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
Highlights of 2015, from Bluebell Railway Hawks.
The locomotive duty roster for the remainder of June. 

There's a good visual record of progress on V class No. 928 "Stowe" on the project's Facebook page , including this photo of the new atomiser feed, manufactured by project Chairman Ray Bellingham. 

The perforated end piece fits into the main steam pipe in the smokebox. The original can be seen below the new piece.  

Photo by Ben Brooksbank:   "LNER Garratt running back down to Bromsgrove (19 April, 1949). View southward, towards Bromsgrove; ex-Midland Birmingham-Bristol main line. No. 69999 is returning to take up its next banking job." 

This "monster" loco was a one-off 2-8-0 + 0-8-2 Garratt that became the " Wath Banker " and later (for a short, not too successful time) the "Lickey Banker." It was built by Beyer, Peacock to operate from the Wath marshalling yard, to act as a "banker' on the Woodhead route, pushing heavy trains of South Yorkshire coal over the steep Pennines.

The banking of the trains was over a 3.5 mile distance, up Warsborough Bank; three miles were at a 1 in 40 gradient, from Wentworth Junction to West Silkstone. Gresley designed the loco, which doubled the length of the coal trains to 60 loaded wagons. Built in 1925, it was withdrawn in 1955.
"The Monster," filmed At Gorton, Manchester (1925).
SAVE-THE-DATE: Giants of Steam 2016 | 28-30 Oct., 2016

Produced just in time to be screened under the banner of the late-1950s 'Free Cinema' documentary movement, Enginemen records the life and work of engine workers in a locomotive shed just outside Manchester. At the time of British Railways' changeover from steam to diesel, the film explores their sense of loss and frustration with poetry and compassion, but shorn of sentimentality.

Completed with the help of a small grant from the British Film Institute, it was the first film produced by Unit Five Seven, a collective of young Granada Television technicians led by 22-year-old Michael Grigsby--later a major figure in TV documentary--filming at weekends over 18 months with little more than a 16mm camera and a tape recorder.

The Bluebell Railway Museum has had scanned the original 1880 plans of much of the infrastructure of the Bluebell Railway. 

can be viewed  on the Museum website. Copies of the plans, which are in colour, can be purchased in A1 or A3 size. 
Southern Steam: The Bluebell Line Before & After Closure.

"The latest issue of The Southern Way  (available in the Railway shop)  includes an article by Alan Postlethwaite on Southern freight and includes many images from the Bluebell archive," writes Tony Hillman. "Here are six that were selected."


The Railway on 29 May, 2016, featuring "Camelot" and No. 263, by Calvertfilm.
Trustee Chris Saunders has published a book with Lightmoor-- The Broad Gauge Railway at Watchet --which will be available in the Railway's bookstore. 

British Transport: Fully Fitted Freight, 1957 (Part 1; Part 2 in right-hand column).

* Full Name: Spirit of the South (British Railways Southern Region artwork)
" Artist: Harry Stevens (1919-2008)
* Collection: National Railway Museum
* Date painted: 1970
* Medium: Oil on canvas
* Size: 89.1 x 135 cm
* Acquisition method: Redundant material from the nationalised railway, 1989

Reflecting the optimism of modernity, an abstract painting with a railway theme. It appears to be the Brighton Line, featuring a viaduct, plus rolling Sussex Downland transitioning into the coastline with its chalk cliffs, all with a surprisingly subtle treatment of sunshine, light, and shadow. All-in-all it's a very good example of commercial art by a self-trained artist whose other pieces you might both enjoy and possible remember. 


A watercolour by Leslie Carr, showing LB&SCR 0-4-2 No. 214 "Gladstone," which was the prototype of the B1 class loco and a development of the Richmond class.
Designed by William Stroudley (1833-1889), "Gladstone" was built in 1882 and withdrawn from service in 1927. 

Leslie Carr designed posters for Southern Railway, London & North Eastern Railway, and British Railways in the 1920s and 1930s.
British Railways Episode 1/6: Waterloo Sunset.

A related photo by Ben Brooksbank:  SR rebuilt Bulleid Light Pacific No. 34027 "Taw Valley" with a down express from Charing Cross entering Waterloo Eastern, taken on 11 May, 1959. 


The Bluebell Railway has won an award of £75,000 from the Department for Transport's Heritage and Community Rail Tourism Innovation Competition. Seventeen projects to boost rail-related tourism were announced in the competition. Several winning projects based across England, Wales, and Scotland will create new opportunities for tourists to enjoy heritage and community railways.

For the Bluebell Railway, the award will help restore Pullman Car No.54 , which will include provision for disabled access. Originally built in 1923, Car No. 54 is a brake carriage and therefore wheelchair users will be able to enter via a ramp into the guard's compartment before proceeding to the dining saloon. Part of the saloon will be in a first class seating arrangement with individual armchairs that can be removed to make way for a wheelchair.

Railway representatives were pleased to learn that their application was considered "outstanding".

Car No. 54 in the carriage works in 2003 (photo by Richard Salmon). 
Said Rail Minister Claire Perry: "We want to show the 'Best of British' to visitors, and heritage and community railways are part of that package. I am delighted that the Bluebell Railway is one of 17 winners across Britain. I look forward to seeing this scheme develop, providing another good reason to visit Sussex."

Said Bluebell Railway PLC Chairman Dick Fearn: "I am delighted this award has been made to the Railway to restore Car No. 54 to its former glory, while making it available to all. The Railway is committed to making all its heritage railway attractions fully accessible, and this will be the fourth accessibility conversion we have carried out on our railway carriages, although this will be the first on a Pullman Car.

"The Railway's Golden Arrow Pullman Car fine dining train services are widely recognised as amongst the very best in the UK, and we are determined to make that experience accessible to everyone."

The Railway has now raised three quarters of the £490,000 estimated cost of this project. Raising the remainder is high on the Funding Director's task list. We would, of course, be very pleased to hear from anyone who might be interested in supporting this restoration.

By Roger Garman, Communications Director, and Roger Kelly, Funding Director

The Bluebell Railway has been involved in making tracks--musical tracks that is--for a lot longer than people can remember.

Elton John was one of the first to start the trend, in 1970, with his album cover for Tumbleweed Connection , which seems to show the entrance to the Museum at Sheffield Park photographed from Platform 1. Then Sheena Easton, in 1981, made the memorable video about a " Morning Train " (aka "9 to 5"), which saw the pop singer in various locations, including riding a bike along the platform at Horsted Keynes.  

The action shot of Easton dancing on the front of No. 488 as it was running through the platform is somewhat memorable, if only for the fact that ORR would have a fit if we tried anything like that today!

So move on a few years, and we are still helping up-and-coming artists enhance their musical offerings with our timeless setting. On 27 May, 2016, we hosted a relatively new girl band called The Northernettes , who were shooting a music video at Horsted Keynes.

They have previously appeared on BBC's The Voice, so they are very familiar with exotic locations! And you will have gathered from the name that they come from somewhere up the West Coast mainline. According to the band's website they are a "super chic retro vintage harmony group".

The photo of Katie using the phone box in the waiting room on Platform 5 confirms that we do "retro vintage" as well as anyone.

By Mike Hopps, Filming Facilities.
Now that Railway AGM results are in, the Railway's Who's Who page has been updated by Richard Salmon. 
The ASH Project is proceeding at an accelerating pace as the team works hard to meet the end of August deadline for our Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Round 2 application. 
As Southern Railway USA class No. 30064 has been chosen to be the loco used for the Rolling Road exhibit, she will come in out of the rain and receive some restoration of the body work and running gear, and she will be re-painted. The new Maintenance Facility will increase by three the number of locos we can keep under cover, away from the wind and rain, for routine maintenance work.
The ASH Appeal has now reached the sum of £161,719. The Appeal--which will remain open until the end of August--is not just about the amount raised but the number of donations (currently more than 680) that will influence the Heritage Lottery Fund and help us achieve a positive result at Round 2.  All applications to the HLF are competitive at this stage, hence the importance of both the amount of pounds sterling raised and the number of donations. 
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 huge effort put into this project means that the Play Carriage ( Elephant Van No. 4601 ) restoration phase is fast approaching completion. 

On 16 May, 2016, the Van was moved from the Shed's main work area to the paint shop, where it remained for a week while the painter was on holiday.  This period allowed us to finish the laminated trim under the roof ends and to top coat areas that will be difficult to access once it's in the dock road outside the shed.

No. 4601 in the dock road outside the Carriage Shed (photo by Paul Cripps).
The west side, roof, and south end were the focus for the final push inside the Shed. Once again, many volunteers rallied round and put in extra time so that we could achieve our targets.

The Van was shunted to the north end of the dock road on the following Monday so that work could continue on the east side and the north end. The east side sidelights will be glazed soon, and the south east double doors are nearly ready to replace the temporary shuttering ply doors.  

The second of the large end doors is now being assembled, and the position of the Van means it will be relatively easy to fit the end doors on the Van when the time comes. The vent hoods also can be fitted to the east side, and then painting can continue to complete the van's color scheme.

There has been much discussion about the Van's final colour, which of course isn't a great surprise! For the record, the red that is going to be used has been mixed to BS381C No. 540 crimson, which more than one source has told us is the correct shade of red.

On the inside, the inner roof is being painted, but the relocation of the van to outside has brought an unforeseen problem: when the steel roof gets hot in the sun, painting the underside becomes impossible because bristles stick to it. I suggested a pre-dawn shift to do this work, but I have a suspicion that this fell on deaf ears!  I hate to say it, but a few days of miserable weather would help.  

Chris Broadbridge assembling a side door (photo by Paul Cripps).
Once the inner roof has been painted to white gloss, we can think about insulation, which is very necessary for final use and will make the van a more comfortable place to work. The interior will be painted to the correct colour before the play area fitting-out starts.

Visitors to Horsted Keynes express interest when they see our Big Red Van, which looks rather splendid from the platforms. We have already heard encouraging remarks--together with a majority of people on the Railway, the public seems to think the play carriage is a good idea.

We plan to encourage visitors to view the Van while work is progressing. To facilitate this, we have recovered an old wheelchair access ramp that is being refurbished for temporary use while the Van is in its current position. We can then provide another area of interest for visitors even before the project is finished.

The Van will need further painting as a whole, including the roof, to make sure it is as protected from the elements as possible; to allow this work, it will return to the paint shop over the Christmas period.

Thanks to all who have helped in any way with this project so far: a truly fantastic effort.

By Sheina Foulkes, Supervisor, Carriage & Wagon Department
Visit Kingscote Valley gives a shout out to the Railway for its support of decorative flower beds in East Grinstead.

T he right hand cylinder showing the valve chest.
Two sets of P class cylinders have arrived and were displayed at the Railway's AGM. One was to 1/10th scale; the other was 1/8th scale. Both of these were 3D printed, although with slightly different processes.

The first set of cylinders to arrive was the 1/10th scale set manufactured by i.visualise, a company based in Brussels, Belgium. A very good print it was too! the type of manufacture used produced a smooth finish, but there were some supports that needed to be removed.

The second set was printed to a scale of 1/8. These models are an exact replica, scaled down from the size of the new set of cylinders. They were both printed from the 3D computer model that was drawn by Matthew Holloway. All dimensions are an exact scale version of the real thing! ...

For more updates of this evolving project, read the Project 27 blog .
Following on from our very successful match against Scaynes Hill Cricket Club last year, a Bluebell Railway XI is again challenging SHCC to a social cricket match, on 16 July, 2016.

We hope to raise funds for both organisations, and any contributions to this JustGiving page will be shared 50/50 with SHCC. The cricket club has just made a substantial purchase of new nets, and they need to raise funds for a new lawnmower and clubhouse repairs.

Bluebell Railway is fundraising for a major project: Accessible Steam Heritage (ASH). ASH will provide additional undercover working for three locos, vital repairs to the running shed, and a new interactive loco exhibition. Donations to ASH of £210,000 will release an £840,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The cricket ground at Freshfields ( map here ) is a truly beautiful setting right next to the Railway. Last year's event was a wonderful day out on the hottest day of the year. We are encouraging Railway supporters to attend, have a picnic, support the team, and round off the day with a barbecue at the SHCC clubhouse in the village.

Watch this eNewsletter for further details. To those who can't attend, please consider donating to both causes, in remembrance of a time when the sound of leather on willow, accompanied by the chuff of steam and a whistle, were a regular feature across the English countryside!

For more information, and to let me know you are planning to attend, please contact John Walls , eNewsletter Editor.
Final results in the  are now in. Trevor Summerfield, in picking Leicester to top the League, gave himself an unassailable lead. Congratulations, Trevor--and Leicester City FC, of course!

At long last we are approaching another milestone in the programme to build a Standard class 2 tank engine from a Barry wreck. We are aiming to have the engine on its driving wheels this summer.

The machining of the axle boxes is complete and keeps for each box are being test fitted, and one remaining horn guide needs to be shimmed and fitted to the horn blocks. Once this is complete and the axle boxes have been fitted to the journals, the engine will ready to go onto her wheels.

With the planned levelling of our site, we will be able to have the engine on a piece of track roughly where she is now; this will also allow us to erect the poly shed acquired from the group that rebuilt the Brighton fruit van at Horsted Keynes. If this job can be completed this summer, we will have reasonable under cover working conditions for next winter, which will speed up renovation work because we will not be so dependent on weather.

While the work on the wheels has been going on, progress also has been made in other areas. The casting for the rear truck has been delivered and checked, and it is now waiting machining, which can be started once the machining of the front truck is completed.

Drawings have been issued to get an acceptable quote for fabricating the rear truck radial arm, and as the material specification and thickness is the same for other parts of the rear truck assembly, a drawing has been produced showing "nesting" of all these parts to enable water jet cutting of all them from a single standard plate.

The driver's pedestal has been tacked together and the available controls are being test fitted along with the hinges and doors that have been made. With the driver's pedestal bolted to the frame, we will then start installing the steam and vacuum pipework to/from the pedestal.

It's been a long slog, but with the engine back on its wheels, standing on a length of track, and looking a proper engine again, the aggro will have been worth it!

Plus, with the engine under cover, we will have the space and working conditions to accommodate more volunteers. If you are interested in helping us rebuild this engine, please come to one of the Railway " Find Out More " days [the next is 12 June, 2016-The Eds.], or if you would like more information, we are generally at the Railway every Thursday.

By Chris Wren, Standard Class 2 Working Group

The Bluebell Railway Museum (Photographic Archive Section) is looking for people to help catalogue its photographic collection. The constantly expanding archive already contains thousands of items that are destined for the new Records and Research Centre to be built at Sheffield Park.
A small group of people--which has been engaged in the cataloguing process for the past four years--now needs to expand. We would welcome the participation of Bluebell Railway members with an interest in the railways of Southern England and knowledge in any of the following fields: digital photographic scanning, digital photography, digital photographic printing, conventional film photography, photographic databases, museum and/or archival techniques, and Microsoft Excel and Word programs.
Monthly meetings are held at our storage base in Horsham from where the work is coordinated and where there is an opportunity to keep up to date with fellow team members. In advance of the new facilities being available, much of the work is done in members' homes at times convenient to them.
Group members devote significant amounts of time to a project that could suit retirees. However, anyone with sufficient interest coupled with a methodical mind will find the work absorbing. If you are attracted by the prospect of helping to provide a firm foundation for this exciting new centre, please contact Don Mackinnon, email donald.mackinnon85@gmail.com .

By Martin Lawrence.

Derek Hayward (14-15 May, 2016): Complete Southern at War 2016 photo roll.
Martin Lawrence (May 2016): " Incredible to believe that we are so near to midsummers day already!"
John Sandys (31 May, 2016): " A rainy start to the day but clearing later. Nice to see Clive Groome on the footplate!"
John Sandys (June 2, 2016): "A much brighter day today with the sun coming out in the afternoon. Very busy with lots of happy children!"

Dave Clarke (30 May, 2016): Plenty of visual updates to the OP4 project in Dave's photostream. 
By John Sandys.
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

Railway Information

Timetable & Fares

Special Events

Special Offers

NEW: Season Tickets

Getting to the Railway

Museum & Archive 

Online Shop

Disabled Access

History of the Railway

Frequently Asked Questions

Contact Us  
The Stations
Sheffield Park

Horsted Keynes


East Grinstead

Line Map
& Services
Train Roster

Loco Roster

Eating & Catering Services

The Golden Arrow

Murder Mystery Evenings

Afternoon Tea/The Wealden Rambler

Railway Weddings

Services for Groups

Educational Services

Corporate & Film Services
Funding for the Future

Keep Up the Pressure

Cash for Cover


Unity Lottery

Leave a Legacy

Other Ways to Give
Want to Volunteer?

9F Club (Young Volunteers)

Stepney Club (Our Littlest Fans)

Bluebell Railway Band

Job Openings

Lineside Photography
& Safety

Attractions Near
the Railway

Bluebell Railway | j.walls1@btinternet.com | http://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk
Sheffield Park Station
East Sussex
Near Uckfield, TN22 3QL