News from the Bluebell Railway 28 September 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
Shy Shunter?
Director of Communications Appointed
Operational Restructuring: Vacancies for Volunteer Staff
No. 592 Gifted to Bluebell Railway Trust
Loco Report: A Flurry of Jobs
Blooming Marvellous
Fund Run
FoSP Update: Making Hay
A Trip Down Memory Line: Back to the Future-the Railway in the 1980s
On the Signal Above the Tunnel at Midford
Website Gems: History of Kingscote Station
Enjoy These Beautiful Photos
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Bluebell Railway: The Wealdon Rambler Glides Past.
The Wealdon Rambler Glides Past, by Mike Bennett.

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Bluebell Museum & Archive  


S15 847 at Bluebell railway.
S15 No. 847, by Bernie Vine.

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Walkscene "Railway Children" Walks  


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Trains at Kingscote, by John Harwood.
Trains at Kingscote, by John Harwood.
Sussex by the Sea - East Grinstead Concert Band - McIndoe unveiling
"Sussex by the Sea" by the East Grinstead Concert Band at the June 2014 unveiling of the McIndoe monument.

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


Keep Up the Pressure Appeal


Bluebell Railway Trust  




THE BLUEBELL RAILWAY   The magic of steam
"The magic of steam," by John Townsend.


Tour of the bluebell railway engine shed
Tour of the engine shed, by James Costain.
Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

E4 thru the Cutting
E4 through the cutting, by John Sandys.
Station Facilities

A selection from the John J. Smith collection, chosen by Tony Hillman, including a photo taken at Lover's Walk in Brighton (below).
Archive photos can be
browsed and purchased here .

Vague Visits: The Bluebell Railway
Vague Visits: The Bluebell Railway, by "Norramby Hero."
Shy Shunter?
Brian L acey's photo shows the seldom-featured (in this eNewsletter, at least) but much appreciated C&W Works Shunter, working with stock in the carriage maintenance yard on 15 Sept., 2014.

Director of Communications Appointed

I am pleased to advise you that, at its meeting on 16 Sept., 2014, the Bluebell Railway PLC Board confirmed the appointment of Roger Garman to the new Board position of Director of Communications. The appointment was ratified by the subsequent meeting of the BRPS Trustee Committee on 19 Sept., 2014.

Reporting to the PLC Chairman, the Director will be responsible both the internal and external communications of the company.

With regard to internal communications, as the Railway continues to develop and change, both the Society Trustees and the PLC Directors want to ensure the timely and accurate delivery of information across the Railway, making sure that the messages are consistent and that the best use is made of Bluebell News, Points & Crossings, the eNewsletter, and the Internet and social media pages, which are all important channels of communication.

Indeed, colleagues may already have noticed the revised format of the Board Summary, which has been expanded to include highlights from the BRPS Trustee meetings. It is a good example of the efforts now being made to communicate consistently right across all parts of the Railway.

In terms of external communications, the new Director will perform a much-needed public relations role and will be the principal point of focus for all press and media enquiries, while at the same time pro-actively feeding up-to-date news and information about the Railway to all the relevant railway interest magazines and other publications.

As you may know, Roger Garman already serves as the BRPS Trustee for Communications and Publications and PLC Board members greatly appreciate his support in taking on the responsibilities of Director of Communications. I trust all Railway colleagues will join with me in wishing Roger every success in this new role.

By Dick Fearn, Chairman, Bluebell Railway PLC

Operational Restructuring: Vacancies for Volunteer Staff

The Bluebell Railway is reviewing its operational structures in the light of the recent opening of its extension to East Grinstead. As a result of this effort, it has been decided to reorganise the structure of the Locomotive Running Department.

There are three new roles to be filled:

Post 1: Locomotive Superintendent

The post holder will be responsible for running the department on a daily basis and will report to the board via the Operations Director. Crucially, the position is at the head of a team that will deliver available motive power--crewed, clean, and ready to operate the train service--working closely with the Locomotive Works.

The Department is facing a number of challenges, including the need to recruit and train new staff and set in place systems and procedures to maintain the reputation of the department for high standards of competence, both around the Railway and in the wider heritage movement. The post holder will take a lead in assembling the team that will achieve these goals, while also taking line management responsibility for drivers and firemen.

With this need is mind, those with experience of footplate work at a senior level will form the most likely source of applications, although an outstanding candidate with a good track record of management experience in a railway context may do well in the recruitment process. It is intended to attract as wide a range of applications as possible, and for that reason this post is also advertised externally.

Expressions of interest--with a letter of application--should be submitted to the Operations Director, c/o Sheffield Park Station or via e-mail to , and must include a CV explaining relevant experience. Closing date for applications is 26 Oct., 2014

Posts 2 & 3: Chief Clerk & Shed Foreman

These positions will be advertised in due course so that the Locomotive Superintendent can lead in the recruitment process.

It is intended that the revised structure will become effective after the annual departmental meeting at the end of November.

By Russell Pearce, Operations Director

Richard Salmon has updated the early history of the Bluebell Railway , with more information and a photo covering the first service train to enter Horsted Keynes station on 29 Oct., 1961, with thanks to George Ray. 
No. 592 Gifted to Bluebell Railway Trust

Although never in serious doubt, the long-term future of ex-SECR C Class No. 592 was secured when the Wainwright "C" Preservation Society formally gifted the engine to the Bluebell Railway Trust at a ceremony at Sheffield Park on 20 Sept., 2014. 

No. 592 was one of the few engines bought direct from British Railways in working order. Fortunately, it was the very hard winter of 1962-1963 that helped to save it. Instead of being broken up with most of the rest of the class, it was retained for snowplough duties with two of its classmates at Ashford.

No. 592 remained in service for another three years, latterly as DS (Departmental Service) No. 239. This reprieve gave the Society the time to raise the money to buy No. 592 for £1,420, then about half the cost of an average house. The purchase was completed on 12 Dec., 1966, but the engine remained at Ashford, where restoration work was carried out by Society members during the following three years. 

However, an increasingly acrimonious relationship with their landlord forced the Society to move No. 592 to the Bluebell Railway, where it arrived on 16 Aug., 1970. In 1972 a long-term loan arrangement was agreed, and the engine has been with us ever since.

Apart from periods when it has been out of service for overhaul, No. 592 has been at work on the Railway for more than 40 years. In spite of being nearly 113 years old and designed as a goods engine, it has proved to be a reliable, popular, and consistently useful engine on all but the heaviest trains. The loco has three years left on its current boiler certificate.

With a diminishing and aging membership, the Society decided to donate No. 592 to The Bluebell Railway Trust. Unfortunately, on the day of the formal transfer, the loco was out of service with a broken spring.

However, it will soon be repaired and once again we will have the opportunity of seeing three SECR engines--P Class No. 178; H Class No. 263 (also owned by the Trust); and No. 592--all in steam in their splendid SECR livery. They will shortly be joined by their older SER cousin--Class O1 No. 65--once the overhaul of its spare boiler is completed.

We are very grateful to the members of the Wainwright "C" Preservation Society for gifting us the engine in the knowledge that we will continue their good work indefinitely.

By Vernon Blackburn, Administrative Trustee, Bluebell Railway Trust

Loco Report: A Flurry of Jobs

The saying is "it never rains, but it pours," and that has certainly been true for the Locomotive Works over the last month, with a number of maintenance issues all cropping up at once.

Our S15 suffered a fractured regulator rod; visiting GWR tank No. 5643 was stopped for a minor firebox issue; the superheater elements in U class No. 1638 are showing their age with several blows discovered in them; and a number of broken stays were discovered on the C class during its annual boiler exam.
This litany has increased the pressure on the maintenance team, but I'm pleased to say at the time of writing the S15 regulator rod is in the final stages of being repaired and will be refitted to the loco over the next few days; No. 5643 is back in traffic; and the superheater elements on No. 1638 have been repaired. The work to the C class requires the loco to enter the Works, where the cladding around the firebox will be removed, the old stays removed, and new ones fitted.
Within the Works, work on Camelot is continuing well, with the final stages of the mechanical jobs--those that can be completed before the boiler returns--nearing completion. One of the final tasks is the assembly of the valve gear, which will begin shortly.

Also, the boiler of Q class No. 541 is upright again, and tubes are being installed. Plus, there's trial fitting of the regulator valve and forming of the new steel platework for Schools Class No. 928 "Stowe".
By Chris Hunford, Loco Director

Blooming Marvellous

Earlier this year, the Railway decided to work with the East Grinstead in Bloom team on the rather overgrown land between our East Grinstead station and the Southern station.
Railway volunteers cleared the land and East Grinstead in Bloom planted the area, with our support. The town was then judged in July as part of South and South East in Bloom Competition.
The awards took place last week, with local awards held in the Meridian Centre, East Grinstead on 26 Sept, 2014. In the town competition, the Railway came third in the Commercial section.
In the South and South East Competition, East Grinstead Town received a Silver Gilt award (10 points below a gold, which they have never won before). The town also won best in the War Memorial for the High Street, Mount Noddy Allotments, Town Council Award, and "In The Spotlight" award.
As part of the town award, the Railway was presented with a Certificate of Excellence by the South and South East Judges. It is pleasing to play a part in community-based projects like this now we have reached East Grinstead--and locally it is recognised that we do our bit!
By Tim Baker, Commercial Director

The Railway is featured in the Radio Times' " The Top Five Mr. Whicher Locations You Can Visit ."
Fund Run
Dave Clarke completed his fundraising half-marathon at Reigate on 21 Sept., 2014, to support the overhaul of Dining Saloon No. 7864. To learn more about Dave's and Deborah Salmon's efforts and to donate, click here .

FoSP Update: Making Hay

The summer has been blessed with long, warm, and dry spells of weather, which has allowed excellent progress on a number of fronts by Friends of Sheffield Park (FoSP) Wednesday regulars--and on other days too.  

The lovely weather has encouraged lots of outdoor painting, and the external appearance of the shop, restaurant, and kitchen block has been greatly enhanced as a result. The Bulleid shop and its environs also have received a FoSP paint-job, and overall a fair few litres of "Weathershield" paint have been applied in recent weeks.

Other general maintenance tasks are being undertaken as and when they arise, and have included various fence repairs, constructing a new gate for the Platform 1 emergency exit, repairing/replacing various signage around the station, drain-clearing, and so on. There is always plenty to be done in our effort to present a worthy first impression to our thousands of annual visitors.

As the peak season has now passed, we intend finishing off the few remaining minor tasks in Platform 1 gents' toilet. Happily, the main effort in here was completed in time for the peak season, and the result has been much appreciated by users (and the absence of unpleasant smells from the old drains was particularly welcome!)

By Charles Melton, FoSP Coordinator  

A Trip Down Memory Line: Back to the Future-the Railway in the 1980s

Delta Digital has made available a programme about the Railway from the 1980s, particularly 1987 and 1988 when a great deal was happening. There's East Grinstead electrification, a loco is named and talk of an extension, volunteer Simon Fletcher is seen crewing loco No. 73004, and we have a speech from BRPS President Gordon Pettitt, then General Manager of BR Southern Region.

Activity around the line includes the Bluebell Cutler volunteer-run dining train, and other trains in service back then feature a preponderance of Bulleid carriages, volunteer restored, and locos not seen in steam today. The steam crane is seen at work on several occasions during the video and two regular enthusiast events--Vintage Transport and On Parade, where all working locos were steamed--attract large crowds.

The extension ceremony at Leamland Bridge (just north of Horsted Keynes) was filmed in March 1988, where a proposal to use the steam crane to lower the first panel of track as part of the ceremony was welcomed. Secretary of State for Transport the Hon. Paul Channon took a full part, in the crane cab, sending home the golden track screw and standing with the youngest and eldest volunteers as the first panel was fishplated up, before speaking to the crowd and accurately predicted we had a long road ahead before reaching East Grinstead!

The spirit shown to clear the line after the Great Storm of October 1987 led to a test train running to Horsted Keynes on the Saturday, believed to be the only train running in Sussex that day. Also, a Merchant Navy Pacific comes to the line!

It's good to look back on all this! With thanks to those who filmed it all, allowing us to see individuals no longer with us and work on steam machines currently awaiting overhaul.

By Neil Cameron 

Click here for an update to the webpage for the (potential) second LBSCR goods van, reflecting the fact that it's unlikely that the underframe is actually from No. 1577 (with thanks to Nick Beck and Martin Skrzetuszewski).
Museum Archive Photo eNewsletter Special Offer:
If you order before the end of November 2014, you will receive a voucher with your prints offering a discount of up to 20% off your next order. To get the voucher, write "eNewsletter" on the bottom of your order form. The discount voucher can only be used for 6" x 4" prints. Vouchers are valid until end of April 2015. Order your prints now!    
On the Signal Above the Tunnel at Midford 

Contributor Jeremy Clarke had this fascinating comment regarding J.J. Smith's photo of the signal above the tunnel at Midford (currently in the Museum Archive's left hand column feature).

"It isn't altogether clear, but the lower of the two arms is one of the 'backing signals' peculiar to the S&DJR (the others were on Midford station platform and at Evercreech Junction.) The arm was 'open' in construction, being formed of the short ends of a rectangle and the diagonals.

"The line here was single and climbed quite steeply northbound from Midford, the summit being near the north end of the mile-long, single-bore Combe Down tunnel, most of which was on a 1-in-100 gradient.

"If the driver of a freight train decided there was a risk he might stall in the tunnel, he would use the lineside telephone at the entrance to advise the Midford signalman. The signalman would then pull off his two backing signals, thus permitting the driver to reverse the train back downhill, past the down home and starting signals at 'danger'.

"The single track became double on the viaduct south of Midford station; the reversing train being set back on to the up line.
"The driver may then decide, if his engine was now 'on the boil', to have another go, or he would wait for an engine to be sent out from Bath to assist him through the tunnel. More often than not the latter course was resorted to!
"Incidentally the tunnel was only 37 yards long and referred to either as Tucking Mill, from the lane that passed over it, or officially as 'The Long Arch Bridge.'"

Website Gems: History of Kingscote Station--Station Staff

(In this issue we begin an occasional feature unearthing some of the fascinating corners of the Railway website, overseen by Richard Salmon, and, in this case, ably assisted by writers Martin Skrzetuszewski and Roger Barton--The Editors.)

Our collection of photographs are copies of those taken by Leonard (Len) Mead, son of the Kingscote Stationmaster at the time. Len developed and printed these photographs in a makeshift darkroom in the cupboard under the stairs of the station house. He visited the station with his sister during its restoration in 1987 and continued to visit until his death in 1993. His ashes lie under an apple tree planted in his memory in the station garden.

Len is shown [above] at Kingscote in a contemporary view. As he scratched his name across the back of the negative, the photo was printed in reverse. He is, in reality, standing at the south end of the up platform, with the up home signal and the chimneys of the railway cottages in the background.

The Stationmaster

William George May Mead (Len's father) moved to Kingscote from Hever in 1915. He had started in the signal box at Clapham Junction and moved on to Victoria where he became Chief Clerk. He first became station master at Wivelsfield and his next post was at Hever. After his tenure at Kingscote, Mr. Mead went on to Emsworth (near Portsmouth) and finished his career at the Parcels Office at Brighton.

A Stationmaster was a man worthy of respect in the community, expected to set an example to passengers and staff. He therefore wears full uniform. Note the heavy boots worn even by the Stationmaster and the chain for a pocket watch ...

Visit the webpage here

Enjoy These Beautiful Photos of the Railway

Ben Jenden's photo above shows the Brighton E4 taking water at East Grinstead prior to the 1700 departure on 14 Sept.

John Sandys' gallery from 16 Sept. shows progress on the Q-Class boiler and filming for the BBC Serial The Go Between at Horsted Keynes. Also, enjoy his sets from 22/09/2014 and from 25/09/2014 : "A very busy day at the Railway, with No. 5643 brought in to haul six coaches (then seven later) to accommodate party traffic, including 71 ploughman's lunches! Also, a busy shunting day preparing for the start of the Autumn Tints services."

Martin Lawrence's September 2014 gallery includes the below photo of access road works at West Hoathly (OK, maybe not our Railway at its most comely, but an interesting visual update!--The Editors ).

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 email. See you trackside in the heart of beautiful Sussex!

John Walls
eNewsletter Editor-in-Chief, Bluebell Railway Preservation Society