25 July-9 August:  Summer Festival

including ...

1-7 August:
Children's Week

8-9 August: Vintage Transport Weekend
Nick Dearden's tribute to No. 1638, which has been withdrawn from service.

A heart-warming video of a steam loco from the Railway's twin organization in the Netherlands, Museum Stoomtram Hoorn Medemblik, which was asked to come to the rescue of a EMU stranded when a lorry brought down the overhead on a single line section of the line between Hoorn and Enkhuizen.


On 8 Aug, 2015, as the Railway has done roughly once every five years, a tour of the sidings at Horsted Keynes is planned--led by Dave Clarke and Richard Salmon--to allow viewing of stored stock.

This tour will be the last occasion before much of the stock is moved into the new carriage shed that will soon be built at Horsted Keynes. 

As part of the tour, there will be a chance to view the stored sections of the Craven-era first class coach and the Brighton Balloon coach.

The tour will commence at 5:45 p.m. at the platform 5 entrance to the carriage works; it is expected to take around two hours. Sturdy boots are required, since the ground is rough in places, as is a moderate level of physical fitness. 

We ask for a £10 donation per participant, which will be split between the Maunsell No. 7864 restaurant car fund and Operation Undercover (for the Horsted Keynes shed extension). Queries can be e-mailed to Richard Salmon .
The Railway on 12 July, 2015, by "Slam Door Media."

* Full Title: 'Leader' Class Locomotive No. 36001
* Artist: Leslie Carr
* Medium: Oil on board, 53.4 x 64.1 cm
* Collection: National Railway Museum

Click on the BBC image to see a larger image. 
A "steam train journey," by Brian James.


Some U class locos, paying tribute to the Railway's U class, which has been retired fro  service, all from the John J. Smith collection curated by Tony Hillman.


U class No. 31634 at Queen's Road Battersea on 9 Oct., 1959.


The Guardian has a story on how the Forth Bridge has been named a World Heritage Site.



Bluebell News back issues are now the responsibility of the Museum.


Back issues may be obtained for 50p per copy plus postage (except recent issues, which will continue to be sold in the Shop for full price).  Please contact curator@bluebell-railway-museum.co.uk to check availability and cost.


If anyone has copies of Bluebell News from 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.

The Railway on 18 July, 2015, by Ben Jenden.

East Grinstead summer flower beds are in full bloom, awaiting the judges. This photo from East Grinstead Online shows a symbolic ribbon of blue denoting the Railway's arrival in the town.


The two-week Summer Festival, from 25 July to 9 Aug., 2015, is underway! More news and events are being added, so keep an eye on the link below.

The current line-up of events includes:
  • Tour of Harveys Brewery in Lewes
  • Closed Station Tour from East Grinstead to Tunbridge Wells
  • Walking tour of the historic town of Lewes
  • Kingscote Vineyard Tour
  • Gravetye Manor Tour & Afternoon Tea
  • Borde Hill Tour of House & Garden
  • Visit to National Trust Standen House, including a Garden Tour
  • Evening of Ale & Jazz
  • Seaside Weekend, including donkey rides, sandcastle competition, Punch & Judy, and ice cream
  • Kids for a Quid week
  • Vintage Transport Weekend, including classic cars, stationary engines, commercial vans, steam road engines, and motorbikes.
There is something for everyone to enjoy--we look forward to seeing you! More details can be found here .



We are up to eight "Bluebell-connected" players for the social cricket match with Scaynes Hill CC at their ground next to the Railway on 22 Aug., 2015. We would love to field a full Railway XI. Any standard, even enthusiastic fielding, is welcome. Open to men, women, boys, and girls 12 and older: contact John Walls


Both the Railway and SHCC are indulging in a bit of fundraising around this event. The Railway has set up a  JustGiving page , and we have secured £300 in match funding. The first 30 donations to this page of £10 or over will be matched by £10 from this fund. Money will be split equally between the Cash for Cover and Keep Up the Pressure campaigns.


For its part, SHCC has been offered £200 in matching funding by estate agents Mishon Mackay ... "Mishon Mackay are delighted be associated with the very liked and respected cricket club at Scaynes Hill together with the world famous Bluebell Railway. These two local institutions are planning their inaugural cricket match on 22 Aug., 2015 to help raise money for both organisations, so please help us to raise much needed funds. Come along and watch if you enjoy cricket and an afternoon out."

The cricket club's fundraising page can be found here. Please consider supporting one or both teams (hedging your bet!) because we can all agree that a vibrant local cricket club playing next to the line enriches the Bluebell Railway experience for our visitors!


We encourage supporters of both sides/organisations to attend the match and "make a day of it." For more information, contact John Walls (email link above).     



Don't forget the Railway's new cycle hire program, out of Kingscote station. It's a convenient and healthy way to explore the legendary mid-Sussex countryside. Details here


The Locomotive Working Group shared a lovely photo on Facebook of "Camelot" looking almost complete, from July 19: "Busy day today down at the park. The sun was shining so we got to work fixing vital components to Camelot both inside the cab and on the frames. She's starting to look like a loco again isn't she?"

The summer daily running season has arrived, with a daily need for motive power. We started the season in good shape with the Q class as our large motive power--running well after some teething during the running-in period--plus S15 and the U class. Meanwhile, the C class returned to traffic after boiler work, so with the E4 and H class we've been able to cover medium-sized trains.

Click the image to see Derek Hayward's farewell to No. 1638.
However, just as we thought things were going smoothly, items needing attention were identified at the U class's annual boiler exam in June, such as stay work, replacement of four boiler tubes, and a new brick arch.

They would have needed to be fixed before the boiler inspector could certify the final six months of the certificate, and they would have necessitated a hydraulic boiler test. Figuring out the timescale to complete these jobs, resources required, and other priorities, we decided not to undertake the work and focus our attention on returning No. 73082 to traffic. So with sadness I report that U class No. 1638 is withdrawn from traffic for a 10-year overhaul. The loco has covered 52,000 miles over the last 9.5 years and borne the brunt of our front line services.

Photo from the Camelot Loco Society's Facebook page.

Our attentions turn to "Camelot": work is proceeding well on completing her overhaul. The tender returned from tyre-turning at Ashford and is now in the paintshop at Horsted Keynes and final assembly is proceeding, with the superheater header and main steam pipes installed, the endless runs of lubrication and brake system pipework nearly complete, cab fittings on-going, and painting underway. With a fair wind behind us, the loco should return to traffic for testing and running-in towards the end of the summer.

Other work includes the completion of boiler work to No. 323 "Bluebell", which, along with "Baxter", passed stage 1 of its boiler exam. Both are being prepared for stage 2, which hopefully they will have passed by the time you read this. The usual round of maintenance tasks continues, with boiler washouts, fixes to firehole doors, renewing trimmings in oil pots, etc.

Off-site, the new throat plate for Schools class No. 928 "Stowe" is complete. It just needs final fettling, and the new inner and outer firebox platework is in the process of being rolled to the correct profile. Removal of the boiler's crown stays is complete, so when it returns to the Works, reassembly will begin. In the Running Shed, work continues to get BR Standard 4 tank No. 80151 ready for entering the Works, while at LNWR Crewe, No. 34059's boiler is now at the new premises and work has re-started on completing her new inner firebox.

A couple of other items include the complete replacement of the Works' cladding. Work started on the 29 June, 2015 and over an eight-week period, the old cladding will be removed and new metal angles, modern cladding, and new roof lights (to improve natural light and add warmth in winter) will be installed. I'm grateful to the benefactors and the Trust for funding this essential work.

Our two apprentices recently passed their college exams, and they now have the summer off to use their new skills to good effect. While on the operating side of the department, Tim Gray and Andrew Kelly were successful in their applications for the Shed Foreman position. Let's hope the summer weather continues; I look forward to seeing you at the Railway!

By Christopher Hunford, Loco Director

On 20 July, 2015, a crane lifted the Metropolitan brake back onto its bogies, after its wheelsets had been re-tyred. To show just how internationally we now must look for supplies, the tyres, fitted at the South Devon Railway, were rolled in South Africa. The Mets are also having new brake cylinders fitted, which were manufactured in India!

In addition, another of the Met coaches is having repairs done to its underframe, and new draw gear fitted within the underframe: see Martin Lawrence's photo .

Dave Clarke's photo of No. 3188 was taken on 19 July, 2015.
The other important job for the crane was to lift the 1897-built body of LCDR/SECR carriage No. 3188 onto its new shortened ex-PLV underframe.  The crane was also used to weigh the body and frame, which together were about 10 tons, and we expect the finished carriage to come in about half a ton more.

The internal decoration of the carriage is nearly completed, and most of the windows have also now been bedded in, with work concentrating currently on the last of the five compartments.

By Richard Salmon, C&W Volunteer

If you missed the latest Photographers PTS course, there are more coming up in the next few months. For the course schedule, click here.  


The throatplate for V class No. 928 "Stowe" has been formed, as this photo from Melvyn Frohnsdorff on the project Facebook page shows.

There have been a couple of new updates from the Project 27 blog, about the restoration of SECR Loco No. 27:

"The rear axle box positions were re-established on 12 July, 2015. This was achieved by power sanding the area to be marked to give a good surface for the marks to be seen, the area was then given a thin coat of 'engineers blue, which allows marks to be easily seen when scratched on.

" This photo (by Clive Emsley) shows a cross marked on the 'engineers blue'. This is the bottom of three marks that are applied using a set of dividers located in the trammel marks either side of the horn guides. There will be another two marks above this one and these will be centre punched and joined with a vertical line ..."

Team members also have started to refurbish smaller parts of the loco, such as brake rigging. Tom Murphy's photo shows 9F Club graduate Paul Booth cleaning the brake cross beam.

The Railway's 9F Club allows young people between 9 and 15 years old to help run the Railway, working in small groups with adult supervision. More information here .   


The Friends of Sheffield Park (FOSP) were eagerly awaiting the Summer 2015 edition of Bluebell News , like all other members, and were delighted to see their handiwork gracing the front cover.

The running-in board, lamppost, seating bench, station house, platform 2 canopy, and wooden fencing all looked superb, but they were let down by the completely out-of-place reinforced concrete fence to the north end of platform 1.

This situation has made us determined to replace this non-LBSCR fence with a correct wooden fence, as elsewhere at Sheffield Park, in line with the Preservation Standards Long-Term Plan.

As a result we are embarking on a Fundraising programme, the first event of which is a Fundraising Day on 15 Aug., 2015 at Sheffield Park between 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Our target is to raise more than £250 towards the cost of replacement fencing. Activities will include:
  • A sales stand selling badges, buttons, ticket clippers, a bardic handlamp, books, paintings, pens, fridge magnets, and other knick knacks that you probably can't do without!
  • Live performances by a jazz band.
  • Brake van rides within station limits, including to the Pumphouse Siding.
  • Performances by a live saxophone group.
  • A raffle for a pair of Wealden Rambler afternoon tea tickets.
We'll be delighted if you can visit us and help us achieve our target and correct this historical inaccuracy, so that when Sheffield Park station next graces the front cover of Bluebell News , FOSP, and everyone else, can fully enjoy all aspects of the station's infrastructure.

By Graham Aitken, Fundraising Secretary, FOSP

(From The Argus, 22 July, 2015) A little piece of Lewes's industrial past was discovered when a team of workman unearthed a stretch of Victorian railway line.

The team from Jeary Developments were working on the groundwork for a housing development when they uncovered the stretch of track near Railway Lane in Lewes on Monday.

Archaeologists have said the track appears on the first ordinance survey maps produced in the early 1870s and would have once been populated with steam powered goods trains.

It is believed to be a service line running to and from the town's once bustling port and busy warehouses ...

To read the whole of this fascinating story, click here .


Derek Hayward (2015): A major update to his Bluebell Railway 2015 album.


Martin Lawrence (July 2015): Martin is updating his July 2015 gallery, including including the Met brake No. 387 back on its bogies.

Derek Hayward  (18 & 19 July): Photos from the Toy and Rail Collectors Fair


Roger Barton (19 July, 2015): Another view of the steam crane at Horsted Keynes. 



  By Martin Lawrence

By Derek Hayward
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