News from the Bluebell Railway 10 November 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
Want even more locos?! Don't forget to click on the hyperlinks in the blue or underlined text !
In This Issue
A Railway Memorial
Steam to Steam
Bluebell Railway Fares Well at Travel Awards
And the Rail Tours Just Keep Coming
Victorian Days
Keeping Up the Pressure
Drink to the Link!
On the Buses
'Tis the Season
Branching Out
Working with Waitrose
S&T Update: A Day in the Life of the Horsted Keynes Resignalling Project
Photographer's PTS Course Set
An Eastbourne Extravaganza
Steam Dreams Announce 2014 Rail Tour Dates
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  

Sandys Video
The Black 5 on its first service train for the Bluebell Railway, 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 26 10 2013.  visiting engine, LMS Black 5 No.45231
The Black Five in action on 26 Oct., by Philip Bull.
Bluebell Steam Railway - Vintage Bus Day - 27th October 2013 45231 The Sherwood Forester
Vintage Bus Day (27 Oct., 2013) by James Bloomfield.

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


50th Anniversary Appeal  


Bluebell Railway Trust  




Bluebell Railway - 23rd & 25th October 2013
Martin Lawrence's video starts off with a mobile crane setting up to lift Sir Archibald Sinclair's boiler.


Thomas Trim's video of the Black Five on 26 Oct., 2013.
Thomas Trim's video of the Black Five on 26 Oct., 2013.
Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

The Last Steam Service - 15 Guineas Special 11 August 1968
The Last Steam Service: The 15 Guineas Special, 11 Aug., 1968, hauled by none other than No. 70013 "Oliver Cromwell".
Station Facilities

A Railway Memorial

Steam to Steam  

No 70013

Above, No. 70013 "Oliver Cromwell" speeds through Lingfield station on its charter from Bridgenorth (Severn Valley Railway) to Sheffield Park on 2nd Nov., 2013., the first steam railway-to-steam railway excursion our Railway has hosted, made possible by the opening of the northern extension.

John Sandys captured the arrival of "Oliver Cromwell" at East Grinstead.

David Haggar's video shows No. 70013 with her rail tour passing Mill Place Farm in the pouring rain. David's video also fdeatures the Black Five, the H Class, and the 9F.

Chris Ward took photos of "Oliver Cromwell" at Kensington Olympia and while at the Bluebell Railway .


Bluebell Railway Fares Well at Travel Awards    

Each year the British Guild of Travel Writers gives awards at its Gala Dinner on the eve of the World Travel Market.

In the Best UK Tourism Project category--awarded to a recent project that not only has high tourist potential but also benefits the local community--the Bluebell Railway was shortlisted alongside the Titanic Museum in Belfast and the new Mary Rose Centre in Portsmouth: tough competition indeed.

Ultimately, the Mary Rose project was the winner, but as one of two runners-up, the Northern Extension Project was Highly Commended.

The award was received on behalf of the Railway by Trustee Roger Garman at the awards ceremony held at London's Savoy Hotel on 3 Nov., 2013.

Travel Award


The Bluebell Railway is getting involved in Children in Need on 15 Nov. For a chance to ride the Pudsey Express e-mail . First come, first served!

And the Rail Tours Just Keep Coming    

44932 & 34046 Braunton The Bluebell Explorer Victoria To Sheffield Park 9 11 2013
No. 44932 and No. 34046 "Braunton" en route London Victoria to Sheffield Park, 9 Nov., 2013. First we see the empty train heading to Victoria pulled by the Black Five. Next we see the Bulleid, working hard.

The fully booked "Bluebell Explorer"--operated by The Railway Touring Company --arrived at the Bluebell Railway 9 Nov. from London Victoria, "topped and tailed" with a steam loco at each end: No. 34046 "Braunton," a re-built Bulleid Pacific, and No. 44932, a "Black Five". Later in the day the train left Sheffield Park for Hurst Green, a run to Uckfield, and its return to Victoria.

The photo below of No. 34046 is by John Sandys; the video above is by "limehouse 11."












Hold the front page! These just in ...


John Sandys' videos capture the rail tour arriving at East Grinstead , arriving at Sheffield Park , and leaving for Uckfield . His photo set captures the event in full.


Mike Nichols' video captures the train heading for Sharpthorne Tunnel.


A railtour gallery by Paul Simpson. 


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

Victorian Days  

H Class 31 Oct., 2013
John Sandys' photo shows the evocative sight of the SECR H-class with the Victorian carriages on 31 Oct., 2013.
Keeping Up the Pressure 

Roger Kelly, Funding Director, reports that there are now three boilers with outside contractors for restoration. Work is planned in-house on a fourth.

With the sum raised in the 2012 Big Give Challenge, plus fundraising by the Camelot Society, the Bluebell Battle of Britain Locomotive Group, and the money allocated by the Company from this year's increased income, we still need to get Keep Up the Pressure (KUTP) to £170,000 to pay for all four of these boilers. Currently, the KUTP total raised is £96,000. Thank you to all our donors!

"Once we reach £170,000, we will start on raising money for No. 928," says Roger. "The Maunsell Locomotive Society has raised a substantial sum; nevertheless, it means the final target must be £400,000 in order to restore all five locos over the next couple of years. So, standing orders are equally welcome to one off donations!

"Several locos whose overhaul is funded by KUTP are not owned by the Railway; however, agreements are in place for the Railway to have full use of them following their overhauls.

"Once the total for KUTP reaches £100,000, we will not ask for money again this year via this newsletter. Meanwhile there are several ways to donate to KUTP ..."
  • To .
  • By text message: text "KUTP59 £10" to 70070 to donate £10, for instance. You can also elect to Gift Aid your donation. Your operator's standard text charge applies.
  • By cheque/post to Bluebell Railway Trust, c/o Roger Kelly, Sheffield Park Station, East Sussex TN22 3QL using a Gift Aid form .  
  • US donors please note the Railway's 501(c)(3) tax designation .
Full details about the appeal can be found here .

To read about the Railway's current loco restoration projects, click here .

Note: The Board has agreed to the distribution of travel vouchers for 2014 in accordance with the levels used over the past five years. It is anticipated they will be sent to Shareholders before the end of this year.


Drink to the Link!

During the 2 Sept. rail tour, the Bluebell Railway and Severn Valley Railway (SVR) celebrated their new connection with a barrel of "bright" ale from Bewdley Brewery.

It was loaded the day before on the brake of the charter set, in order to travel as a goods consignment on the special, unloaded at Sheffield Park yard for immediate consignment to the Bessemer Arms.

The barrel lasted approximately three hours before being emptied by a thirsty gang!

One day it is hoped that, on a charter from the Bluebell Railway to Severn Valley, we can reciprocate and give them a barrel of Harvey's to be getting on with.

The picture below shows SVR representative Paul Johnson being welcomed by Commercial Director Tim Baker, Richard Clark, and Mike Hawkins.

By Colin Tyson
Beer Delivery



A nice steam days remembrance from West Sussex Today : 86-year-old Elizabeth Brice looks back on her years as a railway man's daughter.
On the Buses 
Vintage Buses Keith Duke
Keith Duke's photo shows some of the buses that provided free services into Sheffield Park on Vintage Bus Day, 27 Oct., 2013. The above photo shows an ex-Eastbourne Corporation Leyland Titan PD2A, a London Transport RT 1798, and a Bristol MW6G. Keith has a great collection of photos from the day here .


'Tis the Season
Cards based on paintings by Matthew Cousins are being sold to raise funds for the Brighton Atlantic Project .

They are available at the Railway Art Exhibition van at Horsted Keynes or by post from 1 Sunnycroft Close, Scaynes Hill, West Sussex, RH17 7PT. They are available in a Christmas and an "all year" version (without a message).

They are priced at 10 cards for £12 collected (or from the Atlantic House when open) or 10 cards for £15 posted, with a cheque payable to "Bluebell Railway Atlantic Project." Mixed sets are available.

Brighton Atlantic Cards


An interesting historical piece about the opening of no less than three railway lines at Midhurst in the late 19th Century. Brightonians will note the reference to Queen Victoria's deep dislike of the city, causing her to only travel the LSWR throughout the south.

Branching Out    

Network Rail railhead treatment trains were recently off-loaded onto Bluebell Railway metals at Sheffield Park from road transport and assembled at Horsted Keynes. Photo by John Sandys.

Railhead Trains
Network Rail's No. 73213 and No. 73207 were on the Railway 31 Oct., as seen in Andrew Strongitharm's photo, to collect the treatment wagons.

"Half the loaded tanks were collected; half will be collected later," our colleague Neil Cameron observes. "The tanks arrived by road at Sheffield Park, and the wagons arrived from Network Rail to Horsted Keynes. Craneage, tripping, and shunting allowed the laden tanks to be set upon the Network Rail flat wagons."

Working with Waitrose  

As part of an initiative organised by the East Grinstead Business Association to promote the town, a group of volunteers from the Waitrose store in East Grinstead worked closely with the Bluebell Railway during September.
For six weeks they travelled on morning trains between Horsted Keynes and East Grinstead, encouraging passengers to disembark on arrival and visit the town centre (with the added benefit for our Railway of making space available for passengers travelling back from East Grinstead!)

The weather didn't cooperate, but nevertheless the initiative was deemed worthwhile, and a similar campaign is being considered for the spring.

The project was part of the Waitrose Community Matters Charity initiative, and one positive result of our involvement is that staff at the East Grinstead store have voted to include our Railway as one of three preferred charities during December.

This initiative works this way: customers are given a token at checkout to be placed in a box by the exit, indicating the charity they want to support. Railway volunteers and supporters should look out for this welcome opportunity to raise funds for the East Grinstead Station canopy project. (And Waitrose is seeking other community-based projects to join its initiative, for those who might also benefit from this program.)

By David Cockram, Education Officer
Fans of the Engineerium at Hove, Sussex will mourn the passing of Jonathan Minns , an engineer infused with the spirit of Stephenson and Brunel and entranced by the marvels of mechanical antiquities. Minns restored Hove's derelict Victorian water pumping station and transformed it into an homage to steam power.
S&T Update: A Day in the Life of the Horsted Keynes Resignalling Project 

On 27 Oct., 2013 control of signals HK40 and 40R was transferred from the switch back to the lever frame.

Lever 40 works both signals and is painted red and yellow. These signals, for the uninitiated, are the Up Outer Home at Three Arch Bridge and the Up Outer Distant, which is near the site of the old Holywell Waterworks Halt. These signals were repainted recently.
The mid-week team met on Wednesday, 30 Oct. in very unpromising weather. A possession was taken from Horsted Keynes to Kingscote, and a small convoy--the KGT road-rail loader/excavator followed by the Wickham Trolley--trundled to Kingscote, where the new signal post built by Mike Hopps was installed close to the north end points.

The KGT was fitted with a power auger which drilled out a suitable hole into which the post was fitted. This post will have KC51 position light signal fixed to the top, a modification requested by the Loco Department to improve the sight-line of this signal for drivers.

A rail post also was installed nearby, which will carry an equipment box with a point clip and a scotch, both for use in emergency. A similar equipment box has been prepared for the south end points too, which will be fitted before the signal controls are transferred from the temporary signal box to the new station box.

After lunch on Wednesday, the KGT gang drilled out the hole into which we will install the new replacement rail-built post for the HK9 signal (the Down Advanced Starter). The current wooden post has rotted at ground level, but when it's taken down, the top part can be saved for re-use.
By Alan Dengate, Volunteer, Signal & Telecommunications


Photographer's PTS Course Set 

In 2010, the Lineside Pass system was replaced by the Bluebell Railway Photographers' Personal Track Safety certificate.

The total cost for the Photographers' Personal Track Safety training session and certificate (which acts as a lineside photographic pass) is £30 per person.

The next course runs on 26 Nov., 2013, from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Sheffield Park Station. To book, call 01825 720800 or e-mail .


The Monday Club has finished for the summer/autumn, but the Railway will be running a Christmas Special for Monday Club members on 19 Dec., 2013. More details here
An Eastbourne Extravaganza

Archivist Tony Hillman has submitted six new photos from the John J. Smith Collection, all taken at Eastbourne.

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

Photos from this and other collections held by the Bluebell Railway Museum and Archive are available for purchase.


Steam Dreams Announce 2014 Rail Tour Dates

Stream Dreams, operators of the "Cathedrals Express," has announced the following excursions in 2014:
  • 3 July: Sheffield Park to Cambridge and Ely
  • 5 July: Alresford to Sheffield Park
The Cathedrals Express offers railway travel at its finest, coupled with a range of dining options to suit a variety of tastes. A fantastic gift idea! Premier Dining or Pullman-style class tickets are available.

More information can be found here .

Enjoy These Latest Photos!


New contributor Gary Packer's excellent photo shows the Black Five on an 0945 service approaching Horsted Keynes.


John Sandys' photos from 26 Oct. and 29 Oct.  

Yoshi Hashida's set from 26 Oct.

A Martin Lawrence gallery covering 23 to 30 Oct.

Matthew Hume's Halloween trip to the Railway.

John Hughes has some beautiful shots of "Oliver Cromwell" in this set (including the photo below).

Black 5 Sun



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