News from the Bluebell Railway 29 December 2013
Including a Momentous Year in Review    
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
Thank You for an Unforgettable Year
More Awards for the Railway
The Rain, Rain, Rain Came Down, Down, Down
Save the Date: Track Trek 2014
Easyfundraising for the Keep Up the Pressure Appeal
Wirksworth to Provide Railcar to the Bluebell Railway
Diesel Service Dates Set
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The Bluebell Railway Arrives at East Grinstead.
The Bluebell Railway Arrives at East Grinstead.


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A Day in the Life of SR Maunsell S15 4-6-0 No. 847.
A Day in the Life of SR Maunsell S15 4-6-0 No. 847.

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Walkscene "Railway Children" Walks  


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The Victorian Train from East Grinstead, by John Harwood.
The Victorian Train from East Grinstead, by John Harwood.
The Bluebell Railway on Trafalgar Day 1962.
The Bluebell Railway on Trafalgar Day 1962. T9 No. 120 arrives at Haywards Heath with the "Victory Blue Belle" railtour to run via Ardingly to the Bluebell Line. More details here . Video by Paul Plowman.

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


50th Anniversary Appeal  


Bluebell Railway Trust  




BLUEBELL RAILWAY 30 11 2013. U-class No.1638 back in service,
The U-Class No. 1638 back in service, by Gary and Philip Bull.


New Lewisham Bill: BR from 1960, plus Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, and others from the Saturday Club.
New Lewisham Bill: BR from 1960, plus Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, and others from the Saturday Club.
Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

Heading South with the Black 5, 28/12/13
Heading South with the Black Five on 28 Dec., 2013, by John Sandys.
Station Facilities

North of Kingscote Diary
John Harwood's North of Kingscote Diary from 19 Dec., 2013.
An interesting set of photos from the John J. Smith collection, of Bluebell Railway engines in pre-Bluebell days, chosen by Tony Hillman. Archive photos can be browsed
and purchased here .

No. 928 is pulled out of the old shed at Sheffield Park.
Thank You for an Unforgettable Year 

As a blustery and wet December draws to a close, the month brings down the curtain on quite an unforgettable year--one that all who are involved with our Railway should take great pride in.

I thank everyone who has contributed to our success story. There are many heroes who give up endless hours of free time to make the Railway function; this was especially true when it came to completing the final push through that now infamous cutting--the rest of the northern extension story is well told!

Then there are those who work in the other areas of our Railway, all part of one big jigsaw that keeps growing--will it ever be completed? We all know our Railway needs continuous care if it is to remain a leader of the heritage railway industry. Already we must adapt as East Grinstead grows; it is now our second busiest station, giving Sheffield Park a bit of a challenge!

Let's summarise the accomplishments. The year began with our Met coaches participating in the London Underground 150th celebrations. Then our extension opened; we welcomed the first through trains from London, including the Class 66 "The Bluebell Railway" special; we hosted a series of steam-hauled specials; and "Tornado" finally made it on to our metals.

In 2013, the Membership figure peaked at 11,000, and in the last month we were awarded a number of accolades--named "Railway of the Decade" at the National Heritage Railway Awards and the Heritage Railway Association's Large Railway of the Year.

Yes, there were a few tense times--especially on the motive power front--when we were down to the wire, but we have never failed the fare-paying passenger in actually running a train. However, these challenges lead us to the next key targets to aim for in 2014--excellent operating performance, particularly in punctuality and capacity.

Although we enjoy seeing our trains full up, an over-full train is not good for our image. Passenger comfort is a must; plus, there is nothing worse for passengers who have paid good money than to reach their destination late. On these fronts, the end-of-term report has to read "must do better."

In 2014, we must continue to improve and invest in existing infrastructure after many years of basic care, and we must not easily surrender that all-important heritage aspect, while at the same time taking good care of the expectations of fare-paying passengers.

Nevertheless, if you look at what we have achieved, and the ensuing commercial success, 2013 has been nothing short of remarkable.

It is absolutely great news to win a clutch of awards. Do not forget that a national award recognises all of us, and everything you give the Railway is abundantly clear--support, donations, volunteer time, effort, and expertise. You make it happen and for that, one huge thank you. Your superb support shows no sign of abating!

My best wishes to you all for the season and for a New Year that will need our full involvement as we stay at the forefront of railway preservation.
By Roy Watts, Chairman, Bluebell Railway Preservation Railway               

The Bluebell Railway receives a mention in this The Economist article about the heritage railways industry.
More Awards for the Railway 

Click here for a press release from the recent Heritage Railway Association Annual Awards.

The Bluebell Railway was named the winner of the Large Group Award, and the Peter Manisty Award for the 150th Anniversary celebration of the London Underground also implicitly recognises a Bluebell Railway component.

The Railway's four-carriage
Metropolitan Railway set, restored by the volunteer Asburys project in the Carriage and Wagon Department, formed 80% of the steam-hauled train that ran through London to mark the Underground's sesquicentennial.

The Rain, Rain, Rain Came Down, Down, Down  

Due to the recent heavy rain, the line between Horsted Keynes and East Grinstead will remain closed until at least 4 Jan., 2014 while infrastructure teams work to repair damage caused by flooding and landslips.

Until 1 Jan., the Railway will operate six steam-hauled and steam-heated round trips each day between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes only. Check this link for updates, or keep apprised via the Railway's blog .
Click the image to see video of the recent flooding.  

Derek Hayward's Santa collection has been much enlarged by additional Victorian Christmas photos .
Save the Date: Track Trek 2014

The Track Trek that took place in February 2013 proved very popular, despite the inclement weather, and raised about £40,000 for the Northern Extension Project.

Building on this success, another Trek has been planned for 2014, on the evening of 28 June. This time the Trek will be from Horsted Keynes to Sheffield Park, and it will be in aid of the Keep Up the Pressure appeal .

There will be a specific window when Trekkers can start (1730 to 1815) because it will be a five-mile hike that must be completed before dusk for safety reasons. Trekkers will be able to view the Railway as never before! Plus, the Model Railway Show will take place during the day, so why not come early and make a day of it!

Full details, including sponsorship forms, will be available on the Railway website in February and will be included in the March issue of Bluebell News . We would prefer Trekkers pre-register so that we have an indication of numbers and of how Trekkers plan to get to Horsted Keynes (by car, parking at Horsted Keynes, or by train from East Grinstead or Sheffield Park).

At Sheffield Park, the shop and Bessemer Arms will be open during the evening, and there will be a train to return Trekkers to Horsted Keynes and East Grinstead after the walk.

I hope you will support this event and KUTP. In June we hope to raise money to overhaul Stowe's boiler, having by then brought in enough to pay for Nos. 34059, 80151, and 65.

By Nigel Longdon, BRPS Treasurer

Easyfundraising for the Keep Up the Pressure Appeal 

Do you shop online? Did you know that each time you shop, you could be raising money for the Bluebell Railway? That's thanks to "Easyfundraising," a way to donate that anyone can use, members and non-members alike.

And it works! To date, 326 supporters have raised more than £2,600 in 2013--and more than £9,000 in total. "Dave B" has raised an amazing £591 on his own! We would like many more supporters who shop via the Internet to help us in this way. Easyfundraising really is easy, and best of all, it costs neither you nor the Railway anything extra.

To get started, register at .

The system works like Nectar or Airmiles, but instead of earning points, each purchase generates a cash donation. So instead of going directly to a retailer's website, just go to easyfundraising first and choose the retailer you want to shop with, then everything you spend with them earns a percentage donation to the Railway, and your shopping won't cost you a penny more.

Bookmark Easyfundraising on your browser and start shopping at more than 2,400 well-known retailers, including Amazon, Argos, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, House of Fraser, Apple, Vodafone, Laterooms, Virgin Atlantic, Expedia, Aviva, AA, and many more. Participating retailers typically donate 1.5% of your purchase (Easyfundraising will tell you exactly how much you generate).

For regular shoppers, Easyfundraising provides a " Find and Remind " tool. Whenever visiting an online store to buy something, if a donation to the Railway is possible, a pop-up reminder is displayed by Easyfundraising. Click on the link to facilitate the donation.

And by ticking the box for gift aid in your personal profiles, qualifying supporters can enhance the donation to the Bluebell Trust by an extra 25%! For more information, e-mail .

By David Mills, Easyfundraising Coordinator

Bluebell Railway vacancies include carriage and wagon fitter, infrastructure department apprentice, and wait staff. Details here .
Wirksworth to Provide Railcar to the Bluebell Railway

The Bluebell Railway has hired a two-car diesel railcar from the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway at Wirksworth, Derbyshire.

The set will operate some winter services between East Grinstead and Horsted Keynes while works take place on the line towards Sheffield Park. They will be the first Diesel Multiple Units (DMU) to visit the line.

The two carriages have been refurbished, maintained, and repainted by volunteers from the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway DMU Group. Passengers will be able to enjoy the Sussex scenery through the driver's cab for the first time during January and February.

Diesel Service Dates Set 

A special Diesel Multiple Unit service (see above) will operate on the weekends of the 18 and 19 and 25 and 26 Jan. and 1 and 2 Feb.

This service will only operate between Horsted Keynes and East Grinstead because the line south of Horsted Keynes to Sheffield Park will be closed for maintenance work.

A special timetable will be in operation and will be available at in the near future.

Harrod's Christmas marketing has a Pullman theme this year. Enjoy this video and this video and note their familiar ambiance! Thanks to Tony Hillman for the spot.
January: Paul Pettit's photo of H class No. 263 and the Edwardian carriages shows a beautifully sunny day at the start of an auspicious year.
Phew--what a year!! Thank you for your ongoing support of our ever-growing Railway. Don't forget to share this eNewsletter with friends, colleagues, and family, through social media and e-mail. See you trackside in the heart of beautiful Sussex!

John Walls
eNewsletter Editor-in-Chief, Bluebell Railway Preservation Society