5 July 2020

Welcome to the latest update from the Bluebell Railway.

This issue has the details of the provisional resumption of services to coincide with the Railway's 60th birthday and updates on the Virtual Track Trek and Emergency Appeal.

We also mark the death of Dame Vera Lynn who was a staunch supporter of the Bluebell Railway over many years.

And this newsletter is also a moment of note in another way. John and MartinWalls, who have produced the newsletter for the last eight years and overseen its growth, have decided to step back from their roles.

All the Railway's members, friends and supporters are immensely grateful foreverything John and Martin have done in producing the newsletter - see below for their formal farewells. The regular newsletter is continuing and we have exciting plans for future communications. So watch this space.

Enjoy this issue and we look forward to seeing you back at the Bluebell Railway when it reopens.

Paul Bromley, communications director
Full Steam Ahead for Reopening
Preparations are under way for the provisional reopening of the Railway on Friday 7 August.

Staff and volunteers will begin to return in mid-July on a phased basis to carry out all the necessary workto be ready for the resumption of services.

There will be some changes as socialdistancing measures and enhanced cleaning regimes are put in place to ensure the Railway is a safe place for everyone.

Plc chairman Chris Hunford says: "Asyou will all appreciate, there is a huge amount of work to complete to prepare the Railway for reopening.

"Tasks such as 'Fitness to Run' exams across our locomotive and rolling stock fleets, linewide structures and track inspections, testing of our signalling & telecommunications systems, re-stocking our catering outlets and reopening our Sales & Marketing office."

You can read Chris's full statement on our website along with answers to Frequently Answered Questions about the reopening.

Photo: Martin Lawrence
Virtual Track Trek Success
I ntrepid walkers and runners braved all kinds of weather to raise nearly £6,000 in the first Virtual Track Trek.
Participantstravelled 4.5 miles on a sponsored walk on Saturday 27 June to replicate the distance between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes stations as a replacement for the traditional trek along the track.

Thetrek is still open. Anyone can carry out their own walk of 4.5 miles toraise money or people can donate to those who have already taken part.

Details of the Virtual Track Trek and sponsorship links are on the Railway's website.

Photo: Flying Movies Limited
Flying Movies Limited took dronefootage of some of the walkers on the Virtual Track Trek.

Most of the footage is of the senior representatives from the three entities which comprise the Railway. They were BRPS acting chairman Steve Bigg, Trust chairman Vernon Blackburn and Plc commercial & marketing director Paul Lelew.They walked on a circuit from Horsted Keynes station to Leamland Bridgeand then alongside the track.

The video also includes the Mayor of East Grinstead Councillor Danny Favor who completed his trek along with his wife Maribel around the council's offices.

The money from the Virtual Track Trek has been added to the Emergency Appeal to help with the costs of reopening.

The appeal has raised more than £352,000 so far which is a great achievement.

The appeal is continuing because there is still uncertainty about what will happen with coronavirus. We are hoping to raise enough money not only to reopen but also to keep going through the winter and into next year when everyone hopes the situation will have greatly improved. Please continue to contribute to the appeal and encourage others to do so.
Dame Vera Lynn Remembered
The Bluebell Railway was sad to learn of the death of "Forces' Sweetheart" Dame Vera Lynn at the age of 103.

She was a friend of the Railway's late president Bernard Holden and their friendship went back to World War II. They were also both residents of Ditchling.

Dame Vera was a frequent visitor to the Railway.

There is a full appreciation of DameVera by Bluebell Railway Preservation Society acting vice-chairman Roy Watts in the current issue of The Bluebell Times . He presented her with a card from the Railway on her 100th birthday (pictured).

Photo: Roy Watts
Just the Ticket
Limited edition 60th anniversary souvenir Edmondson tickets are now on sale from the online shop.

The tickets have been produced by the Railway's museum team and were originally intended to be sold from the museum's platform ticket machine.

The closure has meant the sales planhas been revised and the 2,000 tickets are now available online.

They cost £5 and come in a presentation folder with a letter of authenticity from the museum's curator Tony Drake.
Summertime Blue(New)s
The Summer edition of Bluebell News is out.

The members' magazine has been produced in digital format only. There won't be any printed copies sent out.

The 28-page digital edition of Bluebell News can be downloaded from the Railway's website.

Depending on circumstances, it is hoped to resume printed issues from the Autumn edition.
Old Movies Wanted
A reminder that we are seeking videoclips from visitors and enthusiasts to form part of our virtual celebrations over the weekend of 7-9 August.

The footage can cover any time from 1960 to the present day. We are particularly interested in any early video.

Full details and the terms and conditions are on the Railway's website.

Photo: Opening Day 1960 from Bluebell Railway museum archive
New Movies Wanted
There's still time to submit a video of your model railway layout for the Virtual Gala.

Details of the gala and the request for video clips from BRPS members were in newsletter 196

Volunteer Lance Allen, who is compiling the Virtual Gala, reports that he has received some great video clips from members of Bluebell engines on model railway layouts but there is room for more.

Note: WeTransfer has a 2GB limit on its free service and not 2MB as previously stated.

Photo: Stepney emerges from the engine shed - Paul Bromley
Membership Details
If you haven't already done so, can all members please make sure they have provided us with their current contact details so that we can keep you informed about what is happeningat the Railway.

Please send your full name, BRPS membership number, postal address and email address to

Thank you to everyone who has already supplied their details.
And finally...
By John Walls, newsletter editor

It's been a hugely positive and enjoyable eight years for myself and my brother Martin.

The dream that my brother, my father(ex-C&W) and I used to talk about — extending to East Grinstead andconstructing a carriage shed — has been realised and I was lucky to be involved in a small way in the extension.

Corresponding with members has been aparticular highlight, both illuminating and rewarding. The depth of interest, knowledge and energy out there is terrific. Many times, our stories have led to an extension or correction of the 'conventional knowledge' in one way or another. We have been magnificently served for photos and video. I am sorry only a fraction could only ever make it into the main text.

Highlights? Fundraising for the extension on a match funding drive. We hadn't heard the total of chequesfrom the office until well past deadline. Why not? There were so many they were still counting them. On a lighthearted note, I will never forget the following exchange during a Santa Special I reported at the time:

Me (entering a carriage with a platefull of mince pies): "Right, who's been good? And I mean the parents. Obviously all children are being good this close to Christmas".

Little girl, with a serious face: "My mummy's been average".

Floreat vapor, and see you on the Railway.
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 .

Paul Bromley
Communications Director
Bluebell Railway

© Bluebell Railway Preservation Society 2020