All the Railway's Christmas and New Year's events have been added to the Special Events webpage .

They start with the annual Carol Service on 3 Dec., 2016.
The Railway on 1 Sept., 2016, by Ben Jenden.

The restoration/conversion of BR class 2 No. 84030 (into a representative tank engine of its class) has published its Newsletter #21
BR Standard class 5 No. 73082 at the Railway on 29 Sept., 2016, by "mmcsadler".


FULL TITLE: " Liverpool Street Station, East Side, with Standard Class 7 4-6-2 Locomotive No.70037 'Hereward the Wake'"
ARTIST: John Edwin Wigston
COLLECTION: National Railway Museum
DATE: 1971
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas
SIZE: 71.4 x 91.8 cm
ACQUISITION: Obtained as a result of a direct claim of redundant material from the nationalised railway, 1972

The Railway's Who's Who page has been updated following the 2016 Annual General Meeting and a recent board meeting.
Preserved steam in Japan: the Oigawa Railway in Shizuoka Prefecture, by Mrinmay Kumer Biswas.


Steam locomotives await their fate as a new era dawns. Witness the final working year of steam and the burgeoning nostalgic tours of the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland.

This is the final year that steam trains were used on Northern Ireland Railways, ending the official use of steam in Ireland. Railway enthusiast A.H. Martin invites you to enjoy a close look at the Lough Erne on duty. 

Before the last public steam train left the tracks the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland rail tours began. 

Cross the border and the 30m high Boyne Viaduct on one such trip. Admire the 49 steam locomotive as enthusiasts help it take a twirl on the turntable. 


eNewsletter reader Nick Stanbury wrote in with this comment about the "Sunny South Stan" article in the previous issue:

"It was interesting to see the information on 'Sunny South Sam' taken from the Southern Railway Publicity website. However, all was not quite as it may seem regarding Sam's role and uniform, and I know that working members have been misled by this.

"It is quite clear from almost all portrayals of Sam that he was intended to be a Southern Railway guard and not (as suggested) a ticket collector or other station staff member. Indeed, he is usually depicted with a flag (as with the mannequin pictured) and his uniform is that of a guard, except that a guard's cap badge should show "GUARD" above his staff number (I have a genuine original).  

"In Sam's case, the badge shows SR above a number intended to represent the year (e.g., 1931 in the oil painting) and this is not, as far as I know, an authentic badge for any grade."

Vintage film of the Bluebell and Romney, Hythe, and Dymchurch railways, by "smiler26".


Writes Tony Hillman: "This image, of a damaged SR engine, is on display at the Cuckfield Museum in its Haywards Heath 175 display. We cannot find out any details about what caused the engine to be damaged. 

"Given that the lamp post has hoops painted around it, it would have been taken during or soon after  World War II. Does anyone know the circumstances of the accident? 

If so please contact tony.hillman@lineone.net ."


A nostalgic photo from the Brighton Past Facebook group , of the Kemptown branch in Brighton.


Tony Hillman: "Six photos of Britannias on the Southern from the John J. Smith  collection."

"Short visit to the Bluebell Railway," by "Train Fan 28".


The locomotive " William Shakespeare " at Victoria Station, London, before entering service on the Golden Arrow route from London to Dover for the channel crossing, 11 Oct., 1951. 

The loco had previously been on exhibition during the Festival of Britain. Image colourized by David P. Williams. 

(Photo by J. A. Hampton/Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.)

Southern Steam Days at Tonbridge, by Southern Railway Films.


A Stephenson Locomotive Society Special organised on 22 Jan., 1961 to bid farewell to the 24-mile long Bala-to-Blaenau Ffestiniog line, which was closed to passengers in 1960 and was to close completely on 28 Jan.,1961. 

The eight-coach train, crowded with enthusiasts and watched by crowds, started from Ruabon but the film commences with its arrival at Bala from Bala Junction (passing a shed built to look like a castle as a sop to the railway-opposing landowner).

This line--with 15 stations or halts--was a victim of the Beeching cuts and the Tryweryn Dam/Llyn Celyn reservoir plan. 

The filmmaker was not able to obtain lineside footage of the whole journey as, in order to be present on time at Llan Ffestiniog (home of the Morris Evans & Co. Oils manufactory, in operation for almost 100 years from the 1880s) and Blaenau, he had to omit the section through Cwm Prysor and Trawsfynydd. 

Two BBC presenters--John Adams and Patrick Whitehouse--are seen covering the Special for the Railway Roundabout series.

Monty Python's Michael Palin takes a journey on a "Branchline Railway" in the 1980s.

The Railway's 1922-built South Eastern and Chatham Railway "100-seater" No. 1098 , which runs regularly on our vintage train, has been outshopped at Horsted Keynes following completion of a re-trim of its seats.

 All 20 seat backs and seat bases have been re-covered using a reproduction of a green and fawn Southern Railway 1930's "Jazz" pattern moquette, matching the period portrayed by the carriage's lined olive green SR paintwork.

The sprung seat bases themselves required major work, the metal structure being refurbished and the springing reinforced from beneath with the addition of shaped foam since, after 94 years of almost constant use, the seats were starting to sag!

The presence on the Railway of the almost identical No. 971 has assisted here, in that seats from that carriage could be removed and prepared in advance for fitting to No. 1098, reducing the time it took to get the carriage back into service.

This type of carriage is appropriate to our area, since such carriages were used to add peak-hour capacity to trains running between Forest Row/East Grinstead and London Bridge.

The carriage itself is remarkable in that, after just a few months running with the SECR, it then worked for 25 years with the SR, and 15 years on BR, ending up on the Lymington branch, before coming to the Bluebell Railway in 1963, where it has been used almost continuously since, except for the short period between 1992 and 1994 when it received an overhaul.

The re-trim has been undertaken by our own volunteer trimmers, with the seat repairs undertaken by our volunteer mid-week metalworkers.

 By Richard Salmon

Applications are invited for the following posts:

Commercial Director

As a Bluebell Railway PLC Board member, the Commercial Director is responsible for the commercial and marketing policies of the Bluebell Railway and achievement of the company's commercial objectives. The Commercial Director delegates day-to-day management of the department to the Commercial Manager, through the General Manager.

This is a volunteer post that carries no remuneration or specific hours of duty. However, the successful applicant will require sufficient time and flexibility to effectively undertake this role and preferably to have experience in sales and marketing activities to meet the requirements of the post.

Rolling Stock Director

As a Bluebell Railway PLC Board member, the Rolling Stock Director has professional and technical responsibility for the company's rolling stock fleet and for the strategic direction of the department. The Rolling Stock Director delegates day-to-day management of the fleet to the Carriage & Wagon Works Manager, through the General Manager.

This is a volunteer post that carries no remuneration or specific hours of duty. However, the successful applicant will require sufficient time and flexibility to effectively undertake this role and have the appropriate technical competences to meet the professional requirements of the post.

To apply, send your CV to lisa.boyle@bluebell-railway.co.uk or contact 01825 724884. Applications must be received by 15 Nov., 2016. The Bluebell Railway is an equal opportunity employer.

For more opportunities at the Railway, see below.


The Bluebell Railway regrets that due to a combination of factors, including planned engineering works to renew the life-expired permanent way at Horsted Keynes, along with unexpected complications, the advertised service for the period shown at this link has been reduced. 

This action is because we will be unable to satisfactorily accommodate all trains, pending completion of these works. During this period trains will run to a modified Service 1, providing a one train service into November.

For the October schools half-term period, a modified Service 2 will run, allowing trains to pass at Horsted Keynes, although journey times between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes will also be extended by about 5 minutes.

The Giants of Steam event will run to a special, four-train service as the planned works can be suspended to allow that event to take place. Our Santa season in December also will run to the usual special timetable.

For further information visit this webpage, or contact the Customer Service team on 01825 720800.

We understand that this late alteration to our services may disappoint some visitors, but we hope that you will nonetheless enjoy your visit.

Please find revised timetables on Today at the Railway .


Giants of Steam 2016 covers three days: 28-30 Oct.

An intensive timetable will operate, with visiting engines M&GN Society's LNER B12 from the North Norfolk Railway and Britannia class No. 70013 'Oliver Cromwell . Plus, our Railway's No. 73082 "Camelot," Q class No. 30541, and S15 No. 847 will be on duty.

Click here for more information and to buy advance tickets (and save £££!) 

A profile of visiting loco B12, by the M&GN Joint Railway Club.


A belated updated (August 2016) from the Facebook page of the V class No. 928 "Stowe" project, but a good one ...

"New meets new. James was busy trial fitting the throatplate today, plenty of careful measuring, angle grinding and patience is required. The firebox side sheets will need heat treatment to prevent stress build up when bolted and then riveted into final position."



Over the years the Bluebell Railway has built up a sound reputation for providing a comprehensive education service and schools, and other youth organisations, such as the Scouts, have taken advantage of what we have to offer. That service has of course been backed up by the efforts of colleagues running the Stepney Club and the 9F Club .

Recent years have seen a reduction in the number of schools visiting the Railway, brought about in large part because of financial pressures on school budgets.

However, although those pressures remain, we are now seeing an increase in the number of schools and scout groups visiting--in a number of cases for the first time--as a result of recommendations. By the end of this calendar year, we will have entertained more than 40 schools and eight scout groups-some 1,900 children and 300 adults. We also had enquiries from a further 23 schools that wanted to visits but were unable to do so, in a number of cases because we were unable to provide suitable slots.

What has become increasing clear is that it is no longer sufficient to say "we are here, come and see us". Teachers are increasingly looking to focus their visits on specific areas of the curriculum, and we are having to adapt what we offer to meet their needs. Topics this year have ranged from "Going Places" to the "Impact of the Railways" and "Marvellous Machines".

We offer three broad themes for school visits: general visits dealing with the topics selected by the school; World War II Evacuation Exercises (we have spooked the station staff at Horsted Keynes on no less than 11 occasions this year); and enrichment visits, when we try to provide that little bit extra, such as a tour of the Carriage & Wagon Works or the opportunity to inspect some of our Victorian coaching stock ... READ MORE (including a lovely "thank you" letter from pupil Amy McQuitty.)

By David Cockram, Education Officer


At present the Signals & Telecommunications (S&T) workload is peaking just as a number of our volunteers are away for their annual leave. Priority has been given to Leamland Junction renewals, closely followed by power supply relocation at Sheffield Park, and the continuing relocation of stores and depot at Horsted Keynes.

My pet project, replacing the wooden signal posts at Sheffield Park, has had to be delayed until some normality returns to the department!

The new point work at Leamland Junction will be re-aligned, which means the two signal location cupboards that were positioned close-by needed to be moved from the down cess to the up cess. To achieve this work, all the signalling North of Leamland Bridge needed to be disconnected for about three days, and to complicate the process all telephones had to be disconnected during the same period.

To assist this process, a temporary cable was installed to bypass the work and keep the token instruments between Horsted and Kingscote working along with a few important track circuits. With these basic facilities the signalman could safely hand-signal the one train service for the duration of our work.

It was unfortunate that the key staff was away on holiday exactly when the main changeover was scheduled, but an email sent to all S&T volunteers to request their attendance for three days resulted in sufficient staffing to complete the work one day early.

Attention has now moved to fitting up the new point work that is being pre-assembled in the fork between the Ardingly Branch and the main line. By drilling all the holes, pre-fitting all the point machine drives, and preparing the track circuit bonding, a lot of time will be saved during the main installation period.

There has been some progress made on the Sheffield Park signal work even with all this activity. The Friends of Sheffield Park have kindly prepared and painted the remaining main signal post on the Down Inner Home, and at Horsted Keynes a number of recovered fittings have been cleaned and painted.

Finally, I received some good news from the National Railways Heritage Awards that my submission for the Kingscote Signal Box has been short-listed and we have been invited to attend the Awards Presentation Ceremony in the City of London at the beginning of December.

The judges' report was very complimentary for not only the signal box but also for the station and infrastructure nearby, a justifiable acknowledgement for all the hard work that goes on at Kingscote by the dedicated team there.

By Brian Hymas

Photo by Andy Swain. It shows the Leamland signal location cupboards in their new position waiting for the diverted cables to be terminated, whilst in the background the Permanent Way gang relays the Loop.


With no trains running due to engineering works at Horsted Keynes, this years' Track Trek will cover the entire line from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, covering a distance of 11 miles. The walk will take place on 12 Nov., 2016.

It will raise money for two appeals: Accessible Steam Heritage (ASH) and Operation Undercover Phase 4 (OP4).  For all details and how to sign up, click here .

From the Project 27 blog 1 Oct., 2016 update : "Work has started on the small patch repair of the right hand frame.  Our welding expert, Ian Collins has made a start on the weld repair of the frame ..."

From the project's 12 Oct., 2016, update : work has begun on the SECR "bottle" buffers, at least one of which will have to be created from scratch. Thus CAD drawings are being made of one of the spare buffers.
The Bluebell Railway is offering the following exciting career and volunteer opportunities ...
  • Full-time C&W Machinist
  • Full-time C&W Fitter Maintenance
  • Full-time, three-year contract Pullman Car Restoration Team Leader
  • Full-time, three-year contract Pullman Car Restoration Fitter
  • Full-time, three-year contract Pullman Car Restoration Coachbuilder
  • Commercial Department Volunteer
For more information on all these posts,   
The deadline for these vacancies in 18 Nov., 2016.
In addition ... the Railway is looking for a full-time Loco Shop Machinist. The deadline for this position is 28 Oct., 2016: 
Reporting to the Machine Shop Foreman, we are seeking a Machinist to join our team in the Locomotive Workshop, to carry out the maintenance and repair of the railway's historic collection of steam locomotives.

The post holder will ideally have either completed an engineering apprenticeship or other equivalent qualifications. Skills essential for this post include machining and fitting mechanical parts with demonstrable competence in the use of manual operated lathes and milling machines.
Contact Lisa Boyle at lisa.boyle@bluebell-railway.co.uk or 01825 724884 for application forms and more information on all these vacancies. 

This photo , by Derek Hayward, shows three of the buses at Sheffield Park on 2 Oct., 2016, for the Vintage Bus Day. They are (L to R) Eastbourne 73 (BJK 673D), a 1966 Leyland Titan PD2; Southdown 277 (BUF 277C), a 1965 Leyland PD3/4; and Maidstone & District 5138 (WKO 138S), a Bristol VR/ECW. Please note that these are not "replacement buses" to address the change in train schedule above, just some lovely examples of classic public transportation! Derek's full gallery can be seen here

The Company Upfront has released its 2017 Golden Arrow Murder Mystery Evenings   line-up and dates for 2017, including Murder in the Pharoah's Tomb and Murder at the 19th Hole. More information can be found here.

John Sandys' photo shows the C class with an Autumn Tints special arriving back at Sheffield Park on 6 Oct., 2016. (This was the second Autumn Tints train of the day; the other saw P class No. 323 haul a train that included the 1913-built Observation Car). Autumn Tints Specials run through the end of October.


By John Sandys.

We hope this isn't the case, but John Sandys informs us that this gallery may be the last he can shoot at the Bluebell Railway. Taken on 6 Oct., 2016.

Derek Hayward (2016): A major update to the Derek's 2016 collection.

Derek Hayward (21 Oct., 2016): A full gallery of Leamland Bridge track renewal photos.

By Derek Hayward.

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

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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