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Bluebell Railway Blog:
Archive 2004


Please be aware that due to the historical nature of this page, some of the links on it may be out of date.

Archive of the Blog/What's New pages

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

Web Site Update List: further down this page.

Photographic reports 2004:
Please note that some photos included below are taken by volunteers and staff during the course of their duties, and so may have been taken in areas not open to the general public. These photos are very valuable, since they enable the public to see these otherwise hidden facets of the railway, but visitors to the railway should note that they may be unable to visit these locations themselves.

Web-site Update Archive 2004

31 December 2004:
30 December:
  • The 2005 Bluebell Railway Timetable is now available. It features trains running on more days (more than 275 days of the year), more use of vintage trains - one of the trains will be a vintage train whenever there are two or more trains running, and more days when we offer a two-train hourly service. In addition, daily running is added in October, with pre-booked Autumn Colour Observation Car Specials.
  • Details of fares, as from 15th January, are also available.

29 December:
28 December:
27 December:
  • Photos taken today by Tony Pearce, including Normandy with empty coaching stock, and coverage of the two vintage trains running today, which should be providing the service over the next week. All three engines operating today were built in the last but one century. From now until 3rd January, the most modern of the six carriages you can travel in was built in 1923.

26 December:
24 December:
  • New photos on the Brighton Atlantic Pages showing the latest arrival of components, and the completed tender frames.
  • On the "Latest News" page there is an update with details of the train service over the new year and into January.

23 December:
  • New update on the Brighton Atlantic Pages - the main frames have been cut!
  • Notice on the Members' page explaining the reason for delayed publication of Bluebell News.
  • Further update to the FAQ after one of our signalmen politely reminded my that, as usual, they appeared to have been forgotten about as volunteers.

22 December:
21 December:
  • The date of the Members' Forum has been put back to Saturday 5th February, due to a delay to publication of Bluebell News.
  • New fotopic album of photos taken at Sheffield Park by Tom Waghorn.

20 December:
  • The high level of interest in downloading the Bluebell Railway 2005 Website Calendar is, it appears, causing our server some slight problems. To alleviate this, I have opened up a mirror server on my personal account - details on the revised page for the Calendar.

19 December:
  • With thanks to several of our regular photographers, we now have a Bluebell Railway 2005 Website Calendar available. This also incorporates details of the 2005 timetable and special events. It is being run as a fund-raising venture for BASH, to which donations are invited.

14 December:
  • Why not join our volunteer P-way gang for a day or two over the Christmas/New Year period, for The Great Freshfield Bank Job. No previous experience necessary!

13 December:
12 December:
10 December:
8 December:
  • National Railway Heritage Awards
    The Bluebell Railway is pleased to announce that it is the recipient of the
    Special 25th Anniversary Award for Buildings on Heritage Railways,
    for Horsted Keynes Station, selected from amongst the previous winners in this category.
    Judges comments include: "A joy to visit this splendid station", and "it is hard to fault...".
    BRPS Chairman Roy Watts wishes to convey his thanks to all Bluebell staff and volunteers for their hard work, and particularly to all involved with Horsted Keynes station, where the superb attention to detail, and continual improvements to the ambiance, have earned this tremendous accolade.
  • Leander's extended visit: the intention is to run LMS Jubilee Leander on 31 Dec - 3 Jan (although this plan may be subject to change!)

6 December:
4 December:
  • New links to Dave Clarke's fotopic site, featuring in particular the overhaul of the SECR Birdcage Brake No.3363 in detail.
  • Information available on a Bluebell photographic event on Friday 17th December 2004: A final photo opportunity with E4 Birch Grove in LBSCR livery.
  • TRY A SATURDAY NIGHT WITH A STEAMY ATMOSPHERE
    Saturday evenings in December can be different. Helen and Tom Lovell at the Bessemer Arms on Sheffield Park Station provide a warm welcome to all and there is the added bonus of watching the Bluebell Railway's Golden Arrow dining train arrive and depart during the course of the evening. Although the Golden Arrow is already fully booked you can enjoy hot food served in the Bessemer Arms. The steam atomsphere is a free bonus.
  • Updates to Paul Pettitt's photo pages of Birch Grove and Standard 4 No.75027, together with his new "Picture of the Month" featuring Brich Grove.

3 December:
  • Update to the Permanent Way Gang's News page, with the latest news and photos from the team. They've been to help out the P-way gang on the Mid Hants and the North Yorks Moors, have extended the new running line towards Ardingly, and been involved with the Autumn's major track-work project north of Horsted Keynes.

29 November:
  • Update to the Horsted Keynes resignalling page from Peter Richards; revised track and signalling at the north end of the station has been brought into use, and down trains can now use platforms 4-5. Peter has also provided an explanation of Rule 39A.
  • Chris Dadson has created a fotopic site with the following sections:
    • Bluebell Railway - Ardingly Branch Line Extension
    • Bluebell Railway - Carriage & Wagon Works
    • Bluebell Railway - Engineering & Infrastructure
    • Bluebell Railway - Locomotives
    • Bluebell Railway - Passenger Rolling Stock
    • Bluebell Railway - Stations
    • Bluebell Railway - Visiting Locomotives

28 November:
  • 21C123 "Blackmoor Vale" was back in action yesterday after workshop attention involving replacement of numerous firebox stays, and improvements to the valve timing.
  • Updates to Contacts and Volunteering pages, now that Chris Cooper is the general contact for new volunteers (although, as before, if you already know which department is of interest to you, you are free to go straight there without the general "introduction").

26 November:
  • It is now confirmed that the visit of Leander has been extended. The loco will run this coming Sunday on the Sheffield Park set (11am, 1pm and 3pm departures). It will then remain at Sheffield Park over Christmas and will be used on a couple of dates over the New Year.
  • Track Layout at Horsted Keynes page updated, taking account of recent track laying on the Ardingly formation, completion of the shell of the building on Platforms 1-2, and the replacement of the point to the north of Platforms 4/5.

24 November:
  • The booking office tell me that many of the Santa Special trains now almost completely booked up - please book as soon as you can to avoid disappointment.

22 November:
21 November:
  • New photo report of Leander's visit from Paul Pettitt.
  • Updated web pages for the Bluebell Railway Atlantic Project, complete with the latest news: the project moves up a gear, with £40,000 of expenditure committed in the last few weeks. The main frames and driving wheel castings have been ordered, and a building is to be constructed to provide storage for the various components and to facilitate the erection of the locomotive.
  • Update to pages for Bluebell Railway Trust, with details of the latest projects being supported.
  • New links to the Camelot Loco Society's Audio files and Video Gallery.
  • Note: The date for the 2005 Southern at War event has had to be changed to Sat 14 - Sun 15 May.

19 November:
18 November:
  • Photo report on Leander's visit - from Jon Bowers
  • This weekend (20-21 Nov) is the last weekend of LMS "Jubilee" Leander's visit to the Bluebell. It will be one of four locos in steam, as indeed it was last weekend. Leander will be hauling one of our two trains, and the other public train will be formed of our popular Victorian Metropolitan Railway varnished teak carriages hauled by one of our Victorian engines.

17 November:
  • THE HARZ MOUNTAINEER
    A trip being organised for Bluebell Members, Saturday 19th to Thursday 24th February 2005. The itinerary allows for travel on the largely steam worked lines of the Harz Mountain system including (weather permitting) the breathtaking trip to the top of the Brocken Mountain. Details are available here, including a booking form.

14 November:
  • Two videos take yesterday by Jon Bowers - SECR No.64 on the Stepney Club train, and LMS Jubilee "Leander".
  • New fotopix albums which Nick Beck has assembled so far this month: LMS Jubilee details, Kingscote, Horsted Keynes, Sheffield Park and Bluebell lineside.

12 November:
8 November:
7 November:
  • On Thursday 4th November, a Russ Hillier photo-charter was run using the Dukedog No.9017 'Earl of Berkeley' and a short train of goods vehicles. Jon Bowers was there with his camera, and put together a page of photos yesterday.

5 November:
2 November:
  • New photos added of Standard 4 tank 80151, and Earl of Berkeley from Paul Pettitt.
  • New page describing the advantages of leaving legacies to the Bluebell Railway Trust, how to donate to the Trust, and the procedures and criteria for funding of projects by the Trust.

1 November:
  • Our 100% steam-hauled and heated services run every weekend in November. Three to five locos in steam, two-train service, with one train formed of Victorian loco and coaches.
  • Jon Bowers has photos of the Wizard Weekend on his fotopic site.

29 October:
28 October:
27 October:
25 October:
  • Sunday was a much better day for the weather than Saturday, and so, in spite of the forecast, we all had the Giants of Steam event we'd hoped for, with some sunshne, engines performing in the crisp autumn air, and plenty of visitors through the booking offices! The various photo reports (and video clips) are listed on the Latest News page, and above.
  • Just noticed that the Autumn news report from the Bluebell Railway Fire Service is available.

23 October:
  • In spite of the rain, Nick Beck has managed to get some quite decent shots of today's opening day of the Giants of Steam event.
  • The second volume of the late Tom Martin's films is now available from the Bluebell shop at Sheffield Park. Entitled "Specials, Celebrities and Anniversaries" it features Dr Beeching's visit in 1962, track lifting at Newick & Chailey, and north of Horsted, the series of through trains from London Victoria, Mr Pastry with "Blue Circle", and the 5th and 10th anniversary events. Cost £18.95, with usual discount for members. Order by phone on 01825 720803. DVD of Vols 1 and 2 will follow, but not just yet, since the shop wishes to sell more of the 2004 Music Festival DVDs first.

22 October:
21 October:
18 October:
  • I can report that visiting LMS Jubilee "Leander" was steamed sucessfully on Saturday evening (see photo from David Harp) in preparation for its staring role in the coming weekend's Giants of Steam event, when it will haul a train including two LMS-liveried vintage carriages immediately behind the engine in the northbound direction. Regrettably it appears that "Blackmoor Vale" may not be available.
  • Update to the page on Lineside Photographic passes, which are no longer available by post, but are still available to applicants in person from Station booking offices.
  • Member's Forum: A Member's Forum will be held on Saturday 8th January 2005 at Sheffield Park commencing at 8pm. NB: this date has subsequently been changed to Saturday 5th February.
  • Now available on the Society Web Pages: Notes from the October Committee meeting.

16 October:
  • "Leander" arrived on Wednesday. Photo from Paul Pettitt availble on the news update page.
  • Jon Bowers has put up some more photos taken last weekend, on his fotopic site prior to making proper web pages for them on the Bluebell site.

10 October:
9 October:
8 October:
  • Update to the Loco Roster, showing which locos are expected (but not guaranteed) to be used on what dates for the rest of the year. How many other railways will have 3-5 locos in steam each and every weekend in November?

7 October:
  • West Sussex Record Office in Chichester have an exhibition entitled "Going off the rails", and occasional illustrated talks from 4th October to 12th November.
    In addition, they have provided a display at East Grinstead Library devoted to the Lewes-East Grinstead Line, and two events also in East Grinstead Library: October 14 - Steam In Sussex (7.30pm) and October 23 - Steaming Through Sussex (2.30pm).
    There is also a small display on the Lewes-East Grinstead Line at the Record Office which includes some old advertisement signs loaned by the Bluebell.
    Finally, two screenings of railway archival film entitled "Steam in Sussex" will be given at the Record Office on October 26 and November 4 at 7.30. Tickets at £2.50 each for both the talks and film shows are available from the Record Office in Chichester on 01243 753600. Entry to the railway display is free. Further details on their web site.
  • Pics around Horsted Keynes, and a photo study of all the shiny bits on Bello on Nick Beck's Fotopic site

4 October:
  • Booking now open for December's Santa Specials.
  • Update to mobile site: wap.bluebellrailway.co.uk

3 October:
2 October:
  • Web page created with details of Giants of Steam - October: 23 - 24. Our annual gala event for the larger engines - this year with visiting LMS Jubilee "Leander". An Itinerary for the event, with full working timetable and further details, is available from Horsted Keynes Booking Office: Send an SAE with Cheque for £2 payable to "Bluebell Railway" to:
       GoS, Horsted Keynes Station, Nr. Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH17 7BB.
  • Photo updates from Paul Pettitt:
  • Update to page about disabled access due to the changes in front of the station building at Sheffield Park.

29 September:
26 September:
  • The visit of Bello has concluded, so have a look at two great pages of photos from Paul Pettitt. Thanks are due to those volunteers and staff on the Bluebell who made this visit happen, and to our photographers who have provided fantastic coverage, but particularly to all our friends from our twin line, the Museumstoomtram Hoorn-Medemblik, who worked so hard to make the visit such a success.
  • Link to Stephen Middleton's award-winning Stately Trains web site added to the Carriage Technical page. "Stately Trains" is Stephen's fine collection of Victorian carriages.

24 September:
  • The plain text version of the booking form for the 2004 Santa Specials is now available. The pdf version of the form has been modified so as to print better on black and white printers.
  • Now available on the Society Web Pages: Notes from September Committee meeting.

23 September:
  • Details for 2004 Santa Specials became available on the web site on Tuesday. Booking opens on 4th October. Some trains get completely booked up in the first week or two after booking opens, so for maximum choice of times and dates, "Book Early for Christmas". The PDF version of postal booking form is available now.
  • A reminder that we also have "Santa for Schools" available on additional days this year.

20 September:
18 September:
14 September:
We are proud to be the winner of Category A in the Heritage Railway Association's Websites Competition 2004
10 September:
2 September:
28 August:
25 August:
23 August:
  • Visiting loco "Bello" will be in public service throughout the bank-holiday weekend. Details of Sunday evening's Members' Special train with "Bello" added to the Social Sub-Committee page.
  • Details of the Free Bus 474 running on August 28-30, serving Sheffield Park Station, National Trust Sheffield Park Gardens and Trading Boundaries, added to the web page with bus services to the railway.

19 August:
9 August:
5 August:
  • The Maunsell Locomotive Society posted new news on their web site yesterday, tender rebuild for Stowe is progressing rapidly, with raves going on, U-class 1638 is reunited with its tender, and its boiler overhaul is progressing, with new front-tube plate riveted in, and the entire firebox outer backplate cut out and a replacement made.

3 August:
31 July:
28 July:
  • New for 2004: Santa for Schools - Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th December - advance booking for school parties now available.

27 July:
20 July:
  • The Maunsell Locomotive Society have recently posted a news report, with the latest on overhaul of the boiler of U-class 1638 and the great progress on the major overhaul of the tender of Schools-class "Stowe", for which the society are constructing a new water tank and coal-space.
  • Update to the Table 1 & 2 Bus Route 473 timetable, which runs to Kingscote via Standen (NT) southbound, and direct to East Grinstead station northbound.

15 July:
  • Tim Cowen has added photos taken on 2nd June to his Album of Bluebell photos. These 24 photos show just what variety the Bluebell has to offer a photographer, even midweek!

13 July:
12 July:
  • Link to Saxons B&B, which is just up the road from Horsted Keynes Station, and used by many of our visitors, has been added on the page of Accommodation near the railway.
  • Update to Wap site (wap.bluebell-railway.co.uk) special event page (for mobile phones).

11 July:
6 July:
2 July:
  • Update to the FAQ with figures for 2003 added, and other updates.

28 June:
  • Update to the Loco Roster from Lewis Nodes, showing which locos we are expecting to be in use on which days, through to the end of September.
  • New link to the The Great Western (SVR) Association , which preserves and restores items of rolling stock, particularly carriages, from the Great Western Railway, and is based at Bewdley on the Severn Valley Railway.

26 June:
25 June:
24 June:
23 June:
  • Details and entry forms for next season's Football Competition available - two easy-to-enter competitions, where you try to predict the final order of the teams in the Premiership, and the winners of the FA Cup - good fun and a useful fund-raiser.
  • Added Adshead Ratcliffe, makers of Arboseal Butyl sealant to the Carriage Restoration suppliers page.
  • Update to BRPS Social Sub-committee page: Due to logistical and staffing problems the "Party at the Park" members' event (10/07/04) has had to be cancelled.
    The next Members' Social event is the Family Funday on the 29th August in the events field at Horsted Keynes.
    A special Members' train will run in the evening using the Dutch Loco "Bello" - Times to be advised.

21 June:
  • Stop Press from Tim Baker: Visiting Locomotive Blue Circle is planned to be steamed for photographic purposes at Horsted Keynes on Wednesday 23rd June. We plan to start about 6pm on Wednesday and go on to about 8pm.
    Stock = loco, wagon and Brake Van.
    Cost = nil, but a donation of about a fiver each would be great!
    This will be the only time during its visit that the engine will run with Blue Circle nameplates (and no face). This past weekend we think was the first time since 1964 that the engine was steamed at Horsted Keynes.
  • Latest from the Volunteer P-Way Gang, with lots of pictures of their work out and about on the track, and one of making toast!

15 June:
2 June:
  • News update now available, with photos and a report of the Bluebell at RailFest 200 in York, and from the HorstedFest held on Sunday evening, together with other news.

1 June:
  • Full details of the Bluebell Railway Music Festival now available, with revised evening train times (due to the high level of advance bookings). Details of daytime events over the weekend are also now available.
    A professional DVD will be made of the event. Orders will be taken by the booking office, and on the days of the concerts.

30 May:
26 May:
  • Final results for this year's Football Competition available, thanks to Jon Bowers. This year's competition helped raise funds for Operation Undercover. Details of next season's competition will be available soon - two easy-to-enter competitions, where you try to predict the final order of the teams in the Premiership, and the winners of the FA Cup - good fun and a useful fund-raiser.

24 May:
  • 2004 Edition of the Long Term Plan, as agreed at the recent AGM now available on the BRPS members' web pages - also available as a pdf document.

23 May:
21 May:
20 May:
19 May:
11 May:
9 May:
8 May:
6 May:
5 May:
4 May:
  • Update to page for the Bluebell Railway Music Festival. Many people have booked tickets already, but if you've not done so yet, then you've missed our reduced price offer. It's still worth booking in advance though, since numbers might have to be limited.
  • Apparently, for a variety of reasons, the Q1 locomotive has not yet left for York, so I was slightly jumping the gun with the revision below.

29 April:
  • Update to Loco Stock List, and other loco pages, since the Bulleid Q1 locomotive is returning to the care of the NRM at York following its forthcoming appearance at Railfest 200.
  • New web page, for Locomotives formerly based on the Bluebell Railway, created to list and describe the remarkably few locomotives to have moved on elsewhere during the last 44 years.

25 April:
21 April:
20 April:
19 April:
18 April:
  • For Bluebell members: Further details of HORSTEDfest 04 added to the Social Sub-Committee page. Evening BBQ and Bar at Horsted Keynes, with a live band. Sunday 30 May. Free train service from Sheffield Park to Horsted Keynes.
  • Not a Bluebell Member? Why not join now and then come to the above event. The pdf version of the membership application form has been revised so that it should work on all computer systems (um, I thought that was the idea of pdf anyway... but apparently that was not the case).

14 April:
11 April:
5 April:
3 April:
31 March:
30 March:
24 March:
17 March:
16 March:
  • Updated Loco Roster, showing the locos which are planned to be in use during March, April, May and June. Between 3 and 5 locos in steam every single weekend! For a midweek day, Thursday 3rd of June is exceptional, with "Earl of Berkeley" and 80151 on the passenger trains (the former with the Vintage Branch-line Train, and the latter also taking an evening Pullman), No.65 rostered for shunting, "Birch Grove" giving a footplate experience course and "Normandy" in use for Permanent Way work.
  • Photo added to web page of Carriage 5034.
  • Carriage Stock List updated, adding open First 3042, on loan to us for a couple of years from the Great Central Railway.

14 March:
6 March:
3 March:
1 March:
  • Just caught up with the Maunsell Locomotive Society, who updated their news page on 21st Feb. Good progress is reported on the boiler of the U-class, and the Stowe's tender.
  • Photos from this weekend's Branch Line event from:
  • Bookings now open for our Sussex Bus Rally on Sunday 4th July - Entry forms are available from Mike Gibbard; telephone 01323 461352. Bookings are open to both modern and vintage buses that have been based or used in Sussex.
  • Now available on the Society Web Pages: Notes from February Trustees' meeting.

26 February:
  • The following note added to Branch Line Weekend information:
    "If travelling to East Grinstead by train on Sunday there is engineering work between Croydon and Oxted, with rail replacement bus services in operation from Three Bridges to East Grinstead and from Purley to Oxted. See the National Rail website for times.
    The scheduled service on route 270 also runs from Haywards Heath to Horsted Keynes station approach, and may be more convenient."
  • Minor update to web page for LSWR coach 1520.

25 February:
  • Update to information on this weekends' Branch Line Weekend - six locos and an intensive service of branch-line trains, with coaches dating from Victorian times, 1920s, 1950, and 1960. 5 of the six locos are over 100 years old, and the sixth was made in 1938 by the GWR using parts from 100-year-old locos! The information added includes bus links and first-and-last train times.
  • Updated link to the Kent & East Sussex Railway web site.

22 February:
20 February:
16 February:
13 February:
12 February:
10 February:
  • Update to the London Area Group web page. Note that the next talk: 2003 Rail Highlights at Home and Abroad by Adrian Palmer, will now take place on Tuesday 16 March.

8 February:
  • Update to the Northern Extension Progress page with photos and reports from Nigel Longdon and Jon Bowers. We will soon have all the rail, sleepers and ballast required to lay the extension to East Grinstead.

7 February:
5 February:
4 February:
3 February:
2 February:
1 February:
31 January:
  • Update to the Loco Roster, with details of what locos are expected to work on which days in February and March.

30 January:
29 January:
28 January:
26 January:
  • Full details and booking forms available for "Day out with Thomas" events in June.
  • Update to the Timetable with addition of Autumn Colours event (for pre-booked parties) in October, and adjustment to dates for Santa Specials (which will now run additionally on Monday, 20th Dec, and not on Tuesday 21st Dec).

25 January:
  • Fancy getting some exercise? Come and help on one of our Permanent Way Working Weeks.
  • Details now available for the Goods Train Day on Saturday March 27.
  • Details now available for the Bluebell Railway Music Festival: - discounts available on bookings made before April 1st.
    • June: Fri 11: The Levellers in Concert
    • June: Sat 12: Fairport Convention Concert
    • June: Sun 13: An Evening with the Yetties
  • Update (change) to the date for the Carol Service at Horsted Keynes Station: this will now take place on 11th December 2004. Details on Bluebell Railway Band and Special Events pages.

19 January:
18 January:
15 January:
  • New web page for SECR P-class loco No.27, including a fine photograph of it taken by my father in 1970.
  • David Ratcliff's funeral: Bill Brophy has asked me to pass the following message on:
    The funeral is to be held on January 20th. A coach is being organised from Sheffield Park, to assist members in travelling up to Shrewsbury for the funeral. If any Bluebell members (or indeed any Talyllyn Railway members living in Sussex) are interested in joining the coach, they should contact Norman Blake at Sheffield Park asap for further details. Phone 01825 720800.
    (David had been active both as a Bluebell driver and in many committee positions, amongst which he was formerly chairman of the Extension Committee, and latterly Chairman of the Bluebell Railway Trust. David had been getting better recently, so his death on 29th December came as a shock to many on both the Bluebell and the Talyllyn.)

11 January:
10 January:
  • Update to the Extensions page.
  • Update to Golden Arrow page, since there will not be a luncheon train on Sunday 19th December 2004 after all.

6 January:
4 January:
3 January:
  • New web page for the overhaul of the Howard 4w p.m. loco, with text and photos from Robert Bird.
  • Update to the Loco Roster with expected loco usage during the "quiet" month of January - when we will have three locos in use each week, two each weekend, and a third for mid-week shunting - and all three of them over a hundred years old! And then starting on 31st January, we get to the stage where there will be 4 locos in steam virtually every weekend! One report in one of the monthly railway magazines thought that the Bluebell with 5 locos in steam for the Dukedog Launch was like a mini-gala - I guess we're just used to that level of activity!
  • New link to the web site for the Chingford & District Model Engineering Club, who have a fine live-steam 5" gauge Adams Radial Tank.

2 January:
1 January 2004:

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