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.
John Harwood's aerial video from 20 Oct., 2016, showing "Camelot," track renewal, and more.

The next photographer's Personal Track Safety course will be on 22 Nov., 2016. The certificate from completing this course acts as a Lineside Pass. Learn more here .

TITLE: Motive Power Depot at Camden
ARTIST: Norman Wilkinson (1878-1971)
COLLECTION: National Railway Museum
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas (London, Midland, and Scottish Railway poster artwork)
SIZE: 85 x 122.8 cm
ACQUISITION: Obtained as a result of a direct claim of redundant material from the nationalised railway, 1962


The poetry of steam and diesel is set into song by radical folk musicians Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger in a film that celebrates the Darlington North Road locomen who work around the clock to keep the engines rolling on the railways. This imaginative television documentary, tinged with nostalgia, creates a rich tapestry of actuality and sung narration, heavily influenced by the revolutionary BBC Radio Ballads.

As Head of Features in the early years of Tyne Tees TV, Herbert K. Lewenhak produced two ballad documentaries on working men's lives in the North East under the title The Way We Live (this one broadcast on 9 March 1960), for which 20th century folk chroniclers Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger wrote, scored and performed the narration.

Along with Charles Parker, both musicians were creators of the critically acclaimed BBC Radio Ballads (1958-1964), which 'broke the mould of radio programmes'. The North Road Works, Darlington, opened in 1863 to repair and build engines for the Stockton and Darlington Railway, but officially closed in April 1966 with the loss of 2,150 jobs, a victim of the notorious Beeching Axe.

Planning a wedding in 2017? Tying the knot at the Bluebell Railway will give you a day to remember, and your photographer will love our locations! Discuss your plans with our staff at 01825 720800 or email info@bluebell-railway.co.uk .
Class 20 locos nos. 20142 and 20189 visit the Railway in February 2016 for gauging and collection of stock for a filming project, by "HSTHoward".


Ex-LMS Royal Scot class No. 46154 "The Hussar" being turned on 1 Jan., 1950.


Tony Hillman writes that the mystery of the damaged SR engine on display at the Cuckfield Museum has been solved, thanks to our readers, 
one of whom points us to this entry  in the online Railways Archive.

Here is a summary from the Ministry of Transport report about the unfortunate "over-run" accident:

"The 2.50 a.m. special empty coach train, Streatham to Newhaven, which should have come to a stand in the down siding, prior to reversing across to the up line, over which single line working was in operation, failed to stop and collided at high speed with the buffer stops at the south end of this siding, and with the face wall of the tunnel portal immediately beyond these buffer stops. 

I regret to state that the driver and fireman were killed; the guard suffered from bruises and shock."

Preserved Steam Down Under: Garratt DC6029 travels through Sydney, Australia, with a mixed train in October 2016.


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


Merchant Navy Class 4-6-2 No. 21C2 "Union Castle" was built to Bulleid's design for the Southern Railway in 1941. The West Country class 4-6-2 'Light Pacific' No. 21C122 "Launceston" is just visible in the background.Taken in 1997.

Did you know the Railway offers a Disabled Persons Railcard ? By purchasing this card, you can take advantage of discounted rates on third class travel throughout the year. The cost is £30 and can be issued to an individual or to a recognised care home for use by the residents and staff. 

Celebrate the final years of steam by chasing the Spoil Train across Antrim, as yesterday's quarry waste becomes today's busiest motorway.

Amateur film maker A.H. Martin is in hot pursuit of the Spoil Train, as it makes its epic journey across land and water from the Magheramorne quarry to industrial north Belfast. Leave the vast spoil heap behind as the waters of Larne Lough lap the tracks and plumes of smoke join the clouds.

Delight in industrial choreography as quarry waste spills out into the waiting digger jaws to form NI's busiest road. Then watch the empty carriages trundle their way back, ready to begin again.

B12 No. 8572 unloading at the Railway on 21 Oct., 2016, by Mike Anton.


The flagship of the GPO Film Unit's output and a cornerstone of British documentary . Harry Watt and Basil Wright's study of the down postal express stands as a beacon for John Grierson's original purpose for documentary - to make the working man the hero of the screen. A truly collaborative effort, a coming together of many great names and those immortal lines from W.H. Auden.

There were many contributors in its two-and-a-half year conception. It is ironic that, despite the shared credit of Watt and Wright, it is the partnership of W.H. Auden and Benjamin Britten that steals the limelight for this film.

Almost an afterthought, developed as a way of finishing a narrative that had reached an anti-climax, it was Basil Wright that had suggested some verse to draw the film to a close.

Line-up of locos at Stewarts Lane Loco Depot :
View northward, out of the main 16-road terminal shed. In the centre is SR unrebuilt Bulleid Light Pacific class No. 34091 "Weymouth" (built 9/49; withdrawn 9/64) and far right is No. 34097 "Holsworthy" (built 11/49; rebuilt 3/61; withdrawn 4/67). In between are two BR Standard 5MT 4-6-0s: nos. 73088 (built 9/55; withdrawn 10/66) and 73083 (built 7/55; withdrawn 9/66). In 1959-61, these locos acquired the names "Joyous Gard" and "Pendragon" from former King Arthur 4-6-0s. On the left is SR Maunsell class V Schools class 4-4-0 No. 30919 "Harrow" (built 6/33; fitted with Lemaitre chimney 2/41; withdrawn 1/61). Photo taken by Ben Brooksbank in 1958.


Stephen McNally's remarkable photo shows the B12 giving it some throttle during the Railway's "Giants of Steam" weekend, 28-30 Oct., 2016. More photos and video from the event below ...


This year's Track Trek on 12 Nov., 2016, is only three weeks away. More than 220 walkers have registered to take part and help raise funds for Cash for Cover and the ASH project. There is still time for you to register to either walk the whole line from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park or the shorter walk from Horsted Keynes to Sheffield Park.

This is a unique opportunity to be able to walk the entire line, with no trains running, and see it from a completely different perspective.

For the very first time in the history of Track Trek we will have both the Society and PLC chairmen--Graham Aitken and Dick Fearn--as well as Society Vice-Chairman Steve Bigg, taking part in the whole line walk. Each has set up his own dedicated sponsorship page, so if anyone would like to sponsor one or all of them, they can do so by visiting their BT MyDonate pages:

No doubt there will be a bit of competition between the three of them to see who can raise the most amount of money, so Graham, Dick and Steve will be very grateful to any and all sponsors! What's more, Cllr. Bob Mainstone, the Mayor of East Grinstead, will be taking part.

Further details on the Track Trek event, including a downloadable sponsorship and registration form can be found here .

Whether your interest is in locos or carriages, we hope you will join us, as well as our chairmen and Vice-Chairman, on 12 Nov. for this year's Track Trek. Thank you for helping to raise funds for two worthy appeals.

By James Young

This page shows all the Track Trek 2016 participants--including PLC Chairman Dick Fearn and BRPS Chairman Graham Aitken--who have created their own fundraising pages. Please support them or create your own page, to raise funds for Cash for Cover and the ASH Project.

Derek Hayward offers an early gallery of our "Giants of Steam," taken on 28 Oct., 2016. The gala continues through 30 Oct., 2016. Look for more photo galleries upcoming on the Railway's Facebook page or What's New blog, and of course in the next issue of this eNewsletter.

No. 8572 at Mill Place Cutting with a goods train.

No. 847 at Freshfield Bank.

No. 73082 at Horsted Keynes.

No. 48624 at Mill Place Cutting.


"The Southerner" took this video at "Giants" on 28 Oct., 2016.

A John Harwood "Giants" video.

Don't forget that Railway gift vouchers and tickets can be purchased via the online shop (search the "Departments" menu in the left-hand column).

Just another service the Railway gladly provides: help to the hobby industry. Here a representative from Hornby is seen measuring Mk. 1 FO S3064 at Sheffield Park during a recent research visit.  Hornby's Engine Shed Blog also has CAD drawings taken from the measurements, plus more details of work on the company's forthcoming SECR H class and the correct wheels for the B12.


Neil Cameron's DML article two issue ago about the Southern Railway marketing icon "Sunny South Sam" has stirred some interest with our readers and with those who collect railway marketing.

Recently, for instance, the editors heard from Roger Nash:

I have read with interest the article and comments about "Sunny South Sam" in the eNewsletter.
My maternal grandfather was Sam Walder a guard with the LB&SCR, and then Southern Railway, until his retirement in 1934. He worked exclusively on the Havant-to-Hayling Island branch line.

I have always understood he was the person on which "Sunny South Sam" was based, a story  to which these press cuttings allude . One of the clippings says he was one of the first guards to issue tickets on a train.
We sent Roger's letter to Railway Archivist Tony Hillman and to Nick Stanbury.  Tony responded:

I've looked through the 1934 Southern Railway Magazine, and the December issue has a short article about Guard Walder:

An easy chair from his colleagues and friends and a cheque f rom the NUR were presented to Guard S. Walder on November 15th at the Star Assembly Rooms, Havant to mark his retirement after 47 years' service.

There was a representative gathering, Mr AH Hall, Stationmaster, presenting the chair and Councillor H Vincent the cheque. Both wished Guard Walder many years of happy retirement and their remarks were  endorsed by several others. The recipient fittingly responded.

Guard Walder has been in the Havant and Hayling district for 35 years, and become very popular both with the staff and passengers. His cheery
personality has earned for him the nickname "Sunny South Sam No 2" .

Nick also replied:

Having now seen the cuttings from Roger Nash, I agree that Sam Walder has a strong claim to be the "prototype" for Sunny South Sam, and an excellent ambassador for SR anyway.

One small mystery is prompted by Walder's picture [top]: which way should a guard's "SR" lapel badges be displayed? Walder's read from the outside, but I have seen them elsewhere (e.g., on the Sunny South Sam posters) reading from the inside, and that is how I wear mine.

I would expect standardisation, but the evidence suggests otherwise.

It's your last chance to enter the Railway's "Make It Snappy" competition--it closes on 31 Oct., 2016. Details here .

This photo, taken on 10 Oct., 2016 by John Goss, shows Anthony Mallinson unveiling the smokebox numberplate from ex-LSWR T9 No. 30724, which he presented to the Bluebell Railway Museum in memory of his father, Graham.


Photo by Nick Beck: No. 55993 on Goods Train Weekend 2006.

This is an example of the iconic Southern Railway 25-Ton "Pillbox" Goods Brake Van.

All freight trains used to have a Goods Brake Van at the rear in which the goods guard rode. His duties varied according to the type and itinerary of the train.

Many goods trains (and nearly all mineral trains) contained wagons without automatic (vacuum) brakes or a through brake pipe. The guard had to be familiar with the geography of the route and to be prepared to apply the handbrake on long descending gradients to assist the locomotive with braking; hence the need for such a heavy vehicle at the rear. Many of these vans were originally fitted with sanding gear operated by a lever inside the van. The sand was contained in a box on each verandah.

If the train stopped at intermediate stations to set down or pick up wagons, the guard was required to undertake shunting duties, coupling and uncoupling wagons. The equipment in the van included a "Shunting Pole" and "Brake Stick" for use in these operations. The guard had coloured flags and an oil lamp capable of showing coloured lights as part of his personal equipment.

When the train was in motion, the guard had to regularly check that the train was in good order by looking along its length through the small windows in either side of the duckets, which contained a padded seat to reduce the discomfort from the train "snatching" ... MORE


Derek Hayward (2016): Derek has updated his 2016 gallery to include preparations for Giants of Steam 2016.

Derek Hayward also has a gallery of photos of track improvements taking place at Leamland Bridge during the latter part of 2016. The photo below shows a close-up of some rail jacks. Taken on 16 Oct., 2016.

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