The Railway's Special Events page  includes dates for this year:

* 19-20 March: Branch Line Weekend, including the visit of LNWR Coal Tank No.1054
* 25-28 March: Bo Peep Easter Specials
* 15-17 April: Diesel Weekend
* 30 April: Toy & Rail Collectors Fair
* 14-15 May: Southern at War
* 25-26 June: Model Railway Weekend
* 2-3 July: Food Festival 
* 10 July: Songs of Praise
* 30-31 July: Toy & Rail Collectors Fair
* 6-7 August: Seaside Weekend
* 13-14 August: Vintage Transport Weekend
* 28-30 October: Giants of Steam

To help promote each other's heritage lines, the Kent & East Sussex Railway, Isle of Wight Steam Railway, and Bluebell Railway will now be selling each other's magazines in our own shops.
Thus the shop at Sheffield Park and Travel Centre at East Grinstead will sell the "Tenterden Terrier" and "Island News" magazines, while the Havenstreet and Tenterden Station shops will stock the latest edition of "Bluebell News".
So now there is no reason to miss the news from each of the southeast's key heritage railways!
By Tim Baker, Commercial Director
The Railway on 31 Dec., 2015, by Philip Bull.

The BRPS Governance Review Development Group wishes to appoint a Secretary to take minutes at meetings of the group and sub groups, produce final copy, and distribute these within the group. 

The candidate will have a good working knowledge of Windows 7 or above and will be capable of working in a sensitive environment where his or her skills in organisation and communication will be fully utilised. 

This post is on a voluntary basis and will provide the candidate with an opportunity to contribute towards the future of the Railway. 

The vacancy has arisen due to the increasing workload of the group as the review reaches an important stage in development.

Candidates should contact the group at 07799116654 or
bluebellvolunteer@gmail.com .

Celebrate St. Valentine's Day on the Wealden Rambler or Golden Arrow.

Enjoy a fish supper on the first Fish and Chip Train of 2016, on 20 Feb. 
A 1954 British Transport Films "The Elizabethan Express, " a seasonal non-stop express between London Kings Cross and Edinburgh Waverley stations.
Maunsell Q class No. 30541 will visit the Mid Hants Railway for its  Spring Steam Gala on 12-14 Feb., 2016.

Tony Hillman has taken a look back at archive photo orders from 2015 and chosen the six most popular orders. To order these or any other archive image, click the link below.  

Martin Lawrence's December 2015 compilation.

The goal of the Steam Library is to record of as many of the tales that former train drivers, firemen, signalmen, and engineers have to tell, as a historical resource that will be freely available to all steam railway enthusiasts.

If you or anyone you know worked on the railways when steam was in service and might be willing to share a tale, contact the library via its webpage
It may interest our readers to know that Kingscote Vineyard, created by the late Christen Monge, is up for sale for offers in excess of £4.5 million.

The Daily Mail has picked up on the potential of this vineyard. 

* Artist: Henry Marvell Carr

* Date painted: 1941

* Medium: Oil on canvas, 99 x 149.8 cm

* Collection: IWM (Imperial War Museums)


Click on BBC image to see larger version. 


The painting depicts the brooding platforms of St. Pancras at night in a scene from World War II. 

Much thanks to eagle-eyed reader Richard Sims who notes that the Bournemouth Belle painting in the previous issue "should read 'rebuilt Merchant Navy,' as it is No. 35028 'Clan Line,' not a rebuilt Light Pacific. The unmodified Pacific on the left in the painting has a Battle of Britain name plate and, from its head code, is on a Southampton train."

Photo by Ben Brooksbank: 10 May 1958 , rebuilt Merchant Navy class No. 35030 "Elder Dempster Lines" at Bournemouth Loco Depot. Loco is viewed from Platform 1 Bournemouth Central Station. Find "Elder Dempster Lines" on this list of SR Merchant Navy class locos.
Helsinki and Tallinn agree to build  the world's longest underwater rail tunnel.
"Joe Light Railway's" Best of Heritage Steam and Diesel Locomotives 2015.
Wired.com has compiled a list of its seven best train trips in the world . Talyllyn gets a mention as the "most adorable" trip. 

W rites John Ray: "This photo was taken at the Giants of Steam event on a slightly misty Saturday morning, 31 Oct., 2015. It shows No. 30541 leaving Horsted Keynes on the Ardingly Sidings to Kingscote goods. The image is actually from a still movie frame, shot in 4K."

Last September, at a joint meeting of the trustees of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society and the directors of Bluebell Railway PLC, approval was given to my proposal to appoint a full-time paid General Manager to the Company.

The need for a full-time leadership role in the Company also was supported by the findings of the Society's ongoing Governance Review team, and it was agreed that we should commence the search and selection process as soon as possible.

Reporting to the PLC Chairman, the General Manager will be responsible to the Board for the overall day-to-day management of the business, and he or she also will coordinate the day-to-day implementation of the plans and policies approved by the Board of the Company, in support of the long-term aims and objectives of the Society.

In October, the post of General Manager was advertised widely on relevant websites and in the print media, and the response was most encouraging. From the full list of applications received, no less than 18 quality candidates were selected for the first round of interviews, which were held over two days in December.

I was assisted in carrying out these interviews by Society Chairman Roy Watts and supported by the Company's Personnel and Administration Manager Lisa Boyle. Of the 18 interviewed, six exceptionally good candidates were shortlisted for the final selection process, which will be held this month.

On the panel for the final round of interviews, I will be joined by the Society's President Gordon Pettitt, Trustee and Company Finance Director Martin Widdowson, and Trustee and Locomotive Director Chris Hunford.

I know that the name of the successful candidate will be eagerly awaited by everyone connected with the Bluebell Railway, and I am sure that, on taking up the post of General Manager, he or she can look forward to the full support of the Railway's family when settling into the new role.

By Dick Fearn, Chairman, Bluebell Railway PLC

The year 2015 finished on a high. Our Christmas season programme was highly successful with most services a sell-out.
Santa Specials from Sheffield Park, plus the two new services from East Grinstead, sold to capacity. We accomodated only 125 people less than 2014; however, we ran six trains less, resulting in a large saving in costs.

The Reindeer Specials--which started at East Grinstead and included a visit to a real family of reindeer at Kingscote--was also a sell-out, and an extra 400 passengers were accommodated by adding the 1913-built Observation Car to the Edwardian carriage set that was used for these special services.
We had to run an extra Victorian Special because of demand, and therefore we carried an extra 200 passengers, which together with an extra Festive Feast service helped increase our visitor numbers at this popular time of year.
I am very grateful to all the staff and volunteers who helped with our Christmas programme, and I know that in many cases they were extremely long and tiring days. The events team at Horsted Keynes were arriving for duty at 8:30 a.m. and some did not depart until 8:30 p.m. for many days in a row.
Planning for 2016 season has already commenced!
By Tim Baker, Commercial Director
The Railway will not be running any train services through January until 6 Feb., 2016. Over this period the Railway will be undertaking its major resignalling scheme at Kingscote Station, where a new signal box will be brought into service on the station platform. Learn more here .

In 2016, the Railway is offering two new season tickets ...

Off-Peak Season Tickets

This season ticket allows unlimited third-class travel on all Service One and Service Two timetable days (not including special events or special services--see webpage for details). An adult ticket costs £50; a child ticket costs £25. Available for purchase until 28 March, 2016. Tickets valid until 27 Nov., 2016.

Rail Gala Season Ticket

This is a special season ticket for the rail enthusiast. It allows unlimited third-class travel on these three special events: Branch Line Weekend (18-20 March); Diesel Gala (15-17 April); and Giants of Steam (28-30 Oct.) Enjoy unlimited travel when visiting locos perform alongside the Railway's own fleet. An adult ticket costs £120; a child ticket costs £60. Available for purchase until 13 March, 2016.

To buy either Season Ticket, drop into the Sales & Information Office at Sheffield Park or the Travel Centre in East Grinstead or phone 01825 720800.

Wish to Travel First Class? Simply pay the difference between First and Third Class travel for the day of your choice in advance or on the day.

Learn more here .

Photo by John Sandys.
(East Grinstead Online, 29 Dec., 2015) The  East Grinstead Access Group, which campaigns to make life easier for those with mobility issues and in wheelchairs, has helped with a video shoot in the Bluebell Railway's engine shed at Sheffield Park.

The historic steam railway was producing its video--fronted by TV newsreader and steam railway buff Nicholas Owen--in a bid for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

If successful, the money will be used to separate off part of the shed for use as an exhibition centre, with a replica of steam engine Stepney, which will be ramped and fully accessible to disabled as well as able-bodied children, who can pull levers and see the wheels rotate on a display screen.

At present children, and anyone in a wheelchair, can only gaze upwards at the static displays from ground level ...

To read the full article, click here .
Smart's Bluebell Railway-themed ad took the number one spot Top Gear's Best of 2015 list.

A taste of things to come: No. 31027 at Dover on 19 Aug., 1948 in British Railways livery (photo by JH Ashton).
Recent works on the loco include mainly cleaning and painting of components.  The steam reverser cylinder covers have been cleaned and painted; this will protect them until the final painting takes place. Similar cleaning and priming of components also continues on many other parts of the loco.

The cylinder drawings are virtually ready to be printed, and we hope to be able to display the paper drawings at the BRPS Annual General Meeting in May. We are now seeking out costs for the casting to be produced; once we are able to place an order for the cylinders this will be done. We will then need to seek quotes for the machining of the castings.

Thanks go to Keith Sturt and Roger Cruse who spent time going through the archives at York searching for any appropriate drawings for SECR locos and P tanks in particular. Their hard work has paid off with a copy of the frame drawings and the frame general arrangement drawings. So once Matt has finished the CAD drawings for manufacturing of the cylinders, he will use these drawings to get busy on a set of CAD drawings for the rear of the frames, the buffer beams, and other smaller components.

By Clive Emsley

View more updates on the Project 27 blogsite .

The Bluebell Railway is currently looking for a Customer Services Assistant to work in the East Grinstead Travel Centre, selling and booking Railway products including dining trains and travel services.

Applicants should be self-motivated, enthusiastic, and have an excellent educational standard. Previous customer service experience is desirable.

Applicants must live within the East Grinstead area and be a car driver. The role will require flexible mid-week and weekend working based on a 40-hour week. Previous applicants need not apply. The salary is £15,704.00 p.a.

Contact Lisa Boyle by email or phone 01825 724884 for an application form and for further information.

On 8 Jan., 1966, the last steam train from London Waterloo chugged out of Salisbury station heading to Exeter.

The train was packed with around 400 railway enthusiasts who had travelled from all parts of the country to be a part of the sentimental journey.

Read about the Salisbury Journal's marking on the 50th anniversary of the last Waterloo-to-Exeter steam-hauled train.

Adds Neil Cameron, "The locos used were Bulleid West Country Pacifics, appropriately No. 34015 'Exmouth' and No. 34001 'Exeter'."

Steam at Salisbury in the mid-1960s.
  • Details of the special excursion from 1966 can be found here .
  • The BBC's Train Now Departing takes a look at the " Holiday Line ." Writes Neil Cameron: "This is a 2 0-year retrospective (of the year 1967) about Southern steam, the main line from Waterloo to Salisbury and beyond to Exeter and the holiday destinations served in Dorset, Devon, and Cornwall. Exeter Central and Exmouth is our destination, since it is the last of the SR branch lines serving holiday destinations. There is good film of Adams radial No. 30583 on the Lyme Regis branch. Class 50 diesels haul the 1980s trains seen."
Somerset & Dorset Railway: 50th Anniversary of Closure as a Through Route

"Return to Evercreech Junction": A 1985 BBC documentary about the "Somerset & Dorset  Railway," which starts with coverage from  Bath Green Park station. "It benefits from Ivo Peters superb 16mm colour film and stills of top quality, plus interviews with those who worked the line, including Driver Donald Beale," notes Neil.
The "Flying Scotsman" prepares to return to the tracks after £4.2m revamp (from The Independent) . Visit the Scotsman's webpage here to learn details about its inaugural run.
The 1906 North Eastern Railway dynamometer car at National Rail Museum, York, also has been cosmetically restored .

Writes Neil Cameron: " In this photo , t he ninth wheel can be seen behind the leading bogie.  There must have been great excitement in the dynamometer cars when going all out.  Here's Doncaster-based Driver Joe Duddington who drove 'Mallard' at 126 mph describing the record-breaking run."  


Stories, pictures, and videos from: 
Watch the "Flying Scotsman" on a test.

The Railway's 2016 dates for volunteer recruitment--known as "Find Out More Days"--have been announced ...
  • 14 February
  • 13 March
  • 10 April
  • 8 May
  • 12 June
  • 10 July
  • 14 August
  • 11 September
  • 9 October
  • 13 November
Have you ever wondered how to become a volunteer, what it entails, and whom to contact?

Any men or women, skilled or unskilled, who can offer a day a month or more to the Railway are invited to "find out more" about volunteering in our various departments. And if under 16, you can gain experience in the 9F Club.

Book your place on an orientation tour, and get more information about our opportunities, by phoning 01825 720800 or emailing bluebellvolunteer@gmail.com .

You can learn about becoming a Bluebell Railway Preservation Society member at 

Dave Bowles (December 2015): Some trains and classic planes (lovely composition and light for these) for the vintage transportation enthusiast to enjoy.

John Sandys (29 Dec., 2015): "A busy day at the railway today with the Fairy Godmother Specials and trains once again running through to East Grinstead. Also some new stock in the shop."

Nick Burgess (4 Jan., 20165):  A sunrise shot (below) on Freshfield Bank, from a photo charter organised by Jon Bowers, with No. 30541 and a goods train. 

By Nick Burgess.

Thank you for reading our eNewsletter. Don't forget to pass it along to friends, family, and colleagues to let them know all the activities and opportunities--for young and old alike--that the Bluebell Railway offers. Don't hesitate to get in touch if you have Railway news to share or if you have a question or comment.
John Walls
Editor-in-Chief, eNewsletter
Bluebell Railway
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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