News from the Bluebell Railway 7 September 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
Tracking the NEP
UK Railtours Plans First London-to-Bluebell Railway Train, 28 March, 2013
Announcing the Bluebell Railway/Sheffield Park & Garden Initiative
More Than 400 for Track Trek
Fenchurch 140th Weekend Update
Update on the Standard Class 2 Tank Engine Restoration
Enjoy These Recent Photos
A Great Day Out, Thanks to the Lions
Memories of Bricklayers Arms
Upcoming Events in September

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



Hollpoll's video of seagoing activity at Folkestone Harbour, including cargo nets, containers craned on and off classic ships (such as Canterbury, the Golden Arrow ship during the 1930s, seen in post-war scenes).
"Hollpoll's" video of seagoing activity at Folkestone Harbour, including cargo nets, containers craned on and off classic ships (such as Canterbury, the Golden Arrow ship during the 1930s, seen in post-war scenes).

Special Events 2012  


Railways in North Cornwall, 1960
Rare video of steam from Wadebridge to Padstow and the Bulleid Society's 34023 "Blackmore Vale" arriving at  Port Isaac Road and from the train. (Eds.--Great to see these rare scenes being digitised!)

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


50th Anniversary Appeal  


Bluebell Railway Trust  




Captain Baxter brake van rides at Horsted Keynes, 11 Aug., by Dave Braley.
Captain Baxter brake van rides at Horsted Keynes, 11 Aug., by Dave Braley.


last days of steam in Devon, 1965 (includes rare interview with Col. O.V.S. Bulleid, then in retirement at Exmouth).
Last days of steam in Devon, 1965 (includes rare interview with Col. O.V.S. Bulleid, then in retirement at Exmouth).

Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

Bluebell Railway Thursday 30th August 2012
Writes "alts1985," "I had a midweek day off work with not much to do, so I went over to the extension to have a look at the amazing progress there and then made my way down to West Hoathly to catch the afternoon of the summer service at the Bluebell Railway. I walked lineside between West Hoathly and Kingscote with U no.1638 and E4 no.B473 in charge of the hourly service trains." From 30 Aug., 2012.

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

Prints can be ordered online.

Tracking the NEP

NEP Tracklaying-082812
John Sandys' photo shows recent progress on Northern Extension track laying, with some very nicely aligned track in place. More information on Northern Extension Project (NEP) progress can be found here .



Save the Date!  
UK Railtours Plans First London-to-Bluebell Railway Train, 28 March, 2013


Work on the Railway's northern extension to East Grinstead was delayed by the terrible weather conditions earlier in the year, turning the site into a gigantic mudbath and bringing excavation to a standstill.

But things are going ahead in leaps and bounds! The 100,000 tons of domestic refuse that was dumped in a cutting to the south of East Grinstead have virtually gone, thanks to a splendid effort by the Railway's staff, contractors, and GB Railfreight, which operated the refuse trains. Now it's time to build the actual railway and get it ready for trains!

We can confirm--subject to there being no major challenges in the final stages of work--that UK Railtours will be running the first through train from London Victoria to the Bluebell Railway on 28 March, 2013.

On arrival at Horsted Keynes the leading loco--one of the GB Railfreight Class 66 locos that have given such splendid service hauling the 90 trains of rubbish--will be specially named to mark the completion of the mammoth task and the arrival of the first train from London for more than half a century.

Prices have not yet been fixed and bookings are not yet open, but put the date in your diary, and all will be revealed in future newsletters.   



Announcing the Bluebell Railway/Sheffield Park
& Garden Initiative


The Railway currently is working with the National Trust's Sheffield Park and Garden on an initiative designed to promote the Sheffield Park district and its two attractions as a visitor centre.

Discussions are at an early stage, but a start has been made with the inclusion of the logos of both organisations on a range of promotional material. The aim is to put in place a agreed strategy in time for the 2013 season. Among the issues under discussion are: 

  • The scope and best means of tapping into the extensive London tourist and residential market, which will be more readily accessible following the opening of the East Grinstead extension
  • The development of joint visitor attractions
  • Greater access to event promotion channels
  • Improvements to directional signs on roads leading to Sheffield Park and our other stations. 

The photo below, of the Sheffield Park mansion, is taken from .


Plus, enjoy this autumn video of Sheffield Park, and a little Vivaldi to go along with it!

The 1961 film of Henry James "The Innocents" was filmed in part at Sheffield Park and Sheffield Park station was used for an arrival scene, perhaps Bluebell's first feature film.  

By David Cockram & Neil Cameron 


   Sheffield Park Garden  












And there are more stunning gardens to visit near the Bluebell Railway. We thought you'd be interested in this review and these images of Gravetye Manor near West Hoathly. Check the manor's website for open days.

More Than 400 for Track Trek,  

& Counting!


It's less than a month until our next major fundraising event takes place. The Track Trek already has more 400 pre-registered trekkers--including one man who'll be walking in a gorilla suit! --and this number promises to provide significant funding for the Northern Extension Project.

There's still time to print a form and get sponsorship from friends, neighbours, family, and work colleagues. It will help us if you pre-register so that we know roughly the number of participants to expect.

Everyone completing the trek will receive a certificate, and those raising £100 or more will receive a commemorative medal. Facebook users are encouraged to join the Track Trek Facebook group .
If you are unable to participate but would still like to financially support the event, there are several people registered on the Just Giving website, including East Grinstead's Mayor Liz Bennett, whom you can support at .    


























Fenchurch 140th Weekend Update


The Fenchurch 140th anniversary weekend takes place Sept. 8 to 9! Hopefully, there will be a couple of SECR locos on one of the trains, depending on operational requirements and loco availability, and Fenchurch and (hopefully) Stepney will be on display in the dock at Sheffield Park.

Also, the collection of historical pictures is ready for display, as is information regarding the restoration of SECR No. 27. Guides will be on hand to explain the progress, discuss the restoration, and show the finer points of Fenchurch's footplate. 

We will be having a fund-raising stand selling modelling items, T-shirts, commemorative mugs, and more. Unfortunately, it is unlikely the brake van rides will take place due to operational reasons.

We could use a few stewards on Sunday, Sept. 9. If you are able to help, even for an hour or so, please e-mail me .  


We look forward to seeing you all at the event--volunteers and sightseers, family and friends--and we thank you for your continued support.

By Clive D. Emsley, Chairman, The Fenchurch Fund


Fenchurch Mugs  














Update on the Standard Class 2 Tank Engine Restoration 

The aim of this project is to rebuild BR Class 2 No.78059 ("84030") into a representative of the tank engine version of the class. A small group under the leadership of John Jesson normally meets every Thursday to work on the project.

Tony Sullivan's photo below shows recent progress with one aspect of the "conventional overhaul" side of the project--the refurbishment of the Wakefield lubricators.

This photo shows the start of work (that is, simply cleaning the exterior) that began last month. It's a reminder that any major project brings together many individual components, each one of which requires care and attention to detail.

More information on the project can be found here .  


84030 Progress-090412  












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

Enjoy These Recent Photos

Chris Thomas' gallery from 19 Aug.

Neal Ball's gallery from the 19 Aug. Rail Ale train.

Photos from Dave Braley of the Vintage Transport Weekend, including several of "Captain Baxter" shunting around Horsted Keynes ready for brake van rides.

Martin Lawrence's photos from 27 Aug. (The photo below is entitled "A Good Day.")


Martin Lawrence Photo-090412  












A Great Day Out, Thanks to the Lions

(From the Mid-Sussex Times ) "Thanks to the Burgess Hill District Lions, 16 members from the Cherry Tree Activity Centre in Fairfield Road, Burgess Hill, Sussex were recently treated to a ploughman's lunch on the Bluebell Railway vintage train ...  


"Burgess Hill District Lions gave a grant of £400 which covered the cost of transport, the train fare, and lunch."


For the full story, click here .


   Lions Bluebell  













Sadly we must report that Wendi Kelly, the wife of Funding Director Roger Kelly passed away last month. She was suffering from a rare and particularly debilitating form of early onset dementia. In addition to helping Roger with funding, Wendi worked on the Victorian specials until her illness made her give up the activity. Roger is fundraising (well he would wouldn't he?) in her memory for research into brain diseases, including dementia, at .

Memories of Bricklayers Arms

The Bricklayer's Arms was a branch near the North Kent West Junction in Bermondsey, a formerly busy freight branch and loco depot.  


It was constructed by the South East and Chatham Railway Company with running rights for the London-to-Brighton South Coast Railway.
In its first 10 years, it was the South London Passenger Terminal and known as "West End Station" before the opening of London Bridge Station.


The last recorded history as a passenger terminal was in 1863 with the arrival of Princess Alexandria of Denmark, prior to her Marriage to Edward VII. 

Historical information about the 1863 Royal train arrival at Bricklayers Arms station journey of the Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra of Denmark from Gravesend, Kent to Bricklayers Arms, London on 7 March, 1863.

Photos by Ben Brooksbank:


9 July 1958 : SR 2-6-0 on Bricklayers Arms branch near North Kent West Junction, Bermondsey View eastward near South Bermondsey station: ex-SE&CR/LB&SCR. Ex-LB&SCR L. Billinton K class 2-6-0 No. 32348 (built 12/20, withdrawn 11/62) has come from North Kent West Junction, under the bridges carrying the ex-LB&SC South London line and the main line from Norwood Junction, Croydon and the Coast.  


30 April 1959 : Ex-LB&SCR 0-6-2T shunting at Bricklayers Arms Goods  

In the days (1959) when the several Depots at Bricklayer's Arms were still very active, ex-LB&SC R. Billinton class E6 0-6-2T No. 32418 (built 12/1905, withdrawn 12/62) is shunting.

Slideshow taken in the Bricklayers Arms area.  


Video of Bricklayers Arms

Festival of Britain 1951 , with visiting "Crewe type" 2-2-2 loco Number 3l. (The locomotive was built in 1844 for the Paris-to-Rouen Railway. It is being demonstrated at Bricklayers Arms.)

By Neil Cameron
   Bricklayers Arms
The interior of the Bricklayers Arms goods shed.



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.




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