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Bluebell Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Jamessquared, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. glen77

    glen77 New Member

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    As a general thing the Bluebell does as you quoted well in fairness and a lot better than the majority of your other heritage lines with the Newsletter, Blog, Facebook and other streams frequently updated with goings on, as well as the Bluebell News magazine being released quarterly which is always a great read. If nothings been said regarding the next carriage project yet I think that's because there's a hell of a lot of maintenance going on to the running fleet right now with a few mk1's in need of attention which obviously takes precedence, again someone will correct me if I am wrong because I don't know the ins and outs of day to day operation, just going off what I've been told by others / read. :)
     
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  2. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    3687 (the Maunsell Brake) is under restoration, but it seems to be a low key project, at least on publicity. I believe that 7864 (the Maunsell Restaurant Car) will start soonish, but probably not until the two four wheelers (949 - Stroudley brake 3rd - and 328 - Billinton all third - currently in them works have been finished. One significant restraint is space within the C&W, so those carriages need to be finished before another can take their place. The restaurant car (or rather the team behind it) have been active in fundraising for about the last decade, and have a significant part (though not all) of the funding in place. They were also able to obtain a significant quantity of seasoned teak which should enable fabrication of considerable parts of the structure when the time comes.

    Apart from maintenance of what exists, my understanding of priorities is that they are moving to Maunsells and Bulleids for the near future. When 949 and 328 are complete, we will have six four wheelers, albeit comprising two half-rakes (three LCDR and three LBSCR, but in total giving a mix of first, third, brake and disabled access accommodation, i.e. everything needed for a train).

    With regard storage, a number of carriages are already benefiting from the presence of OP4 (the carriage shed at Horsted Keynes). It is hoped that the walls and all the track work should be finished this year, allowing access into all four storage roads.

    Edit:
    Incidentally, as an addendum to the above, there are regular tours behind these scenes at the C&W - next one is this coming Saturday, starting at 1.45pm; and then regularly through the rest of the year.

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
  3. Nick C

    Nick C New Member

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    I've not managed to get over to HK for a while - what's now in the workshop space formerly occupied by the Bulleid CK? Last time I was there it was that and the two 4-wheelers in the dock road, and the Pullman & CCT (& a MK1?) in the other.
     
  4. John Petley

    John Petley Well-Known Member

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    The Bluebell's problem (As far as C&W are concerned) is the sheer wealth of pre-grouping and pre-nationalisation rolling stock it has acquired without, until recently, having anywhere where they can be protected from the elements. Paul H. is surely correct to identify the LB&SCR Directors' saloon as the most important complete but unrestored carriage in the collection, but there are plenty of other very deserving vehicles. 7864 comes high up on this list and it's good to hear that work will start soon. Anyone (such as me) who can remember the 1970s when it was the Sheffield Park Buffet is bound to have a soft spot for it.

    Then what about poor old L&SWR coach 320? Whereas Bluebell, Stepney and coach 6575 have all featured in some or other of the 20th, 30th, 40th and 50th anniversaries of the first train, the fourth component of that inaugural 1960 train hasn't done so well. After restoration plans were aborted in the late 1970s when it was found to be in worse condition than expected, it is still waiting for work to restart more than 40 years later. A Birdcage set has already been mentioned as an obviously worthwhile project, but again, 1050 and another brake will both be big projects.

    I don't envy the C&W management team. Whatever they decide to prioritise may well result in flak because another vehicle equally worthy of restoration in some people's eyes, will have to remain in the queue. At least OP4 will provide a better environment for the most important vehicles while they wait their turn, but the limitations of the C&W works means that with the best will in the world, for some, the wait could sadly last a good many years.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
  5. fisher

    fisher New Member

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    I agree t a corporate level it is good, but it is behind at C&W level. Have a look, amongst others, at the North Norfolk weekly blog, Great Central Rolling Stock Trust, LNER Coach Association, Knotty Trust, Isle of White, Swanage Heritage Carriage Group, all web updating and face booking about progress. The pages subsequent to my post demonstrate uncertainty even amongst those close to the railway about short term priorities.
     
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  6. David R

    David R Well-Known Member

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    Just to follow up on Tom's comment about the Behind the Scenes Tours these will be running every Saturday (except Model Railway Weekend) at 1.45 from this Saturday until the end of September.

    The tours are free but donations towards the Maunsell Restaurant car are invited and are very welcome. Just turn up in the Carriage and Wagon viewing area for 1.45.

    David R
     
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  7. misspentyouth62

    misspentyouth62 New Member

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    I spent a few days in the SE this past week and enjoyed a visit to Bluebell (Sun), K&ESR (Mon) and Spa Valley (Wed). Given the recent difficulties for the WSR and the need for good marketing to overcome reductions in passenger numbers in more recent years, I was surprised to see that of these three heritage lines, only the Spa Valley appears as a 'Top Attraction" for 2019 for Sussex (sussextopattractions.co.uk).
    The leaflet shows Bluebell (and K&ESR) line on the map but makes no reference or mention to it whatsoever, not even as a nearby place of interest if visiting Sheffield Park & Gardens. This seemed somewhat amiss given that Eastbourne's miniature railway features in Sussex's top 60 but neither Bluebell or K&ESR get a mention accepting that the latter is perhaps to the eastern end of the county. Is a trick being missed perhaps?
    Spa Valley is No63 in a list of 63 attractions pinned on a map from Hampshire in the Wet as far as Ashford to the east.

    The Bluebell didn't disappoint and the attention to detail with No 65 heading the Golden Arrow Pullman coaches as well as the Metropolitan coaches really does set the standards high for Heritage lines in my humble opinion. My only slight disappointment was that despite it being a Sunday and the workshops being 'closed', it would have been nice if at least the roller shutters could have been raised to allow a view inside. Beachy Head's boiler was I believe outside the workshops alongside a boiler-less Schools 928, but I've not yet had an opportunity to see up close or otherwise, the new build loco.
    Highlight of the K&ESR visit was undoubtedly the shiny restored Maunsell coaches, of which 5618 was a joy to ride in.
     
  8. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Member

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    I understand it is very expensive to be in the 'Top Attraction" leaflet. Bluebell and KESR I guess have decided to spend elsewhere for advertising purposes.
     
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  9. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I looked in briefly today.

    328 (Billinton all 3rd) and 3363 (SECR Birdcage) were, North to South, on the nearer road (as you enter from the platform).

    54 (Pullman); 949 (Stroudley brake 3rd) and I believe 2531 (the Camelot Society CCT) were on the further road, north to south.

    That was as much as I could see in a quick glance while waiting on the down service for the up to arrive.

    There’s a listing of what is currently under repair at the bottom of this page: https://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/bluebell/car_list.html

    Tom
     
  10. 73082

    73082 Member

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    My video and a couple of photos from a very sunny Easter Sunday. Haven't seen the Golden Arrow since last year, nor the GN Directors Saloon, and the full teak rake on Set A looked very smart especially in the afternoon light! The railway seemed to be well populated with young children and their families and was apparently more crowded on the Saturday. Understandable given the unexpectedly warm conditions!



    30541 New Road Bridge 21.4.2019.jpg 65 Keysford Lane 21.4.2019.jpg
     
  11. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Member

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    While I accept that there are priorities and websites are not always the highest, the Bluebell site is a little bit Windows 98.

    With regard to the Director’s Saloon, I doubt there is a single railway in the country that doesn’t have an item or items in its collection that are quite historically important but are not quite suitable for the needs of the line and which don’t have enough ‘sex appeal’ to generate funds autonomously

    What about project management? You are very good at telling people what to do. Looks like the perfect marriage. :)
     
  12. glen77

    glen77 New Member

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    There's two websites, one more focused on the general public which is modern looking and more user friendly and then the other more extensive one you are probably more familiar with, while it looks dated I think it still presents all the information well and does the job it's intended to. Why fix something that's not broken?
     
  13. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Member

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    Which is why I said I accept that shouldn't be a high priority, but in the context of the OP's point the Bluebell is getting a little bit left behind compared to the blogs on other lines' websites. It can be hard to find out about a project and some have not been updated for a very long time. In the context of getting eyeballs on projects and money for those projects at some point in the near future a more user friendly website might help.

    As we are talking about carriages - this is what comes up for me - https://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/bluebell/cw_news/index.html

    So the lead items last updated 2010 and 2011, etc etc. I think it gives the impression of a dead webpage.

    Maybe I am looking in the wrong place for updates on C & W?
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019
  14. Gladiator 5076

    Gladiator 5076 Member

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    I assume you refer to the .com site as being the modern looking one. If so could not disagree more with the statement "presents all the information well and does the job it's intended to"
    As a Bluebell member I am very discouraged every time I feel the need to look at it. I do not find it remotely intuitive but at least it finally seems to have a years calendar on the front telling you what timetable applies to which day but it is not clickable to get the times, so you have to choose the appropriate timetable tab at the bottom of the screen that brings the times up so dark they are almost unreadable.
    My view is it is already broken and needs fixing.
     
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  15. Steve B

    Steve B Well-Known Member

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    I completely agree with this - the .co.uk site is much more user friendly and its "what's new" page does a good job. Some of the more obscure pages may need updating, but at least the info is there. Some may consider it "old fashioned", but it does the job and has a vast amount of info. Well done I say!

    What I can't find on the .com site is a link to the .co.uk site. A great pity, and simple to remedy - if it is there then apologies, but if I can't find it when I know what I'm looking for then what hope does a complete newcomer have?

    Steve B
     
  16. MellishR

    MellishR Part of the furniture Friend

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    When one has found one of the websites it's not obvious that the other one exists.
     
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  17. burnham-t

    burnham-t New Member

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  18. Wenlock

    Wenlock Well-Known Member Friend

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    Possibly that may be deliberate. Horses for courses. Enthusiasts tend to be looking for different things from a website, and are more likely to dig a bit for what they're looking for.

    Whereas the "general public" can easily see what they need to know to plan a visit from the main site.
     
  19. mikechant

    mikechant New Member

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    Surely there should be an 'enthusiasts' or similar link on the main website though?
     
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  20. Wenlock

    Wenlock Well-Known Member Friend

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    Not my decision. The "supporting" tab opens a sub menu with a "heritage" tab to open the preservation site.
     

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