News from the Bluebell Railway 8 December 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
Winter Services 101
Two Awards Won in a Week
Give a Gift of the Bluebell Railway
Your December Calendar
Carving Out a Traditional Christmas
Maunsell Society Makes Progress on Several Fronts
Staff Thanked with Rail Ale Special
A Trip Down Memory Line: Irish Rail Photos from the John J. Smith Collection
Celebrating Brighton to Seaford Railway Line's 150th Birthday
A Note from Derek Hayward
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 on 23 Nov., 2013.
Bluebell Railway on 23 Nov., 2013, by Daniel Green.

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Walkscene "Railway Children" Walks  


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Track Safety



North of Kingscote Diary, by John Harwood.
North of Kingscote Diary, by John Harwood.
BR Southern Region Steam, around Greater London in the 1960s, with a swinging soundtrack, by Lewisham Bill.

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


50th Anniversary Appeal  


Bluebell Railway Trust  




A Year in the Life of Ashdown Forest
A Year in the Life of Ashdown Forest.


The Bluebell Railway on 16 Nov., 2013, by Philip Bull.
The Bluebell Railway on 16 Nov., 2013, by Philip Bull.
Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

Railway Roundabout: 1958 County Donegal Railway Joint Committee (narrow gauge).
Railway Roundabout: 1958 County Donegal Railway Joint Committee (narrow gauge).
Station Facilities

British Pathe "Roaring Twenties" steam: a Pullman, 4-6-0 LNER No. 6167 "Lloyd George," and a fashion show from 1925. An unusual find.
Enjoy this series of photos from the Bexhill West branch, from the Bluebell Railway's photo archive and chosen by Tony Hillman. Archive photos can be browsed and purchased here .

Winter Services 101



Recently refurbished Class 101 DMCL E51505 and first-built Class 108 DMBS E50599 will visit the Bluebell Railway on loan to operate winter services between East Grinstead and Horsted Keynes during a period of track work between Hortsed Keynes and Sheffield Park.  


Two Awards Won in a Week


It was a good week for the Bluebell Railway--we picked up two major awards!
Firstly, on 4 Dec., we were given a major honour by the Ian Allan National Heritage Railway Awards at its ceremony held at the Merchant Taylors Hall, near the Bank of England in London. Originally, Dick Fearn had been informed that we were a candidate for Railway of the Year.

It was the first presentation of the night, and I must admit we were slightly disappointed when it was announced that the Mid Norfolk had won.

However, we were truly surprised when this award was followed by a special category. I am pleased to announce that the Railway was named the "Ian Allan Heritage Railway of the Decade," a unique award and one we are proud to have received. The plaque was presented by Loyd Grossman, of Food Sauces and Through the Keyhole fame.

Then on 5 Dec., Chris White was named runner-up in the annual "Heritage Heroes" awards, run by the Heritage Alliance and presented at its annual general meeting at the Royal Geographical Society in Kensington.

The connection? The second award was also presented by none other than Loyd Grossman, who made a highly entertaining keynote speech, making several amusing anecdotal connections between the two awards he had presented that week!    

It's a real honour to receive these awards, but please remember, they recognise everyone who plays their part in maintaining and working at the Bluebell Railway. A very well done to all concerned--you are the ones who made this happen!

By Roy Watts, (Proud) Chairman, Bluebell Railway Preservation Society   


The Keep Up the Pressure Campaign
online giving amount now stands at more than £107,000 . Many thanks to all contributors to this critical fund. To learn more about KUTP and to donate, click here .

Give a Gift of the Bluebell Railway      


This Christmas give your loved ones the gift of a Bluebell Railway Gift Voucher. They can be used to pay for anything across the Railway, including travel, membership to the Preservation Society, Gift Shop items, and food and drink in the restaurant.

Vouchers are available in £10 and £5 denominations and come with an attractive card. They can be purchased from the Sales & Information Office at Sheffield Park or via .

Other Gift Voucher Ideas
  • Lounge Car Gift Vouchers --Relax in Premier First Class for a return journey from Sheffield Park and enjoy a full traditional Afternoon Tea. Lounge Car Gift Vouchers cost £39 per person, are valid for one year, and can be exchanged for future dates.
  • Golden Arrow Gift Vouchers --Enjoy the perfect setting for a special meal with friends or an intimate evening for two on board the Golden Arrow, with fine food and wine served to the standards of yesteryear. These vouchers are £69 per person and can be used on any Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon service when the train is in operation.
  • Fish & Chip Supper Gift Vouchers --Fish & Chip trains run on selected Fridays from April to September. Fish & Chip Supper Gift Vouchers are £26.50 per person and are valid for a year.
To learn more about the Railway's gift vouchers, click here .

Your December Calendar      


Here's a list of all the wonders--weekday and otherwise--you can find at the Railway this Yuletide. Complete information on all these events can be found here .
  • 2 & 19 Dec.: Christmas shopping by train, from Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes. Travel to East Grinstead for a return fare of just £5 per person (kids for a quid).
  • 3, 4, & 5 Dec.: Full Afternoon Tea on board the Lounge Car service.
  • 4 & 5 December: Murder Mystery evening on the Golden Arrow Pullman.
  • 9 & 10 Dec.: Christmas Weekday Wonders--A train ride from Horsted Keynes station (at 11:15 a.m.) in Edwardian carriages, with a special tour of the museum and a traditional Christmas Lunch at Sheffield Park, returning by train to Horsted Keynes.
  • 9 & 10 Dec.: School Yule--A train ride for school and pre-school groups in Edwardian carriages, with presents from Father Christmas.
  • 12 & 20 Dec.: Victorian Christmas Specials--Travel in an exclusive compartment in a Victorian carriage, with a hamper of delicious snacks and drinks. Father Christmas will be on hand with a special gift for all children. Plus, a Victorian fairground, hot chestnuts, and mulled wine.
  • 19 Dec.: Christmas Special for Monday Club members (open to those with RH19 post codes older than 60 years).
  • 28, 29, 30, & 31 Dec.: Fairy Godmother Specials--After Christmas take a ride on one of our vintage trains from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead where the Fairy Godmother will be on board with special treats for adults and children.
  • 31 Dec.: New Years Eve Golden Arrow Spectacular--Bring in the New Year with style at this Black Tie event!

Carving Out a Traditional Christmas     


Enjoy a Christmas Carvery in the Railway's relaxing, friendly Birch Grove Suite at Sheffield Park Station (on the first floor; unfortunately, there is no wheelchair access).

Reserving a table is essential; book now at 01825 720800 (a £5 per person deposit is required to confirm bookings).

The Carvery is open 14, 15, 21, and 22 Dec. For the full menu and pricing, click here .

However, for a mouthwatering preview, we can confirm the presence on the menu of red berry compote, wild rocket, roast pork and crackling, Sussex turkey, and mince pies!

A reminder that on days when no trains are running, the Grinsteade Buffet Carriage at East Grinstead is still open for custom. The refreshments offered there are proving very popular and are providing a great advert for the Railway.
Maunsell Society Makes Progress on Several Fronts

A progress photo for Maunsell V Class No. 928 "Stowe" shows all but one piece of cladding off the boiler, with not much left to do before it's ready for lifting. Visit Stowe's Facebook page here .

Meanwhile, progress on No. 847 has continued at a rapid pace as the Maunsell Society team enters the final stages of her overhaul, and No. 541's boiler is undergoing overhaul in the workshop.

For complete updates for all projects, click here .


Staff Thanked with Rail Ale Special  

The Railway's Board sponsored a special Rail Ale train recently, to thank all staff--both volunteers and employed--for their efforts during this monumental year.

The event was held on 16 Nov., 2013 and was attended by more than 220 members of staff, who enjoyed two return trips hauled by the visiting Black Five as well as a meal and a pint or two.

The evening was organised by Neil Glaskin, Operations Director and Social Sub-Committee, with Roger Garman arranging a fine selection of local ales, including some brewed by the 360 Degrees Brewing Company just over the fence at Sheffield Park and others from the High Weald Brewery near East Grinstead.

The regular Rail Ale team, which has worked these trains for the public throughout the year, did an outstanding job looking after the guests, while Simon Barker, Vince Rickwood, and the team did an excellent job serving everyone with a sausage and mash dinner in under an hour at Sheffield Park. Hopefully, all those working managed to enjoy themselves as well.  


A Trip Down Memory Line: Irish Rail Photos from the John J. Smith Collection

There are an amazing 1,100 photos of Irish rail in the John J. Smith Collection, and these photos represent some 20% of print sales to date, the largest single sector helping to return the Museum's investment in purchasing this remarkable and historically significant collection.

You can browse and purchase prints at this link .

Normally, we run JJ Smith photos with a watermark, but we present these examples from Ireland without the copyright mark so you can appreciate their quality and can consider purchasing prints of a similar quality about the Southern or any other areas that of interest to you.

A framed print will make a wonderful gift for the train buff in your family!

Writes Neil Cameron, "JJ Smith's first visit to Ireland was in September 1951 . He visited varied steam outposts that year, some in their last year of operation, including the Dundalk, Newry, and Greenore Railway, Greenore being the former LNWR ferry port."

Click on photo reference number for PDF versions. All photos copyright Bluebell Railway.
09 Jul 1958 Wednesday. Ref: 6-71-1 6 Columbkille West of Derg Bridge . 3.0F Strabane-to-Donegal. Ireland had many three-feet narrow gauge railways. In this photo the County Donegal Railways Joint Committee line has a mixed train hauled by a 2-6-4 tank loco. 

17 Jun 1952 Tuesday. Ref: 4-64-5 Enniskillen . SLNC Railcar 2A in bay platform. The Sligo, Leitrim and Northern Counties Railway (SLNC) was a pioneer in the use of railbuses. These carriages were usually a road-going single-decker bus, converted to run on rails, with modified wheels nevertheless using a pneumatic tyre. 

12 Oct 1958 Sunday. Ref: 6-91-6 Enniskillen . Enniskillen Remains outside GN shed. JJS acquired the nameplate from Enniskillen, and it was found as part of his estate. With assistance from the Bluebell Railway the Enniskillen Railway Museum was able to purchase it

Add a description
26 Sep 1951 Wednesday. Ref: 4-29-1 Fintona Junction Horse tram . The famous horse tram is seen at Fintona Junction, on the Omagh-to-Enniskillen line. All the lines in the area closed in 1957. The shed for the horse lies between the tram and the signalbox. When two trains were to cross, it was a good idea to place "Dick" the horse in his shed as a precaution against noise causing horse and tram to run away! 


The Bluebell Railway was featured as an answer on University Challenge on BBC2 on 2 Dec.! See the question and answer at 17mins 50s into this video .

Celebrating Brighton-to-Seaford Railway Line's 150th Birthday 


(From Sussex Today ) A brass band and people dressed in Victorian costume on the platform at Seaford Railway Station are just some of the ideas being cooked up to celebrate the 150th birthday of the Seaford to Brighton line.

In fact the Sussex Community Rail Partnership is planning to hold special events at all the stations along the line, including Bishopstone, Newhaven, Southease, Lewes, Falmer, Moulscombe, London Road and Brighton.

The section between Newhaven and Seaford was completed 150 years ago, opening up the seaside town to tourism and turning around the town's fortunes.

The event is still developing but for example, organisers are considering staging guided walks at Southease, which is next to the South Downs Way and a vintage bus display at Lewes with heritage buses.

At Newhaven they are thinking about linking up with the Fort and at Bishopstone a video about why people should use the train could be projected on to the art deco ticket office.

Samantha Bryant, who is the project coordinator, is also hoping to get a steam train for the day ...

For the whole story, click here .  



The app--available at the Apple app store--features virtual trading cards traded with other players from all over the world. One custom-made card (proposed by Rob Faulkner) features "Nettle," a little steam engine with a passing resemblance to our P-Class "Bluebell."
A Note from Derek Hayward

Photographer Derek Hayward wrote recently to the editors saying, "I am updating my locomotive galleries with additional pictures from the period 2011 to 2013."

Derek's Locomotive Gallery Index can be found here .

"So far I have updated No. 178, No. 263, No. 323 'Bluebell,' No. 55 'Stepney,' and No. 592. 

"Photos are in no particular order within the individual collections. Next on my list (but not done yet) will be No. 1638 and B473."
Stepney's overhaul. The noughts-and-crosses are a technical symbol, advises Derek!


Enjoy These Latest Photos!



Dave Braley's photos (including the one above) of a damp and steamy Bluebell Railway Autumn 2013.  


Nick Burgess and Keith Duke photos from 23 Nov.  



FINAL NOTES: Apologies to Bluebell Railway Preservation Society archivist Roger Price. We wrongly attributed his piece on the Railway in 1963 in the last issue to Tony Hillman!

A Merry Christmas to all our readers. The eNewsletter will take a short break to enjoy a few mince pies and will be back on 29 Dec. (in three weeks.)
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