Next Rail Ale Evening :  27 May, 2016
Model Railway Weekend : 25-26 June, 2016  
Sussex Food Festival : 2-3 July, 2016
Seaside Weekend : 7-8 Aug., 2016   
Vintage Transport Weekend : 13-14 Aug., 2016
A day at the Bluebell Railway, featuring Hastings diesel No. 1001 and resident engines nos. 473, 323, and 73082.

Photo by Ben Brooksbank   (5 Aug., 1964). "Eastleigh station, with a Special for Salisbury via Southampton." View northward, towards Winchester, Basingstoke and London: major junction on the ex-LSW Waterloo-Weymouth main line. The Special was probably for Eastleigh Works Open Day (see kids). The Locomotive is SR Bulleid Light Pacific No. 34092 "City of Wells," built 9/49, withdrawn 11/64 but preserved and is now on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway.
OP4 progress filmed by John Harwood (7 May, 2016).
SAVE-THE-DATE: Giants of Steam 2016 | 28-30 Oct., 2016
The Railway on 9 May, 2016, by Adrian Hodge.

This interesting double-bill shows the old stomping ground of Adams Radial Tank No. 488, with footage of the loco in action intercut with scenes of the route it used to serve on the East Kent Light Railway, including the Golgotha Tunnel.

The film then moves to No. 488's current home, the Bluebell Railway, where an open day is in progress. On display are steam trains, a steam carousel, traction engines, vintage and military cars, buses, and the inevitable Morris Dancers [!]
To book a school visit with the Railway's Education Department, contact Education Officer David Cockram or School Liaison Officer Sandon Ayres at education@bluebell-railway.co.uk or 01825 720800. More information can be found here .
Kingscote signals and more on 7 May, 2016, by John Harwood.

"The Signalling Record Society has recently published a book about the Railway Signal Engineer Samuel Dutton. The book includes three images from the John J. Smith collection, the first three listed below. The other images (from John Smith and Alan Postlethwaite) show Dutton signalling boxes in Southern England."--Tony Hillman

"Prins August" a Swedish preserved steam loco built in 1906. The Swedish Railway Museum in Gävle steamed the loco for a demonstration run on 23 May, 2015 for the museum's 100th anniversary.

*Full Name: Bon Voyage: Trains Joining Steam Ships at Calais
*Artist: Terence Tenison Cuneo (1907-1996)
*Date painted: 1952
*Medium: Oil on canvas
*Measurements: 92 x 133.6 cm
*Acquisition: British Railways poster artwork, obtained as a result of a direct claim of redundant material from the nationalised railway in 1966.

Last year, in July, the ad hoc Bluebell Railway XI played its first match against the Railway's neighbours Scaynes Hill CC. SHCC is the club whose cricket ground-- Freshfields-- next to the line helps to provide that authentic Sussex summer countryside atmosphere for our visitors.

The teams and their friends and family members had a wonderful day out, hosted by SHCC, and the match was followed by a fundraising barbecue at the club's HQ.

The teams would like to play another game this year on Saturday, July 16, 2016, and this time we would like to make the game a fundraiser for both the Railway and for SHCC. So, we are looking for cricketers of all ages and skill levels, ideally with a connection to the Railway (member, volunteer, staff, etc.), to play in our XI.  

If you would like to join in this friendly match (and barbecue afterwards!), please email me at j.walls1@btinternet.com before May 31, 2016. Thank you.

The Battle of Dunkirk, May/June 1940 . Men of the British Expeditionary Force are in good spirits as they arrive at a London railway station on their return home, 

The Battle of Dunkirk--which took place approximately 25 May-3 June, 1940--included a successful attempt to extricate the British Expeditionary Force and other Allied troops from a hopeless situation, when they had been "squeezed" by the vastly superior German mechanized forces into a small area around Dunkirk, France, with no hope of escape. 

The call was made for every ship and boat to leave from Britain to save as many soldiers as possible, and despite the British leaving behind most of its equipment, more than 338, 000 Allied troops were brought back to England.
The Railway on 21 Feb., 2016, by "KatholischerGbf".

The Bluebell Railway Preservation Society (BRPS) held its 56th Annual General Meeting in Burgess Hill on 21 May, 2016. There was a higher than usual attendance, with more than 320 members present, attributable at least in part to the desire of members to express appreciation for Roy Watts, who stood down as Chairman, having served from 1997 to 2016.

It was reported that membership levels are holding at around 10,500, but it was poignant to note that in the last year, 69 members have passed away.

The accounts of the Bluebell Railway PLC, BRPS, and Bluebell Railway Trust were distributed and highlights discussed.

Updates on the Accessible Steam Heritage (ASH), Operation Undercover (OP4), and Western Extension/Ardingly Branch projects were delivered. The ASH Appeal now stands at £158,000 which is 75% of the targeted £210k. On WEP it was emphasised that there is no dash for Ardingly. What the Railway is doing is asset protection/enabling works with a view to seeking planning application and a Transport & Works Act Order once a Business Case is developed, detailed project costs are known, and a funding strategy agreed. On OP4, steelwork on the present building phase should be completed by end of May and the rest of the contract by end of June.

Although fundraising can easily focus on the major capital building and overhaul/restoration projects, the reality is that the fabric and infrastructure of the railway is in need of heavy investment, the station buildings at Horsted Keynes and track between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes being examples. The need to "up our game," especially in attracting higher visitor numbers and thus additional revenue was acknowledged.

A motion for the Trustees to investigate a restructuring of the AGM and to examine Postal Voting was passed by a narrow majority, and findings and recommendations will be reported with notices for the 2017 meeting.

Awards included those for 25, 40, and 50 years' volunteer service. Special awards were given to Chris Cooper for his 50 years and dedication to turning out a clean carriage fleet for our customers; to Trevor Rapley for his outstanding work with carriage restorations; and to Roger Kelly for his relentless fundraising work and achievements.

An award also was given to Tim Baker, who stood down as a Trustee, recognising his many years' solid contribution and support to the Society. The final award--of a 00 gauge Adams Radial tank--was made by Society President Gordon Pettitt to Roy Watts for his remarkable long service, commitment, and dedication. Roy was offered the post of Society Vice President, which he kindly accepted.

By Derek Hayward.
Graham Aitken--Guard and Senior Station Master at Sheffield Park (pictured)--won the election to succeed Roy Watts as Society Chairman. Carriage & Wagon Department volunteer Steve Bigg was appointed unopposed as Society Vice Chairman, and Tim Parkin was successfully elected as a new Society Trustee following Tim Baker's decision not to stand for re-election.

Fundraising on the night realised £1,000, which will be matched by a donor, thus boosting Cash for Cover and the ASH appeal each by £1,000!

Finally, good news if you are a BRPS member: as of 1 June Privilege Rate tickets will be sold at 50% of the full fare price. That keeps it simple!

By Roger Garman, Communications Director

I would like to express my thanks for all the help and support I received during my tenure as Society Chairman. It's not always been an easy ride, and some tough decisions had to be made, but assuredly they were always made in the best interests of the Railway.

In furtherance of our aims and objectives, I wish Graham Aitken and Steve Bigg every success as they take the Railway forward to the next stage of our proud history, and I am sure you will continue to offer them your support.

I would also like to thank both Sam Bee and Gavin Bennett for their contributions in keeping me on track. I never underestimated the value of their input. Whether they agreed with me or not, they offered the opportunity of good advice, sense check, or, indeed, what should be correct procedure to ensure we worked within the framework of our rules--such very useful people to have at your side.

Naturally, I offer my commiserations to Sam as he stands down as Vice Chairman, but I know he has plenty to focus on, including overseeing our wonderful Museum and being involved with the Trust. I offer him my personal thanks.  

I am deeply honoured to have the title of Vice President bestowed upon me, and I look forward to adding my contribution to the progression of our wonderful Railway. We are certainly not at journey's end yet. Who knows, I might even take a much closer look at the Adams No. 488 ...

Best wishes to you all,

Roy Watts
The Railway is hiring! There are two vacancies in the Carriage & Wagon Department, for a Mechanical Fitter and Machinist (plus casual silver service waiting staff are required for the Railway's Golden Arrow Pullman Dining Train). More details here.  
The loco selected by the Project Steering Group to be used in the Accessible Steam Heritage (ASH) Rolling Road Exhibit is Southern Railway USA class No. 30064 , affectionately known as the "Yankee Tank".

Originally built for the United Sates Transportation Corp for use in Europe following "D Day" in 1944, No. 30064 landed in England from America during 1943. After Word War II engines like this one were bought by  the Southern Railway. The Railway's preserved tank was used for shunting in Southampton Docks. She was one of the last steam locos to see service on the national railway. Coming  to our Railway in 1971, she ran until 1983.
Since then the loco has been stored in the open, currently on a siding at Horsted Keynes. No. 30064 has been selected for its size and because there is interesting running gear visible to see on the outside. These features make it ideal for a static rolling road exhibit. In addition, the valve gear is easily accessible for oiling, which will be required during operation of the exhibit. 
After so many years in the open, the "Yankee Tank" will require a considerable amount of work to restore the body work so that she is suitable for viewing. That work that will be funded by the ASH Project. The livery still has to be decided, but it will either be Southern Railway or WWII livery (as it is now).
Cash for ASH

The "Cash for ASH" Project Appeal is ongoing and now stands at an impressive ¬£158,000 . Thank you to those who have donated so far, but there is still a fair way to go to reach the ¬£210,000 target. 
To see the current total and make a donation visit the Just Giving website page or download a Gift Aid form  and send in a cheque. All contributions are greatly appreciated by the project team!
By Roger Kelly, Funding Director

The completion of the SECR No. 3188 (LCDR No. 668) restoration has provided a catalyst for a major reshuffle of the Carriage & Wagon Works at Horsted Keynes. No. 3188 has been shunted out of the shed to await the pit for final setting up of brakes, buffer heights, and its steam heat system. Before entry into traffic next month, it also will receive some final snagging and cleaning.

The repaint of Mark 1 No. 4957 into "blood and custard" has been completed, and the coach has been shunted out of the paint shop. Its place in the paint shop has been taken by Elephant Van No. 4601 for a week so that its roof can receive a couple of coats of grey topcoat and the west side and southern doors a couple of coats of BR red. It will be shunted outside next week for the northern doors and east side to be completed.

No. 4601's place in the works has been taken by Bulleid Third open No. 1464 for a re-canvas. The final part of the shunt has seen Stroudley No. 949 join No. 3188's exodus from the dock to create space for Bulleid CK No. 5768 to have its canvas fitted. As a result, two Bullieds are visible from the viewing gallery.

No. 5768's place in D Road has been taken by Stroudley No. 949, to provide easy access to the west side bottom rail (which had been up against the dock wall) so that the moulding could be fitted. Plus, SR "Pill box" brake No. 55993 has joined No. 949 in D Road for a light overhaul--spot timber replacement and a repaint.

By Dave Clarke

The ladies of Sweetheart Swing entertain the troops. Photo by Derek Hayward.

Derek Hayward's gallery features a nice photo of Tim Baker, who has served as Commercial Director since 1994 and retires this month from that role and from his BRPS role as Trustee. Thank you Tim!

"Sweetheart Swing," the Spitfire fly past, and more from ARW Photography .

By ARW Photography

By Southern Steam Productions.

By Joe Light Railway.
More "Southern at War" videos can be found here .
In the spirit of Southern at War, some vintage World War II media for you to enjoy:
Huntley Archives: British railways during World War II.

Writes Derek Hayward: "Nos. 263 and 592 north of Sloop Bridge with a train so long I could barely get it in the frame. Pullmans, Ashdown from the Wealden Rambler, three four-wheelers, and the Observation Car." (Photo posted to Facebook on 15 May, 2016.)

Activity for the Friends of Sheffield Park (FOSP) recently has focused largely (but not exclusively) on two areas: putting the finishing touches to our workshop facility and bridge painting.

Our new workshop--based on a recycled Portakabin building which was recycled from Horsted Keynes yard last year--has been extensively refurbished by two indefatigable FOSP volunteers. Having been in a fairly dilapidated state, it has been made more than habitable and fit for purpose at fairly modest cost.

We are poised for the electrical supply to arrive at this building, after which we will be ready to begin using the facility in earnest. Already we have moved tools and equipment from the Porters' Store Room on Platform 1 so that the porters may again use their facility for its intended purpose.

As for bridge-painting, we have now finished about 90% of the footbridge metalwork painting. We were extremely lucky to have about 10 days' excellent dry weather immediately after shot-blasting, which allowed us to apply a coat of red oxide primer before the exposed bare metal had a chance to go rusty! Once again, thanks to FOSPers who put in extra days on this vital work.

The final stages will be finished when we can get access using our tower, bearing in mind we must work around our customers. Further phases of bridge work may be anticipated when the Infrastructure Team can gain access--probably not until autumn.

Elsewhere, external surfaces of the Withyam Box are being repainted, benches are being restored, brickwork is being repointed, gates are being fixed ... along with other routine maintenance tasks that come to our attention from time to time.

In short, we continue to be pretty busy--and a happy band to boot!  

By Charles Melton

Chloe the cat easily sniffed out the newest cushions in the Carriage & Wagon Works, testing a pile of seat backs that had been returned from trimming at an external contractor. They are to be fitted (with Chloe's permission) to the wheelchair-accessible saloon No. 5034.

Writes Richard Salmon, "In the background of this photo [taken on 12 May, 2016] is LCDR/SECR No. 3188, which is due out of the shed to go over the pit next week for mechanical set-up and completion of steam heat pipework. It's hoped the coach will enter service, at the end of a five-year long restoration, in mid June. It survived as part of a bungalow in Devon following withdrawal from service on the Southern Railway in 1935.

The Bluebell Railway Museum has had scanned the original 1880 plans of much of the infrastructure of the Bluebell Railway. These documents include stations, bridges, the tunnel, and East Grinstead Viaduct.

The plans can be viewed on the Museum website. Copies of the plans, which are in colour, can be purchased in A1 or A3 size. Further details are available on the website.

By Tony Hillman & Roger Price

Plans for Sheffield Park station. 
Positions in the 2015-2016 Premiership Football Competition (as of 11 April, 2016): the competition this year is almost as exciting as Leicester pipping Spurs and Arsenal to the real Premier League title, with MJ Overbury and Trevor Summerfield battling it out on equal points at the top. Funds go to the Maunsell Restaurant Car No. 7864. No word on "parachute payments" for those at the foot of the table.  

Photo by Dave Clarke . Writes Richard Salmon on the Bluebell Railway Blog: " [This is] the west side of the Elephant Van , which is nearing completion. The metal work has been fitted to both pairs of doors; the window frames are fitted; the first of the vents has been installed below them; and the large doors have been trial-fitted to the southern end."

(Eric Varty of Liverpool, interviewed in 2004 for BBC WW2 People's War archive) I joined the railway in 1934 as a junior engine cleaner but was used as a "knocker up" getting drivers, guards and fireman up to go to work. This was in the days when railway workers were duty bound to report for duty or the trains didn't run.

Then in 1938 I was promoted to a fireman on the railways working all hours of the day or night working different shifts every week. When war broke out in 1939 I was in Liverpool I was called up into the army for national service but it left the railways short so I was sent home after three hours but I still got paid six shillings.

Railway workers were what was called "essential workers". What was known as reserved occupation. For the whole of the war I was a fireman dealing with all sorts of ammunition trains, passengers, troop trains. The troop trains were usually going from training units to whatever regiment they were being assigned to. There were many laughable/serious incidents during the war.

One particular morning there was an air raid on the city of Leeds, which we were heading. We stopped for the safety of the city of Leeds and where we were positioned was near to the "ack ack" guns and the shrapnel was coming down and the driver decided to take cover underneath the wagon. When the all clear went we went to rejoin our locomotive we looked at the label of the wagon which read HIGH EXPLOSIVES! Lots of railway workers were killed.

One of my colleague George Wilkinson who was a firemen won the Gorge medal for bravery one year. He was the firemen on an ammunitions train; the Germans had dropped incendiary bombs and set fire to one of the wagons.

George and a guard isolated the wagon which blew up and caused some damage but saved 37 wagons and most of the Liverpool area of Stanley. I also lost a driver, we'd finished work at 2 a.m. and were walking home when we had to separate, me going left down the road and him going straight on to his house. He never reached home as it was bombed and no trace of him was ever found ... MORE .

(From Mid-Sussex Times , 13 May, 2016) Next time you are in Haywards Heath, take a look at the bustling town around you and try to imagine it as little more than a village nestled in the heart of the Sussex countryside.

Until 1841, that's exactly what it was.

With no railway line, two inns, eight farmhouses, one windmill and house, and nine cottages, its biggest impact on the history books had been during the Civil War when Parliamentarians defeated the High Sheriff of Sussex and his Royalists there as he headed for Lewes.

In 1841 that all changed with the arrival of the railway and the building of a railway tunnel--and now, 175 years later, there are big plans to celebrate the event that put Haywards Heath on the map ... MORE .

By John Sandys.

Keith Duke (9 May, 2016): "Photos of the service train topped and tailed by nos. 473 and 323 today. These were taken after my carriage cleaning turn."
Alan Black (14 May, 2016): 
A visual OP4 update.
John Sandys (17 May, 2016): "A beautiful day at the Railway today saw the C class in charge of the service train packed out with several coach parties, as well as further progress at Horsted Keynes on the OP4 Carriage Shed."

Dave Bowles (4 May, 2016): Photos from the Bluebell Railway and elsewhere.

Something a little different for the Photo Gallery. Photographer Gavin Hoey takes the 15-minute photo challenge for adorama.com at the Bluebell Railway. 
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