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News from the Bluebell Railway 4 December 2011

Recreating the golden age of steam for passengers of all ages, the Bluebell Railway has a large collection of vintage locomotives, carriages, and equipment and holds many special events throughout the year.

In This Issue
Go That Extra Half Mile With the Big Give
Christmas Is Special on the Bluebell Railway
Bluebell Volunteers Help Raise Funds with Gift Ideas
Bluebell Railway Museum & Archive Keeps Growing
Operation Undercover Continues at Horsted Keynes
Seasonal Report from Kingscote Station
Director Ken Russell Dies Aged 84
Easyfundraising & Easysearch
Bluebell Railway Preservation Society AGM Scheduled
Your Bluebell News Here
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 Timetable & Fares 


Locomotive Roster 


Train Formations 


Local Accomodation List 


Map & Gradient Profile 

Bluebell Railway Appeal - updated Nov 2011
Bluebell Railway Appeal (Nov 2011)

Victorian Christmas Special Trains


New Years Eve Golden Arrow Spectacular

Bluebell Shop

Gift Vouchers

What & Where Is
the Bluebell Railway?

The Bluebell Railway, by Nicholas Williams of Fun O Vision Films
The Bluebell Railway, by Nicholas Williams of Fun O Vision Films 
The Bluebell Railway in 1961 (thanks to Harry Coward)
The Bluebell Railway in 1961 (thanks to Barry Coward)

Just Giving


Donate to 50th Anniversary Appeal


Bluebell Railway Trust




"Someone to Watch Over Me" performed by the Bluebell Railway Band.
A video from an archive of Southern Railway Filmss, including footage of locomotives that would have hauled trains over the Bluebell Line (the Lewes to East Grinstead railway.)
A video from an archive of Southern Railway Films, including footage of locomotives that would have hauled trains over the Bluebell Line (the Lewes to East Grinstead railway.)
Popular photographs from the JJ Smith Collection in the Bluebell Railway Archive:

Photo 1
Photo 2
Photo 3
Photo 4
Photo 5
Photo 6

Click here to see photographs from the Colin Hogg collection.

Go That Extra Half Mile With the Big Give,
5-9 Dec. 


Over the last few years we have made a series of unprecedented appeals for funding the extension of the Bluebell line to East Grinstead, and you have responded magnificently.

Well, the end of the waste extraction phase really is in sight, with only a final two or three weeks required at most, depending on site surveys.

The Big Give Christmas Challenge 

By donating online starting 10 a.m. this Monday (5 Dec.), you can help fund this final push.

Any donation to this project made online to the Big Give (and not directly to the Bluebell Railway) during this drive will be matched pound for pound by an equal combination of our major donors and the Big Give sponsor fund. To donate, click here.

(Please consider "Gift Aiding" your donation to increase its value to the Bluebell Railway; an option box can be found on the Big Give donation page.)

The Big Give's sponsor funding is not exhaustive, and they allocate it on a daily basis, so to guarantee their 50% match, it is best to make a donation as near to 10 a.m. as possible, on any of the five days (5 to 9 Dec.) The opportunity ends after five days, and our target is 30,000 in online donations. You can follow our progress 'live' on the Big Give website.

We know the call for funding this project has pushed your generosity to the limit, especially in the current economic climate, but with a landfill tax imposed deadline of 1 April, 2012, now is the time to really make the extension happen!

Additional Week of Waste Trains Agreed 
It was agreed at last Tuesday's Board meeting to extend Waste by Rail 5 for another week due to the mild weather, which has enabled our railway haulier GBRf to release a locomotive reserved for snow clearance.

Using this extra week to remove waste now, rather than as originally planned for next year, helps move the project forward and assists in getting the cutting to a state where final surveys and designs can be undertaken sooner.

So, your donation to the Big Give Challenge is all the more important so that we can pay for this work, which will actually be taking place during the fund drive week!

Although substantial funding is still required to complete the project, hopefully scheduled trains will start running in Spring 2013. Your much-appreciated, continued financial support is very important to help us achieve this goal.

An artist's impression of the future Bluebell Railway East Grinstead station by Bluebell Member M J Cousins.

Christmas Is Special on the Bluebell Railway!


Our popular Santa Specials are running every weekend before Christmas. Every child receives a gift!


Before Florida called, I used to volunteer to staff these trains and there was no better way to get into the spirit of the festive season.


I have lots of fond memories, but I must share just one. Me (opening door to a lively carriage): "Right, who's been good? And I mean the parents, because I know kids are being good with Christmas presents at stake." Little girl: "My mummy's been average!"


This year, the train will stop at Horsted Keynes. There are Victorian Side stalls to play, a model railway, street entertainers, and an opportunity to have your photograph taken with Santa and the snowmen! And hurry--there are still some places available on 17 Dec. and Christmas Eve. Call 01825 720 800 to book or click here.


Victorian Christmas and New Year Specials will run on 22 and 31 Dec. and 2 Jan., 2012. There are still places left in these exclusive, old-fashioned compartments, where we will supply you with a hamper of delicious snacks and drinks. Father Christmas will be on hand with a special gift for all children on 22 Dec., while Bob Cratchit and Mr. Scrooge appear to have booked places on 31 Dec. and 2 Jan. trains! Click here for details. 


There are also still a few places left on our New Year's Eve Gala Pullman. Enjoy a five-course meal with a drinks reception on arrival, plus an on-board, close-up magician. Then join us in a glass of champagne at Horsted Keynes station at the midnight hour. Click here for more.  


After Christmas, the Fairy Godmother will be visiting the Bluebell on 29 and 30 Dec. She will travel on the 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. trains and will "magick up" a special gift for all children joining her that day. Advance booking is essential to ensure you get a reserved seat in one of the special carriages. Call 01825 720 800 or click here.  


By John Walls  


Bluebell Volunteers Help Raise Funds with Gift Ideas


John Sisley's Amazon postal donation book sales in aid of the Northern Extension Project have raised more than 1,800 to date! Items from his selection will make a great gift for the steam enthusiast in your family!  


And click here to see beautiful postcards volunteer Mike Hopps has created. They--along with posters and fridge magnets--are available in the Bluebell Railway Shop at Sheffield Park. His "Blooming Marvellous" image below gives you a taste of his work!

The postcards are 6 1/2 inches by 4 inches and sell for just 60p. The posters come in A4 and A3 (framed), with A2 posters coming soon! Profits go to Northern Extension Project.

Bluebell Poster 


Bluebell Railway Museum & Archive Keeps Growing

Now entering its six month of operation, the Bluebell Railway Museum at Sheffield Park Station continues to inspire visitors, and reactions have been heart-warming. Visitors tell us it's "delightful," "superb," and "fascinating."


For many years archive material has been collected at Sheffield Park. In 2007, for instance, we were able to purchase the huge collection of the late JJ Smith. The archive holds Bluebell Railway memorabilia, such as timetables, badges, first day covers, and 50th anniversary items, some of which are displayed in the museum. 


The archive also contains all paperwork and photographic items from Southern Railway and what went before and came afterwards. If it fits our simple criteria, then it's collected--an SER 1853 timetable sits with a Eurostar working timetable! All this material is currently off-site but will be made public when an archive building becomes available. 


The archive is always on the look-out for suitable items. Please e-mail Archivist Roger Price if you think you have items of interest.  


Click here to view and purchase images from the John J Smith Collection of Photographs, or view popular images by clicking the links in the left-hand column of this eNewsletter.  


By Tony Hillman  


JJ Smith Photo
A photo depicting Lewes Goods in 1964, from the JJ Smith Collection.


Operation Undercover Continues at Horsted Keynes  


The Bluebell Railway is renowned for its diverse collection of historic carriages and wagons. With some of our running stock now safely wintering undercover, one of the major issues facing the railway is the rapid weather-induced deterioration of vehicles stored outside awaiting restoration to their former glory.

As Heritage Railway magazine observed in its April 2008 edition, "For decades the standard of carriage restoration at the Bluebell has been a benchmark for the movement; it seems incredible that the magnificent carriage fleet has by necessity been left to stand out of doors."

After three years' work by a dedicated, skilful, and resourceful group of volunteers, the railway has now received full planning permission for the construction of both a parts storage shed and an additional carriage storage shed, which will also include provision for offices, workshops, a meeting room, a moquette store, and toilets. Development costs were kept to a minimum through the outstanding help and support of a number of volunteers with appropriate knowledge and skills.

Achieving planning permission for the Carriage and Wagon Department extension secures the real prospect of providing the extra weather-proof storage accommodation the railway so desperately needs and of making a huge improvement to the appearance of the eastern side of Horsted Keynes station.

By Steve Bigg 


Seasonal Report from Kingscote Station


The paling fencing at Kingscote (Platform 2) South End has been painted, and work will continue during the winter on this project, undercover in the "Giraffe House" storage building in the goods yard.

A start has been made to replace the fence between the Goods Shed and Garden Shed and the Station House tenant's garden. Benches continue to be renovated, and there are plans to repaint the subway.

By John Sisley

Kingscote Flowers
This photograph was taken on 23 Nov. at Kingscote. The mild autumn allowed flowers to bloom much longer than usual. At the same time, spring flower shoots are already appearing.--JS

Director Ken Russell Dies Aged 84  


Ken Russell, film director and friend of the Bluebell Railway, has died aged 84. To read his obituary in The Guardian, click here

Of his many films, three contain sequences filmed on the Bluebell Railway, a welcome revenue stream and marketing opportunity for us and a genuine steam age experience for the director and his audience: 
  • Savage Messiah (1972), with loco 30064 at Horsted Keynes. 
  • Mahler (1974), with shots of the inside of the GN Saloon and of loco 75027.
  • Lisztomania (1975), with Fenchurch and a piano exploding across the track. 
Horsted Keynes Savage Messiah Ken Russell R.I.P.
A clip from Savage Messiah. This clip portrays a professional stuntman. Never go onto our railway tracks without a permit and/or appropriate training.

Easyfundraising & Easysearch Initiative  


A great, convenient fundraising initiative, sign up at zero cost and donate to Bluebell Railway for no personal outlay!

Both are portal sites through which you conduct your normal online activity. Easysearch is a search engine, and each search raises money!

Easyfundraising offers special prices on purchases and services. Discounts, arranged by Easyfundraising, not otherwise available to individuals, become donations to Bluebell Railway!


More than 5,000 has been earned by 252 people already! Imagine if half of the Bluebell Railway's 10,000+ members signed up to these services!


SAVE-THE-DATE: Bluebell Railway Preservation Society AGM Scheduled, 19 May, 2012 


(Note: This is a correction to the notice in the previous eNewsletter, which incorrectly referenced the Bluebell Railway Trust AGM.) 


The next Annual General Meeting of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society will be held on Saturday, 19 May, 2012 at Oakmeeds Community College, Burgess Hill, Sussex.


The meeting will start at 7 p.m. During the meeting there will be the election of three Trustees and one Society representative to the Trust.  



Your Bluebell News Here!


The editors thank John Sisley for his Kingscote report and photograph above. To all Bluebell Railway-based station and project groups, do tell us what you are doing and planning and send us a video or photograph link for inclusion in the Bluebell Railway eNewsletter.

The next issue will be published toward the end of December. In 2012, we will publish again after the Trustees' meeting, in late January.

Please keep your e-news brief! Longer articles and special photographs should be sent to the "Bluebell News" printed magazine. E-mail editor Colin Tyson for information about the magazine.

Send your eNewsletter materials to Neil Cameron at

(Note: Don't send us images of work at Imberhorne, the Sheffield Park carriage shed site, or any other construction site operated by the Bluebell Railway. Only officially approved photos of these sites may be published.)
Thank you for reading our eNewsletter and for supporting the Bluebell Railway. We look forward to seeing you on the platform!

John Walls
Trustee, Bluebell Railway Preservation Society