News from the Bluebell Railway 9 February 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
On the Right Track
Revised Bluebell Railway PLC Board Arrangements
Sir Archibald McIndoe Statue Given Go-Ahead
Tamping in the Damp
C&W Update: Work Coming to "Fruition"
World Wars Wreath-Laying Planned
Standard Progress
Diesels to the Fore
Two Upcoming Special Offers
Famous Names "On the Buses"
Get a Peak of Bo Peep
Lighting the Way
BBC News Reader Nicholas Owen to Spend Valentines Day at Bluebell Railway
A Trip Down Memory Line: A Unique Fire Engine
Enjoy These Beautiful Photos
Want even more locos?! Don't forget to click on the hyperlinks in the blue or underlined text !

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Keep Up The Pressure Boiler Appeal focussing on No. 928
Keep Up The Pressure Boiler Appeal focussing on No. 928 "Stowe."

Bluebell Shop  


Bluebell Museum & Archive  


A look around the S-15 at Sheffield Park, on 28 Jan., 2014.
A look around the S-15 at Sheffield Park, on 28 Jan., 2014, by John Sandys.

Locomotive Roster  


Public Train Information


  Line Map & Gradient Profile 


Local Accomodation List  


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Walkscene "Railway Children" Walks  


Lineside Photographers
Track Safety



Views of the Diesel Multiple Unit, by Philip and Gary Bull.
Views of the Diesel Multiple Unit, by Philip and Gary Bull.
The Isle of Wight Railway (with sound), from 1963 to 1965 by Paul Plowman--a thoroughly interesting film.
The Isle of Wight Railway (with sound) from 1963 to 1965 by Paul Plowman--a thoroughly interesting film.

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


50th Anniversary Appeal  


Bluebell Railway Trust  




Filming The Invisible Woman at Sheffield Park (2012), by John Sandys.


This very short video shows the last day of operation of the Brighton-to-Devil's Dyke branch on 31 Dec. 1938, with a Southern Railway, former LB&SCR tank at the head of a single coach train. The film is available for sale from British Pathe for £30 should you wish to add it to your collection.
Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

British Pathe Locospotters of 1953--double-headed GN Atlantics and Western/Southern scenes. Loco spotting was a post-war social phenomenon, thanks to Ian Allan's loco books.
Station Facilities

A wintry scene to warm the cockles: Clan Line thunders through a heavy snow storm in January 2013.
A wintry scene to warm the cockles: Clan Line thunders through a heavy snow storm in January 2013.
An interesting set of photos from the John J. Smith collection, of vintage diesel locos, chosen by Tony Hillman. (Photo 6 is by Colin Hogg.) Archive photos can be browsed
and purchased here .

On the Right Track
Pat Plane's photo , taken on 22 Jan., 2014, shows the operation needed for the quarter mile of track relaying at Freshfield Bank. A 30-foot track panel is seen, ready for laying once track alignment has been checked.

Revised Bluebell Railway PLC Board Arrangements 

Following a review of the Bluebell Railway PLC directors' responsibilities, in line with the company's objectives for 2014, the following changes have been announced:
  • In a switch from their current responsibilities, the new Operations Director will be Russell Pearce and the new Retail (Shop & Catering) Director will be Neil Glaskin.
  • The position of Personnel Director will be discontinued, and in the future all directors will take responsibility for personnel matters relating to staff in their departments.
  • The administration of company-wide processes and policies--e.g., pay and pensions--will now be the responsibility of Martin Widdowson as Finance and Administration Director.
  • The current position of Locomotive & Rolling Stock Director will be split into two positions. Lewis Nodes will continue to be responsible for the Carriage & Wagon fleet as the new Rolling Stock Director and Chris Hunford will be the new Locomotive Director. (Chris will be co-opted to the PLC Board in February, pending approval of the appointment at the Preservation Society Annual General Meeting in May and the PLC AGM in July.)   
It is proposed to implement the changes in advance of the PLC Board meeting scheduled for 23 Feb., 2014. I hope you will join with me in wishing all the above-named directors every success in their new roles.

By Dick Fearn, Chairman, Bluebell Railway PLC

Sir Archibald McIndoe Statue Given Go-Ahead

(From the East Grinstead Courier ) "Plans to erect a 7ft memorial to pioneering plastic surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe have been given the go-ahead ... [T]he bronze statue will be officially unveiled outside Sackville College on June 9, 2014.

"The announcement follows a decision by Mid Sussex District Council's Planning Committee B meeting to approve the application at a public meeting on 23 Jan., 2014."


McIndoe was revered in East Grinstead because his burns and skin graft hospital was there. Thanks to his pioneering work with plastic surgery, especially on Battle of Britain fighter pilots, his work became known world-wide.

Former BRPS Trustee and C&W Volunteer Charles Pyne for many years kept in touch with " The Guinea Pig Club ," conducting tours of the Railway and entertaining its members, not least with his boundless charm.

The Railway is helping to raise funds for the statue with a special Golden Arrow black tie dining train on 22 Feb., 2014. Click here for more details.

New film "The Invisible Woman," starring Ralph Fiennes, features the Bluebell Railway. See the trailer here . John Sandys' 2012 video of the filming is in the left-hand column.
Tamping in the Damp
John Sandys' photo shows a tamper at Sheffield Park ready to go to work on the track re-laying project at Freshfield Bank. More photos from this set can be found here .

C&W Update: Work Coming to "Fruition"

LB&SCR Milk/Fruit Van No. 270, which was built in 1908 on a second-hand, six-wheeled carriage underframe, and which will have been on the Railway for 50 years this May, is currently in the main carriage works, which means we have three "Brighton" vehicles in line in the dock. 

As the icing on the cake after a complete underframe-and-body rebuild of this vehicle, this week has seen the gold-leaf lettering (shadowed in dark blue) applied to No. 270, and the photo above shows that about two-thirds of the lining on one side had, as of 5 Feb., been completed. 

The lining really "lifts" the appearance of the vehicle, which consequently looks stunning. All the materials for this restoration have been funded by a bequest left to the Bluebell Trust for the purpose by a former member of the volunteer Thursday restoration team, which continues to work on completion of the braking system.

In the dock with No. 270 is Stroudley Brake No. 949, which is continuing to come together nicely, and, as seen in the photo below, 1890-built, five-compartment third No. 328 ("Betty"), which is starting to be recognisable as a coach again. Both end sections have been erected, although not finally fixed in place, whilst the design of the seat bases, integral to the structure, are figured out from the available evidence.

Whilst No. 270 is in the dock, LCDR five-compartment third No. 3188 is out in the cold in the old part of the shed, a convenient opportunity to do some work on the underside of the body structure on the west side, access to which is normally hindered by the dock wall. 

The main bottom-side timber on this side has some surface rot where it had sat on the ground as a bungalow; fortunately, being teak, the rot has not penetrated far, so 3/8 of an inch is being skimmed off and will be replaced by new teak facing on the bottom surface. 

It's pleasing to report that, once the surface was cut away using a router, the body of the timber was found to be in perfect condition.

By Richard Salmon, C&W Volunteer

World Wars Wreath-Laying Planned

In March 2014, there will be an official party from the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society traveling to Belgium to lay a poppy wreath in commemoration of the lives lost by railwaymen during the first and second world wars.

This wreath-laying will take place at the Menin Gate in Ieper (Ypres) on 15 March, 2014 during the daily Last Post Ceremony.

This date has a significant meaning to the Bluebell Railway, being the late Bernard Holden's birthday. Bernard had genuine connections with the Railway's war effort during both wars.

During World War One, Bernard's father was Station Master at Steyning, where Bernard witnessed the up line being lifted so that the rails and sleepers could be sent to France. Ultimately they were not sent and were returned and relaid!

Bernard also saw service with the Southern Railway during the early part of the World War Two, at London Bridge and later at Redhill during the Dunkirk Withdrawal. He later saw service with the Royal Engineers and the Indian Army, supervising railway operations.

The official party will consist of Gavin Bennett, Clive and Claire Emsley, Stuart Bardouleau, Steve Everest, and Kathryn Sinclair. We hope that Roy Watts also will be able to join us, but that plan is yet to be confirmed.

The daily ceremony is a public event, and all are welcome to come along and support us. It takes place at 2000 sharp and has done so since 1928. If you do travel to Ypres, come find us and maybe join in a toast after the ceremony.

By Clive Emsley, Senior Permanent Way Engineer

Raise money for the Bluebell Railway when you shop online. Register for EasyFundraising at . For more information, contact .
Standard Progress  
This photo shows a pattern--made by the Standard Class 2 Volunteer Team--for casting the rear truck frame for No. 84030, which is also to be used for the new-build Standard Class 3 tank at the Severn Valley Railway.

Diesels to the Fore

For the very first time on the Bluebell Railway, a diesel gala will operate on 21 March, 2014.

This event will mark the final operation of the Diesel Multiple Unit which is visiting the Railway from Ecclesbourne Valley Railway in Derbyshire.

In addition, resident Class 33 No. 33103 "Swordfish" and Class 09 No. 09018 will take turns hauling passenger trains between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead. Plus, Class 08 D13236 will offer brake van rides at Horsted Keynes.

More information on the program and timetable will be published here shortly. To book, call 01825 720800 or stop by the Travel Centre at East Grinstead station or Sales and Information Office at Sheffield Park.

A special note: One advantage of steam trains is they can provide heating to our carriages. Our erstwhile diesels cannot, so don't forget to wrap up if it's cold in March!

Two Upcoming Special Offers

This year the East Grinstead Vintage Bus Day takes place on 6 April, 2014 with bus routes to various destinations from the High Street and the railway station. The event is organised by Country Bus Rallies .

The Bluebell Railway will offer a special train fare of £5 per adult or child for any passengers travelling on the 0945 service from Sheffield Park, calling at Horsted Keynes at 1002. Return travel is from East Grinstead, from 1430 onwards.

More information about Vintage Bus Day can be found here .

On 15 and 16 March, 2014 the East Grinstead Model Railway Exhibition takes place at Sackville School.

On 15 March only, the Railway will offer a special discount--a special combined fare of £6 per adult or child for train plus bus--for passengers who travel on the 0945 service from Sheffield Park, calling at Horsted Keynes at 1002, and return on any train from East Grinstead departing at 1430 or later.

Passengers may travel on the following bus services from East Grinstead to Sackville School: Service 291 (departing East Grinstead Railway Station Bus Stand at 1031) or Service 270 (departing East Grinstead Railway Station Bus Stand at 1115).

For more information about the Model Railway Exhibition, click here .

For both offers, purchase tickets in advance at the Sales and Information Office at Sheffield Park or the Travel Centre at East Grinstead, or by calling 01825 720800.

Famous Names "On the Buses"

The Brighton and Hove bus company now names its buses after important people with connections to the area. I am fortunate to have met, or have been friends with, nearly 20 of them over the years!

Of interest to Bluebell Railway members will be several famous names: No. 477 carries Bernard Holden's name, and he needs no more introduction! No. 487 is named after William Stroudley of the LB&SCR. No. 620 is "Oliver Bulleid" of Southern Railway fame.

Builders of the London and Brighton railway are represented by No. 857 "John Rastrick" and No. 854 "David Mocatta" (associated with the Balcombe Viaduct). "John Saxby," No. 613, was the inventor of interlocking points and signals. He now lies in Wivesfield churchyard.

Of interest to those of us who were around in the early days is No. 602 "Enid Bagnold" (the author). On weekends, Enid Bagnold would deliver her son Richard (known as "Bagpipes") to Sheffield Park so he could help in the car park.

Residents of Brighton and Hassocks will be familiar with electric railway pioneer Magnus Volk (No. 441) and No. 853 "William Marsh," named for the father of Brighton's tram system. Finally, there's a "foreigner" of sorts: I.K. Brunel's name graces No. 673.

If you are interested in browsing the whole list, which includes many of my friends, it can be found by using "Easy Search" or Google--key phrase: "Brighton and Hove bus names."

By Chris Saunders

The Bluebell Railway is looking for a qualified locomotive fitter. For details, click here .
Get a Peak of Bo Peep

On Good Friday and Easter Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, Little Bo Peep will be travelling on the 1215 and 1445 service from Sheffield Park and 1315 and 1545 from East Grinstead.

Along with an entertainer, Bo Peep will be on board special carriages in which she will meet children and present them with an Easter Gift and a gingerbread biscuit. Adults will receive a Hot Cross Bun from Bo Peep's helpers.

For more information, click here . To book, call 01825 720800 or stop by the Travel Centre at East Grinstead station or Sales and Information Office at Sheffield Park.

Lighting the Way

Mike Hopps contacted us recently about an interesting project: "I seem to be doing more and more metalworking for Signals & Telecommunication these days. I had completed my third signal at Kingscote (elevated rail built shunt) but a requested repair of a buffer stop lamp from the pumphouse siding almost seemed like a wind-up when I was given the bits!
"The technical details: it's a Southern Railway buffer stop lamp from about 1930, I believe. Originally, it was made from very thin (about 26 gauge) unplated steel, soft soldered construction with a brass hinge pin and various copper rivets. It was fitted with a paraffin burner, but it was converted to electric some time ago. I expect these lamps were turned out by the thousand for SR and not really intended to last. However, they are no longer available and neither are any spares!
"The photos show various stages of reconstruction, starting with the cutting away of all the rusted faces back to reasonably sound metal. A new base and sides were made from slightly thicker plated steel, soldered as in the original, then riveted and soldered to the various faces to prevent water ingress, along with the refitting of the bracket. I did a rust cure to various other suspect areas, and then I did a complete repaint. I think the base will now outlast the original construction."

BBC News Reader Nicholas Owen to Spend Valentines Day at Bluebell Railway

(From the East Grinstead Courier ) "Valentine's Day is a time for people to spend time with the love of their life and a BBC news reader will be doing just that--being romanced by steam trains in East Grinstead.

"Journalist and TV news reader Nicholas Owen will be swapping Cupid's arrow for the Golden Arrow Pullman steam engine on February 14. He will be travelling along the vintage railway, taking part in the Valentine's Day special which includes a meal aboard the train.

"And he's likely to be in well-dressed company, as the event has s strict dress code of smart/casual and no jeans or trainers. To find out more about the Valentine's Day service, visit ."

A Trip Down Memory Line:
A Unique Fire Engine

This interesting British Pathe video shows Marsh D1x No. 2216, a one-off rebuild of a Stroudley LB&SCR D1 0-4-2 tank, a type well known on the the Bluebell and Primrose Line, as the old Lewes and East Grinstead Line was known.

It's seen here in 1941 converted to
a mobile fire engine, demonstrating considerable capability in the hands of the Southern Railway Fire and perhaps the Auxiliary Fire services. These engines were intended to protect railway depots in the London area.

Storage for hoses and all relevant equipment can be seen, and the loco is very clear as it moves past the camera after five minutes or so.

As many as nine of these fire engine conversions were put to work to counteract the menace of the Luftwaffe firebombing during World War II. The locos had mostly been withdrawn--displaced by electrification--and therefore were available for conversion.

The film is available for sale from British Pathe for £40  should you wish to add it to your collection.

By Neil Cameron

Enjoy These Beautiful Photos
of Our Railway

John Sandys provides these views of the Railway from 28 Jan., 2014. Photos from 8 Feb. feature the last Saturday of the Special Diesel Service.

Dave Bowles' gallery shows off the C Class.

Keith Duke's photos from 1 Feb., 2014.

This John Sandys set shows some of the most recent flooding, an unfortunate theme this wet and wild winter.

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