayers may do similar via the American Fund for Charities.

  • John Sandys provides some photos from yesterday, showing the C and the Standard 4 on the service trains, and showing that work has started on building a buffer stop for the milk dock at Sheffield Park. He also provides videos showing No.592 arriving at Horsted Keynes with the 2pm from Sheffield Park, 80151 on the run-round and coupling up ready for the 3pm departure at Sheffield Park, waiting for the departure and the 3pm departure itself.

  • Roger Carpenter took some pictures of and from inside the birdcage guard's compartment of No.3363 on Saturday. A new, quite amazing, viewpoint!

Birdcage Brake 3363 at Kingscote - Alex Morley - 22 October 2011 24 October
  • Alex Morley's photo from Saturday morning is from his photo gallery featuring the SECR birdcage coach's return to service. No.3363 entered public service on Saturday, with a special train to celebrate its return in the evening for those who'd contributed to the restoration. The planned loco (C-class 592, which instead hauled the 'Wealden Rambler' afternoon tea train on Saturday and the Golden Arrow on Sunday lunchtime) was changed for the SR-liveried E4, to harmonise with the new carriage.

    The plan had been for the three coach SECR/LSWR vintage set to operate each day this coming week, but the Birdcage unfortunately ran a hot box on Sunday afternoon, so whilst the axlebox is re-metalled the Observation Car is to be used instead over the next few days, with the Birdcage returning hopefully later in the week. The intention is that when the LBSCR Bogie First joins this SR/pre-grouping non-corridor set next spring, this will be one of our regular vintage carriage sets.

  • Jon Bowers' photo below, taken on Saturday morning, shows some of the volunteers who worked on the restoration of the Birdcage coach.

  • Our fourth weekly report from the current phase of work on the East Grinstead extension: Another 5028 tonnes of waste were removed during the fourth week of WBR4. On Monday and Tuesday one wagon was unavailable for use but this was swapped out Tuesday night whilst the train was en-route to Appleford. The current planned excavation is being extended by two days to account for the two lost days during the first two weeks.

  • Derek Haywood has two new photo updates, showing progress with the Loco washout pit and the Sheffield Park Carriage Shed.

  • 80151's portrait below is from Matthew Sheasby, taken on Saturday 15th October.

  • Richard Clark, Project Manager of the Kingscote Goods Yard Project (KGYP), provides the photo below, showing the Drivepoint Contractors team carefully removing the outer gable bricks from the derelict railway cottage at Haywards Heath on 2nd October. Richard also says: "As reported earlier this month the KGYP has benefited considerably thanks to the great efforts of those who turned up in the 'October heatwave' to clean bricks.
    "But before any of this could happen we needed co-operation from the contractor and TOC so we are indebted to Mike Hawkins and his team at Drivepoint Contractors, who looked after us volunteers on site both days, their careful demolition of the railway cottage and delivery of reclaim to the railway, assuring us of as much material as possible. Also to Paul Best and Pieter Wilke of TOC Southern and Victoria Bentley of Network Rail; without their input we would never have had the chance to get any of the materials in the first place.
    "So a BIG thank you from the Bluebell Railway, especially those involved in this project."

Some of the volunteers who worked on the restoration of 3363 - Jon Bowers - 22 Oct 2011 Portrait of 80151 - Matthew Sheasby - 15 Oct 2011 Drivepoint carefuly demolish the cottage at Haywards Heath - Richard Clark - 2 Oct 2011

B473 with Wealden Rambler and 323 with Autumn Tints - Tony Sullivan - 20 October 2011 22 October
  • Tony Sullivan's photo shows No.B473 starting away from Sheffield Park yesterday afternoon with the 2.30pm "Wealden Ramber" afternoon tea service, passing No.323 'Bluebell' which is hauling the LNWR Observation Car, having just arrived with the 2.00pm Autumn Tints service from Kingscote. The Autumn Tints Specials resume on October 31st, with the last one running on Thursday 3rd November. Pre-booking is strongly advised.

  • We have a new vintage set running daily from today for the next 9 days. It is expected to be formed from the newly restored SECR Birdcage Brake No.3363, SECR hundred seater No.1098, and LSWR brake third No.1520, which is also only now entering regular service. Tony Sullivan's photo below shows the Birdcage brake at Sheffield Park during its test run on 13th October.

  • Andy Prime's photo below shows the late Pete Reid's SECR 7-plank wagon No.5542 on a low loader on Monday 17th, when it had a day out to Ashford for its tyres to be turned, the facilities there being suited to doing the operation with the wheels still in the vehicle. This should enable the wagon to re-enter service on our special Vintage Goods Train Days.

  • Peter Edwards' photo below shows No.B473 leaving Kingscote with the 1pm train on Sunday 16th October.

Birdcage brake 3363 at Sheffield Park - Tony Sullivan - 13 Oct 2011 SECR 7-plank wagon on low loader - Andy Prime - 17 Oct 2011 B473 leaves Kingscote - Peter Edwards - 16 Oct 2011

B473 with the Met coaches - Paul Pettitt - 15 October 2011 21 October
  • Paul Pettitt's photo shows ex-LBSCR E4-class No.B473 with the Met coaches, forming the 4:55pm Kingscote to Sheffield Park service last Saturday.

  • Reminder that we have our "Kids for a Quid" special promotion for the coming half term week (including both weekends), with an hourly two-train service each day.

  • BRPS members will be interested to know that the Autumn edition of Bluebell News is now in the post.

  • During last week, the third week of Waste By Rail 4 a further 5122 tonnes of waste was removed from Imberhorne Cutting on our extension to East Grinstead. This brings the total of waste removed to in excess of 60,000 tonnes. This was the first week that we were able to run five trains with twenty wagons and thus it achieved the highest weekly total of the project. Progress removing the waste continues to run to schedule. On Thursday the departing train carried a "Chit Chat Express" headboard in recognition of the fundraising efforts of the members of the Bluebell Yahoo! forum on the Internet; in fact they have raised more than enough to cover the cost of two trains.

  • The same loco (No.66721 'Harry Beck') has been used again this week (the fourth week of the current Waste by Rail operation). Brian Kidman's photo below shows the incoming empty train passing Hurst Green on Tuesday.

  • Dave Clark has a sequence of photos of the "Chit Chat Express" evening, as has Ken Upton.

  • News Update Update to the C&W News page for SECR 2-plank wagon No.567 with thanks to Jon Elphick and Martin Skrzetuszewski.

  • Sam Brown's photo below shows 9F club members working on 75027 and 92240 last Saturday. Sam also has a video from the day, which includes the E4 and U on service trains, and 80151 on a special for its owning group, and an album of photos.

  • Paul Russell provides the picture below taken last Saturday, showing 'Captain Baxter' dreaming of more glamorous duties, whilst testing his new vacuum brake. This was the first test of the loco's new brake to see if it would maintain a vacuum on a coaching set and also to measure water consumption prior to testing it on the line. Maintaining a vacuum was no problem and with the ejector exhaust directed up the chimney there was sufficient draught to create more steam than it consumed.

  • Keith Duke popped in to Shffield Park briefly at the end of the day last Sunday, and has a few pictures here.

66721 passes Hurst Green with the incoming empties - Brian Kidman - 18 Oct 2011 9F club members working on 75027 and 92240 - Sam Brown - 15 Oct 2011 Baxter's vac brake being tested - Paul Russell - 15 Oct 2011

SECR C-class with Birdcage Brake on test run - Tony Sullivan - 13 October 2011 14 October
  • Tony Sullivan's photo shows SECR C-class at Sheffield Park yesterday with the SECR Birdcage Brake, No.3363, during the latter's test run. All being well, it should enter public service on the 22nd October, and make its Gala debut over the Vintage Trains weekend, 4-6 November.

  • Safety training sessions, which are mandatory for lineside photographers, will be held at Sheffield Park on the following dates:
          Wednesday 26 October 2011 - 9.30am to 12.30pm
          Thursday 24 November 2011 - 9.30am to 12.30pm
          Saturday 26 November 2011 - 9.30am to 12.30pm
    Details of how to book for one of these sessions are available here.

  • Below is a sequence of photographs showing yesterday's early evening run of the "Chit Chat Express" from Sheffield Park to Imberhorne South, where the headboard was carried over the tip by members of the Bluebell's Yahoo! [now io] e-mail group, and placed on "their" train carrying 1000 tonnes of rubbish away on the main line. The e-mail group members have so far raised enough money to pay for a second waste train, and are currently fund-raising for the 3rd.
    • The first photo, from Nathan Gibson, actually shows 66721 'Harry Beck' working the incoming empties through Riddlesdown 4 minutes ahead of Schedule on Tuesday this week.
    • Chris Knibbs took the next photo on John Sandys' camera, showing the assembled party at Sheffield Park for the ride up to Imberhorne South.
    • Mike Hopps has a sequence of photos, the first showing the Chit Chat Express having arrived at Imberhorne South, with the tip walkers disembarked.
    • Walking up the slope at Imberhorne Lane bridge.
    • Headboard bearers Deborah Salmon and Lorna Webb deep in the rubbish!
    • The tip-walking group in the middle of the tip.
    • Headboard now on 66721 'Harry Beck'.
    • Those who had also arrived by road (the tip-walking group was limited in numbers) pose at EG station before the waste train's departure.
    • Richard Salmon's photo shows 66721 ready for departure in the throat of the Bluebell's platform at East Grinstead.
    • Martin Lawrence's photo shows Dave Clarke, winner of the raffle, operating the ground frame under the supervision of Pat Page.

  • In addition there are photos from John Sandys, who also supplies the following videos: Group at S/P before leaving: , Chit-Chat Express leaving S/P: , Chit-Chat Express heading North: , Through H/K: , Leaving K/C, through the gate onto the extension , and on up to Imberhorne South .

66721 brings in the empties, Riddelsdown - Nathan Gibson - 11 Oct 2011 Group photo at Sheffield Park - Chris Knibbs/John Sandys - 13 Oct 2011 Disembarking at Imberhorne South - Mike Hopps - 13 Oct 2011 Walking up the slope under Imberhorne Lane Bridge - Mike Hopps - 13 Oct 2011 Headboard bearers - Mike Hopps - 13 Oct 2011 Tip walking group - Mike Hopps - 13 Oct 2011 Headboard on 66721 - Mike Hopps - 13 Oct 2011 Group at East Grinstead - Mike Hopps - 13 Oct 2011 Ready to depart - Richard Salmon - 13 Oct 2011 Working the ground frame - Martin Lawrence - 13 Oct 2011

SECR C-class arrrives at Kingscote with Goods Train - Mike Hopps - 8 October 2011 12 October
  • Mike Hopps' photo shows the SECR C-class on arrival at Kingscote with the Vintage Goods Train on Saturday morning.

  • The Fenchurch Fund had a stand at the Corby and District Model Railway Society exhibition last weekend (9/10 October). The display included information about the Fenchurch Fund & Project 27 on one half, and information about the extension and tip removal on the other half (with a collecting tin), with the extension DVD playing virtually constantly. Clive Emsley's photo below shows part of the display, the other part consisted of his brother's OO-scale Brighton-themed branch line terminus and a display of (mainly) model Terriers.

  • David Haggar's photo below is another of the C-class, with the vintage goods train leaving Sheffield Park on Saturday.

  • Ian White has updated the detailed drawing of the LBSCR Craven-era First (of circa 1866) which we recovered earlier in the year. The full drawing is available as a pdf file here.

  • John Sandys reports that yesterday was another busy day at Sheffield Park, with continuing work on the tracks outside the Washout Pit, and signalling work. "Bluebell" has now taken over from No.178 as Autumn Tints loco, as expected from the Loco Roster. John's photos are here, and he has a series of videos: preparing to leave Sheffield Park, approaching Horsted Keynes from the South, heading North out of Sharpthorne Tunnel, leaving Kingscote, going South through Sharpthorne Tunnel, arrival at Horsted from Kingscote, and leaving Horsted Keynes southwards.

Fenchurch Fund stand Corby & District exhibition - Clive Emsley - 9 Oct 2011 C-class leaving Sheffield Park with vintage goods train - David Haggar - 8 Oct 2011 Drawing of Craven-era First - Ian White

SECR C-class with Goods Train - Mike Hopps - 8 October 2011 11 October
  • Mike Hopps photo shows the SECR C-class leaving Horsted Keynes with the Vintage Goods Train on Saturday.

  • We're now almost half-way through the current 5-week waste dig on the Northern Extension. During the second week of "Waste By Rail 4" further progress was made with an additional 4128 tonnes being removed - all wagons departed well loaded (remember it's volume not weight). The total waste now removed is about 55,000 tonnes. Unfortunately due to a contractual commitment to London Underground GBRf were unable to provide us with a train on Friday. Once again we will catch up during the next scheduled dig.

  • David Haggar has added photos from Saturday to his current gallery. David has also just added an album of scans from slides he took in 1998. They include the Branch Line Gala and 40th Anniversary of line closure event which had 80080 running as 80154.

  • Nathan Gibson's photo below shows SR U-class No.1638 arriving at Kingscote on Saturday.

    U arrives at Kingscote - Nathan Gibson - 8 Oct 2011 Full compartment on the Mets - Martin Lawrence - 3 Sept 2011

  • Giving the lie to the notion that the older compartment stock is not as good as the more modern stock at coping with peak loading on popular days, Martin Lawrence's photo shows a happy contingent of passengers in one of the Mets on September 3rd. Martin recalls there was a dog in there somewhere too!
    For the record, the Mets plus the People's Millions coach provide 248 seats, plus space for 6 wheelchairs, whereas the 3 Maunsell coaches plus a Bulleid open third have only 220 seats (and no dedicated wheelchair accommodation) for a 33% higher tare weight.
    Martin would no doubt point out that the compartment stock is a lot more challenging when it comes to selling "Tenner for the Tip" certificates, which is what he was attempting to do when he took this photo.

    Tombstone re-used as window sill - Richard Clark- 8 October 2011

  • Over the last two Saturdays, teams of volunteers have been recovering Victorian bricks and other materials from an old railway cottage (first photo below) being demolished (by a well-known local contractor) near Haywards Heath station.

    The operation is part of the Kingscote Goods Yard Project, which is gaining momentum under Richard Clark's leadership. The building materials will be reused creating a coal office and a weigh office at Kingscote, replacing temporary workshop buildings which currently spoil the appearance of the yard. With eight volunteers working this Saturday (in addition to a simliar team last week), all usable bricks have been stacked on pallets (last photo below), although the majority will still needing cleaning when finally on site at Kingscote. The picture on the right shows a most interesting and unexpected find; one of the Portland/Bath stone window sills was in fact part of a recycled tombstone! It looks as though it was a reject.

    We have recovered approaching 4,000 bricks plus slate, ridge tiles, sash windows and chimney pots, all free for use on the project. Richard would like to thank all who helped, largely recruited through an appeal on the Bluebell's Yahoo! e-mail group. It really has boosted this project, with the reclaimed bricks alone saving us in the region of £4,000.

Railway workman's cottage at Haywards Heath - Richard Clark - 1 Oct 2011 Demolished - Richard Clark - 8 Oct 2011 Bricks palleted up ready for removal - Richard Clark - 8 Oct 2011

10 October
Ps depart Sheffield Park - David Haggar - 8 October 2011 The vintage goods train at West Hoathly - Tony Haylar - 8 October 2011
Three SECR engines together at Horsted - Nathan Gibson - 8 October 2011
  • David Haggar's photo above shows the two Ps departing from Sheffield Park with the 12noon service train, formed of the Metropolitan Railway carriages, plus the GNR Directors' Saloon on Saturday.

  • Tony Haylar's photo shows Saturday's vintage goods train hauled by SECR C-class No.592, which was being used for training purposes to maintain our experience and ability to operate unfitted goods trains. Apologies to those expecting the timetable for this train to be the previously published one which had been expected to cover the whole series of monthly trains - the actual timetable in operation on Saturday was that available on our "public train information" page, which is updated every Thursday or Friday using details taken from the coming week's special traffic notice.

  • Nathan Gibson's photo on the right shows the two above trains together at Horsted Keynes at 4.20pm on Saturday. These three SE&CR locos will be one of the main features on the Friday of our November 4-6 Vintage Trains Gala weekend, joined by 4 other locos for the remainder of the weekend.

  • Nathan also has a photo gallery from Sunday, when he was working as a volunteer cleaner, and videos from Saturday showing The P-class duo setting off from Sheffield Park in fine style and the pair setting off from Horsted Keynes.

  • Keith Duke has a sequence of photos showing Saturday morning's goods train at Horsted Keynes.

  • Mike Hopps' photo below shows the first passenger train of the day on Saturday, on arrival at Kingscote behind Southern U-class No.1638.

  • Pat Plane's photo below shows tracklaying progressing onto the new loco washout pit at Sheffield Park, the penultimate part of our Heritage Lottery funded developments at Sheffield Park. The last remaining part of the project, creating new facilities for the Loco department on a platform above the loco machine shop, will be starting soon.
U at Kingscote - Mike Hopps - 8 Oct 2011 Trackwork progress on washout pit - Pat Plane - 4 Oct 2011

178 with Autumn Tints service - Graham Court - 6 October 2011 8 October
  • Graham Court's photo shows the 3pm Autumn Tints Special leaving Sheffield Park on Thursday, 6th October.

  • We have a recycling scheme (raising money for the Bluebell's extension) for unwanted mobiles/PDAs and old printer/inkjet/toner cartridges. Please drop them off at any of our Station Booking Offices. You should remove the SIM card from mobile phones. Leaving them at the railway ensures we can get the most money for them, however if this is not possible, request an envelope from Empty Cartridge using the (revised) link

  • David Haggar has created a web gallery of scanned slides he took of the photo charters with SR Q1 No.33001, SECR O1 No.65 and service trains between May and July 2000. His photo below shows the Q1 (which is now at the National Railway Museum) with a train of wagons.
Q1 at a photo charter - David Haggar - 2000

66708 Jayne at Imberhorne North - Mike Hopps - 5 October 2011 7 October
  • Mike Hopps' photo from Wednesday shows 66708 "Jayne" backing the empty rubbish wagons into the loading area at Imberhorne North, part-way through our second week of "Waste by Rail 4" work on the Extension.

  • Mike's photos below show some of the less visible aspects of the "Waste by Rail" operation: Clive in the loading cabin doing the paperwork after a weigh, and the computer connected to the weighbridge which calculates and prints out the weight of each loaded wagon. The weights are then listed in the manifest and this is either faxed or travels with the train.

  • Reminder that tomorrow is another of our regular Vintage Goods Train Days. If things work out as planned on the loco roster, the train will be powered by an SECR goods engine, the C-class 0-6-0.

  • This photo from David Chappell taken on Sunday at Horsted Keynes in the Carriage and Wagon Department shows three potential new volunteers and Dave Clarke from the department with SECR Birdcage Brake coach No.3363 in the background. This carriage will shortly be returning to traffic after a 12-year restoration. For a behind the scenes tour of the whole Railway, book onto one of our "Find out more" days.

Clive with the paperwork - Mike Hopps - 5 Oct 2011 Weighbridge computer - Mike Hopps - 5 Oct 2011 Find out more days group with Dave Clarke - David Chappell - 2 Oct 2011

34059 photographed from under B473 - Mike Lee - 25 September 2011 6 October
  • The second of Mike Lee's photos taken from the pit (under B473) on 25 Sept. As already reported, since then "Sir Archibald Sinclair" has unfortunately again had to be stopped with firebox and stay problems.

  • Reports indicate that our loco for the 'Waste by Rail' trains this week is 66708 "Jayne", and that we're managing to squeeze a little more waste into each train this week than we did last week. There won't be a waste train running this Friday, due to the wagons being needed for weekend engineering work on the London Underground system. Missed days will be made up at a later date, so there's no overall impact on our extension programme. Unfortunately this means that the named "Chit Chat Express" planned for this Friday is postponed. This was planned as one of two trains so far paid for by fund raising by our Yahoo! e-mail discussion group, and it appears this run might now take place next Thursday (13th).

  • John Sandys has a gallery of photos, largely of Tuesday's busy Autumn Tints specials and some videos, showing No.178 coupling up at Kingscote, and of the train leaving, and collecting the token from the signalman.

  • Martin Lawrence's photo below shows No.178 with the Autumn Tints service on Monday. The service runs for much of the rest of the month, and into November. Details here - pre-booking is essential.

  • The other photo, from Mike Hopps taken on Saturday, shows some of our Victorian carriages departing from Sheffield Park. Next stop Downton Village! - some of the carriages seen in ITV's "Downton Abbey" are in public service every weekend at present.
178 with Obo on Autumn Tints service - Martin Lawrence - 3 Oct 2011 Mets departing from Sheffield Park behind the E4 - Mike Hopps - 1 Oct 2011

178 with Autumn Tint Special - Tony Sullivan - 3 October 2011 4 October
  • No.178 stands at Sheffield Park with the L&NWR observation Saloon before working the 3.00pm Autumn Tints special to Kingscote yesterday, the first day of the Autumn Tints service.

  • News Update East Grinstead Extension Report: First week of "Waste by Rail 4" completed

  • During September 2011 there were 77,192 total hits on this page, from 44,905 unique visitors.

  • At the end of last week, the total raised for the Extension through easyfundraising passed the £5,000 mark. Many thanks to all those who use this, if anyone else who shops online would like to help us obtain more of this "free" money, please Register for easyfundraising to earn donations for the Bluebell from 2000 of the UK's best known retailers, and may also save yourself money at the same time through a variety of online discounts.

  • Martin Lawrence has created galleries for 25th - 26th June and 10th - 15th July

  • David Haggar's photo below shows 34059 on Freshfield Bank area on Saturday. Unfortunately the loco failed that evening with stay and thermic-syphon problems, which is likely to see it out of service yet again. David also took a short video clip on Saturday of the E4 with the Mets going past the demolished bridge near Monteswood.

  • Roger Carpenter has a few photos of a very quiet (but very lovely) evening at Horsted Keynes before and between the Golden Arrow dining trains on Saturday 1st October.

  • Jonathan Horrocks has put up some recent and some older Bluebell photos in new flickr galleries.

  • A further selection of of nearly 300 photographs by J J Smith has been added to the Museum website. These mainly cover 1949 and include a wide variety of locations. The easiest way to see all the new images is by going here and clicking the "Recent Additions" button.
34059 on Freshfield Bank - David Haggar - 1 Oct 2011

34059 photographed from under B473 - Mike Lee - 25 September 2011 30 September
  • Mike Lee took advantage of this unusual vantage point (in the pit under B473) on Sunday to take this photo of "Sir Archibald Sinclair" in the loco yard.

  • Keith Duke has gathered together a collection of pictures dedicated to Bluebell visitors. Brings back some great memories!

  • John Sandys has a gallery of photos from yesterday, plus two videos taken from Leamland Bridge, showing Sir Archie leaving Horsted Keynes with the service train and the 08 shunting the 9F.

  • Tony Sullivan's photo below shows No.34059 running through the site of West Hoathly station with the 3.00pm Sheffield Park to Kingscote service yesterday.

  • Four photos from the extension, from Mike Hopps taken on Monday, the first day of the current 'Waste by Rail' operation. With the incoming "empty" train having brought in 300 tons of ballast for us, the L&W road-railer is seen unloading and spreading ballast on the siding (which will eventually form the running line). Some of the work over the last month has seen an access ramp created down from the tip site, under Imberhorne Lane Bridge, and a large quantity of the inert clay capping has been moved from the site to a temporary store alongside the running line south of the tip. The last two photos show the two diggers which were loading the train with waste.
    Yesterday, as on Wednesday, the loco on the 'Waste by Rail' train was 66731.

34059 at West Hoathley - Tony Sullivan - 29 Sept 2011 Unloading and spreading ballast - Mike Hopps - 26 Sept 2011 Access ramp at Imberhorne Lane bridge - Mike Hopps - 26 Sept 2011 Loading the waste train - Mike Hopps - 26 Sept 2011 Loading the waste train - Mike Hopps - 26 Sept 2011

178 and 323 - Derek Hayward - 24 September 2011 29 September
  • Derek Hayward's photo from Saturday shows the Ps with the People's Millions coach and the Mets, at West Hoathley.

  • Reminder that the next Volunteer Recruitment "Find out more" day is this coming Sunday - phone the General Office on 01825 720800 or e-mail Volunteer Recruitment leader Clive Soper to reserve a place on the tour behind the scenes, which will show the variety of roles for which we are looking for new volunteers across the various departments of the Railway.

  • Richard Emsley cycled over to Imberhorne yesterday afternoon and took the first photo below, showing 66731 shunting part of the second "half train" of 10 wagons, with 4 of these already loaded.

  • The other photos below, from Lewis Nodes and Derek Hayward, show the wheels from the Q-class tender, removed for turning, and the tender itself.

66731 shunting waste wagons - Richard Emsley - 28 Sept 2011 Wheels from the Q-class tender - Lewis Nodes - 18 Sept 2011 Q-class tender in the workshop at SP - Derek Hayward - 24 Sept 2011

34059 at 3-Arch Bridge - Derek Hayward - 24 September 2011 28 September

75027 in green undercoat - Derek Hayward - 24 Sept 2011 92240 and 75027 being repainted - Derek Hayward - 24 Sept 2011

66728 on the viaduct - Mike Hopps - 26 September 2011 27 September
  • Michael Hopps' photo from yesterday shows No.66728 "Institution of Railway Operators" on the viaduct before it set back the first half of the incoming empty train train into the platform. A good day's extraction ensued, and we are therefore another waste train closer to completing the extension.
    Unfortunately it appears the loco failed overnight, so there is no train running today.
    This was the first day of 5 weeks' digging and 'Waste By Rail' trains. The trains are running to Appleford this time, with a resulting saving of £25,000 over the course of the 5 weeks.
    Please remember that we still need about another £1 Million to complete the extension, so any help will be gratefully received, to pay for the final phase of 'Waste by Rail' at the start of next year, and the other works needed to complete the extension.

  • Further to yesterday's update, the November 5th railtour is actually a 'Forgotten Tracks' tour run by UK Railtours featuring a GBRf Class 73.

  • Derek Hayward's photos below, taken on Saturday, show 323 and 178 heading South with the Victorian coaches and the Railways on the Air amateur radio station operated from Horsted Keynes that day.

Ps heading south - Derek Hayward - 24 Sept 2011 Railways on the Air - Derek Hayward - 24 Sept 2011

34059 with 11am departure from Sheffield Park - Paul Pettitt - 24 September 2011 26 September
34059 with 3pm train - Peter Edwards - 24 Sept 2011 178 and 323 - Paul Pettitt - 24 Sept 2011

  • BRPS President Bernard Holden made a visit to the Railway yesterday, and after lunching at Sheffield Park took the 2.00pm train to Kingscote travelling in the "Peoples Millions" coach SECR No.3360 in which he is pictured on arrival at Kingscote chatting to our chairman Roy Watts.

  • Derek Hayward has updates on the Loco Wash-out Pit (including a photo below showing progress with the new point leading to the new pit headshunt), on the Woodpax shed (including one showing the second of the three buffer-stops now installed) and additional photos from Saturday added to his general gallery.
Bernard and Roy - Tony Sullivan - 25 Sept 2011 Washout Pit trackwork - Derek Hayward - 24 Sept 2011 Woodpax trackwork - Derek Hayward - 24 Sept 2011

Birdcage brake 3363 almost ready to leave the paint shop - Dave Clarke - 29 August 2011 25 September
  • Expected to make its debut at the 4-6 November "Vintage Trains" gala weekend is the SE&CR Birdcage Brake No.3363, which is coming to the end of its 11-year-long restoration. Dave Clarke's photo shows the carriage shortly before leaving the paint shop earlier this month following the completion of lettering, lining and varnishing.
    This "Vintage Trains" event replaces the previously advertised SE&CR Gala, due to delays in completing the overhaul of SE&CR H-class locomotive, which is now expected to be completed in the New Year. The event features 7 locos, all at least 80 years old, and the Bluebell's renowned fleet of vintage and Victorian carriages and wagons.

  • The Bluebell should feature again tonight in ITV's block-buster drama, Downton Abbey - it's really good to see a production taking care to use locos and carriages appropriate to the period depicted.

  • Update to the Loco Roster, showing that Sir Archibald Sinclair is back in service.

  • More photos of C&W projects below from Dave Clarke.
    • The evening sun catches a door on the Birdcage coach on the evening before it left the paint-shop.
    • On SECR 3188, the one-time brake compartment ceiling has now been stripped to reveal an almost perfect set of pitch pine roof boards that look as though they could have been installed last year rather than almost 114 years ago!
    • Also on this coach, work to return the door pillars and quarterlight openings of the brake area to their original profile is continuing.
    • Another section of steel paneling has been fitted to the side of Bulleid composite No.5768, between compartments C & D.
The evening sun catches a door on the Birdcage coach - Dave Clarke - 4 Sept 2011 Ceiling of SECR 3188 - Dave Clarke - 4 Sept 2011 Work on door pillar of 3188 - Dave Clarke - 29 August 2011 New panelling on Bulleid Composite 5768 - Dave Clarke - 29 August 2011

Approach to Imberhorne North - Tony Sullivan - 17 September 2011 23 September
  • Another of Tony Sullivan's photos taken last Saturday from the cab of 4 VEP No. 3417 'Gordon Pettitt', here as it approaches Imberhorne North. The Railway Herald has a photo by Brian Creasey of GB Railfreight Class 73 No. 73141 'Charlotte' and the VEP approach Kensington (Olympia) on the empty stock movement on the following Monday to Clapham Yard (via Acton Lane). The VEP is now tucked away in the shed at Clapham.

  • News Update Update thanks to Martin Skrzetuszewski and Jon Elphick to the C&W News page for SECR 2-plank Ballast wagon No.567.

  • Reminder that we start 5 weeks of 'Waste By Rail' on Monday to push forward the completion of our extension to East Grinstead. This time the waste is being taken to a different site, near Didcot, although the timings on the East Grinstead line are the same. The new disposal site enables some sorting of the waste before disposal, which results in a saving of £1 per tonne (i.e. £25,000 over the course of the 5 weeks, since we expect to remove another 25,000 tonnes in that time).
    These 5 weeks have been funded though donations from our supporters, but we still need about another £1 Million to complete the extension, so any help will be gratefully received, as we look towards the final phase of digging at the start of next year.

C 592 and PLV 2186 - Martin Lawrence - 19 September 2011 22 September
  • Martin Lawrence's photos taken on Monday show the C-class with SR passenger Luggage Van No.2186 in the milk dock, the U-class preparing for its 3pm departure from Sheffield Park, and the 'Chesham' set making use of the new carriage shed at Sheffield Park.

  • We now understand that the SSC trip to the Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway planned for Saturday 1 October is CANCELLED.

U before 3pm departure from SP - Martin Lawrence - 19 Sept 2011 In the Woodpax shed - Martin Lawrence - 19 Sept 2011

U-class at Sheffield Park - John Sandys - 20 September 2011 21 September
  • John Sandys' photo shows the SR U-class back in action, yesterday ready to depart from Sheffield Park. Some more of his photos and three videos - Tracklaying for the Washout pit, the U-class and its crew at Kingscote and one from the station platform at Sheffield Park - all from yesterday.

  • The funeral of Sandy Tester (daughter of former workshop manager Norman Payne) is on Monday 26 September at 2.15pm at Downs Crematorium, Bear Road, Brighton BN2 3PL and afterwards at the Conservative Club, Cypress Road, Burgess Hill.

  • The Mid-Sussex Amateur Radio Society will again be running an outside event station again this year for 'Railways on the Air' and have been granted a special callsign GB2BR.
    Any licensed radio ham is welcome to come and join in on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th September. The radio station will be established in the upper area of the car park adjoining Horsted Keynes railway station. Just turn up and please bring a mug and a folding chair with you. If the weather is uncertain, a gazebo should keep the worst of the weather off. The hope is to make 400 plus contacts this year, as in past years. A stove will be available to make tea or coffee and hot and cold food is available from the buffet on platforms 3-4 at the Station.
    This is usually a really enjoyable event and we do hope to see many operators and visitors over the weekend - all will be really welcome.

  • David Chappell's photo below shows progress as of Sunday with the new pointwork giving access to the new loco washout pit. Martin Skrzetuszewski's photo shows that SECR wagon No.567 was re-wheeled yesterday. The timber for its floor is under the tarpaulin on top of the wagon.
Loco Washout Pit trackwork at SP - David Chappell - 18 Sept 2011 SECR wagon 567 rewheeled - Martin Skrzetuszewski - 20 Sept 2011

323 and 178 with the vintage set - Graham Court - 18 September 2011 20 September
  • Graham Court's photo shows the two P-class tanks with the vintage coaches preparing for the 12-noon departure on Sunday.

  • We had a lot of coverage on Sunday Night in ITV's block-buster drama, "Downton Abbey" - the loco featured was the SECR C-class, together with the LBSCR Stroudley First and LCDR Brake Third carriages (with the rest of the train formed of some of the Metropolitan Railway carriages).

  • News Update Update to the loco works news page for SECR H-class loco No.263. The photo below (from Lewis Nodes) shows the current state of the loco - more photos, including of the boiler work, on the news page. The second photo shows the tender of the Q-class after being lifted from its wheelsets (which are going away for turning, as a return trip for the lorry returning those from Camelot).

  • Once resident at the Bluebell, Fletcher Jennings 0-4-0T "Townsend Hook" is the narrow-gauge brother of "Captain Baxter". The rolling chassis, re-wheeled earlier this year, is seen in this video from Amberley Museum.

H-class being re-assembled - Lewis Nodes - 18 Sept 2011 Q-class tender lifted from wheels - Lewis Nodes - 18 Sept 2011

73141 at East Grinstead Open Day - Joseph Wright - 18 September 2011 19 September
  • Joseph Wright's photo shows 73141 "Charlotte" with our 4 VEP at the East Grinstead open day on Sunday. The first photo below, also taken by Joseph, shows 80151 at Sheffield Park on Friday, with another Brighton-built tank, B473, just visible at the far end of the loco shed.

  • We have evening Fish & Chip trains running from Sheffield Park on both of the next Fridays - that on 30th September has been added due the high level of demand for the other trains in the series. Advance booking therefore essential.

  • Sadly we have to report the passing of two individuals long associated with the Bluebell. Long-time C&W volunteer Gordon Darby passed away some 10 days ago. He had been unable to attend Horsted for several years due to increasing infirmity. His funeral is on this Wednesday (21st) in St. Richard's Chapel at Crawley (Worth) Crematorium at 2.15 p.m. He was responsible, amongst many other things, for the reproduction and repair of the ceiling detail in Pullman Car Fingall, and will also be remembered for playing carols on his violin in the Observation Car at Christmas.
    Sandy Tester, Tom Tester's wife, who had been involved with the Bluebell since she was young, very sadly passed away last Monday after a few weeks in hospital.

  • Tony Sullivan's first photo below from Saturday shows the tip from the cab of the VEP, showing how the train took its passengers right into the cutting, and also showing the depth of tip so far excavated on the left, which is the side on which track will eventually be laid. Tony's second photo below shows the approach to our platform at East Grinstead across the viaduct, from the cab of the 73.
80151 at SP - Joseph Wright - 16 Sept 2011 Tip from the cab of the VEP - Tony Sullivan - 17 Sept 2011 East Grinstead platform from the cab of the 73 - Tony Sullivan - 17 Sept 2011

C-class at Horsted Keynes - John Sandys - 15 September 2011 15 September
  • Coming up this weekend - East Grinstead Open Weekend - Our station platform at East Grinstead will be open, with shuttle trains over Hill Place Viaduct to Imberhorne North using our 4VEP unit number 3417 "Gordon Pettitt" hauled by a Class 73 electro-diesel locomotive.
    Train services will depart East Grinstead every half hour from 10.10am until 4.40pm.
    On the Saturday, we will also be holding our first fish and chip evening at East Grinstead, from 5pm to 7pm. More details.
    Note that, due to engineering works on Network Rail (to install a new crossover north of East Grinstead station), there is a replacement bus service between Oxted (or Hurst Green) and East Grinstead this weekend.

  • John Sandys' photo taken today shows C-class No.592 (deputising for the U-class) at Horsted Keynes. John's set of photos from today also includes trackwork progressing for the loco wash-out pit. He also caught on video 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair" on test, moving about the yard at Sheffield Park, the C-class leaving Horsted Keynes for Kingscote, and the C-class being admired by our visitors in the platform at Sheffield Park.

  • The photos below are from Dave Clarke.
    • The first shows some of the new timber prepared to replace sections of rotten bodyside timbers in the kitchen area of Pullman Car "Fingall".
    • The second shows LBSCR open wagon No.3346, which has now had some timbers replaced, a repaint and, as seen in progress in this photo, the lettering has been re-done.
    • The third photo shows recreated SE&CR 2-plank ballast wagon No.567, which has now had the end staunchions fitted and some welding completed. The wheels are being needle-gunned and painted, and re-wheeling is not far away.

  • Other news from the Carriage & Wagon Works:
    • Our next wheel-chair accessible conversion, Mk.I No.4941, has had the modifications and rebuilding of the structure at the north end completed, and has now gone away to Cranmore Train Maintenance Services for completion of the body overhaul. Work continues at Horsted Keynes on repairing and refurbishing the seating for the coach.
    • SR Maunsell brake composite No.6686 has taken 4941's place in the works for recanvassing. Whilst in the shed the chance will be taken to smarten up the interior. The two Maunsell open thirds will be re-varnished.
    • LBSCR Milk/Fruit van No.270 has had further new boards fitted to the roof and mouldings offered up to the west side. Work continues on its doors.
    • LBSCR Bogie First No.7598 now has 8 new doors in place, and two more at an advanced stage of preparation.
    • The preparation of the new bottom-side timbers for LBSCR Stroudley Third No.328 sees mortises rough cut into the upper surface of the bottom rail for the body pillars and attention is turning to those for the floor joists.
    • Work fitting out the interior of LBSCR Stroudley Brake Third No.949 is progressing with trial fitting of the seat back and internal panelling at the north end of the carriage.
    • SECR '100 seaters': seating is being stripped from of out-of-service No.971. These seats will be re-trimmed and fitted to No.1098, and then the ones from 1098 will end up in 971 once that carriage is overhauled, hopefully in the coming couple of years. It is thought that some seat bases could require work to improve or replace their springs.
    • LSWR Lavatory Brake Third No.1520 has had new spring hangers fitted and, with the coach lowered back onto its bogies, is now available for traffic.
Fingall, new timber in kitchen wall - Dave Clarke - 29 August 2011 LBSCR open wagon re-planked and painted - Dave Clarke - 24 August 2011 SECR 2-plank ballast wagon No.567 - Dave Clarke - 14 August 2011

P-class 27 at Sheffield Park - Tony Sullivan - 20 January 1974 14 September
  • Two more scanned slides showing P-class No.27, this time from Tony Sullivan. The first shows the engine outside the original loco lobby on 20 January 1974. That below shows No.27 on 20 June 1972, with SECR Birdcage Brake No.1061 and the Caledonian Railway coach (now back in Scotland).

  • Update to the Loco Works Working Group page for the overhaul of SR Q-class No.541, with thanks to Rob Faulkner, who also provides the photo below, showing the arduous work of filling the tender to establish where it leaked.

  • Martin Lawrence has added some albums from earlier on the year. The set from 22/27 May may be some of the last days on which the Dukedog ran before withdrawal. 13 & 15 May 2011 - 22 & 27 May 2011 - 29, 30 & 31 May 2011.

  • Interesting photo from 1966 showing Withyham station, and the Gate Box which will be a hands-on part of our Museum at Sheffield Park.

27 with Birdcage Brake 1061 - Tony Sullivan - 20 June 1972 Tender work! - August 2011 - Rob Faulkner

72 'Fenchurch' and P-class 27 at Horsted Keynes - Bluebell Archive - 12 May 1974 7 September
  • Today we have two pictures that have been scanned from some slides that have been donated to the Railway, some of which have been passed on to the Fenchurch Fund.

    The first shows Terrier "Fenchurch" and P-class No.27 double headed on a freight train at the South end of Horsted Keynes, the drivers being the late Pip Stephens on Fenchurch and John "Chalky" White on 27. This picture was probably taken on Parade Day, Sunday 12 May 1974. The picture shows both engines that the Fenchurch Fund has an interest in.

    The second picture (below) shows two forlorn locos at Sheffield Park, again in the early '70s, in a condition that might lead one to consider that they had a bleak future. However both Pioneer II (178) and Baxter are now both working following recent restoration/overhaul. Can anyone identify of the dog walker?

  • The reason for showing a photo of No.27 is that, following a meeting between the Fenchurch Fund, The Villas Team and relevant BRPS Trustees, it has been decided that the Fenchurch Fund will continue to raise funds for the restoration of 27, in a similar, but more regular, manner to previously, and are currently exploring other fund raising options. The aim is that No.27 should be restored as close as possible to its original condition.

  • Update to the Football Competition page, with the latest positions in this competition raising funds for the overhaul of our Southern Railway Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864.

  • John Sandys' photos and videos from yesterday show that SR U-class No.1638 was being tested with gentle movements around the station following completion of its major valve overhaul. With the weather not being kind yesterday, the crew of the service train (video at Kingscote) were undoubtably regretting the use of the C-class, rather than the cosy cab of the Standard 4 which is now in need of a boiler washout, having been the Railway's stalwart performer over the summer.
Pioneer II and Baxter stand forlornely at Sheffield Park - Bluebell Archive - early 1970s

323 with goods train - Peter Edwards - 3 September 2011 5 September
  • Peter Edward's photo shows No.323 (instead of "Captain Baxter") with its goods train leaving Horsted Keynes at 11.20am on Saturday on its way to Sheffield Park.

  • The first Sunday of the month is your chance to find out about volunteering on the railway with a tour around all the departments. David Chappell's photo below was taken yesterday, and we see Phil Stoneman from the Locomotive Works Working Group, four potential new volunteers and Clive Soper, our Volunteer Recruitment Officer. The volunteers in the Loco Works Working Group have just started work on their next project, the Q-class, starting with the tender seen in the background. If you would like to join us as a volunteer then there is more information here.

  • News Update The Maunsell Locomotive Society have a news update covering their Chairman Ray Bellingham's birthday celebrations, and recent work on SR S15 No.847.

  • John Sandys' photos below show the Brighton Mini-Maker Faire in Brighton, where David Jones represented the Brighton Atlantic Project, and Deborah and Richard Salmon showed woodworking for carriage restoration at this well-attended event in the Dome in Brighton. John has a small gallery of photos, and these videos giving a flavour of the event (this quick tour of most of the stands which starts at the back of our stand and comes past it at 3:22, and timelapse showing the main hall) are from other participants in the faire. Hopefully we'll gain some more engineering-skilled young volunteers from this exercise, as well as spreading the word about some of the "hands-on" aspects of the Bluebell.

Volunteer Recruitment tour - David Chappell - 4 Sept 2011 Our stand at Brighton Maker Faire - John Sandys - 3 Sept 2011 Brighton Maker Faire - John Sandys - 3 Sept 2011

Brighton Maker Faire 3 September 2011 3 September
  • David Jones (presenting the Brighton Atlantic Project), and Deborah and Richard Salmon (with carriage restoration) have a stand at the Brighton Maker Faire - in the Dome in Brighton today. If you're about, do drop in - about 75 stalls - should be great fun.

  • Keith Duke has a short video following on from his "wet day pictures" from Sheffield Park on 23 August.

  • Sunday is your last chance of the year to have the ultimate vintage transport day out by travelling on a 1965 Routemaster bus to the Bluebell Railway from Brighton. Four journeys run from Brighton station and the Old Steine via Lewes, on Route 472, sponsored by the Bluebell Railway.

80151 at Sheffield Park - Tony Sullivan - 1 September 2011 2 September
  • Tony Sullivan's photo taken yesterday shows No.80151 as it comes to a stop at Sheffield Park with the 1.55pm service from Kingscote. This loco and coaches are one of the two trains running this week, this set being formed of Bulleid and Mk.I carriages.

  • Due to high levels of demand, we are running an additional Fish & Chip Evening Supper Special on 30 September.

  • Further update to the Loco Roster.

  • John Sandys' has another new gallery, with photos of the Vintage carriages (which form the second service set this week, being hauled by the C-class), and also photos showing a survey of the condition of the infrastructure in progress, in preparation for this autumn's engineering maintenance work on platform 1 at Sheffield Park.

  • During August 2011 there were 79,970 total hits on this page, from 45,665 unique visitors.

  • News Update The photos below, taken yesterday by Tony Sullivan, provide a summary of recent progress on the Standard 2 Tank (No.84030) project:
    • The newly made rear frame extension, freshly painted in grey undercoat, sits in the workshop at Sheffield Park.
    • The new front drag box also in the workshop at Sheffield Park (for the moment this is upside down). Originally it was not intended to make a new front dragbox. The front buffer beam had been badly bent in an accident - presumably at Barry - and Colin Turner took this off and straightened it some time ago. Eventually however it was deemed best to build a complete new section.
    • The rear of the original frames sitting in the yard at Sheffield Park. The original back end has been already been cut off, and this is where the frame extension will be welded on. Before the new frame extension can be added a little more of the original frame plates will be removed to enable a perfect join.

Rear frame extension for 84030 - Tony Sullivan - 1 Sept 2011 Front dragbox of 84030 - Tony Sullivan - 1 Sept 2011 Original frames of 84030 - Tony Sullivan - 1 Sept 2011

178 and 323 with the People's Millions Coach - Peter Edwards - 29 August 2011 31 August
  • Peter Edwards' photo from Monday shows SECR Nos.178 and 323 with the People's Millions coach SECR No.3360, plus the Met coaches.

  • Simon Fletcher has a gallery of photos from this year's Nine Elms Reunion, held at Bluebell Railway on 10th Aug 2011

  • The subway at Kingscote was closed over the weekend (so passengers visiting the picnic field and Platform 2 had to be escorted across the foot crossing by staff). This was because of a problem with rot in one of the canopy timbers adjacent to the station building, in the vicinity of the glass panels above the subway. The subway was re-opened this morning, following remedial work carried out yesterday by Colin Watts.

  • John Sandys has a few photos from the Railway taken on Tuesday. He reports that it was good to see that the trains very busy again. He also provides the following videos: No.592 arriving at Kingscote with the Victorian coaches, a static video at Kingscote and a static video at Sheffield Park.

  • Derek Hayward has three galleries available (from Bank Holiday Monday), Woodpax shed, the work on connecting track to the new wash-out pit, and a few other pictures taken on Monday.

    Derek also provides further photos below:

    • U-class No.1638 is seen on shed at Sheffield Park, with "Sir Archibald Sinclair" behind. The plan is that both of these locos should have test runs out on the line this week, after their respective maintenance work;
    • The interior of the Woodpax Shed, showing a set of buffer stops, relocated from Imberhorne, nearly in position;
    • The plant stall at Sheffield Park on Monday was manned by Chris Hazlehurst and our new fund-raising Trustee, John Walls. Over the last few weekends, this stall has raised about £2,500 for the extension to East Grinstead; our thanks to the nursery donating the plants for us to sell;
    • Sentinel Steam Lorry GF 8655 was a welcome visitor to Sheffield Park on what was apparently its first "day out" in 5 years;
    • The area to the South of the new boiler washout pit has had ballast laid in preparation for the track-laying to connect the pit. A point will leave the existing track at the mouth of the old shed, to form another headshunt, with a further point giving access down to the pit;
    • Monday's GNR Saloon Crew, the web-site editor (who was on kitchen duties) and his wife...

1638 on shed at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 29 Aug 2011 Interior of Woodpax shed, nearly completed - Derek Hayward - 29 Aug 2011 Fund-raising plant stall - Derek Hayward - 29 Aug 2011 Sentinel Steam Lorry - Derek Hayward - 29 Aug 2011 Ballast laid towards washout pit - Derek Hayward - 29 Aug 2011 Monday's GN Saloon Crew, Richard & Deborah Salmon - Derek Hayward - 29 Aug 2011

P-class pair departing from Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 29 August 2011 P-class pair approach Sheffield Park - Ashley Smith - 28 August 2011 30 August
  • Ashley Smith paid a quick visit to the line on Sunday afternoon and has added six new photos to his flickr set, including the first one here, showing 323 leading 178 and the Met coaches (plus People's Millions coach No.3360) into Sheffield Park, and a short video.

  • Derek Hayward provides the remaining pictures in today's update (all taken yesterday, Bank Holiday Monday). On the right the pair of P-class locos are seen on departure from Sheffield Park.

    The next three below show the other locos running on Monday:
       80151 is seen at Ketches;
       B473 approaches Kingscote with the Wealden Rambler lounge-car train
       592 on departure from Sheffield Park with the Pullman dining train on a private luncheon charter.

  • John Sandys has a set of photos from a day out on the G.N.R. Directors' Saloon on Monday, which he and his wife thoroughly enjoyed.

80151 at Ketches - Derek Hayward - 29 Aug 2011 B473 arrives at Kingscote with the Lounge Car Train - Derek Hayward - 29 Aug 2011 592 with the Pullman Charter - Derek Hayward - 29 Aug 2011

28 August

Work at South end of tip - Robert Else - 25 August 2011 27 August
  • Robert Else's photo taken on Thursday shows work in progress on the Northern Extension, at the South end of the tip site, where access is being made from the tip surface to rail level in order to move clay capping to a storage point ready for future movement and use elsewhere on the Railway. This is part of planned clay reuse strategy.

  • Due to an event this Sunday (28th August) Metrobus advise a temporary diversion to Bus Route 270 (which some visitors use to access the railway at Horsted Keynes): As a result of the Broadway in Haywards Heath being closed all day on Sunday, Route 270 will be diverted from Perrymount Road via Heath Road and Hazelgrove Road to Sussex Square Roundabout where the normal route will resume. It will therefore be unable to serve stops on The Broadway or South Road - please use alternative stops on Perrymount Road or Franklynn Road.

  • Update to the Loco Roster - No.34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair" is shown tentatively for use on Monday, following completion of work on its firebox stays. Subject to a good weekend's work on the loco, Sir Archie should be one of 5 locos in steam on Monday!

    The U-class, No.1638 was successfully steamed earlier this week, after its intermediate overhaul, but the blowdown valve is leaking so needs to come off to be fixed.

Valve chest temporarilly in frames - Fred Bailey - 17 August 2011 24 August
  • News Update This photo, from a News update on The Brighton Atlantic Project from Fred Bailey, shows the valve chest in the frames with the smokebox saddle in position, for its first trial fitting after coming from the Kearns borer in the main works. There's been a lot of other good progress on the project in the last couple of months too, with the reverser, cylinder relief valves and axleboxes in particular coming along nicely.

  • The GN Saloon will be running in public service this coming bank holiday weekend, serving homemade cream teas and sponge cakes, attached to the rear of the 11am, 1pm and 3pm departures from Sheffield Park. 1st class ticket holders, and 3rd class ticket holders (on payment of a supplement) welcome!

    Futher to this, Monday will see a 4 train service with a Golden Arrow and Wealden Rambler charter; 5 locomotives in action!

  • A new addition to the Southern E-mail Group's on-line archive of articles from The Railway Magazine is this one from April 1962 (downloadable as a pdf) about the history and early preservation progress of the Bluebell, written by R.C.Riley.

  • Keith Duke has a collection of pictures taken at a rather damp Sheffield Park yesterday.

  • John Sandys has some photos from yesterday, featuring the trains, and the finishing touches being put to the track in the Woodpax Shed. In addition he has a number of videos from Tuesday: This video makes you realise just how big the new shed is! Shunting wagons out of new shed, including operation of new points, and back into shed. Static video at Kingscote, showing the arrival of the 1pm from Sheffield Park, more of the 08 shunting at Sheffield Park, and a 2nd Static video at Kingscote.

  • Added Potts & Ward, Woodcocks Ltd, who supply us with Lino (marmoleum), to the Carriage Restoration Suppliers page. In addition, the page now includes details of the dispersal of patterns formerly held by Swindon Historic Castings Ltd, including the Eastleigh and Ashford patterns, which we now hold.

P-class pair approach Horsted Keynes - Tony Sullivan - 19 August 2011 23 August
  • Tony Sullivan's photos shown here were taken on Friday, showing the four locos in steam that day. On the right, Nos.178 & 323 near Horsted Keynes with the 4.00pm Sheffield Park to Kingscote service. Below, No.592 is about to pass the 12 1/2 mile post and nears Sharpthorne Tunnel with a wedding special, and No.80151 has just run under the Horsted House Farm overbridge with the 2.00pm Kingscote to Sheffield Park service.

  • Please see the two photos below (80151 taking water, and 73133 at Redhill) which had been intended for yesterday's update, but have only now been placed there.

  • Two other methods which our supporters are using to raise "free" funds for the Bluebell's Northern Extension (and which have between them brought in over £6,000 so far) are:
    • Using the easysearch engine via this link earns us a little money for every search made. Bookmark this link now (or make it a Favourite), and use it for all your Internet searches.
    • If you Register for easyfundraising you can earn donations for the Bluebell when you shop online from many of the UK's best known retailers, and may also save yourself money at the same time through a variety of online discounts. More details here.
C-class with Wedding Special - Tony Sullivan - 19 Aug 2011 80151 at Horsted House Farm bridge - Tony Sullivan - 19 Aug 2011

80151 taking water - John Cherry - 15 August 2011 22 August
  • John Cherry's photo shows 80151 taking water before the 1pm departure last Monday, 15 August.

  • Our supporters currently have 18 items offered for sale on eBay for Charity, with a proportion of the proceeds going towards the Bluebell's Northern Extension project.

  • East Grinstead Open Weekend - Sat 17 and Sun 18 September Our station platform at East Grinstead will be open, with shuttle trains over the Hill Place Viaduct to Imberhorne North using our 4VEP unit number 3417 "Gordon Pettitt" hauled by a Class 73 electro diesel locomotive.
    Train services will depart East Grinstead every half hour from 10.10am until 4.40pm.
    On the Saturday, we will also be holding our first fish and chip evening at East Grinstead, from 5pm to 7pm. More details.

  • Tony Sullivan has recently been digitising some of his old photos, and contributes that below, taken on 5th June 1997, which shows 73133 "The Bluebell Railway" at Redhill.
73133 'The Bluebell Railway' at Redhill - Tony Sullivan - 5 June 1997

Sir Archibald Sincalair - Simon Lathwell - 7 August 2011 18 August

B473 shunting the Pullmans - Simon Lathwell - 7 Aug 2011 Inside the shed - Derek Hayward - 13 Aug 2011

Q class tender and E4 being coaled - Simon Lathwell - 7 August 2011 17 August
  • Simon Lathwell's two photos here were taken on Sunday 7th August at Sheffield Park. That on the right shows the tender of the Q-class, the overhaul of which is just commencing, with the E4 beyond being coaled at the end of the day.

    Below we see a view of the Loco Yard, with all the locos shown receiving some degree of attention that day. Work was in hand fitting more components to the chassis of S15 No.847, in preparation for the completion of boiler work currently in progress, the Loco Works Working Group were working on the tender of the Q-class, ensuring the tank is water-tight, and Simon himself was cleaning out the tubes on the C-class.

    The other photo below from Peter Edwards shows the E4 yesterday, removing some empty ballast wagons from the new carriage shed. The wagons were then taken North from Sheffield Park by the diesel shunter No.13236. No.B473 then resumed its duties, hauling the 12noon service from Sheffield Park.

  • Details now available for:
    • Santa Specials - Join us for our new Christmas experience - Postal booking open on 1st September and telephone booking (phone 01825 720806 between 10.00am and 4.00pm daily) from 3rd October. More details.
    • 23 & 31 December, and 2 January 2012: Victorian Christmas Specials - Travel in an exclusive compartment and we will supply you with a hamper of delicious snacks and drinks. Father Christmas will be on hand with a special gift for all children on Thursday 22nd December; Bob Cratchit and Mr Scrooge will do the honours on Saturday 31st December and Monday 2nd January. More details.
    • 29 & 30 December: Fairy Godmother Specials - After Christmas come and take a ride on one of our vintage steam trains from Sheffield Park to Kingscote where the Fairy Godmother will be on board the train with a special Christmas treat. More details.

  • John Sandys has some photos from yesterday, another busy day around the railway, with work going on at Sheffield Park, including track work, and painting. Also work at Kingscote, including painting the entrance to the Booking Hall. Also videos of Moving rail about in new shed at Sheffield Park, two Static videos at Sheffield Park and one at Kingscote.

S15, Q and C at Sheffield Park - Simon Lathwell - 7 Aug 2011 B473 shunting in the new shed - Peter Edwards - 16 Aug 2011

3360 in service - Robert Else - 14 August 2011 16 August
  • Robert Else provides this photo (taken on Sunday) of "People's Millions" coach, SECR 3360 which entered public service at the weekend, and was well used, including by wheelchair users. Robert has a gallery of photos covering two of the three trains running on Sunday.

  • Nathan Gibson has a gallery of photos taken on Sunday at the Vintage Transport event. He also has a video of Birch Grove departing with the Golden Arrow at lunchtime, as 323 "Bluebell" arrives on the brake van shuttle - Horsted Keynes operating as a fully-signalled junction station!

  • Two more of Derek Hayward's photos below from the Vintage Transport event, showing the "Best in Show" prize winner. The cars have bodies built by Tickford, a well known car body maker. KS 7308 is one of only 696 MG SA DHCs (drop-head coupés) built of which just 50 survive. Their 2.2 litre engines gave the cars plenty of power to carry the stunning Art-decó style bodywork, so typical of that class of motoring between the wars. Both of the cars seen have been with the same family for over 50 years. Mrs Constantine's late husband bought them as 'sister' cars and they've been together ever since then. Both of the cars have undergone extensive restoration to bring them back to their original showroom condition.

  • The third photo below, taken by Jon Bowers on Sunday at the North end of Kingscote Station, shows a gate which will be disappearing soon as we continue to remove waste from the tip further up the line and open the way to East Grinstead. Here we see David Chappell, John Beaumont and Ed Stott from the Sunday Permanent Way Gang with the headboard for the "Chit Chat Express", the special 'Waste by Rail' trains collectively paid for by individual donations from members of our Yahoo! e-mail group.

Winner Best-in-Show Pair of MGs - Derek Hayward - 14 Aug 2011 Winner Best-in-Show - Mrs Constantine - Derek Hayward - 14 Aug 2011 Chit Chat Express headboard at the Kingscote gate - Jon Bowers - 14 Aug 2011
  • Derek Hayward's photos below show other prize winners at our Vintage Transport Weekend:
    • Winner of the Lewes Cup, Jonathan Varton with his 1936 John Fowler roller;
    • Winner of the East Grinstead Cup (post-war car), David Freeman with his Riley Elf (5938 PG);
    • Winner of the Haywards Heath Cup (pre-war car), Robert Willis with his Morris Cowley (KW 1392);
    • Winners of the London Area Group Cup, Sue and Jeremy Thorne with their Austin 7 Commercial Van (SH 4344) - also a view of their interior display;
    • Winner of the pre-war Motorcycle class, Eric Holman's 1935 Triumph (HFO 207);
    • Winner of the London Cup, Alan Goodrum and his 1974 Honda CB 750;
    • Winner of the Brighton Cup, Ian Sampson with his 1935 Lister-powered Water Pump.

  • Derek Hayward's full gallery of photos, including the award presentations is now available.
1936 John Fowler roller - Derek Hayward - 14 Aug 2011 Riley Elf - Derek Hayward - 14 Aug 2011 Morris Cowley - Derek Hayward - 14 Aug 2011 Austin 7 Van - Derek Hayward - 14 Aug 2011 Austin 7 Van interior - Derek Hayward - 14 Aug 2011 1935 Triumph motorcycle - Derek Hayward - 14 Aug 2011 1974 Honda - Derek Hayward - 14 Aug 2011 1935 Lister Water Pump - Derek Hayward - 14 Aug 2011

Vintage lorries on display at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 13 August 2011 15 August
  • The Vintage Transport event was, as expected, a fantastic showcase both for the Bluebell and our visiting exhibitors. The photos presented here are all from Saturday. Derek Hayward's photo on the right shows two of the vintage lorries attending the event, and then below are two photos from Paul Pettitt, showing "Captain Baxter" with its vintage goods train, and the Victorian Train hauled by the SECR-liveried pair of locos, P-class 178 and C-class 592. This was the first public train to include all three of our currently operational LCDR and LBSCR 4-wheelers from the 1880s.

  • Derek Hayward's next photo shows the newly delivered headboard which will be carried by some of the "Waste by Rail" trains in September and October. The "Chit Chat Express" is the name adopted by the individuals on our Yahoo! e-mail group for the group's communal fund-raising effort and thus also for "their" trains, having between them donated enough money so far for two days of digging and waste trains.

  • A reminder that Throughout August we have plenty on offer to entertain the whole family - Our Children's August Fun Days run on every Wednesday & Friday and also the Bank Holiday Weekend 27th - 29th, with Punch and Judy shows, and magic shows. More details.

Captain Baxter with vintage goods train - Paul Pettitt - 13 Aug 2011 178 and 592 with the Victorian Train - Paul Pettitt - 13 Aug 2011 323 carrying the Chit Chat Express headboard - Derek Hayward - 13 Aug 2011
  • Derek Hayward's photos below show the vintage motor-cycles on display at Horsted Keynes, an array of classic cars, Sentinel steam lorry ARE 195, two of Burrell steam tractor PB 9359, Aveling Porter roller "Queen Jubilee", some of the stationary engines, Renault Alpine KSA 110F, plants for sale in aid of the Northern Extension Project, 178 and 592 leaving Sheffield Park with the Victorian train, 323 "Bluebell" with an Ardingly spur brake-van ride, 323 and 80151 at Poleay Bridge, and "Captain Baxter" with his goods train, at New Road Bridge, approaching Sheffield Park and at Poleay Bridge.
Vintage Motor-cycles on display - Derek Hayward - 13 Aug 2011 Classic Cars at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 13 Aug 2011 Sentinel steam lorry ARE 195 - Derek Hayward - 13 Aug 2011 Burrell steam tractor PB 9359 - Derek Hayward - 13 Aug 2011 Burrell steam tractor PB 9359 - Derek Hayward - 13 Aug 2011 Aveling Porter roller 'Queen Jubilee' - Derek Hayward - 13 Aug 2011 stationary engines - Derek Hayward - 13 Aug 2011 stationary engines - Derek Hayward - 13 Aug 2011 Renault Alpine KSA 110F - Derek Hayward - 13 Aug 2011 Plants for sale - Derek Hayward - 13 Aug 2011 178 and 592 leaving Sheffield Park with the Victorian train - Derek Hayward - 13 Aug 2011 Ardingly spur brake-van ride - Derek Hayward - 13 Aug 2011 323 and 80151 at Poleay Bridge - Derek Hayward - 13 Aug 2011 Baxter at New Road Bridge - Derek Hayward - 13 Aug 2011 Baxter approaches Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 13 Aug 2011 Baxter at Poleay Bridge - Derek Hayward - 13 Aug 2011

Bulleid carriage 5768 being re-panelled - Dave Clarke - 7 August 2011 12 August
  • The Loco Roster for the coming weekend's Vintage Transport event shows that we plan to have the mixed set of Mk.Is and Bulleid coaches hauled by 80151, the Victorian set hauled by the pair of SECR liveried engines, 178 and 592, "Captain Baxter" on the Vintage Goods Train on Saturday, and B473 on the Sunday Pullman luncheon train, with 323 "Bluebell" giving brake van rides at £4 a head on the Ardingly spur at Horsted Keynes throughout the weekend. There will be a fantastic display of vintage cars, motorbikes, commercial vehicles, stationary engines along with steam road engines and vintage tractors. A real ale tent and a BBQ will be available in the exhibition field at Horsted Keynes.

  • Dave Clarke provides two photos showing some of the recent activity in the carriage works - on the right Bulleid Composite No.5768 has had the first external steel panels welded up. The panels have been left over-long at the bottom (and the window opening not yet fully cut to the top) to assist in forming a smooth curve. Below we see progress on back-converting LCDR 668/SECR 3188 to its original form at the north end, with the newly made structural timbers going in to replace the one-time guard's end window. Dave has added other recent photos to his photostream.

  • More photos from John Sandys, taken yesterday, showing activity at Sheffield Park, along with a video showing work on ballasting the approaches to the new shed. The ballast for the interior of the shed will take a different form from the usual stone used outside, being crushed concrete finished with shingle, and a walkway for servicing the Pullmans will be provided.
End structure of SECR 3188 being rebuilt - Dave Clarke - 7 Aug 2011

A helping hand - John Sandys - 9 August 2011 11 August
  • New update from Chris White on the Northern Extension Project - The 2-weeks of digging planned for August have been combined with the 3 weeks planned to start in September, so we now have 5 weeks of continuous digging starting on 26th September. The waste will now be going to a different rail-connected site, near Didcot, which has made pathing more flexible. This and various other detailed changes have resulted in a small but very valuable saving in costs. Full details available here. However, if we are to complete the extension, we cannot let up on the fund-raising: Please do make a donation - it all adds up, and with your help we'll achieve our target.

  • Further details of the "railway" aspects of the Vintage Transport Weekend are now available.
    • Five locomotives in steam each day.
    • The second train set (forming the 10:25 departure from Horsted Keynes, 10:55 from Kingscote, and then 12 noon, 2pm and 4pm departures from Sheffield Park) is formed of the four "Chesham" coaches and three 4-wheelers. It is thus the first public train to include our newly completed wheelchair-accessible LCDR/SECR carriage No.3360, the overhaul of which was enabled by "The People's Millions" grant from the Big Lottery Fund.
    • An additional early morning 473 Bus will operate from East Grinstead at 10.10 to connect with the extra morning train at Kingscote.
    • "Captain Baxter" will haul its vintage goods train on Saturday 13th, which starts from Horsted Keynes at 9.14am, Kingscote at 10.04 for a 10.46 arrival at Sheffield Park, earlier than shown in the normal goods train timetable because of the extra morning passenger train.
    • There will be guided tours of the carriage works at Horsted Keynes on both days at 12.25, 1.25 and 2.25.
    • Also at Horsted Keynes, No.323 "Bluebell" will be providing brake van rides on the Ardingly spur.

  • John Sandys' lovely photo shows a couple of potential future engine drivers who visited the line on Tuesday, lending a helping hand with carrying the route indication disk. John also has some videos from Tuesday: Standard Tank positioning the first train of the day, Two static videos of platform activity at Kingscote and Sheffield Park, stoking 80151, the 1pm service from the Park arriving at Kingscote. John has also recorded the 473 bus journey from Kingscote to East Grinstead, which if we manage to complete the extension to East Grinstead next year, won't be in operation much longer! Also, the bus leaving East Grinstead town centre.

  • David Pratt (one of our Loco Working Group volunteers, currently working on the overhaul of the SR Q-class loco) says: "Thanks to everyone who has sponsored me. The roller marathon is now only three days away at Goodwood Motor Circuit and nerves are starting to kick in. There is no more time for any more training, which built up to a 22 mile skate in the final days. Training has been fairly uneventful except for a scraped elbow after swerving to avoid a child running across Bognor seafront, hitting a pebble and hitting the tarmac! The rollerboots are now fitted with new wheels and bearings (ceramic not steel!) which have been broken in."

    If anyone else would like to sponsor David they can do so though JustGiving with all money (plus Gift Aid) going to the Bluebell Railway's Northern extension project.

Woodpax track complete - John Sandys - 9 August 2011 10 August
  • John Sandys has a new album of photos taken yesterday, including the completed trackwork (awaiting ballast) in the new shed seen on the right, and a newly refurbished platform seat at Kingscote, below.

  • Reminder that the coming weekend is our annual Vintage Transport Weekend with historic, classic & vintage transport including Cars, Vintage Motorbikes, Stationary Engines, Steam Road Engines, Commercial Vans & Vintage Farm Tractors. BBQ and Real Ale tent. More details.

  • Dan Green has edited together a couple of videos from the last few months: No.672 Fenchurch (November 2010) and March's Branch Line Weekend.

  • Details of Pauline Harvie's funeral are now available on the BRPS Members' Information page.
Refurbished seat at Kingscote - John Sandys - 9 Aug 2011

Clive Soper with 4 potential volunteers - David Chappell - 7 August 2011 9 August
  • David Chappell took this photo on Sunday afternoon in the yard at Sheffield Park showing Clive Soper (left), our Volunteer Recruitment Officer and four potential new volunteers who were being shown behind the scenes and hopefully you will see them working on the railway soon.

    If you would like to join us as a volunteer, then Find Out More Days run on the first Sunday of the month meeting at Sheffield Park at 10:30.

  • We are wondering whether anyone has three chairs to match those in our RBR (as seen in Dave Clarke's photo below), which they might be prepared to let the Bluebell Railway borrow or buy? We need three to complete the set. Contact Tim Baker via the General Office.

  • Dave Clarke's other photo below shows the SECR 2-plank wagon undeframe which is now nearly completed, with the next steps being to turn it the right way up and re-wheel it. The aim is to complete it in time for the SECR Gala in November.
RBR Chair - Dave Clarke SECR 2-plank wagon undeframe - Dave Clarke - 31 July 2011

80151 approaches 3-Arch Bridge - Martin Lawrence - 7 August 2011 8 August
  • Martin Lawrence's photo taken from his kite yesterday shows 80151 approaching 3-Arch (or Nobles) Bridge. Martin has a couple of other new Aerial shots in his album.

  • The service trains this weekend were in the hands of standard tank 80151 and the pair of P-class locos (178 and 323), with B473 on a Wealden Rambler charter on Saturday and the lunchtime Golden Arrow Pullman on Sunday.

  • We regret to have to report that Pauline Harvie, wife of Stationmaster Len Harvie and one of our Booking Clerks, passed away suddenly on Sunday morning. More information on the BRPS Members' Information page.

  • Dave Clarke's photo below shows Birdcage Brake 3363 which is currently in the paintshop. Having stayed outside through the winter and spring, the incomplete paintwork had suffered, particularly it appears from the sun; the surface of some of the ply panels was causing problems and a few have had to be stripped back to bare wood. They have now been sealed, primed, undercoated, had brushing filler applied and sanded back, more undercoat then a further application of filler where necessary and now another undercoat. The signwriting meanwhile continues on the other side of the vehicle.

    Dave has some other recent photos from around the C&W in his photostream.

Birdcage Brake in the paint shop - Dave Clarke - 31 July 2011

80151 approaches 3-Arch Bridge - Robert Else - 2 August 2011 5 August
  • Robert Else's photo shows 80151 with one of the two service trains running on Tuesday this week. The photo which had been notified on Wednesday's Blog update should in fact have been a link to Robert's entire album, which has some great shots taken on Tuesday! The first photo below shows B473 leaving Horsted Keynes with the second service train that same day (we're running a 2-train public service throughout August).

  • Martin Lawrence has added some more (very interesting) aerial photos of the tip excavation progress taken from a kite.

  • John Sandys has some photos taken at Sheffield Park yesterday, including several showing the advanced state of the trackwork in the new shed.

  • Owen Hayward has added an album of 2009 Bluebell photos to his site.

  • Bernard Holden visited the railway last Sunday and after lunch in the Bessemer Arms travelled to Kingscote and back in wheel-chair accessable saloon No.5034. He met up with many members and said that he had had "a good day". Bernard is seen below in Tony Sullivan's photo, with his carer Ethel Taylor.

  • The last photo below, also from Tony Sullivan, was taken yesterday, and shows the 08 delivering another couple of wagons of ballast for the Woodpax trackwork.

B473 leaves Horsted Keynes - Robert Else - 2 Aug 2011 Bernard Holden on the train - Tony Sullivan - 31 July 2011 The 08 with ballast - Tony Sullivan - 4 Aug 2011

323 with ballast wagons crosses the Ouse River Bridge - Peter Edwards - 2 August 2011 3 August
  • Peter Edwards' photo taken yesterday shows 323 "Bluebell" crossing the Ouse River Bridge with ballast wagons brought down from Horsted Keynes. It was a job that needed doing, but was combined with a trip with the wagons to Kingscote before going down to the Park, as a loaded test run for "Bluebell", which has recently had attention to its reverser/valve timings.

  • Pleased to report that rail services from East Croydon to East Grinstead (for our connecting 473 bus service) are back to normal today after to the burst water main and resultant landslip at South Croydon on Monday.

  • Ron Fisher has moved his early Bluebell pictures over to Flickr.

2 August

80151 at Monteswood Lane Bridge - Ashley Smith - 30 July 2011 1 August

E4 arrives at SP - Derek Hayward - 24 July 2011 29 July
  • Derek Hayward's photos from Sunday show B473 arriving at Sheffield Park with its train of SR Maunsell and Bulleid carriages, and 34059 departing with a train of Bulleid and BR Mk.1 carriages.

  • News Update A series of photos taken on Tuesday this week by Mike Hopps has been added to yesterday's Extension News Report on WBR3. The photo below shows that work on the tip is continuing this week, with the removal of further clay capping from the line of the dig, in preparation for the resumption of digging on 15th August.

Sir Archie departs from SP - Derek Hayward - 24 July 2011 Continued work on the tip site - Mike Hopps - 26 July 2011
  • Ian White's drawing shows the LBSCR train of the 1850s/60s which we might eventually be able to recreate, following the arrival of the First class carriage reported yesterday. The brake second is likely to be the first to be reconstructed, based on the metalwork salvaged from last year's fire. The other three would almost certainly be replicas with the remains of the originals becoming potential museum exhibits.
LBSCR Craven-era train - Ian White

Atlantic Coast Express passes the Wednesday lineside gang - Brian Kidman - 27 July 2011 28 July
  • Brian Kidman's photo shows that the area around the southern tunnel portal has been receiving attention from the Wednesday Gang in recent weeks. The 1.00pm Up 'Atlantic Coast Express' is seen about to enter the tunnel yesterday.

  • News Update There is a full report from Chris White, plus two of Stephen Fairweather's photos, as part of a report on the completion of "Waste by Rail 3".

  • Mike Hopps' photo below shows the tender from U-class No.1618 back at Sheffield Park after its period on loan to the Mid Hants Railway, and also a video of it being unloaded from the low-loader yesterday afternoon.
31618's tender returns - Mike Hopps - 27 July 2011

Dismantling the LBSCR First - Ian White - 26 July 2011
  • On Tuesday a Bluebell C&W team dismantled and recovered the body of an LBSCR first-class carriage from the 1860s (Craven-era), from a garden in Bexhill in Sussex. Numbered as LBSCR Second Class No.204 (as downgraded from first class), it has not yet been possible to positively identify the carriage's original identity, or exactly when it was built, but evidence so far indicates that it dates from 1866. Ian White provides these photos showing the dismantling on Tuesday (the original carriage roof went many years ago, replaced by the pitched roof seen below), and the first photo below shows why the owner was unaware that his garden shed was a railway carriage until he started to clear it out. Ian has also created a web page about the carriage, detailing the discoveries made so far in clearing the undergrowth and removing the body, and a montage photo showing the more complete side of the vehicle, complete with LBSCR garter.

  • New photos from John Sandys taken at Sheffield Park this morning, showing tracklaying progressing very well in the Woodpax shed.

  • David Pratt of the Loco Works volunteer group is taking part in the Goodwood Roller Marathon, and is raising money through it for the Extension. His JustGiving page enables donations to go directly to the Bluebell Railway Trust, for the Extension project.

  • Nice blog of a visit to the line on The Argus website from Alice Wright.

LBSCR First - Ian White - early June 2011 LBSCR First - Ian White - 26 July 2011

LBSCR First - photo-montage - Ian White - 26 July 2011

Collectors' Fair at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 24 July 2011 27 July

Collectors' Fair at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 24 July 2011 Collectors' Fair at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 24 July 2011 Repainted subway at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 24 July 2011
  • Malcolm Porter's photos below from last Friday show the last day of the "Waste by Rail 3" operation, with the incoming empties approaching East Grinstead, held awaiting the departure of an up train, then 66707 heading the train through the station platforms. The third photo shows the last consignment of waste of the current batch awaiting collection.
Incoming Waste by Rail train - Malcolm Porter - 22 July 2011 66707 on the incoming empties - Malcolm Porter - 22 July 2011 Final rubbish of Waste by Rail 3 - Malcolm Porter - 22 July 2011

Loading the Waste by Rail train - Tony Sullivan - 21 July 2011 25 July
  • During the second and third weeks of WBR3 a further 4847 plus 4840 tonnes of waste were removed. On most days the loading operation was completed in about four hours. The next excavation (WBR4) is scheduled to commence on the 15th August, lasting for two weeks. We still require further funding to complete the waste removal by the end of March 2012, before Landfill Tax becomes payable. Please do make a donation - it all adds up, and with your help we'll achieve our target.

  • Tony Sullivan's two photos illustrate the loading of the train last Thursday at Imberhorne Tip. That on the right shows quite well the size of the hole excavated in the last 3 weeks, stretching into the tip on the East side, which is now the focus of attention.

  • James Michell's photo, taken at dusk last Friday, shows 66707 heading the very last of the current trains north from East Grinstead.

  • Apologies for the ongoing problems we've been experiencing with the web site. This was caused by a network upgrade at our hosts. We are working to solve the issues arising!

Loading the Waste by Rail train - Tony Sullivan - 21 July 2011 Departure of the Waste by Rail train - James Michell - 22 July 2011

592 with the 11am departure from SP - John Sandys - 21 July 2011 22 July

Loading the Waste by Rail train - Pat Plane - 15 July 2011 21 July
  • Another of Patrick Plane's photos shows the loading of the Waste By Rail 3 train last Friday.

  • This coming weekend, 23 & 24 July we have our big Toy and Rail Collectors Fair at Horsted Keynes station, with Railway Artefacts, Model Railway items on a wide variety of stalls on the station and in a Marquee in the field.
    In addition to our normal peak Service 1 timetable, there is an early morning train, leaving Sheffield Park at 10am, for an additional return trip to Kingscote. An extra 473 Bus leaves East Grinstead at 10.10am to connect with the extra 10.55 departure from Kingscote.

  • The British Railways Standard Class 2 Tank Engine Rebuild Project has an updated pdf leaflet for people interested in joining the project's support group, and subscribing to the project newsletter.

  • Dave Bowles has created a new online book of 2009 Steam Action, which features the Bluebell quite prominently.

  • News Update New C&W Works News page for LCDR/SECR 5-compartment 3rd carriage No.3188, the overhaul of which is being undertaken by the team who have just completed the "Peoples' Millions" carriage project. The first photo below, from Dave Clarke, shows some of the Southern Railway sign writing found on the carriage body. This is interesting in that, contrary to a mistaken belief that such third-class carriages would simply be lettered with yellow paint, it is actually still gold leaf in spite of the carriage being part of a simple excursion/Hop Pickers' special set at the end of its service on the Southern Railway in 1935. The set number (835) has also been found on the northern end. The second photo shows the "Eros" vents, which our LCDR carriages have, rather than the more common "Torpedo" type. Unfortunately the other five are missing, so to replace them we need to find or make some more. If you happen to have one in your loft, we'd love to hear from you!

Southern Railway lettering - upper bodyside panel - Dave Clarke - 17 June 2011 Eros vents - Dave Clarke - 18 June 2011

Digging and waste removal in progress - Pat Plane - 15 July 2011 19 July
  • Patrick Plane's photo shows the situation as of the end of the second week of Waste By Rail 3, which continues this week (the third and final week of the current dig). As the area being dug out now extends a couple of hundred yards from the bridge, which remains the best view-point, the extent of progress is difficult to represent in a photo. In addition to the 1000 tonnes of rubbish being taken by train to Bedfordshire each day, some of the clay capping, which is deeper than expected, is also being taken out by road.

  • Fund-raising continues to progress, having accelerated in the last few days thanks to the appeal DVD distributed to UK BRPS members with Bluebell News. The video is also available online here. With about £650,000 raised so far this year, we still need to raise about another £1 Million by March 2012 to beat the landfill tax exemption deadline, which equates to just £150 per BRPS member/family. Other avenues continue to be explored (and although the indications are not good, we continue to enquire about the possibility of extending our landfill tax exemption), and we also continue to pursue many other funding opportunities beyond the society membership and local supporters. Recently elected BRPS Trustee, John Walls, is chairing a new fund-raising sub-committee, to coordinate the effort, working in conjunction with Roger Kelly, who remains our PLC funding director for the next year, so providing continuity for various initiatives already under way, and the Bluebell Railway Trust, which remains a key player in the fund-raising.

    Donations can be made in a variety of ways, on-line and by post or telephone (or even on your mobile phone), and Gift Aid on donations made to the Bluebell Railway Trust can be obtained though most of these routes. All donations, large and small contribute to this big push to finish the extension to East Grinstead.

  • There are currently 10 items offered for sale by our supporters via eBay for Charity, benefiting the extension project. If you are selling something on eBay, you could also donate a percentage to the project.

  • The good news from the weekend is that 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair" was back in service after the repairs to its firebox. Lots of photos from Keith Duke of the engine, in the rain, on Saturday (when the other locos in steam were the E4 with a set of SR coaches, and the C-class with a Pullman wedding special.

  • Stepney Club pages updated with revised membership fee levels.

  • Glen Tyzack's photo below, also from last Friday, shows the diggers performing their "ballet". Sam Brown's photos shows Sunday evening's Songs of Praise at Kingscote, and the C-class on the Golden Arrow Pullman in the rain.

Diggers on parade - Glen Tyzack - 15 July 2011 Songs of Praise at Kingscote - Sam Brown - 17 July 2011 Golden Arrow - Sam Brown - 17 July 2011

Tip site - 8 July 2011 15 July
  • Waste By Rail 3 (WBR3) started on 4th July 2011 and is scheduled to run for three weeks. Unfortunately the planned rake of 20 MLA wagons was reduced to 19 as one was "red carded" before it arrived. For a number of technical reasons the waste removal is being concentrated on the down (east) side of the cutting. During the first week a total of 4880 tonnes was removed, but it is important to understand that it is less about weight and more importantly the volume of waste removed. This current phase of the project is planned to run until 22nd July.

    Donations to pay for the ongoing work are still urgently required to help us extract as much waste as possible before the 31st March 2012 deadline.

  • Edward Hankey - it is with regret and sadness that we report that Edward passed away in the early hours of yesterday morning - more information on the BRPS Members' information page.

LBSCR Open wagon 3346 - Dave Clarke - 21 June 2011 14 July
  • Following the apparent demise of Fotopic, Dave Clarke has created extensive Flickr photo sets for recent Carriage & Wagon Department activity. On the right we see LBSCR Open Wagon No.3346, which was originally restored by the Bluebell for display at Shildon S&D150 in 1975, along with "People's Millions" coach 3360 in the paint-shop on 21st June. The wagon is having a few planks replaced and the paintwork touched up. A new wagon sheet will be fitted.

  • Below is a pair of the new doors which we've been making for LBSCR Bogie First No.7598, about half of which have now been fitted.

  • The next photo shows an unusual view of LBSCR Milk & Fruit Van No.270, which has moved into the works from the poly-tunnel. The roof timbers have been causing problems, due to the heat in the poly-tunnel, so have been removed for replacement.

  • The last photo shows the interior of the end of BR Mk.I No.4941, showing the bottom of each stuctural pillar where complete structural sections have been replaced with new material. The work has been done by volunteers and staff, with the final welding completed by a coded welder. This is the end being modified with double doors to give wheelchair access. The replacement sheeting has also now been fitted at this end.

New doors for LBSCR 7598 - Dave Clarke - 17 June 2011 Over-view of LBSCR 270 - Dave Clarke - 17 June 2011 Structural repairs to BR 4941 - Dave Clarke - 12 June 2011

Captain Baxter with vintage goods train - Paul Pettitt - 9 July 2011 13 July
  • Paul Pettitt's photo shows "Captain Baxter" under stormy skies last Saturday with its vintage goods train. The next run of this train is on 13th August as part of the Vintage Transport Weekend.

  • News Update Update to the C&W News page on "People's Millions" Carriage 3360, completing the story of its restoration and launch into service.

  • Reminder that this coming Sunday we have our evening special: Songs of Praise - a special train from Horsted Keynes at 5.45pm to Kingscote for an act of worship - Free of charge, donations will be collected towards the Northern Extension project.

Mk.1 BCK on arrival at Horsted Keynes - Tom Waghorn - 10 July 2011 12 July
  • The newly purchased Mk.I BCK, No.21246, has arrived, and is seen in Tom Waghorn's photo taken from the brake window of the Golden Arrow train on Sunday. The coach will be repainted green before entering Bluebell traffic, principally providing first-class accommodation on our off-peak services.

  • Update to the Loco Roster.

  • The photo below from Pat Plane shows work progressing on the tip clearance on the Northern Extension. Wagons 9 and 10 are seen being loaded last Friday. The rake is split into two halves (10 wagons), and then, since we can fill up to 4 wagons at a time, further divided down into 4 and 2-wagon sections for filling.
Loading wagons at the tip - Pat Plane - 8 July 2011

Rear frames for 84030 coming together in Loco Works 11 July
  • News Update A serious (and heavy) new section of the loco... this photo shows the rear frames for Standard 2 Tank No.84030 coming together in Loco Works. The fitted bolts are in, and most of the riveting has been done. There is a full report available via the Loco News page for the project.

  • We're now into the second week of the current 3-week "Waste by Rail" operation on our Northern Extension. The wagons came down yesterday, and the class 66 (No.66743 in ex-Colas Rail livery) arrived at lunchtime today for the loading of today's wagons. Each day's digging and waste removal is costing about £25,000, so fund-raising continues! The individuals on our Yahoo! e-mail group have between them donated nearly enough money for a second "Chit-Chat Express" train, with just another £5,000 to raise before they start on the third train!

Martin Eastland's granddaughter unveils his memorial paving block - Derek Hayward - 3 July 2011 8 July
  • More photos from last Sunday's inauguration of the Memorial Garden. An engraved paving block is unveiled by Martin Eastland's granddaughter whilst Father John Twistleton (Rector of St. Giles' Church, Horsted Keynes, and the Railway's chaplain), The Right Revd Cornell Jerome Moss, Bishop of Guyana, our chairman, Roy Watts, and other family members look on. The first photo below shows some of the other guests present at the ceremony. The Bishop later got his hand on B473's regulator, and after arriving at Sheffield Park the party is seen below with the loco crew in Matt Price's photo.

  • The final photo below, also from Matt Price, was taken on the footplate of the E4 later that day.

  • The current 3-week dig and "Waste by Rail" exercise being conducted on our Northern Extension to East Grinstead reaches the end of the first week today. It has gone pretty smoothly so far; we hope to bring you a report on the first week's progress soon, but all being well just under 5,000 tonnes of waste will have gone out. We still urgently need donations to help fund this project. You can donate anything between £1 and £100,000 - clearly the more the better! If we are to get through to East Grinstead next year we urgently need serious sums of money; if we don't remove enough waste by the end of March 2012 we will have to pay Landfill Tax, quadrupling the cost. Everyone can help - PLEASE!!! - JustGiving - PayPal - American Fund for Charities - Tenner for the Tip - JustTextGiving - other ways to give - Fund-raise for us.

Opening of Memorial Garden at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 3 July 2011 Clergy and Loco Crew - Matt Price - 3 July 2011 E4 B473's footplate - Matt Price - 3 July 2011

80151 and B473 at Sheffield Park - Tony Sullivan - 7 July 2011 7 July
  • Tony Sullivan's photo taken today shows BR standard Tank Loco No.80151 on the service train, and LBSCR E4 No.B473 with a corporate charter train.

  • A few weeks ago our youth club, the 9F Club, had a day away from the Bluebell, at a Miniature Railway. See Alex's video.

  • Keith Duke has published some photos from Blackmoor Vale's return to steam in 1976

  • James Chatwin filmed yesterday's full "Waste by Rail" train at speed from the bridge at Lingfield Station. Only 19 wagons at present, since the twentieth has proved troublesome, but is expected to re-join the train soon.

  • Captain Baxter is now back from his weekend away at the West Somerset Railway and will be pulling Goods Trains again this coming Saturday.
    Video of Baxter with Goods Train - Martin Lawrence - 25 June 2011 Martin Lawrence provides this video of Baxter from the last Goods Train day back in June.

    The first photo below shows "Captain Baxter" standing in the yard at Minehead on 30 June - © John Crocker. This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence. There are two other photos of Baxter at Minehead from Phil Horton and Peter Nicholson on the unofficial WSR website.
    Shunt of 3360 - Andy Prime - 6 July 2011

  • Update to the Contacts and Who's Who pages, following the AGM and subsequent committee meetings.

  • The photo on the right, taken by Andy Prime yesterday during the shunt, shows the "People's Millions" LCDR coach (SECR 3360), finally complete with the last of the lettering, lining on the ventilator bonnets and now fully varnished, being moved over the pit for some further mechanical adjustments.

  • Tony Sullivan's photo below shows the Thursday volunteer track gang at work today on points at the entrance to the Woodpax shed at Sheffield Park, whilst that from Derek Hayward taken on Sunday shows the same trackwork from inside.

Captain Baxter stands in the yard at Minehead on 30 June 2011 - John Crocker - Creative Commons Licence Thursday volunteer track gang - Tony Sullivan - 7 July 2011 Track laid into Woodpax shed - Derek Hayward - 3 July 2011

66714 with empties near South Croydon - Tony Sullivan - 4 July 2011 Full wagons at Imberhorne North - Martin Lawrence - 5 July 2011 5 July
  • Yesterday was the first day of the current 3-week "Waste by Rail" exercise to dig out the rubbish in the cutting blocking our extension to East Grinstead. We have another 5 weeks planned for later this summer, and, providing we can raise the money required to pay for it, another dig early next year. Your donations are sill urgently required - see our appeal video. Details of how to donate and other ways to help are here.

  • Martin Lawrence's photo shows today's full wagons, and Tony Sullivan's from yesterday shows the incoming empty train, now formed of 20 wagons, hauled by GBRF loco No 66714 "Cromer Lifeboat" approaching South Croydon. Derek Hayward's below, also of the incoming empties yesterday, was taken at Dunton Green. Robert Philpot's video shows the train being loaded yesterday.

  • Sunday saw the opening of our memorial garden at Horsted Keynes. Located in a beautiful countryside setting overlooking the line from an elevated viewpoint, the garden provides a quiet space for reflection and remembrance. The garden features "The Walk of Memories" formed of engraved memorial blocks. The picture below from Derek Hayward shows Sheila Eastland, widow of Martin Eastland who was one of our founder members, cutting the ribbon whilst Father John Twistleton (Rector of St. Giles' Church, Horsted Keynes, and the Railway's chaplain), The Right Revd Cornell Jerome Moss, Bishop of Guyana, and our chairman, Roy Watts, look on. More of Derek's photos are available here.

  • Dave Chambers has some photos from a visit on 25th June.

  • Derek has another photo, below, showing progress as of Sunday with track laying into the new shed at Sheffield Park, and the first stock to be stored in there (well you have to put it somewhere!). The point-work on the other two roads is also well advanced.

  • During June 2011 there were 71,694 total hits on this page, from 41,542 unique visitors.

66714 at Dunton Green - Derek Hayward - 4 July 2011 Opening of memorial garden - Derek Hayward - 3 July 2011 Track laid into Woodpax shed - Derek Hayward - 3 July 2011

Press Release - 27 June
Memorial Garden to open at the Bluebell Railway

On Sunday 3rd July at, Father John Twisleton, Rector of St Giles, Horsted Keynes and Chaplain to the Bluebell Railway, together with the Right Revd. Cornell Jerome Moss, Bishop of Guyana, will be conducting a short service to open the new Memorial Garden at Horsted Keynes Station.

For many years, the Bluebell Railway has been a favourite place for many of the Preservation Society's members and others to be remembered. Scattering ashes along the line, in the firebox of an engine in steam, or along the hedges has always been popular, and over the years the railway has been presented with many benches, clocks and plaques but space is limited so now the railway has reserved a special site for permanent memorials.

The garden will consist of a pathway "The Walk of Memories" made up of individual blocks engraved with a personal inscription. Here, friends and family can visit at anytime. Located in a beautiful countryside setting overlooking the line from an elevated viewpoint, the garden will provide a quiet space for reflection and remembrance.

Baxter with Vintage Goods train - Paul Pettitt - 25 June 2011 27 June
  • Paul Pettitt's photo shows "Captain Baxter" with its vintage goods train on Saturday.

  • This coming week we have, in addition to our daily train service:
    • Fri 1 July: Rail Ale evening.
    • 2 & 3 July: Victorian Picnic - an evening train ride with a light buffet hamper, wine and soft drinks, and a traditional Music-hall show.

  • Because the Victorian Train is running in the evenings, the same coaches (Chesham set, two 4-wheelers and GN Saloon) are being used in public service during the day both days next weekend (on the 12-noon, 2pm and 4pm trains from Sheffield Park). The newly restored LCDR "People's Millions" carriage is not yet running in public service - it has spent the last few weeks in the paint shop for the completion of the painting, lettering and lining, and varnishing, which is now complete, but still requires some further mechanical adjustments.

  • Article in the Argus about last week's opening of the Museum.

  • Below is a selection of photos from Derek Hayward taken before the public arrived at yesterday's hugely successful Sussex Food Festival at Horsted Keynes - the event, featuring local producers seems to get better each year, and it certainly attracted the crowds yesterday!

Pickle stall at Food Fair - Derek Hayward - 26 June 2011 Cuckfield Candy at Food Fair - Derek Hayward - 26 June 2011 The Old Dairy Farm Shop at Food Fair - Derek Hayward - 26 June 2011 Bolney Wine Estate at Food Fair - Derek Hayward - 26 June 2011 Delicious! Cup Cakes at Food Fair - Derek Hayward - 26 June 2011 Food Fair at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 26 June 2011

Baxter with Vintage Goods train - Dave Bowles - 25 June 2011 26 June
  • Today we have the Sussex Food Festival at Horsted Keynes - local food producers bring their stalls to the station - samples and offers available. As an extra attraction this year, Bolney Wine Estate are offering free tutorials on English Wines throughout the day, and musical entertainment is provided by the Bluebell Railway Band.

    In addition, there is a Brighton Atlantic Project open day and auction in the "Atlantic House" in the loco yard at Sheffield Park.

  • Photos of yesterday's Vintage Goods Train hauled by Captain Baxter, available from Keith Duke. The photo seen here is from Dave Bowles. The next Vintage Goods Train day is 9th July - details here.

  • There are currently several items for sale though eBay for Charity, which will benefit the Bluebell and its extension to East Grinstead. Many thanks to those individuals selling items to raise money for us!

178 arrives at Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 23 June 2011 25 June
  • Derek Hayward's shot of the special train run for the Museum opening shows No.178 proving it can haul 3 heavy Mk.1 coaches, as it arrives at Kingscote.

  • A few more shots from Thursday, below, thanks to Michael Hopps, firstly showing track-laying progressing into the Carriage shed, which is also part of the HLF-funded scheme at Sheffield Park, the Thursday volunteer gang working on the new point-work, and Tony Sullivan with Bernard Holden inspecting the new museum display.

Track laid into the carriage shed at SP - Mike Hopps - 23 June 2011 Pointwork in Woodpax - Mike Hopps - 23 June 2011 Bernard Holden and Tony Sullivan - Mike Hopps - 23 June 2011

Lord Faulkner and Sam Bee cutting ribbon - Derek Hayward - 23 June 2011 24 June
  • The opening of our new museum at Sheffield Park yesterday morning was covered on TV, and is currently available via the BBC South East news bulletin (at 19-min 45-sec), and the same video item is featured in a separate page on the BBC web site.

    These photos from Derek Hayward show Lord Faulkner of Worcester, President of the Heritage Railway Association, cutting the tape and opening our new museum, which has been built as part of a much larger project (which the BBC failed to mention!) which has received just over £2.8million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), and significant support from the Bluebell Railway Trust. As seen in the photos, the Bluebell Railway's vice-Chairman, Sam Bee, officiated, and our 103-year-old President, Bernard Holden MBE, was also present.

  • "Captain Baxter" is to spend a few days by the seaside, at the West Somerset Railway's Thomas Weekend (2-3 July). This small 0-4-0T engine features in Rev W Awdry's book "Stepney the Bluebell Engine". The 1877-built loco will spend its time at Minehead shunting the yard.

  • Reminder that you can use JustTextGiving to donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 in a single donation (it's added to your mobile bill), and can add Gift Aid if they are a tax-payer and wish us to receive an extra 25%, with all funds raised currently going towards the Northern Extension Project. Text "BEXT11 £10" to 70070 to donate £10 to The Bluebell Railway Trust's 50th Anniversary Appeal. The Bluebell Trust receives all the money without deductions because Vodafone Foundation are covering JustGiving's 5% charge for 2 years. You can also give to the appeal online, via JustGiving.

Bernard Holden with guests - Derek Hayward - 23 June 2011 Lord Worcester, Bernard Holden and Sam Bee - Derek Hayward - 23 June 2011 Bernard Holden with P-class No.178 - Derek Hayward - 23 June 2011

Completed cylinder for Brighton Atlantic - Malcolm Porter - 19 June 2011 23 June
  • The opening of our new museum at Sheffield Park this morning should be covered on the BBC South East news bulletin at 1:30pm and possibly also at 6:30pm. There is also a report on the BBC web site.

  • As ever we have a busy weekend coming up:
    • This coming Sunday we have the Sussex Food Festival at Horsted Keynes - a festival of fun, food and flavour.

    • Malcolm Porter's photo showing one of the completed cylinder fabrications for the Brighton Atlantic also serves as a reminder that this project is holding an open weekend at Sheffield Park - more details.

    • Finally a reminder of Saturday's Vintage Goods trains hauled by "Captain Baxter".

  • Several of the late Ray Vistucis' books donated to the Railway by his sisters have been put on our Amazon Marketplace website, in aid of the Northern Extension Project. Ray was a Loco Dep. member; his funeral was held yesterday.

New museum - John Sandys - 30 May 2011 21 June

The Bluebell Railway Museum

Conserving the past to inform the future

After many years the Bluebell Railway now has a new museum as part of a larger project which has received just over £2.8million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Lord Faulkner of Worcester, president of the Heritage Railway Association, will cut the tape and open this brand new visitor experience at Sheffield Park Station at 11.30 on Thursday 23 June 2011.

Visitors entering via what was the old waiting room entrance on platform 2 will first see a display of the history of the Bluebell Railway. This shows how it progressed from the early days of its inception in 1959 to becoming one of Britain's leading heritage railways. The story is told from the battles of the early pioneers fighting to save the line, to today's challenge of raising funds to complete the removal of the rubbish tip to allow trains into East Grinstead.

New museum - John Sandys - 30 May 2011

Moving through to the main museum building, the visitor is taken on a journey through the history of the railways of Southern England using information panels, inter actives and audio visual displays. In the main section of the museum, you will be able to explore the link between the industrial revolution, our railways and the pioneers who built them. Starting with early railways, the building of the Lewes to East Grinstead Railway (of which the Bluebell Railway is part) the account follows through to nationalisation and the subsequent decline of steam.

This amazing story includes sections on such diverse subjects as the permanent way, signalling, on train catering and railway shipping services. Included are several old favourite items from the original museum, such as the model of the paddle steamer Paris and of course 'London Jack' the famous railway collecting box dog.

From July, the museum will be open between 10.00 and 16.00 daily, when trains are running which is usually from Easter till October and then at weekends through the winter.

Photos: John Sandys

80151 with GN Saloon and the pre-war SR set at 3-arch - Ashley Smith - 18 June 2011 20 June
  • Vintage Goods trains (hauled by "Captain Baxter", our 1877-built Fletcher-Jennings loco) will run on 25th June, 9th July, 13th August, 3rd September and 8th October this year.

  • Extension news: Over the next couple of weeks work will take place at Imberhorne to prepare the site for further waste removal, by removal of more clay capping. Then on 4th July we start three weeks of waste extraction (with more to follow in August and September). We hope to be using 20-wagon trains (rather than 18), to enable a full 1000 tonnes of waste to be shipped out each day. A full report on the experience gained in the March dig and the subsequent sorting trial, and details of future plans, will be included in the forthcoming edition of Bluebell News. To remove the remaining rubbish blocking our extension to East Grinstead we still need your support - there are many different ways to help!

  • Reminder that the Brighton Atlantic project have an open weekend at Sheffield Park next weekend - 25-26 June. Amongst progress on view, the newly fabricated valve chests are now in position between the frames, a significant milestone for the project. More details.

  • Ashley Smith provides today's photo - taken on Saturday south of 3-Arch Bridge, 80151 is seen with the GN Saloon and the pre-war Southern set. He also has a very nice video compilation and 7 photos (on flickr); it was a busy day - 5 engines in steam, with two service trains plus a Wedding Special and a Wealden Rambler afternoon tea train. "Captain Baxter" was employed re-organising the loco shed at Sheffield Park.

  • Dates in July and August are now available for Personal Track Safety training sessions for Lineside Photographers, which will be held at Sheffield Park.

  • The photo below (from Patrick Plane) shows the track-work approaching the Woodpax shed, on Friday. Photos from Martin Lawrence taken today show further progress, with track now being laid into the shed.
Trackwork at Woodpax - Pat Plane - 17 June 2011

LCDR 3188 in the dock - Richard Salmon - 15 June 2011 17 June
  • Work started on Wednesday on the restoration of carriage No.3188 (as LCDR 668 is now known). The team who undertook the "People's Millions" project are taking this on. The photos right and below show that it has been craned onto a temporary underframe and is now in the carriage works alongside the LBSCR Milk/Fruit van No.270 which has also come in to the works (from the "poly-tunnel") to enable the Thursday gang to move forwards more easily towards the completion of its overhaul.

    The final photo below shows Tony Clements examining the structure he has revealed by removing the (later) internal panelling in the brake van of 3188. This revealed exactly what we'd hoped, namely that the conversion (which we are reversing) had simply involved covering over two door pillars (which thus remain in their original positions) and the relocation of another. Assuming the other side of the vehicle is the same, that means we only need to make two new body pillars (which go alongside the missing partition), and two new doors to effect a back-conversion to a 5-compartment third, as built. The vast majority of the teak structure appears to be in excellent condition throughout.

  • Updates to loco pages for GWR Dukedog No.9017, BR Standard Tank No.80151, the Loco stock list, the Locos in service and the Locos on static display pages.

    The tender of SR Q-class No.541 is now being overhauled by the Loco Works Working Group volunteer team - if you want to speed the return to service of this useful loco, why not join them on the 1st and 3rd Sundays each month (09:00 to 09:30 start). No previous experience required. The only requirements are that you are a BRPS member, have steel toe capped footwear and overalls/work clothes. Any new member should make themselves known to a member of the workshop staff so that you can be introduced to the group and receive a safety briefing.

  • Updates to the Carriage Stock List, the Introduction to the Carriage Fleet, and the pages for carriages LCDR 114, LCDR 3360, LSWR 1520, LCDR 3188 and SER 172.

    New web page for Mk.I BCK No.21246 thanks to Martin Skrzetuszewski and Jon Elphick. The coach has yet to arrive on the Bluebell.

LCDR 3188 in the dock - Richard Salmon - 15 June 2011 LBSCR 270 in the dock - Richard Salmon - 15 June 2011 Bodyside structure revealed (3188) - Richard Salmon - 15 June 2011

Performers at the Victorian Evenings 15 June
  • On the weekend of the Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd July, The Bluebell Railway will be staging its Victorian Picnic and Music Hall Event. Make a return train journey from Horsted Keynes Station in a beautifully restored Victorian Carriage, including one on this train for the first time, recently converted to allow wheelchair access.
    Included in the price is a Picnic Hamper containing a finger buffet, wine and soft drinks. Some items in the picnic hamper are suitable for vegetarians, however, if a whole hamper of vegetarian food is required, it must be advised by 15th June 2011.
    Upon returning to Horsted Keynes, The Horsted Hippodrome, where seating is provided, is the location for the new production at this venue, The Bluebell Follies Victorian Music Hall.
    Entertainers appearing this year, are singer/comedian, Mickey Driver who devises and produces the show, comedian Peter John who has to be seen to be believed, violinist Victoria Yellop, much in demand playing in our Royal Palaces and legendary singer Julia Sutton, recently seen in 'Sister Act' at the London Palladium. All artists are accompanied by their musical director David Carter.
    The train departs at 6.00pm from Horsted Keynes Station. Accommodation available is either an exclusive compartment for six people, in First Class at a cost of £150 or a compartment for six in Third Class costing £100. Individual tickets can be purchased, to share a compartment, for the cost of £17.
    For that extra special journey, why not try The Great Northern Railway Directors Saloon in armchair or boardroom style seating, costing £25 per person. Maximum persons in this coach are 18.

    To book please contact Customer Services on 01825 720 800

    Pictured from left to right: West End Leading Lady Julia Sutton, Funny Man Peter John, Violinist Extraordinaire Victoria Yellop and All Round Entertainer and Producer Mickey Driver.

  • Summaries of BRPS Committee meetings held in March, April and May are now available via the BRPS Members' information page.

80151 enters Sheffield Park station - Tony Sullivan - 2 June 2011 14 June
  • Tony Sullivan's photo on the right shows BR 2-6-4T No.80151 entering Sheffield Park station on 2nd June.

  • We regret to say that GWR Dukedog No.9017 has failed with several mechanical and boiler problems, and so is unlikely to steam again before receiving its next major overhaul. Consequent update to the Loco Roster. Although the loco potentially had over 2 years remaining on its boiler certificate, the high mileage it has run since its major overhaul in 2003 meant that we were not expecting it to run all ten years in any case.

  • Update to the Football Competition pages with details of the final outcome of the 2010-11 competition, and entry details for the coming season. It's a competition that requires no knowledge of football to enter, and is raising funds towards the eventual overhaul of the sole surviving SR Restaurant Car, No.7864.

  • To enable us to offer first-class accommodation when operating a "core" 4-coach set (which also has to include a buffet car, a TSO, a brake and wheel-chair accommodation) the railway has purchased Mk.I BCK No.21246, a currently serviceable vehicle, until recently in main-line charter use, which will be painted green before entering Bluebell service. It remains a long-term aspiration to restore ex-BR(S) Mk.I BCK No.21271, designated as a Bluebell "heritage" vehicle and presently in storage on the Railway.

  • News Update Wagon News update, thanks to Jon Elphick and Martin Skrzetuszewski, for GWR 5-plank open wagon No.87782

  • Ian Wiltshire's unusual photo below shows our LBSCR E4 No.B473 on the ferry back from the Isle of Wight on the 31st May.

  • Keith Farrin's photo shows the SECR C-class enshrouded in steam from the cylinder drain cocks (which have to be open when a loco moves away after standing for any time, to enable any water which has condensed in the cylinders to escape), as the loco makes its departure from Sheffield Park on Monday 6th June.

B473 on the ferry back from the Isle of Wight - Ian Wiltshire - 31 May 2011 SECR C-class enshrouded in steam - Keith Farrin - 6 June 2011

Prince Edward at the Bluebell stand at the South of England Show - Tony Sullivan - 9 June 2011 11 June:
  • The Bluebell Railway stand at this year's Ardingly South of England Show had a very special guest on Thursday, in the form of HRH Prince Edward who stopped off for a chat with the Bluebell team.

    More photos and a full report here.

    Our stand this year features our Premier First Lounge Car Number 3064 which fits nicely into the show's theme of water, having served as one of six First Opens on the Southern Region "Ocean Liner Express", connecting London Waterloo and Southampton Docks for the famous liners like the RMS Queen Mary and RMS Queen Elizabeth.

    If you are visiting Ardingly today, make sure you come and see us next to the flower tent and see what tempting offers we have available at the stand.

    Photograph (by Tony Sullivan): Talking in the rain with HRH Prince Edward are: Commercial Director Tim Baker, Jean Sullivan, Bob McLean, Louise Duncton, Julia Piqué, Kevin Leggett, Joan & Gerry Brown and David Jones

9017 at Caseford Bridge, amid the lineside daisies - Derek Hayward - 1 June 2011 3 June

Driving wheels at South Devon Railway - Neville Watts Final axleboxe, plus con rods - Fred Bailey - 12 May 2011

80151 leaving Sheffield Park with a Pullman special - Martin Lawrence - 27 May 2011 1 June:
  • Martin Lawrence's aerial photo shows BR Standard 4 tank loco No.80151 (which has just returned to service following re-tubing) leaving Sheffield Park last week with a Pullman special train.

  • As shown on the BBC web site and BBC TV news last night, our Northern Extension appeal is now entering a critical phase if we are to beat the ending of the landfill tax exemption next April.
    The section about our appeal is ten minutes into the programme here on the iPlayer version of the BBC South East News, (available for 7 days).
    You can donate through JustGiving or in other ways as shown here to support the appeal.

  • John Sisley has received another useful donation of books for sale in aid of the extension, and the best 30 of these books have been added to our Amazon Marketplace page

  • With the opening of the new museum at Sheffield Park last weekend, there are also now some new museum web pages.

  • Sam Brown has a gallery of Bluebell photos from the Bank Holiday weekend

  • Linda Chen has a few photos from our Southern at War weekend.

  • During May 2011 there were 71,678 total hits on this page, from 41,516 unique visitors.

9017 leaves Sheffield Park with the Sunday Lunchtime Golden Arrow service - Tony Sullivan - 29 May 2011 31 May:
  • Tony Sullivan's photo shows 9017 leaving Sheffield Park at just after 12.30 on Sunday with the Lunchtime "Golden Arrow" service.

  • Our "Mend the Gap" campaign to complete funding for the extension was featured on BBC TV South East regional news bulletins this evening, and also on Radio Sussex and Radio Surrey this morning.
    The Radio Surrey report as part of Breakfast with Mark Carter is available on iPlayer for the next week, and items on the railway can be found throughout the programme, but particularly at 1:08.30, 1:40 and 2:13-19.
    Also many mentions on Neil Pringle on BBC Radio Sussex, at the start, and 0.08.10-0.16.10, 0.36.45-0.41.30, 1.08.10-1.13.30 and 1.36.40-1.37.30.

  • Some photos and videos of Birch Grove on the Isle of Wight at their gala this weekend: a couple of photos from Ashley Smith, and a YouTube video from TonyIWSR.

  • Martin Lawrence has some aerial photos of the line, taken from a kite.

  • An update on the Signalboxes page includes improvements to the photos, an updated link, and a new entry for the Withyham gate box.

  • Some more photos from the Open Weekend thanks Keith Leppard (a pretty comprehensive set of photos taken on 21 May) and Sam Brown

  • Photos below show the roof of People's Millions coach No.3360 on its launch day (David Chappell) - note the oil-lamp "chimneys" and the bungs on chains which replace the lamps when removed, and the "Eros" ventilators, distinctly different from the near universal "Torpedo" type, and those of the restoration team who were able to attend last Thursday (Jon Bowers).

  • John Sandys' further photos of ongoing track-laying at Sheffield Park, complemented by the photo below from Patrick Plane.
View showing roof furniture on 3360 - David Chappell - 26 May 2011 3360 team - Jon Bowers - 26 May 2011 Tracklaying progress at Sheffield Park - Pat Plane - 27 May 2011

3360 - Alex Morley - 26 May 2011 26 May: Launch of 3360
  • Today saw the launch into service of the Big Lottery Funded (People's Millions) coach No.3360 - On top of the Lottery funding, our volunteers have contributed about £100,000-worth of volunteer labour to this project. The morning saw speeches and special guests (including Paralympian and East Grinstead resident, Richard Schabel).

  • Alex Morley provides the photo on the right, and has put up pictures of this afternoon's run with 3360 on flickr.

  • John Sandys' photo of the launch train at Horsted Keynes, and video of the launch train leaving Sheffield Park at 12.35.

  • The photos below show Paralympian Richard Schabel cutting of the ribbon (Mike Hopps), boarding the train (Derek Hayward) and 323 "Bluebell" with the three 4-wheelers (Andrew Strongitharm).

3360 ribbon cut - Mike Hopps - 26 May 2011 Boarding the new coach - Derek Hayward - 26 May 2011 Bluebell with the three 4-wheelers - Andrew Strongitharm - 26 May 2011

Stuart Fielder completing the lettering on 3360 - Richard Salmon - 25 May 2011 26 May:
  • Following its successful test run yesterday, and with the weather holding, this photo shows Stuart Fielder completing the lettering on People's Millions coach 3360 last night - a lot of work has been done in the last few days to prepare for the official launch today! The photo below shows Stuart and Tony Clements working on it, as it's coupled to the other two 4-wheelers in the platform at Horsted Keynes.

  • Ken Upton's been playing with a new camera and lens, and experimenting with uploading a collection of mixed Bluebell shots to Photobucket, a few "personality" shots, Captain Baxter, Bluebell etc
3360 and other 4-wheelers - Richard Salmon - 25 May 2011

34059 at West Hoathly - Derek Hayward - 21 May 2011 25 May:
  • Derek Hayward's photo on the right shows 34059 at West Hoathly on Saturday.

  • The first photo below is from Dave Chambers, showing Sheffield Park is heaving with visitors on Monday 10th May - good to see the trains so busy so early in the midweek running, outside of school holidays!

  • Right at the bottom of this set of photos from Robert Philpot are some taken today at Horsted Keynes, showing 80151 at Horsted Keynes during a test run, and People's Millions carriage 3360 also out for a test run.

  • Kevin McElhone's photo below shows Richard Salmon explaining the restoration of SECR 3360 to a guided tour party at the Open Weekend, whilst Deborah Salmon and Ed Owen do some final cleaning of the windows in preparation for the coach's launch into service on Thursday.

Sheffield Park - Dave Chambers - 10 May 2011 Carriage 3360 during guided tour - Kevin McElhone - 21 May 2011

Captain Baxter at Sheffield Park - Robert Else - 21 May 2011 24 May:
  • Robert Else provides this photo showing "Captain Baxter" at Sheffield Park - our 1877-built Fletcher Jennings loco was entertaining the children with access to the footplate and the chance for them to blow his whistle.

  • More photos below, from Derek Hayward from our Open Days last Saturday. The SECR loco pairing, Nos.178 and 592, are seen leaving Sheffield Park with a nice 5-coach train formed of an SR-designed Bulleid open third No.1464, three SR Maunsells (Nos.6686, 1309 and 1336) and an SR-liveried SECR hundred seater No.1098. The other two photos show the interior of the completed Woodpax shed, which was accessible to visitors, and the new loco washout pit, both just awaiting rails, which are due to be laid over the course of this summer.

  • With sale of Tenner for the tip certificates, tea/coffee sales, retiring collection, JustTextGiving, and donations sent along with apologies, a total of over £1700 was raised towards the extension during the course of the AGM on Saturday evening.

178 and 592 leaving Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 21 May 2011 Woodpax shed interior - Derek Hayward - 21 May 2011 Loco Washout Pit - Derek Hayward - 21 May 2011

Dukedog with the Fish & Chip evening special on 20 May 2011 - Martin Lawrence 23 May:
  • Martin Lawrence provides this unusual view of last Friday's Fish & Chip Evening Supper Special. He also has another unusual view in this short video, showing the movement of the valve/reversing gear on LBSCR E4 B473.

  • Saturday, as well as being a busy day on the Railway with so much open behind the scenes during our Open Days, was also the BRPS AGM. The presentation about the Northern Extension, which we'd hoped to present on the web site, would apparently be very incomplete without the accompanying narrative, and so Chris White will instead present it as an article in the next edition of Bluebell News. However, the main headline is that we still urgently need donations to the appeal to enable the Waste by Rail operation to achieve its objective by the 31 March 2012 Landfill Tax Exemption deadline, with 7 weeks of digging planned in three tranches in July, August and September, leaving an achievable fund-raising target for the rest of the year of £600,000 to extract sufficient waste to enable track to be laid right through Imberhorne cutting, although it will leave other work to be done before we can run trains.

    Election results for the four available BRPS Trustee positions were as follows:
         Chris Hunford - 177 votes - Elected
         Charles Hudson - 173 votes - Elected
         John Walls - 141 votes - Elected
         Russell Pearce - 138 votes - Elected
         John Ely - 105 votes
    There were 279 members signed in to the AGM, and there were 12 spoilt ballot papers.

  • Congratulations to Dave Clarke, who completed the Edinburgh Marathon this Sunday in 4hr 16min 50sec. If anyone has not yet sponsored him, it's not too late - you can do this through JustGiving. His run was to raise funds for the Maunsell Restaurant Car project.

  • New photos from Robert Philpot taken during the day on Saturday.

  • The first week of tracklaying into the Turners sidings and Woodpax Shed at Sheffield Park has seen most of the track down in the Milk Dock, and the first point installed, as seen in Kevin McElhone's and Derek Hayward's photos below. Derek's other photo shows 323 "Bluebell" on the Extension shuttle from Kingscote to Imberhorne South, which carried 600 passengers over the weekend.

Track laid into Milk Dock - Kevin McElhone - 21 May 2011 First new point installed for Woodpax shed trackwork - Derek Hayward - 21 May 2011 323 on the Extension Shuttle - Derek Hayward - 21 May 2011

Repainted Kingscote Signal Box - Richard Hill - 19 May 2011 21 May:
  • This weekend are our "Bluebell Open Days" - your chance to see behind the scenes. Amongst the attractions is the chance to see inside Kingscote North Box, seen here in Richard Hill's photo. The Friends of Kingscote have just finished re-painting (the scaffolding came down on Thursday) the box, and the interior has been cleaned, ready for the Open Days (and will be repainted later). More details of what's going on this weekend are available here - see behind the scenes - normal fares apply.

  • News Update Carriage & Wagon Works News update on the SECR 2-plank Ballast wagon No.567, which it is hoped to have in service in time for the SECR Gala in November.

  • A further Loco Roster update.

  • The first photo below (thanks to David Chappell) is of our newest signalbox, Withyham gate box, which forms part of the shortly to be opened museum display at Sheffield Park. It has now been re-painted into LBSCR colours.

  • Two photos from Dave Chambers from last Monday (10th May): C-class No.592 waiting to depart from Horsted Keynes, and a blue tit family which has taken up residence in the C&W department.

Withyham Signal Box, now at Sheffield Park - David Chappell - 14 May 2011 C-class at Horsted Keynes - Dave Chambers - 10 May 2011 Blue tit at Horsted Keynes - Dave Chambers - 10 May 2011

592 and WD1959 at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 8 May 2011 20 May:
  • Another four photos from the Southern at War weekend, thanks to Derek Hayward.
    • On the right, a military policeman checks ID cards on 8th May,
    • Below, 34059 at Leamland Bridge on 7th May,
    • US Navy car "over here" (8th May),
    • Pair of Ps at Leamland Bridge (7th May).

  • You can now donate to the Bluebell Railway's 50th anniversary appeal for the extension to East Grinstead by text.
    Text "BEXT11 £10" to 70070 to donate £10 to The Bluebell Railway Trust. With JustTextGiving by Vodafone, which was launched last week, donors can donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 in a single donation (it's added to your mobile bill), and can add Gift Aid if they are a tax-payer and wish us to receive an extra 25%. The Bluebell Trust receives all the money without deductions because Vodafone Foundation are covering JustGiving's 5% charge for 2 years.

34059 at Leamland Bridge - Derek Hayward - 7 May 2011 US Navy at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 8 May 2011 178 and 323 at Leamland Bridge - Derek Hayward - 7 May 2011

New lettering added to name board at Sheffield Park - John Sandys - 19 May 2011 19 May:
  • John Sandys' photo taken this morning shows the new lettering applied earlier this week by the Alf Brown Group to the new name board on platform 2 at Sheffield Park. John also has a complete gallery of photos of the track laying today at Sheffield Park, and this video of the Dukedog, back from Devon, at the head of the 11am departure from Sheffield Park.

  • Dave Clarke's Marathon run (in Edinburgh) is this Sunday. Please sponsor him in aid of the Maunsell Restaurant Car project - you can do this through JustGiving.

  • Update to the Society's Share Purchase scheme. The plc have now confirmed that benefits, as shown in the 2008 prospectus, will continue to be distributed in 2012 and 2013. Whilst a lump-sum purchase of shares will be of the most immediate benefit to the Railway in helping to pay to clear the rubbish from the cutting, so that we can reach East Grinstead next year, standing orders can also be set up to spread the payment over a longer period.

  • Nigel Jepson has some wonderfully evocative photos from the Southern at War weekend.

  • Update to the component sponsorship list for the Bluebell Railway Atlantic Project

  • Photos in this flickr gallery showing Birch Grove on the Isle of Wight yesterday.

592 and WD1959 at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 7 May 2011 18 May:
  • Four more photos from the Southern at War weekend, thanks to Derek Hayward.
    • On the right, SECR 592 departs from Horsted Keynes with a lunchtime charter train on Saturday 7th May, passing our SR USA-class tank, which was repainted into its earlier War Department livery as WD 1959 some years ago;
    • Below, a British soldier on guard duty at Horsted Keynes;
    • An RAF couple at Horsted Keynes;
    • and from the Sunday, a wartime family on board one of our Southern Railway 1930's carriages (No.1309 of 1935)

  • A correction sheet for the 2010 Accounts Booklet is now available on the BRPS Members' pages.

  • Personal Track Safety training sessions for Lineside Photographers will be held at Sheffield Park on the following dates:
    Saturday 4th June 2011: 9:30am - 1:30pm
    Wednesday 15th June 2011: 9:30am - 1:30pm
    Saturday 25th June 2011 - 9:30am - 1:30pm
    The cost for Photographer's PTS training and certificate/lineside pass is £30.00 per person, valid for one year.
    Separate arrangements for Staff PTS training are in place.
    To book a training session please contact the General Office.
    For further details, please email safety (at) bluebell-railway (dot) co (dot) uk

Soldier on duty at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 7 May 2011 RAF couple at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 7 May 2011 Family on train - Derek Hayward - 8 May 2011
34059 approaches Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 7 May 2011
  • Derek Hayward's photo on the right shows Battle of Britain class No.34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair" approaching Horsted Keynes on 7th May on one of the service trains.

  • New Museum Opens at Sheffield Park. This major project, which has taken over a year to build with Heritage Lottery Funding, will house many new exhibits together with old favourites like the recently refurbished collection box dog, 'London Jack'.
    Displays and exhibits will show the story from pre-railway days, the building of the railways, the golden age of rail travel and the decline of the railways. Admission is free with either a ticket to travel or a platform ticket.
    The new museum will be open to the public for the first time on Saturday 28th May, but will only open at weekends through June. There will be an official opening towards the end of June, to be performed by Lord Richard Faulkner of Worcester. After this, the Museum will be open from 10.a.m on every day when trains are running.

  • John Sandys has some photos from yesterday, and three videos: An aerial view of the 3pm service departing Sheffield Park (which briefly shows - at 2-minutes in - the new lettering on the station name board), ongoing track laying into the new shed at Sheffield Park, and the 08 shunting.

  • Pete Sykes has some photos from last Sunday.

Home Guard re-enactors at Horsted Keynes - Martin Lawrence - 7 May 2011 17 May:
  • Lots to catch up on, including lots more from the Southern at War Weekend:
    • Martin Lawrence's photo on the right shows Home Guard re-enactors at Horsted Keynes on Saturday 7th May,
    • Paul Pettitt's photo gallery,
    • Neil Munro-Thomson's photos,
    • Ken Upton's photos,
    • Martin Lawrence's video of the Lancaster,
    • Nathan Gibson has a collection of photos of the trains running on Sunday 8th May,
    • Marcus Ward's Facebook Photos,
    • Chris Ward's photos,
    • The two photos below show Sunday's flypast by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight's Avro Lancaster PA474, from Paul Pettitt and Derek Hayward.

      More below...

Lancaster flypast at Horsted - Paul Pettitt - 8 May 2011 Lancaster flypast at Horsted - Derek Hayward - 8 May 2011

War-Dept USA tank enshrouded in smoke at Horsted Keynes - Tony Sullivan - 8 May 2011

  • Our War-Dept USA tank enshrouded in smoke at Horsted Keynes (Tony Sullivan, right).
  • Simon Lathwell's photo below shows some of the engines on shed at Sheffield Park being prepared for service on the Sunday morning.
  • Also below is Paul Pettitt's portrait of a group of re-enactors,
  • and Martin Lawrence's photo captures the pair of SECR P-class locos climbing towards the tunnel entrance.

  • Our twinned railway, Stoomtrammuseum Hoorn-Medemblik in the Netherlands, also held a 1940-1945 "Living History" event on the same weekend. The event clearly has a rather different feel from our own, being part of occupied Europe.

  • Loco Roster update for remainder of month, showing that 9017 is back from its holiday in Devon and has been in steam over last weekend, and that 80151 is expected (fingers crossed for a successful boiler inspection) back in steam, after its re-tube, for the Open Weekend on 21-22 May.

  • Martin Lawrence now has some photos available from the East Grinstead open evening on Friday 8th April, and from the Photo Charter with E4-class No.B473 (31st March)

Locos on shed, Sunday morning - Simon Lathwell - 8 May 2011 Group of service personel - Paul Pettitt - 8 May 2011 The pair of Ps approaches the tunnel - Martin Lawrence - 7 May 2011

People's Millions coach outside over pit at Horsted Keynes - David Chappell - 12 May 2011

Home Guard re-enactors at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 7 May 2011 8 May:

Texan T6 at Horsted - Richard Salmon - 7 May 2011 Texan T6 at Horsted - Richard Salmon - 7 May 2011

West side with lining and lettering almost complete and south end varnished - Dave Clarke - 25 April 2011 6 May:
  • News Update This photo from Dave Clarke is one of several illustrating a new update on SECR Carriage 3360, which is due to enter service at the end of the month.

  • Minor update to the Loco Roster for the coming week.

  • This weekend is our Southern at War Weekend, with flypasts, military re-enactors and vehicles, and wartime entertainment, stalls and side-shows. There will be an additional morning train, 10am from Sheffield Park, and 10.55am from Kingscote, with a connecting bus departing from East Grinstead at 10.10am.

  • Our occasional scheduled Vintage Bus Service 472 runs both days this weekend, between Brighton and Sheffield Park. See also the information on the service on Brighton & Hove's web site

  • Ashley Smith has added 5 photos from today to his Flickr Bluebell 2011 photo set.

55 Stepney with Bluebell Special at Rock Cutting - Derek Hayward - 3 May 2011 5 May:

B473 with wedding special at Rock Cutting - Derek Hayward - 3 May 2011 4 May:
  • Derek Hayward's photos show the trains operating yesterday. The Wedding special, which features in the ITV Meridian News today, was for two of our volunteers who were married yesterday. Congratulations to Driver Michael Lee and Senior Fireman Ruth Groome! Below is 55 "Stepney" with the Observation Car special, and 34059 passing though Lindfield Wood.

  • Raise funds for the Bluebell with easyfundraising Good to see the Bluebell Railway featured in a report (on InternetRetailing.Net) about EasyFundraising having raised £2 Million pounds for good causes. Why not join the ranks of our supporters signed up with EasyFundraising who earn us free money when they shop online?

  • John Sandys has a gallery showing 34059 yesterday morning before the first train of the daily service main running season, which extends through to the end of September.
34059 with service train in Lindfield Wood - Derek Hayward - 3 May 2011 55 Stepney with Bluebell Special in Lindfield Wood - Derek Hayward - 3 May 2011

323 leads 178 - Andrew Strongitharm - 2 May 2011 3 May:
  • "Alike as two peas in a pod" - Andrew Strongitharm's photos show this weekend's pairing of the two P-class locos, a popular arrangement not least because it ensures the train can be photographed "smokebox leading" in either direction. On the right (from yesterday) we see No.323 leading a down train, and below, 178 leading an up train on Sunday.

  • Neal Ball visited the Railway on Sunday using the special 472 vintage bus service from Brighton, and has provided a gallery of photos from the day, plus the two photos below, showing the bus at Sheffield Park, and "Sir Archibald Sinclair" preparing to couple on to the GNR Directors' Saloon at Kingscote. This was the first day of operation this year of this scheduled vintage bus service - details of future dates and timetable.

  • If you've not looked at it yet, the Appeal Video for the Northern Extension describes the current situation with our extension to East Grinstead. You can donate to the project (with Gift Aid if appropriate) via our JustGiving page or thought PayPal.

  • eBay for Charity There are several new listings of items which individuals have offered via eBay for Charity, with a proportion of the sale value coming to our appeal. Last month we raised £1,761.27 though eBay for Charity and PayPal donations.

178 leads 323 - Andrew Strongitharm - 1 May 2011 Vintage Bus on route 472 at Sheffield Park - Neal Ball - 1 May 2011 34059 at Kingscote - Neal Ball - 1 May 2011

323 at Horsted Keynes - Alan Bedford - 1 May 2011 1 May:
  • Alan Bedford has a Facebook album featuring some photos from today, showing P-class locos 323 and 178, including this portrait of No.323 "Bluebell" at Horsted Keynes.

  • Metrobus routes 270 & 473 (which both link to the Bluebell Railway) will be unable to serve East Grinstead High Street or Sackville School between 0700-1800 on Bank Holiday Monday 2nd May due to an event. Please use the Whitehall (Boots) stops on London Road instead. Bus departures from East Grinstead station are unaffected.

  • David Chappell's photo below shows the C-class No.592 departing from Horsted Keynes on Friday with the Observation Car special. The larger loco was used since it was in steam on Thursday and Saturday, and would be able to haul extra coaches in case of a large number of visitors turning up on spec. In the event, the pre-booked Observation Car special trains ran, as they have all week, i.e. pretty much full.

  • John Sandys has a short video of the 3pm departure from Sheffield Park on Thursday.

  • During April there were 75,626 total hits on this page, from 42,307 unique visitors.
C-class with Observation Car special - David Chappell - 29 April 2011

C-class with a Wedding Charter - Derek Hayward - 28 April 2011 29 April:
  • Derek Hayward's photo shows yesterday's Golden Arrow Charter amidst the bluebells at Lindfield Wood behind SECR C-class No.592.

  • John Sandys also has some photos and two videos of P-class No.178 taking water and then setting off from Sheffield Park with the Observation Car Special yesterday morning.

  • Vintage Bus 472. The Bluebell Railway, National Trust Gardens & Brighton and Hove Bus Company are working together once again this year to bring you a vintage bus service from Brighton to Sheffield Park. It runs for the first time this year on Sunday 1st May (and also for the Southern at War weekend). Further details.

  • Some of the Special Events coming up in May:
    • 7 & 8 May: Southern at War Weekend - Turn back the clock to the days of the Second World War with re-enactors, military vehicles, displays and concert parties. Flypast on the Saturday by The Real Flying Company's T6 Harvard, and on the Sunday by the Avro Lancaster from the BoB Memorial Flight - as seen flying over Buckingham Palace today!

    • 21 & 22 May: Bluebell Open Weekend - An opportunity to see behind the scenes in the workshops, Pullmans and other parts of the railway not normally open to the public. Extension Shuttle from Kingscote to Imberhorne South.

323 with a Spring Special amongst the Bluebells - Andrew Strongitharm - 27 April 2011 28 April:
  • Two of Andrew Strongitharm's photos take yesterday (right and below) show No.323 "Bluebell" with an Observation Car Special amongst the Bluebells. Book now for next week's Bluebell Specials.

  • The next two photos below are from Peter Austin, taken on Sunday, and show the E4 with the lunchtime Pullman train at Birch Farm crossing, and the double-headed P and C combination at West Hoathly station site.

  • Chris Thomas has added photos of the Dukedog at the SDR on Sunday to his photo album.
323 with a Spring Special amongst the Bluebells - Andrew Strongitharm - 27 April 2011 B473 with the lunchtime Golden Arrow - Peter Austin - 24 April 2011 P 178 and C 592 at West Hoathley - Peter Austin - 24 April 2011
  • Neil Cameron is gathering recollections and photos, film & sound film of the Bluebell's steam crane. Its restoration and operation on the Bluebell is of interest, and of course earlier War Department, LNER, BR or Ransome Rapier material will be especially welcome of the Gorton / Newton Heath crane as it was. Various number schemes were applied to the crane over the years, see the Steam Crane's webpage for details.
    Neil hopes this will at least yield an article for Bluebell News and a useful document for the Bluebell Archive, with the assembled photos and films, subject to agreements with providers, linked to these. Please get in touch via Richard Salmon, the web site editor if you have anything which may be of interest to Neil.

  • Sarah Hill's photo below shows the bluebells carpeting the woodland near Kingscote Station, taken last Saturday.

  • The final two photos below are from Robert Else, taken on Good Friday. P-class No.178 and C-class No.592 head the 2pm service out of Sheffield Park, and "Sir Archibald Sinclair" with the 3pm service approaches the foot-crossing near Cockhaise Farm, with the spring colours of wild garlic and bluebells on the embankment.

  • Please note that all photos remain the copyright of the original photographer, and should not be re-used elsewhere without permission.
Bluebells in the woodland near Kingscote Station - Sarah Hill - 23 April 2011 P 178 and C 592 - Robert Else - 22 April 2011 34059 near Cockhaise Farm - Robert Else - 22 April 2011

RBR 1674 at Horsted Keynes - Richard Salmon - 23 April 2011 27 April:
  • The photos here shows No.1674 - new web page, the newly arrived Mk.I RBR, a Restaurant-Buffet (Refurbished), built in 1961. It is on loan to the Bluebell Railway from its private owner, intended initially to provide a temporary kitchen car for use with the Bluebell's Pullman dining carriages, and subsequently it will be used with the FO and SO for the "Wealden Rambler" afternoon tea trains. It is expected to run for the first time on 30th April, with full entry into service as a Restaurant Car on May 8th.
Interior of 1674 - Tim Baker - April 2011

Dukedog on photo charter at South Devon Railway - Thomas Breed - 7 April 2011
  • There's been a recent news update on the Maunsell Locomotive Society web site for SR S15-class No.847.

  • We are in urgent need of more volunteers to sell Tenner for the Tip certificates on our service trains. If you are able to help, either contact Mike Gibbard, (e-mail "mg (at) michaelgibbard (dot) demon (dot) co (dot) uk" or telephone 01323 461352 before 9pm) or the general office.

  • In addition to being able to sponsor Dave Clarke's Edinburgh Marathon run via JustGiving, we now have this pdf sponsorship form to download and print out.

  • Further update to the Loco Roster, showing that 323 "Bluebell" is now being used on this week's Spring Specials, and is paired with P-class 178 as two of the 5 locos in service next Saturday. John Sandys' sequence of videos shows 323 in use yesterday: First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth.

  • John Sandys has also put up some photos and videos of Monday on the GN Saloon.

  • Thomas Breed's photo on the right and below show our Dukedog on its visit to the South Devon Railway. On the right it is seen during a photo charter on 7 April, as it is in the first photo below, and the others below show it during their four-day Cambrian-themed gala over Easter, firstly the 1230 Cambrian Coast Express departure (with headboard and reporting number) from Buckfastleigh with Prairie tank 5526 piloting 9017 on Good Friday. Earlier that day the loco is seen at Totnes Littlehempston whist running around its train ready for the 0912 departure for Buckfastleigh.

Dukedog during a photo charter at South Devon Railway - Thomas Breed - 7 April 2011 5526 and 9017 on Cambrian Coast Express at South Devon Railway - Thomas Breed - 22 April 2011 Dukedog at Totnes Littlehempston - Thomas Breed - 22 April 2011

178 and B473 on shed at SP - Tony Sullivan - 21 April 2011 22 April:
  • Two of Tony Sullivan's photos take yesterday: Nos.178 & B473 stand in the loco yard at Sheffield Park, with No.178 raising steam. Below No.34059 is seen leaving Sheffield Park with the 3.00pm service to Kingscote.

  • We now have a JustGiving page for the Extension Appeal - if you've not seen the Appeal Video, it's worth watching!

  • The March edition of the Sunday Tracks monthly news report from the Pway gang is now available, thanks to David Chappell and the team, and now includes a report from the Wednesday Gang. It is available as a large pdf (3.8Mb) and a small (with very low resolution photos, 240kb) pdf file, (right-click on the link and select to download to your computer).
34059 departs from Sheffield Park - Tony Sullivan - 21 April 2011

Baxter at Beamish - Paul Jarman - 17 April 2011 21 April:
  • Another of Paul Jarman's photos shows "Captain Baxter" with its rake of chaldron waggons on the closing day of the Great Northern Festival of Steam at Beamish (last Sunday).

  • The new Facebook Page for the GNR Directors' Saloon is intended to advise of the dates of public running for the saloon on the Bluebell, which this year starts with four days of operation from tomorrow through to Monday. It then runs for the Saturday, Sunday and Monday of each of the May Bank Holiday weekends.

  • This weekend we also have our Easter Holiday Specials, in addition to which we of course have our normal hourly public service

  • Next week, 26-29 April we have our Spring Specials, offering panoramic views of the spring flowers from our 1913 Observation Carriage. Limited places - booking essential. Bookings are slow for 29th, so although this is a bank holiday for the Royal Wedding, unless there's an upsurge in bookings, we will be assuming that most people are partying that day, and just be running the advertised Spring Special! If demand for more capacity does materialise, it's expected that suitable arrangements will be made.

  • Talking of the Spring Specials, Derek Hayward's photo below shows No.323 "Bluebell" amongst the spring flowers, during its running-in and shunting turn at Horsted last Saturday. Derek's other photos below show some of the stalls at Saturday's Collectors' Fair, and members of the 9F club, who have been cleaning 92240 prior to its re-paint - taking up the suggestion of an anonymous donor.

Bluebell with primroses - Derek Hayward - 16 April 2011 Stalls at Horsted Keynes at collectors fair - Derek Hayward - 16 April 2011 9F club members with 92240 - Derek Hayward - 16 April 2011
  • The Kingscote book sales team have their next book sale in aid of the Extension project over our Open Weekend (May 21-22). However, some of the best books are for sale on-line via Amazon Marketplace.

  • Keith Duke has a new gallery featuring Saturday's service trains and Bluebell's shunting turn. Also in his Bluebell collection he has reloaded his old pictures from the 80's and 90's.

  • Update to the Loco Roster, showing that we'll have four engines in steam Sat-Mon, with the C paired with P-class 178 (a nice foretaste of the Autumn's SECR Gala) and the return to service of 80151.

  • We feature in a new web site, Let's Unwind, suggesting things to do in the area.

  • The next photo below, with thanks to Neal Ball, shows Sir Archibald Sinclair at the head of last Friday's Rail Ale train at Horsted Keynes. There are two more such evenings later in the year, on 1 July and 19 August - book now!

  • Finally, Robert Else's photo, also taken on Saturday, shows 323 shunting the SR Hand Crane.
34059 with the Rail Ale train - Neal Ball - 15 April 2011 323 shunts the Hand Crane at Horsted Keynes - Robert Else - 16 April 2011

Baxter and Coffee Pot No.1 re-united at Beamish - Paul Russell - 16 April 2011 19 April:
  • Captain Baxter met an old work colleague, Coffee Pot No.1, at Beamish Museum's Great Northern Festival of Steam held last weekend. The engines last worked together at Betchworth Quarry and are seen here re-united after a break of 50 years, during the four days of the event on the Museum's colliery line in the pit village. Both engines were kept busy carrying out shunting and running of demonstration goods trains over the short length of line from the colliery screens to the exchange sidings, a rake of 10 chaldron waggons providing some added entertainment with 5-link couplings and no buffers! On Saturday evening the 2 posed together by the colliery for an organised photoshoot event and on Sunday advantage was taken of Baxter's pulling power to relocate "Malleable No.5" into the locomotive works.

    The photo on the right (from Paul Russell) shows "Captain Baxter" and "Coffee Pot No.1" wait for loading below the colliery screens, and those below show Captain Baxter making its way to the exchange sidings with 10 chauldron waggons, and last Thursday, the two Betchworth locos being prepared outside Beamish's loco workshop.

    There is a rather nice series of reports on the event on Beamish's own blog site: Baxter Arrives, Baxter Unloaded, GNSF at night, GNSF Build Up, GNSF - Day 1, GNSF - Day 2, GNSF - Day 3, GNSF - Day 4 and GNSF - Final thoughts!.

    The final photo, below right, from Paul Jarman, shows Baxter with the chaldron waggons.

Captain Baxter making its way to the exchange sidings at Beamish - Paul Russell - 16 April 2011 Baxter and Coffee Pot No.1 being prepared for service at Beamish - Paul Russell - 14 April 2011

Baxter at Beamish - Paul Jarman - 16 April 2011
  • The Bluebell's new HLF-funded museum building opens on 28th May, as noted in the Mid Sussex Times.

  • Neal Ball has a gallery of photos from Friday's Rail Ale evening, which was by all accounts very enjoyable!

  • We had a publicity and sales stand at this weekend's Epsom Show, the annual exhibition of the Epsom & Ewell Model Railway Club. In addition to the sale of Bluebell items sourced from the Sheffield Park shop, we were encouraged by the generosity of visitors attending the exhibition to donate money to our Northern Extension Project. All the Tenner for the Tip certificates taken to the exhibition were sold, and many people were happy to place a few loose coins in our donation box which was jammed full at the close of the second day. The photo below (thanks to Chris Dadson) shows Alan Black (seated left) and Tony Peerless (standing right).

  • John Arkell's photo below shows yesterday's erection of the new Sheffield Park name board, reproducing the original LBSCR board on this platform. It does not yet have its lettering but definitely looks the part. It will be finished in time for the Museum opening on 28th May. The other members of the Alf Brown Group, seen in the photo, are Robert Hayward, Peter Clark and Martin Oakley.

  • David Chappell's photo below shows Stuart Fielder's progress with the lettering and lining of SECR 3360 as of Sunday evening.

Sales stand at Epsom & Ewell show - Chris Dadson - 17 April 2011 Alf Brown Group with the Platform 2 name board at Sheffield Park - John Arkell - 18 April 2011 SECR carriage 3360 in paint shop - David Chappell - 17 April 2011
  • John Sandys has a few photos and three short movies from the Bluebell from last Thursday.

  • Three photos below from Derek Hayward were also taken on Thursday last week:
    • We hosted the launch of the "Uckfield & East Grinstead Lines" guide to the towns, villages, countryside and attractions along these beautiful railway lines, at our new East Grinstead platform. Cllr Stephen Barnett, Mayor of East Grinstead, Cllr John Carvey, Mayor of Uckfield, and Sam Bryant, Community Rail Officer, are seen between old and new electric units. The guide is funded by Sussex Community Rail Partnership which comprises Southern, Tandridge District Council, Mid Sussex District Council, and Wealden District Council. The Bluebell, Spa Valley and Lavender lines are all included.
    • SECR C-class No.592 was hauling the Golden Arrow, augmented by the first-class lounge car, for a special charter train (not connected to the line guide launch), that day.
    • LBSCR E4 No.B473 is seen (through a long lens) just after leaving the tunnel. For the record, Bulleid Pacific "Sir Archibald Sinclair" was hauling the other service train.
Mayors of East Grinstead and Uckfield launch the Line Guide at East Grinstead - Derek Hayward - 14 April 2011 C-class with luncheon train - Derek Hayward - 14 April 2011 B473 heading south from the tunnel - Derek Hayward - 14 April 2011

SECR coach 3360 in paint shop - Dave Clarke - 10 April 2011 14 April:
  • Due to the continuing unavailability of his Fotopic galleries, Dave Clarke's photos of the Peoples' Millions project, SECR 3360, have not been available, other than those which I've re-used on this site, but he's just put some recent photos in a new photo report, from which the photo on the right is taken. The coach has just entered the paint shop, and that part of the coach which is in final topcoat is seen here with the lettering and lining just started - a narrow vermillion line has yet to be added, as has the shadowing and blocking on the lettering, of which there will be more to come. Until the lining around the ventilator openings is completed the vent covers (which themselves have detailing picked out with lining) cannot be fitted.

  • Dave also has a photo of Sir Archibald's snazzy black-backed nameplates, and John Sandys also has a photo of 34059, taken yesterday.

  • A reminder that this coming Saturday we have our One-day Spring Toy and Rail Collectors Fair. In addition to our normal timetabled hourly train service, an extra morning train will run, 10am from Sheffield Park, and 10.55am from Kingscote, with a connecting bus departing from East Grinstead at 10.10am.

  • The Wednesday lineside gang completed work through Lindfield Wood yesterday. It's been a number of years since the whole length of the cutting was trimmed on both sides and the magnificent display of spring flowers now appearing has made it all the more worthwhile, with plenty of bluebells in evidence although not yet in flower. Brian Kidman's two photos below show the 1.00pm departures from both Sheffield Park (34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair") and Kingscote (B473 "Birch Grove") passing through the cutting yesterday.

  • Geoff Course's photos taken at Sheffield Park on Saturday show the completed rain-water collection tank, and the current state of the new washout pit.

34059 passing the lineside gang - Brian Kidman - 13 April 2011 B473 in Lindfield Wood - Brian Kidman - 13 April 2011 Rainwater harvesting tank at Sheffield Park - Geoff Course - 9 April 2011 New washout pit at Sheffield Park - Geoff Course - 9 April 2011

4Vep at East Grinstead - Andrew Crampton - 8 April 2011 12 April:
  • Andrew Crampton has sent some atmospheric night-time shots from Friday's Shareholders and Local Residents evening - 4Vep No.3417 "Gordon Pettitt" is seen on the right, illuminated by the new SR-era lighting (the lamp shades are SR originals we recovered some years ago, but most of the cast LBSCR columns and SR swan necks have been reproduced). Below is 73141 "Charlotte" in our platform, and 73204 and 66402 preparing to leave East Grinstead main-line station with the spoil train.

  • Congratulations to Radio Redhill, the station serving the patients and staff of East Surrey Hospital in Redhill, which has picked up two honours at the National Hospital Radio Awards, including a bronze award in the speech package category, for a 5-minute report on the our Southern at War event last year.

  • This Friday we have the first of this year's Rail Ale evenings. The train leaves Horsted Keynes at 5.45, although you can pick it up there at 6.43pm. A connecting bus leaves East Grinstead at 6pm. It is understood that a few tickets are still available. The beers will be:
    • At Sheffield Park: Edge IPA and Dragon Ale
    • At Horsted Keynes: Butcomb Mendip Spring and Willys Crown Jewels
    • On the train: WJ Kings Brighton Blonde, Hepworth Dark Horse and Hammerpot Shooting Star

  • The final photo below is another of Derek Hayward's from Sunday, showing 34059 at Birch Farm foot crossing. You might notice that the loco now carries black-backed name plates, rather than light blue - this is correct for the engine's condition as newly rebuilt in 1960.

73141 and 4Vep at East Grinstead - Andrew Crampton - 8 April 2011 Spoil train ready to leave East Grinstead - Andrew Crampton - 8 April 2011 34059 at Birch Farm foot crossing - Derek Hayward - 10 April 2011

B473 with Met coaches - Ashley Smith - 9 April 2011 10 April:
  • Ashley Smith has posted some photos showing yesterday's two trains, hauled by B473 and Sir Archibald Sinclair, to his 2011 Bluebell gallery, and posted a video on YouTube. His photo on the right shows B473 (Brich Grove) with the Metropolitan coaches just south of Three Arch Bridge.

  • As Ashley's photo shows, the spring flowers on the lineside are preparing a fine show, thanks to the incredible efforts of our lineside maintenance gangs who have got so much of the lineside into really fine shape over the winter.
    The Spring Specials run 26-29 April and the Bluebell Specials on 3-6 May offer the opportunity to travel in our 1913-built Observation Carriage for full panoramic views of the lineside flowers. Booking is essential due to limited places - contact the Customer Service Team on 01825 720800 or see the web links above.

  • Our President, Bernard Holden MBE, visited the Railway today, and is seen below in Tony Sullivan's photo, viewing the part-completed new HLF-funded museum display, which will be opening shortly.

  • Having recently seen several photos showing the portion of the tip so-far removed, Tony Sullivan's photo below, from Friday evening's shareholders and local residents event, shows the extent of what has yet to be removed! Yes, that's why we still need to raise another £2 Million!
Bernard Holden in the new museum - Tony Sullivan - 10 April 2011 Visitors inspecting the top of the tip site on the Shareholders and local residents evening - Tony Sullivan - 8 April 2011
  • The last three photos below, taken today by Derek Hayward, show Hill Place Farm bridge, and the cutting and tip, taken from the cab of the Vep, and the C-class which was the third engine running today on the main part of the line (after having missed yesterday).
Hill Place Farm Bridge from the cab of the Vep - Derek Hayward - 10 April 2011 Imberhorne Cutting from the cab of the Vep - Derek Hayward - 10 April 2011 C-class 592 approaching Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 10 April 2011

9 April:
  • We are pleased to present the new Appeal Video detailing what remains to be done to complete the clearance of the tip in Imberhorne cutting and so be able to run steam trains through to East Grinstead. Narrated by Bluebell volunteer and broadcaster Nicholas Owen, it makes very clear the urgency of raising the funds required such that the tip can be cleared before the end of Landfill Tax exemptions in early 2012. The costs of removing any rubbish after that deadline will be £96 per tonne, compared to £25 now, so we simply have to raise the £2,000,000 now to avoid it becoming an £8,000,000 bill!

    The video is available to view on YouTube, and the optimum resolution is 720p, providing your computer and Internet connection will support the required data rate.

    You can donate to the appeal through our 50th Anniversary Appeal web site.

  • Below we have a photo showing Bulleid Pacific 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair" back in service this weekend after its winter maintenance, seen hauling a 7-coach train (photo from David Haggar), and two photos from our East Grinstead Open Days event today, which continues on Sunday, with shuttle trains running from East Grinstead over the viaduct right up to the face of the tip at Imberhorne North, using our 4Vep unit propelled by a Class 73 electro-diesel locomotive No.73141 "Charlotte". The photo from Tony Sullivan shows the loco and Vep early this morning, and that from Ian Maggs shows just how quickly the town is left behind when one heads south out of East Grinstead.
Sir Archibald Sinclair with 7 carriages - David Haggar - 9 April 2011 73141 Charlotte with the 4Vep awaits its first passengers early in the morning - Tony Sullivan - 9 April 2011 View from the Vep shuttle - Ian Maggs - 9 April 2011

Passengers re-joining the 4Vep unit at Imberhorne North - Tony Sullivan - 8 April 2011 8 April:
  • The photos today are from this evening's public open event at East Grinstead for Bluebell Shareholders and local residents. Riding down to the mini-platform at Imberhorne North, visitors were able to disembark from the train, and walk up to the tip, viewing an extra "Waste by Rail" train that left for the tip at Forders at 9.30 this evening.
    The photo on the left is from Tony Sullivan, and those below from David Chappell and Paul Robinson.

  • This weekend, in addition to our normal steam-hauled services running between Sheffield Park, Horsted Keynes and Kingscote, we have the East Grinstead Open Days on Saturday and Sunday, when shuttle trains will run from East Grinstead over the viaduct to Imberhorne North with our 4Vep unit hauled by a Class 73 electro-diesel locomotive.
Visitors walking back from the tip site - David Chappell - 8 April 2011 We can now fit 4 wagons into the cutting - Paul Robinson - 8 April 2011

The Real Flying Company's T6 Harvard 7 April:
  • In addition to the flypast by the Avro Lancaster from the BoB Memorial Flight on the Sunday of the "Southern at War" event (7th & 8th May), we are proud to announce that they have secured The Real Flying Company's Shoreham-based T6 Harvard to undertake a display over Horsted Keynes station on Saturday 7th May between 12:30 and 1:00pm.
    The North American T6 "Texan" (also known as the Harvard, or SNJ) was designed as an advanced fighter-trainer. It could be fitted with armaments, and some variants also served as ground attack aircraft. This particular aircraft, G-TEXN, was built during World War 2 to train Allied pilots. On completion of their training on the T6, pilots would convert onto fighter aircraft such as the P-51 Mustang and Spitfire. The display is subject to CAA clearance and weather/aircraft conditions on the day.

  • This coming weekend we have the East Grinstead Open Days on Saturday and Sunday, when shuttle trains will run from East Grinstead over the viaduct to Imberhorne North with our 4Vep unit hauled by a Class 73 electro-diesel locomotive. Tomorrow (Friday) evening we also have a Shareholders & Local Residents Evening at East Grinstead.

  • Update to the Football Competition page, with the latest positions in this competition raising funds for the overhaul of our Southern Railway Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864. Please also consider supporting Dave Clarke in his Edinburgh Marathon Run in aid of this project.

  • Back in March, the Uckfield News ran an article to celebrate the 103rd birthday of our President, Bernard Holden MBE.

  • The launch of the third edition of the UCKFIELD AND EAST GRINSTEAD Line Guide will take place in East Grinstead at 11.00am on Thursday 14th of April, on the Bluebell's new platform (weather permitting - otherwise inside the mainline station building). The two Town Mayors of East Grinstead and Uckfield will be meeting on the day, celebrating the fact that their towns do in fact share a common rail connection and will be joined by members of the Community Rail Partnership as well as the Bluebell Railway.
    The Railway Line Guide gives information about the towns and communities along the route and encourages use of the line by one and all - the railway is much more than a means of getting to and from work, which is important enough - but the guide helps other users to come to our part of the world to share and enjoy the experience.

  • Yahoo! Group The donations towards the Northern Extension Project by individuals on our Yahoo! e-mail group, have had a massive boost in the last few days, with a large anonymous donation. Individuals on the group now having given between them about £25,000 (including the Gift Aid recoverable), enough to fund one day of digging and "Waste by Rail" train operation. The push continues, since we still need about £2 Million in total from all our donors and fund-raising, so please do consider making donations to the appeal.

    The anonymous donor also requested that the gift-aid element of their donation be used to fund the professional painting of locomotives 92240 and 75027, so that they may be better preserved and displayed during the time that they are out of use. Following negotiations the Railway has consented to this request, and it has been mutually agreed that this element of the works will be completed by the Autumn of 2011. The locomotives will move from Horsted Keynes to Sheffield Park to be painted.
    The donor has also suggested that in the future the 9F Club might (with appropriate supervision and equipment) be involved in the cleaning and maintenance of "their" locomotive in the hope that such activity will inspire our younger members to progress within the railway.

    No.75027 is a BR Standard Class 4 4-6-0, which was given to the Railway by a (then) anonymous donor back in January 1969. No.92240 was the first of the BR 9F 2-10-0s rescued from Barry Scrapyard to return to steam on any heritage line, back in 1990. These two locos are seen below (photos thanks to Derek Hayward).

75027 and 92240 at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 17 October 2008 75027 in steam at Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 27 August 2006 92240 on shed at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 16 October 2005

Captain Baxter shunts Blackmoor Vale at Horsted Keynes - Martin Lawrence - 26 March 2011 5 April:
  • Martin Lawrence's photo from 26th March shows "Captain Baxter" employed on our regular Saturday steam shunt, moving Blackmore Vale out of the sidings at Horsted Keynes. Martin also has a gallery of photos showing the service trains on 6th March, and one from the excellent photo charter on 8th March with P-class No.178.

  • David Haggar also has some photos from the charter with No.178. He also now has a replacement gallery for Roger Haggar's historic Bluebell photos.

  • Robert Philpott has added photos from this Saturday's shunt (which used the E4 No.B473) and service trains, at the bottom of his Horsted Keynes station page.

  • Following confirmation that, growing on our lineside, we have one of the few colonies of the rare Wood Horsetail in the South of England, Pat Acock has provided this interesting article about the three types of Horsetails found on the lineside: available as a large pdf (13Mb) and a small (with low resolution photos, 390kb) pdf file, (right-click on the link and select to download to your computer - it can then be read using any free PDF viewer).

  • A photo charter was organised last Thursday (31st March) by Jon Bowers, using the E4 and the Maunsell coaches as well as the goods wagons:
    • The two photos below are from Stephen Leek.
    • In spite of the weather refusing to play ball, Paul Gildersleve says that a good day was none the less had, and has created a gallery of his photos from the charter.

B473 with goods train at Horsted Keynes - Stephen Leek - 31 March 2011 B473 with goods train - Stephen Leek - 31 March 2011

P-class No.323 - Michelle Barton 1 April:
  • QR codes - love them or hate them, they are transforming the way people access online information about real-world objects. Here, in Michelle Barton's photo, we see newly overhauled SECR P-class 323 in its new "Bluebell" livery, with the QR code applied by the Loco Workshop Working group to promote the Railway. The QR code should even work from photos (you will need to go to the larger version of the photo by clicking on this one), if you have the appropriate application on your mobile phone/device. By scanning the code, which works like a barcode, it opens a web-link to our website on your phone.

  • During March 2011 there were 92,307 total hits on this page, from 48,764 unique visitors.

  • The South Devon Railway Association's web site carries a report (from February) of the fitting of the Mansell wheels for Birdcage Brake 3363 to their replacement axle. The wheelset is now back at Horsted Keynes, although the bogie has yet to be re-assembled.

  • The South Devon Railway also have a new page detailing the forthcoming visit of our GWR Dukedog locomotive for their Easter Cambrian Gala.

  • We hope you enjoyed this morning's little April 1st joke. But the QR (Quick Response, not Queensland Railway as someone suggested on our Facebook page) code does work. Thanks for that to the Loco Works Working Group. So why not come and join the fun as this volunteer team move onto their next project, the tender of the SR Q-class No.541.

  • And the reduction in the fund raising target shown below isn't a joke either - we are making good progress towards our target, which Roger Kelly tells me now stands at a round £2,000,000, so we have some of the money we need for the next dig, which we plan will start in July. Of course, we really need to raise a lot more money by then so that we can keep digging for longer and make an even bigger inroad into the tip. A new fund-raising video should be available in time for the East Grinstead open days.

  • Yahoo! Group Congratulations to the individuals on our Yahoo! e-mail group, who have now made pledges or donations to take them half-way towards their target of £25,000, to sponsor one day's digging and train for the rubbish removal.

Bluebell Railway QR code Digging and funding - 1 April 2011

Dukedog at Mid Hants Railway - David Warwick - 25 March 2011 31 March:
  • David Warwick has a gallery from the Mid Hants Gala last weekend, featuring one and a half of our locos. Here we see the Dukedog on the Friday. Our U-class tender features prominently in some of his other photos!

  • The Museum team have an update with photos taken yesterday showing progress fitting out the new Museum at Sheffield Park.

  • There are still some tickets available for the 15 April's Rail Ale evening. Enjoy a steam hauled train ride & live jazz. Everyone's first pint (or glass of wine!) will be free, and supper is included in the ticket price as well. Six or seven different beers at £2.50 a pint. Bus connection available from/to East Grinstead.

  • Further update to the Loco Roster. No.323 "Bluebell" is not after all running this coming weekend, since a test run yesterday showed that we need to do further work on the valves.

  • Michael Hopps has put together an in-depth report on the Track re-laying project on Freshfield Bank earlier in the year. The photos below show the cosy interior of the Phoenix platelayers' hut near Sloop Bridge, Stuart Moon's photo of the track laying, including the fixing of the pandrol clips, and the C-class being used on the ballast drop (following the failure of the 08). The full report has many more photos!

Home from home in Phoenix platelayers hut - Michael Hopps - 15 Feb 2011 Track laying - fixing pandrol clips - Stuart Moon - 15 Feb 2011 Ballast Drop - Michael Hopps - 15 Feb 2011

P-class No.178 with service train - Paul Pettitt - 19 March 2011 30 March:
  • Paul Pettitt's photo shows SECR P-class No.178 with its service train on Saturday 19th March.

  • In addition to the East Grinstead Open Days on Sat 9 and Sun 10 April, when shuttle trains will run from East Grinstead over the viaduct to Imberhorne North with our 4Vep unit hauled by a Class 73 electro-diesel locomotive, the previous evening we also have a Shareholders & Local Residents Evening.

  • The second edition of our East Grinstead Station Guide is now available. Further details here.

  • The next book sale in aid of the Northern Extension Project is at Kingscote on the Bluebell Open Weekend (May 21st/22nd). With shuttle trains from Kingscote to Imberhorne South that weekend, there's every reason to spend some time at Kingscote. The team involved would also appreciate donations of more railway books, which must be in good saleable condition, and can be left for them at Kingscote.

  • The photos below, from Steve Loeber of the Camelot Locomotive Society, show 73082's wheelsets being dismantled at the South Devon Railway in January. The roller bearings are in superb condition, but the steel cannon box 'sleeve' which encases the roller bearings is worn, and needs building up. Whereas later locos in the class had split cannon boxes to permit easy removal, those on Camelot have to be removed from the axle by taking a wheel off before this work can be undertaken.

Camelot's wheelset being dismantled - Steve Loeber - 27 Jan 2011 Camelot's wheel - Steve Loeber - 27 Jan 2011 Camelot's wheelset being dismantled - Steve Loeber - 27 Jan 2011 Roller bearing - Steve Loeber - 27 Jan 2011

Dukedog with City of Truro at Mid Hants Railway - Andrew Strongitharm - 26 March 2011 29 March:
  • Andrew Strongitharm's photo shows the double-headed of the two surviving GWR 4-4-0s, at the weekend's Mid Hants Railway gala, with "City of Truro" leading our GW Dukedog.
    See also:

  • Update to the Loco Roster from Lewis Nodes, showing what locos we expect to have in service over the next month. No.323 "Bluebell" is shown as running this coming weekend, and all being well, we hope to have the re-tubed standard 4 tank No.80151 running at Easter. Bulleid Pacific No.34059 should also be running throughout much of April, following its winter maintenance.

  • An Extension Report are now available. Patrick Plane's photo below shows the tidied cutting site as of last Thursday, following the completion of the 19 days of digging, and a further short section of track-laying, after which the rail-head now extends 250 ft into the cutting, or almost exactly 1/6 of the distance between the two bridges.

  • With the 3% additional "transitional relief" on Gift Aid coming to an end on 5th April, anyone considering making a donation to the appeal to complete the extension might consider doing so in the next few days. See the Appeal website, or you can donate online through PayPal.
The tidied dig site - Patrick Plane - 24 March 2011

E4 shunting at SP - Derek Hayward - 17 March 2011 19 March:
  • The E4, No.B473, is seen at Sheffield Park doing some shunting on Thursday, and Permanent Way staff were waiting to travel to Freshfield Bank to oil fishplates before the start of the main season (Derek Hayward).

  • A summary of the minutes of the joint meeting of the Society, Trust and plc is now available on the BRPS Members' Information page.

  • Keith Leppard has some photos from Branch Line Weekend.

  • There was an update about the overhaul of No.73082 'Camelot' on the Camelot Loco Society's web site back in January, which I missed reporting at the time.

  • The chart below shows the position at the end of the very successful 19-day dig and "Waste by Rail" exercise, which finished on Thursday. We now have over 200 ft of track laid into the cutting, and room to lay more. The results of the dig will now be analysed to produce a better estimate of how much rubbish has still to be removed, as we build up the funds available to finance the next dig in a few months time. It costs about £25,000 per train; members of our Yahoo e-mail Group have donated about £11,000 (including the potential Gift Aid reclaim) in the last month with the aim of running their own train. Remember that we can currently reclaim 28% on Gift Aided donations from UK taxpayers. After 5th April, transitional relief ends, and this goes down to 25%, so why not donate to the appeal before then!

  • Ian Maggs' photo below shows 66704 with the last train of empty rubbish wagons heading south through East Croydon station for the dig site at Imberhorne North on Thursday.

Digging and funding - 12 March 2011 The last train of empties heads south through East Croydon station - Ian Maggs - 17 March 2011

'Captain Baxter' sits in Patform 2 at Sheffield Park as the C-class waits to take its train north - Chris Thomas - 13 March 2011 18 March:
  • Chris Thomas' photo from last Sunday shows "Captain Baxter" siting in Patform 2 at Sheffield Park as the C-class waits to take its train north. - Chris' 2011 album has numerous photos from the Sunday of Branch Line weekend, and also has an archive with Bluebell photos from 2004-2009, with further photos to be found on his 2010 page.

  • Tony Hillman has updated the Bluebell Museum website with 6 pictures taken inside the new Museum building yesterday, as the fit-out progresses.

  • John Sandys has a new Flickr gallery with some photos of activity at Sheffield Park Station yesterday, including a view inside the new carriage shed. Derek Hayward is at an advanced stage of preparing replacements for his galleries covering the HLF-funded work at Sheffield Park.

  • More photos from the photo charter a week-and-a-half ago with P-class 178, from Dave Bowles.

  • More photos from the Branch Line Weekend below:
    • SECR P-class No.178 approaches Horsted Keynes with its mixed train on Saturday morning (Neal Ball)
    • LBSCR E4 No.B473 pulls away from Horsted Keynes (Chris Ward)
    • Ashley Smith has a video from a short visit on the Sunday (to add to the two from Saturday), and some photos from the weekend added to his 2011 Bluebell Railway photo album.

  • The final three photos below, taken yesterday at Sheffield Park by Derek Hayward, show that fitting out continues in the new museum, the loco washout pit with the next stage of concreting complete, (including the pads to support the rails), and the final painting being done on the Platform 2 canopy, where the main contractors on the HLF-funded project are handing over the site today.

P-class No.178 approaches Horsted Keynes with its mixed train - Neal Ball - 12 March 2011 B473 pulls away from Horsted Keynes - Chris Ward - 13 March 2011 Fitting out continues in the new museum at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 17 March 2011 Loco washout pit at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 17 March 2011 Final painting on Platform 2 canopy at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 17 March 2011

GWR No.9017 'Earl of Berkeley' with four Bulleid coaches at Mill Place - Derek Hayward - 12 March 2011 17 March:
  • GWR No.9017 'Earl of Berkeley' passing Mill Place on Saturday with four Bulleid coaches (Derek Hayward).

  • The BBC have revised the version of "Country Tracks" that went out as a signed repeat in the early hours this morning, having removed the suggestion that we had completed our Northern Extension. The section (mostly shot in 2007) on the Bluebell starts 29 minutes into the programme. The signed version is available here on iPlayer for the next 7 days, and the revised non-signed version is there until Sunday morning.

  • Today is the last day for the present of the "Waste by Rail" exercise. We now pause to raise more money for another dig.

  • Nice to get a mention in the Calgary Herald and Ottowa Citizen!

  • More photos and videos from the Branch Line Weekend below:
    • The Horsted Keynes signalman waits to exchange tokens with No.178's driver on Sunday (Greg Wales)
    • C-class No.592 north of Three Arch Bridge with the four Metropolitan coaches and LSWR Brake Third No.1520 (Derek Hayward)
    • Ashley Smith's very nice two-part video from Saturday on Youtube: Part 1 and Part 2
    • Chris Ward's photos on his new smugmug album.

  • Finally, a photo from Tony Sullivan taken on Tuesday showing the BRPS President, Bernard Holden MBE, 52 years to the day since he chaired the inaugural meeting of the Society, and here celebrating his 103rd birthday in the company of Chris Cooper and Charles Hudson.

Exchanging tokens at Horsted Keynes - Greg Wales - 13 March 2011 C-class No.592 north of Three Arch Bridge - Derek Hayward - 12 March 2011 Bernard Holden celebrates his 103rd birthday - Tony Sullivan - 15 March 2011

LBSCR E4 No.B473 at New Road Bridge - Derek Hayward - 12 March 2011 16 March:
  • Derek Hayward's photo on the right shows the LBSCR E4 No.B473 at New Road Bridge on Saturday, hauling four matching coaches.

  • Easter Holiday Specials - 22-25 April
    Little Bo Peep will be travelling on the 12.00 noon, 2.00pm and 4.00pm services from Sheffield Park. Two special carriages are reserved where she will present all the children with an Easter Gift. Adults won't be left out; they will all receive a Hot Cross Bun from Bo Peep's helpers.
    All seats must be booked in advance by telephoning the Customer Service Team on 01825 720800 or calling into the Sales and Information Office at Sheffield Park. More details.

  • As usual, our peak Bank Holiday service will also run over Easter, for which advance booking is not required, but remember that you get our Bluebell Bonus discount if you do!

  • We currently have about 500 railway magazines, together with some books, DVDs and model railway items, listed on our eBay for Charity page, helping to raise money to complete our extension.

  • More photos from the Branch Line Weekend below:
    • SECR P-class No.178 heads north out of Horsted Keynes with three pre-grouping carriages on Saturday, passing LBSCR No.55 "Stepney", which was giving brake van rides (Derek Hayward)
    • The 1877-built Fletcher Jennings 0-4-0T "Captain Baxter" in steam at Sheffield Park on Sunday (Derek Hayward)

  • David Warwick's photo below, taken on the Mid Hants Railway on Monday, shows SR U-class No.31806 (with the Maunsell Loco Society's tender from Bluebell-based U-class No.31618) during a photo charter.

178 heads north out of Horsted Keynes alongside 55 'Stepney' with its brake van - Derek Hayward - 12 March 2011 Captain Baxter at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 13 March 2011 31806 (with our tender) at the Mid Hants - David Warwick - 14 March 2011

P-class 178 with mixed train - Paul Pettitt - 12 March 2011 15 March:
  • Paul Pettitt's photo from Saturday morning shows P-class No.178 with its mixed train climbing up to Horsted Keynes.

  • Gala Pullman - 17 June
    Enjoy a beautiful Summer's evening on board the Bluebell Railway's Gala Pullman, starting with a Champagne and Canapés reception, then a five course meal will be served as the train meanders through the Sussex Countryside. The John Roberts Jazz Band will be on the platform at Sheffield Park.
    This very special Gala Pullman will depart from Sheffield Park Station at 8.00pm and will travel on a return trip up our new extension to Imberhorne South. More details.

  • Martin Lawrence has a video of last week's charter with SECR P-class No.178.

  • The Bartons have a few snaps and videos from the Saturday of Branchline Weekend, including (admittedly low-quality) camera-phone videos of the relaunch of No.323 "Bluebell".

  • David Chappell's photo below shows the completed wheelchair-accessible saloon portion of the People's Millions coach, SECR 3360. The Big Lottery Fund's representative made their formal visit yesterday to view the project. The saloon, with each end looking exactly like a compartment, will undoubtedly be much in demand. It also appears ideal for filming work!
Interior of new saloon of SECR 3360 - David Chappell - 14 March 2011

323 'Bluebell' emerging from shed - Greg Wales - 13 March 2011 14 March:
  • Greg Wales' photo on the right shows 323 "Bluebell" emerging from the loco running shed at Sheffield Park, whilst engaged in some shunting yesterday. His photo, below, shows 'Terrier' 55 "Stepney" with the Queen Mary brake van, giving rides and raising funds for the Northern Extension project, yesterday at Horsted Keynes.

  • A275 Road to Sheffield Park
    East Sussex County Council are undertaking road repairs to the A275 between Danehill and Sheffield Arms from Monday 14th until Friday 25th March.
    This will result in diversions for any customers travelling to Sheffield Park from the East Grinstead direction.
    Please ensure you allow up to an extra 30 minutes on your journey, especially if you are booked on a specific train like The Golden Arrow Pullman or The Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea service. More details on our visitor web pages.

  • More photos and videos of the Branch Line Weekend available, as follows:
    • Matthew Nightingale (from Sunday) - Photos and a video
    • Trevor Stone catches the moment of impact as Roy Watts breaks a bottle in traditional manner to launch 323.
    • Linda Chen's photo below shows the Loco Works Working Group volunteers who worked on the restoration of 323 "Bluebell".

55 'Stepney' with the Queen Mary brake van - Greg Wales - 13 March 2011 Roy Watts launches 323 into service - Trevor Stone - 12 March 2011 Loco Works Working Group volunteers on 323 - Linda Chen - 12 March 2011

323 'Bluebell' at the River Ouse Bridge - Derek Hayward - 13 March 2011 13 March:
  • Derek Hayward's photo shows "323" Bluebell in its new livery, essentially a Bluebell version of the SECR livery and lettering, today at the River Ouse Bridge. We had 7 locos in steam for the weekend, with Stepney's brake van rides being one of the most popular features of the weekend.

  • Contrary to the report on BBC1's "Country Tracks" this morning, our extension to East Grinstead is not complete! The photograph below from Nigel Longdon, the latest Extension News Report (another good week's digging completed and more track laid into the cutting) issued today, and the graphic below make that clear! Yes, we have a presence in East Grinstead, but to complete our extension and link that with the remainder of the Bluebell Railway, we still need to raise in the region of £2 Million pounds to remove the remainder of the rubbish tip.
    The main piece was actually recorded in 2007, and starts 29 minutes into the programme. It is available here on iPlayer for the next 7 days.

  • Various people have photos of the Branch Line Weekend available, as follows:

Progress as at 12th March 2011 - Nigel Longdon Digging and funding - 12 March 2011

11 March:
  • A timetable for the Branch Line Weekend is now available to download.

  • Are you set to visit us for Branch Line Weekend? SECR P-class No.323 "Bluebell" had a successful test run today, although it still needs further work on its valves. "Bluebell" will therefore be in steam around Sheffield Park over the weekend. We have an intensive 4-train service (trains every 35 minutes) using entirely pre-BR designed carriages and with 6 or 7 of our smaller/older locos in steam, so it should be a great weekend, and it looks good for some sunshine (at least on Saturday). Because of doubts over 323's appearance or otherwise, the Event programme has not been produced.

  • Our new Mk.I Kitchen Car (RBR No.1674) is in the final weeks of restoration before arrival on the Bluebell in Mid April. With most of the restoration work on the car being done at Cranmore Train Care now completed, it moved on Wednesday to Rampart of Derby for a few remaining aspects of the work to be undertaken. The vehicle is privately owned, and comes to the Bluebell on loan, initially to cover kitchen duties on our Golden Arrow Pullman train, whilst "Fingall" receives an intermediate overhaul. Since it is then intended to act as the service vehicle for our Wealden Rambler afternoon tea train, it is being painted in BR crimson lake and cream to match the two lounge cars.

  • With Fotopic having apparently suffered a major failure, many externally hosted galleries contributed by Bluebell members and visitors, and linked from our pages, are currently not available.

  • More archive Bluebell material on YouTube, this time a very early (1991) Thomas event, back in the days when the extension was operated as a shuttle service for just half a mile north of Horsted Keynes.

Sheffield Park Platform 2 newly surfaced - Derek Hayward - 9 March 2011 10 March:
  • Derek Hayward has some more photos from the HLF-funded project at Sheffield Park, taken yesterday. This photo shows that the bonding of the final surface finish on Platform 2 is in progress, and should be completed for the coming weekend's Branch Line event. Note the original setts which formed the milk-churn transhipment area have been retained. The photos below show that the scaffolding has been cleared away from the buildings and canopy, that the rain-water harvesting tank is in place, awaiting connecting up, and that the concrete apron around the washout pit has been created.

  • David Haggar has created three short video clips from yesterday's photo charter (organised by Jon Bowers) with SECR P-class No.178. The first shows No.178 with a vintage goods train, the second has the loco with the two Victorian 4-wheel carriages climbing Freshfield Bank, and the third shows them passing Lindfield Wood.

  • Ian Maggs provides the two photos below showing the empties for our Waste by Rail operation returning to East Grinstead from Forders behind 66704 "Colchester Power Signalbox" at Norwood Junction yesterday. His second photo emphasises just what the size of train is that we are running!

  • Yahoo! Group The individuals on our Yahoo! e-mail group are trying to collectively raise £25,000 to sponsor one day's digging and train for the rubbish removal. You can help as well - see the 50th Anniversary Appeal pages.

  • There is a video on YouTube of a Bluebell cavalcade in 1999, which features C-class 592 with stock in varying states of repair (including the Maunsell Restaurant Car), and Bluebell and Stepney in a re-enactment of the first train

  • Andrew Waller has sent the last two photos below, showing 323 "Bluebell" as it was in 1962, and after its first repaint into 'Bluebell Blue' (which was done to celebrate the 5th anniversary). This 1966 photo shows it running with the LNWR Observation Car which was clearly part-way through a re-paint!
Sheffield Park Platform 2 canopy and buildings - Derek Hayward - 9 March 2011 Rainwater tank - Derek Hayward - 9 March 2011 Washout pit with concrete apron cast - Derek Hayward - 9 March 2011 66704 with our 'Waste by Rail' train at Norwood Junction - Ian Maggs - 9 March 2011 'Waste by Rail' train at Norwood Junction - Ian Maggs - 9 March 2011 323 'Bluebell' at Sheffield Park in 1962 - Andrew Waller 323 'Bluebell' at Sheffield Park in 1966 - Andrew Waller

P-class 323 as it was on New Year's Day, 1999 - David Haggar 8 March:
  • Preparations for Branch Line Weekend (which is this coming weekend) are at full swing. We should have six locos in steam, five of them over a hundred years old. Similarly of the five sets of carriages rostered, three also feature carriages of a similar vintage, and the other two sets are both all of SR origin (one Maunsell and one Bulleid). The LSWR brake carriage, No.1520, restored last year, but only used on a handful of occasions up to now, will be in service.

    The event sees the return to service of SECR P-class No.323 "Bluebell", running for the first time in a decade - having passed its final boiler test yesterday. David Haggar's photo on the right from New Year's Day 1999 shows it then freshly repainted into SECR wartime olive, with a vintage goods train.

    The Route 473 Bus from East Grinstead operates, with an earlier service at 10.10am from East Grinstead station each day.

    The first train of the day is a mixed train (of low seating capacity) leaving Sheffield Park at 10.00, and the first service to depart from Horsted Keynes is at 10.25. The first departure from Kingscote is at 11.13. Trains operate roughly every 35 minutes in each direction for the remainder of the day, with the last trains of the day being 5.03 from Kingscote to Sheffield Park, or 5.05 from Sheffield Park to Horsted Keynes only (with an immediate return to Sheffield Park on a different train).

    Free guided tours of the carriage works will take place at 12.45, 1.20, 1.55 and 2.30 each day.

    Brake Van rides behind No.55 Stepney at Horsted Keynes down part of the Ardingly line.

  • Avril Gaynor, our publicity officer, gave an interview on Meridian FM, at 11.25 this morning. All good publicity, with two slots, one covering the extension and the need to raise more money, and the second covering forthcoming special events, particularly Easter and the Victorian Picnic trains.

  • Martin Lawrence supplies the two photos below of Sunday's service trains. Martin also has two recent galleries - a couple of photos of the January Footplate Experience and some photos of the C Class at West Hoathly

P class 178 - Martin Lawrence - 6 March 2011 E4 B473 - Martin Lawrence - 6 March 2011

Digging and funding - 5 March 2011 7 March:
  • Graphical confirmation on the right of where we are at the half-way point of the current 4-week "Waste by Rail" exercise. The other half week is money raised so far this year, which will be dug out later in the year.

  • The Bluebell Railway is very pleased to have confirmation that this year's special guest at the Southern at War weekend (7-8 May) will be the Avro Lancaster Bomber, which will do a flypast over Horsted Keynes Station at 11:50am on Sunday 8th May (weather permitting).
    Avro Lancaster PA474 (photo below) is one of only two Lancasters remaining in airworthy condition out of the 7377 that were built, PA474 being built in Chester in 1945 - the other now displays in Canada.
    The Railway would like to thank the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight for their assistance with this popular event. Watch this space for details of more special guests for this event!

  • A second monthly news report from the Sunday Pway gang is now available, with thanks to David Chappell. It is available as a large pdf (12Mb) or a small (with very low resolution photos, 340kb) pdf file, (right-click on the link and select to download to your computer).

  • Andrew Strongitharm has added some recent photos to his gallery.
Avro Lancaster PA474 - Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

2 diggers loading the rubbish into the train, and a 3rd shifting the capping - Mike Hopps - 4 March 2011 6 March:
  • A report on the second week of the current Waste by Rail operation on the Extension is now available. Another 5 trains of waste have left, and we have laid more track into the cutting

    The photo on the right taken on Friday 4 March shows two diggers loading the rubbish into the train, and a 3rd shifting the capping (Mike Hopps).

    The two photos below show the Saturday track gang extending the railhead (Mike Hopps) and the extra track panels laid and a start made on ballasting (Pat Plane). The extended track should enable us to load three wagons at a time.

    The full report and more photos available here.

  • Derek Hayward has added the following to his 2011 gallery:
    • A few pictures of service trains;
    • The P-Way team in action;
    • The vast improvement achieved by the Wednesday Gang in the area near Caseford and Three Arch Bridges;
    • The first primroses are appearing (and this year you can actually see them because of the improved appearance of the lineside).

Laying more pre-prepared track sections - Mike Hopps - 5 March 2011 The extra track panels laid and a start made on ballasting - Pat Plane - 5 March 2011

323 coming together - Rob Faulkner - 27 February 2011 Darren fitting the firebox doors - Rob Faulkner - 27 February 2011 1 March:
  • The Loco Workshop Group were down at SP again on Sunday, to help with the final stages of 323's overhaul - 2 weeks left to launch date. Rob Faulkner has provided a brief report along with a couple of photos, shown here, showing Darren fitting the firebox doors, and the loco in the early evening on Sunday.

  • Apologies for the slightly sporadic service on this web site in the last couple of days - for those who understand such things, the TCPIP server has been playing up in a way we've not seen before.

  • During February 2011 there were 69,744 total hits on this page, from 38,696 unique visitors.

Digging and funding - 28 February 2011 28 February:
  • Northern Extension news: Overall the first week of the current phase of digging from the tip is considered to be a success and went much as expected, with some initial teething issues to resolve, but with an overall tick in the box and a satisfied NEP team who went home Friday after a challenging but very rewarding week. How have we done in the first week? A total of 4047.2 tonnes of waste was removed from the tip. A full report is available from Nigel Longdon.
    Photos, below: Loading waste onto the train using both excavators - Robert Else - Friday
    View from north of Hill Place bridge - David Hewitt - Thursday
    Progress after the first week's excavation - Stephen Fairweather - Saturday

  • The chart on the right indicates where we are, and roughly how much money we still think we need to raise in the next year. If you want to see us succeed, please consider making a donation. Whilst not all of the money need come from donations, at least half must! The figures presented are provisional/estimates, since after the end of the current 4-week dig, a further review of costs and methods will be undertaken.

  • Updated photo reports now available from Derek Hayward on the HLF-funded Woodpax Shed, Platform 2 buildings and canopy and the Loco Washout Pit at Sheffield Park.

Loading waste onto the train using both excavators - Robert Else - 25 February 2011 View from north of Hill Place bridge - David Hewitt - 24 February 2011 Progress after first week's excavation - Stephen Fairweather - 26 February 2011

C-class approaches Horsted Keynes - Aidan Grant - 24 February 2011 25 February:
  • Two of Aidan Grant's photos show clearly what a lovely day it was yesterday! This one shows C-class No.592 just after Three Arch Bridge with the 4pm train, formed of the three SR Maunsell coaches. That below shows the recently repaired Dukedog No.9017 with the 3pm service from Sheffield Park.

  • We currently have over 500 railway magazines, together with some books, videos and model railway items, listed on our eBay for Charity page.

  • The other two photos below, from Derek Hayward, also taken yesterday, illustrate progress with the fit-out of the museum, and the rebuilt waiting room which formed the old museum, and will now house an exhibition of the Bluebell's own history. The museum opening date should be announced in the Spring edition of Bluebell News magazine.

Dukedog on the 3pm ex SP - Aidan Grant - 24 February 2011 Museum progress - Derek Hayward - 24 February 2011 Platform 2 waiting room - Derek Hayward - 24 February 2011

Dukedog arrives at Sheffield Park - Malcolm Porter - 19 February 2011 24 February:
  • Malcolm Porter visited the Railway on Saturday (19th) from Lincolnshire, and has sent in a few pictures. The first shows the Dukedog arriving at Sheffield Park, and the second, the C-class bringing in the 12.33 arrival at Kingscote.

  • Our Chairman, Roy Watts, is one of our volunteers trained to act as dispatcher for the tip-removal trains, and did his first turn last night. He reports that the train got away last night right on time, 18 fully loaded wagons behind 66720 again. In terms of the digging and loading operation, we have already identified what may be a still better and more efficient method of working!

  • We still need to raise a lot of money to complete the extension - if you give us £20, adding the Gift Aid, that will pay for another ton of rubbish to go from the cutting. You can donate by PayPal, or via the appeal website.

  • The Museum's website has four more pictures, taken yesterday, showing the continuing fit-out of the new Museum building.
C-class 592 arrives at Kingscote - Malcolm Porter - 19 February 2011

66720 at East Grinstead with the first half-set of wagons - Tony Sullivan - 21 February 2011 22 February:
  • Yesterday's start to the current 4-week dig was always going to be interesting. We'd known for some time that the train would arrive with some left-over ballast from another job on board, and as a result 9 ballast-filled wagons remained on our tracks to be unloaded this morning while 9 were filled with rubbish from the tip, and departed for Bedfordshire last night. Tony Sullivan's photo shows 66720, having run-round the first half-set of wagons, getting ready to propel them down to the tip face.

  • LBSCR E4 No.B473 ("Birch Grove") is off for a visit to the Isle of Wight in late May. More details on Isle of Wight Steam Railway's web site and the Ventnor Blog.

  • Brief report from Rob Faulkner on progress with the completion of SECR P-class No.323 "Bluebell":
    With Branch-line Weekend getting ever closer, the Loco Working group were back down at Sheffield Park, to assist with the final stages of 323's overhaul.
    Over the past 2 weeks, since our last visit, most of the boiler fittings have now been placed back on the loco. The smoke box has had the blast pipe fitted along with the hole for the chimney being cut out (this needs to be done in situ to ensure correct alignment). The group's tasks for the day saw the window frames, fire grate and front smoke box handrail being fitted. Along with this, the loco tanks were starting to be lined out in 323's new colour scheme.
    It will now be all hands to the deck to try and have Bluebell ready for its gala debut on 12th March.

178 approaching Horsted Keynes station bunker first - Derek Hayward - 12 February 2011 20 February:
  • The first East Grinstead Open Days for 2011 are on Saturday 9 & Sunday 10 April - Shuttle trains over the Hill Place Viaduct to Imberhorne North with our 4VEP unit number 3417 "Gordon Pettitt" hauled by a Class 73 electro diesel locomotive. Train services will depart East Grinstead every half hour from 10.10am until 4.40pm. Further details.

  • Now available to download are entry forms if you have a vintage vehicle which you would like to bring to the Vintage Transport Weekend on 13 & 14 August. Don't delay - the space in the event field usually gets fully booked well in advance.

  • The weather this weekend has not been kind to photographers, but this photo from Derek Hayward taken last weekend shows P-class No.178 approaching Horsted Keynes station bunker first, at Leamland Bridge, another area with a "well-cared-for" look thanks to the Wednesday lineside gang, which now numbers up to 20 people.

  • We are all set for tomorrow - the start of 4-weeks digging to remove 20,000 tonnes of waste from the tip currently blocking the path of our Northern Extension to East Grinstead.

East side still mostly in under-coat, with roof now top-coated - Dave Clarke - 13 February 2011 18 February:
  • Pullman Cars 'Doris' and 'Carina': At Brighton Modelworld today it was announced that the 5BEL Trust have acquired 1951-built "Golden Arrow" Car 'Carina'. This enables them to swap that car for the "Brighton Belle" car 'Doris' which is currently owned by the Bluebell Railway. This has the mutually beneficial advantages that the Bluebell gets a second steam-hauled Kitchen Car, whilst the 5BEL Trust obtains the only electric first-class "Brighton Belle" car realistically available to them, which completes their 5-car set. For further information, see the Joint Press Release with the 5BEL Trust and Additional information for Bluebell Members from Lewis Nodes.

  • The photo here, of "People's Millions" coach, SECR 3360, shows the state as at the end of last weekend, with the roof fully top-coated, with both the ends and much of the further side having been given their first top-coat. All of the doors are now in place, and the interior and electrical wiring are almost complete. The south end of the saloon has been scumbled, leaving only four panels under the saloon windows to be done. Most of the metalwork for the ends (steps, hand rails, lamp brackets) has been fitted, and is now removed to leave the ends clear for painting. More photos, and a report from Dave Clarke, are available on the project web page.

  • The fit-out of the Museum building at Sheffield Park has started (as seen in photos on the Museum's own web site). This is expected to take 4-5 weeks, after which the displays can be installed in their cases, and "dressed".

  • Two of our enterprising young volunteers have made their own unofficial short video on YouTube, explaining the extension project and appealing for donations.
    Donations to help the Railway's development and the extension can be made using PayPal. Gift Aid can also be claimed on our behalf for the Railway's benefit on donations made in this way.

  • Dave Clarke also has some other C&W Works update photos:

Car No.88 on the A22 at Nutley - Michael Hopps - 16 February 2011 17 February:
  • In this photo, taken by Michael Hopps yesterday, the 5BEL Trust's Brighton Belle Car No.88 is seen on the A22 heading south through Nutley, having left Sheffield Park on its way for display at Brighton outside ModelWorld, which opens tomorrow. There is another version of this photo on the Railway's Facebook page, as a caption competition!

  • Don't forget that starting on Saturday, and running for the whole of half term (up to and including Sunday 27th), we have our Kids for a Quid promotion. Two-train hourly service every day - see the timetable for details.

  • A summary of the 2010 BRPS committee meetings has now been added to the page with information for BRPS Members. Shortly we will also add a summary of the January 2011 annual tri-partite (BRPS, PLC and Trust) meeting.

  • Derek Hayward has a gallery of recent photos, showing more of the lineside clearance work, of the trains last weekend, of the plant used on the Freshfield Bank re-laying, and of U-class No.31618, which is being painted black to match its tender.

Dukedog at Leamland - Derek Hayward - 12 February 2011 15 February:
  • This photo shows the Dukedog, No.9017, on its first day back in service for many months, following its re-tube. It remains in BR black, but now has the red-backed number plates as it had in the early 1950s. This also represents its condition when first running on the Bluebell in the mid 1960s. Derek Hayward's photo was taken on Saturday, on the double track section at Leamland.

  • eBay for Charity: Don't forget that you can support the Bluebell's Extension Project fund raising though eBay for charity. On our eBay for Charity page there are three tabs:
    • Buy: provides a list of all the things currently on offer where the Bluebell will receive a percentage (plus Gift Aid) on the sale price.
    • Sell: you can donate a percentage of your sale proceeds on an item to us. In exchange eBay will credit back your basic insertion and final value fees (according to the percentage you donate).
    • Donate: You can use this tab to make a PayPal donation to the project, with Gift Aid if appropriate.

  • The first of the photos below is from Ashley Smith, also taken on Saturday, showing the P-class No.178 with its pair of Maunsell carriages.

  • The next photo below, again from Derek, shows the sterling work of our lineside gangs - here we see a section with both cleared scrub and also a section of drainage ditch which has been cleared out. There are a good number of other areas where they have also put in a lot of effort in recent weeks.

  • Derek's final photo below shows the third loco in steam on Saturday. After spending the morning shunting at Horsted Keynes, the C-class was on duty for the afternoon tea Lounge Car service.
P-class 178 with Maunsell Carriages - Ashley Smith - 12 February 2011 Lineside and drainage work completed at Freshfield - Derek Hayward - 12 February 2011 C-class 592 with Loung Car service at Sloop Bridge - Derek Hayward - 12 February 2011

Kingscote Platform 1 - Derek Hayward - 6 February 2011 14 February:
  • Today's featured photos are from Derek Hayward, and illustrate some of the work previously described on this blog, undertaken at Kingscote station during the line closure a couple of weeks ago. This photo shows the freshly cleaned platform 1 canopy and platform building, and those below show the pressure-washed subway, Platform 2's cleaned canopy and back-wall, the refreshed booking hall and floor, and finally, members of the Alf Brown Gang inspecting the newly arrived goods crane base, from Singleton, which is to be erected in the yard - most of what you see here will be buried in concrete!

  • Derek has some further photos taken at Kingscote on Sunday 6th February, and also a further update on the Woodpax (Turners yard) development, and an album highlighting the lineside wildlife.

  • Details of the Route 472 Vintage Bus from Brighton (Railway Station and Old Steine) and Lewes to Sheffield Park are now available.
    Four return journeys will operate on the first Sunday of each month from May to September plus every Sunday in August. The service will also operate on some Saturdays in connection with special events.
    Dates of Operation: 1st May, 7th & 8th May (Southern at War Weekend), 5th June, 3rd July, 7th August, 13th & 14th August (Vintage Transport Weekend), 21st August, 28th August, 4th September.

  • Ashley Smith visited the line briefly on Saturday afternoon; typically the sun stopped shining after the first shot, but he has put a couple of pictures on fotopic.

  • The Social Sub-Committee's coach trip to the Severn Valley Railway on Saturday 30 April 2011 has booked up so well that a second coach has been added, on which just 20 seats remain. Book now before this sells out as well!

  • New link added to Infrasafe - The UK's rail safety labour supplier.
Subway at Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 6 February 2011 Platform 2 at Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 6 February 2011 Booking Hall at Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 6 February 2011 Crane base now at Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 6 February 2011

Sheffield Park Canopy - Derek Hayward - 6 February 2011 11 February:
73208 with Vep at East Grinstead - Andrew Crampton - 7 February 2011 73213 with Vep at East Grinstead - Andrew Crampton - 7 February 2011

323 being re-assembled - Duncan Bourne - 6 February 2011 8 February:
  • Duncan Bourne's photo shows 323 "Bluebell" at the end of Sunday's working day. The regulator, rod and actuator were fitted earlier in the day, and the cab has just been fitted. Parts are now being added rapidly in an attempt to get everything finished for branch-line weekend.
    The Loco Workshop Working Group have changed their meeting dates to the first and third Sundays of the month, so as to coincide with Mike Gibbard's monthly "Find out more" volunteer tours. Anyone interested is welcome to come along and see what they do.

  • Bluebell volunteer Dave Bowles has just published a book online via Blurb. "2009 Steam Action" features many of his Bluebell photos, as well as a few of our locos visiting other lines.

  • Last night Nos.73208 & 73213, hauling 4 Vep No.3417, are reported as having departed Bluebell metals at East Grinstead on time, heading for Eastleigh Works en route to Bournemouth Depot.

  • Derek Hayward has some more photos available for the work in progress on the Loco washout pit.

  • Two more of Duncan Bourne's photos, below, show the frame extension for the Standard 2 which is being assembled in the workshop (with the boiler of the S15 seen in the background), and the H class which is coming together with the first tank being temporarily re-fitted. The first piece of new plate for the bottom of the firebox is being fitted. With the Dukedog No.9017 leaving the works after its re-tube, the pit has been cleaned and repainted, as seen at the bottom of the photo.
Rear frame section for Standard 2 - Duncan Bourne - 6 February 2011 H-class in the works - Duncan Bourne - 6 February 2011

B473 token exchange on departure from Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 6 February 2011 7 February:
  • Derek Hayward's two photos, from yesterday, show the E4's driver collecting the single-line token on departure from Kingscote, and below, P-class No.178 arriving at the same station.

  • If the information from an external e-mail list is correct, our 4 Vep unit 3417 "Gordon Pettitt" is expected to leave East Grinstead at 8.10pm this evening for Eastleigh, en-route to Bournemouth Depot (where it's due to arrive late tomorrow morning). This move is required because the entire track layout at East Grinstead is required for the next phase of removal of the rubbish tip, which is due to start later this month. If we can raise another £250,000 in the next month or so, then we might be able to extend the dig for an extra fortnight. Please donate now to our 50th Anniversary Appeal!
P-class 178 arrives at Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 6 February 2011

178 with train on the relaid track - Michael Hopps - 5 February 2011 5 February:
  • Michael Hopps' photo shows P-class No.178 heading the 12-noon departure from Sheffield Park today, on the newly relaid track on Freshfield Bank (this being the first day of running since the work was completed earlier in the week). The coaches are two 1935-built SR Maunsells.

  • The other service train, headed by E4 No.B473, was formed of two SR Bulleid coaches and two BR Mk.Is, and features in a small set of photos taken at Horsted Keynes today available on Robert Philpot's web site.

  • Operation Undercover: 65 more photos available from Derek Hayward, taken on Thursday, showing the latest progress on the HLF-funded canopy, museum and carriage shed development at Sheffield Park.

  • Hansard's report of a debate about Heritage Railways in the House of Lords Grand Committees on 1st February included an appeal by Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe for donors to aid our extension to East Grinstead. There were also other encouraging and supportive comments from several members of the House of Lords regarding our own and other heritage lines. Search the page for references to "Bluebell" to find the relevant sections.

General view of Sheffield Park, with extended canopy - Derek Hayward - 3 February 2011 4 February:
  • Derek Hayward's two photos, from yesterday, show progress at Sheffield Park in extending the canopy back to its original length, and restoring it with the original Brighton style valance, as part of our large HLF-funded project. The work on the canopy has been a joint effort between our contractors and Bluebell volunteers, the volunteer effort contributing part of our 25% input to the project. The extra stanchions have yet to be erected beneath, but the work was sufficiently advanced to enable much of the surrounding scaffolding to be removed yesterday.

  • Update to the Loco Roster from Lewis Nodes, showing what locos we expect to have in service over the next couple of months, with SECR No.178 and LBSCR No.B473 shown as handling the hourly two-train service this coming weekend.

  • Our highly popular Sunday Carvery lunch in the Birch Grove Suite at Sheffield Park starts again this Sunday.
Work in progress on the extended canopy at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 3 February 2011

Tamper at Sheffield Park - Partick Plane - 2 February 2011 3 February:
  • This photo from yesterday by Patrick Plane shows the ballast tamper which is on the line as part of the current engineering work on Freshfield Bank. With the Pullmans currently at Horsted Keynes for maintenance, Terrier No.55 "Stepney" is seen in the dock.

  • The last few weeks have seen an upsurge in donations to our 50th Anniversary Appeal - please consider whether you can make a donation towards the £2.2 million needed to complete the extension.

    The new "Platinum" level of shareholder benefits has also prompted an upsurge of interest in lump-sum payments into the Society's Share Purchase scheme.

C-class 592 with ballast train at Sloop Bridge - Mike Hopps - 31 January 2011 1 February:
  • Mike Hopps' photo, from yesterday, shows No.592 hauling the ballast working at Sloop Bridge. The re-laid track-work is now complete on Freshfield Bank, and is due to be tamped today.

  • On Sunday a five-strong team of Kingscote station staff made the most of the final Sunday of work during the line-closure. Mike Jackson has painted the floor in the disabled toilet. Dave Shannon finshed off the counter and clock, and checked the gutters. Richard Clark and Fraser Hutchinson washed down the Platform 2 back wall and under the canopy (which was black with dust and soot). The subway was jetted down and Richard scraped 16 years of mould from the porch lantern, which now works properly! Roy was busy top-coating last week's paint-work. Geoff Hempstead was a whizz with cleaning the interior windows. Mike J plans to give the Booking Hall and Office floors a coat of varnish during the week. So we now have a sparkly station ready for Service One to return next Saturday!

  • During January 2011 there were 71,380 total hits on this page, from 41,463 unique visitors.

  • Dave Clarke has updated his gallery of photos showing progress completing the overhaul and conversion of People's Millions carriage 3360. Below we see the state of the carriage as of 23rd January, and then the new teak panelling on the interior of one of the original guard's luggage doors. Originally panelled in soft wood, the door has been rebuilt to match the passenger doors, since it is now in the saloon area. The final photo shows two of the four seats now completed. The coach also now has 5 of its six luggage racks in place.

General view of carriage 3360 - Dave Clarke - 23 January 2011 New teak internal panelling on door IX - Dave Clarke - 16 January 2011 Seats installed in 3360 - Dave Clarke - 16 January 2011

C-class 592 with engineering train at Horsted Keynes - Richard Salmon - 22 January 2011 28 January:
  • Please note that, because of engineering works, no service is advertised for this weekend. Sheffield Park Station is open, however, with fully-booked Footplate Experience courses running, and on this Sunday Pantomime Time (a two-course Carvery Lunch followed by "Alice in Wonderland" - the audience are all encouraged to participate and children are invited to play some of the easier parts). Places are limited, so please call the Sales & Information Office on 01825 720800 to book.

  • This photo from last Saturday shows the C-class recessing a train carrying sleepers back into the down yard at Horsted Keynes (observing the 5mph limit!). The sleepers, which it had just collected from West Hoathly, are being used for the current engineering work, rebuilding the formation and relaying track on Freshfield Bank.

  • At Kingscote, the station staff have been making good use of the current line closure. Last Sunday saw a deep clean of the building and platforms, and the subway has been jetted down. Richard Clark and Fraser washed down under the canopy, so all the trusses are now clean as are the windows. Roy Watts took a paintbrush to the porch and freestanding signs, and Dave Shannon was busy repairing the counter and polishing the clock case.

New canopy valance at Sheffield Park - Graham Poore - 25 January 2011 27 January:
  • This photo taken yesterday by Graham Poore illustrates more of the work currently being done at Sheffield Park. A team from the 'Friends of Kingscote', lead by Richard Hill, have been working along-side Morgan Sindall on the repairs and extension to the canopy on Platform 2. They have fitted new hardwood valances to the original LBSCR design, and will shortly be fitting cast iron gutters and a timber moulding. Work has to be completed by early next week so that the scaffolding can be removed for resumption of train services.

  • Can you help us towards the £2.2 million we need to raise over the next 12 months to complete the extension? Donations are of course very welcome, but the various other things you can do to help us are also outlined here and here.

  • Update to the 9F Club page, with a revised application form. The 9F Club is our young volunteers club for 9-15 year-olds. The club is currently fully subscribed, with a waiting list open for memberships to start in January 2012.

672 'Fenchurch' on Footplate Experience duty at Sheffield Park - David Haggar - 22 January 2011 24 January:
  • David Haggar's photo from Saturday shows 'Terrier' No.672 "Fenchurch" inaugurating the new series of Footplate Experience opportunities, as the loco itself comes to the end of its 10-year boiler certificate. More of David's photos are available here.

  • Keith Duke also dropped in at Sheffield Park on Saturday to get some pictures of Fenchurch's last weekend in service pending its next overhaul.

  • Robert Else participated in the Footplate Experience, and is seen in the first photo below. Fenchurch's cab is not the largest! Next weekend will see SECR P-class 178 used for this duty; the loco may be a similar size, but the cab is much roomier!

  • Saturday, and today, the SECR C-class has been at work on the engineering trains for the re-laying work on Freshfield Bank, standing in for a defective diesel. Robert Philpot has some photos from this morning.

  • Martin Lawrence's photo below from yesterday shows the newly laid ballast (along-side the old track which has been slewed out of the way onto the other side of the formation) ready for sleepers to be laid out, on Freshfield bank.
    Martin has also created some more galleries from last year:

  • Derek Hayward's latest update showing progress with the HLF-funded Woodpax project (60 new photos, including the third photo below) and the Loco washout pit (another 7 photos) are now available.

Footplate Experience at Sheffield Park - Robert Else - 22 January 2011 Ballast down on Freshfield Bank - Martin Lawrence - 23 January 2011 Construction of new canopy section at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 18 January 2011

22 January:
  • Please note that, because of engineering works, no service is advertised for this weekend or next. Sheffield Park Station is open, however, with fully-booked Footplate Experience courses running, and on this Sunday Pantomime Time (a two-course Carvery Lunch followed by Aladdin - Children are invited to take small parts in the show). Places are limited, so please call the Sales & information Office on 01825 720800 to book.

  • Some old Box Brownie pictures from the 1960s, thanks to David and James Colwell, including P-class No.27 "Primrose" with the Metropolitan 'Chesham' carriages, plus an LBSCR-era photo of Brighton Atlantic No.424 which was later to be named "Beachy Head".

Engineering work at Freshfield - Martin Lawrence - 18 January 2011 20 January:
  • Martin Lawrence's photo shows the start of the engineering work to re-lay track on Freshfield Bank, as of Tuesday, with track slewed over to enable the formation to be dug out. Martin's video on YouTube shows a train of wagons full of waste material being hauled out of the work site.

  • The Northern Extension Team will be holding a book sale at Kingscote Station on March 12th & 13th (Branch Line Weekend) to raise funds for the Extension Project.
    Yesterday we sold our 50th item on the Amazon Marketplace. Nett total raised through this method in just under a year is £810. Our books sales at Kingscote, which started in October 2008, have raised £3430. So this fund-raising effort has paid for 170 tons of rubbish to be cleared from the tip. Can you help us reach East Grinstead - every little helps towards the £2.2 million we still need to raise in the next 12 months.

Construction of new canopy section at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 18 January 2011 19 January:
  • Derek Hayward's photos (taken yesterday) show the work being undertaken (under a track possession) to extend the canopy on Platform 2 at Sheffield Park back to its original length, as part of our current HLF-funded project there, and also the p-way department ready to set off for the separate track possession covering all lines north of the Sheffield Park down outer home signal, for the re-laying of Freshfield bank - the main works train will come in to the relaying site from the North.

  • David Haggar has put some historic photos by his father (Roger Haggar) on Fotopic [now that Fotopic is defunct, they have been transfered here to PicasaWeb]. Standard 4MT Tank loco, No.80151, at Eastbourne Shed in about 1962. Another shows 30928 "Stowe" there at the same time, and also at Ashford in the 1950s and again at Eastbourne in 1958. Further photos show the Dukedog at Sheffield Park in 1962, B4 30096 "Normandy" after its last overhaul at Eastleigh, 1st August 1962, the T9, No.120, visiting Horsted Keynes with the railtour of 15 September 1963, plus Caledonian Single No.123 and Birch Grove the same day.
Construction of new canopy section at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 18 January 2011 Road-railer at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 18 January 2011

Flooding River Ouse at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 18 January 2011 18 January:
  • There's been a lot of rain in the area in the last day or so, and Derek Hayward's photo taken today shows the enlarged River Ouse.

  • There's a photo on Roger Norfolk's photo site of our USA tank 30064 shunting at Eastleigh works on 4th April 1967.

  • Stephen Leek has a photo of U-class 31806 looking resplendent at the Mid Hants with the tender from the Maunsell Locomotive Society's Bluebell-based U, No.31618. The latter engine, since it was in need of a fresh coat of paint, is being repainted by the MLS to match the tender, ready for its return.

  • Ashley Smith has a photo from Saturday, showing our new double track section (OK, running line and siding) south of East Grinstead.

Fenchurch at Kingscote - Sam Brown - 15 January 2011 17 January:
  • Sam Brown's photo shows Terrier No.672 "Fenchurch" at Kingscote on Saturday. This was the last weekend of public service for the loco before the expiry of its 10-year boiler certificate, although it will be in action again at Sheffield Park next weekend, for the new Footplate Experience courses (which are fully booked).

  • Our trains this weekend were topped and tailed by the SECR C-class (rather than B473) and "Fenchurch". The final train up Freshfield Bank before the re-laying is seen below in Michael Hopps' photo from Sunday afternoon. The C-class is now sub-shedded at Horsted Keynes, as a back-up to the diesel shunter, for the duration of the three weeks of engineering work, which will see the complete re-laying of this section of track. His second photo shows "Fenchurch" leading the mid-day train down the bank, with the new drainage already installed (with Terram matting over them) in advance of the main work.

  • Ashley Smith has some photos from Saturday, as well as this video.
C-class heads train up Freshfield Bank, with Fenchurch trailing - Michael Hopps - 16 January 2011 Fenchurch on the way down Freshfield Bank, with drainage work already in hand - Michael Hopps - 16 January 2011

Coupling Rods - Fred Bailey - 13 January 2011 14 January:
  • Update with photos from Fred Bailey, for the Brighton Atlantic Project, including the photo here showing the newly machined coupling rods.

  • Update to the Loco Roster. Because of an engineering possession of the track through Platform 2 at Sheffield Park, this weekend our trains will be topped-and-tailed, in early 1960's Bluebell fashion, by the LBSCR pair, B473 and "Fenchurch".

  • If you're looking for a backnumber of "Steam Railway" Magazine, we have a large number listed on eBay for Charity.

13 January:
  • Photos available on the Bluebell Railway Museum web site, showing the latest developments on the Woodpax site. The scaffolding is in place for the repairs to the existing canopy on Platform 2, and its extension back to its original length (work which will, in part, be undertaken by volunteers from the Friends of Kingscote, during the line-closure later this month). The photos were taken yesterday, when we showed round representatives from three of the companies who will be fitting out the new Museum building. It is hoped that the fit out will start around the end of January.

East side of 3360 - Dave Clarke - 8 January 2011 12 January:
  • A collection of over 1000 images taken by Colin Hogg have been added to the Photographic Archive section of the Bluebell Museum Website.
    Not one to take photographs in locomotive sheds, nearly all his pictures depict trains in action out on the line for which he was aided by various lineside photographic walking permits. Particularly noteworthy in his collection are his rare photographs of seasonal holiday trains and special excursions which have long since vanished from the railway scene. The photographs available now are mainly his Southern images though other areas will be available later.
    As with the previous John Smith collection all the images are available for purchase.

  • New link to the Brighton's Motive Power depots web site, which seeks to explain the history of Brighton depot, and the creation of the Brighton branch of the train driver's union, ASLEF.

  • These two photos from Dave Clarke show some of the progress over the last two weeks on SECR 3360. That on the right shows the oil-lamp chimneys, rain-strips and gutter edging in place on the roof, and the last of the windows, and all the quarter-light external window-framing fixed in place. This side of the coach is now not far from having its mouldings fitted, to bring it up to the same state as the other side and the two ends.
    The photo below shows the middle compartment, with one luggage rack, and communication-cord tubing in place.
    A full update with more photos is available on the C&W Works News page.
Middle compartment of 3360 - Dave Clarke - 8 January 2011
  • Dave also reports on:
    • LBSCR Third 328
      The sepele replacement for the damaged bottom rail has been delivered and a start made on fitting the intermediate packers to the underframe. Repairs are underway to the first of the cant rails.
    • LBSCR Brake Third 949
      The penultimate roof hoop has been installed at the southern end of the passenger compartment. This will enable the partition to be installed. The final hoop can then be fitted to secure it in place and the overhauled roof boards fitted.
    • SECR birdcage brake 3363
      The draught welts have now been fitted to the twelve compartment doors and the process of snagging is well underway.
    • Bulleid CK 5768
      Simon Bass has finished the repairs to the first class half of the western cant rail have been completed. A couple of minor repairs may be necessary on the east side. He is now turning his attention to preparing the timber section of the bottom rail. This sits on the steel plate and behind the quadrilaterals supports securing the pillars. It serves two purposes, as an anchor for the screws holding the steel sheeting in place and to support the floor. Roger Williams is taking a break from the bottom rail and has returned to fabrication the frames for side lights. Seven have now been completed and he is now over half way if you also include the two smaller ones for the lavatories! The varnishing of the corridor partitions is ongoing.
    • LMS Semi-Royal Saloon 806
      This coach has been lifted from its bogies, and after the tyres were sent away for turning, returned to its wheels.
    • BR Mk.I TSO 4941
      The coach is being prepared for departure to Ramparts in Derby where structural repairs will be undertaken at each end. This coach is being converted for wheelchair access, and has had its toilets removed to enable a double doorway and electric lifts to be fitted. The interior has been substantially stripped out.

B473 climbs Freshfield Bank - Michael Hopps - 9 January 2011 9 January:
  • Interested in becoming a volunteer? Why not join us on a Find out more day. The "find out more" days for 2011 during the remainder of this year are the FIRST SUNDAY of every month, from February to December 2011. The meeting time is 10.30 am, at Sheffield Park Station.

  • Michael Hopps provides two photos taken today, showing B473 on Freshfield Bank. The track here is due to be lifted and re-laid during the line closure in the second half of this month.
B473 descends Freshfield Bank - Michael Hopps - 9 January 2011

6 January:
  • Update to the Football Competition page, with the latest positions in this competition raising funds for the overhaul of our Southern Railway Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864.

  • Arrangements for Dudley Acres' funeral available on the BRPS Members' Information page.

5 January:
  • Update to the web page for Howard Locomotive No.957

  • Updated links to Bulleid Society pages, since they have now launched a nicely redesigned site.

  • We made a top-5 ranking in the most unlikely places to find abandoned cats - to quote:
    At number four... a steam engine. A train driver discovered a set of black kittens nestled in one of the engines at the Bluebell Railway near Haywards Heath in Sussex and called Cats Protection's National Cat Adoption Centre in Chelwood Gate.

4 January 2011:
Northern compartment with luggage racks - Dave Clarke - 29 December 2010 Northern compartment floor - Dave Clarke - 29 December 2010
  • A further update to the C&W news page for SECR carriage 3360 (The People's Millions coach) using, as above, more of Dave Clarke's photos. Things have moved on in the days since these photos were taken; the long weekend seeing a very good turn-out from the volunteer team, but these two photos from 29th December show the then state of the northern compartment, with the second luggage rack in place, and the floor timbers laid.

  • Ashley Smith visited on 1st January, and took a few photos.

  • Dudley Acres - Gavin Bennett writes:
    I am sorry to report that Dudley Acres passed away on Sunday morning. Dudley had been a member of the Society for many years and would be well known to the original members of the Society. He was a volunteer for many years and had worked in the Booking Office and latterly as 'assistant' to the late Ralph Piper on the many building repair projects that Ralph was involved in on the railway. He was also involved in the Burgess Hill Model Railway Club.

1 January 2011: Happy New Year
  • During December 2010 there were 74,274 total hits on this page, from 41,893 unique visitors.

  • We have just passed the £1000 figure from funds raised for the Bluebell through EasySearch - please do use this search engine, and help us raise more money in 2011!

  • Updates to the foreign language pages with 2011 details.

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