News from the Bluebell Railway        7 July 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
Off to Crewe
Changes at the Top!
Loco News
Clay Away Day
Railway's Extension to Town Stokes Increase in Passengers
The Archive Quiz is Back!
Horsted Keynes Signals Rehearse
Crane Donations Get a Lift
Steam Crane Update in Pictures
Claim a Piece of Rail Heritage
Enjoy These Latest Photos!
Clarinet on Track

Bluebell Railway Website


Sales & Information  


Timetable & Fares  


Google map  




Disabled Access  


Frequently Asked Questions  


Gift Vouchers  


The Bluebell Railway Arrives at East Grinstead.
The Bluebell Railway Arrives at East Grinstead.

Bluebell Shop  


Bluebell Museum & Archive  

Video of the recent Edwardian Fair by John Harwood.
Video of the recent Edwardian Fair by John Harwood.

Locomotive Roster  


Public Train Information


  Line Map & Gradient Profile 


Local Accomodation List  


  Local Attractions  



Walkscene "Railway Children" Walks  


Lineside Photographers
Track Safety



The Edwardian Weekend by James Bloomfield.
The Edwardian Weekend by James Bloomfield.
No. 33103 and an engineering train on 26 June, by Martin Lawrence.
No. 33103 and an engineering train on 26 June, by Martin Lawrence.

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


50th Anniversary Appeal  


Bluebell Railway Trust  




No. 66739
No. 66739 "Bluebell Railway" passes Codsall on 26 June, 2013.


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

A selection of non-steam photos from the John J. Smith Collection:

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

  Brighton Belle1
Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

The arrival of No. L150, by John Sandys.
The arrival of No. L150, by John Sandys.
Station Facilities

No. 09018 shunts at Horsted Keynes on 27 June, by Martin Lawrence.
No. 09018 shunts at Horsted Keynes on 27 June, by Martin Lawrence.

Off to Crewe

Tony Hillman's photo shows the boiler of No. 73082 "Camelot" leaving for an overhaul at LNWR Heritage, Crewe. This is the first time the Railway has contracted an overhaul off-site since it built its own loco works in the 1970s (excepting a couple of small locos i.e., Fenchurch's new firebox at Luggs of Billingshurst and Blue Circle at Chatham). This work should ensure that "Camelot" can return to service next year, more than a year earlier than would otherwise be possible.


Changes at the Top! 


There have been a few changes to the Railway's management team recently, with several long-standing members--and the longest-serving Trustee--standing down.

At the Society's Annual General Meeting (AGM), finance Trustee David Foale and Society Treasurer Ian Aitken stood down after 33 and 10 years' service respectively. Both were careful managers of the Society's budget, but more importantly, they made many changes to the way the Society works with its bank, insurers, auditors, and the Railway Company. They also introduced many new processes that improved the flow of information and the working relationships between various stakeholders.

David also will be standing down as Finance Director at the Company AGM on 12 July. Also retiring at the same time--after some 30 years as a Board Member and 18 years as Chairman--will be Graham Flight.

Graham joined the Board principally to be part of the then-fledgling Company formed to pursue the extension to East Grinstead. His knowledge of the locality and its people and his accountancy skills were a real strength to one of the core functions of the Company Board, and I am sure that Graham will continue his role with the Bluebell Charitable Trust and will support the Railway with his expertise.

Trustee John Walls has tendered his resignation due to the demands of his career. John was Chairman of the Publications Committee and instrumental in creating and producing this eNewsletter, which, fortunately, he will continue to oversee.

We thank all these gentlemen for their service and contributions to the successful management of the Railway. You will be missed.

These changes show how important it is to have a proper succession plan, especially as quite a number of other Trustees and Directors are considering their own futures. Are you tomorrow's Chairman, Director, or Trustee? Don't forget that it's your Railway too!

By Roy Watts, Chairman, Bluebell Railway Preservation Society


Loco News


No. 592 --The C-class now has its cylinders, valve gear, and wheels back in place, and valve-setting is taking place. In a week or two, No. 592 should be out and about trial-running, but it will need a period of running-in before it can resume working to its full potential.
No. 09018 --The new diesel-shunting locomotive has now been commissioned into service. It is owned by B350 Ltd, whose shareholders are a consortium of members, and it is hired to the Railway on a pay-per-use basis. The loco is in excellent condition, having recently received an overhaul. The previous owner's insignia has been removed, but it will remain in its smart orange and grey livery for the time being. Our hire of No. 13236 will be terminated shortly.
No. L150 --With No. 1638 now suffering from firebox problems similar to those which have stopped No. B473, No. L150 is being taken on hire from The Flour Mill Ltd to provide additional capacity over the summer period. No. L150 is a Great Western Railway "Small Prairie" usually known as No. 5521, and it is the loco which recently operated mainline trains in Poland. This hire is initially until the beginning of September, but the loco is expected to return later that month for a longer period.
No. 847 --The boiler has had its out-of-frames steam test, its cladding fitted, and has been painted under the barrel, so it is now ready to be fitted in the frames.

By Lewis Nodes, Director, Locos
& Rolling Stock
L150 Arrives
John Sandys' photo shows No. L150 arriving at the Railway on 5 July, 2013.


To help raise funds for the restoration of Southern Railway Restaurant Car No. 7864, the Railway is running two football competitions. Both are simple to enter and require no knowledge of either football or railways! Details here .

Congratulations to Roy and Doreen Stirling of Greenway, whose recent open garden raised an astounding £1,111.41. One of their chosen charities is the Bluebell Railway. Thank you!

Clay Away Day   

Clay Train 062813
Martin Lawrence's photo shows No. 33103, with a full train of clay capping removed from the stockpile above Imberhorne Cutting, passing members of the Wednesday Gang near Ingwersons on 26 June.


Railway's Extension to Town Stokes Increase in Passengers 

(From This Is Sussex ) "Tens of thousands of rail enthusiasts have stunned Bluebell Railway organisers with a surge in ticket sales after the line arrived at East Grinstead.

"By the end of May almost 60,000 passengers had journeyed along the line since the start of the year, an increase of 36 per cent on last year's figures.

"The success of the line means the Bluebell Railway has brought forward additional projects, including plans to repair its Camelot locomotive.

"Commercial manager Tim Baker was astounded by the success.

"He said: 'The opening of the extension to East Grinstead has really opened up all kinds of opportunities for both the Bluebell and the town of East Grinstead. With the current economic climate, it was very difficult to predict how popular the extension would be.

"'We always expected a lift in passenger numbers, but it is fair to say we have been overwhelmed with the number of passengers since the opening day.'"
  • For the full story, click here .
  • A related story on proposed improvements to pedestrian access to East Grinstead station and the Bluebell Railway can be found here .


The Archive Quiz is Back!

While sorting out station photographs in the archive, Tony Hillman and his colleagues came across some for which they cannot identify the location.

Any help at identifying these four will be appreciated. Send your ideas to  .


A new issue of Bluebell Safety News is out, written by Safety Manager Roland Law. Information is included on safety at East Grinstead, lessons learn from the Rail Accident Investigation Branch, and more. To view the PDF, click here

Horsted Keynes Signals Rehearse

All the signals have been mechanically rehearsed to ensure correct adjustment and ease of operation. In some cases the electric signal motors were temporary disconnected, but they have now been reconnected until the appropriate electrical stages are completed.

The relay room work has progressed well, with stage 14 now commissioned out of the 18 stages required for final completion.

The Sykes treadle instruments have been brought back into use at Horsted Keynes, applicable to the Up First Advance and Second Advance Starting Signals. They were last in action before the resignalling work started, and at that time applied to the Down Starting Signals.

By Peter Richards

Below, Brian Hymas' photo shows the complex mechanical arrangement on the underside of the lever frame.

More information about this project can be found here .

Signal Arrangement


Crane Donations Get a Lift 

Thanks to some recent, very generous donations, the Ransomes & Rapier 45-Ton-Lift Breakdown Crane's JustGiving amount stands at more than £9,890--can you help take the appeal past £10,000?!

An initial stage of the appeal intends to restore the crane's looks and fabric so it can become a reliable, rolling exhibit, well-presented in an appropriate colour scheme, together with interpretation, explanatory leaflets, and a website.

An amount of £25,000 will fully fund this preliminary activity. If you can help push the crane's funding towards this mark, please visit .


Steam Crane Update in Pictures 

crane washed

Roger Barton's photo above shows that the 9F Club and other volunteers have pressure-washed, primed, undercoated, and top-coated in black the west side of the main crane carriage. The yellow-painted items are the rear two of the four outriggers which give the crane additional stability when lifting. One slides out on each side.

Roger's photo below shows the east side of the leading Stokes bogie and jib runner vehicle. Once again, the 9F Club and other volunteers have pressure-washed, primed, and undercoated the under frames. The main structure is in black top-coat, while the headstocks are in red undercoat. One of the hand wheels controls the handbrake, while the other controls the weight-spreading mechanism which reduces the axle loading of the main carriage when travelling to and from site.

crane eastside

To learn more about this project, click here .


Rob Langham has written a post about the recent Edwardian Weekend on his blog Electric Edwardians.   

Claim a Piece of Rail Heritage


Mike Hopps' Heritage Rail Posters site is up-and-running again after a necessary switch to a PayPal payment system. His new-and-improved site is at the same address: .

Posters are available in A2, A3, and A4 sizes, and they are printed to order by a specialist company on 170gm paper, which ensures excellent image quality. Proceeds from sales help to fund Railway projects, giving Mike opportunities to create new, evocative posters--a positive feedback loop if ever there was one!

Bluebell Poster1


Enjoy These Latest Photos! 


Galleries by Martin Lawrence from 25/06/2013 , 26/06/2013 , and 27/06/2013 .

Johns Sandys' photos from 25/06/2013 , 26/06/2013 , and 28/06/2013 .

Photos from Steam on the Met by Jon Potter.

Derek Hayward's galleries from the Model Railway Weekend , of

No. 33103 "Swordfish," and from the Edwardian Weekend

Model Railway Weekend photos by Jonathan Hughes. His photo below shows No. 33103 at work during the Model Railway Weekend.

Crompton at Model Railway Weekend



Clarinet on Track


Click on poster for the Chequer Mead 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, now from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead!

John Walls
eNewsletter Editor-in-Chief, Bluebell Railway Preservation Society