News from the Bluebell Railway 29 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
Webb's Run Nets More Than £6,000
Cattle Pen Moves Into Kingscote
Chairmen Lay Down a Challenge
Southern at War Photo Competition
Chit Chat Group In the Pink for Permanent Way
Next Find Out More Day Is 6 May
Enjoy These Recent Slideshows & Photos
Fenchurch Fund Wants Your Coppers
Class 73 Takes a Tour of the Extension
Loco & Carriage Works Update
Can You Help Identify These Photos?
Help the Railway by Supporting Our Fundraising Efforts!
Please Send Us Your News

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  2012 Timetable PDF  


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Disabled Access  


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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  

From the 1930s: Sussex West Coast steam operations, including among other gems, a motor (push/pull) steam train service west of West Worthing before completion of electrification.
From the 1930s: Sussex West Coast steam operations, including among other gems, a motor (push/pull) steam train service west of West Worthing before completion of electrification.

Special Events 2012  


Hove station.VOB
A truly remarkable find: A "Gladstone" loco and train arrives at Hove in ... 1897. The earliest film of steam in Sussex by a Hove film pioneer.

Just Giving  


50th Anniversary Appeal  


Bluebell Railway Trust  




Captain Baxter on the Tanfield Railway 21st April 2012
Capt. Baxter at Tanfield Railway on 21 April. Said a Tanfield volunteer, "Captain Baxter is an awesome piece of kit!"


the linger line
Steam days at Shoreham by Sea, with reference to the line to Christ's Hospital.

Carriage & Wagon Updates & Societies

From the 1930s: The rebuilding of Arun bridge at Ford for electrification of the line, with two steam cranes in use. What a crowded site!
From the 1930s: The rebuilding of Arun bridge at Ford for electrification of the line, with two steam cranes in use. What a crowded site!

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

Prints can be ordered online.

Webb's Run Nets More Than £6,000

Writes Lorna Webb, reporting on her London Marathon fundraising run for the Railway, "Adam Fink and I completed the marathon in five hours and 21 minutes. I have to say, this one was very tough. The weather had been forecast to be cold, so I wore running tights, but it turned into a scorcher! There are showers along the route, and I walked through one of them just to get the maximum cooling effect!
"The high point of the first half was overtaking my purple floppy hatted Womble nemesis from my previous two outings at about seven miles. I did a little 'Tim Henman punch.'

"Just over halfway my injured right calf muscle tore again. I took some ibuprofen and was able to do a sort of hobbling run from then on. I was determined to finish and not to let that Womble catch me!

"About 2.5 miles from the finish I caught up with Adam, who was suffering from his shin splint injury and had been walking for a while. He managed to grit his teeth and we ran together from there to the finish, which we crossed hand in hand!
"I overtook (amongst others) two Wombles, three hockey players, Bagpuss, the Eiffel tower, a bottle of beer, and two separated halves of a camel that had overtaken me earlier. And I beat Ed Balls!
"My fundraising total so far is £5,247, or just more than £200 per mile, and when gift aid is added, it will be worth about £6,300 to the Railway, so all in all, a good days work! (And I'm not closing the donation page just yet, and the Railway's Just Giving page is another option!)

"Thank you all again for your support; when the going got tough, it really helped."  


Lorna Webb Marathon  


Cattle Pen Moves Into Kingscote

A cattle pen is being erected on the dock at Kingscote, the initial stage of a project to set up a 1950s Goods Yard and part of an interpretation strategy for visitors.

A project team consisting of Friends of Kingscote, museum management, Chris Saunders, and Mike Hawkins--led by site manager Richard Clark--engaged Mears Group Plc (a social housing repairs and maintenance provider) and the Railway's Infrastructure Department to carry out the work on a voluntary basis.

The team provided drawings, photographs, and approved the ironwork. Hawkins donated ground works and Saunders arranged recovery of paviours from Burgess Hill station. All statutory matters were agreed in advance between the Railway and Mears.

Clark reports, "On 23 April, the Mears team arrived with around six to eight carpentry apprentices to dig post holes. The first consignment of oak timber arrived and the project manager mortised, chamfered the post edges, and bitumen-coated the bases. The construction makes no use of screws to fix rails, only traditional dowel pegs and mortises.

"Mid-week the Friends of Kingscote prepared the rest of the main posts and rails in their 'giraffe house' [tall shed] because of rain. Our photo shows progress made by Friday. Gates and setting out paviours will carry Mears through to 4 May, when they should finish the job."

All concerned report that Mears has been a joy to have on site and that its representatives have conducted themselves very professionally, including the keen apprentices. This kind of partnership is first for the Railway, and it's been a credit to all concerned.

By Sam Bee, Vice Chair, BRPS  


Cattle Pen  












Chairmen Lay Down a Challenge

Those of you planning to attend the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society (BRPS) may wish to note that any cash donations made at the AGM to the Bluebell Railway Trust towards the Northern Extension Project will be match funded up to £1,000 by BRPS Chairman Roy Watts and Bluebell Railway, Plc Chairman Graham Flight (that is, they will match £500 each).

Donations also may be made by cheque, but they must be made in person. Fiver for the Finish purchases will not count towards this match, but these also will be available at the AGM--although they are for the Plc.

The AGM will be held on 19 May, 2012 at Oakmeeds Community College , Burgess Hill, Sussex, starting at 7 p.m.


Southern at War Photo Competition

Calling all photographers! The Southern at War Weekend (12 to 13 May) is one of the Railway's signature special events, and, we hope, one of its most photogenic!

Therefore, the e-newsletter is launching its first photo competition in conjunction with the weekend, to be judged by Jon Bowers and Stephen Fairweather.  


Photos can be submitted in one of two categories: "best photo that looks as though it was taken during WWII" and/or "best photo of people and steam." First place in each category will win a family ticket to the Railway.

A few more "rules and regulations:" 

  • The  winning four photographs (first place and runner-up in both categories) will be published in the e-newsletter. A gallery of the Top 10 will be shown on the Railway's website.
  • Only one photo in each category per entrant, please. 
  • Submit as a 300dpi jpeg file e-mail attachment sized at 15 cm by 10 cm (or 6 in by 4 in).
  • Send entries to John Walls . Please provide your e-mail and phone number.  

Good luck!   


Chit Chat Group In the Pink for Permanent Way

Chit Chat Group member Deborah Salmon recently pledged a day's work on the Permanent Way, but only if she could wear pink safety boots!  


Her bright (pink) idea turned into a pretty good fundraiser--the figures Martin Lawrence mentions below suggests funding for two wagons worth of spoil was achieved, twice the target.
Writes Lawrence, "The original idea was to get the Chit Chat Group to pledge enough funding to remove at least one wagon's worth of waste during the 'Big Give.' The total pledged was £1,200, and Big Give funding and Gift Aid took this to more than £2,500. Deborah said she would do a day's work if she could wear pink safety boots. These were quickly sourced and the funding met."

For more photos of the pink boots jazzing up the permanent way, click here


Pink Boots  


Next Find Out More Day Is 6 May

Anyone interested in working on the Bluebell Railway, can "Find Out More" on 6 May, 2012.  


Prospective volunteers should meet at 10.30 a.m. in the classroom at Sheffield Park Station. The tour of the Railway and its volunteering opportunities finishes about 4:00 p.m.

For more information, contact Clive Soper , call the Railway's General Office at 01825 720800, or visit the volunteer web page .


Enjoy These Recent Slideshows & Photos

John Sandys' slideshow from 22 April.

David Haggar's slideshow of the photo charter on 16 April, with Stepney and the birdcage brake.

Stephen Leek's slideshow from 14 April: the Jon Bowers freight charter, C class 592.


Below is a photo from Joshua Barrett's A-Level photo shoot of 6 April. On his Facebook page he includes a kind "thank you" to the Railway for helping him with his project.  

Finally, from Captain Baxter's British tour, our ambassador as seen at The Tanfield Railway at the head of a vintage train.  


Barrett Girl  


Fenchurch Fund Wants Your Coppers

We are trying to get the word out that we are restoring No. 27 , and that it will be finished in time for it's inaugural train. All we need is your support!
The loco is now largely dismantled. About the only things remaining to take off are the wheel, and then we should be able to start restoring the bits and manufacturing new items where required.
We are starting a new fund raising option: "Coppers for the Firebox." All you need to do is collect your 1p and 2p coins in a suitable container (i.e. a jam jar, Pringles container, etc) and when full, let me know, and I will arrange to either have them collected or for you to deliver them to a mutually agreeable place.
We will have publicity stand at the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society AGM on the 19 May with Fenchurch Fund goodies--T-Shirts, key rings, fridge magnets and, of course, marmalade and chutney--plus, we'll be holding a champagne raffle to raise funds for materials to rebuild the bunker. Looking forward to seeing you all soon!

The late Gerry Butler's photo below shows No. 27 outside the Railway's original loco shed at Sheffield Park on 27 March, 1971.

By Clive D. Emsley, Chairman, The Fenchurch Fund

No. 27  












Class 73 Takes a Tour of the Extension

From the East Grinstead Courier and Observer , 26 April, 2012: "Deputy mayor Liz Bennett was among the crowd of railway fans who took a trip over the Hill Place viaduct as part of the Bluebell Railway's two-day fundraiser last weekend.

"The open days took train enthusiasts over the viaduct to Imberhorne North on 4VEP unit number 3417 Gordon Pettit, hauled by a Class 73 electro diesel locomotive.

"The event was the last chance to ride the East Grinstead extension line before the engineering works ramp up towards next year's reopening of the fully extended line. 


"But with hundreds of thousands still needed to pay for the extension, the Bluebell Railway is asking everyone to contribute 'a fiver for the finish.'

"Councillor Bennett said: 'The arrival of the Bluebell Railway into East Grinstead will be a historic event in the story of our town, and one which will bring visitors and prosperity to local businesses.'"  


Class 73  









Loco & Carriage Works Update


The Maunsell Society's Q class loco 541 : The tender overhaul is complete other than fitting guard irons, brake blocks, and vacuum chamber-side hoses, and the painting.  


The loco will come into the works for boiler removal as soon as H class 263 goes out. (The next e-newsletter will have news of the H class overhaul.) Photo below is by Mike Esau. 


84030 Class 2MT 2-6-2 Build: We continue with getting the pattern for the trailing pony truck frame completed and researching which firm will be given the job of making the casting. At the same time, we are dealing with the renewal of the axle boxes and horn guides.  We are also refurbishing various other parts and some machining on recently cast items is ongoing.   


We are waiting for the chance to return the frames into the workshop, since the new front drag box needs to be riveted. You can learn more about and support this project by clicking here .


Brighton first class coach 7598: The painting is now completed, and it is awaiting mechanical maintenance and interior cleaning for service during the Southern at War Weekend from 12 to 13 May.

By Lewis Nodes, Trustee, Rolling Stock, and Tony Sullivan, 84040 Class 2MT Project 


Loco 541      


Can You Help Identify These Photos?

For this issue, I've pulled some photos from the Railway's John J. Smith archive collection for which locations are unknown.  


If you know where any of these photos may have been taken, please send me an e-mail .  

By Tony Hillman



Help the Railway by Supporting Our Fundraising Efforts! 

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

Thank you!

Please Send Us Your News

Don't forget to send us news, announcements, photos, and videos of your Bluebell Railway experiences or projects.  


Short news items (three to four paragraphs) are welcome; send them to Neil Cameron . Longer pieces should be forwarded to Colin Tyson at the Bluebell News magazine.

If we print your item, you'll have quite a readership! The e-newsletter's database has been growing impressively of late, and we now have 3,612 sign-ups.  


Those of you who know a bit about e-marketing will know that an online readership rate of 20% to 25% is pretty good, and a "click-through" rate of 10% to 15% is to be expected. Well, the last newsletter was read by 65% of those who received it, and 41.5% found something interesting to click on.

So, thank you to our loyal readers!


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