News from the Bluebell Railway 6 April 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
Here's to Many More!
In Memorium Jack Owen
Loco Update: A Busy Springtime
Celebrate Sussex Food this July
East Grinstead Plans Special Events
Bluebells Are Coming on Strong!
Popular Monday Club Returns
Vintage Transport Weekend 2014 Planned for August
Enjoy Day Excursions & Hotel Packages Via the Bluebell Railway.
Wreath of Spring Flowers as Bluebell Loco Pulled Out of Town for Last Time
A Trip Down Memory Line: LMSR 12-Ton Open Merchandise Wagon PBA No. 66071
Vep Gets VIP Treatment
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 Railway 22nd march 2014
The Railway on 22 March, 2014, by Rob John.

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Bluebell Railway '1st ANNIVERSARY WEEKEND' - 22/03/2014
The First Anniversary weekend, by "SatNavDan."
Bluebell Gala 2014  - the Maunsell train
First Anniversary Gala: the Maunsell train, by Nigel Watson.

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


Keep Up the Pressure Appeal


Bluebell Railway Trust  




No. 847 Running Round at East Grinstead on 4 April, 2014, by John Sandys.
No. 847 Running Round at East Grinstead on 4 April, 2014, by John Sandys.


LBSCR Terrier Tank Engines on the Bluebell Railway.
LB&SCR Terrier Tank Engines on the Bluebell Railway.
Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

Video: Early days of the Romney, Hythe, & Dymchurch Railway in 1927, the line is in build. Captain Howey is seen with with his locos, and his dog travels on the loco tender as he drives the train.
Station Facilities

Video from April 1, 2014, by John Sandys.
Video from April 1, 2014, by John Sandys.
Six Terrier Tank photos from the John J. Smith collection, chosen by Tony Hillman. Archive photos can be browsed and purchased here .

Video: Romney, Hythe, & Dymchurch Railway as seen in 1966, with sound and a view of a train in New Romney BR station, service was withdrawn the following year.
Here's to Many More!

The above picture , taken on the 23 March, 2014, is a nearly complete line-up (excepting three people) of the East Grinstead station staff, booking clerks, sales office, and buffet staff.

It was taken by Andrew Strongitharm, whose father Howard very kindly provided the celebration cake for the first anniversary event at East Grinstead.

The day began in glorious sunshine, but it was just a bit chilly. We commented on how different it was from a year ago, when we were ankle deep in snow, but just as we were arranging the seats a year later ... there was a light shower of hail! Obviously, we are not going to be allowed to forget the 23rd March, 2013.

But here we are, one year on, and we are continuing to grow in numbers. If anyone is interested in helping to run East Grinstead station, either on the platform or in the booking office, we would love to hear from you, especially as the number of trains and people passing through our station goes up.

Here's to East Grinstead's next "birthday!"

By Roy Watts, Chairman, Bluebell Railway Preservation Society


In Memorium Jack Owen 
Roger Barton's photo shows the laying of a memorial stone for Jack Owen, BRPS founder member and former Chief Locomotive Inspector, in the memorial garden at Horsted Keynes on 29 March, 2014.


Loco Update: A Busy Springtime  

Work in the Locomotive Works continues on three fronts, with the boiler for Q Class No. 541 and Schools Class No. 928 "Stowe" both proceeding, while the frames for BR Standard Class 5 No. 73082 "Camelot" continue to be worked on, including the horn guides and cylinders.

Repairs to the copper lap seams on No. 541 have been completed and re-riveted, and a start has been made on installing the new crown stays.

The backhead and copper door plate of No. 928 have been removed, which has allowed a more detailed inspection to take place on the inside of the corner radius of the remaining backhead. Some work will be required here to address minor issues, and the full extent of the boiler repair required will be known once the firebox tubeplate has been removed.

Outside in the yard the maintenance of the running fleet keeps the Works busy, dealing with everything from boiler washouts and routine maintenance to steam brake valve spindles and boiler water treatment.

By Chris Hunford, Director of Locomotives
The Q Class in the workshop, by John Sandys.

Celebrate Sussex Food this July 

Celebrate Sussex's finest local food and drink produce at Horsted Keynes station during the Sixth Annual Sussex Food Festival, 5 to 6 July, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.

Trade stalls will be lining the platforms with mouth-watering produce. Plus, enjoy freshly cooked bites in our picnic area, and bouncy castles, face painting and Marco the Magician will be on hand to entertain all ages. Take part in a special competition, and you could win a meal on the Golden Arrow Dining Train!

The Food Festival is free for travel ticket holders. Station admission tickets are priced at £4 for adults and £2 for children. More information can be found here .

If you are a Sussex food or drink producer and would like to exhibit, e-mail for more information.

East Grinstead Plans Special Events  

The historic market town of East Grinstead has a number of special events throughout 2014. Why not park your car at either Sheffield Park or Horsted Keynes Station and take the steam train to the town?

The High Street is approximately a 10-to-15-minute walk from the railway station, or you can purchase a £1 bus add on ticket at the booking office, giving you unlimited travel around East Grinstead town centre on all metrobus routes.
  • 05/05/2014 --Mayday Fair: East Grinstead High Street will be closed to traffic and open for the annual Mayday Fair with 80 organisations putting out stalls and pitches. Activities include children's rides, a model railway, plants, food and tea stalls, tombla, books, bric-a-brac, and jewellery stalls. Entertainment will be provided throughout the day on the stage area of the High Street.
  • 19/07/2014 --East Grinstead Midsummer Market: London Road will be closed to traffic and filled with stalls, small fairground rides, and sideshows, with the added attraction of the French Market from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • 20/07/2014 --Lions Donkey Derby: East Grinstead & District Lions will stage their second donkey derby and hope to follow the success of the first event in 2013. It will take place in the centre of the town on King George's Field (next to Kings Leisure Centre) with a dog show, side shows, live music, stalls, and childrens rides.  
More information can be found here . If you have an East Grinstead event that might be of interest to Bluebell Railway passengers, contact .

An update for the overhaul of No. 5768 is on the Bulleid Society website .
Bluebells Are Coming on Strong!  

Thanks to a wet and wild winter and now an early spring, this year's bluebell season promises to be a blockbuster (should that be "wood buster?!")
The Arlington/Polegate Bluebell Walks have been brought forward because of the clement conditions, starting 10 April and going till 18 May. Get more information here .

The photo above is by SJ Dumphy. Below, our very own "Bluebell" is resplendent in this HDR image by Bev Goodwin.

Writes Neil Cameron, "I love the HDR treatment of the loco shot. The cleanest engine award [on the headcode disc seen over the buffer] was usually reserved for 'Bluebell' on Parade weekends, with the Driver and Fireman's names for each year engraved around a trophy shield. My name's on that shield from 30 years ago; it's in our Museum now I guess."


Popular Monday Club Returns 

Available to residents local to East Grinstead Station who are older than 60 years, the Bluebell Railway Monday Club returns in 2014 following its success last year.
Enjoy a steam train ride through the countryside plus a delicious two-course meal for just £15 per person on Mondays from April to September (not including Bank Holidays). Travel from East Grinstead on the noon departure to Sheffield Park and the Bessemer Arms Restaurant, Museum, Gift Shop, and Engine Sheds.

The return train departs Sheffield Park at 3:30 p.m. on Service One days and 2:45 p.m. or 4 p.m. on Service Two days. Passengers will be issued a membership card to use every time they attend Monday Club.

This is a very popular offer; book by phoning 01825 720800 or calling into the Travel Centre at East Grinstead or the Sales and Information Office at Sheffield Park.

Click here for more information.

Vintage Transport Weekend 2014 Planned for August

This year's Vintage Transport Weekend takes place over the weekend 9 and 10 August, 2014. The displays of vintage and classic cars, stationary engines, commercial vans, steam road engines, and motorbikes will be on show at Horsted Keynes from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. each day.

To accompany the fine display of vintage vehicles, the Railway will operate its steam-hauled train service between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead, so why not park your car at Sheffield Park and take the train to Horsted Keynes?

Travelling from London? Get the train to East Grinstead station, where you can join the steam trains to Horsted Keynes. Your Bluebell Railway travel ticket will allow unlimited travel for the day on all steam services. In addition to restaurant facilities, there will be a barbecue at Horsted Keynes.

If you would like to enter a vintage vehicle into this year's display, more information can be found on the event's webpage .  

More photos from the V Class No. 928 "Stowe'' project.
Enjoy Day Excursions & Hotel Packages Via the Bluebell Railway 

The Railway is excited to announce it is working alongside a number of local attractions to create even more memorable days out for all the family during 2014!
The five attractions now working closely with the Railway are:
  • National Trust Standen House
  • Chailey Windmill & Folk Museum
  • Horsted Keynes Village
  • Sackville College
  • National Trust Sheffield Park Garden
For more details on each excursion, explore the drop-down menu under "Sussex Day Excursions" at .

The Railway also is proud to work with our partners at the Felbridge Hotel, Buxted Park Hotel, and Ardingly Inn to create special, relaxing overnight breaks in the heart of beautiful Sussex.

There are three different packages, one each for Sheffield Park, Horsted Keynes, and Kingscote. Each includes an overnight stay at the above hotels, with various entries into local attractions.

Explore these options via the drop-down menu under "Hotel Packages" at .

Wreath of Spring Flowers as Bluebell Loco Pulled Out of Town for Last Time  

(From the East Grinstead Courier ) As we celebrate the first anniversary of the Bluebell railway reopening at East Grinstead, it is easy to forget that the beloved heritage railway ever stopped in our town.

But in 1958, an estimated 1,400 people--the most to ever to cram onto the platform at the time--waved flags and blew horns to give the 76-year-old line between East Grinstead and Lewes a sentimental send-off.

At the time, the Courier wrote that the last train to make the journey on the "Bluebell and Primrose" line was decorated with a large wreath of spring flowers as a final spirited defiance against the bureaucracy which led to the railway's closure.

Eight extra coaches were added to the normal one-coach train for the occasion, carrying nearly 900 train enthusiasts along the 17-mile line for the last time.

The Class IV tank loco--the last to be built at the old Brighton Sheds--began its final journey on Friday, March 21, 1958, by pulling out into the sunshine as guard Harry Stevens blew the horn one last time for spectators ... MORE .

A Trip Down Memory Line: LMSR 12-Ton Open Merchandise Wagon PBA No. 66071 

This wagon is one of 12,200 12-Ton Open Merchandise wagons built to LMSR diagram D1892 between 1934 and 1939.

There were detail variations between lots (four different drawings were issued). Many of the vehicles to this diagram were built in the workshops of independent contractors, rather than those of the LMSR. Diagram D1892 included both wagons built with automatic vacuum brake and those with handbrake only.

From the remains of a BR replacement numberplate and the remains of an original builder's plate (below), we know that this particular wagon was built in 1934 by the Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Company with automatic vacuum brake and "clasp" type brake gear.

Its original running number is unknown, but BRCW built 400 wagons to lot 786 in 1934; their running numbers being in the series 400800 to 401199 ... MORE .

By Martin Skrzetuszewski & Nick Beck

Browse more of the Railway's rolling stock.

For the next two weeks--during the school holiday period--the Railway is running a peak, two-train Service Two timetable.   
Vep Gets VIP Treatment 
The above photo (courtesy HMRS) shows the Railway's 4 Vep Unit No. 3417 "Gordon Pettitt" in Clapham Yard on 27 March, 2014, where it has been stored for some time due to work required on the shed there. A move to under-cover storage is expected soon. This and other photos have just been added to the webpage for the unit. The Southern Electric Traction Group, which is looking after the unit on the Railway's behalf, has had a couple of working days on it, as reported on the group's blog .

Enjoy These Beautiful Photos
of Our Railway

An album by Ben Gray from 22 March, including an atmospheric shot of " Captain Baxter " (above) returning to Sheffield park from Horsted Keynes.

A set by Alan Edwards.

John Sandys' photos from 24/03/2014 , 25/03/2014 (showing the departure of the Diesel Multiple Unit), and 29/03/2014 ("A very busy day with the trains well filled"). His photos from 3 April.

Ashley Smith presents his first photo album of the year.

Tony Teague's gallery from the First Anniversary weekend.

The photo below by Sheila Beaumont shows the somewhat unusual sight of full Golden Arrow regalia on a South Wales coal tank as visiting GWR No. 5643 heads a lunchtime Pullman train on 30 March.

Ken Hardy's photos from 29 March.

Derek Hayward has started a Wealden Rambler gallery .


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