The Golden Arrow on 21 March, 2016, by Andy Collett.
East Grinstead Online has marked the third anniversary of the Railway arriving in the town (23 March, 2013) with this article, reminding us again that it wasn't the best spring day in terms of weather, but that didn't dampen enthusiasm!

A group of boys watching the trains--in this case, a Brighton Atlantic loco--at Victoria Station, London, in 1928.
The Compass Bus No. 769 bus service has started again operating each Sunday and Bank Holiday until the end of October, leaving for Sheffield Park from Brighton, Burgess Hill, or Haywards Heath. 



* Full Name: " Isle of Wight Central No. 11 to Sandown at Ryde Pier "

* Artist: Cuthbert Hamilton Ellis (1909-1987)

* Collection: Museum of Island Railway History

* Measurements: 24.5 x 35.3 cm

* Medium: Oil on board


This loco was originally No. 40 "Brighton." It moved to the Isle of Wight in 1902 and was renamed and renumbered in 1930. No. 11 returned to mainland 1947 but is now preserved on Isle of Wight Steam Railway.
An interesting development in Manchester, home to Liverpool Road Station, the earliest surviving rail terminus in the world. A long-sought Network Rail development in the area--known as the " Ordsall Chord " plan--will connect Manchester's Piccadilly, Oxford Road, and Victoria stations. 
The Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) has dropped its long-standing objection to the scheme. Under the plan, MOSI can continue to hold live demonstrations over a shortened route, but its rail access to the network will be lost.

Another take on the Ordsall Chord plan can be read here .  
Bluebell Railway Vintage Goods Train, 19 March, 2016, by Joe Light Railway.

Photo by Ian Taylor . From 18 Oct., 1964: A special steam train leaves the Portsmouth Direct line at Peasmarsh, heading for Horsham. This was a day out for USA tank No. 30064, which was used as the Guildford shed pilot. The Guildford-to-Horsham line closed in 1965 and this junction was removed. These tanks were a US Army Transportation Corps design, bought by Southern Railway in 1946, and mostly used at Southampton Docks.

This loco has been at the Bluebell Railway since 1971, preserved by the Southern Loco Preservation Company. A most useful heavy shunting engine that also was used on the Railway's passenger trains; indeed, at one time No. 30064 was the only working loco for several weeks in between repairs to other locos.
USA tank No. 30064 in 1981: the loco is working hard past Holywell and on the uphill stretch to Horsted Keynes.
Read all about Kingscote Valley in Sussex Living magazine.  

Chris Cooper has been a volunteer on the Bluebell Railway since the first day of operation, and now he is retiring after 50 years of carriage cleaning.  On 24 March, 2016, a special train was run in his honour. Photo by Keith Duke.

This amazing production by Eric Sparks features a panoply of Southern Railway action filmed when electrification was beginning to make an impact on the region's railways. 

There are steam locomotives aplenty at various locations, working between Brighton and Bognor Regis.  Colour sequences show the famous deluxe Brighton Belle trains arriving and departing followed by amazing shots of engines at Brighton Works. 

We also see signalmen coping with rail and road traffic.
An August 2015 view of the Golden Arrow, by Gabriel Phillips-Sanchez, beautifully filmed and set to music.

Writes Tony Hillman: "Following on from the most searched for places, this week I list the six most   searched for engines on our photo archive."


Brian Hymas contacted us with notice that an article has been published in Siemens' in-house magazine about the Kingscote signal box: "Bluebell Railway volunteers in Sussex, including some of our current employees, have just commissioned an historic Westinghouse Style 'L' signal box miniature lever frame."

Southern Steam: The Westerham Branch (read KentRail's page on this branch line here .)

Good news  from the world of heritage rail. Seven planning applications forming a package aimed at extending the present mile-long section of the revived Lynton & Barnstaple Railway by an additional four and a half miles have been lodged with Exmoor National Park Authority and North Devon Council.

Originally opened in 1898, and closed in 1935, Lynton & Barnstaple Railway was Southern railway's only narrow gauge line, and one of the world's most picturesque journeys.

Today, Lynton & Barnstaple Railway is a non-profit organisation that offers two-mile round trip train rides at Woody Bay in Exmoor National Park, above the delightful Heddon Valley near Parracombe. It is owned by the members of the L&BR Trust and run almost entirely by volunteers.

The railway operates three steam locos and two Hunslet diesels.

This video shows images of the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway in 1935.
GBRf No. 66739 "Bluebell Railway" passes Grantham on Middleton Towers to Barnby Dun sand hoppers on 14 March, 2016, by Alan Curtis. 

The Infrastructure-led project to inspect and repair the footbridge at Sheffield Park began recently, and Friends of Sheffield Park (FOSP) volunteers participated by doing what we do best ... picking up a paintbrush.

To closely inspect the structural condition of the bridge, it had to be shot-blasted to remove all previous surface-treatment, rust, etc. This specialist work was done by contractors, and it generated a great deal of mess.  

So a gang from the Infrastructure Department spent a day sweeping, pressure-washing, and generally cleaning up the area. Meanwhile, the shot-blasting also exposed bare metal to the air, which will rust if not painted with a coat of metal primer. Happily, we experienced 10 days of continuously dry weather, and FOSP volunteers were in attendance nearly every day to complete the task.

There was a surprisingly large amount of metal to be covered, and painting the lattice-work in particular was very time-consuming, with many edges and crevices. About 14 litres of "red oxide" primer was applied.

Now the rust has been taken care of, we will progressively apply the final paint finish. This painting will dovetail around the repair/replacement of timber work. Once the steps and decking are back in situ, we will finish the paint job, keeping the bridge open by the strategic use of barriers.

This work is the first phase of the full refurbishment of the footbridge. We anticipate more painting opportunities for FOSP when further phases are undertaken, presumably after the daily running season is over.    

By Chas Melton

Those of you who read Modern Railways (MR ) may have already noted what eNewsletter reader Brian Hymas saw in the April 2016 issue:

" ...  hidden away in an article on p.33 --written by Ian Walmsley, a respected  MR journalist--about tourists in London and the provision of special (named) trains to take them around the country, was the following comment:

'The DfT competition highlights heritage railways as a destination, which is  all very well, but most of them are only open at weekends. Heritage railways  are great, but they vary a lot and I'm not sure the average foreign tourist  is going to be mad about going on a train trip to go on another train trip  at the end. 

'There are dining specials, and having dined on nearly all of them I think the only one I would rate as a top international tourist attraction for ... non-railway enthusiasts would be the Bluebell Railway Pullman Diner.'"


PLC Chairman Dick Fearn has written to all Bluebell Railway shareholders introducing a new initiative for this year: Shareholder Weekend.

The event will take place on 9 and 10 April, 2016, and it will feature tours of the Railway's works departments, a special tour of the Brighton Atlantic Project, and a behind-the-scenes look at the new Carriage Shed being built.

Presentations also will be given on the history of Horsted Keynes, East Grinstead, Sheffield Park, and Kingscote stations, and there will be separate presentations of plans for the ASH (Accessible Steam Heritage) and Western Extension projects.

Says Dick Fearn, "This event will give both myself and fellow directors a chance to introduce ourselves and to update shareholders on some of the major project works planned and underway, and it will enable you to see behind the scenes."

Shareholders are reminded to bring their invitation letter with them--it has the itinerary on the back! Any shareholder who has not received their invitation letter should contact roger.garman@bluebell-railway.co.uk. (It will help us if you can give your name, address, phone number, number of shares held, and share certificate number).

All Bluebell Railway staff (volunteer and employed) should note details of the Safety Management System relaunch , which includes the dates on which staff can meet the new General Manager and be updated on the changes to the SMS.

As the weather warms up, thoughts turn to days out, cream teas, and relaxing afternoons watching the trains go by ... there is plenty to do at the Bluebell Railway during the spring season, so why not bookmark these very useful webpages from the visitors/booking website:
On these pages, you'll find more details on the Railway's regular and seasonal specials and events--such as the Bluebell Specials/Observation Car, fish and chip trains, Diesel Weekend, and Golden Arrow--as well as the Bluebell Bonus, Gift Vouchers, Kids for a Quid, Local Residents Card, and similar offers. 
The  Bluebell Railway blog  is another excellent source for events, specials, and offers.   
From 25 to 28 April and 3 May to 6 May, the Railway is offering its famous Bluebell Specials. 
T ravel in the 1913 Observation Carriage for full panoramic views of the beautiful spring flowers that give the Railway its name. 
Services depart at 12: 05 p.m. and 2:35 p.m. from Sheffield Park Station for the one hour and 40 minute return journey to East Grinstead.

Find out more here

Railway members and friends may have noticed a very shiny buffet car No. 1818 sitting around. It's not that we don't want to get it dirty, it's just that the final stage of its current overhaul is still in progress.  

No. 1818 is standing on a spare set of bogies, while its own are being overhauled outside the Works. Once done, it will then join a queue of carriages needing to use the jacks, following a multi-stage process to get No. 16210 back into service.

You also may have noticed a mystery green Mk1 carriage in the Horsted Keynes down yard headshunt. This is No. 2442, the "Queen of Scots" sleeping carriage, normally resident at Sheffield Park for staff accommodation.

No. 16210, a green Mk1 composite carriage, has been out of action for a short while with defective tyres. To save spending £20,000 on new tyres, we are taking the wheelsets out of No. 2442 and fitting them to No. 16210, to return this carriage to service asap and at near-zero cost.  

The process, however, involves fitting another set of bogies to No. 2442. These will be the BR1 bogies currently under No. 4754, so these have to be taken out first and temporarily replaced by a B4 and a B5 bogie we have in stock.  

This work will commence as soon as the Operation Undercover work has finished its current phase over E road, when we will regain access to the carriage jacks.

By Lewis Nodes, Director of Rolling Stock

Above, on behalf of the Bluebell Trust, Bill Brophy and Sam Bee receive the original smokebox numberplate for No. 92240 from Mrs. Tomkins on 21 Feb., 2016. The numberplate is now included in the museum display of original numberplates from Bluebell engines. The others are: USA No. 30064, E4 No. 32473, B4 No. 30096, and Terrier No. 32636.

The "Corrall Queen" nameplate also has been added to the selection of numberplates in the Museum. The B4 was named "Corrall Queen" when sold to Corrall's for use on Southampton Docks. The nameplate, and engine, are now owned by the Bulleid Society.

An interpretation board has been attached to the fence near the footbridge at Sheffield Park to explain the earlier use of the Woodpax site as a Dairy and Sawmill. A two-foot gauge track ran from the dairy to the platform where the Bulleid Shop now stands.

The original postbox from West Hoathly Station has been obtained through the generosity of the Carriage Shop at Horsted Keynes. It became available at very short notice, and we thank Barry Jones (who runs the Horsted Keynes bookshop) for helping with the purchase. It is currently in store awaiting a suitable location to be displayed.

To browse more accessions, click here .

By Tony Hillman
There's now another reason for Railway passengers to get off at East Grinstead station and stroll around. Just two minutes walk from the station is a a new micropub in Station Approach called the Open Arms (!), with four Sussex-brewed beers on draught and range of bottled ales.

From the Bluebell Railway Facebook page: Chloe--the resident cat in the Carriage & Wagon Department--is well known for finding the softest bed available.  She took this penchant to extremes last week. Her new comfy spot is a seat cushion still being stuffed with horsehair at the other end. 

Subject to Chloe's approval [we assume--Eds] , the cushion--destined for LCDR/SECR No. 3188--will be buttoned before being fitted to the carriage, which will be the next restoration out-shopped at Horsted Keynes.

Project 27 has the first views of its new cylinder drawings, which were recently shown to the loco's restoration gang and fundraising group. 

There will be more drawings available for viewing at the Diesel Gala and the Bluebell Railway AGM, where, says Clive Emsley, the project will have sales stands. 

For more updates, visit the project's blog .

(From the Brighton Atlantic Railway Group) The chassis is getting close to completion with the valves now set, the valve chest covers re-fitted, and the coupling and connecting rods erected.

We have now removed the rollers from under the driving wheels as they are now not required. So, we have now moved over to work on the boiler. First of all we have had to make some room around it to get space to work, so the large marking out table ex-Eastleigh loco works and weighing four tons or so has had to be removed.

Once the table was removed, we cleaned and painted the floor, ready to get to grips with the boiler. On 9 March, 2016, we received the superheater header, in SG iron, cast, machined, and pressure-tested from Premier Patterns and Castings.

We carried out a "loose" trial fitting the following day just to check on the practicalities of its fit to the boiler and within the smokebox. It over-sails the edges of the boiler barrel by some way, but this will still fit within the smokebox which is about five inches larger in diameter than the boiler.

The two safety valve easing levers were initially water-cut to profile and then finished by various milling processes in-house. Work also is well advanced on the regulator valve and is about to start on the safety valve columns themselves. Quite a tricky job.

Find more updates and accompanying photos here .

This photo shows the large marking out table, alongside the boiler, cleared of parts and rubbish, resting on pipe rollers ready to be pinch-barred to the doors. Photo by Fred Bailey.
The National Trust is marking the advent of spring at Sheffield Park and Garden. 

The Bluebell Railway Museum Web Application--which can be downloaded from iPhone and Android app stores--has now been published for one year and the number of downloads so far is 618.

Compared with other local and national museums with apps, this a very high download rate, particularly for the first year. Surprisingly, the Railway's app has been downloaded in more than 30 countries.

The app has been continually updated with additional pages added, such as a page and subpage on omnibus telephone systems that includes accounts by retired railway staff on their use. An omnibus telephone can be seen in the Withyham signal box.

Feedback from visitors is very positive. Some visitors have asked that locomotives details be added to the app, and it is hoped this can be achieved once the ASH Project is completed.

By Malcolm Johnson

By Steve Lee.

Martin Lawrence (March 2016): An update to Martin's March gallery.

Paul Simpson (17 March, 2016): A photo charter with B473. 

Steve Lee (17 March, 2016): B473 with a milk train. 
Ben Jenden (5 March, 2016): No. 73082 waits to leave Sheffield Park with the combined Golden Arrow and Wealden Rambler trains.
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