Sixtieth Anniversary Update: Countdown Commences

The countdown has started! As I write this update, there are 180 days to go until our Steaming Through 60 Weekend. How do I know this? Well, we’ve introduced a countdown clock on the event web page to add to the excitement. The clock also serves to remind us that time is ticking awayand what we all need to do in order to make the event a success.

The Steering Group has been busy during this time when no services have been running. All departments across theRailway have been putting plans in place to promote the people and projects in their part of the organisation.

In the last few days, we’ve held meetingswith the teams at East Grinstead and Kingscote stations, to hear about their ideas, to harness their enthusiasm, and to turn their proposals into firm plans. We’ve been really encouraged by the sense of community at the stations and the willingness of everyone to get involved and playtheir part.

Community is an important aspect of Steaming Through 60 because we are also taking our message out into the wider business community, involving people and organisations that neighbour the line. We’re not just 11 miles of track, we’re part of the Sussex landscape, and we want to get that message across loud and clear.I can promise you there will be lots of exciting events and displays atall our stations.

We also have started compiling a list of the jobs that need to be done in the run-up to the weekend, as well as during and after the event. There are many different ways in which you can be involved in this fantastic anniversary.

Thank you to all who have already responded to the appeal for volunteers. We will be in contact soon abouthow best to use your skills and, rest assured, we will find a role for you.

Remember, there will be plenty of opportunities to help out in your regular Railway department or location, or why not use it as an opportunity to broaden your experienceby volunteering in a different area or finding out more about what people do at other places?

Perhaps you know someone who is interested in the Railway or has been as a visitor but would now like tojoin us and help out? What a great way to start volunteering by being part of the 60th anniversary event!

Anyone interested in helping out should contact Don Brewer either by email or phone at 01825 724893 with details ofyour availability and what role you would like. I’ll be writing regularupdates throughout the year with more information and details about Steaming Through 60. For now, thanks to all those already involved in planning the weekend.

A lot of people have already put in a lotof effort“the more, the merrier, so please keep your contributions coming. And keep an eye on the countdown clock!

By Robert Hayward, Chairman, Diamond Anniversary Steering Group
PLC Board Meeting: Projects, Plans, People, & More

24 Jan 2020


Arrangements are progressing for the SteamLights event that will run in December, including between Christmas and New Year. This new event for the Railway will require a lot of volunteer commitment to make it a success.

The Board agreed to buy two Mark 3 sleeping vehicles from Porterbrook Train Leasing to use as volunteer overnight accommodation. The carriageswill be fitted with heating/cooling systems and water. When the work iscompleted, one vehicle will be at Sheffield Park and one will be at Horsted Keynes. New arrangements will be put in place for booking and managing the overnight accommodation.

Remedial work will take place in February and March to repair three landslips between Horsted Keynes and Kingscote which resulted from the bad weather at the end of last year.

Pullman Car 76 “Lilian” is to be sold because it is not financially viable to carry out the necessary body and roof repairs due to the monocoque type construction.


The board agreed to help out the Mid Hants Railway by loaning four Bulleid carriages for their “Flying Scotsman” event in February/March.

BRPS Chairman and PLC non-Executive Director Graham Aitken will be the sponsoring director responsible for the Track Trek, along with BRPS trustee James Young. The sponsored trek is on 11 July.


Neil Glaskin is to stand down as Retail Director. Neil has agreed to stay on until the end of April and the Board thanked him for his 14 years’ service as an officer of the Railway including nine years as Director.
Applications have been received for the post of Commercial Director and interviews are being arranged.
David Burch has started work as Finance Director and presented his first reports to the board.

The Board approved the appointments of Russell Pearce as Locomotive Inspector and David Middleton as Signalman’s Inspector.

Public Wifi Approved

The Board approved the introduction of a public WiFi system at SheffieldPark to encourage visitors to post pictures and positive reviews of their day out on social media. Internet connectivity needs to be upgraded at Horsted Keynes before public WiFi can be introduced there.

By Paul Bromley, Communications Director
What's On?

2020 is the 60th year of steam operation on the preserved Bluebell Line.

The Railway was the very firststandard gauge heritage line to operate steam-hauled services, and we are celebrating with a very full programme of special events throughout the year.

Upcoming Spring Events

High Praise

Excellent coverage for the Railway in Country Living : "The scenic Bluebell Railway,which runs between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead in lovely Sussex, is arguably England’s best steam railway experience."

Kingfisher Visitor Guides also notes“in “the best thingsto do in Brighton and Hove”“that the Railway chugs “through picturesquewoodland and countryside”. The guide also points to the “fantastic collection of locomotives and carriages to explore."

Surrey Live has compiled a round-up of disused railway stations in West Sussex, including Ardingly, West Hoathly, and East Grinstead (High Level) with several references to the Bluebell Railway.
Infrastructure Update: Approaching Horsted

When planning a track re-lay, it is very important to factor in time forunexpected snags. With the lack of a full history of what was done and when, you can never be 100% certain of what you might find. If everything goes well, you finish early.

The January re-lay in the Three Arch Bridge cutting was originally planned to be 26 60-foot track panels. Bluebell Railway track re-lays tend to be in multiples of 13 panels because that is one truck load of rail. 

Three Arch went very well, which was why the re-lay was extended to 29 panels and was comfortably completed within the timescale. We could not do much more because at that time we did not have sufficient sleepers and ballast. This left us with 10 panels of rail from the final truckload.

The decision was taken to extend the November re-lay north of Horsted Keynes at Fire Slip further northwards by these 10 panels. This spot waschosen for two reasons. Firstly, Horsted House Farm foot crossing needed replacing and secondly, the Temporary Speed Restriction (TSR) could be further shortened. 

Work started on this on 5 Feb. The 10 panels were rapidly stripped out. But as the formation was prepared for re-laying, it was realised that the trackbed was wetter than expected near the foot crossing. 

A usual rule of thumb is that track on an embankment is self-draining and when in a cutting, it requires drainage. This part of the trackbed was above the surrounding land and should not have been wet, so the decision was taken that this section would require a Terram/polythene/Terram underlay so that we should not need to revisit the site.

One possible cause of the wet conditions was a collapsed drain under thetrack. This would have been put in when the line was built and has to be replaced.

Where we re-lay on the straight, we pre-drill the rails for fishplates to save time. As this re-lay is on a curve, we pre-drilled the outer rails but could only pre-drill one end of each of the inner rails as these will need to be shorter and will require cutting, but this was expected.

One feature to look out for when the foot crossing has been completed will be the recovered and donated South Eastern Railway "kissing gate," which is in a very similar style to the LB&SCR equivalent.

At the time of writing, track panels are starting to go down and the underlay is being positioned.

By Bruce Healey
Looking south: The trackbed has been cleared before the Terram and polythene underlay is laid. The foot crossing can be seen in the middle distance. The wetness of the formation does not show up in this image.
Looking north: The first section of Terram/polythene/Terram sandwich is in place and used ballast is being spread as a base for the new ballast and sleepers.
Branch Line Weekend 2020: Ivatt Ho!

Ivatt Class 2 Tank Locomotive No. 41312 will be joining Taff Vale Tank No. 85, along with the Railway's own locos, at this year's Branch Line Weekend, 3-5 April.

No. 41312 is visiting from the Mid Hants Railway. Built in May 1952 at Crewe, she was first based at Faversham, then Ashford, before moving to Barnstaple Junction where she worked over the Torrington branch. 

In March 1963 she was reallocated to Brighton then to Bournemouth were she worked over the Swanage and Lymington branches. She performed the last steam service on the Lymington branch in April 1967 and spent the last three months of her career at Nine Elms as a shunter. She was finally withdrawn in July 1967.

Remember, a special timetable will be operating on each of the three days, so why not spend a long weekend sampling the variety of what the Bluebell Railway can offer!

More details on the weekend“including timetables and carriage set formations for the weekend“ can be found here .
C Class Gets an A-Plus Paint Job, Joins Steamworks!

SECR C class 0-6-0 No. 592 has had a new lick of paint and been moved toa new home. A team from Heritage Painting carried out the work at the Carriage & Wagon Workshop in Horsted Keynes and released "before" and "after" pictures of their work in the paint shop.
Ian Hewitt from Heritage Painting says, “This is one of my favourite pre-grouping liveries as it just looks magnificent on these locos. The guys have done a great job, and it’s really such a difference from the engine that came in.”
The 1902 Wainwright loco has been on static display at Horsted Keynes since it last ran in service in Spring 2017.
The C class was taken to Sheffield Park and into SteamWorks! on 6 Feb. Special buffer stops have been installed. The locomotive will be used aspart of the footplate access experience for visitors later in the year.
The Heritage Painting team responsible for the work comprised Foreman Mike O’Connor, Teriann O’Connor, Tony Dunford, and Andrew Thomas. 
By Paul Bromley, Communications Director

Before and after photos courtesy of Heritage Painting.
History of Railway Safety Course Offered

Bluebell Railway Preservation Society Member and retired railway professional John Ray is offering a one-day course in March for Kent Adult Education on “Railway Accidents and Safety”.  

"I’ll be looking at railway accidents from the 1830s to the end of last century and will be introducing students to the principles of interlocking, block signalling, and automatic braking systems. I will show how these developments have led to huge advances in safety, to make a railway carriage one of the safest places you can be in," says John.

Jones the Steam

The passing of actor, writer, director, and Python Terry Jones recalls his 1996 adaptation of The Wind in the Willows .

Jones directed and starred in the film, playing Toad. Filming took place on the Bluebell Railway in October 1995.

Recalls Richard Salmon, "Many volunteers have fond memories of working alongside him (and other Pythons) as he stole the C class locomotive, and 'crashed' it."
OP4 Progress: HSC Windows Are In

With the fitting of the windows and doors to both floors of the HeritageSkills Centre (HSC), its external appearance has changed dramatically. The most significant element is that the building is now weather-proof, and we can progress with the interior fitting-out (photos 1 and 2).

The first floor rear wall was substantially complete before Christmas, with a single bay left open. This arrangement is so that we can use machinery to lift the heavy sheet materials up to first floor level: there is no other easy way of doing this, unless we carry 8 by 4 sheets up the stairs when fitted (any volunteers?).

With some additional assistance from the Trust, we have sufficient fundsfor the first floor materials, and the completion of the first floor rear wall. Once this work is complete, we will be able to lay the remaining track in the last two roads, H and J.

On the ground floor, we are assembling a small team of volunteers to commence fit-out of the trim shop and moquette store (photo 3). We are very grateful for the recent donation that is sufficient to purchase thenecessary materials.

The cladding contract is making steady progress, with the west side of the shed complete apart from a couple of minor snags, and work has started on the southern end of the shed (photo 4).
As ever, I am very grateful for the continuing donations that enable this project to progress.

By Barry Luck, OP4 Project Manager (Infrastructure)
Photo 1
Photo 3
Photo 2
Photo 4
Passport to Fun

A special 60th anniversary "passport" has been launched with 60 things for visitors to see and do at the Railway this year. The fun activities are aimed at children and families, but everyone visiting the Railway in2020 can take part.

The first 20 activities are in the Spring passport and include questionswith answers at the different stations and various locations along the line. They range from SteamWorks! and the Museum at Sheffield Park, to the subway and Elephant Play Van at Horsted Keynes, to the goods yard atKingscote.

There are special tasks for Branch Line Weekend (3-5 April); Easter trails (10-13 April); V for Victory (8 May); and BrickWorks! Adventure (23-31 May). The list of activities is aimed at encouraging visitors to return to the Railway several times throughout each season.

Any visitor who completes one of the activities will receive a sticker or stamp from staff or volunteers at that location. Those who complete 15 of the 20 tasks in any one season can claim a special badge.

Plus, there will be special lanyards to hold the passports. Other passports for summer and autumn will each contain a further 20 activities.
Museum Adds Wagon Plates

Continuing our winter update, the Museum has been able to add two very significant wagon plates to its display. 

Reconstructed Plate No. 8 from 1915.

After 1887 the Railway Clearing House issued its first set of specifications for the construction of private owner wagons. Then in about 1903, a further set of specifications were issued for those wagonsbuilt before 1887 with certain structural features no longer considereddesirable, so that they could be reconstructed or converted and registered. 

These features principally involved dumb buffers but other items as well. The LB&SCR fitted “Reconstructed" plates” to wagons so converted. (Thanks to Simon Turner for this information.)

LSWR Nine Elms Wagon Plate 118.

Nine Elms Wagon Works closed in 1891 and moved, along with the Carriage Works, to Eastleigh. This plate therefore predates this move. The plate was attached to a brake van which lasted in Southern Railway use until July 1941. The image of Plate 118 also shows the Eastleigh version on display in the Museum.

By Tony Hillman
" Train Crossing Monsal Dale Viaduct ". London, Midland and Scottish poster artwork, by Norman Wilkinson (National Railway Museum).
To commemorate the end of the regular steam service on the mainline, "Clun Castle" makes a sentimental journey from Paddington. 
Taken on 27 June 1957. The Liverpool Overhead Railway (aka the "Dockers' Umbrella") opened in 1893 as the the first electric elevated railway. It was nationalised in 1948 and closed in 1957.
Poster Children

Hornby has produced a poster incorporating the scenes filmed at Sheffield Park (see eNewsletter #191) to further promote its 100th anniversary. 

The poster includes the phrase “Have you seen the film everyone is talking about?” and displays positive comments drawn from online reviewsand social media posts.

A film crew from Hornby shot the scenes on Platform 1 at Sheffield Park in December 2019 and the video was released in early January as part of Hornby’s 100th anniversary celebrations.

Montana Hoeren, Hornby's brand and exhibition manager, says, “It was really great being able to film a scene for our centenary film at the Bluebell Railway. We have a longstanding relationship with the Railway and its shop where our products are sold, so it was a perfect fit."

She adds, “The staff were so helpful and accommodating in making sure that we had everything we needed. Thank you to everyone involved.”
Another Driver's Eye View. This time we go from Crewe to Liverpool Lime Street with Ben Elias.
Driver Experience Day with No. 178 on 1 Feb, by Brian Seaman.
Volunteering: Find Out More

Have you ever wondered how to become a volunteer, what it entails and whom to contact?

Find Out More Days are held on the second Sunday of every month from February until November (except the third Sunday in August).

Upcoming dates are 8 March and 12 April. Meet in the Bessemer Arms at 10:30 a.m., for a tour behind thescenes, finishing about 4 p.m.
eNewsletter Schedule

The upcoming publishing schedule for the eNewsletter is 1 March, 29 March, and 19 April.

Thank you for reading and for your continued support!
Filming News: From Cambridge to Horsted Keynes

As its title suggests, TV series Grantchester is mostly filmed in the namesake small village that lies on the River Cam in South Cambridgeshire.

But as The Sun notes , eagle-eyed viewers may also notice that Horsted Keynes station is used as a double for Grantchester station.
Murder Most Foul

The first of this year's Murder Mystery Trains has sold out. However, there are many more productions to come, of "Dead on Time" and a "Riverboat to Murder".

Enjoy "pre-murder" drinks before being invited to witness the events that lead up to and include the dastardly crime.

Then take your seat aboard the Golden Arrow, where detective packs, clues, and a three course meal await. Learn more here .
Project 27: Filling You In

The Project 27 blog features a photo essay of work carried out over the Christmas period and more recently, including this photo of Ben and Jim giving the wheelsa "good coat of filler".

If you can help fund the restoration of No. 27 "Primrose", please make a donation online at Project 27's Virgin Money Giving page .
John Sandys (8 Feb): "Including footage of the last weekend of footplate tasters before half-term."
John Sandys (6 Feb): "A lovely sunny day with no wind for the Thursday shunt."
Brian Lacey's photo , from New Year's Eve 2019, shows No. 80151 passing through the former West Hoathly Station site.
Thankyou for reading our eNewsletter. It's because of 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 2020

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