The Pioneer

Britain’s Pioneering Heritage Railway – the first of its kind!

Recreate the early days of Bluebell Railway, the longest-running line of its kind, by riding on The Pioneer! 

Travel through beautiful Sussex countryside from Sheffield Park Station to Kingscote Station and back in the luxury bubble of your own compartment.

The Government has announced that change came into force in England on Monday 14 September limiting the number of people who can meet socially. It is against the law to meet people you do not live with in a group larger than six unless you are meeting as a household or support bubble. This means visitors to the Bluebell Railway have to be in groups of six people or fewer unless you are visiting as a household or support bubble which is larger than six.

A steam train ride through Sussex countryside

Bluebell Railway was the first passenger carrying standard gauge heritage railway in Britain and was therefore known as The Pioneer Line.  We opened to the public on 7 August 1960!    In the early days, members of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society were only able to purchase a small piece of track between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes, as mainline trains still used the Horsted Keynes to East Grinstead track. 

However, British Railways closed that section and over the years, The Pioneer Line grew to become the Bluebell Railway we love today.   All because of the pioneering spirit of our members and volunteers!

The return trip is approximately one hour and 30 minutes.

Departure times: 11:00 and 2:00


For your safety:

  • Face Coverings – must be worn in public places such as on the platforms, in the museum and SteamWorks! and when boarding or alighting from the trains in accordance to Government guidance. Face coverings can be removed when seated on board, but will need to be worn if passengers leave their seat to use the toilet, and when entering and leaving the train.
  • Socially distanced seating – Our onboard seating capacity has been reduced to allow for a comfortable, socially distanced journey. Passengers are asked to remain in their allocated seats throughout the journey, unless they need to leave their seat to use the toilet.
  • Pre-packed food – All meals are hygienically pre-packed in covered boxes.

Please visit our Covid-19 Safety measures page to read  about all the measures we have put in place to ensure your visit is safe and enjoyable.


  • We regret that owing to the age and design of the carriages used for this service, we are unable to accommodate wheelchair-bound passengers.
  • If you or a member of your party have mobility issues and would like to travel on this service, please call our Customer Services Team on 01825 720800 who will be happy to discuss your requirements with you.

You can find out about all our services and FAQs here.

Please book your tickets online or call us on 01825 720800. If we have spare seats a limited number of tickets will be available to purchase on the day, but this can not be guaranteed. Please book in advance to avoid disappointment.

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