"Flying Scotsman" Flies South: Some Initial Highlights of an Historic Event

Russell Pearce, Operations Director: "For me the probable highlight was the opportunity to go to East Grinstead in the early hours of 12 April, 2017, and receive 'Flying Scotsman' and its crew onto Railway metals.

"Chris Hunford, Chris White, and myself were made very welcome by Southern staff, who were on the platform, offering tea, biscuits, and some very warm words.

"Working through the gates, gauging the platform, and setting off for Sheffield Park via gauging work at Kingscote and Horsted Keynes gave us all quite a buzz, despite the important and delicate nature of the work being done.

"Roy Watts and many of his staff were on hand to look after our East Grinstead station, and even at the unsociable hour of 1:45 a.m. there was a handful of Railway members and general public to give "Scotsman" and her support crew a warm Sussex welcome!"

Roy Watts, Vice President, BRPS: "For me it all began at 1:30 a.m. on 12 April, having been the nominated person to open the boundary gates and see 'Scotsman' onto Bluebell Railway metals.

"The whole process was undertaken and achieved--bar a small slip of the loco--as quietly as possible to avoid disturbing our neighbours.

"It was when she paused by the ground frame and, looking up, became completely framed by the full moon that could you appreciate the majesty of the loco! With the gauging complete, the sound of the loco working south towards Kingscote carried across the quiet countryside."

Roger Garman, Communications Director: "There's a great appreciation for the weather so far being a successful contributor. The other noticeable ingredient is the commitment and support of the army of volunteers on which such great demand has been placed. This should not, however, overshadow the dedication our staff, working together to make this happen. The team spirit is palpable and helps show the Railway at its best.

"For me, three things came uniquely together on Thursday evening with 'Flying Scotsman', 'Typhoon', and Sir William McAlpine, and this was indeed a memorable, if not historic, moment."  

"An Emotional Experience": Some Notes from Gordon Owen, General Manager

"This is the best day of my life--ever!" (just one of the comments Gordon has overheard directly, this one from a youngster).

Day 1: After five months of planning and preparation we are finally there! It's been a busy day with plenty going on across the Railway. Our first train was a Golden Arrow breakfast train hauled by No. 60103. The service left on time to the sounds of the Caledonian Pipe Band, which seemed, even at 7:30 a.m., to be a wholly appropriate for the occasion!

The whole station was buzzing with excitement, and it turned out to be quite an emotional experience. It is amazing how quickly news travels, and it wasn't long before the plaudits and favourable comments were arriving on Facebook and other social media sites.

We had members of the press reporting from all trains, and TV companies filming and conducting interviews throughout the day. We received some great TV coverage on both the BBC and ITV. We were also visited by a number of VIPs and friends from neighbouring heritage railways.

Visitor numbers have been good, with 1,647 customers through the booths at Sheffield Park and reports that both Horsted Keynes and East Grinstead also were busy.

Day 2: Another good day with more 2,200 visitors through the ticket booths at Sheffield Park. All the trains were busy, as were the catering outlets. Horsted Keynes in particular reported customer numbers significantly up on the first day.

There have been some fantastic comments on social media. We are making dreams come true for thousands of visitors, and some comments are truly inspirational.

Nick Owen and his crew have been filming. They are creating a video record of the event for the Railway. They made good use of a drone to capture some beautiful imagery of "Scotsman" exiting Sharpthorne Tunnel.

It has been wonderful to talk with so many volunteers. The positive, can-do attitude and the enthusiasm is so infectious. Thank you to all our "Gala Makers".

A Visual Feast: Sunshine & Steel


Paul Furlong's photo shows "Flying Scotsman" climbing Freshfield Bank with the 13 April, 2017, Pullman Breakfast service. When the tickets for this train went on sale a couple of months ago, they sold out within 35 minutes of being advertised.

Mike Anton's dramatic photo shows "Scotsman" in front of the 13 April Pullman Breakfast Train.

Mike Hopps: "I was able to get a good pic of 'Scotsman' coming out of the tunnel hauling the breakfast train on 13 April. I thought it deserved a poster." To browse and purchase Mike's excellent commemorative posters, click here.


Video from Harry Bryant showing "Scotsman" passing the old West Hoathly station site: "Went to see the 'Flying Scotsman' at the Bluebell Railway, it brought back memories from when I was younger!"

Stephen Clark: "Flying Scotsman" at the Bluebell Railway, 13 April, 2017 (Part 1).

Mike Anton: Timelapse of RH&DR's "Typhoon" unloading.

Chris Wood: "Flying Scotsman" from the air, 14 April, 2017.

Jon Barnes: "Flying Scotsman" glides through Sussex!

Selected Press Coverage

All Aboard as the Flying Scotsman Leaves Hundreds of Train Lovers in Awe ( The Argus , 13 April, 2017)

History Made as Flying Scotsman and Typhoon Are Reunited After 90 years (ITV, 14 April, 2017)

VIDEO: Flying Scotsman's Easter Stay at Bluebell Railway ( Mid-Sussex Times , 13 April, 2017)

17 Stunning shots of the Flying Scotsman on the Bluebell Railway ( Surrey Mirror , April 15, 2017)

RH&DR's "Typhoon" Visits Her Big Sister "Flying Scotsman" at the Bluebell Railway
A chance to re-create a famous photograph from 1927

Ninety years ago this year, world-famous "Flying Scotsman" posed alongside her smaller sister engine "Typhoon" at Kings Cross station in London.

Built by Davey Paxman & Co and delivered to the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway (RH&DR) in 1927, "Typhoon" and RH&DR both turn 90 years old this year. What better way to celebrate than to join with our friends at the Bluebell Railway and recreate this memorable scene.

On the morning of 11 April, 2017, "Typhoon" was secured to the flatbed and departed New Romney for Sheffield Park, arriving safely at 2 p.m. She then was carefully unloaded before being stored away.

On 13 April both local and national press gathered to witness "Flying Scotsman" and "Typhoon" side-by-side, reunited once more. Sir William McAlpine, whose connection to the two locomotives stems back to 1972, broke open the ceremonial bottle of champagne at 5:30 p.m. Sir William rescued "Flying Scotsman" from the USA in 1973 having already saved the RH&DR from near closure the previous year.

Danny Martin, RH&DR General Manager, says, "There is no more pertinent way to kick off our 90th anniversary celebrations than to look back at the historic meeting of these two railway icons at King's Cross in 1927 and to celebrate that they are still here for future generations to enjoy, hopefully for the next 90 years. Our special thanks to our friends at the Bluebell Railway and the National Railway Museum for making this reunion possible."

RH&DR's Tim Godden says, "It was a dream come true for me. When we first thought of reuniting 'Flying Scotsman' and 'Typhoon' for our celebratory book Romney: Then & Now , the dream felt too big. But we persevered, and suddenly the pieces of the jigsaw started falling in to place, thanks to the kind support of the Bluebell Railway. It felt truly emotional to help bring these two iconic locomotives back together, almost 90 years to the day from their first appearance together. There were definitely a few tears in the eyes of the assembled crowd!"

By Jade Ashton, Marketing & Events Manager, RH&DR

An overview of the public trains (locos and carriages) the Railway will be running through to 21 April, 2017.  
Ramping Up the Tamping

Bruce Healey provides an update to the Horsted Keynes track work: "On 5 April, 2017, the final tamp of Platform 3 road was completed, and Platform 2 had been released back into service [as seen in this photo ]. However, this ballasting and tamping is not the end of the job, as there are still tidying up and odd jobs to do."

Bluebell Railway Seeks New Funding Director

As a result of the expected retirement of Roger Kelly from the Bluebell Railway PLC Board in August 2017, the Railway is seeking applicants for the role of Funding Director.

As a PLC Board member, the Funding Director has responsibility for raising funds from any source (other than commercial lenders) for the preservation, restoration, and further development of the heritage assets and activities of the Bluebell Railway.

Whilst previous experience in fundraising is an advantage, applicants who have work experience in putting forward business cases for support also will be very welcome. Training on specific fundraising processes and procedures can be provided.

Few heritage organisations can survive on day-to-day revenue alone, so this is an important, challenging, and very satisfying role. It is a volunteer post that carries no remuneration or specific hours of duty, but the successful applicant must have sufficient time to undertake the role, with exciting future projects to support and the Railway's Diamond Jubilee Appeal to be organised.

If you believe have the right skills or experience for the job, please send your CV to Lisa Boyle, Bluebell Railway PLC, Sheffield Park Station, East Sussex TN22 3QL or phone 01825 724884. Applications must be received by 1 June, 2017.

For more employment opportunities, click here .
Apprenticeship Opportunity: Locomotive Works

The Bluebell Railway has an exciting vacancy in the Locomotive Department for a young person looking to turn his or her engineering skills toward steam preservation.

The Locomotive Works Apprentice will undertake a course of study in mechanical engineering and will carry out supervised work and training in the Locomotive Works on the repair and maintenance of steam locomotives.

A level of competence in the operation of hand and machine tools and electric and gas welding is preferred. Educational standard must be A-C in Maths, English, and Science. This is a three-year project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Locomotive Works operates seven days a week, and some weekend work may be required.

Closing date is 1 June, 2017. Contact Lisa Boyle on 01825 724884 or via for further information.

An updated  component sponsorship list  for the Brighton Atlantic Group is now available, including wing valve castings, brass washout plugs, and an upper blastpipe. 
A Very Diesel Round-Up
Bluebell Railway Diesel Gala 2017

"Except when one of the 20s went 'pop' and stopped for a while on Sunday, everything ran smoothly at the Diesel Gala, and everyone seemed to enjoy what had turned into something of an 'English Electric' event."--Richard Salmon

Many more videos and photos at the Bluebell Railway blog .

No. 09018 with the 1 April, 2017, morning brake van special at Rock Cutting (by Steve Lee).

Andrew Crampton's photo shows nos. 20205 and 20189 with a 12-car formation departing Horsted House Bridge.

By Mike Anton: "Class 20s start of day at the 2017 Bluebell Railway Diesel Gala.".

By Samuel Bennett.

By Chris Ward

Thundering Through

Talking of the Diesel Gala, Sussex-based reader Julian Clark wrote to us with an interesting recent observation: 

"Whilst the 'Shoeboxes' were working back from Wembley to Twyford on the quaintly numbered 0Z73 on 3 April, 2017, their 'day job' had been taken on that day's 1Z75 Test, the 11:10 Ton West Yard to Bton, via the Arun Valley. 

"So, had something not gone awry up at the SVR last week, I wouldn't have had No. 37116 thundering through my home station of Angmering at 17:31, or No. 37025 in Big Rail (BR) livery (steam heat, dual braked, split boxes, etc.) leading the train past Warningcamp Crossing (Arundel) at 16:05."

From the Railway Archive

More example glass slides from the John J. Smith collection ...


Photo Gallery  
Martin Lawrence's photo shows No. 263 in service on 8 April, 2017. His completed March gallery can be found here

By Keith Duke (3 April, 2017): " Working at the Railway Monday morning. Lucky enough to see the tender for 'Camelot' going back on its wheels. A very impressive job done there. Also stayed on to take advantage of the fact that we had three locos in steam. A good day and the sun even came out, eventually!"

John Sandys is back! " H-class arrives at East Grinstead as part of the two-train service running daily up to the arrival of 'Flying Scotsman' for Easter." Taken on 4 April, 2017. 

John Sandys : "No. 847 with the second train of the day (4 April, 2017) at East Grinstead."  

Derek Hayward took this photo of No. 592 passing the Kingscote northbound "Home" signals on 9 April, 2017.

Martin Lawrence has made a start on his April 2017 album . Some lovely portraits of those who make the Railway tick in this gallery.  

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 , 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


Life Saver

In advance of the visit of "Flying Scotsman", the South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust provided another defibrillator for the Bluebell Railway.

(We believe that the Railway is the only preserved railway with a defibrillator at every station.)

The above photo shows Railway GM Gordon Owen MVO receiving this vital life-saving kit from Tim Fellows of SECAMB.
Think Spring With Bluebell Specials

Travel in the 1913 Observation Car and see how the Bluebell Railway got its name! Dates for this year's Bluebell Specials are 24-28 April; 2-5 May; and 8-10 May, 2017.

Bluebell Specials services will depart at 11:45 a.m. and 2:35 p.m. from Sheffield Park Station for the one hour and 40 minute return journey to East Grinstead. 
An ideal day out for groups but lovely for everyone!

Cost is £19 adults and £9.50 children. Book tickets eight days or more in advance and receive our Bluebell Bonus discount.

For more information, click here .


Barbara Watkins' photo from 4 April, 2017, shows the boards on the signal at the south end of Horsted Keynes Platform 3/4, which are being replaced. Two more signals need to be similarly repaired.

The Bulleid Society is looking for an editor
for its journal-- Bulleid Express --which is
produced once a year. If you are interested contact John Fry at 01273 472340 or

Railway & Heritage News Briefs

Steam locomotive hits 100 mph on East Coast main line. 
Tests have taken place on the East Coast Mainline to determine the highest speed steam trains can travel safely. Britain's newest steam loco--Peppercorn class A1 "Tornado"--hit the 100mph mark during test runs between Newcastle and Doncaster.

After securing almost £2 million in funding, work is well and truly underway in preparing the Colne Valley Railway site for the construction of three new buildings ...

Exciting plans have been announced for the design of Britain's first major purpose-built railway museum at Leicester North ...

It cost Network Rail more than £40,000 to clear 25 lorry loads of semi-processed household rubbish dumped on land it owns in Telford last year ...

Plans are underway to honour Glasgow's war widows at the station where they collected the ravaged bodies of loved ones. An underground area of Central Station was used as a make-shift morgue during the First World War with women forced to walk through rows of bodies to identify husbands, fathers and sons ...

The number of passengers has doubled in 20 years, and more than £12m a week is being spent on new investment in East Anglia's rail infrastructure according to a new campaign aimed at encouraging more to travel by train ...

Read about a businessman's ambitious £30m plan to get steam trains crossing the Manchester Ship Canal again ... 

Rail enthusiasts were transported back in time with the unveiling of a new attraction on the North Norfolk Railway ahead of its steam gala weekend. The first passengers travelled on a set of four restored suburban coaches over Easter following the completion of a £250,000 project. ...

From the BFI Archive: The Last Train to Blaenau

A Stephenson Locomotive Society Special organised on 22/1/1961 to bid farewell to the 24-mile long Bala-Blaenau Ffestiniog line which was closed to passengers in 1960 and was to close completely on 28/1/1961.

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 railway 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.

Your Painting: Corliss Engine

Artist: Alfred Gee
Date: 1966
Medium: Acrylic on board
Size: 39 x 49 cm
Collection: Bolton Museum & Art Gallery

A painting of a Horizontal Cross Compound Jet Condensing Corliss Valve Steam Engine, built by Hick Hargreaves & Co. Ltd.

From the Getty Archive: Talking To Driver (A Different "Flying Scotsman")

(26 April, 1962) Two boys chatting to the driver of The Flying Scotsman at King's Cross Station in London. To mark the Flying Scotsman Centenary, the hundred-year-old train is being hauled to Edinburgh by a new Deltic diesel engine in the record time of six hours. 

Better Know a Heritage Railway: Sagano Romantic Train (Japan)

Enjoy the beautiful view of Hozugawa Ravine from season to season while you take Sagano Romantic Train . In spring, approximately 7.3km of the ways is lined with elegant wild cherry blossoms. 

In summer, enjoy the Hozukyo panorama while being cooled by the river breeze and wrapped in a chorus of cicadas. In autumn, a 25-minute journey of wonder in which glorious fall colors cloak the landscape as far as the eye can see.

In winter, be enchanted by the fantastic experience of moving through a serene, white winter wonderland. Other attraction include the large Kyoto rail diorama at Saga Torokko station.





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