News from the Bluebell Railway   18 November 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
More Than a Creep to the End!
NEP Update: Track Laying Going Well
UK Railtours Offers Tickets for The Blue Belle, March 2013
News from the Bluebell Railway Museum
Bookmark Our East Grinstead Page!
Announcing the School Education Programme Memories Project
Shop Online & Raise Money for the Railway
Desolate Days Shunted Off by Push to East Grinstead
Brambletye Hotel Offers Overnight Special
Bluebells in British Railways Service: 30583 Adams Radial (No. 488)
Enjoy These Latest Photos!
Loco News: Update on No. 592
A History of Newhaven Motive Power, 1847-1963

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



Bluebell Railway on 2 Nov., 2012, by Daniel Green
Bluebell Railway on 2 Nov., 2012, by Daniel Green.

Special Events 2012  


Last "Autumn Tints" on the Bluebell Railway, by "vortigern19."

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


50th Anniversary Appeal  


Bluebell Railway Trust  




Chuffed, an everyday story of the Bluebell Railway.
Chuffed, an everyday story of the Bluebell Railway.


Meridian TV: Extending the Bluebell Railway.
Meridian TV: Extending the Bluebell Railway.

Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

Bluebell Railway on 28 Oct., 2012, by
Bluebell Railway on 28 Oct., 2012, by Martin Lawrence.

Order photographic prints online
from the 

John J. Smith Collection
or Colin Hogg Collection
held at the Bluebell Railway Archive.

  Below are six photographs from
the John J. Smith Collection, highlighting East Grinstead:

Photo 1
Photo 2
  Photo 3
Photo 4
Photo 5
Photo 6

East Grinstead Smith
Bluebell Railway
Bluebell Railway in September 1978, filmed on super 8, uploaded by "WeeYellowBus."

More Than a Creep to the End!   


Cattle Creep  












John Sisley's photograph shows the new railings on the cattle creep at Hazelden. 


It's a good example of everyone working together on the Northern Extension Project (NEP). The Railway's contractors, L & W, helped to bore the holes and plant the rails, which extend 8 feet below ground level.  


The Infrastructure/NEP team drilled all the holes in the rails, then cut, threaded, and fitted the tube work.  


Finally, the Friends of Kingscote did the painting, and they have been clearing vegetation from the brickwork, since the NEP team are now busy at East Grinstead.   



NEP Update: Track Laying Going Well 


Once again good progress is being made excavating the remaining waste from the cutting following a period of weather-induced stop/start work.

If this rate of progress continues, the route through should be completed in two to three weeks, leaving the final track bed profiling and consolidation to make it ready to accept the railway.

Additional plant has been drafted in to maximise the current accommodating spell of weather, so there is a lot of site activity just now.

Track-laying is proceeding well, with the rail head now some 50 metres south of the occupation bridge and moving steadily southwards into the cutting behind the waste removal team, along with associated drainage and cable ducts.

Work also has started on covering the residual waste surfaces on the down side embankment in order to stabilise and camouflage the waste itself.

This covering is made up of two layers of material that are designed to aid eventual vegetation growth and form a protective covering. Importantly, encouraging nature to take its course in this way will facilitate the cutting's return to its traditional shape and appearance.

The photo below by Stephen Fairweather shows the railhead going south through the old cutting.

By Chris White, Infrastructure Director

NEP Update 111512  












A new date for the twice-postponed Track Trek has been set: 24 Feb., 2013 . If you were not able to sign up for the earlier dates, and would like to join us, there are a few more spaces available. Please sign up here . Existing sponsorships remain valid. 

UK Railtours "Blue Belle" Excursion Tickets Sell Out Quickly


UK Railtours' first excursion from London to the Bluebell Railway sold out very shortly after going on sale on 12 Nov.

The Railway is pleased with the demand, regarding it as an early indicator of how popular such excursions into the heart of the Sussex countryside will be.

(From the UK Railtours website) "The train will depart from London Victoria at 09.40, running via Crystal Palace, Norwood Junction, East Croydon, Oxted and East Grinstead. It will then continue right through to Sheffield Park before reversal.

"Passengers alight at Horsted Keynes soon after mid-day. Here the GBRf Class 66 locomotive hauling the train will be named, marking the superb contribution made by that company in transporting the huge amount of household refuse away from the cutting between Imberhorn Viaduct and Kingscote, handled exclusively by locos of this class ..." Click here for more.

UK Railtours  





News from the Bluebell Railway Museum


The management team has been delighted at the response to the museum. A read-through of the Visitors' Book is recommended if you are in any doubt as to how it enhances a visit to our Railway. The museum adds interest for all the family at a level of presentation the public expects.

Some new museum developments currently are being gestated:

A viewing gallery is being incorporated within the new carriage works extension as part of Undercover 4 Project plans. It will have public access, including lifts. A group formed from the museum team and working members of Carriage & Wagon are planning what form the interpretive/educational portion will take. This portion will form an integral part of the intended Heritage Lottery Fund application.

The second development is for a new building to house a "Museum Research and Records Centre." The Long Term Plan calls for an archive, but to keep up with progress in the museum world, we need to provide a facility with wider benefits for members and historians and to make our collections more accessible. I am delighted to say that a generous benefactor is enabling this project's initial stage.

In addition, we are coordinating with Kingcote station staff to apply through the new "Management of Change" procedure to develop the Goods Yard project, which will provide a visitor experience exploring community reliance on local stations in the 1950s. The museum supports the installation of a replacement signal frame in the north signal box there, in keeping with that era.

The museum is constantly adding to its collections, not least through the generosity of members. The Holden family has been most helpful securing our late President's historic papers for posterity.

By Sam Bee, Chairman, Museum Management Committee


Bookmark Our East Grinstead Page!


The Railway plans to open its East Grinstead station in the spring of 2013.

Keep an eye on this webpage for details of our opening two-week Festival including:
  • A Special Gala with trains every 45 minutes on opening weekend.
  • First passenger train from East Grinstead.
  • First train from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead including celebratory Champagne Breakfast.
  • Five course gala evening Pullman on opening day.
  • First Rail Ale service from East Grinstead.
  • Special exhibitions and tours.
  • A visiting locomotive.


Announcing the School Education Programme Memories Project


The Railway is about to re-launch its school educational programme, commencing with a project sponsored by the South East Grid for Learning--"Life on the Line"--and we'll be inviting schools to take part in a specific exercise, examining themes such as "Why was the Bluebell Line closed?" and "How did the Bluebell Line become the first preserved standard gauge railway"?

Other exercises will follow, and to assist in developing these, we'd like to build an audio/visual record of personal memories of the Bluebell line both before closure by British Railways in 1958 and of the early years of the preserved Railway.

The project will be conducted along with our colleagues from the Museum and Archive.

To help us to build a database, we'd be delighted to hear from members/friends of the Railway who have such memories and who'd be prepared to take part in the project. If interested, please e-mail Peter Edwards or write to the Bluebell Railway Museum, Sheffield Park, nr. Uckfield, East Sussex TN22 3QL.

Please pass this message on to any members you know of who do not receive this eNewsletter.

By David Cockram, Education Officer


Our special Christmas trains are selling faster than last year, with some trains and dates already completely sold out! Book now! More details and ticket information at bluebell 

Shop Online & Raise Money for the Railway    

Over the past four years, the Railway has received around £6,000 from supporters shopping online via .
It works like this: shop at your favourite retailer via easyfundraising and the retailer will make a small donation, usually a guaranteed percentage to the Bluebell. For example, Amazon donates 2.5% and John Lewis donates 1.75%.

From July to September 2012--thanks to those using easyfundraising and others using bluebellrailway.
to search the Internet--our income was £750. (You do not have to register to use easysearch; the donation is made via sponsored links.)
Between now and Christmas there is an added bonus. For every donation you raise from shopping on easyfundraising before midnight on 17 Dec., the Railway will get one entry to win a share of £5,000!



Desolate Days Shunted Off by Push to East Grinstead   

(From This Is Sussex ) "Seventeen miles of railway track, known as the Bluebell and Primrose Line, remained a ghost of a thousand memories in 1959.

"But 75 years before this, in 1884 [actually, 1882; this link explains --Eds.] , its birth welded an essential link between East Grinstead and the county town of Lewes until 1958 saw its end as a necessary means of transport.

"The Bluebell line went into retirement--its purpose had been served. And the occasion was treated with all the reverence and respect of a dignified burial ..." Click here for more.   



Brambletye Hotel Offers Overnight Special


The Railway is continuing to develop ideas for cooperating with local hotels once the northern extension to East Grinstead opens. Members and friends looking for overnight accommodation during a visit to the Railway might be interested in the following offer from the Brambletye Hotel in Forest Row.

Those wanting to leave their cars behind should know that, on weekdays, there are two buses an hour between Forest Row and East Grinstead (numbers 270 and 291), plus an hourly service from Forest Row to Haywards Heath and Brighton (number 270).  


This latter service calls at Horsted Keynes Station on Saturdays only. Additionally, there is a limited service between East Grinstead and Forest Row on Sundays (number 291).

The Bluebell Railway/Brambletye Overnight Special
After you have stepped back in time to travel the historic Bluebell Railway, stay in the past by spending a night at The Brambletye Hotel where Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson stayed to investigate a murder in "The Adventurers of Black Peter."  


The hotel is four miles from East Grinstead and five miles from Horsted Keynes station.
An overnight stay is £55 per person B & B, which includes £10 p.p. to spend on food and drink in our restaurant--free upgrade if available. 


Book directly by calling 01342 824144 or e-mailing the hotel quoting "Bluebell Special" and the hotel will donate an extra 10% to the Railway!

Extend your stay and enjoy the delights of the Ashdown Forest, Pooh Bridge, the disused Three Bridges to Tunbridge Wells railway track (now a walk), Sheffield Park Gardens, and Weir Wood Reservoir.

For more information, visit     



Book now to enjoy a Christmas Carvery in the Railway's relaxing, friendly Birch Grove Suite at Sheffield Park station. Reserving a table is essential--call the the Sales and Information Office at 01825 720800. For more information, including dates of operation and menu, click here .

Bluebells in British Railways Service: 30583 Adams Radial (No. 488)

Photos and information about Bluebell Railway-based locomotives seen in British Railways service.--The Editors.

Adams Radial
Photo by Ben Brooksbank . EX-LSW 4-4-2T on Rail Tour at Tipton St Johns. View SE, towards Exmouth and Sidmouth: ex-LSW Sidmouth Junction - Sidmouth/Exmouth branch. No. 30583 was one of the LSW Adams '0415' class 4-4-2Ts which survived much longer than most of the class as it was needed for working on the lightly-built Lyme Regis branch.

It was built 3/1885 as N
o. 488, the n as No. 0488 in the Duplicate list was withdrawn in 9/17 and sold to the Ministry of Munitions who employed it at the Ridham Salvage Depot, Sittingbourne. In 4/19 it was bought by the East Kent Light Railway and numbered 5. It worked on that line for 18 years, then lay derelict at Shepherdswell for two years. However, it was re-acquired by the SR eventually in 3/46, restored after the War and put to work on the Lyme Regis branch in 12/46, where it worked until 7/61.

Its life was not however ended even then, for it was purchased by the Bluebell Railway--where it still remains. This 1953 occasion was a Rail Tour arranged by Ian Allan Ltd., with (intended) high-speed runs from Waterloo to Exeter (Central) and back, with an auxiliary tour to Exmouth and back via Sidmouth Junction.


More Information, Photos, and Video:  

It's impossible to say when this most elegant and historic Victorian loco will run again: Atlantics Weekend perhaps?  


Beauty, economy, history--488 has them all, and may future generations have the opportunity to appreciate these qualities!

By Neil Cameron


P.S. Adams Radial No. 488 is on Facebook. To follow, click here !  



Enjoy These Latest Photos! 


Yoshi Hashida's photo set from 2 Nov.

Murray Tremellen's photos from his Bluebell Branchline gala gallery.

John Sandys' Northern Extension Project updates from 8 Nov. , 9 Nov. , and 15 Nov.

Steve Lee's photo (also below) from 3 Nov. shows Pannier No. 3650 passing the lower quadrant signal on departure from Sheffield Park with the 3 p.m. service to Kingscote.

A photo set from Robert Else from 9 Nov.

Chris Jennings' lovely photos from 11 Nov.

Photos by Martin Lawrence from late October and early November .

Steve Lee Pannier


This issue of the eNewsletter sees the completion of our first 12 months of publication. Thank you for reading and supporting us in our inaugural year, and please keep your comments and submissions coming.


Loco News: Update on No. 592   

No. 592's cylinders have been removed from the frames without removing the boiler, which was possible because SECR locos are designed for the cylinders to come out from the bottom. 

The boiler was supported by the overhead crane during the operation, and it now has the smokebox bolted to the frames. The two cylinders have been separated to enable the valve ports to be examined and the cylinders to be bored for liners to be made.

The valve faces are worn right down to the valve chest walls; however, the walls have been found to be one-quarter of an inch thicker than specified, so these can now be machined down to allow the valve ports to stand proud, sufficient to allow the valve ports to be machined flat. This work should give another 30 to 40 years of service before the loco needs false valve port faces to be fitted.
The leading axle needed to be removed, so the axle boxes are being repaired. The oil groove across the top of the bearing has almost completely worn away, so these were shortly going to run hot; however, a routine re-metalling will cure this. 

The side play has been taken up by fitting shims behind the side thrust plates. The driving axle needs to be removed because its axle boxes have been losing the white-metal, and in view of the condition of the leading axle, the trailing axle boxes will also be overhauled.

The photo below shows No. 592's cylinders out and separated. More photos can be found here .
By Lewis Nodes, Director, Locos
& Rolling Stock 


592 Cylinders  



















A History of Newhaven Motive Power, 1847-1963  

Paul Edwards "Sussex Motive Power Depots" site--a companion to the "Brighton Motive Power depots" site--is a remarkable record of social, industrial, and motive history.

The site now has an enhanced entry for Newhaven ( click here to access the entry).


I'm delighted to see that the Railway features in the later section dealing with reunions. There's photos, old postcard views, tales from the footplate, loco views, and the minute books from the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF) Branch going way back. 


The construction of the port's Continental Quay was of particular interest to me. The riverside shed building is to be--and may already have been--demolished to build yet another retail outlet! 


Congratulations to Paul and his collaborators on putting together such an important social document from another age. Social historians will find great value in this "qualitative" archiving approach and have an aid to future research.

By Neil Cameron


Southern Steam: Brighton Radial Tanks at Newhaven, a video that can be found on the  Sussex Motive Power Depots website.
Southern Steam: Brighton Radial Tanks at Newhaven, a video that can be found on the Sussex Motive Power Depots website.


















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