News from the Bluebell Railway 23 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 Black Five ...
... Welcome No. 5643
Bluebell Railway Celebrates One Year in East Grinstead-& 35,000 Passengers
Diesel Enthusiasts Abound at First-Ever Gala
Tamp Champ
Centennial Remembrance
C&W Update: Changing Ends
Edwardian Weekend Coming in May
Project 27 Goes on the Road
A Pilot Project
That's Refreshing!
Enjoy These Beautiful Photos
Tender Touch
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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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"Steaming Back to Metroland" promo.

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Lineside Photographers
Track Safety



A Day at the Bluebell Railway.
A Day at the Bluebell Railway.
John Sandys captures the C-Class in the yard and the L150 leaving Sheffield Park with the 0945, on 15 March, 2014.

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


Keep Up the Pressure Appeal


Bluebell Railway Trust  




Bluebell Railway Diesel Gala, 21 March, 2014, by Alan Black.
Bluebell Railway Diesel Gala, 21 March, 2014, by Alan Black.


U Class 1638 exits Sharpthorne Tunnel, by Vaughn Wiles.
U Class No. 1638 exits Sharpthorne Tunnel, by Vaughn Wiles.
Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

No. 66739
No. 66739 "Bluebell Railway" at Doncaster on 15 March, 2014.
Station Facilities

Class 33 in action at the Diesel Gala, by
Class 33 in action at the Diesel Gala, by "JoPop."
Six Schools class photos from the John J. Smith collection, chosen by Tony Hillman. Archive photos can be browsed and purchased here .

First Bluebell Railway diesel gala day by John Harwood.
First Bluebell Railway diesel gala day by John Harwood.
Goodbye Black Five ... 
David Chappell took this last photo of Black Five No. 45231 on 12 March, 2014 as she paused at Horsted Keynes to drop off the Edwardian carriages. The loco then continued northwards, making an overnight move via the mainline connection to Southall. It is due to double-head a railtour with No. 44871 on 15 March.

... Welcome No. 5643  
No. 5643 is seen making its debut in Bluebell Railway traffic on Freshfield Bank with the Victorian coaches on 16 March, 2014 in this photo by Sheila Beaumont. The locomotive is with the Railway until December.

Bluebell Railway Celebrates One Year in East Grinstead, & 35,000 Passengers

(From the East Grinstead Courier ) The Bluebell Railway line's extension to East Grinstead is celebrating its first birthday.

And nearly 200,000 have people used it in the year since the iconic steam trains made an emphatic return to East Grinstead. Thousands of enthusiasts defied the blizzards to be among the first passengers to travel on the extended line last March.

And now, as it prepares to celebrate its first anniversary, figures released by the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society show the significant impact the line has had on the town.

At a meeting of Bluebell [managers] on Friday, it was reported that the line had attracted 188,144 visitors in 2013-up from 146,224 the year before. Of these, an encouraging 35,029 passengers started their journey at East Grinstead. The increase ensured ticket revenue soared from £1,577,474 in 2012 to £2,294,145 in 2013.

Town tourism manager Simon Kerr said: "Everybody seems to be more than pleasantly surprised by the visitor numbers joining the Bluebell Railway at East Grinstead. All this seems to have been accomplished without any extra pressure on the town's existing car-parking capacity. Most of this extra passenger loading comes from the use of the Network Rail connection from London, and it certainly is true that one of the busiest pavements in East Grinstead is the one connecting the two stations.

"There continues to be an excellent response from Southern to coordinate the departure of their trains, in order that users of the Bluebell Railway's Pullman service will now be assured of easier connection for their return to London. This of course is also a big benefit for local accommodation providers who can also cater for those who wish to stay overnight."

John Walls, editor of the Bluebell Railway e-news service, said the Arctic weather this time last year meant it was very much touch-and-go during the launch of the extended line. "There's been a huge sense of relief that everything has gone better than we could have hoped for," he said.

For the full article, click here .

Northern Extension First Anniversary celebrations, 22 March, 2014, by John Sandys. See his photo set here.  
Northern Extension First Anniversary celebrations, 22 March, 2014, by John Sandys. See his photo set here .
More videos from the First Anniversary weekend: by traindriver35 and ffeog4568 #1 and #2 .

Diesel Enthusiasts Abound at First-Ever Gala

For the very first time on the Bluebell Railway, a Diesel Gala was held on 21 March, 2014.

The event marked the final operation of the Diesel Multiple Unit that helped out the Railway so ably, visiting from the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway in Wirksworth, Derbyshire.

In addition, Class 33 No. 33103 "Swordfish," Class 09 No. 09018, and Class 08 D13236 took part.

Steve Lee's photo above shows the 08 and 09 at the beginning of the day. John Sandys' photo below shows the 33 exchanging tokens at Horsted Keynes, pulling the 1100 train from Sheffield Park. John reported that it was "standing room only on the first train of the day from East Grinstead this morning!"

More of John's photos from the event can be found here , plus photos by ...

From 29 March, 2014 the Railway has steam trains running every single day till 2 Nov. If you plan in advance you can save £££s with our Bluebell Bonus tickets !
Tamp Champ 
A ballast tamper has been helping to finish up work on the 23 Points and adjoining track at Horsted Keynes. Photo taken on 12 March, 2014 by Paul Fuller of Railway Support Services.

Centennial Remembrance  

A small party of Bluebell Railway members attended the Last Post ceremony in Ieper (Ypres) on 15 March, 2014. The group laid a wreath to remember the war dead of the Southern Railway and constituent companies (SECR, LB&SCR, and LSWR).

The date chosen for the ceremony was the birthday of late President Bernard Holden, who witnessed the LB&SCR war effort on the Steyning line, where his father was Station Master. Bernard spent time in the Redhill Control during the evacuation of Dunkirk, and later he was in India with the Royal Engineers.

C&W Update: Changing Ends

The overhaul of the Bulleid composite is progressing so that the overhaul of bodyside structure and panelling is now getting very close to the southern end of the coach, with all the major timber-work repairs completed. 

At the same time the coach ends have changed very rapidly. The north end, with its two new corner pillars, has now been clad and the gangway connector overhauled and re-fitted, as seen in John Fry's photo above.  At the same time, the south end has been rapidly dismantled, revealing that one of the two corner pillars is still in remarkably good condition, which will save a lot of work.

The reproduction of the original Bulleid pattern third-class moquette will be a striking feature in this coach. John Fry's photo below shows one of the re-trimmed cushions. The third class seating is almost all done, with the first-class to follow.

By Richard Salmon, C&W Volunteer

No. 323 "Bluebell" has headed north for Shackerstone, where it is to be one of the guest stars at the Battlefield Line's Spring Steam Gala on 11 to 13 April, 2014.
Edwardian Weekend Coming in May 

The Bluebell Railway Edwardian Weekend will be held 17 and 18 May, 2014. Trains will be running on the Service Two timetable. The main event will take place at Horsted Keynes, so arrive at Sheffield Park or East Grinstead and hop on a train that will include carriages used in the filming of Downton Abbey.

A Summer Fair will be at Horsted Keynes, with side stalls including the Hall of Mirrors, High Striker, and Swing Boats. There will be an afternoon band concert and High Afternoon Tea will be served at 3 p.m. The Railway Pantry will be serving refreshments from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Advance booking is essential. Call into the Sales & Information Office at Sheffield Park or the Travel Centre at East Grinstead or phone 01825 720800 for more details and to book. More information can be found here .

Project 27 Goes on the Road

Clive Elmsley's photo above shows Claire Emsley at the Leamington and Warwick Model Railway Club exhibition at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire with the Fenchurch Fund Project 27 stand on 9 March, 2014.

The Elmsleys handed out Project 27 and Keep Up the Pressure leaflets, Railway timetables, and Stepney Club information, and they sold T-shirts, sweatshirts, and award-winning jams from Brendon Hill Crafts, which is run by ex-Bluebell Railway staff members Derek and Ruth DeMaid.

Clive says he hopes to have a small stand to sell new Project 27 shirts and baseball caps at the Railway in short order, and he also will be have a stand at the Annual General Meeting.

A Pilot Project

Editor's Note: This blog entry from Tom James, which appears in full on the Railway's blog site , gives an insight into a day earlier in March on the footplate of the P-class locomotive rostered for station pilot duties at Sheffield Park ...

"Anyone who hasn't visited the Railway recently may not have noticed that we now have a regular pilot engine on Sundays and some Saturdays. As I had the pleasure of firing the turn on 9 March, I thought I'd explain a bit about what we did to show just how much activity goes on 'between the trains'.

"After preparing the loco, the first engine off shed, at 9:15 am, was the 'A' engine (No. 1638 on Sunday). That loco took water and then ran onto its stock, which was sitting in the Newick siding overnight, drew it into the station, and heated the stock ready for departure of the first up service.

"Once No. 1638 had gone, the pilot engine could go off shed (on Sunday that was No. 178, with a Senior Fireman and Rules Passed Cleaner as crew). After taking water in Platform 2, we ran back into the Carriage Yard Headshunt (a.k.a. the Pumphouse siding), and--once the signal was cleared and we had permission from the shunter--we moved down into the carriage shed to pick up the "B" stock, which this weekend was the LSWR brake 3rd, SECR 100 Seater, LBSCR Bogie First, and SECR Birdcage.

"After coupling up, we ran back to the Carriage Yard Headshunt and started to steam heat the stock, thus ensuring the carriages had a good hour of heating before the 11 am departure.

"By using a pilot, the 'B' engine (No. 263 this weekend) could run straight out of the loco yard into Platform 2 to take water, then come back onto its stock and draw it into the station ready for departure, without having to spend time shunting and running round, saving the crew time on what would be a long day ..."

To read the 20 March, 2014 entry in full, click here .
Photo of No. 178 by Simon Lathwell.

A new set of updates from the V Class No. 928 "Stowe" project. 
That's Refreshing!
The picnic field and Well House refreshment kiosk at Kingscote opened on 21 March, 2014, following the negotiated change agreed to in the applicable planning conditions. Photo by John Sandys.

Enjoy These Beautiful Photos
of Our Railway

John Sandys' photos from 11/03/2014 shows the S-15 on shed preparing for its official debut at the double-header steam weekend to mark the first anniversary of the opening of East Grinstead.

Simon Lathwell has just completed a Flickr album of photos of our locos from 2009 to 2014.

This John Sandys set from 13/03/2014 incudes the ballast tamper fettling the recently relaid track at Horsted Keynes and good progress on the Maunsell Q-class in the workshop. Plus, John's set from 18/03/2014 .

Derek Hayward's photo (above) shows the SECR C-class with the lunchtime Golden Arrow dining service on 9 March, approaching Kingscote.

A gallery by Robert Philpott.

Photos from recent weekends by Martin Lawrence.

The Furness Railway Trust's No. 5643 now has an album in Derek Hayward's " Visiting Locomotives ."

Photos from the First Anniversary weekend from Keith Duke: Set 1 and
Save-the-Date: Southern at War, 10 and 11 May, 2014. More information can be found here .
Tender Touch
This photo by Andrew Beale shows No. 7820 paired with No. 9017's tender. "Dukedog's" tender has been loaned to Dinmore Manor Locomotive Ltd, on the Gloucester and Warwickshire Railway.

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