FOSP Update: Sweating the Small Stuff

In the couple of months that have elapsed since my last update, activities among the Friends of Sheffield Park (FOSP) have reverted to more modest tasks. As we had spent so much of the past 18 months either erecting a new canopy or fitting-out the Above Works Facility (AWF) offices, many of the smaller tasks of routine general outdoor maintenance had seen little or no attention, so we are trying to put that right through the summer months.

We have now fully completed the replacement of the northern half of the Newick Siding walkway, including a rebuild of the access steps. The final touch has been to staple chicken wire to the whole of the walkway surface, thus providing a very cost-effective anti-slip treatment. 

The "Heavy Gang" is now consulting with the Locomotive Department to design and build a new sheltered storage area for lighting-up wood, to be sited at the northern end of the new maintenance shed next to the coal heap. Construction should commence fairly soon. In parallel, a suitable treatment to extend the life of the concrete flammable store hut behind the station house is being contemplated (presently, the corner post is badly deteriorated to the extent that the building will have to be condemned if it cannot be repaired). 

Our yards and yards of painted paling fence are no longer looking pristine, so there will be action to refurbish and repair these, hopefully also exploiting the offer of some "visiting labour' in late September to give a lick of paint to the fencing on the driveway. As theredundant large double gates behind the shop had finally collapsed after the hanging posts rotted through, we have now "plain-lined" the fence by planting bullhead rail posts and attaching recycled fence panels, which were among those displaced from East Grinstead when the platform canopy was erected there. A coat of paint is now all that is needed, and the saggy gates will be erased from memory. 

Elsewhere, the signage at the bottom of the driveway is being refurbished, platform gas standards are being repainted, and our enthusiastic itinerant painter, Mick, is engaged in smartening-up the now very faded paintwork on the main station building.

Finally, I normally try to illustrate updates with relevant photographs.These pictures by Sue Elliott don't fully match the words, but see if you can connect them with what I have written! (Immediately apparent is the fact that sometimes "watchers" overwhelm "workers"!)

By Charles Melton
OP4 Progress: Cladding & Bricking

Progress continues apace on the OP4 project. The first layer of claddinghas now been fixed to the western and eastern faces of the carriage shed (photo 1). Work will start on the southern (gable) end within the next couple of weeks. 

The ground floor of the Heritage Skills Centre (HSC) was poured on 25 and 27 June. The photo (2) shows the floor with the power float being used to provide a high-quality finished surface. Cleaning and painting of the steelwork will be completed by 17 July, allowing a start to be made on the support rails for the cladding around the HSC.

Once the support rails have been fixed, the studwork around the perimeter of the HSC can be started. This task will be followed by the dwarf brick, and then the cladding, windows, and doors. The blockwork between the HSC and the carriage shed is being worked on as resources allow.

The face brickwork at the northern end of the HSC is complete (photo 3) as far as can be done at present, and work has started on the blockwork around the northern and north-eastern faces.
There has also been plenty of activity on trackwork:

  • The yard is now connected to the running line via the new three-way pointwork (photo 4). The running in line has been temporarily slewed across to make the connection, but this will be replaced with another turnout when time permits. This line will connect to the old head shunt,which has now been lifted, to be replaced using redundant materials from running line renewals.
  • E road (photo 5) and D road (6) have been reconnected enabling stock to moved. B road will be reconnected starting on 15 July.

By Barry Luck, OP4 Project Manager (Infrastructure)
Deadline Approaching: BRPS Long-Term Plan Review

As mentioned in the 5 May eNewsletter, Bluebell Railway Preservation Society (BRPS) Members have been asked to submit ideas, suggestions, andcomments regarding a review of the Railway's Long-Term Plan (LTP).

This document was last revised in 2013 after several years’ work. Many of the aims from them have been reached and some are nearing completion.Now the Railway is looking for new ideas! 

Submissions currently are being received from members, groups, and departments. The closing date is 19 August, so if you want to take part,don’t delay! Remember, this is your opportunity to have your say on thefuture of the Railway. 

You may send your comments to or post them to LTP c/o Bluebell Railway, Sheffield Park Station, East Sussex, TN22 3QL.

Thank you,

Chris Saunders, Trustee, BRPS

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

  • 27 July: Toy and Rail Collectors Fair 
  • 10-11 August: Steam Through the Ages
  • 24-26 August: Teddy Bears’ Picnic  (children who bring Teddy along get free travel!)
  • 6 October: Vintage Bus Running Day
  • 11-13 October: Giants of Steam Gala

Steam Through the Ages Returns on 10-11 August, 2019.

The event brings history to life with a different decade recreated at each station.

Dance to the music of time goneby; witness the arrival of Queen Victoria and her Royal Guard; laugh along to Punch & Judy shows at Sheffield Park; catch the train to Horsted Keynes for an array of military displays, vehicles, and music; then "evacuate" to Kingscote for ice cream, vintage cars, and the play park.

Chassis Assay: No. 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair"

Update by John Fry from The Bulleid Society webpage :

The chassis of No. 34059 has now joined the boiler in the works at Sheffield Park. The chassis will have a complete overhaul, which may well include the grinding of the crank axle, a procedure that will be undertaken by an outside contractor. This operation already has been successfully undertaken on two Maunsell locomotives.

The overhaul of the chassis will include the removal of all the motion, pistons, and valves from the three cylinders, overhaul of both bogies and the six driving wheels, and an overhaul of the axle boxes.

The boiler's firebox awaits the drilling, tapping, and reaming of the 12mm/0.5 inch pilot holes to 7/8 inch for the 2,200-plus stays of which an initial supply has been supplied by an outside contractor. A radial drill will be used to enlarge, tap, and ream the pilot holes in the firebox boiler plate.
A south end view of the CCT van, with one more end panel still to be varnished.
David Rhydderch sign-writing the van's technical data.
CCT No. S2531 Update: Waiting for the Jacks

It's been a few weeks since the last Covered Carriage Truck (CCT) report, but steady progress has been maintained towards completing all of its bodywork.
On the interior, new window safety glass that complies with modern standards has been fitted. This work was followed by the long wooden beams that protected the windows from damage by any wayward merchandise that was being carried. The metal chequer floor-plates by all the doors will be going back in shortly.

On the exterior, the new step boards beneath each of the four sets of side doors are also in situ. All the miscellaneous small metal furniture“such as door hooks, brackets, and card holders“have gradually been reinstated. Simultaneously, the CCT received its final topcoat, followed by a coat of varnish to protect it. Sign writing of the van's technical details have been hand-painted, and the results are excellent.
Once all the bodywork has been completed, a week or so will be needed sothe CCT can be lifted on to jacks to complete the mechanical work, including dropping the two wheelsets out and axle-box work. Afterwards, the brake gear will need to be re-attached and adjustments made to complete a "fitness to run" exam. At this stage we're not too certain when the van can be lifted, as the Railway's priority is the running fleet, but we hope it won't be too long!
The Camelot Locomotive Society would like to thank all those involved with our CCT's restoration. The results are amazing, and they are a great credit to the skills and talents in the Carriage & Wagon Department at Horsted Keynes.

By Julian Heinemann
Off to the Met

John Sandys (photo 1) and Julian Clark (2) both captured Class 73s (No. 73107 "Tracy" and No. 73136 "Mhari") arriving at the Railway on 17 June 2019, to haul away the Metropolitan Railway coaches so they could take part in the 150th anniversary celebrations of the District Line and " Steam on the Underground ". 
" Vicar Lane " (1985) by Peter Lapish from the Leeds Museum Discovery Centre.
LB&SCR 0-6-0T No. 82 " Boxhill ", designed by William Stroudley, built at Brighton in 1880, withdrawn in 1946.
On the 100 year anniversary of its invention, the original James Watt steam engine is displayed .
A Model Weekend

There were myriad layouts, traders, and live miniature steam railways ata successful Model Railway Weekend, 29-30 June, 2019. The weekend also was the first occasion for the public to view inside the brand new locomotive maintenance shed at Sheffield Park, where some of the exhibits were located. Atlantic House was open, with construction of thenew Brighton H2 Atlantic class on view (see project update below).

Photos below are by Brian Lacey (1, of the Newchapel Junction O gauge layout in the locomotive shed) and Derek Hayward (2, and browse Derek's full album here ). The video is by "The Southerner".
Road Meets Rail Retrospective

In spite of poor weather, Road Meets Rail on 15-16 June, 2019, was a great success, featuring a cavalcade of steam-powered vehicles of all types. In addition to the photos and video below, there are more than 150 images of the event at this Derek Hayward gallery and a full photo essay can be browsed at this link . Enjoy!

In addition to a three-train passenger service during the weekend“hauledby "Camelot", the S15, and the H class“the Maunsell Q class had charge of a goods train which included the Bulleid well wagon, on to which had been craned a Garrett (with a superheater and a removable chimney).
Photo by Derek Hayward
Photo by James Funnell
Video by Bob Kershaw
Video by Nick Dearden
Nick Dearden (4 July, 2019): "A short look at No. 80151 on test on a lovely afternoon."
"ConductorColin": "On my UK trip, I got to go to the Bluebell Railway! I even got to meet 'Stepney'!"
Track Inspection Volunteers Needed

The Track Inspection Team would like to train some more volunteers. The job, which is safety critical, involves walking four and a half miles ona Saturday while carrying out a full inspection of the track and the lineside.

The inspection team starts at Horsted Keynes at 8 a.m. and is usually finished by noon. Full training will be given. You can attend as often or as little as convenient. We do not expect volunteers to patrol every Saturday.

If you are interested, please email Mark Duhig at and include your telephone number in your message.
Volunteer PTS Trainer Sought

The Railway currently is looking for a volunteer Personal Track Safety (PTS) trainer .This post carries no remuneration or specific hours of duty, although the successful applicant must commit around two days each month to effectively undertake this role.

  • The staff PTS training dates are published 6+ months in advance and require the trainer to commit to these dates in order to meet the programme.
  • The successful applicant will have experience of training delivery and a good knowledge of the Bluebell Railway in order to interact effectively with candidates.
  • The role involves the preparation, delivery, and subsequent administration tasks of new and refresher PTS training.
  • The post could suit a retired or partially retired trainer or assessor who has the necessary skills to do the job.

If you have the right qualifications for this job or would like to discuss the opportunity, contact Lisa Boyle at .

Played in a picturesque field next to the Railway, the annual "Freshfields Test" between the Bluebell Railway XI and near neighbours Scaynes Hill CC will take place on 4 Aug., 2019.

Members of any age and cricketing ability are welcome to play. Contact John Walls at if you are interested.
NOTE: In order to give our hard-working and extremely busy contributors more time to prepare their reports, the eNewsletter will now be published every three weeks, ratherthan fortnightly.

The next issue will be published on 4 Aug., 2019. Thank you for your support!
No. 928 "Stowe" Progress in Pictures

A Facebook photo essay updating recent progress on V class No. 928 "Stowe" ...

"There's been a lot of work behind the scenes recently to restore various items. The tender has returned from Horsted Keynes and is now attached to the loco again. The replacement of the cab roof is almost complete."

This photo shows new cylinder cover sheets, fabricated in house by the Maunsell Locomotive Society team.
Bachmann Donates to "Beachy Head"

Great news for the Brighton Atlantic Project! On 8 June, 2019, Bachmann Europe presented a cheque for more than £10,000 to help complete the H2 class Atlantic "Beachy Head":

"Following the release of the acclaimed Bachmann Branchline OO scale model of the H2 class Atlantic locomotive in 2018, the donation was madein recognition of the assistance provided by the group during the development of the Branchline model. 

"The model was first announced during the 2013 Bachmann Collectors Club Members Day which was held at the Bluebell Railway and during which clubmembers were able to see the development of the full-size locomotive for themselves."

Photo: During the recent Atlantic House Open Weekend, Richard Proudman of Bachmann Europe presented a cheque to Atlantic Project Chairman, Terry Cole (left) and Secretary David Jones (right).
Atlantic Project Update: Tender Loving Care

A full update on Atlantic Project progress by Fred Bailey can be read here .

Major work at present includes the construction of the tender tank at DGWelding in Gloucester. Once the basic shell is finished, it will be shipped to the Railway for completion. A large amount of work will be involved here, as the tender tank must have another skin fitted around it, as well as all the coal rails, cab doors, and other features that need making and fitting.  

Photo 1 (courtesy of DG Welding) shows a view of the tender taken from the rear looking forward, revealing the baffles used internally to support the sides and the top. The inner tank is all welded where the originals are riveted, with T-shaped steel taking the same positions as the plate baffles in the welded version.

In-house, the lagging of the backhead has been completed but some has now been removed for access to stay heads and other items, in case of problems under a pressure test. It is likely some may leak a little and will require some TLC. Photo 2 shows the lower portion of the backhead lagging in position. The upper parts also have been carefully made and fitted, but have been temporarily removed.
From the Archive
No. 70004 "William Shakespeare"  at Folkestone Warren with the Up Golden Arrow on 5 May, 1952.
Previewing Giants of Steam, Tony Hillman has chosen some Southern Britannias from the John J. Smith collection.

Museum Website Improvements

The Bluebell Railway Museum website is in the final stages of being modernised, and it will be online shortly. The improvements include a responsive display, so that it will work on PCs, phones, and tablets, and a complete rewrite of the photo ordering process, allowing for online ordering.

Photo numbering has been changed to fall in line with the new Museum archive numbering scheme. Other parts of the site also have been updatedto the new design. It is likely that when the new site comes online, some features of the old site will not have been moved over. So that these features will still be available, the old site will exist for a while as .

By Tony Hillman
John Sandys : "No. 80151 on a test on the 4 July, 2019, and a wedding special on 6 July."

Peter Edwards' photo from 22 June, 2019, shows the first service of the day at Black Hut. No. 73082 "Camelot" hauls a train of SR Maunsell and Bulleid carriages, plus the GNR Directors' Saloon (which was hosting a surprise birthday party for a young volunteer loco driver).
John Sandys (6 July, 2019): A gallery featuring the GN Saloon.
Steve Lee's photo shows the Maunsell Q class with the Metropolitan carriages and GN Saloon approaching Kingscote with the 14:30 from Sheffield Park, on 7 July, 2019.
John Sandys (13 June, 2019): "A very blustery Railway today, with the S15 in chargeof the Service Train, also a look at good progress on the OP4 project at Horsted Keynes."
Julian Clark (18 June, 2019): A view of "the chaps" at East Grinstead. 
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 on to 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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