News from the Bluebell Railway 15 April 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
Funding Update, Plus a Note About the Chancellor's Budget
Steady Progress on the NEP
Lorna Webb Keeps on Running!
Billingshurst Box for the Bluebell?
9F Proves an A1 Hire
Keep Calm & Pass It On
Help the Railway by Supporting Our Fundraising Efforts!
Update on Loco Work
Just Giving Account Now Open for 45-Ton Lift Steam Crane!
Baxter Takes the High Road
Check Out the Bluebell Railway Wagons
Enjoy These Online Slideshows

Bluebell Railway Website


Sales & Information  


Timetable & Fares


  2012 Timetable PDF  


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  


Trains & Events  


Train Formations  


Line Map & Gradient Profile


Local Accomodation List  


Walkscene "Railway Children" Walks  


Lineside Photographers, Track Safety  

323 bluebell,1638, 80151, B473, and others filmed on a sunny Saturday in March, by
323 Bluebell, 1638, 80151, B473, and others filmed on a sunny Saturday in March 2012, by "GLVMR."

Special Events 2012  


On 30 March, 2012 a photo charter was staged on with Standard Class 4 no.80151, by Dave Haggar.
On 30 March, 2012 a photo charter was staged with Standard Class 4 no.80151, by Dave Haggar.

Just Giving  


50th Anniversary Appeal  


Bluebell Railway Trust  




From Southern Steam: The Rother Valley Limited
Another classic from Southern Steam:
The Rother Valley Limited


Snapshot of the Railway on 10 April, by John Sandys
Snapshot of the Railway on 10 April, by John Sandys

Carriage & Wagon Updates & Societies

Exellent footage of
Excellent footage of "Brighton Steam in the 1930s," by Eric Sparks and the South East Film & Video Archive.

A new set of photographs from the Colin Hogg Collection
in the Bluebell Railway Archive:

Prints can be ordered online.

Funding Update, Plus a Note About the Chancellor's Budget

With the Double Donations Dash behind us, I owe a note of indebtedness to Sheila Franklin and Lisa Boyle in our Finance Office for entering more than 700 names and addresses from gift aid forms into a spread sheet to help me with the banking.  


Even so, handling that many cheques took me a few days. It took around 40 minutes at the local Nat West teller's desk, so I am now very popular in my village! The bank clerk looked a little surprised when I produced that many cheques from my "executive" shopping bag (Sainsbury's, of course).

My thanks to all who have donated (in many cases more than once) this year. When Richard Salmon and I totted up the on-line and off-line donations they came to nearly 2,000. There is a lot of support out there as we work to finish the Northern Extension Project (NEP) over the next 11 months. So how do we capitalise on it? Well now is the time for you, our followers, to see if you can raise money from others--friends, family, and colleagues. 

As you know from this e-newsletter, Lorna Webb is running in the London Marathon for us next weekend. Learn about her run and how to sponsor her below. Subject to a full safety review, we hope to run a sponsored Track Walk in the Autumn, so think of this a "trial run" getting sponsorships for that!


The Funding Gap is coming down and is now a little less than £600,000. During the next two weeks the NEP Steering Group will review costs to go, income received, and promised income (i.e. gift aid claimed). In the next e-newsletter I should be able to give you a more accurate figure.

On a non-NEP note, Mk1 carriage 4941 is progressing well in its restoration to replicate 5034 and further increase our disability access. I still need to raise £20,000 for this project. If you know of any charities or organisations that might wish to help us provide better facilities for people with disabilities, please get in touch at .

Finally, to end on a political note, you may have seen the intention in the national budget to limit the amount of tax relief a higher-rate tax payer can claim on charitable giving from April 2013. This will undoubtedly reduce philanthropy from wealthy individuals.  


More than 800 charities are so worried by this that they have started a "Give It Back George" campaign to get the decision reversed. It is impossible to say what effect this proposed gap will have on our donations, but it certainly will not make getting sponsors for challenges such as DDD or Big Give any easier. 


See you at the East Grinstead Open Days , 21 and 22 April!

By Roger Kelly, Funding Director 


Steady Progress on the NEP

At Kingscote, steady progress has been made, with the down siding points being partially installed just before Easter. Work then moved north of the run round facility to prepare for relaying the plain line section between the new throat and the up advance starting signal post.

This approach enabled the run round facility to be retained through the busy Easter period but still kept the job moving. Site activity will then start to intensify as both lines north of Kingscote platform return to full engineers' possession until the end of May.

Less obvious is the ancillary work, to continue installation of cable routes and equipment cabinet bases ready for the S&T team to move in when the PW men move out. Provision of underground cable routes for all electrical, signalling, and telecommunications cables is now the norm on all Railway projects; it not only looks better to hide the cables but also, and more importantly, it makes life very difficult for prospective thieves!

Meanwhile, at Imberhorne Lane, progress continues profiling the track bed south of the road bridge. It is anticipated this will be complete, and the railway reinstated to a point just short of the bridge, by the end of May. Unfortunately, this week's bad weather has caused a stoppage on site, as continued operation of the yellow plant would have undone all the good work achieved so far.

Whether you are keener on gardening or NEP progress will no doubt influence your prayers for more or less rain next week!  


By Chris White, Infrastructure Director


Lorna Webb Keeps on Running! 

Can you help Lorna Webb reach her fundraising target before the London Marathon on April 22?


Webb--featured in the latest edition of Heritage Railway --says she is very grateful for support she has received so far and happily notes the surge in donations each time an e-newsletter goes out. Proceeds from her sponsorships go to the Northern Extension Project--she still needs £2,300 to reach her target.   


LATE BREAKING: If you can get Webb to £4,000 in sponsorships, Roger Kelly and John Walls will then match any more contributions pound-for-pound up to £4,500 to ensure she gets to £5,000!  


Click here to sponsor online, or download this sponsorship form to help you get others to sponsor her (you can send a cheque or drop it off with cash at the Railway offices by 27 April).

Webb writes, "Thanks so much to everyone who has sponsored me so far; I have been amazed by your support.

"Easter Sunday was my last long run (18 miles) before the marathon itself. In marathon training you don't run the whole distance before the event. My training distance peaked at 21 miles on 1 April, and, yes, I felt like an April Fool heading off for a four-and-a-half-hour run at eight in the morning!

"Training is split between long runs on Sundays and shorter but faster midweek runs. I have done a lot of my midweek training on Forest Way, the old trackbed from East Grinstead to Tunbridge Wells West. There are some interesting railway items along the way. The station houses at Hartfield and Withyham are still there, as are a lot of bridges similar to the ones on our line and even an old milepost (40 3/4) almost buried in vegetation.

"On my long runs I pass quite close to Kingscote, and I often hear the steam whistles, which is great. I am now enjoying what is known as "the taper," a two-week period of reduced mileage to allow me to rebuild my reserves for the big day. It is brilliant to know the Railway is behind me (as one contributor has said) every sleeper of the way!"
The photo below of Webb weaving her way through the streets is by Adam Fink.    


Lorna Webb Running  


Billingshurst Box for the Bluebell?

We can report that the Bluebell Railway is one of the destinations being considered for re-homing the historic Grade II listed Billingshurst, West Sussex signal box--the third eldest on Network Rail--when it's displaced by a Mid-Sussex line signalling scheme. 


The Billingshurst signal box was built for the London, Brighton, & South Coast Railway by its signalling contractors Saxby & Farmer in 1876. The photo below is by Ron Strutt (via Geograph.)

Writes the West Sussex County Times (25 March, 2012), "At a meeting of Billingshurst Parish council on Wednesday March 7 Network Rail suggested relocating a grade two listed signalling box to the Bluebell Railway in East Sussex, in order to widen the road for traffic.

The proposed reconstruction involves removing one leg of the footbridge and replacing the signalling box with modern light signalling which would mean more trains could use the line too.

It is important to relocate the building following English Heritage guidance and the solution could be to re-home it at the Bluebell Railway ..."


Billingshurst Box  


9F Proves an A1 Hire

In the photo below by Graham Court 9F 92212 leaves Sheffield Park at 3 p.m. on 6 April, 2012.

This visiting locomotive, on a four-month hire at the Railway, has been very popular so far, and a wealth of photos and YouTube videos are available online, or on the Bluebell Railway blog .

Keep checking these links to find out on what days the loco is in service: 

9F at Bluebell

Keep Calm & Pass It On

Download a PDF of our fun Southern at War weekend poster (by Mike Hopps) and put it up at work or in a shop window, or send it to friends and family, etc.

Southern at War is on 12 and 13 May. Turn back the clock to the days of the Second World War with re-enactors, military vehicles, displays, and concert parties. And put that light out! 


Southern at War  


Help the Railway by Supporting Our Fundraising Efforts! 

Please support these fundraising efforts on behalf of the Northern Extension Project (NEP):

Thank you!

Update on Loco Work    

Clive Emsley's photo, taken on 17 March, shows the rear stretcher for Ex SECR P class tank loco 27 that has been built up with weld to its original cross section. For more news on loco 27, click here .  


Loco 27 Stretcher  

Lewis Nodes' photo shows loco 263 nearing the completion of its overhaul. A test run will be announced soon. For more information on loco 263, click here .  


  Loco 263


Just Giving Account Now Open for 45-Ton Lift Steam Crane!  

Many thanks for your donations . They will help us commence and continue the work of cleaning, preparing, and painting the Railway's steam crane, and later repair and renew it as necessary. The photo below is by Martin Lawrence.


Click here for more detail on the crane's mechanism and how it works. 

By Neil Cameron  


Steam Crane 4.10


Baxter Takes the High Road 

Peter Edwards photographed the departure of the Railway's beloved roving ambassador on 10 April, Beamish-bound for the Great North Steam Fair, as part of his latest British tour! 

We say "haste ye back" Captain Baxter and "good shunting!"


Baxter Leaving  


Check Out the Bluebell Railway Wagons

The Railway will have run goods trains the weekend of this issue, and in honour here is a link to an illustrated list of the preserved goods wagons at the Railway, some of which have web pages.  

The Bluebell Railway has a considerable collection of wagons. These may be divided into two categories--those held for preservation and those we need for engineering. Of course, many of our engineering wagons are historic vehicles in their own right. The photo below is by Richard Salmon. 


Bluebell Wagon  


Enjoy These Online Slideshows 



Vintage (all by Ben Brooksbank, via Geograph.) 

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