News from the Bluebell Railway   16 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
Second Wind for Sir Archie
Torch Bearer Meets Gifts Bearer
DDD125 Round-Up
Covering the Sheffield Park Canopy Extension
Wednesday Gang Awarded Grant
Approaching the Finish Line: Coverage by Local Media
Don't Forget These Remaining December Events
Bluebells in BR Service
News from the Fenchurch Fund
A Cavalcade Remembered
Enjoy These Latest Photos!
A History of Norwood Loco Depot 75C: 1935-1964

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 in 1992, from the Beulah Library.
Bluebell Railway in 1992, from the Beulah Library.

Special Events 2012  


Bluebell Railway steam from 2 Dec.
Bluebell Railway steam from 2 Dec.

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


50th Anniversary Appeal  


Bluebell Railway Trust  




Steam Locos in Profile: The Bulleid Pacifics.
Steam Locos in Profile: The Bulleid Pacifics.


The "Loco Yard Mega-Shunt," by Martin Lawrence.

Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

Pannier Tank no. 3650 pulling the Santa Special on 8 Dec., by David Hagger.
Pannier Tank no. 3650 pulling the Santa Special on 8 Dec., by David Hagger.

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

  JJ Smith #8
The H class No.263 with the Wealden Rambler set, by Martin Lawrence.
The H class No.263 with the Wealden Rambler set, by Martin Lawrence.

Second Wind for Sir Archie

Click here to donate!

The Big Give Christmas Challenge got off to a slow start on 9 Dec. We were unable to compete with many nationwide charities for the sponsor funding put up by Big Give itself, and indeed the first day's funding was exhausted by seven minutes past 10!

However, the sponsor funding of £15,000 put up by our own supporters belongs solely to us, and I am pleased to say this was matched by your online donations earlier this week. Our profound thanks to all who have given!


There's more good news: we have obtained a further £7,500 in sponsor funding from two of our major donors. Some £5,600 of this funding is still available to be matched online (as of publication, with an overall total raised of £ 38,769).


On 10 Dec. we join up with the Royal Air Force Association to appeal for donations, recognising "Sir Archibald Sinclair's" connection to the Battle of Britain. Matching this new total will be sufficient to repair the locomotive in the new year.

We know you have given so generously to the Northern Extension Project this year, but we must ask for one final push to secure the services of an important locomotive for the extended Railway.  


Please note that the challenge ends on 20 Dec.; if match funding runs out, unmatched donations can be made up to this date.


By John Walls, Trustee, Fundraising
& Publications.  


For more information, visit the Bulleid Society online.  



Torch Bearer Meets Gifts Bearer 




Derek Haywood's photo shows none other than Santa Claus, accompanied by erstwhile elves, meeting Olympic Torch bearer Kate Steer (who carried the torch through Eastbourne in July 2012) at Horsted Keynes on 8 Dec.



DDD125 Round-Up: Target Made with Seconds to Spare!   


On behalf of the Railway's Board and the Society's Trustees, I am pleased to offer a very big thank-you to everyone who made the Double Donations Dash 125 (DDD125) such a resounding success.

The target was £125,000 in donations in two weeks in order for this amount to be doubled by external sponsors. The donation that tipped us over the target was made online with only seconds to spare as the DDD closed on 6 Nov.  


Including the Gift Aid we can claim on the donations, we raised £270,000 for the Northern Extension Project in 18 days.
So the good news is, with DDD125 and other money raised, the funding gap--i.e., the difference between what we expect to spend to complete the project and what we need to raise--is estimated to be between £150,000 and £175,000.

We have one final funding event planned to make a substantial dent in the gap--the much-delayed Track Trek on 24 Feb., 2013.  


Also, our dedicated band of Fiver for the Finish collectors will be doing their best to close the gap in the first couple of months of 2013. They want to see if they can raise £50,000 before we bring the scheme to an end; they have raised £46,500 so far since February, 2012!
Our supporters' generosity this year has been magnificent. The number of individual donations ran into many thousands of pounds.  


One way or another, if we reach our Big Give Christmas Challenge target, plus donations and grants we have received for other projects, we will have raised the best part of £1 million this year.  


I am sincerely grateful to all who have been part of this achievement, whether as donors or fundraisers. Your help and support is greatly appreciated.  


So, as an amazing fundraising 2012 draws to a close, and we look forward to an epic period in the Railway's history in early 2013, may I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and New Year.
By Roger Kelly, Funding Director  



Covering the Sheffield Park Canopy Extension

(Note: This is an excerpt from a longer article that will appear in the next edition of Bluebell News--The Eds.)

Since the formation of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society 52 years ago, one of the long-term aims has been to restore Sheffield Park's platform canopy to its original length.

With the formation of the Friends of Sheffield Park in 2011, the Railway's HQ has started to see the care and attention it deserves. Along with replacing windows, running-in boards, and gutters, sanding floors, and the never-ending painting, one of the projects the Friends want to complete is the down platform canopy extension.

The extension will comprise an 11.4m x 4.6m timber frame structure with zinc roofing, extending from the current southern end of the canopy to the end of the existing station building. The design for the two timber stanchions, rafters, struts, purlins, and valances will all be to the original LBSCR design.

The project is split into four distinct phases: Phase 1: foundations and superstructure; Phase 2: rafters, lead gutter, back gutter, and painting; Phase 3: zinc roofing; and Phase 4: valances, downpipes, gas lighting, and final painting.

To minimise disruption, Phase 1 must be completed during the winter season, before Easter. Phases 2, 3, and 4 can be completed throughout the year. Phase 1 is the longest phase and will only be started once it is fully funded.

The total cost of the project, using as much voluntary labour as possible, is approximately £25,000. We have a small sum available from previous fundraising efforts and other donations. 


A sponsorship list has been drawn up for those who'd like to sponsor a specific item, for example a timber stanchion. Along with the sponsorship and fundraising efforts, we also are looking for skilled labour, in particular woodworkers and carpenters.

For an idea of the scope of work, see the photo below of the original canopy. Note also the old covered footbridge, the signal box, and the brick platform wall.

For more information on this project, e-mail .

By Christopher Hunford, Infrastructure Trustee & Chairman, Friends of Sheffield Park  


Old Sheffield Park  










Model railway enthusiasts no doubt will be interested in Graham Muspratt's review of the new Bachmann model of the Wainwright Class 0-6-0.

Wednesday Gang Awarded Grant


The Wednesday Gang--aka the Lineside Conservation Group--has been awarded a grant of £1,000 from the Gatwick Airport Community Trust, to help one member take a chainsaw course and to purchase replacement tools (strimmers and brushcutters).

The balance of the cost for these items was met by the Railway's "Mince Pie Fund," and we are grateful to both funds for their support.
We have been working south of Horsted, at Three Arch and Rock Cutting. At Three Arch on 12 Dec., despite temperatures below freezing, we came across one primrose already in flower!

Now that we have cut back brambles and brush in the area, many more wild flowers should appear in the spring.
If you are a Railway member, you are welcome to join us via the monthly "Find Out More" days.
By Ian Aitken, Wednesday Gang Leader       



Approaching the Finish Line: Coverage by Local Media


Writes the The Argus , "A 40-year dream and a £6 million project to reconnect Sheffield Park to East Grinstead by rail is just metres from the finish line.

"Just £200,000 and a mile of track are needed to complete The Bluebell Railway project.

"Chris White, project controller and infrastructure director, said the end is 'tantalizingly close.'

"So far this year £600,000 has been raised towards the northern extension.

"The final stretch of the line from Kingscote to East Grinstead has been worked on for 15 years." ... more


See also this story from BBC Sussex.     



Don't Forget These Remaining December Events  

The Yuletide season is always a busy one at the Railway. Here's a run-down of just some of what's happening during the rest of the festive month ...

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. 

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.   



Bluebell Railway Preservation Society members are invited to join the social sub-committee on a coach excursion to the Gartell Light Railway on 4 May, 2013. Details can be found here .

Bluebells in BR Service: 31323 Wainwright P class 0-6-0 "Bluebell"  

A harbour pilot from Dover becomes the Bluebell Railway's "flagship" and a "Golden Arrow" loco, to boot!
Old Bluebell
( Photo by Ben Brooksbank , July 1956.) Goods train from Eastern Docks running along Marine Parade at Dover. View NE, to Dover Castle on the left, the sea to the right. Ex-SE&CR 0-6-0T No. 31323 (built 7/10, withdrawn 3/60). Note train has no brake van and is led by a shunter/flagman on foot.

Information & Multimedia About No. 31323
Will this venerable loco be the first to run to East Grinstead over the newly re-joined line, whistling her welcome?

"Bluebell" has surely earned the honour, thanks to her many decades of service. Driver John McKay, remarking on the loco's performance, described her as a "wee hiker" (in Scotland, a Black 5 is known as a "hiker," praise indeed!)

By Neil Cameron

Bluebell Greenbell


News from the Fenchurch Fund


Just about all of the components that can be removed from SECR No. 27's frames prior to lifting have been.

It has been discovered that both the left and right tanks are beyond economic and sensible repair and will need to be replaced with new ones. These tanks will be built as close to the original pattern as feasibly possible, based on modern construction techniques and legislation.

One of the condemned tanks has been cleaned up and is being painted Southern Railway lined green, with Southern A27 painted onto it. This is for display, to give an impression of what the restored loco might look like.

Angle pieces have been manufactured from new material and pre-drilled to fit to frames beneath the cab. It is hoped these can be riveted to the frames before lifting them from the wheelsets. We are waiting for a crane, but exploring other methods of lifting the frames from the wheels.

In other news ...

The restoration team has experienced problems with facilities in the Villas lately. A work bench collapsed through rot and caused damage to the building wall, necessitating a repair to the building and the construction of a heavy-duty workbench.

If we can find volunteers, we may be able to have a sales and information stand at Sheffield park on 22 and 23 Dec. in addition to those we have already run. Next year, we will attend the Brighton Model World exhibition (22 to 24 Feb.), the Burgess Hill Model Railway Club exhibition (11 May), and the Railway's Annual General Meeting (18 May). At all events we will be selling the usual items, including T-Shirts, mugs, tea cans, key rings, fridge magnets, and pickles and preserves.

If you would like to volunteer on the stands or with restoration and care, please contact me at . You must be a member of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society for insurance reasons.

By Clive D. Emsley, Chairman, The Fenchurch Fund   



A Cavalcade Remembered  


The Loco Department's Andy Beaton has supplied restoration photos of Kingscote and West Hoathly tunnel from the mid-1980s, plus the rarely seen 25th Anniversary cavalcade at Horsted Keynes.

Recalls Neil Cameron, "Andy was crewing the loco ahead of the steam crane in the cavalcade line-up. There's also a photo of Chris White and myself. Chris was crewing loco 80064 behind the crane, which self-propelled through the station, a unique event unlikely to be repeated.  


"Does anyone have video of this scene within the cavalcade? We would love to have it for our records. Please e-mail me at ."    





Photographers who wish to submit work to the "Communities in Focus" BIG Lottery Fund photo competition should visit this website for more information. Hurry: the competition closes on 19 Dec.! Roger Kelly notes that a photo of carriage no. 3360 in use ("making a positive difference") will be a worthy, eligible subject.

Enjoy These Latest Photos! 


Martin Lawrence photos of the Wealden Rambler and a set from 5 Dec.

Tim Waghorn's photos of a Santa Special.

John Sandy's set from 4 Dec. and one from 13 Dec .

Derek Hayward's photo (also below) of the SECR H-class approaching Sloop Bridge with the Wealden Rambler.

Hayward H-Class


A History of Norwood Loco Depot 75C: 1935-1964  

Norwood Loco Depot
Photo by Ben Brooksbank. March 12th 1960: View northward, towards London: ex-SR Depot. Serving Norwood Marshalling Yard, situated on the east side of the main line north of Norwood Junction station, with the Down loop of the line from Clapham Junction via Crystal Palace curving over at the far end and round to the left. The Depot (BR code 75C) had an allocation in November 1954 of 33 steam locomotives and 14 Diesels; most remained here in early 1960. The "civilians" wandering around are on RCTS Visit.

Southern Railway opened a five-road motive power depot with a 65 ft (19.8 metre) turntable in 1935, to serve the local marshalling yard.  


It replaced a shed at West Croydon. This depot was closed in 1964 and demolished in 1966. 

The LB&SCR constructed a large marshalling yard to the south of the station during the 1870s, extended in the early 1880s. At their height the yards on both sides of the line each had more than 30 sidings. 

Because of the narrow nature of the site, these sidings were laid in clusters of six to eight, one beyond another, with the lead-in to each forming an individual headshunt.  


With dwindling freight traffic, the marshalling yard fell into disuse by the 1980s and the up side tracks were relaid to accommodate an enlarged Selhurst Depot, the down side built over.

More information on Norwood Junction and area signalling, route, and track layouts can be found here .

More information, photos, & video:


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