Final Call for Trekkers!
This year's Track Trek--on 18 Nov., 2017--is only a week away, and already more than 200 walkers have registered to take part. However, there is still time and available spaces for you to register to take part by simply going to .
If you are undecided and simply want to turn up on the day with your completed sponsorship form and money, then we can accommodate a limited number of walkers on a first come, first served basis.
However, if you require the use of the complimentary bus either to get to East Grinstead from Sheffield Park in the morning or back to East Grinstead in the evening, then registering for the Trek guarantees a place on one of the buses.
Taking part in the Track Trek provides a unique opportunity to be able to walk the entire line with no trains running and see the line from a completely different perspective, including walking over Imberhorne Viaduct and through Sharpthorne Tunnel, the longest tunnel on a preserved railway.
This year's event is supporting the Tr(ack) Action Appeal which aims to raise £250,000 to accelerate the track renewal programme that requires large sections of our track to be replaced. We hope to raise from the Track Trek enough money to purchase a complete 60-foot length of brand new track.
Thank you in advance for helping to raise funds for this very vital appeal.
By James Young, Track Trek Event Manager
To sponsor one of our walkers--including BRPS Chairman Graham Aitken and Vice-Chairman Steve Bigg--check out the event's BT MyDonate page .  
Gaining Traction: Track Action Appeal 2017

Writ es Roger Kelly: "After four weeks the Appeal has reached a very healthy total of £90,000
from more than 450  donors. This a superb effort from our supporters, and it is greatly appreciated by the Directors, Trustees, and especially myself. This being my final Appeal before my retirement at the end of the month, my heartfelt thanks go to everyone who has contributed.  

"We still have a way to go to reach our target of £250,000. Therefore, more donations are required and will be most welcome. If you wish to see our trains continue to run smoothly and with reduced maintenance costs I urge you to support this major Appeal."

The Tr(ack) Action Appeal is designed to help the Railway accelerate its programme of track renewal, to improve passenger comfort and reduce maintenance costs on locomotives and carriages, as explained in the video below ...

The target for the Appeal is £250,000 to replace more than half a mile of track north of Freshfield Halt. If the target is met, the work will take place in February 2018. If the Appeal exceeds its target, any surplus will be used for further track maintenance work.

To make a donation to the Traction Appeal, please

    -     Send a cheque payable to The Bluebell Railway Trust at Sheffield Park Station, East
         Sussex, TN22 3QL using this Gift Aid form
    -    Or donate online via BT MyDonate
    -     More information about giving to this appeal can be  found here


From Hornby : :The rumours have been circulating, the froth has been building, and finally we are able to reveal what we've been hinting at since  July, when we let slip that we would have some HUGE  H Class  related surprises in store. Well today we are excited to reveal that we will be joined on our stand at the Warley National Model Railway Exhibition 2017 by a very special guest, a 54-ton guest to be precise, a fully re painted SECR Wainwright H   class from the  Bluebell Railway ! Seriously, the actual loco! See, we told you it was a huge surprise!"
Keeping the C&W Show on the Road: How Are We Going To Do It?

By Bob Pamment, Rolling Stock Director

Back in March of this year I put together a little article entitled "Keeping the Show on the Road". In that article I mentioned the important developments planned as part of the OP4 project, in particular an additional jacking pad, the tramway, a water medium grit blaster, and additional crane capacity over the jacking pad/tramway area.

I am pleased to report that all of these, with the exception of the crane system, have been put in place and are working exceptionally well. The Carriage & Wagon Department has had several vehicles up in the air recently including the body of car No. 54 and the new grit blaster is being used to strip all the corrosion off car No. 54's underframe at great speed, ready to facilitate returning the underframe into something approaching "as new" condition.

On the tramway, the bogies for No. 21246 are being overhauled, whilst No. 21246 itself is up in the air ready for underframe overhaul, having had its asbestos stripped. So on the overhaul front, it feels as though we are starting to "cook with gas," we just now need the additional crane (if you happen to have around £45K looking for a home!).

So far so good then. However, how we quantify "Keeping the Show on the Road" and achieve it effectively-bearing in mind the most important asset we have is people-the management team spent a long sunny day in August in a huddle to see what it could come up with ... MORE .

An Uplifting Story: Update on Pullman Car 54

The body of Car 54 lifted on the jacks.  

Last month the wooden body of Car 54 was carefully lifted from its underframe. There had been a lot of preparation for this lift, which was necessary for the replacement of the rust-blown steel plates on top of the underframe near the corners.  

The body had been heavily braced to make sure that it didn't move during the lift as these vehicles were not designed to have the body separated from the underframe. In addition, the actual method of lifting was discussed at length and revised several times before the final method was agreed.

The weight was taken on pairs of jacks that had lengths of specially constructed steel beams between them to support the body at regular intervals. The lift proceeded without incident, and the underframe was wheeled out for a start to be made on the grit blasting treatment and general assessment.  

The underframe, including the new grit blaster which is being used to clean it up.

The body was then lifted higher to enable some work to be undertaken while it is on the jacks.  Pullman cars have an insulating layer under the main floor that is usually made of horsehair or similar material held in place by boarding. For some reason--possibly the accident Car 54 was involved in years ago--a proportion of this insulation system was missing or damaged, so this is the opportunity to replace it where necessary. 

Once on the underframe, this work would be practically impossible to do. An added complication has been the discovery of a badly split cross rail near the north end that will need to be replaced. This job also will have to be done while the body is off its underframe.

The body timbers resting on the underframe were originally separated from it by an inch-thick layer of dense felt. The possible replacement of this felt with new was investigated and the cost was found to be prohibitive. In any case, the felt appeared to have been treated with a substance that was a mystery to us. Instead, we decided to use lengths of 70 degreee shore rubber, which is what we use, cut into blocks, between the four-wheeler carriage bodies and their underframes.  

One of the distorted metal plates on the top of the underframe, which necessitated the lift.

Meanwhile work progresses on various components of the vehicle, such as the refurbishment of the sliding top lights so they are ready to be fitted when the time comes. Many repairs have been made to interior panelling, doors, and mouldings, and there is the ongoing task of trying to identify what we will need during the restoration, seeing if we have the items in stock, and then trying to source those that are missing or too badly damaged to use.

By Sheina Foulkes, Carriage & Wagon Department Supervisor

"Dukedog" Will Have Its Day

Dave Bowles' photo shows Earl class 4-4-0 No. 3217/9017 "Earl of Berkeley" (aka "Dukedog") on a service train during the Goods Day in March 2008.

Locomotive Director Chris Hunford confirms that the loco is in the overhaul queue: "The plan is to start the overhaul in 2019, which will involve replacement of some boiler platework, new tubes, and a general mechanical overhaul. The loco will likely re-enter service in 2021 at the earliest."

Nicknamed "Dukedogs," these locos were an amalgamation of the chassis of a "Bulldog" with the boiler of a "Duke." A few of the class carried the names of earls, but No. 3217/9017 did not receive its allocated name until preservation days. (At the time the earls in question indicated to the GWR that, if their names were to be used, they would prefer them on more prestigious locos, so they were transferred to Castle class locos).
From "The Past is Another Country," a blog post by Patrick Goff:

"In one of those quiet idiosyncratic corners of Englishness where this sense of self survives there is an expression of that eccentricity that sets this country apart from others. A kind of mass nostalgic psychosis that indulges memories in the senior whilst inculcating a sense of wonder in the young.

"It takes form quite openly in the 'Heritage Railways'. They are a marvellous testament to a Briton's determination to remember what made his country great."
Poleay: A Bridge Not Too Far!

Digging the trench for the concrete block, which is seen by the mess hut in the background.
The Orange Army are on manoeuvres again, this time working on Poleay Bridge, during the November engineering possession when we are not running a normal service. 

The bridge--which is the second one out of Sheffield Park station going north--is structurally sound, so far as the metal girders and supports are concerned. But the embankments on either side have slipped over the years and have been causing some concern.  It is now, in railway terms, something of a humpback bridge and measures are being taken to make sure that the situation doesn't get any worse. 

The Infrastructure Department has been busy pre-casting very large concrete blocks at Horsted Keynes; these have been taken down to the work site, ready to be lowered into position at either end of the bridge to support the embankment. 

Excavating the hole for the piles.
Four five-metre deep piles also are being driven into the embankment at both ends of the bridge; these will have vertical bull head rails as reinforcements that connect with holes in the concrete blocks to complete the structure. This piling work is another first for the department; previously, on similar stabilising work done at River Slip, piles were reinforced with rails, but shuttering was built around the top to make a retaining wall that was then concreted. To do that solution at Poleay Bridge would take a lot longer, and it might not have been possible to complete the job in time for the Santa Season. 

While the work is underway, the opportunity is being taken to replace all the timber baulks supporting the track, as well as the footboards either side and in the four-foot. They are not quite life-expired, but given that they have been there a very long time, it seems sensible to replace them while we have the opportunity. 

Two new flat-bottomed track panels have been laid south of the bridge and will be tamped up to the bridge level once the work has been completed. A new 60-foot panel across the bridge will eventually connect with the recent tracklaying at the bottom of Freshfield Bank. 

If you want to help us "Bridge the Gap", so to speak, why not sign up for the Track Trek on Nov. 18, 2017, and help to raise funds for more new track. Details can be found in this eNewsletter.

By Mike Hopps
New for 2018: Footplate Taster Days

It's a perfect Christmas gift for any steam buff! (Or why not treat yourself?!)

On selected dates in January and February 2018 you can visit Sheffield Park Station and enjoy a "turn" on the footplate of P class "Bluebell"

Included in the £150 package:
  • An individual one-hour "footplate taster" with one of the Railway's experienced drivers.
  • Depending on the time of your visit, enjoy either a full English breakfast or a two-course lunch in the Bessemer Arms.
  • A discount voucher for a Family Ticket for a visit to the Bluebell Railway for a date of your choice in 2018
  • A gift pack from the Bluebell Shop
  • A year's membership of in the Preservation Society.
  • A certificate upon completion
For more information and to book, click here .

From the Archive
To accompany Tony Davis's article in the last edition of the eNewsletter , Tony Hillman has sourced photos by John J. Smith and Colin Hogg, who were both in South London and environs in September 1954 to film C class No. 31576 servicing the "Palace Centenarian" train.  
Bulleid Society: New Inner Fireboxes Making Progress

The Bulleid Society website has photos taken by John Fry on his last trip to South Devon Railway of the new inner fireboxes for 21C123 and No. 34059. This photo shows the foundation ring being lowered into place on the new inner firebox  for No. 34059, with the new platework pressing in place and apertures cut for the ends of the thermic syphons.
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.

If you would like to volunteer or have any questions, please email Roger Sanderson or Julia Pique .

Locomotive Works Seeks Volunteers

The Railway's locomotive workshop--open seven days a week--is seeking skilled engineers and machinists to join the team to carry out the maintenance, overhaul, and repair of the railway's historic collection of steam locomotives.

Volunteers must have either completed an engineering apprenticeship or have other equivalent qualifications. Skills essential for this post include machining and fitting mechanical parts with demonstrable competence in the use of manual operated lathes and milling machines.

In addition the Locomotive Works also require non-skilled personnel for general duties, who are just as important to the department.

To apply and for more information, contact Chris Shepherd .

Some winter dates for your event diary. All event listings can be found here :
True Grit

Julian Heinemann's photo shows the Camelot Locomotive Society's CCT van on 29 Oct, 2017, stripped to a skeleton (the roof timbers have already been stripped, repaired, and replaced, and work is progressing on the repair or replacement of doors), as well as the steel structure part-way through being grit-blasted using the new water-based grit blaster.

Project 27 Update: Entering a Busy Period

We are entering a busy period now that the frames have arrived.  We need to get the parts drilled and the angles cut to length before we can start the assembly of the frames. 

To this end, we have arranged some working days for slightly larger groups to carry out the jobs that need a larger workforce. These jobs will include finishing the painting of the wheel sets, continuing the stripping of the old frames, together with temporary works to keep the frames safe.  There will be priming and drilling of all of the new parts for the frames and associated angles, as well as plenty of cleaning and painting of existing bits.

We have a growing list of volunteers on the project, and I would like to welcome Cameron Maxwell to the "Villarettes" support group--all help is much appreciated from all.  If you would like to join us, please email me and I will forward your details on to the Project Leader and Project Engineer. There are various short safety presentations you will need to attend before starting work, but these are fairly short ... MORE

By Clive Emsley

More updates--including 9 Nov., 2017, photos of frame plates ready to be drilled--can be found on the Project 27 Facebook page .

The frames plates and other parts Project 27 had made by Tata Steel have arrived at Sheffield Park. This photo shows a pallet of cut angle with the part numbers written on to avoid confusion later.

Premier Patterns has forwarded polystyrene patterns that will shortly go to the foundry to be used in a sand mould to produce the cylinders for No. 27.

Photo Gallery  
Jonathan Hughes (5 Nov., 2017): "Maunsell Q class No. 30541 brings the day's first train up Holywell Bank with its train for East Grinstead."
John Sandys (7 Nov., 2017): "Work starting on Poleay Bridge, and a look around Sheffield Park with some routine maintenance on 'Camelot.'"

Martin Lawrence has made a start to his November 2017 gallery, including this one of Neil and Malcolm shunting wagons.  

" Camelot " with the Golden Arrow luncheon train on 5 Nov., 2017, by Daniel Hamblin.

John Sandys (31 Oct., 2017): "The last day of October with no scheduled trains running today except 'Camelot' in charge of Jon Bowers' Photographic Charter. A beautiful day for photography (if a bit chilly), but not quite as much sunshine as yesterday."

Photos from Jon Bower's charter on 30 Oct., 2017, by Tony Teague.

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


Nick Dearden: "A snapshot of further progress with the new carriage shed (OP4 Project) at Horsted Keynes."

Start the Festive Season Right with the Bluebell Railway Carol Service

With the Bluebell Railway Band (aka East Grinstead Concert Band)

2 Dec., 2017 | 7:30 p.m.
Horsted Keynes Station

Your Painting: British Rail Parcels Van

Date: 1979
Artist: Michael English (1941-2009)
Size: 106.5 x 76 cm
Medium: Acrylic & gouache on card
Collection: Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre

An interesting example of machine art and hyper-realism, using a Covered Carriage Truck as inspiration.

Better Know a Heritage Rail road : Age of Steam Roundhouse

The Age of Steam Roundhouse , Sugarcreek, Ohio, is a private roundhouse housing steam and diesel locomotives, passenger cars, and other railroad equipment.

The roundhouse was built by Jerry Joe Jacobson, former CEO of the Ohio Central Railroad System (OCRS). In October 2008, Jacobson sold his interest in OCRS to Genesee & Wyoming, Inc., including the track, modern equipment, and most of the shops and depots. Jacobson kept a collection of vintage steam and diesel locomotives, other old equipment, and a depot at Sugarcreek, Ohio. He bought 34 acres in Sugarcreek and began constructing a roundhouse to house his collection.

The roundhouse building was completed in 2011 and all of the steam locos, along with a few other select pieces of rolling stock in Jacobson's collection, were moved inside the roundhouse that same year. It is the "first full-sized, working roundhouse built in the US since 1951."
Due to the popularity of the Festive Feast event, the Railway has added a new date : 1 Dec., 2017.

John Sandys' 4 Nov., 2017, photo shows the LBSCR-pattern inner home bracket signal at Sheffield Park is back in use after a major refurbishment, which included several major new timbers.

Railway & Heritage News Briefs

Without railways , the First World War could never have happened ...

A unique locomotive that helped to transport troops, munition and other essential cargo in support of the liberation of Europe is to return to its spiritual home in the Netherlands ...

How The Orient Express Was Rebuilt at a U.K. Studio ...

How To Ride A Tube Train In The Channel Islands ...

Days Gone By : Communities lost a vital lifeline when Beeching wielded his axe ...

Kiepe Electric UK to upgrade SWR's Class 442 fleet ...

Shippers fear Europe rail unable to handle volume jumps ...

Hythe Pier campaigners mark centenary of electric loco usage ...

A new group is to be launched to increase significantly the number of women working on Scotland's booming railways ...

From the National Railway Museum Archive: Burton Beer Tankers

Raise a glass to this historic photo : Flat wagon No. B749034 with two London and Burton beer tankers chained on (date not given).

Started your Christmas shopping yet? Don't forget that Railway gift vouchers are available for most services. They make ideal stocking stuffers for your Railway-loving friends and relations!  
The Railway on 4 Nov., 2017, by Ben Jenden.

From the Glossary of Railway Terms ...

Loading Gauge
Maximum dimensions to which a vehicle can be built or loaded without risk of striking a lineside structure.

From the BFI Archive: Future Uncertain

Edward Thorp, known as 'Chib', an undertaker from Leigh on Sea, spent his weekends throughout the year visiting the rural railway lines in East Anglia with wife Edna and their dog Micky. 

Chib always took along his 8mm camera, a good supply of Kodachrome film, and a tape recorder, to document their trips. Chib would edit the film himself at home, have a magnetic stripe added to the film, and on his Kodak projector, which had a recording facility, he would record a commentary.

The train journey starts outside Kings Lynn station, passing through the first station North Wootton, then to the lovely Wolferton, the station that once served the Sandringham Estate, stopping at Dersingham then Snettisham Station and Heacham, before hitting Hunstanton, the end of the line.

Presumably the film's title "Future Uncertain" refers to the spate of line and station closures and therefore withdrawal of passenger services by British Rail following the Beeching Report.

NOTICE: The only public timetabled services before the Santa Specials season will be on the 25 & 26 Nov., 2017 ( Service One ).




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