FOSP: Bessemer Arms Canopy Update

Since my last report, readers could be forgiven for thinking there was little or no further progress on the Bessemer Arms job. But they would be wrong!

You may recall the Friends of Sheffield Park (FOSP) were gathering ourselves to prepare the foundations for the four support columns for the new canopy, necessitating digging holes in front of the restaurant and casting concrete pads below the platform surface level.

Well, it turns out that the original architect of the Bessemer Arms is a reader of this eNewsletter! He got in touch with us via the editor to say that he distinctly remembers preparing the canopy foundations when the building was put up (and he must have a pretty good memory because this was about 30 years ago!)

Not that we were disbelieving, but given we had to be certain, we decided to excavate trial holes in the proposed column locations to verify the founds were present. I am now very happy to report they are indeed all present and correct. Hence, we can skip that first act of construction, which avoids some cost, and we will instead start placing the cast concrete base supports for the columns, something we now hope to have done before Christmas.

Behind the scenes, we have completed the manufacture of the four decorative support columns, and these are being pre-painted. The regular Wednesday gang also has been working hard to paint the 112 decorative valance boards, and this task is now nearly completed.

Three weeks ago, we took delivery of all the heavy timbers needed for the main elements of the canopy structure, and these are some seriously big pieces of wood. During the next weeks, the paint gang will be pre-painting all of these too. Our objective is to have everything painted to first gloss before being embodied into the structure. Then, as soon as the skeleton structure is built, we can attack it with paintbrushes, and hopefully complete the full paint-job before the glazed roof is fitted--that being the easiest order in which to do these tasks.

Detailed planning is underway regarding the avoidance of disruption to commercial business, particularly of the Bessemer Arms. By use of a sealed "crash-deck" scaffold, we aim to work overhead without risk to those below. Scheduling the main works into the winter also will avoid conflicts with busy periods.

Finally, please note that although we are confidently starting the main works, our fundraising target has not yet been fully met for this important project. Anybody interested in sponsoring an element of the new structure or works is encouraged to get in touch with me via the eNewsletter editor.

By Charles Melton, FOSP

A Diesel Lover's Delight!

The Bluebell Railway is delighted to be hosting the 40th Anniversary of the foundation of the Deltic Preservation Society with three of these iconic diesel locomotives visiting for a special Anniversary Gala over from 6-8 Oct., 2017.

The event will be a Deltic diesel lovers delight! We will be featuring:
  • D9002 "The King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry", which is coming all the way from the National Railway Museum in York.
  • No. 55009 "Alycidon" and  No. 55019 "Royal Highland Fusilier", both provided by the Deltic Preservation Society.
  • A miniature Deltic from York.
View the intensive timetable for the weekend with a 12-car set due to run on the last train of the day on both Friday and Saturday evenings.

Event Summary

All three days ...
  • Intensive three-train service running all day
  • Deltic cab visits on the visiting locos at Sheffield Park station.
  • Brake van trips on the first train of the day from Sheffield Park behind Bluebell Railway's very own D4106 diesel shunter (bookable in advance)
  • Brake van rides throughout the day at Horsted Keynes station.
  • A 7 ¼-inch gauge Deltic running through the locomotive yard
Plus ...

Friday :
  • Photoshoot with three loco line up at south end of Horsted Keynes at 1:30 p.m. That's two locations available for photography not normally open to the public.
  • 12-car run on 5:35 p.m. service from Sheffield Park
Saturday :
  • An added attraction ... on Saturday only BRPS President  Gordon Pettitt OBE will give a talk about his first-hand experience of trial trips and Deltic performance on the East Coast Main Line. It will be held in the Birch Grove Suite at Sheffield Park starting at 2:15 p.m. and is scheduled to last 30-45 minutes.
  • 12-car run on 5:30 p.m. up service
  • Special evening "Beerex" Deltic train at 8 p.m. from Sheffield Park with a special brew from Harveys of Lewes available on board.
  • Pie and mash available from the Bessemer Arms at Sheffield Park Station.
Tickets are available at £25 for one day or  £50  for all three days, so come along and see these noisy giants in action. 
Book Deltic Weekend tickets  online .

For all details, click here .

It's that time of the year. Autumn Tints specials are beginning on 2 Oct., 2017, and pre-booking is highly recommended. To book and for more information, click here .  
Battle of Britain Group & Bulleid Society: Inner Firebox Progress
A recent visit to the South Devon Railway (Engineering), to review progress with the construction of two new inner fireboxes for No. 21C123 "Blackmore Vale" and No. 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair", showed that construction for No. 34059 is progressing and that components for No. 21C123 have been pressed and construction of the firebox also is in progress.

Until now, the combustion chamber and throat plate have been fabricated from six separate pressings, whereas in the original SR construction this was a single pressing.

SDR(E) has now reverted to the original SR practice, with the use of their 700-ton press and large dies to give the final result seen in the photograph. This process will eliminate individual component welding and reduce the inherent stress this involved. 

To learn more about the SDR(E) boilersmiths and press, click here .

By John Fry

 Steaming Through the Ages

A look back at the Railway's new "time travelling" event on 23 and 24 Sept., 2017.

Three photos by Derek Hayward; bottom right photo by Brian Lacey. 

And one from the East Grinstead Concert band's Facebook page.

Project 27, Now in 3D!

Project 27 has received photos from Premier Patterns, of "slices" of the 3D-printed pattern for the new cylinders laid out on the pattern makers bench and of construction in progress.

They are reporting that the work will take in the region of 10 to 14 days before the patterns are ready for the foundry. So it now looks as though it will be the beginning of November or thereabouts for the delivery of the new cylinder block casting.

Tata Steel has rolled the 22mm plate for the frames, and this is likely to be delivered to its profiling plant next week. Cutting is likely to begin the following week. Again it looks likely that delivery will take place towards the beginning of November.

From the Archive
In 1957 the Northern Ireland government made the Great Northern Railway of Ireland Board close all its lines across or near the border with Southern Ireland, except the line from Dublin to Belfast and branch to Newry.

Enniskillen lost all its lines--to Bundoran, to Dundalk, and to Omagh. The Sligo, Leitrim & Northern Counties Railway also was forced to close because the Northern Ireland government withdrew its grant.

John J. Smith was in Bundoran and Enniskillen to record the final day of service on 30 Sept., 1957: 60 years ago. Some of his photos from this trip  can be found in this PDF.

The Bluebell Railway Museum was pleased to assist the Fermanagh County Museum in mounting an exhibition of photographs from the John J. Smith collection. The exhibition runs until 13 Jan., 2018. More details can be found here

By Tony Hillman
Enniskillen: 7:20 p.m. departure. The last train.
Santa Specials: Appeal for Volunteers

This invitation is open to all BRPS Members, particularly those who have considered becoming a volunteer before but haven't got round to it yet, as well as volunteers from other departments who would like to try something different.

The role of stewards on the Santa Specials is to serve refreshments and look after our visitors during the train journey to and from Horsted Keynes whilst being a friendly face of the Bluebell Railway. Once our visitors have arrived at Horsted Keynes, we will need further volunteers to help with the attractions provided there. 

Since we are expanding the operation this year, we are holding a  Recruitment Drive on 14 and 15 Oct., 2017 , and invite you to Sheffield Park station between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. to meet Julia Pique, Roger Sanderson, and Graham Aitken, who will be on Platform 1 outside the shop to answer any questions you may have and hopefully welcome you as a Santa Volunteer. Alternatively, please  email Julia Pique .

Open Third Close to Finished 

Stuart Pay's 
photo  shows the 1933-built Maunsell droplight open third No. 1336 almost ready to leave the paintshop at Horsted Keynes after its roof repaint, touch-up, and re-varnish on the sides. 
The Railway's other operational Maunsell open third--No.1309--is due for similar treatment (as well as timber-work repair in one corner).
First class tickets for  Santa Specials  go on sale on 2 Oct, 2017. Third-class tickets for these trains are  already on sale online . This year we have far more of these seasonal trains starting from East Grinstead, and all visitors now have the opportunity to visit Santa's Reindeer   at Horsted Keynes station, as well as a new "Elf House" for our younger visitors.
Further Ramblings Into a Southern Career

Geoff Burch will provide "Further Ramblings of a Railway Man" courtesy of the Horsham Model Railway Club on 24 Oct., 2017 at 7 p.m. at St Leonard's Church Hall on Cambridge Road in Horsham.

This event will be another fully illustrated talk offering a fascinating insight into Geoff's varied railway career on the Southern region until the end of steam in 1967. Geoff will speak of experiences relayed to him by a number of his work colleagues from his own deport at Guildford and other men from depots across the Southern region. It will be accompanied by an exclusive selection of both black-and-white and colour photographs from the period.

The entry price of £3 includes light refreshments. Tickets are available at the Horsham Museum, 9 Causeway, Horsham, West Sussex, or email .

By Peter Reed, Chair, HMRC
Artist & Steam Preservation Enthusiast David Shepherd Passes

Wildlife and railway artist David Shepherd died on 19 Sept., 2017. He was an honorary member of The Bulleid Society and named No. 21C123 in May 1976 and, after overhaul, again on 19 Aug., 2000.

Additionally, David was the one time owner of 9F No. 92203, which he named "Black Prince", and BR standard class 4 No. 75029, both purchased from BR in 1967 from the proceeds of an exhibition of his wildlife paintings in New York. (There was a display of some of his wildlife paintings at the Railway in July 2007, and when he visited he enjoyed a brief footplate ride on No. 21C123 "Blackmoor Vale" at Sheffield Park.)

David eventually sold both of his engines, with the 9F now owned by North Norfolk Railway and the standard class 4 owned by the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. He also owned a South African 15F class and Zambian locomotives, and he was the founder of the East Somerset Railway, where his wildlife and railway paintings were on display in the station signal box at Cranmore.

Remembered as much for his Wildlife Foundation as for his love of railways, the foundation, which he set up in 1984, raised £9 million for wildlife conservation projects in Africa and Asia, with one of his daughters the chairwoman of the foundation's trustees.

Besides Africa, he classed Guildford shed as being one of his favourite places, and prints of his paintings of the last days of steam at Nine Elms graced many enthusiasts' walls.

By John Fry

Some autumn dates for your event diary. All event listings can be found here :
Better Know a Heritage Railway: Basque Railway Museum

Spain's Azpeitia Railway Museum (aka the Basque Railway Museum) houses one of the best railway collections in Europe, containing train vehicles of all types: steam, diesel, and electric. It is connected to the Basque narrow gauge railway.

The museum also offers the visitor one of the most complete sets of machine tools in the Basque Country, coming from a once-used mechanic's workshop from the Urola Railway.

This facility is preserved just as it was when it was built in 1925, including an antique electric motor which runs 16 machines by using a complex system of pulleys, belts, and clay workings ... MORE .

Photo Gallery  
In Martin Lawrence's photo from his September 2017 roll, D4106 is looking dapper in the evening sunshine of 15 September. 
John Sandys (26 & 28 Sept., 2017): "A lovely warm autumnal day with the last week of daily running seeing the S15 on the service train and OP4 progress."

Robert Hayward's photo has P class No. 323 "Bluebell" in steam on 21 Sept., 2017, at the Severn Valley Railway's Autumn Gala at Bewdley. 
What a portrait , by Derek Hayward (24 Sept., 2017).

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 Deltic Gala, Hallowe'en Scream, Santa Specials, and more!
Please note the eNewsletter will be on a short autumn get-away in October. The next issue after this one will be on 29 Oct., 2017.

A short snapshot of progress with Operation Undercover Phase 4 (OP4), by Nick Dearden.

Save the Date! Bluebell Railway Carol Service

With the Bluebell Railway Band , 2 Dec., 2017, 7:30 p.m. at Horsted Keynes Station.

The Railway's annual Track Trek sponsored walk will be held on 18 Nov., 2017, with the aim of raising £15,000 to buy one replacement 60-foot track panel.  

For more details, to download a sponsorship form, and to learn how to create your own fundraising page on BT's MyDonate, visit .

Railway & Heritage News Briefs
With effect from 18 Sept., 2017, all Thameslink services are being operated using Siemens Class 700 EMUs ...

Siemens AG is negotiating with Alstom SA as well as Bombardier Inc. about potential rail combinations ...

"Jurassic" locomotive back on tracks in Skegness ...

20 Sept., 2017 marked the first day in the life of the National College for High Speed Rail in Doncaster, an institution which plans to transform training in the rail sector for the next generation of engineers ...

'Magical moment' as 114-year-old locomotive pulls trains for first time ...

With the thunder of an engine and a boom of a horn, one of Britain's new railway queens ( class 68 ) rolled away from the platform and into history ...
Steam locomotive enthusiasts commemorate the 80th anniversary of "East Anglian" ...

The world's newest steam locomotive will be unveiled as the star performer at the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway's autumn gala on 2 Oct., 2017 ...

DB Cargo UK operated a trial 660 metres long "jumbo" train of 34 wagons from ABP Port of Cardiff to Acton in London on 20 Sept., 2017, carrying 2,300 tonnes of limestone from Cemex's Wenvoe and Taff's Well quarries ...

A diesel locomotive on a York light railway that was saved from the scrapheap will have her first public run in her original livery on 23 Sept., 2017 ...  
The Bluebell Railway gets a nice mention in this article in Hornby's blog The Engine Shed about the production of the Wainwright H class model.
From the British Pathé Archive: Electronic Railway (1961)

"Commentator talks of 'the new method of buying a ticket from machines which print everything on the spot'as we see a man putting a pack of tickets into a printing machine; it spits out a ticket into a small saucer ... "

Plus, a rousing look at other new-fangled electronic and mechanical gadgetry of the 1960s.

Bluebell Railway, by René van Gellekom.

Parties, lunch boxes, and The Stepney Club ... check out the Railway's " Little Ones " page. 
Your Painting: "The Duchess of Hamilton"

Full Name: "The Duchess of Hamilton": Steam Power Preserved
Artist: David Weston
Date: 1989
Medium: Oil on canvas
Size: 66.8 x 92.1 cm
Collection: National Railway Museum

Joe Light Railway captures "Bluebell" at the Severn Valley Autumn Steam Gala, 23 Sept., 2017.

Some versions of the SECR P class OO gauge model that Hattons have announced are available for pre-order  through the Bluebell Railway Shop
These are:

* No. 178 in full SECR lined livery with brass dome

* No. 31027 BR Black Early Emblem

* No. 31323 BR Black Late Emblem

* "Pioneer II" in Bowater's Paper Mill Green

* No. 27 "Primrose" Bluebell Railway Lined Black

* No. 323 Bluebell Railway Blue livery circa 2010

John Harwood's video, published on 25 Sept., 2017, shows the Railway's 4 VEP at work in 2004.

From the Getty Archive: Experimental Electric Train

Brighton electric experimental train , 17 Nov., 1931. The driver of a Southern Railway 6-Pul electric train. (Photo by Charles E. Brown/Royal Air Force Museum/Getty Images.)





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