Giants of Steam
Big steam from our big team! Giants of Steam is back! Get your tickets now for this banner event, on 31 Oct. and 1 Nov., 2015.
Autumn Tints

Turn, turn, turn ...  Between 5 and 23 Oct., 2015, enjoy autumnal colours along the Bluebell line and at the Sheffield Park National Trust site. 

Xmas Specials

Have you been good enough?! Santa Specials  start on 5 Dec., 2015. Book now for these extremely popular trains. 
On Donner; on Blitzen! Information for Reindeer Specials , starting 6 Dec., 2015, can be found here

All the trimmings! Starting on 7 Dec., 2015, enjoy a Christmas Festive Feast on board a steam train and at the Bessemer Arms. Click here for more. 

Leave Scrooge behind to say "Bah! Humbug!" as you enjoy the atmospheric Victorian Christmas trains, which will be running on 22 Dec., 2015. Learn more here .

London Bridge (Central ) Station, with 'Schools' 4-4-0 on a Rail Tour (by Ben Brooksbank)

View westward towards the buffer-stops: ex-LB&SC main and suburban lines. SR Maunsell V class "Schools" 4-4-0 No.30925 "Cheltenham" (built 4/34) is ready to leave--when I've gone aboard!--on the Railway Correspondence and Travel Society "Sussex Rail Tour", which went to Seaford by the main line and Lewes, back to Brighton, returning to London Bridge via Preston Park (reverse), Hove, Steyning, Horsham, and Sutton ...

"Cheltenham" was withdrawn soon after, in 12/62, but was preserved and after an active life in preservation now has the honour of being a permanent exhibit in the National Railway Museum at York.

Of course, this loco has now been restored to traffic. As No. 925, she will visit the Bluebell Railway as part of the Giants of Steam event at the end of October.
We are very sorry to report that Society Vice President Geoffrey Cope passed away after a short illness, on 26 Sept., 2015. A real gentlemen and a long-time friend of Bernard Holden, he made the valiant journey from Eastbourne to Sheffield Park and thence to the AGM in Burgess Hill in May 2015--all by train, to prove it could be done! Read more reminiscences here .
"On the Bluebell Railway," by Alfie Pantalleresco.
October Half Term is coming up, and the Railway has parents covered. From 24 to 30 Oct., 2015, we are offering Kids for a Quid trains and special shows at Horsted Keynes! Find out more
"Bluebell Railway Cab Ride," by "SteamMad".

Writes Tony Hillman: "The old Southern route between Okehampton and Plymouth still seems to appear in the news, so here's six John J. Smith images from this line."

Building "Princess Royal" at Crewe.
Calling all wooden trains fans young and old.  BigJigs has created No. 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair". Here's the review .  

* Full Name: "Lord Nelson Class Locomotive, 'Sir Walter Raleigh'"
* Artist: James Wilson Petrie
* Date painted: 1960
* Medium: Oil on canvas, 76.2 x 101.6 cm
* Collection: Southampton City Museums

Click on the BBC image to see a larger version. 

In the background of this painting, you can just make out the art deco Southampton Ocean Terminal ... "This extraordinary building was part ocean liner terminal and part railway station. Southampton Docks ... was owned by various railway companies until it passed into state ownership in 1948, as part of the nationalisation of Britain's railways.

"Its new owners were the British Transport Commission (parent body of British Railways), and they were determined to complete the building to an opulent style to match the liners themselves."

Ships from many lines, not just Cunard, stopped at the terminal. In fact, the SS United States (of US Lines) won the Blue Riband on her first crossing to Southampton in 1952, in 3 days 10 hours, with an average speed of 35.5 knots. 

Pathe video of PM Clement Attlee opening the terminal in 1950.
The Bluebell Railway Atlantic Group has updated its list of components to sponsor, including a reversing valve, injector steam valve clack, and boiler flue tubes.  
"The Bluebell Railway Day 1," by "SuperTrainStationH".

J ulian Heinemann's photo, from 29 Sept., 2015, shows No. 73082 "Camelot" moving within the confines of Sheffield Park station following her  steam test. After this successful test, "Camelot" received a new 10-year boiler ticket! She has now returned to the workshop to deal with an issue with the superheater header.

In addition, notes Peter Gibbs, the sheet metal dome cover has been bolted down, and the loco and tender have been cleaned in advance of  final painting, lining, and lettering.

For photos and more progress reports, visit the 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society Facebook page .

Arrangements have been made for LNWR 0-6-2 Coal Tank No. 1054 to visit the Bluebell Railway early next year.

Built at Crewe Works in September 1888, this loco was finally withdrawn for scrapping as No. 58926 in 1958. At that time a fund, headed by railwayman J.M. Dunn, was established to successfully  purchase the engine and save it for posterity.

Within 12 months, it had been restored at Crewe to its former LNWR identity as No. 1054. Indeed No. 1054 became the first main line steam loco to be purchased for preservation by public subscription.

The engine was presented to the National Trust in 1963 (who remain the owners today) and placed in the care of the Bahamas Locomotive Society (BLS) 10 years later.

BLS volunteer members restored the engine to working order in 1980. An award from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2004 provided funds for another extensive overhaul, which was completed in 2011. No. 1054 is the sole survivor from a class of 300 and one of few remaining LNWR engines.

Normally resident at the BLS base at Ingrow on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway in Yorkshire, No. 1054 will be travelling by road to visit the Railway for two weekends in March 2016, one of which will be the Branch Line  event on 19-20 March. The visit will provide an opportunity for No. 1054 to be paired with the Railway's 1913 LNWR Observation Car.

The withdrawal from service of "Lilian" has left the Golden Arrow train significantly short of seating capacity. Recent proposals for dealing with this have included overhauling "Lilian" or "Carina", and as a short term measure hiring a Pullman car.

The short term hire option has so far come to nothing, a quote for the repair of Lilian's body structure is prohibitively expensive, and Carina is not necessarily the ideal vehicle. So the board recently established a Pullmans Working Group to evaluate the best way forward for the Golden Arrow train.

At its first meeting the group reviewed from scratch the requirements for this train, and came up with this set of criteria:
  • Passenger accommodation formed exclusively of Pullman cars: experience has shown that providing accommodation in a non-Pullman carriage, even a nice first-class vehicle, is not really good enough for a top-rank service.
  • Sufficient seats to ensure commercial viability: the formation with Lilian had provided 104 seats, and frequently all were occupied. With some of the operating costs being fixed irrespective of the number of carriages, the present shorter train is less viable.
  • Strong preference for 1920s/1930s cars: our previous experience with the 1960s car Eagle showed that a modern Pullman car just does not provide the right experience. "Carina", a 1950s car, is not as ornate inside as the older cars, not having the fancy marquetry panels ...
To read more from Rolling Stock Director Lewis Nodes and Trustee Neil Glaskin, click here .
From the Film Department: The BBC's A Very British Romance with Lucy Worsley has begun broadcasting, with three episodes to be aired. Parts of Episode 2 were filmed at the Railway in early June.

Editor's Note: With no major Appeal this year our stalwart team of Nicholas Owen, David Allen, and Alex Mansfield were still keen to make another video to help our fundraising efforts. The result can be seen in this piece. 

Funding Director Roger Kelly says, "I am extremely grateful to Nicholas, David, and Alex, not just for the series of videos that have helped raise so much money over the past few years but also for putting up with me as their producer!"  ...

Over the years it has not been unusual for the Railway to be remembered in a person's will by way of a legacy.

However, the last 18 months have been remarkable in that we have been notified of more than a dozen legacies varying in size from small to some very large amounts. The surprising thing is how many have been from non-members and from people whom we did not know were supporters.

Such income is extremely welcome and enables us to fund projects that otherwise could not be afforded from our revenue income or from appeals. These projects are many. Some are for renewal, while others are new projects. Recently, legacies have paid for the re-cladding of the Locomotive Workshop and most of the cost of the East Grinstead canopy.

To secure the future of the Bluebell Railway, we would like to encourage as many people as possible to make a provision for the Railway in your will. In doing so, you will help ensure the Railway endures for the enjoyment of future generations.

To learn more, please watch this video "Where There's a Will".  

At present, those providing a legacy may also benefit from reduced taxation on their estate. More details on types of legacy can be found on our website

We understand that drawing up a will is a very personal and private affair. However, if you would like to discuss with us in complete confidence either how you might go about it or how a legacy might be used, we would be pleased to hear from you.

It is not necessary to let us know if you have remembered the Railway in your will. But if you do, it enables us to keep in touch with you and to show our appreciation by inviting you to special events and by keeping you informed of the plans for the Railway.

Please feel free to contact either Roger Kelly, Funding Director, or Vernon Blackburn, Administrative Trustee of The Bluebell Railway Trust, at Sheffield Park Station or by email at roger.kelly@bluebell-railway.co.uk or vernon.blackburn@bluebell-railway.co.uk .

Thank you in advance for making the Bluebell Railway one of your beneficiaries.

 By Roger Kelly

As previously reported, following receipt of a generous donation, the Friends of Sheffield Park (FOSP) have been able to proceed with plans for restoration of the entrance porch to the station, to reproduce the original condition, featuring turned decorative mullion roof supports glazed with floral patterned stained glass panels.

The new timber structure was machined and trial-assembled at our carpenter's premises in July, and following a most productive site meeting involving all key parties, we were then able to let the order for the stained glass. The glass supplier had done research using available photographs of the original porch to design the patterns and the remaining original stained glass toplights were used to guide us as to the colours.   

It was impractical to work on the porch during the peak running season but, with the cooperation of the Operations Department, we were able to close the main Booking Hall entrance for one week in late September to execute Phase 1 of the restoration.  The exacting nature of this stage meant that we employed a building contractor to assist the carpenter.  

Firstly, the roof structure (which is original) was supported on suitable props, while the lower timber structure was completely removed. Then some remedial work to the brick and masonry support wall on the north side was undertaken, to re-level it with the south wall and to repoint the brickwork.

Then the roof structure was slowly and carefully jacked up by approximately two inches to counter the effects of about 130 years of settlement. This allowed the new structure to be installed as far as possible square and level (although the eagle-eyed will be able to see that the finished structure is not completely symmetrical; this is of course a part of the character of historic structures!)

Finally, a visit from the glazier with the first two new stained glass panels saw a trial fitting successfully accomplished, proving the method which had been suggested by the carpenter. The remaining panels can now be made with confidence, and we anticipate fitting them in the next few weeks, after FOSP volunteers have painted the new timberwork.

The new porch is taking shape and is already drawing much favourable comment. Once finished it will provide a considerable enhancement to the appearance of the station and provide a worthy greeting sight to the many visitors that pass through Sheffield Park station.

By Charles Melton
The Bluebell Railway is on The Telegraph's list of Great Railway Journeys : "Alan Titchmarsh among others lauds this scenic steam train in the south of England ..."

John Sandy's photo shows "Fenchurch" temporarily shunted out to enjoy the early autumn sun on 1 Oct., 2015.

Broadcaster and former Cabinet Minister Michael Portillo visited the Railway on 1 Oct., 2015 to film an episode in his latest series of Great British Railway Journeys .

The noted rail enthusiast arrived by train at East Grinstead and from there made his way over to the Bluebell Railway to meet with staff and chat with customers. Portillo interviewed Driver Mick Blackburn briefly, who happened to be catching a train home!

Portillo then rode on the service train, interviewing BRPS Chairman Roy Watts while travelling to Hosted Keynes. There, he climbed on the footplate and interviewed Liz Groome who was driving the Q class with her dad Clive firing for the occasion.

At Sheffield Park, Portillo chatted to passengers outside the Bessemer's Arms, then walked through the Running Shed to the washout pit, where he was tutored by Andy "Horace" Sabin about the need for washouts and other maintenance.  

Portillo then climbed into the cab of No. 472 and was filmed starting a washout, dressed in a boiler suit (see photo: rather than a clean look at our operations, which is what producers normally go for, this episode of GBRJ was really hands-on).

The episode is planned to be broadcast in January 2016 on a Tuesday evening to be scheduled.

By Mike Hopps, Film Department

By Derek Hayward.

Alan Bedford (29 Sept., 2015): "
A lovely sunny day with the Q and Camelot in steam."

Keith Duke (25 Sept., 2015): "A s pecial visit today of  the Hastings line DeMU."

John Sandys (1 Oct., 2015): "A busy day at the Railway today with two locos in steam (the Q class and C class) and one 09 shunting. Michael Portillo was filming, and work has already started on No. 80151 with "Camelot" in her final stages of preparation for Giants of Steam. Also work has started on the restoration of the Sheffield Park entrance porch. It was also nice to see "Fenchurch" out in the sunshine."

Derek Hayward (2015): New updates to his 2015 gallery, including Bus Running Day photos.

David Stubbins (4 Oct., 2015): David Stubbings had an enjoyable day down at the line on 4 Oct., 2015. 

John Sandys (6 Oct., 2015): "The Autumn Tints Specials in full swing on their first week of three. I managed to capture them during a nice sunny interval. Three locos in steam: numbers 263, 323, and 592."

  By Keith Duke.
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