Projects seeking funding

The Bluebell Railway Trust is a Registered Charity, No. 292497

Donate Online Donate monthlyDonations may be made via these buttons, and by then selecting the chosen project using the drop-down box on the form.  We hope soon to have dedicated donations pages for each project.

Please follow the links below to find more detailed information on each project.

Paving The Way Appeal Paving The Way Appeal – Horsted Keynes Platform 1 coping stones
Platform 1 at Horsted Keynes needs a significant restoration. From rebuilding the platform wall to replacing the deteriorating platform edging, the work is indeed tasking but rewarding. The charming 140-year-old coping stones adorning our platforms are nearing their end. Their century-long service has left them cracked, brittle, and worn out, especially the ones on Platform 1. We need to replace the 150-metre platform edge with 180 new stones (made from a modern composite stone material, but having the texture and form of the originals) – rather than the cheaper option of concrete edgeing. A restoration of this magnitude requires financial support. The total cost is estimated to be £26,000, with each stone costing £115. We’re inviting members and friends to donate to ‘buy’ a stone for £115.  Any surplus from this appeal will be applied to further work required on Platform 1 

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General/Unrestricted funds

These are essential to help the Trust support many aspects of our heritage, from track renewal to apprenticeships, from the match-funding of volunteer fundraising to maintaining the Trust-owned locomotives.

Jewel in the Crown - Horsted Keynes Station Jewel in the Crown Appeal – Restoration of Horsted Keynes Station

The appeal is to help in the restoration of a key station, which has featured in scores of TV programmes and films.

We are asking for public support to finance the repair of leaking roofs and replacement of rotting beams at the Grade II-listed Horsted Keynes station.

The Trust’s appeal co-ordinator Trevor Swainson said: “The station buildings were built in Victorian times and are now showing signs of wear and tear. We view Horsted Keynes as our ‘jewel in the crown’ and we hope this appeal puts the sparkle back into the station.”

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Awake the Giant  – Restoration of Standard 9F locomotive No. 92240

Built in 1958 for heavy freight & some passenger use, no.92240. It was withdrawn from service in September 1965 and languished for 13 years before being rescued by a group of enthusiasts.  The locomotive entered service at the Railway in 1990 after a 13-year overhaul.

In 2002, it was withdrawn from service and now awaits restoration.

The ‘Awake the Giant’ restoration group is seeking to raise £500,000 towards the restoration of 92240 back into service.

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1315 at East Grinstead Oxted DEMU 1305  – Restoration of the Bluebell-owned Southern Region Thumper No. 1305

Oxted units (3D) DEMUs were built for the Southern Region, specifically for use along the Oxted Line to East Grinstead and Tunbridge Wells West and were introduced in 1962.

In 1991 this unit was converted, removing the centre coach, converting the lighting to fluorescent, and fitting corridor connections between the remaining two coaches.  On 3 June 1995 at Brighton, now numbered 207202, it was named ‘Brighton Royal Pavilion’.

The restoration will be carried out by the 1305 Oxted Thumper Gang.  Once back in service it will be used for the first and last services of the day from and back to East Grinstead, allowing an earlier start for visitors travelling from the National network.  It will also be very helpful at times of high fire risk.

The work is expected to take 2 years, with your help!

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Bluebell Railway Goods Division Wagon Repair Fund  – The Bluebell Railway Goods Division

The Goods Division undertakes a whole range of projects on the Bluebell’s historic collection of wagons, from minor repairs and repaints to intermediate and full overhauls.

Recent projects have included a rapid overhaul of our “Queen Mary” brake van, completing the long-running restoration of a Bulleid open wagon, a rapid repaint of one of our SECR 7-plank wagons, and a heavy intermediate overhaul of our Southern Engineers’ wagon.

With fundraising by the group match-funded by the Trust up to £5,000 each year, your donation makes an enormous difference to our ability to undertake this work.

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Q 541 – Overhaul of the Maunsell Q-class locomotive

Built as a basic goods engine, this was Maunsell’s final design as Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Southern Railway. under BR, as 30541, it was withdrawn from service in 1964. Sent to Barry scrapyard, like many other locos there it escaped the cutter’s torch and was bought by preservationists. Arriving on the Bluebell in 1978, its owning group merged with others to form the Maunsell Locomotive Society, and it returned to steam in 1983. A subsequent overhaul saw it operate for 8 years until the end of 2022.

The loco underwent a full piston and valve exam and repair in early 2022 and the bottom half of the loco is reported to be in good condition, other than the need for attention to the tyres. The tender will remain at the Bluebell Railway for overhaul. The tender tank will need to be replaced and the tyres will require attention. The Bluebell Railway Trust and Maunsell Locomotive Society are keen to raise funds to help overhaul the locomotive. Online payments to the appeal can be made by clicking to DONATE here, and then select “Q Class 541 Overhaul” in the drop-down box.

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7864  – Restoration of the Maunsell Restaurant Car

Built to provide an at-seat dining service on the Southern’s principal expresses, this coach’s kitchen served 24 first class passengers together with 56 in an adjacent third class saloon.  In 1951 it was used on the Bournemouth-Newcastle service, in conjunction with dining saloon 7841 (1365), also preserved on the Bluebell.

Used on the Bluebell from 1962 to 1981 to provide static catering at Sheffield Park station, it is now the subject of a fund-raising appeal to raise the money for its overhaul and restoration to use in its original form for our train of Maunsell coaches. The body is in extremely bad condition with much of the structure having been affected by rot, and the interior will have to be reconstructed almost from scratch.  However, with £120,000 already raised, and a team of volunteers ready to tackle it after having spent several years making some “quick wins”, work is expected to start imminently.  Further donations will help speed the project to completion.

Should the funds raised be more than required to complete this vehicle, the surplus will be applied to other Southern Railway Maunsell Carriage restoration projects.

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P27  – Restoration of SECR P-class No. 27

The restoration began when the loco was dismantled in 1978 for a “quick” overhaul, but, as was so often the case at the time, this was found to be beyond the skills of the basic workshop capability we had back then, so the restoration stalled.

A restart on the restoration of No. 27 to working condition is now well under way following a delay of nearly 30 years. The work on the locomotive is being undertaken by the Villas Gang and other volunteers, supported by the fund raising efforts of the ‘Fenchurch Fund’, the combined efforts coming under the banner of the Little Loco Group’s Project 27. Major work is required on the boiler and the replacement of the frames and cylinders of the locomotive, as well as some significant mechanical renewal and replacement of plate work, including the tanks.

The Project 27 Appeal has already managed to raise a good part of the predicted £150,000 needed to restore 27 back to working order.  To complete the overhaul we need your support.

More details BR Standard Class 2 tank 84030

The 2MT locomotives were built for light branch-line work. The tender engines, as this loco was originally, were almost unknown even as visitors to the South, whereas the 2MT tanks were used extensively on the Southern Region. Thus, when BR Class 2 tender engine No. 78059 was rescued from Barry Scrapyard in 1983 without a suitable tender being available, the decision was taken to restore the locomotive in the tank-engine form, of which there are no surviving examples. The last 2MT tank having been numbered 84029, this locomotive takes the next number in the sequence.

The loco will be very useful on the Bluebell, since it will be capable of hauling all but our very heaviest trains. The project is making good progress, and news reports are available here.

Your help in completing this important and interesting project will be much appreciated.

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Stowe at Horsted Keynes - Mike Esau Stowe  – Restoration of SR Schools-class No.928

The final development of the classic express 4-4-0, the Schools class were designed originally for the Hastings line with its restricted loading gauge, but proved themselves capable of hauling the Southern’s top expresses along side larger engines on the railway’s other main lines, and “Stowe” was built for the London-Portsmouth run. Coming to the Bluebell in 198, it was rapidly restored to working order. Following expiry of its boiler certificate, it was been stored awaiting its turn in the workshop, in need of some very major (i.e. expensive) boiler repairs.

Some time ago a volunteer team completed the major rebuild of Stowe’s tender. In 2013 a start on the overhaul of the locomotive was made, with fund-raising also very much to the fore, since this is not a cheap overhaul.  We need your help to complete this overhaul as soon as possible.

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Kingscote Station - Derek Hayward - 8 June 2014 Friends of Kingscote

The Friends of Kingscote (FoK) exists to maintain that Station and its environs in good order, representing the early 1950’s British Railways era.

More details, including FoK membership details


Other funds

If you wish to support any of the other funds around the railway not listed above, please include details as a message on the donations page.

Last updated by Richard Salmon on 21 December 2023