SPONSORED BY THE BLUEBELL RAILWAY PRESERVATION SOCIETY
THE BLUEBELL RAILWAY KNOWS CHRISTMAS!



Derek Hayward took this heart-warming photo on 12 Dec., 2015, of children enjoying feeding carrots to Santa's reindeer. 

For lots more of Derek's Xmas season photos--including Dickensian scenes, Fr. Christmas, and, of course, trains--visit his website

Check out the Railway's many winter seasonal specials here . Some of the services and dates have sold out, but some booking is still available.
INFRASTRUCTURE REPORT: 2015 IN REVIEW & A SPOT OF MUD

"This has been a busy year for the Infrastructure Department, but as usual, much of what has been achieved is not particularly obvious as you whizz past in a train.  

However, those who travel the line regularly will be aware of a much smoother ride down Freshfield Bank and at River Slip where the celebrated lurching to the west has now been eliminated following the first big job of 2015 during the January engineering closure.  

Ninety tons of concrete and eight deep piles later and we have a solid embankment that is to the Bluebell Railway what the new sea wall is to Dawlish - but thankfully without two high tides every day! ..."

Read the rest of Mike Hopps' enjoyable report here .

The end of the year has seen the Infrastructure Team preparing the OP4 site, although it's been so rainy and mild of late, even the road-railer got stuck in the mud (on 15 Dec., 2015; photo by Mike Hopps).
A story and photo gallery about the Atlantic Coast Express, which ran from 1926 to 1964 and which is the subject of a new book by Laurie Golden that captures the glory days of the "route of the ACE."
CONNECTING THE ATLANTIC

 
David Jones submitted the above photo taken on 13 Dec., 2015, which shows one of the connecting rods now in place on the Brighton Atlantic
 
"The lever at an angle is the means of rotating the wheels via rollers so that the valves can be set, which will be done soon."
 
David's Atlantic Group 2015 review, and some more photos of excellent progress, can be  read here.
On YouTube you can find a classic BBC "Ghost Story for Christmas" from 1976-- The Signalman , an adaptation of a Charles Dickens story starring Denholm Elliot. Filmed at Bewdley Tunnel, the story has a reference to a terrible rail crash, likely either the Clayton Tunnel crash on the London-to-Brighton line and/or the Staplehurst rail crash that Dickens himself was involved in.
FROM THE ARCHIVE
 
This time, Tony Hillman reprises the "Giants of Steam" theme with some John J. Smith photos.
 
 
 
Rare 1923 film from the Huntley Archives: The Men on the Footplate . It includes LMS (built as LNWR) Bowen-Cooke locos George the Fifth class No. 5403 piloting Claughton class No. 5979 "Frobisher" and some daredevil, dynamic film shooting. Click here to read about a replica "George the Fifth" class loco.
YOUR PAINTING: "BOURNEMOUTH BELLE"

* Artist: Paul Francis Twine
* Date painted: 1978
* Medium: Oil on board, 117.8 x 155.5 cm
* Collection: National Railway Museum

Click on BBC image to see a larger version.

Writes Neil Cameron: "This scene at Waterloo Station features two Bulleid light Pacifics. In the foreground is a rebuilt loco,  like No. 34059 'Sir Archibald Sinclair', whose boiler is to return to Sheffield Park in the new year. 

"In the background is an unrebuilt loco, like the Bulleid Society's No. 21C123 'Blackmore Vale'. Kent Rail's page on the Light Pacific locos is an excellent resource." 
A nice retrospective on the record-breaking, Gresley-designed cousin of "Flying Scotsman," No. 2750 "Papyrus:" "Papyrus was an A3 class locomotive which, nine months before the Silver Jubilee entered service, had itself very much set the pace. It was March 5, 1935 and it dominated the front page of the following morning's Northern Echo ..."
THE UP "CALEDONIAN"


(Ben Brooskbank, 16 Sept., 1957) The Up "Caledonian" enters Carlisle with a "Coronation" Pacific. View northward, towards Glasgow, etc. West Coast Main Line. The crack express, 0830 Glasgow Central-London Euston, headed this day by No. 46240 "City of Coventry". is coming under Victoria Bridge past West Walls.

NOTE: The "Coronation Scot" express train between London and Scotland--for which the Coronation class was developed--was ended in 1939, to be replaced by "The Caledonian" after World War II.

Related Ben Brooksbank photos:


Waterloo-Weymouth express at Sturt Lane Junction. The loco is No. 35027 "Port Line", no stranger to the Bluebell Railway.
A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LINE: REMEMBERING THE CORONATION CLASS



Continuing from our retrospective videos and photos of Coronation class locos in the last edition, it's worth remembering the awesome power of these massive London Midland and Scottish (LMS) express locos, designed by William Stanier.

An enlarged version of the LMS Princess Royal class, some were fully streamlined before World War II, which made the locos look impressive but which added little value as far as power was concerned.

The non-streamlined locomotives were often referred to as "Duchesses", though to enginemen they were often known as "Big Lizzies". Their estimated 3,300 horsepower meant they were far more powerful than the diesel engines that replaced them. Other specifications included a weight of around 105 long tons; fuel capacity of 10 long tons; a 50 sq ft fire grate; and 40,000 lbf.

One fine example of the class is No. 6229 " Duchess of Hamilton ". This preserved loco is part of the National Collection and as the accompanying photo shows, she was re-streamlined (at Tyesely Locomotive Works) and is now displayed at the National Railway Museum.

In 1939, No. 6229 swapped identities with No. 6220 "Coronation", and under her temporary name she was sent to the US with a specially constructed "Coronation Scot" train to appear at the 1939 New York World's Fair.

Watch the BBC's "Travels with a Duchess" here .

We also should not forget the role Billy Butlin played in saving this and other examples of these and other locos, by having them cosmetically restored and placed on exhibition at his holiday camps. Later, preservationists had the opportunity to restore the locos without having to purchase them beforehand.
The Bulleid 4 Double Deck EMU Group has a new website . Learn more about Oliver Bulleid's experimental 4DDs and the preservation of cars nos. 13003 and 13004
A Canadian Christmas tradition: The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train visits Montreal.
CAN YOU TOP THIS ...


... Photo from the bottom of the world? Member Jamie Hooper wonders if the Antarctic--where he posed for this photo--is the most far-flung place on Earth that anyone has worn Bluebell Railway clobber.

If you have worn a Railway fleece, hat, or T-shirt in the Port of Murmansk or in Alert, Canada, or somewhere equally intrepid, send us a photo! (On second thoughts, wearing a T-shirt in Alert, Canada, is probably not a good idea!
KINGSCOTE CIRCUIT


Derek Hayward's photo (taken with permission on 15 Dec., 2015) shows inside Kingscote North Signal Box, where the completed panel is now being used for testing and training while trains operate outside. This is made possible by an arrangement whereby the panel can be connected to a test, simulator rather than the actual signals and track circuits. The box will be commissioned early in 2016. See more of Derek's Kingscote Station photos here .
John Harwood's video shows work on the OP4 site from 16 Dec., 2015.
The Argus has a nice overview of historic Sussex rail.
A MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN

"So this is Christmas, I hope you have fun" sang the late John Lennon, one of those many popular tunes that you hear reverberating around the high street this time of year. Mind you, Lennon hoped war would be over but sadly in this fragile world in which we live, that seems far from the case.

But here we are celebrating the Bluebell Railway's 55th Christmas, operating a service that is a far cry from the original locomotive and decorated brake van train rides that began it all. So, just as we were first in our field, can we claim the first Santa Specials as well?!

Fast forward to 2015, and look at how well established we are. I would also like to think how professional we are as well, but the demands of our Railway and its infrastructure are as great, if not greater, than ever.

The one thing that's not changed is the passion and support given to the Railway by its members and friends. The level of support given cannot be underestimated, a level of support that is indeed greatly appreciated by all--so a huge thank you.

I wish all who help and support the Bluebell Railway in its aims--and your families--all the very best for the season and a healthy and prosperous 2016.

By Roy Watts, Chairman, BRPS   

P.S. Do I wish it could be Christmas every day? Wizard idea, but once a year is enough! 
THROUGH THE SEASONS


Nick Dearden's Bluebell Railway "Through the Seasons"--a great way to round out the year.
THE BLUEBELL RAILWAY YEAR IN HEADLINES
 
JANUARY 2015
 
OPERATION UNDERCOVER 4 UNDERWAY
Operation Undercover 4 (OP4) Steering Group Secretary Roger Kelly reports that the OP4 project is now formally underway. A series of news bulletins will keep interested parties up to date ...
 
COVERED IN GOLD
Bluebell Railway's first locomotive, "Stepney", the ever-popular London Brighton & South Coast Railway Terrier class loco, currently is being re-liveried in that company's celebrated golden ochre, having been painted in British Railways black livery for our Railway's 50th anniversary in 2010 ...
 
FEBRUARY 2015

S&T UPDATE: KINGSCOTE NORTH SIGNALS NEARLY COMPLETE
In Kingscote "North" signal box the Westinghouse "L"-style lever frame is now substantially complete. It consists of 55 levers--1 to 21 are passive provision for possible developments to the north; 22 to 45 to control Kingscote; and the remainder are for changes and developments to the south.

WE'VE GOT AN APP FOR THAT
Visitors to museums increasingly expect them to have the latest information technology, and many large museums and galleries have introduced smartphone applications in the last few years. The Bluebell Railway Museum at Sheffield Park station will be the first preservation railway museum in the UK to provide an "app" for the use of its visitors ...
 
MARCH 2015  

PLAY AWAY: C&W DEPARTMENT AWARDED ARTS COUNCIL GRANT
 
Members of the Carriage & Wagon Department have been successful in their grant application  to the Arts Council Museum Resilience Fund.  A sum of £84,150 has been awarded for the restoration and adaptation of a railway vehicle as a play and educational facility ...
 
KINGSCOTE VALLEY PROJECT TO BEGIN CYCLE HIRE
The Bluebell Railway is joining forces with partners  to promote Kingscote Valley, which is the area south of East Grinstead and based around Weir Wood Reservoir ... 


APRIL 2015

A DAY OUT WITH THE DIESELS
(By John Sandys) I arrived at Sheffield Park quite early (about 9:30 a.m.) for the first day of the Diesel Gala, and I was surprised to see the car park filling up quite rapidly! I am used to there being not many people about for the very first train, but the Diesel Fans really embraced this first full Diesel Weekend event! ...

MAY 2015

A BUSY WARTIME WEEKEND
Southern at War was extremely busy, with ticket revenue in excess of £25,000. The fly-past was the highlight each day, especially the Hurricane on the Sunday. We also were very pleased with the military vehicle display at Horsted Keynes, and the tank was very popular with visitors. Other activities included concert party shows, band concerts, a bomb disposal unit, and the National Fire Brigade ...  
 
TRACKING THE TREKKERS
Mike Hopps' photo
 shows a busy Track Trek 2015, the Railway's third sponsored trackside walk in aid of Funding for the Future. The approximately 4.5 mile walk between Kingscote and Horsted Keynes included a walk through the normally off-limits Sharpthorne Tunnel. Many thanks to all those who took part ... 

JUNE 2015

OP4 UPDATE: WORK NOW WELL UNDERWAY
Operation Undercover 4 (OP4) is now well underway. The Delivery Team is working hard to clear the site, which means moving the current offices, workshops, and storage containers. This is a significant task as the site is very large. An area must be cleared that is bigger than the new roof structure in order to permit construction plant to move in and out and to provide an area for the construction contractors compound ... 

JULY 2015

RAILWAY WINS BUSINESS AWARD
The inaugural  Lewes and Wealden Business Awards 
ceremony was held at the East Sussex National Hotel and Spa in Uckfield on 19 June, 2015 ... There were 16 categories of awards including one for Hospitality, Tourism, and Leisure--the Bluebell Railway was a joint winner along with Pelham House Hotel ...  
 
C&W NEWS: WHEEL PROGRESS FOR THE METS
On 20 July, 2015, a crane lifted the Metropolitan brake back onto its bogies, after its wheelsets had been re-tyred. To show just how internationally we now must look for supplies, the tyres, fitted at the South Devon Railway, were rolled in South Africa ... 

AUGUST 2015

EAST GRINSTEAD PLATFORM CANOPY FORMALLY OPENED BY MAYOR  
On 3 Aug., 2015 Roy Watts MBE, Chairman of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society, was delighted to welcome East Grinstead's Town Mayor Councillor Dick Sweatman to the Railway at East Grinstead Station to formally open the platform canopy and disabled persons facility, a combined project that cost just under £50,000 ... 

STEAMING IN TO BOWL
Thank you to all those who sponsored the inaugural Scaynes Hill CC v Bluebell Railway XI cricket match, which was held at Freshfields near Horsted Keynes on a sunny (yes!) Saturday, 22 Aug., 2015. Perhaps you saw the game if you were travelling on a steam train that day ... 

SEPTEMBER 2015

LOCO NEWS: A GOOD SUMMER FOR THE FLEET  
The running fleet has worked well over the summer season, with the S15, C, and H working the majority of the trains. This fleet was supplemented by the E4 when required for a Wealden Rambler and to cover the C and H when on washout. Pilot duties have been covered by "Baxter" or "Bluebell" ... 

HLF GIVES ASH PROJECT A GREEN LIGHT
The Bluebell Railway is delighted to report that an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the ASH (Accessible Steam Heritage) Project has received a first round pass. The project will revitalise the way the Railway shows its locos through substantial repairs to the Running Shed, which will be converted into an Exhibition Hall ...

OCTOBER 2015 

PORTILLO MAKES A GREAT JOURNEY TO THE BLUEBELL RAILWAY

Broadcaster and former Cabinet Minister Michael Portillo visited the Railway on 1 Oct., 2015 to film an episode in his latest series of  Great British Railway Journeys  ... 

WEP UPDATE: STRATEGY FOR THE LYWOOD TUNNEL

.... the WEP Steering Group presented a strategy paper to the Trustees and Directors earlier this year which sets out the cost of first obtaining planning permission followed by a Transport and Works Act Order (TWA). Both are required before any serious design and construction issues can commence ... 

NOVEMBER 2015 

GALA RETURNS TO THE BLUEBELL AFTER A FIVE-YEAR ABSENCE

The weekend of 31 Oct. and 1 Nov., 2015 saw the Bluebell Railway stage its "Giants of Steam" event, which returned after a five-year absence. This was the first time that the Gala had been staged since extending the line into East Grinstead in 2013 ...


HRA HONOURS THE BIRDCAGE BRAKE  
At the Heritage Railway Association (HRA) meeting on 11 Nov., 2015, Trevor Rapley was presented with the HRA's 2015 Carriage & Wagon Awards "Best Coach" award for 
SECR Birdcage Brake No. 3363 ...

DECEMBER 2015 

LET THERE BE LIGHTS
 
John Sandys' photo from Dec. 3, 2015 shows that the stained glass has been installed in the porch at Sheffield Park, returning it at last to its original LB&SCR condition ...  
Wayfair.com includes the Railway in its list of Top 10 Downtown Abbey locations . According to Wayfair, Horsted Keynes is "Otherwise known as Downton Railway Station, this location has seen many comings and goings, including some teary goodbyes ..."
SONGS OF THE SEASON


This photo by Deiniol Willis shows Railway Chaplain Canon John Twisleton and the Bluebell Railway band at the annual carol service at Horsted Keynes on 5 Dec., 2015.
FUNDING REVIEW OF 2015

It has been a good year for fundraising, yet for the first time in five years I did not launch a major appeal in the name of the Railway. That's because Keep Up The Pressure and Cash for Cover are ongoing, and money has continued to come in to both, with some four-figure donations.

The Locomotive and C&W societies and special interest groups have been doing sterling work, and in so doing they have raised significant amounts. The fundraising efforts of other groups such as the 9F Club and the "Friends" of our stations also are to be commended.

I must express my gratitude to those benefactors who have contributed five-figure sums this year. These have allowed us to continue our apprentice training programme in the Locomotive Works, restore locomotives, and purchase the items of equipment that I listed in my update two weeks ago.

Not all funds have come from individuals. This year we received grants from four different trusts, plus East Grinstead Town Council, East Grinstead Rotary Meridian, and Lewis District Council. At the beginning of the year there was the award from the Arts Council of England to renovate the Elephant Van for use as a Children's Play Coach.

Finally, the year's major down-then-up was the rejection in March of our application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the Accessible Steam Heritage Project (ASH), followed by its approval in September (following its re-submission in May). In addition to new building and major repairs. the focus of the ASH Project will be on providing facilities that will make us more attractive to a wider public, particularly families.

The ASH Project will be the subject of a major appeal in April, when every £10 donated will lead to £40 grant from the HLF--not a Double but a Quadruple Donations Dash!

Thus 2016 will be as busy as any other year. Its success in fundraising terms will depend on the work of the Fundraising Team but mostly, as always, on our supporters and grant giving organisations.

I wish you all a Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

By Roger Kelly, Funding Director
 
Mike Hopps has added to his range of loco portrait posters, with views of the S15, Camelot, and Q class.

At heritagerailposters.co.uk you also can find other regions represented, such as the the LMS "Crab" in a winter setting on the East Lancs Railway and "Foxcote Manor" on the Llangollen. From Opening Day at East Grinstead there is a poster depicting "The Pioneer", which was the front cover photo of Railway Magazine for May 2013.

There's also a view of "Black Five" No. 45321 "Sherwood Forester" charging up Hazelden Bank when it was visiting. 


TALKING SHOP: NEW PRODUCTS JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS!

The first in a series of Bluebell Railway wagons is now available at the Bluebell Railway shop. The 00 gauge "Grampus" 20-ton dropside ballast and sleeper wagon No. DB985854 , by Dapol, costs £14.99 with the usual 10% discount for members. It's a beautifully detailed piece (see the real-life wagon's webpage here .)

Another new item is the DVD from Graham Whistler Productions called " Bluebell Railway into East Grinstead ." Narrated by Nicholas Owen, with a running time of about 75 minutes, this is the long awaited sequel to "Return to Kingscote."

This DVD includes coverage of the clearing of Imberhorne Cutting and the final laying of track into East Grinstead; the first train on 23 March, 2013; and full coverage of "Giants of Steam 2015." The DVD retails at £20 and the BluRay at £22.50 and is eligible for the 10% members discount.

Lastly, for BigJigs fans, I have purchased all the remaining stock of its "Sir Archibald Sinclair" model, for those of you looking to add something special to a collection!

To learn more, visit http://www.bluebell-shop.co.uk .

By Nikki Favell, Shop Manager
STANDARD CLASS 2 TANK REBUILD UPDATE

Now that winter is upon us, and with the engine being outside, progress has slowed a bit. Hopefully, by early next year the ground we are on will have been levelled and our poly shed erected, providing all year undercover working and storage conditions.

Our main focus is to get the engine onto its wheels. We now have the horn guides fitted to the frame so that measurements can be taken and any necessary shimming carried out prior to machining each axle box. Also, the springs are being inspected to ascertain what work will need to be carried out.

The rear pony truck is progressing, and machining of the frame casting is nearing completion in the works. The second casting, for the cradle, is due to be delivered this month. An enquiry for the radial arm also is being prepared. We have the truck wheel set; it's originally from a BR Standard 9F and was refurbished at Swindon prior to the works closure.

Lastly, work is ongoing on the vacuum and lubrication pipework and the many clips and brackets, and the driver's pedestal is underway, which will provide the necessary end point for some of the pipework we are making.

The Standard Class 2 Working Group is always looking for supporters, so if you are interested in our project or on joining the working team, we are at Sheffield Park every Thursday.

By Chris Wren
WHAT A YEAR WE'VE HAD! Thanks to all those who make the Bluebell Railway experience possible and who keep the trains running--directors and trustees, volunteers and professional staff, donors and visitors. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

See you on 17 Jan., 2016, with the first eNewsletter of the year!
 
Sincerely,
 
John Walls
Editor-in-Chief, eNewsletter
Bluebell Railway
 
IN THIS ISSUE
Railway Information


Timetable & Fares

Special Events

Summer Festival 2015

Special Offers

Getting to the Railway

Online Shop

Disabled Access

History of the Railway

Frequently Asked Questions

Contact Us  
The Stations
Sheffield Park

Horsted Keynes

Kingscote

East Grinstead

Line Map
Attractions
Train Roster

Loco Roster

Museum & Archive

Sheffield Park & Garden

Kingscote Valley  

East Grinstead Attractions

East Grinstead Events

Discover Mid-Sussex

Bluebell Railway Walks

"Railway Children" Walks (WalkScene)

2015 Hotel Packages

Other Local Accommodation

Cycle Hire at Kingscote Station
Special Trains
& Services
Catering Services

The Golden Arrow

Murder Mystery Evenings

Afternoon Tea/The Wealden Rambler

Railway Weddings

Services for Groups

Educational Services

Corporate & Film Services
Fundraising
Funding for the Future

Keep Up the Pressure

Cash for Cover

Easyfundraising/Easysearch

Unity Lottery

Leave a Legacy

Other Ways to Give
Opportunities
Want to Volunteer?

9F Club (Young Volunteers)

Stepney Club (Our Littlest Fans)

Bluebell Railway Band

Job Openings

Lineside Photography
& Safety




Bluebell Railway | j.walls1@btinternet.com | http://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk
Sheffield Park Station
East Sussex
Near Uckfield, TN22 3QL