News from the Bluebell Railway 17 August 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
Cheshams on the Chesham
Infrastructure Report: Ice Prevention Measures & Kingscote Update
Loco News: Progress on Many Fronts
Carriage & Wagon Update: Operation Undercover a Go!
"Stowe" Update: Strong Foundation
Steam Train to Connect Historic Railways for the First Time
Your Screen Test Awaits: Vacancies for Volunteer Staff
The Bluebell Railway Makes the Connection
Underground Over Ground
Down Memory Line: Steam Rallies & Vintage Transport Events
Christmas in August
Kent & East Sussex Railway's Cavell Van Featured in "Railways of the Great War"
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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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 Museum & Archive  


London Underground Hammersmith & City 150th Trackside Scenes
London Underground Hammersmith & City 150th Trackside Scenes

Locomotive Roster  


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Local Accomodation List  


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Walkscene "Railway Children" Walks  


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Track Safety



"The Blue Line" by "TrainsonBrains."
No. 60163 on the Bluebell Railway, by Philip Bull.
No. 60163 on the Bluebell Railway, by Philip Bull.

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


Keep Up the Pressure Appeal


Bluebell Railway Trust  




The Bluebell Railway - 03/08/2014
The Railway on 3 Aug., 2014 by "SouthEasternSteam."


A 1923 Aveling & Porter 8-ton single cylinder C class steam roller
A 1923 Aveling & Porter 8-ton single cylinder C class steam roller "Ebenezer" passes through Splaynes Green heading towards Sheffield Green on 8 Aug., 2014, by Martin Lawrence.
Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

The Bluebell Railway Summer Festival, by
The Bluebell Railway Summer Festival, by "Mi Rail."
Station Facilities

In honour of signal boxes, some photos featuring these essential facilities from the John J. Smith collection, chosen by Tony Hillman.
Archive photos can be
browsed and purchased here .

A short collection of clips from the 12 July, 2014, by Martin Lawrence.
A short collection of clips from 12 July, 2014, by Martin Lawrence.
Cheshams on the Chesham
Railway Curator Tony Drake writes, "A special steam-hauled train was operated on the Chesham Branch on 16-17 Aug., 2014 to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the opening of the line. The train included the Railway's Chesham coaches, topped and tailed with L150, Metropolitan No. 1, and the electric BoBo 'Sarah Siddons' (or 'Bug 12' to those who went to school at Harrow County, including Michael Portillo ... and the Curator!)

Infrastructure Report: Ice Prevention Measures & Kingscote Update

Work continues on the tunnel ice prevention project, which is expected to be completed this month. The recent drop in temperature means even worse conditions in the tunnel, with cold winds making their presence felt, which increases the need for "warm up" breaks. Because of the unusual nature of this task, it is being recorded by the same film crew that produced the extension DVDs.

Arrival of the first steam-hauled special from the main line, with the famous "Tornado" in charge, was a significant milestone for the Railway, following the opening of the extension. What is less obvious is the preparatory work that progressed quietly in the background for some weeks to enable this event, both on Network Rail and on our Railway.

Special route clearance was required between South Croydon and East Grinstead, with numerous speed restrictions to lessen the impact of its 22-ton axle loads on structures. Platform and bridge clearances had to be compared against the loco's dimensions, and our Bridge Engineer had to undertake a special exercise to confirm the loco could run safely and through which platforms, etc.

So the message is, when a special like this runs, it involves considerable preparatory work and liaison between departments to make sure everything runs smoothly and, of course, safely.

Meantime, planning is underway on another outstanding Northern Extension Project action, the resolution of Kingscote issues following the end of its use as a terminus. This close-out work is proving quite complicated for a number of reasons, but meantime it is recognised that the situation facing our customers and staff is not acceptable long-term, being both confusing and difficult to administer.

The Railway plans to finalise details about the sale of tickets and refreshments and the use of the picnic area by the end of this year, but this is heavily dependent on agreement among all stakeholders.

By Chris White, Infrastructure Director

Congratulations to Jeremy Honer of Gloucestershire, who was randomly chosen from our 1,744 survey-takers to receive Afternoon Tea Lounge Car tickets. Thank you Jeremy, and everyone else!
What No Rails? 
Internal combustion engines of all kinds were on display at the Railway's Vintage Transport Weekend on 9 and 10 Aug., 2014. Keith Duke's photo above shows traction engines were out in force, as were beautifully kept cars, lorries, and more. See Keith's full album here .

De r ek Hayward's Vintage Transport album is well worth a visit, with lovely pictures of motorbikes, steam trucks, vans, historic tractors, and even classic small/portable engines.
Carriage & Wagon Update: Operation Undercover a Go!

Work has been completed to clear part of the Carriage Works yard for the start of construction of the Operation Undercover 4 carriage storage shed. Within the coming few weeks construction of the foundations will begin. See photo above and more here .

As part of the work to clear the yard for Operation Undercover 4, the body of South Eastern Railway first class saloon carriage No. 172 had to be moved. A team of volunteers has removed the body from BY van No. 442 so that No. 172's body could be placed on it for storage. It is currently stored in the carriage shed A road.

Longer-standing members may recall No. 442 running many years ago. Another BY purchased for its underframe, to be used for a carriage body, was found to have a body in better condition, so it is No. 442 which has been used for the carriage. See photo below and more here .

A job in progress on the maintenance road is replacement of the pedestal liners on carriage No. 5034. These are components of "Commonwealth" bogies that guide the vertical movement of the axleboxes, and they are made of two steel pressings with a rubber infill, welded onto the bogie frame. Rust tends to build up and causes the axle boxes to jam, with replacement of the liners being the method of repair.

These pictures (and the one below) show a rusted liner after removal, a replacement in progress, and another completed.

By Lewis Nodes, Rolling Stock Director

The Kingscote Valley vineyard has officially re-opened , offering wine tastings, fly fishing, clay pigeon shooting, cookery classes, and more.
"Stowe" Update: Strong Foundation  
After many weeks of work, the repaired foundation ring for V Class No. 928 "Stowe" is lifted back into position and bolted in place. As the team is removing so much material from the inner and outer firebox, the foundation ring is crucial in keeping the shape of the plates correct. The contractor (James, see above) wasted no time in removing the lower part of the backhead, which will be replaced with a new section of steel plate. For more updates on No. 928, visit the project's Facebook page .

Steam Train to Connect Historic Railways for the First Time

(From the Hampshire Chronicle, 14 Aug., 2014) "Two of the South's most popular heritage railways are to be connected by steam train for the first time.

"Passengers are invited to wine and dine on the Cathedral Express as it runs a one-off journey from the Watercress Line to the Bluebell Line in Sussex on October 2.

"The journey will start at 7am at Alresford, picking up passengers on the mainline at Alton, Farnham and Aldershot.

"It will continue on to East Grinstead, West Sussex, where a newly-opened connection will join the mainline railway to the Bluebell Line for the first time.

"Prices start at £99. A premium £239 ticket covers a two-course champagne brunch on the outward journey and a five-course dinner on the return leg.

The train will be powered by steam train 70000 Britannia, which was built in 1951 and withdrawn in 1966 ..."

A heartwarming story about "Children of Fire" visiting East Grinstead and the Bluebell Railway, from the East Grinstead Courier .
Your Screen Test Awaits: Vacancies for Volunteer Staff

The Bluebell Railway always has been a venue of choice for producers of film and television works. Recently, as the British film industry has developed, and as a result, this work has increased.

This productive situation means that the Railway wants to improve its arrangements for handling location work, and as a result the Board is now seeking to appoint staff, on a volunteer basis, to take on the organisation and delivery of location facilities for production companies

Post 1: Filming Facilities Manager

This post will act as the primary conduit with Film/TV production companies and manage, at a strategic level, the work necessary to ensure efficient and safe delivery of location facilities. This job will entail the negotiation of the overall contract, including liaison at the early stages to establish the producer's requirements.

The post will report to, and work with, the Operations Manager. Work undertaken for this type of customer is often charged on to the producer, and while this is a volunteer post, some remuneration may be available on an ad hoc basis.

Post 2: Film Liaison Officer (FLO)

The post is responsible for the day-to-day delivery of agreed filming location contracts and will form the daily conduit of communication with producers at a given location. The post is safety-critical because the job holder will deliver the contract at a tactical level, utilising an efficient and safe approach.

At this stage the intention is to appoint one primary post holder, although each contract requires at least one FLO per location, so this recruitment process will establish a pool of potential officers. This post reports to the Filming Facilities Manager, under the overall charge of the Operations Manager.

Again, work undertaken for this type of customer is often charged on to the producer, and while this is a volunteer post, some remuneration may be available on an ad hoc basis.

Contact Lisa Boyle (01825 724884) in the Finance and Administration office for an application form. Closing date for applications is 30 Sept., 2014.

By Russell Pearce, Operations Director

The Bluebell Railway Makes the Connection

Why not start your day trip to London at either Sheffield Park or Horsted Keynes stations?

Catch the 9:45 a.m. service from Sheffield Park or 10:02 a.m. from Horsted Keynes to East Grinstead and change onto the half hourly Southern train service from East Grinstead to London Victoria.

Return travel from East Grinstead to Horsted Keynes and Sheffield Park must be on the 6:15 p.m. service from East Grinstead. This schedule will allow up to five hours in the capital, with a start and finish on a steam-hauled train. As an extra bonus, car parking at Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes is FREE!

Special fares for the London Connection ticket are Adult Third Class £5 and Child Third Class £1. Normal fares apply on Southern train services from East Grinstead to London.

The London Connection ticket applies on Saturdays only through 25 Oct., 2014.

More information can be found here .


To read the summer 2014 newsletter from the Standard Class 2 tank project, click here .
Underground Over Ground
Nigel Longdon's photo--taken at Shepherds Bush Market station on 9 Aug., 2014--shows the Metropolitan coaches on the Hammersmith and City line.

Down Memory Line: Steam Rallies & Vintage Transport Events

Traction Engine Race (1953)  
Traction Engine Race (1953)

In honour of the recent Vintage Transport Weekend, Neil Cameron has penned this short history of steam traction rallies:

The steam traction engine event or rally as a public spectacle began as a race between two engines at Appleford in 1950, the year that the pioneering Talyllyn Railway commenced public services, run by transport author L.T.C. Rolt. It attracted a sizeable crowd. By 1953 the event had grown, and by 1957 a larger event was held at Woburn Abbey.

Car clubs and shows had predated the traction engine events by many years, such as the London-to-Brighton vintage car run, but what was emerging in the 1960s were integrated events to bring in the public in large numbers.

Sir John Smith encouraged the older steam driven or steam generated fairground rides, and he put together a huge one-off fairground event in 1964 at his White Waltham grounds, Shottesbrooke Park, that was so successful it probably saved many such rides from destruction, their value recognised.

Rolt, a long time acquaintance of Sir John, was very much involved too. (Mick Blackburn wrote an account of the event in Bluebell News.) Thus, the old fairground rides arrived on the rally scene and are part of larger events to this day.

Old Time Steam Fair (1964)  
Old Time Steam Fair (1964)

The grandaddy of these shows is the Great Dorset Steam Fair, established in the 1960s and very much alive today. It's held near Blandford Forum in Dorset. The five-day show has thrived and a professional video of 2013 show is below.

Great Dorset Steam Fair 2013  
Great Dorset Steam Fair 2013

However, the heart of all these enthusiasms is to be found in the smaller clubs, be they based on location, marque, or type. They run their own shows or private club meets throughout UK and beyond. The Bluebell Railway's Vintage Transport Weekend has run from the 1970s, except for 1993 to 2000, when the Railway presented the Steam Fair and Vintage Rally .

In my opinion, the club atmosphere is stronger at the current Vintage Transport events, just like the one held at the Railway this month and run for last nine years by Steve Everest and his colleagues.
A scene from the Railway's Vintage Transport event in 1971. For more photos from this event, click here .

Christmas in August

Is it too early to think about Christmas? Well, the Railway's many Yuletide offerings are always popular and full, so it might be time to get the calendar out.

This year, there will be many different--and some new--Christmas Specials throughout December with something for everyone:
  • Santa Specials
  • Victorian Christmas Specials
  • NEW: Reindeer Specials
  • NEW: Fairy Godmother Specials from East Grinstead
  • Horsted Keynes Carol Service
  • Christmas Shopping Specials
  • Golden Arrow Pullman Dining
  • Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea
  • Festive Feast Christmas Meal
Hover over the "Christmas 2014" menu link at to see all options, details, and to book early.               

Shop Window

Shop Manager Nichola Favell writes that among the latest products on the Internet shop are tickets for the Victorian Christmas Specials , Reindeer Specials , and the Fairy Godmother Specials --tickets can be booked online now. In addition, the full range of Peco track is now available online.
Kent & East Sussex Railway's Cavell Van Featured in "Railways of the Great War"

(From Kent Online, 5 Aug., 2014) "... The van carried the coffins of war heroes Nurse Edith Cavell and Capt Charles Fryatt in 1919 and the Unknown Warrior in 1920 when they were repatriated from Europe.

Mr Janes said: "To be able to present the story of such great national heroes of the war and their final journeys in a year of national reflection was an honour, particularly on such a widely watched and appreciated series of programmes.

"The restoration and use of the Cavell Van as a national memorial to the sacrifices made by our forebears is an achievement of which the Kent & East Sussex Railway can justly be proud."
The van is an important railway legacy of the Great War and is on show to the public at Bodiam Station ..."

Click here to read the full article.

Enjoy These Beautiful Photos of the Railway

Writes Tim Easter, "The new Thameslink station at Farringdon has one useful feature: relatively clean glass windows looking out onto the Metropolitan Line. Quite possibly my shot of the day sees Sarah Siddons round the curve from Barbican with the 1425 from Moorgate." His " shot of the day " is above. Other examples of Tim's Met photos are here .

These photos from Ian Wylie show the Metropolitan carriages on the Piccadilly line on 9 Aug.

A set from 7 Aug. by Alan Edwards.

"We had another great visit to the Railway when Tornado was down as part of the Summer festival, particularly for the Real Ale & Jazz."  Neil Ball's collection from 1-2 Aug. can be found here. His lovely closeup of "Tornado" is below.

Writes John Sandys, "A blustery, showery day didn't seem to deter the visitors to the Railway on 11 Aug. , with good passenger numbers on the trains. There was a change to the loco roster, with the H-Class in for No. 1638 on Set B, and the S15 on Set A. There's also a look at new stock in the shop."

From John Sandys' photo diary of 14 Aug. : "A change to the Loco Roster today; the C-Class on Set B. No. 1638 on Set A in place of the S15. 'Birch Grove' firebox repair is now completed. 'Swordfish' is now on its way to Sheffield Park for collection by road."

Martin Lawrence's July 2014 gallery has been added to.

Derek Hayward has added to his recent "Tornado" gallery (28 July to 3 Aug.)

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