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links on it may be out of date.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 contains
all the recent update information.
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Blog and Web-site Update Archive 2019
- Last Saturday, Brian Lacey nicely caught No.80151 with the LSWR brake at West Hoathly.
- Some more from the SVR Gala last weekend:
- Ashley Smith's photo shows our Maunsell Q-class departing from Bewdley Station at the Severn Valley Railway's Autumn Steam Gala, on 19 September. For more coverage, see his
photos from last weekend at the SVR and two videos:
Part 1 and
- John Sandys' album from last week, which will be his last for a while.
- Funeral details for the late Charles Roberts are now available on the BRPS Members' Information page.
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows SECR No.65 with the Wealden Rambler at Horsted Keynes last Saturday.
- Derek Hayward's photo shows the 09 during the weekly shunt, drawing the stored rolling stock out of the Ardingly spur on Thursday last week.
- On Saturday the SECR Birdcage Brake returned to operational use after a protracted period out of service for repairs to the draw-gear at both ends of the coach. It is seen here with the SECR O1 at Horsted Keynes with that morning's "Footplate Extra" experience in Brian Lacey's photo.
- The pages which make up our Infrastructure News Archive are the first ones on this site to make use of "Server Side Includes" (ssi). If anyone spots any anomalies on those pages (the 2013 to 2018 News Archive), please let Richard Salmon, BRPS Webmaster know.
- Brian Lacey's further photos below, also from Saturday, show:
- 'Camelot' arriving at Horsted Keynes (Platform 2) with a service from Sheffield Park, whilst the O1 sits in Platform 3 and 80151 waits to depart from platforms 4 & 5.
- 80151 departs northwards from Platform 2 at Horsted Keynes, passing the fine array of signals, with SR-designed Bulleid carriage No.1482 as the first carriage in its train.
21 September (Updated):
- Peter Edwards' photo shows the standard 4 tank with its train at a location that is not often photographed, passing Sloop Bridge at the summit of Freshfield Bank with the 2.55pm train from Horsted Keynes on Thursday. Lineside clearance is currently underway at this location (and several others) between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes.
- We are inviting all witches and wizards, ghosts and ghouls, to a spooky gathering this October half term. Head to Horsted Keynes Station for Halloween fun and games, including a fancy dress competition, crafty fun, and much more. Tickets are on sale now (discount for advance purchase) or turn up on the day.
- We regret to report the recent death of Neil Cameron, for many years the driving force behind our steam crane. An obituary for him, and also one for the late Charles Roberts have been added to the BRPS Members' Information page.
Infrastructure News update with thanks to Bruce Healey, detailing work done this week on the headshunt and the new point into the new Down Yard siding at Horsted Keynes, plus details of the current visit by a Balfour Beatty tamper.
- Two more photos from last Saturday to conclude coverage of that weekend's "See behind the Steam" event:
- Brian Lacey's photo shows P-class No.178 attached to the front of 80151's train at the end of the day to return it to Sheffield Park after completing its day on Brake Van ride duties.
- Steve Lee's photo shows 'Camelot' going well through the old West Hoathly station site with the 10.45 service ex Sheffield Park.
- Derek Hayward's photo from Sunday shows 'Camelot' arriving at Kingscote with one of the service trains.
- A recent addition to our Special Offers page is 2FOR1 with National Rail - Visitors coming to Bluebell Railway via National Rail can enjoy all day travel for two people for the price of one. You can pick up a 2FOR1 leaflet at National Rail train stations, and redeem the offer at the Bluebell Railway (but please note that this offer is not valid at our Special Events).
- Derek Hayward's photo below from Saturday shows No.80151 departing from Kingscote with its array of vintage carriages.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows P-class No.178 on Saturday as it sets off southbound with the SR 'Queen Mary' Brake Van, giving its first ride of the day to some of our visitors.
- Steve Lee's photo shows No.80151 with the first southbound service of the day, approaching New Coombe Bridge on Saturday, when we had four locomotives in steam for the "See Behind the Scenes" event.
- With the 2019 programme of Murder Mystery evenings on the Golden Arrow Pullman train nearly all sold out, the 2020 programme is now available - see also further details on our web site.
- Details of the Catering Arrangements are now available for our 11-13 October Giants of Steam gala. Don't forget to book tickets for the gala online in advance for a discount.
- Brian Lacey's photo below from Saturday shows 'Camelot' arriving at Horsted Keynes with the 1:15 service from Sheffield Park, while 178 was taking a rest awaiting the next passengers for its brake van rides.
- Derek Hayward's photo shows the SECR O1 at Birch Farm Crossing with Saturday's Wealden Rambler service.
Younger Bluebell members (in our 9F Club) plus some loyal supporters, continue to give the North London Tank some TLC in platform 1 at Horsted Keynes, as seen in Derek Hayward's photo on the left taken on Sunday. It's a really valuable contribution they are making, since this is a prominently displayed locomotive. We really look forward to the time when we have enough overhead cover for all of our out-of-service locomotives, but until then they will need attention like this every few years.
Finally, a reminder that we are playing our part in hosting The Macmillan World's Biggest Coffee Morning on Friday 27 September.
- Getting ready for the weekend: 14-15 September is our See Behind the Steam open weekend.
John Sandys' photo shows P-class No.178 being steamed, and cleaned, on shed at Sheffield Park yesterday, in preparation for giving brake-van rides at Horsted Keynes both days as part of this weekend's event. There are activities and behind-the-scenes tours at Sheffield Park, Horsted Keynes and Kingscote stations - full details here. The timetable this weekend is Service 3 (6 round trips) and there will be four locomotives in steam: Nos.178, 65, 73082 and 80151.
- Giants of Steam gala - 11-13 October:
Unfortunately we have to report that LMS Princess Coronation Class No. 6233 'Duchess of Sutherland' will no longer be joining us for our Giants of Steam Autumn Gala. However, we are pleased to announce that LNER Thompson B1 61306 'Mayflower' will be joining us instead, in addition to BR 7MT Pacific No.70000 'Britannia'.
Having been booked for last year's "Giants of Steam" 61306 'Mayflower' of course was in the event unable to visit us then, so this visit gives our event an East Anglian theme. It is one of two surviving B1 Class locomotives, built in 1948 by the North British Locomotive Company in Glasgow. The last B1 in service, its final trip was hauling the 'Yorkshire Pullman' from Leeds in September 1967.
The timetables, with locomotive allocations, for this three-day gala are now available.
- Andrew Crampton's photo shows 'Mayflower' on 23 March this year, during a brief visit having arrived with a Steam Dreams' Railtour. During its forthcoming visit it will be hauling
an outbound Steam Dreams railtour to Bath Spa and return, on 5 October, the week before 'Giants'.
- Our SR Maunsell Q-class No.30541 is seen in this Facebook video being loaded onto a low-loader yesterday morning, for its journey to the Severn Valley Railway.
- Funeral details for Dave Devlin (on Monday) have been added to the BRPS Members' Information page.
- John Sandys' photo below from yesterday shows the O1 shunting the Great Northern Directors' Saloon at Sheffield Park, in preparation for this weekend, when it will be on set A (1st, 3rd and 5th round-trips from Sheffield Park). The Saloon will be in public service, available on a first-come-first-served basis for those wishing to partake of refreshments on board. See more of John's photos from Thursday.
- Derek Hayward's photo from last Sunday shows the Maunsell S15 with the vintage set at Birchstone Bridge. During the first six years of its current period in service it has been very heavily used, and it is therefore now to take something of a back seat, only being used sparingly on lighter trains to minimise wear on its tyres which will be replaced at its next overhaul.
- Huw Lloyd is coming towards the end of his annual working visit (helping in the Carriage & Wagon department) from Canada, and supplies the photo here of No.65 which was undertaking the regular Thursday shunt in place of the 09. The O1 is seen waiting at the entrance to the Down Yard at Horsted Keynes whilst having some of the "Wealden Rambler" carriages attached to the rear by the C&W works shunter, following their scheduled maintenance over the last week.
- The Severn Valley Railway has announced that our SR Maunsell Q-class No.30541 will be the third visiting locomotive for their 19-22 September Autumn Steam Gala, joining No.34092 'City of Wells' and Standard 4 2-6-0 No.76017, alongside their home fleet.
- We regret to report the recent deaths of two volunteers. Dave Devlin, a member of the S&T Dept for many years, passed away in hospital on Monday (see obituary on the BRPS Members' Information page). Charles Roberts, a regular volunteer and Sheffield Park Station Master some years ago, who had only just returned to active involvement with the Bluebell following his recent retirement, has tragically died after being hit by a car in London a couple of weeks ago. Funeral arrangements will be made available when known.
- Update with the positions in the new 2019-20 Football Competition after the first four matches. The competition is raising funds for the forthcoming overhaul of Southern Railway Maunsell Restaurant/Dining First No.7864.
- During August 2019 there were 43,654 total hits on this page, from 23,842 unique visitors.
- John Sandys' photo below shows No.80151 at East Grinstead yesterday, when it was running in place of the rostered Q-class. See more of John's photos from Saturday, when the Q-class was in service (alongside the S15), in place of the rostered 'Camelot', and his photos from yesterday, with 80151 and 65 in steam.
- 35028 'Clan Line' departed as planned on Wednesday evening, and is seen here on its return journey at Three Arch Bridge in Steve Lee's photo.
- A couple of videos of 'Clan Line' in action on its test run (hauling a Bluebell Service Train) on Tuesday, firstly a couple of shots from Nick Dearden, and secondly, some mobile phone footage by R.Johnstone.
- Derek Hayward's photo below shows 73082 'Camelot' approaching Birch Farm Crossing with a service train on Tuesday.
- John Sandys' photo from Thursday shows 'Camelot' arriving at Horsted Keynes (platform 3) with a service train whilst Maunsell Q-class 30541 sits in platform 2 during a test run following some maintenance, without its dome cover. The Q is back in service tomorrow, and will be the train engine for services Monday to Friday next week.
- The final two below both feature Imberhorne Cutting. Firstly John Sandys' shot, taken of the first train this morning hauled by S15 No.847, clearly shows how much the greenery has now populated the sides of the former rubbish tip. Julian Clark's shows 'Clan Line' making light work of the 1-in-55 gradient on the approach to the cutting, during its final run up the line on Wednesday before its evening departure back to London.
- As announced this morning (see below), rather than an after-hours test run, 'Clan Line' hauled one of this afternoon's service trains. Derek Hayward's photo above shows it in fine form at Mill Place Cutting.
- Stop Press: Merchant Navy Class Locomotive No.35028 'Clan Line' will be hauling the 2:30pm passenger service from Sheffield Park this afternoon.
This is a test run following the work that took place over the weekend. It will be the only service train 'Clan Line' will be hauling before its departure tomorrow evening. 'Clan Line' arrived on the Bluebell late last Friday, to use the wheeldrop at Sheffield Park for a precautionary inspection and maintenance of the front bogie.
- As seen in Robert Mitchell's photo, following its brief use of our wheel-drop, 'Clan Line' was on public display yesterday (Sunday) at Sheffield Park, and will be again today.
- The latest edition of our regular e-Newsletter was published yesterday evening. You can subscribe here, from where you can also access the newsletter archive.
- Brian Lacey's photo from yesterday morning shows the S15 exiting our tunnel with the first train of the day, formed of six vintage carriages.
- The weather is for once what we'd hope for a Bank Holiday weekend! Our Teddy Bears' Picnic got off to a great start yesterday, with bear hunts, games, prizes and fun for all the family. And free travel for all children who bring their favourite teddy! It continues over the next two days. Full details here. You can still book tickets in advance for Monday, or just turn up and buy tickets at any of our stations, today or tomorrow.
- Bluebell Bear followed Derek Hayward around the railway yesterday, and you can follow his adventures in Derek's photo gallery. Two of Derek's photos are below, as Bluebell Bear watches 'Camelot' leaving Kingscote station, and is later joined by two friends for a first-class train journey!
- Stop Press: Merchant Navy Class Locomotive No.35028 'Clan Line' has arrived on the Bluebell Railway to use the wheeldrop at Sheffield Park for a precautionary inspection and maintenance of the front bogie. The Merchant Navy Locomotive Preservation Society are grateful to their friends at the Bluebell Railway for making the facility available, and for our part, we are pleased to be able to accommodate their request. The locomotive will not be accessible to the general public whilst this work is being carried out, nor will it be hauling any services while on the Bluebell.
- A historical photo today of No.80151, taken at Brighton by Charlie Verrall on 2 September 1962, which has been added to the updated page for this Brighton-built BR Standard 4 tank locomotive.
- Details and booking now available for our Festive Feast trains in December - take a steam train ride from East Grinstead, for a pre-Christmas lunch, with all the trimmings, at our restaurant at Sheffield Park.
- Dave Bowles has added some pictures from the Saturday to his gallery for our 2005 Branch Line Weekend.
- John Sandys' photo below shows the S15 on one of the service trains yesterday, with the 1.55pm arrival at East Grinstead. John's photos from yesterday are here.
- The recently arrived new tender body for our Brighton Atlantic has been craned temporarily onto its modified ex-LBSCR chassis, so that it could enter the Atlantic shed, as seen in Matthew Cousins' photo below. This will enable the Atlantic team to add the separate exterior clothing sheets (a feature of both LBSCR tender and tank locomotive water tanks), coal rails and other tender furniture. Since the SECR H-class is currently occupying the wheel-drop in the works, the crane hire was shared with a quick maintenance lift required on 'Camelot', which is now back in service.
- This portrait of BR Standard 4 tank No.80151, which recently returned to service after a major overhaul, was taken on Sunday at Sheffield Park by Steve Lee.
- This coming weekend, our Teddy Bears' Picnic is the ideal Bank Holiday day out - with bear hunts, games, prizes and fun for all the family. And there's free travel for all children who bring their favourite teddy!
You can pre-order your picnics along with your ticket and collect them from the Bessemer Arms Restaurant at Sheffield Park, or bring your own. With our All Day Rover ticket, you can hop on and off the steam train as much as you like. We have spacious picnic areas at Sheffield Park, Horsted Keynes and Kingscote stations.
- Neil Munro-Thomson visited the railway on Saturday, his prime purpose being to catch 80151 & 73082 'Camelot' in their matching BR black liveries. As a bonus, a Golden Arrow Pullman wedding special was in action behind the S15. His photos are here.
- Multi-day tickets are now available alongside advance discounted tickets for each individual day, for our 11-13 October "Giants of Steam" gala.
- Whilst No.70000 'Britannia' is visiting us for Giants of Steam, we have two additional offers available:
The Horsted Keynes Salt Yard siding is taking shape and can be seen ahead and slightly to the right in Bruce Healey's photo below. One of the first intended uses of the siding (which used to be the headshunt) will be for display purposes during the Giants of Steam weekend. Before restrictions on which locos can access the yard can be lifted there is still much to do. The point needs to be completed, the panel in the foreground needs replacing and there is another panel and bufferstop to go in at the south end. Finally ballasting and fettling will allow the siding come into use. The new headshunt is to the left of the siding. The line running off the left of the photo is the new access to B and D roads of the existing carriage shed and works.
- Brian Lacey's photo below, taken on Saturday, shows 'Camelot' arriving at Horsted Keynes with the 10:45 service from Sheffield Park, passing No.80151 (with the Great Northern Directors' Saloon behind the locomotive) which was waiting to leave with the southbound service.
- Steve Lee's photo from Sunday shows No.80151 at Black Hut with the 1pm service from East Grinstead.
- Photos and a report on current work on 34059's firebox have been uploaded to the Bulleid Society's web site.
- Building on the success of the last two years, we will once again be hosting a Macmillan Coffee Morning Train on Friday 27 September. Last year we raised £1,658.32 and we aim to double that this year by filling the Wealden Rambler with cheerful cake-lovers.
OP4 (Horsted Keynes Carriage Shed) update with thanks to Barry Luck, our OP4 Project Manager, covering work on the walls for the Heritage Skills Centre, and further trackwork in the yard. Barry's photo below shows progress building the walls of the Skills Centre.
The Infrastructure News page has also been updated bringing together recent news already reported on this page.
- Brian Lacey's photo below, from Saturday, shows the S15 on the Golden Arrow Wedding charter train.
- Advance (discounted) ticket booking, and the timetables for each day, are now available for our 11-13 October "Giants of Steam" gala, featuring the two visiting locomotives shown here, running alongside a selection of our own locomotives. Locomotive allocations will be available nearer the time. Multi-day tickets available soon! [Now available!]
- Right: LMS 8P Pacific 6233 "Duchess of Sutherland" steams past Monk Fryston in Yorkshire on 12 April 2008. [N.B. the appearance of 6233 has unfortunately not been possible, due to its replacement on the 5 October charter train by 'Mayflower', which is now also attending the gala in its place.]
Photo by Foto43. Licenced under Creative Commons BY 2.0
- Hugh Llewelyn's photo below shows BR 7MT Pacific No.70000 "Britannia" approaching Bath in April 2012. Licensed under Creative Commons BY SA 2.0
- This weekend sees the GNR Directors' Saloon again running in public service on set A, the first, third and fifth (and seventh on Saturday) trains of each day. Travel in it, partaking of refreshments during the journey, for an unequalled vintage experience! No pre-booking necessary - first-come first-served.
- There are still some tickets available for next Friday's Rail Ale Train - and your first pint is on us. Sausage & Mash supper and Jazz Band also included.
- A change of locos on the service trains yesterday saw 73082 'Camelot' joining No.80151, as seen here in John Sandy's photo of the named "Standard 5" at Sheffield Park. See also John's photos from Monday and Thursday.
- Derek Hayward provides a superb comprehensive gallery of photos from Steam through the Ages last weekend.
- Update on recent work on the restoration of SECR P-class No.27 on the Project 27 Blogspot.
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows 80151 at East Grinstead on Sunday 4 August, ready to head the 1pm departure to Sheffield Park. The carriages forming our vintage set throughout the summer are our 1930s SR Maunsell carriages, together with two of our Southern post-war Bulleid carriages.
- Peter Edwards' photo below shows 80151 leaving Kingscote with the 1.09pm departure for Sheffield Park on Tuesday this week.
- Three photos here from Sunday thanks to Brian Lacey, taken at this weekend's Steam through the Ages special event.
- 80151 and 847 pass at Horsted Keynes;
- Redcoats drill at Victorian Sheffield Park;
- The Bluebell Railway Band had played at Horsted Keynes on the Saturday, under challenging conditions, and are seen here at Sheffield Park, thankfully with very much better weather, on the Sunday.
- Video from Will Hawks covering Summer on The Bluebell Railway.
- Brian Lacey's photo from Tuesday shows the recently returned-to-steam Standard Tank 80151 at the site of the former West Hoathly station, heading southbound on the 3:45pm service from East Grinstead.
- A reminder that this weekend we have our Steam through the Ages special event which will bring different eras from history to life with a different decade recreated at each of our stations.
Dance to the music of time gone by, witness the arrival of Queen Victoria and her Royal Guard, be entertained by 'Crazee Hazee', and laugh along to Punch & Judy shows at Victorian Sheffield Park.
Catch the train to wartime Horsted Keynes for an array of military displays, vehicles and music. Then, post-war, make your way to Kingscote for an ice cream, a display of vintage cars, and to let off steam in the play park.
- Thank you to those who have already entered this year's Football Competitions in aid of the restoration of Maunsell Restaurant Car 7864. If you haven't yet entered, the closing date for entries (which can be emailed) is tomorrow (Friday), and if you want to know what all the fuss is about, details are here.
- Tickets are already selling fast for our Santa Specials!
- Photos and videos taken today by John Sandys.
- Two further photos below from Brian Lacey: The SR Q-class is seen at Horsted Keynes on Saturday, with the recently overhauled Southern Railway Bulleid Composite carriage behind the tender, and the Maunsell S15 is seen after leaving the tunnel with the 4:00pm from Sheffield Park, on which train Felbridge WI were partaking of a cream tea.
- Following more test running today, we are pleased to confirm that the relaunch of BR Standard 2-6-4T Locomotive No.80151
is indeed now planned to take place tomorrow!
- John Sandys' photo shows 73082 'Camelot' at Horsted Keynes with one of the two service trains running yesterday.
- In addition to the other activities this coming weekend, our Great Northern Directors' Saloon is in public service, open for passengers who wish to partake of tea, coffee, toasted tea cakes, scones & cream or cake, and is attached to the first, third and 5th round trips. To reserve a table visit the facebook page for the saloon, or drop by and ask the crew on the day.
- Our Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea trains were sold out for the remainder of this year, so we've added an extra date - 3 October - Book now before it too sells out!!!
- The planned relaunch of BR Standard 2-6-4T Locomotive No.80151
after its overhaul is still to be confirmed. The photo on the right shows the locomotive during further test running taking place yesterday.
- This coming Saturday is our Toy & Rail Collectors' Fair offering a huge variety of stalls at Horsted Keynes, both on the station and in the car park field.
Our normal public steam train service also runs, to our Service Three Timetable, with 7 round trips, and three locomotives in steam. Alos at Horsted Keynes the carriage shop on platform 1 has extended opening hours, and there will be free guided tours of the Carriage Works starting at 12.30, 1.45 and 3pm
- John Sandys' photos from today.
- The first photo below illustrates the reconnection of B-road in the down yard at Horsted Keynes which took place on Wednesday 17 July. This comes after a period of several years of agreed isolation pending the relaying of the yard of which this is the latest step forward. The container which blocked the track was moved on the Monday. On the Wednesday the reconnection was made allowing the luggage van which was directly in front of B road doors to be shunted. This should allow the Maunsell "Hastings" brake carriage, No.3687, currently in the B-road storage area of the original carriage shed, to move into the main work area early next week for the compeltion of its restoration.
- As seen in Fred Bailey's photo below, the Brighton Atlantic's tender tank was delivered to us on Wednesday 24 July. It still has to have an outer skin fitted around it, and all the coal rails, cab doors, etc, added. You can see further photos and more information here.
- Brian Lacey's three photos from Saturday show the Maunsell Q-class with recently revarnished Maunsell brake 6686, and below 'Camelot' with an all-green BR Mk.1 and Bulleid coach set, and the SECR O1 with the Wealden Rambler set.
- We are now into our main summer season with a two-train service with six round trips (and 7 on Saturdays) every day right through to 1 September. All trains are steam hauled. Tickets may be obtained in advance online with a discount (and booking fee) or on arrival at any of our stations.
- New web pages/details now available for three forthcoming events:
- 10-11 August - Steam through the Ages with a Summer Fair at Horsted Keynes, meet Queen Victoria at Sheffield Park, and vintage cars and ice cream at Kingscote.
- 24-26 August - Teddy Bears' Picnic - Children who bring Teddy along get free travel!
- 11-13 October - 'Giants of Steam' Autumn Gala featuring visiting locomotives BR pacific No.70000 'Britannia' and LMS pacific No.6233 'Duchess of Sutherland' which will run alongside our own locomotives at this three-day gala event.
- Phtos from John Sandys from last Thursday, showing the Q-Class in charge of the Service train on a quite changeable day weather wise, plus lots of shunting going on in preparation for the main school holiday season.
- Brian Lacey's photo from Saturday shows the SECR O1 with LSWR Brake Third No.1520 at Horsted Keynes, in use on one of our Footplate Extra experiences. In the distance, Maunsell Q-class No.30541 heads for Sheffield Park with our Metropolitan Railway "Chesham" set.
- The public relaunch of BR Standard 2-6-4T Locomotive No.80151
after its 4-year-long overhaul is planned for Saturday 27 July.
- Bluebell locomotives have now run 1.5 million miles since we started operating in August 1960! This is made up of passenger trains, filming, shunting, including visiting locomotives. The mileage information is taken from our loco driver's record cards, completed after each day's work. This is the equivalent to three return trips to the Moon, or 60 trips around the Earth!
- Preliminary details now available for our Vintage Bus Running Day on Sun 6 October - with routes running to and from both Sheffield Park and East Grinstead stations.
- Great news for our Brighton Atlantic Project! Bachmann's website carries a report on the presentation of a cheque for over £10,000 to help complete our H2 Atlantic 'Beachy Head'. Do also watch this video on that page too.
You can see the latest news reports from the Brighton Atlantic Project here.
- Entry details are now available for the new season's Football Competitions, which are easy-to-enter competitions raising funds for our Southern Railway Maunsell Restaurant Car restoration project. Entrants just have to try to predict who will win the FA Cup, and/or the final positions in the Premier League.
We are also pleased also to be able to report a major step forward towards the Maunsell Restaurant Car's planned overhaul, with the purchase, at a significant discount, of several tons of second-hand teak, part of the timber which was surplus from the recent rebuilding of the 'Cutty Sark'. The 36 planks of teak, costing our fund just under £3,000, gives the project a huge head-start. Even the smalest planks in the photo below are big enough to get a body pillar out of, and the largest are far longer than normally available these days. It should be just about enough for the major repairs required to the timber-framed body of 1932-built Kitchen Dining First No.7864, now the only surviving Southern Railway catering vehicle. Being able to do this in teak is a luxury we thought we'd never afford, and should give us a vehicle body which will last almost indefinitely!
- Brian Lacey's photo below shows Southern Railway S15 No.847 arriving at Horsted Keynes on Saturday, running in place of the expected 'Camelot'.
- Steve Lee's photo shows the Maunsell Q-class with the Metropolitan Railway Carriages and GN Saloon in public service yesterday, approaching Kingscote with the 14.30 from Sheffield Park.
- John Sandys has a set of photos from yesterday, particularly featuring the GNR Directors' Saloon.
- The GN Saloon is also in service today, and is available to passengers wishing to partake of refreshments - with toasted tea cakes, coffee, afternoon tea, scones or cake on offer. The Saloon is on the first, third and fifth departures on today's Service 3 6-train timetable. The locomotives in use today are the Q-class, 'Camelot', and the SECR O1-class on the lunchtime Pullman Dining train.
- This video by Nick Dearden shows BR Standard 4MT Tank No.80151 undertaking test running with our four Metropolitan Railway carriages yesterday. It is not yet known when the locomotive will be released for service. Unusually for a Bluebell locomotive, it faces South, as it has done since it arrived on the Bluebell 21 years ago.
- John Sandys' photos from yesterday also include many images of No.80151 being run in (including that on the right), alongside those of 'Camelot' (which has regained its nameplates) on the service train.
- Set A over this coming weekend is formed of our Victorian Metropolitan carriages, plus the GNR Directors' Saloon, which is in public service for passengers wishing to partake of refreshments.
- With the completion of No.80151, the Chassis of No.34059 'Sir Archibald Sinclair' has been moved into the workshop to join the boiler, which is now having stays fitted to the brand new firebox, as reported in John Fry's report on the Bulleid Society Web Site.
- A progress report is available thanks to Barry Luck, our OP4 Project Manager (Infrastructure), for the end of June for our OP4 - Horsted Keynes Carriage Shed extension . The photos below, showing the brickwork on the wall to the north of the Heritage Skills Centre, and the new pointwork in the yard at Horsted Keynes, are taken from that report.
- Brian Lacey's photo on the left shows the interior of the new Locomotive Maintenance shed built as part of the ASH project, funded thanks to donations to the Bluebell Railway Trust, and a grant from National Lottery Heritage Fund.
- Another photo by Brian, bleow, shows the SECR O1-class No.65, with SECR hundred-seater No.1098 heading its carriage set, departing Horsted Keynes on the Sunday.
- Steve Lee's photo below shows the Metropolitan carriages back on Bluebell metals (passing the former West Hoathly station site) last Thursday on their return from the District Line steam the previous weekend.
- During June 2019 there were 41,026 total hits on this page, from 22,732 unique visitors.
- Peter Edwards' photo of the first service of the day last Saturday at Black Hut, shows No.73082 'Camelot' with a train of SR Maunsell and Bulleid carriages, plus the GNR Directors' Saloon which was hosting a surprise birthday party for one of our younger volunteer loco drivers.
- We are rapidly building up to our major annual Model Railway Weekend this Saturday and Sunday. In addition to the show, which is spread across Sheffield Park, Horsted Keynes and Kingscote stations, we have an intensive three-train service. Catering details for the weekend are available here. Tickets are at our normal prices, and are available in advance online at a discount here, or at full price at our stations on arrival.
- Clive Emsley's photo from today shows our set of Victorian Metropolitan Railway Carriages at Clapham Junction on their return from London Underground, after their role in last weekend's "Steam on the Underground" celebration of 150 years of the District Railway/Line.
- The photos below, by Stuart Moon, show the new track in place on Tuesday into D road of the carriage works, enabling the paint shop to be shunted, and the point which will give access to B-road in the old shed. This follows on from last week's report which includes track plans of the layout of the down yard at Horsted Keynes.
- On Saturday morning the SECR O1 was used, with LSWR Brake Third No.1520, for our intermediate footplate experience - Footplate Extra - as seen in Brian Lacey's photo taken at Horsted Keynes. The locomotive was later used for a Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea train.
- Reminder that this weekend 29-30 June it's our annual Model Railway Weekend, with lots of layouts, traders and live steam miniature railways, mainly at Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes stations. At Kingscote station, there will be a 71/4 inch miniature steam railway running. Exhibitions will be open from 10am - 5pm on Saturday and 10am - 4pm on Sunday.
The weekend will also be the first occasion for the public to view inside our brand new locomotive maintenance shed at Sheffield Park, where some of the exhibits will be located. Atlantic House will also be open for those interested to see progress with the construction of our new Brighton H2 Atlantic.
We will be running an intensive service with three steam trains over the weekend to this timetable.
- No promises yet, but with BR 2-6-4T No.80151 having had a boiler test and moved around Sheffield Park station under its own steam last Thursday, and with more test runs and fettling expected this week, it could potentially be in service as early as the coming weekend, if everything goes well.
- Some changes have recently been anounced relating to the senior management of Bluebell Railway PLC. Details are to be found on the BRPS Members' Information page.
- We hear that the fault with 'Camelot' was a failed clack valve gasket. It could only be replaced once the locomotive had cooled, so our apologies that it wasn't available for service on Sunday. The locomotive was back in steam to test the repair later that afternoon, and back hauling our trains as scheduled today.
- Details of the funds raised by the recently concluded Football Competition have been added to the page recording the totals raised for various Bluebell projects over the 23 years that we've been running the competition. The current project being supported is the forthcoming overhaul of Southern Railway Maunsell Restaurant/Dining First No.7864, towards which £2,320.84 has so far been contributed through these competitions.
- We are currently seeking a volunteer to take on the role of PTS Trainer.
- We are pleased to have another great update on the Brighton Atlantic project, with thanks to Fred Bailey. The tender tank construction is well under way, as seen below (photo thanks to D G Welding). The second photo, by Fred, shows the almost-complete timber cab floor. There's a lot more in the full report!
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the Q-class and 'Camelot' passing with the two service trains at Horsted Keynes yesterday. The GNR Directors' Saloon is seen behind Camelot, and was being used for a private party.
- Stop Press: Sadly, after its last train was safely home yesterday, 'Camelot' failed, so we regret that (with the S15 and the H-class both undergoing boiler washouts and maintenance) today we are only able to operate public trains to this modified timetable (hauled by the Q-class, with the O1 hauling the pre-booked Sussex Belle luncheon train).
- Due to a high level of demand for our Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea trains, we have added an extra operating date, Wednesday 31st July.
- Steve Lee's photo from last Saturday shows the SECR H-class to the north of rock cutting with three pre-grouping carriages (one SECR, one LBSCR and one LSWR) providing a shuttle service between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes to augment the timetable for the 'Road meets Rail' event.
- Infrastructure News with thanks to Jon Goff, covering work in the late May and the first half of June on laying in the 3-way point in the down yard at Horsted Keynes, which is part of the project to relay the yard, and at the same time give access to the new OP4 carriage maintenance and storage shed.
The photos below show the trackbeds into D and E roads (the main works road and the maintenance road) having been dug out, prepared, ballasted and levelled, and a couple of weeks later, the 3-way (tandem) point laid and the maintenance road again connected to the station (now via the new headshunt), on time, avoiding any delay to our carriage maintenance schedule. The report includes track plans of the old and new layouts and aerial photos.
- Last weekend's Road meets Rail Festival was a great success, in spite of the weather. Brian Lacey's photo shows JL & RK Miles' Aveling Porter steam roller, as it demonstrates road making at Horsted Keynes, improving the surface of our car park in the process!
- Photo report from Road meets Rail featuring photos from Derek Hayward, Steve Lee, Brian Lacey and Richard Salmon.
- Derek Hayward has 150 images of the "Road meets Rail" weekend, taken at Horsted Keynes and Kingscote, are now on the link below:
- Road meets Rail Video from Nick Dearden
- The deadline for applying for the vacancy as a Carriage & Wagon Fitter has been extended to 28 June.
- Two more photos from Brian Lacey from Saturday below, showing 2014 Ruston Proctor 3 Ton SD Tractor No.30640 'Warrior' with a water bowser, and Elliott's Forest Ponies, which were running on an electricity supply from a showmans' engine (Burrell 'The May').
- In addition to a 3-train service of passenger trains, hauled by 'Camelot', the S15 and the H-class, the Maunsell Q-class had charge of a goods train which included the Bulleid well wagon, onto which had been craned a Garrett (with a superheater and a removable chimney). Brian Lacey's photo shows the goods train on departure from Horsted Keynes on the Saturday, and Derek Haywards' shows it passing beneath Leamland Bridge, on which was positioned another road locomotive.
- On Monday our four Metropolitan Railway carriages were collected by a brace of GBRF Class 73s for their run over the main line up to Ruislip for the coming weekend's District Line steam trains (where they'll again run behind Met.1 and 'Sarah Siddons') as seen in Julian Clark's photos below. The JBs were 73107 'Tracy' and 73136 'Mhari', which was the first 'ED' to run on the Bluebell, when it spent the first 5 months of 2009 on the Bluebell, at that time carrying the name 'Perseverance'.
- Julian's full set of photos covering Monday's departure together with service trains hauled by our own 73082 'Camelot'.
- A fantastic weekend is in store at our 15-16 June Road meets Rail Working Steam Festival with traction engines, steam trains and Sussex Ales. Peter Edwards' photo taken at Horsted Keynes last Sunday afternoon shows Aveling Porter road roller 'Mary Jane'. This engine was one of several that arrived that afternoon, and the build up has been steady ever since.
A busy steam train service will also be running with an additional shuttle service between Sheffield Park & Horsted Keynes and the goods train between Horsted Keynes & Kingscote.
Train timetable available here.
At Road Meets Rail, you'll see:
Why not dress up? 1920's theme.
- Roads and railways working together with the Traction Engines, Steam Wagons and other vehicles transporting goods around Horsted Keynes Station. Watch milk churns, beer barrels, suitcases, sacks and much more transported just as they used to be.
- Steam-powered sawmill
- Steam-powered threshing machine
- Steam-powered fun fair with Showman's Engine
- Working model steam locomotives
- Beer Tent - Sussex Ales Beer Festival
- Stone being crushed and roads being rolled
- ... and watch out along the line for the steam engines in fields, at bridges and crossings, on the roads and even on a train!
Tickets are available online now (discount for advance purchase) or on the day at any of our stations.
Free Car Park at Sheffield Park, or come via East Grinstead (just a few yards from the National Rail station) and let the steam train transport you to the festival at Horsted Keynes. Free parking also available at Horsted Keynes, but parking may be easier at Sheffield Park.
- Brian Lacey's photo below, taken last Saturday, shows Maunsell S15 No.847 passing Bulleid Pacific 21C123 'Blackmoor Vale' (which is on static display) at Horsted Keynes.
Derek Hayward's photo shows the SECR H-class with the Wealden Rambler afternoon tea train approaching New Road Bridge on 1 June.
- Peter Edwards' photo shows 'Camelot' climbing Freshfield bank with the Golden Arrow from Sheffield Park at around 1pm on Sunday 9 June.
- Giants of Steam (11-13 October):
BR Standard class No.70000 "Britannia" and LMS Princess Coronation class 4-6-2 Pacific No.6233 "Duchess of Sutherland" have been named as our visiting guest locomotives. These two "giants" will run alongside our own locomotives at this three-day gala event. Our grateful thanks to the Royal Scot & Locomotive General Trust and the Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust for the loan of their locomotives.
- Infrastructure News with thanks to Jon Goff, covering the relaying of 260 yards of track on Freshfield Bank in 24 hours last month.
- Neil Munro-Thomson was at Horsted Keynes on Sunday for the Southern Classics car & vehicle show, and provides a gallery of photos he took of this event, plus the return of Camelot.
- Update to the Loco Roster, covering the remainder of June, showing what locomotives we currently expect to have in service each day.
- The latest e-newsletter includes an article updating us on the status of the current operational locomotives and those under overhaul from Chris Hunford, which includes the welcome news that BR Standard 4 Tank No.80151 should be returing to traffic, we hope, towards the end of June.
- Update with funeral details for Douglas Harris available on the BRPS Members' Information page. The same page now also includes a short tribute from Paul Norris to his father.
- Three photos below from Saturday, by Brian Lacey: The first two show the current state of the Brighton Atlantic, as displayed at last weekend's Open Days at Atlantic House, as it awaits completion of its boiler. The third shows SECR O1 No.65 in platform 2 at Horsted Keynes on an up service, as the S15 sits in platforms 4-5 with the down train.
- Derek Hayward's photo from Saturday shows the H-class approaching Kingscote with a goods train formed of engineering vehicles, being used for guards' training. Derek has added nearly 50 images from the weekend (including coverage of the shunting at Kingscote) to his Bluebell 2019 album.
- OP4 News, with an update of work on the carriage shed extension at Horsted Keynes (OP4) where the walls are now being prepared for cladding, following the successful fundraising appeal last Autumn.
- Atlantic House in the Loco Yard at Sheffield Park has a public Open Weekend 8-9 June, where you can view the latest progress on the Brighton Atlantic project. There is an auction at 2.45pm on Sunday, with a large number of high quality LBSCR photos (13 lots with an average of 100 photos in each lot.) The albums are of grouped subjects rather than miscellaneous, e.g. locos classes C, C1, C2 and C3. We also have a replica King class numberplate, lamps etc. Viewing is from Saturday morning, and the team will accept commission bids if you're unable to be there on the Sunday afternoon. The auction is preceded by a short update on the Atlantic Project at 2.30pm.
- During May 2019 there were 38,404 total hits on this page, from 21,944 unique visitors.
- Two more of Derek's photos from Saturday, showing No.73082 'Camelot' to the north of Deans Crossing, and SECR O1-class No.65 amidst the flowers at Leamland Bridge.
- As seen in John Sandys' photo on the right, No.73082 'Camelot' was out for a test run yesterday after a prolonged period of maintenance. See all of John's photos and videos from yesterday, here.
- We have three locomotives in steam over the weekend, and on Saturday we are running a demonstration goods train to this timetable.
- Notice from Roger Garman, announcing that Martin Cresswell will assume responsibility as the Railway's Safety Director with effect from 29 August 2019.
- It is with sadness we record the passing of Douglas Harris, a true friend of the Bluebell who many members will know from Christmas and Steam Fair days when he could be found either outside Sheffield Park station with his vintage fairground ride or in one of the fields at Horsted Keynes. A tribute from Tim Baker is available on the BRPS Members' Information page.
- Derek Hayward's photo caught SECR H-class No.263 and SR Maunsell droplight open third No.1336 as they arrived at Kingscote Station on Saturday.
- Though the weekend we entertained a great many youngsters and adults as our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Family Fair explained the technology of steam and the railways to our visitors.
- Our next special event is our 9 June Southern Classic Car & Vehicle Show, presented by the Southern Classics Society at Horsted Keynes station. No booking required by vehicle exhibitors - just turn up - details here.
- Steam trains running daily until the end of September - Timetable here. All trains are hauled by a steam locomotive. Tickets can be booked in advance at a discount or purchased on arrival at any of our stations.
- Congratulations to Mags Cracroft on her promotion to become our new Customer Service & Sales Manager, with consequent update to the Who's Who page.
- Philip Brown visited last week, and would like to thank the fireman for inviting him on the engine, SR S15-class No.847, as seen in the photos he provided, below.
- Brian Lacey's photo from Saturday shows SECR O1 No.65 arriving at Horsted Keynes with the 10:45am service from Sheffield Park. The A and B sets had been swapped to accommodate a visiting party, hence also the additional carriage on the O1's train.
- We are running steam trains every single day from today (Wednesday) through to 8 September. See the Timetable page for details.
- We are very sorry to report that we have only just found out that Peter Forrestier-Smith passed away two months ago. See more about Peter's involvement with the railway on the BRPS Members' Information page.
- Members may be interested in this Report from last Saturday's BRPS AGMs and EGM.
The newly elected post-holders have been added to the Who's Who page.
The revised rules, largely paving the way to implement the conclusions of the Governance Review and re-form the Society as a Company Limited by Guarantee, as agreed at the EGM are also now available.
- Update with the final positions in the 2018-19 Football Competition, raising funds for the forthcoming overhaul of Southern Railway Maunsell Restaurant/Dining First No.7864.
- Two more of Brian's photos from Saturday: One of 847's crew takes the opportunity to bring coal forward in the tender as the locomotive waits to receive the token and signal to proceed with the 12:17 departure to East Grinstead.
The GNR Directors' Saloon was in action on Saturday and is seen here tailing the 2:47pm from Horsted Keynes as it leaves for East Grinstead. No.65 is on the right, waiting to depart with the 2:50 to Sheffield Park. By this time the rain had given over and the sky was starting to brighten up.
- OP4 - Horsted Keynes Carriage Shed extension
The Infrastructure team are making good progress building the dwarf brick wall around the base of the carriage shed, having completed the western (photo right), southern and eastern faces. They are now working on the dwarf wall around the HSC, and preparations for casting the floor slab of the HSC (currently programmed for late June).
The contract for the cladding of the shed has been let to Robin Stevenson LLP, and work has started on the western wall of the maintenance road. The final appearance of the shed will match the yellow/green reverse profile sheeting of the existing C&W works. Reverse profile insulated cladding is not available, so the cladding will necessarily be in two layers - firstly the insulated cladding sheets, and secondly a cosmetic face to match the appearance of the existing shed.
The Infrastructure team will shortly be moving onto tracklaying, relaying the connection from the running line into the yard. This is a major piece of work expected to take about three weeks to complete, and represents a significant step forward, providing full connectivity to roads C, E, F and G (and eventually roads B, H & J).
Barry Luck OP4 Project Manager (Infrastructure)
Above: the start of the dwarf wall around the Heritage Skills Centre, and the preparations for the casting of the HSC ground floor slab.
Below: the support rails for the cladding on the west side of the new shed.
- Steve Goodbody, who was a volunteer over 30 years ago before he moved to the States, paid us a visit on Wednesday and was suitably impressed. His photo on the right shows the S15 ready to leave Sheffield Park.
- Our Society's EGM (voting on changes to the BRPS structure following our governance review) and AGM is on Saturday.
WE NEED YOU!
Our AGM last year was inquorate and therefore not able to conduct the formal business of the Society. To avoid a repetition this year, we need 200 members to attend and Graham Aitken, BRPS Chairman, urges YOU to be one of them.
If you have mislaid the information about the meetings, they can be found on the BRPS Members' Information page.
- Details of Mike Gibbard's funeral have been added to the BRPS Members' Information page.
- John Sandys' photo below shows the S15 with the second train of the day, today, showing a goodly crowd of visitors admiring it.
- Two more of Steve's photos from yesterday - Keith and Sue were our "fully bonded team" in the Bulleid Society's shop, and the view from our Museum's Withyham signal box.
- Jon Elphic's photo shows the Q-class over the washout pit within the new locomotive maintenance shed at Sheffield Park. The staff are already feeling the benefit of the cover for washouts, this being the third undertaken in the shell of the building.
- We are running steam trains each day from today (Wednesday) through to Sunday. See the Timetable page for details.
- Details are now available for the following two special events:
- 9 June: Southern Classic Car & Vehicle Show - presented by the Southern Classics Society at Horsted Keynes station
- 15-16 June: Road meets Rail - Working Steam Festival with traction engines, steam trains and Sussex Ales Beer Festival - book in advance for discounts. Step back in time for a weekend of steam powered demonstrations and vintage fairground fun. Traction engines, road rollers, steam wagons, showman's engines, and much more - why not dress up - 1920's theme.
N.B. Note this event is now taking place only over 2 days
- To add to the three recent deaths amongst our volunteers reported below, we sadly must now add that of Alan Blackburn. Details of his and other funerals, as they are so far known, have being added to the BRPS Members' Information page.
- Drainage work is taking place on Waterbury Hill between Horsted Keynes Village and our station, and the road will be closed to vehicles with (long) diversions in place, for the remainder of May. Access to Horsted Keynes Station is still available from Sharpthorn and (for vehicles below 8' high) from Ardingly and Highbrook.
- We are currently advertising vacancies for a Carriage & Wagon Fitter and for Casual Kitchen Porters.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the S15 arriving at East Grinstead with the 1.30 service from Sheffield Park yesterday. The rear carriage is our 1913-built LNWR Observation Car providing the reserved accommodation for the pre-booked Bluebell Specials, which conclude tomorrow.
- Reminder that on Saturday 11 May we have our Toy & Rail Collectors' Fair - offering a huge variety of stalls at Horsted Keynes, both on the station and in the car park field.
Our normal public steam train service also runs, to our Service Three Timetable.
- Derek Hayward has updated his photo galleries for our non-steam motive power: D4106 (09018), Sentinel No.10241, Britannia Iron Works
Howard No.957, and the Wickham trolleys and other P-Way Equipment.
- Over the next Bank Holiday weekend, 25-27 May, in addition to our full public service of steam-hauled trains, we have our STEM Family Fair with fun Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths activities for children.
- We are very sorry to report the deaths of three Bluebell volunteers over the last few days. John Griffith was a Station Master at Sheffield Park Station; Mike Gibbard was a former Volunteer Recruitment Officer and Travelling Ticket Inspector; and finally, Lewis Norris was a stalwart of the Friends of Kingscote from its very early days and latterly worked in the Carriage Shop at Horsted Keynes. Funeral details will be advised when known.
- S15-class No.847 passes a fine carpet of bluebells at Lindfield Wood as it heads north with the 1.15 service on Saturday 4 May (Steve Lee).
Our Bluebell Specials continue tomorrow, Thursday and Friday this week, with the best view of the lineside provided by pre-booked tickets in our LNWR Observation Car. Visitors with our ordinary travel tickets (available in advance or on arrival) can travel, unreserved, in the other carriages of the train.
- Dave Bowles provides photos of Bluebell Service Trains on 18, 22 and 27 April.
- Updated web page (with new photos of both interior and exterior) for BR Mk.1 CK No.16012.
- Peter Edwards' photo below shows O1-class No.65 at New Road Bridge with the 9.30am train from Sheffield Park last Saturday.
- Three photos today, catching up on a submission from Steve Lee, from Saturday 13 April. The first shows O1 No.65 with a Footplate Extra driving and firing experience, working north of Linfield woods. This was making use of a locomotive in steam for a Wealden Rambler later in the day.
- Over the coming Bank Holiday weekend we are running our peak Service Three Timetable with three locomotives in steam each day.
- Full details now available for our 11 May - Toy & Rail Collectors' Fair - offering a huge variety of stalls at Horsted Keynes, both on the station and in the car park field.
Our normal public steam train service also runs, to our Service Three Timetable.
- Updated web pages (with re-scanned photos) for SR Bulleid carriages No.4279, No.1481 and No.1482.
- Papers for the forthcoming (18 May) BRPS EGM and AGM are now in the post to members. The first meeting is an important Extraordinary General Meeting to authorise the Trustees to progress with preparations for major changes to the governance of the BRPS. Joint members will only receive one copy of the Proxy Voting Form so additional copies may be downloaded here to print out.
Following the failure to reach a quorum at last year's AGM, the short formal business of that AGM will take place at a reconvened meeting. The full set of papers will have been received by most members last year, but the
Papers for the reconvened 58th AGM are also available to download here.
The main business of the evening will then be the 2019 AGM, for which members will receive full details by post. The Notice of the BRPS 2019 AGM and the EGM, distributed earlier, is also available to download, including the full wording of the motions to be debated at the EGM.
- The other two of Steve's photos, below, show No.30541 passing Waterworks with the six teak carriages, with the sanders on, forming the 9:30am service from Sheffield Park, and 847 drifting downhill through Rock Cutting with the following train, the 10:45 departure.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the Maunsell Q-class arriving at East Grinstead on the first train today, the second day of our Bluebell Specials, which, using the Observation Car on the rear of the train, afford participants a fine view of the lineside bluebells, which are reckoned to the as fine a show this year as anyone can remember. The Bluebell Specials continue tomorrow, and then 8-10 May (next week). Visitors with our ordinary travel tickets (available in advance or on arrival) can travel, unreserved, in the other carriages of the train.
His photo below shows the Q-class yesterday with the 1913-built Observation Car, also at East Grinstead.
- Our Safety & Assurance team are looking for a volunteer to help collate accident & incidents information, produce reports, file information and provide general support across a whole range of day to day safety and assurance administration tasks.
- During April 2019 there were 41,250 total hits on this page, from 22,890 unique visitors.
- Two photos below from OP4 Project Manager Barry Luck (taken almost a month ago), show the dwarf wall on the western side of the shed at Horsted Keynes almost complete, and the start of work on the access steps on the eastern side, this work being done by our infrastructure volunteers.
The contractors should be returning to site soon to clad the main parts of the walls around the western, eastern and northern sides of the shed and the Heritage Skills Centre, the money for which was raised thanks to our well-supported Double Donations Dash fundraising appeal last Autumn.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the SECR H-class with the Victorian varnished teak set of carriages at West Hoathly on Saturday 27 April.
- Starting tomorrow: 1, 2, 3, 8, 9 & 10 May - Bluebell Specials for the best view of this year's superb displays of lineside bluebells, from our 1913-built Observation Carriage.
- HAVE YOU VOLUNTEERED AT THE RAILWAY FOR MORE THAN 10 YEARS?
Details of the new BRPS 10-year volunteer awards now available.
- Project 27 Blog features further updates on the riveting of the new main frame plates and the new cylinder block for SECR P-class No.27.
- Updated web pages with improved and/or additional photos for LSWR carriage No.1520, SECR carriage No.971, and SR Bulleid carriages No.5768 and No.1464.
- On 15-16 June we have our Road meets Rail event, with traction engines, steam trains and a Sussex Ales Beer Festival. Note this event is now taking place only over 2 days.
- Update to the Loco Roster, covering May, showing what locomotives we currently expect to have in service each day.
- We are currently recruiting for a Marketing & Event Coordinator to work in our Marketing Department.
- Two more of Brian Lacey's photos below from Saturday 27 April. SECR O1-class No.65 is being prepared for its duty on the Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea service; in the background the new locomotive maintenance shed can be seen, with the external cladding now pretty much finished. The Q-class arrives at Horsted Keynes with a 5-coach train formed entirely of SR-designed Maunsell and Bulleid carriages, including the Bulleid Society's newly overhauled No.5768.
- This comprehensive Photo Report covers the visit of LNER B1 No.61306 'Mayflower' on 23rd March's Steam Dreams Railtour. The report features a huge selection of great photos! Steve Lee's photo here shows Mayflower heading the Bluebell portion of the tour at Vaux End, climbing towards the tunnel.
- We are running our peak Service Three Timetable every day through to Easter Monday, 22 April, with two or three locomotives in steam every day. Buy your tickets in advance for a discount, or turn up on the day and purchase them at any of our stations on arrival.
- More on Mayflower's visit:
- The Great Northern Railway Directors' Saloon is running this weekend, for private parties, but is in public service over the four days of the Easter weekend. This News Update also includes an appeal for new volunteers to join in helping to crew the saloon.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows the Q and S15 passing at Horsted Keynes on Saturday 6 April. The "A" set of carriages was formed of our four Victorian Metropolitan Railway carriages, strengthened if required with the Observation Car. The "B" set was formed of Bulleid and Mk.1 carriages.
- Videos from Branch Line Weekend:
- Nick Dearden,
- J R Railway Videos,
- Dan Gosling,
- George's Railway Videos,
- Ashley Smith;
- Glen Mears,
- Ashley Smith,
- Keith Duke on the Friday and the Saturday,
- Dave Bowles' photos from the Friday night-shoot, the Saturday, the Sunday, and the Photo Charter on the Monday,
- John Sandys, from the Friday and the Sunday.
- Derek Hayward has upgraded his album for BR Standard 5MT No.73082 'Camelot'.
- During the course of the last week, not everything went to plan, with the H-class taking the Q's duty on Wednesday, and the Q on the S15's turn for the day, whilst for two days, as seen in John Sandys' photo below, the "A" set was formed of the Edwardian Stock. Today everything was back to the original plan, with the addition of LCDR 1889-built brake carriage 114 added to the Mets, as seen in John's second photo (more of his photos from today are here). With the GN Saloon on this set over the weekend, we will have a 6-coach varnished teak set running!
- Andrew Crampton's photo shows the departure from Horsted Keynes of the visiting LNER B1 No.61306 'Mayflower', during the return leg of the Bluebell section of Steam Dreams' Railtour on 23 March. This particular train was formed of the locomotive's support carriage plus our 7 Southern Railway corridor carriages, with 847 on the rear, which would return the Bluebell stock once 'Mayflower' and the passengers transferred to the railtour stock, at Kingscote.
A full photo report of the visit should be available here soon.
- 19-22 April - Easter Weekend - Easter Treasure Hunt with small prizes for children who complete the trail - Free entry with an all-day rover ticket - buy your tickets in advance for a discount! (Note this event is now not being run on 18 April).
- Update to the Loco Roster, covering April, showing what locomotives we currently expect to have in service each day.
- The Railway needs your help - we're looking for Volunteer Car park attendants for special events.
- The new cylinders for P-class No.27 have returned from being machined - see the report on the Project 27 BlogSpot.
- An updated version of the Photo Report from the Branch Line Weekend has been created, with apologies to Andrew Crampton for including the wrong image under his name in the origial version, and adding an additional photo of the visiting locomotives by Steve Lee plus the event summary by our Communications Director, Roger Garman, which reveals that ticket sales were up 30% compared to the same event last year.
- Infrastructure update, with news of work on the carriage shed extension at Horsted Keynes (OP4), work on a set of points at East Grinstead, and a great example of "upcycling" evident outside the infrastructure lobby at Horsted Keynes, as also shown in Bruce Healey's photo below.
- John Sandys' photo below shows the Q-class expelling condensate from its cylinders in preparation for the first train of they day yesterday, which launched our main midweek running season. John has more photos and videos from the day here.
- During March 2019 there were 47,001 total hits on this page, from 25,544 unique visitors.
- Our three-day Branch Line Weekend got off to a fantastic start yesterday. Julian Clark's photo shows the cavalcade of four ex-LSWR locomotives passing Nobles Bridge on its way to Horsted Keynes. Our resident Adams Radial, No.30583, and B4 No.30096 'Normandy' will be posed for photos at Horsted Keynes for the remaining two days of the weekend. Today and tomorrow we have six locos in action, and a greater variety of trains and loco combinations thereon.
- Check out the intensive timetable, this key to the carriage sets being used, catering details, and full details of the weekend.
- In addition to the many attractions at Horsted Keynes, we have, at Sheffield Park, Atlantic House open - view work on the reconstruction of 32424 'Beachy Head', an information stand for Project 27, the Bulleid Society Shop, our Museum, and the SteamWorks! exhibition. Author James Baldwin will be at the shop there today signing copies of his books on the Brighton Atlantics and the Great Northern Atlantics.
- Photos and videos from yesterday include:
Photos from Neil Munro-Thomson,
Photos from Keith Duke,
Video from The Southerner,
Photos and a couple of videos, showing the visiting engines at Sheffield Park, and getting away from Horsted Keynes, from John Sandys.
- Julian Clark's photo below shows the visiting ex-LSWR engines W24 and 30587 approach New Road Bridge near Horsted Keynes yesterday, with the 09.30 service from Sheffield Park.
Jonathan Hughes' photo is from yesterday's evening photo shoot with the two visitors, joined by our newly repainted Adams Radial Tank.
- John Sandys' photo catches the Isle of Wight O2-class W24 'Calbourne' and Beattie Well Tank No.30587 as they leave Horsted Keynes with the first train of the day today, launching our Branch Line Weekend.
- 60 years ago today, on Sunday 15 March 1959, a meeting was convened in Haywards Heath by four students, who invited Mr Bernard Holden to take the chair. It was his 50th birthday. The meeting concluded that an attempt should be made to save the line and run a train service upon it. A committee was elected, and the first members of our Society were duly signed up.
Tonight a Diamond Anniversary Dinner for BRPS members to celebrate the event was held in East Grinstead. Our guest speaker was Sir Peter Hendy, CBE, chairman of Network Rail, and we also welcomed Cllr Rex Whittaker, East Grinstead Town Mayor.
Present tonight, as they had been 50 years ago, were Chris Campbell, one of the students who had called that first meeting, Charles Hudson (who had arrived late, and was thus in position to sign up at the table at the back at the end of the meeting as our first member), and Malcolm Saker who had been sitting towards the front and who, like Charles, is still an active volunteer 60 years on.
- Martin Lawrence's photo shows both the visiting ex-LSWR engines, W24 'Calbourne' and Beattie Well Tank No.30587, ready for our Branch Line Weekend which starts tomorrow (Friday).
Take a look at the timetable - Catering details.
On Saturday and Sunday, with many trains terminating and starting at Horsted Keynes, our former junction will be a hive of activity, with brake van rides, guided tours of the Carriage Workshop, children's play carriage, cinema room, model railway, and extended opening at The Carriage Shop (9am to 6pm all three days).
- Martin Lawrence's second photo, taken today, shows Bulleid Composite Carriage No.5768, which enters service tomorrow as part of a 4-coach Bulleid set, following its complete rebuild. Its previous period of service on the Bluebell was from 1976 to 1993.
- We are currently recruiting for a Digital Co-ordinator to work in marketing and business development, and the Catering Department is seeking seasonal staff.
- Rails into the new loco maintenance shed
The infrastructure team have been laying yet more track, but this time only a very short section into the new loco maintenance shed at Sheffield Park. The frame of the shed is complete and the cladding now in place on both the east and west walls. The request to infrastructure turned out to be a little premature as not all of the track bed was ready for track although the team did manage to get about 2/3 of the required track laid last Friday. It will be finished ASAP though so that the contractor can concrete the track in place.
Unfortunately, due to the position and alignment of the west wall, the new track position will not enable reconnection to the tram road leading out to the top carpark without breaking out a lot of concrete and relaying the curve from a long way back. This is too big a job and expensive for now.
The photos below from Jon Goff show the new track progressing through the new loco maintenance shed, yet to be finally aligned.
- Both of the visiting ex-LSWR locomotives have now arrived, ready for the three-day Branch Line event next weekend. Martin Lawrence's photo shows the NRM's Beattie Well Tank at Sheffield Park yesterday. The O2 from the Isle of Wight arrived today.
- 15-17 March - Branch Line Weekend
Visiting LSWR engines W24 'Calbourne' and Beattie Well Tank No.30587
- Intensive timetable (updated)
- Buy tickets in advance
- Up to six locos in steam
- Showcase of the BR-era in the South West
- Adams Radial Tank 30583 and B4 30096 'Normandy' both specially re-liveried for the event to match the two visitors
- Cavalcade with all four ex-LSWR locomotives (Friday) and photo opportunities.
- Relaunch of SR Bulleid Composite Carriage No.5768
- 8 Victorian carriages including all four Metropolitan Railway carriages
- Carriage sets
- Brake Van Rides at Horsted Keynes on the Saturday and Sunday.
- Our South Eastern & Chatham Railway P-Class locomotive No.323 'Bluebell' has sadly been withdrawn from service with immediate effect. For an engine of her size she has worked extremely hard since returning to service in 2011 and now requires a full overhaul before she can steam again. Proving popular amongst our visitors, she has also flown the 'Bluebell' flag, spending time away at other railways too. This does also mean 'Bluebell' will not be appearing at our upcoming Branch Line Weekend as originally planned and we've therefore release an updated Branch Line Weekend timetable. With just two years remaining of its maximum 10-year certificate, its annual boiler examination revealed the need for major boiler work. Having now run 87,000 miles on the Bluebell it will also require major mechanical work before it next returns to service. In the interim it will normally be on display at Sheffield Park.
- Derek Hayward's upgrades to his locomotive photographic collections continue. The latest include S15 No.847, a timely update for that for P-class 323 'Bluebell' and SECR H-class No.263.
- The work on the 7B points at Sheffield Park described in the last update has continued this week, and Jon Goff's report, here, as of mid-week, shows the excavation and then relayed track, including the discovery of why the formation was getting waterlogged. His photo on the right shows everything connected up, with the new crossing timbers (and unseen beneath, new drainage and waterproof layer), but yet to be fully ballasted, as of Wednesday evening.
- Our Accessibility information is now presented formally in one place.
- John Sandys provides photos from today at Sheffield Park, and also from Wednesday. Wednesday's include distant photos of Mk.1 Open First (FO) No.3069, which has arrived on loan to us after receiving a comprehensive overhaul. It now awaits commissioning into service. In recent years we have used an FO (3064 Ashdown) in both the Wealden Rambler train and to provide additional seating in the Pullman train, which has involved a lot of shunting and general inconvenience, particularly when both trains run on the same day. Until such point as we have sufficient operational Pullmans to run an all-Pullman dining train, this second FO has been made available to us to prevent those issues, and has been painted in a BR(W) scheme to fit in with the Pullman set. Like 3064, it was built in 1955 for the Southern Region's Ocean Liner Express service.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows H-class No.263 arriving at Horsted Keynes with the Wealden Rambler set, which was forming the train for a wedding reception on Saturday, as the S15, No.847 waits patiently for the chance to depart with the 2:55 to Sheffield Park.
- More dates added, in May, for our sell-out Footplate Tasters.
- The Spa Valley Railway, Tunbridge Wells, Kent will run a special train named "The Roy Belle" on Tuesday the 30 April 2019 in memory of Roy Bell MBE who sadly died on 18 October 2018. A very respected career railwayman who held senior positions on the Southern and London Midland, in addition to his involvement on the Spa Valley, he was also a Bluebell member and provided financial support for Kingscote Signal Box. See details here for the Spa Valley's Special Train.
- During February 2019 there were 38,374 total hits on this page, from 21,921 unique visitors.
- Jon Goff reports on work started today on Sheffield Park 7B points:
In November, due to time restrictions, only the centre section of 7B points had its timbers replaced as seen on the Infrastructure News reports for 24 & 29 November 2018.
The old softwood timbers were life expired and so are the timbers under the crossing nose. Therefore we are correcting this before the full weekday running season begins. In addition we are lifting and putting in drainage for the 60' panel from road 1 which has been slowly sinking into the mud.
The pictures below show the progress at the end of the first day with the rails pulled out and the base under the crossing nose almost dug out. The first picture was taken standing on the section renewed in November. Unfortunately an old monument had to come out as two 20' long timbers that need to be replaced were sitting one on either side of it.
In addition, Jon Goff provides a full report on this winter's track relaying projects (available to view/download as a PDF). This is an enalarged and updated version compared to that provided on 14 January.
- For a number of years the Wednesday Gang (lineside management) has been split into 2 teams. WG(South) is currently working in the Lindfield Wood area, while, in recent weeks, WG(North) has been working between Black Hut and the south entrance to the tunnel. Brian Kidman's photo, taken on Wednesday of last week, shows the 12.30 train from East Grinstead passing the gang as it exits the tunnel.
- 23 March: Due to the incoming Steam Dreams Railtour, expected to be hauled by London & North Eastern Railway B1-class locomotive No.61306 Mayflower, a special timetable will operate on this day, to accomodate both the incoming train's timings, and offer its participants their own reserved Bluebell Railway train.
- As of earlier this week, there were four places available (due to cancellations) at the Society's 60th Anniversary Dinner (details here). Anyone interested should email robert(dot)hayward(a)bluebell-railway.co.uk asap.
- Another update on the Brighton Atlantic project, with thanks to Fred Bailey. His photo here shows the boiler with the smokebox initially supported on one of the lifting frames, which were originally made to lift the loco chassis, whilst the holes are drilled to fix these two components.
- Updates, thanks to additional historic photos from Ian Nolan, to the main web page for the Adams Radial Tank, and also the pages for Maunsell Nondescript Brakes 4441 and 4444. The Adams Radial Tank features heavily in the latest issue of Steam Railway magazine, including the front cover, editorial, as well as a further 9 pages inside, and is considered one of the stars of the forthcoming 15-17 March Branch Line Weekend.
- A small update, with photos below, thanks to Bruce Healey and Matt Crawford. Infrastructure have been working on the west side of Tremains crossing this week. At close of play yesterday (Wednesday) the work is nearly complete with only a few more fence wires to put in which was expected to happen today. There will have to be a later visit to retension the fence wires.
The following report is by Julian Heinemann of the 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society, who visited Horsted Keynes last Saturday to view progress on the Society's CCT (Covered Carriage Truck) No.2531 and took the accompanying photos.
Rapid progress towards completion is being made by the team restoring the Society's van at Horsted Keynes. The most noticeable external difference, has been the re-fitting of the restored large north and south end opening doors. Almost all the new plywood side sheets have been trial fitted, taken down for painting, and then re-attached permanently. As of 16th February only the 'bays' between the side doors and the corner posts were still to fitted.
With the Society's desire to see this 1955 built van restored as authentically as possible, the interior is now painted in brown. Consequently it will be much gloomier inside, compared to the BR light grey painted walls that it had when we acquired it from BR!
New long interior wooden side rails, which protect the windows from being damaged have been made up. Work was also progressing on new wooden bases for the externally mounted oval chalk boards. Simultaneously, a multitude of fittings from all around the van are starting to go back on. On the chassis three replacement step brackets and step-boards are now in place, BR having removed them at some point.
Whilst work has been heavily focused on the body, one should not forget that there is still the need to deal with the mechanicals, which is usually done at the end of the restoration programme. This work will include lifting the CCT on the jacks to drop out the two wheelsets for attention, overhauling the axle-boxes, brake testing, checking the suspension/buffing gear, adjusting the ride height, and completing a fitness to run exam - so there's still a little way to go before it's a 'runner'!
As ever, the 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society extends its grateful thanks to all those involved, for their dedication and skills.
- Brian Lacey's photo from today shows the S15 departing from Horsted Keynes with the 1.47 service to East Grinstead.
- Special weekend dining offer! Treat yourself or a loved one on this Saturday's Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea Service for just £39* per person. Served in our vintage 1950s lounge car service will be a superb range of exquisite sandwiches, mouthwatering cakes and pastries, delicious warm scones and your choice of unlimited coffee or tea from our extensive selection. The services departs from Sheffield Park Station at 14.45 and takes in the beautiful rolling Sussex countryside on its leisurely 1 & 3/4 hour journey. Book now.
* Special price for Sat 23 Feb only and must be booked by 23.59 on Fri 22 Feb 2019.
Tickets allow travel on other Bluebell trains that day too.
- John Sandys' album from today, a lovely Spring day, with lots of happy faces from the half-term holidaymakers.
- Peter Edwards' photo shows Southern S15 No.847 climbing Freshfield bank with the 11.30am train from Sheffield Park on Sunday 17 February.
- Half term steam: Our new Service Two timetable will be operating every day until Sunday 24th February, with 4 return trains from Sheffield Park each day at 9:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm & 3.30pm. Trains depart from East Grinstead at 10:30am, 12:30pm, 2:30pm & 4:30pm. £5 discount on online purchase of Family Tickets for Half Term.
- We're running free challenges and games in our SteamWorks! exhibition on platform one at Sheffield Park every day this week. Pick up a museum trail sheet as you enter SteamWorks! and hand in to a SteamWorks! explainer to claim your prize.
- Access to Horsted Keynes Station, Thursday 21 February: Station Approach will be closed for road repairs between the junction with Cinder Hill Lane and the entrance to the station. Therefore the only access to the station will be from the Ardingly to Haywards Heath road via Hammingden Lane and under the low bridge to the south of the station. Signs warning of these roadworks were only put out along the road yesterday. Visitors approaching from the east may therefore find it more convenient to drive to Sheffield Park rather than Horsted Keynes.
Note also that Lindfield High Street is closed for resurfacing until 1st March.
- The timetables are now available for our 15-17 March Branch Line Weekend featuring visiting London & South Western Railway engines W24 'Calbourne' and Beattie Well Tank 30587.
Brake Van Rides at Horsted Keynes on the Saturday and Sunday.
Showcase of the BR-era in the South West, with our own Adams Radial Tank 30583 and B4 30096 'Normandy' both specially re-liveried for the event to match the two visitors.
- Update to the Loco Roster, covering February and March, which also includes details of the three visiting engines during March.
- John Sandys' photo album from Saturday, and a few photos and 2 videos from last Wednesday's shunt.
- Derek Hayward has upgraded more of his photo galleries, featuring Q-class 30541, mainly taken since it re-entered service in 2015, and O1-class No.65.
- The first photo below, by Brian Lacey, shows the H-class with Saturday's Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea train at Horsted Keynes.
- Ian Nolan's photo shows the Adams Radial Tank as it was on 11 Februray 1962, rubbed down ready for repainting, revealing the remains of the BR livery which had been hastily over-painted immediately upon the locomotive's arrival the previous summer. More of Ian's photos of 488 are available here.
- Steve Lee's photo from New Year's Day shows Standard 5 No.73082 'Camelot' climbing away from Sheffield Park.
- Half term Steam: Trains run daily 16-24 February, and every weekend in March to our new Service Two timetable. Pre-book for all-day rover tickets with a £5 per family discount for half term, or turn up and buy a ticket on arrival.
- Following the great success of this new service launched last year (when all the trains sold out), we are expanding our 'Sussex Belle' Luncheon train programme with 6 dates throughout this year - enjoy a delicious 2-course meal while travelling in one of our three comfortable 1950/60's lounge and restaurant carriages.
- Update on the winter's activities on the Project 27 Blogspot covering the restoration of SECR P-class No.27.
- Ticket booking now available online for our popular Rail Ale evening trains from East Grinstead, on 24 May, 19 July, 23 August and 27 September.
- Our latest News from the Bluebell Railway E-newsletter was published on Sunday - you can subscribe here to receive this fortnightly publication - and via the same link access the archive of past newsletters.
- Note a change of date, to 11 May, for the first of our two Toy & Rail Collectors' Fairs at Horsted Keynes.
- Update to our Infrastructure News page, collating all the recent news reports which have appeared on this Blog.
- Update to the Who's Who page, following the appointment of Billie-Jo Maynard as our new Marketing and Business Development Manager.
- John Sandys' photos below show the structural framework for our new locomotive running maintenance shed being built as part of the ASH project at Sheffield Park. Outside "Atlantic House" you can see the boiler for LBSCR H2 Atlantic No.32424 'Beachy Head'. Before the boiler is pressure tested, the cladding and ash pan are being made for it. The smokebox is nearly ready to be fitted. See more about the Atlantic in the E-newsletter.
- The second visiting locomotive for our 15-17 March Branch Line Weekend is London & South Western Railway Beattie Well Tank No.30587, which is visiting us courtesy of the National Railway Museum. It is seen here on a photo charter back in 2006.
The timetable for this event will be different each day, and will be available soon. On the Friday we will be operating an increased frequency timetable between East Grinstead and Sheffield Park, featuring shorter trains hauled by a selection of locomotives.
On both the Saturday and Sunday it will be a case of "All Change at Horsted Keynes" with an intensive timetable of trains between there and both Sheffield Park and East Grinstead and with frequent changes of locomotives. There will also be brake van rides available at Horsted Keynes.
- Track relaying north of Caseford Bridge - Bruce Healey and Jon Goff provide the three photos below, taken yesterday, showing the additional section of relaying which we have been able to undertake, started on Monday morning, thanks both to the main winter relaying having been finished in good time, and it having come in under budget, allowing the funding (from The Bluebell Railway Trust) to stretch further too.
The first photo above shows the state of play on Wednesday 6 February before 9am in the early morning gloom. The second was taken at about 4.30pm, in the failing light, and shows the line nearly joined up again.
Jon Goff's photo on the right shows Andy Palmer cutting in the closing section of old bullhead rail, as it was starting to get dark. After the last photos were taken, and in near darkness, the track was joined.
So in all, over just three days, the old track had been removed, plastic and Terram laid in the cutting section, ballast dozed even and wacked down smooth, all 13 panels of new flat bottom rail laid and a closing half panel of bullhead cut in. Despite the last joint being only fly-plated, and there still being some clipping up to do, the diesel, the ballast train, and the tamper can now run over the job, and ballasting will start on Thursday morning (i.e. today). This renewed section extends northwards from the Waterworks section which was laid in the snow last winter.
- As we start to look forward to our London & South Western Railway (LSWR) themed Branch Line Weekend on 15-17 March, we see here LSWR O2 Class W24 'Calbourne', taken on 19 August 2015 by Tim White, which is visiting us courtesy of the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. Built in 1891, 'Calbourne' was the first locomotive to be acquired by the IoWSR and is the last survivor of its class.
The event features visiting LSWR engines W24 'Calbourne' and Beattie Well Tank No.30587, and will have our resident pair of Adams locomotives on display, both specially re-liveried for the event to match the two visitors. The pre-grouping image at the gala is upheld by our four operational South Eastern & Chatham Railway locomotives!
This photo is reproduced, having been adapted to appropriate sizes, under Creative Commons Licence BY-NC-SA 2.0.
- It is with great sadness that we report the sudden death of Derek Robinson, Membership Secretary of, and weekly volunteer with, the Friends of Sheffield Park. Details of the funeral arrangements are available here.
- The death of Roy Matthews last October is also now recorded on the BRPS Members' page. Roy had dedicated his retirement to the restoration of the Bluebell Railway's Metropolitan Railway carriages.
Stop Press - 5 February:
On 15 March 2019 we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the BRPS with a dinner. If you've mislaid the booking form from Bluebell News, it's available online here.
Although the original booking deadline has passed, there are still some places left - if any member would like to attend please respond ASAP.
- Steve Lee's photo from New Year's Day shows the O1 at West Hoathly station site, the last day of services until Half Term, when we have trains running every day from 16 to 24 February.
- Update on the current track renewal work, with thanks to Jon Goff.
Following the completion of the track replacement between Sloop Bridge and Monteswood Lane Bridge we were fortunate to have the use of a big main line tamper (photop below) while the tamper we normally use was undergoing maintenance. Balfour Beatty occasionally carries out operator training at the Bluebell, and in return we get some tamping done for free; a good arrangement for both parties. The tamper has on board computers which calculate the best position for the rails after measuring their existing positions and then lifts, push sideways, cants and tamps them accordingly. There is a tiny bit left to finish on the south side of Sloop Bridge, but all the rest of the half-mile stretch relayed over the last month is completely finished.
The next job, starting immediately, is 13 panels north of Caseford Bridge which almost gets us on to the straight up to Three Arch Bridge. It is pegged and has materials positioned ready and waiting, as seen in Jon's second photo below.
- During January 2019 there were estimated 40,774 total hits on this page, from 23,389 unique visitors.
- Brian Lacey's photo shows No.323 'Bluebell' on a Footplate Taster experience on Saturday morning.
- The Catering Department is seeking volunteers.
- Catering opening hours for the facilities at all four of our stations, through to November 2919, are available here. Opening hours on Special Event days will be made available on the pages for individual events.
- Derek Hayward has continued implementing major upgrades to his photo galleries, adding new and higher resolution images. Recent updates have included:
- The photo below, also by Brian Lacey, shows Sheffield Park loco yard last Saturday, with the developing structure (the blue steel columns) of the new locomotive running maintenance shed being built as part of the HLF-funded ASH project. The new shed covers the site of our first 1960-built locomotive shed (which lasted 53 years) and the washout pit. "Atlantic House", where we are reconstructing LBSCR H2 Atlantic No.32424 'Beachy Head' is the green building to the left, behind SR U-class No.31618. The boiler of SR Schools-class No.928 'Stowe' is on the boiler trolley.
- The artist's impression on the left shows roughly what the new locomotive maintenance shed should look like once completed.
- Update to the web page for our Scenery Van No.4601, now used as a children's play carriage at Horsted Keynes, with updated details of its use carrying elephants in Billy Smart's Circus train.
- The Railway Heritage database, covering surviving heritage carriages, wagons, EMUs, turntables, trams, horse-drawn railway vehicles and locomotive tenders, is now moving from the Vintage Carriages Trust web site to a dedicated site provided by the Railway Heritage Register Partnership.
- Blog update from SETG, who are restoring our 4VEP unit, No. 3417 'Gordon Pettitt', at Strawberry Hill.
Jon Goff's photo shows the position at the end of play on Friday 18 January, when there was less than 30 feet to go to connect the newly relayed track to that relaid a year ago at Monteswood Bridge. The sun was getting too low in the sky to get the last pair of rails in before the weekend. The last pair of rails always take a little extra time and fiddle to get right with precise measurements and cutting of the rails, and there is always a bit of extra fiddling with the ballast as the last few feet can't be bulldozed and wacked like the rest. However the clear up has started with some of the plant already transported back to Horsted.
- Steve Lee's photo shows 73082 'Camelot' approaching Poleay Bridge with first train of 2019.
- Tickets are now on sale for our 15-17 March Branch Line Weekend. There will be a distinctly pre-grouping flavour with a busy timetable (available soon), featuring visiting LSWR engines W24 'Calbourne' and Beattie Well Tank No.30587 plus our four operational SECR locomotives. With our LSWR Radial tank and B4 'Normandy' on static display, it will be one of the largest gatherings of ex-LSWR locomotives in recent years.
- Details of Phillip Cooper's funeral are now available on the Society's Notices page.
- Track relaying - so close:
We had two 30-foot rails left over from the Waterworks relay last year which mean we didn't have to cut into new 60 foot rails. This completes half a mile, which was laid in approximately 80 hours with an average of 8-9 people each day. Much of it has been funded from bequests left to The Bluebell Railway Trust by generous late members.
- Jon Goff provides a detailed report on the current track relaying project (available to view/download as a PDF). The photo was taken at close of play on Tuesday 8 January, and shows a bit of all the activities. Sleepers in stacks (on old wooden sleepers) at the correct intervals within reach of the jib of the digger used to lift them, rails also ready to be lifted into position, the digger parked up for the evening, jokingly renamed "Norman" after one of the team, the smooth track bed with the line marked, the last group of four sleepers laid with the spacing former in position, the old track panels lifted out to the side, the white reference posts, the old occupation bridge at the half way point and most important of all, the blue mobile mess room where Barbara makes tea and bacon butties and to where the team are heading.
- Derek Hayward has updated his Sheffield Park Signal Box collection to reflect the work done on the LBSCR signals north of the station and the recent 2018 Siemens Award given to S&T. There are now 50 images available covering about the last 15 years:
- The Bachmann and Graham Farish 2019 catalogues were launched today, and Graham Muspratt provides a round up from an SR / BR(S) perspective, as he did last week for the 2019 Hornby anouncement. Both include items of relevance to the Bluebell; Terriers, SECR C-class and H-class, and Birdcage brakes in the later SECR plain brown, more Maunsell Restaurant Cars, and SR Pill Box brake vans.
They can all be pre-ordered through the Bluebell Railway Shop (and BRPS members get a discount).
- Brian Lacey's photo from New Years' Eve, shows O1 No.65 passing C-class No,592 at Horsted Keynes. Over the New Year period, the Southern Railway luggage van which is used as an Art Exhibition, was accommodated in the Carriage Works, where Matthew Cousins, with help from other volunteers, replaced some planks, and with Dave Clarke, gave it a full repaint of those areas which can't be accessed whilst it's in the Dock. The placing of the C-class in its place in the Dock proved very popular with our visitors over the post-Christmas period!
- Derek Hayward's gallery covering Sheffield Park Station has recently been updated, and features just over 300 images of the station covering the period 1998 - 2018.
- The Regulations under which the Bluebell Railway Trust operates are now available as a PDF file for those interested.
Bruce Healey provides this update on the track relaying currently taking place.
During the January closedown, our infrastructure team are relaying roughly half a mile of track between Sloop Bridge and Monteswood Lane Bridge. Around 44 sixty-foot track panels are being replaced. By close of play on Wednesday 9 January, the new track reached the half way point. We have been greatly helped by the young volunteers of our 9F Club and Network Rail people on "away days". Ballasting and tamping will take place when all of the new track is in place. The unseasonally warm weather and lack of rain have made our task a little easier.
The three photos, all taken yesterday, show:
1) the scrap track panels, cut into 30 foot lengths ready for transfer to Horsted Keynes, moved to the trackside. They will be dismantled there when the track relaying has been completed; this reduces the workload during the closedown period.
2) early in the day, the day's work area with new track can be seen looking south. The long-demolished Town House Farm occupation bridge is just behind the camera position.
3) later in the day, this is a similar shot with the abutment of the former bridge in view and the day's progress is evident.
3 January 2019:
- Steve Lee's photo shows No.65 on the embankment at Nobles on New Year's Day, with the 11.15 service from Sheffield Park. This was our last day of running trains for 6 and a half weeks, as we enter our winter maintenance period.
- Trains next run 16-24 February, and then at weekends in March to our new
Service Two timetable.
Tickets are available in advance or on arrival.
Until 15 February however, some stations are open for visitors and there will be steam, on our sold-out Footplate Taster experiences, at Sheffield Park.
- Our first event of 2019 is our Branch Line Weekend on 15-17 March.
See our preliminary list of 2019 Special Events & Offers here.
- Dates are now available for our 2019 Fish & Chip evening supper trains - Book tickets here.
- The dates for our Rail Ale evening trains from East Grinstead are 24 May, 19 July, 23 August & 27 September
- Update to the web page for our Elephant Van, the restoration of which was completed in 2017. It is fitted out internally as a children's play carriage, and can be found at the South end of Platform 5 at Horsted Keynes.
- During December 2018 there were 40,340 total hits on this page, from 23,162 unique visitors. This page received its 10 Millionth hit on or around 25 November 2018, and having started as a web log on 27 October 1997 is one of the longest running continuously updated such pages on the entire Internet.
- Peter Edwards provides the photo below showing our very last train prior to the winter maintenance closedown: 73082 'Camelot' at Town House bridge with the 2.45pm train from Sheffield Park on New Year's Day. The materials for the forthcoming track relaying are seen stacked at the lineside.
- Next below is the north end of Pullman Car 54 in the carriage works at Horsted Keynes, where the new end timbers are taking shape very nicely. All the timber is being prepared in-house.
- The final photo, from John Sandys, shows Dennis of the Friends of Sheffield Park (FOSP) getting stuck into some maintenance work on a window sill on the Bessemer Arms yesterday, the first day of our winter maintenance period.
The Current What's New page contains
all the recent update information.
Also see the 2018, the 2017, the 2016, the 2015, the 2014, the 2013, the 2012, the 2011, the 2010, the 2009, the 2008, the 2007, the 2006, the 2005, the 2004, the 2003, the 2002, the 2001, the 2000, the 1999 and the 1997-8 "What was new" archive pages.
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