News from the Bluebell Railway 12 January 2014    
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
Fingall's Looking Fine
Slip Slidin'
Waitrose Gives Back
KUTP Update
DMU Arrives
Atlantic Group Update: A Bit Eccentric!
Southern at War, 10-11 May, 2014
Where "Downton Abbey" Is a Reality Show
Railway to Offer Easter Specials
Down Memory Line: The Directors' Saloon at Work
Argus Letters: "If There's an Award to Be Had, Give It to Bluebell Railway Collective"
Recent Accessions by the Bluebell Railway Museum
Enjoy These Beautiful Photos
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The Victorian Christmas Specia onl 12 Dec., 2013, by Martin Lawrence.
The Victorian Christmas Special on 12 Dec., 2013, by Martin Lawrence.

Bluebell Shop  


Bluebell Museum & Archive  


Southern Railway publicity stunt with a good-as-new-looking King Arthur class No. 454 "Queen Guinevere," built 1925, winning hands-down in a pushing contest with two older locos. Don't try this at home!

Locomotive Roster  


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Walkscene "Railway Children" Walks  


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Steam in South London 1964, by Paul Plowman.
Steam in South London 1964, by Paul Plowman.
Clips of the Railway in action, and flooding, from 22 Dec., 2013, by Martin Lawrence.
Clips of the Railway in action, and flooding, from 22 Dec., 2013, by Martin Lawrence.

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


50th Anniversary Appeal  


Bluebell Railway Trust  




BLUEBELL RAILWAY 28/12/2013   L M S Black Five No.45231 & SECR H-Class No.263
The Railway on 28 Dec., 2013, by Philip Bull.


First movement of the DMU, 7 Jan., 2014, by John Sandys.
First movement of the DMU, 7 Jan., 2014, by John Sandys.
Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

Bluebell Railway Saturday 28th December 2013
The Railway on 28 Dec., 2013, by Ashley Smith.
Station Facilities

Bluebell Railway, 5 Feb., 2010: Dukedog charter, by David Haggar.
Bluebell Railway, 5 Feb., 2010: Dukedog charter, by David Haggar.
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 .

Fingall's Looking Fine 
Andy Prime's photo shows Pullman Car "Fingall" fresh from the paint shop and up on lifting jacks for maintenance.
Slip Slidin' 

Infrastructure Director Chris White was kind enough to take time away from his duties to forward this photo of the landslip south of Sharpthorne Tunnel.

Writes Chris, "The plan is to have sufficient short term repairs in place to safely open the railway for normal service on 11 Jan., 2014, which we are on course to do.

"Whilst the photo presents what appears to be a fairly small-scale landslip, its position in the cutting surrounded by numerous trees--and with continuous surface water increasing the of risk of further movement--makes it a difficult and hazardous work site."

STOP PRESS: Trains are indeed running the full length of the line as of 11 Jan., 2014 now that work to clear the landslips has been completed. Well done to Chris and his team.
Waitrose Gives Back 

Some good news from our friends at Waitrose. The staff of the East Grinstead branch voted to include the Bluebell Railway as one of its nominated charities during December 2013.

The outcome of this generosity will be a cheque for £280 that will be forwarded as a contribution to our East Grinstead Station canopy appeal.

Many thanks to the store's staff and to all those who helped by shopping at Waitrose.

By David Cockram
KUTP Update

Keep Up The Pressure - Boiler Appeal focussing on No.928
Keep Up The Pressure (KUTP) Boiler Appeal, focussing on No. 928 "Stowe"

Thank you to all those who have helped the
KUTP total move past £120,000. To learn more and to donate, click here .

Raise money for the Bluebell Railway when you shop online. Register for EasyFundraising at . For more information, contact .
DMU Arrives
John Sandys' photo shows the Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) loaned by the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway for use during a partial line-closure for engineering work. It's a twin-power-car DMU, formed of Class 101 Driving Motor Composite E51505, built in 1959, and a Class 108 Driving Motor Brake Second E50599, built in 1958. To see more photos, click here . John's video of the DMU can be found in the left column.

Atlantic Group Update: A Bit Eccentric! 

The Atlantic group received a nice gift from Father Christmas (outsourcing to Unilathe): four eccentric rods . The group now has all the major parts to complete the loco's valve gear.

The update continues ...

"Although all apparently minor detailed work, progress recently has been good, with most of the major steel pipes now at least temporarily fitted between the rear of the valve chests and their positions to the rear of the ashpan. All of the drain cocks have been fitted up with their operating rods and levers and, at least in the cold, work well; only when hot will we be sure!

"Work is now under way doing the final machining of the driving and coupled axle-boxes. We have also now found a solution to the problem of how to fix the weigh (or reversing) shaft in its correct position, and work is proceeding in making up the fixtures required to carry out this work. The wheel rotators to be used for setting up the crankpin and keyway positions and later for valve setting are also well in hand."

For more Atlantic Group updates, click here .


The Polegate Historical Association will host a talk about the Bluebell Railway on 17 Jan., 2014, by David Jones, at St. John's Church Hall, Polegate, Sussex. The talk starts at 7 p.m. Admission is £2 for non-members.
Southern at War, 10-11 May, 2014.

Poster by Mike Hopps.  

Where Downton Abbey Is a Reality Show

The Railway got some excellent coverage in the United States recently, where Downtown Abbey, shown on the public television network (roughly equivalent to the BBC), is one of the most popular TV shows.

The Miami Herald newspaper took a look at some of the locations used in the period drama in a syndicated travel column. Thanks to Neil Cameron for the spot

"... Who doesn't love a good, soppy trainside farewell? Mary and Matthew have their share at the Downton railway station, played in real life by the Horsted Keynes station and Bluebell Railway in West Sussex.

"The London Brighton and South Coast Railway built the station in 1882, and the Bluebell Railway has restored it to the mid-1920s ..."

For the full story, click here .

Railway to Offer Easter Specials

Celebrate the Easter season at the Railway on Good Friday (18 April, 2014) and Easter Saturday, Sunday, and Monday when Little Bo Peep will be travelling on the 1215 and 1445 service from Sheffield Park and 1315 and 1545 service from East Grinstead.

Bo Peep will be on board special carriages where she will meet the children and present them with an Easter gift and gingerbread biscuit.

Adults won't be left out; they will all receive a hot cross bun from Bo Peep's helpers.

All seats must be booked in advance by calling the Customer Service Team at 01825 720800 or by dropping by the Travel Centre at East Grinstead station or the Sales and Information Office at Sheffield Park.

For more details, click here .

The Unity Lottery is supporting the Railway. The top prize each week is £25,000, and other prizes range from £1,000 to £5. Everyone has a 1-in-63 chance of winning something. Fifty pence of every entry goes towards specific Railway projects. Sign up here .
Down Memory Line: The Directors' Saloon at Work 

These three videos--shot between 1941 and 1976--are interesting in their own right, but they also show the Bluebell Railway's former LB&SCR Directors' Saloon hard at work.

British Pathe 1941: Naming of No. 21C1 "Channel Packet"
The naming party detrains from the then Southern Railway saloon No. 291S at Eastleigh, and a VIP (does anyone recognise him?) goes straight onto the footplate after the ceremony. These are outtakes, but it is very interesting to see the vehicle at work in Southern days and No. 21C1 in brand-new condition with the men that built her.

The Adams Radial at Horsted Keynes, 19 March, 1967

The Adams Radial at Horsted Keynes 19 March 1967
In this Paul Plowman video, watch the Adams Radial in steam, running round its train at Horsted Keynes and coupling onto the Brighton Saloon for Sheffield Park, the whole train then heading south.

Bluebell On Parade, 16 May, 1976

Bluebell On Parade 16 May 1976
Another Paul Plowman video, this time a classic weekend that saw No. 21C123 "Blackmore Vale" returned to service. See the train at 3m 45s and on the rear, the saloon. It was withdrawn in 1978.

By Neil Cameron

Argus Letters: "If There's an Award to Be Had, Give It to Bluebell Railway Collective"

(From The Argus , 11 Jan., 2014) "If the establishment is dishing out awards for 2013, it should look at one particular collective of people.

"For progress, only one company, as far as I can see, in the South East stands out. Due to its forward planning, raising private finance, having a dedicated voluntary workforce and perseverance, it re-opened the railway line linking a mainline station in East Grinstead.

"I am referring to the Steam Locomotive Society of the Bluebell Railway.

"Despite enduring one of the worst planning blunders of dumping rubbish in a cutting--a blunder which if someone was to write a book on planning blunders would be top of the list--this society makes the politicians who control our national, privatised railways look like a bunch of amateurs."

By James Greed

Help with the cost of repairing the firebox of No. 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair." To learn about the 500+ Club Appeal, click here .
Recent Accessions by the Bluebell Railway Museum

Among the recent acquisitions by the Museum is the above LB&SCR Guards Bandolier Buckle, purchased with a 40% donation from the Carriage Shop at Horsted Keynes.

Other accessions include a West Hoathly enamel plate from the London Victoria departure board, an LB&SCR horse box lamp (on loan), and a Southern Railway advertising model.

To learn more, click here .

Enjoy These Beautiful Photos
of Our Railway

Dave Bowles' railway photos includes the above "reflection" on the Black Five.

Steve Lee's photostream , including the first trains of the Railway's new year.

A set of photos by Ashley Smith.

Alan Bedford's gallery from 4 Jan., 2014, a wet Saturday at the Railway.

Dave Braley's photos from 29 Dec., 2013.

Raise an arm for Sussex beer! 360º Brewing's Sussex 42 is now available at the Bessemer Arms.
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