FOSP Update: Catching Up

Since the last time of writing, a few more Friends of Sheffield Park (FOSP) working days have elapsed, and we have been moving forward on a number of fronts. We are making progress in catching up on quite a bit of routine maintenance that has suffered from inattention whilst we weredoing the Above Works Facility. So if you have been at Sheffield Park station recently, you will have noticed quite a lot of fresh paint, especially in the "front of house" areas. 

Unfortunately, the officially-sanctioned LBSCR maroon paint fades very badly anywhere the sun catches it, turning a rather less attractive dullbrown, so a focus on the worst affected areas has been made. Our regular station painter Mick turns out regularly to attend to this, whenever a bit of decent weather presents.

In similar vein, "Dennis the Bench" is valiantly keeping on top of the creeping decrepitation that affects the stock of platform benches, although we have reached the point where one bench is beyond further patching-up repair and we must look at procuring new hardwood slats: nine per bench, and every one with a different profile, an efficient design for manufacture and optimal cost wasn't a thing back in the Victorian era!

On the heavier engineering front, those who like a bigger challenge haveundertaken a significant repair of the concrete hut behind the station house. This edifice was in serious danger of becoming unsafe as the one of the corner posts was beginning to crumble. Anyway, an ad hoc solutionwas evolved, which has resulted in the damaged corner being rebuilt in rendered blockwork and brick, the door has been relocated to the front of the building, giving easier access, and once a new torch-on felt roofhas been added, we shall once again have a useful (safe and dry) flammable store for our paint stocks. 

Meanwhile, we were commissioned by the Loco Department to design and build a new storage facility for lighting-up wood. Since the demise of the original store (whose location had been subsumed into the new maintenance shed), lighting-up wood has had to be stacked in the end of the old storage shed where it is universally recognised as being both untidy and very much "in the way". It is a perfect challenge for the FOSP heavy-gang, who designed and have now built a very substantial timber shelter. The roof sheets should be added in the next week, after which there will no doubt be some form of inauguration ceremony, possibly accompanied by an unofficial naming! One thing is for certain, it has been designed for a long life.

As we see the end of the running season, we are embarking on some tasksthat cannot be easily accomplished when the public are in attendance, such as decorating the Waiting Room and Booking Hall areas, both of which get very dirty with the combined effects of steam locomotion and the method of domestic heating: coal fires. Both of these rooms have very high ceilings, and they require use of our scaffold tower to gain safe access. We shall also be investigating some unexpected rot in the base of one of the Platform 1 canopy support columns that was uncovered some weeks ago, resulting in the appearance of a couple of Acrow props, which need to be gone before Santa makes an appearance.

By Charles Melton

The accompanying photo shows preparation work in the Sheffield Park Waiting Room.
Breaking News from the Atlantic Project!
The accompanying photo shows Tony Funnell filling the Brighton Atlantic boiler with a kettle. Why? Well, the boiler has passed its hydraulic test!

From the project webpage, by Fred Bailey:

"A major milestone has been reached with our Atlantic project, and I must admit we are all relieved and excited by the prospect of our targetof finishing the engine, being now one major step forward. Sorry to sayit will not be running soon, but our unofficial target of Summer 2021 is possibly fairly realistic given no major unforseen circumstances getting in our way ...

After a lot of work over the past few years, on 29 Oct., 2019, the boiler was given its hydraulic test, witnessed by the Boiler Inspector. We have spent quite some time working towards this day and fortunately the day was dry (so that any leakage may be seen) and not too cold. The test pressure was raised by use of the main works' pneumatic water accumulator pump and once at the test pressure the pump was stopped.

In an hour or so the small insignificant weeps here and there (that willalmost certainly take up when hot and the metal has expanded) made virtually no discernible indicated difference in pressure on the test gauge ..."

A Giant of an Event

As you can imagine, photographers and videographers were out in force“despite sometimes inclement weather“during "Giants of Steam." Below are some highlights in sound and vision ...
Julian Clark: "Well it may have been wet, but it's great for exhausts!" (11 October). A full report and photos from Day One can be read here
Julian Clark: "Mayflower" with a down train at Horsted Keynes (11 October).
No. 73087 "Linette" at Sheffield Park, taken by Andy Kelly who was part of the rostered overnight loco crew on 12 October. The loco is in fact "Camelot" re-numbered as a sister King Arthur Standard Class 5.
On October 12, the Maunsell Q class double-headed with No. 73087 "Linette" (aka No. 73082 "Camelot"). Photo by Dave Long.
"Mayflower" on 13 October, by Mike Anton.
Class 7 No. 70000 "Britannia" on the final day "Giants" event. Photo by Brian Dandridge
By "Bluebell-Railway Hawks" (11 Oct., 2019).
"TheModster": "For this year's Gala I managed to attend all three days to get a good compilation of footage from the weekend."
"The Southerner's" video from Sunday includes the 12-coach train blasting out of the tunnel behind "Britannia".
Video by Ashley Smith, taken on a rainy Friday (11 October).
"Giants of Steam" 11-13 October, by "SatNavDan"

"Joe Light Railway's" Gala video from 12 October.

Here are some exciting winter events for your calendar ...

  • 30 Nov. - 24 Dec.: Santa Specials
  • 30 Nov. - 23 Dec.: Golden Arrow Christmas Dinners
  • 2 - 11 Dec.: Festive Feasts
  • 31 Dec.: New Year on the Golden Arrow


Due to popular demand, 64 more third class seats have been added to Santa Specials departing from East Grinstead! 

Meet Santa on these magical trains this Christmas season and be transported to a Victorian playground at Horsted Keynes. Santa has presents for all the children, and a mince pie for the grown-ups“if they have been good enough!

S&T Update: Moving Signals

Recently Signals & Telecommunications commissioned a replacement signal at Horsted Keynes just north of Leamland Junction (signal HK28), and a number of questions have been raised for the reason why this took place. 

The track in the vicinity will be re-laid shortly, and to improve alignment and foundation it will ideally be slewed towards the signal. To maintain and improve the structure clearance“and we are sadly all aware of the importance of this“we were requested to move the original signal post further away from the track. 

By far the easiest approach to achieve this move was to build a completely new structure and plant it in the revised position. This planhad a number of advantages: the time scales were only limited by the end date, driven by the start of the track re-laying, it de-risked the chance of damage when craning the structure, and it allowed pre-testing and ensured that the signal in the new position worked as expected, allowing the change over to take place without service disruption. 

With the generous timescales available, we took the opportunity to give the project to a group of new(ish) staff as a training exercise. There were a number of fundamentals skills required to complete the scheme, making it ideal for coaching the wide number of S&T competences. Thejob was treated as a new installation, therefore requiring an amount ofnormally unnecessary paperwork, but this demonstrated to the staff procedures often required with safety related work. 

The preparation was sufficiently well done that the change-over was completed between trains without any hand signalling required. 

Incidentally, this is the longest wire-operated signal on the Railway atjust over half a mile, and it can be pulled comfortably with one hand (this being our yardstick to ensure the signalman is not likely to injure himself; he will, of course, normally use both hands).

By Brian Hymas, Signals & Telecommunications

The accompanying photo shows myself atarms length with Alan Rogers, Doug Steptoe, and Ray Burnham after successfully testing HK28.
OP4 Progress Report: Glad to Be Clad

During the past few weeks the external cladding around the Heritage Skills Centre (HSC) has moved on rapidly. The first skin of grey insulated cladding is now complete around the three external walls of the HSC, and during the past week, the materials have arrived for the second skin. 

  • Photo #1 shows the first few panels in place.

  • Photo #2: Inside the HSC, the joists for the first floor are being fitted.

  • Our Infrastructure brickies have been working hard to complete the dwarf wall around the perimeter of the shed. Photo #3 shows the north end of the maintenance road awaiting the final panel (leaving an openingfor a double door).

  • Photo #4: Meanwhile, out in the yard, our friends from sister railway Stoomtram Hoorn-Medemblik are laying the track which will connect to H road in the shed.

By Barry Luck, OP4 Project Manager (Infrastructure)
Photo #1
Photo #3
Photo #2
Photo #4
In time for Christmas, Richard Green's latest "Locos in Profile" limited edition print covers No. 928 "Stowe" (a run of 250).

A donation of £5 from each print sold is being given to the Maunsell Locomotive Society.
Join us for a Christmas Lunch at Sheffield Park Station over the festive season.

At the Carvery, choose from roast turkey, roast loin of pork, or winter vegetable gratinee, alongside seasonal vegetables. Then feast on Christmas pudding before finishing off with a mince pie and coffee. Delicious!

Pre-booking is essential. Reserve your place here .
Help Awaken Our Giant

Class 9F No. 92240 is one of the most powerful steam locomotives built in Britain. Completed at Crewe Works in 1958, it was withdrawn in September 1965 and sold to Barry Scrapyard. After 13 years, it was bought by a group of members from the Bluebell Railway's Locomotive Department, headed by the late George Nickson, Pete Reid, and Peter Cox.

The restoration of No. 92240 took 13 years. It re-entered traffic in 1990 but ran for only a few years before several boiler stays were foundto need replacement. At this point, the boiler was re-certified for a further 10 years. It was withdrawn from service again in 2002, due to the poor condition of the tubes. In September 2009, it was put on staticdisplay alongside Platform 1 at Horsted Keynes.

With the 9F out of action for almost 18 years, a new approach is needed to get this giant running, so volunteer Andy Taylor is spearheading a sustainable funding initiative.

  • Sustainable funding is when you can predict income rather than relying on one-off donations.
  • Regular donations of £15 a month (£18.75 with Gift Aid) or more will help restore No. 92240.
  • Once No. 92240 has been restored, the fund will support the next overhaul.
  • An end goal is to have the restoration of many locos funded this way.


If you can help, please email Trevor Swainson or Andy Taylor . The Bluebell Railway Trust is registered charity No. 292497. You can also donate online via Virgin Money Giving . All information will be maintained in a confidential database and will be used only in connection with this Appeal. Read further details about the Trust’s Privacy Policy here

Thank you for helping to restore an icon!
Show Me the Monel! No. 34059 "Sir Archibald Sinclair" Update

Work on the firebox is progressing steadily, with the staying of the driver's side of the new firebox almost complete and excellent progress on the fireman's side and backhead. 

Steel stays have been used for much of the work, but with greater flexibility, monel metal stays will be used in areas where stress is found, such as corners, the combustion chamber, and the throat plate. The total number of stays needed is approximately 2,200, of which monel stays may account for 1,000. 

A standard 7/8 inch diameter, 6-inch length steel stay costs about £11, but monel metal stays are considerably more expensive at £45, and when the need arises, they are more difficult to remove. Monel is an alloy of between 52% and 65% nickel together with copper and smaller amounts of manganese, iron, carbon, and silicon. It is corrosive resistant and flexible but difficult to machine. Besides its use in railway fireboxes, it has wide use in aeronautical, marine, and petroleum industries where its corrosion resistance is important. 

Elsewhere, work on the chassis is continuing with the connecting and coupling rods having been removed from the outside motion, and work is underway to remove the motion to the inside cylinder. The cylinder cladding has been removed, cleaned, and painted, together with some of the brake rodding. Sections of the running plate also have been removed to give greater access to the chassis and the four Wakefield lubricatorssupplying oil to the cylinders and the slide bars. 

Coupled axleboxes and the inside valve spindle crosshead guides have been removed and the old oil drained. Copper pipework has been disconnected, then cleaned and carefully labelled. It will be checked and then annealed before it is reused. 

Over the next few weeks, the remaining items on the chassis will be dismantled so that it can be lifted off the wheels. This will allow inspection of the axle boxes, the crank axle, the front bogie, and trailing truck, as well as a thorough cleaning of the chassis before repainting.

On the firebox, work will include the insertion of monel stays and the eventual knocking over of the stays to give a watertight seal between the stay the inner and outer boiler plates. 

By John Fry 
No. 34059's chassis with the coupling and connecting rods removed.
The inner firebox with stays in situ and thermic syphon visible.
The inner firebox showing the side of one of two thermic syphons.
On the Buses

Enjoy a look back at the Railway's annual Vintage Bus Running day on 6 Oct., 2019.
Martin Lawrence's photo shows Brighton & Hove Bristol K5G CAP229. Built in 1940 for Brighton, Hove, & District Omnibus Company, it was rebuilt in 1945 after a fire.
Harry Brampton's photo (#2) shows preserved ex-Stagecoach Alexander RL-bodied Volvo Olympian N389 LPN from 1996, at Uckfield Bus station.
David Long's photo shows ex-Maidstone & District DL39, a 1956 low-height Park Royal-bodied AEC Regent V.
" Giants Refreshed: Pacifics in the Doncaster Locomotive Works " by Terence Tenison Cuneo, from the Doncaster Museum and Art Gallery. 
"She may not remain 'Invincible' for much longer, the 50-year-old locomotive that's been pulling coal through the streets of Farnborough since the First World War."
Castle class No. 5011 " Tintagel Castle " c.1950s. "The up 'Torbay Express' from Kingsweare to Paddington is seen here leaving Greenway Tunnel."
The 11 December Murder Mystery Evening is sold out, so a new date󈬂 December“has been added. Learn more here .
Alex Morley's photo album shows the current state of restoration of the Maunsell Hastings Brake Third No. 3687. Built in 1931for the Hastings Line, the carriage was re-sheeted about 20 years ago in an earlier phase of restoration.
Santa Still Needs You!

Thank you to everyone who has volunteered their services to help out on the Santa Specials this year. The response has been brilliant, but we still need dates filled. I know that many of you are thinking about it but are wary of not volunteering as you have never done it before, but let me reassure that it is not an onerous task and great fun as well. All you have to do is keep the customer happy!

The dates are:

From Sheffield Park, Departing 11:40 & 14:25 (SET Z)

  • Saturday 30 November
  • Sunday 2 December
  • Saturday 7 December
  • Sunday 8 December
  • Sunday 15 December
  • Sunday 22 December
  • Monday 23 December
  • Tuesday 24 December

From Sheffield Park, Departing 10:35 & 13:45 (SET X)

  • Monday 23 December
  • Tuesday 24 December

From East Grinstead, Departing 11:25 & 14:35 (SET Y) (Parking will be provided if required)

  • Saturday 30 November
  • Sunday 1 December
  • Saturday 8 December
  • Saturday 14 December
  • Sunday 15 December
  • Sunday 22 December
  • Tuesday 24 December

So forget about the shopping and all the Christmas paraphernalia and please join us in putting smiles on all the children’s faces and reliving the Magic of Christmas all over again!

If you or anyone you know would like to help, please contact me on , and we will be delighted to have you on board. You may even get a mince pie!

Those who have volunteered but have yet to give me dates, please do thisasap so I can finalise the stewards and everyone will know where they are.

Thank you,

By Keith Riggs, On-Board Train Volunteers Organiser & Roster Clerk
Volunteer & Other Opportunities Posted

Finance Director
As a PLC Board member, the Finance Director has the professional responsibility to manage the company’s trading, to oversee the work of the Finance Manager, and to assist the other departments where financialadvice is required. This involves the management of the budgets together with provision of the year-end financial statements, to liaise with the auditors and to produce the annual cashflow budget for Board approval ... learn more .

Commercial Director
As a PLC Board Member, the Commercial Director is responsible for the commercial and marketing policies of the Bluebell Railway and for the achievement of the company’s commercial objectives. The Commercial Director delegates day-to-day management of the department to the Marketing Manager ... learn more .

Check this webpage for all full-time job and volunteer opportunities.
Christmas Joy at the Bluebell Railway

A host of magical, festive events are planned for the Bluebell Railway during the festive season. Learn more and book tickets at for:

  • Santa Specials
  • The Carvery at the Bessemer Arms
  • Christmas Dinner on the Golden Arrow
  • Festive Feast
  • New Year on the Golden Arrow
  • Annual Carol Concert
  • The Gift Shop
This Chris Eden-Green "Steam Locos in Profile" takes a look at Southern S15s.
"The Complete History of Stepney the Bluebell Engine" by "Terrier55Stepney". 
The Railway on 23 Oct., 2019, by "steamiewithglass".
Big News for the Little Loco

Project 27“aka the "Little Loco Group"“is raising funds for, and overhauling, SECR P class No. 27. Recent news from the group is that newcylinders have been cast and machined.

CLS Holds Its AGM with "Linette"

The Camelot Locomotive Society (CLS) had its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 20 Oct., 2019, utilising the Great Northern saloon, as usual. Having run "Camelot" as No. 73087 "Linette" for Giants of Steam (in return for a donation from a Railway volunteer), we decided to keep the gear on for our members attending the AGM.

Fortunately, the weather was much improved over the previous weekend, which enabled me to obtain some good photos. The loco is seen at Hosted Keynes with the 10:55 service to Sheffield Park. Also photographed was the CCT van "airborne" on the jacks at Hosted Keynes, which is part of the mechanical overhaul that should see the conclusion of this restoration project in due course.

By Julian Heinemann
John Sandys (17 Oct., 2019): "My first visit since undergoing my surgery, with the S15 in charge of the service train. A mixed day weather-wise meant it was quite a challenge photographically!"
Brian Lacey (26 Oct., 2019): No. 73082 "Camelot" with the GN Saloon heading the service train, being passed by the Maunsell Q class with the Wealden Rambler. 
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 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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