The Bluebell Times

It’s a Terrier Special this month as we get ever closer to Fenchurch’s 150th Anniversary Bash

In this issue:


  • Preparations are underway for Fenchurch’s Birthday – including a special guest coming by ferry!
  • The story of how a locomotive designed to work in the London suburbs in the 1870s was still hard in the southern countryside at work 90 years later
  • Updates from Horsted Keynes as renovation work starts – and news of another generous donation to the Jewel in the Crown appeal
  • ’Stowe’ departs for overhaul work at Quainton – while ‘Wightwick Hall’ travels the other way to help with our summer services

The Bluebell Times is published monthly on the second Friday of every month. The next issue is due out on Friday 12 August.

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June 2022

  • The company chairman paints a picture of how the Railway could appear to our visitors of the future
  • A round up from the recent BRPS AGM
  • Five minutes with new BRPS Vice Chairman Neil Glaskin
  • A new home for the Yankee Tank No. 30064
  • Work starts on “The Jewel in the Crown”
  • A walk along the Forest Row line in 1963
  • New museum photos capture Beachy Head at Horsted Keynes in the 1950s, and Fenchurch in the 1960s.

May 2022

  • A reminder of the forthcoming Society AGM – and reciprocal travel arrangements for working volunteers
  • From shop floor to board room, opportunities aplenty to help the Railway
  • An update on the Western Extension Project
  • Fenchurch is back on its wheels – and the boiler is progressing rapidly as well
  • Carriage Shop donates £4,000 to two worthy restoration projects
  • Bluebell Standards caught in passing at Horsted Keynes

April 2022

  • Some good news on coal supply – but costs have gone up considerably
  • Initial feedback from the spring volunteer workshops
  • The Awake the Giant team reveal plans for the locomotive to move south – and a range of merchandise
  • Update on projects from around the railway
  • On this day in 1951 – Fenchurch and a Brighton Atlantic met in Newhaven, a pairing we can soon recreate

March 2022

  • Flying Scotsman to fly south again
  • Storm Eunice leaves the railway battered but unbowed
  • Plans for the miniature railway gather pace
  • The Jewel in the Crown appeal formally closes having raised a tremendous £591,500 – now the work on the ground can begin
  • The museum unveils a new trove of historic images

February 2022

  • An update on the first volunteer workshop – with two more opportunities to attend
  • How our South Eastern survivor traces its roots back to Glasgow
  • The Heritage Skills Centre section of OP4 is open – find out how the project started and raised the all-important funds
  • Workshop progress on ‘Fenchurch’ and our historic wagon fleet
  • More historic photos added to the museum website – and a promise of another trove to come.

January 2022

  • Unique surviving South Eastern Railway locomotive No. 65 is acquired by the Bluebell Railway Trust
  • The Jewel in the Crown appeal hits its initial fundraising target – but more match funds have been released to raise even more
  • A packed schedule of special events for 2022 …
  • … and a commercial round up from 2021
  • The C&W trimming team are the first to move into the new Heritage Skills Centre
  • The Bluebell archive moves to a new home at Beare Green
  • Workshop progress on ‘Fenchurch’, ’Sir Archibald Sinclair’ and No. 30541

December 2021

  • Updates from the latest board meeting pointing the way to 2022
  • Dates for next year’s volunteer workshops confirmed, and details of how to attend
  • A last push needed to get the Jewel in the Crown appeal up to its target of £540,000
  • ‘Remembrance’ nameplate from the LBSCR memorial locomotive goes on display in the museum
  • Five minutes with new Society trustee and filming liaison officer Mike Hopps
  • 500 new photos are uploaded to the museum website – including the beginnings of the John Scrace collection
  • A new footbridge for East Grinstead mainline station

November 2021

  • The Jewel in the Crown appeal is off to a strong start – but there is still time to see your donation doubled
  • A young 9F Club member raises money for the appeal – by selling lemonade
  • Bluebell volunteer Chris Cooper is awarded a lifetime achievement award by the National Transport Trust, after more than sixty years dedication to the Railway
  • How volunteering in our museum led to a second career as a community rail line officer
  • The Heritage Skills Centre is signed off for use — and the carriage trimming team are first to move in
  • A photo retrospective from our hugely popular ‘Giants of Steam’ event
  • Local signal box name boards on display in the museum
  • An alien presence in SteamWorks!

October 2021

– Paul Churchman is elected to be the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society chairman
– A welcome boost to the Jewel in the Crown appeal from the Horsted Keynes Carriage Shop
– Bestselling author Jacqueline Wilson visits the Railway
– An East Grinstead porter’s second life in print, parliament and far-flung places
– Behind the scenes in the carriage shed as two more vintage carriages approach completion
– Enjoying the tranquillity of our Memorial Garden
– The Awake the Giant group launch a photographic competition
– A walk along the ‘Jungle Line’ in 1959

Special issue – The Jewel in the Crown appeal

  • The Grand Plan for Horsted Keynes
  • The condition of the station – and how you can help restore it to its former glory
  • A history of the station, in words and pictures
  • Behind the scenes photos from some of the many films and TV productions shot at the station
  • A story of the life – and death – of an Edwardian railway worker at the station.

September 2021

  • A reminder about the upcoming Bluebell Railway Preservation Society AGM, including all the candidates standing for election
  • The latest news from the volunteer co-ordinator
  • A selection of new dining trains for the autumn
  • Uprated power supply installed at Horsted Keynes
  • An update from the team raising money for locomotive No. 92240
  • A round-up of the 60+1 anniversary weekend in words and photos
  • Historic railway scenes from the Bluebell Railway Museum Archive, taken on 10 September past

August 2021

  • Appointments of a new Chairman and Locomotive Engineering Director
  • A wartime locomotive icon hired for the summer season
  • Two visitors announced for “Giants of Steam”
  • An update on progress with the Heritage Skills Centre
  • More photos of the line on the eve of preservation in 1959

July 2021

  • Appointment of a volunteer co-ordinator
  • Use your skills to help the Bluebell Railway Trust with fundraising and accounting
  • The arrival of ‘Crompton’ D6570
  • A round up of activity in our carriage and wagon workshop
  • A walk along the line in July 1959
  • The end of steam on 9 July 1967 – on the Western Region!

June 2021

  • Details about the first events of 2021
  • An update on the arrangements for the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society AGM
  • The future for our splendid Pullman Train
  • Readers’ reaction to the pressures on our carriage fleet
  • Pictures from the Sheffield Park gift shop following its refit
  • The Bluebell Railway Museum – 10 years on
  • Buy a limited edition 60th anniversary cushion – and support the Heritage Skills Centre
  • And much, much more

May 2021

  • News of Fenchurch’s overhaul as our oldest locomotive approaches its 150th birthday
  • The pressure to maintain our carriage fleet
  • Update on plans for our 60+1 anniversary
  • The launch of our new Kingscote virtual tour
  • Five minutes with a former naval pilot now kept busy at Horsted Keynes
  • An original song celebrating the rhythm of our locomotives

April 2021

  • More virtual tours coming soon
  • A new addition to SteamWorks!
  • A special Easter message from the Railway’s chaplain
  • An in-depth look at ‘Camelot’

March 2021

  • Updated schedule of events for 2021
  • Government promotion of our virtual tours
  • Memories of trainspotting in the 1960s

February 2021

  • Details of a surprise 100th birthday present for a lifetime member
  • A closer look at H class locomotive No. 263
  • Detailed information on how smoke deflectors work
  • Your help needed identifying some old photos
  • Puzzles with links to local branch lines

January 2021

  • Wishes from across the Bluebell Railway for 2021
  • An honour from the Queen for one volunteer
  • The first virtual tour using some of the Government’s grant money
  • Three generations of one family who all volunteer at the Railway
  • An update on the tender plate from SE&CR Stirling F class No. 31

December 2020

  • Christmas greetings from the Railway’s chaplain
  • Reports and photos on the start of SteamLights
  • Reasons to feel positive about 2020
  • News of sponsorship deals for equipment for the locomotive department
  • How the filming generator van was prepared for SteamLights
  • An update on the appeal to return the 9F to traffic
  • A festive Spot the Difference competition

November 2020

  • A review of the “Off the Rails” event showcasing goods trains and vintage vehicles
  • How the locomotive department reached “Peek” performance in its cleaning
  • Suggestions for Bluebell-related Christmas presents
  • Auction success in obtaining one of the nameplates for ‘Ardingly’ locomotive
  • Word Search puzzle about Railway Works
  • Down Memory Line and On This Day with tales of yesteryear

October 2020

  • Help support the Railway at no cost to yourself
  • Searching railway auction catalogues for items of interest
  • A day on the footplate with a visiting charter
  • Down Memory Line and On This Day
  • Guess the Year and Word Search puzzles

September 2020

  • Details of the Bluebell Railway’s heritage grant from the National Lottery fund
  • Reports on the completion of the Accessible Steam Heritage (ASH) project in SteamWorks! with the installation of a ramp for footplate access and new buffer stops.
  • The story behind the Elton John album cover photo opportunity
  • More tales of working goods trains
  • A debate over the colour of The Bluebell Railway nameplate
  • Guess the Year and Word Search puzzles

Issue 11

  • Reports and photos of the Grand Reopening at Sheffield Park station
  • The view from the platforms and from the footplate are covered in depth alongside the Virtual Gala for those who couldn’t be there for the anniversary weekend.

Issue 10

  • Find out why there’s more to being a Train Guard than waving green flags and blowing whistles
  • A closer look at one of our industrial locomotives which featured in the 50th anniversary celebrations
  • An explanation of why train crews regard the line as effectively a staircase
  • A themed Word Search puzzle to coincide with the 60th anniversary
  • New puzzles as well as the regular favourites

Issue 9

  • Details of the limited edition 60th anniversary souvenir Edmondson tickets
  • Learn more about the married couple who cover everything from footplate turns to filming liaison
  • A closer look at the oldest locomotive at the Bluebell
  • Find out how Sheffield Park station got its name
  • What goes on inside the museum
  • New puzzles as well as the regular favourites

Issue 8

  • A report on the reopening after the pandemic of our twin railway in the Netherlands
  • TV coverage of one of our locomotives … in a programme about paintings
  • What a Running Foreman does at the railway
  • The second and final part about living on the site of a former railway station
  • A personal rundown of the top 10 railway films
  • New puzzles as well as the regular favourites
  • Special kids’ section with a new challenge

Issue 7

  • Meet the couple who live on the site of a former railway station
  • Find out how a loco was rescued from the scrapyard and restored
  • Read about ‘A Day in the Life’ of a senior station master
  • New puzzles including a Spot the Difference challenge
  • Special kids’ section with a carriage shed shunting puzzle

Issue 6

  • The initial plans for a phased reopening of the railway
  • Closing in on the fundraising target for the Emergency Appeal
  • Details of a ‘Virtual Track Trek’ sponsored walk
  • The start of the 60-day countdown to the railway’s 60th birthday
  • New puzzles as well as the regular favourites
  • Special kids’ section with a new puzzle and evacuation story

Issue 5

  • A major milestone is reached in the emergency fundraising appeal
  • Details of how to nominate the railway for more money
  • A family connection to our new-build locomotive
  • Photos from the month of May in years gone by
  • An in-depth look at a locomotive which some call a “spaceship”
  • New puzzles as well as the regular favourites
  • Special kids’ section with a signalling challenge

Issue 4

  • Raising funds for the railway’s recovery
  • An update on plans to celebrate 60 years of heritage running
  • How the online shop is bringing a little magic into youngsters’ lives
  • Storytime with the Bluebell Railway
  • Plans for a virtual gala of Bluebell Railway locomotives
  • A profile of a locomotive driver nicknamed ‘Yeti’
  • The story of special Bluebell Railway postage stamps
  • An in-depth look at one of our operational locomotives
  • A new Word Search and the answer to the previous puzzle
  • Guess the Year – plus the answers to the competition in the last issue
  • Special kids’ section with a World War II-inspired game

Issue 3

  • Details of the railway’s fundraising strategy
  • An update on the emergency appeal
  • Branch Line Weekend as imagined by a train guard
  • The story behind the special cardboard Edmondson tickets
  • The connection between digital election graphics and directing fundraising
  • The next instalment of the memories of a wartime evacuee
  • An in-depth look at one of our operational locomotives
  • A new Word Search and the answer to the previous puzzle
  • Guess the Year – plus the answers to the competition in the last issue
  • Special kids’ section with puzzles and a story

Issue 2

  • The story of the first member of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society
  • Life as a wartime evacuee by train
  • An in-depth look at one of our bigger locomotives
  • How “Railway Time” came and went
  • A new Word Search and the answer to the previous puzzle
  • Guess the Year – plus a bonus question from a reader
  • Special kids’ section

Issue 1

  • Life as a train driver
  • An in-depth look at one of our locomotives
  • Update on the emergency appeal
  • Word search
  • Guess the Year
  • Special kids’ section