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Bluebell Railway General Discussion

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

  1. Dan Hill

    Dan Hill Well-Known Member

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    I received an email yesterday to say tickets for Flying Scotsman's visit have been released.
     
  2. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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    And this was posted on Instagram earlier today Screenshot_20220502-180903.png
     
  3. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    The latest issue of The Bluebell Times includes further feedback from our spring volunteer workshops, and a round up of a busy calendar of events in May and June.

    In this issue:
    • A reminder of the forthcoming Society AGM – and reciprocal travel arrangements for working volunteers
    • From shop floor to board room, opportunities aplenty to help the Railway
    • An update on the Western Extension Project
    • Fenchurch is back on its wheels – and the boiler is progressing rapidly as well
    • Carriage Shop donates £4,000 to two worthy restoration projects
    • Bluebell Standards caught in passing at Horsted Keynes
    The Bluebell Times is published monthly on the second Friday of every month. The next issue is due out on Friday 10 June.

    You can download the latest edition using the link below.

    https://www.bluebell-railway.com/bluebell-times/

    Tom
     
  4. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    The last we heard on here, was there even an officially named "Western Extension Project"? I thought an extension towards Ardingly, never mind any further, was "maybe one of these days". Now we read that they're already spending money on some preliminaries. The heading "ARDINGLY, HAYWARDS HEATH AND BEYOND?" (question mark noted) implies that they have at least some idea of how they might deal with the stretch south of Copyhold Jn.
     
  5. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Technically, a western extension is still an objective in the Society's Long Term Plan. Therefore, since the plc are there to deliver the society objectives, there is work towards that objective, or at least to ensure that it doesn't become definitively impossible. That would only change if the Society were to formally give up that objective in its long term plan (*).

    In practical terms, in recent years that has meant primarily estate management activity (fencing, drainage etc) on the land owned by the Bluebell between Horsted Keynes and Ardingly. To that end, a cattle creep was rebuilt a year or two ago.

    I'm not 100% certain of the scope of what is planned next. However, my understanding is that the only bit of the trackbed not owned by the railway is a tunnel, which is still (in effect) owned by the Government and leased to the railway. That lease expires within a few years and, to secure an extension, I believe the railway has to be able to demonstrate substantive progress towards re-opening. In practical terms, I think that will be the context of the planning application. The risk otherwise is that the Government could choose to sell the tunnel, lease to someone else or take some step (such as filling it in) that would render any extension impossible in the future.

    That is my understanding of the context. AIUI, the scope of the Western Extension Project is to secure the extension; it isn't to develop a business case to make it viable, though there are ideas. As for going beyond Ardingly - my understanding is that Hanson has just signed a new long-term lease on its site, so any such extension would be a challenge.

    All of the above is my impression from outside; I'm not remotely close to the discussions.

    (*) I have often stated, but will say it again, that the problem with the LTP is it is uncosted. Therefore, it is easy to add objectives, and very hard to remove them. Formally giving up on the idea of going west would be a psychological wrench for many members; but leaving it in the plan does mean that it will continue to incur costs long before any track is ever laid.

    Tom
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2022
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  6. JMJR1000

    JMJR1000 Member

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    Just wanted to inquire, I'm hoping to visit the Bluebell Railway this coming Thursday 19th, does anyone know what locomotive(s) and carriage set(s) will be running that day please?
     
  7. Paul42

    Paul42 Part of the furniture

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  8. Nimbus

    Nimbus New Member

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  9. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

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    In the race to the finish for the Terrier gala, whilst at Tenterden, no.70 Poplar is still ahead, Fenchurch is coming up fast on the rails:
    72_tanks_ras2630_18may22h.jpg 72_in_firebox_staying_andykelly_27apr22.jpg 72_frames_statfold_may22e.jpg
    And with the flared smokebox and condensing pipes, its going to look stunning in Stroudley green.
     
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  10. JMJR1000

    JMJR1000 Member

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    Just wanted to say I finally visited the Bluebell Railway last Thursday, and it was most certainly worth the long drive to get there. The engine operating the train was not Camelot as it was said to be on the roster, but 80151 instead, not that I minded as the Standard 4 tank happens to be my favorite of the standard designs, and had never ridden behind one before so was a good turn of events in my book!
    283337689_2752272961572068_988293244950276856_n.jpg


    The carriages well well presented and clean, and the staff most pleasant and helpful, even had a good long chat with a staff member at Horsted Keynes who kindly answered all of my questions and inquiries about the station and locomotives.

    Speaking of Horsted Keynes, I honestly have to say it has become one of top favorite preserved stations in the country now, so impressive in it's scope and size, as well as just so handsome looking a station overall. Having looked closer however, I can certainly understand now why the railway has made it's next big fund raise to centered on that station, for looking in the canopies and others spots, it's clear that it's in need of a long overdue refurbishment and rework. The woodwork was looking pretty worse for wear in some places, such a fine station as that should not be left in such a sorry state for any longer.

    The carriage works was certainly impressive, with the size and amount of work their doing in there. And the engine shed at Sheffield Park was a great place to explore too, even spotted from afar a certain boiler which I would suspect is Beachy Head's~.

    Certainly there was plenty to see at the stations, and the scenery along the railway itself was really quite something too, some of the best landscapes I've seen consistently along a heritage railway.

    Only two regrets I had was not having more time and seeing the railway on it's more intensive/busy days, as certainly I imagine Horsted Keynes in particular must be quite the hive of activity there.
    And the other regret? Well in my rush to get back on the train leaving Horsted Keynes, I didn't catch the chance to thank the man who kindly spoke with me and answered my questions while I was waiting for the next train to arrive. A true gent.

    So all in all had a fantastic time, and certainly after all the years of observing and hearing of the Bluebell Railway, I can certainly say it is indeed one of the very best and would certainly hope to visit again sometime.
     
  11. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Glad you enjoyed your visit! The boiler shown in one of your photos is indeed that from Beachy Head. The small inner firebox seen in front of it is the one that has come out of Fenchurch (which was made in the 1980s, and is now scrap).

    The two carriages shown under overhaul are, foreground, LBSC 328 ("Betty"), a Stroudley / Billinton all third from 1890; and behind it 3687, the Maunsell Restriction 0 (Hastings gauge, i.e. narrow-bodied) Brake 3rd.

    Tom
     
  12. JMJR1000

    JMJR1000 Member

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    Thanks Tom, and interesting to learn that, appreciate the additional info there.

    Yes I was most impressed by the wok being down in the carriage works, as well as the sheer size of it. Looks like the Hastings carriage isn't much further from completion, sure that'll look great with the rest of the set, even if it might look a little odd being narrower then the others I'd imagine. Impressive to read too that it was a small team that worked on rebuilding it on their own as a special project for a long time, did a good job with it I'd say.

    Just curious, is this the only surviving example of a Hastings narrow bodied carriage, or are there others?
     
  13. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

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    There are, but not much. Another BTK, 3690, appropriately at Robertsbridge, unrestored but at least looked after by the RVR, and a CK, 5600, currently at Barrow Hill, heavily converted in BR days, partly fire damaged, and would need a great deal of work to restore. It's current condition is unknown.
     
  14. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Resident of Nat Pres

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    Interesting to see from the photo's that the platforms at Horsted Keynes - and Washford are grass covered rather than paved. Is there a Southern Railway standard mower?
     
  15. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    I’m sure there must have be one of those obscure railway books published at sometime, A Pictorial History of Southern Railway Grass Mowers.
     
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  16. 30854

    30854 Resident of Nat Pres

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    You didn't know about the revived Ouse Valley Railway? ;)
     
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  17. Nick C

    Nick C Member

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    The central sections, under the canopies, are paved. The end bits are gravel on platforms 3/4 (I think tarmac on P5), and grass on P1/2 - I'd imagine the latter were gravel originally as well.
     
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  18. Mark Thompson

    Mark Thompson Well-Known Member

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    You're right:
    HK-5804.8.18.jpg
    I believe the grass took over sometime after the P1/2 canopies were removed. I remember seeing photos from the 30s, and they still looked gravelly then.
    Incidentally, I love the look of the station in it's original incarnation, with the trees and shrubs in abundance on the platforms.
     
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  19. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    The photos in Bluebell Times No. 25, pp 10-11 and page 19 are interesting in that regard. 1882 looks like gravel; 1912 definitely gravel (also confirmed at the north end of P5 in a pre-WW1 photo I have). The 1934 photo clearly shows gravel on the current platform 3 / 4. The 1950s photo shows gravel on both platforms 1 / 2 and 3 / 4.

    I think grass might be a preservation-era thing.

    https://www.bluebell-railway.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Issue-25.pdf

    (Platform numbers have changed over the years; I have used the current numbers for clarity).

    Tom
     
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  20. ady

    ady Well-Known Member

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    Forgive me for sounding pessimistic but is Fenchurch likely to hit the target of steaming in July?
     

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