News from the Bluebell Railway 29 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
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In This Issue
Getting Ready to Go
Bluebell Railway to Receive Royal Visit
Project Leader's Tireless Work Makes Him Local Hero
Fundraising Update: £70,000 Up
Book Now for a Dash of Colour
Don't Forget: Clarinet on Track, Oct. 13, 2013
The Railway Touring Company Plans Three Steam Visits
C&W Update: Fingall Getting Fitted Out
A Trip Down Memory Line: The End of Sussex Steam
Villagers Fight to Save Station That Inspired TV's Trumpton
Enjoy These Latest Photos!

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

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Bluebell Railway - 16th September 2013
Bluebell Railway on 16 Sept., 2013, by Martin Lawrence.

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Bluebell Railway on  22 Sept., 2013, by Martin Lawrence.
Bluebell Railway on 22 Sept., 2013, by Martin Lawrence.
Scenes from 22 Aug., 2013, by Jonathan Malton.
Scenes from 22 Aug., 2013, by Jonathan Malton.

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


50th Anniversary Appeal  


Bluebell Railway Trust  




This video sees No. 70013 on 1T57, the
This video sees No. 70013 on 1T57, the "Fifteen Guinea Special" that British Railways ran on the last day of steam, 11 Aug., 1968. People were out in their thousands; four locos worked the train that day. Here's a photo of the special with "Oliver Cromwell," by "Gillett's Crossing."


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

September 2013 on the Bluebell Railway, by Stephen Simms.
September 2013 on the Bluebell Railway, by Stephen Simms.
Station Facilities

North of Kingscote Diary
North of Kingscote Diary, by John Harwood.

Getting Ready to Go 

No. 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair" has been moved into the workshop and the smokebox was removed from the boiler on the 17 Sept. in preparation for the dispatch of the boiler to Crewe for overhaul. Detailed updates about "Sir Archie" from the Bulleid Society can be read here . (Photo by John Fry.)



Bluebell Railway to Receive Royal Visit


Late breaking news from the Royal Circular ...

Following the successful opening of our Northern Extension, the Bluebell Railway is to be honoured by a visit from HRH the Duke of Gloucester on 10 Oct.

The Duke--having been invited by the High Sheriff of East Sussex--will dedicate a plaque at the Railway's Museum at Sheffield Park, before riding from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead in a private carriage.

The Railway plans to employ the Great Northern Director's Saloon for this purpose, which should provide a comfortable and scenic view over the length of the line.

The Duke already has a heritage rail connection, with the unique BR Class 8 Pacific loco No. 71000 "Duke of Gloucester" having been successfully restored. Although not attending, the Duchess of Gloucester also has local interest, being patron of Chailey Heritage Trust, which runs a charitable special school for children and young adults.

The Duke is the second son of the late Duke of Gloucester and the late Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester. His Royal Highness is a grandson of George V and a first cousin to The Queen.


Project Leader's Tireless Work Makes Him Local Hero  


(From The Argus)  The dedication of this week's Local Hero winner has propelled the Bluebell Railway back on track for success.

The once neglected railway line finally rejoined the national rail route at East Grinstead earlier this year, giving old and new generations to come another chance to taste the delights of one of Britain's most famous railways.

The work to restore the line between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead took nearly 40 years to complete.

But one man in particular has, over the last decade, proved instrumental in spearheading the project.

Chris White was the project leader and infrastructure director for the ambitious locomotive dream - and he's this week's Local Hero winner.

According to his colleagues, Chris proved instrumental in the resurgence of the new route and dedicated many hours and years of his life to the idea.

Whether it was sifting through mountains of legal paperwork or leading a team of contractors to help re-generate the line, his ten year effort proved invaluable.

"Those close to the project will know that there were many, many hours given to planning, execution, and delivery, as well as lots of work to get through the mire of the legislative paperwork," said Roy Watts, chairman of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society ...

To read the whole story, click here .


The Mid-Sussex Times covered the recent visit of "Tornado."
Back in Service
STEAM LOCOS IN PROFILE: The Maunsell U-Boats   
No. 1638 is featured in this episode of "Steam Locos in Profile." This Maunsell 2-6-0 tender loco--a type very suited to working the Bluebell Line--has successfully returned to service on the Railway. For more from the Maunsell Society, click here .



Fundraising Update: £70,000 Up
The total as of this writing for the "Keep Up the Pressure" campaign is more than £71,000. Thank you wholeheartedly to all who are donating toward the upkeep of our locos and their boilers.

We need to reach £100,000 to pay for boiler improvements to No. 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair," plus another £50,000 for the "01," and even more so we can move on to Standard Tank No. 80151.

All contributions are gratefully received at
or by cheque using our gift aid form, found here , to Bluebell Railway Trust, Sheffield Park Station, East Sussex TN22 3QL.
In other news, we are pleased to report that the Hedley Foundation has provided a grant of £5,000 towards improvements to volunteer overnight accommodation.

This amount will help fund the project being put together by the Bluebell Railway, PLC Board. The Hedley Foundation is already sponsoring an apprentice in the Locomotive Works, and its support is greatly appreciated, particularly as £5,000 is toward the top end in terms of awards they typically make.

By Roger Kelly, Funding Director 


Book Now for a Dash of Colour

Starting 30 Sept., enjoy the changing Autumn colours whilst travelling though the Sussex countryside on board a steam hauled train.

Autumn Tint trains for 2013 will run slightly differently to previous years with the use of two of 1950s coaches hauled by one of the P Class locomotives, as well as service to and from East Grinsted

Seats are limited so booking in advance is essential. Seats must be reserved with advance payment for both the outward and the return journey. Tickets are valid for one return journey only.

A refreshment service will be available on board the train serving drinks and snacks.

Full details, dates of service, and timetables for the trains can be found here .

To see the colours at the National Trust Garden, it is recommended visitors who travel from East Grinstead on train D, departing at 1130, return on train C, departing at 1530 from Sheffield Park. The garden is a short walk from Sheffield Park station across the parkland.
Autumn colours across Ten Foot Pond, Sheffield Park, by Wesley Trevor Johnston.



Don't Forget: Clarinet on Track, Oct. 13, 2013

In two weeks' time, Deborah Salmon will be taking to the stage in a clarinet recital raising funds for the Railway.

Her concert takes place on 13 Oct. at Chequer Mead Theatre in East Grinstead, starting at 7.30 p.m.

In a varied programme--including works by Mozart, Stanford, and Rossini--she will be ably accompanied by John Bruzon, and the evening will be compered by long-term Bluebell Railway supporter Nicholas Owen.

Tickets are just £10 each, available from the Chequer Mead box office in person or by calling 01342 302000.

Proceeds from the evening will be shared between the restoration of Maunsell Restaurant Car No. 7864 and the carriage works extension ... so all aboard for a wonderful evening of music-making!

Click poster below for full details: 

























The Railway is featured at the Railway Weddings website!
Three Rail Tours Coming Soon! 
Oliver Cromwell
Up express to London (Liverpool Street) at Trumpington Junction for TL4555 View northward, towards Cambridge etc.: ex-GE Liverpool Street-Cambridge etc. main line, junction of ex-LNW line to Bedford and Bletchley (closed 1968). The 09.00 Yarmouth Vauxhall/10.11 Hunstanton-Liverpool Street express is headed by sparkling BR Standard "Britannia" 7MT 4-6-2 No. 70013 "Oliver Cromwell." It was built in May 1951 and not withdrawn until the end of steam in August 1968. It was preserved immediately in the National Collection and is currently on the Great Central Railway. Photo by Ben Brooksbank.

Following the very successful visit of "Tornado," the Railway Touring Company is planning two steam rail tours to the Bluebell Railway in November.

The first of these will be on 2 Nov., running from the Severn Valley Railway and Bridgenorth. This train will be hauled by "Britannia" Pacific No. 70013 "Oliver Cromwell," so expect some fast running along the West Coast Main Line. Details here .

A few days later, on 9 Nov., another steam-hauled train will visit the Railway from London Victoria. This train will be "topped and tailed" with a steam loco at each end. Former Southern Railway "Battle of Britain" Class No. 34067 "Tangmere" will be accompanied by either an ex-LNER B1 class 4-6-0 or an ex-LMSR "Black 5" 4-6-0. Details here .

Finally, UK Railtours are running a diesel-hauled train to December's Bluebell Victorian Christmas on 12 Dec. Details here .

Exciting stuff! Don't forget to bring your cameras!
View westward, towards Exeter etc. on the ex-LSWR Waterloo-West of England main line, also the ex-GWR line to Westbury, Bristol etc. On the left, beyond Salisbury West Box can be discerned the SR Locomotive Depot. The train is headed by Bulleid Light Pacific No. 34067 "Tangmere," built September 19/47 as No. 21C167, renumbered July 1949, withdrawn (unrebuilt) November 1963 but preserved and remains active, based at Southall Depot. Photo by Ben Brooskbank.


C&W Update: Fingall Getting Fitted Out


A minor shunt of the shed in mid-September saw No. 175 "Fingall," the Pullman Kitchen First, enter the paint shop and its place in the works taken by No. 1503, the LNWR Observation Car.

The interior fit-out of Fingall's compartment and two saloons is nearing completion (see photo below). The majority of the marquetry paneling and mouldings have been fitted and the chairs installed.

The latter can't enter via the doors because they are too wide to fit down the corridors at either end of the coach. As a result they had to come in through a couple of sidelights, one in the four-seat  compartment and the other in the southern, or kitchen end, saloon.

In order to enter the paint shop the sidelights had to be fitted. As a result the seats are in the coach earlier than planned--final fitting out will have to be undertaken around them!

The majority of the roof furniture is in place and a start has been made on priming the timber panelling at cant rail level.

By Dave Clarke, C&W Volunteer


The Railway's busy catering team has some catering and waiting staff vacancies

A Trip Down Memory Line: The End of Sussex Steam

Former LBSCR K Class Mogul No. 32353 at Preston Park, 7 Oct., 1962. All were withdrawn at the end of 1962, and by 1965 BR steam would be gone from Sussex. ( Photo by Ben Brooksbank.)

We are already into that period, appropriate as autumn arrives, that sees the passage of 50 years since the end of British Railways steam in Sussex--one by one steam loco depots closed from 1963 to 1965 until none remained, although steam locos from Fratton continued to work in and out of Brighton until the end of steam.

The Bluebell and the Kent and East Sussex railways have kept the flame alive and indeed nurtured it over the years, with steam excursions from London to our Railway, the Rother Valley Railway's connection of Robertsbridge and Tenterden, and prospects of future extensions from Horsted Keynes to Ardingly and beyond. Who knows what the future may bring?!

And what a pleasure and honour it is to see the "steam men" of these former depots gather at our Railway for their annual reunions.

The Brighton Belle website has covered this end of steam in part, with an article and a host of interesting video links.

Meanwhile, the fascinating Brighton and Sussex Motive Power Depots websites are the place to send in your reminiscences of this era.

These video links in this list of Sussex depots come from the excellent Southern Steam series:  

Brighton Locomotive Works is described here and is also covered in this website . The last loco--No. 80154 (below)--was built there in 1957. More than 1,200 locos are said to have been built at Brighton.  












Southern Steam Days at Brighton  
Southern Steam Days at Brighton.

By Neil Cameron


Villagers Fight to Save Station That Inspired TV's Trumpton 


(From the Daily Express) Villagers in the real-life inspiration for Trumpton , the 1960s children's TV series, are threatening to derail plans to scrap a set of old railway gates and move a 19th century signal box.

Network Rail plans to modernise Grade II listed Plumpton Station, near Lewes in East Sussex, where two pairs of old wooden gates at a level crossing have been operated by a signalman turning a wheel for more than 100 years.

Now rail bosses want to install automatic barriers monitored from a "state-of-the-art facility" 20 miles away ...
Trumpton 1966
Trumpton TV Show 1966.


Well done Stephen Fairweather and Keith Porter, currently in first and second place in the fundraising football competition .  

Enjoy These Latest Photos! 


Pat Plane's photo above , taken on the overnight shift around midnight on 19 Sept., shows progress in adding steel lining to part of the tunnel roof to prevent the build-up of icicles.

A Nathan Gibson set from 15/09/2013 .

John Sandys' photos from 17 Sept.  

Derek Hayward has some fresh updates to his 2013 album , including a photo of the latest work on the Horsted Keynes signal box. 


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