News from the Bluebell Railway 15 June 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
Up for Downton Again
Roy Watts Recognised in 2014 Birthday Honours List
Register Now for Track Trek!
Wandering Off
Food for Thought
Summer Festival Details Set
Close to the Edge
All Weld & Good
£1.5 Million Makeover for World's Oldest Electric Railway
Heritage Lottery Fund Grant Puts Postal Museum On Track
Food for Thought
Good Showing
A Trip Down Memory Line: Armagh Accident Remembered with Statue
Art Trail Opens in East Grinstead
Statue of Plastic Surgeon Pioneer Sir Archibald McIndoe Unveiled
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  


P Class No. 178 at the Tanfield Railway on 25 May, 2014.
P Class No. 178 at the Tanfield Railway on 25 May, 2014.

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 4 June, 2014, by John Harwood.
The Railway on 4 June, 2014, by John Harwood.
Bluebell Railway Tunnel Approach - Train Whistle
Bluebell Railway tunnel approach, by Jason Lightoller.

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


Keep Up the Pressure Appeal


Bluebell Railway Trust  




No. 847 backs onto it's train at Sheffield Park on 31 May, 2014, by Aron Stenning.
No. 847 backs onto its train at Sheffield Park on 31 May, 2014, by Aron Stenning.


The Railway on 19 May, 2014, by
The Railway on 19 May, 2014, by "Stribonit2."
Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

Ben Saunders' wonderful
Ben Saunders' wonderful "tilt shift" video of the Railway.
Station Facilities

Views of classic coaches and car sets by John J. Smith, from the Bluebell Railway archive, chosen
by Tony Hillman.
Archive photos can be
browsed and purchased here .


NOTE : the Museum Archive Photograph Collection has now added 232 newly-scanned images from the Alan Postlethwaite collection, covering most areas, including 32 from the Somerset & Dorset. Access them at this link and click on "Latest Additions."

John Harwood's view of the Railway on 10 June, 2014.
John Harwood's view of the Railway on 10 June, 2014.

Up for Downton Again 
John Sandys captured No. 847 arriving at "Downton Station" as he photographed preparations for a new round of shooting of the popular period drama (read The Express 's take on the filming here .)

Roy Watts Recognised in 2014 Birthday Honours List    
Roy Watts, MBE. Photo by Derek Hayward.

Roy Watts has been appointed a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in Her Majesty's 2014 Birthday Honours List in recognition of his services to the Heritage Railway movement and preservation.

Well known in the Heritage Railway arena for his work with the Bluebell Railway, where he has been a member since 1968 and Chairman of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society since 1999, his enthusiasm, commitment, and support has gone beyond this Sussex-based railway.

His many years of experience have enabled him to offer help and guidance to other preserved railways on a wide range of issues, including organisational structure, rules, grant applications, and capital projects. He even arranged for a Somerset and  Dorset 7F locomotive to spend a day in its former home station, now a Sainsbury's car park in Bath (Green Park)!

Speaking from his home in Coulsdon Surrey, Roy said that he was both overwhelmed and humbled by the recognition that he had received for his contribution. Balancing his commitment to the voluntary work in the Heritage Railway sector with family life and a full time job at J Sainsbury PLC is a task that he says does not get any easier with time--but he wouldn't change a bit of it. He went on to say that his involvement with three cherished former London Transport buses RM811, RML2731, and RT3775 also finds a slot in his diary--just.

Dick Fearn, Chairman of the Bluebell Railway PLC, said that he was absolutely delighted that Roy had received such an acknowledgement for his tireless contribution not just to the Bluebell Railway but other players in the Heritage Sector and knows that he can speak for the other members of the Railway in saying, "What  stunning recognition for such a deserving person"

Coverage from the East Grinstead Courier.  

Register Now for Track Trek!   

Track Trek 2014 is just around the corner! The fundraising event takes place on the evening of 28 June, with a summer walk from Horsted Keynes to Sheffield Park, starting at 1745. A free train service will return participants to Horsted Keynes and East Grinstead after the event.

You do not have to pre-register to take part, although pre-registration helps the organisers with planning. Full details of the event are available here .

All sponsorship money goes towards the Keep Up the Pressure Appeal, funding overhaul of the boilers of our larger locomotives.

If you are unable to participate but would like to support the event, please consider sponsoring the Society and PLC chairmen at

The Bluebell Railway FAQ has been updated.
Wandering Off    

Alan Edwards and his wife Wendy, both Life Members of the Railway, visited the Tanfield Railway recently, where he photographed the No. 178 running around the 1030 train from Andrews House. "The tracks were so overgrown with weeds, it looked as if the locomotive was running through a field."

Those Unsung FoSP Workers

Writes Charles Melton, "In my haste to supply copy for the previous eNewsletter, I completely overlooked another significant Friends of Sheffield Park (FoSP) achievement of recent weeks: the external repaint of the Bulleid Shop on Platform 2.

"We were approached by the Bulleid Society, who asked if we could give their 'emporium' a spruce-up. We were happy to accept this commission in exchange for a donation to cover the cost of materials.

"Since the shop is always open on our usual working day (Wednesday), Dave Brown and Colin Chapman--who have painted many square metres of 'Brighton' maroon and cream in recent years--volunteered to make Monday their FoSP day until the task was complete. The task is now 95% done, and as the above picture by Richard Lowe shows, the result is very pleasing.

"I usually resist the temptation to name names, owing to the risk I might offend by omission, but Mick Upton and Alan Hestletine both deserve a special mention as other 'unsung' FoSPers, who attend days other than Wednesdays to make matters proceed more quickly.

"If you want to chat about any aspect of FoSP (especially becoming a member), we can be found on any Wednesday at Sheffield Park from about 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Orange jackets and paintbrushes usually identify us."

Below, Richard Lowe and Doug Fennell are seen painting the gates adjacent to the shop. All photos are by Richard Lowe.

Summer Festival Details Set

The Railway's two-week Summer Festival runs from 26 July to 10 Aug., 2014.

This webpage describes all the happenings on each day of the busy event.

For a number of the individual special events, we advise advance booking, as some trains and 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.

One of the highlights of the Festival will be the visit of celebrity new build A1 Pacific Loco No. 60163 "Tornado," the same as was seen during its brief visit to the Railway in September 2013. "Tornado" will be hauling trains daily from 28 July to 3 Aug.


Congratulations to Peter Richards for winning the 2013/14 Football Competition , which raised funds for the overhaul of  Maunsell Dining Saloon No. 7864.
Close to the Edge 
The Friends of Kingscote (FoK) have the repainting of white lines on the platform edge on their list of jobs to be done. Graham Poore sent in this photo taken by Ian Nolan in 1961 to emphasise that FoK won't use the same method as British Railways! The photo's location is East Grinstead High Level and an H class loco is waiting to propel a two-coach Maunsell Push-Pull set to Three Bridges. 

All Weld & Good

Repairs to the boiler of V Class No. 928 are coming along as these before and after photos show. Above is the upper surface of the foundation ring prior to repair. The corners should be square and the surface flat and smooth. It's very pitted and required building up with weld and then grinding back to the correct profile.

The bottom photo shows the top left corner and the built up weld, with the flat section nearest the camera ground to the correct profile. For more updates and to donate to the project, click here .

Don't forget that the Atlantic Group Project will be holding an open house on 21 and 22 June for supporters to get a closer look at the progress.
¬£1.5 Million Makeover for World's Oldest Electric Railway 

(From The Argus , 6 June, 2014) The oldest surviving electric railway in the world will get a £1.5 million makeover.

The Volk's Railway, which runs for a mile along Brighton seafront from Palace Pier to Black Rock, was the first public electric railway in the country when it opened in 1883.

Over the years volunteers and council staff have worked to keep the railway running.

But with time inevitably taking its toll on the landmark line, Brighton and Hove City Council and the Volk's Electric Railway Association have secured £1.54 million of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to rejuvenate the attraction and create opportunities for education and community involvement ...

Click here for the whole story.

Heritage Lottery Fund Grant Puts Postal Museum On Track  

The British Postal Museum & Archive
(BPMA) has been awarded £4.5 million by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to fund the renovation of part of the old Post Office Underground Railway.


The HLF grant also is a major vote of confidence in the BPMA's plans for a new, national museum. The Postal Museum will chart almost 400 years of Britain's social, communications and design history through the postal service. In addition to a permanent museum dedicated to the stories of Britain's postal past, the BPMA plans to open parts of the unique Mail Rail system to the public for the first time in its history.


Used to transport mail across London for more than three quarters of a century, new trains will carry people, rather than post, through a section of the original tunnels before exploring an interactive and atmospheric exhibition in the Car Depot at Mount Pleasant, where train maintenance was undertaken throughout the railway's life.


Food for Thought

There are plenty of catering options to choose from at the Railway, from fish and chips to afternoon tea to a full Sunday carvery. Visit to get more details ion the following mouth-watering offerings:
  • Fish & Chip Specials
  • Ploughman's Plus
  • Rail Ale Evenings
  • Steam & Cream
  • Sunday Carvery
  • The Grinsteade Buffet
  • Afternoon Tea Lounge Car 2014
  • Bluebell Ale Trail
Or for general enquiries, call 01825 720800.

PLEASE NOTE: On the day of Track Trek 2014 (28 June), the 1815 from East Grinstead will terminate at Horsted Keynes, and will not continue to Sheffield Park.  
Good Showing
Tony Sullivan's photo shows the Bluebell stand at the South of England Show at Ardingly, Sussex.

John Jesson's photo shows the Restaurant Car squeezing its way around Post Office corner and starting up High Street, Lindfield on its way to Ardingly.

A Trip Down Memory Line: Armagh Accident Remembered with Statue


As railway workers and/or enthusiasts we should remember the dreadful Armagh, Northern Ireland railway accident of 1889 (125 years ago), one which led to the statutory provision of the continuous brake on passenger trains and absolute block working, with train movements controlled by signals rather than the time interval system then in use. These innovations represented major steps towards safer working practices.

In this accident , a stalled, overloaded, and underpowered excursion train--full of children--was divided on a gradient. The section going forward bumped into the vehicles being left behind, and without proper braking systems, they ran away disastrously back down the gradient, colliding with a following train on an embankment outside Armagh.

The sound of the crash was heard all over the city. More than 80 were killed and many hundreds were wounded in Ireland's worst rail disaster. The sculptor of a recently unveiled memorial (Rory Breslin of Mayo) has reminded us of the human story. The excursion was a large and popular Methodist church family outing, from Armagh to Warrenpoint (a distance of 24 miles), which lost many of its youngsters, signified by the young girl with bucket and spade depicted in the sculpture.

By Neil Cameron

Coverage from the Belfast Telegraph and the Northern Ireland News Letter .

Art Trail Opens in East Grinstead

(From the East Grinstead Courier ) A trail of contemporary art is being installed at 14 locations across the town this week to bring a touch of the Tate Modern to East Grinstead.

The installations will form one large trail or two smaller ones (depending on how far you want to walk) showcasing work by artists who either live in or have connections to East Grinstead.

Named Townscape, it is the first project of its kind in the town and its success will influence whether it could become a regular feature ...

... The trail has been funded with a £25,000 grant from The Arts Council and will be open to the public until November 30.

Locations include The Bluebell Railway, East Grinstead railway station, L&G Café and Suley's Café on Railway Approach, Threadneedles and The Bookshop on the High Street, and Chequer Mead ...

For the full story, click here

The art trail website and site information can be found here .

The blog " Matthew's Occasional Adventures " includes praise for the Railway's disabled access. 

Statue of Plastic Surgeon Pioneer Sir Archibald McIndoe Unveiled

(From The Express, 9 June, 2014) BADLY burned Second World War veterans today joined Princess Anne to pay tribute to the pioneering plastic surgeon who saved their lives.

The men Sir Archibald McIndoe dubbed his Guinea Pigs applauded as the Princess Royal unveiled a bronze statue of him treating a badly wounded RAF pilot.

It is situated in East Grinstead, West Sussex, just a short drive from Queen Victoria Hospital where he made his name.

The statue was sculpted by Martin Jennings whose father Michael was treated by Sir Archibald after being badly burned when his tank was hit in 1944.

Sir Archibald, a New Zealand-born surgeon who died aged 59 in 1960, developed new plastic surgery techniques and also cared for the psychological damage of burns injuries by making his patients face the outside world.

They were given such a friendly welcome by the people of East Grinstead in West Sussex that it was hailed as "the town that didn't stare" ...

The complete story can be found here .

Enjoy These Beautiful Photos of the Railway

Aron Stenning took the above photo from the footplate of U-class No. 1638 on 31 May.

A lovely set from Dave Ryding.

Rail Ale and Jazz photos by Neil Ball.

John Sandys' galleries from 02/06/2014 and
05/06/2014 .

Derek Hayward has added to his 2014 gallery , plus view his complete Edwardian Weekend gallery here (and see his photo below), and his " People " gallery has also been added to.

Please note: It's time for the eNewsletter to go on its summer hols. It will return on July 6, 2014. 
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