News from the Bluebell Railway              27 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
Over Head & Over Here
Confidence Going Forward: Notes from the AGM
FOSP to Go "Off the Beaten Track"
A Timely Reminder of a Railway Stalwart
Bluebells Are Still Coming!
Loco News
Brighton Atlantic Update
Water, Water Everywhere
Salmon Plans Recital for No. 7864, 13 Oct., 2013
A Trip Down Memory Line: The Bulleid Pacific Preservation Society, Part 2
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  

, a 1943 British Council film now one of 120 fims  restored and digitised, this one is about London's  Waterloo and goes behind the scenes to show  much  detail of how the Southern Railway ran the terminus, as it  was operated  during or just after the world war two, different sources  give different year of production.
A 1943 British Council film, one of 120 fims restored and digitised, about London's Waterloo Station. It goes behind the scenes to show much detail about how the Southern Railway ran the terminus, during or just after the World War II.

Locomotive Roster  


Public Train Information


  Line Map & Gradient Profile 


Local Accomodation List  


  Local Attractions  



Walkscene "Railway Children" Walks  


Lineside Photographers
Track Safety



 a day out to Brighton  and back  from Sheffield Park hauled by the E4  no. 473
A day out to Brighton and back from Sheffield Park, hauled by the E4 No. 473 "Birch Grove" and Terrier No. 55 "Stepney", and a journey on the Bluebell Railway section from Sheffield Park by Adams Radial No. 488. For a related story, click here .
"Blue Belle" special to Horsted Keynes via Ardingly, with Caley Single and T9 leaving Victoria; Golden Arrow and Night Ferry trains seen on the move; and more set to a vintage Alan Freeman chart show.

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


50th Anniversary Appeal  


Bluebell Railway Trust  




The H-Class leaving Sheffield Park with the 3 p.m. service train to Kingscote on 30 April.
The H-Class leaving Sheffield Park with the 3 p.m. service train to Kingscote on 30 April.


No. 3205's last day at the Railway.
No. 3205's last day at the Railway.
Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

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

A selection Adams Radial-related photos from the John J. Smith Collection:

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

  Adams Radial
Station Facilities

A visit to the Bluebell Railway in summer 2003.
A visit to the Bluebell Railway in summer 2003.

Over Head & Over Here 


Spitfire Low

Just two of the many photographs taken by Derek Hayward during the Southern at War weekend, 11 and 12 May. Above, a Boultbee Flight Academy Spitfire treats Horsted Keynes to a low fly-past. Below, well, what lady wouldn't love a sailor on a swish American motorbike! You can find more of Derek's photos here .

Over Here


Confidence Going Forward: Notes from the AGM


The 53rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society (BRPS) at Oakmeeds Community College, Burgess Hill was attended by 273 people. All elected Trustees were in attendance, including PLC Chairman Graham Flight and Infrastructure Director Chris White.

The meeting began with one minute of silence to remember those who have passed away since last year, a list of 58 names, including well-known active members and, of course, our late President Bernard Holden.
The mood was very upbeat, coming on the back of the successful opening of the extension to East Grinstead. Feedback suggests it was a very good meeting with a lot of information imparted, which is a good indication that the AGM is meeting its purpose as a key communication line between the Society and Trustees, a fact sometimes overlooked.

Formal business items included the reporting of both Society and Company accounts. As always, it was useful to receive questions from the floor with general or personal concerns about the Railway.

After the break, the floor heard from PLC Chairman Graham Flight, who, after 30 years of Board work, will be standing down after the Company's AGM in July. We must not overlook Graham's contribution to the Northern Extension Project, and thanks to his professional expertise, he has been a guiding figure in the financial aspects of the Railway's operation. He'll be a hard act to follow.

The meeting heard from Tim Baker and Neil Glaskin on the Railway's performance following the East Grinstead opening (NOTE: more on the Railway's performance so far this year in the next eNewsletter--The Editors) . Without a doubt we are on a steep learning curve, and in a year's time, I hope to report what we have done to address the issues.

The new long term plan was unanimously adopted, but it is up to us to ensure we do our level best to deliver on it. Sometimes people think it's a must-do list, but it's there to guide us and our work with the PLC. A look back at what has been achieved since the last update reveals staggering achievement, sometimes not appreciated by all.

The election saw the re-election of Tim Baker and Chris Saunders and the election of Martin Widdowson to the Trustees. Of course, elections mean that some have stood down, and it would be wrong of me not to acknowledge Ian Aitken and David Foale, standing down after 10 and 33 years respectively.

As "the money men" Ian and David have made a significant contribution to the running of Society accounts and Company finances. It's not easy work, as some think, and we owe them a great deal. Welcome to Nigel Longdon, the new BRPS Treasurer.

So congratulations to all successful candidates and commiserations to Roger Garman and Bob Blake. But to the latter I say you did very well indeed for a first-time poll. The results were close, and I hope you are not deterred from standing again, especially as the Railway's management will see a number of changes in the coming years.
From my perspective, a "good" AGM is when people leave feeling well-informed and that they've had an opportunity to question or challenge Trustees on their decisions and to better understand the Railway's performance. As Chairman, I always enjoy the chance to meet and chat with people, especially with those who do not feel confident to ask a question from the floor.

Let's hope we go forward confidently this year and deliver on our promises; after all, we don't have many big distractions now ... or do we?!
By Roy Watts, Chairman, Bluebell Railway Preservation Society


Raise funds for the Railway while you shop online !

FOSP to Go "Off the Beaten Track"


The Friends of Sheffield Park (FOSP) are organising a railtour to travel over sections of track not normally traversed by passenger trains. It will run on 13 July, the train made up of one of the Railway's smaller locos and the Observation Coach. Highlights will include:

Sheffield Park (depart 1320):
  • Platform 2 Dock Siding
  • Pumphouse Siding
  • Newick Siding, the most southerly part of the Railway
Hosted Keynes:
  • Ardingly Siding
  • Platform 1, north end
  • Down Yard
  • Sharpthorne Tunnel: Traversed with the lights out!
  • Kingscote: Northbound train, run via the Loop Platform
  • East Grinstead: Arrive via the Loop Siding
  • Reverse in the headhunt, the most northerly part of the Railway
  • Return nonstop to Sheffield Park (arrive 1705)    
Tickets (you will receive a souvenir ticket) cost £20. Only 68 seats are available, so they are expected to sell fast.

To book now, click here . All profits go towards the completion of the Platform 1 canopy extension and future maintenance work at Sheffield Park, all part of the aim to restore Sheffield Park to a condition befitting its role as the Railway's headquarters.


A Timely Reminder of a Railway Stalwart


Phil Stoneman is much-missed as a member of the Loco Department and Loco Workshops group. His untimely death in June 2012 was especially tragic because he had recently arranged early retirement, and he was planning to spend more time at the Railway.

While working as a cleaner, he used to use an old watch to gauge how much time was left while preparing his engine, but he was irritated to have to keep stopping to read it. He remarked to many people that, "Before I leave this Railway, I'm going to buy a clock to put up there!" pointing to the top of the loco shed.

Therefore, his colleagues would like to raise £1,800 to buy a yard clock in Phil's memory, to be fitted on the new "Above Workshop Facility" building (looking something like the photo below). This project has been agreed to by all relevant parties at the Railway, and it is considered to be a fitting tribute to Phil's memory.

We have set up a JustGiving page , and here is a link to a Gift Aid and Donation form for those wishing to donate by cheque.

Clock Appeal


The trial run of the new service on the Great Northern Saloon has added two dates: 22 and 23 June. For more information and to book, message or e-mail

Bluebells Are Still Coming! 

More Bluebells
Spring keeps on springing: Robin Willis' lovely photo shows bluebells blooming at Kingscote Station.


Loco News 

The increased income following the opening of the line to East Grinstead has allowed Camelot's boiler to be sent to the London and North Western Heritage Railway at Crewe in order for the rest of its overhaul to be carried out. The boiler departs on 12 June, and it is expected back in early 2014.
Work on reassembling No. 592 is progressing now that the valve buckles have been delivered, following repair of the spindles by metal-spraying and grinding. The photo below shows one of the valves being trial fitted before the two cylinders are assembled together.

Lastly, No. 847's boiler has passed its hydraulic test, and it will shortly be test steamed on the boiler trolley. The second photo below shows the inside of the firebox after completion of the work.
By Lewis Nodes, Director, Locos & Rolling Stock

No. 592 Valve

Inside 847 Firebox


Brighton Atlantic Update

"There is more good progress to report on the construction of the Brighton Atlantic.

"We now have the cylinders fitted to the frames with the proper fitted bolts. This has been quite a long process involving the gradual reaming out of each hole to produce a good clean surface in each of the three thicknesses of material totaling about 3 and 3/16 of an inch (81mm).

"Due to access problems, this has had to be done by hand with a 1/2-inch square drive socket set ratchet driving an expanding reamer, slowly! The result is important as it ensures that the driven bolts are in close contact with all relevant parts of the assembly.

"There is a lot of force on a 20-inch diameter piston at 170 psi steam pressure, alternating back and forth just trying to wrench the cylinders from the frames.

"The rear cylinder covers have also now been fitted, and work is now concentrating on the fitting up of the slide-bars and motion brackets."

For more on this project, click here .

The photo below shows the rear cylinder cover now finally fitted to its cylinder, which in turn is bolted to the frames with the fitted bolts. (Photo by Fred Bailey.)

Atlantic Update


In the last issue of this eNewsletter, we gave the incorrect e-mail address to contact the Bluebell Railway Band . The correct address is .
Water, Water Everywhere
   Water Tower May 2013  
Martin Lawrence's photo shows progress on the water tower at East Grinstead, thanks mainly to the dedicated and sterling work of Bob "the Builder" from the Northern Extension Project team. In terms of plumbing, Mike Hopps has the mains water supply, pump feed from the sump, and overflow pipework to install, and the Alf Brown Gang is dealing with the six-inch pipe and water crane. 



Salmon Plans Recital for No. 7864, 13 Oct., 2013 


They've guided visitors around the carriage works, made jam, run marathons, and now the team behind the restoration of Maunsell Restaurant Car No. 7864 are tuning up!

The Carriage & Wagon Department's very own Deborah Salmon will be giving a clarinet recital on 13 Oct. at Chequer Mead in East Grinstead. Proceeds of the concert will be shared between the restoration of No. 7864 and the Carriage Works extension project.

Further details will be announced soon--please put the date in your diary for what promises to be an excellent evening's entertainment.

No. 7864




One of the Railway's staunchest supporters--Liz Bennett--has handed over the East Grinstead mayoral Chain of Office. Read all about it here

A Trip Down Memory Line: The Bulleid Pacific Preservation Society, Part 2 


At times during those last desperate months, failure to achieve our goal to save Bulleid Pacific No. 34023 became a possibility. There were other preservation societies battling desperately for funds, each as deserving as the other, and the enthusiast was in a quandary: which fund was the most deserving?

Incoming funds would sometimes dry up to almost nothing. Alan Wilton was in the habit of writing to well known personalities of the time--I am unable to recall exactly whom--but the time he took in wording appeal letters was often well-received and rewarded. Alan was an extremely articulate and well-read man.

I refer to "the enthusiast" being in a quandary as to which fund to support. Well, I was at home one Saturday afternoon (good job I was) with the fund approaching around £2,100 of the £2,500 required. Time was running out, but it always was going to be a race against time. We had accepted that.

Then there was a knock at the door. My mother, who along with dad accepted my enthusiasm, called me downstairs, and there was a young guy there, probably around my age.

He introduced himself and said he had come from "up north" to meet me and find out how the fund was progressing. Intrigued, I showed him upstairs to the "office," and we chatted for a time. He looked through the photos we had for sale, purchased some, and announced that "on the strength of what you have told me, I would like to donate £500 to the engine." You can imagine my amazement! That sum of money secured the engine there and then, with some months still to go.   

I and the new benefactor went straight to Nine Elms. There, with some good fortune, we met Alan Wilton, busily preparing an engine for departure to Waterloo. Alan being Alan, he invited our savior onto the footplate--albeit a converted Bulleid--and proceeded to give this guy a ride up and down the Coaling Tower road, much to his delight.

I briefly recalled my introduction to The Bulleid Society, through being friendly with engine crews, and I will never forget the camaraderie that existed amongst footplate staff. This was generously extended to enthusiasts like myself. It was remarkable that these men going about their work should extend their friendship, knowledge, and expertise to a band of young enthusiasts.

Indeed, that bond between enginemen and enthusiast exists to this day. Every year a reunion is held by Nine Elms shed staff at the Bluebell Railway. Despite the passage of time, the camaraderie that existed nearly 50 years ago is still evident today, and those same enthusiasts myself included are invited.
I truly believe that without Alan's devout enthusiasm No. 34023 would have made the sorry trip to Barry. Instead the Society, with sufficient funds, purchased the engine upon her withdrawal, and she was put into store at Nine Elms a few weeks before the end of steam. There she was given plenty of TLC, prior to going to Longmoor Military Railway at Liss in Hampshire.

By Peter Austin

Below, Nine Elms Locomotive Works in 1967. Photo copyright Peter Austin. View more of Peter's photo here


  Nine Elms Loco 1967  












Enjoy These Latest Photos! 


Southern at War galleries by :
(NOTE: Results of the Southern at War photo competition in the next eNewsletter--The Editors.)

Ashley Smith's recent gallery .

Photos of a sunny spring day at the Railway by Dave Braley.

John Sandys' gallery from 14 May.

Dave Haggar's set (and one below) from a photo charter featuring No. 3205. Other photos from this charter can be found on the Railway's blog .

Keith Duke's photos from 13 May shows off trains old and new.

Nathan Gibson provides photo coverage of No. 3205's last day.

No. 3205


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