Check out the Railway's many winter seasonal specials here . Some of the services and dates have sold out, but some booking is still available.

Bluebell Railway on 28 Nov., 2015, by Joe Light Railway.
The Locomotive Duty Roster has been updated for December 2015, including the Santa, Victorian Christmas, and other specials. 
This time, Tony Hillman reprises the "Giants of Steam" theme with some John J. Smith photos.

By Ben Brooksbank (October 1946): "View towards bufferstops_ ex-LSW London terminus of main lines to the West. The 'Bournemouth Belle' (12:30 Waterloo-to-Bournemouth West) was the first Pullman express to be restored after the War, and this is its fourth run. Bulleid Pacific No. 21C18 "British India Line" was built 5/45, rebuilt 2/56, and withdrawn 8/64."
"Bluebell Railway Giants of Steam on 31 Oct., 2015," by GLVMR.
The Railway's website has a new update to its Passenger-Rated Stock List :

"Passenger rated stock is that which could be included in passenger trains. It includes luggage vans, carriage trucks, horse boxes, perishable produce vans and milk tankers ..."

Click here to learn more about the Railway's award-winning Carriage & Wagon Department.
A vintage LMS film showing how effectively the railways supplied Britain in the 1930s.

The Museum Archive has many duplicate bound volumes of The Railway Magazine , Railway World, and Railway Observer , far too many to list here. 
If you have any issues you would be interested in obtaining, please send an email  detailing the copies required to curator@bluebell-railway-museum.co.uk
Copies cost no more than £5. They can be collected from Sheffield Park or posted at cost.
London steam in the post-War years.

* Artist:
Norman Wilkinson  
* Date painted: 1937
* Medium: Oil on canvas, 88.9 x 126.1 cm
* Collection: National Railway Museum  

Click on BBC image to see a larger version.  
Did You Know? Norman Wilkinson was the artist who revolutionised the art of camouflage during World War I. Learn about his "bold idea" here
A remarkable film of an iconic loco (of the Princess Coronation class ) and the express train known as the " Coronation Scot ," as well as music by Vivian Ellis.
View Derek Hayward's updated and expanded collection of more than 175 photos taken at and around Kingscote station 1998 to 2015. Included are the early days of restoration, the signal box, volunteers, and the beautiful flower beds. 
A procession of departures from Waterloo in the final years of steam, shot by the British Transport Films unit.
John Sandys' broadcast a Periscope video from the C class footplate on 4 Dec., 2015.

John Sandys' photo from Dec. 3, 2015 shows that the stained glass has been installed in the porch at Sheffield Park, returning it at last to its original LB&SCR condition. What remarkable craftsmanship--well done to the Friends of Sheffield Park!

The completion of the first phase of the Sheffield Park entrance porch restoration is now well on its way.

During the first week of December we were blessed with yet more dry weather and our contract joiner attended to install the stained glass panels under the watchful eye of the craftsman. The panels were all installed very quickly, but there is the slow business of filling the location grooves in the turned columns with a great deal of putty, and then sculpting this with great care so that it follows the profile of the columns.  

By the time you are reading this, all should be done, and it only remains for Friends of Sheffield Park (FOSP) painters (the ones with the steadiest hands) to touch in the paint when the putty has skinned over. The stone plinths on which the wooden structure rests will then be painted in the colour selected by our Heritage Standards Officer. After a good clean of the interior parts (lots of cobwebs to brush down), this phase will be substantially complete.

Already we have received many plaudits, and photos have appeared in various online forums [including above]. Nonetheless, we will be planning some kind of formal opening/dedication of the new work at a suitable time next year.

For those who are wondering, phase two hopefully will see the nondescript concrete/macadam floor of the porch replaced with a facsimile tiled version. A little research (that is, surreptitious photography by one of our members of the original tiled floor in the porch at Mayfield station) has given us the design detail we need. Watch this space for more details when we have some.

By Chas Melton, Friends of Sheffield Park
November was a very good month with funds raised to improve productivity in both the Carriage & Wagon Department and Locomotive Works.

Firstly, a benefactor came forward offering assistance and made a donation of £25,000 which will be used to purchase a set of carriage jacks plus the provision of the concrete hard standing required to use them. This will double our capacity to jack up carriages for maintenance in the C&W workshop.
The Peall Railway Trust responded to an application for funds to purchase an Asquith Portable Universal Radial Drill for the Locomotive Works with a grant of £15,000. Despite having "portable" in its title, this is a substantial piece of machinery. This drill has many uses, the primary one being the replacement of boiler stays; it can assist an engineer performing this task and make him or her up to 2.5 times quicker than when using conventional drills.

The Peall Railway Trust grant was in addition to a contribution of £2,000 to the Keep Up The Pressure Appeal earlier in the year. That appeal is still running if you can help us out.
By Roger Kelly, Funding Director

The Review of the Governance of the Railway is making good progress, and one of the aspects of the Review that the Development Group is examining is the optimum corporate structure for the Railway.

However, some of the technical issues involved are quite complex and require understanding of legal and other implications. The group would welcome assistance on a voluntary basis in its deliberations from any member who feels he or she might have the suitable knowledge and experience, possibly at a professional level (such as an accountant or solicitor).

We do not envisage that this would be an onerous task; probably no more than three or four meetings would be required over the next few months. Once completed, this task would not be a continuing assignment.

If you think you are able to help the Railway with this important task and would like to join the small group working on it (or know someone who might fit the bill), please contact Clive Soper at clive@chittinghurst.co.uk
The first Preservation Standards Newsletter from Chris Saunders, Preservation Standards Trustee, is available to download here : "The Preservation Standards Committee was set up some six years ago to build on and formalise the work done by the late Simon Baker at Horsted Keynes. The primary aims
are to guide, and if necessary control, activities that affect the appearance of our Railway ..."

The Bulleid Society's website has some photos and updates of progress on Coach No. 5768,  which has seen glass installed, progress on the hanging doors, and (as seen in this photo) external bodywork prepared for filling and painting.

... a green flag, a red flag, and an Acme Thunderer Whistle so that I can become a Bluebell Railway Guard, have my picture taken by our passengers, and do all the tasks that guards must do to keep a railway running efficiently ...

If this describes you, then why not book your place on the next Guards Training Course that starts in February 2016?

Already three of six places on the course have been snapped up. Any volunteer with six months active service and a grade of Leading Porter or equivalent, who wishes to become a guard and blow a whistle and wave a flag, is asked to contact Chief Guards Inspector Mike Ellis at lcbscm@gmail.com .

Remember that no trains can operate without a guard, so please consider helping our Railway by joining the 2016 training course today. I am confident that you won't regret your decision and, being the roster clerk, I won't regret it either! I look forward to rostering you next summer!

By Graham Aitken, Guards Roster Clerk

Recently, four guard irons and the associated struts from No. 27 were taken to Horsted Keynes to be shot blasted clean in the large shot blaster based in the carriage works. The strut that was seized to the guard iron in the picture has since been persuaded to remove itself and has been straightened to its original shape.

The opportunity was taken to carry out some minor welding on the guard irons prior to receiving a coat of primer and two coats of undercoat.  Other work ongoing involves some minor welding repairs to the footstep struts. The welding repairs are being carried out by Matt Holloway with whom we are continually amazed by his versatility and skill.

The material for the manufacture of the fitted bolts, which will be used to locate the cylinders to the frames, has been delivered and machining has started in so much as the bolt lengths have been faced off and centre drilled ready for the machining to take place over the Christmas and New Year period. We are grateful to Ian Ferguson for his continued assistance in the restoration.

The "left over" material is safely stored away, having been treated to a film of oil to prevent dampness affecting the steel. Thanks to Steve Booth for doing this ...

To read the entire blog, click here .
Looking for good Stocking Stuffer gift ideas? Why not Bluebell Railway gift vouchers? General gift vouchers--plus those for the Lounge Car, Golden Arrow, Fish & Chip Supper, and Bluebell Bonus--can be purchased online here

As Great Britain is surrounded by sea, fish has always been an important part of our diet. Fresh fish is extremely perishable and begins to rot quickly unless it is preserved by salting, pickling, smoking, or freezing. The advent of the railway in the nineteenth century allowed the product to be carried quickly to remote destinations and thus new markets. By the late 1940s/early 1950s, around a million tons of fish were landed annually at British ports. 75% was carried by rail; an average of over 2000 tons having to be moved daily.

The most productive fishing grounds around Britain were in the North Sea, and the bulk of the fish for the home market was landed on the east coast, so it is hardly surprising that the LNER led the field in the design of railway vehicles for the carriage of fish. Prior to WW2 they had produced a conventional 12-foot wheelbase, vacuum-braked fish van with wooden body and underframe. Some of these were either built, or retrospectively rebuilt, with additional insulation and recessed twin sliding doors.

The first examples of LNER Diagram 214 (later becoming BR Diagram 800) vans appeared in 1949. They had a 15-foot wheel-base and were fitted with vacuum brakes. The body was constructed from plywood skinned with smooth aluminium sheet, making the interior easier to clean. The exterior was painted white to reflect heat. The roof was made from two skins of aluminium filled with "Ozanote" rubber insulation. The doors were draught proofed and the interior would have been kept cool by boxes of "dry ice" (solid carbon dioxide).

As the fish boxes were packed with water ice, two floor drains prevented melted ice flooding the van. These vans were numbered, not as wagons but, like milk tankers, in the non-passenger coaching stock series. Although the BR standard insulated fish van, being an Eastern Region (ex-LNER) design, all the numbers were given an "E" prefix ... MORE
John Sandys (23 Nov., 2015): Featuring two P class locomotives in steam: Nos. 323 and 178.

Keith Duke (21 Nov., 2015): No. 323 and the Mets working a shortened service.

Charlie Ralph (Nov. 29, 2015): Q class No. 30541 getting ready for its trains on a brooding Sunday.

Derek Hayward (2015): " I have put what (I hope) are my best images of No. 30541 since entering service in a new gallery. Some of the images you will certainly have seen before, but others have been held back for this gallery."
John Sandys (Dec. 3, 2015): " More photos from my visit today including the Staff Christmas dining train."  

Martin Lawrence ((December 2015): Martin's December album includes photos of preparing scaffolding for the Sheffield Park Down Inner Home signal. 

By Charlie Ralph

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