BLUEBELL RAILWAY DIESEL GALA 2024


RETURNING ONCE AGAIN TO THE BLUEBELL RAILWAY FOR 2024, THE DIESEL GALA WEEKEND IS BACK, WITH A HOST OF VISITORS FOR THE EVENT!


WHATS ON

RETURNING FOR 2024

After renewed calls for this event to return, we heard you and its back! The Bluebell Railway once again will play host to a three day Diesel Gala weekend, taking place over the weekend of Friday 6th to Sunday 8th September 2024.

With intensive running, double heading & unique formations throughout the weekend as well as some very special guests, its an event you won’t want to miss out on in September!

We hope to bring you a fantastic visiting line up to the railway for the return of this event. As we get closer to the event date, further details and gala visitors will be released in due course.


TIMETABLE

A special timetable for this event is in the planning stage at this time. It shall be released in due course.


 

DIESEL GALA VISITORS 2024

(MORE GUESTS WILL BE ANNOUNCED IN DUE COURSE. LOOK OUT FOR FURTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS!)

English Electric Class 20 No. D8188

With Thanks From The Somerset & Dorset Locomotive Ltd & The Watercress Line

The Bluebell Railway is delighted to welcome English Electric Class 20 No D8188 as one of our visiting locomotives to the 2024 Diesel Gala Weekend.

D8188 was manufactured by the English Electric Company’s Vulcan Foundry in 1966 as Works No D3669. It commenced service in January 1967 until its withdrawal from BR Service in January 1990. The locomotive underwent a renumbering process, becoming 20188 on 1 January 1973 under the TOPS classification system.

Notably after its BR career, it gained cinematic stardom as D8188 was retrofitted with mock armour for its portrayal as a Russian locomotive in the 1995 James Bond film ‘GoldenEye’ which was shot at the Nene Valley Railway. By August 1995, the locomotive was owned by Waterman Railways until The Somerset & Dorset Locomotive Company, the current owner of the locomotive, was established in 2000 and took ownership of the locomotive.

D8188 was temporarily loaned to the SVR in July 2007 to aid in repair operations after severe storm damage. It saw extensive use in the ensuing months and was later integrated as a permanent member of the SVR fleet in 2008/9. A maintenance period then followed at Washwood Heath in 2015, and the locomotive returned to SVR in February 2016. When it was deemed surplus to requirements at the SVR,  D8188 had spells operating on the Chinnor & Princes Risborough Railway & The Spa Valley Railway. In 2021, alongside sister locomotive D8059, D8188 moved to its current home, The Watercress Line, where the locomotive works along the Hampshire line today.

We are extremely grateful to welcome this locomotive to our event. With this, we must thank the Somerset & Dorset Locomotive Ltd & The Watercress Line for allowing this locomotive to take part and travel to the Bluebell Railway for the diesel gala.

BR Class 14 No. D9551

With Thanks From The SVR Class 14 Company Ltd & The Severn Valley Railway.

The Bluebell Railway is delighted to announce our second gala visitor for our 2024 diesel weekend, BR Class 14 No. D9551

This specific diesel type, a multi purpose 650hp diesel hydraulic locomotive, was produced at BR’s Swindon Works between the years 1964 and 1965, as part of the modernisation plan of diesel hydraulic motive power that the Western Region were investing in at that time. They also gained the nickname “Teddy Bears”. The comment came from the then Swindon Works foreman George Cole who quoted “We’ve built the Great Bear, now we’re going to build a Teddy Bear!

The Class 14’s became the last diesel hydraulic to be built by British Railways and the last UK purpose built locomotive at Swindon Works.  This particular locomotive, D9551, was one of the last ones made in the Class 14 series and it started its journey in 1965, based at Cardiff and Swansea. However, after serving for slightly less than 3 years, it was retired on 1 April 1968 after being transfered from the Western Region to Hull Dairycoates shed.

In the same year, a company called Stewarts & Lloyds Minerals Ltd, which was part of the British Steel Corporation, bought 23 Class 14s, and D9551 was among them. The locomotive was then sent to Corby and renumbered as BSC no. 50. It served diligently until withdrawal in 1981. Later that same year, D9551 was bought by ‘Railway Power Services’, a group made up of members from West Somerset Railway and Diesel and Electric Preservation Group. Being acquired by the group, D9551 would haul both works and passenger services on the WSR before later moving to the Royal Deeside Railway Preservation Society in 2003.

By 2013, The Severn Valley Railway had gathered examples of all remaining Western Region diesel hydraulic classes. The SVR Class 14 Company Limited, after searching for another example of the class, bought D9551 in September 2013. After a thorough repair at Bridgnorth, the locomotive re-entered service in 2017. After running in experimental BR ‘Golden Ochre’ colour scheme for many years, D9551 now carries a more authentic BR two tone green livery as we will see when the locomotive visits for our gala.

The Bluebell Railway wishes to thank both the SVR Class 14 Company Ltd & The Severn Valley Railway for allowing D9551 to attend and take part in this year’s diesel gala weekend.

BR Class 33 No. 33111

With Thanks From The Class 33/1 Preservation Company and The Swanage Railway

The Bluebell Railway is delighted to announce our third gala visitor for our 2024 diesel weekend, BR Class 33/1 No. 33111

No doubt a popular choice amongst our Southern Region fans and a fitting addition in keeping with the local area, the Class 33 ‘Cromptons’ have been a mainstay of diesel traction in the South and beyond over the last 60 years. A healthy number have survived and are still active on both preserved lines and the national network. In total, 29 of the class have survived into preservation- 17  of the 33/0 variant, 8 of the  33/1 variant and 4 of the 33/2 variant.

98 of the class were built by the Birmingham Wagon & Carriage Company between 1960 and 1962. Numbered as D6528 and the 28th member of the class to be built in 1960, our visiting Class 33 was the last example of 19 locomotives to be converted into a 33/1 variant of the class (especially modified to be compatible for ‘Push Pull’ operation bought about with the Bournemouth Electrification scheme between 1966-67). Renumbered as 33111 in 1974 under TOPs, the locomotive would remain with BR until its withdrawal from service in 1991.

The Class 33/1 Preservation Company purchased 33111 in 1992 and then followed spells at Eastleigh, St Leonards before transferring to Barrow Hill roundhouse, where in 2004, 33111 moved and operated for the first time in preservation. In 2008, 33111 moved to The Swanage Railway in Dorset, the current home for this Class 33 where it can be seen regularly on passenger services and engineering trains.

The Bluebell Railway wishes to thank both the Class 33/1 Preservation Company and The Swanage Railway for allowing 33111 to attend and take part in this year’s diesel gala weekend.

BR Class 37 D6851 'Flopsie'

With Thanks From Locomotive Services Limited

The Bluebell Railway is delighted to announce our fourth visiting locomotive to our 2024 gala, Class 37 D6851 ‘Flopsie’.

The British Rail Class 37 is a diesel-electric locomotive, also known as the English Electric Type 3. The Class were brought into service as a part of the 1955 Modernisation plan to replace steam traction . The class were numbered in two series, D6600-D6608 and D6700-D6999. The Class 37 became a familiar sight across the entire BR network and were extremely versatile and very popular machines . They also performed well on secondary and inter-regional services for many years. They gain the nickname of  ‘Tractors’, due to their distinctive sound when under load. Class 37’s could be seen as far afield as the Scottish Highlands, North Wales Coast and Cornwall. The class were also a common feature on Southern Region metals, so they are a fitting addition to this year’s Diesel Gala line up for 2024.

D6851 was introduced in 1963 and initially served in South Wales from new. It was renumbered twice in the spell of its BR career, 37151 and 37667. The loco also carried two names prior its current name on the mainline, the first being ‘Wensleydale’ in 1988 (which lasted less than two years) before being renamed as ‘Meldon Quarry Centenary’ in 1997. Having spanned a career up and down the entire BR network, it was withdrawn by EWS in 2006, where afterwards it passed into private ownership with HNRC and then DRS ownership before eventually being bought by its current owners, Locomotive Services Limited, in 2017.

The locomotive was named  ‘Flopsie’ at Crewe in 2021 and carries an 1960’s BR Brunswick Green Livery and has reverted back to its pre TOPS number of D6851.

A large group of Class 37’s remain active on the national network in private ownership and preservation. A testament of the design and legacy of this first generation diesel design.

The Bluebell Railway wish to thank Locomotive Services Limited for allowing D6851 to attend and take part in this year’s diesel gala.

BLUEBELL RAILWAY DIESEL PIE & MASH SPECIAL- FRIDAY 6TH & SATURDAY 7TH SEPTEMBER

TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE!

BOOK NOW FOR AN EXTRA SPECIAL PIE AND MASH SPECIAL FOR OUR DIESEL GALA!

FRIDAY 6TH & SATURDAY 7TH SEPTEMBER

We are thrilled to announce a special Pie & Mash supper event during our upcoming Diesel Gala weekend in September.

The motive power (subject to availability) for this Pie & Mash special will be in the form of Class 37 D6851 ‘Flopsie’ (from Locomotive Services Limited) and Class 33 No. 33111 (from The Swanage Railway.)

Be part of this extra special inclusion to our gala weekend and treat yourself to a sumptuous Pie & Mash, hauled by two of our visiting guest locomotives.

This exclusive event promises an unforgettable night of culinary delight and nostalgic adventure. Reserve your seats now and be part of this unique celebration!

BOOK NOW!

CUSTOMER INFORMATION


Advance tickets – available to purchase until midnight the day before travel.

Upgrades – Rover Tickets are for 3rd class travel only (with the exception of BPRS LIFE Member Rovers which are 1st class). Upgrades to 1st class are available at station booking offices on the day of travel (subject to availability). 1st class Upgrades are £10 per adult and £5 per child.

BRPS – Bluebell Railway Preservation Society. Enjoy many membership benefits including discounted travel. Visit our Membership page for more information and to join.


Discounts:

  • Proof of discount eligibility will be required to be shown on the day of travel.
  • There will be no discount available for RST card holders for this event.

Facilities:

  • There are toilets at each of our stations and on some of these services (dependant on carriages on the day)
  • Food and drink is available to purchase at all of our stations

Parking:

  • Sheffield Park Station – free parking at the station
  • Horsted Keynes Station – free parking at the station
  • Kingscote – NO parking is available at this station
  • East Grinstead – free blue badge parking (5 spaces). Public parking in East Grinstead

Tickets:

  • Children under 3yrs (and babies) travel for free and don’t need a ticket
  • Tickets are valid for the date and journey specified on the ticket only
  • Advance tickets are valid for 3rd class travel only – first class upgrades are available on the day from the station booking office (subject to availability)
  • For any reasons for changing any Bluebell booking, you will be required to pay a £10.00 surcharge if you wish to change/amend your booking.

Seating: 

  • This service offers free seating
    • customers with 3rd class tickets are free to seat themselves on the trains in any 3rd class seat
    • customers who purchase a 1st class upgrade on the day may seat themselves in any 1st class seat

Accessibility:

  • We are pleased to offer a specially adapted area for wheelchair users on some departures of this service. Please call our Customer Service Team on 01825 720800 to check availability
  • If you or a member of your party have mobility issues and would like to travel on this service, please call our Customer Service Team on 01825 720800 who will be happy to discuss your requirements with you
  • Accessible toilets are available at each station, but we regret we have no “Changing Places” toilets, or accessible toilets on our trains

Dogs:

  • We are pleased to welcome dogs  – please keep them on a lead and don’t allow them on the seats when travelling on our services.

Prams/Puschairs/Buggies:

  • Prams/pushchairs/buggies are welcome.
  • Foldable/collapsible prams/pushchairs/buggies can be taken into the carriages and stowed by your seat
  • Non folding/collapsible prams/pushchairs/buggies can be left in the care of the station staff at the departure station

You can find out the very latest for this event and others throughout 2024 at the railway through our Bluebell Railway NewsLetter. Click on the button below to sign up and be the first to get the latest announcements when they are released!


Photos kindly supplied by Andrew Strongitharm & Green Aspect Videos