News from the Bluebell Railway 10 May 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
Bluebell Railway Preservation Society AGM to be Held, 19 May
NEP Work Hit by Rain
Welfare Facilities Structure Nears Completion
Bulleid Carriage Gets a Fresh Coat, Re-Enters Service
Kingscote Goods Yard Project Web Page Launched
Southern at War Photo Competition
Ride the Directors' Saloon
"Bluebell in Colour" Now Available at Reduced Price
Check Out These Beautiful Photos of a Bluebell Railway Wedding!
Golden Arrow Gets Gilt-Edged Review
Railway Runners Take Part in (Muddy) Sussex Living Marathon
Archive Photo Quiz Results Are In!
Enjoy These Recent Photos!

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  

From the 1960s: The end of steam on Brighton's westbound services, seen crossing the Arun and at Brighton.
From the 1960s: The end of steam on Brighton's westbound services, seen crossing the River Adur and at Brighton. Plus, Flying Scotsman's trip from London to Brighton, including a shot at Haywards Heath.

Special Events 2012  


The dining train is retrieved from the carriage shed at Sheffield Park by U class No.1638 in preparation for it's evening run to Kingscote and back, by Martin Lawrence.
The dining train is retrieved from the carriage shed at Sheffield Park by U class No.1638 in preparation for it's evening run to Kingscote and back, by Martin Lawrence.

Just Giving  


50th Anniversary Appeal  


Bluebell Railway Trust  




Amberley seen in 1952, with camping coaches, freights, freight shunting, and geared locos (by Southern Railway films).
Amberley seen in 1952, with camping coaches, freights, freight shunting, and geared locos (by Southern Railway films).


Goods Train Day, 14 April 2012, by Ashley Smith.
Goods Train Day, 14 April 2012, by Ashley Smith.

Carriage & Wagon Updates & Societies

Series of four videos by
First of a series of four videos by "AJR6648," taken on 28 April, recording the whole day's cycle of activity.
A set of Brighton Atlantic photographs from the Colin Hogg Collection
in the Bluebell Railway Archive:

Prints can be ordered online.
For Southern at War weekend, the 1941 film "Shunter Black's Night Off," on the Southern Railway at Feltham Yard.

Bluebell Railway Preservation Society AGM to be Held, 19 May  


The Bluebell Railway Preservation Society's Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held 19 May starting at 7 p.m. at Oakmeeds Community College in Burgess Hill. There may not be an election for trustees this year, but the AGM is a chance for members to have their say and question officers and company directors on the management of the Railway that we all support.

There are two motions on the agenda. One is on a proposed increase in members' subscriptions and another is on offering working volunteers the opportunity to claim travel costs. There will be reports from the Bluebell Railway Trust; on funding, museums, and archives; on the Northern Extension Project (NEP); and for the last time on Operation Undercover (which has come to a successful conclusion).

Finally, there will be the chance to part Graham Flight and Roy Watts from some cash. They have issued the Chairmen's Challenge whereby between them they will double donations made on the night of the AGM to the NEP up to a total of £1,000. Taking account of money collected on the night--and fundraising activity since the Double Donations Dash--an up-to-date NEP funding gap will be announced. There also will be the usual displays and information on various Railway projects.

So come along, and we hope to see you there!

By Roger Kelly, Funding Director


NEP Work Hit by Rain    


You may remember Chris White writing at the end of his last update, about a month ago, that progress on the Northern Extension Project (NEP) depended on whether the keen gardeners among you were more interested in praying for rain for the plants than for sunshine for the NEP.

Well, it appears we now know where our readers stand-four weeks deluge surely is enough for the seedlings, please! Unfortunately, this "spot of damp" has hampered work on the NEP, as White explains ...

Progress on the NEP at Imberhorne Lane can best be described as slow due to the continuing rain and increasingly wet ground surfaces. Despite this, the eastern (down side) cutting face is now exposed throughout its length, enabling stability checks to take place on the original sandstone material and datum points to be installed.

It has also been possible to transfer some of the residual waste onto the south end sandstone shelf above the cutting, which is another job done. However, in the grand scheme, we remain behind schedule and when things improve, there will be a lot of catching up to do.

Meanwhile, work at Kingscote North is also progressing slowly and extra "Brownie points" must be awarded to the undeterred volunteer Permanent Way team that continue to support Matt Crawford with his tight works delivery schedule. The lack of turn round facilities is placing a heavy operational burden on the Locomotive Department, making the programmed end of May on-time restoration of these facilities absolutely crucial for all.

By Chris White, Infrastructure Director 


Welfare Facilities Structure Nears Completion  


Work to complete the new Locomotive Department Welfare Facilities Structure--known as the "Above Workshop Facilities" due to their location above the existing machine shop--is now well advanced. 

The project involves the construction of a new clad steel frame structure partly on new foundations and partly on existing workshop foundations. This facility will provide new male and female washrooms, messing facilities for staff, new offices for the works manager, and a classroom. 

The project started in January 2012, and after an initial setback with the existing ground conditions, the steel superstructure began to take shape at the end of March. Remaining work to be completed includes external cladding, flooring and staircases, and finalising a revised detail for the fire separation between the two buildings. 

If we are not hampered any further by the inclement weather, the structure should be complete by the end of May. Our attention can then turn to internal fixtures and fittings and to the opening this much-needed facility. (The photo below is by John Sandys.)

By Chris Hunford, Infrastructure Trustee

Loco Welfare Facilities  


Bulleid Carriage Gets a Fresh Coat, Re-Enters Service 


Over the last few weeks the paint shop in the Carriage Works at Horsted Keynes has been occupied by Southern Railway Bulleid Brake No.4279. 

This carriage, which has now run on Railway trains for 38 years since it arrived in 1970, was last overhauled between 1976 and 1979, with further intermediate work undertaken 15 years ago.  It was due for a repaint a few years ago, but it could not be fitted into the paint shop programme at that time, so it was given a rapid couple of coats of paint, in the station platforms by a team of volunteers. 

That served us well for the last three years, but the time had come for a full repaint, which the coach has now received--and very smart it looks too! 

The carriage is one of two Southern Railway Bulleid brakes which are usually to be found at the south end of the Railway's main carriage set, running in daily service from spring to autumn.  They are unusual in having both an open saloon and two compartments, along with a brake compartment for the guard.

By Richard Salmon (story & photo)



Kingscote Goods Yard Project Web Page Launched  


The Kingscote Goods Yard Project aims to do the physical work to deliver one of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society's long term plans, that of creating at Kingscote station an authentic Goods Yard, both as a focus for the station and as an important heritage and interpretation goal for the Railway. 

Whilst the site is constrained by land now occupied by an independent business, there is space to recreate much of the original goods yard, although some re-arrangement compared to the original layout is inevitable. 

The first steps were taken many years back, when the goods shed from Horsted Keynes--which was relocated in the late 1990s to make way for an extension to the carriage works--was positioned in the location that had been once occupied by Kingscote's shed. 

A new web page devoted to the project takes up the story, with the latest news at the top of the page.  


By Richard Clark 


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.   
  • Deadline for submission: May 18 at 5 p.m. 

Good luck!   


Ride the Directors' Saloon  


On high days and holidays, the former Great Northern/LNER directors' saloon is available to First Class Ticket holders, with a refreshment service on board.

The next opportunity to ride the saloon will be during the June Jubilee Bank Holiday. Check the saloon's Facebook page to learn details, dates, and on which train set the saloon is to be attached.

This magnificent saloon was constructed in 1897, and refitted in 1933 by the LNER. It remained in use for the GNR/LNER directors and then British Railways Eastern Region General Manager until 1969, when it was sold into preservation by The Howlden Trust.

Roger Price is asking for volunteers who might be interested in staffing the saloon, as it is getting more difficult to staff all the dates the saloon is running, for both public trains and charters. Contact him at .


Director's Saloon  


"Bluebell in Colour" Now Available at Reduced Price

Nostalgic Bluebell Railway colour photos--offered in two volumes by 1960s Transport Photographer David Christie--are now being sold at a reduced price at Christie's bookstore. 

The books cover visits Christie made to the Railway in 1964 to 1972 and 1974 to 1993. The books are printed on high-quality paper to bring out the best in his work. "There's not much point of having a photo book if the best quality is not attained," notes Christie.  

  • To browse a catalog of Christie's Bluebell Railway and other volumes, click here .
  • For a slideshow preview of some of the images in the volumes, click here .  
  • Christie also has prepared an exclusive slideshow from the  famous "Blue Belle" rail tour-- Victoria to Haywards Heath, for the Bluebell Railway via Ardingly, 15 Sept. 1963.   
  • And don't miss Christie's colour photos of the final days of British Railways steam .     

Check Out These Beautiful Photos of a Bluebell Wedding!

We just had to share these photographs with you, taken by Sussex photography firm Light Trick, of a Bluebell Railway wedding in all its romantic glory!


Asks Light Trick, "Have you ever been at a wedding on a train? I hadn't until this wonderful wedding of Ross and Fiona at the Bluebell Railway. It all started at Horsted Keynes Station ..."

Golden Arrow Gets Gilt-Edged Review

Writes Andrew Kay in , "I never had much interest in train sets as a kid, Lego was my thing but I do have one enduring memory of steam trains, yes, I am that old. It is of me standing on the platform at St Helen's Junction with my mother. She was wearing a white dress covered in tiny red pink roses and we were going to Blackpool for a day out. I remember the dress well because against the big black steam engine and billowing smoke and steam she looked so pretty.

"Now my interest in trains has been re-ignited, and not I might add by the dismal and undignified service offered in the UK by some operators. No, I love the Bluebell Railway. So when an invitation arrived to dine in their Pullman car pulled by the Golden Arrow I was quick to accept. Mr R. Junior has no interest in trains, but Mr R. Senior is crazy about them and about to embark on building a train set of his own--so I asked him along.

"One thing I really love about the Bluebell Railway is the comprehensive approach to detail. I love that once through that ticket office door you are taking a step back in time, and this time at dusk I was met by the sight of the Golden Arrow and soft brown Pullman coaches. It was an impressive sight ..." 

Refined dining, Pullman style!

Railway Runners Take Part in (Muddy) Sussex Living Marathon

On 5 May a team of five Bluebell Railway runners took part in the East Grinstead 10-mile race, the first race in the inaugural Sussex Living Marathon Weekend .

The course was mostly off road, and due to the recent weather, it was incredibly muddy. In some places, runners had to run through mud deeper than their ankles, standing water, and at one point what was effectively a stream bed.

The mud made it very heavy going, but despite that, all five of us managed to finish with times ranging from a very impressive 1 hr 13 min (Andy Fink) to a less impressive 2 hr 05 min (myself). 

The photo below is a mud-splattered "after race" shot. (L-R) James Bright, David Bright, Adam Fink, Lorna Webb, and Andy Stadden.
By Lorna Webb


Sussex Living Run


Archive Photo Quiz Results Are In!

Thanks to all those who sent in their thoughts about the six locations of "mystery photos" published in the last eNewsletter. 

Number 3 caused the most discussion, with quite a strong lobby for Southerham Junction. Oxted won in the end. Helston--well off Southern territory--was readily spotted by many.  


Number 4 was the most difficult one, with no one giving a definite answer.
On looking at the other pictures that John Smith took that day, I believe it is Eastbourne, but I'm very happy to be corrected!  


Number 5 was embarrassing--that actually well-captioned image is included in the Plymouth Middleton Press book!

So, the photo locations in order from last issue are: Oxted, Clapham Junction, Oxted, Eastbourne (I believe), Plymouth (Sutton Harbour Branch), and Helston.


Here are six more mysteries. Can you spot the locations? 

Suggestions gratefully received at .


By Tony Hillman 


Enjoy These Recent Photos!  

Vintage Truck  


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