With the Tram Road Poured, OP4 Nears Completion

Following the delivery on 30 Aug., 2017, of another one-and-a-half loads of Ready Mix, the Tram Road next to maintenance Road E in the OP4 structure is now complete. Once the concrete has set, the shuttering can be removed and the new facility will be ready for use. 

Meanwhile, other work on OP4 continues to progress. The ballast retaining wall on the east side is now being finished so that ballasting can be completed prior to the laying of the final two roads. 

The engineers siding at the bottom of the Salt Yard has been lifted and awaits the new point components that will link the shunt to the new roads in the carriage siding. We are taking the opportunity to relay the siding while the work progresses, as most of the existing sleepers are pretty well life-expired: at the same time there will be improvements to the current alignment.

By Mike Hopps

The new tram road in the OP4 shed.

Work on the ballast retaining wall.  

John Harwood (30 Aug., 2017): "'Camelot' in the rain on a midday train at East Grinstead and Kingscote. At OP4, the tramway is finished with just the last touches to go. Sleepers are in position ready for the rails to form the third track in the carriage shed. The retaining walls were being filled with concrete. All work is carried on in the dry."
A Fine Test on a Fine Day

Rosanne Raven took the action photos and Judy Middleton the team photo during the annual Bluebell Railway XI vs. Scaynes Hill CC cricket match, played on 2 Sept., 2017, next to the Railway at Freshfields.

As always, SHCC were gracious hosts, and the winners of the match! The village team scored 170, but the Railwaymen managed to take six wickets and effect a run out, giving almost all the Scaynes Hill Team a bat, including several young colts.

The Railway team got off to a somewhat unfortunate start in its reply, falling to 10 for 3 wickets at one point (however, Scaynes Hill's "12th man" is always the catering team, and the Railway batsmen may have been digesting a fine tea!)

However, the innings was rescued by the Railway's solid middle order. A fine 62 from Locomotive Superintendent and Captain Stuart Marks was supported by a solid 12 not out from Finance Director Martin Widdowson.

The bucolic atmosphere was augmented by loco drivers who gave regular encouraging whistles throughout a very fine late summer's day, which was rounded off back at Scaynes Hill's clubhouse. The evening barbecue also was a chance to celebrate SHCC's first team promotion back to the Sussex league second division with a record points total--congratulations to Scaynes Hill!  


Track Trek 2017 Supports the "Traction Appeal"

I n October, the Railway will be officially launching its "Tr(ack) Action" or Traction Appeal to raise funds for track renewal. 

Part of the appeal will include our annual Track Trek sponsored walk, which will be held on 18 Nov., 2017, with the aim of raising £15,000 to buy one replacement 60-foot track panel. 

The Trek will be along the entire length of the line between East Grinstead and Sheffield Park stations, covering a distance of 11 miles.  This is a chance to see first-hand the track renewal works taking place during the middle part of November between Horsted Keynes and Sheffield Park. 
The Trek starts from East Grinstead between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. with registration and safety briefings at East Grinstead from 8:30 a.m.  Please secure your place by emailing with your name, address, phone number, email address, the number of people taking part, and whether you require the bus to East Grinstead in the morning or at the end of the Trek.  

At registration trekkers will be expected to show sponsorship to the value of at least £25 per person or £40 for each family group (maximum two adults and three children aged 7 to 16 inclusive).  
For more details on Track Trek 2017, to download a sponsorship form, and to learn how to create your own fundraising page on BT's MyDonate, visit .
To help advertise Track Trek 2017, Mike Hopps has created this colourful poster that you can download and print out at this link . If you can display this poster in a shop or other public place, we'd be very grateful!

Strike Up the Band!

A nice portrait of the Bluebell Railway Band, aka the East Grinstead Concert Band, taken on 28 Aug., 2017. "Hope everyone enjoyed a sunny and hot Bank Holiday. We had a lovely time playing at the Bluebell Railway!"

The "Flying" Frame

The long-awaited upgrade to the working area for No. 84030 has at last started, with the lifting of the frame on the 24 Aug., 2017, to a temporary area in the yard to allow the ground works to start. 

The photo shows the frame "flying' over Atlantic House.

The next phase, which hopefully will follow on immediately, will be the building of the sleeper retaining wall, once this is complete, the ground can then be levelled, a track panel installed, and the poly tunnel erected. 

This will then provide a covered dry working area allowing all year round working, and with the help of our recently joined new volunteers, the No. 84030 Working Group hopefully will make significant progress in the engine's restoration.

While the crane was on site, a number of other lifts were made, including that of "Camelot's" storage van body, which was located alongside our container to make way for a new storage container.

As progress is made on the working area further bulletins will be posted.

By Chris Wren

Steam Through The Ages!
On 23 and 24 Sept., 2017, travel through 100 years of history in one day! This new event will bring different eras from history to life with a different decade recreated at each station.

Sheffield Park will depict the Victorian Era, during which the railway that became the Bluebell Line got its start. Horsted Keynes will give a flavour of life during the war years of the 1940s, while Kingscote will be a groovy place to be with the 1960s taking centre stage. At East Grinstead enjoy '80s music and have your picture taken with "stars" of the day.

Travel tickets are valid all day so hop on and off the trains to explore each station as much as you like throughout the day.

Enjoy the Autumn Tints in Style

This autumn, take in the colours of the Sussex countryside in one of the Railway's 1950s cars "Ashdown", "Chelwood", or "Balcombe". These cars are usually used for the Afternoon Tea service, but in October they can be enjoyed for a 22-mile Autumn Tints service along the Railway.

Plus, we are offering travel in the Observation Car with its unparalleled panoramic views and in our restaurant car "The Sign of the White Horse"--during the 11:45 a.m. Tints service enjoy on board a bowl of "soup of the day" with a warm roll.

Normal fares apply to travel in the cars; however, there is a £1 per person supplement to travel in the Observation Car. Book early for this service due to limited space. Dates are 2-4, 10, 12, and 17-19 Oct., 2017. 

Prices and booking information can be  found here .  

Come Together

Steve Cockram's 1 Sept., 2017, photo shows No. 80151 coming back together following re-wheeling. She is currently in the Loco Works at Sheffield Park.

No. 21246 Sees the Light of Day

BR corridor brake composite No. 21246, one of the last carriages to be built at Swindon, is seen having just emerged from the Horsted Keynes paint shop, six years after being acquired by the Railway.

No. 21246 was purchased to enable the Railway to offer first-class accommodation when operating a "core" four-coach set. It was allegedly a serviceable vehicle, having been in mainline charter set (BN94) until sold in September 2009 ...

Over the past few years the carriage has been inside the C&W Works, and extensive structural repairs have been carried out to both ends, to the north-end corridor side, and to body sheeting at various points. Some veneer was missing in the first-class compartments and this has been replaced ... MORE

Some autumn dates for your event diary. All event listings can be found here :
A Taste of the Future

David Jones's photo shows the smoke box door of "Beachy Head" briefly united with the chassis. The new-build Brighton Atlantic is scheduled make its debut in time for the Railway's 60th anniversary celebrations in 2020.

Better Know a Heritage Railway: Baie de Somme

The Chemin de Fer de la Baie de Somme (CFBS) is a preserved railway in northern France, which runs from March to December between the towns of Le Crotoy and Cayeux-sur-Mer via Noyelles-sur-Mer and Saint-Valery-sur-Somme, on metre gauge tracks.

Not surprisingly, the CFBS line was particularly involved towards the end of World War I, starting with Operation Michael on 21 March, 1918. At the start of World War II, on 21 May 1940, German troops invaded the Baie de Somme area during the retreat of the British Expeditionary Force toward Dunkirk.

After the railway's demise in the 1960s, an association of volunteers passionate about railways--the Bay of Somme Railway Association--was established in 1970 to operate the line as a tourist railway line in the beautiful "Sea Baths" area of the northern French coast.
Learn more on the railway's English version pages

From the Railway Archive
John J. Smith is again travelling through Wales, specifically the railways around Dinowic, in this selection curated by Tony Hillman ...

Photo Gallery  
Derek Hayward (5 Aug., 2017): " I have just updated my Bluebell 2017 collection with 40 images taken during July, including some previously unseen images of No. 34092 'City of Wells'".

Steve Cockram (29 Aug., 2017): An atmospheric Bluebell Railway entry in his fascinating steam and vintage photo collection.
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


The Bluebell Railway has introduced a new online ticketing option. 

Click here for tickets for the Rail Ale train, the Deltic Anniversary, Hallowe'en Scream, Santa Specials, and more!
Your Painting: Age of the Train

Artist: Fred Castle  
Date: 1983  
Medium: Oil on board  
Size: 50 x 70 cm  
Collection: Brampton Museum

The Railway on 19 Aug., 2017, by Ben Jenden.


The Railway's Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea Lounge Car service is one of our most popular dining options (due to high demand, services had to be added during the summer!)

We've been advised by the Commercial Department that a number of seats have become available on 16 Sept., 2017, for the 3:20 p.m. departure from Sheffield Park.

To book, call  01825 720800. 
Railway & Heritage News Briefs

Leadhills to Wanlockhead railway extension work starts ...

Virgin debuts  new high-speed Azuma train in Scotland ...

The Way We Were: End of the loop line for Potteries rail service (1965) ...

The 114-year-old historic Jurassic--based at the Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway (LCLR) in Skegness-- will transport its first passengers in three decades on Sunday, September 17 ...

New Statesman : It is time to reverse the damage done by Richard Beeching in the 1960s and reopen many of the branch lines that were foolishly closed ...

The final destination is at last in sight for a 30 year-long journey to recreate a rail link between two Lowther Valley villages ...

The first five of 75 Caledonian Sleeper Mk 5 coaches have moved to the Velim test track in the Czech Republic for testing ...

Drone footage of the Railway (22 Aug., 2017) by James Bennett (filmed in accordance with drone safety regulations).

For regulations on the use of drones around the Bluebell Railway, click here
From the Imperial War Museum Archive: Women Contribute to the War Effort

Female railway workers of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway cleaning the outsides of railway carriages in the sidings at Manchester (during World War I).

Trackside (safely, with proper certification!) at the Railway, by "VehicularBrit".  

The next Personal Track Safety training session-- which, after successful completion, provides a photographic access certificate--will be held at Sheffield Park on 21 Sept., 2107. More information here .  
From the Huntley Film Archives: Bristol Docks

Bristol Avonmouth Docks 1930s with excellent shots of an ocean liner arriving and departing, not much razzamatazz, but really good workaday scenes of shipping and railway (GWR) traffic.

Service Two on 22 Aug., 2017, by Bob Kershaw.

The Bluebell Railway is among this list of dog-friendly attractions in Sussex Life. Woof!

Captain Baxter takes the goods! On 19 Aug., 2017, by JR Railway Videos.





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