Fenchurch's 150th Birthday Bash



Come and celebrate Terrier No. 72 Fenchurch’s 150 birthday with an event that celebrates 150 years of transport from 29 – 31 July 2022.



All bark, but no bite!

This event will be an enthusiast and family-friendly affair which celebrates the small, but mighty A1, or ‘Terrier’ Class locomotive and looks at how transport has changed over the last 150 years since they were first built.

Built at nearby Brighton Works, the Terriers were designed in 1870 to haul commuter trains on the heavily congested lines in South and South-East London. Over the weekend we will feature special guest engines, but the big celebration will be to see Fenchurch hopefully back out of overhaul and steaming along the rails where she belongs!

The nickname of ‘Terrier’ referred to the distinctive bark sound the locomotive produced when working. A busy timetable will give plenty of opportunity to see the little engines in action and ride behind them. Hop on and off trains all day with your event ticket. With this ticket you can start your journey at any of our four stations, but don’t forget to refer to the timetable for the day of travel so you can plan where and when you will catch your trains.

Family Fun!

This event will be educational and fun! With hands-on and interactive STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) family activities and workshops, children’s authors plus displays of vintage transport from air, sea, road and rail, there will be something for everyone. Free history of transport trails will help children trace a timeline from Fenchurch to the future.

Keep an eye on the website and social media for a taster of the displays and announcements of bookable workshops. A downloadable programme of activities and displays will be available on the website nearer to the event and will include a timetable for free vintage bus trips between Kingscote Station and East Grinstead Station.

Programmes will also be available on the day.


More Bark, Definitely no Bite!

During the weekend, there will be a fun dog show at Horsted Keynes Station with classes for Terriers (of course), Terrier wannabes and Terriers in disguise. All dogs welcome. (Dogs can travel on our trains, just keep paws on the floors and no doggy feet on the seats!) Special guest judges to be announced.

The Stars of our Show!

The Bluebell Railway is home to Terrier No. 672, Fenchurch, currently in overhaul and expected to feature in the gala. We can now announce that Fenchurch will be wearing the Stroudley Improved Engine Green livery (a sort of yellow ochre) and the number 72, as it would have done in 1872. Fenchurch looked pretty sad in a dark corner of the running shed while she waited for an overhaul – there was even a tree growing out of her coal bunker!

Terrier No. 55, Stepney, is currently in pride of place in SteamWorks! the interactive learning zone in the running shed at Sheffield Park. Here you can step onto his footplate and imagine what it was like to be a fireman or driver back in the Victorian times. Stepney starred his own Thomas the Tank Engine story – Stepney the “Bluebell” Engine written by the Rev. W. Awdry.

Stepney is also the star of The Stepney Club, our club for children up to 9 years old. Members of this club enjoy receiving birthday cards from Stepney and a magazine packed with stories three times a year, plus members benefits too of course!

Announcing our Special Guests!

Courtesy of The Isle of Wight Railway

We are pleased to announce that No. 72 Fenchurch will be joined by two guest ‘Terrier’ class locomotives. From The Isle of Wight Railway, we will welcome W11 Newport. Newport will travel by road and by sea to reach us – which should provide quite a spectacle for onlookers! From our friends at Kent and East Sussex Railway, we look forward to welcoming No. 70 Poplar. All appearances by locomotives are subject to availability on the day.

Toy and Rail Collectors Fair

This will feature at Horsted Keynes Station on Sunday 31 July. Perhaps there, or in the Gift and Model Shop at Sheffield Park Station, you will be able to find a model Terrier for your collection and ride behind a real one too!

Get Animated about this Event!

Please enjoy the short animated film created by Max Davies on behalf of the Bluebell Railway to celebrate Fenchurch’s 150th Birthday. look out for all the little details in this clever piece of stop-motion animation: