An Update on the Recent Vandalism Incident at the Bluebell Railway

The Bluebell Railway suffered a spate of attacks from youths over the three days of the recent August Bank Holiday.

The attacks all occurred in the same vicinity just north of Dean's Crossing on the line between Horsted Keynes and Kingscote. The incidents started on Saturday, 25 Aug., 2018, when three passenger trains were attacked by ballast thrown at the windows of the passing trains.

A similar situation occurred on Sunday. In one case a carriage window shattered, and it is pure fortune that a mother and her three-year-old child did not sustain personal injury.

The police were informed of the situation, but unfortunately matters escalated on Monday. Two Bluebell Railway volunteers agreed to locate themselves in the vicinity to act as a deterrent to further action and also to be look-outs for passing trains.

These volunteers came under personal verbal and physical attack from missiles being hurled from the two individuals, the result being that one of the volunteers sustained a facial injury that required hospital attendance.

The age of the youths is thought to be around 12 years old. Notwithstanding their youth, one of the individuals was also carrying a knife. Sussex Police are taking the matter very seriously, as are the Bluebell Railway.

Bluebell Railway PLC Chairman Dick Fearn says, "Any act of mindless vandalism is a matter of real concern. The safety of our passengers and our staff and volunteers takes the highest priority in all that we do. In this instance the physical attack and threat takes matters to the highest level of both concern and dismay, and from perpetrators so young."

The police investigation is ongoing. However, the Railway is pleased to confirm that the injured volunteer, who spent his Bank Holiday Monday afternoon in East Surrey A&E, was duly discharged with thankfully no lasting damage to his eye.

The Railway will, of course, take whatever action it feels necessary to reduce the potential for such occurrences in the future, but it acknowledges that much of the Railway runs through open countryside. Details will not be provided on these protective measures for operational reasons.

By Roger Garman, Communications Director

Washout: The Return of the "X" Men

Driver Russell Pearce has another marvelous and detailed look at the life of a steam locomotive on our Railway and the men and women who look after them. If you've ever grumbled about hosing out your gutters, spare a though for the "X Men" who work the washout ...

One very practical and not at all scientific task that the "X men" must perform is a boiler washout. We in Haywards Heath are very lucky that most of our water comes from Ardingly reservoir and is thus more or less pure rainwater unsullied by leachate from the surrounding rock strata: our kettle has required no de-scaling in 13 years.

At SP most of the water is extracted from the "Blackbrook" that runs under the yard, supplemented by rainwater run-off from the Sheffield Park carriage shed and mains water also from Ardingly reservoir (probably). However, none of our recovered or extracted water has been filtered, and regardless of the fact that it is by and large rainwater, it does contain impurities that must be managed (that is the science) ...
The "Giants of Steam" timetable has been published.

The Giants return from 12-14 Oct., 2018, with visiting locos Gresley A4 Pacific class No. 60009 "Union of South Africa" (courtesy of the Cameron Trust) and LNER Thompson class B1 No. 61306 "Mayflower" (courtesy of David Buck). Read the timetable here and read more information about the event here .

A special intensive timetable will be operating over the weekend, so there will be lots of opportunities to travel behind these magnificent Giants and to watch them in action!
OP4 Update: Skills Rising

The Infrastructure Team has been working hard on the Horsted Keynes carriage shed over the past few weeks. The top left photo below shows the trackwork leading towards the shed: the right-hand to Road F and the left to Road G.

Roads H and J will be served by a parallel road to the left, and Road E (the maintenance road) will connect to the pointwork in the middle distance on the right.

The dwarf wall on the eastern side of the shed [photo top right] is complete as far as we can go for the time being, until the Skills Centre framework is complete. The wall above will be clad in the same cream and green style as the original building.

On 30 July, 2018, Stevenson's started work on the Skills Centre framework. The final concrete pour at the southern end of the ring-beam was completed on 22 August [see bottom left photo], while erection of the steelwork started at the northern end a couple of days earlier on 20 August. The bottom right photo shows progress at 3 p.m. on 23 August with four sections in place. Just one and a half hours later, seven columns and roof joists had been erected.
As soon as the framework is finished, the infrastructure team will move in to reduce the ground level inside the building to its final level. We will then be able to start work on the ground floor and continue with the dwarf wall around the building.

In the meantime we continue to raise funds for cladding along the eastern/northern side of the shed and around the Skills Centre. If you would like to contribute, please visit the Cash for Cover donation page.

By Barry Luck, OP4 Project Manager (Infrastructure)


"Normandy" Landing

Stored out of the limelight for some time, The Bulleid Society's ex-London South Western B4 dock tank " Normandy " has returned to Sheffield Park locomotive shed to take its place in the Railway's new SteamWorks! exhibition. Photo from The Bulleid Society Facebook page by Neil Glaskin.

C&W Update: Keeping It In-House

These two photos below show how advanced some of the processes in the Carriage & Wagon Department have become.

The picture on the left shows a door lock housing for Pullman vehicles being manufactured on Rowans CNC machine. The right-hand photo shows the door lock housing part way through the manufacturing process, plus two other finished door lock components.

All were manufactured in the C&W Department at Horsted Keynes.

By Bob Pamment, Director, Carriage & Wagon Department

Some exciting autumn events for your calendar:
Horsted Keynes Entrance Spruced Up

Recently, the Tuesday Gang descended on the drive at Horsted Keynes station and spent several hours making the approach to the station a lot neater and more attractive for our visitors. The long grass on the bank was cut, the branches of trees pruned where they were overhanging, and the whole area was left looking tidier.

The Tuesday Gang is normally responsible for much unseen and unsung lineside clearance work, which, although essential, can easily be overlooked and so taken for granted.  The smartening up of the station entrance demonstrates the valuable work these guys do--we are very grateful to them!

By Sheina Foulkes, Supervisor, Carriage & Wagon Department

IT Coordinator Position Open

The Bluebell Railway is looking for an IT Coordinator. The successful applicant will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the Bluebell Railway's IT and Telecommunication service providers to ensure the delivery of an efficient and cost effective product.

The candidate would ideally have a proven track record in managing IT and telecommunication systems.

This is a volunteer post that carries no remuneration or specific hours of duty. However, the successful applicant will require sufficient time and flexibility to effectively undertake this role and have the appropriate skills to meet the demands of the post.

If you believe you have the right qualifications and experience for this job, please send your CV to or phone 01825 724884. Applications must be received by 21 Sept., 2018.

The Bluebell Railway is an equal opportunity employer.

A Spooktacular Time at the Railway

From 24-28 Oct., 2018, bring the children for a spooktacular Halloween Scream steam ride from Sheffield Park Station to Horsted Keynes for some Halloween entertainment.

Travel on either the 12:15 p.m. or 2:45 p.m. service in a specially reserved carriage. Once you reach Horsted Keynes, some Halloween inspired characters will be waiting on the platform to greet you and take you on tour of the whimsical activities around the station.

Children--and brave adults--are welcome to attend in costume!

Booking is essential for these services.

Learn more here.

This Halloween: Step Into Dystopia

This Halloween at the Bluebell Railway, find a perfectly preserved attraction that will steam you into a  dystopia. 

Talk of disappearance and institutionalisation surround " Dystopia Station ", which is now governed by the Topia Federation. See, hear, feel, and smell the charming and somewhat amusing characters of the community as they come to life before you.

The gritty details ...    
  • Journey by steam from either East Grinstead or Sheffield Park.
  • All tickets must be pre-booked; choose your time from the drop-down selection; your ticket is required before boarding the train.
  • Recommended age: 14+; anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • "Dystopia Station" is an immersive event with a Halloween theme.  Live actors will be present.
  • The event is partially outdoors, so please dress accordingly.
  • There will be steps, uneven ground, areas of darkness, and strobe lighting.
  • Food & drinks available to purchase.
  • Free parking at Sheffield Park Station, or park in the local Pay and Display car parks in East Grinstead.
  • Your return steam train journey is included in the ticketed price ...
... should you decide to leave ...

From the Archive
After choosing six A4s last time, Tony Hillman presents six B1s from the John J. Smith collection.


Taken on 26 Aug, 1961. No. 61227 near Hose Tunnel with the 1:20 p.m. Skegness-to-Leicester train.
It's Autumn: Time for Rail Ale!

Enjoy a steam hauled train ride, evening supper, and live jazz at Horsted Keynes on 28 Sept., 2018--as usual, everyone's first pint is free!

A choice of real ales will be available at Sheffield Park, Horsted Keynes, and on board the train, which will depart Horsted Keynes at 5:45 p.m. and travel to East Grinstead station.

For passengers wishing to join at East Grinstead, the train will depart at 6:40 p.m. Passengers will then travel to Sheffield Park for an evening supper of sausage and mash, before returning to Horsted Keynes station for the jazz band entertainment. The train will return passengers to East Grinstead at the end of the evening.

The cost for the Rail Ale train is £37.50 per adult. Book tickets online here .

Memories of "Green Arrow"

"Number Nine" visiting this year's Giants of Steam event reminds me of the visit of another famous LNER locomotive that subsequently became a museum exhibit. In October 2003 LNER V2 No. 60800 "Green Arrow" spent a few weeks at the Railway and starred in that year's "Giants".

The first photo below is No. 60800 at Horsted Keynes, paired with the GNR Directors' Saloon. Then on the Sunday afternoon, "Green Arrow" double-headed with "Blackmoor Vale". The second photograph shows the train south of Kingscote.

By David Harp
Better Know a Heritage Railway: Bernina

The advertising copy states , "Think of all the clichés about the beauty of scenic train travel and multiply them by 1000."

Bernina Railway is a single-track 1,000 mm-gauge railway line forming part of the Rhaetian Railway. This famous Alpine route links the spa resort of St. Moritz, Switzerland, with the town of Tirano, Italy, via the Bernina Pass.

In 2008, the Bernina Railway (and the Albula Railway, which also forms part of the Rhaetian system) were recorded in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Among the railway's highlights are the Morteratsch Glacier, the Lago Bianco dam, the steep Poschiavo valley section, historic railcars at Poschiavo station, and the Brusio spiral viaduct.

Bernina by the Numbers:
  • Journey time: 4 hours
  • Distance: 122 km
  • Top elevation: 7392 feet ASL
  • Highlights: 55 tunnels and 196 bridges & viaducts
Photo Gallery  
Another of Brian Lacey's photos show No. 73082 arriving at Horsted Keynes with the 11:10 a.m. from Sheffield Park on 26 Aug., 2018. More photos from this set here .
John Sandys (28 Aug., 2018): "Quite a warm day today, with a good turnout of passengers enjoying the Railway. The H class was hauling the Victorian set, and there was a change to the second set in the form of the Q class in place of "Camelot".

John Sandys (23 Aug., 2018): "A mixed weather day and a fair bit cooler than of late thank goodness! I saw the Q class replaced the H class on the Victorian Set and the H class in for a minor repair. 'Camelot' was hauling the Mk1s on the other service."
Brian Lacey's photo is a beautiful portrait of No. 323 "Bluebell", which stood in for the H class on 21 Aug., 2018.

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 

John Walls
Editor-in-Chief, eNewsletter
Bluebell Railway


Bluebell Railway Privacy Policy

Captain Baxter at Didcot

Tony Hillman took this photo of roving ambassador "Captain Baxter" at Didcot on 19 Aug., 2018.

The Captain was visiting Didcot Railway Center for its annual "Steamdays" event.

Your Painting: Kentish Town

Full Name: Kentish Town Railway Station
Artist: Edward Montgomery O'Rorke Dickey
Date: 1919
Medium: Oil on canvas
Size: 92 x 118 cm
Collection: Hollytrees Museum, Victor Batte-Lay Foundation, Colchester
Acquisition: Gift from the National Art Collections Fund, 1968

Santa Specials run on 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, and 22-23 Dec., 2018, and on 24 December the Railway will run a new "'Twas the train before Christmas". Tickets are now on sale  for these hugely popular services.

"The Southerner" took this video on 26 Aug., 2018: "In contrast to the recent weeks of relentless heat, the heavens finally opened, and opened hard over the skies of Sussex and the Bluebell Railway."

From the British Pathé Archive: Largest Steam Engine

Manchester factory completes Europe's largest railway engine for Soviet Union government order (1932).

Autumn Tints Specials are back! Take a ride on the Bluebell Railway and see the High Weald in all its glorious Autumn colour. Available on selected dates throughout October. Click here for more information and tickets.

BR nos. 20189 and 20142 pass Oxted towing C class No 592 and a Maunsell coach.

From the NRM Archive: Tram Cable

Works photographic negative of cable laying, Accrington to Baxenden tram line. Taken some time between 1906 and 1916, this photo shows cable being laid by a team of men near a brick wall along road with tram lines. From the business records of W. T. Glover & Co. Ltd.

From the Glossary

Term used as a shortened version of "collector shoe" to denote a third rail current collection device mounted on the bogie of a direct current electric train. Shoes are normally distributed along the train and connected by a power train line cable to avoid loss of power at gaps in the current rail

Tickets are still available for The Company Upfront's next mystery "Murder at De'ath Place" aboard The Golden Arrow (although September is sold out). Click here for more information.

The Railway on 27 Aug., 2018, by "The Steamer".

Please be advised if you are visiting the Railway during September that roadworks are planned from 1 September to 3rd October on the A22 Lewes Road in Forest Row. Delays are expected. This link has more details .
@RobertsDJ Aug 30
I'm on a train. For medicinal purposes. This is my lunch break. Should do this more often. @bluebellrailway

@tms1967 Aug 29
At Bedford today. Just walked past the old entrance for the Britannia Iron Works , original home of @bluebellrailway no.957 

@speakingclealy Aug 29
Getting my train geek on at the @bluebellrailway once a British railway geek, always a British railway geek

@LibWithAttitude Aug 28
Raising steam! Lovely trip on @bluebellrailway today, I do love steam trains, railwayman's daughter through & through 

@theactualsparky Aug 28
Unrebuilt Bulleid West Country class 'Blackmore Vale' at @bluebellrailway
I was really into trains when I was little. Having a little one of my own now who is really into trains has rekindled my interest. I don't know anything about engines but I'm in awe of the engineering

@Wordfest_by_Sea Aug 26
Find out if steam trains really were more romantic @Wordfest_by_Sea David Parker talk and film footage on the Flying Scotsman and steam railways in Britain #railways @bluebellrailway @KandESRailway @lavender_line 
@ExpWestSussex 23 Aug
East Grinstead is home to Michelin-starred cuisine @gravetyemanor, a vintage steam train @bluebellrailway and a gorgeous National Trust property @standennt. Book a #LateSummerAdventure and discover what else is on offer by following our itinerary. @VisitEG

@DonnaThomas90 Aug 24
What an amazing day at the @bluebellrailway with little my family! A bit of English history and heritage in all its glory ! Everything was so much more beautiful back in the day #englishheritage #Sussex

@tms1967 Aug 21
Yay! Booked on @bluebellrailway Wealden Rambler for afternoon tea on 6th Oct.  Looking fwd to it.  Done the Golden Arrow twice but not the Rambler.  Will be excellent I'm sure ...

@UnityLottery Aug 20 Oh hello lottery winners! SIX of you lovely charity supporters have won £1,000; if you support @MyelomaUK @bluebellrailway @NRAS_UK or @ESHTNHS you could have a big cheque on it's way! ...




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