Bluebell Railway Blog:
Please be aware that due to the historical nature of this page, some of the
links on it may be out of date.
The Current What's New page, the what was new archive,
and the 2017 archive contain
all the recent update information.
Also see the 2015, the 2014, the 2013, the 2012, the 2011, the 2010, the 2009, the 2008, the 2007, the 2006, the 2005, the 2004, the 2003, the 2002, the 2001, the 2000, the 1999 and the 1997-8 "What was new" archive pages.
Blog and Web-site Update Archive 2016
22 December 2016:
£1.1million grant awarded, which will revitalise the way the Bluebell Railway exhibits its locomotives.
The Bluebell Railway is delighted to announce that its application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the ASH (Accessible Steam Heritage) project has been successful. The full text of the press release is available to download here.
Thanks to National Lottery players, the project will see substantial repairs to the Running Shed, which will be partly converted and also extended at the side to create a new exhibition hall. This space will feature an exciting new exhibition of how steam engines work, plus footplate access by both pedestrians and wheelchair users to static locomotives. Visitors will also be able to take part in a footplate driving experience based on a mock-up of locomotive 55 Stepney, alongside the original engine which was built in 1875.
These exciting developments will also mean more space in the Running Shed for routine locomotive maintenance, and a new maintenance facility over the wash-out pit and adjacent siding in the locomotive yard. This will enhance the Railways' ability to maintain its locomotive fleet and also provide a better working environment for volunteers.
In addition to the HLF award, the Bluebell Railway will contribute £388,000 (including £214,000 raised from the Ash Appeal) in cash plus a substantial amount of "effort in kind" to be put in by many members of its 700 strong volunteer workforce. The project will see the exhibition opening in Spring 2018 after which it will run for a further two years with extensive plans to utilise the exhibition to engage the public and support the growth of visitor numbers.
The project also aims to increase the Bluebell's capacity to work with schools in developing their Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) curriculum, with a target of increasing school visits by 150% by 2020. An Interpretation and Education Development Manager will be employed for an initial three year period and applications are already being sought to fill this post, alongside the post of Project Manager, also now being advertised.
- Derek Hayward's photo shows the SECR C-class heading Santa Special set Z on Sunday. This working, with 'Camelot' on the rear, is an alternative way to get the Reindeer Special engine (the C-class) to Horsted compared to the photo shown on the previous entry from the previous week. Derek also supplies the photo below showing Santa roasting by an open fire in a waiting room at Horsted Keynes. He finds this much more cosy than last year's log-cabin! Many more of Derek's December 2016 photos are available here.
- All services operating until 24 December are pre-booked only.
- Public trains operate daily 26 December to 2 January to a revised timetable.
Just turn up and ride - no need to book in advance
- Tickets went on sale yesterday for the 'Flying Scotsman'-hauled Golden Arrow Dining trains, and are almost sold out already. Details of the other events and ticket sales for the visit are not yet available.
- Video of SECR 323 'Bluebell' setting off from Horsted Keynes with the Victorian train on Sunday from @_EndOfTheLine.
- Keith Duke's photo below shows 'Camelot' ready to come off shed, on the busiest morning of the Santa season, which saw all five of our largest locomotives in steam. Further photos by Keith from an atmospheric Saturday are available here.
16 December: All services operating until 24 December are pre-booked only.
- Peter Edwards' photo from last Sunday shows the unusual working whereby the C-class is tucked in behind 'Camelot' on the second of the day's Santa Specials, to transfer it to Horsted Keynes from where it takes its Edwardian carriages up to East Grinstead for the Reindeer Specials.
- Also from last Sunday is this video of the Santa Specials at Horsted Keynes from Mike Anton.
- Richard Long's book covering the history of our line is available from our on-line shop.
- This video from John Harwood shows the H-class with 5 pre-grouping carriages, forming the 11am Festive Feast Special from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park (for lunch in the restaurant) last Monday. What would otherwise be an empty-coaching-stock move had instead provided a £5 Christmas Shopping special service from Sheffield Park (10am) and Horsted Keynes to East Grinstead. There is one more day of operation of these particular services, on Monday 19 December; phone 01825 720800 to book.
- We have been notified of the sad death of Ian Lewis, a former member of the Horsted Keynes station staff.
- Derek Hayward has added photos showing the completed trackwork at Leamland Junction to his existing album covering the project.
- Our oldest operational carriage, LBSCR Stroudley First No.661, has been back in service for over 12 years now and was due a repaint. Stuart Pay's photo below shows that it was outshopped on Wednesday after the full paint-shop job, ready for this weekend's sold-out Victorian Christmas Specials.
- Steve Lee's photo shows 21C123 'Blackmoor Vale' in the sun last Sunday. It is one of several locomotives which have been temporarily moved out of the locomotive shed to enable the 6 locos in use on our various special trains throughout December to be stored in the shed in case of frost.
- If you are interested in being kept up to date with the visit of 'Flying Scotsman' in April, please e-mail us and we will add you to our contact list and send information as soon as it is available.
- David King's photo shows the S15 approaching Three Arch Bridge with the Golden Arrow Luncheon Train yesterday.
The last edition for 2016 of our e-Newsletter includes a roundup of the past year. Our thanks to John and Martin Walls for putting this newsletter together every fortnight throughout the year.
- A great gallery of Santa Special photos from Saturday by Nick Burgess.
- Maunsell Q-class No.30541 is seen on Freshfield Bank on our Santa Special "Set X" in Steve Lee's photo below.
- Your welcome to the Bluebell Railway at East Grinstead (photo by Derek Hayward, taken yesterday). See more of Derek's photos of the Santa and Reindeer Specials here - the gallery will grow somewhat over the coming weeks.
- Martin Lawrence has completed his November gallery and started that for December, which includes the great shot on the right, taken at Horsted Keynes last Saturday as the S15 draws its stock forward prior to running round via the loop line (thus avoiding the locomotive passing through platform 2 where the passengers from the train were enjoying the Victorian amusements).
- Dates for 2017 Golden Arrow, Lounge Car, Fish & Chips and other supper trains, and Real Ale trains are now available.
- 2017 dates now available for PTS courses which are required for Bluebell Lineside photographic passes.
- On Wednesday we had a successful evening at the National Railway Heritage Awards Ceremony in London, winning the Siemens Signalling Award for Kingscote Signal Box and Signalling. Paul Maynard MP, Rail Minister, presented the Award to Brian Hymas, Chris Bassett and Chris Chambers who were representing the Bluebell S&T, as seen in the photo below from Robert Hayward.
The commentary referred to "... a first rate project. Well thought through, designed and executed to a very high standard". The "recreation and preservation of a full working example of an historically important type of lever frame and associated signalling practice as used extensively by the Southern Railway and Southern Region". Also, the recreation "of signalling for a country station as it might have been in the 1950s, following Southern Railway and Southern Region practice".
Mention was made of the 1950's rail-built and lattice signal posts and a particular comment about the design of the up home signals, using a single post with two arms as an "interesting recreation and demonstration of an old practice ... giving added interest and historic value".
The runners up for the Siemens Signalling Award were Carnforth Junction Signal Box (Network Rail) and Midsomer Norton Signal Box (Somerset & Dorset Railway Heritage Trust).
- Major news update from the Brighton Atlantic project with thanks to Fred Bailey. His photo below shows the front section of the cab roof (which has 315 rivets in it!) temporarily in place.
3 December: All services operating until 24 December are pre-booked only.
- Nick Dearden provides this great video compilation (right) of Steam on the Bluebell this Autumn.
- Our Santa Specials get under way today. These specials, running up to Christmas Eve, are booking up even faster than last year - to grab some of the last remaining tickets phone 01825 720806.
- This evening is our Annual Carol Service at Horsted Keynes Station. The service is led by our Chaplain, Father John, the Rector of Horsted Keynes, with music led by The Bluebell Railway Band. Admission is free, and the station refreshment room is open from 6pm with hot snacks and mulled wine available, prior to the service which starts at 7.30pm.
- Also today we have Felbridge WI's stall at East Grinstead Station Buffet from 10am
- Three clips of the S15 on the service trains last weekend from Mike Anton. Mike also has a recent gallery, including photos from the Track Trek, with some 360-degree views such as this one inside the tunnel.
- Dates for various 2017 Special Events are now available, including those for the Diesel Gala, which has its own Facebook entry.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with expected locomotive use for December.
- Bulleid Society News update with the latest news on the overhaul their carriage, No.5768, at Horsted Keynes.
- Update with the current positions in the new season's Football Competition which is raising funds for the overhaul of our Southern Railway Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864.
- During November 2016 there were 48,817 total hits on this page, from 29,738 unique visitors.
25 November: 'Flying Scotsman' is visiting us in April
- Jonathan Hughes' superb autumnal photograph taken last Saturday shows our Southern Railway Q-class No.30541. Don't forget we have our Kids for a Quid special offer over this weekend, and trains run to a revised timetable.
Just turn up and ride - no need to book in advance.
- The Q-class will be visiting the Great Central Railway for its Winter Gala, Friday 27 to Sunday 29 January. Of course GCR-based 8F No.48624 visited us recently for Giants of Steam.
- A reminder that next Saturday, 3 December, we have our Annual Carol Service at Horsted Keynes Station. The service is led by our Chaplain, Father John, the Rector of Horsted Keynes, with music led by The Bluebell Railway Band. Admission is free, and the station refreshment room is open from 6pm with hot snacks and mulled wine available, prior to the service which starts at 7.30pm.
- Give Back Friday... You can support the Bluebell if you buy online; click through to EasyFundraising ... and choose "Bluebell Railway" as your cause to support. We simply receive a small percentage as a donation from the retailer from whom you purchase; it costs you nothing, and has raised significant sums for us so far!
- There are just a few tickets remaining for the Reindeer Special on 4 December; otherwise these are Sold Out.
- Our Victorian Christmas specials are now Sold Out.
- We are currently advertising a vacancy for a Machinist in the Locomotive Department.
24 November: Note: Temporary timetable 26 & 27 Nov.
- Many thanks to Phil Brown for supplying this photo, showing 'Flying Scotsman' at the NRM in April this year, to illustrate its forthcoming visit to the Bluebell. As announced yesterday, the iconic locomotive will be running on our line 13-19 April 2017.
Please note that we do not know yet what the detailed arrangements for the visit, ticketing etc, will be. Please keep an eye on our web site, and we'll be updating it with further details when they are available, or subscribe to our e-Newsletter.
'Flying Scotsman' was built in Doncaster becoming the first locomotive of the newly formed London and North Eastern Railway (LNER). It left the works on 24 February 1923 as number 1472. It was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley as part of the A1 class - the most powerful locomotives used by the LNER at that time.
By 1924, when it was selected to appear at the British Empire Exhibition in London, the loco had been renumbered 4472 - and had been given the name 'Flying Scotsman' after the London to Edinburgh rail service which started daily at 10am in 1862.
In 1934, Scotsman was clocked at 100mph on a special test run - officially the first locomotive in the UK to have reached that speed. It now carries its British Railways number 60103, and the livery it carried at the time of its withdrawal from normal service in 1963.
- In December there are a number of additional attractions taking place in our Grinsteade Buffet Carriage at East Grinstead Station:
- Our workforce engaged on replacing the Leamland point a couple of weeks back received some additional help. Through Community Investment work with the Princes Trust, the Charity which assists getting un-employed 18-25 year olds into paid work, Costain have been helping 5 candidates work towards attaining PTS accreditation for use on the National Rail Network. What better way to help in this undertaking than giving some hands on experience at the Bluebell when they, together with 2 Costain Engineers, visited the railway on Friday 11 November. A confidence boost for the candidates, and an opportunity to improve social skills and provide a constructive contribution to another volunteer led organisation. Ben Coughlan's photo below shows them at Horsted Keynes.
- Until it was overtaken by the 'Flying Scotsman' announcement, Tom James' photo below, of a robin helping with the preparation of locomotives over the pit on Saturday morning, had proved our biggest hit on our facebook page for a long time!
16 November: Note: Temporary timetable 19/20 & 26/27 Nov.
- Stuart Pay's photo shows our Sentinel shunter with the ballast hoppers during a ballast drop on the relaid trackwork to the north of Horsted Keynes today. The line will be open again next weekend, but we are still running to our temporary timetable. The last Wealden Rambler afternoon Tea train of the year also runs on Saturday.
- If you live locally and fancy using a steam train as transport to do your Christmas shopping, then our £5 Christmas shopping trains could be just the thing! They run on Monday 5 & 12, Tuesday 6 & 13 and Wednesday 14 December. Details here.
- Several recent Blog posts have featured the Bluebell:
- The Sunday Permanent Way gang worked on the relaid trackwork on Saturday, clipping up the new rails and the S&T were to be found working, in slightly better weather conditions, on Sunday on the new point. As of Sunday, as seen in David Chappell's photos below, there were still some track panels to lay to reconnected the line, ballast to drop, and lots of other little jobs just to finish. Note the signal wire running though the base of the relocated S&T location cabinets.
14 November: Note: Temporary timetable 19, 20, 26 & 27 Nov.
- Mike Anton's photo here shows the Track Trek on Satuday, passing through the suitably illuminated tunnel. The drip-shields installed a few years ago, which prevent the formation of icicles in the winter, can clearly be seen.
- There is a full report on Saturday's Track Trek in yesterday's eNewsletter. The headlines are that 225 walkers braved the rain and actually participated, and with money still coming in, they have collectively raised over £11,000 towards the ASH and CfC appeals. A few photos taken in the gloom by Tom James, and Martin Lawrence has added some to his November gallery.
The event was able to take place because the line was severed by engineering work near Leamland Bridge, and closed to trains for the weekend.
Many thanks to all the participants, and their sponsors. If these photos of our valiant walkers impress you, please do make a donation to one of the online pages they have created.
- There are some remarkable old pictures of the Bluebell Railway (and other Sussex locations) included accross the four pages of the Blue Pelican Railways collection.
- Another of Mike Anton's photos, below, shows the Track Trekers setting off from East Grinstead. Peter Edwards' photo from Giants of Steam shows 'Camelot' approaching Rock Cutting with the 3.25pm from Sheffield Park, substituting for the B12 on that trip, on 29 October.
11 November: Note: No trains 12-13 Nov. - Temporary timetable 19, 20, 26 & 27 Nov.
- Steve Lee's photo shows the visiting 8F from the Great Central with a nicely matching rake of carriages at West Hoathly on the Sunday of the Giants of Steam gala.
- A final reminder that there are no trains operating on the Bluebell this weekend due to planned engineering work. Our stations, including the locomotive shed, museum, shop and restaurant at Sheffield Park, remain open this weekend.
- We have over 270 people registered to take part in Saturday's Track Trek, which takes advantage of the absence of trains on the line. If you'd like to support our appeals, please sponsor our chairmen, or other walkers
- We have now raised over £20,000 through EasyFundraising.
400 of the Bluebell's supporters, to whom many thanks are due, take part in this scheme, so it would be great to increase that number - it works by giving us a donation when you click through to purchase stuff online, so if you shop at Amazon, eBay, book Hotels, or compare/buy energy, insurance or DIY items, you could be raising money for us at no cost to yourself except one extra mouse click!
- Blog post: Pete's Favourite Things with photos and videos of the B12 at Giants.
- Derek Hayward's photo below shows the B12, No.8572, visiting from the North Norfolk Railway, north of Sloop Bridge on the Friday of Giants.
- The atmosphere of the steam shunt captured in another of Stuart Pay's photos from last week.
10 November: Note: No trains 12-13 Nov. - Temporary timetable 19, 20, 26 & 27 Nov.
- Stuart Pay's photo shows the Q-class shunting ballast wagons at Horsted Keynes last Thursday, alongside the new "No.5" point which was pre-assembled adjacent to the Ardingly Spur. During the course of the current two weeks of engineering work, this is being installed at the north end of Horsted Keynes, beyond Leamland Bridge, at what is known colloquially as "Leamland Junction".
- John Harwood's video is a brief tour around East Grinstead Station, which is open daily, even when trains aren't running. Free admission to travel centre, shop, buffet and toilets! Why not drop in for a cup of coffee whilst visiting Sainsbury's?
- Derek Hayward's photos below show:
- Visiting 8F No.48624 on the Friday of Giants, to the north of Sloop Bridge, with the SR-liveried set. These coaches should have been behind the S15, but a blown cylinder gland packing on the 8F meant that it dropped back one train, swapping with the S15, to allow time for the problem to be fixed.
- No.73082 "Camelot" is seen on the same day passing Horsted Keynes up 2nd advanced starting signal, getting ready to attack the 2 miles of 1-in-75, but at this point still observing the 5mph slack due to the ongoing (but temporarily paused) track-relaying exercise.
7 November: Note: No trains 12-13 Nov. - Temporary timetable 19, 20, 26 & 27 Nov.
- Due to a combination of factors, including planned engineering works to renew life expired permanent way at Horsted Keynes, and some other unexpected complications, the advertised service for November has been reduced. This is because we will be unable to satisfactorily accommodate all our trains there, pending completion of these works.
During that period trains will run to a modified Service 1 as on the right, providing a one train service.
For further information contact the Customer Service team on 01825 720800.
- As has always been planned, we are not operating trains on the weekend of 12/13 November.
This has enabled us to organise our Track Trek sponsored walk over the line on Sat 12 November. It's not too late to sign up, but please do so as soon as possible.
- Update with the current positions in the new season's Football Competition which is raising funds for the overhaul of our Southern Railway Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864.
- Update on the Project 27 Blogspot, where original SECR paint has been uncovered.
- There is an updated Component Sponsorship List for the Brighton Atlantic Project. Do take a look if you fancy sponsoring part of our new locomotive. Gift Aid can be claimed on such sponsorship.
- Needless to say there is no shortage of photos and videos from last weekend's Giants of Steam gala with visiting engines the LNER B12 from the North Norfolk Railway and the 8F from the Great Central Railway, which went off extremely will, in spite of a couple of minor glitches, one with each of the visiting locomotives.
Photos and videos are available from:
- During October 2016 there were 53,476 total hits on this page, from 32,195 unique visitors.
- The choice of photos of Giants of Steam to feature is vast, so here's an initial selection.
The first, from Peter Edwards, shows the B12 leaving Ardingly branch with a goods working, the very first train of the event on Friday 28 October.
Derek Hayward's photo shows the S15 on Freshfield Bank the same day.
- Steve Lee's photo shows some of the vintage buses which provided a free service from Brighton to Sheffield Park on Sunday 30 October. 1966-built Eastbourne Corporation Leyland Titan PD2A No.72 is seen alongside 1962-built Brighton Corporation No.23, a Leyland Titan PD2 with Weymann Orion forward entrance/front staircase bodywork.
- The final photo for now is the 8F leaving the tunnel, by Andrew Crampton on Friday 28 October.
3rd November: Planned Power Cut - UK Power Networks plan to cut power at Sheffield Park from 8.30 to 4.30pm. However they hope to be quick and cause as little inconvenience as possible. It means the phone lines may not be operating for a time, and there will be no catering facilities, as the Bessemer Arms will not be open either.
- See below for this week's timetable.
- Half Term Special Offer: Kids for a Quid daily until Thursday.
- Pleased to report that our phone lines at Sheffield Park were re-connected this evening. The main visitor-facing web site will be updated tomorrow.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the Maunsell Q-class No.30541 arriving at Horsted Keynes with the 12:20 service from Sheffield Park today.
24 October - See below for this week's timetable changes
- Derek Hayward's photo from yesterday shows the visiting B12 No.8572 in light steam on shed at Sheffield Park. Derek has just uploaded photos from the weekend to his 2016 Gallery.
- With our other visitor, 8F No.48624, and 3-4 locos from our home fleet, running an intensive 4-train service, with goods trains to begin and end the days on Friday and Sunday, everything is in place for the 3-day Giants of Steam gala which starts on Friday. You can download the Timetable here.
- Details are also available to download for the free vintage bus service which we are running on Sunday. Please note the slightly revised timetable (15:30 Brighton to Sheffield Park is retimed to 15:15, to fit better with the train service).
- Please note that the catering details, particularly with respect to the timing of the Pullman Trains, currently shown in the Catering Information on the Giants of Steam web page is subject to various changes. Unfortunately, because of the lack of phone and internet connection at Sheffield Park at present, we are unable to update this information. The Pullmans are running in Set D in the timetables here, and are available to first-class ticket holders for an at-seat dining service. For 3rd class ticket holders, a dining service and Harvey's Real Ale Bar are available in Set A. A Buffet/Bar is also available on Set C.
- Half Term Special Offer: Kids for a Quid. Trains running to the Modified Timetable below, daily until Thursday 27 October.
- Derek Hayward has added 20 new images to his gallery covering the Leamland Bridge works. Double track working has now resumed, and the engineering works will now not resume until November, with the No.5 points replaced over the period when we are advertising no trains - note particularly that there are no trains advertised for the weekend of 12/13 November, which is enabling you to walk the entire line as part of the 2016 Track Trek.
His photo below shows Q-class No.30541 with Pullman Luncheon Train at Leamland Bridge yesterday, showing the two relaid sections of line at this point.
- Talking of the Track Trek, there's a new page
listing all those who've set up pages on BT MyDonate and JustGiving, including assorted chairmen, vice chairs and finance directors... and even a web site editor.
So please do sponsor us, or even better, register to take part.
- Peter Edwards' photo below reminds us that Giants of Steam is not just about the two visiting engines. One of our resident "giants", Southern Railway S15 No.847 is seen at Three Arch Bridge on Saturday.
- The final photo, from 10 October taken by John Goss, shows Anthony Mallinson unveiling the smokebox numberplate from ex-LSWR T9 No.30724 which he has presented to the Bluebell Museum in memory of his father, Graham.
22 October - See below for our Temporary timetable changes
- We regret that the Railway is currently unable to access external phone and Internet connections. We are sorry for any inconvenience, but the fault is sadly beyond our control.
- Saturday 22 to Thursday 27 October: Kids for a Quid Special Offer. Trains running to a Temporary Timetables
- We are very pleased to announce that, joining the visiting B12 for Giants of Steam (Fri 28 - Sun 30 October), will be the only surviving LMS 8F from those assembled in the Southern Railway's works at Ashford, No.48624, which is now based on the Great Central Railway. This locomotive replaces 70013, which at short notice has become unavailable.
Up to 6 locomotives in steam - Facebook event - Timetable download - Free Vintage Bus (Sunday)
No.48624 is seen here in Dave Bowles' photo from January 2015, just after it had been repainted black.
- We are currently advertising the following important Volunteer positions:
We are also advertising three full-time posts for boiler and machining work in the Locomotive Department.
- Commercial Director
- Rolling Stock Director
- Project Manager - OP4
The Bluebell Railway Trust is curently seeking a Trustee.
- Bulleid Society News update covering progress with the overhaul their carriage No.5768.
- Updates on the Project 27 Blogspot: Overhaul of the steam reverser, an update on that and some great cad drawings for new buffers.
- Derek Hayward has 32 new photos of trackwork at Leamland, where the loop line has now been re-instated, and the main line (on the eastern side) lifted. Our services are therefore currently using platform 2 at Horsted Keynes. The full track layout will be available again for Giants of Steam at the end of the month, and then, over the following couple of weeks, the new point will be installed, involving the closure of the line on 12/13 November,
Derek has also added photos of recent activities around the railway, including last weekend's Scammell meet, to his 2016 album.
- Major update to the web page for Stroudley 4-wheel Third No.328 which is under restoration in the carriage works, with thanks to Ian White and Sheina Foulkes. You can follow progress on the carriage on Dave Clarke's Flickr site..
10 October - See below for our Temporary timetable changes
- Steve Lee's photo shows the C-class arriving at Horsted Keynes with the Sunday Luncheon Golden Arrow Pullman service yesterday. Note the ballast stockpile ready for the present engineering work to replace the Leamland points, and for the forthcoming relaying of 27 chains of track on our main line, and also the track through Platforms 2-3, both scheduled for early next year.
- Note: Autumn Tints continue on Weekdays until 21 October, to an amended timetable.
- The Commercial Department is looking for volunteer assistance in our sales offices at Sheffield Park and East Grinstead.
- Update to Who's Who page with changes to Bluebell Railway PLC directors following the PLC AGM over the summer, and a recent Board meeting.
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows SECR P-class No.323 at West Hoathly with an Autumn Tints special with the LNWR Obaservation Car on Tuesday last week.
- Steve Lee's photo shows 'Camelot' as it prepares to haul last Sunday's Golden Arrow Luncheon service.
- The Railway's C&W Department is advertising the following vacancies:
- Carriage & Wagon Fitter, Maintenance
- Pullman Car Restoration Team Leader
- Pullman Car Restoration Fitter
- Pullman Car Restoration Coachbuilder
The first two are continuing full-time roles, whilst the posts related to the forthcoming overhaul of Pullman Car No.54 are for 3 year fixed contracts.
- The volunteer Principal Designer (CDM regulations 2015) position for the ASH project is also still being advertised.
- Some of Dave Clarke's recent photos illustrate the current state of Pullman Brake, Car 54, for which the majority of the project funding is now in place.
- News of frame welding repairs to SECR P-class No.27 on the Project 27 Blog.
- Last Sunday's e-Newsletter with news of current track relaying projects, grant-funded work to improve the picnic area at Sheffield Park, and a full report on the Haywards Heath 175 celebrations.
- The latest newsletter from the Standard Class 2 No.84030 project has now been published on this web site - this new/rebuild project is now close to re-wheeling.
- What will sadly probably be John Sandys' last regular photo update with three SECR locomotives seen in steam.
- Derek Hayward's gallery from last Sunday's Vintage Bus Day is now available. His photo below from the C&W Workshop shows Bulleid CK No.5768 with its roof canvas in place, and priming and filling of the bodyside well advanced, along with Stroudley Third No.328, where the first of the partitions has now been fitted - unusually the tongued & grooved partition boards are divided by a horizontal rail at the top of the seat-back.
- The second photo, by Andrew Crampton, shows 73965 and 73964 approaching Sharpthorne Tunnel with last Tuesday's train bringing in 900 tonnes of ballast for the track relaying taking place over the coming few months.
The photos below, from Derek Hayward, show three of the buses at Sheffield Park last Sunday for the Vintage Bus Day. They are: Eastbourne 73 (BJK 673D), a 1966 Leyland Titan PD2; Southdown 277 (BUF 277C), a 1965 Leyland PD3/4; Maidstone & District 5138 (WKO 138S), a 1978 Bristol VRT/SL3/ECW, and in the second, LT RF 368 (MXX 10), a 1952 AEC Regal IV.
Temporary Timetable Changes
- Due to a combination of factors, including planned engineering works to renew life expired permanent way at Horsted Keynes, and some other unexpected complications, the advertised service for the period shown below has been reduced. This is because we will be unable to satisfactorily accommodate all the planned trains at Horsted Keyens, pending completion of these works.
During the weekends 8/9, 15/16, 22/23 October along with 5/6, 19/20 and 26/27 November trains will run to a modified Service 1, providing a one train service. Timetables for the affected weekends in October are below.
Autumn Tints continue on Weekdays until 21 October, to an amended timetable.
For the October schools' half term period, a modified service 2 will run as below, allowing trains to pass at Horsted Keynes, although journey times between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes will also be extended by about 5 minutes.
The Giants of Steam event will run to a special, 4 train, service as the planned works can be suspended to allow that event to take place. Our Santa season in December will also run to the usual special timetable.
For further information see www.bluebell-railway.com or contact the Customer Service team on 01825 720800.
We understand that this late alteration to our services may disappoint some visitors, but we hope that you will nonetheless enjoy your visit.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows P-class No.323 with the 1913-built observation car at East Grinstead yesterday on one of the Autumn Tints specials, which continue on weekdays over the next couple of weeks. Phone 01825 720800 to book.
- Giants of Steam is Friday 28 to Sunday 30 October. More information in the Facebook event for the Gala.
Phone 01825 720800 for discounted advance ticket purchases. We hope to have a timetable available soon.
The photo below is of our second planned visiting locomotive, No.70013 Oliver Cromwell. The photo is by D Rawlings (CC BY 2.5, Own work).
Details are available of catering arrangements for the Giants of Steam event.
- Update to the page for locos which were formerly based on the Bluebell, in particular with an updated photo and information about No.4 'Townsend Hook', which has recently been cosmetically restored at Amberley Museum.
- Some 360-degree panoramas from Mike Anton, at Kingscote Station: Two
inside Kingscote signalbox showing the Westinghouse L-frame, one showing U-class No.1638 there, and
walkers signing in for the 2015 Track Trek. Don't forget to sign up now to participate in our 2016 Track Trek, which takes place next month.
- Steve Lee's photo below from Sunday's Vintage Bus Day shows the only survivor of ten Beadle-bodied Leyland Titan PD2/12s. RUF 186 entered service with Southdown Motor Services in December 1956.
- Derek Hayward's photo below shows S15 No.847 setting off from Horsted Keynes on Sunday, whilst No.73082 'Camelot' sits in plaform 2 with the lunchtime Golden Arrow dining train. Derek has further photos showing progress with track relaying at Leamland Bridge.
- Derek Hayward's photo shows the C-class with the Wealden Rambler North of Caseford Bridge on 24 September.
- Today is our Vintage Bus Day - download timetables.
- We were featured heavily on BBC1 in the South-East on Wednesday evening in Railways: The Making of a Nation, which is
Now available on iPlayer. The entire series is now going out on BBC4 on Thursday evenings.
- The confirmed locomotive visiting for Giants of Steam 2016 is the LNER B12 as seen in the photo below courtesy of Leigh Caudwell / M&GN Joint Railway Society. It remains our intention to have a second visiting locomotive in the line up and as things presently stand our hopes are that it will be "Britannia" BR Class 7 No.70013 "Oliver Cromwell", although final confirmation is still awaited. Phone 01825 720800 for discounted advance ticket purchases.
- Derek Hayward has two recent updates - Engineering work in progress at Leamland Bridge, and Progress with drainage work in the OP4 carriage shed.
- John Sandys' album from Thursday - a busy day on the railway, with two large engines in steam, and the ballast delivery to unload which had been delayed, having arrived rather later on Wednesday than planned. Also, his album from Thursday 22nd, when we again had two locos in steam, Camelot on the service train and the H-Class shunting.
- Martin Lawrence supplies a short video clip of the arrival, shunt and unloading of Monday's ballast train, and also some
photos in his September gallery.
He also has completed a video compilation from around the Railway during May, June, July and August, which includes footage taken during the Southern At War and Vintage Transport weekends, with loco's including Nos. B473, 847 & 592. The ending includes his own personal tribute to the late Colin Packham.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with expected locomotive use for September.
- During September 2016 there were 44,934 total hits on this page, from 26,765 unique visitors.
- 73082 'Camelot' is seen in the second photo below with the second train of the day on Wednesday at East Grinstead, in Brian Lacey's photo. Following a period running in as-built condition, the locomotive now carries its nameplates.
- Brian Lacey's photo from Saturday shows two of four locos running that day - the C-class No.592 was hauling the vintage service set, and H-class No.263 was on a Wealden Rambler afternoon tea train. The S15 was on the Corridor set, and 'Camelot' was looking after a Golden Arrow wedding charter.
- Giants of Steam this year is over three days. An intensive timetable will operate, and along with visiting engine, the M&GN Society's LNER 'B12' from the North Norfolk Railway, the Railway's own engines No.73082 'Camelot', Q-class No.30541 and S15-class No.847 will be on duty. See the facebook event or the website event for more details. Buy tickets in advance to save ! We are still hoping to add a further visiting engine as well.
- On our Vacancies page are currently advertising for a Volunteer CDM Dutyholder for the ASH Project.
- Reminder that on 30 September we are offering a Driving & firing experience day on 73082 'Camelot'.
- Update from last week on Project 27.
- Now available to download: 2017 details for the Murder Mystery evenings on the Golden Arrow. Details remain available for the rest of 2016.
- Video from Nick Dearden which pieces together a round trip of the line with 73082.
- First report with the current positions in the new season's Football Competition which is raising funds for the overhaul of our Southern Railway Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864.
- Photos and a video from Martin Lawrence covering the 175th Anniversary of the Railway coming to Haywards Heath, which featured in particular 'Stepney' being displayed in the town, and Hastings Diesels providing a shuttle to Ardingly, including the photo below.
- John Harwood's video from the weekend, with the Hastings Diesel unit running on the Ardingly branch, and a video from today, featuring Camelot at Kingscote and on the viaduct.
- John Sandys' albums from
Monday 12 September, from
last Thursday and from
Monday and yesterday, showing amongst other things, 178 undergoing a steam test, 592 shunting goods vehicles, and 847 and 73082 on service trains. The albums also document the start of track-renewal work to the North of Horsted Keynes.
- Ben Jenden's photos from Saturday.
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows the H-class with LBSCR First-class carriage No.7598 as it departs from Sheffield Park on Tuesday 30 September.
- Lots of news in the latest edition of our e-Newsletter.
- We are featured in a recent Holiday Lettings article "Great Travel Experiences in the UK".
- Brian Lacey's photo on the right, taken yesterday, shows the S15, on the timetabled service train, bursting out of the tunnel. That below shows 73082 "Camelot" on a preliminary Driving Experience turn yesterday - a public Driving & Firing Experience day with this locomotive is available on 30 September.
- As part of this year's Autumn Tints specials, which run on Monday to Friday on 3-21 October, we have a new offer - Souper Steam, a train ride whilst enjoying a bowl of delicious warming Autumn soup in the Restaurant Car, on the 12.20 departure from Sheffield Park, on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 3 & 20 October.
- John Sandys' photo shows the H-class with the lunchtime Golden Arrow Pullman Dining train on Bank Holiday Monday. In the background can be seen our LBSCR Milk Van and SR Milk Tank.
- We are offering a choice of different options for this year's Autumn Tints specials, which run on Monday to Friday on 3-21 October:
More information on these specials, including ticket booking, is available here.
- Special return trips in the 1950s Lounge cars "Ashdown," "Chelwood," and "Balcombe."
- Watch the scenery from the ever-popular 1913 Observation Car (pre-booking is essential!)
- "Souper" steam / Steam & Cream: Autumn-vegetable soup at lunchtime or afternoon cream tea - Monday through Thursday.
- Autumn Tints two-train service runs Monday through Friday (steam hauled) - timetable.
- We are operating our normal Service Two Timetable each weekend (no pre-booking required for scheduled services).
- Entry is now open for our Make it Snappy... photo competition - closes 31 October.
- John Sandys' photos from today show the S15 on the service train, "Camelot" on private Footplate Experience runs, and the Q-class loaded for transport to the Nene Valley Railway's forthcoming Gala (as also seen below), as well as recent arrivals in stock in our shop.
- Reminder that there's a vintage goods train running this Saturday morning, 10 September. The timetable for this should be available later this week.
- Online booking is now open (third-class tickets only online) for our
Santa Specials from Sheffield Park, which run on 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 23 & 24 December - Telephone booking opens on 3 October.
- David Jones' photo below shows Pullman Car No.54 in the carriage works for inspection to enable detailed planning for its forthcoming overhaul. Further details are available in the latest edition of our e-Newsletter.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the SECR H-class and LBSCR Carriage 7598 at Sheffield Park on Tuesday this week. His photo below shows the Q-class approaching Horsted Keynes the same day. Also at the bottom of today's update is his photo showing the chassis and wheels of SECR O1-class No.65 in the workshop, with 80151's wheels in foreground.
- An update on the Project 27 Blog. The dismantling of SECR P-class No.27 is complete. From now on it's "just" a question of restoration of those parts which are in good condition, making new parts to replace those which are not, and putting it all back together! Funding to cast and complete the new cylinder block is currently being sought.
- Jon Horrocks provides an album from 24 August, the day we hosted the Nine Elmes Enginemen reunion.
- Martin Lawrence has uploaded the final pics to his August gallery.
- Photos by John Kortland, who had a super day on the railway on Wednesday.
- Further photos from Derek Hayward showing drainage work progressing in the Carriage Shed Extension at Horsted Keynes, and
an update to his Bluebell 2016 gallery, showing service trains on 26 August, Punch and Judy at Horsted Keynes, and extensive images of the Elephant Van.
- Lionel Callow visited the Bluebell last week, and has a great selection of photos on his blog page.
- John Sandys' album from Sunday and Monday 22-23 August: A wreath was carried on the Q-Class for Colin Packham. John's photo below shows the Q with its vintage train in the platform at Sheffield Park on the Sunday. John also provides galleries from
and Tuesday this week.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with expected locomotive use for September.
- Coming on top of the recent deaths David Wallis (former Signalman and Signalman's Inspector) and Simon Brown (whose funeral was held at Kingscote last Friday, and for whom a memorial train was run on Monday evening), we also sadly must record the passing of Shirley Owen (wife of the late Jack Owen, our first Loco driver), Bluebell steam and diesel driver Colin Packham (who was also a resident of the station cottages at Horsted Keynes), Clifford Avery (who was effectively Sheffield Park's caretaker in the 1970s/80s), and Barbara Polhill (volunteer on the buffet cars and Halloween Witch, and more recently working on the Victorian events and on the catering staff on the Wealden Rambler).
- Below is Robert Hayward's photo showing the memorial stone for Bernard Holden, installed in our Garden of Remembrance on Sunday, with a ceremony, attended by 70 people, conducted by our Chaplain, Father John, who is seen with Bernard's daughter and two of his grandchildren.
- During August 2016 there were 46,948 total hits on this page, from 28,144 unique visitors.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the Maunsell Q-class on the vintage set with the 3.25pm arrival at East Grinstead on Wednesday. The Q is in Bluebell service for the next couple of weeks and will then be appearing at the Nene Valley Railway's September Steam Gala.
- Our Accessible Steam Heritage (ASH) appeal is 80% of the way to its target. This project will enable us to present our locomotive fleet to our visitors in a much better way than we presently are able to, and also covers re-roofing of the existing locomotive shed, and construction of a large covered running-maintenance facility. We will shortly be submitting the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Round 2 grant application, and every donation made counts as an indication of the strength of support for the project, so please do donate here by 22nd August, the deadline for donor figures to be included in the application. For more information please see the Appeal Video.
- This weekend, being the third of the month, would normally see the GNR Directors' Saloon in operation. However this month, for a combination of reasons, it will instead be running in public service over the three days of the Bank Holiday weekend. Travel on the saloon just requires the purchase of a first class ticket, or an upgrade on the train. Tea, coffee, drinks and a range of light refreshments (toasted tea-cakes, scones or cakes) are available on the saloon.
- John Sandys'
photos from a lovely sunny day on Monday, with 73082 and 30541 on the trains, and from Tuesday, including drainage work progressing for the new carriage shed at Horsted Keynes.
- Nick Dearden has completed this video covering Spring and Summer 2016 on the Bluebell, including an unusual albino squirrel.
- There is an updated Component Sponsorship List for the Brighton Atlantic Project, adding 20 new items, mainly firehole door components, and removing those items sponsored recently. Do take a look if you fancy sponsoring part of our new locomotive. Gift Aid can be claimed on such sponsorship.
- Chris Eden-Green's "Steam Locos In Profile" SOLE SLIP on our Dukedog locomotive.
- Derek Hayward's photo below shows the C-class with the Vintage Goods Train run on 6 August. The next one is due to run on Saturday 10 September.
He now just over 100 images of the Vintage Transport Weekend available, spread over 3 pages, including photos of the winning entries on the first page. Sweetheart Swing performed on Sunday, and photos of them at the event will appear shortly.
- 73082, which will be regaining its "Camelot" name plates this weekend, is seen in Paul Furlong's photo below heading last Saturday's Golden Arrow dining train at Freshfield.
- At 11am yesterday morning the railway came to a halt for a minute's silence in memory of Simon Brown. Derek Hayward's photo was taken at Sheffield Park immediately prior to the start of the silence.
- Our Vintage Transport Weekend continues today, with our Service Two Timetable in operation. Richard Salmon's photos below show some of the traction engines, steam rollers, a steam lorry, vintage motorcycles and cars taking part yesterday.
- Today is also one of our regular "Find Out More" days - if you fancy getting involved as a volunteer, turn up at 10.30am at Sheffield Park station on the second Sunday of any month. We are currently particularly short of station staff at East Grinstead station, although we are looking for volunteers all across the railway.
- If you are looking for paid employment locally, we are short of catering staff this summer.
- Martin Lawrence has made a start to his August gallery including photos of the goods train run with the SECR C-class.
- Both our locomotives this week have carried wreaths to remember the life of Simon Brown, which was tragically cut short last Sunday.
Simon had been a volunteer at the Railway from his early teens where he was to be seen as part of the Station Staff at Kingscote. He went on to be actively involved in the Santa Services, Fish and Chip trains and a stalwart of the Rail Ale Train team. Always enthusiastic, helpful and polite he was a pleasure to be with and always a reliable source of humour, support and confectionary. His involvement at the Railway also included his help with the running, managing and at times maintenance of the Great Northern Railway Directors' Saloon, for which his smartly turned out appearance as a steward would always attract the customers.
He will be sorely missed by all who had the privilege to know him - a tragic end to such a young life. A minute's silence will be observed on the Railway at 11am tomorrow.
Our thoughts are with his family and close friends to whom we at the Bluebell Railway extend our deepest sympathies and condolences.
The photos (by Andy Kelly, right, and John Sandys, below) show 73082 and H-class 263 with their wreaths this week.
Derek Hayward's photo below shows Simon at Kingscote Station with a Victorian Christmas train in 2008, sporting an unusual addition to his uniform.
- This weekend is our Vintage Transport Weekend, when again trains will run to our Service Two Timetable, with a minor modification so that the minute's silence can be observed tomorrow by the trains at Sheffield Park and East Grinstead.
- The Bluebell Railway's new Driving & Firing Experience launches on 30 September. Full Steam Ahead is your chance to drive and fire BR 5MT No.73082 'Camelot' over the length of the line.
With a view to rolling out a series of such days in 2017, we are initially offering just one day this year.
The train will be formed of 4 carriages for the exclusive use of the participants, who can also invite up to 6 guests each.
It will be a full day starting at Sheffield Park at 8.30am and finishing there just after 5.00 pm.
That special birthday wish, retirement present, corporate team building exercise, or just the chance for a dream to come true - this could be answer.
Please see more details here or call our Sales Office on 01825 720800.
- Update on Project 27 with photo report from Matt Holloway describing what he and Ben got up to over last weekend.
- Great photo-blog of an enjoyable evening on the Golden Arrow.
- Martin Lawrence's video of action from April.
- Video from Philip Bull shot on the weekend of the Sussex Food Festival.
- John Harwood's video from Tuesday this week (note - the drone filming complies with our requirements).
- John Sandys' albums from Monday 8 August, from Tuesday, in memory of Simon, and from Thursday cover well what's been happening around the railway this week.
- Derek Hayward has added just over 60 images from the Toy and Rail Collectors Fair weekend, including the photos here showing H-class No.263 approaching New Road Bridge on the Saturday. The photos below show the new end-doors now on the Elephant Van, and the BR Standard 2MT 84030 project stand, a car-boot stall, and a stand in the marquee at the Collectors Fair, also all from last Saturday. He has also updated his gallery featuring the development of the new carriage shed at Horsted Keynes, where volunteers have started work on installing the drainage.
- We have now been notified of an additional vintage goods train running this Saturday, 6 August, to this timetable.
- This weekend, 6-7 August, we have Seaside Weekend, when again trains will run to our Service Two Timetable, as they will daily for the rest of the Summer holidays.
- We featured heavily in the second episode of the BBC2 series "Full Steam Ahead", and will again later in the series.
This episode is available on iPlayer for a few more weeks.
We also had a mention towards the end of a repeat of last year's BBC1 "Escape to the Country", which is also therefore available again on iPlayer; this has resulted in a few donations to our Fundraising Appeals.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with expected locomotive use for August.
- John Sandys' albums from Monday and Thursday, both covering days with three locos in steam.
- Martin Lawrence has completed his July album.
- Two photographic updates on Schools-class "Stowe. Firstly the firebox and new copper half sides have been sent away for welding off site, where they will be reunited with the doorplate and tubeplate. The firebox will then be returned to Sheffield Park as a complete unit ready for fitting.
Yesterday the MLS provided two photos of work to install the new throatplate.
- During July 2016 there were 45,968 total hits on this page, from 28,125 unique visitors.
- This photo from Keith Duke's album shows the H-class with the vintage goods train last Saturday.
The Vintage Goods train is next scheduled to run on Saturday 10 September.
- We're building up today to our Toy & Rail Collectors Fair this weekend at Horsted Keynes Station. We are running our peak Service Two Timetable.
- To celebrate five years of trading from the ex-Isfield building at Sheffield Park, the Bulleid Society's shop will be holding a big cut price book sale this weekend. So why not come along after you have visited the collectors fair at Horsted Keynes and see what they have?
There will be a large selection of second hand books with prices from as little as £1.00, these prices are for this weekend only, so don't miss out!!
A large collection of Middleton Press books, a recent addition to stock, will be on sale, and along with all their usual stock of books, there will also be
some railwayana to tempt you.
All our other ranges will be available, including framed prints, model railway items and a large selection of souvenirs and postcards.
You can find the Bulleid Shop on Platform 2 at Sheffield Park, open from 10.00 until 18.00 on both days.
Come and have a ride from Horsted Keynes to Sheffield Park and see what you can find, you might be surprised!
- Looking forward to 6-7 August, we have Seaside Weekend, when again trains will run to our Service Two Timetable. Our Paddock at Horsted Keynes will be transformed into a sandy beach, with Donkey Rides, Punch and Judy Shows and an end of Pier Show of Humour and Song. We will be running our Kids for a Quid offer so all children 3 - 15 years will travel at just £1 on all services all day!
- Brian Lacey's photos below were also taken last Saturday, and show the token exchange on the approach to Horsted Keynes, the temporary signalling arrangement (a mixture of colour lights and mechanical shunts) whilst the Sheffield Park Inner Home bracket signal is dismantled for the replacement of some timbers, and the S15 pausing at Horsted Keynes.
- John Sandys' photo from Tuesday 19 July shows the S15 on the service train and 73082, on the 10-coach special for the war veterans visit that day, at Kingscote.
- This coming weekend is our big Toy & Rail Collectors Fair at Horsted Keynes Station - there will be a huge range of stalls selling a vast array of different items, on the station and in the marquee in the field.
- Last Saturday the H-class did a trip with the vintage goods train in the morning, before hauling the Wealden Rambler afternoon tea train.
Photos from Saturday are available from:
- Photos from a 75H photo charter, organised by Jon Bowers, featuring SECR C-class No.592, from Dave Bowles, starting with this one - click on the '>' to see the others. The locomotive is in the last year of its current boiler certificate, and is running on a restricted basis due to its tyres being close to scrapping size. At its next overhaul it will receive a new cylinder block, new tyres, and an almost new copper firebox.
- John Sandys' photos from last Thursday, show the S15 on the service trains, the H-class shunting, the O1 and 80151 in the workshop, and new stock in the shop including the Bluebell's 2017 calendar. His photos from this Monday include the Green Line bus, CRL4, which conveyed guests celebrating Fred Ivey's 90th Birthday. Fred worked for London Transport until retiring in 1991, and is now a volunteer both on the Bluebell and at the LT Museum.
- "The Line to the Stars" is the first book published by the Bluebell Railway for many years. Written by Heidi Mowforth, it details the filming which has taken place on the line over more than 50 years, and is now available from our shop - ring 01825 720803 to order a copy.
- Brian Lacey's photos below from Monday show the H-class arriving at East Grinstead with its vintage train, which currently forms the first train of our peak summer two-train service.
- Join us for Track Trek 2016, our sponsored walk of the line, on Saturday 12 November.
There's a choice of walking the entire line (11 miles) or a shorter 5-mile option, with a free bus back to your starting location. Full details, including of how to register, a sponsorship form you can print out, and on-line fundraising via BT MyDonate and JustGiving, are available on the event's web page.
Note: The charges and deductions are much lower on BT MyDonate, so if you use them for your page, much more of your donors' gifts benefit the Railway.
As mentioned last week, The Bluebell Railway Trust has been forced by PayPal Giving Fund's revised policies to drop them as a fund-raising platform. We have now registered with BT MyDonate, and will monitor how this goes in the coming months, with the hope that we can then migrate completely to it due to its cost-effectiveness and low overheads as a fund-raising platform; for example we currently pay JustGiving a monthly fee for their facilities and there is none with BT MyDonate, and in addition, for a £10 donation, with Gift Aid, on BT MyDonate we will receive £12.37 whereas on JustGiving we'd only get £11.74. We will however continue to operate JustGiving alongside BT MyDonate for as long as we feel it is necessary to do so.
- The vintage goods train will run this Saturday morning, 23 July, to this timetable.
- We are currently advertising a vacancy for a Customer Services Assistant.
- John Sandys provides an album for Tuesday, when we were host to 150 veterans, on a trip organised by a London Taxi Benevolent Association for War Disabled, including the photo shown below.
- Another two of Brian Lacey's photos from Saturday show No.73082 running round its train at East Grinstead and the C-class waiting to head the Wealden Rambler afternoon tea train out of Sheffield Park.
- Update and several photos from Saturday's Cricket Match on Scaynes Hill Cricket Club's pitch which adjoins the line at Freshfields, when a Bluebell Railway XI played their "friendly" team. It was a great social occasion, with an enjoyable BBQ afterwards! Martin Widdowson, the Bluebell's Finance Director, proved to be a handy bowler, achieved figures of 4 overs, 1 maiden, 2 wickets for 7 runs, but we could not prevent SHCC scoring 194-for-7. Whilst the Bluebell team, under captain Stuart Marks of the Loco Dept, could not match that, we bettered last year's score, with 109 all out in reply.
- This is the last week for the present of our Service 1 timetable; from Saturday it's Service 2 every day through to 4 September.
- Update on the Project 27 Blog covering continued work on stripping down the locomotive's frames. The project also now has a facebook page.
- Good coverage of recent filming work on the Bluebell in The East Grinstead Courier. In particular there's a BBC2 series, "Full Steam Ahead", which starts at 8pm this Thursday (repeated 4.30pm on Saturday). It appears we will feature in a subsequent episode, with sequences filmed in April and June.
- John Sandy's album from today, with the S15 on the service trains, and the flower beds at Kingscote looking superb.
- Martin Lawrence has added some more photos, including of the recreation of the original style of subway handrail at Kingscote, to his July gallery.
- Brian Lacey's photos below from Saturday show the SER O1-class No.65 dismantled in the locomotive works, and SECR P-class No.323 on shed, preparing for the following day's pilot duties while there's a crew swap for SR S15 No.847.
- John Sandys' photo on the right shows the S15 with the service train on Tuesday climbing the 1-in-55 towards Imberhorne Cutting. John's photos from that day are here, also including that below, showing a couple of the new Hornby models of the Adams Radial Tank in our shop.
- A reminder that the next runs of our vintage goods train will take place on Saturday 23 July.
- Derek Hayward has very substantially augmented his collection showing Horsted Keynes Signal Box. (Interior views taken with permission).
- PayPal Giving and eBay for Charity - we regret that due to changes made to their administrative processes, we are no longer able to collect online donations via the PayPal Giving Fund or through eBay for Charity.
This is in spite of efforts on our part to communicate our concerns with PayPal Giving, who appeared geared up for large charitable (trading) companies rather than smaller charities who just want to receive donations.
We continue to fundraise via JustGiving for the present, but since they have become relatively more expensive to fundraise through than other more recent platforms, we will be focusing our future online fundraising efforts through BT MyDonate, to be inaugurated shortly.
- The boiler for No.34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair" has left Crewe and arrived at the South Devon Railway's engineering works where the new inner firebox is to be fabricated and fitted to the boiler shell.
- Entry forms are now available for the annual fund-raising Football Competition - you do not need to know anything about football to enter - just try to predict the Championship or FA Cup Final results! Funds are being raised through these competitions towards the forthcoming overhaul of our unique Southern Railway Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864.
- John Harwood has produced a
video shot at Kingscote & East Grinstead yesterday.
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows the C-class just departing from Sheffield Park with the vintage set on Saturday.
- Martin Lawrence's superb sunset photo shows the S15 ready to set off on the second evening departure of the Golden Arrow dining train on Saturday evening, and is part of his July gallery, which also includes a photo of the road-rail vehicle being used for weed-control.
- Trains will be running to our Service One timetable this week, and Service Two timetable at the weekend.
- The iconic inner home signal at Sheffield Park, constructed over 30 years ago, has been dismantled for refurbishment/repair. Entrance to Sheffield Park station is for the present therefore controlled by a temporary arrangement, with colour light main signals and mechanical calling on signals.
- The Bluebell Cricket Match against Scaynes Hill CC is confirmed for 1pm on Saturday 16 July at their Freshfields ground, adjoining the Bluebell.
Our JustGiving page, shared 50/50 with Scaynes Hill, is closing in on £100. Bluebell supporters are encouraged to attend, and there will be a barbecue for £5 per person after the match at Scaynes Hill clubhouse. If you plan to attend as a supporter, please let us know, via the web site editor, Richard Salmon.
- Two further SMS-Refresh dates, for those staff and volunteers who have not yet attended one this year, are now available. They give you the opportunity to get to know our new General Manager, Gordon Owen.
- SuperTrainstationH, who visited us from the USA last year, has created a blog specifically about our LCDR carriage No.3360 (the People's Millions carriage).
- That carriage was in demand last night with several passengers using its wheel-chair facility to travel to the "Songs of Praise" evening at Kingscote. Richard Salmon's photos below show:
- Part of the assembled congregation for the event, which was led by Canon John Twisleton, our Chaplain and Rector of St Giles, Horsted Keynes, The Revd Paddy Macbain, Vicar of All Saints Danehill with Chelwood Gate & Rural Dean of the Uckfield Deanery, and The Revd David Howland, Curate of St Giles, and also a Chaplain to the Railway.
- The Bluebell's four Senior Station Masters, who all happened to be present - (from the left) Tim Baker (Horsted Keynes), Roy Watts (East Grinstead), Graham Aitken (Sheffield Park) & Richard Clark (Kingscote). Graham in the odd-one-out in his Guard's, rather than his Station Master's, uniform.
- The hymn singing was accompanied in appropriate style by the Bluebell Railway Band (they have posted a nice selection of photos here).
- The locomotive for the evening was the SECR C-class, seen waiting to leave Kingscote after the end of the service, with a 7-coach train formed of the SR Maunsells and the Victorian 4-wheelers.
- The S15 is on the service trains (Service One timetable this week), and is seen ready to leave Sheffield Park on Monday in Keith Duke's photo.
Keith's photos below show the other two locos in steam on Monday, the C-class on a shunting turn, and No.323 with a special with the Great Northern Directors' Saloon.
More of Keith's photos from Monday here.
- Trains will be running to our Service Two timetable at the weekend.
- To keep your children amused during your visit to the Bluebell over the summer holidays, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 25 July to 2 Sept we are hosting Punch & Judy Shows at Horsted Keynes.
- Report in the Crawley Observer of a recent charter train run on the Bluebell for more than 200 Cubs from Crawley District who celebrated the centenary of Cub Scouting in style with a hike, train ride and barbecue.
- John Sandys provides photos and videos from around the railway on Monday, a lovely Summer's day.
- Martin Lawrence has started his July gallery with some pics of the food fair. He also has a short video from the Model Railway Weekend showing some of the layouts.
- Derek Hayward provides two substantial galleries providing comprehensive coverage of the Model Railway Weekend and the Food and Drink Festival.
- Trevor Mould provides a video of the trains running on Sunday 2 July.
- Chris Thomas has a gallery of photos of our trains on the Saturday of the Model Railway event.
- Update, with thanks to Chris Majer and Peter Richards, to the Sheffield Park Signalling page, providing an update to the signalbox diagram. The page for Kingscote Signalling has similarly been updated, with the new diagram which covers the track up to and including East Grinstead. The sub-pages giving expanded views of both diagrams have also been updated.
- The final photo below, with thanks to the Talyllyn Railway, shows the gathering of all 5 UK-based Fletcher, Jennings locomotives which survive. Our own 1877-built "Captain Baxter" was reunited with 1880-built 3ft. 2 1/4 inch gauge "William Finlay" and "Townsend Hook" which were together at Dorking Greystone Lime Co. Ltd. (Betchworth) until 1960. Townsend Hook was the first locomotive to arrive at Sheffield Park, on 10 April 1960, leaving 2 years later.
- This photo of 73082 arriving at Horsted Keynes yesterday is from a collection of videos and photos by John Sandys.
- Are you coming to our Food and Drink Festival at Horsted Keynes this coming weekend?
Worth printing out the Special Offer voucher for ilovebubbly.com.
The timetable for the weekend will be our peak two-train Service 2 public timetable, with the pre-booked Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea Train running both days as well.
- Update to the Sheffield Park Signalling page, with details of the long-section working which has now been implemented as an option when only one train is running, with thanks to Chris Majer and Peter Richards. There are further updates to come.
- Updates to various locomotive pages following the withdrawal from service of ex-LBSCR E4 No.B473 which now joins the overhaul queue; having had a virtually new outer firebox a couple of decades ago, it will need the sort of work on the inner firebox currently being undertaken on "Stowe".
- Martin Lawrence's photos from the Model Railway Weekend.
- The BBC's Mitch Mansfield visited us to feature our volunteers as part of BBC Sussex Helping Hands Day yesterday.
- During June 2016 there were 46,356 total hits on this page, from 27,902 unique visitors.
- This coming weekend is our Model Railway Weekend which offers a fantastic array of live steam and other model and miniature railway displays at both Horsted Keynes and Sheffield Park stations. We are running trains to this enhanced timetable, with a frequent shuttle between the two main stations, topped and tailed by a pair of SECR locomotives and formed of our four Victorian 4-wheeled coaches - the first public runs for newly restored LCDR/SECR third No.3188.
- Atlantic House, where we are reconstructing No.32424 "Beachy Head", is open for visitors this weekend. Fred Bailey's photo shows the current state of the locomotive's rolling chassis.
- The Bluebell Railway Carriage Shop has a large amount of model railway items in stock for this weekend along with their usual huge selection of railway & transport books and photographs.
Open 10.00 til 17.00 on Platform 1 at Horsted Keynes.
- Updates to the Carriage Stock List, the Carriage Collection page, and the web page for LCDR/SECR carriage No.3188, now we have completed the restoration of this vehicle.
- John Harwood provides a new video showing the completed main spans of the Operation Undercover Phase 4 carriage shed at Horsted Keynes.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with a few changes for the remainder of June, and also showing the current plans for July.
Our newly restored ex-LCDR carriage, SECR No.3188, is now ready for service, as seen in Alex Morley's photo taken on Saturday at Kingscote. Our three restored ex-LCDR carriages and SECR C-class No.592 were all built at the Chatham's Longhedge Works in Battersea, and this formation formed Saturday's special re-launch train for the restoration team, and invited guests.
All three carriages had become grounded bodies in bungalows before rescue and restoration to service by the Bluebell's C&W department. These three will be joined by our restored LBSCR Stroudley First next weekend and the four coaches used on a public services, as an additional shuttle train between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes, for the Model Railway Weekend, the timetable for which is now available.
The carriage, built by the LCDR as a 6-wheeled 5-compartment third in 1897, had been converted by the SECR into a 3-compartment brake vehicle around 1910, and ran until 1935. It was sold to become a grounded body in a bungalow called "The Coaches" at Yarcombe in Devon, from where it was rescued, along with LSWR Saloon No.25, for the Bluebell by Peter Milnes in 2005.
Between 1950 and 1978 the carriages were occupied by Nelson and Gladys Long, and we were pleased to have two of their nieces, Jenny and Mary, and Jenny's husband Diego, with us for the relaunch. The sisters were able to share their memories of visiting their Aunt and Uncle, and hence these two carriages, in the 1950s. Jenny Dal Bello is seen in Richard Salmon's photo below presenting Tony Clements and Dave Clarke with photos, provided by one of their cousins, showing the carriages at Yarcombe in 1977.
The restoration of the carriage, owned by the Bluebell Railway Trust, who paid for the materials used in the work, was led by Tony, and involved around 20 volunteers in the C&W department with a weekend team working on the body, and the midweek metalworking team who shortened the SR van underframe to carry the body. It has been restored to its original form as a 5-compartment third, and thus adds significantly to the seating capacity of our Victorian train.
Dave Clarke provides an album which covers the 5-year restoration of No.3188 in detail, and Alex Morley's album shows more of the special train run yesterday. Jon Bower's photo below shows the restoration team assembled for a group photo, and the following photo, also by Jon, shows the relaunch train passing the bank below the cottages at Horsted Keynes which is currently a mass of ox-eye daises.
- Hastings Diesels Ltd have recently completed their cab view video of East Grinstead to Sheffield Park from their DEMU tour on 7 May 2016.
- John Sandys' album from Saturday, with the S15, the GN saloon and some short videos.
Today's album features 73082 in the rain and the C-class shunting, plus the completed roof on both main spans of the new carriage Shed.
- The S15 is seen below as it approaches Kingscote, in Richard Salmon's photo from late afternoon on Saturday, having just returned to service after major maintenance including replacement of some boiler stays, turning of tyres at Ilford, a valve and piston exam and re-bore, and the fitting of new piston and valve heads.
- Mike Hopps' poster below has been produced to advertise the 2-3 July Food and Drink Festival at Horsted Keynes, for which further details are now available.
- Last Saturday was another of our regular Goods Train runs, for crew training purposes. The C-class was photographed passing through Horsted Keynes by Brian Lacey.
- Ashley Smith also got some photos and this video of the goods train and the service trains alongside it last Saturday.
- The Locomotive Duty Roster has been updated with planned loco usage for the rest of June. Southern S15 No.847 is ready to re-enter service this weekend.
- Update on the Project 27 Blog - removal of the front balance weights.
- Photos from Dan Green from last Saturday, including the C-class hauling and shunting the goods train, and the H-class and Standard 5MT on the service trains.
- Fantastic promo video from vocal duo Sweetheart Swing, including great shots of them entertaining the troops at our Southern at War weekend last month!
- And talking of the Southern at War weekend, Dave Bowles has now published his photos from the event.
- Some more photos added to Martin Lawrence's June Gallery, showing 73082 on the train today, progress with the new carriage shed, and the turning around of Pullman Car 54, in preparation for its overhaul.
- John Sandys galleries from Monday 13 June and
Thursday 16 June. Includes a photo of the Limited edition (of just 100) Dapol N-gauge Grampus wagon, based on one of the Bluebell's wagons. Available online from the Bluebell's Shop.
- Brian Kidman's photo below shows No.73082 on Wednesday near Vaux End, where Brian and the Wednesday Gang were working on keeping our lineside in tip-top shape.
- Dave Clarke's photo below, from his album on the restoration of LCDR/SECR Carriage No.3188, shows it and the other 4-wheel carriages over the maintenance pit in the new shed on 5 June. After a successful test run on Wednesday, the restoration team will be celebrating its completion tomorrow, and it will enter public service next weekend, as part of an additional shuttle train for the Model Railway Weekend.
- We're at the South of England Show, which ends Saturday, at Ardingly.
Come and visit our stand - there may be an offer or two!
You can't miss us, the Ardingly Eye is right next door!
East Grinstead tourism are with us too, so come and find out about this historic town.
- This weekend is the last chance to take advantage of our £5 offer with Metrobus.
- On Saturday we are again running a Vintage Goods Train, in addition to the two-train Service 2 public timetable. Times for the goods train are below.
- Richard Salmon's photo from last Saturday shows No.73082 heading south out of Horsted Keynes with freshly repainted Mk.1 No.4957.
- This coming weekend, 11 & 12 June we have the Atlantic House - Open Weekend at Sheffield Park - with Ceremony, speeches and auction at 2.30pm on Sunday. There are some interesting items in the auction!
Project 27 will also have a display and the chance to see the current state of work on SECR P-class No.27 in the loco yard adjacent to Atlantic House.
- Martin Lawrence has started his June album, with photos from around the Railway, including the H-class and C-class, a 1966-built Bristol MW coach, and the start made on roofing the main storage roads of the new carriage shed at Horsted Keynes.
- Sunday in Sussex by JS Rail Videos.
- Brian Lacey's photos below show the H-class, which is on the service train this week, at East Grinstead in the early afternoon today.
- This photo by Tony Sullivan of No.263 waiting to leave Sheffield Park with the 2.45pm service to East Grinstead was taken on Thursday 2 June. The SECR H-class, with these four vintage Southern Railway carriages, has formed one of the two trains operating this week.
- Kids for a Quid continues this weekend, with trains running to our Service Two timetable.
- Starting today we have a special £5 offer with Metrobus. The offer runs until 12 June.
- John Sandys' album from Thursday 2 June.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with planned loco usage for June. Note that this roster may change later in the month, if 847 is ready to re-enter service.
- Photo updates with the latest progress in C&W and Operation Undercover 4 from Dave Clarke:
- Martin Lawrence's photo from yesterday shows Nos. 73082 and 263, which have charge of the half-term services, passing at Horsted Keynes. This is one of the photos which complete his May Gallery.
- Nine new photos of Stowe's overhaul, including the newly arrived backhead for the boiler.
- Unseen Steam provide this chat with our outgoing BRPS Chairman, Roy Watts. They also interviewed Roger Kelly about the award of £75,000 to provide wheelchair access on our Pullman Dining train.
- John Sandys' visit yesterday. It may have been raining, but the atmosphere of steam still shines through, as does Clive Groome's smile!
- During May 2016 there were 51,664 total hits on this page, from 30,529 unique visitors
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows the H-class with its Southern Railway vintage set on Saturday, formed of Maunsell and Bulleid vehicles.
- Dave Clarke's photo from Monday shows progress with the OP4 shed at Horsted Keynes, with both the main spans now structurally complete and ready for roofing to be added to the southern section of E-road, and the whole of the 4-road storage shed.
- Derek Hayward's photo shows the C and the H double-heading at Southern At War with an 8-coach train formed of the lunchtime Pullman dining train combined with Set C on Sunday 15 May.
- All this Half Term week, through to Sunday 5 June, we have our Kids for a Quid special offer. Trains, hauled by the H-class and 73082, run to our peak Service Two timetable.
- We are pleased to announce that the Railway has been awarded £75,000 towards the overhaul of Pullman Car No.54, which is to include wheelchair access.
Download our own press release or see the
announcement on the Government web site. This means that the forthcoming overhaul of this carriage is now 75% funded.
- Derek Hayward now has photo galleries specifically featuring Sweetheart Swing, who appeared at our Southern at War weekend.
- John Sandys' photos from yesterday feature the H-class and more progress with the OP4 shed at Horsted Keynes. With both the main spans now structurally complete, the remaining roofing should start this week. The last part of the structure and roof still awaited is for the 2-storey Heritage Skills Centre down the eastern side.
- Staff and volunteers booked onto the SMS update sessions on 5 June should note that they've been cancelled, and they are asked to please contact their Manager to re-book for 2 July if they are able to. Details here.
- The two images below taken on Saturday by Brian Lacey show BR 5MT No.73082 arriving at East Grinstead, and the nearly completed Elephant Van, our Arts Council England Resilience Fund project. The roof, western side and South end of the van are complete, baring topcoat, lettering and varnish, and the final doors and windows on the other side and end are well in hand, hence the positioning in the end of the dock and the temporary plywood end doors. The internal fit-out as a children's play carriage will soon get under way. The space it occupied in the workshop has now been taken by Bulleid Open Third No.1464, which is in for recanvassing of its roof.
- Brian Kidman's photo, taken while working as part of the "Wednesday Gang" whose efforts on the lineside are clear to see here, shows the C-class on last week's service train, in the rain at Horsted House Farm. The C has returned to service, on a restricted basis, following a successful annual boiler exam, and some work on its leading wheelsets.
- Next week - Sat 28 May to Sun 5 June: Kids for a Quid special offer, while we are running our peak Service Two timetable for half term.
- This Friday, 27 May, we still have some tickets left for the Rail Ale evening train from East Grinstead - phone 01825 720800 to book.
On the train:
Long Man Session IPA 3.8%
Long Man Best Bitter 4.0%
Hammerpot Brighton Belle 4.6%
At Sheffield Park Station:
Founders Best Bitter (Hurst Brewery - Hurstpierpoint) 4.2%
Hornblower (Anchors Brewery - Littlehampton) 4.5%
At Horsted Keynes Station:
South Downs Ale (Beachy Head Brewery) 4.6%
Sunfire (Yates - Isle of Wight) 4.3%
Standard Bearer (Deventio - Derby) 4.5%
- No fewer than four updates to the Project 27 blog over the last week.
- Derek Hayward's Southern at War gallery is now complete. There are about 150 images, including Sunday's two-seater Spitfire, and Sweetheart Swing, both seen below.
- Have you read the latest edition of our eNewsletter from 22 May? You can sign up to receive the eNewsletter fortnightly by e-mail. Back issues available on the eNewsletter archive.
- The eNewsletter reports Saturday's BRPS AGM election results; congratulations to our newly elected Chairman, Graham Aitken, pictured below by Derek Hayward, and to new Vice Chairman, Stephen Bigg and Trustee Tim Parkin. Consequent update to the Who's Who page.
- Final Results in the Football Competition are now in. Congratulations to Trevor Summerfield who, in picking Leicester to top the League, gave himself an unassailable lead in our competition, and those who picked Manchester United to win the FA Cup. The competition raises funds for the overhaul of our Southern Railway Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864, which we hope to be in a position to start rebuilding in a couple of years time.
- Martin Lawrence has added a few more photos to his May 2016 gallery.
- John Sandys provides galleries from Tues 17 May, a beautiful day at the railway with the C-class in charge of the service train, packed out with several coach parties, Monday 23 May with 73082 running, new stock in the shop, and further progress at Horsted Keynes on the OP4 Carriage Shed. Those from yesterday feature 73082 in the sunshine, and a few of the Wickham trolley in use.
- Calling all cricketers - Details here. We'd like to play another game against the Railway's neighbours, Scaynes Hill Cricket Club, on Saturday, July 16, 2016, both as a social event and a fundraiser for both the Railway and for SHCC. So, we are looking for cricketers of all ages and skill levels, ideally with a connection to the Railway (member, volunteer, staff, etc.), to play in our XI.
- BritishRailways.TV provide this compact overview video of the Bluebell in 2015. Some great moments are included!
- Interesting 15 Minute Photo Challenge at Horsted Keynes with Gavin Hoey.
- Brian Lacey's photos below show No.B473 arriving at Horsted Keynes on 14 May (during the Southern at War event) with a matching set of 5 SR-liveried carriages, and the C and H-classes together on the third set of coaches that day, led again by a matching carriage, wheelchair-accessible semi-saloon No.3360. The weekend saw the return to service of the H-class after winter maintenance which included the use of our wheel-drop for work on wheel bearings.
- Brian Lacey's photo taken yesterday shows Nos.323 and B473 top-and-tailing the service train, whilst the run-round loop at Sheffield Park was temporarily unavailable.
- The three-train timetable is now available for this weekend's special event, the Southern at War weekend, when we'll have a great array of military vehicles, Concert party shows, the Sussex Home Guard doing Firearms and Bayonet practise, and a Spitfire display (Sunday only, at 2pm, weather permitting). This year we have, in addition, an Evening Tea Dance with a special evening train on 14 May.
- Loco update: The SECR H-class has emerged from the loco works, and has been running around on test over the last couple of days, and the SECR C-class may also be back in service at the weekend - the final part of its annual boiler exam takes place tomorrow. If it passes this, it will see restricted service to coax it though the coming year, the final one before withdrawal for overhaul. S15 No.847 is back from wheel turning on a ground lathe, for which the entire locomotive went away. It still needs a few more stays replaced, and the completion of work on valves and cylinders before it re-enters service. The SR Q-class has been stripped in preparation for half a dozen stays to be replaced.
- Steve Lee's photo shows No.323 "Bluebell" with vintage carriages at Leamland Bridge last Saturday.
- Dave Clarke has updated his Flickr site with photos of the latest progress on the shed extension, and some from inside the carriage works: the first First Class seat back for Bulleid coach No.5768 has returned from the contract trimmer. The west side of Elephant Van, which is nearing completion with the metal work being fitted to both pairs of doors. The window frames fitted and the first of the vents installed below them. The large doors have been trial fitted to the southern end.
- Keith Duke's photos taken on Monday, when services were topped and tailed by 323 and B473.
- Two more photos below from Saturday's railtour, which ran from Hastings to Sheffield Park and return, organised by Hastings Diesels, from Derek Hayward (at Three Arch Bridge) and Steve Lee (near Rock Cutting).
- Hastings Diesel's railtour is seen to the North of Sloop Bridge on Saturday in Derek Hayward's photo. Derek has also uploaded 15 images taken on Saturday to his Bluebell 2016 gallery. There are more to come.
- Monday to Friday this week we are running to our Service One timetable.
- Next weekend is our Southern at War event. We hope to be able to publish the train timetable for this towards the end of the week. We are hoping to run a three-train service, but there are still a few things to be confirmed.
- Martin Lawrence has added a few photos from Saturday to his May gallery.
- Bluebell members (and others) might be interested in some of the A2SN (The Archives and Artefacts Study Network) conferences. Their next conference is in Ellesmere Port at the National Waterways Museum on 9-10 September this year. Whilst this conference will focus mainly on waterways, they also have Pete Skellon from the Bahamas Locomotive Society speaking on "LNWR Coal Tank No.1054 - Research, Writing, Overhaul & Archaeological Dig".
- Andrew Crampton's photo below shows the Hastings unit, No.1001, at West Hoathly on Saturday afternoon.
- Steve Lee's photo shows No.73082 at Leamland Bridge the same day.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows B473 taking water at East Grinstead on Wednesday.
- We are looking forward to welcoming the Hastings Diesel Unit when it arrives at the Bluebell on its railtour tomorrow. Timings available on the Hastings Diesels website.
- We have busy weekend ahead with a two-train public service plus a third locomotive hauling the Afternoon Tea train tomorrow and the Golden Arrow on Sunday, and a fourth loco in steam as station pilot on Sunday too.
- Project 27 are planning to 3D print a 1/10 scale pair of cylinders to help publicise the work on SECR P-class No.27.
- To get us into the mood for our Southern at War 1940's event in a week's time, here's a blog post and some photos from Atomic Amber, who visited us for a photoshoot a few weeks ago.
- On Wednesday, on BBC Sussex Drive, Sarah Gorrell talked to BRPS Chairman Roy Watts about the ASH project. You can hear it online, about 55m into the programme.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows No.323 at Leamland Bridge yesterday with one of the Bluebell Specials. At this particular location the primroses outnumber the bluebells!
- John Sandys' album from a visit on Tuesday, a lovely sunny and warm day for the Bluebell Specials, with the E4 on the main service set. The Railway is looking a real picture with the bluebells and primroses in full bloom, and a beautiful display of tulips at Horsted Keynes station.
- Project 27 has launched its Cylinder Replacement Programme for SECR P-class No.27. A set of cylinder castings for No.178 will be obtained at the same time.
- Martin Lawrence has now completed his April gallery and started on that for May.
- Derek Hayward has now completed a major update to his Bluebell 2016 collection, including Saturday's goods train, an update to the Horsted Keynes Carriage Shed, and photos from Saturday's Toy and Rail Collectors Fair at Horsted Keynes.
- Our next special event is on 14-15 May: the Southern at War weekend, when we'll have a great array of military vehicles, Concert party shows, the Sussex Home Guard doing Firearms and Bayonet practise, and a Spitfire display (Sunday only). This year we have, in addition, an Evening Tea Dance with a special evening train on 14 May.
- On 25-26 June we have our annual Model Railway Weekend, as advertised below in Mike Hopps' poster, which is also available to download from heritagerailposters.co.uk.
- During April 2016 there were 56,928 total hits on this page, from 32,142 unique visitors.
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows the E4 at West Hoathly yesterday afternoon.
- John Sandys' photo shows the latest progress with the OP4 shed at Horsted Keynes, with the lower-level section of the maintenance road approaching completion, and the frame-work advancing for the 4-road storage portion.
- With the bluebells in full bloom, the second week of Bluebell Specials run Tuesday 3 to Friday 6 May, with No.323 and the Observation car - Pre-booking advised. Brian Lacey's photo shows No.323 "Bluebell" running round a Bluebell Special at East Grinstead on 27 April.
- A reminder that tomorrow, Saturday 30 April, is our Toy & Rail Collectors Fair at Horsted Keynes.
- In addition, as previously notified, tomorrow there is also a goods train running in the morning, using the locomotive which will be hauling the Wealden Rambler in the afternoon. This is the timetable for the goods train, which will be hauled by E4 No.B473.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with planned loco usage for May.
- On Monday 2 May we have a £5 Excursion Ticket offer for the East Grinstead Lions May Fayre.
- John Sandys' album from his visit on 21 April, includes progress at Horsted Keynes OP4, and the tiled floor in the lobby at Sheffield Park, plus new stock in the shop. He also provides an album from Thursday 28 April, with three locos in steam: No.73082 on the main set, "Bluebell" in charge of the Bluebell Special and the E4 on shunting duties.
- Dave Clarke provides:
- Derek Hayward has added some photos of the OP4 Carriage shed extension taken last weekend, and there are now 50 images in his completed Diesel Gala gallery.
- There is an updated Component Sponsorship List for the Brighton Atlantic Project.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows No.73082 approaching East Grinstead on 27 April, and Steve Lee's photo shows No.323 hauling a lightweight vintage train as the second set last Sunday.
- Lots of photos, and much great feedback received, for our three-day joint GB Railfreight and Bluebell Diesel Gala.
We start with Andrew Wood's great aerial view of 66770 and 73119 on the viaduct (which is confirmed as complying both with CAA regulations, and the Bluebell's own rules on the use of drones near the line) from Saturday.
- Jonathan Hughes reported that it had been a great first day... here are some of his photos from Friday morning.
- Keith Duke provides a couple of galleries of pictures from Friday, with a selection
taken from the North-bound brake van trip, and another covering the visiting loco's and a few of 73082 - not another 73, but our 5MT steam loco, which was hauling Friday Evening's Golden Arrow Murder Mystery charter.
- Derek Hayward provides an initial selection of images from the gala.
- Martin Lawrence has updated his April Gallery with photos from the gala, and also further progress erecting steelwork on the new carriage shed extension at Horsted Keynes.
- It's back to normal now, with steam trains running every single day from tomorrow until 30 October!
Our next special events are:
In addition, we are hosting a Jensen Car Display at Sheffield Park on Sun 24 April.
- Further coverage of the diesels at the gala from:
- Robert Else's photo below shows the resident 09 with the unusual formation of the combined brake van and Observation Car trip this afternoon, just about to cross Keysford Lane Bridge near the waterworks.
- Martin Lawrence's photo below shows the Class 20s and 73964 on shed on Thursday evening. Sadly both the 20s failed on Saturday with unrelated problems, and so the loco rotations on the Sunday did not happen; it did however result in double-headed 73/1s and a 73/1 and 73/9 working the TC set.
- Brian Lacey caught the Q and 73082 passing at Horsted Keynes on Saturday 9 April.
- Diesel Gala - 15-17 April in association with GB Railfreight, and with a proportion of the proceeds going to charities.
- Download the timetable here, or view online.
- Advance ticket sales are available online or phone 01825 720800, for collection at your specified station on arrival - beat the queues.
- Locomotives from GBRf:
- Class 73/9 No.73964
- Class 20s Nos.20901 & 20905
- Class 47 No.47739 (courtesy of Colas Rail)
- Class 66 No.66770
- In addition, Class 73/1s Nos.73107 "Tracy", 73119 & 73136 will be acting as brake translators with the two sets of Bluebell carriages.
- The Bluebell's own 09018 is giving brake van rides over the line first thing each morning (limited to 15 places, pre-booking recommended; £10 per person - phone 01825 720800)
- Evening Beer trains on Friday and Saturday, details here, or download a pdf to print out.
- Cab Ride Raffle: win an afternoon cab ride from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead on either the 4.10 or 5.25 trains (the winner chooses). Tickets will be on sale only on the day from the stand at Sheffield Park on Platform 2 at £5 each. The draw will take place at 3.00pm. The locomotives currently allocated to these departures are the Class 73/9 and Class 47 respectively. Raffles will be held for trips on all 3 days of the event. Good Luck!
- A selection of Sales stands will be in attendance, including a special GBRf stand where limited edition GBRF 15th Anniversary memorabilia will be available to purchase.
- Extended opening hours for the Carriage Shop at Horsted Keynes. Loads of second hand railway books and models.
- Keith Duke's photos, and those by Keith Leppard from around the railway on Saturday 19 March include the goods train with No.323 "Bluebell".
There are more crew-training runs using the goods train on 30 April, 28 May, 11 June and 23 July.
- Phil Horscroft has selected his best pics from the 17 March photo charter arranged by Jon Bowers.
- Two great, contrasting, Blog Posts about recent visits to the Bluebell: A family visit over Easter and a visit including a ride in the SECR Birdcage Brake.
- Martin Lawrence provides a video of the fireman's view of a trip from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park in 3 minutes, a short video compilation for March featuring OP4, goods trains and onboard action, a completed photo gallery for March, and a start on that for April which includes some featuring the 73/1s with the 4TC set which arrived today for the Diesel Gala.
- We have launched our Accessible Steam Heritage (ASH) appeal, aiming to raise £210,000 to match the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Round 2 grant we are seeking of £840,000 which has received approval at Round 1 of the HLF application. Therefore every £10 donated is worth £50 to the Project, and even more if Gift Aided. The new web pages explaining the appeal are now available, in addition to the Appeal Video. Please do donate generously to help us achieve this target.
- As an additional event on our Southern at War weekend, we also have an Wartime Tea Dance including a special evening train, on 14 May.
- Bluebell Specials with a small engine and the Observation car, run on Mon 25 to Thurs 28 April and Tues 3 to Fri 6 May - Pre-book (discounts if booked at least 8 days in advance) for these Observation Car Specials.
- Video giving a bit of the atmosphere around the loco shed, from Philip Bull. There has been some concern amongst members that the ASH development will spoil this atmosphere, but the plan sees the southern part of the shed remaining as it is at present, as a working steam shed.
- The first photo below, from Roy Watts, shows No.57312, the first Class 57 to work onto Bluebell metals. The Belmond Northern Belle is seen arriving at Kingscote in this video from John Harwood. This was the mystery destination for the guests at the Telegraph Travel Awards yesterday, which we were very pleased to be able to play a part in hosting.
Roy's second photo below shows Mk.1 RKB (kitchen car) No.1566, which was once in Bluebell stock, before going main-line.
- Dave Clarke's photo here shows progress on the OP4 carriage shed as of 3 April 2016. The section constructed so far is the roof over the maintenance road ("E-road"), and ends at present at the junction between the two different roof heights - the higher section over the pit and lifting jacks, already constructed, and the section remaining to be built, with a lower roof, which will extend a further 100 feet southwards. The 4-road storage shed is now being constructed to the right of the structure over E-road, and the first section of this can be seen in Dave's more recent photo, here. Further details of progress are available in this news update.
- This great BritishRailways.tv video describes a visit to the Bluebell last weekend.
- The Bulleid Society have recently put a letter from Roger Cruse on their web site explaining the trials and tribulations of 34059 Sir Archibald Sinclair's firebox and how this may inadvertently help with the replacement of 21C123's firebox!
The letter also mentions that the closing date for the 500+ Club has been extended to 25th April - if you can help with this fund-raising venture, it will be appreciated; ... and you might even win something as well!
- Staff and volunteers booked onto the SMS update session on 22 April should note that it's been cancelled, and they are asked to please contact their Manager to re-book for one of the other dates. Details here.
- Project 27: Wheels on the move! - update on the overhaul/restoration of SECR P-class Locomotive No.27.
- We have now received a fantastic total of over £18,000 from EasySearch and EasyFundraising! See this web page to see how you could help us with this painless fundraising opportunity!
- During March 2016 there were 54,297 total hits on this page, from 32,024 unique visitors.
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows Captain Baxter with goods train at West Hoathly on 2 April. That from Peter Edwards, taken the following day, shows No.73082 at Town House Bridge.
- Steve Lee's photo shows the E4 with a Milk Train as part of yesterday's photographic charter with B473.
- We are running a vintage goods train to this timetable tomorrow, in addition to the normal two-train Service 2 timetable which applies over the weekend.
Daily running starts on Good Friday - we then have trains running every day until the Autumn! Over Easter we have our Bo Peep Specials for which advance booking required - phone 01825 720800. Our normal public timetabled services (again Service 2 timetable) also run on these days.
- A Hastings Diesels railtour to the Bluebell on 7th May is now open for booking - details on their website.
- The Project 27 Blog provides the first view of the new CAD drawings for the P-class cylinder block, as seen below.
The fundraising required for the rough castings, transport and machining, is expected to be in the region of £10,000 to £15,000. If you would be interested in helping us to pay for the castings please do not hesitate in contacting the project for details of how you can help, or donate via JustGiving.
- All Bluebell staff (volunteer and employed) should note details of the Safety Management System Relaunch which includes the dates on which they can meet the new General Manager, and be updated on the changes to the SMS.
- Dave Clarke reports on last week's work on the shed extension and SECR No.3188:
The majority of the shed skeleton over the maintenance road has been erected and progress can be seen in Dave Clarke's photos from the office steps and from the south (taken from beyond the limits of the building site).
The signwriter has spent the equivalent of 2 days working on SECR 3188, the next carriage to be outshopped from the C&W department. Alex Morley took a series of photos showing progress after both the first and second days.
By 13 March Dave himself had applied the last of the lining with only snagging to be done. Mike had broken the back of the signwriting with only the black shading and a second coat of gold colour on the exterior letters and numbers which were due to be completed this week. The nearly-completed sign writing is seen in Richard Salmon's photo below.
- Martin Lawrence's updated March 2016 Gallery, shows Wednesday's photographic charter with the E4, and the new tiles laid in the porch at Sheffield Park.
- Paul Simpson also provides images from the Photo Charter with B473 on 16 March.
- Apologies for confusion of the dates for Kids for a Quid. The next such offer runs over the late May half-term week.
- The Great Northern Director's Saloon, seen behind the E4 at New Coombe Bridge last Sunday, will be running in public service for first-class ticket holders, or on payment of an upgrade supplement, serving cream teas, home-made sponge cake, sparkling wine and morning coffee etc., on the following dates this year: 23/24 April, 21/22 May, 18/19 June, 23/24 July, 20/21 August, 24/25 September and 15/16 October.
- Our Golden Arrow Pullman Dinner and Luncheon trains usually sell out well in advance, but, because it was added to the programme relatively recently, there are still some tickets available for this Saturday evening, 19 March. Phone the office on 01825 720800 to book.
- The planned timetable for the April 15-17 Diesel Gala is now available to download as a PDF. (To read the PDF you need Acrobat Reader, or another similar programme; if you don't already have Acrobat installed you can download it free of charge from Adobe.) Loco diagrams will follow nearer the event, which is being run in conjunction with GBRailfreight.
- John Sandys' photos from Saturday 12 March, showing the two locos on the service trains; in addition the Q-class hauled the Afternoon Tea train, and No.323 was station pilot at Sheffield Park.
- Update on the Brighton Atlantic project which now has the valves set, and the coupling rods erected. The major effort now transfers to the boiler, which is in excellent condition. As seen in Fred Bailey's photo below, the new superheater header has been cast and machined, and has being trial-fitted to the boiler.
- The second photo below, with thanks to Derek Hayward, shows the C-class with the Edwardian train at Leamland Bridge on Sunday 28 February.
- For the next two weekends we are running our two-train Service 2 timetable, with the Edwardian carriage set on the 10am service from Sheffield Park, and the SR Bulleid and BR Mk.1 coaches on the 11am, and subsequent alternate departures.
Please note that, following the withdrawal of the Branch Line event, we are not running any public trains on Friday 18 March.
- We have added additional dates for the Golden Arrow Pullman Dinner and Luncheon trains on 19 and 20 March respectively.
- Tony Sullivan's photo on the right shows 73082 leaving Sheffield Park with the special train run on 3 March to celebrate the commissioning of the new Kingscote signalling, and the introduction of the historic Westinghouse L-frame.
- Mike Hopps has a gallery of photos from that occasion, including the group photo below.
- A fuller report on the recommissioning will be included in a future edition of the Bluebell's e-newsletter.
- Dave Clarke's photo below shows the erection of steel framing for the carriage shed extension at Horsted Keynes, as of last weekend. There has been further progress this week. The first of the two spans is that over "E-road", including the maintenance pit and lifting jacks, which accommodates a single track. The second span, which will follow once the ground beams for it have been completed, is for the 4-road storage shed, and the two-storey range of offices/workshops/stores on the Eastern side. For the short term the shed will remain as just the frame and roof only, until funds are raised to complete walls and doors, and internal fitting out of the buildings. The funding to enable what is currently being constructed was raised in the Autumn of 2014 from many generous members and supporters, for which we are extremely grateful.
- David Long's photo on the right shows the C-class putting its goods train back in the sidings at Horsted Keynes at the end of its runs on 27 February. That from John Ede below shows the train earlier the same day, and was taken just to the North of Horsted Keynes.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with planned loco usage for March.
- Derek Hayward has added images of service trains, from 28 February, to his Bluebell 2016 gallery.
- Dave Clarke's photos from around the C&W department from last weekend show the LCDR 5-compartment 3rd No.3188 rapidly approaching completion, as well as work on the Elephant Van, Bulleid Composite No.5768, and the Shed Extension.
- Martin Lawrence's March Gallery includes photos showing the work on the footbridge at Sheffield Park, on the shed at Horsted Keynes, and in the Carriage Works, on the Elephant Van.
- "Operation Bluebell" is a film documenting the early months of the preservation of our line, up to the delivery of "Stepney" in May 1960. This is available through the BFI (but sadly, only to viewers in the UK).
- The photo below, from Peter Wilson, taken on 13 February, shows detail, including the Davies & Metcalfe Class-K injector, on No.73082. This is the device which, using steam, enables water to be fed into the locomotive's boiler. As a continuation of our 16-year-long, mutually beneficial, project to catalogue some of the NRM's collection of works drawings (Southern locomotives and carriages having been dealt with so far), a team of Bluebell volunteers (with funding provided by The Bluebell Railway Trust), have now been asked by the NRM to conduct a survey of the collection of drawings from Davies and Metcalfe Ltd dating back to 1878.
- On Saturday the C-class was out and about with a splendid vintage goods train, as seen in Alex Fisher's photo. Run essentially for crew training purposes, to maintain experience and expertise in the operation of unfitted and part-fitted goods services, it also gives us an excellent opportunity to showcase some of our collection of vintage goods stock, adding an additional attraction for visitors.
- Keith Duke also provides a set of photos from Saturday.
- On Operation Undercover Phase 4, the carriage shed extension at Horsted Keynes, the concrete ring beam has been poured for the first of the two large spans, with fixings visible to connect the steel structure. Note that, since the area is a construction site, access is prohibited, but Derek Hayward's long lens enables us to see progress in this updated photo gallery. Since these photos were taken earlier this week the steel-work for this first span has started to be erected around 'E-road', the existing carriage maintenance/pit/jacking area.
- Martin Lawrence has uploaded his February Bluebell video. The is a compilation of clips taken around and about the railway during February featuring steam and diesel traction, goods trains, Kingscote signalbox (first day of service) and onboard action.
- A number of photos have been added to page 3 of Derek Hayward's Kingscote Station collection showing the progress on the restoration and improvement of the former railway cottages. The new photos are about 3/4 of the way down the page.
- Video from Philip Bull, taking us back to Giants of Steam last October.
- During February 2016 there were 53,978 total hits on this page, from 31,371 unique visitors.
- Peter Wilson's photo below, from Saturday 13 February, provides a close-up of the dining portion of Mk.1 Restaurant Buffet No.1674, operating on our Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea train that day.
- Richard Salmon's photo shows the E4 heading south from Horsted Keynes with the first round-trip of the day on Saturday 20 February with the Edwardian set.
- Bluebell Railway Directors have reluctantly decided to withdraw the Branch Line event scheduled for 3 days in March. A star attraction of the event was to have been visiting LNWR Coal Tank 1054. This locomotive is based at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway and temporary weight restrictions imposed on two local bridges following bad weather have prohibited transfer by road. Though we had hoped that these restrictions would be lifted, they in fact remain in place. We have also been unable to source a suitable replacement locomotive.
The planned event would have seen an intensive timetable, centred around Horsted Keynes, and possibly include the re-entry into traffic of the 50 seater LCDR 4 wheel 3rd Class carriage.
Those with pre-booked tickets have been contacted. The Branch Line event remains a core Gala event for us but an alternative slot in the 2016 schedule is unfortunately unlikely to be available, so we must now plan for early 2017.
Communications Director - Bluebell Railway Plc
- The appointment of Gordon Owen MVO as our new General Manager has been announced by Dick Fearn, Chairman of Bluebell Railway Plc. He takes up his post on 7 March. Further details are available to download in this Press Release, as a PDF.
- In addition to our timetabled steam-hauled and steam-heated two-train passenger service this weekend, we are running a vintage goods train, expected to be hauled by our SECR C-class, on Saturday. The timetable for the goods train is available here.
- This video from John Harwood features carriage restoration work, in particular on Stroudley Brake 949, along with other carriages in the Works at Horsted Keynes.
- We're at the top of the Daily Telegraph's list when it comes to spots in the UK to relax and watch the trains go by!
- Following last Saturday's sold-out train, the next Fish & Chip evening supper train is on 12 March.
- We have a special £5 excursion ticket offer in conjunction with the 12-13 March East Grinstead Model Railway Exhibtion at Sackville School and
10 April East Grinstead Bus Running Day.
- James Corben's video features 73082 raising the echoes last Sunday
- Join in with Southern at War 2016: Saturday 14 - Sunday 15 May. We welcome 1940s' vehicles, re-enactors and displays. Call Charlotte on 01825 720800 if you are interested.
- Update with the current positions in the Football Competition which is raising funds for the overhaul of our Southern Railway Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864.
- Peter Wilson's photos below, from Saturday 13 February, show two of the three locomotives on our trains that day.
John Sandys' photo of the E4 taking water at East Grinstead is from his album showing the two locomotives in steam yesterday.
- Kids for a Quid continues today and through the weekend. We are running a two-train service.
- MKT Transport Video provide coverage of BR Standard 5 No.73082 'Camelot' on 6th February.
- Photos by Keith Duke from showing Camelot and Birch Grove on Monday's half-term services.
- Lots of positive coverage, and great comments about its performance, for the visit of our SR Q-class No.30541 to last weekend's gala on the Mid Hants. Thanks to the following for sharing their videos:
- Two videos from the days of the Ashford Steam Centre (which functioned back in the late '60s and early 1970s): one showing the H-class No.263, now on the Bluebell (as is the Birdcage Saloon Brake, which now stored under a tarpaulin).
and one featuring, in addition to the H-class, O1-class No.65, BY van 404 and Bulleid Coach 1464 (also all now on the Bluebell).
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows No.73082 passing West Hoathly on Tuesday.
- Mike Hopps has produced this great poster to help advertise our forthcoming Diesel Gala being run jointly with GB Failfreight. The photo reminds us of the fantastic partnership we had from GBRf in the removal of the rubbish tip to enable us to complete our extension to East Grinstead.
- Brian Lacey's photos from last Saturday show No.73082 at Kingscote, passing the late-running first train of the day from East Grinstead behind the E4, and B473 once it had arrived at Horsted Keynes. A combination of brake and lubrication problems caused its second train to be cancelled, but it was back in action for its last round trip that afternoon after swift attention by works staff. The E4's train was formed by the Rambler set, due to most of our vintage carriages being elsewhere.
- The latest newsletter from the Standard Class 2 No.84030 project has now been published on this web site.
Note that it appears here a while after it is sent to project supporters - if you would like to receive it when first published, why not Subscribe to it and support the project?
The photo below shows the riveting completed on the frame stretchers under the cab. The riveting has also been completed on the front drag-box and buffer beam.
- Album from John Sandys, showing the resumption of services on 6 February.
- Our Maunsell Q-class No.30541 is at the Mid Hants Railway this weekend for their Spring Gala.
- Why not combine a trip to the railway with this Great British Dog Walk event at Sheffield Park on 13 March.
- John Waterford's video on Unseen Steam shows Camelot at Giants of Steam, giving our resumption of services last weekend a nice push!
- The second photo below, from Alan Black, shows that over the winter the Model Railway in the building on Platforms 1/2 at Horsted Keynes has been re-worked as double-track, to give more action - the railway runs for 2 minutes for 50p, and is very popular with our younger visitors. It is based (very loosely) on Sheffield Park.
- John Sandys' photo shows the Q-class with a signalling test train at Kingscote on Tuesday, and below the icing on the cake - a replica of the LB&SCR name-board which the original Kingscote Box carried until the line closed, now in place. See more in John's other photos from Tuesday.
- The first Fish & Chip evening supper train of the year is already fully booked! The next one is on 12 March. Phone 01825 720800 to book.
- 2016 dates now available for PTS courses which are required for Bluebell Lineside photographic passes.
- Major news update from the Brighton Atlantic project with thanks to Fred Bailey. His photo below shows the connecting rods now in place, ready to use the specially made wheel rotators to set the valve gear. Other developments reported are castings arriving for the safety valves and backhead valves, and fittings starting to go into the cab to enable the piping up to be done. Work on the boiler will be starting fairly soon too.
- Julian Heinemann's photos taken on 10 January, show "Camelot" over the washout pit, the start of a short period of winter maintenance, further details of which, along with other loco news, are in the latest edition of our e-Newsletter.
Let's hope the rainbow hitting Sheffield Park is a good omen for this year!
- Our steam-hauled and heated services resume on Saturday; we expect to have LBSCR E4 No.B473 and BR Standard 5 No.73082 "Camelot" hauling the trains, to our Service 2 timetable.
- Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with planned loco usage for February.
- With 2016 expected to be a busy year, we are currently advertising a variety of Casual Catering Vacancies. We are still also advertising for a Customer Services Assistant for our East Grinstead Travel Centre, and a practicing Doctor to undertake medicals for footplate and other volunteer staff.
- Two photos below from Martin Lawrence: the first taken last Friday shows some of the new zinc sheeting now fitted to the platform 2 canopy at Sheffield Park, and that from today shows a brace of class 20s at Sheffield Park, (Nos.20142 and 20189) which dropped in via East Grinstead. Martin has more photos of the class 20s in his new February album.
- During January 2016 there were 55,114 total hits on this page, from 32,172 unique visitors.
- John Sandys has an album from 12 & 14 January, featuring E4 "Birch Grove" in light steam after its intermediate boiler and valve maintenance, and others showing the wheels from No.80151 off to South Devon for the fitting of its new driving wheel tyres (as seen below).
A gallery from Thursday 21 January shows the E4 having a steam test (one photo seen here on the right), and new stock in the shop at Sheffield Park.
From this Wednesday, a further gallery has shots around the loco shed, at Kingscote, and work taking place on another project being undertaken during January's line closure. That part of the canopy on platform 2 at Sheffield Park which did not receive new zinc sheeting a few years ago is now being resheeted thanks to surplus funds from the platform 1 canopy project, a donation to the Friends of Sheffield Park, and funding from the Bluebell Railway Trust, enabled by recently received bequests. A photo of this is also seen below.
- Update on No.73082 "Camelot", indicating the level of fine-tuning required after an overhauled locomotive re-enters traffic.
- If you missed Tuesday's appearance of the Bluebell on Michael Portillo's Great British Railway Journeys it's now available on the UK on BBC iPlayer.
- Due to a member reporting not finding the notice of the 21 May 2016 EGM and AGM included with their copy of Bluebell News, the notice is also posted on the Members' information page, and available to download (as a PDF) here.
- New for 2016: We are now offering Season Tickets covering our normal timetabled trains.
- Some old film footage of "Bluebell on Parade" from May 1976 is available on YouTube.
- The work to switch Kingscote's signalling over from the temporary box to the South of the station to the L-frame in the new box to the North of the loop platform has been completed, and is now, subject to formal commissioning, ready for next weekend's resumption of services - a huge credit to our volunteer S&T department. Just the nameboard to go on the Box.
Derek Hayward provides a large update on this signalling work, on pages 5 and 6 of his Kingscote collection, and also in the three photos here:
- Right: the fully commissioned L-frame.
- Below: the three token machines (HK-Kc, SP-Kc, and Kc-EG). The middle of these is the new long-section working to enable Horsted Keynes Box to be switched out, which will come into its own when we are running evening dining trains.
- A new shunt signal (seen below) has been installed, enabling moves into the down-siding from the loop platform. All shunt signals visible from the station platforms are now rotating discs, like this.
- First details announced for this year's Diesel Gala (Friday 15 to Sunday 17 April) in association with GBRf. See also the Facebook event.
- The forthcoming Branch Line Weekend is now to be a three-day event, starting on Friday 18 March. Further details of this event are still to be confirmed.
- Details for the 2016 Volunteer Recruitment Find out more days are now available - they take place on the second Sunday of every month from February until November, and are your chance to find out what what makes the Bluebell tick! Dates, and details of how to book on to the days, are available here.
- Several updates on the Project 27 Blog reporting progress on repairing the locomotive's frames, and progress with the drawings for the new cylinders, amongst other things, plus some historic photos of the locomotive.
- Martin Lawrence provides some photos from the Q-class photo charter on Monday 4 January, and his monthly gallery including works at Sheffield Park, Horsted Keynes and Kingscote. Martin has also compiled some video clips shot around the Railway during December 2015. It includes shots of Nos.263, 592, 73082 and 09018 plus some night-time shots and a low loader. (Note - as one of our approved photographers, Martin was able to obtain permission for access to some non-public locations).
- Dave Bowles also has some photos from the charter with No.30541.
- Nick Burgess provides a substantial gallery from Monday's photo charter (organised by Jon Bowers) with No.30541 and a goods train, including this early morning "sunrise" shot on Freshfield Bank.
- John Sandys' album from 29 December includes new and recent items available in our shop, and the slightly revised timetable which comes into force on 6 February (see below).
- Note that what had been advertised as an evening train on 14 February, has now been changed to a St. Valentines Day Golden Arrow Luncheon train.
- The first train on Service 2 days has been put back 15 minutes, and this enables a (tight) connection (not guaranteed!) from the first off-peak main-line service into East Grinstead; this should also reduce overcrowding on the 12 noon departure from East Grinstead. Another change for service 2 is that the 11am service (12 noon from East Grinstead) will be formed of the corridor set, since it often has party traffic booked on it, as it is on Service 1 days, with the earlier train formed of more vintage stock. Timings at Kingscote have been adjusted to account for the token exchange taking place at the new signal box rather than the temporary South box, important for trains which may cross Wealden Rambler or Golden Arrow services there.
4 January 2016
- Andrew Shapland's photo shows No.73082 climbing Freshfield Bank with the 12.15 departure from Sheffield Park on 29 December - just before a heavy shower!
- Our Special Events page now includes dates for all our major 2016 events, and details of catering services and those offers which are known at the present time. The Branch Line Weekend and Food Festival are back, alongside all the regular events: Diesel Weekend in April, Toy & Rail Collectors' Fairs in April and July, Southern at War in May, Model Railway Weekend in June, Seaside and Vintage Transport weekends in August, and three days for Giants of Steam in October.
- Our next trains operate on 6 February - See the Timetable for further details. In the interim, we are undertaking major signalling changes at Kingscote, but which also cover the remainder of the line, as we bring the Westinghouse L-frame in the new signalbox at Kingscote into operation, and also commission the long-section token equipment which will enable Horsted Keynes box to be switched out on days when only one train is operating, and when we are running evening trains.
- Video from Philip Bull covering the H-class preparing for its train at Sheffield Park, blowing down on the river bridge, and then hauling the Edwardian set to East Grinstead on New Year's Eve.
- St. Valentines Day Sunday 14th February -
Celebrate on board our Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea train or the Golden Arrow Luncheon Pullman.
- Saturday 20 February Fish and Chip train - Join us on the very first Fish and Chip train of 2016.
- Some photos from Dave Bowles from 23 and 28 December.
- Jonathan Hughes caught a little late afternoon sunshine in these three photos of the last Santa special on Christmas Eve, hauled by No.73082: passing Town House bridge, rounding the curve, at the top of Freshfield Bank.
- Thanks to SETG, who are looking after it, our 4-Vep 3417 moved on 22 December from Ilford, following the completion of Bombardier's corrosion repair and high-quality repaint, to Strawberry Hill depot.
There is a photo of the unit here, tucked up safely at its new home.
- Update with the current positions in the Football Competition which is raising funds for the overhaul of our Southern Railway Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864.
- Maunsell Q-class No.30541 is visiting the Mid Hants Railway for their Spring Steam Gala on 12-14 February.
- Julian Clark's photo below shows No.73082 on arrival at East Grinstead on New Year's Eve, and Steve Lee's shows the H-class with the Edwardian set approaching Horsted Keynes on New Years Day. These two locomotives hauled most of the services between Boxing Day and 3 January, although yesterday the Q took the Edwardian set and the S15 was steamed for the Golden Arrow luncheon train after a problem experienced with the lubrication on the H-class the previous evening.
The Current What's New page, the what was new archive,
and the 2017 archive contain
all the recent update information.
Also see the 2015, the 2014, the 2013, the 2012, the 2011, the 2010, the 2009, the 2008, the 2007, the 2006, the 2005, the 2004, the 2003, the 2002, the 2001, the 2000, the 1999 and the 1997-8 "What was new" archive pages.
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