Here's a fresh link for any of our readers who had trouble accessing the last issue of the eNewsletter (14 Feb., 2016) due to a glitch.  
The Railway's SR Maunsell Q class 0-6-0 No. 30541 at the Mid-Hants Steam Gala, by Phlip Bull.

Southern at War (14 & 15 May, 2016)

There are a number of new attractions at this year's Southern at War event, including a children's evacuation center based at Kingscote station, where children will learn how to make up their very own gas mask box and fool around with Brillo the Spiv!
At East Grinstead, singer Rose Lancaster will be entertaining the troops as they disembark trains arriving from Sheffield Park, and a special evening tea dance will take place in the Bessemer Arms restaurant on the Saturday evening featuring a live performance from the "Sweetheart Swings".

A special evening train service will operate from East Grinstead calling at Kingscote and Horsted Keynes for the evening dance and a special "all in" ticket is available for £18.50, including a train ride, the evening show, and Rickwood's famous Sausage and Mash supper. Bookings open now in the Travel Centre at East Grinstead or call 01825 720800.
Diesel Gala (15 and 17 April, 2016)

Working with our friends at GBRf, visiting locomotives will include members of classes 20, 47, and 73 together with London Underground's 4TC unit. There also will be a raffle each day to win a cab ride.
Any preservation groups that would like a trade stand space at Horsted Keynes station, will find a download booking form on the website and should contact Charlotte Archer at 01825 720800.
Vintage Transport Weekend (6 and 7 Aug., 2016)

The grand display of vintage cars, motorbikes, steam road locos, and commercial vehicles takes place every year at Horsted Keynes station and is a "must" for all vintage transport fans!

Entries for this year's show are now open. Owners of vintage cars and commercial vehicles should contact Marilyn Hull at 01825 720800, and you will find more information and an entry form at bluebell-railway.com/event/vintage-transport .

What about the return of the Music Hall Show? We are regularly asked when the next Victorian Music Hall show will take place at Horsted Keynes. Well, we are looking to see if an evening show can be staged over the Seaside Weekend on 6 Aug., 2016, so watch this space!
Visit bluebell-railway.com for information about all special events.

By Tim Baker, Commercial Director
"No. 73082 storms over the Bluebell Railway on 21 Feb., 2016," by OntheFastLine.
According to the BBC, repairs to the Dover-Folkstone line will take up to a year

According to the website The London Economic, the latest trend in mindfulness meditation is to go trainspotting, and the top place to do that is ... The Bluebell Railway! 

" Clinical Psychologist Dr Saima Latif, who is trained in mindfulness techniques, has found that trainspotting is an excellent de-stresser as the rhythm and process of the hobby allows our fast-paced thoughts to subside.

'Most people associate mindfulness with yoga, however taking up trainspotting can also be a really successful way to embrace this therapeutic process. By involving yourself in a pastime that has a clear goal you help to focus the mind on the present task in hand, which in turn helps to focus your thoughts and relieve stress.   

'The act of spotting trains, noting down their locomotive numbers and either ticking this off or collecting a list can provide a satisfying feeling that comes with accomplishing a goal. This is when the mindfulness benefits are felt as such a task will assist in the process of concentration, attention and memory and also improves emotional functioning.'"

The website then lists 10 tranquil railways that can help visitors get away from it all, with our Railway in the number one spot!
The Yorkshire Post has a story about a remarkable offline restoration of an 1896 ECJS sleeper, recovered from seaside caravan park.  
Don't miss this Southern Vintage video filmed in Kent and Sussex--45 minutes that includes LB&SCR locos, Atlantic, and Baltic. ("Hat tip" to Mark Duhig for suggesting this video.)
The Company Upfront's synopses for its 2016 Murder Mystery trains at the Bluebell Railway can be found here

"The subject of these two paintings are examples of a most graceful class ( D class ) of Edwardian express locos, one being highly decorated for Edward VII's Coronation in 1902. How fortunate that No. 737 was preserved after withdrawal from service in 1956 and is displayed in the National Collection at NRM York."--Neil Cameron

*Full Name: South Eastern and Chatham Railway 4-4-0 Locomotive No.738
*Artist: J. Thomas Banks
*Date painted: 1905
*Medium: Oil on canvas, 76.5 x 127.2 cm
* Collection: National Railway Museum

Click on BBC image to see a larger version.

*Full Name: South Eastern and Chatham Railway 4-4-0 Locomotive No.731 Decorated for the Coronation of King Edward VII, 1902
*Artist: unknown artist
*Medium: Oil on canvas, 61 x 91.6 cm
*Collection: National Railway Museum

Click on BBC image to see a larger version.

Carriage restoration Bluebell Railway, by John Hardwood.

(From Sky News) Messages from hundreds of servicemen as they left the UK on their way to World War I have been published for the first time. The soldiers stopped at the Peterborough East Railway Station--which is now derelict--between 1916 and 1917. While they were there, many wrote their thoughts or drew sketches in the visitor books that were in the station's tea room ..."
A3 No. 60103 "Flying Scotsman's" Inaugural Run, 25 Feb., 2016. According to The Telegraph , the trip caused quite a stir !

Writes Tony Hillman: "The search facility for the archival photographs keeps statistics of what searches are made.

"Here are images from the top six locations searched for, from the John J. Smith and Alan Postlethwaite collections."

A lovely story from the Chicago Tribune about Pullman porters in the US and their legacy of union innovation and unsurpassed professional service, often in the face of prejudice, now immortalised with a museum and a national monument in their name. 

Elsewhere, the Rosenberg Railroad Museum has its own celebration of the Pullman Porters.
Building up to the Diesel Gala: BR 1960s Type 1 and Type 2 diesels in Scotland.
(From the East Grinstead Courier) " Businesses are preparing to grab their slice of a £1.3 million visitor windfall, when East Grinstead's first Travelodge opens this summer. The 'value' hotel comany is on course to open its doors at the old Caffyns site on King Street later this year" ... MORE .

The new hotel's details are here
Railway Roundabout 1959: "A Visit to King's Cross Shed".

Dick Fearn--Chairman of Bluebell Railway PLC--confirms the appointment of Gordon Owen MVO to the new position of General Manager.

The post was created as part of the Railway's recent review of its organisational structure and its desire to position the management team to meet the needs and challenges of today's environment in the Railway's expanded scope of operation.

Born in Newcastle, after leaving school Gordon worked for five years with Procter and Gamble. He then moved south to London in 1983, where he joined the Metropolitan Police. Stationed primarily in South London, his career ultimately took him into Royalty Protection from which he retired after 32 years' service attaining the rank of Acting Chief Inspector.

A resident of Burgess Hill, West Sussex, although not a railwayman, his links with heritage steam can be traced back to his involvement with the Clan Line project in the late 1990s. He also has been a regular visitor and supporter of the Bluebell Railway over a number of years.

Dick Fearn says that Gordon brings with him very strong organisational, leadership, and interpersonal skills, all of which are key ingredients in this mandate.

Gordon will be taking up his post effective 7 March, 2016. His office will be located at Sheffield Park. Says Gordon, "I am delighted to be joining such a prestigious steam railway and look forward to meeting and working with the Bluebell team."

 By Roger Garman, Communications Director


An unusual view of the new roof; it will soon be rather less shiny! (Photo: N. Watts)
Two Friends of Sheffield Park (FOSP) projects are reaching a conclusion ...

The past four weeks have seen the replacement of the life-expired zinc sheet roof on the north end of the Platform 2 canopy.

Works commenced in late January with the erection of a scaffold platform giving access from below. FOSP volunteers then spent two intensive days stripping off the old roof sheeting. The fixings were externally corroded, resisting all attempts to unscrew them, so the heads needed to be ground off.

The good news, however, was that the timber rafters supporting the roof were in excellent condition, so a contractor on standby to fit new timbers was stood-down. A specialist roofing contractor has been working on fitting the new roof, which now matches the rest of the canopy roofing at Sheffield Park.

All of Sheffield Park's canopies now have new roofs. (Photo: N. Watts)
The photographs show some of the new roof in closeup, plus a general shot taken from the footbridge gives a good impression of the finished result. The shiny appearance of the new work will soon weather to a uniform grey. The new roof, funded by the Bluebell Trust, should keep our visitors dry for generations to come!

Meanwhile, the final stage of the station entrance porch has commenced. Last Wednesday, FOSP volunteers used a heavy-duty percussion drill to break out the concrete of the porch floor, digging right down to the earth so that a new concrete slab can be cast.

Help! Our porch has no floor! (Photo: C. Melton)
A "chequerboard" pattern tile floor will be laid in red and black square tiles. The original would have been quarry tile, but sadly black quarry tiles are no longer available. However, a good substitute has been found that meets  with the approval of the Railway's Heritage Standards Officer.

This work will restore the floor to its original condition, and we look forward to holding a ceremony soon to declare our newly-restored porch formally open!

By Chas Melton

The Bluebell Railway is one of the attractions featured in a new marketing campaign to showcase the best of East Grinstead.

Building on previous diesel galas, the Bluebell Railway and GB Railfreight (GBRf) are holding a jointly organised Diesel Gala from 15 to 17 April, 2016.  

Locomotives will be GBRf examples from classes 20, 47, 66, 73/1, and 73/9.   Rolling stock will be a mix of the Bluebell Railway's own coaches and a 4-TC unit kindly provided by London Underground, Ltd.    
An intensive three-train service for all three days is planned, with evening Beer Trains on Saturday.

More information can be found here . Thanks to Mike Hopps for creating the poster!

The Bluebell Railway Directors have reluctantly decided to withdraw the Branch Line event scheduled for three days in March.

A star attraction was to have been LNWR Coal Tank No. 1054. This loco is based at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway , but temporary weight restrictions imposed on two local bridges following bad weather have prohibited transfer by road. We hoped that these restrictions would have been lifted, but they remain in place. We have been unable to source a suitable replacement loco.

Those with pre-booked tickets have been contacted. The planned event would have seen an intensive timetable and would have possibly included the re-entering into traffic of the 50-seater LCDR 4 wheel 3rd class carriage.

The Branch Line event remains a core gala event for the Railway; however, an alternative slot in the 2016 schedule is unlikely, and we must now plan for a new event in early 2017.

By Roger Garman, Communications Director

Clive Emsley, chairman of The Fenchurch Fund and Project 27 Project Manager, has this Project 27 update, courtesy of Matt Holloway ...

"[Matt] has sent me some information to keep you up to date. He is now in possession of drawings from the NRM to enable him to produce CAD drawings for the rear of the frames, the drag box, and buffer beams. This means that it should be possible to have these manufactured by laser cutting or water jetting in the not-too-distant future. This will depend on funding being available to pay for the process.

"The CAD models for both LHS and RHS castings and machined models are finished. These are now ready for a final general check and checking of the required machining allowances (RMA) for the casting model. This will be done in cooperation with Chris Sheppard before they are sent to the foundry for checking and approval.

"Following on from this process, the 2D machining drawings for both the LHS and RHS blocks need to be produced from the 3D model. A 2D preliminary drawing has been produced. which, fortunately, matches the original Ashford drawing!

"We are confident that copies of the 3D drawings will be available for inspection at the BRPS AGM. These will include the casting and machining drawings and a copy of the original Ashford drawing for comparison.

"Other progress at the moment includes plenty of cleaning and painting, including the reverser covers, which it is hoped will be on display at the AGM also. Ian Furguson has finished the machining of the fitted bolts, which will fix the cylinder block to frames, once we are ready to fit the new cylinders! ...  MORE ."

The "Flying Scotsman" will be welcomed back to the National Railway Museum in style with a series of events in late February and early March. See all the details at the loco's website .

(Getty Images) Railway carriages stored at Kingscote Station on the disused Bluebell and Primrose Line  between Lewes and East Grinstead,12th March 1959. Students Martin Eastland, David Ballimore, and Alan Sturt have formed the Lewes & East Grinstead Railway Preservation Society and have plans to re-open the line independently of British Rail.

See the photo and details here .

This wagon is a low machinery-carrying wagon known by the codename 'Lowmac MU'.

With a wheelbase of 25' 6", it has a low centre deck (only 15.25 inches above rail level and 15 feet long) with ramps at both ends. This enabled heavy equipment with wheels or tracks to be loaded over the ends and to be carried within the height limit, known in the railway industry as 'loading gauge'.

Designed for revenue (commercial) traffic, typical loads were an earth mover, road roller or small lorry ... MORE .

Derek Hayward's photo shows Fenchurch shunting a small engineers' train, including the Lowmac, at the 2008 Goods Train Weekend.

With 2016 expected to be a busy year,  the Railway is currently advertising a variety of casual catering vacancies.

On 17 Feb., 2016, at Bonham's in New York City, a silver dog collar was put up for auction   [The collar, medal, and badge sold for US$5,000--Eds]
A remarkable piece of craftsmanship, the collar has historical significance for British railway history: it belonged to the Scotch collie Help, the first railway collecting dog, who worked for the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, Widows, and Orphans Fund.

In 1880, John Climpson, a long-time LB&SCR guard for the Newhaven boat trains, suggested the idea of a railway collecting dog, fitted with a harness collecting box, to raise funds for railway widows and orphans. He had seen a similar arrangement in use for church missions, and he recognised the need to publicise the fund and to collect funds directly.

Scroll through this link to see a larger version of this lithograph.  
Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants --Climpson's trade union--supported the idea and made the necessary arrangements, while Climpson sourced and trained the good-tempered and intelligent collie. Along with his silver collar, "Help, the Railway Dog of England" wore a medallion to accredit him as an offical collector for the fund. He was taken to meet guards on other railways so he would know and trust them when travelling with them. Selling replicas of Help's union medal at Branch, District and Congress meetings was a further revenue stream for the Fund.

Help was a resounding success and travelled throughout Britain and Ireland (with two trips to France) in the care of other guards, and he was a regular attendee at the Railwaymen's Congress. In fact, he was such a successful dog, he won a silver medal and £10 at the Clifton, Bristol, and West Dog Show in 1884.

Help collected from 1882 to 1889. He raised a total of £1,004 during his active collecting days, a very large sum for the time. He enjoyed two years of retirement, and after his death in 1891, he continued to serve the cause, preserved and mounted in a glass case in Brighton station.

Help was the precursor of all the railway collecting dogs that came afterwards. Visitors to the Bluebell Railway Museum will know one of Help's famous successors--London Jack is preserved at Sheffield Park Station and is still collecting for the Woking Homes.

By Neil Cameron

Many thanks to Paul Edwards of Sussex Motive Power Depots for passing along the NRM York lithograph we have used in this story, and for suggesting the Old Southeronians article on Railway Collecting Dogs.


By Keith Duke

Keith Duke (15 Feb., 2016): "A few quick pictures after my cleaning shift showing Camelot and Birchgrove on the service trains."

John Sandys (18 Feb., 2016): "Very busy at the railway today mid Half Term with lots of happy smiling faces!" 

Chris Dookie House (22 Feb., 2016): " Your fantastic Q class 30541 performing well on the photo charter today"  (at the Mid-Hants Railway Watercress Line). 

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
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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