A trip on the Bluebell Railway
A steam loco-hauled ride through the Sussex countryside
(Photos © urban75, September 2011)
Running for nine miles along the East and West Sussex borders, the Bluebell Railway was the first preserved standard gauge steam-operated passenger railway in the world.
After the East Grinstead to Lewes line was closed by beastly British Railways in 1957, a preservation society was set up to save the line, and their first train ran on a short section of track just three years later, on 7 August 1960.
Since then, the line has been extended to run from Sheffield Park to Kingscote, with an intermediate station at Horsted Keynes, with the railway boasting the largest collection of steam locomotives in the UK after the National Railway Museum (NRM) - and a formidable collection of almost 150 carriages and wagons.
Work is currently taking place to extend the northern arm of the railway to the railhead at East Grinstead station, which would allow through running of specials.
Sheffield Park station, the current southern terminus of the line.
Old school ticket office.
There was definitely no shortage of station staff about!
water bowl for dogs.
Looking towards East Grinstead.
Waiting for the train from Kingscote.
In the engine shed.
Great Western! That's more like it!
Coming into Horsted Keynes station. Inconveniently located no less than one and a half miles from the village whose name it bears, the station was once a junction for a line to Ardingly.
There are plans to reinstate this
line in the future, although there is no timetable yet in place.
Leaving Horsted Keynes.
Old school Edmondson railway tickets.
Arriving at Kingscote, which reopened in 1994.
There's not a lot to do here, so the quicker they get the northern extension to East Grinstead reopened, the better!
Passing the impressive signalling at the entrance to Horsted Keynes.
I used to have an Airfix kit of one of these station bookshops!
Leaving Horsted Kenyes.
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