News from the Bluebell Railway 20 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
The Right Circles
Track Trek 2014: Support the Chairmen!
Infrastructure Report: AWF, North Signal Box, & More
N-Ice Video
An Omnibus of Buses
C&W Update: Welcome No. 35207
Signals Are Good
East Grinstead May Fair Offer Announced
From the Air
Summer Festival Events Announced
Down Memory Line: A Shunting We Will Go
Finding Out More
Seaford Celebration Coming in June
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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Bluebell Railway Website


Sales & Information  


Timetable & Fares  



Google map  




Disabled Access  


Frequently Asked Questions  


Gift Vouchers  


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  


The C-Class preparing for the day's work, 10 April, 2014, by John Sandys.
The C-Class preparing for the day's work, 10 April, 2014, by John Sandys.

Locomotive Roster  


Public Train Information


  Line Map & Gradient Profile 


Local Accomodation List  


  Local Attractions  



Walkscene "Railway Children" Walks  


Lineside Photographers
Track Safety



A short film by Ken Dueden.
A short film by Ken Dueden.
The Battlefield Line Gala on 12 April, 2014 shows No. 323
The Battlefield Line Gala on 12 April, 2014 shows No. 323 "Bluebell" hard at work.

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


Keep Up the Pressure Appeal


Bluebell Railway Trust  




The S-15 Leaving with the 3-02 from Hosted Keynes, by John Sandys.
The S-15 leaving Horsted Keynes, by John Sandys.


BBC "Off the Rails: Bluebell Railway."
Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

Railway Roundabout 1959:
Railway Roundabout 1959: "Scottish Historical Locomotives." Includes the Caledonian Railway single that led a "Blue Belle" excursion between London Victoria and Haywards Heath in 1963. The Highland Railway's distinctive "Jones Goods" was the pioneer 4-6-0 loco in Great Britain. "It's great to see the loco in action," says Neil Cameron.
Station Facilities

The 08 Shunting at Horsted Keynes, 15/04/14
The 08 Shunting at Horsted Keynes on 15 April, 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 .

The Right Circles
Richard Carpenter's photo shows No. 323 "Bluebell" representing the Railway at the Battlefield Line in the Midlands and meeting up with an old friend, "Blue Circle."


Track Trek 2014: Support the Chairmen! 

Please consider sponsoring BRPS Chairman Roy Watts and Bluebell Railway PLC Chairman Dick Fearn when they lead Track Trek 2014 on 28 June, 2014 to raise money for the Keep Up the Pressure appeal and the much-needed overhaul of some of the Railway's steam locomotive boilers.

If you are interested in participating in Track Trek 2014, visit . There, you will find detailed information about the event, plus the Participation Form, a link to create your own JustGiving page , and more.

This is a chance for supporters not only to see the line from a different perspective--from Horsted Keynes to Sheffield Park--but also to raise money by getting sponsorship from friends, family, and work colleagues.

Read all about Track Trek 2014 in the East Grinstead Courier.

Infrastructure Report: AWF, North Signal Box, & More  

With Freshfield Bank relaying and Horsted Keynes 23 Points successfully crossed off the list, focus has now turned to other less high profile but just as important jobs, from the long and wide-ranging infrastructure list.

One such item is the new Sheffield Park AWF Phase 1 fit-out, which is nearing completion. AWF stands for "Above Workshop Facilities" because that's exactly where they are located--above the Locomotive Works. This phase consists of much-needed welfare facilities for both the locomotive workshop and footplate staff.

Both groups have laboured under less-than-satisfactory arrangements for longer than desirable, and it has been a high priority by the company to use some of last year's increased revenue to address this problem. Although many readers may never get anywhere near this behind-the-scenes part of the Railway, no doubt you will be pleased to hear this news.

Further up the line at Kingscote, preparatory work is underway in the north signal box in readiness for installation of the "L" frame, which will replace the south signal box early next year if all goes to plan.

This work necessitates installation of a new steel structure that extends from the ground floor up to the operating floor in order to support what is in reality a elevated miniature lever frame. The structure must not only support the weight of the frame but also provide an absolutely flat and rigid platform to ensure smooth operation of levers and locking.

Furthermore, there's the Horsted Keynes carriage shed project. Whilst there are clearly no holes being dug just yet, behind the scenes (again) the detailed designs and piling calculations are being finalised ready for submission to building control. This process will enable some foundation work to be undertaken later in the summer, which will hopefully spur on the planned fundraising initiatives for this project.

By Chris White, Infrastructure Director

N-Ice Video

Bluebell Railway - Tunnel Story
In 2013 the Bluebell Railway fitted a lining to the inside of sections of Sharpthorne Tunnel, to prevent the build-up of ice on the railhead and of icicles from the tunnel roof and to ensure the Railway can continue to run steam trains through the tunnel to East Grinstead in cold weather. This video tells the story of the work, explaining what has been done and how. Thanks to Alex Mansfield and David Allen for shooting and producing it. 

The Railway has a few job vacancies, with shop assistants required in the shop. Learn more here .
An Omnibus of Buses 
6 April, 2014 was the East Grinstead Bus Running Day. Although the event does not directly involve the Bluebell Railway, now the Railway is no longer reliant on a bus link from Kingscote, there was indirect involvement, through a special offer for anyone visiting East Grinstead via the first train of the morning from Sheffield Park. Andrew Crampton's photo shows a Maidstone & District AEC Reliance 390 DKK near East Grinstead.

C&W Update: Welcome No. 35207  

Writes Lewis Nodes, Rolling Stock Director, "At the end of April we will be taking delivery of another freshly-overhauled BR Mk1 BSK carriage, No 35207. 

"This carriage will go into service in the 'second' corridor stock set, replacing Bulleid brake No. 4279, which is due for overhaul. No. 35207 is privately-owned and on loan to the railway. It looks much like No. 34556 in the Rambler Set [pictured, photo by Andrew Strongitharm]."

Signals Are Good   

After the successful installation of 23 Points at Horsted Keynes, there has been more inter-departmental cooperation between Infrastructure and Signals & Telecommunication (S&T).

For example, Mike Hopps of the Infrastructure Gang recently made eight new speed restriction boards and brackets for S&T. The original wood boards are in a very sorry state, so these new boards have been made from zinc-plated steel sheet. 

There is no requirement for lighting behind the boards anymore, so the traditional holes have been omitted and the S&T department plan is to wire the lamps for dual voltage use: solar power or 110v where a TSR is near to a location cabinet. 

The posts are made from old point rodding and fixed to a standard S&T ground spike. New brackets for the lamps have been fabricated from steel section as in the originals, but they have been galvanised to save painting.

Hopefully, as the Infrastructure Gang replaces more of the troublesome track sections, they won't need to be deployed quite so often!

East Grinstead May Fair Offer Announced    

On 5 May, 2014, the Railway once again will run a special promotion for visitors to the Lions Club May Fair in East Grinstead.

Adults or children can buy a third class return for just £5 per person. Passengers must travel on the 0945 from Sheffield Park, calling at Horsted Keynes at 1002. Tickets are good for return service from East Grinstead at 1430, 1545, or 1700 only.

There will be up to 100 stalls lining East Grinstead high street, plus children's rides, live entertainment, a May Queen competition, and a model steam railway in Portland Road. Learn more here .

By Tim Baker, Commercial Director

Bluebells are flowering lineside! The bluebell season lasts only until about the second week in May, so why not enjoy the seasonal scenery from one of our Railway's steam-hauled trains!
From the Air
On 8 April the Redhill-based National Police Air Service flew over Sheffield Park while returning from Beachy Head, taking this photo on the way.

Summer Festival Events Announced  

The Railway is delighted to announce details of its two-week Summer Festival, running from 26 July to 10 August, 2014.

Festivities start with the Toy & Rail Collectors Fair on 26 and 27 July and end with the Vintage Transport Weekend on 10 August, with plenty in between. To check out all the events, visit and browse the drop-down menu at Summer Festival.

For a number of these special events advance booking is advised as some trains and/or tours are restricted in numbers.

To book, call in to the Sales and Information Office at Sheffield Park or the Travel Centre at East Grinstead or phone 01825 720800.

Don't forget to check out the Railway's hotel packages !

Down Memory Line: A Shunting We Will Go
This photo shows Whitemoor yard (Up) with "shunter chaser" Thorpe chasing the wagons (National Railway Museum).

Two Pathe videos from March, Cambridgeshire, show the Whitemoor yards of the LNER, and the automated hump shunting of wagons as seen in 1931 and later in 1949 , with radio control of the loco pushing the wagons over the hump, together with improving the information flow within the yard.

Retarders operated from the tower slowed the wagons on their descent, something that is long gone from the UK railway scene. The object was to increase the speed of throughput of wagons and reduce standing time in the yards. It was a success, notably during the war effort from 1939 to 1945.
  • A link to a track plan showing up and down hump yards.
  • A 1948 view looking towards the Tower and up side sorting sidings beyond.
  • A period publicity card (those were the days) showing operator and desk, with full aspect of the operation.
  • An information diagram card proclaiming Whitemoor the busiest shunting complex in the world (at the time).
The "cut card" received from the tower advised shunters where to cut or remove couplings in each train that arrived in reception sidings, to divide the traffic as it rolls over the hump to form outgoing trains that need only a brake van attached to be complete for pre-departure checks.
Photo by Ben Brooksbank. View westward, towards Peterborough to the left, Spalding and the North by the GN&GE Joint line, also Whitemoor Yard, to the right. The Class H freight is headed by ex-GE Holden J17 No. 65539; in the station is a B17/6 modified "Sandringham" 4-6-0 on an eastbound express and on the right the rear of a westbound train.


Click here for the latest photos from the Maunsell Locomotive Society "Stowe" team.    
Finding Out More
David Chappell's photo shows nine potential new volunteers being shown around the Carriage & Wagon Department by Dave Clarke (left) during the April Find Out More Days (FOMD). They are standing alongside a seat base for Maunsell carriage No. 3687. This is just one of the many different departments seen on the tour, in which members can work as volunteers. The next FOMD is on 4 May, 2014.


Seaford Celebration Coming in June

The Sussex Express has more information on the 150th anniversary of the Seaford-to-Brighton Line ...

"It's full steam ahead for an exhibition to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Seaford to Brighton line which opened at Seaford Museum on Sunday March 30.

According to local museum members Kevin Gordon and Ron Vince, who have written a booklet to accompany the exhibition, fever pitch excitement greeted the coming of the railway to Seaford on June 1, 1864.

The advent of the railway meant tourists flocked to the town, turning it into a small seaside resort by making it more accessible to visitors" ... MORE .

The Railway Touring Company is planning a celebratory railtour on 7 and 8 June, 2014, behind No. 70013 "Oliver Cromwell."


Enjoy The Beautiful Photos of the Railway

For those a long way from East Grinstead, Derek Hayward provides this " photo essay " of the new station. The photo above shows staff members at the Grinsteade Shop & Buffet.

Martin Lawrence's April gallery .

John Sandys' photos from 10/04/2014 , showing the C-class and S15 on the service trains, and shunting taking place. Plus, his set from 15/04/2014 and 17/04/2014 ("another lovely day.")

Steve Lee " chasing the S15 " on 12 April.

Derek Hayward has added to his 2014 Bluebell Railway gallery .

Dave Bowles' updated steam railway gallery .

Peter Skuce's Battlefield Line Steam Gala photos , featuring No. 323 "Bluebell."

John Sandys thought the newly painted disabled adapted carriage looked nice in the sunshine on 18 April (below).











Attention photographers and others using footpaths along the Railway (especially near Nobles). It is a courtesy to farmers if we remember to close gates when using the paths. As poet Robert Frost once noted, "Good fences make good neighbours!"  
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