News from the Bluebell Railway 19 February 2012

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.
Floreat Vapor: Let Steam Flourish! The Bluebell eNewsletter is sponsored by the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society
In This Issue
Good(s) Work Afoot at Kingscote Station
Disabled Access Provision Receives Local Support
Modellers: Some Dates for Your Diaries
Appeal Vice Patron Nicholas Owen Looks Back
News from the Loco Works
Update on Volunteer Recruitment
Current Volunteer Needs at the Bluebell Railway
Steam Crane Going Up-Yard

Bluebell Railway Website


Sales & Information  


Timetable & Fares  


Google map  




Disabled Access


Frequently Asked Questions


Gift Vouchers



The Bluebell Railway by Nicholas Williams of Fun O Vision Films
The Bluebell Railway by Nicholas Williams of Fun O Vision Films (

Bluebell Shop  


Bluebell Museum & Archive  

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

Locomotive Roster  

Train Formations  


Line Map & Gradient Profile


Local Accomodation List  


Walkscene "Railway  Children" Walks


Lineside Photographers
Track Safety

Standard Tank with the 3 p.m. Service Train, Feb. 2012
Standard Tank with the 3 p.m. Service Train, Feb. 2012 (departure from the newly-renewed platform 1 track at Sheffield Park). By John Sandys .

Special Events 2012  


Southern Steam - The Westerham Branch [1 of 3]
"Southern Steam"-- SECR H Class on Westerham Branch, in colour!  

J ust Giving  


50th Anniversary Appeal  


Bluebell Railway Trust  




Bluebell Railway Band plays
Bluebell Railway Band plays "76 Trombones," August 2011


The Woman In Black trailer--the film used the Bluebell Railway for location shots. In the trailer you can see the Maunsell Society U class loco. Read about the filming here .
Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

View our photos on flickr

Enjoy a slideshow of recent Bluebell Railway images by John Sandys!
Photographs (between Lewes
and East Grinstead) from the Colin Hogg Collection in the Bluebell Railway Archive:

Prints can be ordered online.

Good(s) Work Afoot at Kingscote Station

As part of the society's long-term plan, Kingscote is to provide the setting for a typical country station goods yard.  
Kick-starting the project was the donation by the West Dean Estate of a working LBSCR Goods Yard Crane from Singleton station on the old Chichester to Midhurst Line. This has been in situ at Singleton since 1881, arriving at Kingscote over Christmas 2010.

Following its arrival a committee was formed from the museum (Sam Bee and Tony Drake) to oversee the project--Mike Hawkins (groundworks), Les Haines (surveyor and FOK representative), Chris Saunders (preservation standards), and myself as project manager, with the full support of the Railway's Infrastructure department.
First of all we discussed plans for suitable buildings and yard layout in keeping with a typical 1950s country station. Generous contacts have already provided reclaimed materials from the demolition of an ex-LBSCR staff cottage at Haywards Heath that will be used to construct a coal office and weigh office. The Bluebell Railway Trust has provided support for the crane base removal work and two members have generously donated the balance needed to complete the re-installation at Kingscote.  
We are also in discussion with the Mears Group that approached us under its corporate social responsibility initiative to partner with the project and construct an authentic cattle pen on the dock at no cost.  
But there is a lot more to do and money to raise, including finalising building design and construction; a planning application; track work; demolition of redundant NEP plant buildings; restoration of ex-Horsted Goods lock up; tree clearance and fencing--not to mention the erection of a genuine SR Loading Gauge and coal staithes. We will also provide a suitable "interpretation" for our visitors from both the educational and tourism sectors.  
Thanks to Mike Hawkins, who helped with the extraction and who provided the photo below, showing the Hand Crane being extracted from Singleton Goods Yard in December 2010.  
If you would like to get involved in this exciting new project, contact me . We need your support, so follow the Bluebell News magazine and the eNewsletter for more details!  
By Richard Clark (KGYP Project Manager)
Singleton Crane  

Disabled Access Provision Receives Local Support

The Railway has just taken delivery of new access ramps for use with brake vans and specifically the "Peoples Millions" coach 3360 which entered traffic last year with the accommodation adapted for wheelchair users.  
The ramps are lightweight and will replace the older, much heavier ones--doubtless to the relief of all who those have to use them. The 1,540 cost has been jointly funded by the Rotary Club of East Grinstead and the Rotary Club of East Grinstead Meridian, via a donation to the Bluebell Trust.  
Funding Director Roger Kelly says, "We are delighted by this act of generosity. It comes hot on the heels of a 1,000 donation by the Rotary Club of Lewes to the NEP. It shows the Bluebell Railway is held in high regard by the community at both ends of the former East Grinstead to Lewes line."  
Many of you voted by telephone in the Big Lottery Peoples Millions competition in November 2009, which made the coach a reality, and the latter half of 2011 saw the wheelchair-accessible SECR 3360 in fairly regular use on the Railway. It joined the Victorian train for the Victorian Picnic and Vintage weekends, and in late August and through September, it was coupled to the Metropolitan set, forming the second service set.  
3360 was then brought back into the works so that the steam heating could be finished before the colder weather. It ran in service again for the Vintage Trains gala in November, and for the Victorian Christmas and New Year trains in December and January.  
The photo below is to remind us of warmer days! 3360 looks pretty well filled on the 14 Aug., 2011--including the saloon section at the right-hand end. (With thanks to Robert Else. )

Coach 3360  

Modellers: Some Dates for Your Diaries

The first Bluebell Railway model fair is set to take place on 7 and 8 July. Exhibitors and Traders can obtain a booking form by contacting the Bluebell Railway Shop.
Also, the Fenchurch Fund is looking forward to presence at the Brighton Modelworld Exhibition 24 to 26 Feb., where there will be items for sale, a display of OO and O gauge terriers and P tanks, and a selection of pictures showing the history of both 27 and 72.  
The fund will be selling T-shirts with two different logos based on a line drawing of Fenchurch. These will be available in large and extra large only, but orders will be taken for other sizes  
The fund will be situated in the lower foyer, just inside the main entrance and not far away from Fenchurch itself, which will be outside on a low loader, cunningly disguised as "Brighton Loco Works."  
Fenchurch T-Shirt  

Appeal Vice Patron Nicholas Owen Looks Back

Society member and our most active Appeal Vice Patron Nicholas Owen has published his autobiography Days Like This .

We are arranging for him to sign copies at the Railway--the tentative date is Easter Monday, 9 April, starting at 1 p.m., but keep an eye on the shop website for further details.

Fellow baby boomers--yes, Owen is that old--will find in the book many national and international incidents that they remember from his career in print and broadcast media, including his time as a Royal correspondent.

Owen's enthusiasm for the Bluebell Railway in particular and heritage transport in general gets several mentions. In addition to steam railways, he has a passion for trolleybuses--well, they run on rails of a kind!

Nicholas Owen Book

News from the Loco Works

The news on the repair of SECR H class 0-4-4T 263 is that the boiler has passed the hydraulic test. It is due to be steam-tested out of the frames next week.

For an update on SECR P class 0-6-0T 27, click here .

By Lewis Nodes

P Class Sand Boxes
The rear sand boxes of SECR P class 0-6-0T 27 (sitting on top of the tanks) are seen awaiting cleaning and remedial attention prior to storage. Photo by Clive Emsley.

Update on Volunteer Recruitment

Dawn on 5 Feb. The phone starts ringing. The voice on the other end is asking if the "Find Out More Day" (FOMD) is going ahead. Looking out over my freezing, snow-clad garden, I am tempted to cancel the day--but only momentarily.

The day went ahead as planned with five hardy souls offering their services to the Railway in various departments. The remaining 20 to 25 who were unable to make it due to the weather say they will be attending the next FOMD, on the 4 March in the Training Centre at Sheffield Park from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

We should be able to induct around 24 of these 30 planned attendees (so far) as future volunteers! It is then up to different departments to retain their services and develop their talents.

Even if attendees feel they are unable to offer their services at present, they become valuable ambassadors for the Railway and are more likely to volunteer when their circumstances allow.

The volunteer coordinators thank all departments for their assistance and enthusiasm in running the FOMD, along with David Chappell who, undaunted by weather, is part of our team. To find out more about volunteering, e-mail me at or call 0779 9116654

By Clive Soper

FOMD 2.12
A photo by David Chappell of the 5 Feb. "Find Out More Days" team standing beside the Maunsell Society's S15 4-6-0 no. 847, under restoration in the loco yard at Sheffield Park. (Clive Soper is third from right-Ed.)

Current Volunteer Needs at the Bluebell Railway

  • Catering staff for Fish and Chips Specials.
  • Catering staff in the Bessemer Arms, Horsted Keynes buffet, and Kingscote Station food emporium.
  • On-train catering staff.
  • Locomotive workshop engineers, skilled and unskilled.
  • Museum stewards for the Bluebell Railway museum.
  • Permanent Way staff.
  • Friends of Sheffield Park, maintenance works.
  • Carriage and Wagon workshop personnel.

Find out more about all these opportunities by e-mailing Clive Soper , calling 0779 9116654, or attending the next Find Out More Days event, 4 March, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sheffield Park Training Centre.


Steam Crane Going Up-Yard

Following an extensive Horsted Keynes up-yard shunt on 20 Feb., the steam crane should move from Kingscote to Horsted Keynes up-yard on 21 Feb. "Gronk" diesel is earmarked to do the work. There are no firm timings--expect shunting to occur at Kingscote on Monday or Tuesday.

This photo shows the crane at Horsted in December 1981. In this photo , we see main crane carriage and the two relieving bogies on the 64-wheel Wynns trailer at Sheffield Park, also in 1981.

The crane weighs 120 tons when free on rail and in working order. To allow the main unit to travel the railway system, the relieving bogies do what their title implies and spread the weight of the main carriage, reducing axle loading to 15 tons.

The main crane carriage has draw hooks and dumb buffers. In order to achieve the weight transference, a heavy girder on each of the relieving bogies is pinned top and bottom to the main carriage and wound upwards to transfer the load. 

This photo (also below) shows the crane's jib before re-assembly commenced at Sheffield Park. The late Gerry Butler took all these photos.

By Neil Cameron

Crane on Trailer

Your Bluebell News Here!  

The editors thank all our contributors!
To all Bluebell Railway-based station and project groups, do tell us what you are doing and planning, and send us a videos, photographs, and slideshows for possible inclusion in the eNewsletter.

Keep your eNewsletter pieces brief--about three to four paragraphs--and include links for more information, photos, etc! Send material to Neil Cameron .

Longer articles and special photographs should be sent to the Bluebell News magazine. E-mail editor Colin Tyson about the magazine.

We are very grateful to all our readers for supporting the eNewsletter. Please forward it to family, friends, and colleagues. See you trackside!

John Walls
Trustee, Bluebell Railway Preservation Society