News from the Bluebell Railway 6 October 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
Bernard Holden MBE, 1908-2012
Announcing Double Donations Dash 125
Northern Extension Project Update
Carriage & Wagon News
Sussex Branch Line Weekend Postponed
9F Club Gives Steam Crane a Welcome Lift
Treat Yourself at the Bluebell Carvery!
Plan Ahead for the Christmas Season!
Enjoy These Recent Photos
Snap Safe!
The Accident at Norwood Junction & its Aftermath
The "Oxted Line" in the Days of Steam
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



Video by Dan Green from 6 Oct., 2012 of loco 323
Video by Dan Green from 6 Oct., 2012 of loco 323 "Bluebell" and the pannier tank carrying wreaths in honor of Bernard Holden MBE.

Special Events 2012  


Southern Steam Days at Basingstoke (
Southern Steam Days at Basingstoke ("A spotter's dream," writes a commentator!)

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


50th Anniversary Appeal  


Bluebell Railway Trust  




Martin Lawrence's VHS video of a trip to Kingscote with class S15 No.847 in May 1994.
Martin Lawrence's VHS video of a trip to Kingscote with class S15 No.847 in May 1994.


The Railway on 29 Sept. by Philip Bull.
The Railway on 29 Sept. by Philip Bull.

Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

323 Bluebell departs Sheffield Park, by Nathan Gibson (taken 23 Sept. 2012).
323 Bluebell departs Sheffield Park, by Nathan Gibson (taken 23 Sept. 2012).

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 opened as an independent railway in May 1898. It was a single track narrow gauge railway just over 19 miles long running through the rugged and picturesque area bordering Exmoor in North Devon, England.
Southern Steam: The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway opened as an independent railway in May 1898. It was a single track narrow gauge railway just over 19 miles long running through the rugged and picturesque area bordering Exmoor in North Devon, England.

Bernard Holden MBE, 1908-2012  


Bernard Holden  










Bluebell Railway President Bernard Holden MBE passed away quietly--surrounded by his beloved railway memorabilia--at a nursing home near Burgess Hill, Sussex on 4 Oct., 2012. He was 104. 


Follow the Bluebell Railway blog for more information on Bernard, including a tribute from Bluebell Railway Preservation Society President Roy Watts.


You might also like to read/listen to:

Bernard by Jim Holden    


Announcing Double Donations Dash 125  


On 30 Sept., 2012 we should have been trekking between East Grinstead and Kingscote, at least 600 walkers; however, as already announced this event has had to be postponed until 18 Nov., 2012 due to recent adverse weather.

It had been our intention to announce our follow-on initiative after the
trek had been held, but that is not to be.

So, after the tremendous success
of our Double Donations Dash (DDD) in March--when we raised £200k+ in one week-- I have managed to secure £125,000 in sponsorship to run another DDD . The sponsorship will only be released pound for pound by public donations.

The event will be held between from 13 to 26 Oct., 2012 --two weeks this time--and as before, donations can be made in cash (at the Sheffield Park office), by cheque, or via the Railway's Just Giving web site.

If you are a UK tax payer and have not already used your tax entitlement, then please Gift Aid your donation (you need to complete a GA form, see below) so that Bluebell gets an additional 25% of your donation.

Our preference is that you donate via the Sheffield Park office as we have to pay Just Giving a percentage of your donation to the detriment of
the Northern Extension Project (NEP).

A copy of the Gift Aid form will be distributed with the next Bluebell News
(due mid-October) and it can also be downloaded here .  
  • Cash should be handed in at the Sheffield Park office.  
  • Cheques must be made payable to the "Bluebell Railway Trust" and sent to DDD125, Sheffield Park Station, Nr Uckfield, East Sussex TN22 3QL.
  • Donations via the JG site can be made at  

The current funding gap will be announced after the next NEP Steering Group meeting planned for early October.

If the DDD125 and and the postponed Track Trek on 18 Nov. are successful, they will be the last major appeals for NEP funds.  


We appreciate just how much financial support has already been given by the membership and supporters. After the two events, we just want everyone to look forward to travelling on the train to East Grinstead.

By Roger Kelly, Funding Director 



Northern Extension Project Update: Rain Doesn't Dampen Steady Work

Although the returning period of wet weather brought the cutting work to an almost standstill, good progress has been made elsewhere on track work, drainage, and installation of signalling equipment.

There also has been quite a bit of less visible progress on tasks such as surveying, culvert inspections, fencing, and bridge repairs, which are all vital to the project.

On the viaduct, the south arch is now suitably dressed with some elaborate scaffolding, so a more detailed survey of the work required to repair the brickworks has now been completed by Dick Beckwith, our civil engineering professional.

Armed with a list of the work to be completed and method statement, another team has commenced work on repairing the brickwork. It may be a bit draughty up there, but at least it's reasonably dry, so this job should be completed before winter sets in.
Meantime, spare a thought for the core team of volunteers who are on site day after day doing excellent work whatever the weather. They really do deserve great credit for their dedication.

Apart from a small number of contract staff, these volunteers undertake the majority of work on the site, under the leadership of Matt Crawford, the Railway's Infrastructure Manager.

The photo below by Stephen Fairweather is of KC53 R, a repeater signal at mile post 16.

By Chris White, Infrastructure Director

KC53 Signal



With regret the Railway had to postpone the Track Trek scheduled for 30 Sept. until 18 Nov. To learn more about Track Trek, click here .

Carriage & Wagon News


The 1955-built BR Mk. I Corridor Brake Third No.34556 has arrived on the Railway, on loan from its private owner, and it has been added to the Carriage Stock List .

The coach has received a very thorough internal and structural body overhaul, and it will require just a few weeks work in order to commission it.


No. 34556 is painted in carmine and cream, and that will enable a uniform livery for the Lounge Car Train, in which it will operate as a replacement for BSK 35448.

The latter coach, having run in Bluebell service for 20 years, and having received only minimal repairs in that time, will be leaving for service on another heritage line.  


The new coach is clad internally with varnished timber veneers (as compared to the formica in the newer Mk. Is), and the seats are trimmed in the 1950s "Chain Link" moquette.

Two of the Railway's "Dogfish" ballast hopper wagons--Nos. DB992780 and DB993210--have been removed from the Wagon Stock List, since they were sold to the Rother Valley Railway earlier in the year.  


This removal has reduced our fleet of hopper wagons to three vehicles, since it is envisaged that all ballast for larger engineering projects will in the future arrive by rail rather than road.    



Sussex Branch Line Weekend Postponed


The 20 and 21 Oct. was to have been the Sussex Branch Line Weekend , but this event has been postponed until 2013 due to work taking place on a number of the Railway's vintage steam locomotives.

Instead the Railway will now operate a Service One timetable on these dates, with the addition of a Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea service on the Saturday and a Golden Arrow lunch train on the Sunday.


Also, Atlantic House, in the yard at Sheffield Park, will be open over this weekend to enable visitors to view progress on the reconstruction of Brighton Atlantic "Beachy Head." 



9F Club Gives Steam Crane a Welcome Lift


The Bluebell Railway's 9F Club supports the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society by allowing young people between nine and 15 years of age to take an active role in helping to run the Railway. Members work in small groups under experienced adult supervision.

Steve Booth's photo below shows 9F members preparing the steam crane for repainting in mid-September.  

Says Neil Cameron, on behalf of Bluebell Railway Steam Crane Group: "I was most impressed by the application of the club members, its organisers, and the quality of the organisation.

"9F members are all most welcome back to the crane project, and what a difference will be made before the onset of winter!  


"We have continued the cleaning and painting programme, and we hope it will be completed by this time next year, funds permitting, and with the continued support of the 9F Club.


   Steam Crane Painting    













Treat Yourself at the Bluebell Carvery! 


Enjoy a traditional Sunday carvery in the Railway's relaxing, friendly restaurant. Choose from a selection of locally sourced meats with all the trimmings.  


The carvery is in the Birch Grove Suite at Sheffield Park station on the first floor (unfortunately, there is no wheelchair access).  


Booking is essential. Contact the Sales and Information Office at 01825 720800 or click here for more information.   















Plan Ahead for the Christmas Season!


Bookings are now open for the Railway's ever-popular Santa Special services.  


It's important to book early--places are already filling up fast for the Santa Special!

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!  



We thought we'd share East Grinstead Town Council's notice about Track Trek and the fundraising efforts of Mayor Liz Bennett. Thank you, Liz!

Enjoy These Recent Photos

Tony Sullivan's photo (also below) shows the arrival of GWR 8750-class Pannier Tank No.3650 on 26 Sept.  


Martin Lawrence's photos of the Pannier Tank.

A photo by David Holmes showing LBSCR E4 No.B473 at Sheffield Park on 9 Sept. preparing to take water.  


Andrew Strongitharm's photo of the U-class with the evening Fish & Chip train on 7 Sept.

John Sandys' snapshot of the Railway from 6 Sept and photos from 2 Oct


Peter Mason's photo of the U-Class running round the Bulleid/Mk. 1 set, taken on 29 Sept.  


Photos by David Haggar , including the pannier tank carrying a wreath in honor of Bernard Holden MBE. 


Pannier Tank  












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



The Accident at Norwood Junction & its Aftermath

Jeremy Clarke has written a fascinating history of a relatively minor accident in the early days of passenger steam at Norwood Junction in Southeast London, one that had repercussions throughout Britain's nascent rail network ...

"The London, Brighton, & South Coast Railway was relatively safe, though over the years it staged a number of spectacular accidents.  


"One was particularly nasty, the rear-end collision in Clayton tunnel on 26 Aug., 1861. The Stoats Nest derailment of 29 Jan., 1910 brought to light indifferent maintenance of coaching stock and the one at Crowborough on 5 April, 1916 highlighted poor track maintenance.

"Others were rather comical, for example the 'runaway' from Petworth shed on 22 Oct., 1859 of Sharpie no. 79, lit up with the regulator wide open. She got nearly to Horsham, taking three sets of level crossing gates with her before being stopped.

"But one accident had a particular and profound effect on railway safety generally, the collapse under a train of a cast iron girder in a road bridge at Norwood Junction in May 1891.

"That precipitated a widespread investigation into the use of cast iron in bridges, far wider than on the Brighton itself. A wholesale reconstruction programme followed in which wrought iron and later steel came to the fore."

(Photographs of the derailed train may be found in volume 3 of Ken Hoole's Trains in Trouble, and in "London Bridge to East Croydon" from the Southern Main Lines series published by Middleton Press.)

To read the full history, click here .   



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

The "Oxted Line" in the Days
of Steam


Neil Cameron has compiled some fascinating photos, videos, and other information about the "Oxted Line," which took passengers through Kent and Sussex, and towns such as Selsdon, Oxted, Hurst Green, Hever, Ashurst, and Crowborough.  


Click this link for the PDF document , which begins with this photo by Ben Brooksbank:

Oxted Line
30 Sept. 1948: London Bridge (Central) Station, with Oxted line train leaving, view NW, towards buffer-stops of the Central Section (ex-LB&SCR) terminus. The locomotive is LB&SCR L.B. Billinton J2 class 4-6-2T No. 32326 (built 3/12 as No. 326 'Bessborough', withdrawn 6/51)-a rather splendid rarety.



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!) 


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:  

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