News from the Bluebell Railway 27 October 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
Welcome the Black Five
With Flying Colors!
Raising a Tune & a Pound or Two
UK Railtours Victorian Christmas Selling Out
RCTS Special
Lift Off
November Timetable Changes Announced
Six Sussex Black Fives
A Trip Down Memory Line: No. 35017 & the "Exchange Trials"
Nice Short Cut!
Celebrate the "Town That Didn't Stare" on the "McIndoe Pullman"
Enjoy These Latest Photos!

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  

Kingscote to East Grinstead, 15/10/13
Kingscote to East Grinstead, 15 Oct. 2010, 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



Bluebell Railway - A ride with
A ride with "Swordfish," on 6 Oct., 2013, by Martin Lawrence.
North of Kingscote Diary
North of Kingscote Diary by John Harwood.

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


50th Anniversary Appeal  


Bluebell Railway Trust  




John Harwood's view of the Black Five crossing onto Bluebell Railway metal.
John Harwood's view of the Black Five crossing onto Bluebell Railway metal.


Nathan Gibson just managed to catch the Black 5 on video as it ran through Sanderstead station.
Nathan Gibson just managed to catch the Black 5 on video as it ran through Sanderstead station.
Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

Autumn Tints Special leaving Hosted Keynes on 15 Oct., 2013, by John Sandys.
Autumn Tints Special leaving Horsted Keynes on 15 Oct., 2013, by John Sandys.
Station Facilities

The first part of Alan Postlethwaite's photographic collection has been added to the Bluebell Railway Museum archive .
This set joins collections available from JJ Smith and Colin Hogg.
Prints can be ordered online.

Here are six station photos
from the Alan Postlethwaite collection:

Old EG Station
East Grinstead Station on 4 July, 1959, by Alan Postlethwaite.

Welcome the Black Five  

Black Five
LMS "Black Five" No. 45231 arrived at the Bluebell Railway on 22 Oct., seen here en-route at Clapham Junction in Nicholas Woollven's photo . It is expected to stay on the Railway until early spring 2014. To see John Sandys' photos of the arrival, click here .

Enjoy full Afternoon Tea on board the Railway's Lounge Car service on 2, 9, 16, and 23 Nov.

With Flying Colors!

No. 178 101613
SECR P-class No.178 returned to service recently after swotting its annual boiler exam, and it was the regular engine for the Autumn Tints specials. Brian Lacey's photo shows No. 178 at East Grinstead on 16 Oct., 2013
Raising a Tune & a Pound or Two

On 13 Oct., Deborah Salmon took to the stage at East Grinstead's Chequer Mead Theatre for a clarinet recital raising funds for the Bluebell Railway.

In a sparkling programme, she, along with pianist John Bruzon and compere BBC presenter Nicholas Owen (himself a long-standing Bluebell Railway supporter), entertained the audience with music as diverse as Mozart and the theme from children's TV show "Ivor the Engine."

The evening raised more than £900, which will be split between the restoration of Maunsell Restaurant Car No. 7864 and the Carriage Works Extension at Horsted Keynes.

Many thanks to those who came and supported these two projects.

Adds Roger Kelly, Funding Director, "At the respective meetings, the BRPS Trustees and the Company Directors offered their heartfelt thanks to Deborah and Nicholas."


UK Railtours Victorian Christmas Selling Out

First Class Dining seats are still available for the UK Railtours Bluebell Victorian Christmas excursion, but Standard Class is now full.

The journey takes passengers from London Victoria to East Grinstead and onto the Railway. At Horsted Keynes, passengers can enjoy the unique atmosphere of the famous Victorian Christmas event, with old-time fairground games, sideshows, and hot chestnuts and mulled wine.

Passengers then join the Railway's Victorian Train, formed of Metropolitan Railway carriages, for a steam-hauled journey to East Grinstead and back. The tour train is then rejoined for a journey to Sheffield Park before travelling back via East Grinstead to London Victoria.

For full UK Railtours details and booking information, click here .

More details about the Victorian Christmas event are found here .


The 769 Bus service (Sundays only: Brighton to Haywards Heath to Sheffield Park Station and Garden) has been extended to include Sundays 3 and 10 Nov. as part of the National Trust Autumn Colour season.
RCTS Special 
No. 592 RCTS
The Bluebell Railway hosted a visit on 18 Oct. from the Railway Correspondence and Travel Society (RCTS), an organisation for people interested in all aspects of railways past, present, and future. The society reserved seats on a public service train behind the C-class No. 592, seen here at Horsted Keynes bearing an RCTS headboard. Photo by Nathan Gibson.


Lift Off

The Bulleid Society reports that the boiler of No. 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair" was craned from its frames on 23 Oct. and loaded onto a Heanor Haulage vehicle for its trip to Crewe. The photo above is by John Fry.

The smokebox and cab were then reinstated on the frames and the chassis is now under cover on three road in the running shed.

Funds are sill urgently needed to cover the cost of the repair.

All contributions to the Keep Up the Pressure Appeal 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.

KUTP funds will help expedite the Railway's planned loco overhauls, by sending several boilers away for major work. The aim is that within a few years we should have five of large locomotives in steam, alongside three medium-sized locos.



November Timetable Changes Announced
Due to engineering works and incoming charters, the timetable for 2, 9, 16, and 17 Nov. has been changed from the scheduled Service Two.

Downloadable timetables can be found here . The timetable for 9 Nov. will be available soon at .


Half term blues? Each weekend through November the Railway is running its Kids for a Quid special, which also applies to Half Term Week, 28 Oct. to 3 Nov. Extra trains will operate each Saturday and Sunday until 30 Nov., plus 28 Oct. to 1 Nov. More details here .
Six Sussex Black Fives   

Tony Hillman has chosen some Sussex-based Black Five pictures, in honor of the visit of No. 45231 "The Sherwood Forester," all from the JJ Smith collection.

Black Fives were used on the Newhaven-to-Glasgow Car Sleeper services, and they were serviced at the Eastbourne Shed in the early 1960s.

Photo 1 ; Photo 2 ; Photo 3 ; Photo 4 ; Photo 5 ; Photo 6
No. 44831 Black 5
No. 44831 at Eastbourne on 26 May, 1957.


A Trip Down Memory Line: No. 35017 & the "Exchange Trials"

A while ago, the eNewsletter ran a photo that caught the attention of one of our very knowledgeable readers, Jeremy Clarke. The photo was one of Ben Brooksbank's .

It shows No. 35017 "Belgian Marine" leaving Kings Cross for Leeds on one of the 1948 " Exchange Trials ." (In the summer after Nationalisation, extensive trials with express, mixed, and heavy locos were carried out by exchanging LMSR, LNER, GWR, and SR locos between the regions.)

Jeremy picks up the tale ...

... The North Eastern Railway dynamometer car is next to the engine. The sands are on full bore and doubtless fireman George Reynolds has already picked up his shovel in preparation for the long climb to the Hertfordshire Heights at Potters Bar. (Making smoke in the station was strictly forbidden!)

The Stanier tender fitted to Southern Railway engines was--according to the late Bert Hooker, the other fireman selected for the trials and working with driver Jack Swain-- "lousy: 60 to 70 miles of picking coal up off the floor, then for 100 miles or so the tender is reasonable but after that you have to start walking there to peck it forward."

Bulleid tenders were designed to be self-trimming, which meant Southern crews had been rather spoiled.

These men, and the much respected Inspector Danny Knight, had to contend with another problem. The 143 miles from Waterloo to Weymouth represented the longest continuous loco-working on home ground.

Yet away from there, the crews faced more than twice that distance between Euston and Carlisle, for example; 225 miles between Paddington and Plymouth, including the formidable South Devon banks; 201 miles between Marylebone and Manchester; and almost as far thence from St Pancras.

Moreover crews had to master the art of picking up water from troughs and, over the Highland to Inverness, deal with single-line tokens.
Another point of interest: at this time the Southern still tried to maintain the system of dual-crewing their mainline engines. Reynolds and Hooker--both "passed firemen" then--were "opposite mates" on No. 21C20 "Bibby Line," and driver George James was Reynolds' regular mate. Thus three-quarters of that engine's allocated crews represented SR in these Trials.

"Belgian Marine," "French Line CGT," "Yeovil," and "Bude" put up some memorable performances, although the whole episode was rather a waste as no specific instructions had been issued about how the engines should be driven.

While SR crews, imbued with the long-standing "right time" philosophy necessary within for a suburban network, were keen to show what their engines could do, others, particularly the LMR and ER men (Brooker with the "Royal Scot's" excepted) were happy to lose time in order to keep coal and water consumption to a minimum.

But with London Midland officers dominating the motive power of the new British Railways, there was little chance of any other pre-Nationalisation company having any real influence on future designs, as it proved.

A great and exciting event for the train timers certainly and a glorious post-war "jamboree," but the trials were of very little real benefit. I think the production of 999 engines in 11 "standard" types was unnecessary, and the fact that individual regions continued to construct pre-Nationalisation loco designs reinforces the point ...

1948 Exchange Trials


A Mid-Sussex Times follow-up to the often-told, tragic story of Winifred and Ronald Knapp, killed on the Bluebell Line on their wedding day in 1943: " War baby Rosemary asks: 'Who was my real father? '" 
Nice Short Cut!
Track Cleaner
John Sandys caught an interesting moment in recent Bluebell Railway history--a Network Rail railhead cleaning train using our Railway as a convenient rail/road interchange on 25 Oct. We believe this marks the first logistical use of the Bluebell Railway by the mainline since the 1960s.

Celebrate the "Town That Didn't Stare" on the "McIndoe Pullman"

The McIndoe Research Foundation is leading a project to commemorate the work of Sir Archibald McIndoe by erecting a statue in East Grinstead.

Sculptor Martin Jennings has been commissioned to produce the statue, which the foundation hopes will stand in front of Sackville College on the high street.

McIndoe, and East Grinstead, became widely known during World War II when he treated many badly burnt airmen at the Queen Victoria Hospital, and East Grinstead became "the town that didn't stare" as its residents made sure that the recovering airmen were not made to feel uncomfortable as they visited the town.

On 22 Feb., 2014 a special McIndoe Memorial Appeal Golden Arrow Pullman dining train will depart from Sheffield Park station at 7:00 p.m. After a drinks reception at the station, board the train and enjoy a three-course silver service dinner served to the standards of a bygone age.

Tickets for this black tie event are £75 per person. To reserve your seat in support of the McIndoe Appeal, call 01825 720800. Full details, including the menu, are here .

Enjoy These Latest Photos!  


Autumn Colors

Keith Duke's photos show the autumn colours at the National Trust's Sheffield Park and Garden.

John Sandys' photos from 15 Oct. , 22 Oct. , and 24 Oct. His set from 25 Oct., shows the last Autumn Tints service, and the batch of network railway wagons.
This photo by Martin Brown shows the "9F" No. 92240 when it was at Barry Scrapyard.

Peter Austin sent the editors the photo below of No. 45231 on the 26 Oct. 12:15, ex Sheffield Park.

Black 5 Running



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