News from the Bluebell Railway        8 March 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
Goodbye to Winter
The Bluebell Railway Is Celebrating an Anniversary
23 Points Down, & That's a Good Thing!
Loco Update: Full Speed Ahead on Overhauls!
More News from Crewe: Sir Archibald Sinclair
Memorial for Jack Owen Planned
Update: A Timely Reminder of a Railway Stalwart
A Trip Down Memory Line: No. 35017 & the 1948 Exchange Trials
Welcome to Kingscote Tower
Enjoy These Beautiful Photos
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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."

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Bluebell Museum & Archive  


Black Five No. 45231 photo charter on 26 Feb., 2014, by David Haggar.
Black Five No. 45231 photo charter on 26 Feb., 2014, by David Haggar.

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Walkscene "Railway Children" Walks  


Lineside Photographers
Track Safety



L150, Kingscote to East Grinstead, by Nathan Gibson.
The L150, Kingscote to East Grinstead, by Nathan Gibson.
Video by James Batcheler from 22 Feb., 2014 features the other two locomotives running on Saturday, the U-class and L.150.
Video by James Batcheler from 22 Feb., 2014 features the U-class and L150.

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


50th Anniversary Appeal  


Bluebell Railway Trust  




Points replacement work at Horsted Keynes, 4 March, 2014, by John Sandys.
Points replacement work at Horsted Keynes, 4 March, 2014, by John Sandys.


Ivo Peters' Collection:
Ivo Peters' Collection: "Private Railways, 1961-1963."
Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

The Railway on 16 Feb., 2014, by Philip Bull.
The Railway on 16 Feb., 2014, by Philip Bull.
Station Facilities

Nettle helps out - 2nd March 2014
P class No. 178 "Nettle" assists C class No. 592 with a service train to East Grinstead. Turn up the volume and enjoy! By Martin Lawrence.
Six Schools class photos from the John J. Smith collection, chosen by Tony Hillman. Archive photos can be browsed and purchased here .

Horsted Keynes track finishing
Horsted Keynes track finishing, by John Harwood. After 5m41s see an aerial view taken by John's model helicopter.

Goodbye to Winter 
Martin Lawrence caught this lovely sunset at East Grinstead on the last day of February.

The Bluebell Railway Is Celebrating an Anniversary

To celebrate the Railway's first anniversary of running trains between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead, a special service will operate on 22 and 23 March, 2014.

Most trains on these days will be double-headed with the Southern Railway S15 No. 847 and the U Class No. 1638 hauling 1930s Maunsell carriages. The two visiting Great Western Railway locos--L150 and No. 5643--will be hauling Mark One and Bulleid coaches.

On 22 March, a third train will be hauled by C Class No. 592 and H Class No. 263. These locos will be hauling the Victorian Metropolitan and four-wheeled carriages. Plus, No. 3 "Captain Baxter" will be giving brake van rides at Horsted Keynes.

In addition there will be guided tours at some of our stations:
  • East Grinstead --On 22 March there will be walking tours around the site of the old third East Grinstead station, including the high level platforms, the goods office (formally the first East Grinstead station), and the low level goods yard. These tours will be at noon and 2 p.m. The signal box on Platform 2 also will be open to view trains arriving and departing.
  • Horsted Keynes --Tours of the Carriage & Wagon workshop will take place each day at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. (Meet the tour guide outside the workshop on Platform 5.)
Normal fares apply, including the discounted Bluebell Bonus tickets if purchased up to eight days in advance. For more information, click here .

This historic video taken on 7 March, 2013 shows rails between Kingscote and East Grinstead being joined for the first time for more than 50 years. Robin Johnstone was there to capture it!
This historic video taken on 7 March, 2013 shows rails between Kingscote and East Grinstead being joined for the first time for more than 50 years. Robin Johnstone was there to capture it!

The Bluebell Railway arrives at East Grinstead - 23 March 2013
The Bluebell Railway arrives at East Grinstead (23 March, 2013).

23 Points Down, & That's a Good Thing!  
John Sandys' photo shows work being done on the points at Horsted Keynes on 4 March, 2014.

Eighteen working hours after the first disconnection was made, the points were firmly on the ballast, in the right place and looking rather fine, after being split into three sections and then slipping back together like Hornby track!

A small panel was bolted back to 4/5 road to check the alignment, and this proved that the nose was dropped in place yesterday exactly where it should have gone.

We were soon joined by a small number of Signal & Telecommunications technicians who began the laborious job of re-bonding, wiring motors, and checking, so at one end of the site Volvos and Colmars were lifting and slewing, with delicate techy bits being performed at the other end. It was a bit like having Iron Maiden in concert in one room and a string quartet playing next door! It all worked out, though.

Soon sleepers were being placed and spaced at the south end of the job, and rails were cut to allow us to place a sixty-foot length so that the next rail joint would not be on the crossing/access point by the Up Inner Home.

By knocking off time there were two check rail lengths to drop in, but these are all prepared and ready to go, as are the closure lengths between 4/5 road and 3 road.
By Phil Gain, Permanent Way Volunteer
Photo by Phil Gain.

Showing that Phil and the gang completed the job to specifications, the first train, headed by the U-class, passes over the new 23B point.

Book now for the popular Rail Ale Evenings. Enjoy a train ride, evening supper, and live jazz at Horsted Keynes, plus everyone's first pint is free!
Loco Update: Full Speed Ahead on Overhauls!  

There has been significant progress in the Loco Department in recent weeks with the overhauls of a number of locos progressing well, both on and off site.

Currently receiving an overhaul is the Maunsell Society's Q class No. 541 --the tender and frames are now complete. Installation of the motion, including the pistons and valves, has commenced while painting continues. Attention is focused on completing the boiler, which has seen significant work undertaken, including replacing a patch which was installed in 1943 after the boiler suffered some damage during an air raid.

Along with new platework on the back head and around the foundation ring, the boiler also will receive all new crown stays, which have started to be installed. The lower half of the lap seams on the inner firebox are receiving copper welding too, to replace areas that have wasted away.

Offsite, the boiler of the Camelot Locomotive Society's BR Standard 5 No. 73082 "Camelot" is progressing at LNWR Co. Ltd. (Crewe). A recent visit by the Society and the Railway's Works Manager revealed 95% of the crown stays have been installed along with copper welding to tube plate laps and steel welding on the backhead.

The next stage of the work is to roll the boiler onto its back to remove the foundation ring, repair grooving of the outer casing plates, remove the palm stays, and tape the flue holes. The wheels and frames have been moved into the Sheffield Park workshops where work continues on the horn guides and cylinders.

The boiler of the Maunsell Society's Schools Class No. 928 "Stowe" was lifted at the end of February. This boiler needs significant work both to the inner copper firebox and outer steel firebox. At present the boiler is on the boiler trolley, and work is progressing to remove stays and those bits of boiler platework we know need replacing.

This work will allow us better access into those parts not easily accessible in order to complete our assessment. It's interesting to note that British Rail replaced the inner copper firebox of a Schools Class every seven years!

By Christopher Hunford, Director, Locomotives

More News from Crewe: Sir Archibald Sinclair  

Work is underway on the repairs to the firebox of No. 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair" at LNWR Co. Ltd. (Crewe), which has been contracted to undertake the repairs.

The new Nicholson thermic syphons will replace the two syphons in the firebox, which are to be scrapped due to corrosion and metal fatigue. The position of the 131 stays in each of the new syphons have been marked out and drilled, and the stays themselves are being manufactured.

The stays have a hollow central section that will indicate if there are signs of a fracture of the stay, since water will be seen at the stay ends. After the syphons have been marked out with the position of the stays, the syphons are drilled and the stay holes tapped out to the correct size (one inch) to enable the stays to be screwed in place.

More information from the Bulleid Society can be found here .

Join us on Good Friday and Easter Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (18 to 21 April) when Little Bo Peep will be travelling between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead. Children get an Easter gift!
Memorial for Jack Owen Planned

A memorial ceremony for former Locomotive Inspector Jack Owen has been arranged for 29 March, 2014.

Guests are invited to arrive at around 12:15 p.m. at Sheffield Park to join a special train set to depart at 12:55 p.m. for East Grinstead. This train will convey Jack's ashes. On return to Sheffield Park a finger buffet will be available in the Birch Grove Suite.

The ceremony is open to the public. Those responsible for bringing groups are asked to advise me of numbers attending: e-mail .

By Bill Brophy, Vice President, BRPS

Update: A Timely Reminder of a Railway Stalwart

The Yard Clock Appeal has raised £1,080 so far. Thank you! To donate to JustGiving, click here

Phil Stoneman is much-missed as a member of the Loco Department and Loco Workshops group. His untimely death in June 2012 was especially tragic because he had recently arranged early retirement, and he was planning to spend more time at the Railway.

While working as a cleaner, he used an old watch to gauge how much time was left while preparing his engine, but he was irritated to have to keep stopping to read it. He remarked to many people that, "Before I leave this Railway, I'm going to buy a clock to put up there!" pointing to the top of the loco shed.

Therefore, his colleagues would like to raise £1,800 to buy a yard clock in Phil's memory, to be fitted on the new "Above Workshop Facility" building (looking something like the photo below). This project has been agreed to by all relevant parties at the Railway, and it is considered to be a fitting tribute to Phil's memory.

Clock Appeal

A Trip Down Memory Line: No. 35017 & the 1948 Exchange Trials  

My comments connected with Ben Brooksbank's photograph of No. 35017 leaving Kings Cross for Leeds with one of the test runs made over the route during the trials were noted in the "Bluebell News" of 27 Oct., 2013.

Thanks to the editor I have been given the opportunity to expand a little on trips made by this and other engines on that route but also have considered the background and circumstances of the event.

The trials were quite fully documented in various contemporary railway magazines and by that doyen of railwaymen/journalists Cecil J. Allen in his book The Locomotive Exchanges published by Ian Allan Ltd. in 1949. This volume covers not just the exchanges of 1948 but also includes the pitting of LNWR engines against those on the Great Northern and Caledonian in 1909 and the GWR in 1910.

The historic exchange of 1925 involving an LNER class "A1" Pacific and Great Western "Castle" came about because the two had been mounted side-by-side at the British Empire Exhibition of the previous year with the GWR claiming the "Castle"--the obviously smaller engine--as the most powerful express locomotive in Great Britain. Purely on the basis of that most deceptive of measurements, tractive effort, the claim was correct but Gresley challenged Collett to prove it.

The results spoke for themselves, major changes being made in consequence to the valve gear of the "A1" to provide long travel as well as longer lap and lead. These relatively simple alterations raised the efficiency of the engine, such that average coal consumption came down from 50lbs per mile to about 38lbs ...

By Jeremy Clarke

To read Jeremy's full account, click here .
No. 35017 "Belgium Marine" by Ben Brooksbank. Photos of other locos involved in the 1948 Exchange Trials can be found here .

A fascinating obituary of preservation pioneer John Snell (1932-2014), from the Sydney Morning Herald .
Welcome to Kingscote Tower 
Writes Richard Hill of the Friends of Kingscote, "On 5 March we assembled our new tower for the first time. Thanks to Roger Kelly for finding a benefactor for the Friends of Kingscote that enabled us to purchase it. This new aluminium scaffold replaces an old, rather unstable steel version. It will make our work so much easier and safer, and we are thrilled with it. It is the duplicate of a unit at Sheffield Park, so the two units can be combined if a job requires it."

Enjoy These Beautiful Photos
of Our Railway

Dave Bowles has put together a great online book of his photos from 2012. His photo above paints "Stepney" with the Birdcage in a wonderful light.

Jon Bowers arranged lovely weather (at last!) for a photo charter with the Black Five No. 45231 on 26 Feb., 2014. Photos by David Haggar , Paul Simpson (also below, top), and Paul Gildersleve .

John Sandys' photos from 27 Feb. and 04/03/2014 (showing work on the points at Horsted Keynes). The Black Five was on show on 06/03/2014 .

Steve Lee's photo (below, bottom) from 2 March shows a nicely painted C-class on one of the two service trains, with P-class No. 178 banking on the rear.


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