H class and No. 73082 (9 Aug., 2016), by John Harwood.


Stephanie Jones, a Ph.D. student at Bangor University North Wales, is researching volunteering at heritage railways with a focus on personal experiences.

Her thesis is "Understanding the Dynamics of Cultural, Social, and Civic Participation: The Role and Experiences of Volunteers Within Railway Preservation Societies." She wants to interview volunteers (past and current) as part of her research, with regard to their motivations, life history, experiences, etc.

If you can help Stephanie with her fascinating topic, contact her at soue15@bangor.ac.uk.

A photo blog of an evening on the Golden Arrow, by "Fizzy Peaches." 
Bluebell Railway Food Festival (2 July, 2016) at Horsted Keynes, by Philip Bull.


*Full Name: Down Granville Express Passing Smart's Crossing, Rainham

*Artist: J. Thomas Banks
*Date: 1908
*Medium: Oil on canvas
*Measurements: 63.5 x 153.3 cm
*Acquisition method: Redundant material from the nationalised railway, 1954
*Collection: National Railway Museum

The Washington Post gives a Stateside view of St. Pancras station, "London's Valentine to Europe." 
"Yellow Timetable" trains on 10 Aug., 2016, by "Joe Light Railway."


Train enthusiast David Gordon, Marquess of Aberdeen and Temair, films an impressive array of 1960s steam trains as they carve their way through the beautiful Scottish countryside and coastline, watched by gleeful trainspotting boys. 

Mail bags are snatched, grubby workmen maintain iconic engines like the Golden Plover, and a host of stations are filmed. A particularly picturesque section shot in icy conditions paints a vivid and romantic picture of the steam train era.

Major David Gordon was a British peer and soldier. He served in the army with 5th/7th Battalion The Gordon Highlanders and fought with them in the Second World War. 

The Regiment's pipe band are proudly depicted in this film as they play off a departing train. This film was shot in and around Aberdeenshire, and some footage shows Aberdeen city's iconic townhouse and tolbooth tower in the background. 

Gordon had close ties to the city, serving as a County Councillor in 1950, a Justice of the Peace in 1955 and being appointed Lord-Lieutenant in 1973. Gordon lived in Tarves, twenty miles North of Aberdeen, in Haddo House, an impressive Palladian house dating back to 1732.

Traction engines and steam rollers travelling to and from Vintage Transport Weekend, by "cashpot."


Tony Hillman writes: "As the August Bank Holiday will be here soon, I have chosen six John J. Smith photos taken on Bank Holiday Monday. Note that when these were taken, the Bank Holiday was at the start of the month!"



An interesting short video including Driver Joe Duddington's famous narration of the events of 3 July, 1938.

This photo (from The Daily Mail ) of "Mallard's" crew and railwaymen from Doncaster shows (L to R) Fireman Tommy Bray, Driver Joe Duddington, and Inspector Sam Jenkins, among others. 

For the 75th anniversary of the run, the Northern Echo ran a feature remembering "The day Mallard steamed into the record books."

Heritage news from Down Under: "The massive [UK-built] Beyer-Garratt 6029 locomotive, restored by Canberra Railway Museum volunteers over eight years, will steam into Goulburn next week."

"Down freight on North & Southwestern line near Acton Wells Junction."  View northward, towards Cricklewood (Brent Sidings): ex-N&SWJ line (Brent-to-Acton Wells). The locomotive is SR Bulleid's wartime Q1 class No. 33018 (built 4/42 as No. C18; withdrawn 7/65). Date photo taken: 23 April, 1955.

Stationary engines at the Vintage Transport Weekend, by "cashpot."


Bluebell Railway London Connection Tickets are available on all Saturdays until 22 Oct., 2016. They allow return travel on our Railway for just £5 (adult) and £1 (child).

Travel on the 10 a.m. from Sheffield Park or the 10:17 a.m. from Horsted Keynes to East Grinstead to connect with the mainline service to London. Return travel is permitted on the 6:15 p.m. East Grinstead return train only.

For more information or to book tickets, call 01825 720800.

From Irish Central, a look at the effect of Partition on the Irish rail system.
Bluebell Railway steam spring and summer 2016, by Nick Dearden (including a special appearance by the albino squirrel!)

The end of the school holidays will soon be here, and it will be back to school for most children on 5 Sept., 2016--but before the "big day" why not bring the kids to the Bluebell Railway?

Travel any day between 27 Aug. and 4 Sept. and benefit from a special back-to-school offer. That is, kids travel for just £1 and adults for £14.50 each, third class travel on any timetabled train.

Service Two will be running, so there will be plenty of trains to choose from and with children's entertainment at Horsted Keynes station on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays why not give the children a late summer treat?

For more information, click here .


Brian Lacey's photo, taken at East Grinstead on 10 Aug., 2016, shows the SECR H class with a wreath in memory of Simon Brown.

It was with deep regret and sadness that the Railway learned of the untimely and tragic death of Simon Brown on 7 Aug., 2016.

Simon had been a volunteer at the Railway from his early teens where he was part of the station staff at Kingscote, and he became actively involved in the Santa Services and Fish and Chip and Rail Ale Train teams. 

Always enthusiastic, helpful, and polite he was a pleasure to be with and always a reliable source of humour, support, and confectionary.

He will be sorely missed by all who had the privilege to know him. Our thoughts are with his family and close friends to whom we at the Bluebell Railway extend our deepest sympathies and condolences.  

Read Nick Comfort's moving tribute to Simon here .

Derek Hayward's photo shows No. 73082 at 11 a.m. at Sheffield Park, on 13 Aug., 2016, as operations stop to remember Simon.


The construction of the framework and roofing for the maintenance road and the carriage storage shed has been completed, which leaves the frame and roof erection for the Heritage Skills Centre (HSC) to complete Phase 1 of the project.

The delay in the erection of the HSC on the eastern side of the storage shed is due to the requirement for 600 tons of material to be removed from the eastern side of the new building to level the original north-south ground-fall. This will enable completion of the HSC ring beam and frame erection, for which the original funding has been ring-fenced.

Timescales for this work are subject to some key interdependencies. The material to be removed from the new building will be used to build up the embankment at the south-east corner of the storage shed, which is required to facilitate the construction of the internal access road required for essential C&W maintenance vehicles between the north and south ends of the site. Before this material can be transferred for the embankment works, some trees need to be removed and foundations prepared.

In the interests of ensuring cost effectiveness in the use of our donors' money, it has always been planned for all of this part of the project to be undertaken by the Railway's Infrastructure Department rather than outside contractors. However, as significant funding has now been approved by the Capital Projects Review Group for essential track renewal and other priority infrastructure work, the Infrastructure Department team will be fully committed until Spring 2017 on these essential works ... MORE

By the Operation Undercover 4 Steering Group

The Cash for Cover campaign stands at an impressive £368,457. To donate at JustGiving, click here .

By John Sandys.


An important deadline is approaching for the ASH Project. The cut-off showing current fundraising efforts in the second round application for the Heritage Lottery Fund is 22 Aug., 2016.

The more donations we have, the better the Railway's prospects to receive HLF funding to create the exciting Accessible Steam Heritage project.


This year is our fourth Track Trek event (taking place on 12 Nov., 2016), and over the years the event has raised money for a number of worthwhile projects on the Bluebell Railway, including the extension to East Grinstead and the restoration of some of the Railway's historic steam locomotives. 
This year's Trek is the longest we have organised, covering the entire line from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, offering a unique opportunity to see the whole railway from a different perspective. It is not every day that you can walk along the track without any steam trains running.
The money raised by everyone who takes part in the Track Trek will benefit two very different projects at the Railway. 
The first sees the creation of hugely improved undercover accommodation at Horsted Keynes ( Cash for Cover so that more of our historic carriages, many more than 100 years old, can be protected from the weather whilst they wait in the queue for restoration back to their former glory. Currently many of these carriages are sitting in the open exposed to all weather or under tarpaulins which does not provide full protection. 
The other project will see the development of the loco shed area at Sheffield Park with hugely improved access to our historic steam locomotive collection including many hands on opportunities. The Accessible Steam Heritage   (ASH) project will allow our passengers to learn more about our collection of locomotives and hopefully inspire the next generation of engine drivers and firemen.

By James Young

Here's How to Get Involved
Pre-registration is essential because this will give us a good idea of the number of people requiring the use of the buses at the start and end of the day. 
To register for the Track Trek, email tracktrek2016@bluebell-railway.co.uk with the names of the members of your party (please indicate any that are children); which of the two walks you will be doing; and whether you require the use of the bus service from either Sheffield Park in the morning to get to East Grinstead or back to East Grinstead after completing the walk at Sheffield Park.
The sponsorship form can be downloaded here , which will provide a tear-off registration form if you would prefer to use this instead of following the email instructions above. Plus, you can create your own fundraising page on BT MyDonate or create your own "Organised Event" fundraising page on JustGiving.
For more information, click here .

The Railway currently is recruiting Silver Service Waiting Staff to work on the Golden Arrow Pullman Dining Train. With Pullman Cars Christine and Fingall, the train recreates the fabulous "Golden Arrow" that once linked London and Paris with the style and panache that made it one of the most glamorous trains in the world.  

The above photos are just a taste of a lovely photo gallery taken at the Vintage Transport Weekend by Carl Simmons. Some great video of traction engines and stationary engines can be found in the left-hand column, by "cashpot."

Many more photos by Derek Hayward of the Vintage Transport Weekend can be found in this photo roll .


Following the appeal in the eNewsletter of 19 June, 2016, volunteers have signed up and work has started on making SR BY brake van No. 404 fit for carrying generators during filming on the Railway.  

Although a refurbishment rather than a restoration, certain parts--such as rotten wooden or rusted metal parts--are being made off-site using what is left of original parts as patterns. Thankfully, none are structural parts but replacement of small, weathered external pieces will make a big difference to the van's overall appearance.  

The first proper working session involved members of the 9F club--aka the orange-hatted army (see photo at right)--which turned out in force on 9 July and happily scraped and chipped away rust on the wheels and chassis. They were a most professional looking bunch in their protective clothing, and they even brought their own chipping hammers and scrapers. The highlight of the day was when they were allowed to paint the buffers in red primer as a reward for their enthusiasm! Well done team!

Since then, infrastructure volunteers have done intensive scraping inside the van, highlighting small holes in the roof that need particular attention. The van has suffered from water penetration, so repairs to the roof canvas are high on the agenda before we paint inside compartments. A spell of warm weather has dried the inside, and, although much of the paint on the ceilings is flaking, the wood is still pretty sound.

We had our first "organised" working session on 18 Aug. Three of us spent the day scraping and burning off flaking paint and repairing parts of the roof that we could reach with a ladder. It's not the best time of year for recruitment, but we have made a start. Following the Thursday shunt, the van is now at the end of the engineers' siding in the Salt Yard, and the scaffolding is ready to go up as soon as we have tidied up the working area.

If you would like to be involved in this venture and haven't had the opportunity before to work on a rolling stock project, we'd be delighted to add your name to our mailing list--email mikehopps@aol.co.uk .  

By Mike Hopps, Filming Facilities


One of the several summer maintenance projects undertaken by the Friends of Sheffield Park (FOSP) has been an external repaint of the Withyham signalbox.

Although most of the paintwork was still in a sound condition--a testament to the work done by Railway volunteers after the donated signalbox arrived at Sheffield Park from its previous "home" under private ownership--nonetheless it was deemed prudent to embark on a full repaint to avoid the chance that a few small areas of deterioration could develop and threaten the fabric of the building.  

Such issues as loosened putty on the glazing to the weathered side of the building and some cracking and bubbling in a few areas of paintwork were becoming apparent, and the Museum Management Committee approached FOSP to request help.

Over recent weeks and months, necessary minor repairs including replacing loose window putty, filling of cracks, and treatment of a few small areas of incipient rot have been followed by a full external repaint.  

One of the treads on the timber steps also has been repaired, where the back edge was quite rotten, and one FOSP volunteer undertook a home-based repair and repaint of the signalbox name board, which now sports white lettering on a black ground--which consensus says is the correct "Brighton" scheme.  

All is now complete (see photo below), and the effect is very pleasing to the eye. The signalbox is a very popular attraction, and on certain days visitors to the Museum are able to visit the interior for an explanation of the history and workings of this lovely time-capsule of railway history.

By Charles Melton

The Railway's new driving and firing experience launches on 30 Sept., 2016. Full Steam Ahead is your chance to drive and fire BR 5MT No. 73082 "Camelot" over the length of the line. Click on the link to learn more. 

Derek's Hayward's photo shows a family enjoying a donkey ride during Seaside Weekend at Horsted Keynes on 6 Aug, 2016.


An illuminated map of British Railways has been kindly donated to the Bluebell Railway Museum by Chris Brady.

The map is interesting in that it shows the railway system as it was probably in the early 1960s; for instance, the Three Bridges-to-Tunbridge Wells line is shown, whereas the Lewes-to-East Grinstead line is not. 

The map was originally displayed at Brighton Station, but it was removed and not replaced after the Beeching cuts. It was stored for a while in the undercroft of Brighton Station until Chris Brady, then a porter at the station, acquired it.

The  map case and its illumination system has been completely refurbished. The map is now resplendent and on display in the Museum!

By Tony Drake, Curator, Bluebell Railway Museum


By Frank Garland.

Frank Garland (13 Aug., 2016): Great photos of footplate crews.

John Sandys (11 Aug., 2016): "A dull start to the day today, but the sun came out later for a nice warm afternoon. Three locos in steam today: C class shunting (although it did cover for the H class on the first service of the day whilst a small problem was sorted); the H class on Set A; and No. 73082 on Set B. Wreaths were still in place to remember the life of Simon Brown, who tragically died at the weekend."

Martin Lawrence (August 2016): A start to Martin's August gallery.

John Sandys (16 Aug., 2016): "Another cracking day at the Railway, very busy with holiday makers. Most of today's shots were taken at Kingscote, showing some of the excellent upkeep and restoration work by the Friends of Kingscote and gardeners; it really is looking a picture. Also some shots at Horsted Keynes showing the drainage work inside the new sheds, and a look in the Loco Works at Sheffield Park."

By Martin Lawrence.
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