Brass, Marquetry, Trimming, & More: A Car 54 Progress Report

This coach, originally built as a Kitchen Third by Claytons, was rebuilt in 1937 as a Parlour Brake. It isa historic vehicle, as one of the first two K-type Pullmans, with a steel underframe and separate timber body, in place of the earlier all-timber design. After the war it ran on such trains as the Devon Belle (1948-1950) and in 1960, the South Wales Pullman, ending its days on BR as part of the Western Region's spare set for the Blue Pullman. Itis now being extensively refurbished ...

The main structure of the car is nearly complete, with the north end in place and the south end in process of construction. The roof hoops have been refurbished and secured in position. The water tank for the lavatory at the north end has been finally fitted after testing and lagging to prevent condensation forming. A start has been made on fitting the roof boards.

The complex ends of the vehicle were contracted out, but since the last ones were produced, the supplier has lost a facility, meaning that difficulties were encountered with the machining. Paul Giles, one of ourcontracted woodworkers, completed the necessary machining in-house.

Repairs to the sides have been progressing and the timber parts of the sidelight and toplight frames have been fitted. We are investigating thefitting of double-glazed units to the sidelights in an effort to reducethe condensation that plagues these vehicles.

The toplight brass frames have been refurbished and polished, and we are experimenting with a hard wax protective finish instead of lacquer to help prevent tarnishing. The wax can be applied in-house at a future date, which removes the need for lacquering the frames in advance. The frames are being glazed using laminated glass and butyl putty. This is rather an involved process that requires the edges of the glass to be sealed with aluminium tape to stop the oil from the putty travelling up between the two pieces of glass ... MORE

Right-hand photo below: Paul Giles assembling part of the south end of Car 54.
Atlantic Group Update: Tender Construction Tendered

We had a successful three days over the Branch Line Weekend, taking justshort of £2,500 in sales of second-hand books and models. Visitors, including a group from the East Anglian Railway Museum, expressed admiration for current progress on “ Beachy Head ”,and visitors were able to see the various parts under construction, including the smokebox on the boiler outside and the ashpan and tender inside Atlantic House. 

We have now received four quotations for the tender tank and will be placing an order soon, with delivery anticipated in the autumn. They areall within the same price range of £32,000 to £39,000, but the firms vary regarding experience with previous tender construction, so this fact will dictate who is chosen. Once delivered, there is quite a lot ofadditional work to carry out on pipework, toolboxes, and coal rails.

Tony Funnell has been working on the steel sheeting for the back of the firebox and the firehole door assembly, and Keith has started preparing the timber floor of the cab. The locomotive will shortly be moved forwards so that scaffolding can be erected around the cab to enable further painting to be carried out by Richard. 

Fred and Malcolm are progressing with various machining tasks on components ready for fitting to the engine at the appropriate time. A special pad has been made to facilitate the lifting of the boiler into the frames once the hydraulic and steam tests have taken place. We have been invited to have Atlantic House open over the STEM Weekend at the end of May Bank Holiday, and we will be open over the Model Railway Weekend at the end of June.

By David Jones
The Atlantic firebox backhead (taken on 30 March, 2019). 
The ashpan photographed on 30 March, 2019. 

Here are some exciting spring and early summer event dates for your calendar ...

  • 19-22 April: Easter Weekend
  • 11 May: Toy and Rail Collectors' Fair
  • 25-27 May: STEM Fair at Sheffield Park
  • 9 June: Classic Vehicle Show at Horsted Keynes
  • 14-16 June: Road Meets Rail, plus the Sussex Ales Beer Festival
  • 29-30 June: Model Railway Weekend

GN Saloon Announces Spring & Summer Programme

The Great Northern (GN) Saloon will run again during 2019 following an agreement with the Railway. The first public outing will be over the four-day Easter Weekend when, all being well, the saloon will be attached to Set A across 19-22 April. 

Further outings are planned for 17-18 May and 15-16 June, when it is hoped the saloon will join the beer festival trains and showcase a rangeof scones and cakes from Cyrnel Bakery in Forest Row, Sussex.

As with many aspects of the Railway’s operations, volunteers are always needed to help provide the saloon service that so many visitors have come to expect. If you’re thinking of volunteering to help run the Railway, there is no better insight into train operations than helping to make and pour tea on a moving train!

If you want to know more, please talk to David Chappell on the next "Find Out More Day” on 14 April, or drop him an email at .

If you want to hire the saloon for a private celebration, please talk tothe Commercial Team at Sheffield Park or call 01825 720800.
Project 27: Cylinders Are Back!

This photo by Matt Holloway shows freshly machined cylinders for No. 27 in the Locomotive Works. 

From the P27 Blog : Well, I think this can be said to be the end of the beginning! We are now, or soon will be, in the same position we were (visually) two and a half years ago!  

There is a big difference: we now have a new set of frames and cylinders. These have made a big dent in the bank account; however, without them we would be dead in the water. 

The frame riveting is coming on very well. Once the frames are riveted up, it should be possible to fit the cylinders. The next task will be tofinish the drag box and rivet it in place, and this will be followed bythe installation of the horn guides. Plenty of work still to be done onthe frames before the wheels can be replaced.
" Loco '1861' Left, Loco 'Colonel' Right, Howe Bridge Colliery " by Alan Davies (1927). Salford Museum. 
Various shots of a new kind of electric locomotive train that has started running on the Southern Railway (1942). Commentator tells us the boiler is electrically powered, and it supplies steam for heating the passenger train, besides driving compressors and exhausters for operating the brakes ...
Wantage Tramway Company steam tram engine ,built by Henry Hughes & Co of Loughborough in 1877 , with three passenger carriages at Wantage Town station, Oxfordshire, around 1892. 
The Railway has begun its 2019 spring timetable. Trains will run every day up to and including Easter Monday, and every Wednesday through Sunday thereafter until 22 May, when trains will run daily until 8 September. For more information about specific days and discounted advance travel tickets, visit .
Tickets are on sale for the Railway's Annual Easter Treasure Hunt! Entry is free with the purchase of any kids' All-Day Rover ticket on any day over the Easter weekend (19-22 April). Save money by buying a Rover in advance
Want more special offers? Check them out at this webpage , which includes details about the All Day Rover, free travel for Blue Peter Badge holders, and Bluebell Railway Preservation Society Membership "Stepney Savers".
For the Little Ones: The Stepney Club

The popular Stepney Club is a membership club for children three to eight years old: the next generation of Bluebell Railway enthusiasts! The aim of the club“which takes its name from one of the Railway's most well-known locos“is to foster an interest in railways, steam locomotives, and railway heritage.

"Stepney" was the first engine to come to the Railway in 1960, and he featured in his own "Railway Series" book (no. 18, Stepney the "Bluebell Engine” ) by the Rev. W. Awdry.

Stepney Club members receive:

  • A badge, membership card, and discounted travel on the Bluebell Railway at any time.
  • A birthday card from "Stepney".
  • A magazine every four months containing stories, pictures, puzzles, information about upcoming events, and letters and drawings from members.
  • A Stepney Club carriage on one of the Santa trains at Christmas, with half-price tickets for members and their families and a free raffleand lucky dip for club members and their siblings.
  • A special summer event: either a birthday party for "Stepney" at the Railway or an outing to a railway-themed venue.

The cost is £8 for a year’s membership, £12 for two years, and £16 for three years. For more information and to join, visit the Children's Section of the Railway website .
"Mayflower" Visits the Railway (Cathedrals Express | 23 March, 2019)
By Joe Light Railway
By Bluebell-Railway Hawks
By Ben Jenden
Vlogger Andrew Ditton misses the "iron road". Watch his report on a "wonderful day out" on the Railway below.
NOTE: This Railway is currently undertaking a review of its photography Personal Safety Training course and regrets that courses are temporarily unavailable to book.

However, if you have already booked a course, it will go ahead.
The Bluebell Railway and Bluebell Vineyard have joined forces to offer the ideal gift for any wine connoisseur and train buff.

Enjoy a morning tour of the vineyard, followed by a tutored wine tasting, with the opportunity to purchase your favourites to take away. Then pop over to the Railway, climb on board, sit back, and tuck into a traditional Ploughman’s lunch! More details here .
Can You Help? Volunteer Car Park Attendants

The Bluebell Railway is looking for volunteers to help oversee visitor parking during busy events by directing customers to available spaces and by answering queries.

Applicants should be self-motivated, enthusiastic, and good communicators. This role requires three to four hours duty at a time, usually morning or afternoon. Refreshments will be provided! Applicants must use their own transportation.

Those interested should contact Billie-Jo Maynard at or 01825 720824.
Taken on Easter Sunday 1952 (13 April), No. 35029 scheduled for an Ellerman Lines night ferry to Paris, at the Stewarts Lane carriage shed. 
From the Archive
With Easter approaching, Tony Hillman has chosen six Easter Holiday images from the Joe Kent collection.

Rail Ale Evenings Begin in May

Enjoy an evening steam-hauled train ride, sausage and mash supper, and live Jazz, plus your first pint on us! A wide choice of real ales will be available at Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes stations and will be on board the train throughout the evening.

Travel from either Horsted Keynes (6:05 p.m. departure) or East Grinstead (6:45 p.m. departure) to Sheffield Park, where your sausage and mash supper will be served in the Bessemer Arms on Platform 1.

After your meal, take the train again to Horsted Keynes (departing at approximately 8:20 p.m.) to enjoy the music from the live Jazz band. Thereturn train will then depart from Horsted Keynes (9:35 p.m.) and travel to East Grinstead (arriving at 10:00 p.m.) and then back to Horsted Keynes for 10:45 p.m.

Friday dates in 2019: 24 May, 19 July, 23 August, and 27 September.

John Sandys (3 April, 2019): "My album featuring the welcome return of the Q class to regular service! A very busy day with a lot of pre-booked parties."
Bruce Healey's photo shows a great example of "upcycling"“and visual humour“evident outside the Infrastructure lobby at Horsted Keynes. 
Thankyou for reading our eNewsletter. It's because of you--our members, volunteers, visitors, and supporters--that the Railway continues its success.

Pleasecontinue to support us by passing this issue onto your friends, family,and/or colleagues by forwarding using the social media links above, 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 Preservation Society 2019

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