East Grinstead will host Vintage Bus Running Day on 12 April, 2015. Details here

First day of daily running for 2015, by John Sandys.

* Artist: Jas Longden
* Date: 1899
* Medium: Oil on canvas, 35.8 x 66 cm
* Collection: National Railway Museum

Click through our image, then double click on the painting at the BBC website to see a larger version.

Looking Back: "Lewes rail bridge" turns out to be a water tower (from Sussex Express ).

The Train Now Departing: The West Highlander (1988).

Trip Advisor's Top Things to Do in Uckfield , includes the Railway, Sheffield Park and Garden, Horsted Spa, Wilderness Wood, Heaven Farm, and more. 

The Train Now Departing: The Long Drag, Settle and Carlisle line and the campaign to save it from closure.

Driver Ted Oades has this memory of the day "Super Mac" visited the Railway, sparked by the short article in the last issue of the eNewsletter:


"The picture of Harold Macmillan on the footplate of No. 263 was taken when he visited the Railway to open something at Horsted Keynes on the side opposite 4 Road. 


"Driver Jock McKay and I ferried him there and back on the 'H', so I am afraid it is me partly visible behind 'Super Mac' in the photo (thank you, Ted, for correcting our previous story!--The Eds)


"This was the occasion when Jock displayed his remarkably quick wit. Macmillan asked him whether the colour of our neckerchiefs [red] was an indication of our political affiliations, and Jock replied 'Och, nae more than the colour of our dungarees [blue], sir.' 


"The old boy roared with laughter, and the two Scotsmen got on like a house on fire after that!"

(From the Braintree & Witham Times ) A popular heritage railway is being forced out of the village that has been its home for 40 years. The Colne Valley Railway Preservation Society (CVRPS) has announced 2015 will be its last year on the current site as the landowner has decided the railway no longer fits into his plans for the land. (Some background to this issue from the Colchester Daily Gazette .)


The timely item on Sir Winston Churchill's funeral train (in the 25 Jan., 2015 eNewsletter) rightly mentioned the engine and its crew--but not the guard.

For the record, he was W.H. Horwill, the senior guard at Clapham Junction and the man to whom Royal Train workings were usually entrusted. He retired in 1967 but sadly died within a year or so.
There is an indirect Bluebell Railway connection in that Harry Horwill lived near me in Teddington, and I knew him slightly. After he retired, and knowing of my position as a Bluebell Railway guard, he gave me a number of items (including uniform items and official publications) which I still have and use.  

These items included an LSWR button from his first uniform c. 1918 (which he wore on his lapel until retirement) and his original Southern Railway guard's cap badge (No. 242), both of which I have worn with my "Southern" uniform for the last 48 years. 

I also have his last pair of flags, which are quite possibly those used on the funeral working. I never thought to ask.
By Nick Stanbury

Steam enthusiasts visiting the Bluebell Railway also might like to take a trip to

the Beech Hurst Railway at Beech Hurst Park in Haywards Heath.    


Started in 1951, it is operated and maintained by the Sussex Miniature Locomotive Society. Between Easter and October, Beech Hurst runs a public passenger service from 1400 to 1700 on Saturdays and Sundays: timetable here .


Recently, the Railway was given 1,000 wooden sleepers free of charge by the Chichester branch of Covers Timber and Building Merchants. 

Various footage of 4-COR Units, from Southern Railway Films. These units were nicknamed "Nelsons" (because they seemed to have one eye when looked at from the front!) or Bellywobblers (due to some swaying!)

Jack Little has created a Lego concept based on the 1869 Golden Spike Ceremony, the event that marked the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad in the US. If you have a Lego ID, and think it's a great idea, you can vote to support it at


Six archive photos, by John J. Smith, curated by Tony Hillman: "I thought we would try some Q1s this time as there's so much talk and pictures of its older brother!"

The Southern Electric Group has this update from the East Sussex Rail Summit in January 2015, including photos from a trial run of a "Javelin" high speed train between Hastings and Eastbourne.

Tank Engines at work on the Bluebell railway, by Nick Dearden.


Readers of the eNewsletter may interested to know that the BBC have just uploaded on to the Desert Island Disc Archive the programme featuring the Rev. Wilbert Awdry from 1964.


In half a century of the popular Radio 4 programme, can any other episode have two of the tracks dedicated to the sound of a steam locomotive going uphill?! 


Plus, of course, a reading by Johnny Morris from Edward and Gordon in the Thomas the Tank Engine series of children's books.


By Roger Kelly, Fundraising Director 

Three recent news items will be of interest--perhaps concern--to steam preservation enthusiasts ...    


First, a low loader carrying a GWR tank loco from Swanage to Minehead broke two miles into its journey .    


Second, Network Rail has issued to West Coast Railways a suspension notice due to " ongoing safety concerns ."  The suspension comes after the company narrowly avoided an accident in Wiltshire.


Third, The 1888 Saxby and Farmer signal box at Lewes could be lost forever if Network Rail decides to move signalling operations to Three Bridges. 


Fireman Andy Kelly took this photo on 26 March, 2015: "No. 30541 makes her first ever appearance in her time at the Railway at Kingscote Station on a successful light engine test run." A lovely video of the  Q class moving 9F on 26 March, 2015 by Martin Lawrence can be seen here


(From East Grinstead Online) Town Mayor Nick Hodges attended the launch of the new bike hire service at Kingscote Station [on 3 April, 2015).

The Kingscote Valley, which is home to a number of attractions including the Kingscote Estate and vineyard, Gravetye Manor, the Bluebell Railway, Deers Leap, and Blacklands Farm is becoming an increasingly popular area for leisure activities.


Two photos courtesy of Metrobus's Nick Hill show how the bus company is using the Railway to promote Route 270 from Brighton, Burgess Hill, and Haywards Heath to the Railway's station at East Grinstead.

Service 270 operates every hour Monday to Saturday. Saturdays alight at Horsted Keynes. Click here for details.

Says Commercial Director Tim Baker, "We are delighted with the help provided by our friends at Metrobus, displaying Derek Hayward's photographs on four buses as part of their route advertising."

Many of you will have heard that the next installment of Downton Abbey will be the last, but to add to the intrigue, a film has not been ruled out .

From 17 to 19 April, 2015, the Railway will be visited by two "Deltic" diesel locomotives. They will haul trains on the Service Two timetable between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead for three days only. More information here .

The British Rail Class 55 is a locomotive built in 1961 and 1962 by English Electric. They were designed for the high-speed express passenger services on the East Coast Main Line between London King's Cross and Edinburgh. They gained the name "Deltic" from the prototype BR DP1 DELTIC (the running number DP1 was never carried), which in turn was named after its Napier Deltic power units.

Twenty two locomotives were built, dominating express passenger services on the East Coast Main Line until 1978 when InterCity 125s were introduced. Between 1978 and 1981, they were gradually relegated to semi-fast or newspaper parcel sleeper services.

On 18 April, a special Saturday evening beer and curry evening is planned from 7:30 p.m. till the bar closes at 11 p.m. View the flier here

PLUS ... The five-course menu  for the Deltic Golden Arrow Pullman (17 April, 2015) has been released. Dressed crab with watercress and lime mayonnaise--yum!



This year's Track Trek will take place on 24 May, 2015, a walk from Kingscote to Horsted Keynes through Sharpthorne Tunnel.

As numbers registered approach 100, we are encouraging people to register in advance to help plan the event. Hard copy sponsorship forms will be distributed soon via the Bluebell Railway Journal. It will help planners if those who intend to use these forms also register online. 

Register by e-mailing tracktrek@bluebell-railway.co.uk with the names of your party, indicating which are children.


For more information and to download a sponsorship form, click here . You can also create your own JustGiving page .


As many of you will know, the current Woodpax site was previously occupied by a sawmill and dairy.

The Museum is setting up a display by the footbridge on Platform 2 at Sheffield Park to explain to visitors how the site was previously used.

A two-foot gauge tramway ran from the dairy to Platform 2 for the conveyance of milk churns for forwarding by train. The cobbles in front of the Bulleid Shop were where the churns were loaded and unloaded.

The first part of the Museum display is now in place and consists of a trolley and a short section of two-foot gauge track. A display panel containing pictures and an explanation will follow.

Many thanks to Jim Hewett, who made the trolley, and to the Kempton Steam Railway, which provided the rails.

By Tony Hillman

Spring has returned to Sheffield Park & Garden. See what's on offer at this classic National Trust property this season.  


Plus ...  (Via Sussex Express ) " Get Ready for Bluebells at Sheffield Park!


Click here for latest pictures from the Camelot Locomotive Society, taken by Society Chairman Peter Gibbs. This photo shows the boiler and the smokebox being reattached to each other.

The locomotive workshop is open seven days per week and is responsible for the overhaul and maintenance of the Railway's motive power fleet. 

Reporting to the Locomotive Director, the Locomotive Workshop Manager is responsible for the safety, quality, and day-to-day management of the Railway's locomotive workshop, including the volunteer and paid staff. Working with the Locomotive Director, the manager also will develop an overhaul programme and annual budget. 

This is a full-time post and the successful applicant will need to be flexible with hours as weekend working will be required. 

Close liaison with the Operations Managers and other Railway departments is required, including the wider locomotive department that is staffed primarily by volunteers. 

The successful applicant will have a good knowledge and understanding of steam locomotives, have experience managing both paid and volunteer staff, and have held a managerial position in a workshop environment. 

Those with the right qualifications and experience for this job, and who would like to discuss the opportunity further, should contact Chris Hunford at chris.hunford@bluebell-railway.co.uk .

We have seen much progress this month, following the removal of the balance weight from between the front of the frames at the end of February. At the beginning of March a start was made at the process of removing the pistons from the cylinder bores.

The job started on the right hand cylinder, for no other reason than it was closest to the Villa and therefore the first one that we came to. The first thing required was to split the crosshead top from the bottom. This was a relatively simple matter of just removing some nuts and lifting the top off!

Having done this the slide bar could be removed from its fixing on the cylinder at the front, and the motion bracket at the rear. This was then moved to the Villa for cleaning and storage.

Next it was just a matter of loosening the nuts which hold the rear cylinder cover in place. It was quite hard to break the seal on the nuts, but once that was done it was relatively easy turn the nuts.

All were removed and the threads in both the nuts and on the studs looked as though they were brand new. This is owing to the tightness of the nuts on the studs and the inability of moisture to penetrate the threads. The newly exposed threads were treated to a coat of protective grease before the nuts were replaced hand tight ...

More updates on this project can be found here .

The Armadillos Cricket Club is back this spring and summer. Home games are played at Sheffield Park Garden, a popular venue during the golden age of cricket, and just as evocative and beautiful today. Why not make a day of watching an Armadillos home game and travelling on a steam train!


The Great Northern Directors' Saloon was revarnished over the winter. It will be in public service for holders of first class tickets over Easter weekend. It also will be in service behind the Deltics during the Diesel Gala, which is appropriate as it had been Deltic-hauled on the East Coast Main Line! The GN Saloon's Facebook page can be found here .

A Rail Ale, Steam Train, and Jazz Evening will be held on 14 May, 2015, in aid of The McIndoe Memorial Statue Fund.

Departing at 6:40 p.m. from East Grinstead station, the train will travel to Sheffield Park Station for a Sausage and Mash Supper. Following supper, the train will travel to Horsted Keynes Station for a session of jazz on the platform.

Local Real Ales will be available throughout the evening at Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes and on board the train. The train will return to East Grinstead by 10.15pm.

The cost of £35 per person includes food, return travel, and your first drink. Bookings must be made via the Blond McIndoe Research Foundation in East Grinstead: admin@blondmcindoe.org or phone 01342 414295.

Three pieces that, taken together, offer a comprehensive look at how steam got its start in the Brighton area in the mid- to late-nineteenth century, excerpted from Paul Edwards' Brighton Motive Power Depots and Brighton Branch of ASLEF websites.

Creating the LB&SCR

The London and Brighton Railway opened its first line into Brighton station on Monday 11th May 1840 linking Brighton with Shoreham. This line was aimed mainly at linking Shoreham Harbour to Brighton. The line from London finally opening on 21 September 1841.

The line was extended west in stages to Chichester being completed in November 1845. The line Eastwards to Hastings being completed in June 1846.

The London & Brighton railway merged under an act of Parliament of 27th July 1846, with the Brighton & Chichester Railway and the Brighton, Lewes & Hastings Railway to become the London Brighton & South Coast Railway. Over the coming years many other lines where built in and around the Sussex and Surrey area, with some lines being started but never being completed ... MORE

Formation of the Brighton Branch of ASLEF

Around the country Enginemen and Firemen at different locations on different Railway Companies deciding to form their own Branches. A.S.R.S. [Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants] begun to see many of their Enginemen and Firemen members transferring their membership from A.S.R.S. to the newly formed A.S.L.E.F. Branches. In some locations the entire A.R.S.R. branch would transfer over to A.S.L.E.F.

This was because many Enginemen and Firemen had become very dissatisfied with the A.S.R.S. and wanted a trade union to represent the views of footplatemen.

It was not until 1891 that the Enginemen and Firemen at Brighton decided to become a part of this growing Trade Union. It was on the 25th August 1891 at the Old Star Mission room in Brighton, with a fledgling of 24 members both Enginemen and Firemen that the A.S.L.E.F. Brighton branch was formed. The Inaugural meeting was opened by the then A.S.L.E.F. General Secretary Thomas G. Sunter.

The Brighton branch was to become the 82nd branch to be established within A.S.L.E.F. The then present Brighton members decided that Engineman Bro. William Baudy Young would become their secretary. Bro. William Young decided that this historical event should be recorded and by publishing this achievement it may encourage other Enginemen and Firemen to follow their lead. It was duly reported in the A.S.L.E.F. Monthly Journal of September 1891 that the Brighton had been formed ... MORE

The Brighton Loco Shed & Works

The London and Brighton Railway opened a small locomotive shed and servicing facility at the north-west of the station for locomotives on the Shoreham line, in May 1840 A second locomotive shed was opened in 1841, which was adjacent to the locomotive works for the main line locomotives.

During 1860-1861 John Chester Craven, the Locomotive Superintendent of the London Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) applied for planing permission to build a new locomotive shed which meant the removal of a large chalk hill to the north of the station, which had been dumped during the excavation of the main line.

The Brighton council objected to his plan and Craven's response was to relocate the locomotive shed and works to Horley. The Brighton council finally gave permission to his plans, because they did not want to loose the biggest empolyer in the Town. The space created was used to accommodate a new much enlarged motive power depot in 1861, replacing the two existing facilities ... MORE

Southern Steam: Bulleid's Leader 0-6-6-0T No. 36001 under construction at Brighton in 1948.  
Southern Steam: Bulleid's Leader 0-6-6-0T No. 36001 under construction at Brighton in 1948.

John Sandys (26 March, 2015): "Progress on the canopy at East Grinstead, the Q Class in steam, and the 09 Shunting at Sheffield Park."

Steve Lee (10 & 11 March, 2015): S15 Photo Charter (see more charter photos on the Railway's blog).


Derek Hayward (14 March, 2015): Engines in service were numbers 847, 263, and B473


Martin Lawrence : March 2015 photo gallery.


John Sandys (30 March, 2015): "The S15 with the first train of weekday running for the season, and the new canopy trim at East Grinstead, plus new stock in the shop."


John Sandys (4 April, 2015): More canopy progress.


By John Sandys.

THANK YOU for supporting the Bluebell Railway, whether you are near or far from Sussex, young or not-so-young, a volunteer or visitor, or new to steam or an old hand. Don't forget to pass this newsletter on to family and friends, and see you trackside! 
John Walls
Editor-in-Chief eNewsletter
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Bluebell Railway | j.walls1@btinternet.com | http://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk
Sheffield Park Station
East Sussex
Near Uckfield, TN22 3QL