News from the Bluebell Railway   2 December 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
Help Give "Sir Archie" a New Firebox with Big Give 2012
Ballast Train Delivers Through East Grinstead
Northern Extension Update: Rail Head Continues South
Update on the BRPS's Long Term Plan
Easyfundraising Introduces Find & Remind
Two Carriages Enter Service
Upcoming Events in December
BT People Awards Recognizes Bluebell Railway
And Now, a Brief Interlude
Enjoy These Latest Photos!
History of the Horsham Shed
Bluebells in BR service: No. 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair"
Fenchurch Fund Has a Nice Cuppa
Ransomes & Rapier Breakdown Cranes at War

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



"Sir Archibald Sinclair" accelerates out of Sharpthorne Tunnel in 2009, by Daniel Green.

Special Events 2012  


SR Pacific
Southern Railway's Pacific "Blackmore Vale."

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


50th Anniversary Appeal  


Bluebell Railway Trust  




Railway Roundabout 1959,
Railway Roundabout 1959, "The Brighton Belle."


Bluebell Railway Service One Timetable, Oct. 2012.
Bluebell Railway Service One Timetable, Oct. 2012.

Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

Isle of Wight: Ryde to Ventnor by steam train (Railway Roundabout).
Isle of Wight: Ryde to Ventnor by steam train (Railway Roundabout).

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
"The Bluebell Railway on Parade."

Help Give "Sir Archie" a New Firebox with Big Give 2012

Sir William McAlpine will visit the Railway on 6 Dec. to launch the Christmas appeal for our Battle of Britain Class loco No. 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair."

After an inspection of the loco works and (time permitting) the Brighton Atlantic project, Sir William will officially launch the appeal at 11:30 a.m. on Platform 2.

We hope Sir William will have time to take in the Bulleid Shop and museum. Amongst other interests, he is very active in railway conservation, including chairing the Railway Heritage Trust. We will be online to let him know how the appeal is progressing.


Big Give Christmas Challenge  


The Bluebell Railway, the Bulleid Society , and the Battle of Britain Locomotive Group have set up this Big Give challenge to help return our magnificent "Sir Archibald Sinclair" to steam.

Although the locomotive was virtually rebuilt, then operational from 2009, unexpected firebox problems caused a "derailment" of the project.

As part of the Reed Foundation's Challenge, any donation made between 6 and 19 Dec. will be matched pound for pound by a combination of the Railway's major supporters and the Big Give's sponsor funds.


An online link will take you to the Big Give donation page, stating 10 a.m. on the 6 Dec.
If you are eligible for Gift Aid, this will turn a £10 donation into £22.50 for "Sir Archie." The target is to raise a maximum of £30,000 in online donations over 13 days, and matching funding will give a total of £60,000 plus Gift Aid on eligible donations.

The matching funds are not released all at once but over the first three days, so it is vital to get in early before the funds run out. In the unlikely event that every project is as successful as last year, there may be insufficient funds for every project, so please try to make your donation early on the 6, 7 or 8 Dec.


Repairs will be carried out over nine months, after which we expect "Sir Archie" to receive a boiler certification guaranteeing 10 years first-class service!
The Railway values each and every donation received, not to mention all the hard work of volunteers. With the extension to East Grinstead nearly complete, we need all the motive power we can muster. So please help us help "Sir Archie" this Christmas season!

Thank you!

The photo below shows Sir Archibald Sinclair seated in the cab of the loco named after him.   


Sir Archie in Sir Archie  
















Ballast Train Delivers Through East Grinstead


Ballast Train 1  


Ballast Train 2  


Two photos from Stephen Fairweather once again show the importance of our new network rail link for Railway logistics.  


On 28 Nov., a 30-wagon train delivered ballast to the northern extension by way of East Grinstead station, the second such train in two years.  

Writes Stephen: "The train arrived about 1:50 p.m. and went straight through East Grinstead station. All-in-all looked to be quite a slick operation. There were about five wagons to unload (from the first set of 15) by the time I left at about 3:50 p.m., with the light fading and the cold setting in."   



Northern Extension Update: Rail Head Continues South


Track laying southwards under Hill Place Farm bridge has progressed well over the last two weeks, with the rail head now well into the cutting.

A further delivery of ballast arrived by rail on 28 Nov., with unloading taking place near the work site, and was completed by the early evening. This particular delivery was made up of 800 tons of recycled ex-network ballast from Whitemoor yard, which is ideal for our purposes and cheaper than new stone.

However, progress clearing the last cutting section has been slow due to flooding following the recent heavy rain. The ground will need to settle a bit before plant can resume operations.

Meantime, a new signalling power supply has been installed at Kinsgcote, This will enable behind-the-scenes work to take place while the line between Horsted Keynes and Kingscote is closed during December. 


The photo below, looking south into the cutting, is by Stephen Fairweather. 

By Chris White, Infrastructure Director


NEP Update-113012  











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. 

Update on the BRPS's Long Term Plan  


This edition of the eNewsletter coincides with the closing date for submissions and comments on the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society's (BRPS) draft Long Term Plan that was circulated with the autumn Bluebell News magazine.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank the many of you who responded by both e-mail and by letter; all your comments are appreciated. The Long Term Plan sub-committee will be sitting soon to consider your thoughts and to revise the plan where substantial changes and omissions have been highlighted.

Our process includes presenting the updated draft to the BRPS trustees early in the New Year and then offering it to the members at the 2013 Annual General Meeting for adoption.

Your comments so far suggest we have got this plan pretty much right; however, the plan will be a consensus of ideas and wishes, not "all things to all men."

Should any of you wish to make a last-minute comment, you have a couple of days before I empty my "in tray," so please be quick.  


Write to: Chris Saunders, BRPS Trustee, Bluebell Railway, Sheffield Park Station, nr. Uckfield, East Sussex, TN22 3QL.

By Chris Saunders, Trustee, Long Term Plan    



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Find & Remind is updated daily with the best deals available, and it tracks your personal and cause donations as well.



Two Carriages Enter Service

This weekend sees the entry into service of two overhauled carriages. The most important of these is our new wheel-chair accessible coach, No. 4941.

This coach has run on the Railway as a TSO for 20 years, and it was in need of a major overhaul. In addition to heavy maintenance, it has received the same conversion as No. 5034 did 14 years ago, thanks to various grants.

While some of the routine work was contracted out to Cranmore Traincare , the conversion work, fitting of electric lifts, and complete reconstruction of the interior has been undertaken in-house by our Carriage & Wagon Department. Since the coach is to run in our main service trains, it has been painted BR(S) green.

The second coach, painted in early BR carmine and cream livery, is to run mainly in our Wealden Rambler lounge car set. This is a 1955-built brake second No. 34556. It is a privately owned vehicle brought to the Railway after a thorough overhaul, which saw the interior restored to "as-built" condition and a major body overhaul.

No. 34556 has received mechanical work since arrival to prepare it for service. It replaces--and is effectively being swapped for--a similar carriage that arrived on the Railway two decades ago, more by luck than deliberate choice. This carriage ran with minimal attention and is now looking very down-at-heel, with its passenger accommodation only rarely used.  

No. 34556 allows us to upgrade and extend the enormously popular afternoon tea service, using compartments seating six, with the seats--complete with individual arm-rests--restored to original luxury using a reproduction of the appropriate 1950s "chain-link" pattern moquette.

Both carriages will need a small amount of further work in the New Year to complete their commissioning, but these are minor items not essential for their use on the Santa Specials, on which they have been launched into service.

Andrew Strongitharm's photo below shows No. 34556 at Horsted Keynes.

By Richard Salmon, Carriage & Wagon Department

Carriage 34556    


Upcoming Events in December    

The Yuletide season is always a busy one at the Railway. Here's a run-down of just some of what's happening (and don't forget to book soon as many events sell out early!) ...

1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, & 24: Santa Specials Bookings are open for the Railway's ever-popular Christmas services, in which Father Christmas distributes presents to the children on the train, adults get mince pies, and there's Victorian Christmas entertainment at the stations. 

3 & 11: Christmas Weekday Wonders A steam train ride from Horsted Keynes station in our Edwardian carriages, with a visit to our museum and a traditional Christmas Lunch at Sheffield Park, returning on the train to Horsted Keynes afterwards. 

3 & 11: School Yule A steam train ride for school and pre-school groups in our Edwardian carriages, with presents distributed by Father Christmas. 

15, 21, 22 & 23: Victorian Christmas Specials Travel in an exclusive compartment in a Victorian carriage, and we will supply you with a hamper of delicious snacks and drinks. Father Christmas will be on hand with a special gift for all children. Victorian fairground, hot chestnuts, and mulled wine.  


28, 29, 30 & 31: Fairy Godmother Specials After Christmas come and take a ride on one of our vintage steam trains from Sheffield Park to Kingscote where the Fairy Godmother will be on board the train with a special Christmas treat.


Lots more events besides! Click here for full calendar details.   



Working Members will be interested in the latest Safety Newsletter, provided by the Railway's Safety Manager Roland Law. The newsletter can be downloaded here . The Safety Management webpage can be found here .

BT People Awards Recognizes Bluebell Railway

The Railway has received £500 from the BT People Awards , thanks to Kevin Clark of Burgess Hill. BT People Awards are given to local organisations at which BT staff volunteer their time.

The Railway was one of hundreds of organizations that applied for an award during this round, and what impressed judges was the proposal to use the award: to purchase materials for restoring stations and infrastructure along the Railway. 


Roger Kelly, Funding Director, says, "Kevin has done very well for us, and we are delighted with the award."  


Kevin, a manager for BT Operate, says, "I have been a volunteer for more than five years in the Signalling and Telecommunications department. We are always fund-raising, especially for the East Grinstead extension. The Railway is a great place to work when spare time is available.  


"It's very positive that BT recognises the voluntary work of its staff and supports local community activities in this way."    



And Now, a Brief Interlude ...


And now, a brief interlude ... this latest Intel
... This latest Intel "Ultrabook" ad was filmed in part at the Railway, giving the state-of-the-art devices this tech company powers a little "steampunk" cool! Learn more about the Railway's Location Services.

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 

Enjoy These Latest Photos! 


Andrew Strongitharm's photo of the SECR H-class with the Victorian four-wheel coaches.

Bluebells in November! Derek Hayward captured this charming photo (also below) of P-class No.323 as it left Kingscote with its two vintage coaches 25 Nov.

John Sandys' set from 29 Nov., showing the 9F being prepared for service.

Photos from a recent photo charter:


History of the Horsham Shed


Like the well-known Brighton depots at Battesea and Fratton, as well as the second one at Eastbourne, Horsham shed was built on the roundhouse principal.

Such a layout was not common, but the LBSCR used it where longitudinal space in particular was at a premium. Horsham became a major depot on the Brighton system and the headquarters of the district, which stretched to Littlehampton and Bognor.

The first Horsham shed probably opened with the line from Three Bridges in February 1848 or shortly afterwards. This depot was to the north of the station and west of the line, close to the later junction with the route from Dorking. It consisted of a timber building with three roads leading out directly on to a turntable.

Brighton superseded this shed in 1896 with a 10-road, brick-built semi-roundhouse to the east of the line and almost opposite the original. The turntable was 46-feet diameter. Two roads, one of which threw off a spur to the coal stage on the east side of the shed yard, lead from the turntable towards the main line. The offices and water tower were opposite the coal stage.

The shed did not last long in this form, for a contract for eight more roads to be added to the roundhouse was let in 1900. These came into service in 1902.

In Brighton days the depot's allocation of about 55 engines consisted mainly of Terriers, D1 class 0-4-2Ts, and 0-6-0 freight engines. But decline began post-grouping when both Littlehampton and Bognor gained independence.

Nevertheless, the turntable was renewed in 1927 when the 55 feet one from Orpington, redundant following electrification of the ex-SER main line from Charing Cross, replaced the short original.

Immediately pre-Nationalisation, the allocation totalled 35 engines. These were formed of classes D1, D3, E5, E5X, E4, Q (the only non-Brighton class), C3, C2X and B4X. Under BR the allocation continued to diminish and Ivatt class 2MT 2-6-2Ts--some Brighton-built--began to replace the old LBSCR types.

The shed closed in June 1964 and was demolished soon afterwards.

The photo below --from Paul Edwards' excellent Sussex Motive Power Depots site--collates the history of the footplatemen of Horsham Loco.

By Jeremy Clarke

Horsham Shed


Bluebells in BR service: No. 34059 Battle of Britain Pacific "Sir Archibald Sinclair"


Sir Archibald Sinclair is a younger version of Blackmoor Vale, though casual inspection would not reveal it.
Emerging from the same Brighton Works in April 1947, it was one of the series named as a tribute to World War II Air Minister Sir Archibald Sinclair and the Battle of Britain.

Initially the engine went to Nine Elms depot near Waterloo, and in 1949 it spent some time on the Eastern Region lines from Liverpool Street as a trial of Pacific locomotives on this region. It returned to the Nine Elms later that year ... more history .

Sir Archie's preservation story (be sure to read the several chapters!)

Read Sir Archie's webpage , about its return to steam in 2009 and its withdrawal in October 2011 for firebox repairs.

The photo below shows Sir Archie at Nine Elms in July 1965, rebuilt as no. 34059. Photo by Kevin Horan.

By Neil Cameron

Sir Archie in Service


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 .

Fenchurch Fund Has a Nice Cuppa  

Just in time for the Holiday season, the Fenchurch Fund--committed to the restoration and car of LBSCR No. 72 and SECR No. 27 --is selling snazzy and practical enamel tea cans.

To reserve your tea can--just £10.50--e-mail Clive Elmsley , Chairman of The Fenchurch Fund, or visit the fund's stand at Sheffield Park during Santa days, weather permitting.

Enamel Tea Cans  















Ransomes & Rapier Breakdown Cranes at War    

The Bluebell Railway's 45-ton lift steam crane was built in 1943 at a time of scarce materials and wartime production. Why? Because these heavy lift, long reach breakdown cranes were essential to the war effort. 


In the late 1930s a Railway Technical Committee, including government representatives, specified a new long jib 45-ton lift breakdown crane able to move unrestricted by loading gauge or axle loading. 


A batch of 12 were ordered, paid for by the Government, six by Ransomes & Rapier of Ipswich and six by Cowans & Sheldon of Carlisle, all were delivered during 1940. Further builds of 17 R&R 45-ton cranes followed, both for the railways and the War Department.  

During the early part of the War, cranes were sent to Persia to keep the line clear to Russia for vital movement of oil, armaments, and supplies. These were replaced in 1943 by 45-ton cranes at  Gorton and Kings Cross.


Heavy trains operated over a difficult road in extremes of temperature using 8F and WD locos. Bridge engineering and keeping the line open was essential work.  


At home the cranes were sited strategically around the country, the example at the Bluebell Railway was based at Manchester (Gorton). This photo and this one illustrate the essential work that all breakdown cranes and their crews undertook during World War II to clear lines. 


However, there was a lesser-known military role for these cranes, constructing and servicing cross-channel coastal batteries at St Margaret's near Dover on the Martin Mill Military Railway , where 25% of the first batch of cranes were sent.  


Once in place, ground-mounted battleship guns required enormous barrels to be installed and subsequently exchanged at intervals for attention at Woolwich, a task that took three 45-ton cranes, two Ransomes & Rapiers and a Cowans & Sheldon, stored in the tunnel at Guston near Dover (along with a rail-mounted gun, one of four based in Kent). 

Click here and here to see the 45-ton cranes lifting a single gun barrel.  

Grateful thanks to the forum-based sources in Kent and Sussex, and especially the Breakdown Crane Association website article on WWII cranes.  


Recommended reading: Military Railways in Kent by R. M. Lyne and Locomotives at War by P.M  Kalla-Bishop.  

Can you help? £1,500 in additional donations are needed to renovate the Bluebell Railway's 45-tone Crane. Donate here .  


The photo below shows one of the Wanstone Battery's twin 15-inch guns, "Clem" and "Jane." 


By Neil Cameron  


Wartime Cranes  












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