SPONSORED BY THE BLUEBELL RAILWAY PRESERVATION SOCIETY
SAVE-THE-DATE: DIESEL GALA

The 2017 Bluebell Railway Diesel Gala takes place between 31 March and 2 April, 2017. This event will have a western region feel. More details coming soon!

PLUS ... Dates for other 2017 Special Events are being released. Check the page for Shareholder's Weekend, Lego Weekend, Model Railway Weekend, Craft & Food Festival, Steam Through the Ages, and much more. Looks as though it's going to be quite a year!



OH YES WE ARE! PANTOMIME SPECIALS SET FOR END OF DECEMBER

After Christmas take a ride on one of our vintage steam trains from Sheffield Park or East Grinstead, where traditional pantomime characters will be on board the train with a special Christmas treat for the children.

Seats will be reserved for a one-way trip in our 1913 Observation carriage, and return travel is permitted on any timetabled service in third class accommodation.

* Dates: 27-30 Dec., 2016
* Departures (Sheffield Park): 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:45 p.m.
* Departures (East Grinstead): 12 p.m. and 2:35 p.m.
* Prices: Adult - £20 (adult); £10 (child); £8 (toddler)

More information can be found here.

Steam power (and some deer) at the Railway, Autumn 2016, by Nick Dearden.
Steam power (and some deer) at the Railway, Autumn 2016, by Nick Dearden.

CAROLS & STEAM



A view of the 2016 Carol Service which took place at Horsted Keynes on 3 Dec., 2016. The loco seems to be getting into the spirit of the season, along with the crowd!
The service was led by Railway Chaplain Father John, Rector of Horsted Keynes, with music led by The Bluebell Railway Band. 
 
There's been some impressive growth for this newsletter in 2016. Our contact list now stands at 8,025. Thank you for your support!
FROM THE GETTY ARCHIVE: GOLDEN ARROW 1961



British Railways West Country Class 4-6-2 steam locomotive No. 34100 "Appledore" at Dover with the Golden Arrow cross-Channel boat train service. Photograph by Reverend Arthur Cawston taken just before the end of steam on this service, 30 may, 1961.

FROM THE NI SCREEN ARCHIVE: THE LAST HORSE-DRAWN TRAM IN IRELAND



As steam and horses give way to diesel and electric, witness the last horse drawn tram in Ireland.

Can you spot the gunpowder van in the bustling Belfast traffic? A. H. Martin captures the changing face of transport with enthusiastic detail. Jaunting cars that taxi passengers zip past.

You can see the soft path of ash sprinkled on the tracks to protect the horse's hooves. Glimpse the rusting shells of steam engines as diesel powered trains sprint across Northern Ireland.

The last train to grace your screen starred alongside Sean Connery in The First Great Train Robbery. Filmed in 1954.
FROM THE MUSEUM ARCHIVE

Writes Archivist Tony Hillman: "Two A3s--'Flying Scotsman' and 'St. Simon'--in Southern territory. All from the John J. Smith Collection."









 
Marking 50 years since the end of Southern steam on the Isle of Wight, 1966-1967 ...
FROM THE GETTY ARCHIVE: THE GARDEN ISLE



A poster produced for Southern Railway to promote the railway's electric and steam services and cheap fares to the Isle of Wight. The poster shows a map of the Isle of Wight, with the routes from the mainland and the principal points of interest indicated. Artwork by George Ayling (1887-1960).
YOUR PAINTING: NO. 31



FULL NAME: No.31, 'Chale'
ARTIST: Cuthbert Hamilton Ellis
COLLECTION: Museum of Island Railway History
MEDIUM: Oil on board
SIZE: 24.2 x 37.8 cm
ACQUISITION METHOD: Bequeathed

BROOKSBANK: RYDE PIER



Train from Ryde Pier Head at Cowes: View westward from near the barrier, towards Newport etc.: terminus of ex-Isle of Wight Railway branch from Newport, closed 21/2/66 (goods 16/5/66). The train is headed by ex-LSW Adams O2 class 0-4-4T No. W24 "Calbourne". This stalwart was built in 12/1891 as No. 209 and shipped to the IoW in 4/25. It was not withdrawn until 3/67 and purchased the same year by the heritage Isle of Wight Steam Railway--and is still going strong, now 125 years old! (Taken in 1965.)

The loco duty roster for the remainder of 2016.
DATES SET FOR PHOTOGRAPHER'S SAFETY COURSES

The Railway's lineside is private property. Unauthorised access is not permitted. 

If you wish to access the lineside for photographic purposes you must hold a valid Photographer's Personal Track Safety (PTS) certificate and comply with the Railway's rules and conditions. 

A certificate, valid for one year, is awarded after successful completion of a training session, assessment, and health declaration.

The dates for PTS courses in 2017 have been organised and can be found here.
 
Mike Anton gives us three clips of the S15 working the Service One trains over the weekend of 26-27 Nov., 2016.
Mike Anton gives us three clips of the S15 working the Service One trains over the weekend of 26-27 Nov., 2016.

SANTA ON A SLIPPERY SLOPE



Jonathan Hughes poetically writes: "Maunsell Q class No. 30541 brings the Bluebell Railway the first 2016 Santa Special up the 1-in-75 from Lindfield Wood approaching Keysford Bridge with the 11 a.m. from Sheffield Park this morning [3 Dec., 2016]. It's been two weeks since I was last at this spot, photographing the same loco hauling its train, and the recent frosts have finally put an end to the autumn colours, the train this time lit by a brief burst of winter sunshine, glinting on the boiler casing, battling the strong sou'easterly and the slippery rails on the gradient.

OUR SUCCESS REFLECTS HARD WORK & DETERMINATION

As 2016 moves towards its conclusion, there is always that customary temptation to reflect back over the past year, analysing the highs and the lows before debating the "could have done better" elements.

The regular visitor will have noticed the effect of line speed restrictions, timetable alterations, and availability of rolling stock, but also they will have seen the determination to address these problems. Like in all things, time catches up, sometimes faster than we would like, but our hard working staff and volunteers have turned out in all weathers to ensure our trains run on time.

Sadly, we cannot have repairs or resources centrally funded, and we must invest hard-earned capital in the most cost-effective manner. Like our nation, we are living in an era of substantive change in both people and process, but what does not change is the will of our members to make sure the Railway functions at its very best.

For instance, there are new people in senior management, but that does not mean the previous "guard" has resigned itself to the "headshunt", rather the reverse because now they can give much greater attention to their contributions to the Railway, especially in their areas of expertise.

Change also has bought about new events, such as the success of our annual Diesel Gala and the promise of exciting motive power next year to generate a new enthusiast market. We had a very good Giants of Steam too, with an interesting pair of visiting locos, but we need to look at programme changes, what constitutes a "giant", or perhaps different themes.

Many other exciting changes and opportunities will present themselves in 2017, such as a visit from No. 4472/60103 "Flying Scotsman" over Easter, and we must ensure that we maximise this opportunity.

What also does not change is the desire to see the Railway continue to earns its place amongst the leaders in the heritage railways field. Heritage is not always just about the trains, other operations add proper authenticity by recreating and preserving a bygone era, and what a great way to end the year by announcing that our Signals and Telecommunications team won the Siemens award at this year's National Railways Heritage Award. Congratulations to them (and well done the Friends of Kingscote for building and painting the signal box).

On behalf of President Gordon Pettit and the other vice presidents, I thank you for your support and wish you and your families the very best for the coming year.

By Roy Watts, Vice President, BRPS

KINGSCOTE SIGNALLING WINS NRHA AWARD

The Railway was successful  at the National Railway Heritage Awards (NRHA) Ceremony in London on 7 Dec., 2016, winning the Siemens Signalling Award for the Kingscote Signal Box and Signalling. 

Rail Minister Paul Maynard MP presented the award to Brian Hymas, Chris Bassett, and Chris Chambers who represented the Railway.

The judges referred to "... a first rate project, [w]ell thought through, designed, and executed to a very high standard"; the "re-creation and preservation of a full working example of an historically important type of lever frame and associated signalling practice as used extensively by the Southern Railway and Southern Region"; and the re-creation "of signalling for a country station as it might have been in the 1950s, following Southern Railway and Southern Region practice". 

Mention was made of the 1950s rail-built and lattice signal posts, and there was a particular comment about the design of the up home signals using a single post with two arms as an "interesting re-creation and demonstration of an old practice ... giving added interest and historic value". 

The runners-up for the Award were Carnforth Junction Signal Box (Network Rail) and Midsomer Norton Signal Box (Somerset & Dorset Railway Heritage Trust). 

By Robert Hayward

HORSTED KEYNES SIGNAL BOX CLOCK RETURNS HOME

The original clock from Horsted Keynes South Signal Box has been purchased by the Bluebell Railway Museum. It was in a recent auction and the Museum was fortunate to be able to purchase it.

The clock records show that it was made before the signal box was opened, so it's likely that it was in the box from the beginning.

The clock cost the LBSCR £1 17s 6d, rather less than it cost the Museum to buy it back!

By Tony Hillman

BLUEBELL RAILWAY FESTIVE EVENTS 2016

It's going to be a busy festive season at the Railway this year. Here's a summary of the events happening during December:
FOSP UPDATE: YEAR'S ACTIVITIES TO DATE

A very detailed and full year's end report by Richard Lowe, excerpted below with a link to the full piece ... 
 
The Friends of Sheffield Park (FOSP) have had another very productive year. This has been greatly helped by the weather as we were able to paint the footbridge in the Spring and many other outside painting jobs later in the year. In fact, one of our volunteers reckons that we had 14 consecutive warm and sunny Wednesdays this Autumn!
 
After the great triumph of the porch restoration last year, without doubt the most visible achievement of the year has been the replacement of the life-expired zinc sheet canopy roof to the north end of Platform 2. This was funded in part by the Bluebell Trust, and in part by residual funds accruing from the canopy extension project on Platform 1 (and with a small additional "top-up" from FOSP general funds). Thus we are now in the enviable position of having a full set of pristine platform canopies at Sheffield Park, and with roofing which should be good for 50 or 60 years. 
 
Although the actual roof installation was done by contractors, there was a significant labour input from FOSP volunteers, who as usual put in extra hours when required to ensure the project ran smoothly.

Following the completion of the porch, we quickly decided to proceed with restoring the floor to its original condition which together with the reconnection by the Electrical Department of the existing light inside the porch, illuminates the stained glass to great effect, making a welcoming sight to our visitors approaching after dusk.

Out of public view, but no less prominent in our plans, the FOSP workshop Portakabin has continued to absorb many man-hours this year ... MORE 


An external repaint has made the Withyham signal box look very smart.


 

2016 IN REVIEW: THE YEAR IN HEADLINES


It's been a bustling, successful, and at times poignant, year for the Railway. Here are some sample headlines (and a few choice photos) taken from eNewsletters past:


FOSP PAINTS THE "FORTH BRIDGE" (27 March, 2016) 

NO. 3188 READY FOR SERVICE (19 June, 2016)

IN MEMORIAM SIMON BROWN (21 Aug., 2016)


 



The Great Central Railway has announced that Q class No. 541 will participate in its Winter Steam Gala, 27-29 Jan, 2017. More details can be found here.
BULLEID SOCIETY UPDATE: NO. 5768 SEATING, WIRING, & MORE



There are several new photos on the Bulleid Society website about the overhaul of coach No. 5768, including progress on the seating in the third class compartments, as well as work on toilets, wiring, and signage. 

ATLANTIC GROUP UPDATE: RIVETING WORK



We are getting to the point where we need to work at height, so have now invested in new industry standard tower scaffolding in order to be safe in so doing. 

Pictured above is a small selection assembled to allow us access to the top of the cab front to mark off the holes onto the angle iron that gets riveted to the cab roof and bolted to the spectacle plates. In due course more of this will be erected to down both sides of the cab as well as across the cab front in preparation for fitting the cab roof to the cab sides.

While up in the roof it allows a nice shot of the chassis to be taken. Apologies for the lack of gloss on the splashers: dust!

The cab roof is in two parts. This photo is the small rear part that was made removable to allow access for the chains from the breakdown cranes or those in the main works to get at the drag beam. The cab roof projects some way past the drag beam.

How we love the "Brighton" cab roof. There are 315 3/8" rivets in this piece alone. The chain hoist and strops allow us to angle the roof to get the rivets square to the plate ... MORE

PLEASE NOTE: All services operating until 24 December are pre-booked only.
DOWN MEMORY LINE: THE BOLIVIAN TRAIN GRAVEYARD

 
 
A somewhat different kind of Down Memory Line this month, looking at a somewhat different kind of train preservation: the Bolivian Train Graveyard ...

From Atlas Obscura: Filled with hollowed out bodies that have completely rusted over, and other remains, the "Great Train Graveyard" can be found on the otherwise deserted outskirts of Uyuni, a small trading region high in the Andean plain.

Uyuni has long been known as an important transportation hub in South America, and it connects several major cities.

In the early 19th century, big plans were made to build an even bigger network of trains out of Uyuni, but the project was abandoned because of a combination of technical difficulties and tension with neighbouring countries. The trains and other equipment were left to rust and fade out of memory.

Beautiful and haunting photos of the rusting iron carcasses also can be found in the following YouTube slideshow ...
 
 
 
The blog Deserted Places has more on this "loco boneyard": Another tourist attraction of Uyuni though is the "Cementerio de trenes", the antique train cemetery, three kilometers outside the town. From the end of the 19th century till this day, Uyuni was an important transportation hub for trains.

The rail lines, constructed between 1888 and 1892, were built by British engineers who were invited by the British-sponsored Antofagasta and Bolivia Railway Companies.
 
For the next decades the trains were used for carrying minerals from the Andes mountains to the Pacific Ocean ports.

[It should be noted that the nearby "Salar de Uyuni" is the world's largest salt flats. It was mined for its sodium, potassium, lithium, and magnesium salts, as well as borax. It is now well-known as a breeding ground for flamingoes.] 

During the 1940s the mining industry collapsed, partly because of mineral depletion. Many trains were abandoned outside Uyuni, forming this mass train cemetery. The train cars and locomotives, many of them dating back to the early 20th century, are now rusted and eroded by the salt winds blowing over Uyuni ...
 
 
PHOTO GALLERY

Mike Anton's Bluebell Railway 2016 gallery includes really amazing 360° views such as this one inside Sharpethorne Tunnel

Martin Lawrence's November 2016 and December 2016 galleries.


The Sunday gang at Horsted Keynes on 4 Dec., 2016, by Martin Lawrence.


PLEASE NOTE THAT THE eNEWSLETTER WILL BE TAKING A BREAK IN DECEMBER TO CELEBRATE THE FESTIVE SEASON, BACK IN JANUARY 2017! MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM US ALL.

Thank you for reading our eNewsletter. Don't forget to pass it along to friends, family, and colleagues to let them know all the activities and opportunities--for young and old alike--that the Bluebell Railway offers. Don't hesitate to get in touch if you have Railway news to share or if you have a question or comment.
 
Sincerely,
 
John Walls
Editor-in-Chief, eNewsletter
Bluebell Railway


IN THIS ISSUE
Railway Information


Timetable & Fares

Special Events

Special Offers

Season Tickets

Getting to the Railway

Museum & Archive 

Online Shop

Disabled Access

History of the Railway

Frequently Asked Questions

Contact Us 
The Stations
Sheffield Park

Horsted Keynes

Kingscote

East Grinstead

Line Map
Trains  
& Services
Train Roster

Loco Roster

Eating & Catering Services

The Golden Arrow

Murder Mystery Evenings

Afternoon Tea/The Wealden Rambler

Railway Weddings

Services for Groups

Educational Services

Corporate & Film Services
Fundraising
Accessible Steam Heritage Appeal

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


Attractions Near
the Railway














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