News from the Bluebell Railway 27 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
Northern Extension Project Update: Progress on Many Fronts
The Signals Are Looking Good!
Membership Reaches a New High
Cresta Won!
Memories of the Kent Coast
Enjoy These Recent Photos & Slideshows
Upcoming Events in September
Steam Crane to Be Returned to 1950s Livery
New from the Bluebell Railway Shop

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 Raiway E4 Tank 473 'Birch Grove' at Sheffield Park, Bluebell Railway.
Southern Railway E4 Tank 473 "Birch Grove" takes a vintage set from Sheffield Park up side carriage shed, places down platform, and runs-round to form a first service train. This video shows off the vintage set beautifully! By Great Railway Journeys, August 2012.

Special Events 2012  


Steam Trains at the Bluebell Railway 1994 Beulah Library Roll F30
Trains at the Bluebell Railway in 1994 from Beulah Library Roll, including troublesome trucks and views from Highbrook--an excellent record.

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


50th Anniversary Appeal  


Bluebell Railway Trust  




Bluebell Railway: SE&CR P No.323 & C Class No.592 at Sharpthorne Tunnel 12/08/2012
The vintage train seen at the old West Hoathly station site in August 2012, northbound for Kingscote.


 "Mark and Hayley's" visit to the Bluebell. The editors find in this video a well-observed grand day out to the strains of Al Bowlly, a great match with the period feel of the travel experience in the "Chesham" set of carriages!

Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

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

Prints can be ordered online.

Northern Extension Project Update: Progress on Many Fronts


Everyone working on the extension project over the last few weeks is maximising his and her input during the continued, mainly dry, weather.

This effort means hopping from one job to another as waterlogged material is excavated and allowed to dry out, whilst some other job is progressed, before going back and moving the other material into position. Keeping the plant operating at maximum efficiency is vital; this is the most expensive part of the operation just now.

Earthworks north of the accommodation bridge are now complete at the new gradient, which continues southwards into the cutting up to the 290 metre marker, and it is stabilised and ready to accept drainage and track. South of Imberhorne Lane bridge, the profiling is also complete, stabilised, and with track reinstated up to the 16 mile point, again at the new gradient.

Kingscote (KC) signal post 53 (Down Home) is now planted (see Steve Fairweather's photo below and the following story) and looks very smart, and cable ducts are being installed northwards from this signal to the new KC signal 53R (Down Distant), which is yet to be planted near the 16 mile point. Further signalling equipment cases are being rolled out at present.

Whilst all these jobs going on at the same time may seem complicated, the system does work, and excellent progress is being made. We are not yet back to the original time line, but we are catching up quite fast.

Progress remains a matter of continuing dry weather and, of course, funding. Having written that, a spring 2013 opening still looks good.

By Chris White, Infrastructure Director


Final Signal    













The Signals Are Looking Good!  


Signal Placement 8/12













In this photo by Alan Grove, Brian Hymas is seen positioning the KC53 (Kingscote Down Home) signal head on the main structure.  


The signal was erected on 8 August, although the subsidiary signal for the route into the Up Sidings has yet to be fitted.  


Because of a national shortage of electric signal motors for semiphore signals, the Railway is concentrating its scarce supply of such equipment on station areas.  


Since Kingscote represents the 1950s, it was felt that it was best to concentrate the more modern signalling equipment (bearing in mind that the Southern Railway installed its first colour light signals in the 1920s) on the extension to the north of Kingscote.  


This location is also the transition point for the immunisation from the main-line electrification at East Grinstead, with opto-isolators and a change from 50V to 650V electrical supplies. 


For more on the Northern Extension Project, click here



Membership Reaches a New High


Our Railway is very lucky in that it consistently maintains a very high level of membership. In fact, membership currently stands at 10,342--a record high. We enroll new members every week, and I receive several e-mail requests every week enquiring about membership information.

And members come from far and wide, not just from Sussex! We have members from all the counties of the UK and Eire, as well as 100 members from Europe, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, Africa, and Japan.

Many of our members have been with us for a long time, and, unfortunately, about one or two a week pass away. Our thoughts are always with them. Where we seem to have a problem is retaining junior members once they are no longer part of a family membership.

I know we have a very active 9F group, which has a waiting list of prospective members, but I am thinking of the 16- to 25-year-olds who will be the next generation that carries the great traditions of the Bluebell Railway forward.

So, please, encourage young people to get involved with the Railway, as members and volunteers. Membership information can be found here and information on volunteering can be found here .

By Don Brewer, Membership Secretary



Cresta Won!

Southdown Cup Winner
Karen Bush won the Southdown Cup (the "Best in Show") at the recent Vintage Transport Weekend for her 1962 Vauxhall PA Cresta, 198SKL. The judges particularly noted the outstanding condition of the vehicle given that cars from this era are often prone to rust. Derek Hayward's photo shows Bush with the car and the trophy. Haywood has a large gallery of photos from last weekend and Nick Burgess's photos can be found here.



Memories of the Kent Coast


Kent Coast Bulleid  











The up "Man of Kent" express passing Ashford in 1957, courtesy of Ben Brooksbank. 

"View eastward, towards Folkestone and Dover ahead, Canterbury and Ramsgate to the left: ex-SE&CR London-Dover/Ramsgate via Ashford main line. The 'Man of Kent' was 12:40 from Margate via Ramsgate and Dover to Charing Cross (arr. 15:48), here headed by Bulleid 'Battle of Britain' Light Pacific No. 34083 '605 Squadron' (built 10/48, withdrawn 6/64). On the right in a siding is an H Class 0-4-4T and beyond is Ashford Locomotive Works."

Southern Railway Films scenes shot in 1929 and 1930 in the Folkestone and Dover area. Note: after 30 seconds, you see Bluebell Railway locos 323 and 27 together on shed at Folkestone Junction. At 3:49, watch the Dover Tram (far right) passing through the site of the former London Chatham and Dover station. The two-funnel steam ships are from the former SECR fleet. At 4:50, the Dover loco shed can be seen on the left, and the site of the former South Eastern Railway Dover town station is viewed between the loco shed and the tall Lord Warden Hotel.  

Scenes of Folkestone Harbour, Folkestone Junction, and Folkestone Junction-Dover. 

Video of seagoing activity at Folkestone Harbour, including cargo nets, containers craned on and off classic ships, such as Canterbury, the all-first Golden Arrow ship during 1930s, by "hollpoll."

Family photos of Folkestone in the days of steam, by "hollpoll."  

In this Southern Railway Film , at 0:38 you see P class loco 27 steaming along the quay at Folkestone Harbour.


A C class loco seen at the gate from Dover quays/Eastern Docks to regain the main line for the Dover yards. 

The loco accessing Wellington Dock quayside roads

Two photos-- here and here --of the diesel shunt locos that displaced the P class tanks, with a view of the dock area and Wellington swing bridge to access Eastern Docks tramway.


And more memories can be found in this PDF document .

By Neil Cameron



Got updates for the Bluebell Railway eNewsletter? Send your (brief) stories and photos to John Walls .

Enjoy These Recent Photos
& Slideshows


Below and here , Ian Whitehead captures and frames a view of the vintage train on 5 Aug. Richard Salmon, in the Bluebell Blog , points out that the coaches are from the same era as the loco, a combination rarely found these days.

Captain Baxter is seen at Horsted Keynes in between giving brake van rides during Vintage Transport Weekend in August 2012.

Keith Duke's 11 Aug. slideshow captures the Vintage Transport Weekend.


Ian Knight's visit to the Railway on 20 Aug. 


Vintage Train  











Upcoming Events in September


Early autumn brings up two very special events on the Bluebell railway calendar!

8 & 9 Sept. Fenchurch Fund 140 Open Weekend : A chance to see a display about "Fenchurch," inspect progress on No.27's overhaul, and discuss the small locos with the Villa and Fenchurch Fund teams.

30 Sept. Northern Extension Track Trek : Help the Railway raise the £570,000 required to complete our extension to East Grinstead by Easter 2013.

Also in September:

7, 14, 21, & 28 Sept. Fish & Chip Evening Supper Specials .

14 Sept. Murder Mystery evening on the Golden Arrow Pullman.

15, 22, & 29 Sept. Full Afternoon Tea on board our Lounge Car service.

Last days of summer! Come rain or shine: Book your Bluebell Bonus and Kids for a Quid tickets in advance of travel and save £s on our standard fares. Telephone 01825 720800 or see further details here .   


Join the Bluebell Railway's Track Trek, Sunday 30 September 2012
Join the Bluebell Railway's Track Trek, 30 Sept. 2012.

















Steam Crane to Be Returned to 1950s Livery

Bluebell Railway's Ransomes & Rapier 45-ton lift steam crane--looking very smart in this photo recently found in storage--is joined by the Gorton Breakdown Gang. 

The group is posing for an official post-repaint photograph, which was handed to me in 1981 by Bert Horridge (far left in photo). He drove this crane for nearly all of its working life, at the Gorton and Newton Heath depots in the Manchester area. 

The crane will be returned to this smart livery, once the project can get going after some formalities are concluded, to produce a smart, rolling exhibit, while we make an assessment about returning the crane to operation. 

The crane currently is missing its cab roof and some components, it has a broken spring on the main carriage, replacement of some rusted out items is needed, footboards must be dealt with, and the jib runner needs to be re-plated, when the opportunity presents itself.  


See our web pages for more information and please consider contributing to the crane fund.

By Neil Cameron 


Steam Crane Livery  













New from the Bluebell Railway Shop


The Bluebell Railway Shop is located at Sheffield Park Station. Items can be browsed and securely purchased from its eCommerce website . For more information, call 01825 720803 or e-mail .

Sussex Railway Stations on old Picture Postcards
In the early years of the 20th century, Britain's railways reached their zenith as did postcard printing and collecting. Many photographers recorded scenes in their locality and the railway station, a source of local pride, was often included (see photo below for an example).

Southern Region Memories
John Sharp and Tony Hillman who have selected photographs taken by the late John J. Smith and now in the care of the Bluebell's Museum. Smith worked in the Special Trains Department of the Divisional HQ at Croydon and, therefore, knew of many unusual workings which he then photographed.

Preserved Locomotives Stamps
This package, of particular interest to philatelists, has been created as a joint venture for Buckingham Covers by the Bluebell Railway, the Avon Valley Railway, the Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Preservation Trust, the North Norfolk Railway and Steam, the museum of the Great Western Railway.  


Old Station  











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