News from the Bluebell Railway   1 September 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
Milestones Achieved Within Days of Each Other
Infrastructure Report: Getting the Tunnel Ready for Winter
Funding for the Future Update
Brighton Atlantic No. 32424 "Beachy Head" Past & Present
A Trip Down Memory Line: Newick & Chailey
Railway Hosts Chestnut Tree House
Brighton & Hove Children Treated to Railway Adventure
Clarinet on Track, Oct. 13, 2013
Bluebell Railway Connection Helps Drive East Grinstead Vision
UK Railtours Announce Victorian Christmas Excursion
Mystery Solved!
Enjoy These Latest Photos!
BBC Updates Iconic London-to-Brighton Non-Stop Journey


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  

The 09 Shunting at Horsted Keynes on 29 Aug., 20133, by John Sandys.
The 09 Shunting at Horsted Keynes on 29 Aug., 2013, by John Sandys.

Locomotive Roster  


Public Train Information


  Line Map & Gradient Profile 


Local Accomodation List  


  Local Attractions  



Walkscene "Railway Children" Walks  


Lineside Photographers
Track Safety



The Bluebell Railway on 17 Aug., 2013.
The Bluebell Railway on 17 Aug., 2013.
The "North of Kingscote Diary."

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


50th Anniversary Appeal  


Bluebell Railway Trust  




The Bluebell Railway Revisited.
The Bluebell Railway revisited.


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

Images of the Cuckoo line in April 1951, from the John J. Smith Collection:

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

  Cuckoo Line
Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

The "Small Prairie" shunting at Sheffield Park, 27 Aug., 2013.
Station Facilities

The Railway on 19 Aug., 2013.
The Railway on 19 Aug., 2013.


    No. 263 and No. 178
Charming portraits of former South Eastern and Chatham Railway H class loco No. 263 (left) and P class No. 178, photographed by ARW Photography.



Milestones Achieved Within Days of Each Other


Looking back to a Society summary produced in July 2007, we reported that the membership was edging tantalisingly closer to a 10,000 member target, but there were still 198 renewals outstanding for that July and some of those might not renew.

I can later recall saying that a membership of 10,000 was a great achievement and mused at the time as to whether 11,000 was an impossible dream!

Well, I am absolutely delighted to be able to announce that as of 27 Aug., 2013, the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society membership total stands at a fantastic 11,005--a truly great milestone in the history of the Society.

Yes, there will be the inevitable adjustments, but coming at a time when a lot of societies are reporting slow declines, for our Railway to be doing the opposite is remarkable.

So welcome to the new members who have helped swell our numbers; you are not only a measure of support for the Railway but also I am sure there are future volunteers, trustees, and even a chairperson in your ranks! We must ensure that you continue to be part of our success--we have many ambitious plans, as well as a railway to run!

Secondly, five months to the day since the extension opened, East Grinstead booking clerks Roger Bell and Ron Cheeseman sold the 10,000th adult return ticket.  


This second milestone goes to show the astonishing volume of traffic through the new station. Many visitors are using the Southern service to East Grinstead and have travelled from places such as Peterborough, Cambridge, Didcot, and Oxford by train.

It is more important than ever to provide a good and reliable service for these new faces!

By Roy Watts, Chairman, Bluebell Railway Preservation Society


Infrastructure Report: Getting the Tunnel Ready for Winter


The Northern Extension Project (NEP) is taking its time to close out the final actions, but the end is just about in sight now. The two big outstanding tasks--finishing off the cutting surface and getting the water column operational in time for Autumn Tints--are looking good.

In the meantime, a great deal of effort is focussed on fitting ice prevention measures in the tunnel to make sure any really cold weather does not prevent trains operating over the whole railway. Having opened the extended railway, it would not look good if we cannot run trains in and out of East Grinstead.

There are four main areas where heavy water penetration can cause ice build up on the rail head and tunnel fabric. To prevent this happening, 5 metre sections of curved corrugated sheeting are being fitted to the roof in order to deflect water away from the track.

This job sounds simple, but in order to ensure the solution is both safe and fit for purpose, the metal work being used to support the sheeting is substantial, to say the least. Each supporting bracket is secured by four stainless steel bolts that are grouted into the brickwork to a depth of 0.4 metres, and so far 40 brackets have been fitted.

The work commences each evening after the train service finishes and continues through the night until around 0500 each morning--long, tiring shifts in a cold, wet, hostile environment. The team is made up of three contract staff and two or three volunteers, led of course by Manager Matt Crawford. The Infrastructure Gang is not just good at building railways, it will take on all sorts of challenges!

After that job is completed, around the end of September, we must get on with renewal of 23 points at Hortsed Keynes before the Santa Service commences, and after that ... well the list goes on and on!

By Chris White, Infrastructure Director


Congratulations are in order ... To Roger Garman, who has become a Bluebell Railway Preservation Society Trustee and Chair of the Publications & Communications sub-committee, to replace John Walls. And to Liz Groome, who has become the Railway's first female driver after passing her examinations.

Funding for the Future Update


I am pleased to report that in just over four weeks the Keep Up The Pressure Appeal (KUTP) has reached a total a few hundred pounds more than £60,000. Any donation, small or large, to take us beyond that sum will be very welcome.

Those who have donated already have been extremely generous--thank you all if you are reading this. It is easy to make a donation if you haven't done so yet, at .

However, this service takes a 5% administration fee, and while JustGiving does collect Gift Aid, work processing cheque donations is done for free by Graham Flight and myself. So we get more out of your money if you download a Gift Aid form here and post it along with your cheque, to Sheffield Park Station, East Sussex TN22 3QL.

With proceeds from the Big Give Challenge last year, the magnificent work done by the Battle of Britain Locomotive Group, and KUTP, we have £130,000 towards the estimated £200,000 needed for the boiler overhaul of No. 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair." Having agreed to send the boiler away, the Company will have to make up any shortfall between what KUTP raises and the estimated cost.

The Company is already committed to paying for Camelot's boiler, and there are many other demands on the increase in revenue resulting from the extension to East Grinstead. The decision to use this money to build shelter on the East Grinstead platform has already been announced, plus plans are being made to improve overnight accommodation for volunteers.

We also wish to send away the boiler for No. 65 (at a cost of £50,000), and it is equally important to see No. 80151's boiler overhauled as quickly as possible in-house. Also, the infrastructure budget needs augmenting for the many track and buildings projects planned.

Whatever your project preference, a donation to KUTP contributes to all of the above! We are not just asking for help from you our supporters--applications also have been made to grant giving organisations. These are influenced in their decision-making by the level of support we receive from the public, so both the numbers of donations as well as the amount forthcoming are directly and indirectly of benefit to your Railway.

Your donation to the KUTP component of the Funding for the Future campaign will see us steaming over solid infrastructure for years to come!

By Roger Kelly, Funding Director



Fenchurch Seaside
Thanks to member Mike Constable for the above photo.


















On 31 Aug. "Fenchurch" made a journey to the seaside at Littlehampton. The Town Council paid for the visit as the centre piece of an event to mark the 150th anniversary of the opening of Littlehampton station.

Parked on its low loader in the heart of the town, the engine cause considerable interest. Railway volunteers were there to hand out timetables and leaflets, and the positive remarks about our Railway were good to hear.

At one point a Word War II Spitfire passed overhead on its way to the Shoreham Air Show, where Tim Baker and our marketing team were busy taking advance bookings. Saturday was a good day for Bluebell Railway outreach!  



Need a holiday? Why not have one and donate to the Bluebell Railway at the same time? For every holiday booked by phone quoting "Blue0713," Sussex-based You Go Anywhere travel agents will donate 5% to the Keep Up the Pressure Appeal. So give You Go Anywhere a ring and speak to an advisor today at 01903 714000 or 01903 725000, or e-mail

Brighton Atlantic No. 32424 "Beachy Head" Past & Present

Southern Steam: A Brighton Atlantic in colour, 1956.
Southern Steam: A Brighton Atlantic in colour, 1956.
In October 2000, the Railway announced its intention to reconstruct a Brighton H2 Atlantic based on Southern/British Railways period "Beachy Head." (See photo below for the loco that was cut up at Eastleigh just before the Bluebell Railway was formed.)


This project is no pipe dream. The Bluebell already had a boiler and tender frame and wheels, plus many of the smaller parts.  Click on this link to read updates and check back on the progress of this remarkable project. Donate to the project here .  

Plus read the story of Newhaven Depot--home to the Atlantics--within the ASLEF Branch story as told on the Brighton Motive Power Depots website by Paul Edwards, a remarkable record and social history.


Old Beachy Head
L to R: Driver Sydney Turner and Fireman Fred Stratton standing in front of Atlantic Class H2 "Beachy Head" on the Centenary of Brighton Locomotive Works. From the G.F. Bloxam/Sylvia Woolford Collection.




Beachy Head Upd...ugust 2013
Project update: Preliminary work installing the Stephenson valve gear, by Fred Bailey. 



To read The Rail Engineer magazine's take on the Bluebell Railway's very own "Big Dig" (to borrow a nickname from Boston, USA's famous tunnel project), click here .  
A Trip Down Memory Line: Newick & Chailey
Newick & Chailey
This photograph from the Paul Haynes collection shows the old Newick and Chailey railway station. It was part of the East Grinstead to Lewes line. The station was located on the single line, but consisted of two side platforms on a loop line. There were substantial station buildings on each platform with a pedestrian footbridge connecting the two. For the complete story from the Sussex Express, click here

Railway Hosts Chestnut Tree House

Chestnut Tree House is the only children's hospice in East and West Sussex and cares for more than 280 children and young adults up to 25 years of age from Sussex and South East Hampshire with progressive life-limiting conditions.

Families are never charged for their care and less than 8p in every pound is funded by the government. This year marks the Chestnut Tree's 10th Anniversary, so the Bluebell Railway invited the organisation to send a party on a complimentary visit.

A group of 30 children, parents, siblings, and carers took over carriage No. 5034 (which is specially adapted for wheelchair use) on the 0945 from Sheffield Park one morning in August.

Four of the Railway's guides were on hand to ensure everyone had a good time and to escort the visitors for a tour of the museum and locomotives on display at Sheffield Park after their train ride. The Chestnut Tree House group finished off their morning with a picnic by the river.


Brighton & Hove Children Treated to Railway Adventure  

(From The Argus) "Children clambered aboard the Bluebell Railway last Wednesday for a special journey.

"Thanks to Brighton and Hove Parents and Children's Group, more than 80 children and parents were given the chance to take a trip on one of the railway's old steam trains.

"Brighton and Hove Parents and Children's Group gives families exciting days out, which they might not be able to afford otherwise.

"Youngsters gazed excitedly out of the windows as they chugged along the track.

"After the fun of riding on the trains, the group stopped for a picnic in Sheffield Park in Uckfield followed by an ice cream treat.

"A spokesman for Brighton and Hove Parents and Children's Group said: 'It was a beautiful day. Everybody had a great time and the weather was great ...'"

To read the full story, click here .



The Mid Sussex (South) Council for Voluntary Service is accepting nominations for its FabVorg Award 2013, aka the Friendliness Award for Best Voluntary Organisation. Do you feel well-treated in your voluntary role at the Railway? If so, nominate the Railway for this volunteer-friendly award. Nomination forms and more information are here



More information about this Gala Fundraising Concert in October can be found here .



Bluebell Railway Connection Helps Drive East Grinstead Vision 


A vision of how East Grinstead should look in 20 years has been mapped out, in a once-in-a-generation project.

The first draft of the town's Neighbourhood Plan proposes that the High Street and part of London Road from the King Street junction become pedestrian-only zones.

Neighbourhood Plan steering group chairman Norman Webster, a town and district councillor, describes the report as the most important ever produced by the town council.

"People should enjoy the town and there should be more facilities for younger and older people," says Webster. "I think retailers and restaurateurs and tourist attractions like the Bluebell Railway hold the key to that."

To read the whole story from This Is Sussex , click here .

EG Town Plan



UK Railtours Announce Victorian Christmas Excursion


UK Railtours' inaugural through train to the Bluebell Railway was aptly described its "tour of the year" by those aboard, and it was sold out within just a few days.

Here's another opportunity to travel from London Victoria to Horsted Keynes and Sheffield Park, this time to enjoy the unique atmosphere of the famous "Victorian Christmas" event and its old-time fairground games, sideshows, and other entertainment, amongst the Victorian-dressed ladies and gentlemen in a period setting.

Light refreshments will be available, including, of course, hot chestnuts and mulled wine.

The train departs London Victoria at 0855 on 12 Dec., 2013 and returns at 1815. More information can be found here .   


The Long Two Miles --the official DVD telling the inside story of how the Bluebell Railway returned steam trains to East Grinstead, produced by Jon Bowers--is now available.

Mystery Solved!

Tony Hillman says that the final photo from the latest quiz has been identified as Wimbledon, Brighton side. He thanks all those who helped him solve these photographic puzzlers and who have added yet more knowledge to the Railway's growing and important archive.



Enjoy These Latest Photos! 


H & C

Bernard Clarke's evocative photo above shows the H and the C at Three Arch Bridge on 17 Aug.

John Sandy's compilation from a lovely summer's day on 27 Aug, and another set from 29 Aug.

Kieran Hardy's photos from 17 Aug.

A set from Ashley Smith.  


BBC Updates Iconic London-to-Brighton Non-Stop Journey

Writes Paul Clifton, BBC South Transport Correspondent: "Hard-pressed commuters would no doubt jump at the prospect of a non-stop train service from London to Brighton--especially if there was a good chance of getting a seat.

"But there was a time when passengers--they were not 'customers' then--really could enjoy that luxury.

"The BBC filmed that journey back in 1953 when passengers could travel the entire route without stopping.

"Thirty years later it repeated the exercise, observing the changes in the intervening time. Now I've retraced that trip, 60 years on."

For the whole story and videos, click here .

(As Deborah Salmon notes, "Triple helpings of the Ouse Valley Viaduct--hooray!")



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