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Bluebell Railway Blog:
Archive 2012

Please be aware that due to the historical nature of this page, some of the links on it may be out of date.

Archive of the Blog/What's New pages

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E4 with the Pullman lunch train - Peter Austin - 30 December 2012 31 December 2012
9F at West Hoathly - Peter Austin - 30 December 2012

Filming for Downton Abbey - John Sandys - 17 July 2012 28 December
  • John Sandys' photo on the right, taken in July, shows filming for Downton Abbey taking place at Horsted Keynes. The sequence was shown this week in the Christmas Special, which is also available on ITVplayer for the next four weeks. The main sequence is three and a half minutes into the programme. There was a very brief shot near the end too.

    John also supplies photos taken yesterday, showing new arrivals at the shop, the 9F at Kingscote, 263 arriving at Kingscote, interior shots of the Birdcage brake, the GNR Directors' Saloon lifted on the jacks, and 3650 on its low loader, ready to leave Sheffield Park. Another album from the extension shows work preparing the rails and track panels continuing at East Grinstead, the foundations for the water tower, a new signal arm installed at Kingscote, and refitting started by Colin Watts on the buffet for East Grinstead.

  • John Ray has compiled a sequence of video footage taken on the Railway over the period 1993-2006 into a 35-minute programme on YouTube. Much of the footage was shot during "Giants of Steam" weekends and features many of the most celebrated visitors, as well as resident engines, including C1, 1618, Camelot, Green Arrow and City of Truro.

  • John Harwood has given a distinctly seasonal feel to this video shot on the Sunday before Christmas.

  • News Update Loco Works News: update for the Standard Class 2 project; the photo below shows the center cradle pattern sets which have been made by Bluebell volunteer Roy Stirling, and which will provide castings both for 84030 and the Standard Class 3 project, based at the Severn Valley Railway. The pattern set in the most complex we have seen so far for 84030, comprising five large items and six smaller pieces.

  • David Chappell's photo below shows the latest progress with SECR 3188 (the LCDR 5-compartment third recovered from Devon in 2005). The partition, removed in about 1912 when this end of the coach was converted into a brake van, has been re-instated temporarily (it may come out again to enable other work to take place before its final fixing in position). Incidentally, this coach is also glimpsed, just after arrival on the Bluebell, in John Ray's video above, at 28m26s, in the company of LSWR family saloon No.25 which came from the same location.

Center cradle pattern sets Partition in SECR 3188 - David Chappell - 23 December 2012

3650 takes water - Andrew Strongitharm - 23 December 2012 27 December
  • Christmas Eve was the last day of operation on the Bluebell of visiting Pannier Tank No.3650. We've enjoyed having it visiting over the last few months, and it's proved to be a "very useful engine" throughout the busy Santa season.
    Andrew Strongitharm's photo shows 3650 taking water prior to working the Sunday evening Golden Arrow Dining Train.
    Walter Blanchard provides the photo below, showing 3650 ready to return from Horsted Keynes on 23rd, with the day's last Santa Special to Sheffield Park. The H-class sits ready at the head of the evening's Victorian Christmas train.

  • We're going to be quite busy over the next few days, so why not come and join in the fun, we're running an hourly service of steam-hauled and steam-heated trains every day until 1st January.

  • Gary and Philip Bull provide a nicely produced video from Saturday - triumphing over what was not the most promising weather!

  • Ian Lynagh has a couple of Bluebell videos from the 23rd, firstly, of the E4, H, 9F and 3650 on the Santa trains, and then one showing the Sunday P-way gang setting off by Wickham trolley to undertake track maintenance to the north of Horsted Keynes.

3650 and H in the dark at Horsted Walter Blanchard - 23 December 2012 YouTube Video of Christmas Services - Gary and Philip Bull - 22 December 2012 YouTube Video of Christmas Services - Ian Lynagh - 23 December 2012

Evening Victorian Special ready to leave Horsted Keynes - Nick Burgess - 22 December 2012 23 December
  • Nick Burgess spent a couple of hours at Horsted Keynes yesterday afternoon, and in the early evening captured this shot of the H-class at the head of the Victorian Christmas Special. Nick's photo gallery covers all four of the locos being used on yesterday's Santa Special trains; the 9F, Pannier, the H and the E4.

  • Whilst the Victorian Christmas trains this weekend are running after dark (after the regular "Santa Special" trains have finished) on Friday it was a complete day of Victorians, and below are some more of Derek Hayward's photos, which also feature in Derek's December photo gallery. Amongst the Victorian side-shows, the Hall of Mirrors has been a particular hit!

  • We will be running an hourly service of steam trains every day between Boxing Day and New Year's Day.
    On the 28, 29, 30 & 31 December we have some of the coaches reserved for our Fairy Godmother Specials - 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.

Victorian Christmas train departure - Derek Hayward - 21 December 2012 Victorian visitor families - Derek Hayward - 21 December 2012 Victorian stallholders - Derek Hayward - 21 December 2012 Hall of mirrors - Derek Hayward - 21 December 2012

Victorian coaches ready to leave Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 21 December 2012 22 December
  • With lots of rain overnight we anticipate delays in parking all of our visitors today, so please, if you are travelling to our Christmas services this weekend, please allow the extra time which the prevailing conditions will require. Regular weather updates will be available over the weekend.

  • Derek Hayward's photo on the right shows one of yesterday's Victorian Christmas Special trains prepared for departure from Horsted Keynes. The two below show the appropriately dressed team running the event and the train approaching Horsted Keynes on its return from Sheffield Park behind the H-class.

  • Major updates to the Volunteer Recruitment and 9F Club pages.

  • Thanks to Trevor Tupper we now have a full set of photos covering the recovery of LBSCR Stroudley carriage No.992 from West Wittering back in 2008. It also shows the removal of the North London Railway carriage which we found a home for at the Furness Railway Trust.

  • Two project updates on the OART (Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust) website about Sheffield Park MORPH project, where the river meanders have been created, and they are now planting trees on the newly formed island "Spring Meadow". The second page includes a photo of a passing "Santa Special" train.

  • We are very sad to have to report the passing of John Gozna, a volunteer on our Buffet Cars. Further details of the funeral are on the BRPS Members' Notices page.

H-class with Victorian Christmas train - Derek Hayward - 21 December 2012 Victorian Christmas team in booking hall at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 21 December 2012

20 December
  • The Big Give Christmas Challenge, raising funds for the boiler work on "Sir Archibald Sinclair" closed at 5pm yesterday. The total donated once matched was 43,726 against our target of 60,000. Due to the sterling efforts for the Battle of Britain Group the amount raised for this locomotive in 2012 totals 67,311, of which 20,756 has already been spent on components for the firebox. We hope that the remaining funds will be enough to get 34059 running again, but any further donations will be gratefully received, and although they won't be matched in the challenge, can still be made through their web site, or direct to the Bulleid Society.

    So, a very great "Thank You" to the 300 people who donated to this appeal.

92212 approaches Horsted Keynes with a Santa Special train - Ashley Smith - 16 December 2012 16 December
  • 92212 is seen approaching Horsted Keynes with one of today's Santa Special trains. Ashley Smith also provides a video of today's trains, as well as more photos.

  • Report from John Walls on The Big Give Christmas Challenge: It got off to a slow start on December 9th. We were unable to compete with many nationwide charities for the sponsor funding put up by Big Give itself, and indeed the first day's funding was exhausted in seven minutes!
    However, the sponsor funding of £15,000 put up by our own supporters belongs solely to us, and I am pleased to say this was matched by your online donations earlier this week. Our profound thanks to all who have given!
    There's more good news: we have obtained a further £7,500 in sponsor funding from two of our major donors. Some £5,600 of this funding is still available to be matched online. As of earlier today our overall total raised was £38,769 towards the original £60,000 target.
    We have also joined up with the Royal Air Force Association to appeal for donations, recognising Sir Archibald Sinclair's connection to the Battle of Britain. Even if we don't quite reach our original appeal target, we should just have sufficient funds to repair the locomotive in the New Year.
    We know you have given so generously to the Northern Extension Project this year, but we must ask for one final push to secure the services of an important locomotive for the extended Railway.
    Please note that the challenge ends on 20th December; if match funding runs out, unmatched donations can be made up to this date.

    Please give generously, to secure the remaining match funding. Donations (with Gift Aid if appropriate) can be made on-line via the Big Give website.

Pannier tank with Santa Special at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 8 December 2012 15 December
  • Derek Hayward's photo shows the Pannier tank with Santa Special at Horsted Keynes last Saturday.

  • One of Martin Lawrence's photos from Thursday was this one below showing B473 hauling one of the three staff/volunteer lunchtime Pullman specials running this Christmas.

  • Our latest carriage conversion to provide further wheelchair accessible accommodation, Mk.I No.4941, is seen below, in Derek Hayward's photo. It entered service for the first time in this form on our Santa Specials at the start of this month.

  • Nick Burgess spent a couple of hours at Horsted Keynes today, resulting in a gallery containing some great photos.

  • New link added for Eco Camp UK's Wild Boar Wood Campsite which adjoins the Bluebell Railway.

  • Wet weather may have stopped work on clearing the cutting over the last two days, but our Northern Extension team has also been busy at East Grinstead this week, with a big (and rather impressive) hole dug where the water tower is to stand. The concrete has been poured for the base of the sump, which will hold the captured rain-water from the platform and viaduct before it is pumped up into the tank on top of the tower. The sump forms part of the foundations for the water tower, which will start to rise above ground level in a few weeks time.

B473 with Pullman train - Martin Lawrence - 13 December 2012 Converted carraige No.4941 - Derek Hayward - 8 December 2012

Nicholas Owen will be signing copies of his book at Sheffield Park Shop, Saturday 15 Dec, between 11am to 4pm Santa with Olympic Torch bearer Kate Steer - Derek Hayward - 8 December 2012 14 December
  • Derek Hayward's photo shows Santa and his Elves, when they met Olympic Torch bearer Kate Steer on the Bluebell Railway at Horsted Keynes last weekend. Kate carried the torch in Eastbourne on 17 July 2012. There is still time to book for Bluebell's popular Christmas trains.

  • Nicholas Owen will be signing copies of his book at Sheffield Park Shop tomorrow, Saturday 15 Dec, between 11am to 4pm.

  • Big Give Challenge:
    The overall amount raised as of 1pm today (Friday) is £37,839.
    Further matched funding has been obtained, so please continue giving so we can get No.34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair" back into steam as soon as possible!
    You can give on-line via the Big Give website, or send a cheque by post this weekend.

  • Derek Hayward provides the first photo below, showing the new Bachmann C-class in its natural setting, as preserved at Sheffield Park, on the Christmas Model Railway, which is on display for our Santa Special visitors in one of the waiting rooms at Horsted Keynes. Derek has further photos from last Saturday, here.
    Derek has also added six images showing the current state of the refurbishment of the Ransomes and Rapier Steam Crane at Horsted Keynes, which has seen a lot of work by, amongst others, young members of our 9F Club. One photo is seen below.

  • Martin Lawrence has some photos from around the railway taken last Thursday, and this short video featuring P-class No.178.

  • John Sandys was also down on Thursday, and provides more photos from Sheffield Park (where Birch Grove was hauling a Staff and Volunteers' Pullman special), and some photos and a video showing the very good progress maintained on the extension project, taking advantage of the recent dry weather.

  • The final photo, taken last Saturday by David Haggar, shows No.3650 hauling a Santa Special towards Horsted Keynes and a link to a video clip showing the train's stately progress up the line, which is designed to give Santa sufficient time to see all the children on board.

Model railway - Derek Hayward - 8 December 2012 Steam crane - Derek Hayward - 8 December 2012 3650 with Santa Special Train - David Haggar - 8 December 2012

6 December
Big Give Challenge Banner - John Sandys - 4 December 2012

Help Give "Sir Archie" a New Firebox with Big Give 2012

Sir William McAlpine will visit the Railway today to launch the Christmas appeal for our Battle of Britain Class loco No. 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair".

After an inspection of the loco works and (time permitting) the Brighton Atlantic project, Sir William will officially launch the appeal at 11:30 a.m. on Platform 2.

We hope Sir William will have time to take in the Bulleid Shop and museum. Amongst other interests, he is very active in railway conservation, including chairing the Railway Heritage Trust. We will be online to let him know how the appeal is progressing.

Big Give Christmas Challenge - Launches 10am today
The Bluebell Railway, the Bulleid Society, and the Battle of Britain Locomotive Group have set up this Big Give challenge to help return our magnificent "Sir Archibald Sinclair" to steam.
Although the locomotive was virtually rebuilt, then operational from 2009, unexpected firebox problems caused a "derailment" of the project.
As part of the Reed Foundation's Challenge, any donation made between 6 and 19 December will be matched pound for pound by a combination of the Railway's major supporters and the Big Give's sponsor funds.

An online link via the Bulleid Society Web Site will take you to the Big Give donation page, starting 10am today.

If you are eligible for Gift Aid, this will turn a £10 donation into £22.50 for "Sir Archie." The target is to raise a maximum of £30,000 in online donations over 13 days, and matching funding will give a total of £60,000 plus Gift Aid on eligible donations.

The matching funds are not released all at once but over the first three days, so it is vital to get in early before the funds run out. In the unlikely event that every project is as successful as last year, there may be insufficient funds for every project, so please try to make your donation early on the 6, 7 or 8 December.

Repairs will be carried out over nine months, after which we expect "Sir Archie" to receive a boiler certification for a fresh 10 years first-class service!

The Railway values each and every donation received, not to mention all the hard work of volunteers. With the extension to East Grinstead nearly complete, we need all the motive power we can muster. So please help us help "Sir Archie" this Christmas season!
Thank you!

H-class with Wealden Rambler - Derek Hayward - 5 December 2012 5 December
  • The SECR H-class is seen here, approaching Sloop Bridge, with today's Wealden Rambler. This was the first run of the train with all three carriages matching in crimson lake and cream (carmine and cream) livery, and was caught by Derek Hayward.

  • Don't forget that tomorrow sees the start of the Big Give Christmas Challenge - Please help us return 34059 to steam in 2013 - we need donations, preferably over the next three days, from 10am each day, since there is limited match funding available on a first-come, first-served basis, released over those three days. Although the challenge could last two weeks, to be sure of achieving our target we'd ideally want to see our £30,000 come in over those first three days!

  • Martin Lawrence provides a video of last Friday's shunt in the loco yard at Sheffield Park, as everything was prepared for the following day. He also provides a great video from today, showing the H-class preparing for, and then hauling the new uniformly-liveried Wealden Rambler, as well as the visiting 9F having its steam test. From Monday, he has some photos of the completed Wealden Rambler set and a general gallery covering 18 November to 5 December.

  • Saturday was the first day of our Christmas Services, which were unusually well filled (the first day is usually much quieter!). Paul Furlong's photo below right shows the first of this year's Santa Special trains behind the Pannier tank, whilst David Chapman's photo shows the well-attended carol service at Horsted Keynes Station last Saturday evening.
      Carol Singing at Horsted Keynes - David Chapman - 1 December 2012 First of this year's Santa trains - Paul Furlong - 1 December 2012
  • Tom Waghorn's photos show how we fitted a Golden Arrow Sunday Luncheon train in to the first weekend of Santa Timetable. The Arrow took the timetable slot which, for the rest of December, will be occupied by the third Santa Special train, but rather than sitting for 40 minutes at Horsted Keynes it ran north out of the station a short distance, topped-and tailed by the H-class and "Bluebell". Hence the unusual sight of a P-class with full Golden Arrow regalia, as featured below in Steve Lee's photo.

  • Today was a busy day on the extension, in a variety of respects, with no fewer than four radio reports this morning on BBC Sussex from the project, and a report on the BBC web site. The drier weather has enabled the diggers to get back to work this week, and Mike Hopps (who along with Chris White was interviewed on the radio) supplies the two photos below showing 30-ft lengths of rails being delivered at East Grinstead, and then being made up into track panels in the snow. These rails will be welded into 60 or 120-ft lengths once in situ.
    BBC Sussex's reports, on Neil Pringle's Breakfast show, are available to listen again for 7 days. The relevant sections are at 43min 20 sec, 1h 27min 50s and 2h 27min 50.
    A fuller feature from later this morning can be found at 2hr 24min 05s into Danny Pike's programme.
    The story was also reported on BBC web site.

  • Photos are available from John Sandys, taken yesterday, showing Sir Archie, the Wealden Rambler, Adams Radial Tank decorated for Christmas, continuing work on the U-Class, and nice paintwork by FOSP (Friends of Sheffield Park). From Tuesday, John has photos showing the diggers back in action at Imberhorne Lane, being able take advantage of the current dryish spell of weather. Meanwhile the S&T Dept were making the most of the engineering possession at Kingscote, busy with Electrical and Signalling work there, working alongside the Friends of Kingscote.

  • Details of Richard Parfitt's funeral arrangements are now available on the BRPS Members' Notices page.

  • Details of the BRPS Social Sub-committee Excursion to the Gartell Light Railway on Saturday 4 May 2013 are now available.

  • The fourth edition of our Safety Newsletter, intended for staff and volunteers, is now available.

  • During November 2012 there were 87,967 total hits on this page, from 48,690 unique visitors.

323 on the south end of the Lunch train - Steve Lee - 2 December 2012 Delivery of rail at East Grinstead - Mike Hopps - 5 December 2012 Assembling track panels at East Grinstead - Mike Hopps - 5 December 2012

Part of ballast train ready for unloading - Mike Hopps - 28 November 2012 29 November
  • News Update Yesterday saw an incoming ballast train unloaded on the extension, as seen in Mike Hopps photo on the right. Further photos, and report, on the Extension News page.

  • From 6 December: Please help us return 34059 to steam in 2013
    Your donation can make all the difference - See your Donation Doubled between 6th - 19th December with the Big Give Christmas Challenge

  • Our Santa Special services start on Saturday. You can find details of our various different Christmas Services here. As well as our mainstream "Santa" trains, we have Victorian Christmas specials, Edwardian midweek Christmas lunch specials, schools services, special Pullman and Lounge Car trains, and our annual Horsted Keynes Station Carol service.
    After Christmas we are running daily into the New Year, with some carriages reserved for Fairy Godmother Specials.

  • The Bachmann 00 model of the C-class is now available - in SECR livery, as preserved, and SR Black with Sunshine lettering. See Graham Muspratt's review.

  • Photos from John Sandys, taken today at Sheffield Park, show new arrivals in the Shop, a look around the Loco yard, including the 9F, being prepared for service, and preparatory work under way before renewing some stays on the U-Class.

  • The first photo below, from David Chapman, shows Stepney with an Observation Car charter, as it passes the Wednesday P-way maintenance team working at Three Arch Bridge, with whom David was working.

  • The two further photos are from Stephen Leek, from last Wednesday's photo charter with the H-class.

Stepney and Observation Car - David Chapman - 28 November 2012 H-class with Chatham and other wagons, photo charter - Stephen Leek - 21 November 2012 H-class with Chatham coaches, photo charter - Stephen Leek - 21 November 2012

Goods train awaits departure - Dave Braley - 21 November 2012 27 November
  • Some more photos from the photo charter with the H-class organised by Jon Bowers last week. A good night-shoot on the Tuesday, and the weather just cleared for half an hour of magic on the Wednesday afternoon, as the following galleries testify:

  • Richard Parfitt
    I am very sorry to report that former Trustee and Vice Chairman, Richard Parfitt, has passed away, peacefully in his sleep after a short illness.
    Richard had given a long service to the railway and for many years held the post of joint chief booking clerk. As an elected Trustee and as Vice Chairman, Richard also held the post of Operations Director for the Company and oversaw several changes during his tenure.
    Naturally our thoughts go out to his family Laura, Theo and Amy at this very sad time.
    Details of funeral arrangements will follow.

        Roy Watts (Chairman)

  • To put work on the Extension into perspective, here are some photos showing what the Northern approach to Imberhorne Cutting looked like 15 years ago!

  • U-class No.1638 is seen leaving Horsted Keynes with the Pullmans on 7 October in Steve Lee's photo below. The U-class is currently out of service for the replacement of a few firebox stays.
H-class with Chatham coaches, photo charter - Dave Braley - 21 November 2012 U-class 1638 leaves Horsted Keynes with the Pullmans - Steve Lee - 7 October 2012

H-class with 4-wheel coaches - Andrew Strongitharm - 21 November 2012 23 November
  • Andrew Strongitharm made the most of a sunny interval during a photo charter on Wednesday; the SECR H-class is seen with our Victorian 4-wheel coaches.

  • As indicated earlier, Geoff Burch will be at Sheffield Park Station signing copies of his new book "Further Ramblings of Railwaymen" this weekend (24 & 25 November). Following the success of his first book 'Ramblings of a Railwayman' (review) this second book contains stories and anecdotes from his work colleagues at Guildford, Eastleigh, Salisbury and Weymouth Motive Power Depots, and is illustrated throughout with B/W and colour photographs (some previously unpublished from Dave Salmon and Alex 'Mac' McClymont) with a foreword by Mike Morant.
    Hard-back with matt laminated jacket, 242 pages A4 Portrait size 297 x 210mm : ISBN 9780956796714 Price: £25.

  • Major update to the FAQ page.

  • With just over a week to go until we start our Santa Special services, it's pleasing to report very healthy bookings, indeed ticket sales are exceptionally good this year even on the first weekend. You can find details of our various different Christmas Services here. As well as our mainstream "Santa" trains, we have Victorian Christmas specials, Edwardian midweek Christmas lunch specials, schools services, special Pullman and Lounge Car trains, and our annual Horsted Keynes Station Carol service.
    After Christmas we are running daily into the New Year, with some carriages reserved for Fairy Godmother Specials.

  • After a slightly eventful journey, the 9F, No.92212, has arrived on Bluebell metals again. Initially it will provide cover for the Santa Special services, and is then expected to play a major part in the first year of full-line operations into East Grinstead.

  • Work has continued this week on the extension, slightly hampered by the weather. Today it was too muddy to use the earthmoving plant, but the road-railer is unaffected, and following the rails going in earlier in the week, a temporary set of buffer stops has been installed in preparation for the arrival of a train which will drop ballast on the track installed so far. John Sandys' photos below show the progress as of today.

Track extends right into the cutting - John Sandys - 23 November 2012 Temporary buffer stops in position - John Sandys - 23 November 2012

Looking south into the cutting as digging and tracklaying progresses - John Sandys - 15 November 2012 19 November
  • John Sandys's photo, taken on 15th November, shows the track-laying, looking south into the cutting from the occupation bridge. The geo-textile material on the cutting sides is seen to the left.

  • News Update This photo also serves to illustrate the latest news of the Extension, which includes Rapid progress towards cutting breakthough and First details of Opening Festival announced.

  • Derek Hayward captured P-class No.323 as it left Kingscote with its two vintage coaches on Sunday.
P-class 323 leaves Kingscote with vintage coaches - Derek Hayward - 18 November 2012

Pannier Tank approaches Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 18 November 2012 18 November
  • Derek Hayward's photo on the right shows Pannier Tank No.3650 approaching Kingscote with one of today's service trains.

  • eBay for Charity There are currently a number of items offered for sale through our eBay for Charity page.

  • John Sandys took some photos and a video on Friday (it was very foggy!) showing just how busy the extension team were, working South of Hill Place Bridge today, with preparation of the trackbed for track laying, ditch digging for more pipes to go in, contouring of the Western side of the cutting, and laying of the Geo-textile material.

  • An updated Loco Roster indicates plans for loco usage for the rest of the month.

  • Geoff Burch will be at Sheffield Park Station signing copies of his new book "Further Ramblings of Railwaymen" on 24 & 25 November.

  • Roger Carpenter was on a late turn at Sheffield Park last night, and once the train has departed and all that is left is the signal lights and gas lamps of the station; a magical atmosphere even when the weather is dull and miserable. Next time he'll take a tripod!

  • This TV advert for Intel was filmed (in part) on the Bluebell, earlier this year.

  • Derek Hayward's first photo below shows the H-class at West Hoathly with the lunchtime Pullman Dining train. Steve Lee's photo below shows the second service train today, with SECR P-class No.323 leading two SECR-built carriages forming the 3.22pm departure heading South from Horsted Keynes. Derek's final photo below shows the wheels for the SR Q-class, which have just arrived back from tyre-turning, being primed.

H-class with the Lunchtime Pullman train - Derek Hayward - 18 November 2012 323 heads South from HK - Steve Lee - 18 November 2012 Wheels of Q-class being painted - Derek Hayward - 18 November 2012

Pannier Tank departing Sheffield Park - Chris Jennings - 11 November 2012 15 November

H-class ready to leave SP - Chris Jennings - 11 November 2012 1638 in the rain at Horsted Keynes - Steve Lee - 24 September 2012

263 with Wealden Rambler at Sheffield Park - Steve Lee - 3 November 2012 14 November

Remembrance day lunchtime Pullman Train - Robert Else - 11 November 2012 12 November
  • Robert Else provides the photo on the right, showing the Remembrance Sunday lunchtime Pullman Train climbing Freshfield Bank behind H-class No.263. His photo below shows GWR Pannier tank No.3650 with the main service set on the Sunday, also decorated for Remembrance Day. For the record, B473 had hauled this set on Saturday, with the H-class on the Afternoon Tea (Wealden Rambler) and P-class 323 on the vintage set (formed of the SECR Birdcage and Hundred-seater).

  • Robert also provides the photo below showing SECR H-class No.263 waiting to depart from Sheffield Park station on Friday evening's Murder Mystery Golden Arrow '39 Steps to Murder' Service. Robert also has an album showing some more photos of the evening service and of some locos on shed.

  • As reported several weeks ago, the planned date for the first incoming charter to Sheffield Park since 1963 is 28 March 2013 - tickets for this went on sale today, and appear to have almost sold out already - please note that this is not a Bluebell-promoted train, but is being run by UK Railtours. As you will see the information does contain the proviso that the tour may be postponed in the unlikely event that we've not been able to complete our Northern Extension by then. Once the opening date for the extension is firm, the plans for the opening events will be communicated to Bluebell members.

  • Photos and a video from John Sandys, showing the great progress made on the Extension by Friday, with track laid under Hill Place Bridge, and good work in hand, clearing the remaining infill from the cutting.

  • Steve Lee's photo below from Saturday 3 November shows Pannier No.3650 passing the lower quadrant signal on departure from Sheffield Park with the 3pm service to Kingscote.

3650 on Remembrance Day duties - Robert Else - 11 November 2012 3H-class with Murder Mystery Pullman - Robert Else - 9 November 2012 3650 leaves Sheffield Park - Steve Lee - 3 November 2012

42085 and 80151 - Murray Tremellen - February 2010 9 November
  • Murray Tremellen supplies today's two photos - on the right, from the 2010 Branch Line gala, with Brighton-built 2-6-4 Tanks Nos.42085 and 80151 double heading - and below, LSWR No.488 on display at the 2009 event. He has added his 2009 photos to his Bluebell Branch-line gala gallery.

  • The updated Loco Roster indicates plans for loco usage, although this may yet change again for the coming weekend.

  • Update to the web page for LMS van No.524178, adding a photo by Tony Sullivan showing it when newly arrived on the Bluebell in 1976.

  • Mike Hopps has, with permission, put Stan Hoey's 1993/4 video of work on the Extension between New Coombe Bridge and Kingscote onto YouTube.

  • John Sandys provides some photos of new arrivals in the shop, and photos and a video from yesterday showing work on the extension on five fronts - the welding of alternate rail-joints to the South of Imberhorne Lane Bridge, the installation of signalling and telecommunications conduit into the cutting from the North, track-laying which has reached Hill Place Bridge, the start of the installation of geo-textile material to the cutting sides, and the use of clay to cap off the residual waste.
488 on display - Murray Tremellen - 22 February 2009

DDD125 - our second Double Donations Dash - Target met!!!

What a fantastic achievement! The target of £125,000 was reached just as the DDD125 closed at 6pm on 6th November. When all the matching funding and gift aid has been collected the DDD125 will have raised over £275,000 for the Northern Extension Project.

My thanks to everyone who has given to this event. The generousity shown has been truly astonishing. The average donation excluding gift aid has been £95. I and my Fundraising Team are exceedingly grateful for the support shown to the Bluebell Railway.

Roger Kelly, Funding Director

New railings on Cattle Creep - John Sisley - Nov 12 6 November
  • John Sisley's photograph shows the new railings on the cattle creep at Hazelden. It's a good example of everyone working together on the Extension. Our contractors, L & W, helped us to bore the holes and plant the rails (which extend 8ft below ground level). The Infrastructure/NEP team drilled all the holes in the rails, then cut, threaded and fitted the tube work. Finally, the Friends of Kingscote did the painting, and have been clearing vegetation from the brickwork below, since the NEP team are now busy at East Grinstead.

  • DDD125 - our Double Donations Dash closes at 6pm today.
    With an hour to go, we are now just £1,550 adrift from the £125,000 target. This includes cheques received at Sheffield Park this morning, so there may be a little more to come if anything has arrived this afternoon. This means we are already well and truly past the total we raised in the original DDD back in March, which was itself a fantastic achievement.
    So, can we do it (again)? Please donate here!

  • News Update Latest Extension News - updated, including a view from East Grinstead.

  • It's worth taking a look at Daniel Gosling's video of last year's Vintage Trains weekend, exactly a year ago.

263 on Freshfield Bank with Edwardian train - Yoshi Hashida - 2 November 2012 5 November
  • Yoshi Hashida captured this shot of the H-class climbing Freshfield Bank with the Edwardian set in strong autumnal light on Friday 2nd, and there are further photos from the day in this gallery.

  • We regret to report that the Track Trek has again had to be postponed due to the continuing wet weather. Where track has still to be laid, the ground is very muddy, and there is no prospect of it drying out sufficiently in the next two weeks for a Trek to take place safely. The hope is now to set a firm date, fairly soon, probably in February by which time the track will be in place throughout, and all registered participants will be contacted with details once confirmed.

  • With less than 24 hours to go to the end of our second Double Donation Dash - DDD125 - our attempt to close the gap on the fund-raising for the extension, we have raised £115,000 so far, towards the target for which we have obtained match finding of £125,000. You can donate on-line here.

  • The photo below, from Tony Sullivan, taken as it passed through Scaynes Hill on its way to the Sheffield Park on 22 August 1974, has been added to the page for LMS-designed First-class sleeping Car No.M398M.

  • John Sandys' photos from the extension last Friday showing work proceeding on the track-laying.

  • Video from Dan Green showing the Pannier tank and the H-class in action on Friday.

  • Sunday saw the the last "Find Out More Day" session of the year; these are your opportunity to see what's involved in joining us as a volunteer. 13 people braved the very wet start to the day and can be seen in David Chappell's photo below, with Dave Clarke from the Carriage & Wagon Department standing in front of recently arrived coach No.34556 which is now over the maintenance pit for commissioning into service.

M398 at Scaynes Hill - Tony Sullivan - 22 August 1974 FOMD participants with Dave Clarke - David Chappell - 4 Nov 2012

80100 at Barry scrapyard - John Piper - July 1976 1 November
  • John Piper's photo shows the Bluebell team with No.80100 at Barry scrapyard in July 1976, over two years before it arrived at Sheffield Park. This is the only one of the eleven ex-Barry locos resident on the Bluebell on which restoration work has not started (9 of them have now steamed on the Bluebell). As the only one of the three Standard 4 tanks on the line to be owned by the Railway, it might be considered as a "strategic reserve" but does have an active group of supporters, although they are currently concentrating on our 2MT tank conversion, No.84030.

  • Photos and report added to the Loco Works news pages, showing the cylinder repair undertaken on SECR P-class No.178 during August and September, resulting in the return to service of the loco in mid-October.

  • DDD125: Due to delays in the production of Bluebell News and the consequent delay in receiving donations by post, the DDD125 has been extended until 2pm on Tuesday 6th November, to ensure off-line donations sent on 2nd November can be included. On-line donations will also be included up to this time. At the time of this notice we have raised 82% of our target. Let's see if we can get to 100%.

  • Having laid the sleepers in using the temporary 30-ft panels, today our volunteer tracklaying team braved the weather to replace the short rails with full lengths, as seen in the photo below from John Sandys - more from today here.

  • During October 2012 there were 80,407 total hits on this page, from 46,932 unique visitors.

Trackwork on the extension - John Sandys - 1 Nov 2012

H-class leaves Sheffield Park - Peter Edwards - 30 October 2012 31 October
  • Peter Edwards' photo shows H-class No.263 as it leaves Sheffield Park with the 12-noon train for Horsted Keynes and Kingscote yesterday. The SECR birdcage coach is appropriately enough behing the engine.

  • John Sandys has some photos showing that track laying got under way yesterday to the North of Hill Place Bridge, working its way southwards. In addition, the clearance of the last section of the cutting has progressed quite noticeably, thanks to reasonable weather over the last week. See also this video.

  • DDD125: We are now getting close to our target, with £93,310 raised so far, but it's going to be tight with only 2 days remaining to achieve the match-funded target of £125,000. Hopefully we'll see the evidence of support for us to reach East Grinstead re-enforced over the next two days!
    In addition to online giving and donations by cheque (preferable for larger donations, because there are no fees), we've also now set up a special code for giving by text from your mobile to the DDD125:
            To give 5 (or 1,2,3,4 or 10)
              simply text"BDDD99 5" to: 70070
        They will text you back to ask if you can Gift Aid the donation - please do if you can!
        JustTextGiving is sponsored by Vodafone, so no charges are deducted from your donation, and the text messages are free too.
        This is a great way to spend unused paid-for credits on pay-as-you-go phones.
    With such great progress being reported above, we really need the help of every single Bluebell supporter to keep the funding going so we can finish the project!

  • On Sunday 4 November we are holding a Vintage Bus Day. This is an additional event, organised to mark the final 473 bus service between East Grinstead and Kingscote before the opening of the Bluebell Railway's extension to East Grinstead next spring. From East Grinstead the 473 will run half-hourly, with both a modern Metrobus vehicle and vintage RMs and/or RTs, and Service 87 runs hourly to Kingscote and Sharpthorne, using an ex-Southdown Leopard DP and a Leyland National. Service 20 runs from Brighton to Sheffield Park. More details here.

  • Our special Christmas trains are selling faster than last year, with some trains and dates already completely sold out. Check out details or book for the various services via the web pages below:

  • The Christmas Murder & Mystery evenings on the Golden Arrow Pullman dining train are "The Deadly Case of Christmas Rhyme!!" on Wednesday 5th & Thursday 6th December 2012. During 2013 The Company Upfront are then to offer "Murder in the Bothy" on Fridays: 15th February, 22nd March, 19th April, 10th May, 7th June, 12th July and 9th August, and "Lights, Camera, Murder!!" on Fridays: 13th September, 4th October, 8th November, and Tuesday 3rd, Wednesday 4th and Thursday 5th December. Details here.

  • Ben Gray offers some great photos from Saturday, including the Pannier tank, the two P-class locos and the H-class in service.

Recently arrived BSK 34556 at Horsted Keynes - Andrew Strongitharm - October 2012 26 October
  • Recently arrived BSK No.34556 sits at Horsted Keynes in Andrew Strongitharm's photo. This carriage will be used principally on our Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea train, but is currently awaiting final mechanical adjustments prior to entering service. There is a new web page for the carriage, with text from Martin Skrzetuszewski.

  • Martin Lawrence has this video from Sunday featuring all four of the locos we had in steam that day.

  • Made as a radio programme in 1999, "Chuffed" tells how the Bluebell Railway was, even then, making progress towards our target of extending the line to East Grinstead and connecting with the national rail network.

  • DDD125 - our new Double Donations Dash continues to raise funds, with with £46,015 raised so far towards the £125,000 target (and there will be Gift Aid to add on top). This is a fantastic start in the first week of the appeal, but we need to keep this up for the second week - if you've not yet donated, please do consider doing so!
    Full details are on the DDD125 page. Donations may be sent by cheque, or online.

Tracklaying from the north - John Sandys - 23 October 2012 25 October
  • DDD125 - our new Double Donations Dash continues to make fantastic progress, with £40,215 raised so far this week towards the £125,000 target (and there will be Gift Aid to add on top). Bluebell News magazine is now in the post, which we hope will lead to a further burst of donations.
    Full details are on the DDD125 page. Donations may be sent by cheque, or online.

    Just to re-iterate the finacial position - this appeal is the last fund-raising push (excepting the postponed Track Trek) to get us to East Grinstead. We are banking on it bringing in about £300,000 (including match funding and Gift Aid). If we don't raise the sum required, we might not be able to finance the completion of the extension in time for a Spring 2013 opening.

  • News Update The Extension News page: Let's Talk About the Weather! - plus DDD125, tracklaying, work on the viaduct, signalling and cable installation and the long-term plan now being to install a turntable (rather than triangle) for loco and carriage turning.

  • A great Sequence of photos making a presentation about plans (which include the use of our four Metropolitan Railway carriages) to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Underground in January next year, on the BBC Website, along with a fuller report.

  • John Sandys provides the photo on the right, showing great progress this week (the photo was taken on Tuesday) on installation of drainage and track formation from the north towards the cutting at Hill Place Bridge. The progress has continued, and his photo below, taken today, shows the trackbed preparation extending beyond the bridge into the former rubbish tip, where other plant was also in action. John had more photos from Tuesday and from Thursday (along with a video). John also provides a set of photos from around the Railway from Tuesday, including, progress on the canopy and painting of the Signal Box at Sheffield Park, No.178 in service, and new stock arrivals in the shop.

  • Martin Lawrence's photo below shows the newly arrived former Mk.I BSK carriage No.35419 (Balfour Beatty Staff & Generator coach BDC 977166 from Ashford) which is to be refurbished to provide temporary station facilities for East Grinstead. The temporary nature of such facilities for the present arises because we are still hopeful eventually of being able to build the sort of terminus building we'd prefer to see at East Grinstead, even though the land to enable us to do this is not currently available. This also has the advantage that we can see how traffic develops to determine exactly what facilities we'll need when the time comes.

Work in the cutting - John Sandys - 25 October 2012 Newly arrived BSK 35419 - Martin Lawrence - 24 October 2012

H-class with Golden Arrow at Horsted Keynes - David Chappell - 21 October 2012 23 October
  • David Chappell's photo from Sunday shows the H-class No.263 back in service, hauling the Golden Arrow Luncheon train, while his photos below show a display of Stationary engines at Horsted Keynes, and the brace of P-tanks on the Vintage set.

  • DDD125 - our new Double Donations Dash has got off to a good start, with £14,675 raised so far towards the £125,000 target (and there will be Gift Aid to add on top). The main appeal, to the Membership, is included in Bluebell News magazine, which has been subject to a slight printing delay, but should arrive at the end of this week, with a week of the appeal remaining.
    Full details are on the DDD125 page. Donations may be sent by cheque, or online.

  • Details of the funeral arrangements for Roy Nicholls are now available on the BRPS Members' Notices page.

  • Chris Jennings has uploaded a new page to his site of late 1970's shots taken on the Bluebell. He wonders if any members recognise themselves.

Stationary engines at Horsted Keynes - David Chappell - 21 October 2012 P-class pair at Horsted Keynes - David Chappell - 21 October 2012

U-class 1638 with Set A - David Chappell - 14 October 2012 20 October
Today sees the launch of DDD125 - our new Double Donations Dash

Between 20th October and 2nd November 2012 donations made for the Bluebell Railway's Northern Extension Project will again be matched pound for pound by major supporters of the Railway.

If you are eligible for Gift Aid as well, this will turn a 10 donation into 22.50 for the Project.

As part of Funding for the Finish, this is our last fundraising push of 2012, and we need it to be a success to complete the Extension, with a target date for opening of Spring 2013.

Gift-Aid it! The target is to raise £125,000, through online donations and donations made by cheque, to release the £125,000 offered as match funding. Any money raised beyond the £125,000 will be used for the Extension project, but will not attract match funding.

For larger donations, to cut costs for the Railway, it is best to send the donation by cheque using the Gift Aid form, available to download in PDF (Acrobat) format.

Donate online Alternatively, donating online through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving - they'll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to the Railway and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer. So it's the most efficient way to donate smaller sums - we raise more, whilst saving everyone time and effort.

  • David Chappell's photo from last Sunday shows the U-class No.1638 rounding Freshfield curve with service Set A.

B473 with Bernard Holden's pre-funeral train - Yoshi Hashida - 16 October 2012 19 October
  • Yoshi Hashida has sent this picture of Bernard Holden's pre-funeral train which ran this Tuesday, and shows the train, with Bernard's coffin carried in the LSWR Brake, at West Hoathly. Yoshi has more photos from that morning, along with many other excellent shots from earlier in the year, here.

  • If anyone wishes to donate a sum, in memory of Bernard, which will be split between his two favorite projects (the Bluebell's Extension and the Brighton Directors' Saloon) a donation and Gift Aid form is available to download.

  • Numerous notices and reports about our President's funeral have appeared on web sites, including:

  • As we approach the completion of the line to East Grinstead, it's interesting to reflect on what was achieved in years gone by. Kingscote station had been restored over a 7-year period, but with just six months to go before the station opened this video taken by J.A.W. Thornton in November 1993 shows the magnitude of the task remaining at that point.

  • Last weekend the Bluebell hosted the 13th national Carriage Restorers' Convention, attended by 70 people from all over the UK. Michael Fearn has put a report and some photos from the weekend on the LMS Carriage Association web site.

  • Mike Hopps' photo below shows the same pre-funeral train, with 55 "Stepney" leading, on the extension, where Mike was working that day.

    55 with Bernard Holden's pre-funeral train - Mike Hopps - 16 October 2012

  • Ben Gray has some photos which he took at the Railway on Saturday.

  • A new video from Gary and Philip Bull shows the Pannier Tank running on Sunday 7 October, its first weekend of operation on the Bluebell.

  • The updated Loco Roster indicates plans for loco usage over the next couple of weeks. 178 has returned to service this week, and the H is expected back in service alongside the Pannier Tank this weekend. The SECR C-class is now in the works where its cylinders will have liners fitted, and its valves re-faced, which should transform its performance.

  • John Sandys took the following photos and a video showing work in the cutting and a video showing work on the drainage of the trackbed last Tuesday.

  • Tomorrow sees the launch of our DDD125 - our second Double Donations Dash - we have secured the promise of 125,000 from a number of sources, conditional on us raising a matching sum over the next two weeks. This initiative is being launched in Bluebell News which should be delivered to members in the coming few days, and through this web site and our fortnightly e-mail newsletter. So do check back here tomorrow, and help us to raise about half of the remaining sum required to Fund the Finish of work on our East Grinstead Extension!

  • Sad to report (via Clive Emsley) that Roy Nicholls passed away, at the age of 55, following a short battle with cancer on Wednesday afternoon (17th October 2012). Roy spent many years as a working member in various departments around the railway, mainly at Sheffield Park. He was probably best known as a guard and shunter, although he was also to be seen around the loco yard and on the station; he would help where help was required. He had to retire from the Railway due to unrelated ill health a number of years ago and moved to Wales with his wife, Sylvia. He leaves his wife, his mother, Sybil, and a brother.

14 October

12 October
Goods train 9.30 and 11.37 from HK, 10.20 and 12.35 from KC back to HK

323 shunts the Golden Arrow stock on Sunday - Charlie Rose - 7 October 2012 10 October
  • Details of the Funeral arrangements for our President, Bernard Holden MBE are now available on the web page for BRPS Members' Notices.

  • Charlie Rose's photos on the right and below show P-class "Bluebell" bearing a wreath and headcode disk in memory of our late President. It is seen shunting the Golden Arrow stock on Sunday. Peter Edwards' photo below shows No.323 on the vintage set shortly before departure of the 12-noon service from Sheffield Park on Saturday.

  • The new Sheffield Park Carriage Shed will be open for Donors to the Woodpax/HLF Operation Undercover Project, BRPS members, and visitors to the Railway, this coming Saturday 13 October. Anyone wishing to view the shed should meet Nigel Longdon between the footbridge and the Bulleid Society shop on Platform 2, for a guided tour. These will take place starting at 11:15, 12:15, 13:15 and 15:15.

  • Photos and videos from John Sandys from yesterday:
    Photos and a video showing the SECR H-class in steam, in preparation for a test run today, plus some new arrivals at the Shop.
    Further progress on the Extension yesterday, including photos of drainage work in the cutting south of Hill Place Bridge, and work on the track to the north of Kingscote. Videos showing the views South from Imberhorne Lane and south from Hill Place Bridge.

  • Photos from Keith Duke from Saturday.

  • Great Photo Blog from the weekend.

  • Updates to pages for the Bluebell Railway Trust, Who's Who, detail about the Railway, and details about each of our Stations.

  • Photos from Martin Lawrence from Sunday. Martin's photo below shows Dave Clarke with Sunday's "Find Out More Day" participants, with the SECR 2-plank ballast wagon.

323 with wreath and headcode disk in memory of Bernard Holden - Charlie Rose - 7 October 2012 323 with the vintage set - Peter Edwards - 6 October 2012 Find out more day participants - Martin Lawrence - 7 October 2012

3650 on first day in service - David Haggar - 6 October 2012 6 October
  • David Haggar's photo shows Pannier Tank No.3650 on first day in Bluebell service, today, with the 1pm service from Sheffield Park, at Holywell. Note the wreath (carried by both service trains today) in memory of Bernard Holden.

  • Further obituary notices for our late President, Bernard Holden MBE, continue to appear:

  • Dan Green provides this video showing all three trains in service today.

  • The East Grinstead and District Access Group has given a "Burrin Award" to the Bluebell Railway in recognition of the Railway's efforts to provide equal opportunities for disabled people and to better their quality of life. According to group member and former mayor of East Grinstead, Ginnie Waddingham, the Access Group visits pubs, clubs, and attractions in the area to judge whether disabled patrons will have a good experience.
    "All-in-all, the Bluebell Railway is an inclusive family day out, providing a great experience for anyone of any age with or without mobility issues," says Waddingham.
    Her sentiments are echoed by recent visitors Paul Dodd, chair of the Horsham branch of the UK Parkinson's Society, who said "The chair lift was really useful!", and Stuart Phillips of the 2nd Chailey Heritage Scout Group: "Our group had big wheelchairs, but staff were very accommodating in getting rid of loose seats so we could fit everyone in the carriage."
    Information about disabled access at the Bluebell Railway can be found here.

323 with Autuumn Tints train north of Leamland Bridge - Tony Sullivan - 4 October 2012 5 October
  • Tony Sullivan's photo shows No.323 "Bluebell" with yesterday's Autumn Tints special to the north of Leamland Bridge. Today's service will carry a wreath in memory of our late President, Bernard Holden MBE.

  • BBC Sussex carried interviews with Chairman Roy Watts last night, and with Bluebell News editor, Colin Tyson, in this morning's Danny Pike Show. You can listen to the clip for the next 7 days here (the item starts 1hr 31min 30sec into the programme).

  • Obituaries for Bernard have appeared on web sites for:

  • Martin Lawrence provides some photos covering the period 29 September to 3 October and a video of a mid-week afternoon at the Railway - featuring the replacement of fencing at Sheffield Park, No.323 with the Observation Car, and, briefly, the Pannier tank on its test run.

  • Philip Bull has a video showing the current state of the northern extension, with the location where the digger was working on Thursday visible from both ends.

  • The series of photos below formed a 100th birthday tribute to Bernard, first published here on 15 March 2008. That day a number of Bluebell members had visited him in the morning to sing "Happy Birthday", "For he's a jolly good fellow" and "Sussex by the Sea" at his house. He wore the LBSCR hat which had been issued to his father in the year he was born (1908), and was proud to show us one particularly special card. Later in the afternoon there was a family party, and the following day an official celebration at the Railway.

BJH100 - 15 March 2008 - Richard Salmon BJH100 - 15 March 2008 - Richard Salmon BJH100 - 15 March 2008 - Richard Salmon

4 October
From Roy Watts, Chairman BRPS
It is with deep regret that I have to announce the sad passing of our President, Bernard Holden MBE.

He died peacefully in his favourite chair at his nursing home near Burgess Hill surrounded by his favourite railway pictures.

Bernard being filmed - Tony Sullivan - 27 Sept Bernard was 104 years old.

Bernard was one of the leading figures in the creation of the Bluebell Railway, chairing the very first meeting of the then fledgling Society back in 1959. On retirement from British Rail he became "Superintendent of the Line" in 1971.

In recent years, by then as the Bluebell's President, there was nothing more satisfying for him than to be bought over to the Railway to take a trip over the line and see the continual progress being made, and at least he had the knowledge that the infamous Imberhorne cutting had been broken through as the extenson reaches its conclusion.

If there were two things that he always maintained a very keen interest in, it was progress on the extension to East Grinstead and his beloved "Brighton Saloon" carriage.

One thing that can be said was that he always followed Bluebell matters very closely, even in his later years, and there is a lot the railway owes to his foresight.

Details of the funeral arrangments will be notified in due course, and a full obituary published.

I am sure you will join me in offering the Holden family our most sincere condolences at this very sad time.

Southern Railway Magazine - Oct 1932 - scan by Clive Emsley Tony Sullivan's photo, above, taken just last Thursday (27th September), shows Bernard being interviewed in his nursing home (alongside Ethel Taylor, who helped him to hear the questions), for a film currently being made by Axess Films about the Bluebell Railway.

The photo on the left is from the October 1932 edition of the Southern Railway Magazine, and shows a "Family of Station Masters". Leaning against the bench at the back of the photo was Bernard J. Holden, MBE, who was at the time a clerk at Grange Road. He was joined in the photograph by four station masters: (from L to R) his grandfather, Charles George Allen Holden (who had started with the LBSCR in late 1860, and retired 31 October 1906 as stationmaster of Hailsham); his father, Charles John Holden of Horley (who joined the Railway on 2 February 1889); and two of his uncles, Arthur Holden of Steyning (joined the LBSCR on 9 December 1893) and Harry Holden of Bexley (who was with the LBSCR from 22 February 1896).

323 with Autuumn Tints train at Leamland Bridge - John Sandys - 2 October 2012 3 October
  • In addition to the photo on the right, John Sandys has photos of activity on the line yesterday (Tuesday) showing No.323 "Bluebell" with the Observation Car, for the start of the Autumn Tints special, plus a photo of the team at Kingscote who have repainted all 1480 fence palings on the station's platforms and forecourt, a video of 323 leaving Kingscote, a video of it approaching Leamland Bridge and also photos and a video of progress on the Extension.

  • Next Sunday (7 October) is our next "Find Out More Day", which is a chance for anyone interested in discovering what's involved in working on the Bluebell as a volunteer to see behind the scenes. More details here

  • Martin Lawrence has a photo of Pannier Tank No.3650 on its test run today. The "Black Cupboard Gang" are the team at Didcot who restored and look after this engine.

  • Gary and Philip Bull were on the line on Saturday, and have produced another stunning video of the day's trains, also including activity in the Locomotive Works.

  • Mike Hopps both took the photo and created the stunning poster below to celebrate the achievements of the Northern Extension Project gang.

  • Steve Booth's photos show the 9F Club preparing the steam crane for repainting back in Mid-September.

Infrastructure Poster - Mike Hopps 9F Club preparing the steam crane for repainting - Steve Booth - 16 Sept 2012 9F Club with the steam crane - Steve Booth - 16 Sept 2012

E4 with the Wealden Rambler afternoon tea train - Peter Mason - 29 September 2012 1 October
  • Four photos from Peter Mason, taken on Saturday. They show the LBSCR E4 on the afternoon tea train, the SR U-class running round the Bulleid/Mk.I set, SECR P-class "Bluebell" taking water with its light-weight vintage set, which also features in the last photo under the canopy at Kingscote.

  • The visiting GWR Pannier Tank has been added (temporarily) to the Loco Stock List and Operational Locomotives pages. If all goes to plan the updated Loco Roster indicates that it will be running next weekend, P-class No.178 returns to service on the Autumn Tints specials the following week, with the SECR H-class returning to service the following weekend, which is also the National Carriage Restorer's convention.

  • Although the Branch Line weekend has been postponed, Atlantic House, in the yard at Sheffield Park, will be open over the weekend of October 20-21, to enable visitors to view progress on the re-construction of Brighton Atlantic "Beachy Head".

  • During September 2012 there were 73,934 total hits on this page, from 43,205 unique visitors.

U-class No.1638 - Peter Mason - 29 Sept 2012 SECR coaches and engine at Sheffield Park - Peter Mason - 29 Sept 2012 LBSCR and SECR coaches at Horsted Keynes - Peter Mason - 29 Sept 2012

Pannier tank 3650 arrives at SP - Tony Sullivan - 26 September 2012 27 September
  • Track Trek:
    It is with regret that the Bluebell Railway has decided to postpone the Track Trek scheduled for this Sunday 30th September until Sunday 18th November. The reason is simply the amount of rain that has fallen in the past five days. The Trek was due to be, and will be, over the Bluebell's Northern Extension between Kingscote and East Grinstead. At present the work site in the cutting is completely waterlogged and unsuitable for walkers; thus the decision to postpone until November.
    If you have registered to take part, please let us know if you're unable to do so on the 18th November. If we do not hear from you we will automatically register you for that day.
    Trekkers who have been collecting sponsorship and who cannot make the new date should decide for themselves whether to return any money collected, or if they and their sponsors are willing make a donation to the Railway. If this is their decision then please send a cheque payable to the Bluebell Railway Trust plus sponsorship form to Roger Kelly, Funding Director at Sheffield Park station.
    Thank you for your support. We hope we will see you in November when, despite it being late autumn, the weather should be kinder to us.

  • Tony Sullivan's photo shows the arrival of GWR 8750-class Pannier Tank No.3650 yesterday. The relatively modern, powerful but economical loco (on hire from GWS, Didcot) is to be used to cover for any maintenance and washout requirements for the U-class, and is mainly to be used on our Santa trains, leaving the Bluebell again after Christmas.

  • Contrary to a report in the railway press the meeting of the Extension Steering Board to be held on 4th October will not decide whether the extension "can be opened up for public services in 2013", but is to decide whether the extension will definitely be ready for March 2013 or whether the opening might be set for June 2013. At present all planning is based on a March 23rd opening.

  • Photos and videos from Martin Lawrence: photos of Pannier Tank No.3650 yesterday, video of No.323 Bluebell from Horsted Keynes to Kingscote on 16 September, video of Nos.323 and 1638 on 23 September, and a video of E4 class No.473 yesterday, in between heavy rain showers.

Aerial photo of East Grinstead extension - 14 Sept 2012 25 September
  • News Update The dramatic aerial photos shown here are from yesterday's update on the East Grinstead Extension which describes progress on many fronts, and includes details of the the first incoming charter planned over the line. The photos are available at higher resolution via the Extension News page.

  • Video from Nathan Gibson showing 323 departing from Sheffield Park with its train on Sunday.

  • Track Trek: If you are participating in our sponsored walk, in view of the wet weather this week, please check here on Friday for confirmation as to whether it can go ahead on Sunday. The decision as to a possible postponement will depend on the ground conditions prevailing in the cutting at Imberhorne.

  • 1955-built BR Mk.I Corridor Brake Third No.34556 has arrived on the railway, on loan from its private owner, and has been added to the Carriage Stock List. The coach has received a very thorough internal and structural body overhaul, and just requires a few weeks work to commission it. No.34556 is painted in crimson lake and cream (sometimes known as carmine and cream), and will enable a uniform livery for the Lounge Car Train, in which it will operate as a replacement for BSK 35448. The latter coach, having run in Bluebell service for 20 years, and having received only minimal repairs in that time, will be leaving for service on another heritage line. The new coach is clad internally with varnished timber veneers (as compared to the formica in the newer Mk.Is), and the seats are trimmed in the 1950s "Chain Link" moquette.

  • Two of our "Dogfish" ballast hopper wagons, Nos.DB992780 and DB993210 have been removed from the Wagon Stock List, since they were sold to the Rother Valley Railway earlier in the year. This reduced our fleet of hopper wagons to three vehicles, since it is envisaged that all ballast for larger engineering projects will in the future arrive by rail rather than road.

  • The two photos below showing LBSCR E4 No.B473 at Sheffield Park on 9th September are by new contributor David Holmes. In the second, the loco is seen preparing to take water. As usual, click on the photos for an enlargement.

South end of the viaduct - 14 Sept 2012 View from footbridge at Sheffield Park - David Holmes - 9 Sept 2012 Birch Grove takes water at Sheffield Park - David Holmes - 9 Sept 2012

U-class with the evening Fish & Chip train on 7 September 2012 - Andrew Strongitharm 20 September
  • I'm afraid I've been a bit busy over the last few weeks... so several updates all at once tonight.
    We start with Andrew Strongitharm's photo of the U-class with the evening Fish & Chip train on 7 September - these trains have proved enormously successful this year, and the last two run tomorrow and next Friday. Tomorrow's train is fully booked, but there may be a few places remaining for the 28th - details here.

  • 20 & 21 October was to have been our Sussex Branch Line Weekend; we regret to report that this event has been postponed until 2013 due to work taking place on a number of our vintage steam locomotives.
    Instead we will now operate a Service One timetable on these dates, with the addition of a Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea service on the Saturday and a Golden Arrow Lunch train on the Sunday.
    The Bluebell Railway are sorry for any disappointment this may have caused.

  • From John Sandys: from 6th September: Work on the extension, including repairs to the slipped bank, and preparations for Fenchurch's 140th anniversary weekend, the Gardens at Kingscote and U-Class 1638 preparing for the first train of the day plus a video of shunting that morning at Sheffield Park, 1638 preparing for the day, and later hauling the 3pm departure. In addition he has photos showing more progress on the extension on 11th September and 13th September.

  • The three photos below show LBSCR Terrier "Fenchurch" and the celebration of this loco's 140th birthday, over the weekend of 8-9 September. The weekend included (as photographed by Martin Cresswell) a display of Fenchurch-related paperwork and models, a birthday cake (being cut by Chairman Roy Watts), and other events relating to our smaller engines.

Fenchurch at its 140 birthday celebrations - Clive Emsley - 9 Sept 2012 Fenchurch 140 Display - Martin Cresswell - 9 Sept 2012 Fenchurch 140 Cake - Martin Cresswell - 9 Sept 2012
Stepney and Baxter with their train on 8 September 2012 - Ben Gray
  • On the Saturday 8th September our steam loco availability was at a low ebb, with just 3 locos running, with the U-class on the main set, and Stroudley Terrier "Stepney" (appropriately enough for the Fenchurch 140 weekend) and "Captain Baxter" used on the vintage train, as seen in Ben Gray's photo on the right. Unfortunately "Baxter" was not on top form, being in need of a boiler washout, so Stepney and the single Birdcage coach formed the second and third vintage trains of the day.

  • Ben Gray's other photos from the day are available here.

  • Martin Lawrence has this mobile phone video of "Stepney" saving the day, and some photos from that weekend, together with an old VHS transfer showing a trip to Kingscote behind S15-class No.847 on 6 July 1994.

  • The Gauge 1 Model Railway Association have produced plans for a 10mm to the foot live steam version of the SECR H-class, and this video shows the example built by Ernie Noa steaming for the first time earlier this month.

  • David Chappell's first photo below shows that, following the replacement of two springs on the Saturday, and refilling of the boiler after its washout, the E4 was back in use the following day (Sunday 9th), seen here with a 5-coach set of matching coaches. His second photo shows work currently being done just north of Sheffield Park to enable the river Ouse to return to its earlier meandering course, undoing the 18th century canalization, as part of MORPH - Middle Ouse Restoration Of Physical Habitats - covering 15 sites, both on the Ouse between Ardingly and Barcombe Mills, and on the Uck, its main tributary, aimed at improving the flood-resistance of the river, and bio-diversity along its course. The current work at Sheffield Park is one of the first 4 projects, and there are two further projects possibly to come in the Sheffield Park area, under consultation. MORPH is a partnership project between the Ouse & Adur Rivers Trust (OART), the Environment Agency and Royal Haskoning, an environmental consultancy.
The E4 with a matching 5-coach set in Southern Olive - David Chappell - 9 September 2012 Work on the river north of Sheffield Park - David Chappell - 9 September 2012
323 'Bluebell' with vintage train on 15 September 2012 - Derek Hayward
  • Derek Hayward's photo on the right shows that, by the following weekend No.323 "Bluebell" was also back in service, and in charge of the vintage train. Replacing the 6-compartment Brighton Bogie first with the older 4-compartment Stroudley First just about brought the train weight down to within the load limit we impose on the P-classes, whilst providing a train with a good passenger capacity (about twice that of the equivalent weight of Mk.I corridor coaches).

  • Matt Hume contributes his first set of photos to this site, having thoroughly enjoyed a visit to the line on 6th September.

  • Saturday 15 September also saw the wedding of Simon Blaker & Becky Dallimore, and as is traditional for Loco Dept weddings, a suitable guard of honour was provided, as seen in the first of Derek Hayward's photos below. Derek's second photo shows the Pullman train later used by the wedding party, headed by the E4.
Loco Department Guard of Honour - Derek Hayward - 15 September 2012 E4 with the wedding special - Derek Hayward - 15 September 2012
C-class with Wealden Rambler on 15 September 2012 - Derek Hayward
Result of pressure washing the steam crane - Derek Hayward - 15 September 2012 Pway gang lifting rail joint and operating the stone blower - David Chappell - 16 Sept 2012

Bluebell with two SECR carriages - Martin Lawrence - 2 September 2012 6 September
  • Martin Lawrence's photo, taken on Sunday, shows SECR P-class No.323 "Bluebell" with two SECR coaches, forming a light-weight 2-coach set of reasonably high-capacity as the second train to cover whilst other engines receive wash-outs. Martin has two new galleries, one from 19th August, and a small one from Sunday 2nd September, from which this is taken.

  • Postal and online bookings are now open for our Santa Special services. In addition, details are now available for

  • We are pleased to see another great video from Gary and Philip Bull, from the middle of August.

  • In addition to the information previously released on plans for the 8-9 September Fenchurch 140 Weekend: Atlantic House will be open, with a sales stand and viewing area for the Brighton Atlantic project. Fenchurch and (hopefully on the Saturday) Stepney will be on display in the dock at Sheffield Park, the collection of historical pictures is ready for display, as is the information display regarding the restoration of SECR No. 27. A guide will be on hand to show you the progress and discuss the restoration on No.27. There will also be a guide to show you the finer points of Fenchurch's footplate. There will also be a fund raising stand selling modelling items, tee shirts the commemorative mugs and much much more. It is unlikely that the brakevan rides will take place due to good operational reasons.

  • Revision to the Loco Roster showing current loco usage plans, showing that LBSCR Terrier No.55 "Stepney" is expected to be in operation on Sunday as part of the "Fenchurch 140" event.

  • Ashley Smith visited the line last Thursday, 30 August, and went down to West Hoathly to catch the afternoon service trains. A couple of photos (B473 with the Edwardian set and 1638 with the Mk.1s and Bulleid coaches) plus a nice video compilation are the result.

  • Photos from Chris Jennings, majoring on the vintage coaching stock in addition to the U and 9F locos, taken on 16 June this year, including the photo below showing the U-class shunting the LSWR brake coach at Sheffield Park, and also photos taken on 25 July, featuring the E4 and more great shots of the Edwardian carriages.

  • John Sandys provides a gallery from 28 August, including volunteer work at Kingscote, and a shot of a newly cleaned Fenchurch in readiness for its 140th Anniversary.
    John also has photos from Friday 31 August, which show the SR-liveried vintage set back in regular use, behind B473, and a video of the E4 with the Edwardian carriages. These coaches have been under maintenance, and then used for filming work (an advert for Intel) in recent weeks, with the Mets and 4-wheelers having been in service in their place. From the same day is a set of photos showing the latest views of progress on the Northern Extension, where dry weather is enabling good progress to be made. More recent still is a set of photos from Tuesday 4 September showing new stock in the shop at Sheffield Park, Camelot's frames in the running shed, and Stepney being prepared for the coming weekend's "Fenchurch 140" event, plus more photos from the Extension.

  • Our next lineside photographers' PTS courses will be held on Wednesday 26 September, Saturday 27 October, Wednesday 21 November 2012, Saturday 26 January and Friday 22 February 2013. These are a mandatory requirement for anyone wishing to take photographs outside of the publicly accessible areas of the Bluebell Railway.

  • Four potential new volunteers joined our "Find Out More Day" on Sunday. Below (in David Chappell's photo) we see them behind the Carriage & Wagon Shed at Horsted Keynes with Dave Clarke, standing in front of what will become the underframe for LCDR/SECR coach No.3188, the body of which is currently under restoration in the workshop. The underframe was formerly under SR van No.1507, a 1947-built Parcels van, latterly in departmental service as ADB977182, and which was purchased from Eastleigh by the Bluebell in early 2006.

  • Bollo the gorilla (photo below) is participating in the Track Trek on 30th September, and his fundraising is going quite well; he was initially aiming for £100, but the target quickly had to rise to £500, but with Bollo's sponsorship (in aid of the Funding for the Finish campaign for the extension) already at nearly £600, it has been further increased to £1000. You can sponsor Bollo via Bollo can also be sponsored through Joseph Wright at the railway, who holds his sponsorship form - if he's not Guard on your train you may find him running the buffet at Horsted Keynes. Or if you prefer not to sponsor a gorilla, please do sponsor Liz Bennett, the Mayor of East Grinstead, or one of the 400 others taking part - we still need to raise over half a million pounds to complete the extension to East Grinstead, so please do be generous.

  • The latest Bluebell Safety Newsletter, intended principally for staff and volunteers, is now available online and in paper form via mess rooms at the Railway.

  • During August 2012 there were 74,565 total hits on this page, from 43,791 unique visitors.

U-class 1638 with LSWR coach 1520 at Sheffield Park - Chris Jennings - 16 June 2012 Potential new volunteers with Dave Clarke and the underframe for 3188 - David Chappell - 2 Sept 2012 Bollo the Gorilla will be track trecking on 30 Sept 2012

Dave Clarke painting carriage ceiling - David Chappell - 27 28 August

1962 Vauxhaul Cresta - Best in Show - Derek Hayward - 12 August 2012 17 August
  • Karen Bush won the Southdown Cup (Best in Show) for her 1962 Vauxhall PA Cresta, 198SKL. The judges particularly noted the outstanding condition of the vehicle given that cars from this era are often prone to rust. Derek Hayward's photo shows Karen with the car and the trophy. Derek has a large gallery of photos from last weekend. Below is seen one of the groups present, the Ford Sidevalve Owners' Club.

  • Nick Burgess visited the Vintage Transport Weekend on the Saturday, had a really good day, and shares these photos.

  • Nathan Gibson provides the photo below showing Fletcher Jennings No.3 "Captain Baxter" as it heads though Horsted Keynes on a Brakevan ride on Sunday during the Vintage Transport weekend.

Ford Sidevalve Owners' Club - Derek Hayward - 12 August 2012 Baxter giving brakevan rides - Nathan Gibson - 12 August 2012

H-class at Leamland Bridge - Ian Whitehead - 5 August 2012 15 August
  • Ian Whitehead's black & white photo shows H-class No.263 as it passes Leamland Bridge with the 4.02pm train from Sheffield Park, en-route to Kingscote on Sunday 5th August.

  • As from 1st September there are significant changes to the Bus Route 270 which links the Railway (at Horsted Keynes) with Haywards Heath. The revised timetable is available as a PDF here and via the Metrobus web site. On the positive side, the route is now extended to Brighton, so offers staff and visitors a direct link to the Railway from Brighton and Burgess Hill on Saturdays. On the negative side, as we have known for some time, there will no longer be a Sunday service. On Saturdays the final bus back to Haywards Heath is 1hr 20mins earlier; this will mainly affect staff using the service rather than our visitors. Over the last year the Bluebell has been active in trying to protect and promote this service, so the cutbacks are disappointing. Hopefully our main-line connection at East Grinstead due for completion next spring will to an extent make up for the loss of public service access to the Railway on a Sunday; however, whilst our extended line will give improved access from Croydon, North-East Surrey and London, the bus cutback really affects the Sussex/South-coast residents whose elected representatives have made the decision, as well as those living on the main rail corridors to the south of East Croydon.

  • David Chappell's photo below shows the Sunday P-way gang changing a life-expired sleeper on Ingwersen's curve, before the first train of the day last Sunday.
Sunday p-way gang changing a sleeper - David Chappell - 12 August 2012

9F on the station drive - Ruth Hayllar - 13 August 2012 14 August
  • Ruth Hayllar's photo here shows 9F No.92212 crossing the bridge over the stream as it left the Railway yesterday to return to the Mid Hants Railway for their forthcoming gala. It is expected to return to the Bluebell later in the year to provide cover for our autumn and Santa Special trains, pending the return to service of our Southern Railway S15. Her photo below shows how the 9F reached the unfamiliar photo location seen on the right!

  • New job advert for an Operations Supervisor - closing date is 31st August.

  • Ben Gray and Keith Duke provide great sets of photos from the Saturday of the Vintage Transport weekend.
    Derek Hayward's photos showing the award-winning exhibits from the event should be available later this week.

  • Alan Bedford has some photos taken at the Railway last Wednesday.

  • Great to see another fantastic varnished teak Metropolitan Railway carriage coming together, reported in the London Transport Museum Blog. It will go nicely with our four, as part of the London Underground 150 celebrations next year!

  • Ian Whitehead's photo below superbly captures the H-class in the trees with its train of contemporary rolling stock, soon after leaving Horsted Keynes station with its first train of the day on Sunday 5th August.

9F leaded ready for departure - Ruth Hayllar - 13 August 2012 H-class in the trees - Ian Whitehead - 5 August 2012

Ballast being laid northwards towards Imberhorne Lane - John Sandys - 9 Aug 2012 10 August
  • Further to yesterday's information about the Vintage Transport Weekend, the Observation Car should be attached to to the Victorian set. In addition to our hourly Service 1 timetable, there is an extra early train at 10am from Sheffield Park, since we'd encourage visitors to park there and get the train to Horsted Keynes.

  • News Update The Extension News page has been updated with news and photos showing the start of ballast laying on the extension, and the erection of the Kingscote Down Home Signal on Wednesday (following on from the photos from last week showing the signal being transported to site). John Sandys photo shows progress with ballasting, as described in more detail in the report.

  • Update to the Loco Roster showing currently expected loco usage, from Lewis Nodes.

Find out more day participants - 5 August 2012 - David Chappell 9 August
  • We have one of our biggest annual events coming up: the Vintage Transport Weekend, with a fantastic display of vintage and classic cars, stationary engines, commercial vans, steam road engines and motorbikes on show at Horsted Keynes Station from 10.30am - 4.30pm each day this weekend. In addition, of course, we have a full programme of vintage trains running, and 1877-built "Captain Baxter" will be giving brake van rides at Horsted Keynes.

    The Great Northern Railway Directors' Saloon will be attached to the 11am, 1pm and 3pm departures from Sheffield Park for first class ticket holders (or on payment of a supplement) and tea, coffee, toasted tea-cakes, scones and home-made cake will be available on board. The 12 noon, 2pm and 4pm departures from Sheffield Park will be formed of our Victorian 4-wheelers and historic Metropolitan Railway stock. Guided tours of the carriage works each lunchtime, and a rare opportunity to inspect the carriage stock stored away for future restoration with a special tour (details in the 6 Aug entry below) on the Saturday (early evening).

  • The Fenchurch 140 commemerative mugs have arrived, as seen below, and will be on sale this coming weekend from the "Fenchurch Fund" stand in the field at Horsted Keynes, and also at the Fenchurch 140 event on the 8th and 9th of September at Sheffield Park.

  • The first Sunday of every month is your opportunity to join us on one of our Find Out More Days. You will be shown around the various departments on the Railway and this could be your first step towards becoming a volunteer. David Chappell's photo above right taken on Sunday shows six potential new volunteers standing beside "Sir Archibald Sinclair" whilst on their tour of the Railway.

  • Reminder that entries for the Maunsell 7864 fund's easy-to-enter Football Competition (where you try to predict the outcome of the coming year's Premiership and/or FA Cup) need to be in by this coming Monday. All funds raised will be put towards the eventual overhaul of the sole surviving Southern Railway catering vehicle, Dining Saloon/Kitchen Car No.7864. One lucky winner scooped 70 in last year's competition. Will it be your turn this year?

  • Dave Bowles has added a wide range of pictures of the LBSCR E4 radial tank to his website.

  • An interesting article on the NRM Blog concerns the cleaning and conservation of the two ship models on loan to the Bluebell Railway Museum from the NRM.

  • Further to the photos in the 5th August update, below, Signal KC53 (Kingscote Down Home) was erected yesterday, although the subsidiary signal for the route into the Up Sidings has yet to be fitted.

  • John Sandys' photos from Tuesday, including the 9F (seen below), and new stock in the Shop, featuring the Sheffield Park footbridge by Bachmann, and new kits from Santoro and Metcalfe. Also shots of volunteers, a trainee guard, and the gardens at Kingscote, plus the one below showing the SR S15-class 4-6-0 (with its boiler seen behind) coming together, now in the final months of its overhaul in the loco works.
    John also has three videos from Tuesday: The H-class approaching Kingscote, 9F-class 2-10-0 No.92212 approaching Horstead Keynes with the 1pm service train, and leaving Sheffield Park with the 3pm service train.

Fenchurch 140 mug 9F at Kingscote - John Sandys - 7 August 2012 S15 in the works - John Sandys - 7 August 2012

92212 at Sheffield Park - Nathan Gibson - 4 August 2012 6 August
  • Nathan Gibson's photo shows No.92212 at the head of a service train at Sheffield Park on Saturday afternoon. His photo below shows the freshly overhauled H-class, coupled to an appropriately liveried carriage, at the head of the 16:02 service train to Kingscote later the same day. Videos of the 9F and the H making their respective departures are also available.

  • News Update Loco Works News update on SECR P-class No.27, together with details of the Fenchurch 140 Open Weekend on the 8th and 9th September.

  • News Update Update from the Maunsell Locomotive Society on S15 No.847 and 541

  • The Mayor, Liz Bennett, gave us a good plug in last week's East Grinstead Courier and Observer.

  • Ben Gray has a set of photos from 30th July featuring the H-class and other locos running that day.

  • Neal Ball provides the photo below of the H-class at Sheffield Park yesterday, and is adding many more of his great photos taken yesterday to this album.

H-class with train - Nathan Gibson - 4 August 2012 H-class at Sheffield Park - Neal Ball - 5 August 2012

263 on the run-round at Kingscote - Andrew Strongitharm - 31 July 2012 5 August
  • The H-class is seen on Tuesday, at the north end of the newly laid pointwork at Kingscote, in Andrew Strongitharm's photo.
    News Update Andrew took that photo while assisting the S&T in various things including the delivery to site of the Kingscote Down Home signal post, which came by road to West Hoathly, and was then transported up the extension on a Wickham trailer, as seen below, and in an update on the Extension News page.

  • Martin Lawrence has some photos from the early last week, including several showing the human side of the Railway!

  • On the Monday and Tuesday a couple of weeks ago a team from the C&W department recovered the remains of part of an LBSCR "Balloon" coach from a back garden in Crawley, as seen in two photo below. The operation was financed through the Bluebell Railway Trust. Ian White has created a web page for the carriage's recovery, including more photos. It was built in 1906 as 6-compartment lavatory brake second No.89, later becoming SR No.3815. The extant sections are the brake end and the sides of one passenger compartment from the other end of the vehicle. Since the carriage sections only represent less than half of the vehicle, it will not join our stock list, but they are of great importance as the only surviving remnants so far secured of this ususual and distinctive LBSCR carriage type.

  • As part of next weekend's big Vintage Transport event, Dave Clarke and Tony Clements will be leading a tour of the carriage stock stored in our back sidings at Horsted Keynes on Saturday. This will start from the top of the subway on Platform 1 at Horsted Keynes at 5.45pm. The tour will take over an hour (probably more, based on past experience) and will conclude with the chance to view the stored sections of the two recent historic arrivals, LBSCR Balloon coach No.89, described above, and the 1860s Craven-era "chariot-windowed" First. As on previous occasions there will be a charge of £5 as a donation to the Maunsell 7864 Restaurant Car fund, and participants must wear stout footware since the terrain is rough.

Kingscote Down home loaded at West Hoathly - Andrew Strongitharm - 31 July 2012 Kingscote Down home post on site - Andrew Strongitharm - 31 July 2012 Balloon coach as a shed - Ian White - 23 July 2012 Balloon coach brake van side - Ian White - 23 July 2012

263 light engine move - Peter Edwards - 28 July 2012 2 August
  • No.263 is seen on Saturday in Peter Edwards' photo at Three Arch Bridge while on its light engine move up to Horsted Keynes for its re-dedication.

  • News Update Latest news on the extension - Profiling the cutting and Billingshurst Signalbox.

  • The Bluebell Railway station at East Grinstead will be open for viewing every Wednesday throughout August, from 10am until 4pm.

  • The Mid Sussex Times carries a report about Bachmann's model of the station at Sheffield Park, and the donation made by them.

  • During July 2012 there were 76,477 total hits on this page, from 45,346 unique visitors.

  • Robert Murray's photo below, from Saturday, shows SECR No.323 double-heading the E4, on arrival at Kingscote.

  • Our President, Bernard Holden MBE, visited the railway today to have lunch and to meet up with some of the staff on duty. Here Bernard is flanked by Len Harvie and Pat Page, two of Sheffield Park's station masters, in front of the Sheffield Park station sign. He has been photographed in this position on many occasions over the years.

  • David Haggar has recently compiled a web album of slide scans from a series of photo charters we had back in July 2001 with Bulleid Pacifics "Blackmoor Vale" and "92 Squadron" double-heading. Hard to believe this was eleven years ago now! One of David's photos is included below.

323 double-heading the E4 at Kingscote - Roger Murray - 28 July 2012 Bernard at SP - Tony Sullivan - 29 July 2012 Blackmoor Vale and 92 Squadron - David Haggar - 29 July 2001

263 re-launch - Peter Edwards - 28 July 2012 31 July
  • More photos from the re-launch of SECR H-class No.263 on Saturday, and the mini-gala, which continued into Sunday. Peter Edwards caught the moment Dick Ranson smashed the bottle of Bluebell Bubbly over the buffer of the locomotive. Dick was a principle in the original preservation of No.263 in 1964.

  • Ashley Smith provides some photos and a video from Saturday.

  • Dan Hill also has some photos from Saturday .

  • Neal Ball provides a portrait of No.323 and its crew on Sunday (below), and this gallery of photos on his website.

  • Martin Lawrence has added photos from the weekend to his current gallery, including the one below featuring No.323 and "Captain Baxter" double-heading Sunday's second set of coaches, formed of the 4 Metropolitans plus three 4-wheelers.

  • Roger Murray's photo below shows the H and C awaiting departure from Sheffield Park on Saturday.

323 at Horsted Keynes - Neal Ball - 29 July 2012 Captain Baxter and 323 - Martin Lawrence - 29 July 2012 The H and C await departure from Sheffield Park - Roger Murray - 28 July 2012

263 leads 592 and the Birdcage - Andrew Strongitharm - 28 July 2012 28 July

Captain Baxter's train - Andrew Strongitharm - 28 July 2012 263 with Met coaches - Andrew Strongitharm - 28 July 2012

592 blows smoke rings - Robert Else - 21 July 2012 27 July
  • Robert Else's photo shows the C-class limbering up for next weekend, blowing smoke rings after passing through 3-Arch Bridge last Saturday with the pre-grouping set of coaches. His photo below also shows the same ensemble, also approaching Horsted Keynes.

  • More details of this weekend's SECR mini-gala celebrating the re-launch of SECR H-class No.263 after its overhaul - we have all the serviceable SECR locomotives in existence in steam and 4 former SECR carriages, in an event with a predominantly pre-grouping feel.

  • John Sandy's has some photos of the H-class, nearly finished but without its dome cover, and other photos which he took last Sunday, showing that the very last of the lining still remained to be completed on one side. John also made a quick visit to the exetension yesterday, which revealed more progress in the continuing dry weather: photos and video.

  • New job adverts for locomotive and carriage maintenance fitters - closing date is 6th August.

  • Tony Sullivan's photos below show B473 arriving at Horsted Keynes on Sunday with the extra early morning train (the 10.55 ex Kingscote), and the U-class bringing the 11am service in from Sheffield Park a few moments later.

592 approaches Horsted Keynes - Robert Else - 21 July 2012 B473 arrives at Horsted Keynes with the 10.55 from Kingscote - Tony Sullivan - 22 July 2012 1638 arrives at Horsted Keynes with the 11 am from Sheffield Park - Tony Sullivan - 22  July 2012
  • New web page and entry in the Carriage Stock list for the Howlden Trust's new stores van, CCT No.94181, which arrived last week after being overhauled off-site by some of the group's members. It is seen below after arrival at Sheffield Park on 18th July, in photos from Fred Pragnell and Mike Hopps.

94181 on arrival at Sheffield Park - Alan Pragnell - 18 July 2012 94181 on arrival at Sheffield Park - Michael Hopps - 18 July 2012

Track Trek poster 19 July
  • Mike Hopps poster is now available for the Track Trek on Sunday 30th September. It's also available to download as a PDF.

  • Toy and Rail Collectors Fair this weekend: Car Parking and extra train/bus services
    Due to the recent heavy rain our car park field at Horsted Keynes is restricted to very limited parking.
    Customers are advised to park at Sheffield Park and take the train to Horsted Keynes. Trains depart on the hour from 10am (an extra early morning service) until 4pm.
    Passengers starting from East Grinstead have an extra early bus departing East Grinstead station at 10.20 connecting with the 10.55 train at Kingscote.
    Discounted Bluebell Bonous and Kids for a Quid tickets are on sale in advance up to and including Friday 20th July only, so enjoy an all day visit with a train ride as well as the collectors fair.

  • Also this weekend, as an extra attraction, we have guided tours of the Carriage Workshops at Horsted Keynes, starting at 12.25, 1.25 and 2.25pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

  • John Sandy's has a set of photos taken on the railway yesterday.

  • Tony Sullivan's photo below shows No.592 having just run through Sharpthorne Tunnel with the 3.00pm Sheffield Park to Kingscote service today. The plume of smoke at the rear of the train is No.323 "Bluebell"; the train being top and tailed because of continuing work at Kingscote.
592 leads train out of the tunnel - Tony Sullivan - 19 July 2012

Pair of Ps running round at Kingscote - David Chappell - 15 July 2012 18 July
  • Note: Website down-time. This web site will be unavailable for a couple of hours for planned maintenance work, from 18:00 BST today. The work is aimed at making the site more reliable in the future.

  • David Chappell's photo shows the pair of P-class locos running round at Kingscote on Sunday.

  • This weekend, 21 & 22 July, we have our Toy and Rail Collectors Fair, with Railway Artefacts, Model Railway Equipment and many other stalls at Horsted Keynes, both on the station platforms and in a marquee.

  • Come rain or shine, the Bluebell is a great day out for all the family. From 21st July we are offering discounts on advance bookings: Book your Bluebell Bonus and Kids for a Quid tickets in advance of travel and save s on our standard fares.
    Please telephone 01825 720800 or see further details here.

  • News Update Loco Works News updates from the Brighton Atlantic project and the Standard Class 2 project. As part of the ongoing work on the 2MT, cleaning and restoration of the Wakefield lubricators for the engine has started. The photo below from Tony Sullivan, taken last week, shows one of the lubricators just after cleaning started. An update for this website on work SECR No.27 is in preparation.

  • Jon Horrocks has uploaded more of his photos from 2002/3, including Taw Valley's visit, Giants of Steam 2002 and Branchline Weekend 2003 with 41312 visiting.

  • David Haggar has completed an album of slide scans from when the GNR J52 No.68846 visited us back in June 1997 for the centenary of the GNR Directors' Saloon. One of David's photos is shown below (showing the J52 with our H-class, which returns to service in just over a week's time).

  • Photos of the Beer Brass & Steam evening on 7th July, from Neal Ball , including the photos below showing members of Horsham Borough Band, and the E4 on the Golden Arrow Pullman train, one of three trains which were running that evening!

  • Details are now available for the next season's easy to enter Football Competition, raising funds towards the planned overhaul of our Southern Railway Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864.

  • Historic footage of No.21C123 Blackmoor Vale taken in 1976. The first part shows a trial run on 27th March, the second its first day in service on 15th May. From the Model Railways On-Line website. Bill Brophy and Roger Barton were the loco crew for the last run shown, making a fine noise with a load of 11 coaches, including 5 Bullied coaches, the overhauls of some having only just been completed in time for the event.

  • The final photo, from Dave Suart, was taken on Monday, shows the cheque presentation made by Bachmann, to the Friends of Sheffield Park (FoSP). The cheque represents a donation for every "Sheffield Park" model sold from Bachmann's 00 Scenecraft range. From left to right are: Ron Reed (FoSP), Russell Pearce (Bluebell Retail Director), David Haarhaus (Bachmann European Sales & Marketing Manager), Len Harvie (FoSP), Derek Palmer (FoSP) and Nichola Favell (Bluebell Shop Manager).

Cleaning one of the Wakefield Lubricators for 84030 - Tony Sullivan - 12 July 2012 Visit of the J52 - David Haggar - 1997 Horsham Borough Band at the Beer Brass & Steam evening - Neal Ball - 7 July 2012 B473 with evening Golden Arrow - Neal Ball - 7 July 2012 Bachmann cheque presentation - Dave Suart - 16 July 2012

Gauge 1 live steam atlantic - Clive Emsley - 8 July 2012 12 July
  • Some photos from the Model Railway Weekend - this was effectively a test of the viability of the event, and if judged a success the lessons will be learnt and a much higher profile event could be run next year. Certainly those who attended enjoyed it, and Clive Emsley's photos show a few of the sights which were on offer. The first shows a Brighton Atlantic, in the Loco workshop, in steam! This is an excellent gauge 1 model, which spent quite a time thundering around the track getting the interest of many, including the workshop and Atlantic house teams!
    The "Atlantic House" was also open to visitors, and the next picture (below) is of the real Atlantic, looking through the right hand cylinder towards the rear of the loco. It is hard to think that this did not exist a few years ago! It will be a fitting tribute to those who had the forsight to start the project and tenacity to see it through.
    Clive's final picture shows the Burgess Hill Model Railway Club's "Thornbury Hill" layout, a ficticious line based on the Brighton main line. It is a fair representation with many reconisable features. Bluebell volunteer Brian Peacock can be seen in the rear of the picture "signalling" trains in and out of the fiddle yard.

  • Details are now available for the Track Trek on Sunday 30th September - Join in: details on this web site - Download Participation Form (pdf) - or Sponsor the Mayor, Liz Bennett, who is joining us on the walk. This Track Trek video is designed to be viewed as a follow-on to the 2012 Funding for the Finish Appeal Video.

  • This articstic video from Gary and Philip Bull provides an interesting a look round our locomotive shed.

  • A reminder that on this coming Sunday 15 July we have this year's Evening Songs of Praise with a special train at 5.45pm from Horsted Keynes. There is no charge for travel, however we welcome a donation towards our Northern Extension Project.

  • Patrick Plane's photo below, taken last Friday, shows the tamper, which is currently visiting, at Kingscote, with P-class No.178 seen in the station on the service train. The main work being undertaken is to align, grade and tamp the newly laid trackwork to the north of Kingscote platforms, where it has reportedly been doing a superb job, and which hopefully will be completed this week.

Brighton Atlantic reconstruction - Clive Emsley - 8 July 2012 Thornbury Hill at Model Railway Weekend - Clive Emsley - 8 July 2012 Tamper and 178 at Kingscote - Pat Plane - 6 July 2012

Beers for the Weekend 5 July
  • There are a few tickets remaining for Saturday's annual Beer, Brass and Steam evening. Enjoy a selection of real ales, a picnic supper, Horsham Borough Band and a ride on a steam train. Details here of how to book tickets, or phone 01825 720800.
    All the beers this Saturday come from WJ King of Horsham; on board the train we will be serving their Summer Ale (4.1%) and Horsham Best Bitter (3.8%) and on draught at Horsted Keynes should be Brighton Blonde (3.9%).

  • Yesterday we had a visit from a road-railer equipped to do our annual weedkilling run, and today John Sandys photographed amongst other things, the tamper (which in particular was attending to the new trackwork north of Kingscote Station); other shots in John's album from today including progress with the canopy and the scaffolding erected for further maintenance by the Friends of Sheffield Park on the station building, and new stock in the shop. As a result of the work at Kingscote, the service today was again topped and tailed by the pair of P-classes, as seen in John's video of them arriving at Horsted Keynes from the north this afternoon.

323 at Sheffield Park - John Sandys - 3 July 2012 4 July
  • No.323 "Bluebell" at Sheffield Park on Tuesday morning, from John Sandys' small set of photos from that day. The two P-class locos were topping-and-tailing the service train, which allowed the continuation of work on the new points and track at the North end of Kingscote.

  • More details of next weekend's Model Railway event - we have 20 trade stands and layouts at Sheffield Park & Horsted Keynes Stations. There is no additional charge; normal platform and travel ticket prices apply.

  • Neil Munro-Thomson has some pictures he took on Saturday afternoon at Horsted Keynes showing the Vintage Goods train and preparations for the evening's Victorian Picnic.

  • On Wednesday last week, Burgess Hill School staff, parent helpers, Bluebell Railway staff and the Burgess Hill Drama Club got into character enabling some of the pupils from the girls' School to experience a day as a WWII child preparing for evacuation, as reported here.

  • A public consultation on the redevelopment of the centre of Haywards Heath has shown that 71% of respondents believe that it's important to safeguard the future possibility of the Bluebell Railway linking to the town. For the Bluebell this is indeed a long term objective; whilst we purchased the track bed from Horsted Keynes to Ardingly many years ago, and are currently looking into bridging the gap where a viaduct is missing to the west of Horsted Keynes, the project will have to take its place after many more urgent developments and improvements on the line, the first of which is of course to raise the remaining money to complete the extension to East Grinstead.

  • Added details to the Special Events list of the Victorian Christmas Specials and New Years Eve Golden Arrow Spectacular.

C-class approaches the tunnel - Martin Lawrence - 24 June 2012 30 June
  • Martin Lawrence's photo shows the C-class approaching the tunnel on the 24th June. Martin has a small gallery containing photos taken at the Railway between 19th and 24th June.

  • The GNR Directors' Saloon was popular today, and is in public service again tomorrow; you just need a first class ticket or a supplement payable on board. It's on the 11am, 1pm and 3pm services from Sheffield Park.

  • Keith Duke's photos from this morning. P-class No.178 was rostered for the goods train, and the U-class took the first passenger train. When it was found that the C-class would not be able to run today, P-class No.323 was quickly brought into steam to assist 178 (which was taken off the goods) to take the delayed 12-noon service. LBSCR E4-class No.B473 was also steamed, taking over for the 2pm service, allowing 178 to return to its goods train duties. The Victorian E4 (albeit in Southern livery) also took this evening's all-but-sold-out Victorian Picnic train, which consisted of 8 Victorian carriages.

  • During June 2012 there were 77,954 total hits on this page, from 44,880 unique visitors.

Furness Railway No.20 at Sheffield Park - Peter Edwards - 19 June 2012 29 June
  • Peter Edwards' photo on the right shows Furness Railway No.20 at Sheffield Park for filming work last week with our rake of Victorian carriages.

  • News Update Update on East Grinstead Extension. Mid Sussex District Council have announced a grant of £25,000 towards the water tower we will be building at East Grinstead, and there's more news about trackwork and signalling at Kingscote which is being prepared now to be ready for the opening of the extension next year. There is also a short update on the ongoing work in the cutting itself.
    If you've not seen it, take a look at the new Funding for the Finish appeal video - and please Donate to our appeal!

    News UpdateNews Update

  • There is a vintage goods train running on Saturday, hauled by SECR P-class No.178, which we plan will run to the timetable shown on the left, in addition to the normal hourly Service 1 passenger timetable, and the evening Victorian Picnic train.

  • There's an interesting video from John Harwood, showing an engine's eye view of the new run-round at Kingscote.

  • Last weekend's Sussex Food Festival has generated some useful publicity in the local press.

  • Update to the Loco Roster showing expected loco usage, from Lewis Nodes.

  • Photos from John Sandys taken on Tuesday, including the photo below showing the C and P-class No.178 at Sheffield Park.

  • Kieran Hardy provides the other photo below, showing "Stepney" during a rare moment when the sun shone at Railfest earlier in the month.

C and P at Sheffield Park - John Sandys - 26 June 2012 55 at Railfest - Kieran Hardy - June 2012

Dunnings Mill stall at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 23 June 2012 25 June
  • Derek Hayward provides today's photos, all taken on Saturday at our hugely successful Sussex Food Festival. On the right is the Old Dunnings Mill stall at Horsted Keynes, and below are Rachael's Kitchen Cupcakes, The Old Dairy Farm & Shop and the BBQ locomotive!
    Derek also has a full gallery of pictures from the weekend.
    The number of traders this year far exceeded previous years and the number of visitors on Saturday was also unprecedented. One regular trader told Derek on Saturday that business had been so brisk that they were already half way through the supplies earmarked for Sunday, and they had sent for more stock!

  • New web page for LBSCR Stroudley coach No.992, which arrived on the Bluebell in 2008, and which was our fifth such recovered body, part of the project to form a complete LBSCR train dating from the same period as our two Stroudley Terrier locomotives, and contemporary with the opening of our line.

  • The Mid Sussex Times reports the completion of our Heritage Lotter Funded project at Sheffield Park, which included our new carriage shed and museum at Sheffield Park. We do have rather more than 18 carriages however, and are planning another new shed at Horsted Keynes to get another 20 of them under cover.

  • John Sandys' photos from last Thursday include a look behind the scenes inside our ticket printing room, further progress on the Canopy at Sheffield Park, a new arrival at the Shop and "Stepney" returned from Railfest. Also a video of No.1638 preparing for its first train of the day and one showing it hauling the 11am departure from Sheffield Park, which demonstrates just how long the cylinder drain cocks have to be kept open to expel condensate while the cylinders warm through on the first train in the morning.

Rachael's Kitchen - Derek Hayward - 23 June 2012 Old Farm Shop stall - Derek Hayward - 23 June 2012 BBQ loco - Derek Hayward - 23 June 2012

23 June

FoodLovers Ashdown Park
Haywards Heath Co-operative Plumpton College

U-class with the Southern non-corridor set - Ashley Smith - 16 June 2012 19 June
  • Ashley Smith's photo on the right shows the U-class on Saturday with Southern-liveried non-corridor pre-grouping coaches. Ashley has three other photos showing the three locos in service on Saturday.

  • News Update Update on East Grinstead Extension. Our new Funding for the Finish appeal video is now available; it explains very well just what is left to do to complete the extension, so we hope you will Donate to our appeal!

  • SECR H-class No.263 is set to return to service over the weekend of 28 & 29 July 2012. It looks as though this will be something of an SECR gala, with four SECR locos and several SECR carriages in operation.

  • The release on DVD yesterday of the Film "The Woman in Black" is clearly generating some good publicity for us.

  • The Brighton Atlantic project have open days at Sheffield Park on Sat & Sun 23-24 June.

  • Sam Brown has some pictures from Saturday, including photos of some of the coaches which have been moved from the Ardingly siding in preparation for some filming work.

  • Derek Hayward provides the images below, all taken on Saturday:
    • On Saturday we hosted Alistair Farley, Heritage Lottery Fund Committee member for the South East, on completion of our HLF-funded project at Sheffield Park. The first photo shows a small ceremony as project manager Tim Preston receives a life membership of the Railway from Chairman Roy Watts with Alistair Farley looking on. More photos here.
    • The final part of the project is the "Above Workshop" Loco Department facilities, seen in the next photo, and with further photos here.
    • Furness Railway Loco No.20 is currently paying a short return visit to the Bluebell for some filming work, and will be gone again later this week (the loco lobby facilities are again seen, in the background). A couple more photos are available here, added to the gallery for the loco's visit in 2010.

Presentation to Tim Preston - Derek Hayward - 16 June 2012 Loco Lobby - Derek Hayward - 16 June 2012 FR 20 on shed with Birch Grove - Derek Hayward - 16 June 2012

C-class en-route to Horsted Keynes with stock to form a Wedding special - Tony Sullivan - 14 June 2012 15 June
  • Tony Sullivan's photo on the right shows the C-class en-route to Horsted Keynes yesterday with the stock to form a Wedding special. His first photo, below, also from yesterday, shows the U-class with the 3pm service from Sheffield Park, on Freshfield Bank. His second below shows the First-class Lounge Car at Ardingly on the Bluebell stand at the South of England Show before the public arrived on 7 June, on which day the ITV 6pm Meridian Weather Forecast was recorded in the lounge car. The introduction showed the forecaster waving a ticket for the lounge car and then going on board, and the actual forecast was made from one of the carriage's seats at a table which was laid ready for tea.

  • Anyone intending to visit the Railway this coming Sunday should note that the London to Brighton Bike Ride is taking place that day, with consequent road closures and likely delays and diversions to the west of the line. Visitors are advised to approach from the East (via for example East Grinstead, Uckfield or Lewes). The 270 bus from Haywards Heath is still running to Horsted Keynes, but with delays/diversions en-route.

  • News Update Update on work on No.73082 "Camelot" on the group's web site (see also photos here).

  • Martin Lawrence has some photos from the 8 to 10 June, and more from Wednesday (13 June).

  • Pete Sykes has some photos taken on a visit to the railway on 9 June.

  • Ben Gray has a set of photos taken at the Bluebell on 7 June.

  • Chris Thomas provides the photo (below) of No.55 "Stepney" representing the Bluebell at Railfest. His other photos are here.

U-class on Freshfield bank - Tony Sullivan - 14 June 2012 Lounge Car at South of England Show - Tony Sullivan - 7 June 2012 Stepney at Railfest - Chris Thomas - June 2012

New point completed north of Kingscote - Steve Fairweather - 1 June 2012 5 June
LSWR 488 dressed for Jubilee - John Sandys - 2 June 2012

Friends of SP volunteers - Derek Hayward - 30 May 2012 1 June
  • Derek Hayward's photo shows some of the Friends of Sheffield Park, who help to maintain the station, pictured with the recently rebuilt running in board on Platform 1. (Left to right) Graham Aitken, Dennis Mathews, Dave Brown, Ron Reed, Richard Lowe, Chas Melton and Mick Upton.

  • Derek also has an update on progress with the repainting of 92240 and 75027 (10 photos on pages 1 and 2). With the improving weather the team hope to make faster progress in the near future. Rubbing down, treating rust, and applying red oxide always seems to take ages, especially if it is done to a high standard such that the paint finish will last. The main recent work has been concentrated on the smoke box and front of 92240. The two photos below give a taste of the work in progress.

  • During May 2012 there were 83,677 total hits on this page, from 48,095 unique visitors.
Repainting of 75027 in progress - Derek Hayward - 30 May 2012 Repainting of 75027 in progress - Derek Hayward - 30 May 2012

C-class and Bluebell top-and-tail the service train - Derek Hayward - 30 May 2012 31 May
  • Derek Hayward's photo taken yesterday shows the C-class and No.323 "Bluebell" top-and-tailing the service train on departure from Sheffield Park. If all goes to plan, the newly laid trackwork at Kingscote should be coming into operation, meaning that the provision of an extra loco each day, and the resultant "crow" of whistles as the two loco crews communicate with each other to coordinate each top-and-tailed departure, should come to an end.

  • Update to the Loco Roster showing expected loco usage to the end of June.

  • Derek Hayward has updated the following pages with photos from yesterday:

  • Sorry to have to report that the GN Directors' Saloon will not be in service over the coming Jubilee weekend, due to a lack of volunteers available to operate it. We are trying to recruit more people to help serving teas and coffees on the saloon, so if you'd be interested in joining the group, do get in touch via Richard Salmon.

  • Hill Place viaduct on our extension, just south of East Grinstead, features in model form in lego in Peter Corish's fantasy world of Golowood, which was on display at the West Sussex Area Group N Gauge Society's first model railway show at Angmering last Saturday.

  • John Sandys' photo update from around the railway today.

  • Martin Lawrence's gallery from the last week and a half includes the unusual sight today of the Pump House at Horsted Keynes without rolling stock parked in front of it (below), and some fantastic shots of the 9F.

Sheffield Park Canopy progress - Derek Hayward - 30 May 2012 Sheffield Park Loco Lobby - Derek Hayward - 30 May 2012 Horsted Keynes Pump House - Martin Lawrence - 31 May 2012

Regraded trackbed, with ditch being dug, south of Imberhorne Lane - John Sandys - 24 May 2012 30 May
323 at Sheffield Park - John Sandys - 29 May 2012

Maunsell-era photo charter - Stephen Hunt - 26 May 2012 29 May
  • Stephen Hunt's photo is from Saturday's early morning Jon Bowers' Maunsell-era photo charter, using two of the locos which were in steam for use later in the day.
    Dave Bowles also has some photos from the charter (which featured the U-class No.1638 and E4 No.B473, with Maunsell coaches and a grouping-period goods train).

  • This Friday's Rail Ale train is nearly sold-out (as of this morning just a very few tickets remained, but you can still book a non-travel ticket to spend the evening at Horsted Keynes station, covering evening supper and Live Jazz, with first pint of Real Ale included) - or book now for the next one, on 17 August!

  • Sunday is our next Find Out More Day - if you're interested in becoming a volunteer, take the tour - phone the General Office on 01825 720800 or e-mail Volunteer Recruitment leader Clive Soper. The day's look behind the scenes runs from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., starting from the Sheffield Park Training Centre in the top car park.

  • The first photo below, from David Chappell, shows recently outshopped SECR 2-plank Ballast wagon No.567. This wagon type had the same underframe as the SECR 7-plank design, of which we had four, so we have re-created this otherwise missing design using one of them. His second photo, also taken on 13 May, shows the re-arranged "dock" road within the Carriage Works, from where LBSCR van No.270 has moved back to its poly-tunnel in the yard. The photo shows, starting from the viewing gallery (at the far end in this photo) the underframe and start of the reconstruction of "Betty" (LBSCR 5-compartment 3rd No.328), then LBSCR Stroudley brake No.949, with SECR (ex-LCDR) 5-compartment Third No.3188 closest to the C&W mess room.

SECR 2-plank Ballast wagon No.567 - David Chappell - 13 May 2012 Carriage Works Dock - David Chappell - 13 May 2012

178 and 80151 at Sheffield Park - John Sandys - 17 May 2012 28 May
  • John Sandys' shot shows No.178 taking water at Sheffield Park prior to the 1pm departure on 17 May, just a couple of days before 80151 came out of service. The newly repainted Bulleid Brake coach, reflecting the "Blood and Custard" Mk.Is, completes the scene.

  • News Update Loco Works News update on the overhaul of the SECR H-class No.263. The test running revealed very little additional work, and the final painting, lettering and lining will now be undertaken.

  • Update to the Carriage Stock List, following the return to service after intermediate overhaul of LBSCR First No.7598, and the departure for restoration on the Mid Hants Railway of SR Van C (BY) No.653.

  • Jack Slaughter's photo below shows the recently-reassembled inside valve gear on Dorking Grey Stone Lime Co. Ltd. No.4 "Townsend Hook". This loco, the narrow gauge brother of "Captain Baxter", was resident at the Bluebell in the early 1960s, and is now being restored at Amberley. More details of the project are available via Townsend Hook's Facebook page.
Townsend Hook's valve gear - Jack Slaughter - 6 May 2012

Captain Baxter at Kidderminster - Gareth Price - 9 May 2012 25 May
  • Gareth Price's photo shows "Captain Baxter" on 9 May, at Kidderminster on the Severn Valley Railway. Gareth has an album of photos here. Another photo from P.Sharpe shows it on 20th May, during their Victorian Experience itself, in the company of former Betchworth Quarry companion, Head Wrightson "Coffeepot" No.1. Wolfie1877si has this video on YouTube showing the cavalcade with Baxter, No.1 and Furness Railway 20 on 19 May.

  • Captain Baxter arrived back at Sheffield Park on Wednesday afternoon, as seen in Tony Sullivan's photo below.

  • Nathan Gibson continues to develop Bluebell engines for the Railworks simulator. Below is the current progress with Captain Baxter. More details of his project are on this facebook page.

  • Nice bit of publicity for the Friends of Sheffield Park in Builders' Merchants News featuring the sponsorship of materials for the rebuilt running in board on platform 1 at Sheffield Park by Chandlers Building Supplies.

  • John Sandys provides photos from yesterday including work in progress at various points along the railway, and a video of No.1638 in charge of the filming train.

  • Horsted Keynes station house is currently available to let, and Derek Hayward has a (temporary) gallery of photos here.

  • Ben Dingley captured the Q-class boiler lift on 12 May on his mobile phone camera - this is pretty much the largest loco whose boiler can be lifted out of the frames using the overhead cranes in the workshop. The boiler has since been de-tubed. The main work is, as is so often the case, to correct the grooving in the outer firebox just above the foundation ring, although there is more boiler work required than just this, plus a new ashpan.

Baxter returns - Tony Sullivan - 23 May 2012 Baxter for Railworks - Nathan Gibson Q-class boiler lift - Ben Dingley - 12 May 2012

30777 at Sheffield Park - Chris Jennings - 10 Oct 2010 23 May

80151 at Horsted Keynes - Chris Jennings - 10 Oct 2010 Harvard caption competition - Derek Hayward - 12 May 2012

80151 at Kingscote - Keith Leppard - 19 May 2012 21 May
  • Keith Leppard's portrait of 80151 at Kingscote on Saturday shows it shunting the GN Saloon onto the vintage set. The loco's owners were riding in the saloon for the day, and so when the loco changed sets at Kingscote (we're still using turnover engines there until the run-round is restored) so did the saloon. The loco was also used for the evening Golden Arrow service, and then bowed out of service at the expiry of its extended boiler certificate. It has been a superb performer over the last decade, and since this class of loco is both intimately linked to the history of our line and also an ideal loco for our services, there's a strong feeling that one of them will rise rapidly to the top of the restoration queue!

  • Keith has an album of photos from Saturday, which also includes the photo (below) of ex-LBSCR Bogie First No.7598, which returned to service after an intermediate overhaul just over a week ago. Unlike its previous paint-finish, this time the lining follows the edge of the lower body panels, as well as the upper, in the early 1920s Southern style (the amount of lining was gradually reduced as the 1920s progressed into the 1930s!). This full lining accurately reflects that discovered on the coach when it was stripped down for its initial restoration in the early 1990s.

  • Paul Pettitt has four new page updates covering the Southern at War event, and locos Nos.B473, 80151 and 92122.

  • Martin Lawrence has a few new photos from the 16-19 May.

  • There are quite a few images available online from Captain Baxter's visit to the Severn Valley Railway, where it participated in their "Victorian Experience" this weekend:

  • Tony Sullivan provides the last three images below, all from Saturday. For a television programme which is being filmed for BBC 4, our President, Bernard Holden, now in his 105th year, swaps memories of the founding meeting with Chris Campbell and Alan Sturt at Sheffield Park, and is seen shortly before taking a ride the length of the line in the Brighton Bogie First, which is just 5 years older than Bernard! Finally, LBSCR Loco B473 is seen with the four pre-grouping coaches which made up one of the two service sets last weekend, and should do as well next weekend.

Brighton First No.7598 - Keith Leppard - 19 May 2012 Bernard with Chris and Alan - Tony Sullivan - 19 May 2012 Bernard in the Brighton First - Tony Sullivan - 19 May 2012 Birch Grove with vintage set - Tony Sullivan - 19 May 2012

80151 at Sheffield Park - Peter Edwards - 14 May 2012 18 May
  • Peter Edwards' photo taken at Sheffield Park on Monday shows No.80151 carrying a red and silver smokebox number, to mark its retirement from service tomorrow, Saturday 19 May, as the same had been done before its withdrawal from service in 1966.

  • Paul Gildersleve has a gallery of photos taken on Sunday during the 'Southern at War' event.

  • Two videos showing Captain Baxter on the Tanfield Railway, from Kyle Allsopp and from AlansVids1.

  • The last edition of the e-mail newsletter unexpectedly had links connected through Google Analytics, which failed to work for links onto this web site. These links have been corrected for the version in the Archive.
    Photos in e-mail newsletter: If you do not see photos in your e-mailed copy, they may be being blocked by your e-mail software - you may need to select "allow images" or open the e-mail in a new window.

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

  • Patrick Plane's photo below shows, as of a week ago, the extent of the work being undertaken to the north of Kingscote. The formation has now been widened and the ballast base spread, ready for laying in the track and the new "Y" point.
    Derek Hayward also has an update on this work on Page 1 of his Kingscote collection, as well as an update to the Above Workshop Facilities at Sheffield Park, and the photo below showing some of the Home Guard during last weekend.

  • As well as being shown below in David Chappell's photo of it on the inspection pit at Horsted Keynes a couple of weeks ago, the freshly repainted Bulleid Brake No.4279 is also the first carriage seen behind 80151 in the photo above.

Track relaying north of Kingscote - Pat Plane - 11 May 2012 Home Guard - Derek Hayward - 13 May 2012 Bulleid Brake 4279 - David Chappell - 7 May 2012
  • John Sandys provides: Photos from Tuesday, including continuing work on the loco lobby, canopy, work at Kingscote, and the finished cattle pens; a video of SECR H-Class No.263 leaving Sheffield Park yesterday, while being run-in (it still awaits completion of its paintwork), as well as one of it shunting at Kingscote, of Nos.178 and 80151 with the 3pm service leaving Sheffield Park and further photos from yesterday.

  • Then there is a video from Martin Lawrence of the H-class at Kingscote with the engineers train yesterday, filmed from the other platform compared to John's.
    Nick Dearden also shot a video of it shunting the heritage wagons at Horsted Keynes.

  • Update to the Safety news page, with links to Issue 2 of Bluebell Safety News and also this Circular letter to all UK Minor and Heritage Railways from the Office of Rail Regulation, the wide circulation of which the Heritage Railway Association are encouraging.

    New dragbox completed for Camelot - Julian Heinemann

  • Julian Heinemann supplies this set of photos showing recent progress with the overhaul of No.73082 "Camelot", the frames of which are currently in the workshops at Sheffield Park. The photo on the right shows the new dragbox under construction by Paul the Bluebell's welder, suspended from the works crane to enable welding of the gussets and addition of miscellaneous other items, and prior to the outside faces being machined.

    The first photo below (as always, click on any photo for an enlargement) shows the old corroded dragbox.

    The next shows a damaged roller bearing, which has been replaced by the South Devon Railway. The damage cannot be seen when the outer cover is fitted, so we would not have known there was a damaged race if we hadn't had to press off the driving wheels to attend to the excessive play/movement in the wheelset.

    The final two photos show preparations to cut out a damaged section of the main frames around the hornguides, and the sections cut out, and this also shows a crack which has been cut out and then welded up.

Old dragbox removed from Camelot - Julian Heinemann Camelot's damaged roller bearing - Julian Heinemann Frame repairs on Camelot - Julian Heinemann Frame sections cut out on Camelot - Julian Heinemann - 11 May 2012

Spitfire flypast at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 13 May 2012 14 May
  • Derek Hayward's photos illustrate the weekend's Southern at War event. The weather was kind, and the event saw a significant increase in visitor numbers compared to last year. On the right is 1944-built Spitfire Mk LF IX TA805 which performed a flypast on the Sunday. Below, Louise, who works on the Bluebell Railway, is seen with members of the Home Guard. The flypast on the Saturday was provided by the Texan T6 (Harvard), as also seen below. Derek has started to create a photo gallery for the event.

  • Martin Lawrence also has a gallery of photos from Sunday, as well as some photos from last Friday, with the H-class being run in and tested at Sheffield Park, and doing some shunting, including adding the Brighton Bogie First to the pre-war SR set. This coach is back in service after an intermediate overhaul which included the replacement of its doors, improved steam heating, and a full re-paint.

  • Richard Salmon's video also shows some of the Spitfire flypast on Sunday.

National Fire Service ladies - Derek Hayward - 13 May 2012 Louise with the Home Guard - Derek Hayward - 12 May 2012 Texan T6 - Derek Hayward - 12 May 2012

12 May
  • This weekend's Southern at War event appropriately features all-pre-war carriages on our two service trains. The timetable is basically our peak Service One timetable but with the addition of an 11.17am train from Horsted Keynes to Sheffield Park, and a 4.47pm train from Sheffield Park to Horsted Keynes.

  • News Update Update to the Kingscote Goods Yard Project reporting the completion of the Cattle Pens project, undertaken by volunteer apprentices from Mears Ltd.

  • John Sandys has a video from Thursday showing the top-and-tail operation currently in place mid-week, while the north end of Kingscote Station is prepared for the opening of the Northern Extension next year. Interesting to note the whistle codes in use to ensure the drivers of both locos are clear on what is happening.

Top and tail at Kingscote - Patrick Plane - 4 May 2012 10 May
  • Pat Plane's photo shows the mode of operation employed midweek at present, whilst the trackwork at the north end of Kingscote is being renewed (see extension report, later) with Nos.1638 and 178 top and tailing the mid-week main service train at Kingscote. The second train running midweek has been the Bluebell specials, with the Obo being propelled to Kingscote and hauled back, appropriately by No.323 "Bluebell". At weekends, with a more intensive service (2 service trains plus the Wealden Rambler or Golden Arrow) we've employed 4 of the larger locos, top-and-tailing the first up service of the day, then using a turnover engine until the last service of the day returns from Kingscote with a loco on its tail. Over last weekend, with the C and E4 both due a washout, the locos used were the 9F, Standard 4 tank, the U-class, and the pair of 'P's.

  • This coming weekend, 13-14 May, is our Southern at War Weekend. The trains will be operating to our peak Service One timetable, and the weather forecast actually looks rather beter than it has been recently! Don't forget that we have flypasts organised with a Spitfire (Sunday) and a Harvard (T6 "Texan") on Saturday (as seen in this video of one of its passes over Horsted Keynes from last year). A Photographic Competition is being run in conjunction with the event this year. The closing date will be 18 May. More details in today's issue of the eNewsletter (which will appear on the Newsletter archive soon).

  • No.80151, the Standard 4 tank, is celebrating its last two weeks in operation by running daily until AGM day, 19 May, when it will finally be withdrawn at the expiry of its boiler certificate.

  • News Update News Update on the Northern Extension Project, featuring the ongoing work at Kingscote, the latest from the remodelling of the tip, and Lorna Webb's London Marathon run reported in full.

    After-race photo - 5 May 2012

  • Hard on the heels of the London Marathon, The Sussex Living Marathon took place on 5 May, when a team of five runners represented the Railway in the East Grinstead 10-mile race, the first race in the inaugural Sussex Living Marathon Weekend. Lorna Webb reports that this time the course was mostly off road, and due to the recent weather was incredibly muddy. In some places, runners had to run through mud deeper than their ankles, standing water, and at one point what was effectively a stream bed. The mud made it very heavy going, but despite that, all five managed to finish with times ranging from a very impressive 1 hr 13 min (Andy Stadden) to a less impressive 2 hr 05 min (Lorna herself). The "after race" photo on the left shows (left to right) the mud-splattered James Bright, David Bright, Adam Fink, Lorna Webb and Andy Stadden.

  • Martin Lawrence supplies a gallery of photos of activity at the railway including all the fun from the Fish & Chip train last Friday, and a video of the dining train being retrieved from the carriage shed at Sheffield Park by U class No.1638 in preparation for its evening run to Kingscote.

  • Keith Duke supplies this collection of pictures from Saturday 5 May, featuring the moving cloud of steam that is the 9F first thing in the morning!

  • John Sandys has a few photos Monday 7 May, including a ride on the GN Saloon, the latest state of the track renewal at Kingscote, and some shots of the 9F. Then he has a set of photos from his regular Tuesday visit, including the Loco Lobby progress, shunting at Sheffield Park, Cattle Pen progress at Kingscote, including shots of the flooring going in, and a feature of the new stock and displays in the Shop at Sheffield Park, plus a video of 178 shunting the Directors' Saloon into the Shed, the 12 noon train from Sheffield Park arriving at Horsted Keynes, and the 1pm departure from the Park. His photo below shows the Mears' apprentices working on the cattle pen at Kingscote on Tuesday.

  • Roadworks with temporary traffic lights on the A22 on the northern side of East Grinstead (at the junction with Imberhorne Lane) are causing frequent gridlock in the town at present. Visitors may wish to use alternative routes!

  • The other photos below, thanks to Paul Jarman, show "Captain Baxter" at the NRM Shildon over the Bank Holiday weekend. It was again able to pose with Coffee Pot, and the two will meet again shortly at Kidderminster.

Working on the cattle pens - John Sandys - 8 May 2012 Captain Baxter with the Coffee Pot at Shildon - Paul Jarman - 6 May 2012 Captain Baxter at Shildon - Paul Jarman - 6 May 2012

Cattle Pen at the end of the first week - Richard Clark - 27 April 2012 4 May
  • News Update New news page created for the Kingscote Goods Yard Project which explains more about the cattle pens being constructed as the first major development on the ground for the project, seen in Richard Clark's photo on the right, which was taken last Friday.

  • There is a great review of our Golden Arrow Pullman dining service in Andrew Kay's Food & Drink.

  • This weekend:
    • The Great Northern Directors' Saloon will be attached to the 11am, 1pm and 3pm departures from Sheffield Park on each day over the coming Bank Holiday Weekend. Enjoy a coffee or a cream tea - no need to book in advance - just buy a first-class ticket, or upgrade to first on board.
    • The Bulleid Society Shop at Sheffield Park will be open on all days over this Bank Holiday weekend - new stock has arrived; DVD's and books etc, along with the usual lines.
    • There will be guided tours of carriage works at Horsted Keynes each lunchtime.
    • On Sunday, we have the next of our Find Out More Days - if you're interested in becoming a volunteer, take the tour - phone the General Office on 01825 720800 or e-mail Volunteer Recruitment leader Clive Soper. The day's look behind the scenes runs from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., starting from the Sheffield Park Training Centre in the top car park. David Chappell's photo below shows the participants of the April FOMD outside the Carriage Works.

  • Update to the Loco Roster showing expected loco usage to the end of May.

  • Congratulations to Lorna Webb who completed the London Marathon, raising about £6,500 for the Northern Extension Project. The photos below show Lorna in her "Bluebell" running gear, at the East Grinstead Open Day the day before the run (photo: Adam Fink) and with Adam after they completed the marathon together. If you've not yet done so, please consider sponsoring her here, or see the main appeal site for other ways to support the Northern Extension Project.

Find our more day participants - David Chappell - 1 April 2012 Lorna at East Grinstead - Adam Fink - 21 April 2012 Lorna and Adam after completing the London Marathon

263 in steam - John Sandys - 1 May 2012 2 May

323 with Obo - Mark Maguire - 19 April 2012 Captain Baxter at Tanfield - Paul Jarman - 21 April 2012 Captain Baxter at Tanfield - Paul Jarman - 21 April 2012 Captain Baxter at Tanfield - Paul Jarman - 21 April 2012

92212 at West Hoathly - Derek Hayward - 15 April 2012 20 April
  • Derek Hayward's photo shows why Jon Bowers dived into the Carriage Shed on Sunday to scrounge an off-cut of plywood, and emerged with the reporting number carried here.

  • Funeral details for Alan Closs are now available on the BRPS Members' Notices.

  • Matt Price managed to get a photo of 73204 heading the VEP down to East Grinstead earlier today in preparation for this weekend's open days. The unit was moved from Wimbledon Park last night, and was then worked down to East Grinstead from Tonbridge West Yard today.

  • Dave Bowles' provides photos of Saturday's Vintage Goods Train.

  • The Book Sale previously advertised to be held at Kingscote on 21-22 April will not now take place.

  • John Harwood provides a video of the 1pm Spring Special departure on Wednesday.

  • John Sandys visited the railway yesterday morning, the photos show progress on the staff accomodation at Sheffield Park, continuing work on the canopy, and the Spring Special. He also provides a video of 592 shunting at Sheffield Park, and one of 323 "Bluebell" running up to take water.

  • Derek Hayward's two photos below show the other two locos running last Sunday - the C with the Lunchtime Pullman, and the E4 with its matching Southern set.

  • Clive Emsley provides this photo from last Friday, showing Sheffield Park signalman Brian Peacock conducting the token exchange with the 9F's driver Steve Squire before the departure of the 1.03pm service.

592 with the Golden Arrow - Derek Hayward - 15 April 2012 B473 at West Hoathly - Derek Hayward - 15 April 2012 Token exchange at Sheffield Park - Clive Emsley - 13 April 2012

592 with photo charter - David Haggar - 14 April 2012 19 April
  • David Haggar's photo on the right shows the C class at Rock Cutting with Saturday morning's Vintage Goods Train photo charter. David's photo below is from Monday's photo charter with 32655 (Stepney), seen here at Vaux End.

  • News Update Loco Works Working Group update on the overhaul of the SR Q-class No.541 - the loco's tender has been re-wheeled.

  • It appears that our 4 VEP unit, 3417 Gordon Pettit, should move from Wimbledon Park to East Grinstead tomorrow, ready for the weekend's East Grinstead Open Days.

  • Two new events added to the Special Events chronological listing:
    • 1 July: Pooh Bridge Excursion - Travel from London to East Grinstead, and join our a vintage luxury coach and steam train excursion through the Ashdown Forest.
    • 7 July: Beer, Brass and Steam with real ale, a picnic supper, Horsham Borough Band and a ride on a steam train. Phone 01825 720800 for more information and to book tickets.

  • Derek Hayward provides a photo below showing the steelwork erected for the southwards extension to the new loco lobby - this section will have toilet, laundry and shower facilities on the first two floors, and loco operations facilities plus a balcony on the top floor, and will also incorporate the main staircase for the above workshop facilities. Derek's second photo below shows RT 3775 sitting at Kingscote during Sunday's East Grinstead Bus Running Day. Derek also now has a final gallery covering the HLF-funded construction of Sheffield Park Carriage Shed, which is now fully operational.

32655 with photo charter - David Haggar - 16 April 2012 Steelwork at South end of loco works - Derek Hayward - 15 April 2012 RT 3775 at Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 15 April 2012

Stepney with photo charter - Andrew Strongitharm - 16 April 2012 18 April
  • On Monday Jon Bowers staged another photo charter with Stroudley Terrier 32655 (Stepney) in fully lined out BR black livery, hauling the SECR Birdcage coach. Andrew Strongitharm provides the photo on the right, and David Haggar has a photo gallery and three video clips; run-past at Rock Cutting, the second just south of Kingscote and passing Vaux End.

  • Martin Lawrence has a gallery of photos from yesterday afternoon, showing that the Spring Observation Car Specials are proving very popular.

    Baxter at Beamish - Paul Jarman - 14-15 April 2012

  • This photo shows "Captain Baxter" at work at Beamish over the weekend. Paul Jarman, the museum's "Keeper of Transport" reports that they had a superb event, attracting 15,000 visitors. He says it really is a stunning little locomotive and reports that Tanfield is looking forward to having it this coming weekend (it moved there yesterday morning). Paul has put many more photos on Beamish Museum's flickr site.

  • We had a name check and a web link in satirical IT journal, The Register, yesterday!

  • Mike Lee was on the footplate of the 9F for Saturday evening's Golden Arrow Pullman train, and provides the sequence of photos below: coming off shed, on the head of the train, with the setting sun glinting off the loco, and in the dark.

9F comes off shed - Mike Lee - 14 April 2012 9F at the head of the Golden Arrow - Mike Lee - 14 April 2012 Sunset glints off the engine - Mike Lee - 14 April 2012 In the dark - Mike Lee - 14 April 2012

592 with photo charter - Stephen Leek - 14 April 2012 16 April
  • Stephen Leek's photo shows the C class No.592 paired on the vintage wagons on Saturday morning's photo charter (as ever, organised by Jon Bowers). Stephen has more photos here.

  • David Haggar also has a web gallery and a video clip from the photo charter.

  • News Update Northern Extension Project News update - the latest progress report, news of the next NEP book sale, and Lorna Webb's preparations for her run in the London Marathon next Sunday.

  • Roger Carpenter has put a few pictures of Baxter on holday at Beamish Museum on Friday.

  • Derek Hayward has a small selection of photos from Sunday on pages 1 and 2 of this album, and also supplies the photo below showing 'RF' MLL 533 at The Plough at Dormansland on Sunday's East Grinstead Bus Running Day.

  • Neal Ball and party came to Friday evening's Rail Ale Train, and has some photos on Flickr, plus the one below, showing the 9F on the train at Sheffield Park. The original of this is also in Neal's gallery.

  • Ashley Smith had a day on the lineside on Saturday for the Goods Train day and to catch the 9F, resulting in these photos and a video.

  • Chris Ward also has a set of photos from Saturday, although he missed the goods train, which unfortunately did not make it to Sheffield Park, as repairs to the point motor damaged by Wednesday's lightning strike limited the capacity to handle extra trains there in the morning.

  • Keith Duke also supplies a set of photos from Saturday.

  • The Bluebell Railway features in a BBC website article and video on Research into Parkinson's disease.

RF at The Plough, Dormansland - Derek Hayward - 15 April 2012 92212 on the Rail Ale train at Sheffield Park - Neal Ball - 13 April 2012

92212 bursts out of the tunnel - Jan Kool - 6 April 2012 12 April
FoodLovers Ashdown Park
Haywards Heath Co-operative Plumpton College

92212 on the 3 pm departure from Sheffield Park - Graham Court - 6 April 2012 11 April
  • Graham Court's photo shows No.92212 on the 3 pm departure from Sheffield Park on Good Friday.

  • Don't forget that on 21 & 22 April we have our East Grinstead Open Days. Due to work that will then be taking place on the line in preparation for opening the Bluebell's Northern Extension right through to there next year, these open days will be the only occasion this year to visit the new station site at East Grinstead.

  • Nick Burgess has a number of photos taken around the railway yesterday.

  • Martin Lawrence's photos from 8, 9 and 10 April.

  • John Sandys' photos from his visit yesterday, featuring mainly the 9F, also ongoing work at Sheffield Park, and B473 shunting, plus a video largely taken on board the 11am service yesterday.

    Timetable for Goods Train - 14 April

  • The timetable shown on the right is for Saturday's Vintage Goods Train, which will be hauled by the SECR C-class (which will then take the afternoon Wealden Rambler tea train). This is all in addition to our hourly 2-train Service One public timetable.

  • Two photos from Tony Sullivan taken yesterday, below. B473 is seen with the 1pm ex Kingscote shortly after leaving Horsted Keynes, and 92212 with the 1pm ex Sheffield Park at 3-Arch Bridge. Peter Edwards' photo shows "Captain Baxter" ready to leave Sheffield Park by road for Beamish.

B473 with the 1pm ex Kingscote near Horsted - Tony Sullivan - 10 April 2012 92212 with the 1pm ex Sheffield Park at 3-Arch Bridge - Tony Sullivan - 10 April 2012 Captain Baxter ready to leave SP - Peter Edwards - 10 April 2012

B473 with its first train of the day - David Haggar - 6 April 2012 8 April
  • David Haggar's photo shows No.B473 with its first train of the day on Friday, very smart with loco and four coaches all in matching Southern Railway pre-war livery.

  • Reminder that Bluebell volunteer Lorna Webb needs our sponsorship for her London Marathon Run which is in aid of our Northern Extension Project. The Marathon is just over two weeks away!

  • Keith Duke enjoyed his day on Friday travelling behind the guest 9F, and provides this great gallery of photos.

  • John Sandys provides photos and a video from his visit Thursday, including filming of a Mexican TV ad at Horsted Keynes with the C-class and Met coaches, progress on the new Loco Staff facilities at Sheffield Park, and continuing trackwork at Kingscote.

  • Derek Hayward's first photo below shows No.92212 approaching Kingscote on Friday.

  • Derek also provides photos of the current state of the track works at Kingscote (where there will be no significant work next week, although the work there will continue into May) and additional pictures of the garden and current floral displays there.

  • The second photo below shows the loco works, on Friday, with the wheels for the Q-class tender, with on the left a glimpse of the SECR H-class No.263. Further photos from Friday are available here.

92212 approaching Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 6 April 2012 Tender and wheels of Q-class in the works - Derek Hayward - 6 April 2012

92212 enters service on Bluebell Trains (3pm ex-SP climbs Freshfield Bank) - Jan Kool - 6 April 2012 7 April
  • Jan Kool's photo on the right shows that BR 9F No.92212 entered service on Bluebell Railway trains yesterday, and is seen with the 3pm service as it climbs Freshfield Bank. Not surprisingly there are already lots of photos and videos available, including:

  • Photos below showing the trains running on Friday, from Paul Furlong (92212 with the 3pm ex-SP at 3-Arch Bridge, and 592 with the Wealden Rambler approaches HK), Derek Hayward (92212 approaches the tunnel, Portrait of 92212 at Kingscote, and B473 exits the tunnel), Tony Sullivan (92212 arrives at Horsted Keynes with its first train), David Haggar (92212 with the 3pm service, on Freshfield Bank) and Aidan Grant (92212 ready to leave Sheffield Park).

92212 with the 3pm ex-SP at 3-Arch Bridge - Paul Furlong - 6 April 2012 592 with the Wealden Rambler approaches HK - Paul Furlong - 6 April 2012 92212 approaches the tunnel - Derek Hayward - 6 April 2012 Portrait of 92212 at Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 6 April 2012 B473 exits the tunnel - Derek Hayward - 6 April 2012 92212 arrives at Horsted Keynes with its first train - Tony Sullivan - 6 April 2012 92212 with the 3pm service, on Freshfield Bank - David Haggar - 6 April 2012 92212 ready to leave Sheffield Park - Aidan Grant - 6 April 2012
Pullmans in SPCS - Martin Lawrence - 5 April 2012
  • The new Sheffield Park Carriage Shed is now in use, as seen in Martin Lawrence's photos and a video (taken on his mobile phone). The Pullman set is in there (as planned the Mk.1 Lounge Car set is now to live in the Dock next to the Loco Shed), as was the Maunsell set (strengthened with the SECR 100-seater), which was the second service set running on Thursday, "put away" by the E4 after its passengers had disembarked. The photo album also includes some shots of Tuesday's test run with the 9F.

  • A video from Gary and Philip Bull, shot last Saturday (31 March) showing No.80151 which was running as 80032.

  • Derek Hayward's photo below, from yesterday, shows the main roof spans now in place for the above workshop facilities. The corner pillar is necessarily very close to the tramway track used for road-rail transfers, and although it will be very tight, will not unduly inhibit such movements.

Loco Lobby progress - Derek Hayward - 6 April 2012

No.B473 at the Sheffield Park advance starter - Derek Hayward - 3 April 2012 5 April
  • Derek Hayward's photo from Tuesday shows No.B473 at the Sheffield Park advance starter with the three Maunsell coaches.

  • Friday of next week (13th April) sees the first of this year's Rail Ale Evenings. The proposed selection of beers includes brews by Hammerpot, WJ King, Rudgate, Brains and Broughton, with differing selections on the train and at Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes stations. Tickets include supper, train ride and jazz band - come along for a great evening!

  • News Update Clive Emsley's photo below shows the rear stretcher of SECR No.27's frames, that has been built up with weld to its original cross section. There is a full report on the Loco News pages
No.27 Rear stretcher built up with weld - Clive Emsley - 17 March 2012

92212 in steam at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 3 April 2012 4 April
  • Visiting 9F No.92212 undertook a test run to Kingscote yesterday, and is all set for entry into service on Good Friday. It is seen here, on the right and below, at Sheffield Park in Derek Hayward's photos, taken yesterday. Derek has started a gallery for his photos of the 9F during its 4-month stay.

  • Dave Clarke and Richard Salmon will be conducting free guided tours of the Carriage Works at Horsted Keynes over Easter. They will start from the entrance to the works (at the south end of platform 5) at 12.20 and 1.20 on Good Friday and Easter Monday, and at 12.20 on Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday.

  • 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 has a photos taken yesterday, covering construction of the new accommodation above the loco works, renewal of window frames and running in board, and repairs to the canopy on platform 1 at Sheffield Park, the new trackwork at Kingscote, continuing work South of Imberhorne Lane Bridge on the Extension, and the arrival at Kingscote of the 9F on its test run. He also supplies videos, showing general scenes around the Railway, work south of Imberhorne Lane, and video taken on board the 1.55pm ex Kingscote, as it leaves Horsted Keynes.

  • Derek's second photo below shows progress yesterday with the erection of the last main floor-beam at the south end of the above workshops facility at Sheffield Park. He has added 37 further photos to the gallery for this HLF-funded project.

  • Alan Pragnell's photo below shows the GN Saloon on the new electric jacks, which are ideal for lifting this vehicle (it could not be lifted with the previous hydraulic ones, the hand crane being used instead). The carriage is currently receiving attention to its drawgear, and this will prevent it making its usual appearance in service over Easter.

92212 ready for test run at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 3 April 2012 Steelwork being erected at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 3 April 2012 GN Saloon on jacks - Alan Pragnell - 31 March 2012

80151 as 80032 with Dogfish ballast wagons on photo-charter - Stephen Leek - 30 March 2012 2 April
  • No.80151 is seen again as 80032, this time with Dogfish ballast wagons in Stephen Leek's photo from Friday's photo-charter.

  • News Update East Grinstead Extension News: DDD raises £200k - Project News

  • Our 1877-built Fletcher-Jennings loco, "Captain Baxter", is off on tour shortly, with visits planned as follows:
    • Beamish Museum, Great North Steam Fair, 12 to 15 April
    • Tanfield Railway, Light Railway Weekend, 21 to 22 April
    • NRM at Shildon, Spring Steam Gala, 5 to 6 May
    • Severn Valley Railway, Victorian Weekend, 19 to 20 May.

  • Martin Lawrence has a great album of photos taken with his pole-cam on Thursday, including the first one below, showing the loco yard, including the newly arrived No.92212.

  • Steelwork is starting to be erected at Sheffield Park for the "above workshop facilities" as seen in David Chappell's photo taken yesterday.

  • This coming Friday sees the official completion of our new carriage shed at Sheffield Park. The Sunday Permanent Way Gang are seen visiting in their Type 18 Wickham Trolley to do some last minute tidying (again the photo is from David Chappell).

Loco Yard from pole cam - Martin Lawrence - 29 March 2012 Steelwork starting to be erected at Sheffield Park - David Chappell - 1 April 2012 Pway work at Sheffield Park carriage shed - David Chappell - 1 April 2012

80151 as 80032 in Lindfield Wood with Bulleid coaches on photo-charter - David Haggar - 30 March 2012 1 April - Second update
  • David Haggar's photo shows No.80151 running as long-scrapped class-mate No.80032 in Lindfield Wood with Bulleid coaches on Friday's photo-charter, which was organised by Jon Bowers. David has an album of photos from the charter, showing that it was clearly a very good day! He also has three videos, a run past shows the loco paired with some Dogfish wagons near Horsted House Farm, a second run past which shows the loco now paired with the three Bulleid carriages at the south end of the Tunnel, and a run past along Monteswood.

  • Alan Closs, former Trustee, Station Master, member of the Wednesday and Extension Gangs passed away peacefully in his sleep early yesterday aged 84.
    Alan was the first duty Station Master at Kingscote when the station opened back in 1994 and is one of only a few who have held SM positions at all three stations having started at Sheffield Park back in the 1970s.
    He and the late Ralph Piper were instrumental in the 'GLASPs' project to erect suitable gas lighting back in the late 1980's, which we still use today. He and Ralph were always on hand for other "DIY" projects around Sheffield Park station with Alan's familiar Transit Van on hand to pick up materials, from hardware supplies to signalling equipment!
    Alan leaves his wife and daughters and grandchildren.

  • Sam Brown has a set of photos from yesterday, showing that No.80151 was still posing as 80032, along with others from around the railway, showing Nos.B473 & 592, the new point laid over the last fortnight at Kingscote, and the re-graded formation to the south of Imberhorne Lane Bridge on our extension.

  • Chris Eden-Green has produced a Steam Locos In Profile video looking at the LBSCR A1/A1X 'Terrier' tanks, heavily featuring our own "Stepney" and "Fenchurch".

  • Update, adding a photograph by Rob Faulkner, to the web page for our "small boiler trolley", Flatrol SB Wagon B900036. The Flatrol SB is carrying the tender from the Q-class, and whilst this photo was taken last December before the repainting of the tender commenced, it can be confirmed that, since the Qs never carried anything other than plain black livery, the photo earlier today was indeed, as you may have guessed, specially posed for this year's April Fool's day update.

  • Derek Hayward's first photo below shows C-class No.592 leaving Kingscote with the Maunsell set a week ago today.

  • Derek's other two photo below show the nicely tended flower beds at Kingscote, and the station-master's garden where a new drain has been laid to help alleviate the flooding to which the station, being at the foot of a hill, is prone.

No.592 leaving Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 25 March 2012 Flower beds at Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 25 March 2012 Drain laid across garden at Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 25 March 2012

92240 being re-painted at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 20 March 2012 1 April
  • So that our own 9F doesn't get forgotten, here is Derek Hayward's photo showing how the re-painting of No.92240 at Horsted Keynes is progressing, as of 20 March.

  • Derek's first photo below shows Michelle Barton working on the tender of No.75027, it being very convenient to work on the loco in platform 1 at Horsted Keynes.

    This is conservation rather than simple repainting, and the engines are being taken back to bare metal, and then various layers of undercoat built up after any rust is killed with Chelade. Rubbing down has shown that the original undercoats on 75027 have largely failed and turned to a chalky texture, whereas the original undercoats on 92240 are in slightly better condition. Prepared sections that have been fully rubbed down, and treated or painted, are now smooth to the touch.

    The 9F Club are also continuing with their invaluable work on the engines, and they have been working to clean the wheels and motion. It is pleasing to see our younger members taking part in this conservation project. Derek's next photo below shows the other side of No.75027, where the 9F club have been helping with the wheels.

    Derek has 14 new pictures on pages 1 and 2 of the gallery specifically featuring this work.

  • Q-class No.541's tender is now nearing completion, and with the wheels almost ready to be refitted, the topcoat is being applied. When the Loco Works Working Group finished previous engines, many people expressed surprise that we were not painting at least one loco in BR lined black, as this is the most popular livery with enthusiasts. With No.80151 nearing withdrawal, the railway will be left without any lined black engines, so we decided now would be the right time. It will also allow No.1618's tender to be swapped for 541's at short notice if necessary. The final photo below shows Duncan Bourne starting to paint the lining during the group's last working day. The group are working in the Sheffield Park workshop today, so more lining should be finished soon, along with the lion emblems.

  • During March 2012 there were 83,238 total hits on this page, from 48,657 unique visitors.

Michelle Barton working on the tender of No.75027 - Derek Hayward - 20 March 2012 75027, showing wheels - Derek Hayward - 20 March 2012 Duncan Bourne lining out the tender of the Q-class - 18 March 2012

Maunde at the 1999 Giants of Steam - David Haggar 30 March
  • David Haggar takes us back to 1999 in the photo on the right, with the visit of J36 No.65243 "Maude" at the 1999 Giants of Steam. The loco had been brought down from Scotland for the filming of The Railway Children. It is part of a new web album of scans from slides taken during Giants of Steam galas between 1996-2007.

  • Double Donations Dash - Many thanks to everyone who has donated!
    "Funding for the Finish" is off to a fantastic start, thanks to so many generous supporters of the Extension project. By the time all the loose ends have been wrapped up it looks as though we'll hit £200,000 in donations, match funding and Gift Aid reclaims as a result of the last 7 days. This has reduced our funding gap for the extension to £600,000 (which is still a lot of money!) - if anyone had intended to contribute to the Double Donations Dash, but hasn't managed to, then why not sponsor Bluebell volunteer Lorna Webb on her London Marathon Run, or simply donate to the Funding for the Finish appeal? With your help we can do it!

  • Our Chairman, Roy Watts, spoke on BBC Radio Sussex this morning about the success of the Double Donations Dash. You can hear him on iPlayer at 1hr 27 into the programme, and there's also a report on the BBC web site.

  • We have another of David Haggar's newly scanned slides below, showing 5690 "Leander" departing Horsted Keynes during the 2004 Giants of Steam.

  • The other photos below were taken yesterday by Tony Sullivan. No.92212 already looks at home on shed at Sheffield Park, and inside the works there's progress with No.73082 "Camelot", which has its new rear dragbox in place ready for riveting. The upside-down boiler in the background is that of S15 No.847.

Leander at the 2004 Giants of Steam - David Haggar 92212 on shed at Sheffield Park - Tony Sullivan - 29 March 2012 Camelot's new read dragbox - Tony Sullivan - 29 March 2012

B473 preparing to take over the Pullman train - Derek Hayward - 25 March 2012 29 March - second update
  • Derek Hayward's photo on the right shows No.B473 preparing to take over the Pullman train, last Sunday at Kingscote.

  • Double Donations Dash - donations continue to pour in!
    Donate online or download the appeal leaflet
    The fantastic response to the first initiative in our "Funding for the Finish" appeal continues, as we received a further £11,928 in donations in the post this morning, with still more being donated online. We will need to continue to push fund raising throughout the rest of the year, though, since there's still a lot of money to spend before we can complete the extension.

  • Our Chairman, Roy Watts, should be on Radio Sussex on Friday morning after the 7:30am news speaking about the success of the Double Donations Dash.

  • Robert Philpot took some photos of the C-class shunting at Horsted Keynes today. The photos are at the bottom of this album.

  • John Sandys has a series of photos taken at Sheffield Park this afternoon, showing the C-class returning from its shunting, the newly arrived 9F and also work on the canopy, the running in board, and the first-floor window frames.

  • Update to the Loco Roster showing expected loco usage to the end of May.

  • Updates to the Operational Locos and Loco stock list pages, to add No.92212, with a link also to its comprehensive web page on their web site.
    Updates to the Carriage stock list and the page for Bulleid carriage No.1456, because of the latter's departure for a 25-year period on loan to the Mid Hants Railway.

  • Another series of updates from Derek on the HLF projects at Sheffield Park:
    • Sheffield Park Carriage Shed
      "The facility is virtually complete with just some very minor works in progress. To avoid the obvious question, the shed is empty because the S&T were working on the signals, The current gallery features their work in more detail. It is impossible to appreciate the amount of wiring and other work that is required for these projects, and because so much of the work is hidden in trunking and cabinets it often appears that "nothing is happening". The reverse is actually the case, with many people very busy indeed. My thanks to the S&T team for facilitating access to the signals and apparatus cases."
      Derek's first photo below shows the shunt signal giving access to the shed from the Pump House siding. The route indicator can show A, B or C for the shed, D for the Milk Dock, and 2 for the exit to platform 2.
    • Wash Out Pit
      "The area is virtually complete, and looks very smart indeed (congratulations to anyone involved in the "finishing touches")." In addition to that below, there are more photos available in this gallery.
    • New Loco Lobby (above Workshops)
      The concrete has been poured in the foundations, as seen below and here.

Signal controlling access to the new shed - Derek Hayward - 25 March 2012 The Dukedog stands on the new washout pit - Derek Hayward - 25 March 2012 Concrete poured in the loco lobby foundations - Derek Hayward - 25 March 2012

92212 on arrival at Sheffield Park - Michelle Barton - 28 March 2012 29 March
  • The photo on the right is from a gallery of photos taken yesterday evening by Michelle Barton, showing that on-hire 9F No.92212 has arrived at Sheffield Park. It also shows Southern Railway Bulleid open third No.1456, which is the return load, going on 25-year loan to the Mid Hants Railway to enable them to run a 3-coach Bulleid set once restored.

  • New web page created to host the first of what should be roughly quarterly Bluebell Safety Newsletters, intended for staff and volunteers. The Newsletters are principally distributed on paper via departments on the Railway, but are also being made available on the web site to ensure the widest possible coverage.

  • The first two photos below, from Derek Hayward, show more of Sunday's trains, with the U-class arriving at Kingscote, and the Standard 4 tank at the north end of the station awaiting the arrival of the next train, which it will then haul. This photo also shows the engineering work taking place beyond.
    The news from Kingscote yesterday is that the first renewed point has now been connected up.

  • The final photo below, also from Derek, shows progress with the H-class in the loco works, with the side tanks and boiler cladding now in place.

U-class arrives at Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 25 March 2012 80151 at the north end of Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 25 March 2012 H-class in the works - Derek Hayward - 25 March 2012

80151 approaches Leamland Bridge - Derek Hayward - 25 March 2012 28 March
  • Double Donations Dash - We are truly overwhelmed by the response!
    Donate online or download the appeal leaflet
    As reported yesterday, we have surged way past our increased target of £50,000. And then this morning's post brought another 223 donations, taking the total received in the appeal so far, online and through cheques, to a staggering £82,000, to which will be added the match funding and the Gift Aid reclaim. Clearly money will continue to come in for the rest of the week, and indeed, that's all to the good, since we still need to raise many hundreds of thousands more this year to complete the extension.
    Once we've counted it all, we'll report the final outcome next week, and how much still remains to be raised.

  • Derek Hayward's photo on the right shows No.80151 approaching Leamland Bridge, last Sunday, unusually with the Maunsell set because of the change of locos at Kingscote.

  • On Sunday 8 and Monday 9 April we have Easter Specials running in addition to our normal public service.
    Little Bo Peep will be travelling on the 11am, 1pm & 3pm services from Sheffield Park with Easter gifts for the children and a Hot Cross Bun for the adults - must be booked in advance by calling 01825 720800. Generous discounts are available if booked before 31 March.

  • Martin Lawrence just put up a few photos from Sunday 25th March.

  • This video compilation from the Foundry Film Service reflects the great progress made on our Northern Extension in the last decade (and indeed starts with material shot at East Grinstead in 1987), which helps put the coming year into perspective - we really are nearly there - but please don't let up on the fund raising!

  • The first two photos below, from Derek Hayward, show more of Sunday's trains, with the U-class at Leamland bridge, and the E4 passing the advanced starter on departure from Kingscote with the lunchtime Golden Arrow. The full gallery of images of Sunday's service trains is here.

  • The final photo below, also from Derek, shows the track work under way to prepare for the opening of the extension next year, which necessitated the engine changes at Kingscote over the weekend. Pictures of the works at the north end of Kingscote (taken with permission from positions of safety) are temporarily on page 1 of the Kingscote Station gallery.

U-class at Leamland bridge - Derek Hayward - 25 March 2012 E4 on departure from Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 25 March 2012 Trackwork changes at Kinscote - Derek Hayward - 25 March 2012

27 March
  • Double Donations Dash - Target exceeded already - but we're not stopping there!
    Donate online or download the appeal leaflet

    Due to the fantastic generosity of our donors we already have passed our revised target of £50,000 for matching funding for this week. Further donations are still very welcome, and although they will therefore not be matched, are still needed as we endeavour to raise the full total of £800,000 we need to complete the Northern Extension Project.

    We have approached another sponsor to see if donations already made over the target can be matched and will hear on Friday. Further unmatched donations may be made via the various means described on the main appeal web site, or you may wish to support Lorna Webb, one of our volunteers who is running the London Marathon to raise funds for the Northern Extension Project.

Blessing of the Porch - Derek Hayward - 25 March 2012 26 March
  • The Double Donations Dash is off to a great start. Over the weekend, over £14,000 had been donated, but today that total has soared above £34,000.
    Stop Press: As a result of the generosity of our sponsors a further sum of match funding has become available and the target revised to £50,000. This is excellent news and shows the belief that we will complete the project early next year.
    You can Donate online or download the appeal leaflet.

  • Sunday saw the dedication of the Porch at Horsted Keynes in memory of Simon Baker, by the Chaplain. Derek Hayward's photos on the left and below show the dedication itself and the guests, (L to R) Ian Fribbens, Tom Bradbury, Barry Morgan, The Chaplain, Andrew Baker (Simon's brother and also a volunteer) and our volunteer carpenters, Roy Wright and John Copeland. Derek has also added five pictures to the start of his Horsted Keynes Station collection.

  • Tim Baker passes on his congratulations and thanks to all Bluebell volunteers and staff who were involved in running the railway on Saturday, which was a very busy day, with plenty of visitors drawn by the fantastic spring sunshine! With work on the extension taking the run-round at Kingscote out of service, we had 5 locos in steam to operate the four trains running, with a change of locos each time at Kinsgcote. In addition to the two timetabled passenger trains we ran a sold-out Wealden Rambler afternoon Tea train, hosted a Wedding at Horsted Keynes, with the subsequent reception on our Golden Arrow Pullman train, plus a large Children's tea party in Birch Grove Room, and a private charter on the GNR Directors' Saloon. Meanwhile the S&T were busy at Sheffield Park completing the signalling to the new shed which is about to be commissioned, and the track gangs were of course at work re-laying track at the north end of Kingscote station. Quite appart from the Double Donations Dash, two Tenner for the Tip / Funding for the Finish collectors raised over £540.00 on the trains. The day did not stop there for the Bluebell. The Catering and Customer Service Teams then went on to Highbrook where the Bluebell also provided the evening catering for the happy couple and their guests.

  • Our web site also had a tough day on Saturday, with the server used for the site suffering a major failure, for which we apologise. Following a 13-hour stint on the railway one of our volunteers then went in to London to fix the server! The Double Donations Dash was hosted on two other servers, and was therefore largely unaffected.

Guests at the dedication of the Porch - Derek Hayward - 25 March 2012

92212 on the Mid Hants - Jon Horrocks - 13 September 2009 24 March
  • Double Donations Dash - Help us complete the Bluebell's Northern Extension
    Donate online or download the appeal leaflet

    Between now and 30th March 2012 donations made for the Northern Extension Project will be matched pound for pound by major supporters of the Railway.

    If you are eligible for Gift Aid as well, this will turn a £10 donation into £22.50 for the Extension Project.

    The target is to raise £40,000 through online donations and donations made by cheque - to release the £40,000 offered as match funding. Any money raised beyond the £40,000 will be used for the Extension project, but will not attract match funding.

    To download a Double Donations Dash form to be sent with your cheque, to arrive on or before 30th March click here. This is a PDF form, which you can then open using a free viewer such as Acrobat Reader.
    Alternatively you can donate online via

  • News Update News update on the East Grinstead Extension featuring both current work in progress and the Double Donations Dash.

  • Jon Horrocks' photo of 92212 on the Mid Hants Railway on 13 September 2009 serves to illustrate the imminent arrival (later this week) of the loco, which will be on hire to the Bluebell until 5th August. The 9F is planned to enter service on Good Friday. Jon has more photos of the engine here.

  • Our next lineside photographers PTS course dates are Wednesday 18th April and Friday 15th June 2012.

  • At the annual trade model and hobby show last week Bachmann had Pre-Production Samples of the SECR C-class loco due for release later this year. A report and photos are available on Graham Muspratt's web site.

Group of potential new volunteers at Kingscote - Martin Lawrence - 4 March 2012 22 March
  • Martin Lawrence's photo on the right shows the March volunteer recruitment Find Out More Day group in the booking office at Kingscote. The next such day is Sunday 1st April, so if you fancy seeing behind the scenes accross the whole Railway, with a view to joining us a volunteer, do get in touch via the details on the Find Out More Days page. Martin now has a full gallery from the Behind the scenes day on 4th March and also some photos of the new point motor and route indicator for the new Carriage Shed at Sheffield Park, taken on Sunday 18th.

  • Double Donations Dash - Starts this Saturday
    As part of The Bluebell Railway's Funding for the Finish campaign to complete its Northern Extension Project in early 2013, donations made in the week 24-30 March will be matched pound for pound by major supporters of the Railway, who have pledged up to £40,000. If you are eligible for Gift Aid as well, this will turn a £10 donation into £22.50 for the Extension Project.
    You can download a Double Donations Dash form to be sent with your cheque, to arrive on or before 30th March. This is a PDF form, which you can then open using a free viewer such as Acrobat Reader. The JustGiving page will be available from 24 March.

  • Two videos from Gary and Philip Bull, showing E4-class No.B473 in action, and P-class No.178 with the Vintage Goods Trains on Saturday 10 March.

  • Keith Duke has some pictures from a rather damp visit to the Bluebell last Saturday.

  • Work has started at Kingscote to change the points and realign the track at the north end of the station. Meanwhile the Friends of Kingscote are continuing with various tasks. The activity at Kingscote on Tuesday is on pages 1 and 2 in Derek Hayward's Kingscote gallery. Please note that these picture were taken from a position of safety away from the work site. The use of a very long lens shortens the distances in the pictures.
    The work on the track at Kingscote will result in trains this weekend changing engines at Kingscote, resulting in an impromptu "mini-gala" featuring 4 or 5 locos.

  • The first photo below, from Derek Hayward, shows the installation of new memorial tablets in the garden at Horsted Keynes on Tuesday. Families have the option of being present when the tablet is installed, or having it installed as soon as it is available. Further pictures can be found half way down page 3 in his gallery featuring the Memorial Garden. The garden is becoming increasing popular and some individuals are now reserving spaces for their slabs! Unfortunately there are also footprints on the planted beds showing that some visitors are not too fussy where they stand to view or photograph trains. There are other suitable locations for this, so we'd like to politely suggest that people use these vantage points instead.

  • Derek's next two photos below show the foundations for the new loco facilities above the workshop, with reinforcing rods installed on Tuesday prior to further concrete pouring later in the week - more photos here.

  • Another update to Derek's Sheffield Park Station collection shows progress on Platform 1 (at the bottom of page 1 and extend onto page 2). The scaffolding has been extended to allow access to other parts of the building (as seen in the final photo below), and the running-in board is also being refurbished.

Installing memorial slabs in the garden at Horsted KEynes - Derek Hayward - 20 March 2012 Foundations progressing for the new development above the Loco Works at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 20 March 2012 Foundations progressing for the new development above the Loco Works at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 20 March 2012 Scaffolding at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 20 March 2012

80151 approaches Leamland Bridge - Derek Hayward - 10 March 2012 17 March
  • Derek Hayward's photo on the right shows No.80151 approaching Leamland Bridge, last Saturday.

  • Sam Brown has now edited the video he took at the Vintage Trains Gala last November - well worth a look!

  • Four of Mike Hopps' "old-style" posters are now hanging in the Bessemer Arms and arrangements have been made for the shop at Sheffield Park to order copies of these and others from the series, for interested customers. The range is already available in smaller sizes, and should prove as iconic as the series of 6 posters the Bluebell produced back in the 1980s.

  • The first two photos below, from Derek Hayward, show work in progress last Saturday with the concreting of the walkway down the side of the new Carriage Shed, and the way the cables are ducted beneath the concrete. A further 18 new photos showing the work being done to complete the Carriage Shed are included in this gallery.

  • The final photo, also from Derek, shows the washout pit, also as of last Saturday at an advanced state. The blue container is the old grit-blasting container, which has been refurbished, for use as storage. Again, further photos of the Washout Pit are available.

Concreting in the Carriage Shed at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 10 March 2012 Concreting in the Carriage Shed at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 10 March 2012 Loco Washout Pit at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 10 March 2012

B473 at New Coombe Bridge - Derek Hayward - 10 March 2012 16 March
  • LBSCR E4 No.B473 is seen on the right at New Coombe Bridge in Derek Hayward's photo taken on Saturday.

  • Ben Gray has some photos from a visit to the Bluebell on Sunday.

  • Martin Lawrence captured this video (on his mobile phone) of yesterday's shunt at Sheffield Park which at one point involved the C-class moving 11 carriages.

  • As part of our "Funding for the Finish" campaign to complete the Northern Extension we are currently building up to the Double Donations Dash. Half a dozen individual sponsors have promised up to £40,000 if that amount can be matched by online, cash, and cheque donations made between 24 and 30 March. Full details will be published in Bluebell News, in a special edition of our online eNewsletter, and of course on this web site, from 24 March. Why not sign up to the eNewsletter - it's free, and the next regular fortnightly edition is due this weekend.

  • The first photo below (from Derek Hayward) shows there's real progress in the holes alongside the loco works, with piling in place and a trench prepared, ready for the foundations for the "Above Workshop Facilities" (new loco lobby) - more photos here. Derek's next photo shows S&T work in progress inside (and in the cramped conditions under the floor of) Sheffield Park Signal Box, to complete the signalling alterations required for the operational use of the new Carriage Shed. The third photo from Derek shows work continuing on Platform 1 at Sheffield Park, with progress evident on the canopy staunchions and their foundations, on the external cladding of the signal box, and on the first-floor window frame, amongst other things. The work on Platform 1 is featured in more detail in this photo gallery.

Foundations for the new loco lobby - Derek Hayward - 10 March 2012 S&T work inside Sheffield Park Signal Box - Derek Hayward - 10 March 2012 Work on Platform 1 at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 10 March 2012

  • With buffer stops now costing in excess of £3,000 each, and as we have run out of old ones, the Infrastructure Department have been experimenting with creating new rail built buffers for the new dock road and the washout pit headshunt. Although it is not exactly a new idea, we don't have the capability for large scale hot bending which is usually required and so alternative designs have been drawn up which just require gusset plates and drilling. In both these locations lack of space precluded a rear support, though plans are in hand to include this in future installations. Now that drawings, accurate measuring and drilling have been proven, it is possible to make these in the yard for later installation 'Meccano' style. Old LBSC 'P' chairs are cut in half to hold the timber and softwood sacrificial pads are nailed to the front. Traditional lamps have been restored and supplied by the S & T Department. Mike Hopps' photos below show these newly made buffer stops at Sheffield Park.
New buffer stops on washout-pit headshunt - Mike Hopps - 9 March 2012 New buffer stops on washout-pit headshunt - Mike Hopps - 9 March 2012 New buffer stops in Milk Dock - Mike Hopps - 9 March 2012

Dame Vera Lynn helps celebrate Bernard Holden's birthday - Tony Sullivan - 15  March 2012 15 March - second edition...
  • Tony Sullivan's photo shows Dame Vera Lynn helping Bernard cut his birthday cake at this afternoon's party. Bernard was in fine form and a short item appeared at the end of the 6.00pm ITV Meridian News, in which he mentioned amongst other things travelling to East Grinstead next year! Available on ITV-player - 25 minutes into the programme.

178 with goods train after leaving tunnel - Derek Hayward - 10 March 2012 15 March
  • Derek Hayward's photo on the right shows No.178 hauling the first of this year's Vintage Goods Trains, on Saturday.

  • We wish our President, Bernard Holden MBE, many congratulations his 104th Birthday today.

  • The updated version of our 2012 timetable leaflet is now available.

  • In the early morning on Saturday, Jon Bowers organised a photo charter using the P-class with the vintage goods train - David Haggar has a photo gallery and video clip.

  • Dan Green has a video of the goods train to YouTube.

  • The first photo below shows No.178 with Saturday's vintage goods train, and is from Kieran Hardy.

  • The next photo, from Derek Hayward, shows the H-class coming together in the loco works at Sheffield Park. Derek has a gallery of photos from Saturday, and caught (on camera) the cause of some late running - a sheep, which decided it would like to train as a signalman, later recovered by the farmer (more photos of which are in Derek's gallery).

  • The final photo, courtesy of the West London Line Group, shows our 4Vep unit No.3417 "Gordon Pettitt" on the move. The photo was taken from the passenger footbridge at West Brompton on Monday as the unit was moved from Clapham Yard to Wimbledon Park (taking a roundabout route to turn it). There are three photos on the 423417_Gordon_Pettit twitter feed showing it on arrival at Wimbledon Depot, where it should now be actively "looked after" in a way it has not been since leaving Eastleigh. The most recent photos show that "Gordon" has already been having fun at Wimbledon, being used "on the juice" to shunt "Tornado" which is there for tyre-turning.

178 with goods charter - Kieran Hardy - 10 March 2012 H-class in works - Derek Hayward - 10 March 2012 Sheep at Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 10 March 2012 Vep on the move - West London Line Group - 12 March 2012

178 in carriage shed at Sheffield Park - Patrick Plane - 8 March 2012 9 March
  • Patrick Plane's photo, taken yesterday, shows No.178 shunting inside the new carriage shed at Sheffield Park, and below, removing some of the engineering wagons from the shed. With the final concreting within the shed now being done, the shed is expected to be handed over for full operational use next Wednesday.

  • BRPS Chairman Roy Watts reminds us that our President, Bernard Holden MBE, will celebrate his 104th Birthday on 15 March. Bernard is in good health, being well cared for and enjoying himself in St Clares Care Home, Ditchling which is not far from the family home. The care home will be celebrating the occasion by laying on a party for Bernard and a number of Bluebell people past and present are expected to be in attendance.
    If anyone wishes to send a card or greeting to Bernard to mark this very special occasion, the address is:
              St Clares Care Home
              St Georges Park, Ditchling Road
              Ditchling Common, RH15 0GU

    Without doubt the main topic of conversation at his party will be the latest progress being made on the extension to East Grinstead - as we know, the firm favourite of Bernard's!

  • 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.

  • Another great video from Gary and Philip Bull, from 26th February.

  • Chris Jennings has added some 1970's Bluebell shots (and more on page 2) to his website.

178 shunting wagons at Sheffield Park - Patrick Plane - 8 March 2012

Cylinder liner being fitted - Fred Bailey - 1 March  2012 8 March
  • News Update Fred Bailey and David Jones have provided an update to the Brighton Atlantic Project News page, including the photo here, showing the second of the cylinder liners being fitted to the cylinder, and the two photos below show a wire-erosion cut axlebox crown, and our version of the "Hulburd's continuous metallic seal", four of which are used to make a steam-tight seal between the cylinders and the valve chest, creating the steam passages through the frames.

  • The Bluebell was used as a location in the big new film John Carter from Disney, and features in this trailer.

  • We will be staging a Model Railway Weekend on 7th and 8th July. It will be held on the platforms and in the waiting rooms at both Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes, and there will also be special events in the Loco and Carriage and Wagon Workshops together with Model Railway Layouts and Trade Stands. We will also be operating our normal train service as per the timetable.
    If you are interested in having a stand, please contact Nikki Favell via our Shop.

  • Dave Bowles has published his on-line book of "Steam Action 2010" which, needless to say, features the Bluebell to a significant extent.

  • John Sandys paid a flying visit to Sheffield Park today, and provides photos including 178 shunting, work in the Loco Yard, and finishing off the concreting of the Carriage Shed, plus a video showing No.178 shunting the service set.
Axlebox crown - Fred Bailey - 24 January 2012 The continuous metallic seal - Fred Bailey - 26 January 2012

80151 departs from Horsted Keynes - Tony Hayllar - 4 March 2012 7 March
  • Tony Hayllar's photo on the right shows the wet and misty conditions at Horsted Keynes on Sunday, as 80151 departs southwards from Horsted Keynes. His photo below shows 592 at Three Arch Bridge the same day.

  • Update to the 50th Anniversary Appeal web site, to include the latest information on the Northern Extension Project and Funding for the Finish.

  • As part of the agreement for the joint Metrobus / Bluebell promotion of Bus Route 270, improvements have been made to the timetable on the route, which will take effect from 14th April. This provides an improved service from Horsted Keynes station back to East Grinstead each Saturday this year, while we await completion of our Northern Extension, which should be completed next Easter.

    Goods train 1050 from HK, 11.33 from KC, 1.36 from SP, 3.32 from KC to HK

  • Next Saturday, 10 March, is our first Goods Train day for the year. There will be a vintage goods train running, hauled by SECR P-class No.178, in addition to the normal hourly 2-train service of passenger trains. The timetable for the additional goods trains is shown here.

  • A snippet of loco news - the H-class boiler was craned into its frames yesterday, and it's now all hands on deck to re-assemble the loco, so that the painting can be completed. No re-launch date for No.263 has yet been decided.

  • John Sandys visited Sheffield Park yesterday and took a few photos of ongoing work on the canopy, and around the station.

  • Martin Lawrence's photo below shows the excellent turn-out on Sunday for this month's volunteer recruitment Find Out More Day. The group is being shown the LBSCR Bogie First No.7598, which is currently being lettered and lined by Tony Funnell in the paint shop at Horsted Keynes.

592 at 3-arch bridge - Tony Hayllar - 4 March 2012 FOMD party in the paint shop - Martin Lawrence - 4 March 2012

C-class approaches Rock Cutting - Jan Kool - 3 March 2012 5 March
  • New recruit to our brigade of lineside photographers, Jan Kool provides this photo of C-class No.592 as it approaches Rock Cutting on Saturday, with the three SR Maunsell coaches in tow.

  • Paul Pettitt has just put some of his older Bluebell photos and videos on YouTube: firstly a video from 2002, and the second a slide show which he made in 2007, including some Bluebell photographs from 2004 until the early summer of 2007 - worth view as a record of that period.

  • Joseph Wright's photo shows the 4.17pm departure from Horsted Keynes on Saturday, as it passes over New Road Bridge.
4.17pm departure from Horsted Keynes - Joseph Wright - 3 March 2012

3 March

21C123 'Blackmoor Vale' departs from Horsted Keynes - Mike Grant - 23 October 2007 2 March
  • Today's photo is a reminder of happier days for 21C123 'Blackmoor Vale' as it makes its departure from Horsted Keynes on 23 October 2007. The Bulleid Society are however making progress in purchasing the components for a new firebox for this loco, with new thermic syphons now in stock, as reported at the beginning of the year.

  • The special "Extension Update" edition (27 February) of our free eNewsletter is now available on the eNewsletter archive. If you don't already receive it, why not sign up here to get the eNewsletter regularly by e-mail as soon as it is published.

  • The Bluebell Railway Trust has just received £454.55 from eBay for Charity, as a result of items sold on eBay by individuals who have agreed to part of the sale price coming to the Trust, to help complete our Extension. We have also just received some very useful GiftAid payments from MissionFish as a result of these sales/donations.
    eBay for CharityYou can buy or sell items to benefit the extension project though this link.

  • Dave Braley has uploaded a couple of galleries to Flickr of the Bluebell during the snow in February: one from Horsted Keynes and a second of photos taken around Sheffield Park.

29 February
  • Reporting the start of the last phase of work on our Northern extension, and pushing our "Funding for the Finish" appeal, our Chairman, Roy Watts, was interviewed on Sussex Breakfast this morning. UK residents can hear the interview at 1hr 43min, and also with an interview with Nicholas Owen at 2hr 23min via the BBC iPlayer for the next few days. There's also an article on the BBC web site.

  • During February 2012 there were 82,062 total hits on this page, from 47,957 unique visitors.

S & T work in progress at Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 19 February 2012 28 February
  • Derek Hayward's photo shows S&T work in progress at Kingscote in preparation for the opening of the extension.

  • News Update Extension News: The final year - Funding for the Finish.
    Details of:
    • A New Phase: News from the Northern Extension Project - We have effectively met our 1 April deadline for waste clearance. Further waste trains are unlikely, and even if a relatively small amount of waste still needs to be moved, we have plans in place. Both undertaking this work and also raising the funding required by the deadline has been a magnificent effort by staff, volunteers, and other donors. However, we cannot let up, as there is much more to be done...
    • Northern Extension Project Funding Update - In order to finish the Northern Extension Project (NEP), we need to cover the remaining funding gap of approximately £800,000 and see the NEP paid for by the time scheduled services to East Grinstead start in the spring of 2013. To raise this money, the Railway is launching the "Funding for the Finish" campaign...
    • Double Donations Dash details finalised - 24 to 30 March - help us to release £40,000 in match funding...
    • Marathoner to Go the Distance for NEP - BRPS member Lorna Webb is taking part in the London Marathon on 22 April, to raise funds for the Northern Extension Project (NEP)...
    • Goodbye Tenner for the Tip - towards the end of March a new scheme called "Fiver for the Finish" will be launched as part of the Funding for the Finish Campaign. "Tenner for the Tip" has raised in excess of £230,000, primarily by a stalwart team of on-train promoters...
    See all this news in detail on the Extension News page.

  • Derek Hayward provides the photo below showing Q-class No.541 in Sheffield Park shed, ready for its boiler lift. He has further photos available - scroll down page 1.

    To tie in with yesterday's news of progress towards steam running for the Underground 150 celebrations next year, here's another of Derek's photos, from his gallery from the visit of Met Loco No.1 for the relaunch of the Bluebell's Met coaches in 2007.

Washout Pit progress - Derek Hayward - 19 February 2012 Met 1 at Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 28 July 2007

80151 passes the advance starter at Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 19 February 2012 27 February
  • Derek Hayward again provides today's photo, with Sunday 19th February's sunshine offering this shot of 80151 passing the advance starter at Kingscote.

  • Keith Duke has several pictures of "Fenchurch" in his gallery from the weekend's Brighton Modelworld.

  • Leon Daniels's blog has a report and video about Saturday night's test of steam at Baker Street, which hopefully paves the way for the planned celebration of 150 years of Underground Railways next year, which could involve our four Metropolitan Railway carriages being used alongside Met "Jubiliee" coach No.353, behind the currently-under-overhaul Met Loco No.1.

  • Derek has a photo update on the Wash Out Pit project. Tests of the facilities have generally been most encouraging, although possible improvements to the drainage of the bottom of the pit are under investigation. The pit can accommodate two locomotives at once, and the foul water is being adequately treated in the new settlement tanks provided for the purpose under the staff car park. The first photo below shows that the remaining concreting is in progress.

  • Work to refurbish the canopy on Platform 1 at Sheffield Park has enabled scaffolding to be erected so as to enable work on the first-floor window by the Friends of Sheffield Park. Again Derek provides a photo update, and that below. As can be seen, the repairs to the foundations must be complete, since the scaffolding no longer supports the canopy woodwork, which also no-longer droops.

Washout Pit progress - Derek Hayward - 19 February 2012 Washout Canopy and window work at SP - Derek Hayward - 19 February 2012

Fenchurch at Brighton Modelworld 25 February
  • Brighton Modelworld opened yesterday and continues this weekend. The Bluebell provides a focal point with LBSCR No.72 "Fenchurch" carrying the lettering "Loco Dept. Brighton Works", as seen here in Modelworld's own publicity photo. Contrary to reports in the local press, this is an original Brighton-built loco of 1872, the first of the famous Stroudley Terriers to enter service, and is not a replica of the Terrier in the National Railway Museum! The Bluebell is also home to a second Terrier, No.55 "Stepney".

    The Bluebell is well represented at the exhibition, with stands for the Bluebell itself, the Brighton Atlantic Group, The Fenchurch Fund, and the 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society. Barry Jones is also there with his sales stand, as are the Pullman Society.

  • With continued publicity for the Bluebell as a result of our use as a location in "The Woman in Black", such as last Saturday's great plug for us in the Daily Mail (it was better in the printed paper than on-line), our next major film appearance follows in early March. We feature in the trailer for Disney's John Carter; the filming on the railway involved our Dukedog locomotive, and the Metropolitan and Great Northern carriages.

  • Two photos below from David Haggar illustrating his new album of scans of photos from Branch Line Weekends between 1996 and 2007. 75027 is seen hauling the 3-coach Maunsell set (then consisting of Nos.6686, 1309 and 6575) at the 1998 event, and Stroudley Terrier No.672 "Fenchurch" with the three Metropolitan coaches that had been overhauled by the time of the 2003 Branch Line weekend.

75027 with 3 Maunsell carriages - David Haggar - Branchline Weekend 1998 Terrier 672 - David Haggar - Branchline Weekend 2003

1638 leaves Sheffield Park - Derek Hayward - 19 February 2012 23 February
  • Southern perfection - Maunsell U-class No.1638 passes the Sheffield Park advance starter with three matching Maunsell carriages in tow in Derek Hayward's photo from Sunday.

  • Northern Extension:
    • As per the December report, the Imberhorne tip site currently remains closed down for the winter.
    • A new phase of fund-raising is being prepared to provide the funding to finish the project. The preparations for this renewed appeal are well advanced, and there will be an update on the Northern Extension and fundraising in a newsletter to be published on Monday. You can sign up to receive our regular free e-mail newsletters here.
    • Just 9 days remain in which to purchase Tenner for the Tip certificates. "TfT" has been a hugely important part of enabling many of our visitors, as well as regular supporters, to contribute collectively a very significant sum to the construction of our extension and the clearing of the tip. The final push to complete the extension will build on this important contribution.

  • News Update News update from the Maunsell Locomotive Society on S15 No.847, U No.1618 and Q No.541.

  • News Update The Bulleid Society have a news update on their carriage No.5768.

  • Confirmation in The Independent that our Railway is in a nice part of the country!

  • Another superb video, capturing the essence of the Bluebell from Saturday from Gary and Philip Bull.

  • Dave Bowles took these magnificent photos whilst out with the P-way gang on Sunday - he claims they spent their time drinking tea and drilling for oil.

  • Keith Duke provides a few pictures from Saturday morning - mainly featuring No.80151.

  • Photo gallery from Ben Gray from 13th February.

    The steam crane rises from its slumber - Mike Hopps - 21 February 2012
  • As seen in Michael Hopps' photo on the right and Derek Hayward's below, the steam crane was roused from a long slumber in the siding at Kingscote on Tuesday, and moved down to Horsted Keynes, where it is planned to initially carry out a cosmetic and running-gear overhaul, about which more in the coming weeks.
    • Martin Lawrence provides photos and a video of the movement.
    • John Harwood provides coverage of the steam crane as it passes West Hoathly on its way to Horsted Keynes, including the stop made to check the axleboxes.

  • Derek Hayward's next photo shows work in hand to complete the trackwork in the new carriage shed at Sheffield Park. Derek also has an update to the gallery for this project with more photos.

  • For those members keen to look into every hole, here's the piling progressing for the foundations for the new loco lobby (above the workshops) at Sheffield Park. Again there is an updated photo gallery for this.

  • Derek also has new photos in his galleries for Locos 75027 and 92240, which are being re-painted at Horsted Keynes and the newly extended frames for 84030 in Sheffield Park shed (never an easy place to take photos).

Steam Crane at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 21 February 2012 Work to finish the track in new carriage shed - Derek Hayward - 19 February 2012 Piling for new loco lobby - Derek Hayward - 19 February 2012

B473 heads the Golden Arrow lunchtime dining train at Caseford Bridge - David Chappell - 19 February 2012 20 February
  • David Chappell was out with the Sunday P-way gang when he took this late afternoon photo of B473 heading the Golden Arrow luncheon train at Caseford Bridge yesterday.

  • The first of this year's Goods Train Days is planned for Saturday 10 March, with loco No.178 appropriately rostered, given the good number of SECR wagons we currently have serviceable. More details when available.

  • The Bluebell is currently looking in particular for new volunteers to assist in the following areas:
    • Catering staff for Fish and Chips Specials
    • Catering staff in the Bessemer Arms, Horsted Keynes buffet, and Kingscote Station food emporium
    • On-train catering staff
    • Locomotive workshop engineers, skilled and unskilled
    • Museum stewards for the Bluebell Railway Museum
    • Permanent Way staff
    • Friends of Sheffield Park, maintenance works
    • Carriage and Wagon workshop personnel - all skill levels from novices with basic DIY skills through to skilled carpenters, electricians and welders etc.
    Find out more about all these opportunities by e-mailing Clive Soper, or attending the next Find Out More Days event, 4 March, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sheffield Park Training Centre.

  • The Loco Works Working Group were busy yesterday. Firstly the frames of 84030 were lifted by the overhead crane and lowered temporarily onto two of the loco's main wheelsets to make the unit mobile. As seen in Tony Sullivan's photo below this enabled the loco to be shunted out of the works, making space for the well wagon holding the Q-class tender to enter, to be lifted onto floor (unfortunately not yet onto the wheelsets which had returned from turning last week). This freed up the well wagon to carry the H-class boiler which, having passed its hydraulic test last week needed to be on the trolley for its out-of-frames steam test.
84030 frames - Tony Sullivan - 19 February 2012

June 1973 - 3217 on Freshfield bank - Michael Taylor. 15 February - 50 years of the Dukedog at the Bluebell
  • 50 years ago today the GWR 4-4-0 locomotive No.9017 'Earl of Berkeley' arrived on the Bluebell. Known as the Dukedog, it was a 1930s' hybrid of two Victorian and Edwardian designs, the Dukes and the Bulldogs. Led by the late Tom Gomm, the trustees of the fund which purchased the loco from British Railways placed the loco on loan to the Bluebell simply because there was, at that time, little other alternative for a location to base their engine. The loco has now been donated to the Railway, on the basis that it should always remain based here, the trustees having held for many years the very strong opinion that the Bluebell should be its only home.

    Michael Taylor's photo (right) from June 1973 shows 3217 (as 9017 was then numbered) doubleheading a northbound train with a Terrier on the 1-in-75 climb of Freshfield bank. At this time the loco was running temporarily with the tender from the SECR C-class.

    Richard Salmon's photo below shows it on its second day back in service after its most recent overhaul (2nd November 2003). In April 2009 the engine was re-painted in BR black as seen in Andrew Strongitharm's photo below, taken on 12 September that year. It came out of service in early June 2011 with a number of boiler and mechanical faults, and now awaits its next major overhaul.

    Details of the very major overhaul of the loco a decade ago can be found here. Derek Hayward has two photo galleries for the loco, one covering it in GWR Green and a second in BR Black, and Martin Lawrence has photos of what turned out to be some of the last days on which the Dukedog ran before withdrawal, in late May 2011.

Ice in the tunnel - Sheila Beaumont - 12 February 2012 Dukedog on the Victorian set - Andrew Strongitharm - 12 Sept 2009

14 February - St. Valentine's Day
  • From first dates to proposals, from weddings to celebrations of milestone anniversaries, we share the love every day! We're running a special Valentine's Golden Arrow this evening, but if you fancy treating your beloved to fine food in beautiful surroundings at any time, remember that the Golden Arrow Pullman Dining Train runs most weekends.

    And for a truly memorable wedding or civil partnership, think Bluebell! We have a choice of two venues licensed for civil ceremonies, and can offer a variety of packages, tailored individually to suit your requirements.

  • Whilst the first photo below shows the sumptuous interior of Pullman Car 'Fingall', which is currently being refurbished in our workshops having served 19 years as our flagship Pullman vehicle, the second is strikingly dramatic - taken on Sunday by Jon Bowers, it shows the extent of the ice in the tunnel, which he and the other P-way volunteers then set-about in the hope of restoring services over the full length of the line as soon as possible. For future years it is hoped that we shall return our snowplough to operational use, with suitable attachments for breaking off the icicles.
Interior of Pullman Fingall - Richard Salmon Icicles in tunnel - Jon Bowers - 12 February 2012

80151 with the Golden Arrow at SP - Sheila Beaumont - 12 February 2012 13 February
  • Sheila Beaumont's photo shows 80151 with the lunchtime 'Golden Arrow' Pullman dining train, entering the newly relaid Platform 1 at Sheffield Park yesterday.

  • Our volunteer fund-raising team are starting to build up to the Double Donations Dash, which will run from 24th to 30th March. This is the first major fund-raising push for the Northern Extension project this year, since we still need to raise about £800,000 to complete the extension to East Grinstead. We currently have pledges of £40,000 as match funding if we can raise another £40,000 during the Double Donations Dash week. We are hoping that we'll emulate the incredible success of the "Big Give Christmas Challenge" in December, where we had £30,000 available in matched funding. With Gift Aid added in as well, we hope we might thus be able to knock the best part of £100,000 off the target in a week.

    Unlike the Big Give, it will be possible to donate by cheque as well as on-line. Forms for this, and more details, will be available here around the end of the month. For larger sums, the donations are more cost effective if sent by cheque, by post, since there's no percentage admin charge in the way there is for the on-line donations.

  • Dave Bowles has a photo of B473 returning from Saturday's tunnel inspection with the Queen Mary Brake van, and some further photos taken that day.

  • Sheila Beaumont's second photo below, illustrates why train services are not running through to Kingscote yesterday, with icicles at least 6ft long hanging above the track, and a build-up of ice on the rails. The P-way team spent the day clearing some of it, in the hope that we could re-open the tunnel sooner rather than later.

  • Chris Beaumont's two photos below show the two service trains on Sunday; B473 is seen leaving Horsted Keynes with the SR Maunsell carriages, and No.1638 is waiting to depart from Horsted Keynes.

Ice in the tunnel - Sheila Beaumont - 12 February 2012 B473 at Horsted Keynes - Chris Beaumont - 12 February 2012 1638 at Horsted Keynes - Chris Beaumont - 12 February 2012

80151 at Tremains - David Haggar - 11 February 2012 12 February
  • David Haggar's photo shows No.80151 leading a Horsted Keynes to Sheffield Park service at Tremains yesterday. David has a few other photos here. The service trains were topped and tailed by 80151 and 1638, which would have run a two-train hourly service, had we been able to run trains through the tunnel. Topping and tailing thus has two advantages; it avoids the potential problem of frozen points, and enables a fast turn-round at Horsted Keynes, so roughly maintaining the published departure times from Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes.

  • Don't forget that over half-term week, daily until 19 February, we have our Kids for a Quid Special Offer, and are running an hourly steam-hauled and steam-heated train service.

  • Our U-class loco, 1638, starts the UK trailer for The Woman in Black. This loco also features in Robert Else's photo below.

  • Simon Smith dropped by the railway briefly yesterday, and provides these photos.

  • The LBSCR E4, B473 was used for some shunting at Horsted Keynes yesterday, as seen in Nick Burgess' photo below, of it with the Queen Mary brake van. Nick also has a photo gallery from yesterday.

  • Ashley Smith also visited, providing the photo below of B473 on the 'Wealden Rambler' afternoon tea train. Ashley also has a photo gallery and a great video compilation from yesterday.

U-class on service train - Robert Else - 11 February 2012 B473 with SR Queen Mary at Horsted - Nick Burgess - 11 February 2012 B473 with Wealden Rambler - Ashley Smith - 11 February 2012

11 February
YouTube Video of film from 1950s
  • A 1950s' educational film showing the process involved in the periodic washout of a steam loco boiler, very topical thanks to the commissioning of our new washout pit at Sheffield Park. The loco in the film is a BR standard class 5, like our own No.73082 "Camelot".

  • Everyone can easily help the Bluebell's fundraising to complete our extension into East Grinstead. If you use EasySearch for your Internet searches, then each search results in a donation, averaging 0.5p, being sent to the Bluebell. Since we launched this initiative, it has raised £1785.86 for the extension project, and costs you nothing!

  • Friday 20 April: Please note that there will not now be an open evening at East Grinstead on this date. The previously announced Open Weekend, 21-22 April, will instead be the focus for our last East Grinstead-based event prior to the hoped-for full opening of the extension in March 2013.

  • The extremely cold weather at present means that the tunnel is closed, due to the danger from rather large icicles, and we have, today, only operated trains between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes.

P-Class No.27 - Gerry Butler 10 February
  • The late Gerry Butler's photo (right) shows P-class No.27 outside the Bluebell's original, small, loco shed at Sheffield Park on 27 March 1971. The restoration began when the loco was dismantled in 1983 for a "quick" overhaul, but, as was so often the case at the time, this was found to be beyond the skills of the basic workshop capability we had back then, so the restoration stalled.

    News Update The restoration of No.27 to working condition has recently restarted following a delay of nearly 30 years. The work on the locomotive is being undertaken by the Villas Gang and other volunteers, supported by the fund raising efforts of the 'Fenchurch Fund'. Major work is required on the boiler and frames of the locomotive, as well as some significant mechanical renewal and replacement of plate work, including the tanks. As a result the loco's web page is newly updated, as is the Loco's under overhaul page. The dramatic photo showing just how bad the corrosion on the main frames is, can be seen on a new web page for the loco's overhaul.

    As you can imagine, this work is going to cost a bit! Fund raising is being coordinated by Clive Emsley, Millfield, Manor Road, Upper Beeding, Steyning, West Sussex BN44 3TJ. New fund raising forms are being launched at the forthcoming Modelworld Exhibition, where the Fenchurch Fund has a display and fundraising stand in conjunction with the appearance of Fenchurch outside the Brighton Centre. These will include Standing order forms and Gift Aid forms. These can also be supplied by post or Email if required.

  • Details now available for the Victorian Picnic evenings on 30 June and 1 July.

  • There's a very nicely produced video from last Sunday showing the railway in the snow from Gary and Philip Bull.

  • Video from last Saturday from Keith Duke.

  • Dave Rowland's photos showing the pair of LSWR locos, No.96, "Normandy" in the company of Beattie Well Tank No.30587, in the build-up to Eastleigh 100 in May 2009, and "Normandy" on the main line!

  • Photos from John Sandys, taken yesterday, showing track laid right through the platform at Sheffield Park, including the two below.

Canopy repairs in progress - John Sandys - 9 February 2012 Track and first pass of ballasting down - John Sandys - 9 February 2012

B473 and 80151 on the new washout pit - Mike Hopps - 7 February 2012 8 February
  • Mike Hopps' photo shows B473 and 80151, the first locos onto the new washout pit, yesterday.

  • Over the coming week, 11-19 February we have our Kids for a Quid Special Half Term Offer, and are running an hourly, two-train steam-hauled service.

  • Another mention for the Bluebell, this time in the Yorkshire Post: The Woman in Black returns to life once again to haunt cinema screens.

  • 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.

  • A couple of Dave Rowland's photos from Easteigh Centernary (25 May 2009) open days - featuring our own 4 Vep unit No.3417, and LSWR No.96 "Normandy".

  • Tony Sullivan's two photos below show that by yesterday afternoon track had been laid most of the way through Platform 1 at Sheffield Park, and the northern part of the canopy stripped for refurbishment.

Track laid most of the way through Platform 1 at Sheffield Park - Tony Sullivan - 7 February 2012 Canopy repairs on Platform 1 at Sheffield Park - Tony Sullivan - 7 February 2012

Baxter, on it first passenger service - Andy Prime - 5 February 2012 7 February
  • Andy Prime's photo shows No.3 "Captain Baxter" arriving at Horsted Keynes on Sunday, on the back of what was shortly to become its first passenger train following the fitting of vacuum brake gear by volunteers in the Loco Department last year.

  • A video from Sunday in the Snow from Martin Lawrence.

  • It has been confirmed that a turning triangle off the Ardingly spur is feasible, and will be constructed using the tens of thousands of tons of inert capping available from the Imberhorne Tip. The curvature for a spur between the Ardingly and Sheffield Park lines has been shown to be too tightly curved, and would also have involved a challenging vertical alignment as well, hence the alternative plan with both curves to form the triangle coming off the Ardingly spur. This does not prevent the installation of a turntable in the longer term, but is a much easier and cheaper option, given the availability of the spoil. A revised planning application is also shortly to be made for the bridge to replace the missing viaduct on the line towards Ardingly, the immediate reason for starting work on this being that preparatory works will also require some of the inert spoil. The timetable for completion of the extension envisages a start being made on moving this capping material from September.

  • Five potential new volunteers braved the wintry weather on Sunday to join us on our Find Out More Day. In David Chappell's photo below we see them standing beside Maunsell S15 No. 847 (currently under overhaul) before being shown round the Locomotive Works at Sheffield Park by Clive Soper (middle right), our Volunteer Recruitment Officer. Later in the day a train trip took them to Horsted Keynes for a behind the scenes tour of the Carriage and Wagon Works and an explanation of the various volunteering opportunities in the Infrastructure Department. If you would like to join us then your next chance will be on the 4th March.

  • Martin Lawrence's photos below show Horsted Keynes in the snow, in a pair of photos which also highlight the array of signals at the south end, where 4 bi-directionally signalled platform roads offer 5 routes (two towards Ardingly), and at the north, where again there are 5 routes from the platforms, with the bracket on Platform 3 enabling trains to leave either over the main (straight on) or the loop (over the crossover towards the left) as far as Leamland Bridge, where another pair of signals can be seen, controlling the exit from these two bi-directional lines onto the single line beyond the bridge. The platform starter for 4-road is out of sight to the right, and that for 1-road is on the left-hand end of the bracket at the edge of the photo. The elevated shunt signal allowing access from the up sidings onto the loop line is also seen.

Potential new volunteers - David Chappell - 5 February 2012 Horsted Keynes in the snow - Martin Lawrence - 5 February 2012 Horsted Keynes looking northwards - Martin Lawrence - 5 February 2012

Baxter heads the service train south from Horsted Keynes - Martin Lawrence - 5 February 2012 5 February - part 2
  • Another photo from today, from Martin Lawrence, showing "Captain Baxter" leading the train back southwards. Because of frozen points at Horsted Keynes in addition to the engineering work at Sheffield Park, the service train and Wealden Rambler trains were combined, in view of the low number of visitors, so just a single set of coaches was used, topped and tailed as seen in these photos.

  • Further photos from Roger Carpenter, at Sheffield Park, and Martin Lawrence, at Horsted Keynes, show the train service running in the snow today.

  • We are getting some useful publicity from the launch of 'The Woman in Black', such as this article in today's "Observer".

  • The first photo below shows Terrier "Fenchurch" in the Loco Shed at Sheffield Park. It was taken by Nathan Gibson on 29 January.

  • Mike Hopps' "Retro Images" (such as one quite appropriate for today, seen below) are for sale, with profits to the Northern Extension Project. Mike's full range of retro cards, posters, and fridge magnets, most of which can be found at the Bluebell Railway shop, can be viewed here.

  • Keith Duke has a set of photos taken on the Railway yesterday before the snow fell!

  • Roger Carpenter's photo below shows "Captain Baxter" approaching Sheffield Park earlier today. This illustrates just how useful it was fitting vacuum braking to this 1877-built Fletcher Jennings loco.

Fenchurch in Loco Shed - Nathan Gibson - 29 January 2012 Atmospheric Railway sample - Mike Hopps Captain Baxter approaching Sheffield Park - Roger Carpenter - 5 February 2012

178 leads the train through the snow - Andy Prime - 5 February 2012 5 February - part 1
  • Because of the freezing temperatures, and consequent ice hazard in our tunnel, the service on the line this weekend has been restricted to run only between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes. Andy Prime's photo shows 178 leading the lounge-car set today as it approaches Horsted Keynes, with "Captain Baxter" trailing.

  • Further to the earlier report on the restored porch at Horsted Keynes, its dedication in memory of Simon Baker, former Horsted Keynes station master and Society Trustee, will take place later in the spring.

  • The first photo below from Martin Lawrence shows P-class No.178 being used for the Engineering Works on Friday, due to the unavailability of the 08. Martin's video also shows the use of No.178 for P-way work and shunting.

  • Martin's other photos below show more of the engineering work in platform 1 at Sheffield Park - by the end of Friday ballast had been laid through the platform, and track laying was progressing well. The canopy work is also progressing, and the photo from Thursday shows the hole for the new foundation below one of the canopy supports, which on Friday had the first pour of concrete completed. The gap beneath the second column (which as well as supporting the canopy was part of the original footbridge) visible in the background shows just how much the foundations have sunk. More of Martin's photos of the P-way work are available here.

  • Dave Rowland has a new gallery of photos he took on visits to the Bluebell in 1991/2.

178 on p-way and shunting - Martin Lawrence - 3 February 2012 Ballast and track laying progress - Martin Lawrence - 3 February 2012 New footings for canopy support - Martin Lawrence - 2 February 2012

Completed restoration of Horsted Keynes porch - Ray Wills - 1 February 2012 2 February
  • Ray Wills' photo illustrates yesterday's completion of the installation of the new stained-glass in the restored porch at Horsted Keynes, which is to act as a lasting memorial to the late Simon Baker. Ian Fribbens two photos below show more detail of the superb craftsmanship, both on the new timberwork and the stained glass.

  • This Sunday is the next occasion when you can join a behind-the-scenes tour to find out what's involved in helping in various areas of the Railway's operation: Book up for the Find Out More Day.

  • Further to yesterday's update about EasyFundraising, there is now a donation of 3% from national train tickets bought through, who also have the advantage of having no booking fee.

  • More progress today with engineering work in platform 1 at Sheffield Park - ballast and track laying is now well under way. The repairs to the station canopy are also progressing, with the canopy lifted by several inches to correct the subsidence to the foundations under some of the pillars, and excavations made to enable a permanent solution to this long-standing problem.

  • Update to the Loco Roster showing expected loco usage to the end of March. No.178 is being used for the Engineering Works tomorrow, and over the weekend "Captain Baxter" will be acting as pull-off engine at Sheffield Park, awaiting re-connection of the run-round facility.

  • Murray Tremellen has re-loaded some photos of the Bluebell's 2010 Branch Line Weekend to Flickr. Murray is in the process of uploading further photos to Flickr which had previously been available via Fotopic, so more of his Bluebell photos, mostly from Branch Line Weekends, will follow in due course.
New stained glass and woodwork in Horsted Keynes porch - Ian Fribbens - 1 February 2012 New stained glass and woodwork in Horsted Keynes porch - Ian Fribbens - 1 February 2012

178 in platform 2 at Sheffield Park with the service train - Nathan Gibson - 29 January 2012 1 February
  • Nathan Gibson's photo taken on Sunday shows No.178 in platform 2 at Sheffield Park with the top-and-tailed service train on Sunday. Because of the engineering work, No.178 was trapped at the north end of the platform. Since it could not run to the loco yard for coaling during the day, Nathan Gibson, Matthew Price and Reuben Smith provided a wheel-barrow coaling service.

  • Bus services to the Bluebell:
    473 Service between East Grinstead and Kingscote Station:
    This service will run on special event and school holidays only during 2012: 31 March - 15 April, 21, 22, 28 April, 12, 13 May, 2 - 10 June, daily 21 July - Sunday 2 September, 20, 21 October, 27 October - 4 November.
       East Grinstead Station  (10.10)  11.10  12.10  1.10  2.10  3.10  4.10
       East Grinstead High St  (10.15)  11.15  12.15  1.15  2.15  3.15  4.15
       Kingscote Station       (10.30)  11.30  12.30  1.30  2.30  3.30  4.30
       Kingscote Station                11.42  12.42  1.42  2.42  3.42  4.41
       East Grinstead High St           11.57  12.57  1.57  2.57  3.57   -
       East Grinstead Station           12.02   1.02  2.02  3.02  4.02  4.49
    Early morning services shown in brackets to run 28 April (Collectors Fair), 21 and 22 July (Collectors Weekend) only.

    270 Service East Grinstead - Horsted Keynes - Haywards Heath:
    This service currently operates every Saturday and Sunday throughout the year and provides a link to the railway from East Grinstead and Haywards Heath. This service is still subject to review by West Sussex County Council on Sundays, however, we should encourage customers visiting the railway on days the 473 is not operating to travel via this route.
    To help promote this service, as from 5th March until further notice, we have agreed with Metrobus to offer discount all-line 3rd-class train tickets for passengers arriving at Horsted Keynes who present a Metrobus 270 ticket (or credit card size passes) at the Bluebell Bonus rate of £11.00 per adult and £6.50 per child.

  • News Update The most recent edition (22 January) of our e-mail newsletter is available via the eNewsletter archive. Sign up to receive future free e-mail Newsletters directly.

  • Over 6,000 raised:
    Raise funds for the Bluebell with easyfundraisingGreat news - EasyFundraising are about to send Bluebell Railway a cheque for 770.22, representing the funds raised by our supporters shopping and searching (using EasySearch) between October and December. If you don't use them, please join the effort. All money goes towards completing our extension to East Grinstead.

    Two new useful facilities:

  • Progress so far this week on the engineering work in platform 1 road at Sheffield Park has included the digging on the new drainage trench, laying geotextiles across the trackbed, installing the new drainage pipe, and a start on re-ballasting. Scaffolding has also been erected to enable work to be done on the platform 1 canopy, as seen in John Sandys' photo below taken yesterday.

    As part of the refurbishment at Sheffield Park, we are making a new running-in board for Platform 1, and our suppliers are keen to publicise their link with us!

  • During January 2012 there were 88,232 total hits on this page, from 51,329 unique visitors.
Drainage going in - John Sandys - 31 January 2012

Platform 1 at Sheffield Park, cleared of ballast - John Sandys - 26 January 2012 26 January
Stroudley Brake 949 - Richard Salmon - 25 January 2012

323 and 178 passing the down advance starter at Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 21 January 2012 25 January
  • Another of Derek Hayward's photos from Saturday, showing No.323 leading No.178, passing the down advance starter at Kingscote, and that below illustrates that the Memorial Garden at Horsted Keynes has been much enhanced, thanks to the efforts of a small team of volunteers. The lawn has recovered from the drought, the soil has been improved, fencing has been provided to keep the rabbits out, and the beds have been planted.

  • Derek Hayward has completed his revised and updated Locomotive Photo Galleries, covering virtually every Bluebell loco in some detail.

  • Martin Lawrence's photo below shows the digging out of the spent ballast in platform 1 at Sheffield Park yesterday, part of the current track maintenance work there.

  • Dave Clarke's photo shows that overhaul of Bulleid Composite coach No.5768 has reached the stage at the First-class end where the corridor partition has been reinstated. This is from Dave's gallery of photos covering the overhaul.

Memorial garden at Horsted Keynes - Derek Hayward - 21 January 2012 Digging out the old ballast - Martin Lawrence - 24 January 2012 First-class corridor partition reinstated in Bulleid Composite - Dave Clarke - 2 January 2012

178 and 323 on the service train - Peter Edwards - 22 January 2012 24 January
  • Peter Edwards' photo shows the P-class locos Nos.178 and 323 on the service train on Sunday 22 January.

  • Martin Lawrence has a new gallery for his photos taken between 12 and 22 January.

  • News Update Dave Clarke has an update to his pages of photos covering the overhaul of LCDR carriage No.3188, SR Bulleid Composite No.5768, and a photo in the carriage electrics gallery showing a newly overhauled armature and pulley being aligned on a jig.

  • John Sandys' photo below, taken yesterday, shows the start of 2 weeks of engineering work at Sheffield Park, which will see the track through platform 1 lifted, ballast dug out and drainage repaired as necessary. The next photo, from Martin Lawrence, shows progress by the late afternoon when the light was fading, but all the track had been removed through the platform. Trains will still operate next weekend as normal, using platform 2.

  • The third photo below shows that a new path has been laid to the signal box at Kingscote, following on from the winter's signalling works. Photos of this are temporarily in Derek Haywards' Kingscote gallery.

Engineering work starts at Sheffield Park - John Sandys - 23 January 2012 Track lifted in platform 1 at Sheffield Park - Martin Lawrence - 23 January 2012 New path at Kingscote - Derek Hayward - 21 January 2012

178 and 323 at Leamland Bridge - Derek Hayward - 21 January 2012 23 January
  • Derek Hayward's photo from Saturday shows Nos.178 and 323 in charge of the service train at Leamland Bridge.

  • More than half the seats have already been sold for "The Broadsman Tour", the BRPS Social Sub-committee's coach trip to the Bure Valley Railway on Saturday 28th April 2012. Book now!.

  • Ashley Smith made his first visit of 2012 yesterday, and took a few photos and a video compilation showing the service train hauled by the pair of Ps.

  • News Update Derek Hayward provides further photographic updates, with photos taken on Saturday, showing progress on various parts of the HLF-funded 'Operation Undercover' project at Sheffield Park:
    • The final element of the project is the construction of the shell for the "Above Workshop Facilities", which as the name suggests are above (but also in front of) the single-storey section of the Loco Workshop. These will provide the Locomotive department with permanent toilet, shower, messing, locker-room and office facilities, and replace the temporary classroom in the car park. The photo below, and this new gallery covers the early stage of the groundworks for the building.
    • A photo below, and an updated gallery, for Sheffield Park Carriage Shed, showing that stock is now being stored inside it, although it is not yet in full use as a running shed, with the final work still in the process of being completed, including the buffer stops being painted by the 'Friends of Sheffield Park', and signalling work.
    • The third element of the HLF-funded project still being completed is the Locomotive Wash Out Pit, where work to connect up the water supplies continues, as seen in the photo below, and this gallery update.

Groundworks in progress for the 'Above Workshop Facilities' - Derek Hayward - 21 January 2012 Stock inside the new carriage shed - Derek Hayward - 21 January 2012 Sheffield Park Loco Washout Pit - Derek Hayward - 21 January 2012

20 January
  • We are running a public Service Two timetable this weekend (as it is on weekends through January), with the pair of SECR P-class locos due to be hauling the train.

  • The Locomotive Working Group will be at Sheffield Park this Sunday, working on the overhaul of the SR Q-class - do say "Hi" if you're passing.

  • Three days of special events at East Grinstead - probably the last before the full opening of the Northern Extension a year later, due to the work required to complete the extension taking precedence:

  • Update to the web page for our unrestored Southern Railway Bulleid Open Third No.1456, which may go on loan to the Mid Hants Railway for 25 years.

B473 about to enter the tunnel - Ben Gray - 8 January 2012 17 January
  • A slightly "different" photo today - part of Ben Gray's set of photos from 8th January, showing B473 about to enter the tunnel.

  • News Update Update on the Brighton Atlantic project based on photos and captions from Fred Bailey. The valve liners are being fitted, the crosshead castings received, and the pattern for the regulator valve is with the foundry.

  • Photo below from Dave Bowles, from his set of photos of Saturday's photo charter with 'Stepney' and the birdcage brake.
32655 on Freshfield Bank during its photo charter  - Dave Bowles - 14 January 2012

32655 on Freshfield Bank during its photo charter  - Dave Braley - 14 January 2012 16 January
  • Dave Braley's photo on the right is another from the photo charter at dawn on Saturday. Dave has a complete gallery from the charter, and another following the P-way work, around Sheffield Park Station on the previous Sunday.

  • News Update Peter Richards has posted an update, with thanks also due to Chris Majer, to the Horsted Keynes Re-signalling news page; approximately half of the levers are now in use with much of the preparation work track-side ready for the next batch of conversions, including for the Up Second Advance Starter, a distance of about half a mile from the box.

  • News Update Update on the overhaul of SR Q-class No.541 from the Loco Works Working Group, who now also have a Twitter feed. The photo below from Rob Faulkner, shows the loco before Christmas, with its cladding stripped in preparation for its forthcoming boiler lift.

  • For just £25 per month over 10 months you could become a shareholder in the Bluebell Railway plc, through the BRPS Deferred Payment share scheme. You would be helping us achieve our objective of opening the extension to East Grinstead, and would join the share register in time to recieve the 2013 Shareholder benefits. More details here.
Cladding removed by the end of the day - Rob Faulkner - 18 December 2011

15 January
  • Yesterday morning Jon Bowers organised a photo charter using 55 "Stepney" (transformed into its BR guise as No.32655 by Roger Cruse), hauling the recently restored Birdcage Brake coach. It was a crisp cold morning, and the sun shone! David Haggar provides the photo below, and has this photo album from the charter, and a stunning video.

  • Tim Gray's photo below, showing the stand-pipe outside the loco running shed, shows just how cold it was on Saturday morning. Remember that 32655's footplate crew had signed on at 5am that morning to light the engine up for the charter! It also explains why we have braziers beneath the water columns.
32655 on Freshfield Bank - David Haggar - 14 January 2012 Frozen at Sheffield Park - Tim Gray - 14 January 2012

323 with a special charter - Patrick Plane - 11 January 2012 13 January
  • Patrick Plane's photo shows No.323 with a special charter train at Kingscote on Wednesday.

  • Martin Lawrence visited Sheffield Park on Wednesday and got these photos and a video of the loco yard shunt involving Bluebell, Baxter and Stepney. Martin's photo of Stepney at Sheffield Park is shown below. He also caught on video the shunt at Horsted Keynes on Thursday, where 323 was rearranging the order of the Metropolitan set, provided an hour's entertainment. The order of the set was being changed because the new order better suits the arrangement of the brake pipe at the south end of carriage No.412.

  • News Update Update to the web page for the overhaul of the SECR H-class loco No.263; due to mechanical maintenance work on the SECR C-class being given priority, the H's return to service is now expected to be during March.

  • News Update Reports on the Bulleid Society web site (from 1st January 2012) showing the arrival of the new thermic syphons and foundation ring channels for No.21C123 Blackmoor Vale's new firebox, and a photo of the new corner pillar on their Bulleid Composite coach No.5768.

  • Update to the Loco Roster showing expected loco usage to the end of March. When the points at the north end of Kingscote are being renewed, in preparation for the completion of the trackwork for the Northern Extension, a turn-over engine may have to be provided there, and details of some of the extra turns which may be needed then have not yet been included.

  • A rather good video compilation from Saturday 7th January from Gary Bull and his father Philip.

  • John Sandys dropped in at Sheffield Park yesterday afternoon, and was fortunate enough to get some photos and a video of Bluebell shunting the Birdcage (as seen in the photo below) and various other coaches. He also took some other photos around Sheffield Park.

  • Update to the web page for Birdcage Brake No.3363, covering its return to traffic in October 2011.

  • Dave Clarke has some photos, just uploaded, showing recent restoration work in progress on Stroudley brake carriage No.949.

  • News Update Update to the C&W News pages with a major news update on LBSCR Milk/Fruit Van No.270, and updated links to Dave Clarke's photos, with a "Carriage maintenance" section added, covering work on Pullman 'Fingall', LBSCR Bogie First No.7598 and on carriage electrical components.

  • Last week Pullman Car 'Doris', in the company of LNWR Semi-Royal Saloon No.806, Birdcage Brake No.3363 and our Queen Mary goods brake formed an unlikely train for use behind the U-class loco No.1638, during filming work on the line for a major new BBC Two drama series, "Dancing on the Edge".

  • Update to web page for our LSWR Venilated Van No.5498, adding a link to the web page for the identical vehicle at Quainton Road.

  • 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.

  • David Warwick has started to migrate his old Bluebell Galleries from the defunct fotopic onto smugmug.

  • Bluebell Railway mentioned in Parliament: The following is an extract from Hansard for yesterday 12 January:
    Nicky Morgan (Loughborough) (Con): As chairman of the all-party group on heritage rail, may I say that this matter affects heritage railways up and down the country? They often rely on volunteers and charitable donations and I add my voice to those urging quick action on the problem.

    Norman Baker: My hon. Friend is absolutely right to draw attention to the impact on heritage rail. With the Bluebell railway partly in my constituency, I am very well aware of the impact on individual bodies such as that, which are sometimes less able to respond financially than the public sector. I am afraid that all sections of society are being affected by selfish metal theft and it is important that we take action to deal with it.

    If you've not yet done so, please help add to the pressure for reform of the scrap metal industry by signing this e-petition.
55 'Stepney' at Sheffield Park - Martin Lawrence - 11 January 2012 P class 323 at Sheffield Park with Birdcage Brake - John Sandys - 12 January 2012

1638 with the first train of the day - David Chappell - 2 January 2012 6 January
  • David Chappell's photo shows No.1638 with the first train of the day on Monday 2nd January. Bringing up the rear of the train was No.B473, to ensure its arrival in good time to steam heat the Victorian Special set at Horsted Keynes.

  • New web page for Pullman Car "Carina" which arrived for storage on behalf of its owners, the 5BEL Trust, yesterday. Consequent update to the Carriage Stock List.

  • Two more of Monday's photos from David Chappell, below. In the first, No.B473 has just crossed Monteswood Lane Bridge with the New Year Victorian Special. David was part of the volunteer track maintenance gang on what was a glorious winter morning for being out in the Sussex countryside. The last photograph shows Phil, Jon, Paul and Mark changing a sleeper in Rock Cutting with the replacement sleeper lying on the edge of the ballast. Jon then took the trolley down to the Sheffield Park to clear the line for the first train of the day. If you would like to join David and the rest of gang out in the countryside on a Sunday or help out in other areas of the Railway's operation then come and join us on our first Find Out More Day of the year, this Sunday.

B473 with Victorian Special - David Chappell - 2 January 2012 Sleeper changing in Rock Cutting - David Chappell - 2 January 2012

1638 at West Hoathly - Peter Austin - 2 January 2012 5 January
  • Peter Austin's photo on the right shows the U-class with the 11am service train from Sheffield Park, at West Hoathly on Monday, and those below show the C-class at the same location later that day.

  • Robert Else provides this photo gallery from Monday 2nd January.

  • Golden Arrow Pullman Car 'Carina' has arrived at Sheffield Park. It continues, for the present, to belong to the 5BEL Trust, but will in the fullness of time be swapped for the Bluebell-owned 5BEL electric Pullman Car 'Doris', once repairs to 'Carina' have been made to bring it up to comparable condition for the "swap". As set out in the February 2011 press release this will enable the 5BEL Trust to achieve its objective of re-creating a complete 5-coach train of Brighton Belle Pullmans, and gives the Bluebell a more appropriate carriage for its own version of the Golden Arrow.

  • The Loco Works working group have added some photos to their facebook album showing the removal, in December, of the cladding and cab roof from the SR Q-class. Their next working day is this coming Sunday - see details here.
C-class with the Maunsell set at West Hoathly - Peter Austin - 2 January 2012 C-class with the Maunsell set at West Hoathly - Peter Austin - 2 January 2012

B473 with Victorian Train - Andrew Strongitharm - 2 January 2012 4 January 2012
  • Andrew Strongitharm's photo shows LBSCR E4 No.B473 with the Victorian New Year special train on Monday 2 January.

  • The Press Association have an article highlighting some shortly to be released films with English locations, which are set to boost UK tourism, including "The Woman in Black", featuring Harry Potter star, Daniel Radcliffe - the locations used include the Bluebell - and which is due for release on 12th February. The PA report has been picked up by several media outlets already.

  • The coming Sunday is the next Find Out More Day, your opportunity to find out what volunteering on the Bluebell actually involves. So why not come and join us - more information here.

  • Roger Carpenter has some photos of the trains running on Monday - a busy and interesting day with 3 trains running, with some good sunshine too!

  • Dan Green has videos of the trains running on New Year's Eve.

  • December photos from Martin Lawrence, and a couple of pics from November showing P-way work, ballast packing at the old washout pit.

  • A couple of job vacancies in the catering department are advertised here.

  • John Sandys was at the Railway yesterday, a very rough day today with torrential rain and very strong winds, making the day's heavy schedule of shunting even more difficult than usual. Later, when the sun decided to make an appearance, bathing the whole scene at Sheffield Park in a quite magical luminescent light, John was able to take these photos of the 08 shunting the Maunsell stock into the new carriage shed, and also a short video.

  • During December 2011 there were 90,454 total hits on this page, from 51,234 unique visitors, giving a total of 961,602 visits to this page during 2011.

  • Paul Pettitt's photos from Monday show the U-class with the Bulleid/Mk.1 service set, and the C-class leaving Sheffield Park with the 3-coach Maunsell set.

1638 on the Bulleid/Mk.1 service set - Paul Pettitt - 2 January 2012 C-class with the Maunsell set - Paul Pettitt - 2 January 2012

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