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10 December:
80151 and the Golden Arrow at Horsted Keynes - Paul Furlong - 7 December 2019
  • We are now well into the Santa Special season, with the Q-class, 'Camelot' and 80151 hauling the three trains. On Saturday evening, 80151 was on the Golden Arrow dining train, and is seen here pausing in platform 2 at Horsted Keynes whilst the annual carol service was taking place on platforms 4 and 5 (photograph by Paul Furlong).

  • The first carriage behind 80151 in Paul's photo is the freshly overhauled 1950s "Ocean Liner Express" Open First No.3069, which has had an illustrious past, having been overhauled for use as a standby spare for the VSOE's Pullman train, and subsequently used on the reincarnated Ocean Liner Express run by VSOE for Cunard in the 1990s, then on the "Regency Rail" excursion train (the predecessor of the "Northern Belle"), and Riviera Train's "Royal Scot" service. It is now marketed as 'Sapphire' on the Bluebell, and the carriage's full history is included on the new web page for the carriage.

    Its presence on the Bluebell enables us to save the huge amount of shunting which has hitherto been required when 3064 ('Ashdown') was shunted between our Golden Arrow and Wealden Rambler sets. The seating capacity it provides on the Golden Arrow is required until such time as we can increase the Golden Arrow to four Pullmans, which is in progress, with Car No.54 (which will have a brake van and wheelchair access) currently being overhauled at Horsted Keynes, and Car No.36, which it is planned will shortly arrive on the Bluebell following its purchase by one of our members. The LMS six-wheeled brake will continue in the train (for which it provides additional catering facilities) until such time as we have a second operational Pullman kitchen car.

  • It is with sadness that we have to report the death on 3 December of volunteer and long-serving member of the Bluebell, and many of its supporting societies, of Ray Tanner. The funeral arrangements are available via the BRPS Members' information page.

  • John Sandys' photos from last Thursday.

  • The photos below, by Steve Lee, show two from the Santa Specials run on Saturday 7th December 2019. BR Standard 4 tank No.80151 drifts downhill north of Lindfield Wood with the 11.45 train (Set X), returning to Sheffield Park. Then the Southern Railway Q-class No.30541 brings Set Z up to Horsted Keynes, with plenty of steam to spare trying not to get ahead of time.

80151 approaching Lindfield Wood - Steve Lee - 7 December 2019 Q-class with Santa Special - Steve Lee - 7 December 2019

2 December:
Empty caoching stock behind 'Camelot' at Waterworks - Peter Edwards - 30 November 2019
  • Peter Edwards' photo shows the first train of the 2019 "Santa" season, on Saturday, in this case comprised of the empty coaching stock which will form the first Santa departure southwards from East Grinstead, behind No.73082 'Camelot' passing Waterworks. 80151 is attached to the rear, and will be dropped off at Horsted Keynes to collect the carriages for the third of the three trains running each day of our Santa season. Saturday will prove to be the quietest day of the entire season, with all other dates already at least 90% sold, but tickets do still remain available on some Santa Specials over the next few weeks.

  • Listen again to Paul Bromley, our new Communications Director, interviewed on 107 Meridian FM on 28 November.

  • Photos from John Sandys taken on Saturday, the first day of the Santa Specials, and from last Thursday showing preparations for them, at Sheffield Park, Horsted Keynes, and East Grinstead.

  • Join us for our annual Christmas Carol Service at Horsted Keynes Station on Saturday 7 December. Did you know that Horsted Keynes Station was used as the station in the TV series Downton Abbey?
    The station will be open from 6:15pm for the carol service serving mulled wine, hot drinks and a variety of Christmas snacks. Bluebell Band will be performing a variety of traditional Christmas carols during the evening. There will also be an engine in attendance, traditional lighting of the candles, and a chance to meet the Railway's new Chaplain. Entry to the platform and carol service is FREE.

  • Chris Eden-Green presents one of his provocative "Gauge the Issue" videos on the subject of The Conditions Of Carriage(s) discussing the issue of carriage preservation on our heritage lines.

  • During November 2019 there were 41,443 hits on this page, from 22,501 unique visitors.

  • Brian Lacey's two photos below show the Q-class running around after arriving at Horsted Keynes with the first Santa Train on Saturday, and 80151 whistling and about to set off with the return trip the second of the Sheffield Park based Santa Trains.

Q-class at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 30 November 2019 80151 ready to set off from Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 30 November 2019

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27 November:
34059 Sir Archibald Sinclair in the works - John Fry - November 2019
  • News Update Some more pictures, taken by John Fry, showing progress with 34059 Sir Archibald Sinclair's overhaul have been uploaded to the Bulleid Society's web site. John Fry's photo on the right shows the engine stripped down for its valve and piston overhaul.

  • Tickets for our 2020 Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea services are now on sale.

  • Our original wheel-chair-accessible adapted Mk.1 carriage, No.5034, has returned from the structural overhaul of its ends at Cranmore Train Services, and the photo below from Phil Hamerton, and his video, show the return load, RMB No.1838, arriving at Cranmore for its structural repairs. 5034 still requires some further repairs and refurbishment to be undertaken at Horsted Keynes before it returns to service.

  • News Update The Project 27 Blogspot has been updated with recent news on the overhaul of SECR P-class No.27, from which the two photos, by Clive Emsley below, are taken - firstly showing riveting in progress on the rear dragbox, and secondly one of the two newly remetalled and machined valve rods. See more in the full report here.

RMB No.1838 arriving at Cranmore - 
Phil Hamerton - 29 October 2019 Riveting the rear dragbox of SECR 27 - Clive Emsley - 9 November 2019 Remetalled valve rod for SECR 27 - Clive Emsley - 9 November 2019

21 November:
178 being topped up with coal - John Sandys - 16 November 2019
  • Several sets of photos by John Sandys: Preparations for our Chrismas Services taken today, photos from Saturday with 178 in steam, from which the photo here was selected, and a few photos taken last Thursday, showing construction of the covered entrance for the Christmas services, and a few shots inside the wonderful Grinsteade Buffet!

  • We are looking forward to our Diamond Aniversary year: check our 2020 special events listing.

  • Great to see this wonderful feature detailing our upcoming Santa Specials at My London. Book your place on our magical Christmas trains here.

  • Katerfelto's Flicker Site has several photos of our "Dukedog", No.9017: at Criccieth, a (colourised) 1960 view of Machynlleth shed, and safely stored in Oswestry Works in June 1961, awaiting purchase for the Bluebell.

    Setting up the brush - Clive Whitecroft - 20 November 2019


  • News Update A short news update on the track relaying work immediately to the north of Horsted Keynes from Bruce Healey, illustrated with three photos by his fellow volunteer Clive Whitcroft.

    The Autumn relay will be completed today, Thursday 21 with a final tamp.

    These photos taken on the 20th show the completed line and the L&W track brush. The initial ballasting and tamping process involves an excess of ballast which then needs to be removed.

    The device in the photos has a revolving brush which dumps excess ballast on the shoulder of the formation. This activity coincided with an L&W training course and their staff can be seen setting up the brush.

The ballast brush in action - Clive Whitecroft - 20 November 2019 Ready for the final tamp - Clive Whitecroft - 20 November 2019

15 November:
Jon Goff replacing a rail cutter drive belt - Bruce Healey - 6 November 2019
  • News Update Infrastructure update on the project currently underway during the November maintenance closure, with thanks to Bruce Healey.
    The autumn track relaying involves 13 panels of track beyond Leamland Junction at the North end of the Horsted Keynes station area. Over the history of the line, this section has suffered numerous slips and the northern end (Fire Slip) has recently been showing signs of instability. Both Southern Railway and British Railways had repaired the embankment with ash and cinders which is hardly the most stable building material.

    The embankment had a lot of work done on it back in 1991, and this month's attention is to deal with some minor residual problems. The track has also been realigned, moving by around a foot to the West, in preparation for which the adjacent signal post was replaced earlier in the year. The wooden sleepers, laid over 30 years ago, are now being replaced with concrete, and the second-hand rail installed at that time replaced with new.

    Eleven panels were initially relayed from the end of Leamland Junction. The last two panels required excavating a metre down and stabilising the embankment. Work started on 4 November, and by lunchtime on 13th the line was reconnected, ready for ballasting and tamping.

    Above right: Not everything goes to plan. Jon Goff replacing a rail cutter drive belt which was terminally frayed.
    Below: First thing on Wednesday 13 November there is only the flat-bottomed to bullhead transition panel to relay. This view is looking north from the first panel. The recently replaced signal can be seen in the middle distance.
    The second photo shows the newer pattern of Insulated Block Joint which we are now using. As can be seen, the ballast drop is still awaited.

Relaid track - Bruce Healey - 13 November 2019 Insulated Block Joint - Bruce Healey - 13 November 2019

14 November:
80151 approaches Three Arch from the north - Steve Lee - 13 October 2019
  • Steve Lee's photo from the Sunday of Giants last month, shows BR Standard 4MT No.80151 in the rain approaching Three Arch Bridge with the local train.

  • Great to see us given No.1 billing again, this time on the Guardian web site, promoting "Train trips inspired by children's stories".

  • The former Ardingly station Goods Shed has arrived at Kingscote, and is now in position on a new concrete base, and repairs are under way, as seen in this Video from John Harwood. It replaces a couple of domestic sheds in the station garden, alongside the ex-Three Bridges Goods Shed. The shed had been relocated from the Ardingly station site to a small business yard in the village many years ago, and now, thanks to its recent owners, the Friends of Kingscote and funding from The Bluebell Railway Trust, has been saved for the future.

  • Update to the web page for our GWR "Dukedog" locomotive No.9017, adding details of its storage after withdrawal in Oswestry Works, its acquisition and subsequent service history on the Bluebell.

  • Alex Morley's two photos below provide further insights into the work currently taking place on Maunsell Brake Third No.3687, with the external toilet-light (window) frame sections cut to fit (the teak will be varnished rather than painted, as per the original livery). The timbers had been machined by Richard Salmon, and fitted by Tony Clements. The interior of the lavatory compartment (which was reconstructed by David Wigley) is being assembled by Ray Medhurst.

Lavatory window of 3687 - Alex Morley - 9 October 2019 Lavatory interior of 3687 - Alex Morley - 9 October 2019

11 November:
P-class 178 at Sheffield Park - John Sandys - 9 November 2019
  • The photo here, showing P-class No.178 at a foggy Sheffield Park being used on a "Footplate Taster" experience on Saturday, is part of John Sandys' album from the day, (which also includes a short video).

  • We are looking for a name for our 60th Anniversary Gala event taking place on 7-9 August 2020, as the highlight of our 60th Anniversary year. We have a short list (chosen from those submitted on our Facebook page), which we are submitting to a public vote.
    This event will celebrate all that is fantastic and unique about our collection of locomotives and rolling stock, our beautiful stations and the amazing and varied skills of our volunteers who make it all happen.
    There will be great music and food, displays in keeping with the uniqueness of each station and a family festival feel.
    Remember, the name will be used on advertising - try to imagine it at the top of a poster. This poll closes at 6pm on Wednesday 13th November.

  • Dave Bowles takes us back to the Saturday and Sunday of the February 2006 Branch Line Weekend.

  • Update with the positions in the 2019-20 Football Competition after the first eleven matches. The competition is raising funds for the forthcoming overhaul of Southern Railway Maunsell Restaurant/Dining First No.7864.

  • News Update Laurie Anderson's photos below illustrate a project the Wagon Gang have been working on the past year. It is the underframe for No.12058 which is a Southern Railway Bulleid 5-plank open wagon. It has changed colour many times this year but it is now a lot better looking than it was at the beginning of the year! It is currently waiting to be lifted back onto its wheelsets so further work can be carried out. The Bulleid Society have been kind enough to fund the material cost of restoration work to this wagon and we are grateful that they have done so.

    The Wagon Gang has slowly been rekindled over the past year and is looking for new volunteers to help join them restore and look after the wagon fleet. We hope to bring back Goods Trains in 2020 and hopefully 12058 will be joining the set. If you are interested in joining the gang please contact Laurie or David Rhydderch.

    The first photo shows the wagon at the start of this year, and the second was takem last week.

12058 wagon at the start of 2019 - Laurie Anderson 12058 progress - Laurie Anderson - 6 November 2019

7 November:
Mayflower approaches Three Arch from the north - Steve Lee - 12 October 2019
  • Another of Steve Lee's photo from Giants of Steam, this time from the Saturday, with 'Mayflower' approaching Three Arch Bridge from the North.

  • A few photos by John Sandys from today, a beautiful day with wall to wall sunshine, mainly of the stock in the shop at Sheffield Park.

  • Two recent photos below show our Hastings-line Maunsell Brake No.3687, first the East side showing the old paint stripped off, and lower panel removed to inspect the structure beneath, and then the West side, which is now complete and treated with an anti-corrosion treatment and painted with primer. The replacement teak window frames made many years ago have started to be fitted.

East side of 3687 - Richard Salmon - 26 October 2019 West side of 3687 - Richard Salmon - 26 October 2019

6 November:
30541 and 73087 at Milepost 10 - Steve Lee - 13 October 2019
  • Steve Lee's photo shows 30541 and 73087 'Linette' at Milepost 10 on Sunday 13 October during Giants of Steam.

  • News Update A month back, Pullman Car No.54 was shunted out of the carriage works and in to E-road in the maintenance area of OP4 (our big shed extension). The car was then lifted on the jacks to enable the missing braking system to be designed, and for the bogies to be swapped. Richard Salmon's first photo below shows the car up on the jacks on 6 October.

    The second photo shows the carriage back in the works on 26 October. Recent work has included fitting the southern gangway faceplate and the buffers, with help given by the Alf Brown Group. Meanwhile work continues on the interior, with lighting runs included within the ceiling currently being installed. The fixing of the wheelchair lifts in the double doorways, and working out how they will be bolted down has not proved straightforward, but the pace of work generally continues to be impressive.

Car 54 on jacks - Richard Salmon - 6 October 2019 Car 54 back in the works - Richard Salmon - 26 October 2019

5 November:
Britannia heads the 12-car train out of Horsted Keynes - Keith Leppard - 13 October 2019
  • More from Giants of Steam, back in mid October: Keith Leppard's photo shows No.70000 'Britannia' as it heads the 12-car train out of Horsted Keynes on the Sunday.

  • Whilst the line is currently closed for maintenance work, our Shops and Restaurants at Sheffield Park and East Grinstead remain open for visitors, so why not pop in for a cupper or a snack. A full lunch service is available at Sheffield Park. See opening times.

  • The first photo below, from John Harwood, shows GBRf's No.66739 'Bluebell Railway' on a Network Rail railhead treatment train at East Grinstead.

  • Richard Salmon's photo shows the Camelot Locomotive Society's CCT, No.2531, a month ago, at the end of its overhaul, about to be lifted and receive attention to its underneath and running gear to make it fit to run on our trains.

66739 at East Grinstead - John Harwood - 5 November 2019 Camelot Locomotive Society's CCT - Richard Salmon - 6 October 2019

4 November:
30541 and 73082 pass at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 3 November 2019
  • The last day of trains until our Christmas season starts on 30 November was (at least for part of Sunday) a crisp autumn day, where the steam hung in the air.

    These three photos from Brian Lacey show the Q-class on the Pullman luncheon train and Camelot on the service train which, for the last few weeks has been formed of three SR Maunsell carriages, two SR-designed Bulleid carriages, and a wheelchair accessible Mk.1.

  • During October 2019 there were 46,663 hits on this page, from 24,728 unique visitors.

30541 with the Golden Arrow at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 3 November 2019 73082 blasts out of the tunnel - Brian Lacey - 3 November 2019

31 October:
Boiler being filled - Fred Bailey - 20 October 2019
  • News Update To find out why Tony was filling the Brighton Atlantic boiler with a kettle you need to head over to the latest news update from the Atlantic project where Fred Bailey has some exciting news to share.

  • Another of Steve Lee's photos from Giants of Steam, with 80151 and the local train at Birchstone Bridge on Saturday 12 October. Some have wondered why we ran such a "low capacity" train at Giants, but these two carriages actually have almost as many seats as 4 Mk.1s!
80151 at Birchstone Bridge - Steve Lee - 12 October 2019

30 October:
Britannia on Freshfield Bank - Steve Lee - 12 October 2019
  • Having described Steve Lee's photo of 'Britannia' climbing Freshfield Bank on the Saturday of Giants in our last update, and mistakenly shown the one of it to the north of Three Arch Bridge instead, here's the intended photo!

  • We currently have the following vacancies on our full-time staff: Carriage & Wagon Fitter and Carriage Painter.
    We are also advertising for the following volunteer roles: Finance Director, Commercial Director, Competence Standards Manager, Marketing and Events Volunteers, Safety Assurance Clerical Assistant, Signalman's Inspectors, Locomotive Footplate Inspectors, Volunteer Car park attendants, Catering Department volunteers, Education Volunteers, Buildings Manager, and Loco Works volunteers.

  • This week we are having fun/being scared by Witches and Wizards!
    Halloween fun and games
    , including a fancy dress competition, crafty fun, and much more at Horsted Keynes, running daily until Sunday 3rd November. Tickets include unlimited travel on the day of your visit. They can be purchased on arrival, or in advance online (which gives a discount).

  • The above services are our last until our Christmas/December activities commence on November 30th.
    Through November, while the line is closed, we will be carrying out embankment stabilisation work and relaying a section of track just north of Horsted Keynes.

  • Video from John Harwood showing 'Camelot' at Kingscote and East Grinstead yesterday, and the latest progress in cladding the Heritage Skills Centre (part of our OP4 project) at Horsted Keynes.

  • Update to the Brighton Atlantic project's component sponsorship list.

  • Below we have two photos from Brian Lacey. The same scene as shown in the last update, but different locos and carriage, one week later... last Saturday saw No.73082 'Camelot' (having regained its original identity) with the GN Saloon heading the service train, being passed by the Maunsell Q-class with the Wealden Rambler . The Saloon was playing host to the members of the Howlden Trust, who were holding their AGM in their carriage, which was its last outing until next spring. Brian's second photo, also from last Saturday, shows 'Camelot' at West Hoathly.

30541 and 73082 pass at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 26 October 2019 73082 at West Hoathly - Brian Lacey - 26 October 2019

26 October:
73082 and 847 pass at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 19 October 2019
Paintstripping on 3687 - Alex Morley - 21 September 2019 30541 and 73087 on shed - Julian Heinemann - 13 October 2019
'Mayflower' at Kingscote - Keith Leppard - 13 October 2019
  • Some more of the many photos submitted from Giants of Steam two weeks ago. Keith Leppard's photo shows 'Mayflower' at Kingscote with the 10.23 train on the Sunday, where it was to wait for 'Britannia' to pass through non-stop.

  • 'Britannia' north of Three Arch Bridge on the Saturday (Steve Lee).

  • The 'Local train' (the 12.20 from East Grinstead) approaches Horsted Keynes on the Sunday (Julian Clark).

Britannia north of Three Arch Bridge - Steve Lee - 12 October 2019 The local train approaches Horsted Keynes - Julian Clark - 13 October 2019

16 October:

Britannia with the evening Golden Arrow at East Grinstead - Roy Watts - 14 October 2019 847 at East Grinstead - Brian Lacey - 16 October 2019

14 October:
70000 Britannia to the North of Horsted Keynes - Julian Clark - 13 October 2019
  • 70000 'Britannia' with the 2pm departure from Horsted Keynes on Sunday, captured shortly after departure from there by Julian Clark.

  • Pictures from Saturday from Dave Bowles.

  • Pictures from Sunday morning at Horsted Keynes featuring 'Britannia', 'Mayflower', No.30541 and 'Linette' amid the Autumn colours, from Neil Munro-Thomson

  • Below we see No.73082 (in the guise of 73087 'Linette') at Sheffield Park, taken by Andy Kelly, who took full advantage of being part of the rostered overnight loco crew to take this superb shed scene. Julian Clark's photo shows the Q and 'Linette' double heading the "Pines Express" (or Sunday's 12.55 departure from Sheffield Park) on the climb to Horsted House Farm Foot Crossing.

73087 'Linette' on shed - Andy Kelly - 11-12 October 2019 30541 and 73087 approach Horsted House Farm crossing - Julian Clark - 13 October 2019

12 October:
70000 Britannia at Sloop Bridge - Paul Furlong - 12 October 2019
  • Visiting locomotive No.70000 'Britannia' was on the non-stop trains today, the second day of our three-day Giants of Steam Autumn Gala, and is seen here near Sloop Bridge in Paul Furlong's photo.

  • Ashley Smith provides photos and a video from Friday.

  • "Bluebell-Railway Hawks" provides this great video from yesterday.

  • Photos from yesterday from Dave Bowles.

  • Two photos next from David Long, today - the Maunsell Q-class was double heading with No.73087 'Linette' ('Camelot in disguise, the transformation being sponsored by a Bluebell volunteer), and 'Mayflower' in profile at West Hoathly, seen from behind the old goods dock.

Q and Linette - David Long - 12 October 2019 Mayflower at West Hoathly - David Long - 12 October 2019
  • Two photos below, from Andrew Crampton taken on Friday, both featuring BR Standard 4 tank No.80151. The first shows it approaching Leamland Bridge to the North of Horsted Keynes; you can see the sleepers stacked up ready for November's track relaying, which will follow work to stabilise the embankment at this point. The alignment of the track will also be changed slightly, hence the newly installed signal post, since the old post would be too close to the track once it is realigned towards the centre of the embankment. The second photo shows the locomotive, with its SECR carriages forming a local train, arriving at Horsted Keynes.
80151 approaches Leamland Bridge - Andrew Crampton - 11 October 2019 80151 enters Horsted Keynes - Andrew Crampton - 11 October 2019

11 October:
70000 Britannia approaching the tunnel - Julian Clark - 11 October 2019
  • A wet but enjoyable first day of 2019's Giants of Steam. In spite of the damp conditions, the railway was exceptionally busy, and those photographers who braved the elements were rewarded with some atmospheric shots.

  • Visiting BR 7MT Pacific No.70000 'Britannia' is seen approaching the tunnel from the south in Julian Clark's photo from today.

  • There are a lot more photo posted on the Bluebell's Facebook page.

  • In addition, a gallery of photos from Keith Duke is available on flickr.

'Mayflower' south of the tunnel - Julian Clark - 11 October 2019


Visiting LNER B1 4-6-0 No.61306 'Mayflower' with its 7-coach train, headed appropriately by the Great Northern Railway Directors' saloon, is seen South of the tunnel in Julian's next photo, on the left.

Below, renumbered as No.73087 'Linette', a S&D locomotive, the Bluebell's resident BR 5MT "Standard Arthur" 73082 'Camelot' passes 'Britannia' at Horsted Keynes, and 70000 'Britannia' gets away from Horsted Keynes with its final train of the day (both Julian Clark).

Linette and Britannia pass at Horsted Keynes - Julian Clark - 11 October 2019 'Britannia' departs from Horsted Keynes - Julian Clark - 11 October 2019
  • Two more photos below. 80151 hauled a six-coach set at the start of the day, and later a "branch line" set of two SECR carriages, as seen below leaving Horsted Keynes southwards (again the photo is from Julian Clark). The second photo, by David Long, shows 'Camelot' (as 73087 'Linette') at West Hoathly with six Southern Railway Maunsell and Bulleid Carriages, forming the Somerset & Dorset line's Pines Express.

  • A fuller report and photos of the first day are available here (pdf).

  • 2019's Giants of Steam continues tomorrow and Sunday, with the additional locomotive Maunsell Q-class No.30541.
80151 departs from Horsted Keynes - Julian Clark - 11 October 2019 'Camelot' (as 73087 'Linette') at West Hoathly - David Long - 11 October 2019

10 October:
70000 Britannia at Sheffield Park - David Long - 7 October 2019
  • David Long's photo shows BR Standard 7MT Pacific No.70000 'Britannia' outside the locomotive shed at Sheffield Park after arrival on Monday, ready for our Giants of Steam autumn gala which starts tomorrow.

  • Atlantic House, at Sheffield Park, will be open throughout Giants of Steam event and visitors are invited to call in to see progress on the Brighton Atlantic project and also to hear about the proposed SECR E-class new-build project from members of the Group.

  • The Loco allocations for the weekend have been revised slightly, with the addition of Maunsell Q-class on Saturday. An updated timetable and details of additional attractions are available to download here. The LNER-liveried Great Northern Railway Directors' Saloon is running over the weekend, and will be marshalled behind 'Mayflower's tender tomorrow.

  • Below, 'Britannia' and its support coach pass Crowhurst on its way down to us on Monday, in Andrew Crampton's photo. Heritage Express provide this video of 'Britannia' passing Bletchley at speed prior to its reversal at Willesden.

  • The second photo, by Richard Salmon, shows recent progress with restoration work on LBSCR Stroudley Brake Third No.949, which now has all its glazing in the passenger area, and all but one of its doors overhauled and hung. It will be among the carriages which can be seen at close quarters during guided tours of the Carriage Works on Saturday and Sunday.

Britannia passes Crowhurst - Andrew Crampton - 7 October 2019 Stroudley 949 - Richard Salmon - 28 September 2019

9 October:
  • More photos below from David Long, showing some more of the huge variety of buses which took part in our Bus Running Day on Sunday (as always, click on photos for full-size versions):

    Firstly we have 1962 Brighton Corporation Weymann Orion-bodied Leyland Titan PD2, and London Transport 1952 AEC Regent III RT 2083

Brighton Corporation PD2 - David Long - 6 October 2019 AEC Regent III RT 2083 - David Long - 6 October 2019

AEC Regal IV RF 271 - David Long - 6 October 2019 AEC Reliance with Duple Dominant Bus bodywork - David Long - 6 October 2019


Left: Green Line RF 271, a 1952 AEC Regal IV.

Right: A 1979 AEC Reliance with Duple Dominant Bus bodywork, preserved in Metrobus livery.
Southdown Guy Arab - David Long - 6 October 2019 RF 486 - David Long - 6 October 2019


Left: Southdown MS 547, a 1956 Park Royal bodied Guy Arab IV.

Right: London Transport RF 486 dates from 1953, although it only took on its present identity and registration in 1966!

8 October:
Mayflower on Freshfield Bank - Jonathan Hughes - 5 October 2019
  • Last Sunday was our annual Vintage Bus Running day. Martin Lawrence's photo shows Brighton & Hove Bristol K5G CAP229. Built in 1940 for Brighton, Hove & District Omnibus Company, in 1945 it was rebuilt by ECW after a fire.

  • The latest of Chris Eden-Green's Steam Locos in Profile videos covers the Southern S15s, and includes a lot of footage of Bluebell-based No.847, mainly hauling appropriate carriages or goods stock.

  • There is a new video from "Terrier55Stepney (Max)" on YouTube "The Complete History of Stepney the Bluebell Engine".

  • Richard Green's latest Limited Edition print is of 928 'Stowe' (run of 250), with £5 from each print sold being donated to the Maunsell Locomotive Society. It will be available to purchase at the Giants of Steam Gala on a stand at Sheffield Park (on Platform 2 near the Museum) - avoiding the postage costs!

  • Update to the Who's Who page with the changes to the Bluebell Railway PLC board outlined in the recent e-Newsletter.

  • Harry Brampton's photo below shows preserved ex-Stagecoach Alexander RL-bodied Volvo Olympian N389 LPN from 1996, at Uckfield Bus station.

  • David Long's photo shows ex-Maidstone & District DL39, a 1956 low-height Park Royal-bodied AEC Regent V.

Stagecoach Volvo Olympian - Harry Brampton - 6 October 2019 Maidstone & District DL39 - David Long - 6 October 2019

7 October:
70000 Britannia at West Hoathly - Brian Lacey - 7 October 2019
  • The Brit has arrived! Brian Lacey's photo shows BR Standard 7MT Pacific No.70000 'Britannia' on the Bluebell for the first time ever. With B1 'Mayflower' it stars in our Giants of Steam autumn gala which is coming up this Friday to Sunday. 'Britannia' is facing North (towards East Grinstead) and 'Mayflower faces South after its return to Sheffield Park on its railtour on Saturday.

  • Below, from Graham Parker, is a photo showing 'Britannia' passing through Herne Hill on its way down from Crewe earlier today.

  • The second photo, from Brian Lacey, shows SECR No.65 with Saturday's Wealden Rambler afternoon tea train, just after leaving the tunnel.

Britannia passes through Herne Hill - Graham Parker - 7 October 2019 65 with the Wealden Rambler - Brian Lacey - 5 October 2019

5 October:
Mayflower on Freshfield Bank - Jonathan Hughes - 5 October 2019
  • Jonathan Hughes' photo taken just after sunrise this morning shows the Steam Dreams charter from Sheffield Park getting under way up Freshfield Bank. The charter loco, B1 class 61306 'Mayflower' hauling its support coach and the Bluebell's Mk1/Bulleid rake, has our Standard 4 tank No.80151 banking at the rear. At Kingscote, the charter stock awaits, and the passengers will transfer across to the West-Coast coaches that are undoubtedly being warmed and catered ready for the main line run through London and down the Great Western main line to Bath. The train returns later this evening and the loco will stay on the line until after the Giants of Steam autumn gala next Friday-Sunday.

    Jonathan also has a video clip of the climb here.

  • The Realtime Trains timings (and routing) are available for this morning's outbound leg to Bath, and tonight's return, and also for No.70000 'Britannia's arrival on Monday afternoon.

  • The photo below, from Julian Clark, shows 80151 banking the charter train, at the top of the 1-in-55 at Imberhorne. The train consisted of 9 carriages, and no diesel.

  • The second photo, by Richard Salmon, shows 'Mayflower' with the charter approaching Selhurst.

80151 banks the charter at Imberhorne - Julian Clark - 5 October 2019 Mayflower with the charter approaching Selhurst - Richard Salmon - 5 October 2019

4 October:
47237 arrives at East Grinstead with the railtour set - Roy Watts - 4 October 2019

  • LNER B1 No.61306 'Mayflower' and its railtour set, hauled down from London by Class 47 No.47237, has arrived, in preparation for tomorrow's Steam Dreams railtour to Bath, as seen in Roy Watt's photos. Roy was on duty this lunchtime to accept the train onto Bluebell metals at East Grinstead, and would like to know why it always seems to rain when he's on this duty!

  • A reminder that on Sunday 6 October we have our Vintage Bus Running Day - why not combine your visit to the Bluebell with a free vintage bus ride? Routes and Timetables now available.

  • Additional date (13 December) added to our sold-out series of Footplate Extra experiences, and we also have a space, due to a cancellation, on 19 October.
Mayflower on the viaduct - Roy Watts - 4 October 2019
  • Julian Clark took the photos below today, as 'Mayflower' and its support coach passed the railtour set at Kingscote, and then waited at Horsted Keynes for our service train behind 80151 to pass it.
Mayflower at Kingscote - Julian Clark - 4 October 2019 Mayflower at Horsted Keynes - Julian Clark - 4 October 2019

2 October:
S15 arrives at East Grinstead with the lunchtime Pullman Dining train - Brian Lacey - 29 September 2019
  • On Sunday, dodging the rain showers, Brian Lacey got this photo of the S15 arriving at East Grinstead with the lunchtime Pullman dining train.

  • The Q-class arrived safely back at Sheffield Park yesterday morning after its visit to the Severn Valley Railway.

  • News Update Update to the Bulleid Society's web site - Richard Green has added some pictures, taken by John Fry, of progress on re-staying 34059's firebox, plus some showing the cylinder cladding removed.

  • Three announcements:

  • John Harwood took this video around the carriage works and Horsted Keynes on Saturday. It features the current state of Stroudley carriages 328 and 494, the Elephant Van/Children's Play Carriage, and then 80151 arriving, with a look around the carriages of the Edwardian Set, 'Camelot' arriving with the Mk.1 and Bulleid carriage set, and ending with their respective departures.

  • 21 years after its dismantled remains arrived on the Bluebell, Stroudley (LBSCR) No.725, a Mainline Brake Third built in 1878, has been added to the Carriage Stock List, since it's considered a better bet for restoration than ex-farmyard body No.676. The latter, a historically important very early electrically lit vehicle, would remain as a museum piece, whilst No.725 is probably the preferred candidate for restoration as the second Stroudley brake, providing a contrast with No.949, since 725 was built for main-line services whilst 949 and 676 were both suburbans. The web pages for all our Stroudley carriages have been updated at the same time.

  • The new Membership rates, as agreed at the AGM in May, came into force yesterday, 1 October.

  • Two more of Brian Lacey's photos below, this time taken on Saturday at Horsted Keynes, showing 80151 arriving with the Birdcage Brake at the head of the first service of the day, and 73082 'Camelot' with the 10.45 from Sheffield Park as 80151 waits to depart southwards.

80151 arrives at Horsted Keynes with the Birdcage Brake at the head of its train - Brian Lacey - 28 September 2019 73082 'Camelot' arrives at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 28 September 2019

Older updates are in the What's New Archive
or 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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