News from the Bluebell Railway   21 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's Funeral Receives National Attention
Reflections on the End of a Remarkable Era
Double Donations Dash 125 Has Begun!
Funding Update
NEP Update: Let's Talk About the Weather!
Loco News Update
Bulleid Society Plans Holiday Firebox Appeal
Enjoy These Latest Photos!
Birthplace of Bernard Holden's Legacy: Barcombe Station
Carriage & Wagon News
A Look at Bluebell Railway Rolling Stock
Bluebells in British Railways Service

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 of the Railway taken on 6 and 13 Oct., 2012.
Video of the Railway taken on 6 and 13 Oct., 2012, by Keith Duke.

Special Events 2012  


Southern Steam: a miscellany of South Western locomotion.
Southern Steam: a miscellany of South Western locomotion.

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


50th Anniversary Appeal  


Bluebell Railway Trust  




E4 class No.473 takes you up the line while dodging heavy rain showers, by Martin Lawrence.
E4 class No.473 takes you up the line while dodging heavy rain showers, by Martin Lawrence.


The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway, part 2.
The Lynton & Barnstaple Railway,
part 2.

Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

H-Class Steam Test, 10. Oct., 2012, by John Sandys.
H-Class Steam Test, 10. Oct., 2012, by John Sandys.

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

John J. Smith Collection
in the Bluebell Railway Archive:

Prints can be ordered online.
No. 34067 Does Battle with the Northern Fells.
No. 34067 Does Battle with the Northern Fells.

Bernard Holden's Funeral Receives National Attention

From The Huffington Post : "One of the founder members of a heritage steam railway has been honoured by having his coffin carried down the line ahead of his funeral service.

"The coffin carrying Bernard Holden travelled nine miles on the Bluebell Railway from Sheffield Park to Kingscote in East Sussex today following his death on October 4 aged 104.

"His bowler hat and medals, including the Burma Star and his MBE for services to steam preservation from 1992, topped his coffin, which was draped with the flag of the Royal Engineers.

"Four uniformed pall-bearers representing different departments of the Bluebell Railway carried his coffin into the brake van as friends and relatives looked on from the platform ..." For the full story, click here .  
The first photo below is from The Daily Mail and shows Station Master David Middleton paying his respects to Bernard. The full story and more great photos can be found here . The second photo is from The Huffington Post .    


Holden Daily Mail  










Holden Huffington  











Reflections on the End of a Remarkable Era


It was a bright but chilly morning, fitting for the event. The train was made up of 3360, 1098, 7598, and 1520, top and tailed by very appropriate Brighton-built engines A1X 55 "Stepney" and "E4" 473 "Birch Grove."
While Railway members and friends circulated around the train, a very smart line up of uniformed station staff formed a guard of honour, under command of Station Master Pat Page.

On Pat's whistle, staff stood to attention as the coffin--draped in the flag of the Royal Engineers and carrying his famous Bowler hat and a floral tribute from the family--was carried  from the hearse to the train by uniformed Railway members representing the departments. Following behind was Bernard's grandson, James, carrying the Brighton station master's cap that Bernard's father had given him. 

The train departed at 10.10 a.m. (would Bernard have told us off for being 10 down?) with Railway members and friends in the front two carriages and the close family in 7598 and with Sheffield Park and its platform lined with members of staff and many others.
Arrival at Horsted Keynes was greeted again with a line-up of staff from the carriage and wagon works and station staff.
Arrival at Kingscote produced members of the Friends of Kingscote and station staff equally spaced out along the length of both platforms in respect. The train paused momentarily before collecting the token and pilot to proceed up the extension to an agreed stopping point, where workers on the extension lined up and doffed hard hats momentarily while the train paused prior to return.
The return train was held slightly at Horsted Keynes for the up Autumn Tints before returning Bernard for the final time to Sheffield Park, where a different four pall bearers--again representing the different sections from the Railway--took the coffin from the brake of 1520 to the hearse.
The Railway's floral tribute was in the form of the headboard of the first trains, with the Bluebell on a white background. The undertaker kindly held back to allow those of us on the train to reach the church before the arrival of the funeral party.
The service was held at St Margaret's in Ditchling, where tributes were spoken by Russell Pearce, a former Chairman; myself; and David Morgan, Chairman of the HRA. Members of the family read poems and passages from the Bible, as well as their own tribute.
The church had more of a military flavour, with representatives of the Royal Engineers both past and present, the Royal British Legion, and the Burma Star Association, who presented standards and laid wreaths, thus completing a full representation of what was close to Bernard.
He was buried at a private service with just members of his family present, while all those in attendance made their way to the Village Hall for tea and refreshments. It was a wonderful celebration and very fitting tribute of Bernard's life and works.     
I would like to thank all those who participated in the special train and service; those members who wrote in with their tributes or paid reverence and respect to such a well-respected gentleman, richly deserved; and to all those members and friends, such as John Hill and Steve Johnson, who travelled some distance to attend.
It was a day on which the Railway did itself truly proud; a historic day indeed and rightly so, but I will leave the last words to Sue, Bernard's granddaughter, who spoke about his birth at Barcombe Station and reminded us that when you think about it, Bernard heard a train whistle on his first and last day.

It was the end of a remarkable era.

By Roy Watts, Chairman, Bluebell Railway Preservation Society

The photo below of the funeral train is by Mike Hopps.

Mike Hopps




Double Donations Dash 125 Has Begun!


Our new match funding drive--Double Donations Dash 125--has started and is taking place from 20 Oct. to 2 Nov.

Once again, our major sponsors have been incredibly generous with supplying matching funding.

Donations will be matched pound for pound during the "Dash," up to a maximum of £125,000-- so every £10 donated is worth £20 to the Railway, and £22.50 if you have Gift Aided your donation.

It is most beneficial to the Railway if donations are made in cash or by personal cheque, with Gift Aid if applicable.
  • 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. 
  • Online donations can be made at .  

Don't forget to enclose a Gift Aid form if you are eligible, which will be distributed with the next Bluebell News or can be downloaded here .  


Thank you, as ever, for your support!  



Funding Update 


As of the publication of this eNewsletter, Double Donations Dash 125 (DDD125) has been running for about 36 hours. The sum donated thus far--as of 5 p.m. today--is £5,115 in cheques and on-line. 
When added to matching funds and gifts, this means we have raised £12,000 altogether. There are still £120,000 of matching funds available for donations made before 2 Nov., so all contributions to the Northern Extension Project (NEP) will be gratefully received.

Any donations sent to DDD125 in Bernard Holden's memory will attract matching funding.  

This is the last big appeal I will make to the public, although of course Fiver for the Finish collections on our trains will continue until the Santa Specials start, and there is the postponed Track Trek taking place on 18 Nov., for which 600 people have signed up!
By the end of November I hope this group of fundraising acronyms--FFTF, DDD125, and TT--will have made a significant impact on the funding needed to finish the NEP next year.

By Roger Kelly, Funding Director



Northern Extension Project Update: Let's Talk About the Weather!  


Fits and starts seems to be the best way of describing progress in Imberhorne Cutting since the last update.

One day we are using machines to pull people out of the deep mud, where they have become stuck; the next day, real progress is being made.

It's easy to fall into the British habit of talking about the weather, but it's fair to say everyone involved anxiously watches the forecasts and prays for it to stay dry, but without much luck. This is our biggest enemy just now.

That aside, overall things continue to move forward, albeit slowly. We are now experts in ingenious track drainage systems to cope with water flows from places we never expected to see water, but on the plus side, this is good future proofing. It's unlikely we will ever have waterlogged track north of Kingscote!

Good progress also has been made with pulling in the signal and telegraph cables, including a hefty power cable that goes all the way up to Imberhorne Lane Bridge.

These cables are crucial because they have to be terminated and tested, which is a time-consuming task. Now they are all in place, S&T can forge on without further hold-ups--they don't mind the rain!

On the viaduct, really fast progress is being made on brickwork repairs, and the opportunity is being taken while the scaffolding is in place to make good pointing in of the upper walls. This too can continue in the rain, thank goodness!

Lastly and most significantly, track laying into the north end of the cutting should commence next week, provided the machines don't sink!

By Chris White, Infrastructure Director

The photo below, by Steve Fairweather, looks south into the cutting.

Cutting 10.20.12




Track Trek has been postponed to 18 Nov., but it is still possible to register at .

Please remember, a £20 sponsorship per person or £30 per family (two adults and up to three children) is required to take part.

Loco News Update


592 is being dismantled for mechanical repair. We will be removing the cylinders--on SECR locos they come out from the bottom (as opposed to LBSCR where they come out of the top)--so we can get them out by removing the leading axle and supporting the front of the boiler using a purpose-made bracket onto the frames.

The repair planned is to fit liners in the cylinder bores and false faces to the valve ports.  


By doing this repair we should restore the loco's efficiency and power, thus reducing the strain on the boiler, reducing fuel consumption, and improving overall performance.

Other News:  

  • 178 is already back in action.
  • 263 should be back in action by the time you read this. 

The photo below by Ray Wills shows 178 and 263 at Horsted Keynes on a test run following repairs, on 10 Oct., 2012.

By Lewis Nodes, Director, Locos & Rolling Stock  

178 & 263  













Bulleid Society Plans Holiday Firebox Appeal


No. 34059 Sir Archibald Sinclair has had a banner attached advertising the Bulleid Society's Double Donation Big Give Challenge, which will take place from the 6 to 19 Dec., 2012. 


The funds raised will help finance the firebox repairs required to get No. 34059 back into steam next year. Click here for more information.













Enjoy These Latest Photos! 


Keith Duke's set from 6 Oct. and 13 Oct.

BBM's beautiful photoblog .

Photos from 9 Oct. and 11 Oct. from John Sandys.

Ray Wills photos of P-class No.178 and H-class No.263 (also below).

Photos of Bernard Holden's funeral train by Yoshi Hashida.

An album by Ben Gray.

Ray Wills Photo



Birthplace of Bernard Holden's Legacy: Barcombe Station

Barcombe Station is seen here in 1961, in a Ben Brooksbank photograph , on the old Bluebell line. 

View northward, towards East Grinstead; East Grinstead-Horsted Keynes-Lewes line. Nowadays the thriving Bluebell Railway, Sheffield Park-Kingscote (presently East Grinstead). The line, and Barcombe station first closed 13/6/55, but closure later deemed illegal and the line was reopened 7/8/56 until eventual closure on 17/3/58. The Bluebell Railway reopened Horsted Keynes-Sheffield Park in 1960, re-opened to Kingscote in 1994 and will re-open to East Grinstead in 2013.

Click here for slideshow of Ben Brooksbank's early Bluebell Railway photos (plus a couple of local non-Bluebell Railway photos). And Barcombe's entry in a list of disused stations can be found here .

A personal note by Neil Cameron:

"When I think of the four students meeting in 1958 about preserving part of the Bluebell Line, how well they chose their career railwayman representative, Bernard Holden, born in Barcombe Station in 1908, a son and grandson of station masters and steeped in the culture of the LBSCR. 

"Today's Bluebell Railway is the collective achievement of many people: its managements elected from amongst its workers; its volunteers and staff; its shareholders and donors; its many supporters; and, of course, its founders, recognised in anniversary celebrations.


"Had Bernard not agreed to meet with the students about their audacious idea, what then the outcome?


"Bernard's attachment to the Bluebell Line, and its Bluebell Railway section, started at Barcombe Station, truly the birthplace of this legacy. Perhaps the station is a future Blue Plaque candidate?"   



We thought you might enjoy this podcast and this one by "The Bald Explorer," who "enthusiastically explores Great Britain!"

Carriage & Wagon News

Last weekend, 13 to 14 Oct., the Railway hosted the National Carriage Restorers' Convention , an annual get-together of like-minded individuals from all over the country, with 70 people attending.

Topics discussed included the idea of a new design of a six-wheel underframe for vintage coach bodies, testing of coach dynamos and regulators, steam heat testing, making droplights, and casting of GRP/resin replicas of worksplates, among other subjects. 

An evening train ride and meal in the Bessemer Arms at Sheffield Park provided time for what the event is really about: the chance for carriage restorers from across the country to discuss their projects, pick brains on particular problems and restoration techniques, and discuss joint orders for components and materials to everyone's mutual advantage.

The feedback since the event has been very positive, and it indicates that yet again the Railway showed itself at its best, as we always endeavour to do.

By Richard Salmon, Carriage & Wagon Dept. 


The photo below, from the LMS Carriage Association website , shows SECR 16358 receiving a welcome coat of paint.


SECR 16358  













A Look at Bluebell Railway Rolling Stock

If you've ever wondered how many locos, carriages, tanks, and wagons the Bluebell Railway keeps, one place to find out is on Wikipedia, where enthusiasts keep track of the Railway's rolling stock .

Browse the Wikipedia page to learn about what's on loan, operational, under construction, stored, and so on. Fascinating reading! If you find errors, Wikipedia, of course, encourages its readers to edit the articles themselves.

The Railway's website also has plenty of information on its rolling stock, including this page on the 70 or so carriages in the Railway's collection (about 30 are in regular service). A more detailed review of the carriage fleet can be found here .

This page lists the Railway's passenger rated rolling stock that can be included in passenger trains. (This stock includes luggage vans, carriage trucks, horse boxes, perishable produce vans and milk tankers.)

The website also has an interesting history of British railway carriages, which developed from the stage coaches of the eighteenth and nineteenth century.

The photo below is of the Railway's London, Brighton, and South Coast Railway Stroudley coach No. 661, pulled by "Fenchurch."


Coach 661  












Bluebells in British Railways Service

A new series for the eNewsletter. Photos and information about Bluebell Railway-based locomotives seen in British Railways service--The Editors.


Maunsell 2-6-0 1638 was donated to the Railway by Capt. FG Nickson on arriving from Barry scrapyard. The story of its restoration can be read here .  


1638 being run-in at Horsted Keynes
1638 at the head of a service train at Horsted Keynes.

July 27 1963: SR 2-6-0 shunting vans across Basingstoke East Junction. View eastward, towards Woking and London ahead on the ex-LSWR Waterloo-West of England main line, junction (to the left) of the ex-GWR line from Reading. The Maunsell U class 2-6-0 is No. 31638 (built 5/31, withdrawn 1/64 but preserved on the Bluebell Railway). Note the shunter riding precariously on the engine. Photo by Ben Brooksbank. Click photo for larger image.















Thank you as ever for your support of the Railway. Don't forget to share this eNewsletter with friends, colleagues, and family, through social media and e-mail. See you trackside!

John Walls
Trustee, Bluebell Railway Preservation Society