Posts Tagged ‘Bluebell Railway’

Bluebell Railway 2016

Posted: December 12, 2019 in Trains

Bluebell Railway 2017

Posted: April 26, 2017 in Sussex, Trains, UK


73082 Camelot approaching East Grinstead

Although the main reason for visiting the Bluebell Railway was to photograph Flying Scotsman, a number of other locomotives were also in steam on that day.

73082 at Horsted Keynes

30541 at Horsted Keynes

647 approaching Horsted Keynes

263 in the loco yard at Sheffield Park

60103 ‘Flying Scotsman’ is probably one of the most famous and iconic heritage steam engines in the UK and this past Bank Holiday weekend it has come south from its home at York to run on the Bluebell Railway in Sussex.


60103 at East Grinstead

Built as LNER4472, an A1 Pacific class locomotive at Doncaster, it entered into service in February 1923. It didn’t receive a name until the following year when it was part of the British Empire exhibition when it was decided to name it after the daily express train from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh ‘The Flying Scotsman’. It 1924 it became the first locomotive to officially be recorded as reaching 100mph and it headed the first non-stop run between London and Edinburgh in May 1928.

Model of 4472 as originally built

In the 1940s the A1 class was rebuilt and remodelled into the new design A3 Pacifics and 4472 underwent this process in 1947 and was renumbered the following year as 60103 following the nationalisation of the railways.

60103 preparing to leave East Grinstead with southbound service.

60103 approaches Horsted Keynes at head of northbound service










It hauled its last passenger train on 14th January 1963 between Kings Cross and Leeds. It was bought by Alan Pegler, who put it to work running charter trains. In 1967 it visited the USA as part of a tour to promote British goods and services and was very successful. However, an attempt to repeat this in 1969, saw the company go into bankruptcy and 60103 was seized by American creditors.

60103 at Sheffield Park

A rescue operation was put together and new owners purchased the engine and it arrived back in the UK in February 1972. It split its time between mainline charters and work on the now growing number of heritage railways. In 1988 it visited Australia and set the record for the longest ever non-stop run for a steam locomotive (Alice Springs to Perth). Returning the opposite way to which it went out it became the first, and possibly the only, Steam locomotive to have circumnavigated the world.

60103 at Sheffield Park

In 1993 it became necessary to restrict its running to heritage lines and two years later it was withdrawn from service. it returned to running in 1999 and continued to run until 2004 when it was bought by the National Railway Museum, who embarked on a 10-year refurbishment programme. 60103 returned to steam in February 2014.

LMS 8F '48624' at Horstead Keynes

8F ‘48624’ at Horstead Keynes

48624 was built at Ashford in Kent and entered service in 1943. Its service was on heavy goods trains and it was withdrawn from service in 1965 following a fractured steam pipe. It was sent to Barry scrap-works where it stayed until being rescued in 1981. 28 years of restoration later it was returned to service and 2 years later it transferred to its current home on the Great Central Railway.



LMS 8F '48624' leaves Horstead Keynes

8F ‘48624’ leaves Horstead Keynes

B12 '8572' at Horstead Keynes

B12 ‘8572’ at Horstead Keynes

8572 was built for the LNER and entered service in June 1928. It spent almost all of its working life in East Anglia until it was withdrawn in 1959 at the same time as all the B12’s. However, it soon found it’s way back into use and was finally withdrawn in 1961. It spent a number of years hauling rail tours on BR tracks before arriving at North Norfolk railway in 1967, where it was externally restored and put on static display. It was finally restored and returned to service in 1995.




S15 '847' at East Grinstead

S15 ‘847’ at East Grinstead

A trip down to the Bluebell Railway for the first day of the Giants of Steam weekend.

My journey from East Grinstead was on Southern 847 to Horstead Keynes which gives an excellent opportunity to view trains on services in each direction.

B12 '8572' at Horstead Keynes

B12 ‘8572’ at Horstead Keynes

The first train was LNER B12 8572, visiting for the gala from North Norfolk Railway, followed by Standard 5MT 73082 ‘Camelot’ travelling in the opposite direction.

73082 'Camelot' approaches Horstead Keynes

73082 ‘Camelot’ approaches Horstead Keynes

Next visitor was the other visiting loco – LMS 8F 48624 from the Great Central Railway.

LMS 8F '48624' at Horstead Keynes

LMS 8F ‘48624’ at Horstead Keynes


LMS 8F '48624' leaves Horstead Keynes

LMS 8F ‘48624’ leaves Horstead Keynes

Then on to Sheffield Park for a visit to the engine shed. SECR P-class 263 ‘Bluebell Railway’ was in steam in the yard.

SECR P class 263 at Sheffield Park

SECR P class 263 at Sheffield Park

My return journey to East Grinstead was on a train hauled by the B12.

LNER B12 '8572'

LNER B12 ‘8572’

An excellent day and some good photo opportunities.


Normandy is an example of a B4 class engine. These were very powerful steam shunting engines. It was built in 1893 and worked for most of its life in Southampton Docks. When surplus to BR requirements it continued in this role working for a private company within the dockyard.



It has rarely been used on passenger services on the Bluebell railway but up until its withdrawal from service in 2006 it was often seen on shunting duties or pulling works trains.

Normandy at work-4
Photo by Les Chatfield (

Normandy at work-2
Photo by Les Chatfield (

Stepney, like its sister engine Fenchurch, is an example of the Studeley A1X Terriers that ran on many of the branch lines on the southern area at the turn of the last century. Stepney spent much of its working life on the Hayling island branch line. It is now 139 years old, having been built at Brighton in 1875 showing the skill of the original builders and maintenance, the resilience of these engines and the skill of the preservationists.


It was the first engine bought for the Bluebell railway back in 1960 and had the role of pulling the first passenger train on the line whem it opened to the public in May of that year.


It was taken out of service in 2008 and restored to running order in time for the 50th anniversary celebrations of the line. It was removed from service again in 2014 to await a major overhaul.


It is not in high priority today as the regular trains on the line require more power than Stepney can provide. The original services were only 2 carriages long!

Stepney and Saloon at Sheffield Park 18 April 2008
Photo by John Turner (


Originally known as the ‘Duke of Cornwall’ Class these engines were designed to run on the Cornish lines of the GWR. The first engines were built from 1895 -1899 and then a similar engine known as the Bulldog class replaced them from 1899-1910. In 1936 the Bulldog chassis were fitted with Duke class boilers and the class became known as the ‘Dukedog’.


92-051  Ex GWR 4-4-0 No. 3217 'Earl of Berkeley' at Sheffield Park
Photo by Hec Tate (

Photo by Hugh Llewlyn (

3217 was rebuilt at Swindon works in 1938 from Bulldog chassis No.3425 (built 1906) and the boiler and cab from “Duke” class No.3282 (originally named “Chepstow Castle”) built in 1899. Although it was originally intended to name them after Earls, certain of the people involved made it known that they were not particularly impressed about their names being carried on such engines and so the idea was dropped. At the time of nationalisation only 10 Dukedogs were still running and the majority of these were withdrawn in the first years of BR.

3217 arrived at Bluebell railway in February of 1962 and was renamed Earl of Berkeley. It was withdrawn from service in 2011 and is currently awaiting a major overhaul.

Photo by Hugh Llewlyn (



A really good cause. Whilst it may not be as sexy as preserving a locomotive good cover is essential to ensure preservation of the fantastic collection that they have and put off the day when further restoration is need to redress the effects of the weather..

Loco Yard

The Bluebell Railway has an incredible collection of rolling stock, some of which have featured previously on this blog (click here.)  The railway has long striven to put this unique collection under cover and now have an opportunity to raise funds to put up to 20 historic carriages under a roof.  Thanks to some generous benefactors of the railway, any donations made until mid-November will be match-funded up to a sum of £125,000.  At that point, the cost of storage for ten carriages will be reached (£250,000.)  If another £100,000 is raised, then the target storage for 20 carriages will be hit.  So please click on the link below!

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