16 August 2020
We're back!

The Bluebell Railway resumed running steam trains through the Sussex countryside on Friday 7 August.

It was a double celebration: the Grand Reopening after closure for 20 weeks and the Railway's 60th birthday.

As our main picture shows, limited numbers were allowed on the platforms at Sheffield Park to witness the ceremony — but we hope that webcams with live streaming of the departure of the Members' Special allowed many more people to be there in spirit, if not in person.

And what was more, the sun was shining down on us as the wheels turned once again.

All the crews, staff, members and visitors were fired up for the reopening.

Long may that continue!

(Main photo: Stef van Vuuren)

  • Paul Bromley, Communications Director, Bluebell Railway
Special Guest Sees Off First Train
The 09:00 Members' Special — the SECR O1 No. 65 with a set of Metropolitan carriages — was seen off by a very special guest.

Six-year-old Alex Venton, a Stepney Club member, donated all his pocket money to the Emergency Appeal.

He and his family were invited to the reopening. Alex blew the whistle and waved the green flag to signal the train's departure.

They were then given a tour of the locomotive workshops and SteamWorks! before travelling on the 11:00 The Pioneer service.

Photo: Chris Chambers
Banner Breakthrough
The first train broke through a "Steaming Through 60" banner held by BRPS acting vice-chairman Roy Watts (on Platform 1) and Bluebell Railway Trust funding governor Trevor Swainson (on Platform 2).

All three Railway entities were represented with plc chairman Chris Hunford making a short speech ahead of the train's departure.

Full reports of the reopening are in the current issue of The Bluebell Times .

Photo: Kevin Clark
Railway Cuttings
Thisphoto from Peter Edwards shows No. 80151 at West Hoathly with the CreamTea Riviera train returning from Kingscote at 4.20pm on Saturday 8 August.
David Cable's photo shows No. 65 with The Pioneer headboard and was taken on Saturday 8 August.
NigelMenzies took this picture of the Breakfast Belle at West Hoathly while working as part of the Wednesday Lineside Gang on Wednesday 12 August.
Ministerial Greetings
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps was one of many people to send 60th birthday greetings to the Bluebell Railway.

The minister said in his e-greetings card: " Congratulations Bluebell Railway on your 60 th anniversary and birthday — a tremendous achievement.”
Hesaid the Railway had “fantastic locomotives, the biggest collection outside the National Railway Museum. So, many happy returns — and here’sto 60 more.”
September Tickets On Sale
We have just released tickets for September.

We will be running a range of services and dining trains, includingthe Wealden Rambler afternoon tea, The Rocket lunch train, Cream Tea Riviera and The Blue Belle evening dining train.

More carriages will also be added to The Pioneer service - so we have reduced our September prices to £75 for a third class compartment and £115 for a first class compartment.

Photo: Martin Lawrence
Read All About It
The Bluebell Times has been published fortnightly by a small group of volunteers during the Railway's closure as a way of keeping people in touch while no trains were running.

It was intended as a lockdown publication to raise morale among members, volunteers, supporters, friends and the wider community.

Now that the Railway has reopened, consideration has been given as to whether to continue with The Bluebell Times ...

... and it's been decided the publication will continue, albeit now on a monthly schedule rather than every two weeks.

It will still be free and available to everyone to download from the Railway's website. The next issue is out on Friday 11 September. All previous issues are also still available.
Retail Manager Vacancy
The Bluebell Railway has the following full-time vacancy in our Gift Shop: Retail Manager

Our gift shop at Sheffield Park Station welcomes visitors throughout the year, stocking everything from books and DVDs, to railway models and special souvenirs, as well as an online shop.

You would be responsible for developing and improving the shop commercially and increase revenue by initiative ideas to encourage further sales.

You will be assisted by a team of volunteers and training and developing these volunteers will be vital.
Applicants should be highly motivated, enthusiastic and a strong team player
and commercially focused. 
The role will require flexible mid-week and weekend working, 40 hours per week.

Contact Lisa Boyle for further information on 01825 724884 or email

Closing date: 31 August.
Emergency Appeal
The recovery appeal is continuing to raise money because of the uncertain future.

Thanks to the generosity of members, friends, supporters and the public, the plea for financial help has raised nearly £400,000 so far — that's been enough to allow the Railway to reopen but we are relying on visitors returning to provide sufficient money to see us through the autumn and winter.
And Finally
Ball Bear-ings
Among the many donations to the Emergency Appeal was one from member Gerry Ball.

While recording the donation in the Bluebell Railway Trust office, volunteer Keith Riggs noticed there was another Ball at the same address— someone by the unusual first name of Scooter Ball.

So Keith tried to find out more.

Gerry explained: "Oneof my hobbies is to collect teddy bears and the like. So rather than join myself as the member, I joined one of my bears, namely Scooter. So he is the member but I am the human who pays his subs and sends the donations, on his behalf of course. 
"I have a few other bears who are members of other heritage railways."
Gerry sent us this picture showing (left to right): Chuffer(Embsay), Scooter (Bluebell), Summer (East Lancs), Dunstan (Aln Valley), Dale (Wensleydale) and Higson (North Yorks Moors).

Keith commented: " Thankyou so much for clearing that up and for giving me such a laugh. I havecome across some unusual events/happenings but this one takes top prize. Well done for your ingenuity and inventiveness!"
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