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Kent & East Sussex Railway

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by martin1656, Apr 10, 2017.

  1. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    There's no inherent reason why it shouldn't visit another railway (once the current overhaul is completed, of course). Bluebell locos have been fairly common visitors to other lines recently (Fenchurch was away twice this year, as an example).

    It's odd that No 263 has never visited another railway, but I can only imagine that it has not been asked for, or at least not at a time that is convenient. Personally, I think it would be a very good visitor to have when the Robertsbridge extension is opened, given its original preservation and connection to Robertsbridge. It's likely that the opening to Robertsbridge should align with a time when 263 is newly overhauled.

    Tom
     
  2. torgormaig

    torgormaig Part of the furniture Friend

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    I'm sure that I've posted this before but it seems appropriate to post it again - 263 stored at Robertsbridge in April '66 (with 32650 behind it) mini_66-4-23 31263 (2) copy.jpg

    Peter
     
  3. RLinkinS

    RLinkinS Member

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    Do we know when 263 was moved to rhe Ashford Steam Centre and then from there to the Bluebell? I remember 263 and 65 being in steam at an Ashford works open day about 1971. 592 and 45110 were also present but not in steam

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  4. marshall5

    marshall5 Well-Known Member

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    It was still at Robertsbridge in July 1968.
    Ray.
    A-68-09 SECR 263  Robertsbridge 7 .68.jpg
     
  5. The Gricing Owl

    The Gricing Owl New Member

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    Tom, I'd love to see 31263 at the Spa ValleyRailway too. It's the only current heritage railways that runs over part of an area where I photographed and travelled behind steam on in the 1960s. And, in the Groombridge area, whilst I got photos of BR Class 4 2-6-4 tanks and an N class 2-6-0 (31852 twice), I never photographed an H class over what are now Spa Valley Rails.

    But it would be great to see that H class, when overhauled and back earning revenue for the Bluebell, loaned to the K & ESR for a spell. With my dreadful narrowly focussed UK steam loco interest, that would give me a very good reason to re-visit what is a lovely heritage line - for which I await the return to service of 32670 or 32678 - I'm not sure what the status of either loco is at present. But the latter loco was the reason for my last visit there a few years back - 32678 - that I managed a photo of on 9 September 1962 on the Hayling Island Branch. Photo of 32678 on the K & ESR attached.

    101-32678-Rolvenden-31Oct-2010.jpg
     
  6. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I don't know exactly when 263 moved to the Bluebell, but it is in the mileage records for 1976. I suspect probably moved towards the end of 1975; it seems the Steam Centre was pretty well on its dying embers as a visitor attraction by 1976.

    The history of the Ashford Steam Centre is I think not well documented. There were some notes in Bluebell Times issue 31, in relation to the moves of the O1, from which it can be seen that it opened to the public in 1969. Given that era is rapidly receding, it's probably the case that if we wait too long, there will no longer be anyone around to fill in the gaps!

    Tom
     
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  7. WesternRegionHampshireman

    WesternRegionHampshireman Well-Known Member

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    I think you might have given Jonnie an idea for an event in a few years time.
    I'd certainly turn up for it. :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2023
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  8. torgormaig

    torgormaig Part of the furniture Friend

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    I think that I can help here Tom. I visited The Bluebell on leap year day, Sat 29th Feb. 1976 and was delighted to find both 592 and 263 working. My notes tell me that the H had arrived from Ashford five weeks earlier. She made her first test run up the line with a brakevan the day before and entered service on this day, working the second and third service trains (2.45 and 3.55 ex-SP) that day. Here she is leaving SP on her very first Bluebell passenger working:- 76-2-29 25 263 dep SP copy (2).jpg

    I travelled back to HK behind her on the final working of this historic day. As an ardent admirer of these plucky tank engines I had entirely forgotten that I had witnessed her entry into Bluebell service until I dug out my notes of that day. Sorry for the poor quality of the picture taken on a dull and blustery day. Apologies also to the K&ESR for the blatant thread drift.

    Peter
     
  9. William Shelford

    William Shelford Member

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    263 (the 'H') was moved to the Bluebell Railway on 18/1/1976, according the the Industrial Railway Society Bulletin No.246.
     
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  10. Greenway

    Greenway Part of the furniture

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    Is is rewarding to see these SR tank locomotives: it makes a change from the Spamcans/rebuilds and Merchant Navies. ;)
     
  11. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Resident of Nat Pres

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    Chairman Simon Marsh welcoming members to the K&ESR AGM today.

    IMG_5873.jpeg
     
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  12. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Resident of Nat Pres

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    Is it pulling MK1 Suburbans?
     
  13. Johnb

    Johnb Nat Pres stalwart

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    The O1 was owned by the eccentric Edmond Lewis-Evans during those years and was dismantled and stored in various locations, I believe to avoid being disposed of by his creditors. The frames spent some years in a barn on the farm of one of my clients in Bedfordshire. We are very lucky it survived.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2023
  14. torgormaig

    torgormaig Part of the furniture Friend

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    Yes, two blue Mk1 Suburbans and two green Bulleids. My notes tell me that these were SLO 48015, CL 43010, SO 1481 and BSK 4279. The suburban Mk1s did not last long on the Bluebell as they were only ever seen as a stop gap measure. I wonder if these two still survive somewhere today.

    Peter
     
  15. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    There were three Mk 1 suburbans; they are now all at the Stephenson Railway museum and I believe all are operational.

    Tom
     
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  16. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    During some of those years! At some point before 1996 ownership passed to his brother, but for various reasons the appearance was always maintained in public that it was owned by Esmond. Before it was bought by the Bluebell Railway Trust, the Bluebell's website always listed the owner - deliberately vaguely - as “Mr Lewis-Evans”. Esmond’s brother in turn passed it to his sons, and they sold it to the Trust, but not until after Esmond had died.

    A lot was missing or else good only for scrap by time it came to the Bluebell in 1996; in particular the connecting rods had been cut and then welded back together, which was OK for the Ashford Steam Centre, but new ones were made for the more demanding work on the Bluebell. The tender tank was new. Many small parts came from Bluebell or H class trust (as then was) stock.

    I think the boiler now carried is the spare one that came from Ashford works at some point in the 1980s.

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2023
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  17. Johnb

    Johnb Nat Pres stalwart

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    Thanks for the information Tom. I’m sure the farmer I knew thought it was owned by Esmond until the day the frames were taken off site, he never mentioned his brother. He was a steam man himself with three of his own traction engines in working condition.
     
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  18. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I think the point was that Esmond believed he owned it (and no doubt said as much to those upon whose land the parts were stored) and the family were quite happy to maintain that appearance, I think largely for Esmond's sake. While Esmond had his financial difficulties, it must be remembered that without him, No. 65 – along with several other items of considerable heritage interest – would not be with us today.

    It cost £12,000 in 1996 just to bring all the parts to the Bluebell; the money for that came from the late Peter Cox who was a very significant, but largely at the time anonymous, donor to the Bluebell. He had originally been involved in railway preservation with the abortive Westerham branch scheme, which had led him to being involved with the preservation of the H class, from whence he had been drawn into Bluebell circles when the H arrived in 1976.

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2023
  19. RLinkinS

    RLinkinS Member

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    I met Esmond Lewis-Evans once and he told me that the Bluebell stole the loco from him. I took that with a large pinch of salt. He certainly was an eccentric gentleman. He managed to run over his own glasses with his steam roller.

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  20. Dead Sheep

    Dead Sheep Member

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    George Wright of the Thameside Group was making headway through awkward discussions with Esmond, on purchasing the O1 for the KESR. Sadly, George died and his dream was not fulfilled.
     

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