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Re-inactment of the founders meeting at Haywards Heath for a documentary television programme in 1964. Bernard Holden MBE, Chris Campbell and Alan Sturt are the stars on the stage. After fifty years the Bluebell could write its own soap opera and make very good television series.

Photo: Bernard Holden Collection
  C2X No. 32535 carrying the now famous Bluebell headboard, passes West Hoathly station with the first sponsored Bluebell Railway Preservation Society special train on 12 July 1959.

Photo: Bluebell Railway Archives
  Volunteers 1960 style. A gang led by Captain Peter Manisty, slews the track inside the partly constructed engine shed at Sheffield Park in the summer of 1960. One shudders to think how today’s Health and Safety regime would view all this activity now!

Photo: Bluebell Railway Archives
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A glimpse of Stepney on her way to the Bluebell in 1960. A1X No.32655, now our No.55 Stepney, with the first two coaches, No’s S320S and S6575S in tow Near Copyhold Junction, Haywards Heath.

Photo: Derek Cross/Bluebell Railway Archives
  Opening Day 7 August 1960, the platforms are thronged with well wishers as No.55 Stepney prepares to leave with the first public train.

Photo: Bluebell Railway Archives
  Artistic Beauty. One of our enthusiastic female volunteers Avril Gaynor, painting No.323 Bluebell in preparation for the opening day in August 1960. Avril is still with the Bluebell today acting as our Press Officer, how’s that for dedication?

Photo: Pace Photographs/Bluebell Archives
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No’s 55 Stepney and 323 Bluebell stand beneath the partly constructed engine shed at Sheffield Park. Although this shed is due to be demolished in the near future it has served the society well for 50 years.

Photo: Bluebell Railway Archives
  No.323 Bluebell and brake van dressed overall, with our first Santa special. How things have changed, today’s Santa specials run to an intensive service with heavily loaded trains.

Photo: Bluebell Railway Archives
  Foretaste of things to come? The first public train from off the Bluebell enters Horsted Keynes powered by the four active locomotives, No’s 55 Stepney and 488 the Adams radial tank lead the train, with No’s 323 Bluebell and 27 Primrose on the rear. 29 October 1961.

Photo: Dick Riley/Bluebell Railway Archives
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The infamous Dr. Richard Beeching, looks from the cab of GN tank No.1247 seemingly enjoying his day. Dr Beeching visited the Bluebell to unveil the station name board at the then Holywell (waterworks) halt on 1 April 1962.

Photo: Ken Chown/Bluebell Archives
  Bluebell steam on the main line, No’s 55 Stepney and 473 Birch Grove outside Brighton station waiting to back down onto the stock of the Brighton BlueBelle railtour from Brighton to Horsted Keynes celebrating the closure of the Ardingly branch on 27 October 1963.

Photo: Sid Nash/Bluebell Railway Archives
  At only 24 hours notice of arrival, A1X No. 32636 soon to be No.72 Fenchurch, propels the LB&SCR Milk Van across Sherriff Mill viaduct and into Horsted Keynes station on 15 May 1964.

Photo: Sean Smeath Collection
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Demolition train at West Hoathly. The North London Tank No 2650 on hire to the demolition contractors for lifting the track on the Horsted Keynes to East Grinstead section. 23 January 1965.

Photo: Edwin Wilmshurst
  Line Purchased. The picture shows Frank Harrison, Divisional Manager, Central Division of the Southern Region, presenting the then General Manager of Bluebell, Horace May, with a commemorative parchment celebrating the purchase of the line for £43,000. 27 October 1968.

Photo: Ken Chown/Bluebell Archives
  To celebrate the first ten years of operation of the Bluebell Railway, No. 473 Birch Grove, wearing the Decadian headboard and No. 3217 Earl Berkeley stand at Horsted Keynes on 2 August 1970. For preservation this was a real landmark, now here we are celebrating our Golden Anniversary!

Photo: Ken Grinstead/Bluebell Railway Archive
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The only standard tank to be owned by the Bluebell. After a frenetic amount of fund raising, BR 4 tank No. 80100 arrives at Sheffield Park. on 11 October 1978.

Photo: Bluebell Railway Archives
  S15 No.847 arrives at the Bluebell from Barry scrap yard, looking forward to a happier future. October 1978.

Photo: Peter Nicholson
  1978 proved to be a landmark year for the Bluebell, with the arrival of no less than four locomotives from Barry scrap yard in South Wales. Here the skeletal remains of 9F No.92240 having just arrived at Sheffield Park on 5 October 1978.

Photo: Peter Nicholson
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Double whammy day! Q class No.30541 is gently winched from the low loader which has bought it from Ashchurch, Gloucestershire, on the same day as the 9F arrived. 5 October 1978.

Photo: Peter Nicholson
  Locomotive Superintendant Jack Owen and world renowned artist David Shepherd share a joke on the footplate of 21C123 Blackmoor Vale on its return to traffic day 15 May 1976.

Photo: Mike Esau
  Signalman David Phillips sets the road in Horsted Keynes signal box, April 1981.

Photo: Bluebell Railway Archives
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Past Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Harold Macmillan, a local resident of Birch Grove is pictured in the cab of H class No..263, during a visit to the Bluebell on 15 March 1980. Then aged 86, he surprised everyone with his wish to chat to the locomotive crew and blow the whistle. There is a little boy in all of us, even the oldest peers of the realm!

Photo: Bluebell Railway Archives
  An American in Sussex. USA tank locomotive No.30064 stops while volunteers unload material from the wagons behind in readiness for some PW work. February 1981.

Photo: Russell Pearce
  Q1 No. 33001 on loan from the National Railway Museum waits to depart from Sheffield Park with a demonstration freight train. 14 September 1980.

Photo: Russell Pearce
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One thing the Bluebell has always been able achieve is to launch a coach or locomotive in style. Here we see a young Michael Palin toasting the health of one of our original coaches No.6575 which had recently been restored. With Michael are Bernard Holden MBE, Harold Roberts and Graham Ward. 13 September 1981.

Photo: Mike Esau
  Schools class No.928 Stowe on a hot Summers day at three arch bridge on the approach to Horsted Keynes. June 1981

Photo: Russell Pearce
  A Cavalcade of Steam was held at Horsted Keynes over the weekend of 26/27 July 1982, to celebrate the Centenary of the Lewes to East Grinstead Railway. No. 72 Fenchurch heads a line of locomotives waiting their next turn to play to the gallery.

Photo: Mike Esau
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By Royal Appointment. During the Queen’s Golden Jubilee year, HRH Princess Alexandra is welcomed to the Bluebell by President, Bernard Holden MBE, BRPS Chairman Roy Watts and PLC Chairman Graham Flight on the occasion of her visit to the line, 17 July 2002.

Photo: Alan Barnes
  Everybody’s favourite. No.55 Stepney scuttles through the woods outside Sheffield Park, en-route to Horsted Keynes. May 1984.

Photo: Russell Pearce
  The replica of Rocket, on a visit from the National Railway Museum, runs in the sidings to the North of Horsted Keynes station. 31 July 1982.

Photo: Mike Esau
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The Rt. Hon. Paul Channon, Secretary of State for transport is pictured standing between the chains of our steam crane, after the first track panel is laid on the Northern Extension to East Grinstead at Leamland Bridge. 13 March 1988.

Photo: Bluebell Railway Archives
  Unsung Heroes. A gang of volunteers renew the decking on the Ouse river bridge just outside of Sheffield Park station. This type of work has to be done whatever the weather brings. October 1990.

Photo: Bernard Holden
  9F 92240 passes the Rocket replica and No.55 Stepney at Horsted Keynes on the occasion of an outside broadcast by channel 4 television, 23 September 1990. Stars that day who were present at the railway included Joe Brown, Miles Kington and Jools Holland.

Photo: Mike Esau
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Imberhorne viaduct is ours for £1.00! Bernard Holden MBE, Superintendant of the line and John Nelson, Managing Director, Network SouthEast, sign the transfer document at East Grinstead. In the background class 73 electro diesel locomotive No. 73133 named the Bluebell Railway. 8 September 1992.

Photo: Mike Esau
  The official opening of Sharpthorne tunnel at West Hoathly. Bernard Holden MBE, Superintendant of the line and Sir Alastair Morton, Chairman of Eurotunnel pose for photographs before No.35027 Port Line breaks the banner. 16 May 1992.

Photo: Mike Esau
  Cheering volunteers pose for a historic photograph, as B4 tank locomotive No.96 Normandy stands on New Coombe bridge just after final completion. 10 May 1993.

Photo: Mike Esau
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The boards tell the story, informing passengers that the day, 23 April 1994 is the first day of operations between Kingscote, Horsted Keynes and Sheffield Park. These do not do justice to the amount of work which went into this part of the extension.

Photo: David Mark
  What have we taken on? Kingscote station pictured in December 1985. Compare this with the beautifully restored station which is currently our northern terminus. 23 December 1985.

Photo: Mike Esau
  A dream becomes reality. C class No.592, dressed overall LBSCR style, breaks the banner entering Kingscote station to officially re-open the station and the latest section of the Northern Extension. 23 April 1994.

Photo: Mike Esau
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The push-me- pull- you train! This now we first operated trains on the Bluebell Railway. Here we see No.55 Stepney and No.323 Bluebell in the Summer of 1960. Even in those early days the trains were standing room only.

Photo: Mike Esau
  Electro Diesel locomotive E 6043 stands at Imberhorne Lane on spoil train duties. While the train is loaded, driver Russell Pearce and guard Neil Glaskin pass the time of day, no doubt putting the world to rights! 9 March 2009.

Photo: Alan Barnes
  The skeletal frame of the carriage shed extension is seen from the approach road To Horsted Keynes station. Nearly nine years on and the new shed is now a bustling area of activity repairing carriages. 11 February 2000.

Photo: Mike Esau
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British Railways standard steam locomotives line up outside the locomotive shed at Sheffield Park. Class 4 No. 75027 and 9F No.92240 bask in the afternoon sunshine. October 2008.

Photo: Neil Glaskin
  Captain Anthony Kimmins, a well known playwright of the 1960’s addresses the crowds from the front buffer beam of No. 323 Bluebell, opening day ceremony 7 August 1960.

Photo: Ken Chown/Bluebell Railway Archives
  A ground level view of Imberhorne viaduct East Grinstead in May 2010. It will not be too long before our trains will be crossing it into the town.

Photo: Nigel Longdon
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Work at East Grinstead. A large gang working on the points and run round loop at the Southern end of the new East Grinstead station. In the background the newly laid track can be seen stretching across the viaduct and up to the tip face. May 2010

Photo: Jon Bowers
  Before and after. Newly arrived London Chatham & Dover coach No.51 (left) Stands next to the already restored LC&DR coach No.114 (right) what a comparison! January 2010.

Photo: Dave Clarke
  The arrival of No.55 Stepney to the railway in 1960, is recreated for the camera. An earlier photograph shows Stepney en-route to Horsted Keynes on 17 May 1960. On Monday 17 May 2010, the arrival was recreated 50 years to the day but this time with only one coach S6575S as S320 was not available.

Photo: Ian Wright
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The latest large locomotive at the Bluebell Railway, Battle of Britain No.34059 Sir Archibald Sinclair, steams upgrade near Nobles Farm on the approach to Horsted Keynes. May 2009.

Photo: Jon Bowers