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Bluebell Railway

INFORMATION FOR THE VISITOR

RCD’s Overview

This is one of the UK’s premier heritage lines. Along with just 12 railways, it gets our very top rating.

Established in 1960, this is where standard gauge railway preservation began. With over 60 years of preservation, this railway has one of the biggest collections of steam locomotives in the country. It is also one of the most authentic heritage railways, most of its collection being closely related to the former railway companies that operated in or near its area, including the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, the South East and Chatham Railway, and Southern Railways. The railway also has a collection of historical carriages, including those from the Metropolitan Railway built between 1898 and 1900, six Pullman cars from the 1920s and 1950s, a LNWR Observation Car, a venerable Great Northern Railway Directors’ Saloon, and numerous other pre-nationalisation carriages, such that passengers can truly experience travel by train as it was 100 years or so ago. The railway also has an award-winning wining interactive exhibition at Sheffield Park, namely  SteamWorks!

 

Key Facts (where and when)

Extent of Railway (where to where):

East Grinstead (West Sussex) to Sheffield Park (East Sussex)

Principal Visitor Centre:

Sheffield Park station (TN22 3QL)

Period of Operation*

- All year (except January): Near daily basis

 [* This is a summary. Please go to the railway’s website for definitive operating days] 

 

Key Facts (what you’ll see)

Services usually steam or diesel?

Exclusively steam (with occasional diesel visitors)

Type of Steam / Diesel Locomotives Used:

Full range of steam locomotives (large, mid and small-sized)

Length of Line:

11 miles

Time taken for a round trip:

1 hour 50 minutes

Number of trains per day:

5 to 7 trains in each direction

Prices:

Adult Rover: £23.50 Child Rover: £11.75. Family £59

Number of Stations:

4 stations

Time to allow for Visit:

Half to full day

Museum:

Yes, at Sheffield Park station

Shop/Cafe:

Yes/Yes

Picnic/Play areas:

Yes

Special Features:

Extensive collection of locomotives authentic to the area

Preservation Established:

1960

Car Park Facilities:

Free at Sheffield Park

 

Key Facts (Galas/Events/Dining)

Dining Trains:

- The Golden Arrow train

- Wealden Rambler Afternoon Tea

- Chocolate Afternoon Tea Train

- Pie and Mash Specials

- Fish & Chip Specials

- Curry Evening

- Sussex Wine Train

Event Trains:

- SteamLights: November

- Santa Specials: Late November and December

Principal Galas:

- Diesel Gala: March

- Steam Gala: August

- Giants of Steam: October

 

Contacts

Email:                                                                     enquiries@bluebell-railway.com

Telephone:                                                           01825 720800

Website:                                                                www.bluebell-railway.com

Social Media:                                                        www.facebook.com/bluebellrailway

                                                                                Also on Twitter/ Instagram/ YouTube/ Flickr

 

INFORMATION FOR THE ENTHUSIAST

Brief History of the Railway and its Preservation

The line forms part of a route that ran from East Grinstead to Lewis, for connections to the south coast. It was operated by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway, together with a branch from Horsted Keyes to Haywoods Heath, connecting to its Victoria - Brighton main line. The line duplicated other routes and was proposed for closed in 1954, and closed in 1958 save for the Horsted Keyes to Haywoods Heath branch which survived until 1963. The line is famous for being the first preserved standard gauge steam-operated passenger railway in the country to operate a public service, and is seen by many as the precursor to the extensive railway preservation movement of the following decades. As a preserved railway, it initially ran from Sheffield Park to Horsted Keynes, but extended to East Grinstead in 2013. There are aspirations to extend the railway further along the branch from Horsted Keyes to Haywoods Heath.

 

Principal Aspiration

To extend the line by opening the branch from Horsted Keyes to Haywards Heath

 

Operational Locomotives:

(1) BR Standard 5 - 73082 ‘Camelot’

(2) BR Standard 4 - 80151

(3) SER Stirling 0-6-0 - No. 65

(4) SR Maunsell Q-class - No. 30541

(5) 6989 ‘Wightwick Hall’ (visiting)

(6) BR Class 09 shunter - 09018

(7) Sentinel Shunter - 10241

 

Locomotives Under Overhaul:

(1) LBSCR Stroudley Terrier - 672 ‘Fenchurch’

(2) SR Schools Class - ‘Stowe’

(3) Rebuilt SR Bulleid Light Pacific - ‘Sir Archibald Sinclair’

(4) SECR Wainwright P-tank - A27

(5) BR Standard Class 2 - 84030

(6) BR Class 33 - D6570 ‘Ashford’ (33052)

 

Locomotives on Display (awaiting planned overhaul)

 

(1) SECR H Class - 263

(2) SR S15 Class - 847

(3) SECR Wainwright P Class - 178

(4) SECR Wainright P-class - 323 ‘Bluebell’

(5) Fletcher Jennings - No. 3 ‘Captain Baxter’

(6) SECR Wainwright Goods C Class - 592

(7) LBSCR Billinton Radial Tank - B473

(8) SR U-Class - 1638

(9) LBSCR Stroudley Terrier - No. 55 ‘Stepney’

(10) Manning Wardle - ‘Sharpthorn’ (static display)

 

Stored/ Displayed / Under Restoration/ Out of Service:

 

(1) LBSCR Class H2 - 32424 ‘Beachy Head’

(2) GWR Earl/Dukedog - 9017, ‘Earl of Berkeley’

(3) SR Bulleid Light Pacific - ‘Blackmoor Vale’

(4) BR Standard Class 4 - No. 75027

(5) LSWR Adams dock tank - No. 96 ‘Normandy’

(6) North London Railway Goods Tank

(7) BR Standard Class 9F - 92240

(8) LSWR Adams Radial Tank - 30583

(9) SR Maunsell U-Class - 1618

(10) BR Standard Tank - 80064

(11) BR Standard Tank - 80100

 

INFORMATION ON THE SUPPORT GROUP

Name of Support Group:

Bluebell Railway Preservation Society

Annual membership fee:

Adult: £30. Senior: £25. Junior: £15 Family: £50. Life: £900

 

Benefits of membership:

-          Free admission to the stations, museum & visitor areas

-          Unlimited travel on 3rd class coaches at reduced rates

-          10% discount on selected bookshop items

-          Reduced rates for line-side photographic courses

-          Quarter Magazine, ‘Bluebell News’

 

How to Join:                                                          www.bluebell-railway.com/brps/membership

 

What They Say About Volunteering:

It is now easier than ever to become a volunteer at the Bluebell Railway. If you are interested in volunteering, you can contact our dedicated volunteer coordinator Graham Aitken by emailing: volunteer.coordinator@bluebell-railway.com . We will then talk to you about the roles you are interested in and arrange a visit so you can find out more. There are over 50 roles that can be undertaken by volunteers, and these are shown on the following list, which also gives broad details of any qualifications or skills needed, or preferred. We also require a commitment from you to attend regularly, usually a minimum of twice a month, although this will depend on which role you undertake. Note that some roles are only required on specific dates or periods and this information will be clarified when you are contacted to discuss you preferred role.

 

How to Volunteer:                                               Go to  www.bluebell-railway.com/volunteer-at-bluebell-railway

 

How to Donate:                                                    Go to www.bluebell-railway.com/donate

 

WHY JOIN: With its large collection of locomotives and rolling stock, historical infrastructure and extensive services, help is always needed to maintain this prestigious railway.   

 

INFORMATION ON OTHER SOCIETIES WITH RELATED INTEREST

Those interested in this railway may also be interested in the following railway societies also listed on this

website:

 

Traditional Railway Societies:

- Brighton Circle

- Southern Railways Group

 

Locomotive Societies (steam):

- Bulleid Society

- Maunsell Locomotive Society

- 73082 Camelot Locomotive Society


Model Railway Clubs:

- East Grinstead Model Railway Club

- Horsham Model Railway Club

- Uckfield Model Railway Club

- Brighton Model Railway Club


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