Welcome Back!

The relaunch of BR Standard 2-6-4T No. 80151 took place on 27 July, 2019. This loco is proudly back in service afterits £500k+ overhaul, which was undertaken over the last four years in the Loco Works at Sheffield Park. As one of the very last locomotives built at Brighton Works, a local locomotive running in the East Grinstead area, and of the type that operated the final services onthe Bluebell Line before its closure in 1958, it is one of the most appropriate locomotives to run on the line.
Jack Lamb's photo shows No. 80151 with her first passenger run since overhaul, on 26 July. "This was on the B set as a 'loaded test run' to check that everything was right before the official first day on 27 July. This train was my passing out test as a guard. I'm pleased to say Ipassed!"
Peter Edwards' photo shows No. 80151 completing its test runs on 26 July, seen at Tremains.
PLC Chairman Dick Fearn to Not Seek Re-Election

Following the decision by Dick Fearn not to seek re-election as Chairmanat the forthcoming PLC Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 29 Aug., 2019, Chris Hunford will take on the role, pending the appointment of a new Chairman who will take the company forward. Chris will continue to hold the post of Locomotive Director during this interim period.

Other updates ahead of the AGM:

  • Kevin Beauchamp, Infrastructure Director, and Roger Garman, Communications Director, will stand down from their respective posts effective 29 August.

  • Mike Ellis, Operations Director; Neil Glaskin, Retail Director; Bob Pamment, Carriage & Wagon Director; and Martin Widdowson, Finance Director will continue in their respective roles within the company. 

  • Martin Cresswell will join the Board as Safety Director on the 29 August, taking on the day-to-day safety responsibilities before taking on the full Safety and Assurance role.

  • Chris White will take the role of Infrastructure Director, pending the appointment of a permanent replacement. He also will continue with the assurance work related to the Safety Management System, and he will be the company liaison for the ORR. Work is underway to fill the currentvacant post of the Commercial Director.

By Roger Garman, Communications Director
Bluebell Railway Named Among the Best in the UK

(Re-published from The Argus, 31 July, 2019) A list has been compiled of the best steam journeys in the UK with tracks in Scotland, England, and Wales all making the list. Here in Sussex, thehistoric Bluebell Railway was not only featured but also named the bestin England.

The Railway, which runs from Sheffield Park, near Haywards Heath, to East Grinstead, was only beaten to the top spot on the list by The Jacobite, which runs from Fort William to Mallaig in Scotland ... MORE

Bluebell Railway PLC Chairman Dick Fearn and the Board, together with the all the staff and volunteers, aredelighted with the high standing given to the Railway by the recent Boundless survey of UK's Best Steam Rides. The accolade of "Best for a Colourful Springtime Journey" was also very gratefully received. Such recognition is always a great boost for the team.

By Roger Garman, Communications Director

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

• 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


The Railway's summer timetable extends through September. Six services are running every day from Sunday to Friday, and seven services on Saturdays.

The All Day Rover ticket allows you to hop off and explore all our fascinating stations have to offer. Buy yours online .
Education Department: Half Term Report

As has been well publicised in both the national and local press, schools are facing serious and increasingly difficult financial pressures, and this situation was highlighted in a recent email from a Kent school.

After an initial enquiry and an apparently enthusiastic booking, the responsible teacher wrote to say that the Head had asked her to work on reducing the cost of the visit. The real killer was not the Railway’s fare of £9.50 a head (with five free adult places) but the cost of transport to the Railway. Adding on the charge for coach hire, the cost per head more than doubled to more than £20. The school subsequently cancelled the booking.

But despite a poor start, and after a lot of hard work liaising with schools, we have managed to attract just below the equivalent number of visits by the end of July as last year.

Given that schoolchildren represent our future customer base, both shortterm“in terms of persuading their parents to return with them“and long term, the need for the Railway to continue to provide not only value formoney for schools but also a memorable experience for the children is evident. In this respect a very welcome email was received from a teacher following a recent visit:-

I would just like to say what an amazing evacuation trip we had on Monday. In my 22 years of teaching, I think that this was my best ever. The gentlemen who led us throughout the day were knowledgeable and friendly and made the day really special.The role play ensured that the children really had the feel of the experiences that the children in 1940 went through.

The teacher went on to say that the children would be writing accounts of their day, and we’ll arrange for some of these to be published.

The continuing first class service provided by our team of guides has tobe acknowledged. On top of that, the arrival of Ruth Rowatt as the Railway’s first full time Education Officer has provided a significant impetus in terms of improving the educational experience. Building upon the popular elements of the original evacuation exercise, Ruth has introduced“as only a schoolteacher could“a series of teaching exercises,including writing postcards with old fashioned nib and ink pens, an amusing if messy exercise to observe. 

Further improvements will follow from the completion of the nearly finished Steamworks! project, and we will be writing to schools with information about this exciting project shortly.

By David Cockram, School Liaison Officer
Steam Through the Ages

Travel through history during a weekend of fun across 10-11 August, 2019. The Railway's Steam Through the Ages event will bring different eras from history to life with a different decade recreated at our stations.

Dance to the music of time gone by, witness the arrival of Queen Victoria and her Royal Guard, be entertained by "Crazee Hazee", and laugh along to Punch and Judy shows at Sheffield Park. Then catch the train to Horsted Keynes for an array of military displays, vehicles, andmusic, before you "evacuate" to Kingscote for an ice cream, vintage cars, and to let off steam in the play park.

Because tickets are valid all day, you can hop on and off as much as youlike to explore what all the stations have to offer as you steam through the ages. Learn more about the events at each station here .
[Door]Stop Press: Trim Shop Sideline Benefits OP4

A couple of years ago four of us from the Trimming Shop in the Carriage & Wagon Department went to a Transport Textile Symposium at the London Transport Museum. It was fascinating to see how designs and manufacture have changed over the years. 

While looking in the gift shop, we saw many ways of using moquette to make items such as bags, cushions, and doorstops. Afterwards I had an idea to make a doorstop for the trim shop using off-cuts that were not big enough for Railway use. After a couple of prototypes, I came up witha design for a doorstop that looked like a small handbag (but considerably heavier). Then someone suggested we could sell them in the Bluebell Railway Shop to help raise money for the OP4 project. From thatsuggestion, the project snowballed, and so far I have made 46 doorstopsin assorted patterns and colours, each one raising nearly £20 for the Railway! 

To construct a doorstop, I first make the handle and top from scraps of vinyl. These are then stuffed with wadding and sewn closed. The larger sides are then stitched to the top and the side facing is sewn around bymachine as far as I can go on one side, partly sewn on the other side, leaving a gap to allow for filling. The doorstop is then turned through to the right side and wadding put inside the bottom to protect the moquette from the filling.

The filling is simply garden pea gravel/grit. It mustn't be too chunky or you can feel it through the moquette. Unfortunately, the grit is verysandy, so I wash a bucket load of it first and spread it on a large tray to dry. The greenhouse comes in very handy for this. Once the grit is dry, the doorstop is filled and then hand-sewn to close everything inplace. 

The finishing makes them suitable to be sold in the shop. An embroideredlabel for the Bluebell Railway is made and attached, and a card describing the moquette and which carriage it can be found in is also added. Several people have bought two, and some bypass the shop and cometo me directly, so the donation goes straight into the Carriage & Wagon OP4 collection.

Occasionally, someone asks for moquette that is in a carriage that hasn't been trimmed for a while. As I am only using leftovers from current re-trims, they may have to wait some time for that moquette to become available.

We have eight moquettes that have been used recently: the “All Over Leaves” which is in use in Car 64 “Christine”, is the most popular. The others are “Boomerang”, “Blue Jazz”, “Green Jazz”, “Red Candy Stripe”, “Green Candy Stripe”, “Fleur de Lys”, and “Charcoal Check”. “Bird of Paradise”, which is being used to re-trim the first class seats in No. 6686, possibly will appear on doorstops in the next couple of months.

By Jean Cox
An impression of the violent climax of the Llanelli Riots of 1911 , by Stephen Meyler (Parc Howard Museum and Art Gallery).
Taken on 27 June, 1976, Mark Davies' photo shows No. 03370 at Norwich . Davies notes this loco was "cut up at Doncaster Works 1983. Note the conical style chimney some members of the class carried."
Building Locomotive Engines, 1960s. 
A Bluebell Railway Filming and Location Services Website

Watching a film or TV drama that includes a train, how often have you wondered, "Isn't that Horsted Keynes?" or "That carriage interior looks familiar", even if it isn't set in Sussex?!  

Nine times out of 10 you're probably right. The Railway has a very long history of cooperation with the film industry, going almost back to the days when the Railway only offered trips from Sheffield Park to BluebellHalt. 

This year is the Railway's 60th anniversary, but in 2021 it will be the 60th anniversary of filming on the Railway. The Innocents was filmed in 1961, and it includes a scene filmed at Sheffield Park. Being only 11 atthe time, I can't say it featured in my Saturday morning cinema outings, but it is worth a look now on YouTube just to see how the the station looked in those days“go to time mark 22:34 (a still from the scene is reproduced here).  

Since then, there have been hundreds of occasions when filming has takenplace at the stations and locations in between, even Lywood Tunnel, where we don't even have track laid yet! You might have seen adverts fora new release, The Current War. This film has been a long time in the making, and, in fact, we filmed scenes for that in 2017 on Platform 2 atHorsted Keynes (representing Pittsburg, USA). I'm looking forward to seeing the film as I had a hand in it, lying flat on the platform holding on to the cameraman as the train goes past!  

Filming contracts have been thin on the ground recently after some busy years. Work often hinges on whether or not train scenes are required, and the film industry is driven by writers and producers. We also recognise there are many heritage railways offering film services. In order to stay one step ahead, we have created a Bluebell Filming website ,solely dedicated to this aspect of Railway operations, and one that hasbeen so successful in bringing extra income over the years.  

We are hoping that producers, art directors, and location managers will find the website a one-stop resource for making decisions, even if they are based abroad and not able to immediately visit us. We think this comprehensive website approach is better than having just one page of information without detail on another website. 

Please let me know what you think ,even if you are not an aspiring producer, director or location manager.The website is a beta version at present (a work-in-progress), but I hope you will agree this is another way of showcasing what the Railway has to offer.  

By Mike Hopps
Your (Bluebell Railway) Santa Needs You!

Well here I am in mid-summer. The sun is shining, and I’m sitting in thegarden with a glass of wine enjoying the heat when up pops an email from Santa asking, "How is the recruitment going for this year?"

Is there no let up? I haven’t even had my holiday yet!

Once again this year we are operating the Santa Specials on Saturdays and Sundays beginning on 30 November and then on 1, 7-8, 14-15, and 21-24 December. In all, we are running 10 days this year as opposed to last year’s nine. Each day there will be three trains, two from Sheffield Park and one from East Grinstead. Tickets will be going on sale shortly.

Last year, thanks to volunteers, Santa Season was a great success. The feedback from the public was overwhelmingly positive. This year, we wantto build on that success and make it an even better experience.

As before there will be a Train Manager plus eight stewards on each of the three trains that will run on the dates above, so over the 10 days, there will be a total of 270 on-board turns of duty to cover. You can appreciate why we need your help. 

We are therefore recruiting volunteers who wish to help and the more we can recruit the better. Roles are mainly to serve refreshments and to look after our visitors during the train journey to and from Horsted Keynes while being a smart and friendly face of the Bluebell Railway. There have been a number of enquiries from last year’s volunteers to participate again in 2019, and I hope we can recruit even more people tothis fantastic event.

If you are interested in joining us this year please e-mail me at with your available dates and if you wish to work on the trains that leave Sheffield Park or East Grinstead. I intend to arrange a get-together in late October/early November of all the stewards and train managers so that everyone can meet each other and discuss their roles.

By Keith Riggs, On-Board Train Volunteers Organiser and Roster Clerk
Save the Date: Vintage Buses to Run on 6 Oct., 2019

Vintage Bus Day is back on 6 Oct., 2019! Relive road and rail travel in the 50s, 60s, and 70s by taking a vintage bus to a heritage railway.

Hop aboard one of the many buses running on the day, settle back for a steam train ride, and then travel in style on a bus back home.

It's a wonderful day out with a difference, inevitably nostalgic for those who rode the old buses and a fascinating live history lesson for the young.
Tender Delivery

The Brighton Atlantic's tender tank was delivered on 24 July, 2019. It still has to have an outer skin fitted around it, and all the coal rails, cab doors, and other items added.

Fred Bailey's photo shows the tank about to be placed on the ground opposite Atlantic House. The skids under the tank are temporary and will be removed at thetime the tank is placed on the tender chassis. The boiler can be seen to the right.

Ben Jenden: No. 80151 returns to service.
Dave Jefferys: "A trip behind Q class No. 30541, from East Grinstead to Horsted Keynes, filmed with a window mounted GoPro."
2020 Vision

Tickets are on sale for the New Year's special Golden Arrow service. With luxurious Pullman cars "Christine" and "Fingall" and first class dining carriage "Ashdown", thetrain recreates the famous Golden Arrow which once linked London and Paris.

New Year's Eve on the Golden Arrowbegins with a prosecco and canapé reception before boarding your train at Sheffield Park. Once on board, enjoy a delicious five-course gala menu and magical entertainment. At midnight you will welcome in the New Year with a glass of fizz, the chimes of Big Ben, and "Auld Lang Syne" at Horsted Keynes station.

Volunteers Sought: Locomotive Works

The Railway's Locomotive Works department is looking for volunteers. Theworkshop is open seven days per week and is seeking skilled 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 manually operated lathes and milling machines. If interested, please contact Chris Shepherd by email
Class T9 in Action Near the Bluebell Railway? Or, a Tale of Two Pictures

Tony Davies shares another of his "snapshots" taken from notes made on a railtour involving T9 4-4-0 No. 120 and the Cuckoo Line, back in the earliest days of steam preservation. The painting Tony refers to is reproduced here. If you might know where the "T9 1962 Forest Row" photo is reproduced in print, please get in touch .

Yet another snapshot! On one of the walls in our little cottage in NorthYorkshire there is a photograph of an H tank (No.1521) “coming off the marsh”“as I always thought. Oh no, it could NOT be Romney Marsh, but it was still a puzzle!

Then, from a chance browse through past issues of Bluebell News , I discovered a photograph of that same painting, on its presentation day at the Railway. Guess? Autumn 1986 (Vol. 28, No. 3) p. 103, and the caption to that painting suggests the scene is somewhere in the Forest Row area, onthe line from Tunbridge Wells to East Grinstead. Please read on for now, since this text will refer to another photograph, in that same area, that has yet to be found!

Let’s cast our minds back to summer 1962. That was the first full summerafter the final phase of the Kent Coast electrification. With the impending demise of steam on British Rail, as things then were, railway societies were running many railtours, and 1962 was a busy year! The LCGB ran a “Sussex Coast Limited”“using the then newly-preserved T9 4-4-0 No. 120“from London to Eastbourne and back, by various routes. Thereturn run from Eastbourne was via Mayfield to Forest Row, East Grinstead, and then London. In those days there may not have been many railtours when crews were changed after only 40 minutes! ... MORE
Take the B Road

The accompanying photo illustrates the re-connection of B road in the Down Yard at Horsted Keynes, which took place on 17 July, 2019. The re-connection comes after several years of agreed isolation pending the relaying of the yard of which this is the latest step.

The container that blocked the track was moved on 15 July. When the re-connection was made, the luggage van“directly in front of B road doors“was shunted.

This shunting allowed Maunsell brake carriage No. 3687 "Hastings", whichwas previously in the B road storage area of the original carriage shed, to be moved into the main work area for the completion of its restoration.

Bluebell Railway locomotives have run 1.5 million miles since the Railway started operating in August1960, the equivalent to three return trips to the Moon, or 60 trips around the Earth!

How do we know? The mileage information is taken from loco driver's record cards, completed after each day's work.

Entry details are available for the 2019-2020 Football Competitions, which raise funds for the SR Maunsell Restaurant Car restoration project.

You don't need to be a footballexpert to enter. You just have to try to predict who will win the FA Cup, and/or the final positions in the Premier League. The deadline is 9Aug., 2019. 
Beat the Barman

Some while ago the Railway Museum lent two objects to be used in Al Murray's Great British Pub Quiz .

One item“can you guess what it is?!“was used on the programme shown on 19 July, 2019. The episode can be seen here [geo-fenced outside the UK, unfortunately].

The Bluebell Railway section starts at 10:02 minutes and ends at 12:20. The Museum is credited at the very end.

By Tony Hillman
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.

Thomas Woolley had some kind words and a lovely photo memory or two regarding his recent trip to the Railway: "My particular thanks to the footplate crew of 'Camelot' on 25 July, who were very friendly and easy to talk to, and who then completely out the blue arranged for me to havea 22-mile footplate ride on the engine, without a doubt the highlight of my holiday and a great experience."
Brian Lacey's photo from 13 July, 2019, shows No. 847 arriving at Horsted Keynes, running in place of the expected "Camelot".
Tony Hillman observes that ever since the Friends of Sheffield Park teampainted the white line on Platform 2, it has created interesting reflections on coaches resting next to Platform 1.
John Sandys caught No. 847 out for testing on 1 Aug., 2019. 

John Sandys ( 25 July, 2019): "On a very hot day with the Q class and 'Camelot' doing a grand job with very hot crews!"
John Sandys (18 July, 2019): A set that includes, along with this lovely portrait, the Q class in charge of the service train and lots of shunting going onin preparation for school holiday season.
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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