22 January 2017 
Four Deltics to Visit in October

More exciting news, and an addendum to BRPS Chairman Graham Aitken's New Year's message published in the 8 Jan., 2017, eNewsletter ...

The Railway has been approached by the Deltic Preservation Society (DPS), which reaches its 40th Anniversary during 2017 and which wishes to celebrate this milestone by holding a gala at the Railway featuring all four operational Deltic locos!

Out of the many steam and diesel preservation railways in the United Kingdom, DPS has chosen our preserved steam railway as its preferred host.

Visitors may remember that the Railway hosted two Deltics during our 2015 Diesel Gala, and we should all be proud that by showing professionalism and friendliness and by demonstrating a "can do" attitude, DPS want us to do it all again, but bigger and better, and over three days, from 6 to 8 Oct., 2017.

Read the news announcement about the event from the Deltic Preservation Society here.

Diesel Gala Taking Shape with Inclusion of Two "50s"

The Railway's 2017 Spring Diesel Gala , to be held over three days between 31 March and 2 April, is beginning to take shape, and whilst timetables and details of all visiting motive power are still being firmed up, the Railway can announce that the event will include two Class 50 locos: No. 50035 "Ark Royal" and No. 50049 "Defiance".

Owned by the Class 50 Alliance Ltd, and normally resident at the Severn Valley Railway, the two locos will travel to the Railway via the National Rail Network.

The "50" theme is appropriate for 2017 as it is 50 years since the first of this class was built. Entering service in August 1968 and December 1968 respectively, "Ark Royal" and "Defiance" are two of the 50 originally built by English Electric between 1967 and 1968 as Type 4 diesels, later to become BR Class 50s.

Withdrawal of the class started in the early 1990s. "Ark Royal" was withdrawn in August 1990 and "Defiance" a year later. In fact, "Defiance" was the last passenger diesel-powered loco built for British Rail and "Ark Royal" was the first of its class to be preserved. This will be the first visit to the Railway of a Class 50 diesel.

Photo courtesy of Tony Middleton.

The Railway is hiring for two positions in the Bluebell Railway PLC (Infrastructure Director and Operations Director--both volunteer positions) and two positions associated with the ASH Project (Interpretation and Education Development Manager and Project Manager). 

The deadline for the ASH Project positions is 6 Feb., 2017.

Infrastructute Update: Right on Track

  Mike Hopps photo shows the Infrastructure Gang out in force on the track laying project at Holywell.

The Infrastructure Gang is busy again doing what it knows best: track laying.  

Photo by Mike Hopps.
After the successful relaying of Leamland Junction, it was back to much less exciting stuff working on the drains at OP4, but then spirits lifted and Christmas came early when the first wagon load of sleepers and rail started to appear in the Salt Yard, destined for the Holywell job.  

In December, most of what is needed for the job was transferred to the worksite, including the much welcome portable mess room which is "home" for the duration of the works. And so on the 4th Jan., 2013, work started in earnest, following the Monday photographic charter.  

This 16 Jan., 2017, photo by Bruce Healey shows a polythene sheet sandwiched between Terram, which goes under a perforated pipe. Used ballast covers this ensemble. A similar sandwich will go under the track and be lapped into the sandwich shown, ensuring that any water falling on the formation is properly diverted.
After an early road railer taxi down the line, the first job was to re-roof the Permanent Way hut, which was rather damp and would have had trouble getting a mortgage. Then we started a roaring fire for the kettle, which, although it can go on the gas ring in the mess room, is much more authentic on a fire in our heritage surroundings, particularly in January!  

By the end of the day, 10 panels had been lifted and moved to the side ready to start raking the ballast and grading. The original intention was to lift out each panel in one piece, but the road railer struggled a bit, so the first six sleepers were de-keyed on each panel and then moved later, as we moved northwards.

By the end of Tuesday the following week, 10 new panels had been laid with second-hand concrete sleepers and new flat-bottomed rail. These were connected to the new formation that was laid when the repairs were made at River Slip.

For jobs like this, a general call to arms is put out and on many days as many as 12 volunteers were seen working alongside Infrastructure and L&W staff, enjoying the fresh air, plentiful tea, and bacon rolls cooked up by Barbara each lunchtime.

If you want to join the crew and lose a few of those New Year mince pie pounds, we will be happy to welcome you to the "playgroup". It's cheaper than the gym, with more joking around!

By Mike Hopps, Infrastructure Volunteer 
Loco Report: A Winter's Tale

It's been quite a while since my last update, but the Loco Department has been busy and here's an update on all that's been happening ...

With the Railway closed for engineering, our focus has been on the maintenance of the running fleet. The C class has been prepared for its annual boiler exam, which we've bought forward, with the boiler certificate expiring in May.

"Camelot's" tender has been prepared for lifting ready for tender wheels to be sent away and for new tyres to be fitted. The Q class reverser has been dismantled so new leather cup seals can be fitted to the hydraulic cylinder. The Q class has been prepared for its visit to the Great Central Railway at the end of January, and the S15 has been winterised and will be out of service till Easter. Other little jobs have been undertaken on the H class, Ps, and "Baxter".

Within the Works, overhauls of the O1, Schools class, and Standard 4 tank continue. The O1 cylinder block is now in place with the new valves and rings ready to be fitted. The springs and axleboxes are almost complete, and the chassis is very close to re-wheeling. Plus, the ashpan has been made, and the smokebox is in production. Off-site the boiler is complete and will be undergoing its hydraulic and steam tests this month. Once complete the boiler will be returned for final fitting.

The new throat plate for "Stowe" is fitted, and the new backhead is in the process of being fitted. This job takes quite a long time because you must fit it, measure it, remove it, grind some off, fit it, and so on until the correct alignment between the outer wrapper plates and backhead is achieved. The gusset girders are riveted in place and work continues on the chassis.

The frames of the Standard 4 tank are ready for re-wheeling once the new springs arrive, so work has concentrated on painting the frames and fitting the new frame stretcher. Next to the frames, boiler work continues apace with the drilling out of the old stays from the life-expired outer wrapper, the platework ready as a template, finishing repairs to the foundation ring, and fitting of the new throat plate section.

The most significant task completed within the last few weeks is the specialist welding in place of new lap seam sections to the doorplate and tubeplate. This job required a bespoke jig to be made first and a lot of prep to both pressings before specialist welding could take place.

Off-site the two new Bulleid fireboxes being constructed at South Devon Railway are progressing well, with work focusing on No. 34059's boiler. Pressing the required components is now complete, along with removal of the firebox end tubeplate. Welding into place of the new pressing and platework will begin in the next few weeks; this will be followed by marking out and pilot-drilling of the stay holes. No. 21C123's firebox also will be constructed, but it's last in the queue because there's no pressing need for it.

2017 will see a significant number of special events: the Diesel Gala, visit of "Flying Scotsman", the visit of "City of Wells", and the 40th anniversary of the Deltic Preservation Society. In May, our Branch Line Gala will showcase smaller locos, and this year we should see five of our six SE&CR locos in steam and a visiting LNWR coal tank from Worth Valley.

So it will be a very busy and varied year with many exciting things to see. Thank you for reading this report, and I look forward to seeing you at the Railway!

By Chris Hunford, Locomotive Director

Please note that trains will not run on the Railway until 11 Feb., 2017. During the pause, the Railway is re-laying track between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes. Thereafter, trains will run  daily from 11 to 26 February , and on  weekends in March .

The Grinsteade Buffet Carriage at East Grinstead station, and the Restaurant, Shop, and locomotive sheds at Sheffield Park station nevertheless are open daily, even on days when no trains are running. 
Special Events 2017

A full list of Special Events organised so far for 2017 can be found at this webpage . Stay tuned as these events add details and ticketing information and as new events are added.

"FLYING SCOTSMAN" UPDATE : Tickets to travel on general service trains behind "Flying Scotsman" will be on sale in early February. These tickets also will cover travel on trains hauled by other locos during the day, subject to space being available.
More details coming soon  
  • NEW! Kids for a Quid: 11 to 26 Feb.
  • Diesel Gala: 31 March-2 April
  • Shareholders Weekend: 22-23 April
  • Bluebell Specials: 24-28 April & 2-5, 8-10 May
  • Branch Line Weekend: 13-14 May
  • Lego Weekend: 27-28 May
  • Collectors Fair: 29 April
  • Fathers Day Event: 18 June
  • Model Railway Weekend: 24-25 June
  • Craft & Food Festival: 1-2 July
  • Collectors Fair: 29-30 July
  • Freshfields Test Match: 19 Aug.*
  • NEW! Seaside Weekend: 19-20 Aug.
  • Steam Through the Ages: 23-24 Sept.
  • NEW! Deltic Preservation Society Gala: 6-8 Oct.
  • Autumn Tints Specials: 2-6, 9-13, 16-20 Oct.
  • Halloween Scream Train: 27 Oct.
* Charity cricket match between the Bluebell Railway XI and Scaynes Hill CC. Open to staff, members, and volunteers. To play for the Railway, contact John Walls .  
OP4 Update: Lighting the Way

The recent priority with Operation Undercover 4 (OP4) has been to provide essential facilities for the Carriage & Wagon Department so it can maintain and repair carriages safely and efficiently, particularly during winter. For instance, new LED lights have been fitted over the covered maintenance road, which provide good levels of lighting with reduced power consumption.

More recently, concreting of the maintenance road area has been undertaken. This work has included installation of new jacking pads that will facilitate the use of extra jacks purchased last year, thanks to a very generous donation.

Additionally, the new concrete surface has been installed to the north end of the new building, extending on the west side to the wall of the existing C&W works. This will facilitate the re-installation of the steam heat testing equipment, and provide not only a much safer working environment but also level space for other equipment and storage facilities.

As stated, the priority for future fundraising is for track renewal. However, a key objective for the OP4 project this year is to install the track bed and four tracks in the new storage shed so that carriages can be stored under cover before winter 2017/2018.

We can continue the project while we have funds to do so, but further donations of any size would be much welcomed and appreciated, and can be made by cheque to the Bluebell Railway Trust or online here .

By the Operation Undercover 4 Steering Group

From the Railway Archive

Six pictures of soon-to-be-visiting "City of Wells" from the John J. Smith and Alan Postlethwaite Collections, curated by Tony Hillman. 

Covered Carriage Truck Gets Uncovered

Some pictures from The 73028 Camelot Locomotive Society Facebook page taken by Julian Heinemann on 8 Jan., 2017, showing the work completed so far on the dismantling of the CCT van No. S2531S. The photos give an idea of what needs to be tackled in the future. The van is currently located in the C&W facility at Horsted Keynes.

Website Gems: BR (Southern) 10-Ton Covered Carriage Truck (CCT) No. S2531S

The Southern Railway Van U utility van was very similar in style to other SR parcels vans. A total of 390 were built to essentially the same design from 1928, continuing right into the early days of British Railways. Their end-loading doors allowed cars (or carriages) to be loaded, hence their sometime SR designation Covcar and the BR classification CCT (covered carriage truck). This vehicle is from the very last batch, built at Lancing, having plywood rather than planked sides.

They were adaptable to many sorts of traffic, including small livestock in cages or parts of aircraft. They were rated to run in passenger trains, and often did so for parcels and newspaper traffic. Of very simple design, with the metal framing exposed, they are easy to maintain. These vans had a long life on BR, most of the later examples remaining in service into the 1980s. S2531S was withdrawn from revenue service in May 1981 and was offered for sale. It was preserved by the Camelot Locomotive Society.

Down Memory Line: Beginning of the End for East Grinstead High Level

Roy Watts notes that this month marks a sad anniversary for local rail. It's 50 years since the closure (in January 1967) of several intermediate stations on the Three Bridges-to-Tunbridge Wells Central Line, and the beginning of the end for the unusual high level/low level platform arrangement at East Grinstead station. 

Specifically, the Beeching Report  (authored by Dr. Richard Beeching, who lived in East Grinstead) called for the closure of Rowfront, Grange Road, Forest Row, Hartfield, and Withyham stations (see line map below). 

East Grinstead (between Grange Road and Forest Row) was spared, of course, although passenger operations continued with the use of the lower-level platforms only. That remained the situation until, as the the East Grinstead Railway Station Wikipedia page points out, " a third low-level platform [was] constructed at the south of the station by the Bluebell Railway ..."

Detailed information about the Three Bridges-to-Tunbridge Wells line can be found here : " Sunday 1 January 1967 marked the last day of operation. Station furniture and other removable items were collected in the morning by an engineers' special hauled by locomotive No. D6529. The last service from Three Bridges was the 22:08 working to Tunbridge Wells equipped with three extra cars. On the Three Bridges station platform members of the Copthorne Silver Band played for around ten minutes while the train waited. The band also saw out the last train over the Forest Row section, the 22:09 Victoria to Tunbridge Wells West service.

"From 2 January no further trains used East Grinstead High Level or the St Margaret's Loop and goods spur, so these were closed, together with the goods yard whose freight facilities were withdrawn from 10 April. Lifting of the track began in late 1967."

As for the high level platform at East Grinstead: " The last train to use the station was in February 1968, a tracklifting train hauled by a Class 33 diesel locomotive. As the footbridge at the low level platforms had been demolished in Summer 1965, passengers used the high level station as a short-cut between platforms, thereby avoiding the need to go around a local housing
"The high level's demolition in 1970 led to protests from passengers at the loss of the short cut, as a result of which British Rail erected a footbridge which today marks the site of the high level station.

"The goods yard area was taken over by the A22 road which runs parallel with Railway Approach. The East Grinstead Society had attempted to save the brick goods shed for reuse as a drama and arts workshop but were unable to secure the necessary funds and so it was demolished in 1976.  The site of the high level station is now a car park whose perimeter is marked out with old rails.
"Beyond the car park to the east, the former railway embankment has been removed to make way for the Inner Relief Road (A22 Beeching Way) which was opened in 1978. I n July 1979, much of the trackbed from Three Bridges to East Grinstead became a footpath and cycleway known as the Worth Way ."

Tony Hillman provides three photos from the Railway's Alan Postlethwaite photo collection. "It's a surprise that, although John J. Smith was around about the same time taking pictures of the low level, he didn't venture up to the high level!" ( Photo 1 ; Photo 2 ; Photo 3 ).
Photo Gallery  
Dave Bowles (3 Jan., 2017): "After a brilliant day with the Q class we really added the cream with a short pose at Kingscote in the evening." More photos here .

An atmospheric set of photos from Peter Wilson , taken in the rain on 15 Jan., 2017. According to Richard Salmon, Peter reports that the lamb stew and dumplings served in the Bessemer Arms, followed by the chocolate mousse, was amazing and very welcome on a wet and cold day!
Happy birthday to Standard Class 4 tank No. 80151, currently under overhaul at Sheffield Park. The Brighton Works-built loco turned 60 years old on 18 Jan., 2017 .   This photo by Martin Lawrence shows No. 80151 arriving at Horsted Keynes on 17 July, 2010.  
Thank you for reading our eNewsletter; it's because of you-- our members, volunteers, visitors, and supporters --that the Railway continues its success. Please continue to support us by passing this issue onto your friends, family, and/or colleagues by clicking the "Forward this Issue" button below, or encourage others to sign up for the twice-monthly eNewsletter at this link .

If you ever have a question, comment, or contribution, don't hesitate to get in touch with me at
this email address .

John Walls
Editor-in-Chief, eNewsletter
Bluebell Railway

The Q class goods train photo charter, by Mike Anton (some lovely shots through morning hoar frost--The Eds.)

Read a story about the "Flying Scotsman's" visit in the Chichester Observer.
Railway & Heritage News Briefs

Pete Waterman OBE--best known as a record producer/songwriter, but also a railway expert--has accepted an invitation to become a vice president of the Transport Trust , the UK charity dedicated to the preservation of the nation's transport heritage.

Severn Valley Railway's new and highly-anticipated Kidderminster Diesel Depot has earned the railway one of the most prestigious heritage rail industry awards.

A film about Swanage Railway's history is available to watch as part of a new online service launched by British Pathé.

ITV reported on the Railway's £1.1 million National Lottery funding award that will help transform the way we present our static collection of steam locos. 
"Bluebell" to Continue Ambassador Role at Churnet Valley 

Churnet Valley Railway in Staffordshire will host its annual Winter Steam Gala on 25 and 26 Feb., 2017. The gala sees the valley railway kick off its 25th anniversary year. Joining USATC S160 No. 5197 (after a seven-year overhaul) and S160 No. 6046 (this will be the first time in UK preservation that two S160s have been seen together in the UK), will be the Bluebell Railway's intrepid ambassador SECR P class No. 323 "Bluebell". Completing the line-up will be Churnet Valley resident TKh No. 2944 "Hotspur".

The Northernettes' latest video was filmed at the Railway--watch it and support the band!

There's been an update to the details for the 2017 Murder Mystery evenings on the Golden Arrow the show planned for 14 July has been changed to 7 July.
East Grinstead Charity Concert to Benefit Railway
From the BFI Archive: The Last Train from Peterchurch

Crowds at Peterchurch station on the Pontrilas-to-Hay branch line turn out for the last train in 1953 . The "Golden Valley Railway" train also was known locally as "The Thunderer".

The website "The History of Ewyas Lacy" has some good information about Peterchurch Station , the history of the " Golden Valley Railway ", and plenty of archival photos.

Andrew Sinclair has opened up a gap at the top of the 2016-2017 Football Competition table (raising funds for Maunsell Restaurant Car No. 7864). On 54 points, Andrew is followed by a "peloton" on 60 points comprising Chris Anthony, Damian Smeaton, and John Divine. Get in!
Deltic Double Act

In honour of the October visit by our friends at the Deltic Preservation Society, an archive photo of a pair of Deltics preparing to head south from Newcastle Central (D9020 "Nimbus" and D9001 "St. Paddy"). Photo by Roger Cornfoot (1966).

Your Painting/Getty Archive: "On Early Shift"

Lithograph poster " On Early Shift " produced for British Railways showing a railway worker manually operating the signals in the Greenwood signal box, New Barnet, London. A steam locomotive can be seen approaching in the distance. Artwork by Terence Cuneo (1948).






Bluebell Railway
Sheffield Park Station
East Sussex
Near Uckfield, TN22 3QL