News from the Bluebell Railway 31 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
Leaf-Peeping at the Park
Loco Update: Back from Crewe
Bluebell Railway Extension Attracts Thousands More Visitors
Infrastructure Report: OP4 Gets Underway
Blackmoor Moved
"Camelot" In the Frame
Brighton Atlantic Update: Cylinders, Valences, Patterns, & More
No. 7864 Gets a Dynamic Duo
If the Cap Fits: Preservation Standards Vacancy
Bluebell Railway to Lend a Hand to Hampton Transport Gala
More Images Added to Museum Website
A Trip Down Memory Line: Mobilisation by Rail 1914
Richard Attenborough: Down & Out in East Grinstead
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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Martin Lawrence's video includes the Sunday Permanent Way gang working at Horsted Keynes and No.  09018 with the Queen Mary brake during the vintage vehicle weekend.
Martin Lawrence's video includes the Sunday Permanent Way gang working at Horsted Keynes and No. 09018 with the Queen Mary brake during the vintage vehicle weekend.

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Bluebell Railway on 19 Aug., 2014, by
Bluebell Railway on 19 Aug., 2014, by "MulliGWR."

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Bluebell Railway 1960's, Huntley Film 17903.
Bluebell Railway 1960's, Huntley Film 17903.
The S15, by Benjamin Mason.
The S15, by Benjamin Mason.

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


Keep Up the Pressure Appeal


Bluebell Railway Trust  




The Adams Radial on the Bluebell Railway, 1960's--Huntley Film 4996.
The Adams Radial on the Bluebell Railway, 1960's--Huntley Film 4996.


The Chesham 125, Steam on the Met, 16 Aug., 2014, by Matt Wickham.
The Chesham 125, Steam on the Met, 16 Aug., 2014, by Matt Wickham.
Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

Another great Lewisham Bill video, with British Railways and London Transport from approximately 1960 and audio from the BBC Saturday Club from 5 March, 1960, featuring Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran.
Another great Lewisham Bill video, with British Railways and London Transport from approximately 1960 and audio from the BBC Saturday Club from 5 March, 1960, featuring Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran.
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 .

Chesham Branch 125th Anniversary, by Dan Gosling.
Chesham Branch 125th Anniversary, by Dan Gosling.
Leaf-Peeping at the Park

Details are now available for the Railway's Autumn Tints services, which run on weekdays from 29 Sept. to 24 Oct., 2014. This year the Railway is expanding the service to offer six departures on most days.

Just a 15-minute walk from Sheffield Park station is the National Trust's Sheffield Park and Garden. Four lakes form its heart, with meandering paths circulating in and out of glades and wooded areas that surround them.

There are more than 87 champion trees planted throughout, some of which help to provide the vibrant colours the garden has become famous for in the autumn season.

Loco Update: Back from Crewe

The summer has been a busy time for the Railway's Loco Works but also for the operating side of the department too. With two train services in full swing, the services have been mainly hauled by S15 No. 847 and U class No. 1638.

Things changed when A1 No. 60163 "Tornado" visited at the end of July and when some running maintenance took place on numbers 847 and 1638, the service then being hauled by visiting GWR tank No. 5643. The "Tornado" visit was a success; she attracted large crowds, ran faultlessly during her time on Railway metals, and we're grateful to the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust for loaning us its loco.

No. 1638 is now in the twilight of her career with only 15 months left in traffic. Apart from some heavy intermediate repairs, the locomotive has worked faultlessly since January 2006 and at times has been our largest locomotive. Our policy at present is to run No. 1638 on our lighter trains as much as possible to ensure we don't unnecessarily tax the loco and to ensure she runs for her full 10-year certificate.

Inside the Works you will see two locomotives are coming together. No. 73082 "Camelot" is now on her wheels and the cab was placed back into position last week. The endless runs of lubrication pipework are being fitted along with various other fittings, and the valves and pistons have been reassembled and placed back into the cylinder block. In the yard, work continues on the tender with cleaning and preparing the paintwork.

The boiler of Q class No. 541 is rapidly coming together now, with the foundation ring riveted back into place and the installation of stays well advanced. The boiler inspector has viewed the repairs, confirming he is happy with the work. Although there is still a lot to do, out-shopping No. 541 remains our priority.

Maintenance to the running fleet has been varied over the last month or so. Readers will be pleased to hear that LBSCR E4 No. 473 "Birch Grove" has been returned to traffic after firebox repairs. This popular and much-loved locomotive is ideal for the Railway and boosts our operating fleet. Minor repairs have taken place to the clack valves on numbers 847 and 1638, while No. 5643 has had new piston valve rings fitted along with a boiler washout.

Away from the Railway at Crewe, repairs to "Camelot" and "Sir Archibald Sinclair" boilers continue. The first of the photos below shows the removal of the life-expired sections of the inner firebox on "Sir Archibald Sinclair," while the second shows the butt strap being riveted in place on "Camelot's" new boiler barrel section. Work on these remains steady, and regular visits are undertaken to ensure the quality of the work and progress.

I would like to end this report by recording our thanks to two Drivers--Roy Miles, who recently retired from driving, and Eric Nutland, who unfortunately passed away after a long illness. Both were long-standing members of the department (40 plus years) and good Drivers.

By Christopher Hunford, Locomotive Director

Bluebell Railway Extension Attracts Thousands More Visitors

(From BBC News Sussex, 30 Aug., 2014) A Sussex heritage railway has seen its annual visitor numbers increase by 60,000 since it was reconnected to the mainline network.

The Bluebell Railway carried 250,000 passengers in the year after its extension from Sheffield Park to East Grinstead opened in March last year.

The two-mile stretch, which cost £3.5m, linked East Grinstead mainline station to Kingscote, 11 miles away ...

... Bluebell chairman Dick Fearn said the railway had to balance the need for a professional service with keeping the volunteers happy.

"I think its possible for people to enjoy their contribution to the Bluebell," he said. "But we also must make it very pleasurable for the people who are spending very good money to come and visit us" ...

The complete story can be found here .

NOTE: Inside Out South East will discuss how the Bluebell Railway copes with record numbers of passengers on BBC One at 7:30 p.m. on 1 Sept., 2014.

Infrastructure Report: OP4 Gets Underway

Editor's Note: Last issue's report was from an earlier date and published in error. Here we run the correct report for August 2014.

With the holiday season in full swing, things have been fairly quiet on the infrastructure front, with the limited sources of labour available catching up on routine jobs.

One really positive landmark took place on 28 July, 2014 when a small group of volunteers met at Horsted Keynes to establish a support group to start delivering some TLC to the rather neglected fabric of the station, so it will be restored to its former glory.

There is a lot to do, and some of the bigger jobs may well require contractor input, but it was agreed by those present that lots of repairs and painting can be achieved with some basic tools and paint, and a list of jobs is being prepared.

If anyone is interested in joining this team, please contact myself or Matt Crawford. Those who have attended SMS briefings will know that any work carried out on infrastructure in future must come under the infrastructure arm of the company, which is known as an Infrastructure Support Group (ISG), but it is still in reality a "Friends" group that can fundraise funds and operate locally.

The two big jobs that are now getting underway are the first strip of foundations for Horsted Keynes Carriage Shed (OP4 Project) and West Hoathly enabling works. The first involves clearing land to the north of the C&W yard to establish a fenced-off works site, followed by excavation of around 50 metres of trench so that a reinforced concrete foundation can be installed.

Once completed, and as more funds come online, foundations will continue southwards to a point where more elaborate piles are then required to complete the outline shape of the main shed. This work is timed to coincide with a separate fundraising initiative led by Roger Kelly. More on that later, but the idea is that evidence of progress should be seen as funding gets underway.

At West Hoathly, work involves making a new entrance to the site off Hamsey Road and some adjacent culvert works. This is basic enabling works to make sure the extant planning permission is protected and to provide a long-term opportunity to obtain capital should the organisation ever require this. Just to be quite clear there is no intent either to build houses or sell the land at the present time, but it would be foolish for us to throw away planning permission that took much effort to achieve and that may not be retrievable if lost.

On the signalling side of things, work installing the "L" frame at Kingscote North continues with a small dedicated team of engineers with knowledge of this type of technology quietly getting the frame up and running so control can be switched from Kingscote South next year.

Looking ahead, the next big challenge is to relay Horsted Keynes platform 3 and if possible platform 2 in November 2014.

By Chris White, Infrastructure Director

LATE BREAKING: The Railway will be featured in the BBC Sussex Breakfast programme with Neil Pringle on Monday morning (1 Sept., 2014) between 6 and 9 a.m. It also will be available live on the BBC Radio iPlayer.
Blackmoor Moved
No. 21C123 "Blackmoor Vale" was shunted over one of the pits on 13 Aug., 2014 so that the new brake gear could be fitted to the tender. The engine's original items are now in use with No. 34046 "Braunton." For more news from the Bulleid Society, click here .

"Camelot" In the Frame

The latest progress on No. 73082's locomotive frames can be found on the Camelot Locomotive Society's Facebook page ...

"The cab sides are now fitted in situ; this enables the injector control wheels and their spindles, which go down through the cab floor, to be installed. The close-ups show the complex injector assembly situated under the cab.

"Finally ... the cylinder and valve chest cladding on both sides are now completed and painted. The all-important pressure relief valve for the cylinder is now installed; this is sited directly under the piston rod packing gland."

During a recent inspection of the boiler work at the Crewe Heritage Centre, Camelot Society Chairman Peter Gibbs took photos of work in progress.

Brighton Atlantic Update: Cylinders, Valences, Patterns, & More

Writes Fred Bailey, "This photo [below] shows the lagging sheet on the cylinder plus the crosshead sitting between the slidebars. Also in this view is the splasher over the bogie wheel to stop most of the dust off of the rails settling on the slidebars to make a nasty grinding paste."

Help make the popular series Steam Locos in Profile a DVD.
No. 7864 Gets a Dynamic Duo

The next fundraising effort for No. 7864 is a sporty one. In September, Deborah Salmon and Dave Clarke will be sharing their very own duathlon.

Deborah sets the wheels rolling--literally--on 7 Sept., 2014 as she cycles 37 miles from London to Windsor. Two weeks later, Dave takes part in the inaugural Reigate half-marathon, running 13 miles around the Surrey countryside.

If you'd like to sponsor them for their efforts, please send a cheque (payable to Bluebell Railway Trust) to Deborah c/o Carriage and Wagon Department, Bluebell Railway, Horsted Keynes, West Sussex RH17 7BB. If you are a UK taxpayer and wish the Trust to reclaim the Gift Aid on your donation, please include a covering letter advising of this. Donations also can be made online .

Built in 1932 to provide an at-seat dining service on the Southern's principal expresses, No. 7864 has been at the Railway since 1962. It spent the next 19 years as a static catering vehicle before being withdrawn. Although it is now in poor condition, it is the only surviving Southern Railway catering vehicle.

At an estimated £100,000, the restoration will be an expensive one. All donations, whether large or small, will be greatly appreciated and will help towards the restoration of this unique carriage.

If the Cap Fits: Preservation Standards Vacancy

The Preservation Standards Committee has a vacancy for a uniform, badge, and button enthusiast ... or perhaps a budding fashion designer.

We want to produce a simple design manual that can reference the various uniforms used by the Railway companies that operated the Bluebell Line prior to the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society: LB&SCR, Southern Railway, and British Railways (Southern Region).

Research will be required in order to offer advice about suppliers of uniforms and accessories, to allow accurate reproductions to be produced. This work also could be done by several people who have specialist interest in various aspects.

Specifically, the work will entail researching design sketches and/or photographs for all grades of uniforms for public-facing members of staff.
Close liaison with station masters and their staffs will be required, as well as with other departments.

For more information and to apply, contact Chris Saunders .

Bluebell Railway to Lend a Hand to Hampton Transport Gala 

Hampton Transport Gala  
Hampton Transport Gala

The Hampton Transport Gala (7 Sept., 2014) marks the 150th anniversary of the opening of the railway between Fulwell Junction and Shepperton on 1 Nov., 1864. It is also the 150th birthday of Hampton Station.

The gala will welcome the Bluebell Railway's 1885 L&SWR Adams Radial tank No. 488 and 1920 Brake 3rd coach No. 1520. Plus, there will be many vintage London buses on display and giving free tours.

The gala also will include a Transport Collectors' Fair at Hampton Junior School; an exhibition about the role of London's buses and crews in World War I at the 3rd Hampton Scouts Hall; and many other events to keep the family entertained throughout the day.

More details can be found here .

The Bluebell Railway Band/East Grinstead Concert Band has launched a new website .

March of the Belgium Parachutists - Buebell Railway Band
March of the Belgium Parachutists: Buebell Railway Band.

More Images Added to Museum Website 

More than 500 new images have been added to the museum website, from the John J. Smith and Alan Postlethwaite collections. Click the "Latest Additions" button on the photographers' home pages to see the new images.

As a special autumn offer to our readers, write "Email Newsletter" on the bottom of your order form during October and November and get a free print voucher for use with your next order!

By Tony Hillman

John J. Smith's photo of Brighton Atlantic No. 32424 departing Brighton, just one of the recent additions to the Museum's online photo archive.  

A Trip Down Memory Line: Mobilisation by Rail 1914  

A plaque at Southampton Docks remembering the 1914 mobilsation via rail at the outbreak of World War I.

One hundred years ago, the outbreak of World War I in August 1914 saw mass mobilisation across Europe and, in Britain, a general recall of all Reservists. Plans had been set years earlier for the deployment of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) to Southampton by rail to embark for Le Havre.

The government held back a third of the BEF for defence of England's east coast, in case of invasion. The rest, by battalion, were given instructions to be at railhead for one or two trains to London and Southampton. The London and South Western Railway operated Southampton Docks, as well as trains from London Waterloo and around Salisbury.

Initial mobilisation began on 5 Aug., with the first departure of the BEF leaving Waterloo station for Southampton Docks on the morning of 10 Aug. Trains moved troops first to their bases and then to their departure points for the continent. During the next 21 days, a troop train would reach the docks at Southampton every 12 minutes over a 14-hour day.

By 31 Aug., 1914, trains to Southampton transported:
  • 118,454 army personnel
  • 37,649 horses
  • 314 guns
  • 5,221 vehicles
  • 1,807 bicycles
  • 4,557 tons of baggage
Troops were then sent on to the Franco-Belgian border, again by train, and then they marched from the nearest station. The BEF's first continental engagement, the Battle of Mons, commenced on 22 Aug., 1914 (against a German Army far larger than anticipated).

This account of the 1st Battalion Cheshire Regiment gives an excellent overview from the perspective of soldiers who were at all the early battles and the Race to the Sea (to establish a trench line from the Channel coast to the Swiss border).

Called "Grandad's War," the account (along with this " war diary ") mentions the 1914 general mobilization and subsequent rail travel instructions (in this case via Belfast): "Along with all Reservists, Grandad would have carried with him a railway warrant and cash, supplied specifically for this purpose, together with the general instructions of where to go. No doubt at his regular twelve training days per year, the necessary procedure would have been explained to him."

By Neil Cameron

The BEF at Mons, 23 Aug., 1914. Click here for another Pathé film about the early days of WWI.
The BEF at Mons, 23 Aug., 1914. Click here for another Pathé film about the early days of WWI.

The Company Upfront has released its synopsis for 2015 Murder Mystery Evenings.
Richard Attenborough: Down & Out in East Grinstead

(From East Grinstead Online, Aug. 25, 2014) The much-loved actor and director Richard Attenborough paid a memorable visit to East Grinstead in 1955 when he took part in a Politicians v Stage charity cricket match held at East Court to raise money for Sackville College.

The glittering host of famous team members who turned out for the event included John Mills, Rex Harrison, Richard "Mr. Pastry" Hearn and Bromley Davenport for the "Stage Actors",  while Harold McMillan from nearby Chelwood Gate, Sir David Maxwell Fyfe (Lord Kilmuir) and Lord Hawke were among those who turned out for the "Politicians".

However disaster--or rather a cricket ball--struck, and Richard Attenborough was knocked to the ground, and stretchered off to be given a once-over by none other than East Grinstead's resident plastic surgeon Sir Archie McIndoe.

Eventually rain brought play to an end--but not before it was announced that Attenborough would make a full recovery from his injuries ...

Click here for the full story.

Cricket - Politicians V. The Stage (1955)
Politicians vs. The Stage (1955)

Enjoy These Beautiful Photos of the Railway

Photos by Ron Carpenter, including some lovely ones of the Met coaches and of "Bluebell," including the one above .

John Sandys' photos from 18 Aug. show Swordfish leaving Sheffield Park, the S15 back after maintenance, No. 1638 working Set B, and progress on the Q-Class. His set from 21 Aug. show the S15 departing Horsted Keynes and the U-class with the Birdcage set. Referring to his 26 Aug. roll, John notes: "A rather damp day didn't deter the passengers from sampling the delights of the S15 on Set A and the U Class on Set B."

John's 28 Aug. gallery covers shunting at both Horsted Keynes and Sheffield Park, the Mets being shunted in the shed after returning from London, new stock in the shop, and a look in the Loco Works.

Martin Lawrence has added to his August 2014 gallery .

Roger Martin's 2014 photo roll .

Belated thanks to Alan Cobden for last issue's 1971 photos of the Railway's vintage transport event.

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