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Latest Updates - Earlier updates - Latest Project News - Weekly train running information - Archive News
- 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.
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- 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.
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.
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