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
"Sunday in Sussex" by JS Rail Videos.

From the BBC: Peckham Rye station's "lost" waiting room to re-open after 50 years.

Lightmoor has published a book by Alf Brown Group Member John Arkell, which will be stocked in the Railway Shop at Sheffield Park and in the Horsted Keynes Carriage Bookshop.

Private Owner Wagons of the South-East  continues the area studies started by Ian Pope and Richard Kelham. It covers operators at home on the lines of the South Eastern & Chatham Railway and its successors, covering all of Kent, part of East Sussex, and the SE&CR line to Reading. 
Whilst largely a rural area, it did have its own coalfield that developed much later than the rest of the British coalfields. Much of the coal trade in the south east came by sea into the coastal ports and was distributed from there. 

The book is profusely illustrated with photographs and items of ephemera. It also has a comprehensive listing of all the private sidings listed in the appendix to working timetables of the SE&CR and the Southern Railway.

Bluebell Railway Goods Train Day , 11 June 2016. "My video features the afternoon run and three service trains than ran alongside side it. The goods was in the hands of C class No. 592 with the passenger trains in the hands of Standard 5 No. 73082 "Camelot" and H class No. 263." By alts1985.

Here's a treat. Watch the 2000 version of The Railway Children in full, starring Richard Attenborough, filmed on the Bluebell Railway (film location details archived here ).

This superb film will delight fans of the Somerset & Dorset railway. Filmed during the last years of operation we see a huge variety of locos hauling passenger and goods trains as well as shunting and running light.

Two significant engines are S&DJR class 7F No. 53808 and BR Standard class 9F No. 92220 "Evening Star". There are also views inside signalboxes and from the footplate of a friendly "Jinty", or Fowler class 3F No. 47465. Also, look out for the Bluebell Railway's own No. 75027.

Supplying industrial, mainline, and preserved railway aerial photography since 1975, Philip Lane will be retiring this year He provided aerial photography for the Kingscote-to-East Grinstead extension, as well as the Rother Valley Railway's Robertsbridge extension 
that will in future give the Kent and East Sussex Railway a Network Rail connection.

Southern Railway Merchant Navy class 4-6-2 No. 21C1 " Channel Packet " on a pre-launch Golden Arrow train, made up of the pre-War Pullmans, prior to the post-War re-introduction of the train to regular service on 15 April, 1946.

Railway Roundabout: The Brighton Belle (1959).

N gauge model railway fans! The Bluebell Railway shop has a limited supply  of Dapol N gauge Grampus wagons, based on those used on the Railway. 
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 at Freshfields   right next to the railway, near Horsted Keynes. 

We hope to raise funds for both organisations. Please consider supporting (via donation or in person) Bluebell Railway members, staff, and volunteers in the 2016 team, and our friendly neighbours in SHCC.

More details and how to donate can be found at  this JustGiving page

"Besuch der Bluebell Railway in England am 24.05.16" by Train Gucker.

The Bluebell Railway was the inspiration behind an "all-in-one" ticket scheme for the West Somerset Railway and other travel options in the West Country.
Ex-SE&CR H class No. 263 gets ready to leave Sheffield Park, by travelingcompanions.

From Rail Magazine : Last-built "66" unveiled by GBRf and named "Evening Star". 

* Artist: Ollier
* Date: 1971
* Medium: Oil on board
* Measurements: 61.8 x 73 cm
* Collection: National Railway Museum
* Acquisition method: Gift, 1998   
A fine portrait of a Doncaster-built
British Railways class 71 "BoBo" electric loco
built for BR's Southern Region, in service from the late 1950s to late 1970s. E5000 was re-numbered E5024 in 1962 and rebuilt in 1968 as a class 74, and renumbered again as E6104.  
Some of Sweeheart Swing's latest promo video was filmed during Southern at War! Way to go, ladies!

Photo by Ben Brooksbank . View NE, towards Waterloo from Platforms 11/12: major junction of the ex-LSW and LB&SC main and suburban lines from Waterloo (ahead) and Victoria (on left). The express is headed by Bulleid Light Pacific No. 34107 "Blandford Forum" (plain "Blandford" until 10/52), built 4/50, withdrawn (unrebuilt) 9/64. Behind it is an M7 0-4-4T and "A" Box, with its massive wartime steel canopy, later to collapse (taken on 2 April, 1958).

From The Scotsman : ScotRail is to run steam trains on the Borders Railway on Sundays in August and September, the train operator has confirmed.

Photo by Alex Morley.

Our third restored ex-LCDR carriage--No.3188--is now ready for service.  These three carriages and the SECR C class were built at Longhedge Works in Battersea, and this formation formed yesterday's special re-launch train for the restoration team and invited guests, as seen in Alex Morley's photos .

All three carriages had become grounded bodies in bungalows before rescue and restoration to service by the Railway's C&W Department. These three will be joined by our restored LB&SCR Stroudley first next weekend and used on public services as an additional shuttle train between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes during Model Railway Weekend.

No. 3188, built by the LCDR as a six-wheeled, five-compartment third in 1897,  was converted by the SECR into a three-compartment brake vehicle around 1911, and it ran until 1935.  It was sold to become a grounded body in a bungalow at Yarcombe in Devon, from where it was rescued, along with LSWR saloon No. 25, for the Railway by Peter Milnes in 2005.

Between 1950 and 1978 the carriages were occupied by Nelson and Gladys Long, and we were pleased to have two of their nieces--Jenny and Mary, as well as Jenny's husband Diego--with us for the relaunch.  The sisters were able to share their memories of visiting their aunt and uncle, and hence these two carriages, in the 1950s. Jenny Dal Bello is seen in the accompanying photo presenting Tony Clements and Dave Clarke with photos that show the carriages at Yarcombe in 1977, provided by one of their cousins.

The restoration of No. 3188--owned by the Bluebell Railway Trust, which paid for the materials used in the work--was led by Tony, and involved around 20 volunteers in the C&W Department. A weekend team worked on the body, and a midweek metalworking team shortened the SR van underframe to carry the body.  It has been restored to its original form as a five-compartment third, and thus adds significantly to the seating capacity of our Victorian train. Dave Clarke's album covers the five-year restoration in detail.

By Richard Salmon


The Bluebell Railway took part in another successful Ardingly "South of England Show" recently; sales at the show ground itself topped £14,000.

Terrier class No. 55 "Stepney" was the centrepiece of the Railway's stand, looking very good thanks to the efforts of the loco department before "Stepney" left Sheffield Park. With the modern "Ardingly Eye" right behind No. 55, the difference of nearly 150 years of technology was clearly to be seen.

We were joined once again by Dawn Spalding, Tourism Officer for East Grinstead Town Council, and we were pleased to be able to promote the Railway and the town, working in concert together. 

The photo shows (standing, at back) James Young, myself, and Kevin Leggett and (seated) Nicky Box, Julia Pique, Dawn Spalding, and Charlotte Archer. Roy Watts, Gerry Brown, Robert Raikes, and Roger Garman also helped with the Railway's stand during the three-day event.

By Tim Baker, Commercial Director

I recently had the pleasure of representing the Bluebell Railway at the Annual General Meeting of the Institution of Railway Signal Engineers (IRSE) Minor Railways Section (MRS).

The gathering was kindly hosted by the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway (KWVR) and took place in the Exhibition Shed at Oxenhope. After official business, a technical presentation was given on signalling and telecommunications (S&T) at the KWVR (followed by an excellent buffet lunch in one of their static Pullman Cars!) In the afternoon we visited Damems (pron. Dam-emms) and Keighley signalling facilities.

The KWVR provided its class 101 DMU to transport us, dodging the service train steam-hauled by WD 2-8-0 No. 90733. The DMU allowed the group to view the line from the driver's perspective. The line has a number of nice heritage features that give the feeling of the pre-nationalisation era. Working overhead telephone wires and wooden signal posts adorn the lineside, and a high proportion of the line's lighting is provided by gas.

With the enormous increase in popularity after the filming of the Railway Children, the route needed a passing loop near the halfway point, and this was installed close to Damems Station, with a signal box recovered from Frizinghall and named Damems Junction. Originally the signal box was not near any utilities, and the only lighting was by Tilley lamp. Without a power supply, signalling was operated by primary cell batteries, not unusual in bygone days but a maintenance burden nevertheless.

With domestic electricity now installed and commercial niceties being so important, a cabinet of electronics with the inevitable flashing LEDs has been installed beside the Victorian machinery. From other representatives, I learned that all heritage railways suffer from the issue of having to balance heritage and modern standards.

At Keighley we experienced an unusual move into platform 3, normally used only for run-round. The KWVR S&T staff showed us the progress of fitting out the signal box, extending the lever frame to an impressive 32 levers. They plan to fit signals to Network Rail and operate the station and interface from the signal box, giving the railway a more professional appearance from the adjacent main line station.

These technical visits are very useful. They give an opportunity for scattered specialist groups to exchange ideas, and later this year the IRSE MRS hope to visit our Railway. I hope we can match the excellent organisation shown by KWVR.

By Brian Hymas, MIRSE, Bluebell Railway S&T  
East Grinstead thanks the Railway in this tweet from the South of England Show. 

The 12 June, 2016, "Find Out More" group visits the Carriage & Wagon Department to learn about volunteer opportunities on our Railway. For future "Find Out More" Dates, click here (the next one is coming up on 10 July). Photo by Martin Lawrence.


If we use a moving train for filming, it is usually so a lighting crew can have power supplied from a generator carried somewhere on the train. However, a generator working in a normal brake compartment is not acceptable, for obvious reasons, so Filming Facilities has been using the well-ventilated Queen Mary brake for this work. This arrangement is practical, but it looks strange and atypical on a passenger train.

We really want to provide a specialist vehicle that will not appear out-of-place in a passenger or goods rake. At the same time, we want to improve the service we offer film producers. In other words, we have been looking for a vehicle that can be included on a train and that can safely carry a generator and other filming equipment.  

So, after some negotiation, Bluebell Railway PLC has acquired an SR parcel van (BY 404). This van is in relatively good condition and fit to run, but having been out of use for some time, it is in need not of a restoration but more of a good refurbishment, with cosmetic repairs where needed and upgrading of the floor to handle a generator. The van will be repainted in SR colours but without the orange markings that indicated the original provision of a stove.

The refurbishment will be carried out in the Salt Yard Engineers' Siding, and scaffolding will be erected either side to provide access. Infrastructure volunteers already have expressed interest in helping, but anyone can lend a hand. Obviously, the more people involved, the quicker the van can be put to use--considering the amount of filming work we get!

The work entails mainly cleaning, scraping, and sanding peeling paint; easing doors and windows; de-rusting; and, finally, re-painting. The van has been steam cleaned externally, so all the green slime has gone, and we are nearly ready to make a start on the other work. So if you want to be involved in this project--one that will earn revenue for the Railway, aside from other uses--please email mikehopps@aol.co.uk . Thank you!

By Mike Hopps, Filming Facilities

Photo by Richard Salmon.


This photo, from the Project 27 blog, shows  molten slag that has been blown through the remains of a rivet from a previously drilled blow-through hole.

Matt Holloway, busy with his cutting torch, did the work. He has been removing the last remaining parts from the front of No. 27's  frames: the balance weights and the framework that holds both the weights and front buffer beams in place.

The process pictured here eventually weakened the rivet, allowing it to be driven out. More Project 27 updates can be found at this website .

To see the current total for the ASH Appeal 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!

John Sandys took this photo of S15 No. 847, now back in service. For more of John's photos from 18 June, 2016, click here


After much work by the photographic team from the Museum Archive we are able to make available part of the Joe Kent collection of photographs.

Joe Kent was a long-standing Brighton resident, who worked for much of his career as a carpenter employed by the Pullman Car Company renovating or remodelling an aging fleet of luxury vehicles.

Based at the maintenance depot at Preston Park until its closure in 1964, Joe had unlimited access to indulge his interest in photography, creating a comprehensive series of images of trains and rolling stock on the Brighton line.

For almost 20 years, from 1946, he also photographed steam locos working at various locations, including mainline stations and yards around London and the south of England.

At present only the King Arthurs and Bulleid Pacifics are available. These images are now available for purchase as with our other collections.

By Tony Hillman, Bluebell Railway Museum



A coincidence, given that the Railway's USA class tank has been chosen for the ASH Project "rolling road" exhibit--the Kent and East Sussex Railway USA class loco was the star at the Tanfield Railway's "Legends of Industry" event on 11 and 12 June, 2016. It wore the historic No. 35 for the gala. Some of these imported locos--including No. 35--worked in the North for the National Coal Board after their service in World War II. 

The ever-popular Sussex Food & Drink Festival returns once again to Horsted Keynes Station 1 and 2 July, 2016, where trade stalls will be lining the platforms with the finest selection of local and specialist food and drink from across the county.

As well as food and drink there will be quality crafts and giftware by local artists, makers, and independent businesses.

Enjoy freshly cooked bites and local craft beers or a glass of Pimms in the picnic area, where you can relax and watch the atmospheric steam trains that will be running throughout the day.

There will be music from The Singing Chef, plenty of entertainment for the children, and the opportunity to enter the free draw to win a dining experience on the Golden Arrow for two.

Entry to the festival is £4 for adults, £2 for children, and free for travel ticket holders. For more information or to book, phone 01825 720800 or email info@bluebell-railway.co.uk .

Poster by Mike Hopps:


This vehicle, still retaining its timber underframe (albeit rather rotten in parts), arrived on the Bluebell on 5 Nov., 2007 ...

... LCDR Horsebox No. 1 was completed on 12 June, 1882, at the LCDR's Longhedge Works. The design (to which 35 were built) dated from 1872. No. 1 was renumbered No. 1002 on 27 July, 1898 under the "1897" LCDR renumbering scheme, and later became SECR No. 184.

It was condemned in 1922 and became a yard checker's hut at Hythe station. In 1923, it was apparently sold to a Mr. Sinclair, as one of nine that he bought, most being moved to Dungeness. Some of the others remained, discarded and derelict at Dungeness for many years, but this one stayed at Hythe station yard, from where it was purchased in 1937 by Mr Howland for 7s 6d (37 1/2p). It was transported by lorry to No. 1 Tanners Hill Gardens, Hythe, where it was slid off onto a concrete base.

During the Second World War there was an anti-aircraft battery set up on allotments behind the house, and Mr. Howland let the gunners sleep in the horsebox. The end was cut out of the vehicle at some stage to make a garage, for what must have been a small car such as an Austin 7 or Ruby ...

This album by Keith Duke includes some artistic photos of the burned-out shell of No. 1, taken in 2010.
Regrettably, the timberwork of this horsebox body was completely destroyed in an accidental fire at Horsted Keynes in the early hours of 16 July, 2010.

The fire appears to have been caused by sparks whipped up by extremely strong winds, from the embers of a bonfire which had been burning 20-30 feet away a day or two earlier. The feasibility of reconstructing it from the salvaged remains are being considered ... MORE .

By John Sandys.

Martin Lawrence (June 2016): Martin gets a start on his June photo roll. 

John Sandys (13 June, 2016): " Great progress at Horsted Keynes and Camelot back in service."
John Sandys (16 June, 2016): "No. 73082 shunting the Q class in very mixed weather conditions!"

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