Accessible Steam Heritage


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Introduction

The Bluebell Railway is delighted to announce that its application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the ASH (Accessible Steam Heritage) project has been awarded a £1.1million grant to revitalise the way the Bluebell Railway exhibits its locomotives.

Bluebell Railway Press Release

ASH Appeal   The Press release giving full details
of the award is here.

The Proposal

The proposal is to create, as part of a wider visitor experience within the existing Running Shed, a new exhibition designed to engage visitors in the working, running and maintenance of steam locomotives that will significantly add to what is available for visitors at Sheffield Park station.

The exhibition will explain how locomotives work by encouraging visitors to operate hands-on, electro-mechanical interactives showing the principles of steam power and transmission. The intention is to provide engaging displays that help foster an interest in science and technology.

The technology-based displays will complement the existing museum, which tells the story of the Bluebell Railway from a mainly historical viewpoint.

The “Wow” Factor

The “wow” factor will be achieved by dramatic displays, such as a full-size replica locomotive cab (based on Stepney, the A1X Terrier Class locomotive and as featured in one of the Reverend W. Awdry’s Thomas the Tank Engine series of books) with glowing firebox, working pull-cords, gauges and levers - and with the added attraction of an authentic, video-based travel experience - will provide a ‘must see’ exhibit, particularly for younger visitors.   Stepney drawing

One of the locomotives will be adapted to run on a Rolling Road allowing visitors to view moving wheels, piston rods and crankshafts without steam power and, therefore, on a regular basis. Video cameras and mirrors provide views of the working locomotive from underneath. A protective barrier doubles as an interpretative display with graphics and screens.

Improved Access

There will be an impressive collection of up to eight static locomotives and operational locomotives being maintained are usually viewable and are interpreted using (moveable and changeable) platform display pods, all of which contain graphics and, some, touchscreen information and video.

Raised platforms allow footplate access to some of the locomotives and a section of platform is to be extended between an engine and tender to allow disabled visitors, including wheelchair-users, to experience an engine cab.

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