Great Excitement & a Great Privilege

Early on 20 April, 2017, we said goodbye to our No. 60103 as "Flying Scotsman" headed home to York after a very successful seven-day Gala Event. Extensive planning and preparation, for what is probably the largest event that the Railway has ever hosted, paid off.

"Flying Scotsman" exchanges a token at Horsted Keynes. "A classic sight," notes "Red5 Photography". More photos below and on the Bluebell Railway Blog
Although advance ticket sales of trips to travel behind "Flying Scotsman" soon saw the 1,158 seats available each day sold out, plenty of capacity remained for visitors to experience the event and travel on service trains hauled by the Railway's resident locos No. 73082 "Camelot" and S15 No. 847, or just to visit the stations.

The amazing weather over the seven days brought out the customers, and just short of 20,000 visitors passed through our gates, more than 8,700 of which travelled behind "Flying Scotsman" hauled services.

We always planned for a safe, enjoyable, and memorable experience for our visitors, and that is what we delivered, thanks in no short order to the support of our staff and brigade of volunteers.

On the opening day we were delighted to be able to host previous owner of "Flying Scotsman" Sir William McAlpine. Whilst at the Railway he saw the recreation of the 1927 photograph of "the Giant and the Dwarf" taken at Kings Cross, featuring "Flying Scotsman" alongside a working 1/3 scale replica "Typhoon", which was visiting us from the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway as part of their 90th year celebrations. This was one of many memorable events during the "Flying Scotsman Flying South" event.

Noel Hartley, Rail Operations Manager at the National Railway Museum, says. "The Museum is delighted by the success of 'Flying Scotsman' at the Bluebell Railway and that they could be part of the three heritage railways hosting the world-famous locomotive. With the Bluebell Railways very successful seven-day Gala Event now completed, we are pleased that No. 60103 not only continues to attract a high level of public interest but also promote railways such as the Bluebell Railway in their ongoing commitment to preserve and operate steam locomotives on heritage lines."

Bluebell Railway PLC Chairman Dick Fearn added, "In our 57th year of operation as Britain's first standard gauge steam heritage railway, the success of the recent visit of the 'Flying Scotsman' to the Bluebell Railway over Easter clearly shows that steam trains still generate great excitement for people of all ages. It was a great privilege to be able to host this most famous of steam locos for a full week, so that thousands of people in the South East of England were able to see it in action at our Railway."

By Roger Garman, Communications Director 
All in the Family

Locomotive crew rostering brought three members of the same family to the footplate of "Flying Scotsman" on the final day of the Gala Event. 

Liz Groome was driving, supported by her sisters Ruth and Rebecca, acting as fireman and cleaner respectively. Meanwhile Clive Groome (dad), was also on duty, driving S15 No. 847. 

Of the experience Liz says, "The opportunity to drive 'Flying Scotsman' was one we didn't hesitate to accept, being rostered with family doesn't happen very often, and it made the day even more enjoyable--an experience which we now share as fantastic memories. There was such a great atmosphere across the Railway for the duration of the event, and the enthusiasm for the loco itself every time we drew into a station was a clear reminder of how lucky we were to be crewing.

So Long, "Scotsman"--Thanks for Some Great Memories! 

Katherine James took this lovely photo on 18 April, 2017, at East Grinstead of Roy Watts, checking all is well before the 1 p.m. departure and making sure two young loco fans are enjoying their day.

John Sandys' photo shows "Flying Scotsman" approaching East Grinstead through Imberhorne Cutting on 18 April.

Sue Marguet (17 April) took this photo of others taking photos of the most photogenic of locos: "Lovely day at the Bluebell Railway today. Thanks to all involved in a memorable eventful day."

Greg Wales' 16 April photo gives some sense of the popularity of No. 60103, approaching a crowded footbridge at Sheffield Park.

Colin Tompson's photo was taken on 18 April. See more of Colin's photos here.

Upcoming dates for Photographers' PTS courses , which have replaced the Lineside Pass System, are 27 May, 20 June, 25 July, 26 August, 21 September, 21 October, and 21 November, 2017. The course runs from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on each date at Sheffield Park station. Cost is £30. To book this please call the Customer Services team on 01825 720800, or for more information, email .
Upcoming Events Spring/Summer 2017

Now that "Flying Scotsman" has departed us, there's plenty of other wonderful events at the Railway to fill your spring and summer calendar ...

Colour Correction

Looks as though the 09 is in for some changes, according to our friends at Heritage Painting: 

"Off to the Bluebell Railway again on 23 April, 2017, to turn this 09 in to something a little more in keeping with a heritage railway. Two class 09s in just over a couple of months. Anyone would think we enjoyed wasp stripes!"

Keith Duke's photo below, from 24 April, shows that preparation work is well underway. Heritage Painting's Facebook page  announces that the new colour is a secret, soon to be revealed of course. Requests for new colours from the company's followers have ranged from Brighton umber and SE&CR green to "really useful" blue and "raspberry ripple"!

The Railway is currently recruiting for 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 which made it one of the most glamorous and famous trains in the world.
Bulleid Coach No. 5768 Progress Report

No. 5768 was built in 1947 ,

Phil Preston holding the veneered timber cover for the north door (all photos John Fry).
one of the last corridor composites to be constructed by the Southern Railway. The underframe was built at Lancing with the body an Eastleigh product. It can be distinguished from the BR-built Bulleid coaches by the shallow sliding vents in the windows, and it was initially used as one of the three coach set No. 787 on the West of England trains running out of Waterloo.

Withdrawn from traffic in 1968, it was sold to the Bulleid Society to run behind No. 21C123 "Blackmoor Vale" and moved to the Railway in 1971 together with No. 21C123. An intermediate overhaul was undertaken on the coach at the Bluebell, and it entered traffic in May 1976 at the same time as No. 21C123. Running until 1994, its deteriorating condition, with cracked windows and body work problems, led to its withdrawal from traffic.

In 2009 the coach entered the Carriage & Wagon Department works for a major overhaul, which included replacement of timber and steel frame structures, a complete new floor, re-sheeting of the steel outer skin, replacement bogies, and complete refurbishment of the interior and rewiring.

The south end toilet installation.
The overhaul has progressed under the overall charge of Roger Williams, with re-canvassing and painting of the roof, refurbishment of the window and sliding vent frames, and reglazing of the large curved glass windows. Filling and priming of the outer skin has now progressed to consideration of the repaint into the appropriate livery.  

Internally, the coach has had a complete rewiring and overhaul of the electrical control gear. The toilet water system has been overhauled and installation is underway, and the refurbishment of the four first class and three second class compartments is progressing. Bulleid used both stainless steel and chrome plating for metalwork with re-chroming carried out on some of these plated items.

Re-upholstering of the interior.
The seating has been re-upholstered, with a number of compartments completed. Internal corridor and compartment ceilings have been replaced with modern plastic-based sheeting and varnished timber panelling in the corridors is now in place.

The Bulleid Society is now looking forward to the return to traffic of the coach in a condition it has not been in since 1947, and the Railway will have a useful vehicle to join the Bulleid coaches now in traffic.

By John Fry, Chairman, Bulleid Society

Read as a PDF and more photos here .
This Hallowe'en do you dare to come along to the Bluebell Railway's Scream Train ? Travel on 27 Oct, 2017, with some unsightly characters into what you once knew as Horsted Keynes station, transformed into a platform of mayhem and mischief! For those 15 and older.
"A Memory to Treasure Forever"
In the run-up to the recent visit of "Flying Scotsman", the Railway invited local schools to enter a competition in which pupils were invited to compose an essay or a poem or make a drawing of the locomotive.
We received a good number of entries of a particularly high standard. This made selecting the winning entries difficult, but, after a good deal of consideration, we finally decided to make awards in the categories of essay and poem.
The winning essay was written by Jack E. of Loxwood Primary School, West Sussex, a well-crafted note about a trip to see "Scotsman", and the winning poem was composed by Jamie (aged 9) of Lewes Old Grammar School, East Sussex. Both Jack and Jamie have been awarded a complimentary family ticket to the Railway. We look forward to welcoming their families soon!
By David Cockram, Education Officer
Here I am at home thinking of what I could do with Easter Holidays when I realise that I could go and see the Flying Scotsman. So I checked the internet for tickets but there were none left, I had always loved trains and I wanted to see it anyway. I packed a bag of a few things I might need and went. It was quite a long journey to the Bluebell Railway - the place where the Flying Scotsman is visiting but I got there in the end. Suddenly I heard the clickety clack, clickety clack of a steam engine. I rushed to the crowded station, wriggled to the front and there it was the, Flying Scotsman puffed to a halt: I knew I couldn't ride it but I thought looking at the beautiful shiny and magnificent engine was good enough for me. It will be a memory to treasure forever.
By Jack E., Loxwood Primary School
The Flying Scotsman is my name
London to Edinburgh was my game
I am part of locomotive history
About that there is no mystery
I started out in twenty-three
1472 was my identity
My painted colour was apple green
Then black then blue and back to green

I steamed into the world record books
For more than my ever changing-looks
I reached 100 miles per hour
No one had ever seen such power

I've been bought and sold across the globe
Now home again I pull no load
I'm happily restored and retired
As a national treasure I'm still admired.
By Jamie, Lewes Old Grammar School

"Fancy That!" A School Visit ...

On 14 Feb., 2017, a party of six adults and 29 children from Blackthorns Community Primary School, Haywards Heath, visited the Railway as part of their "Impact of the Railways" study.

Sally Carr, the lead teacher, subsequently submitted a sample of the childrens' follow-up work. The following essay, entitled "To my diary" gives an idea of the high quality of the work, and the school have been provided with a complimentary family ticket to the Railway.

Incidentally, given Anon.'s revelation about how little coal is needed to get to East Grinstead, the General Manager ought perhaps to review our ordering policy!

By David Cockram, Education Officer


Dear Diary ,

On the 14th of February 2017, we as a class went on a school trip to the Bluebell Railway. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. We went on a train that needed 10 shovels of coal to go to East Grinstead! Fancy that! The driver didn't have breakfast so he cooked it with the fire on the train. We saw woods, foals pheasants and people on the journey. We started at Sheffield park then we went to Horstead Keynes and after that we came across Kings cote and finished at East Grinstead! We went in a tunnel with a story of a ghost in it! It was scary. It was between Horstead Keynes and Kings cote. The train went slowly not like modern trains.

I really was interested in the gas lamps. At first it didn't turn on. Secondly one turned on and then 2 came on. We turned it off so we didn't waste gas. People used them at night to see. We went over black bridges to get to the other side of the platform. We also went into a museum where there was lots of things. Did you know that when a king or queen went on a train there would be a crown that you would nail on the top of the train so you would know. We saw a dog that was in the story of the ghost. You can dress up there in the train driver suit.

We went to a place where there was lots of old trains. Stetheny ["Stepney"] was there from Thomas the tank engine. It was awesome and I love it.

By Anon.

From the Railway Archive

On 16 March, 2017, the planning permission for the reinstatement of the
railway line from Robertsbridge to Bodiam was approved. Tony Hillman provides a set of images from Robertsbridge and Junction Road, what will be the new piece of Railway, from the John J. Smith collection.


From Kent Online ...

Plans to connect Tenterden's Kent & East Sussex Railway with the London-Hastings main line have finally been approved.

The next stage now is to seek the required Act of Parliament to secure the final go-ahead for construction of the missing two-mile link to begin.

Once that is achieved money is in place to start the work and if everything progresses to plan the entire 14-mile route from Tenterden to Robertsbridge could be up and running in two years' time ... MORE


Photo Gallery  

Loco Cleaner Greg Wales' atmospheric photo of Q class No. 30541 in the Loco Shed, on 16 April, 2017.

A nice portrait by John Sandys taken on 20 April, 2017: " A lovely day at the Railway today with Service 2 running again. I was struck by how beautiful the lineside looks, with the leaves just budding on the trees and the bluebells now flowering, just right for the Springtime Specials."  

Keith Duke : " A few shots from Sheffield Park on 24 April, 2017, featuring "Bluebell" on the Bluebell Specials. I think these are going to be the first passenger turns for No. 323 since being turned to face north after its trip away in February." [Really worth looking at, this gallery. The photos of "Bluebell" are wonderful!--The Eds.]

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


A SELECTION OF "SCOTSMAN" VIDEOS (many more at this YouTube link! )

Timsvideochannel: "I couldn't believe the pulling power of 'Flying Scotsman', and I'm not talking about the weight of the train it can haul, but the adoring fans who turned out to see her, elevating the driver and fireman to superstar status. 

"We take a look at 'Scotsman' from the lineside and as a passenger, along with a fine array of the Bluebell Railway's home fleet in steam. 

"T he railway is also home to a superb fleet of heritage and vintage carriages, many of which we see running on this visit. 
"Finally, we finish off with a brake van tour around the substantial Horsted Keynes station and sidings, before a look back at the 1980s when 'Scotsman' wore apple green livery and the legendary number 4472."

Springtime Steam on the Bluebell Railway, 19 April, 2017, by "Speed to the West".

JS Rail Video captures the action on the final day of "Flying Scotsman" proceedings, on 19 April, 2017.

Miniature Railway features "Typhoon" and "Flying Scotsman" on the cover of its Summer 2017 issue, a photo for the ages! In addition,  Steam Railway magazine reproduced both the original and updated portraits of the two locos in its latest edition.
Bits & Pieces

Alan Dengate's photo shows some of the fittings for the Inner Home Signal at Sheffield Park laid out on 26 April, 2017, at Horsted Keynes ready to be transported to the site.

"I have had the pleasure of renovating and repainting these and the rest which had already been delivered to site," says Alan.

Your Painting: Traction Engine

Full Name:
Steam Traction Engine
Artist: Alex Campbell
Date: 1991
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Size: 60 cm x 91 cm
Collection: Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru (The National Library of Wales)

From the BFI Archive: Railways Derelict & Preserved (1975)

A beautifully shot compilation of colour footage of British railway history. We visit the 1980 cavalcade of steam engines at Rainhill to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Manchester to Liverpool line, and take a look at engines in the sheds at the Steamtown railway museum in Carnforth. The film also records the remains of early railways as well as preserved lines in Shropshire and Devon.

Railway & Heritage News Briefs

European Railway Review's Leadership Series spoke to Bluebell Railway PLC Chairman Dick Fearn about the newly-formed Western Route Supervisory Board ...

A British railway first  was accomplished recently as four generations of trains-- including "Flying Scotsman--arrive at the same station ...

Mainline rail services between Norwich and Sheringham 'could' be extended to Holt ...

A group of rail enthusiasts in Lathalmond are fundraising in a bid to restore a piece of Fife history . National Coal Board No. 29 currently sits dismantled at Prestongrange Industrial Heritage Museum in Prestonpans ....

Chinese online shopping giant Alibaba is taking to the new Silk Road with a search for warehouse locations along the route of the recently launched China to UK rail link ...

Kent's Hever Station was invaded by a herd of cattle on 15 April, 2017, causing "udder" chaos with no Southern trains "moo"-ving between Oxted and Uckfield. Service was restored later in the day ...

A vintage railway carriage , restored by dedicated volunteers, has been relaunched into service by the Duke of Northumberland ...

This May Bank Holiday, Staffordshire Bull Terriers will be able to ride the steam trains at Churnet Valley Railway free of charge as part of Staffordshire Day celebrations ...

The wait is finally over as Snowdon Mountain Railway's Loco No5 will resume service to the summit of Wales' highest peak ...

Plans to extend the historic Kent and East Sussex railway could hit the buffers after it was revealed farmers along the route are refusing to sell land needed for the scheme ...

"Normal trains" at the Railway on 25 April, 2017, by John Harwood.

From the Getty Archive: Hoisting a Locomotive

A steam locomotive being hoisted on a ship at Newcastle, bound for India (1927).

Keith Widdowson will be signing his latest book at Sheffield Park on 13 May, 2017.





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