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Bluebell Railway General Discussion

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

  1. RLinkinS

    RLinkinS Member

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    You may be joking about MDF but Medite Tricoya has been used with sucess as an external panel on coaches. It has a 50 year guarantee

    Sent from my SM-A105FN using Tapatalk
     
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  2. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    Tricoya does seem to be gaining favour where a painted finish is required and authenticity is not a concern. I know of several railways that are using it for coaches and vans.
     
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  3. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    Don't forget the regular 18.55 Brighton to Victoria routed via Eridge and Oxted. Usually a Light Pacific.
     
  4. fisher

    fisher New Member

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    Tom,

    I am not sure I agree with you on the Bulleids - beauty is in the eye of the beholder! However in terms of priorities, the three Bulleids previously in service, two of which would be needed to complete a six car set, do have full interiors. I agree the other 100 seater would seem like a quick win as well. If you assume, other than this wretched virus, that the two six wheelers, 3687 and Car 54 currently in the shed are not too far away from being finished, then two further Maunsells, two Bulleids, a 100 seater and two SECR carriages becomes more palatable and within maybe a 20 year period.

    I have been volunteering for 24 years and it that time I have seen 4 Mets enter traffic, the Brighton first, the LSWR lavatory brake, birdcage brake, the Maunsell droplight, a host of four wheelers and a couple of Bulleids and that is without thinking too hard. Yes, maintenance demands and new ORR requirements take resources away, but 7 vehicles with a focus, and a bit of creative fundraising would appear achievable. .

    This is a topic that seems to be very close to many people's hearts. There has been a magnificent response to the railway's appeal (now over £307K) the majority of who will be members. Maybe the new world we start finding ourselves in provides an opportunity for the membership to collectively shape and influence a set of priorities for C&W going forward which galvinises the Bluebell community and secures additional fundraising.
     
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  5. John Petley

    John Petley Well-Known Member

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    I've got one in the now out-of print book on the line by Alan Elliott on the curve approaching Polegate. I haven't seen pictures of any of the other preserved engines on the Cuckoo Line itself, although there is a well-know picture by Sid Nash (who also took the picture of 34027) of 34101 at Eridge, but this was on an Uckfield Line train. As this thread is about Bluebell locos, I doubt if either of the Sheffield Park-resident Bulleids appeared on any of the Oxted lines as they were based on the SWD for most of their working lives. Still, I'm happy to be proved wrong.
     
  6. Dan Hill

    Dan Hill Member

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    Just looked and the 2 pictures in my book are by a S.C Nash so more than likely one of them is the one in your book.

    As for Bulleid's on the Bluebell pre preservation. There is a picture of 34068 Kenley at Horsted Keynes and one of 34071 601 Squadron departing north from Kingscote. Both were hauling Ramblers specials with the former coinciding with an Open Day at Sheffield Park in 1959 for the Preservation Society. Did any Bulleids run south of Horsted? I would assume they wouldn't and would have used the Ardingly branch instead.
     
  7. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    There's a photo of 34071 "601 Squadron" heading south from Three Arch bridge in 1953 in Klaus Marx' book, the load apparently being a fairly hefty 11 carriages.

    Sheffield Park seems to have been the destination of several of those rambler's specials, the loco presumably going on to Brighton to be turned and serviced - dealing with the carriages must have presented some difficulties of shunting.

    Tom
     
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  8. Dan Hill

    Dan Hill Member

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    Thanks Tom. I saw this post and did some digging in my books for another picture I was aware of (a picture of a Bulleid south of Kingscote, which turned out to be the 34068 trip in 1959) and found the image you mention in Branch Lines to Horsted Keynes Then and Now by Michael S Welch. The picture seems to be from the same Rambler special with 34071 I mentioned earlier. Another picture in the book shows another special hauled again by 34068 but is dated from 1957.

    It was quite interesting to go back through that book, which was published in 1995, and seeing how much change the railway has gone through in the last 25 years let alone the 60 years.
     
  9. torgormaig

    torgormaig Well-Known Member Friend

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    Klaus Marx' book also has a paragraph on the use of Bulleid Pacifics on the line (P.115). It seems that the first appearnce of one occured on 12/6/45 when 21C101 "Exeter" worked the 12.03 Victoria - Brighton via SP on its first day in traffic. Soon after they were banned on the single line south of HK until this was lifted in 1953. That year saw 34071 on the Ramblers excursion mentioned above. It seems that the ecs continued on to Lewes for stabling, according to a photo of 31411 on a 1951 Ramblers excursion (P.99). Klaus notes that in the final year or so prior to the 1955 closure the 11.18 Victoria - Brighton via SP was often a Pacific turn, although the return working ran via Ukfield. His excellent "Illustrated History of the Lewes &East Grinstead Railway" also has several pictures of Bulleid coaches in use on service trains in the run up to the 1955 closure.

    Peter
     
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  10. A1X

    A1X Member

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    I guess the question is whether a line like the Bluebell should look to preserve the Bluebell specifically or whether it becomes representative of preserving Southern Railway branch lines in general, both locally and slightly further afield. I'd argue the Mid Hants and Swanage (to cite two other examples of Southern branch lines preserved) had their own unique identities going back to pre-preservation days (main-line diversionary route and summer holiday location), whereas the Bluebell wasn't one which stood out particularly in it's own right pre-1955. It was just another Sussex country railway, alongside the Cuckoo line, Horsham to Shoreham / Guildford, Three Bridges to Tunbridge Wells etc.

    I suppose it's similar to asking whether Didcot should look to accurately preserve Didcot shed or be representative of a multitude of ex-GWR engine sheds in terms of collection.
     
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  11. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    In the beginning........was The Bluebell. Can't see that history becoming absorbed into something else. Set ups like the K&ESR have greater similarities with the Bluebell than the MHR/SR etc. Think about film rights that the Bluebell enjoys for anything pre WW2.
     
  12. toplight

    toplight Member

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    I would be interested to know, why the Bluebell as a line was chosen for preservation. I know there was a situation where BR closed it and then was forced to reopen temporarily with the sulky service. Was this the reason

    Were other lines looked at too before the decision was made to go for Sheffield Park to Horsted Keynes ?
     
  13. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I think in 1959, the other lines in the area hadn't yet been closed, so couldn't be re-opened ;)

    Tom
     
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  14. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    Maybe that's just the point?
     
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  15. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    Don't forget line closures were more unusual at the time, but BR were building a reputation for being underhand in how they went about the process. The Bluebell closure helped crystallise this - BR were forced into the "sulky service" because they ignored the Act of Parliament under which the line was built - and that helped create focus and attention to this line, which became the nucleus of the group that has now expanded into the BRPS and the Bluebell as we now know it.

    I believe that process of seeing closure of "my" line was an important part of what led to a number of preserved railways, rather than a more considered process of "where can I open a railway".
     
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  16. torgormaig

    torgormaig Well-Known Member Friend

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    I do not think choice came into it . Time and circumstances dictated the effort to save Sheffield Park - (almost) Horsted Keynes rather than shall we go for this line as opposed to that one. Remember this was a good 2-3 years before Beeching appeared on the scene. I'm sure that those early pioneers had no idea what they were starting or the scale of what it would lead to.

    I am always conscious of the fact that as time goes by poeple get more removed from the very different realities of those days, in comparison to today. The very idea of saving and operating a standard guage railway in 1960 was so radical as to be virtually unthinkable, even to those involved. Not unnatrually their ideas were therefore very modest indeed when seen through 2020 eyes.

    Peter
     
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  17. AMP

    AMP New Member

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    I remember reading/hearing that Sheffield Park was a fairly obvious choice as it was on a main road. It was also a station with siding space and a loco water supply. At the other end was Horsted Keynes which in 1959 was still connected to the national network.

    Andrew
     
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  18. John Petley

    John Petley Well-Known Member

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    The only other former LB&SCR lines to be closed in the 1950s were the Midhurst lines. In 1951 Lavant-Midhurst closed completely as a result of a derailment - and the line was only open for freight anyway, so there was no great outcry over its closure. From Midhurst eastwards towards Pulborough, (along with the former L&SWR line from Midhurst to Petersfield) passenger services were withdrawn in 1955, but freight lasted into the 1960s, so a 1950s preservation group would not have been able to buy the line or run trains. Again, there was no big outcry over the closure of these lines. The Bluebell unquestionably owes its salvation to the campaigning of Madge Bessemer of Newick who led the challenge to prove that the 1955 closure was illegal and managed to achieve a great deal of publicity, putting the line very much in the public eye.

    So Tom is right - there was no other option in the 1950s, although the lines around Midhurst were attractive. Ironically, there was a campaign to reopen the line from Chichester to Lavant when the final gravel trains stopped in 1985, but it got nowhere.

    It could, however, be argued that if those preservation pioneers had the option of all the currently closed lines in Sussex to choose from, the Bluebell is unlikely to have been the first choice. A very strong case could be made for the Cuckoo Line, which has prettier scenery, steeper gradients, the same attractive T H Myers-designed stations and more settlements en route. I must, however, admit to a degree of bias here as I have lived for almost two-thirds of my life within a few miles of the former trackbed and I do love this part of the world!
     
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  19. toplight

    toplight Member

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    I agree with you, but sometimes preservation seems to have preserved odd bits of nowhere to nowhere line whereas other bits that would have been more worth saving, this never happened.

    The Paignton to Dartmouth line seems to have been one bit where an entire complete line was saved in an obvious good location.

    What about the line continuing south from Sheffield Park, could they have not saved that bit too as it must have closed at the same time, or was it just lack of money or 'its too much' that meant it didn't happen. ?
     
  20. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    Steeper gradients are emphatically not an advantage. They cost money to operate.
     
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