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19 July:
S15 at New Road Bridge - Peter Edwards - 14 July 2018
  • Peter Edwards' photo from last Saturday shows the SR Maunsell S15 at New Road Bridge, approaching Horsted Keynes.

  • As from this coming Saturday, daily through to 2 September, steam trains run to our Full (Service 2) Timetable.
    You can purchase tickets on arrival at our stations, or in advance at a discount.
    A whole-line return ticket allows unlimited travel for the day, and you can break your journey wherever you please.

  • Two carriages on each of the trains hauled by 60009 'Union of South Africa' during our October 12-14 'Giants of Steam' Autumn Gala will be reserved for pre-purchased ticket holders, at a charge of just £1 extra. This is to enable those who wish to guarantee travel behind this Gresley A4 pacific as it approaches the end of its time in operation, before retiring to a museum, to be assured of a seat. The other carriages on its trains will be unreserved as normal.

News Update OP4 News update from Barry Luck, project manager for the Horsted Keynes Carriage Shed extension project:

Point which will give access to OP4 installed - Barry Luck - 13 July 2018 Now that the earthworks to complete the embankment around the edge of the new shed are all but complete, we can turn our minds to the next task - relaying the down yard. The first photo shows one of the turnouts in its final position.

The next photo, below, shows another turnout laid out in the Ardingly triangle. This will be broken down into several component parts before being moved across the line to its final place. Relaying the downyard will cause a degree of disruption to the workings of the C&W maintenance routine, so will require careful planning between C&W and Infrastructure.

The last photo shows the Ardingly triangle being tidied and levelled after the removal of the spoil heap, which has been used to fill the embankment.


Point pre-assembled next to Ardingly Spur - Barry Luck - 13 July 2018 Lowered spoil in Ardingly triangle - Barry Luck - 13 July 2018

17 July:
Q-class with the Demonstration Goods Train - Steve Lee - 14 July 2018
  • Steve Lee's photo shows the Maunsell Q-class at milepost 10, with the Demonstration Goods Train which ran last Saturday morning.

  • This same locomotive is hauling services this week, to our Light (Service 1) Timetable.

  • Two photos from Brian Lacey below, taken at the Atlantic House open day on Sunday 8 July. The boiler has been lifted onto a trolley ready for wheeling out of the shed on a temporary trackway for its hydraulic test; as can be see, the backhead fittings have been blanked off in preparation for this. More information about the reconstruction of LBSCR H2 Atlantic 'Beachy Head' is available on the Atlantic Project pages.

    Supporters of the project receive the Atlantic News magazine, which has details of these open days. Atlantic House will also be open on September 8/9 and October 12-14 ('Giants of Steam' Autumn Gala).


Atlantic frames - Brian Lacey - 8 July 2018 Atlantic boiler - Brian Lacey - 8 July 2018

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13 July:
65 at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 7 July 2018
  • SECR O1 No.65 is seen with the vintage set at Horsted Keynes, passing Bulleid Pacific 'Blackmoor Vale' and LSWR carriage No.1520 (Brian Lacey - 7 July).

  • Tickets are now on sale for the New Year's Eve Gala Golden Arrow Pullman.

  • Part two of Nick Dearden's video compilation, Best of Bluebell Steam 2007-2017, Visiting Locomotives.

  • The first photo below, from new contributor, Thomas Downing, shows detail at the front of the SECR H-class.

  • Martin Lawrence has now completed his June photo gallery and started on that for July should you care to view them.
    The second photo below, taken by Martin, shows the start of the Track Trek, as Roger Garman gives participants a safety briefing. The trek has so far raised over £5,000 towards the cost of relaying two quarter-mile sections of track over the coming winter. Further donations to the Track Trek TrAction Appeal may be made here.

Detail of H-class - Tom Downing - July 2018 Start of the Track Trek - Martin Lawrence - 30 June 2018

Goods Train times - 14 July 2018

  • We are running one of our regular Demonstration Goods Trains on Saturday morning, expected to be hauled by the SR Maunsell Q-class locomotive No.30541. The timings for the Goods Train are as shown here.

    Passenger trains this weekend will be running to our Full (Service 2) timetable. You can purchase tickets on arrival at our stations, or in advance at a discount. A whole-line return ticket allows unlimited travel for the day, and you can break your journey wherever you please.

    From Monday to Friday this week, trains run to our Light Service (Service One) timetable.

  • Two more photos below, taken by Brian Lacey on Sunday 8 July, show 'Camelot' outside the loco works - its new piston heads are being machined, and its cylinder bores are being examined, prior to fitting the new cylinder heads. All being well the locomotive will be back in service in August.
    In front of 'Camelot' can be seen the extended frames of our new-build/conversion 2MT Tank No.84030. The second photo shows the Poly-shed, relocated from Horsted Keynes, with the wheelsets for the locomotive; it's planned to re-wheel the locomotive shortly.

Camelot and 84030's frames - Brian Lacey - 8 July 2018 84030's wheels in the new poly-shed - Brian Lacey - 8 July 2018

5 July:
Relaxing on the platform at Sheffield Park - Pauline Lacey - 18  June 2018
  • A group of mallards have taken possession of Sheffield Park's platforms this year. Pauline Lacey's photo shows them, and some of our visitors, relaxing there on 18 June.

  • The annual Bluebell Atlantic Open Weekend is on July 7th and 8th. It gives the opportunity for supporters and visitors to see the latest progress with the construction of 'Beachy Head'. Atlantic House at Sheffield Park will be open from 10 am to 5pm both days.
    There will be a small auction of Railwayana, Pictures, Models etc on Sunday afternoon at 2.45pm. Viewing will be from Saturday morning. Commission Bids can be left if you can't attend on Sunday afternoon.
    Items include:
    • A BR Firing Shovel.
    • A S.M.J. 'Beware of Trains' cast iron Notice.
    • An original Matthew Cousins Painting
    • Hornby and Bachmann Locomotives
    • ...and other items.
    There will be a progress report and presentation before the Auction on Sunday, at 2.30pm.

  • Updated web pages for SECR P-class No.323 'Bluebell', SECR O1-class No.65, and Manning Wardle No.4 Sharpthorn, an 0-6-0ST built in 1877, which was one of the contractor's locomotives used to build our line.

  • Update to the web page for Daniel Wilson's Memory of the Bluebell Line: A 1956 visit to the sawmill at Sheffield Park, adding a photo from the Bluebell archives.

  • Entry forms for the 2018-19 Foootball Competitions, raising funds for the forthcoming overhaul of our Southern Railway Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864, are now available. Both are simple to enter and require no knowledge of either football or railways, so if you don't know the difference between a red card and a red signal, fear not!
    In the 22 years the competitions have been running, they have raised funds of over £9,100 for various projects around the railway.

  • Derek Hayward has a comprehensive gallery of photos covering the recent Model Railway Weekend.

  • John Sandys' photos from 3 July, featuring the S15 on the service train, and the completed exterior of the Locomotive shed, expected to re-open to the public later this summer, when it will include the new 'Steam Works' exhibition at the north end alongside the traditional running shed in the southern half.

  • Video compilation from Nick Dearden, The Best of Bluebell Steam 2007-2017, part 1.

  • With the run of Footplate Tasters in November now Sold out, we are now taking bookings for Jan/Feb 2019.

  • Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with plans for locomotive usage through July. It shows that, this coming Saturday, we will unusually, for a normal day, have four locomotives in steam.

  • Film by Ken Shaw of a 1981 visit to Barry Scrapyard in South Wales. Fascinating to see the vast number of rusting hulks. Amazing to think that every single loco in there has now been rescued for preservation (even if the last handful to leave were only feasible as donors for the various new-build projects now under way). The Maunsell Locomotive Society's S15 No.30847, restored at, and now running at the Bluebell, looks to be the one loco which was cared for! BR 4MT Tank No.80100, "Reserved for Bluebell Railway", is the only one of the 11 ex-Barry locos now resident at the Bluebell which has yet to have its restoration started, although lots of spare parts have been gathered or made ready for that day.

    Levelled excavation for Heritage Skills Centre - Barry Luck - 28 June 2018 News Update Barry Luck, the project manager, provides three more photos of the OP4 earthworks.
    On the right we see the east side of the carriage shed with the pile tops partly exposed, where the Heritage Skills Centre will be constructed. The dimples in the soil in the foreground are made by the heavy "sheep's foot" roller used to compact the soil.
    The next stage here is to excavate a trench along the line of the piles, and to cast the ring-beam around the perimeter of the Skills Centre, ready for the steel framework to be erected.

    The reconstruction and stabilisation of the embankment east of the carriage shed into so-called 'Dingley Dell' is now complete, bar a little bit of tidying up, and filling and re-grading of the top few inches, which will use excavated material from the Skills Centre footings. The first photo below shows the area immediately south of the carriage shed levelled and compacted ready for track laying into the eastern two roads, H & J. The second photo shows the view from the south.

  • During June 2018 there were 41,058 total hits on this page, from 23,335 unique visitors.

Levelled and extended shed throat - Barry Luck - 28 June 2018 Embankment stabilisation completed - Barry Luck - 28 June 2018

21 June:
H-class at West Hoathly - Peter Edwards - 17 June 2018
  • Peter Edwards' photo shows the SECR H-class at West Hoathly on Sunday, with the vintage train set currently in use on Table 2 days, which consists an SECR carriage and 3 Southern Railway Maunsell carriages. It's one of three carriages sets (Set C) which will be working over the coming Model Railway Weekend, for which the timetable can be downloaded here. The other two coaching sets will be Set A, formed of SR Bullied and BR Mk.1 vehicles, and Set B, formed of Victorian carriages from the Metropolitan Railway, the LBSCR and the LCDR.

  • This year's Track Trek is less than two weeks away but there is still time to register to walk the five miles from Horsted Keynes to Sheffield Park on the evening of Saturday 30 June, in aid of the Tr(ack) Action Appeal. This year's walk will cover some new track and for first time will allow Trekkers to walk along one of the Up Yard sidings behind Horsted Keynes station before joining the single line track to Sheffield Park. During this part of the Trek you will be able view some of our Railway's steam locomotives, currently stored here while the ASH Project, that is transforming the locomotive shed at Sheffield Park, takes shape. Locomotives there include British Railways 9F No.92240, LB&SCR E4 No.473, LSWR B4 No.96 'Normandy' and SE&CR C-class No.592.

    Sign up for the Track Trek here. Once you've signed up, you can also set up an online BT MyDonate fundraising page for your trek.

  • News Update OP4 - Horsted Keynes Shed Extension report from Barry Luck, the Project Manager.
    The embankment stabilisation work for OP4 continues apace. The first two photos show the works on 8th June, and then the same view just 10 days later on 19th June - fantastic progress by Matt and his Infrastructure team.

Embankment stabilisation work - Barry Luck - 8 June 2018 Embankment stabilisation work - Barry Luck - 19 June 2018

Excavation for Heritage Skills Centre - Barry Luck - 19 June 2018

 

Barry's third photo, on the left, shows the beginning of the excavation in preparation for the erection of the Heritage Skills Centre. The ground here has been lowered by approximately one metre, which gives sufficient height to roof level to accommodate a two-storey structure. The erection of the steelwork is due to start in mid-July.


20 June:
Q-class with goods train at Horsted Keynes - David Long - 17 June 2018
  • David Long's photo shows the SR Maunsell Q-class with Sunday's goods train. The next demonstration goods train is planned for the morning of Saturday 14 July.

  • We're looking forward to our big annual Model Railway Event this weekend. This year we have even more attractions, with Kingscote hosting a 71/4 inch miniature steam railway! We are running an intensive 3-train service to enable you to transfer between the stations. The timetable can be downloaded here. Tickets available in advance (with discount), or on arrival.

  • The appointment of Julie Jones to the position of General Manager has been confirmed by Dick Fearn, the Chairman of Bluebell Railway Plc. The post, which was initially created over two years ago, is a key part of the Railway's organisational structure, leading the management team and supporting our ever-expanding railway heritage activities. The full press release is available to download here.

  • Nice to see our restoration of LCDR Carriage 3188, which was rescued from Devon in 2005 from a demolished bungalow, being reflected on the Yarcombe Message Board.

  • Booking is now open for our Christmas Festive Feast trains - take a steam train ride from East Grinstead and enjoy Christmas Lunch in the Bessemer Arms at Sheffield Park on 3, 4, 5, 10, 11 or 12 December.

  • Peter Skuce's photos from Branch Line Weekend in May.

  • SECR P-class No.178 has returned from a prolonged stay at the National Railway Museum, which it was a great hit with the public, hauling their regular brake-van rides. It is now due its annual boiler exam.

  • Details have now been announced for our 'Giants of Steam' Autumn Gala on 12-14 October. Visiting locomotives are:
    • Gresley A4 Pacific No.60009 'Union of South Africa' (courtesy of the Cameron Trust)
    • LNER Thompson Class B1 No.61306 'Mayflower' (courtesy of David Buck)

    Below we see:
    60009 'Union of South Africa' passing Condover, Shropshire on 1 June 2013 - photo cropped and scaled from the original by CrossHouses, reproduced under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license
    61306 'Mayflower' about to call at Chepstow Station on 1 March 2015 - photo cropped and scaled from the original - © Ruth Sharville under cc-by-sa/2.0


60009 Union of South Africa at Condover - CrossHouses CC BY-SA 3.0 - 1 June 2013 61306 'Mayflower' about to call at Chepstow Station - Ruth Sharville cc-by-sa/2.0 - 1 March 2015

16 June:
Goods Train times - 17 June 2018
  • We are running one of our regular Demonstration Goods Trains tomorrow morning, expected to be hauled by the SR Maunsell Q-class locomotive No.30541. The timings for the Goods Train are as shown here.
    Passenger trains will be running to our Service 2 timetable. You can purchase tickets on arrival at our stations. A whole-line return ticket allows unlimited travel for the day, and you can break your journey wherever you please.

  • Fathers' Day special offer: Sunday 17th June - Dads visiting the Railway can travel throughout the day for just £5 when accompanied by at least one full-fare-paying child.

  • Earn triple donations from 15 to 29 June: To celebrate the successful launch of AmazonSmile UK just six months ago, Amazon is tripling donations from 15 - 29 June on all qualifying purchases. Simply access Amazon through this Bluebell Railway Trust link.

  • Hattons are bringing out four new versions of their OO-scale model P-class. Two of them are livery variations on our own No.27! Firstly in pre grouping full SECR livery (with bottle buffers and polished brass) and also in ROD green livery as 5027.

  • Final positions in the 2017-18 Foootball Competition, raising funds for the forthcoming overhaul of our Southern Railway Maunsell Dining Saloon No.7864, are now available. Particular congratulations to David Pegg who not only cleaned up in competition 1 but successfully predicted a Chelsea v Manchester United FA Cup final.
    The biggest winner is 7864, as the competition added £247.50 to the restoration fund. Many thanks to everyone who entered. Winners' cheques and entry forms for 18/19 will be issued shortly.

  • Brian Lacey's photos below show 847 and 263 at Horsted Keynes today, and the Q-class passing through the station with the Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea train.

847 and 263 at Horsted Keynes - Brian Lacey - 16 June 2018 Entrance to Loco Shed - Martin Lawrence - 2 June 2018

6 June:
847 arrives at East Grinstead - Brian Lacey - 6 June 2018
  • Brian Lacey's photo shows the S15 No.847 arriving at East Grinstead with the second train of the day today. Presumably it was decided to give it a test run before its expected appearance in service this coming weekend, to check that recent maintenance work was all OK.

  • We are currently advertising a vacancy for a Locomotive Works Fitter.

  • Martin Lawrence now has a gallery of photos from the East Grinstead Bus Running Day back in April.

  • Reminder to sign up for our annual sponsored Track Trek, which takes place in the evening on Saturday 30 June. If you've already signed up, then you can set up an online BT MyDonate fundraising page for your trek.


5 June:
65 arriving at Horsted Keynes with the Wealden Rambler - Brian Lacey - 2 June 2018
  • Brian Lacey's photo shows SECR O1 No.65 arriving at Horsted Keynes with the Wealden Rambler afternoon tea service on Saturday.

  • Update to the Locomotive Duty Roster, with plans for locomotive usage through June. It shows that the Q-class will be hauling a Demonstration Goods Train on the morning of Sunday 17 June.

  • Over the Model Railway Weekend, 23-24 June, we are running an intensive 3-train service (with Locos 65, 263 and 847 planned to be used). The timetable is now available to download.

  • News Update Update from Project 27, with photos (including that below) showing the marking out of the replacement main frame plates for this SECR P-class, and more.

  • John Sandys' photos from today.

  • Video from John Harwood taken today, showing a trip behind the Maunsell Q-class from Horsted Keynes to Sheffield Park and back, plus a detailed look at 1881-built LBSCR Stroudley brake third carriage No.949 currently under restoration. The annual visit by a weedkilling spray vehicle is also seen.

  • Martin Lawrence has now completed his April and May photo albums and started on that for June. It includes the photo below, showing the addition to the locomotive shed, to act as the entrance area for the 'Steam Works' exhibition.

  • Another OO-gauge model LBSCR locomotive has been announced - Rapido Trains are to produce models of the Stroudley E1 0-6-0T for Model Rail Magazine - see Graham Muz's blog for details.

New frame plates for 27 - Matt H - June 2018 Entrance to Loco Shed - Martin Lawrence - 2 June 2018

4 June:
H-class arrives at Horsted Keynes, as the Q-class waits to head south - Brian Lacey - 2 June 2018
  • Brian Lacey's photo from Saturday shows the H-class arriving at Horsted Keynes, as the Q-class waits to head South.

  • For the rest of this month we are running our Service 1 timetable Monday to Friday, and Service 2 each day at the weekends (except for 23-24 June, the Model Railway Weekend). Timetables are here.

  • News Update Updated news of our "Brighton Atlantic" project, with some of the complex sheet metal components for the boiler clothing being delivered.

  • Derek Hayward has added 11 additional images showing progress with the OP4 Shed Project at Horsted Keynes, taken a week ago.

  • The Southern Electric Traction Group (custodians of 4Vep No.3417) have an illustrated update on their website showing work on fitting out the shed at Strawberry Hill to accommodate the trim and spares required for the future running of the unit.

  • Matt Wickham's video review of Dapol's new LSWR B4 shunter 'Normandy'.

  • The tee-shirt to be seen in this year.

  • Greg Wales' photos below, taken on the footplate of the H-class on Saturday during his "third man" turn, show Russell, the driver, and Nick, firing.

  • During May 2018 there were 42,542 total hits on this page, from 24,698 unique visitors.

Russell driving the H-class - Greg Wales - 2 June 2018 Approching Kingscote in the H-class - Greg Wales - 2 June 2018 Nick firing the H-class - Greg Wales - 2 June 2018

Older updates are in the What's New Archive
or the 2017, the 2016, the 2015, the 2014, the 2013, the 2012, the 2011, the 2010, the 2009, the 2008, the 2007, the 2006, the 2005, the 2004, the 2003, the 2002, the 2001, the 2000, the 1999 and the 1997-8 "What was new" archive pages.

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