Roger Price is now finalising his numbers for the tour to Prague, the Harz Mountains, and Dresden from October 8 to 18, 2015.

If you would like to join the 30 members who have already booked, please let him know at rogertprice@aol.com  as soon as possible.

Details are available on this webpage .
Goods engines at work on the Railway, by Nick Dearden. "Good to see the C class No. 592 and the Q class No. 30541 0-6-0s back in traffic together with the always impressive "Goods Arthur" S15 No. 847.

Whitehaven News has written a lovely piece of history involving the village of Lowca, where "Captain Baxter" is from, and a German U-Boat during World War I.

"Dukedog," seen here in Huntley's Archives.

* Artist: Michael Codd
* Date painted: 1999
* Medium: Acrylic on board, 50 x 90 cm
* Collection: West Sussex County Council

Click on the BBC image to see a larger version.


The famous viaduct across the Ouse Valley is now a transport heritage site .

Also, note the link between this painting and the article in the main column on Ouse navigation. The upper reaches of the canal were growing derelict when the Balcombe viaduct was planned. Yet a canal was the best way to move cement and limestone (said to be from Caen) or maybe bricks (from Newhaven and Piddinghoe, or Holland). In the painting we see delivery areas and boats, as well as the source waters of the Ouse flowing under the viaduct from springs at Slougham. The canal must have been improved for this work and, after the viaduct's completion, left to decline again.--Neil Cameron

From The Telegraph : The lost delights of Britain's railways.

The Railway in May 2015, by "shuntshed".
The Bluebell Railway Museum has now taken on the sale of back issues of Bluebell News instead of the Shop.

Back issues may be obtained for 50 pence per copy (except recent issues, which will continue to be sold in the Shop for full price) plus postage.

Please write initially to the curator at Sheffield Park or e-mail curator@bluebell-railway-museum.co.uk to check availability of particular issues and the total cost.

If anyone has copies of Bluebell News for 2008 to 2012 (and no longer requires them) please consider giving them to the "back issue store". Copies may be left at the Bluebell or Bulleid shops at Sheffield Park.

By Roger Price


* Kids for a Quid : Special Half Term and selected dates are on offer, including for half-term.


* Sat 20 June : East Grinstead Midsummer Market (£5 steam travel offer).


* 27 & 28 June, 2015 : Model Railway Weekend.

Adams Radial in the 1960s, from Huntley's Archives.

China's Jiayang Railway: Journey back in time on the world's last passenger steam train service (IBT).


Memories of the RCTS/LCGB Sussex Downsman Railtour of 22 March, 1964. Photos by John J. Smith from the Railway's collection, curated by Tony Hillman. 

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the devastating Quintinshill rail disaster. More than 200 died, many of them soldiers, when three-- three --trains crashed in Scotland during World War I. Many safety issues contributed to the accident and high number of fatalities, including locking passengers in a gas-lit carriage and a less-than-"sterile" signalbox.  


Another important anniversary sees the 75th year since the Dunkerque/Dunkirk evacuation.

"Operation Dynamo"--between 26 May and 4 June, 1940--saw hundreds of boats of all types rescue 338,000 troops after they had retreated from Nazi forces. This BBC story describes how about 50 small boats involved in the evacuation sailed recently from Kent to mark the anniversary.

This blog entry describes the important part Southern Railway played in the operation: "These trains, known as 'Dynamo Specials' moved 180,982 troops, many of these services were routed via  Redhill, Guildford, and Reading, in order to bypass the capital and avoid congestion."   Click here for another, comprehensive view of Dynamo rail operations.

The late Bernard Holden worked in the Redhill control office during the relocation by rail of the troops. Along the way, communities worked miracles to feed, support, and welcome back the expeditionary force, which would have been slaughtered en masse on the French beaches had they not been rescued.

Most troops were brought home on Navy ships and ferries, but 100,000 set off on one of the many "little ships", many of which unfortunately fell prey to the Luftwaffe: about 200 were lost.

* " Dunkirk Revisited " is an illustrated e-book about the evacuation.

* Imperial War Museum photographs .

* Four paintings evoke the journey.

* A view of the operation from Dover's perspective.

* A symposium in honor of Sir Bertram Ramsay, architect of the operation.

Pathe: Dunkirk Evacuation

The May 2015 issue of Bluebell Safety News can be downloaded here .
Watching the C class go by at Kingscote, collecting a token, 17 May, 2015, by "windsoord".

East Grinstead online's Sammi O'Neill reviews The Railway Children production at King's Cross" "absolutely perfect for children."  

Freight trains in the 1950s: prioritising of freight at terminals and enroute.

A Day in the Life of BR (1950s): managing seasonal perishable freight.

Neil Cameron notes that the Railway's steam crane--aka the Ransomes & Rapier 45 ton-lift coal-fired breakdown crane--may now be viewed at Horsted Keynes station, from the Sheffield Park end of Platform 1 (unless obscured by stabled vehicles): "a new and welcome development." Photos coming soon!  


More than 250 members attended the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society's (BRPS) 55th Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Oakmeeds College, Burgess Hill on 16 May, 2015.

BRPS Chairman Roy Watts reported on the BRPS/Bluebell Railway PLC Governance Review, saying the structure had to be robust, deliverable, and sustainable, with the functions of the BRPS, PLC, and the Bluebell Railway Trust distinct. Final recommendations will be put to the membership.

A full-time Managing Director for the Operating Company will soon be appointed, holding all departments to priorities set by the Society and the Company.

The Chairman noted that with rolling stock and infrastructure under pressure, a mountain of repairs and renewals is delaying restoration of historic items. The meeting heard that, after the Northern Extension Project's opening year, revenue is down from £4 million in 2013 to £3.6 million, with the BRPS covering a loss of £200,000. "Heritage railway" income was static, but there was growth from the Golden Arrow and from filming, as well as a healthy profit from catering. Membership was down 2½%, with declines in all non-senior categories.

The Bluebell Railway Trust has funds of £1.2 million, with £860,000 committed to particular projects. Fundraising Director Roger Kelly reported that 2014 brought in £450,000 and that Cash for Cover had raised £360,000, enough to roof the entire new Horsted Keynes carriage shed. A steering group will shortly award the contract. Also, the Railway will re-apply for Lottery funding for the ASH project to improve the display in the loco shed.

New BRPS President Gordon Pettitt said his first impression of the Railway was one of utter professionalism. Safety must be "paramount in everything we do," he said, and he suggested planning for an Ardingly extension to give preserved Southern electric units somewhere to run. During question time, diesel propulsion with a dummy conductor rail was proposed. Vice Chairman Sam Bee noted that the Museum team continues to develop an online app for visitors.

Other issues raised included:
  • No RMB buffet car is in service; one is promised for 28 May, 2015.
  • The shortage of First Class accommodation was noted.
  • A Pullman car to replace "Lilian" is being sourced.
  • The abortive carriage conversion for volunteer accommodation was discussed.
  • Restoring BR carriages ahead of heritage vehicles was noted.
  • What ways are there to attract more volunteers?
  • The canopies at Horsted Keynes station were discussed.

Neil Glaskin, Roger Kelly, and Tom Waghorn were elected Trustees.

Long Service Awards:
  • 25 years: Tom Brophy, Andrew Ellis, Adrian and Mike Lee, Phil Gain, Bob McLean
  • 40 years: Paul Baker, Roger Dudman, Colin Tyson
  • 50 years: Nick Stanbury, Charles and Robert Bird
Congratulations all.

By Nicholas Comfort

Mike Hopps' photo shows a busy Track Trek 2015, the Railway's third sponsored trackside walk in aid of Funding for the Future. The approximately 4.5 mile walk between Kingscote and Horsted Keynes included a walk through the normally off-limits Sharpthorne Tunnel. Many thanks to all those who took part. Please click here to make a donation.

Brighton and Hove Albion fans look away. BRPS Chairman Roy Watts donned the away shirt of his favourite South London football team to lead the Trek alongside PLC Chairman Dick Fearn. Sponsor the chairmen here .

On Sunday evening 24 May, 2015 at approximately 5:40 p.m., 250 people (and a few dogs) set off on this year's Track Trek from Kingscote to Horsted Keynes. Bluebell Railway PLC Chairman Dick Fearn led the parade, with BRPS Chairman Roy Watts joining the other Trekkers.

Luck was with us, as despite the forecast of a 50% chance of rain, the evening remained pleasantly dry for the two and a half hours it took the last person to cover the four miles. The fastest home in under 1 hour 15 minutes were Chris Beaumont and Rob Davidson!

Due to the hazard of the plethora of signal cables just north of Horsted Keyens station platforms, the Trekkers left the permanent way at Horsted House Farm foot crossing and walked the footpath parallel to the track. On Leamland Bridge I joined a welcoming party to check arrivals and thank everybody for taking part.

After deduction of expenses, the sum raised was around £15,500, to be split equally between the Cash for Cover and Keep Up The Pressure appeals. The final total will take a while to calculate as not everyone paid in their sponsorship on the day, and the gift aid claim has to be calculated. So far, 

the highest amount of sponsorship is David Chappell at more than £1,000. He is closely followed by Deborah Salmon with approximately £750. The chairmen's JustGiving page has also raised more than £1,000.

Thanks to all who took part and those who worked hard to stage the event. Two groups deserve a special mention: Vernon Blackburn and his team, who managed all the registrations and cash collection, and Nigel Longdon and his team of Permanent Way volunteers, who acted as marshals and sweepers and who assisted with the installation and deinstallation of lighting equipment in the 731-yard-long Sharpthorne Tunnel.

Our third Track Trek was another successful demonstration of the whole Railway working together. Well done everyone!

By Roger Kelly, Fundraising Director

A request from Roy Watts, BRPS Chairman: "We now have a new canopy at East Grinstead, so if anyone has any nice enamel signs--ones that relate to East Grinstead businesses--that the Railway could use for display on and around the canopy to keep the atmosphere genuine, they would be most welcome." Contact Roy at info@bluebell-railway.co.uk .



Andrew Shapland's photo shows No. 30541 on 19 May, 2015--the 1:30 p.m. service from Sheffield Park--passing the Bluebells in Lindfield Wood.
The BRPS Preservation Standards Committee is compiling information on staff uniforms so that working members can know the correct uniform to wear for their grade and location. Once specifications have been established, the Railway will be able to source authentic uniforms of a suitable quality.
Although there are some obvious practical limitations on a Railway that represents more than 80 years in its 11 miles, the overall intention is that, as far as possible, staff will wear clothing appropriate to their location or train.

So, those at Sheffield Park should reflect the LB&SCR c. 1880, those at East Grinstead should evoke early 1960s British Railways, and train crews should harmonise with the livery of their locomotive or stock. However, we do not intend for staff to incur significant expense buying this clothing.
I have been asked to help the Committee obtain as much accurate information as possible on uniforms (including buttons and badges) of the LB&SCR, Southern Railway, and Southern Region that would have been seen on our line from 1880 to 1965. 

Although we have some data and sources, our collection is far from complete. I appeal to readers to provide whatever information they have. In particular, we need good, clear photos showing railwaymen (and women!) in grade-specific uniform at known dates; details of cloth and embroidery colours (which are often uncertain and did change over time); and official documents that give specifications for uniforms and trimmings. 

Better still, we would appreciate any clear photos, drawings, and descriptions of genuine uniforms, buttons, and/or badges that you have. 
Please let me know what you can provide, even if is basic or well-known: e-mail nick@nhstanbury.co.uk or send post to 17 Woodbury Park Rd., Tunbridge Wells, TN4 9NQ. Thank you.
By Nick Stanbury

The editors are considering a social cricket game--Bluebell Railway XI versus Scaynes Hill--in August, exact date to be determined. Working members, their relatives, and others with a Bluebell Railway connection are invited to show their interest in joining the team: contact John Walls .


* Ben Jenden's photo  shows "Camelot's" boiler now in the frames, alongside No. 323 (which is having replacement patch-screws fitted) in the works at Sheffield Park.


* The Camelot Locomotive Society has more up-to-date photos on its Facebook page, including the photo at right showing the ashpan now connected to the  firebox.


* Brighton Atlantic project: the sponsor a component section has now been updated.


Work continues  on the front end and boiler of V class loco No. 928 "Stowe".


The Bluebell Railway is not alone in seeking to preserve and restore historical transport routes across the country, quite apart from many railway projects, work is in hand on a number of projects to restore erstwhile canals.

Iron Bridge Lock
The best known locally is probably the Wey and Arun Canal Trust but, of more immediate interest to the Railway, the Sussex Ouse Restoration Trust (SORT) is working on a project to restore the lock structures on the River Ouse, to enable boats to use the river for leisure.

The Trust is presently completing the restoration of Sutton Hall Lock near Isfield, and it proposes to turn its attention next to the restoration of the nearby former Iron Bridge Lock on the southern edge of the National Trust's Sheffield Park and Gardens Estate.

Restoration would enable the Trust to run trip boats along the river between the gardens and Sheffield Park Station, potentially providing passengers with an added attraction, as well as facilitating travel between the two attractions.

As with the more recently announced Kingscote Valley initiative, we want to work with nearby attractions and continue to develop ways of attracting visitors to the Railway.

By Terry Owen, SORT

To realise its goal, the Trust needs more volunteers. A more detailed appraisal of the Trust's work and how it can benefit the Railway can be read here.
On 4 July, 2015 the "West Sussex Irregulars" will be taking over the East Grinstead Museum, recreating scenes from Ward III (airmen burns unit) of the Queen Victoria Hospital during World War II, as part of area observances of the 70th anniversary of VE Day.

Continuing a theme from the previous issue of the eNewsletter, There are wonderful images of old Selsey and its environs on this website , including several that refer to the old Hundred of Manhood & Selsey Tramways Company and the Chichester-to-Selsey line.

You can seen the old railcars and tramway and 0-6-0 tank locos, as well as many beach chalets made up from railway carriage bodies (were they brought over from Brighton?), and the free-from-planning-restriction layout of the towns and villages.

Continuing through the postcard and photo collection, we find the Bognor Home Guard marching out along the coast, fishermen at Aldwick, and a monarch.

HRH King George V's view on Bognor is well known (unpublishable, and possibly apocryphal). Nevertheless there's a postcard image of the convalescing King and Queen Mary taking the air in a wheelchair at Aldwick's Craigweil House in 1929, so it can't have been all bad!

Those who can remember these venerable Sussex coastal villages--places such as Bognor Regis, Goring-by-Sea, and Ferring--before modern development took hold might recall how they used to have the wild, windswept, under-developed look seen in these old images, a scene somewhat ruined now by conformity.

More West Sussex seaside memories & photos:

This photo shows the locomotive "Chichester" being taken by road for West Sussex Railway construction. She's on her own wheels thanks to a rolling road of rails, manfully replaced by teams constantly lifting the rails left behind by the machine and placing them ahead. Warm work, and no doubt pubs along the wayside were busy selling mild, while the road engine lifted water for its boiler from where it may.

This photo shows how, when Shoreham's Bungalow Town was being created in the early part of the 20th century, many of its part-time holiday residents lived in converted railway carriages, towed across the River Adur on a horse-drawn cart.
By Neil Cameron

The Hundred of Manhood & Selsey Tramway was among several sites considered in 1925 by Jack Howey and Henry Greenly for what eventually became the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway.

But with the brief stating relatively flat land as a primary consideration, the choice finally came down to Brean in Somerset and the Selsey tramway. Brean potentially had connections to the national rail network at each end--Weston-super-Mare and Burnham-on-Sea--but would have needed a lengthy bridge over the River Axe.

Virtually level and 7 3/4 miles long, the Selsey Tramway was ideal and could have mirrored the line ultimately built between Romney and Hythe. Moreover, the tramway would have brought the benefit of terminating beside the main line station at Chichester.

There were three reasons why it ultimately came to nothing. Firstly, although the tramway was obviously failing, it was still just operational, staggering on for another 10 years! Secondly, with Manager Col. H.F. Stephens, the concern was the most difficult of individuals to deal with and the wisdom of selling while the thing was still a going concern. Thirdly, there was a number of level crossings required, more than posed on the RH&DR.

Romney Marsh had stations at Dungeness and New Romney via a branch line from Appledore, and Hythe was served by the Sandgate branch from Sandling Junction, although the station was outside the town centre. The South Eastern had obtained powers in 1884 for a line linking New Romney to Hythe, never built, but the marsh itself remained devoid of rail transport.

Herbert Walker was encouraging, mainly because pressure was being exerted on him particularly from Dymchurch, and he knew a 12" to the foot line would never pay. Hence the RH&DR rather than, say, the Chichester, Sidlesham, & Selsey Railway.  

By Jeremy Clarke
This recollection on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Railway Series notes that Rev. W. Awdry "in the cafe at the Bluebell Railway in Sussex in 1979, ... got talking to a TV producer, Britt Allcroft, who told him she'd love to make a series out of the Thomas books." 


LBSCR K class NO. 32353 at Horsham, on the RCTS Sussex tour of 1962, from Brighton via Preston Park, Shoreham-by-Sea, Sutton, London Bridge.
LBSCR K class NO. 32353 at Horsham, on the RCTS Sussex tour of 1962, from Brighton via Preston Park, Shoreham-by-Sea, Sutton, London Bridge.

Three motive power depots in one in this issue, thanks to Paul Edwards' careful curation of rail history  ...


Horsham locomotive shed was opened on 14 Feb., 1848 by the LB&SCR (shed code Hors). The loco roundhouse was to close on the 18 July, 1959 with the steam depot remaining opened until 27 Jan., 1964.  With electrification arriving at Horsham, this created a Motorman's (EMUT) depot opening in 1938. The Horsham Branch of ASLEF was opened on 24 April, 1898 ...

This link includes many documents and photos, plus Fireman Rodney Burstow;s memories of the Mid-Sussex Line and K and Q class locos and the Horsham re-union at the Bluebell Railway,


Bognor Regis's locomotive shed was opened on the 1 June, 1864 by the LB&SCR (shed code Bog). The locomotive shed (75Ds) closed in November 1961 ...

... Enginemen working from Bognor looked forward to the "Midhurst Turn", not least because the booking on time was 8:30 a.m. rather than the usual 3:30 a.m.! The duty was looked upon as a week's holiday. It started each day by taking a light engine--frequently a "Vulcan", one of the old L.B.S.C.R.'s 0-6-0 tender engines of class "C2x"--to Chichester, where it waited for 15 minutes ...

Click here to read the rest of the Bognor story , including the loss of the Singleton-to-Midhurst line.


The Littlehampton loco shed (Lton) was opened on the 17 Aug., 1863 by the LB&SCR and was opened to replace the nearby Lyminster shed, which was opened on the 16 March 1845 by LB&SCR. The Lyminster shed was closed on the same day as the Littlehampton shed was opened ...

More photos and stories can be found here , while the well-known Littlehampton accident of 1920 story is here .

Derek Hayward (Updated 2015 gallery): Images of service trains operating on Bank Holiday Monday (25 May, 2015)


Jonathan Hughes (weekend of 23 May, 2015): Noting correct grammar in that the U-class was following a Q-class!


John Sandys (28 May, 2015): The Q class and "Camelot's" boiler in its frames.


Ben Gray (27 May, 2015): The Q class on the vintage set and the U class hauling set A.  


Dave Ryding (24 May, 2015): A gallery of the Q class.

Martin Lawrence (May 2015): An update to the May gallery.

Mike Anton (various dates): The latest photos in this gallery are interesting 360° photos of the Track Trek.   

Richard Salmon (30 May, 2015): For staff training purposes, a goods train being hauled through Horsted Keynes by Fletcher Jennings-built "Captain Baxter".     

John Sandys (29 May, 2015): "The Q class and S15 in charge of the Service Trains today; good to see the RMB back in service after essential maintenance work; and the canopy looking brilliant complete with light fitting installed."     




By Richard Salmon.


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