News from the Bluebell Railway 6 July 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
Trek Boldly Goes Fundraising
Dates Set for the Railway's First Summer Festival
Medal Performance
Bloomin' Good Neighbours
A Model Weekend
A Trip Down Memory Line: Set No. 962 on the Sheriff Mill Viaduct
A Trip Down Memory Line: The Armagh Disaster Revisited
Loco Updates
Pupils "Evacuated" at Bluebell Railway
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  


A Day Out at the Bluebell Railway on 13 April, 2014.
A Day Out at the Bluebell Railway on 13 April, 2014.

Locomotive Roster  


Public Train Information


  Line Map & Gradient Profile 


Local Accomodation List  


  Local Attractions  



Walkscene "Railway Children" Walks  


Lineside Photographers
Track Safety



Bluebell Model Railway Weekend 2014.
Bluebell Model Railway Weekend 2014 .
Class No. 847 at the Bluebell Railway.
Class No. 847 at the Bluebell Railway.

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


Keep Up the Pressure Appeal


Bluebell Railway Trust  




Model Railway Weekend, 28 June, 2014.
Model Railway Weekend, 28 June, 2014.


The Railway on 28 June, 2014.
The Railway on 28 June, 2014.
Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

Ashprington Railway Circle's June 2014 Tour of the K&ESR, RH&DR, and Bluebell Railway.
Ashprington Railway Circle's June 2014 Tour of the K&ESR, RH&DR, and Bluebell 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 .

Trek Boldly Goes Fundraising   

The Railway's second Track Trek took place on 28 June, 2014. For those who remember the first, held in February 2013 in sub-zero temperatures, June looked to be a better bet as far as the weather was concerned, yet for 90 minutes before the scheduled start, the rain was torrential!

Fortunately the rain stopped, and it became a pleasant summer's evening.
Of the more than 190 people pre-registered to participate, 164 took part on the day. Regretfully Company Chairman Dick Fearn was unable to participate because his wife has recently undergone a major operation (we wish her a speedy recovery), so BRPS Chairman Roy Watts MBE led the Trek. ( Click here to donates to the chairmen's JustGiving page.)

All participants successfully completed the walk, arriving at Sheffield Park by 2030, where they received certificates, plus a medal for those who raised £100 or more in sponsorship. All had chance to slake their thirst in the Bessemer's Arms.
Early indications are that the event will raise somewhere between £12,000 and £15,000 for the Keep Up the Pressure (KUTP) Appeal. It is not possible to be more accurate because some sponsorship is outstanding, some has been raised via JustGiving pages, and there is Gift Aid to be claimed on some. Thank you to all Trekkers and Stewards.

If you still have sponsorship outstanding, please send a cheque (made payable to the Trust) to Track Trek at Sheffield Park Station, East Sussex TN22 3QL as soon as possible. If you were unable to participate but want to support KUTP, we welcome donations to the Trust (with Gift Aid if applicable).
Ideas are already being considered for a Trek in 2015--it will be something a little special. Watch this space!
By Nigel Longdon, BRPS Treasurer

Photos by Mike Hopps. 

Dates Set for the Railway's First Summer Festival    

During a two-week period from 26 July to 10 Aug., 2014 not only will the Railway be running its historic steam locomotives and carriages but there will be a whole host of other special events taking place across the stations and surrounding communities.
For the complete list of events, please check the Summer Festival pages at or call 01825 720800 to request a brochure.

Here's a short diary of events ...
Every Day:
  • Art Exhibition at Horsted Keynes.
  • Local village history displays at Sheffield Park, Fletching, Horsted Keynes, West Hoathly, and East Grinstead.
  • Local excursions to Sackville College, Standen House, Chailey Windmill, Horsted Keynes church and village, and the National Trust Garden at Sheffield Park.
Each Monday, Wednesday,
& Friday:
  • Punch & Judy Shows at Horsted Keynes
28 July-3 August:
Visiting steam locomotive "Tornado" in service.
Daily Diary:
  • 26-27 July: Toy and Rail Collectors Fair at Horsted Keynes.
  • 28 July: Bus tour of local closed railway stations; "Tornado" service starts.
  • 29 July: Kingscote Vineyard Tours.
  • 30 July: Guided tours of East Grinstead High Street.
  • 31 July: Guided tours of Sheffield Park Garden and Chailey Windmill and Folk Museum.
  • 1 Aug: Rail Ale and Jazz Evening.
  • 2 Aug: Tours of St. Giles Church and Harold McMillian's Grave; Free vintage buses from Horsted Keynes Station.
  • 3 Aug: Travel by steam, diesel, and electric Tunbridge Wells-to-Sheffield Park; Excursion to Monks House; Last day of "Tornado" service.
  • 4 Aug: Bus Trip to Pooh Bridge.
  • 5 Aug: Garden Tour and Afternoon Tea at Gravetye Manor.
  • 6 Aug: Bus trip to Borde Hill Garden.
  • 7 Aug: Guided tours of National Trust Garden at Sheffield Park.
  • 8 Aug: Treasure Hunt around the Railway.
  • 9-10 Aug: Vintage Transport Weekend.

Medal Performance
Derek Hayward's photo shows Dave Chappell wearing his Track Trek 2014 medal. David raised more than £1,000 for the Keep Up the Pressure Appeal. Good job, sir!

In support of fundraising and marketing, the Railway wishes to collect the views of our visitors. A customer survey is planned during the last 10 days of July. If any Members can help by talking to customers and asking them to fill in a survey, please get in touch with . We are looking for Members who can volunteer two to three hours during an afternoon.

An East Grinstead Courier article on BRPS Chairman Roy Watts' MBE.
Bloomin' Good Neighbours      
The East Grinstead in Bloom team has done a great job with the East Grinstead station flower beds. The Railway cleared the undergrowth and sponsored the plants for this patch of land between the two stations.
A Model Weekend    

Families and train enthusiasts both large and small enjoyed a great weekend at the Railway on 28 and 29 June, 2014. The third annual Model Railway Weekend was well received, with trains often full to capacity, and the Locomotive Works, Carriage and Wagon workshops, and waiting rooms and platforms converted to temporary exhibition halls.

Layouts on display varied from the large scales of the Gauge 1 Society and 16mm narrow gauge modellers, through the ever popular Thournbury Hill in OO gauge and the West Sussex N Gauge Society's extensive layout, to an N Gauge layout in a lunch box!

Another popular exhibit was the five-inch gauge model of a Bulleid Pacific 21C100 "OVS Bullied" complete with chain driven valve gear, which has recently been acquired by the Bulleid Society.

Many traders also attended the event, and they reported they were pleased with the result. The Railway's own shop had a good weekend, almost selling out of the new C Class model from Bachmann that only arrived in stock on 27 June!

We are now looking forward to the 2015 event, and exhibitors and traders wishing to attend should contact Nikki or Dave through the shop at Sheffield Park to book their space.

By Neil Glaskin, Retail Director
Photo by Derek Hayward. More of Derek's photos can be found here .
A Trip Down Memory Line: Set No. 962 on the Sheriff Mill Viaduct

Photos of Sheriff Mill Viaduct are not numerous, so I thought this Ian Nolan photo from 1962 might be of interest. Three-coach set No. 962 was condemned in June 1961 and placed in the Horsted Keynes to Ardingly dump. It comprised Maunsell R4 stock: 3734 BSK(6) diag. 2102; 5645 CK (4/3) diag. 2301; and 3735 BSK (6) diag.2102.

This formation was created in 1943. Up to 1959-1960 it worked on the Western Section and then was transferred to the Central Section, where it worked on London-East Grinstead-Tunbridge Wells West services, plus Eastbourne and Brighton. It also appeared on the Tonbridge-Redhill-Reading line. (This information was kindly supplied by Chris Knowles-Thomas.)

As elderly steam stock was displaced by Kent electrification, it was usually condemned and much was sent to the Ardingly dump to await scrapping at Polegate, Lancing, and mainly Newhaven.

It seems safe to assume that set No. 962 was replaced by stock in better condition cascaded down from Kent. Quite significant numbers of Bulleid and Standard MK1's started to appear at East Grinstead at this time. The Ardingly dump did not include Bulleid or Standard MK1 stock.

By Graham Poore

Enjoy this blog entry about a visit to the Railway by Toovey's.
A Trip Down Memory Line: The Armagh Disaster Revisited

Jeremy Clarke has penned an excellent follow-up to our remembrance of the Armagh disaster from the last edition of the eNewsletter ...

"The Armagh disaster of 125 years ago, which Neil Cameron noted in the 15 June edition of the eNewsletter, caused perhaps the greatest shock to the public than almost any railway accident preceding it.

"The line from Armagh to Warrenpoint began with a three mile-long climb at 1 in 75/82 to Dobbins Bridge Summit. It was single and worked on the staff and ticket system but with a time interval and not by absolute block. This interval was ten minutes, or twenty minutes if a passenger train followed a goods. The driver of the excursion train involved, Thomas McGrath, had been sent from Dundalk to work it with a four-coupled engine even though he was not particularly familiar with the route.

"However, he knew enough about it to know the gradient he faced to begin with and was thus very disconcerted to find he was expected to haul a fifteen-vehicle train with over 900 passengers aboard.  He complained to the Armagh stationmaster that he had been advised the load would not exceed thirteen and in the circumstances stated he would need pilot assistance on the bank. There was an altercation between the two men during which the stationmaster, in effect, accused McGrath of being incompetent ..."

Click here for more.
The Armagh loco: GNRI 2-4-0 No. 86.
This nostalgia article from the East Grinstead Courier features Clive Emsley and the old East Grinstead signalbox.   
Loco Updates
Newsletter No. 17 from the BR Class 2 No. 78059 Project, compiled by John Jesson and Tony Sullivan, is now available. This photo shows the front dragbox, with spacers, ready for riveting. Another project, that of the Brighton Atlantic Group, has an updated list of components to sponsor .

Pupils "Evacuated" at Bluebell Railway

(From the Mid-Sussex Times , 21 June, 2014) Year 6 pupils at Burgess Hill School for Girls were evacuated on a steam train at the Bluebell Railway as part of their World War II Day on Thursday June 5.

The girls attended school, dressed in 1940s clothes with new names, ration books and identity cards. They were taken to the Bluebell Railway at Sheffield Park Station for a tour, before boarding one of the steam trains to East Grinstead. On the train the girls sang wartime songs and shared the contents of their suitcases.

Upon arrival at East Grinstead, there was an Identity Card inspection and the girls were able to board the steam engine and take a look at how the coal is burned.

The train was re-boarded for their journey to Horsted Keynes. Once they had arrived at the Station, a mock billeting exercise was carried out where a Billeting Officer issued the children to their "new families." Following this the girls had to take shelter in the nearby subway as an air-raid siren was sounded. The day concluded with the girls writing postcards home, as young evacuees would have done at the time. There was much excitement as the crew from Downton Abbey were setting up for a day of filming ...

The complete story can be found here .

Enjoy These Beautiful Photos of the Railway

The above photo is from John Sandys' 30 June set . His 3 July photo roll is here.

Neil Ball's Rail Ale photos from June 2014.

Martin Lawrence's June gallery includes Track Trek photos.

The below photo is from Keith Duke's gallery from 28 June.

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