News from the Bluebell Railway 22 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
The Railway Receives Burrin Award for Disabled Access Efforts
A Family of Stationmasters
The Railway Gets Another Great Western Visitor
Track Trek's Gearing Up for 30 Sept.!
Friends of Sheffield Park Update
Plan Ahead for the Christmas Season!
Enjoy These Recent Photos
Snap Safe!
Memories of Southern Railway in Devon & Cornwall
More History of Bricklayers Arms
Upcoming Events in October

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: The Folkestone Harbour Branch (Eds.--At 0:38 you can see P class loco 27 steaming along the quay at Folkestone Harbour in this interesting collection from Southern Railway Films.)
Southern Steam: The Folkestone Harbour Branch (Eds.--At 0:38 you can see P class loco 27 steaming along the quay at Folkestone Harbour in this interesting collection from Southern Railway Films.)

Special Events 2012  


Atlantic Coast Express c1960
Atlantic Coast Express in around 1960. More on the Atlantic Coast Express can be found here .

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


50th Anniversary Appeal  


Bluebell Railway Trust  




South west railways in the 1960s. More information can be found here.
South west railways in the 1960s. More information can be found here .


Southern Steam - Beattie Well Tanks on the Bodmin & Wadebridge
Southern Steam: Beattie Well Tanks on the Bodmin & Wadebridge.

Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

The Bluebell Railway on 30 Aug., 2012 by Ashley Smith.
The Bluebell Railway on 30 Aug., 2012 by Ashley Smith.

A set of Isle of White steam
including LBSCR, from the

John J. Smith Collection
in the Bluebell Railway Archive:

Prints can be ordered online.
Southern Steam: The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway in around 1935.
Southern Steam: The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway in around 1935.

The Railway Receives Burrin Award for Disabled Access Efforts


The East Grinstead and District Access Group has given a "Burrin Award" to the Bluebell Railway in recognition of the Railway's efforts to provide equal opportunities for disabled people and to better their quality of life.

According to group member and former mayor of East Grinstead, Ginnie Waddingham, for the award the Access Group visits area pubs, clubs, and attractions to judge whether disabled patrons will have a good experience.

It awards points if efforts have been made to make a visit by a disabled person--those with limited mobility, sight, and hearing--enjoyable, by adding extra facilities to aid assistance or by other accommodations.

Waddingham highlights the following enhancements the Railway has made for its disabled visitors: 
  • The "People's Millions" (SECR 3360) carriage , specially converted to carry disabled passengers.
  • Before the end of this year the Railway hopes to introduce a second BR Mark 1 coach (4941), fully converted for wheelchair access with lifts on both sides.
  •  Access ramps for use with brake vans and specifically with the "People's Millions" coach.
  • Assistance crossing tracks offered during special events so that all platforms are accessible.  
  • The large and accessible blue badge bays at Sheffield Park and Bessemer's Arms.  
  • The easily accessible, ground floor shop.    

"All-in-all, the Bluebell Railway is an inclusive family day out, providing a great experience for anyone of any age with or without mobility issues," says Waddingham.

Her sentiments are echoed by recent visitors Paul Dodd, chair of the Horsham branch of the UK Parkinson's Society ("The chair lift was really useful!") and Stuart Phillips of the 2nd Chailey Heritage Scout Group.  


Philips says, "Our group had big wheelchairs, but staff were very accommodating in getting rid of loose seats so we could fit everyone in the carriage. The experience was much better than on a regular train on the main network."

Information on the Bluebell Railway's Disabled Access can be found here .  



A Family of Stationmasters    
















Clive Emsley, chairman of The Fenchurch Fund, made an intriguing find while moving some old magazines at his home.

In the October 1932 copy of Southern Railway Magazine (cost 2d) he saw this photo of "A Family of Stationmasters," the Holden family.

Leaning against the bench at the back of the photo is Bluebell Railway Preservation Society President Bernard J. Holden, MBE, who at the time was a clerk at Grange Road.

He is joined in the photograph by (from L to R) his grandfather, C. Holden, stationmaster of Hailsham; C.J. Holden of Horley; A. Holden of Steyning; and H. Holden of Bexley.



The Railway Gets Another Great Western Visitor  


Writes Rolling Stock Director Lewis Nodes, "The Railway has hired GWR 0-6-0 pannier tank 3650 from 26 Sept., 2012 until the end of the year (photo below). The loco is privately owned, and normally resident at Didcot, although it is coming to us from the Severn Valley Railway."

Jeremy Clarke provides us some history: "Though numbered 3650 this 0-6-0 pannier tank is one of the '5700' class introduced by C.B. Collett in 1929. This engine, which entered service in 1939, was one of 200 in the 3600+ number series first outshopped in 1933.

"There were at one time no fewer than 863 of the class at work, including 30 built post-nationalisation. The most obvious difference in the earlier 3600s was the rounded eaves and square windows to the cab, although there were other modifications. The weight of this sub-series was--at 49 tons in working order--1 tons greater than the earlier engines.

"The class included many Swindon 'standard' parts, such as 17-inch by 24-inch cylinders with slide valves; wheels of 4 feet 7 inches diameter; and a boiler carrying a pressure of 200psi. The engines were very versatile--with a tractive effort of 22,515lbs--and thus capable of handling both light passenger and medium freight traffic with ease, as well as shunting and empty coaching stock (ECS) work.

"Because they were built in such large numbers, they could be seen all over the Great Western Railway system. Eleven of them--also introduced in 1933--were equipped with condensing apparatus for work through the Metropolitan Line tunnels between Paddington and Smithfield Market. Sixteen, including three from the earliest build, are presently in various states of preservation."

In Other Loco News  

A cylinder on the SECR Wainwright P-class No.178 has had its liner fitted. It is expected to be in service in about two weeks. Photos can be found here .

Pannier Tank 3650



We thought you'd be interested in this BBC coverage of the Northern Extension Project and this story on the East Grinstead renovation from This Is Sussex.

Track Trek's Gearing Up for 30 Sept.!  























  Click here for details! 



Friends of Sheffield Park Update 


It's hard to believe September has arrived already! The good old British summer lived up to expectations, providing us with the second wettest and coldest summer on record! However, despite all that rain, the country's Olympic spirit--and that of the Friends of Sheffield Park--was not affected.  


I had said spring 2012 would be very busy, with a number of projects both inside and outside at the station. My prediction came true, with the summer proving just as busy. Here's what the Friends have been up to:

  • The Booking Office and Ladies' Waiting Room floors were sanded down and re-varnished.
  • A new running-in board at the north end of Platform 1 was completed.
  • Station Drive fence painting is on-going.
  • Platform 1's canopy painting (phase 1) was completed.
  • A start was made on the refurbishment of the Platform 1 north end buildings.

Every project and item completed deserves merit; however, the list of projects and work is too long to repeat here, so above, I picked out a few highlights.


Looking to the future, work continues painting and refurbishing the station building, station benches, and fencing, and the Friends also are planning to complete one of the station's long-term projects. More on this in a future eNewsletter!


Thank you for your continued support. Without it, we could not have achieved what we have done nor achieve what we plan to do. If you'd like to get involved, please contact Charles Melton and/or Neville Watts at . Your contribution will be appreciated, and it will make a huge difference!


By Chris Hunford, Chairman, Friends of Sheffield Park, and Trustee, Infrastructure 



Plan Ahead for the Christmas Season!


Bookings are now open for the Railway's ever-popular Santa Special services. Book in advance to secure your place!

In addition, details are now available for:

Christmas Weekday Wonders : On 3 and 11 Dec. the Edwardian train will depart Horsted Keynes at 11.30 a.m. for Sheffield Park, including a tour of the museum and a mouth-watering festive lunch in the Bessemer Arms.

School Yule : On 3 and 11 Dec., Edwardian coaches will be running on special services for school and pre-school groups.

Victorian Christmas Trains : Enjoy a very special journey between Horsted Keynes and Sheffield Park stations in one of our Victorian carriages, all over one hundred years of age.

Carol Service : Join the annual carol service at Horsted Keynes on 1 Dec. It will be accompanied by The Bluebell Railway Band and attended by the Railway's chaplain and rector of Horsted Keynes, Fr. John Twisleton.

Fairy Godmother Specials : After Christmas take a ride on one of the Railway's vintage steam trains from Sheffield Park to Kingscote. The Fairy Godmother will be on board with a special Christmas treat!  



Some good news for the Bluebell Railway Museum : The Manifold Charitable Trust--which awards grants in support of educational advancement to architectural, arts, and similar projects--has presented the museum $500, reports Funding Director Roger Kelly.

Enjoy These Recent Photos

This nice set (and photo below) by Chris Jennings focuses on vintage coach stock in addition to the U and 9F locos, taken on 16 June  and 25 July.

Martin Lawrence's gallery from 2 Sept. 

Photos here and here posted by Ashley Smith.

John Sandys' gallery from 28 Aug. and 31 Aug.   


Chris Jennings' Photo  





















Snap Safe!

Upcoming lineside photographers' Personal Track Safety (PTS) courses will be held on: 

  • 27 Oct., 2012
  • 21 Nov., 2012
  • 26 Jan., 2013
  • 22 Feb., 2013 

A course runs from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. This is a mandatory requirement for anyone wishing to take photographs outside of the publicly accessible areas of the Railway.

The total cost for the training session and certificate (which acts as a lineside photographic pass) is £30 per person.


Separate arrangements are in place for staff who need to work lineside as part of their responsibilities on the Railway.

For more information, click here ; contact the General Office at 01825 720800; or e-mail



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

Memories of Southern Railway in Devon & Cornwall 

To complement some of the videos in the left-hand column of this issue, Neil Cameron has compiled a list of photos, videos, and other fascinating information reminiscing about Southern Railway in the days of southwest steam. The full document can be read here

Neil begins with memories of the Devon Belle (excerpt below) before moving on to destinations such as Exeter, Plymouth, Barnstaple, and Halwill Junction, one of the stops for the Atlantic Coast Express. 

Down "Devon Belle" Passing Farnborough


Devon Belle  











Photo by Ben Brooksbank: "8 July 1950: View eastward, towards London: ex-LSW Waterloo--the West main line. (Cf. SU8656: Down 'Bournemouth Belle' passing Farnborough ). This crack Pullman express left Waterloo at 12.00 for Plymouth Friary/Ilfracombe (due 17.17/17.27) and was noteworthy for its Observation Car (at the rear of the Ilfracombe portion), also for not calling at Salisbury but changing engines at Wilton instead. However, it ran in the Summers of 1947-1954 only, so was not a great success. Here the locomotive is Bulleid 'Merchant Navy' 4-6-2 No. 35019 'French Line C.G.T.' (built 6/45 as No. 21C19, renumbered 4/48, rebuilt 5/59, withdrawn 9/65)."  



More History of Bricklayers Arms

Neil Cameron's history of the Bricklayers Arms Branch, from the last issue of the eNewsletter, sparked readers' interest and a desire in one to clarify this fascinating piece of Southern Rail history, from the somewhat chaotic days before consolidation, standardisation, and regulation.

Jeremy Clarke's clarification begins below and jumps to a short PDF document:

The Bricklayers Arms branch, about 1 miles long, was built by the South Eastern Railway and opened on 1 May, 1844. The London & Croydon Railway was granted running powers from the first, these passing to the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway upon its formation by amalgamation of the London & Croydon and London & Brighton companies on 27 July, 1846. The branch deviated from the Croydon line at Bricklayers Arms Junction South, some 50 chains north of New Cross [Gate] ... more .   



Upcoming Events in October


Autumn colours will be in full display, so book your place on an Autumn Tints Special! Plus, Kids for a Quid will be back, just in time for half-term (phew!) 


1-5, 8-12, 15-19, & 22-26 Oct. Autumn Tints Observation Car Specials : Travel in the Railway's 1913 Observation Carriage for full panoramic views of the glorious Autumn colours. Booking is essential due to limited places.

20 & 21 Oct. Sussex Branch Line Weekend : A special weekend of branch line trains from 1880 through to dieselisation.

27 Oct.-4 Nov. Kids for a Quid : Half Term special offer.

Also in October:

5 Oct. Murder Mystery Evening : On the Golden Arrow Pullman.

5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 26, 27, & 31 Oct. Full Afternoon Tea: On board the Lounge Car service.    



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