Loco Update: Keeping Up with Daily Running

It’s been a few months since I last wrote an update for the eNewsletter, partly because there’s been so much other important news and partly because we’ve been very busy in the Locomotive Works!

As we move out of spring and into the summer, the daily running season has started, and on average between now and October two steam engines a day are required. This roster is usually one large locomotive ("Camelot", S15, etc.) and one medium locomotive (O1, H class, etc.) and on weekends, a third locomotive is required for the Wealden Rambler and Golden Arrow dining trains.

Over the last few months we have only had three or four locomotives available for traffic as we’ve undertaken repairs to both Q class No. 30541 and BR Standard Class 5 No. 73082 "Camelot". That means S15 No. 847 has borne the brunt of our heavier trains, and the O1 and H class have almost been in continuous service. Despite a quick change of valve head rings on the S15 early one morning, all three engines have performed faultlessly.

I’m pleased to say repairs to the left hand side trailing driving wheelset manganese axle box liner on "Camelot" are complete and the wheelset was reunited with the frames in early May. While the loco was in the Loco Works, a number of other maintenance items were attended to, including replacing some brass bushes on the valve gear and attending to the blowdown valve, before the locomotive officially became the first to use the new maintenance shed. More about this later. Whilst out of traffic "Camelot’s" annual boiler exam was completed and after successfully passing parts one and two, the locomotive returned to traffic on 1 June, 2019.

I mentioned a moment ago the new maintenance shed. This facility, part funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), was completed and handed over to the Railway on 17 May, and it was quickly put to use, housing "Camelot" for a boiler washout and for final preparations for its annual boiler exam. I can vouch personally for the new undercover facilities after spending a day working on "Camelot" in the dry while it rained heavily outside! The facility is now fully operational, and it also will provide additional undercover storage for our locomotives ... MORE

ABOVE: Derek Hayward's photo from 1 June, 2019, shows "Camelot" to the north of Deans Crossing.
Readers will note in Chris Hunford's extended Loco Report that the Railway has some very exciting news regarding the Giants of Steam Gala on 11-13 Oct., 2019. As Chris notes, LMS Coronation class No. 6233 "Duchess of Sutherland" is scheduled to be in the line up, staying at the Railway having worked the outgoing Steam Dreams tour from Sheffield Park on 5 October. BR Standard Class 7 No. 70000 "Britannia" also is scheduled to attend. Keep watching this space for more Giants news!
Martin Cresswell Becomes Safety Director

I am pleased to confirm that at the Bluebell Railway PLC Board Meeting on 30 May, 2019, approval was given for Martin Cresswell to assume responsibilities of the Railway’s Safety Director with effect from 29 August, the date of the PLC Annual General Meeting.

Martin joined the Bluebell Railway 40 years ago and has been a working volunteer for a similar period, focusing his attention in the Locomotive Department. A resident of East Grinstead, Martin graduated from Portsmouth University and joined British Rail in August 1979 as a Technical Officer, moving into civil engineering as a graduate trainee. 

The safety dimension of his career started around 25 years ago, and he is now Operations Safety Advisor for the Rail Division of Amey. Martin is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and a Chartered Civil Engineer.

I also would like to express my personal thanks and gratitude, as well as those of the Board and the Railway, for the significant contribution that Chris White has made during his long tenure as a Director with responsibilities that included both infrastructure and safety. 

Worthy of specific mention here is Chris’s help and leadership in delivering our Northern Extension Project. The role of Safety Director is crucial to Railway operations, and Chris has guided and positioned the Railway well to meet the ever-increasing demands and expectations in safety.

Please join me in welcoming Martin and in thanking Chris for all his hard work.

By Dick Fearn, Chairman, Bluebell Railway PLC
OP4 Progress: Cladding & Pouring

There has been a lot of progress in the past couple of weeks on the carriage shed and Heritage Skills Centre (HSC). The contract for the cladding work has been let, and work started on 9 May, 2019. So far, the cladding rails have been fixed on the western and eastern faces. The cladding sheets were delivered on 30 May, and work will start to affix the cladding on 3 June.

Work on the HSC ground floor is also progressing well, with the external walls being built up to finished floor level. The floor will be completed in a single pour, currently programmed for the end of June.
Additionally, work has started on the track, making the final connection to the running line, improving access to roads C and E, and providing permanent connection to roads F, G, H, and J.

By Barry Luck, OP4 Project Manager (Infrastructure)
The western side, with cladding rails complete.
The HSC ground floor being prepared.
The eastern side, with cladding rails almost complete.
The track to roads C and E has been lifted and the sub-base is being prepared.

Here are some exciting summer event dates for your calendar ...

• 15-16 June: Road Meets Rail, plus the Sussex Ales Beer Festival (NOTE: a two-day event)
• 29-30 June: Model Railway Weekend
• 27 July: Toy and Rail Collectors Fair 
• 10-11 August: Steam Through the Ages!
24-26 August: Teddy Bears’ Picnic  (children who bring Teddy along get free travel!)

Working Steam Festival: 15-16 June, 2019

Step back in time for a summer (and Father's Day) weekend of steam-powered demonstrations and vintage fairground fun. Traction engines, road rollers, steam wagons, showman’s engines, and more will bring Horsted Keynes station to life with recreations of a bygone age.
Gaining Traction

Neil Glaskin notes, from 4 June, 2019, that the first engines have arrived at Horsted Keynes for the Road Meets Rail Working Steam Festival.

"Many more to come!" adds Neil.
"Rail Disaster at Penmaenmawr" by Franz Emile Herman Krause, from the Conwy Guildhall collection. 
Two short extracts from film of Cardiff, Wales, in the 1920s, on and near St. Mary's Street.
No. 40004 at Chester on 28 July, 1979. 
Wash & Brush Up

Writes Horsted Keynes Senior Station Master Tim Baker, "Whilst work on the station toilets at Horsted Keynes is currently on hold, the station staff have been busy giving the station front a heavy clean. The porch and guttering have received a wash down and gutters emptied."

Looking good, Tim!
What's the Point?

That's a question you may well ask about work going on in the Down Yard at Horsted Keynes. However, it's all part of the master plan to improve access to the Carriage & Wagon Works and the OP4 shed, while also providing an improved engineer's siding and an extra storage road.

The point in question is the three-way turnout that is now being installed in great haste by the Infrastructure Team and that is critical to the whole operation of the new layout. Haste being the operative word here: the "Obo" is currently marooned in E road and whatever is in the paint shop on D road is similarly stranded. There was always going to be a time when the existing layout would have to be altered, and a lot of very careful planning has gone into this operation so that work with carriage fleet maintenance is not unduly affected.

Jon Goff—who is the mastermind behind this new layout and who has spent many hours measuring and then drawing the plans for virtually every rail and sleeper for the new work—writes: 

The new route to the Down Yard will run in and crossover via a gentle pair of left hand points, the second one of which will be part of a three-way point, the first part of which is already in place. The right-hand part of the three-way point has a slightly sharper curve and will be a new E road, which is the maintenance road now under cover in OP4. The middle part of the three-way point will be the straight road going off to another set of points for B and D roads.

B, D, and E roads already have been removed, dug out, and levelled, and Terram protective sheeting has been put down, ballasted, and bulldozed flat already. E road is the most critical road and is to be disconnected for the shortest length of time and so the track inside the shed is already being re-installed straight and level.

When finished the track work will be able to support any rolling stocking in any road shunted by any engine we have—except A road, where the existing layout has a sharp curve out of the old shed.

Three-way points—which need three crossing noses and four switchblades—are complex arrangements at the best of times. Making one to fit a particular location using some standard components, some re-engineered parts, and odd bits of rail you just happened to have spare—that is quite a job. But as always, the Infrastructure Team is up to the challenge, and it is very rewarding to see everything going together as planned so that shunting can take place again after a short break in operations. 

By Mike Hopps
Blast from the Past: Rocketman's Visit to Sheffield Park in 1970.

Singer Sir Elton John is in the news with the release of the biopic Rocketman. For the cover of Elton's third studio album, Tumbleweed Connection, he and Bernie Taupin, who co-wrote the songs, visited Sheffield Park to be photographed outside the Museum on platform 2

The front of the wrap-round cover shows Elton sitting by the Museum door, and the rear cover shows Bernie leaning against the Museum window.

The cover image can be compared with an up-to-date photo. Of the enamel signs seen, only the Rajah sign is still present. Inside the booklet, included with the album, a picture shows Elton and Bernie in coach No. 1098 (above left). The album was released in October 1970 and spent 20 weeks in the charts, rising to number 2.

By Tony Hillman, Archivist

Played in a picturesque field next to the Railway, the annual "Freshfields Test" between the Bluebell Railway XI and near neighbours Scaynes Hill CC will take place on 4 Aug., 2019.

Members of any age and cricketing ability are welcome to play. Contact John Walls at if you are interested.
Two follow-up items from the recent Society AGM/EGM:

• The newly elected Society post holders have been added to the Society website's Who's Who page .

• Revised rules, largely paving the way to implement the conclusions of the Governance Review and re-form the Society as a Company Limited by Guarantee (as agreed at the EGM) can be read here .
NOTE: The eNewsletter will be going on its summer holidays for the rest of June and in July.

The next issue will be 14 July, 2019, which will be the only issue in that month. Enjoy the summer!
Operation Back-in-the-Day

Tim Robbins writes, "Having just admired the shot on the website of the interior of the impressive OP4 building, I thought you might be amused to see this picture (taken in February 1969) of one of the Railway's earlier efforts in this direction. More evidence of just how far we have come in the last 50 years."
Taking Guard

From Jack Lamb (1 June, 2019): "My photos from today's engineer's train. This was put on for myself and my colleague John as part of our final guard's training session before we take our tests."

Good luck Jack and John!
"The Train Guy": The Railway on 28 May, 2019. 
JR Railway Videos: "The late May Bank Holiday saw the Bluebell Railway operate its two-train timetable, utilising SECR Wainwright H class No. 263 and SR Maunsell S15 class No. 847 to each work three return trips to East Grinstead."
Are you looking for the perfect gift for Father's Day? Why not treat dad to a Carvery at Sheffield Park Station on 16 June, 2019? In fact, why not make it a whole day or weekend out by combining the Carvery lunch with tickets to Road Meets Rail , the working steam festival?!
Congratulations to the winners of the 2018-2019 Football Competition , raising funds for the restoration of Maunsell Restaurant Car No. 7864. The top six finishers were: Peter Richards 1 (34 points); David Pegg 1 (34); Peter Richards 2 (36); John Elphick 1 (38); M.J. Overbury (42); and Andrew Sinclair (44). Unlike the real Premier League, in this league the lower the points score, the better the position.
Your Chance to Help at Horsted Keynes

We are about to start an exciting new project at Horsted Keynes station which presents an opportunity for you to help us. We need volunteers to assist with the first phase of transforming our existing gentlemen's toilet in the Carriage & Wagon Department.

Funding has been provided for the Railway to change the existing toilet into an accessible toilet/baby changing unit, so that Horsted Keynes station will at last be able to offer this much-needed facility.

The work will involve taking down existing partitions and preparing the site for contractors to complete the conversion. If you are interested in getting involved, we would love to hear from you. Please contact me in the Carriage & Wagon Department or email for further details.

It is envisaged that this preparatory phase should take no longer than three days, but there will be plenty of other jobs in the pipeline if you should wish to continue to help us. If you are a member and haven't volunteered before, this could be the opportunity you've been waiting for.
I am looking forward to hearing from you!

By Sheina Foulkes, Supervisor, Carriage & Wagon Department
Keeping Them in Suspense

Just one of the photos posted on the Railway's Facebook page from the STEM Fair (27-27 May, 2019). It shows the Saturday winners of the the Peter’s Railway bridge building workshop.

The Thomas family managed a top score of 4.3 kg, which was supported across a gap by a bridge made from just straws, string, and masking tape!
From the Archive
From 20 Sept.,1952: 4MT No. 80012 at Oxted with the 4:18 p.m. from London Bridge to Brighton. 
Tony Hillman has picked out some dynamic pictures of 4MTs from the John J. Smith collection.

John Sandys (3 June, 2019): "An unscheduled visit with No. 847 standing in for 'Camelot' which was having its blow down pipe repaired. Also, work is continuing on the track laying at Horsted Keynes."
Philip Brown visited the Railway on 22 May, 2019, and the No. 847 fireman invited him on the engine to enable this dynamic photo to be taken. 
There are many new photos in Derek Hayward's 2019 gallery.

John Sandys (30 May, 2019): "A lovely summery day with 'Camelot' spotted out on test, plus the S15 hauling the second service train, and the O1 in charge of the first train out of Sheffield Park. Plus, some pics of progress on OP4 at Horsted Keynes."
Ant Harrison's Twitter photo shows the "beautiful SECR H class No. 263 ready to depart from East Grinstead this morning for Sheffield Park" (from 25 May, 2019).
Brian Lacey (25 May, 2019): One of No. 847's crew brings coal forward in the tender as the locomotive waits to receive the token and signal to proceed with the 12:17 p.m. departure to East Grinstead.
Thank you for reading our eNewsletter. It's because of you--our members, volunteers, visitors, and supporters--that the Railway continues its success.

Please continue to support us by passing this issue onto your friends, family, and/or colleagues by forwarding using the social media links above, or encourage others to sign up for the twice-monthly eNewsletter  at this link

If you ever have a question, comment, or contribution, don't hesitate to get in touch with me at 

John Walls
Editor-in-Chief, eNewsletter
Bluebell Railway

© Bluebell Railway Preservation Society 2019