In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

It’s been some time since I took a trip along the Bluebell Railway, and this time I got the opportunity to ride the long awaited extension from their new East Grinstead terminus station.

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

The Bluebell Railway runs for 11 miles (17.7 km) along the border between East and West Sussex, and became the first preserved standard gauge steam-operated passenger railway in the world to operate a public service when it opened on 7 August 1960.

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

The new East Grinstead terminus station opened  on 23 March 2013, finally giving the the Bluebell Railway a connection to the national network after 50 years.

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

Steam trains now operate a daily service between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead, with intermediate stations at Horsted Keynes & Kingscote. The railway is managed and run largely by volunteers.

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

Having preserved a number of steam locomotives before steam services had ended on the British mainline railways in 1968, the railway possesses over 30 steam locomotives – the largest collection in the UK after the National Railway Museum in York.

Above can be seen Kingscote station, the first stop after East Grinstead.

Built in 1882 by the London Brighton and South Coast Railway, the Bluebell Railway has restored this station to the British Railways period – mid 1950s.

The station was known as being one of the quietest stations on the Brighton network, only serving a few local houses with the closest village of Turners Hill about three miles away.

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

The Bluebell Railway has an immense collection of almost 150 preserved carriages and wagons, most of them pre-1939.

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

Entering the 731 yard (668m) Sharpthorne Tunnel, the longest train tunnel on a UK preserved line.

The once-substantial West Hoathly station used to be situated close to the tunnel entrance.

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

Speeding through the tunnel.

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

0-6-0 BR diesel shunter outside Horsted Keynes station.

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

Restored to the Southern Railway period of the mid 1920s, Horsted Keynes is packed full of period detail and has appeared in countless films and TV dramas (most recently as “Downton” in the popular Downton Abbey series).

It was originally a junction station with a line branching off to Haywards Heath via Ardingly.

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

Signal box and semaphore signals.

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

Sleeping car waiting attention.

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

Arriving at the southern terminus at Sheffield Park.

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

The locomotive ‘runs around’ the train ready for the return trip.

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

Built in 1882 by the London Brighton and South Coast Railway, the Bluebell Railway has restored Sheffield Park in the style of the Brighton era in the 1880s.

The Railway explains the name:

The station was really built to serve Lord Sheffield who owned the large house and estate about a mile away. Lord Sheffield was a great supporter of Cricket and the “Sheffield Shield” is still played for today in Australia.

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

There’s an interesting collection of locomotives and carriages stationed at Sheffield Park.

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

Ticket office at Sheffield Park.

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

Preparing for the trip back to East Grinstead.

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

Platelayers’ hut.

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

Returning to Horsted Keynes.

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

Railway cottages.

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

Past Kingscote.

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

Arriving at East Grinstead.

In photos: a trip along the Bluebell steam railway from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park, Sussex, England

More photos here: Bluebell Railway photo feature.

The Bluebell Railway, Sheffield Park Station, East Sussex, TN22 3QL
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