News from the Bluebell Railway  10 August 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
A Touch of (H) Class
NEP Levelling Almost Complete
Don't Forget! Vintage Transport Weekend, 11 to 12 Aug.
Fenchurch Fund to Hold Open Weekend, 8-9 Sept.
Return of Bulleid Brake Carriage Provokes Memories
More Photos & Videos Celebrating the H Class Return to Service
Explore the BBC Railway Archive
Information Sought on the Brighton Engine Drivers' Strike of 1867
Enjoy These Video Playlists
Archive Quiz: Answers Are In!
Vintage Photos by Ben Brooksbank
Metrobus Announces 270 Service Extension
The Bluebells Have Arrived!

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 Extension Appeal 2012 - Funding for the Finish
Bluebell Railway Extension Appeal 2012: Funding for the Finish.

Locomotive Roster  


Trains & Events  


Train Formations  


Line Map & Gradient Profile  


Local Accomodation List  


Walkscene "Railway Children" Walks  


Lineside Photographers Track Safety  



Southern Steam Days at Eastbourne.
Southern Steam Days at Eastbourne.

Special Events 2012  


Bluebell Railway SECR Mini Gala Saturday 28th July 2012
Bluebell Railway SECR Mini Gala, including the champagne send-off for H Class No. 263, 28 July, 2012, by Ashley Smith.

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


50th Anniversary Appeal  


Bluebell Railway Trust  




Pathe News
A video preview of a remarkable Pathe newsreel about the Bluebell Railway from 1961. Full video can be purchased from this link.


The 9F Approaching Horsted Keynes with the 1pm ex Sheffield Park.
The 9F Approaching Horsted Keynes with the 1 p.m., ex Sheffield Park. Posted on 7 Aug., 2012 by "thedigitaldodo." For the 9F leaving Sheffield Park with a service train, click here .

Carriage & Wagon Updates & Societies

The Bluebell Railway as seen in May 1990, by
The Bluebell Railway as seen in May 1990, by "lswr53."

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

Prints can be ordered online.

A Touch of (H) Class 

H Class Photo-080412
Seen at Kingscote on 28 July, 2012 is H class no. 263 about to complete running around its train on its first day in service after overhaul. By Phil Horscroft. Click on photo for a larger image. For more H Class photos and videos, see below.  



NEP Levelling Almost Complete


The continued good weather has meant that we are making substantial progress on levelling the track bed either side of the cutting.

You may remember Steve Fairweather's Northern Extension Project (NEP) photo in the last edition of the eNewsletter that showed the two different levels of the track bed under the occupation bridge at the north end of the cutting.  


Steve's new photo below--from last Saturday--shows the progress we had been able to make in just one week, being blessed with some good weather at last.

The levelling process is almost complete, which should enable us to move on to installing drainage and service ducts, before track laying begins in earnest.

By Chris White, Infrastructure Director 


NEP 080912  











Don't Forget! Vintage Transport Weekend, 11 to 12 Aug.


This year's Vintage Transport Weekend takes place this coming weekend. Displays of vintage and classic cars, stationary engines, commercial vans, steam road engines, and motorbikes will be on show at Horsted Keynes Station from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day. 

To accompany the display of vintage road vehicles, the Railway will be operating its steam-hauled vintage train service between Sheffield Park, Horsted Keynes, and Kingscote. Service timetable 1 will apply, with the first train departing Sheffield Park at 11.00 a.m. 

Brake Van rides at Horsted Keynes, going down part of the Ardingly Branch, will also take place throughout the weekend, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day. These rides are £3. 

Why not park your car at Sheffield Park and take the train to Horsted Keynes? Your ticket will allow unlimited travel for the day on all steam train services. Plus, restaurant facilities are available at Sheffield Park, and there will be a BBQ at Horsted Keynes. The Sheffield Park locomotive sheds, museum, and shop will be open.

The Great Northern Railway Directors' Saloon will be attached to the 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. departures from Sheffield Park for first class ticket holders (or for a supplement), and tea, coffee, toasted tea-cakes, scones, and home-made cake will be available on board. The noon, 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. departures from Sheffield Park will be formed of Victorian four-wheelers and historic Metropolitan Railway stock. 

There will be guided tours of the carriage works each lunchtime and a rare opportunity to tour the carriage stock stored away for restoration. Dave Clarke and Tony Clements will lead a tour of carriages stored in back sidings at Horsted Keynes on 11 Aug.  


The carriage stock tour will conclude with a viewing of stored sections of two recent arrivals: the LBSCR balloon coach No.89 and the 1860s Craven-era "chariot-windowed" first. 

The tour will start from the top of the subway on Platform 1 at Horsted Keynes at 5:45 p.m. and will last more than an hour. There will be a charge of £5 as a donation to the Maunsell 7864 Restaurant Car fund, and participants must wear stout footware, since the terrain is rough. 



Fenchurch Fund to Hold Open Weekend, 8-9 Sept. 


The Fenchurch Fund will be holding an open weekend at Sheffield Park 8 to 9 Sept. to celebrate the 140th anniversary of her entry into traffic on the LB&SCR. 

It must be noted that we are at a relatively early stage in the planning, and all attractions and events are subject to confirmation.

We hope to have many attractions at Sheffield Park, including a display of photos of both Fenchurch and 27; guided tours of Fenchurch's footplate; guided tours of the restoration of SECR 27; a display of model terriers and P tanks; and a display of Fenchurch and 27 memorabilia.
We also hope to see two P tanks on one of the service trains; to have Stepney working a 1960s style train with the LNWR observation carriage; and to offer brake van rides at Sheffield Park passing over tracks passengers are not normally carried over, using Baxter (another of the restorations carried out by the Villa gang).
Finally, we'd like to hold an evening gathering, possibly with entertainment, and to it invite loco department members who remember both 27 and Fenchurch in service. For more information, contact me at . The photo below is by Lewis Nodes.

By Clive Emsley, Chairman, The Fenchurch Fund



Fenchurch Mugs
Commemorative Fenchurch mugs will be sold at the Vintage weekend, 11 to 12 Aug., in the field at Horsted Keynes and at the Fenchurch 140 event on 8 and 9 Sept. at Sheffield Park. The bone china mugs are £10 each. They feature a Fenchurch line drawing on one side and the logo "Fenchurch 140 1872-2012" on the other.



We thought we'd share this charming blog about a day out on the Bluebell Railway.

Return of Bulleid Brake Carriage Provokes Memories


The return to service of the Railway's Bulleid Brake carriage No. 4279 earlier in the year prompted one of our readers to reminisce about these vehicles and to write up a few notes on their history.

Jeremy Clarke thinks it's probable that he would have travelled in just such a vehicle going to and from post-war seaside holidays on the North Kent Coast, although he was not then well enough versed in carriage law to know one green vehicle from another.  


He also doesn't doubt seeing them on the morning commuter trains, provided he could persuade his father to hang about a bit near the station rather than return directly to the boarding house having bought the morning paper--even if it then meant a cold breakfast!

His full article is can be read here . In it he notes, "This was one of 105 vehicles ordered in three batches by Southern Railway in 1946 to form 35 three-car main line sets, all manufactured by Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Co. at its Smethwick factory and built contemporaneously with 24 three-car sets constructed in the SR workshops at Eastleigh (bodies) and Lancing (frames) ..."

By John Walls   


Bulleid Brake  



More Photos & Videos Celebrating the H Class Return to Service   


Ashley Smith's photos from the H Class No. 263 re-launch weekend, 28 to 29 July.   


A John Sandys slideshow that includes the H Class.  

H Class in a slideshow by Martin Lawrence on the day the loco re-entered service (photo below is from this slideshow).  


A video of the H Class approaching Kingscote by "the digitaldodo".  


A video series of H Class return to service 28 July by "ajr6648" in three parts: 

A forum about the H Class event on the National Preservation website.   


H Class with carriages  











Got updates for the Bluebell Railway eNewsletter? Send your (brief) stories and photos to Neil Cameron at .

Explore the BBC Railway Archive 


The BBC Railway Archive has several items of interest--for instance, the Sussex steam days silent film "A Dog's Day Out" or the Blue Peter episode when John Noakes travelled on footplate from London to Brighton aboard Flying Scotsman in 1966.

"The Train Now Departing: The Survivors" shows Merchant Navy Pacific "Port Line" at the Bluebell Railway, and "The Getaways" is the Railway's best documentary film to date, from the late 1970s. 

There's more of interest here. I enjoyed the sound-only documentary "Some Famous Trains", attracted by the photo of the GNRI Compound. It's London based at Euston and about "The Royal Scot," but not set in Ireland! 

By Neil Cameron



Information Sought on the Brighton Engine Drivers' Strike of 1867


I recently come across an old newspaper cutting on the Internet regarding the LB&SCR engine drivers' strike of 1867. A link to the article is here and on my website (on the history of Brighton branch of the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Fireman, or ASLEF).

Below is a photo of an engraving at Balcombe station that records the event. It reads "WFC, The Strike of the LBSCR Engine Drivers, Tuesday 26 March 1867."  


If any readers have additional information about the strike, to add to my local history, please contact me at .
By Paul Edwards
  ASLEF Strike 1867



Enjoy These Video Playlists  


A playlist of Bluebell Railway videos by "The Southern Steam," including material shot during the Model Railway Weekend when the vintage train was in service.

A playlist by Railwayworld TV channel , showing two parts of a programme on the B4 loco "Normandy."

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway YouTube channel is full a great features for the railway enthusiast!  



The Wine Sleuth reviews Ashdown Park Hotel and the food fair at the Bluebell Railway.

Archive Quiz: Answers Are In!  


Here are the answers to my intriguing summer challenge:  


Thanks, as always, for help in identifying these locations. The quiz is taking a summer break, but it will be back later in the year.


By Tony Hillman   



Vintage Photos by Ben Brooksbank


A WD heads for Dover Ferry 1948 ; period slideshow of London Bridge.  

View eastward of a train on No. 2 Up Eastern line, headed by ex-WD 'Austerity' 2-8-0 No. 78597, built late 1944, stored briefly at Longmoor then shipped over the Channel in 12/44: it was returned to England in 4/46 and after overhaul at Ashford was loaned to the SR (at Hither Green) in 5/47, then taken into BR to become eventually No. 90390: it was transferred to the LMR in 9/51 and withdrawn in 9/65. (Note that here it still has the Westinghouse pump fitted for working trains on the Continent. The train is comprised of Continental fruit wagons, the front one being Italian (FS), presumably returning to Dover for the train-ferry to Dunkerque from Ewer Street (Southwark) Depot. (Photo 1948).  


WD 2-8-0  

Belfast York Road Station , with a steam train in 1960.

View southward, towards buffer-stops; NIR, former LMSR (NCC)(Belfast & Northern Counties Railway). York Road station was replaced on 17/10/92 by a new station at Yorkgate and on 28/11/94 the new cross-harbour line through Belfast Central was opened. The steam train, probably for Larne, is headed by a Class WT 2-6-4T No. 6.   


Plus ... London Bridge & environs , a steam age slide show.  

(Editor's Note) Open the search radius on Geograph/Ben Brooksbank, and you'll see a lot more of London and its railways to see. Or search for photos in the Geograph location of most interest to you--there's a huge collection! The Geograph Project is a wonderful resource, and you may consider adding your photos or collections.   



Metrobus Announces 270 Service Extension


(From This Is Sussex ) "A bus connection between East Grinstead and Brighton will be launched next month. Metrobus has announced that between 6:25 a.m. and 4:35 p.m. there will be buses roughly once an hour leaving East Grinstead train station for Brighton.

"In the other direction there will be buses between 8:30 a.m. and 6:15 p.m. The route will take in Ashurst Wood, Forest Row, Chelwood Gate, Horsted Keynes, Burgess Hill, Haywards Heath, and Hassocks.

"It will be an extension of the 270 service, which currently operates hourly between East Grinstead and Haywards Heath. The majority of the services will end at Royal Sussex County Hospital. The new service will be running over a longer period of the day than is currently the case.

"The service will also now run on a Saturday, which will benefit visitors to the Bluebell Railway. Metrobus has said that it aims to bring more tourists to East Grinstead ..."  


To read the entire article, click here .  



The Bluebells Have Arrived!


(From This Is Sussex ) "Ian Russell may be a familiar name to readers as a regular in the Courier & Observer Picture of the Week slot. Now his photography skills have gained him so much praise he's decided to go professional.

Customers of Bluebell's Cafe in East Grinstead can now view some of his work, as owner Debbie Sipkoski is exhibiting his works on the walls of the cafe until the end of July. They feature local scenes of bluebells and the nearby Bluebell Railway ..."  


Click here for more. The photo below, from This Is Sussex, shows Ian Russell and cafe owner Debbie Sipkoski. Russell's website can be found here .

Ian Russell   












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