News from the Bluebell Railway 21 December 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
With Thanks
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Bluebell Railway Cash for Cover Appeal

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Bluebell Museum & Archive  


Bluebell Steam Railway   Vintage Bus  45231 The Sherwood Forester
A vintage bus journey to the Railway.

Locomotive Roster  


Public Train Information  


  Line Map & Gradient Profile 


  The Wealden Rambler  


  Local Attractions  



"Railway Children" Walks  


Lineside Photographers
Track Safety



Bluebell Railway Wednesday 20th August 2014
The Railway on 20 Aug., 2014, by "Joe Light Railway".
Making Tracks (1956)
A fascinating short BTF film from 1956 about how tracks used to be laid.

Northern Extension Project Progress  


   Just Giving  


Keep Up the Pressure Appeal


Bluebell Railway Trust  




John Harwood filmed the Railway's first diesel gala in March 2014.
John Harwood filmed the Railway's first diesel gala in March 2014.


Philip Bull filmed the Model Railway Weekend in June 2014.
Philip Bull filmed the Model Railway Weekend in June 2014.
Carriage & Wagon Updates
& Societies

"Timsvideochannel" offers the "Best of the Bluebell Railway 2005-2014".
Station Facilities

BNSF Snow Blower in Aurora, NE
Winter means heavy duty snow clearance in some parts of the United States. Here's video of a massive BNSF snow blower getting the job done in Aurora, Nebraska in 2010.
Six new images from the John J. Smith collection of the Somerset & Dorset, curated by Tony Hillman, including the photo below taken on 1 Jan., 1966 of numbers 41291 and 41296 at Highbridge.

The Railway on 31 Aug., 2013, by John Ray.
The Railway on 31 Aug., 2013, by John Ray.
With Thanks

I would thank everybody who has helped work and support the Bluebell Railway during 2014.

Obviously we were not going to have such a frenzied year as we had in 2013, but that did not thwart any plans just to stand still--rather the reverse.

What we are seeing is a concentration now on making sure the Railway is fit for the future, and whilst there is still the temptation to expand westwards, looking after the current Railway--and in particular its infrastructure and rolling stock--is in the forefront of what we do.

The overwhelming success of the recent Cash for Cover appeal clearly demonstrates what is important to people. Yes there were--and of course always will be--highs and lows, but it is how we manage them.

So whatever you did for your Railway this year, thank you, because without all the work and support that is given, we will never progress nor achieve the standards and professionalism we must aspire to.    

My best wishes to you and your families this season and for a very happy 2015.
By Roy Watts, Chairman, BRPS


Pat Plane's  photo taken on 22 Jan., 2014, shows the operation needed for the quarter mile of track relaying at Freshfield Bank. A 30-foot track panel is seen, ready for laying once track alignment has been checked.  (Sadly we lost Pat Plane this year-Eds.)

Alan Bedford's  gallery  from 4 Jan., 2014, a wet Saturday at the Railway.


Jack Owen on
Jack Owen on "Stepney" in 1961.

Jack Owen, pioneer driver and father of our loco department from 1959 died in retirement this month. An inscribed tablet was laid in Memorial  Garden on 29 March, 2014, and his ashes spread at the line side by his family. Many stories of Jack 

in the early years of the Railway were shared at a buffet held afterwards at Sheffield Park, with much humour.




This John Sandys  set shows flooding that was an unfortunate theme of a wet and wild winter 2014. 

Customer Service and Marketing Manager Caroline Collins offers our Railway's perspective in this story about weddings at East Lancashire Railway.

John Sandys' photo shows work being done on the points at Horsted Keynes on 4 March, 2014.


This picture , taken on the 23 March, 2014, is a nearly complete line-up (excepting three people) of the East Grinstead station staff, booking clerks, sales office, and buffet staff.  It was taken by Andrew Strongitharm, whose father Howard very kindly provided the celebration cake for the first anniversary event at East Grinstead. 



Wrote  Lewis Nodes, Rolling Stock Director, "At the end of April 2014 we will be taking delivery of another freshly-overhauled BR Mk1 BSK carriage, No. 35207.  This carriage will go into service in the 'second' corridor stock set, replacing Bulleid brake No. 4279, which is due for overhaul. No. 35207 is privately-owned and on loan to the Railway."

Martin Lawrence's April 2014 gallery .

So far in 2014, 346 supporters using easysearch/easyfundraising via the Internet have raised around £2,500, plus £200 of related Gift Aid, for the Keep Up the Pressure fund. With the New Year sales and holiday booking season approaching, more supporters are sought to boost donations, without cost to them-- find out more !

David King's photo shows the L150 steaming past blooming bluebells with the Victorian set.

More than 200 people were in attendance at the Railway's Annual General Meeting at Oakmeeds Community College, Burgess Hill on 17 May, 2014 ... [F]ormer General Manager of the Southern Region of British Rail Gordon Pettitt was elected the new President of the Society (he is pictured in Andrew Strongitharm's photo above standing next to the 4 Vep Unit No. 3417 named for him). 



BRPS Chairman Roy Watts was 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. Roy's  investiture took place on 2 Oct., 2014 at Windsor Castle. 



J ohn 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 and the South of England Show.   


One hundred and sixty four people braved English summer weather to take part in the second Track Trek on 28 June, 2014.  This year, the Trek provided funds for the Keep Up the Pressure campaign, to overhaul loco boilers. Funding Director Roger Kelly notes that bequests also funded two new apprenticeships in the Loco Workshop. 

The East Grinstead Courier has a tongue-in-cheek list  of the 10 Things You Neeed to Know About East Grinstead!

Photos by Derek Hayward from the ever-popular Sussex Food Festival, held 5 and 6 July, 2014, in (mostly) sunny weather!


Aron Stenning's photo shows Class A1 No. 60163 "Tornado" awaiting a run around at East Grinstead during its summer "whirlwind" visit to the Railway. 


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.'"


Ben Gray's photos from 29 Aug., 2014.

Please help with No. 928 "Stowe's" throatplate appeal (photos of the work can be seen here).

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.  


Martin Lawrence's September 2014 gallery.


On 2 Oct., 2014 "The Cathedrals Express" through train--which originated on the Mid Hants Railway and which was headed by West Country Pacific No. 34046 "Braunton" (seen in Ashley Smith's  photo above )--visited the Railway. This was the first ever steam special from the Mid Hants Railway to our Railway. West Coast Railways No. 47237 (see Brian Lacey's  photo ) hauled the tour back from Kingscote as far as South Croydon.

The Cash for Cover Appeal  launched on 12 Oct., 2014, to raise money to construct the first part of a building known as Operation Undercover 4. The aim is to raise supports and a roof over four proposed roads and the current maintenance road over rows of carriages under canvas outside Horsted Keynes station. Above is Mathew Cousins' artist's impression of how the building will look. As of 7 Dec., 2014, the appeal stood at an astonishing £366,000.



The Loco Department's Above Workshop Facilities were opened on 16 Oct., 2014 by Chris Green, former Managing Director of Network Southeast. This new building provides improved welfare facilities for the Railway's workshop staff and loco crews. 

After Christmas 2014, Metrobus will operate a Saturday timetable Route 270 service on most days (not Sunday or bank holidays) from Brighton, Burgess Hill, and Haywards Heath to Horsted Keynes station. Show your bus ticket and receive train discounts! Details here

Education Officer David Cockram reported excellent news on the schools visits front, with a total of 35 visits by the end of October (up from 18 last year) bringing more than 1,600 children and accompanying adults to the Railway (up from 728 last year). This figure includes five visits from London schools. Above, school children re-enacted the Operation Pied Piper World War II evacuation on 22 Nov., 2014.

John Sandys' photo from 17 Nov., 2014 shows the SR Q class No. 541 boiler receiving an out-of-frames steam test. 


Derek Hayward has proof that Santa knows the way to the Bluebell Railway, so children of all ages better beware! More of Derek's December 2014 photos are here .

Yoshi Hashida's photo from 6 Dec., 2014 shows the first train of Santa Special season--No. 1638 climbing Freshfield bank.
Click here for the latest issue of the Bluebell Railway Safety News, with notes on closing carriage doors, use of "drones," and more.
Thank you for your support of our Railway and this eNewsletter throughout 2014. I hope you'll agree it's been a very successful and productive year.  See you trackside in 2015!

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