News from the Bluebell Railway 18 May 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
Annual General Meeting: Celebrating a New President
Awards for Service Given
Infrastructure Report: Progress & Plans Reported to the AGM
On-Site & Off-Site Loco Update
Third Gets Five-Star Treatment
Water, Water Everywhere
Bienvenue à Horsted Cahagnes
Southern at War 2014
Steam Restoration US-Style
A Trip Down Memory Line: Longmoor's Long Reign as a Military Railway
Retirees Have Memorable Day Out
Enjoy These Beautiful Photos
Want even more locos?! Don't forget to click on the hyperlinks in the blue or underlined text !

Follow us on Twitter  

Like us on Facebook  

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  


Today at the Bluebell,06/05/14
The Railway on 6 May, 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



The Railway on 3 May, 2014.
The Railway on 3 May, 2014.
Video from 9 May, 2014, by John Sandys.
Video from 9 May, 2014, by John Sandys.

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


Keep Up the Pressure Appeal


Bluebell Railway Trust  




"A Great Day Out," by David Fairburn.


"Going Loco in Verse," by Icon Digital Films.
Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

"A Day Out on the Bluebell Railway," by Tony Lenful.
Station Facilities

Views of Longmoor Military
Railway by John J. Smith.
Archive photos can be
browsed and purchased here .


John Harwood includes some excellent aerial shots in this video.
John Harwood includes some excellent aerial shots in this video.
Annual General Meeting: Celebrating a New President  
Gordon Pettitt has been voted the Society's new President.

More than 200 people were in attendance at the Railway's Annual General Meeting at Oakmeeds Community College, Burgess Hill on 17 May, 2014.

PLC Chairman Dick Fearn was in attendance for first time and expressed his thanks for a warm welcome, repeating his message that the Railway must concentrate on the quality of what it offers and stating his determination to fulfill the aims of the Preservation Society.

Society Chairman Roy Watts congratulated all on a "fantastic 2013" and the achievement of reaching East Grinstead, and he stated the need for consolidation and future planning.

In the elections, it is a pleasure to report that former General Manager of the Southern Region of British Rail Gordon Pettitt was elected the new President of the Society (he is pictured in Andrew Strongitharm's photo above standing next to the 4 Vep Unit No. 3417 named for him). Graham Flight and Charles Hudson were elected Society Vice-Presidents. And Roger Garman, Robert Hayward, Charles Hudson, and Chris Hunford were elected Trustees.

Several departmental reports were received, showing that (in summary):
  • Membership numbers and income have increased.
  • Revenue is at £4 million for first time due to the East Grinstead opening, which enabled additional projects, such as the tunnel lining, Above Workshop Facilities, etc.
  • Funding has been obtained to train three to four people in the loco works.
  • The Keep Up the Pressure Appeal now stands at £137,000.
  • See below for the infrastructure report. 
Lastly, in response to a benefactor promising to match donations made on the night up to £1,000, the Maunsell Society raised £2,000 towards the renovation of "Stowe," to which was added £200 from refreshments run by Richard and Deborah Salmon.

Awards for Service Given   
At the Annual General Meeting, several awards for loyal service to the Railway were made, to:
  • 50 Years: Peter Clark (well done, Peter!)
  • 40 years: Russell Pearce, Ian Wright, and Clive Emsley
  • 25 years: Roy Sumpter

Infrastructure Report: Progress & Plans Reported to the AGM   

Infrastructure Director Chris White gave a comprehensive report to the Annual General Meeting on 17 May, 2014, on the remainder of the Northern Extension Project (NEP), the ongoing focus on the track between Horsted Keynes to Sheffield Park, the Kingscote Signal Boxes, Above Workshop Facilities, Horsted Keynes 23 Points, among other projects.

Among outstanding tasks to be completed on the NEP are earthworks and drainage on the upside embankment, the construction of a covered passenger waiting area at East Grinstead, and the hand-back of the site depot.

Chris also spoke to the Western Extension Project (WEP), which, he said, is "quietly making progress in the background" using the same Steering Committee as the NEP. The objective is to enable WEP to happen as and when the Railway is ready, by putting in place building blocks and protecting assets for the future.

"All this progress is only possible because of the commitment and involvement of our volunteer infrastructure teams," said Chris. "We really do owe them a big vote of thanks."

As a mark of his contribution to the NEP, Chris was presented with a glass encased model of a Class 66 diesel and wagon of the type used in the Waste by Rail project to clear the Imberhorne Cutting.

Don't forget, if you want to join the more than 100 already signed up for Track Trek 2014 on 28 June--to raise money for the Keep Up the Pressure Appeal--please visit .

Pre-registration will assist the organisers in the logistics of the event and will ensure your place at the front.
Thank you!
On-Site & Off-Site Loco Update   
No. 73082's boiler under repair.

It has been a few weeks now since the last Locomotive Works update, and I'm pleased to be able to report progress both on site and off site. Within the Works itself, the Q Class No. 541 project is progressing, and the tender and chassis is now complete. The piston valves have been slid into the bores, and the final valve timing measurements are being done.

This is a slow process but essential to getting the engine's valve events correct. Work on the boiler is progressing; the crown stays are completed along with the copper welding. The final set screws are being installed, at which point the boiler will be rolled on to its back for the final outer firebox sections to be welded in place.

Once the boiler is complete, it will be placed back into the frames, allowing for the final assembly and painting to take place. Our target is to have No. 541 running later this year, which is of course subject to not dealing with any failures to the running fleet.
The main focus of the No. 928 overhaul has been the boiler. Both removal of the life-expired boiler plate and assessment of the copper firebox has continued. Most of the steel outer firebox has been removed now along with the stays. The Maunsell Locomotive Society continues to work on the chassis ready for the eventual removal of the wheels for tyre turning.
The chassis for No. 73082 is progressing with the new dragbox installed and fitting of the main driving wheel horn guides ongoing. The steel plate for the new frame stretcher has been delivered, and work to drill and cut this to the required shape will begin shortly.
Off site, work on the boilers of No. 73082 and No. 34059 is progressing slowly at LNWR Crewe (as shown in the photos). A recent visit showed No. 73082's boiler is the more advanced, with the new front boiler barrel section rolled and the old one ready to be removed. Work has concentrated on the foundation ring and installation of the new steel sections to the backhead, along with welding to the copper lap seams. Outside in their yard, cutting around the stays on No. 34059 has started.
Alongside the overhauls, maintenance of the running fleet continues, with the usual boiler washouts and planned work. Since the last report, some minor work has taken place to C Class No. 592 to cure a blowing regulator valve, and a cylinder lubrication pipe has been repaired on S15 No. 847.
By Chris Hunford, Locomotive Director
No. 34059's boiler.

No. 73082's new front boiler barrel section.

Third Gets Five-Star Treatment 






Dave Clarke's photo from 3 May, 2014 shows the LCDR five-compartment third No. 3188 being overhauled in the Carriage Works. The hand rails and lamp brackets have been positioned on the end to enable the mouldings to be relieved to accommodate them, prior to further painting. The last of the external panelling also was fitted, leaving only the doors to complete. About half of the 10 doors have had structural repairs so far.

Other work that has been completed on this carriage includes moldings and hoop fitted to the southern end, the first step to getting the roof canvassed; lamp brackets and hand rails trial-fitted to the northern end; a ceiling rose temporarily installed in Compartment E; and varnishing completed in Compartment B.

The aim of this project is to be able to run a three-coach LCDR rake in SECR livery to match the Railway's SECR P-class locos.     


Derek Hayward has updated his " Bluebell People " gallery.
Water, Water Everywhere,
& Plenty to Drink 

John Sandys' photos show that the Water Tower was officially opened 14 May, 2014 at East Grinstead, and a special train was laid on for the workers who made it possible.

H-Class No. 263 had a ceremonial drink in front of an invited audience.

Bienvenue à Horsted Cahagnes 

(From May Day was French day in Horsted Keynes as 50 visitors from the Normandy hamlet of Cahagnes came to their twin village this weekend.

The visit included a garden party at Broadhurst Manor on Saturday where guests explored the 16th century fish stews, raised walks and terraces and a newly completed garden ...

Horsted Keynes and Cahagnes share a joint history dating back to the Norman Conquest of 1066, when King William gave the High Weald parish to Guillaume de Cahaignes, a knight who'd fought with him at Hastings.

Horstede, or The Place of Horses in Saxon, became Horstede de Cahaignes and in time Horsted Keynes. The place name is first recorded in the Domesday book of 1086."

For the complete story, click here .

Could the old Worth Way line resolve area traffic issues? Read about the suggestion in the East Grinstead Courier.
Southern at War 2014

Once again, one of the Railway's most photogenic events offers up lots of photo and video, from ...

The East Grinstead Courier was on hand to cover the event.   


Aldridge and Trillwood took first prize for " best decorated " shop in East Grinstead. 


This striking photo is by Josh Hamilton.

Steam Restoration US-Style 

You know they do things bigger in the US. Well, rail giant Union Pacific recently decided to restore one of its signature locomotives. We thought British steam enthusiasts would like a glimpse of this Stateside, super-sized restoration project ...

" ... Union Pacific "Big Boy" No. 4014 was delivered in December 1941. The loco was retired in December 1961, having traveled 1,031,205 miles in its 20 years of service. Now, Union Pacific is undertaking the movement and restoration of one of the world's largest steam locomotives.

No. 4014 is being moved from its display location in Pomona, California (home of the Rail Giants Train Museum/Southern California Chapter of the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society) to Cheyenne, Wyoming, where it will undergo restoration that is anticipated to take three to five years."

No. 4014 Multimedia
No. 4014 Project on May 5, 2014.
No. 4014 Project on May 5, 2014.

A nice review of the Railway from the blog Unique & Chic.    
A Trip Down Memory Line: Longmoor's Long Reign as a Military Railway  
Longmoor Military Railway crossing road at Oakhanger Halt, near Bordon, 1963 for SU7836 View NE, on the B3002 road near Bordon Camp. The line to the left going to Bordon and a junction with the ex-LSWR branch from Bentley. On the right, the line went to Bordon Camp, Longmoor, etc., and eventually to Liss on the ex-LSWR main line to Portsmouth. There is a signalbox (freshly painted in Army fashion) on the left, but no crossing-gates. Crossing with a LMR brakevan is a typical WD 0-6-0ST (number not recorded, but probably No. 102 "Caen"). This is in the latter days of the LMR, as it was all closed by October 1969. Copyright Ben Brooksbank.

(From ) The need for military railways was established during the Crimean War, because the muddy roads from Balaclava to Sevastopol held up the supply of ammunition for artillery use. A 7.5 mile standard gauge line was supplied and built by contractors, but was operated by the Royal Engineers.

After this armies used railways for the supply of ammunition and essential stores for the troops in Europe, the Middle East and the Sudan. Armoured trains were supplied for the Boer War, and they carried artillery, ammunition, troops, horses and essential stores. After this General Lord Roberts said that a training military railway was needed in the UK.

Longmoor camp and ranges were used for training before the Boer War, and due to a shortage of barracks for returning troops, the REs were asked to build a new camp for three battalions of soldiers at Longmoor. They were built with local timber and stone and sand from Weavers Down and a 1ft 6in railway and was installed for this purpose. All was ready by 1901 ...
Pathe Video
Retirees Have Memorable Day Out 

(From the East Grinstead Courier , 8 May, 2014) It was all aboard the Bluebell Railway for a group of older residents last week.

A total of 44 members of the Queen Victoria Hospital Fellowship, a retirement group for former NHS service personnel, were treated to an outing on the steam train from East Grinstead station last Wednesday.

Betty de Nervaux, social secretary of the group, said: "Once a month we have luncheons or outings and we thought the Bluebell Railway would be such a lovely experience for our members ...

Click here for the whole story.

Enjoy These Beautiful Photos of the Railway

Keith Duke's photo above and gallery is from 3 May.

John Sandys' galleries from 06/05/2014 , 09/05/2014 , and 12/05/2014 (the Railway returns to Peacetime duties).

Ben Gray's album from the April Toy and Collectors Fair.

David Stubbings' set from 3 May shows the U-class with the vintage set, the H-class on the Wealden Ramber, and the visiting 56xx No. 5643.

A gallery by Steve Lee.

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