News from the Bluebell Railway              12 May 2013

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
The Bluebells (& Primroses) Are Coming!
Canopy Caper Set for the AGM
Strike Up the Band!
GN Saloon Pilots New Menu & Service
Your Southern at War Photos Here!
Mid-Summer Rail Ale, & Other Event News
Model Railway Weekend Coming in June
Bluebell Railway Loan Is a Draw for the Push-Pull
Open Wagon Update
Volunteers Needed to Help with Oral History Project
A Trip Down Memory Line: The Bulleid Pacific Preservation Society, Part 1
Enjoy These Latest Photos!

Bluebell Railway Website


Sales & Information  


Timetable & Fares  


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  

Steam at the Bluebell Railway, 27 March, 2013.
Steam at the Bluebell Railway, 27 March, 2013.

Locomotive Roster  


Public Train Information


  Line Map & Gradient Profile 


Local Accomodation List  


  Local Attractions  



Walkscene "Railway Children" Walks  


Lineside Photographers
Track Safety



East Grinstead Bus Running Day 2, 14 Apri,l 2013.
East Grinstead Bus Running Day 2, 14 April, 2013.
ABC of RAILWAYS: B is for the
ABC of Railways: B is for the "Bluebell Breakthrough!"

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


50th Anniversary Appeal  


Bluebell Railway Trust  




Bluebell Railway Toy and Rail Collectors Fair, 27 April, 2013
Bluebell Railway Toy and Rail Collectors Fair, 27 April, 2013.


The Railway on 6 Jan., 2013.
The Railway on 6 Jan., 2013.
Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

Order prints online from the Bluebell Railway Archive's
John J. Smith or Colin Hogg collections.

A selection LBSCR "Terrier"-related photos from the John J. Smith Collection:

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

  JJS Terrier
Station Facilities

?Train Song?Vashti Bunyan?
"Train Song" by English folk legend Vashti Bunyan, set to illustrations of trains across the world. From a daughter in memory of her father, recalling the days of steam.

The Bluebells (& Primroses) Are Coming! 

Bluebells & Primroses
Many thanks to Roger Barton for this lovely close-up of some bluebells and primroses growing in Sussex woods on 8 May. A fitting tribute to the completion of the Northern Extension Project!


Canopy Caper Set for the AGM 


Readers of this newsletter who have had a chance to visit Sheffield Park in recent weeks will have seen that repairs and the extension to the Platform 1 canopy are progressing at a good pace.

Behind this news, I am happy to report on the fundraising for this project. Out of a target of £42,000, the sum raised so far is £39,300. And there is an opportunity at the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society Annual General Meeting on 18 May to give this figure a very significant boost.

That's because the catering stand profits at the AGM will be going to the canopy fund, and Friends of Sheffield Park (FoSP) members will be running the "Canopy Caper," during which all donations made for the canopy by the end of the interval will be matched by one of our patrons, to a maximum of £1,000.

If you wish to do so, gift aid may be claimed on the donation you make that night. FoSP members will have the appropriate form available.

So, there is a chance on the 18 May to raise around £2,500 or more towards the canopy work, which will bring the total close to the £42,000 target, and a chance on this Saturday to tick the "job done" box on fundraising for this project.

Thank you, as ever, for all your support.
By Roger Kelly, Fundraising Director


Raise funds for the Railway while you shop online !

We've Got the Skies Covered Too!


Spitfire display at Horsted Keynes
Spitfire display at Horsted Keynes on 11 May, part of the Southern at War weekend.


















GN Saloon Pilots New Menu & Service 


On 18 May the Great Northern (GN) Saloon will host a trial run of a new menu and champagne service that we believe will enhance the travel experience of the Railway's passengers and ultimately match the style and ambiance offered by our unique vehicle.

Our Champagne Brunch Service includes sandwiches, a glass of champagne, Duddleswell homemade sponge cake, Danish pastries, and tea or coffee. The Champagne Tea Service offers sandwiches, a glass of champagne, Duddleswell homemade scones with Rodda's clotted cream and jam, and tea or coffee.

We are offering this trial to anyone interested in helping us with feedback before further test runs in June. The trial will operate on the following services:

1100 dep. Sheffield Park (brunch)
1200 dep. East Grinstead (brunch)

1330 dep. Sheffield Park (brunch)
1430 dep. East Grinstead  (tea)

1600 dep. Sheffield Park (tea)
1700 dep. East Grinstead (tea)

Passengers are only able to join at Sheffield Park or East Grinstead, and tickets will be sold on a pre-book only basis, costing £20 for a single journey or £30 return.

Any passengers wishing to travel on the 1330 departure from Sheffield Park will be able to book £35 return for both brunch and tea service. A ticket to travel on trains on this day is not necessary, unless only traveling for a single journey on the saloon. Our ticket is only valid for the journey or journeys stated on board No. 43909.

Available for sale on each journey are two tables of two; one table of 4 or 5; and one table of 6.

To book, message or e-mail , stating your name, address, the number of passengers, and which journey you'd prefer. Payment is via Paypal or cheque.

The saloon will be back in normal public service over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend.

By Tom Waghorn


Your Southern at War Photos Here!


Those of you thinking of entering the Southern at War photo competition might get some inspiration from Derek Hayward's photos below, taken on 11 May, of a Spitfire flypast and the trusty Home Guard looking ready as ever to defend Blighty, or at least the Bluebell Railway! Derek's slideshow of the event is here .

Photo Competition Rules & Regulations
  • Photos must have been taken during this event.
  • Photos can be black and white or colour, and they will be judged on their merits.
  • Submit as a 300dpi jpeg file e-mail attachment sized at 15 cm by 10 cm (or 6 in by 4 in).
  • First prize: One family ticket. Second prize: choice of one Jon Bowers video.
  • The winner and runner up will be shown in the eNewsletter, with a gallery of the top 10 hosted online.
  • Send entries by 19 May to John Walls at . Please provide your e-mail address and phone number. 
Home Guard




Strike Up the Band!


The Bluebell Railway Band is a non-marching military band with a full complement of woodwind and brass.

This set-up enables it to play a wide variety of music, including classics, jazz, show tunes, and pop and rock--and of course traditional marches. Something for everyone!

In addition to concerts through the year, the band plays at the Carol Service at Horsted Keynes Station, always a popular occasion.

Any wind players of reasonable standard who would like to play in the Band should call 01342 716992 for details or e-mail .

During 2013, the Band will be playing on the following dates:
  • 22-23 June (Edwardian Weekend) at Horsted Keynes (2 p.m. to 4 p.m.)
  • 6-7 July (Food Festival) at Horsted Keynes (1 p.m. to 3.30 p.m.)
  • 10-11 Aug. (Vintage Weekend) at Horsted Keynes (2 p.m. to 4 p.m.)
  • 7 Dec. (Carol Service) at Horsted Keynes (7:30 p.m.)
Band in Belgium
The Bluebell Railway Band in Belgium.



Passengers are now able to book through-tickets from network stations in the South East--the old Network SouthEast area--to include travel on the Bluebell Railway, with a discount included on the Railway's fare.

Mid-Summer Rail Ale, & Other Event News 

Our May Rail Ale service has sold out! The next evening with beer and music takes place on 21 June, when customers will enjoy a picnic supper box plus a performance on the platform of Horsted Keynes station by the Horsham Borough Brass Band. The first pint will be free! Tickets are available at £27.50 from the Sales and Information Office at Sheffield Park or the Travel Centre at East Grinstead.
New for 2013 will be the Edwardian Weekend on 22 and 23 June, when our Edwardian locomotives and carriages will be in service in conjunction with a garden party in the Paddock at Horsted Keynes, plus there will be Edwardian Fairground stalls, including a Hall of Mirrors, Hoop-La, Splat the Rat, and The High Striker.

There also will be a Band Concert and Afternoon Tea served in the grand marquee. This new event is set at the time of King Edward VII, prior to World War I will when the country was full of confidence and the butler ruled the house! For more details, click here .
Don't forget, the visiting Great Western Railway loco No. 3205 from the South Devon Railway will be operating most days until 21 May (although on 15 May the loco will be used for a photo charter). For more information on No. 3205, click here .
Our colleagues in Carriage & Wagon have given us the go-ahead to start bookings for Pullman car "Fingall," which will return to service following an overhaul for Christmas Golden Arrow Pullmans. Built in 1922, Fingall can seat 22 diners in first class luxury. The main saloon is open, with tables of two plus a private coupe for four.

Golden Arrow chef Vince Rickwood is looking forward to having the prestigious Fingall back as part of our popular dining service, although the size of the kitchen is half of what he is accustomed to with the first class restaurant car.

Finally, a reminder that our Monday Club commences this week with a special fare of just £15 for a return ride from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park on the midday service, plus a two course meal in the Bessemer Arms. Membership in the Monday Club is free to seniors older than 60 who live in East Grinstead, and the special offer will apply on all Service 1 Mondays until the end of September. For full details, visit Lesley-Ann in the Travel Centre at East Grinstead Station  
By Tim Baker, Commercial Director


Model Railway Weekend Coming in June  

This year's Model Railway Weekend is 29 and 30 June from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. See trade stands and model railway layouts at both Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes stations.

The Service Two timetable will operate, plus additional trains will be hauled by the Class 33 Diesel No. 33103 "Swordfish," departing Sheffield Park at 1020, 1250, and 1520, or from East Grinstead 1123, 1353, and 1623.

For the First Class 33-hauled train departing Sheffield Park at 1020, seats can be reserved at £2.50 per person. Call the Sales & Information Office at Sheffield Park or the Travel Centre at East Grinstead at 01825 720800.

More information can be found here .


Bluebell Railway Loan Is a Draw for the Push-Pull


(From the Dorset Echo) "Trains that used to be seen on the Weymouth-Waterloo line will be back in Dorset this week.

"Volunteers at the Swanage Railway are rolling back the years by holding a 'Push-Pull Day' today. It marks the 25th anniversary of the end of 'push-pull' slam door trains which ran between Bournemouth, Dorchester, and Weymouth ...

"... One of the two 1960s-built Class 33 diesel-electric locomotives taking part will be No. 33111 which operated the last BR 'push-pull' train to Swanage in September 1971--three months before the line was closed.

"It is on loan from the Bluebell Railway in Sussex and was named 'Gordon Pettitt' after the British Rail Southern Region general manager who formally opened the Swanage Railway's new station at Harman's Cross in March 1989."

For the complete story, click here

The 4 VEP at East Grinstead
"Gordon Pettitt" on push-pull trip from East Grinstead to Imberhorne.


There are currently 48 items listed on eBay, though the eBay for Charity initiative, to benefit the Railway. Check them out here

Open Wagon Update    

Open Wagon Update

Martin Skrzetuszewski and the Horsted Keynes Volunteer Wagon Gang provide an update to work on the GWR 5-plank Open Wagon No. 87782.

The above photo shows that the rivets holding the GWR brackets on the original diagonals have had their heads ground off and the brackets have been removed.

Continues Martin, "The Bristol Docks 'alterations' can be seen. As the angle of the brackets is not 90 degrees, it may be more sensible to repair them rather than renew them, despite their apparent condition. The crack in the original GW diagonal member was probably caused by the members being forced over into new positions during repairs at Bristol. This has to be repaired by a coded welder, either one from Sheffield Park or from a contractor, which has to be funded from project funds."

For a history of the project, click here .



Volunteers Needed to Help with Oral History Project

Two schools in Sussex are participating in an exciting educational project that will research and record oral history regarding the impact of the 1960s railway cuts, when the Three Bridges to Tunbridge Wells line was closed.


This project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and is being led by Life Wisdoms, a local educational charity. It is an intergenerational project. Children will engage with older people in the community who lived through the Beeching cuts and who are willing to share their memories.


By talking to people directly, children will not only gather real life stories that contribute to the historical archive of the community, they also develop confidence and communication skills.


Did you live through the Beeching cuts and have memories you are willing to share? We are looking for volunteers to help reminisce around the following questions:

  • Did you, family members, or friends work or travel on the railway, and were they affected by the cuts?
  • Did you work in a business that was affected by the cuts?
  • Did you lose your job as a result of the cuts?
  • Did you or your children rely on the railway to get to work/school or to go on holiday, and how did you get there once the railway lines closed?
  • Are you interested in railway history and willing to share your knowledge?
  • What did you think of the Beeching cuts? Were they a necessary evil or could things have been done differently?
  • How are disused railway lines and buildings used now?

If you can help answer any of these questions and can give up an hour or two to speak to students, please call Ruth Maddison at 01825 891094 or e-mail  .


Beeching Map  
















There is now a new webpage for British Railways 350HP diesel-electric shunter D4106/No. 09018, created by Nick Beck, with text by Martin Skrzetuszewski and photos by Martin Lawrence. 

A Trip Down Memory Line: The Bulleid Pacific Preservation Society, Part 1


My association with the Bulleid Pacific Preservation Society (BPPS), as it was then called, begun soon after the Society was formed sometime in 1966.  


Having spent a lot of time travelling on the Bournemouth road, timing the last steam hauled expresses, I became very friendly with many Nine Elm's drivers and fireman.  


Alan Wilton was one such driver, looked upon by many as the ultimate authority on Bulleid Pacifics. I cannot exactly recall when I first met Alan, but I was soon captivated by his enthusiasm for the un-rebuilts. It was not very long before I was initiated the Society, founded by Alan Wilton and colleagues at Nine Elms Depot in South London. 


I was asked to be the Society's Sales Officer, thrown in at the deep end and enjoying the camaraderie of professional enginemen.  


Fundraising is never easy. Back in '60s, when steam was fast disappearing, there were many appeals to save deserving engines. The scramble for cash and publicity was launched in many different ways, including rail tours--No. 34023 nearly made it over Shap--appeal leaflets inserted into railway journals, pens with the name of the society and an image of the engine, photographs--"Lens of Sutton" did the BPPS many favours--and signed copies Bulleid: Last Giant of Steam .   


How did we get Mr. Bulleid to sign the book? Well, Alan, myself, and one of the vice presidents visited Mr. and Mrs. Bulleid in Exmouth one day--but Alan had not contacted the Bulleids first! This little blip in a very traditional British custom made no difference; it was shortly after Sunday lunchtime when the three of us were standing on O.V.S.'s doorstep in sunny Exmouth. 


So I stood on the bottom step, a slightly apprehensive 18-year-old, but we were made very welcome. How many other people, let alone an elderly couple, would welcome total strangers into their home without notice on a Sunday afternoon?!  

Oliver Bulleid was well aware of the efforts being made to preserve one of his finest. He listened intently to Alan describing the progress, while I felt humbled and privileged as I was introduced to the "great man" as I handed over the books and photographs he patiently signed.  


Then the door of the living room opened, and there was Mrs. Bulleid with tea and cakes--this could not get better! A Bullied and an Ivatt--Mrs. Bullied was born Marjorie Ivatt--in the same room! 


This was absolutely awesome for a teenage railway enthusiast! Our business done, we made the long return journey back to South London, feeling very accomplished, especially me because it was a day to remember.  


By Peter Austin    


Enjoy these photos of Bulleid Pacifics by Peter Austin. Below, No. 34023 "Blackmoor Vale" (heading a fast train to London Waterloo) is seen in summer 1965 at Southampton Central, taking on water. This is a never-published-before image kindly shared by Peter and signed by Oliver Bulleid. You can view a larger version of the photo here . All photos are copyright Peter Austin.  


No. 34023 Bulleid



Enjoy These Photos! 


Stepney and the Bluebells

A Jon Bowers photo charter with Terrier No. 32655 "Stepney" and the Birdcage Brake is seen in these David Haggar photos . His photo of Stepney, the Birdcage, and a bank of bluebells is seen above.

David Haggar provides an album from a photo charter back in 2000, with No. 75027 and No. 92240 double-heading, recreating an S&D type train from the 1960s.

Ben Gray has some photos taken on 27/04/2013 and on 13/04/2013 .

Robert Carroll has some photos taken on 27 April, including quite a bit of detail of the carriages.

Photos from John Sandys from 30/04/2013 , 02/05/2013 , and 07/05/2013 .

Photos from Matt Hume from his visit to the Railway on 6 May.

Martin Lawrence's new album covers 25 April onwards.

Chris Rigby's photo below from 28 April shows the U-class with the Southern-liveried set, approaching Horsted Keynes, a near-recreation of the 3:26 p.m. Haywards Heath to London Bridge via Horsted Keynes train which ran over the line in the 1950s.

Southern Set


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, now from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead!

John Walls
Trustee, Bluebell Railway Preservation Society