Interactive Exhibit Steamworks! Officially Opens at the Bluebell Railway

On 19 Oct., 2018, at 1:30 p.m., Andrew Blessley, Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) South-East Committee Member, and the Railway's Roger Kelly threw open the doors of the Railway's new, exciting locomotive exhibition, SteamWorks!

This opening marked the completion of the first phase of the Railway's three-year Accessible Steam Heritage (ASH) Project, which started in January 2017. The focus of the project is not only to improve the display of some of our historic locomotives but also to provide a wider educational and interactive experience for visitors.

Provision also has been made for better accessibility for those with restricted mobility. "Brighter, cleaner, and a more hands on experience are key ingredients of the new exhibition," says Ruth Rowatt the Railway's Education Manager.

The project, which has cost £1.5m overall, was made possible thanks to a grant of £1.1m from the Heritage Lottery Fund plus additional financial, labour, and other contributions from the Railway's loyal supporters.

Phase 1, which includes a £350,000 renovation and extension to the Locomotive Running Shed, has made it possible to create a home for the £200,000 permanent SteamWorks! exhibition, which gives an interactive insight into how locomotives work, the stories behind them, and what it is like to drive them.

The Railway boasts one of the largest collections of historic steam locomotives outside of the National Railway Museum in York. Those on static display include 1875 built "Stepney", which hauled the Railway's first passenger train in August 1960. Alongside Stepney is a full size mock-up of the locomotive where members of the public can get up close and operate the controls, view progress down the track, and experience life on the footplate. In addition there are a number of hands-on exhibits to explain the operation of steam-powered locomotives.

This first phase of the ASH project is the culmination of 21 months of design, building work, and exhibition fit-out. Further phases of the project will see the building of a maintenance facility to provide additional cover for up to four running locomotives, further additions to the exhibition in 2019, and a range of special family events.

Roger Kelly, former Funding Director of the Bluebell Railway, says, "I am delighted with the outcome of this part of the project for which the first application to the HLF was submitted in 2014. The Railway welcomes many people to the Railway to experience heritage in a live environment, but it will now provide more than just a train journey. SteamWorks! is designed to be both fun and educational for people of all ages, but particularly the young. Children, after all, hold the key to the Railway's future success both in terms of visitors and volunteers."

Remarks Ruth Rowatt, "It was a successful opening weekend with 1,150 people crossing the threshold on the two days and enjoying the exhibition. Plus, there was a free technical build challenge for families using a 3D printer, music workshops in a carriage brake van on the dock, and an exciting science show based on 'forces'.

"There were lots of very positive comments from families using the new exhibits. I was particularly pleased to hear a large number of 'wows' as people crossed the threshold and some visitors recalled the shed from previous visits and remarked that it was a great improvement to the visibility of the locomotives and access. 

"There are still a few little tweaks to be made, and we look forward to installing the footplate access over the closed period, but we are very happy with how the new addition to the shed has been received."
All Around the Steamworks!

Mike Anton provides a wonderful 360° view of Steamworks! We hope that you can visit the new exhibit at some point, but in the meantime, explore and enjoy Mike's carefully rendered photo , taken on 23 Oct., 2018.


The initial Cash for Cover Appeal enabled the Railway to construct the shell of Operation Undercover Phase 4 (OP4), the Horsted Keynes Carriage Shed Extension. Carriage maintenance activities are under cover at last, and the first of the 25 historic vehicles are now stored in the second part of the shed.

We are now looking to spend a further £250,000 to clad the walls and progress the Heritage Skills Centre, a two-storey building on the eastern side of the shed, for which the steel structure and roof is now complete.

We have £100,000 pledged by a generous donor, who will match donations received by 30 Nov., 2018, under this latest Double Donations Dash, so every £100 you give, if Gift Aided, is worth £225 towards the project. 

Please give directly online at this webpage , or by cheque, including this Gift Aid form . Post cheques to "Cash for Cover Double Donations Dash", Bluebell Railway Trust, Sheffield Park Station, East Sussex TN22 3QL.

Thank you, as always, for your support!
Dutchman's Holiday

Some people will not be aware, but our Railway is twinned with another steam railway across the Channel in Holland.  

The  Museumstoomtram Hoorn-Medemblik, to give it it's full name, is a 20km long, standard gauge Dutch heritage railway that operates in a very similar fashion to the Bluebell Railway, connecting the towns of Hoorn and Medemblik, north of Amsterdam.

Like our Railway, Museumstoomtram has been going a very long time, and in fact it is celebrating its 50th year of operation this year. Their loco "Bello" ran on Bluebell Railway metals in August and September 2004, and volunteers and BRPS Members from the Bluebell Railway have visited Hoorn.

The return visit each year by members of Museumstoomtram's volunteer Infrastructure Team has now become something of a regular event, and we recently hosted them again for their Autumn working holiday. Museumstoomtram Permanent Way Manager Matthé Blank even stayed for two weeks, which really needs to be "mentioned in dispatches" as being beyond the call of duty when you think that this work is what he does full time back home!  

The rest of the team joined him for the next week, and they seemed to really enjoy themselves working alongside our volunteers, laying track for the new formation in the Down Yard that will provide permanent access to OP4.  

Blank was joined by Erik Louw, Karel Vegter, Nina Kinkel, Wouter Adriaanse, Jacco van Willegen, Aat Wim Maat, and Gert de Groot. They are seen with our own Permanent Way Manager Matt Crawford, along with Andy Palmer, his deputy.  

Bluebell Railway volunteers send their best wishes to the Museumstoomtram visitors and thanks for all the work that they did recently in helping us to get one step nearer to finishing the OP4 connection.

Visit this website for more information about Museumstoomtram. You will enjoy seeing something a little bit different, but it's work that demonstrates the same passion for trains and heritage that we all love.

By Mike Hopps

Two Full-Time Marketing Vacancies Open

Marketing & Business Development Manager

Do you have creative flair with an eye for detail? Have you got experience of designing eye-catching and visitor-friendly marketing materials? Can you design and implement publicity campaigns and evaluate their success? Are you Chartered Institute of Marketing qualified?

If so, then you could be part of our Senior Management Team with responsibility for growing our business. The successful candidate will need a proven track record of increasing visitor numbers and revenue and will need to spot new opportunities and understand the heritage sector. Plus, the successful candidate will require management experience, as he or she will be leading a small event planning and marketing team.

Marketing & Event Coordinator

Have you a creative outlook with exceptional organisational skills? Can you promote the Railway and our special events?

The successful candidate for this new and exciting role will be responsible for delivering events on time and on budget, ensuring they are compliant with all the necessary health and safety and legal requirements. The incumbent also will coordinate with suppliers and manage all event logistics.  

Applicants to both of the above positions should be highly motivated and enthusiastic, as well as strong team players. Experience working with volunteers is preferred. The role will require flexible mid-week and weekend working at 40 hrs per week.

Contact Lisa Boyle on 01825 724884 or email for further information. Closing date is 23 Nov., 2018.

Christmas is coming! To find the perfect gift for the steam enthusiast in your life--including gift vouchers and memberships-- shop online here .   
Some special items are available in the gift shop, such as this Christmas bauble , made especially for the Bluebell Railway and picturing two of our snowy Christmas trains, the Golden Arrow and the Santa Special. 
Goodbye to a Springbok

The visit of No. 60009 "Union of South Africa" was a treat for photographers. We can't show all the photos the eNewsletter has been sent over the past week, but here are a few great examples. Thanks for the memories and bon voyage, No. 60009.

Mike Anton: "The second day of the Bluebell Railway's 2018 Giants of Steam gala, and the last train hauled by A4 60009 Union of South Africa is announced to be extending her run beyond East Grinstead."

"There are grab shots, and there are grab shots, and this one definitely took the biscuit." After being held up in classic busy Sussex traffic, Julian Clark got the shot of No. 60009 leaving for London, with Henry Mowforth on the footplate.

Roy Henderson took this photo of No. 60009 leaving East Grinstead on the mainline on 15 Oct., 2018, after its highly successful visit to the Bluebell.

Julian Clark, from 15 Oct., 2018: "Well worth getting out for."

Julian Clark: "East Grinstead at its best."

Mike Anton believes 19 Oct., 2018, was Tom Dobson's last day of driving. He is pictured with Martin Watts, Greg Wales, and Marilyn Leven [we're unsure of the exact spelling of Marilyn's last name, unfortunately--The Eds.), who drove down with No. 60009.

A portrait of Clive Groome, by Mike Anton.

"Union of South Africa" side-by-side with the Q class, by Mick Prince.

An atmospheric shot of No. 60009 by Mick Prince. 

"The North Briton" on its Southern excursion, by Colin Thompson.

And finally, not the South African ... but a nice photo of No. 65 pulling a goods train during "Giants," also by Colin Thompson. 

Part-Time Handyperson Sought

The Railway is looking for a part-time handyperson. The successful applicant will be responsible for the day-to-day general repairs around the different stations of the Railway.

The candidate would ideally be versatile in all building areas--such as carpentry, brickwork, and general plumbing--to effectively undertake this role. This post is for 24 hours per week, and requires flexible mid-week and weekend working.

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 9 Nov., 2018.

The Bluebell Railway is an equal opportunity employer.

Can we bring our dog? Can I take my bicycle? Can I have my child's birthday party at the Railway? Answers to this and other questions can be found on the Railway's Frequently Asked Questions webpage .
Carriage Shop Donates £5,000 to C&W Department

The Carriage Shop at Horsted Keynes has recently donated £5,000 to the Carriage & Wagon Department. These funds are being put towards the restoration of No. 4754 , previously at Bicester Military Railway.

The Carriage Shop stocks a wide selection of previously owned railway and transport items and is open most weekends when trains are in service. Donations of books, model railway, and Thomas the Tank Engine items are always welcome and can be brought in when the shop is open.  

Larger donations can usually be collected, so please contact: .

Giles Clifford from the C&W Department and Carriage Shop volunteer Jonathan Evans

Photographic Archive Seeks Volunteers

Queen's Road Signal Box an LB&SCR Type 2a of 12 levers, opened in 1881. Scanned from a John J. Smith colour slide.
The Bluebell Railway Museum Photographic Archive continues to look for people to help catalogue its important photographic collection, although we are pleased to report that we have had a number of positive responses to our recent call.

Specifically, we continue to look for volunteers with experience in the scanning of photographic prints and negatives, coupled with a basic knowledge of working with Excel.

We welcome the participation of Bluebell Railway members with an interest in the railways of southern England and not currently actively involved in the Railway.

Monthly meetings are held at our storage base in Horsham, but all the practical work is completed in members' homes to suit their personal schedules.

Anyone with sufficient time and interest should email . Thank you.

By Chris Wilson

Some exciting Christmas Season events for your calendar:

From the Archive
Tony Hillman, "With No. 75027 now on static display, let's have a look at some of its  
class mates at work. All from the John J. Smith collection."


No. 75065 at Broadstairs on 14 June, 1959.
Clean Up Crew

The Railway has its fair share of furry and feathered visitors, some not always welcome. But nature is taking care of business, with a resident East Grinstead raptor to help keep the mice, pigeons, etc. at bay. The photo of this peregrine falcon was taking by John Sandys.

Better Know a Heritage Railway: Kalka-Shimla

Kalka-Simla Railway KC class steam locomotive No. 520 at Shimla Station. The locomotive was restored in 2001.
The Kalka-Shimla Railway is a 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) narrow-gauge railway in North India which traverses a mostly-mountainous route from Kalka to Shimla.

It is known for dramatic views of the hills and surrounding villages. The railway was built in 1898 to connect Shimla, the summer capital of India during the British Raj, with the rest of the Indian rail system.

It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage " Mountain Railways of India " site: "The Kalka Shimla Railway, a 96-km long, single track working rail link built in the mid-19th century to provide a service to the highland town of Shimla is emblematic of the technical and material efforts to disenclave mountain populations through the railway. All three railways are still fully operational."

The first locomotives were two class-B 0-4-0STs from the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. Thirty larger 2-6-2T locomotives were introduced between 1904 and 1910, built by the Hunslet Engine and North British locomotive companies. The KSR currently operates with class ZDM-3 diesel-hydraulic locomotives, built between 1970 and 1982 by Chittaranjan Locomotive Works with a single-cab road-switcher body.
Photo Gallery  
John Sandys (16 Oct., 2018): "A lovely warm autumnal day saw 'Camelot' in charge of the Autumn Tints Service, now into its second week, with Half Term just around the corner!"
John Sandys (25 Oct., 2018): "My last update for a while on a lovely sunny but cold day, with No. 847 on the main service train, and No. 65 on the Maunsell Set. Also, some videos and photos of the new SteamWorks! shed ... and I must say it's nice to have access to the Loco Yard again!"

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


Bob Kershaw: "O1 No.65 and S15 No. 847 operating Service 2, filmed on 26 Oct., 2018, at Sharpthorne Tunnel (North End) and at/near Horsted Keynes in breezy conditions ranging from light showers to warm sunshine."

From our Tasmanian Correspondent

To the Editor,

I had the great joy and privilege of visiting in early 2017 and have since been receiving your newsletters. What a great job you guys are doing.

My son and I are your Tassy ambassadors, talking it up and passing on your newsletters.

Some time back I was involved with work on a 1926 engine belonging to the "Don Railway" here in Northern Tasmania and have maintained an interest ever since. Now restricted to Hornby 00 layouts!

G Reddish, JP
Kings Meadows, Tasmania

From the Science Museum Archive: Battery Locomotive, North Staffordshire Railway

Battery locomotive, North Staffordshire Railway, Bo, built 1917 for T. Bolton & Sons, withdrawn from service 1963.

North Staffordshire Railway (NSR) No. 1 is one of only two battery electric locomotives to be employed by a main line company. The other was built by Midland Railway in Derby in 1913 for shunting at Poplar docks.

No. 1 was built according to the specification of NSR's Locomotive Superintendent J A Hookham and Electrical Engineer A F Rock. It was designed to be able to contend with the narrow internal railway of Thomas Bolton & Sons Ltd. Copper Works; the locomotive worked at Bolton's Oakamoor Works for all of its working life, from 1917 to 1963 ... MORE

Looking for a perfect day out for a group? Look no further than the Railway's Coach and Group Information page .
Hubble Bubble

John Sandys provides this photo of two youngsters getting into the spirit of Halloween at the Railway.

From the Huntley Film Archive: Trainspotting (1950s)

Two boys in a train station trainspotting. Electric train cables erected, electric trains running on high speed rails. Potter's Bar Station. Building train track. Switches and switches control room. Shovelling coal in to the furnace, Point of view from the front of the train.
From the Glossary

In UK terminology, the track normally used by trains proceeding towards the main terminus. The line used by trains proceeding away from the terminus is normally called the Down Line. 

The terminology is believed to originate from the early railways in the north east of England which connected mines to coastal ports. Trains ran "down" to the coast or "up" to the mine.

NOTE: After 28 Oct., 2018, the Railway has no regular timetabled trains running until after Christmas, with all December services before Christmas being pre-booked.
Your Painting: Cleaning Yard

Full Title: St Pancras, Cleaning Yard
Artist: Clifford Hooper Rowe
Collection: National Railway Museum
Date: 1940-1945
Medium: Mixed media on board
Size: 46.1 x 72.1 cm
Acquisition: Gift, 1985

Details of November opening hours for the Bessemer Arms--the bar/restaurant at Sheffield Park-- are available here .

"Apaches Vlogs": "My visit to the Bluebell Railway with S15 No. 847 and Standard 5 No. 73082 in service!"


@NRHAwd Oct 24
Unveiling of 2018 @Siemens signalling @NRHAwd yesterday, jointly won by @bluebellrailway for Horsted Keynes signalling scheme.

@wildsussex Oct 24
I'm working on a #conservation project in a remote #Sussex river valley with no traffic noise, but this happens a few times a day. Wonderful! @bluebellrailway

@chrisrailwayph1 Oct 22
In October 2010, @bluebellrailway's 9017 Earl of Berkley attended the @southdevonrly's Cambrian gala. It was great to see the Dukedog in #GWR surroundings! #cambrian #devon

@MrJRVincent Oct 21
Later on, it was the turn of @bluebellrailway. Scarcely needs any introduction. Glorious in the Autumn sun. Neat trick to have the on-line eticket manifest itself as an old school paper one!

@smart_electrics Oct 20
Replying to @ElectricalJuice @bluebellrailway
Me and the youngest grandson. He loved it.

@mariacaulfield 20 Oct
Delighted to see Steam Works open @bluebellrailway thanks to @heritagelottery funding . Great day out this half term.

@weald_tech Oct 17
Busy morning preparing activities for this weekends #steamworks family festival at @bluebellrailway ... Come and say hello

@QueensAwardVS Oct 16
In 2010 The Bluebell Railway Preservation Society @bluebellrailway were awarded a QAVS. Do you know of an exceptional group who restores trains for the enjoyment of the public. Nominate them when the nomination opens in April 2019

@bluebellnutter Oct 15
#StationsDay Kingscote on the @bluebellrailway





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