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Hi guys,

 

During the re-building of the extension, we had regular updates about what was going on the railway. I thought it might be useful to do the same now that the railway is complete, with a view to getting the information out to everyone on RMWeb.

 

The Bluebell was exceptionally busy in 2013 with seemingly no let up during the year. East Grinstead by all accounts is now generating more business than Horsted Keynes and is rivalling Sheffield Park for the busiest station on the line.

 

Thankfully, other than a few minor trees, the line has not suffered hugely during the recent storms. Although the fields around Sheffield Park are very much in flood at the moment. However, there was a small landslide around the Sharpthorne tunnel, which prevented trains getting through for a few days. This weekend is the last weekend of these services: http://www.bluebell-railway.com/event/4th-and-5th-jan/

 

From Sat 18th January planned maintenance is being carried out at the railway, with services from East Grinstead to Horsted Keynes only. This will be the case for the following three weeks. I am hoping to be able to get over to the Railway on the middle weekend, as I am doing my PTS, (currently expired!). During this time, the railway will be worked by a class 101 DMU http://www.bluebell-railway.com/event/diesel-service/ The DMU is being used as it is not practical to berth a steam loco at Horsted Keynes, isolated from the rest of the railway during this time.

 

Services are due to return to the whole line from Sat 8th February. http://www.bluebell-railway.com/timetable-and-fares/service-two/

 

Hopefully the above is of interest.

 

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It certainly is and thanks for the update Neal - I for one will certainly be back for the hybrid 101/108 DMU, having spent 3 very enjoyable summer days back on the Bluebell behind 33103 last summer.

 

Speaking of which, i'm glad to see it's arrived and looking smart already.

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bluebellrailway/11707650076/in/set-72157639303780146

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Blue? As in Bluebell, I suppose. Pity a nice green one with whiskers couldn't have been found.....

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A diesel! On the Bluebell!

 

Whatever is the world coming to...

 

Geoff Endacott

 

i think you will find it's "another" diesel on the Bluebell !! :-)

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i think you will find it's "another" diesel on the Bluebell !! :-)

 

But this one is in passenger service (or have they done that before?)

 

Geoff Endacott

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But this one is in passenger service (or have they done that before?)

 

Geoff Endacott

 

Whilst diesels on the Bluebell have been a rarity for some years (there was a 'special' run with 73136 during it's short stay on the line around 2010), Last year did see a good few runs for 33103 and at least once if not two occasions where the use of the Locomotive Groups Class 09 came into frontline use. Being a fan of the humble 33 this certainly brought me back to the line on 3 different occasions, and each time I certainly enjoyed it - the 'Model Railway Weekend' was one of the best of the 3.

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I fully understand the need for running diesels on a shuttle when the line is severed and shed access isn't possible.  It's that or nothing really.  Diesels on cutting clearance and track laying trains was expedient and appeared to be a "must do or die" option at the time to get the extension open.

 

Diesels on incoming charters are probably a necessary evil in this day and age since even a steam charter has no guarantee of the rostered loco being available / performing as required / reaching Sheffield Park and in any case something else is required to drag the train back unless it can be run round and worked tender first over NR metals.

 

Diesels on timetabled services is another matter and I'm sure would have caused heads to be scratched, eyebrows to be raised and opinions voiced.

 

The only "steam" railway where you knew you would have steam haulage now requires at least a swift check of the website over and above confirming train times to ensure one is not confronted with an oil-burning box.

 

Mixed feelings here.  As I'm sure is fairly commonplace among Bluebell people and general enthusiasts alike.

 

Thanks for the update.  I hope to pay my respects and make a first trip over the extension some time in September.

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It's certainly an emotive subject! BUT Roy Watts in the current Bluebell News, warns (or maybe I read too much into it), that diesels could / will / maybe coming to the railway...... Bearing in mind I am only a member, not a working member or employee....

 

There seems to be a tide of opinion that the first train of the day from East Grinstead - might - in future be diesel hauled. On the basis of the early starts to get a steam loco prepared for an ecs working to EG first...... It's only a thought at this stage.

 

Moving on from the diesel topic... This from today's Bluebell Facebook page:

 

An update to the Locomotive Duty Roster that we now plan to use the SECR H-class No.263 on the trains this weekend.

 

The Loco duty roster is here: http://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/bluebell/loco_roster.html

 

My photos from my "day out with the diesel" are here: http://www.nealball.co.uk/Trains/Bluebell-Railway/West-Hoathly-July-6th-2013

Edited by Neal Ball
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No Ian,

 

Let's at least have something heritage about it!!!  :sungum:

 

 

My point entirely. A green DMU with whiskers represents them from more than 50 years ago, when I first saw them. Blue and yellow is hideous by comparison. The practicality of a DMU is enormous when costs are an issue and even the mighty Bluebell has a bottom line to consider - but there are limits.

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Diesels on timetabled services is another matter and I'm sure would have caused heads to be scratched, eyebrows to be raised and opinions voiced.

 

The only "steam" railway where you knew you would have steam haulage now requires at least a swift check of the website over and above confirming train times to ensure one is not confronted with an oil-burning box.

 

 

Thats not quite true.

 

Current policy is that all regular timetabled services (i.e. service 1 & service 2 in the timetable) will be 100% steam as it is recognised within the railway that this is a unique selling point.

Diesel use is restricted to 'extras' on special days, loco failures (though if its known about early enough every effort will be made to get something else steamed up), Engineering trains, ECS moves, shunting associated with incoming railtours, etc

 

While it was the intention to use the 33 for the early train from Sheffield Park towards the end of 2013 (originality this was going to stop at the end of September but demand was such it continued to operate for the rest of 2013 - Santas excepted), the 33 itself was out of action for some time waiting on a new part and thus the early service remained steam hauled. Whether this practice will continue in 2014, or revert to diesel is not known at present.

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My point entirely. A green DMU with whiskers represents them from more than 50 years ago, when I first saw them. Blue and yellow is hideous by comparison. The practicality of a DMU is enormous when costs are an issue and even the mighty Bluebell has a bottom line to consider - but there are limits.

 

While yes a green one would have been nicer, my understanding is that options were limited. Several units including a Thumper were considered but either the owners wouldn't release them, the hire costs were too great or the condition of them wasn't felt to be up to scratch - (and don't forget the gradient through the tip is still significant, even for a diesel). There also is a big question mark over how successfully it will be you don't want to spend loads on hiring something yet not get that many people want to ride. Having said that the 'drivers eye view' is a good selling point and when we have run a diesel before, turn out has been good from those into such things so the prospects are reasonable.

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Looks like East Grinstead has changed a bit since my last visit in 1978!

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It's certainly an emotive subject! BUT Roy Watts in the current Bluebell News, warns (or maybe I read too much into it), that diesels could / will / maybe coming to the railway...... Bearing in mind I am only a member, not a working member or employee....

 

There seems to be a tide of opinion that the first train of the day from East Grinstead - might - in future be diesel hauled. On the basis of the early starts to get a steam loco prepared for an ecs working to EG first...... It's only a thought at this stage.

 

Moving on from the diesel topic... This from today's Bluebell Facebook page:

 

An update to the Locomotive Duty Roster that we now plan to use the SECR H-class No.263 on the trains this weekend.

 

The Loco duty roster is here: http://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/bluebell/loco_roster.html

 

My photos from my "day out with the diesel" are here: http://www.nealball.co.uk/Trains/Bluebell-Railway/West-Hoathly-July-6th-2013

 

Hi Neal! I was talking to your other half about it the other day at work.

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IIRC it's point 23 at the.south end of Horsted Keynes station. As this is one of the main ones it's pretty vital. Someone told me the point is on site but needs assembling. Rather like a massive kit. Imagine the size of the bag for that one lol.

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Looks like East Grinstead has changed a bit since my last visit in 1978!

 

 

Yes indeed.  Horse and cart has given way to steam trains!   :jester:

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IIRC it's point 23 at the.south end of Horsted Keynes station. As this is one of the main ones it's pretty vital. Someone told me the point is on site but needs assembling. Rather like a massive kit. Imagine the size of the bag for that one lol.

 

As I understand things, it was due to be done about November last year, but was delayed in order to get more "closed time" and do more work. Ballast arrived late December, hauled through to Horsted by a class 66 diesel - they seem to be regular visitors to the railway these days!

 

News about the points and the recent land slips are here: http://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/bluebell/ext/inf_news.html

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Crew training for the recently arrived DMU:

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As I understand things, it was due to be done about November last year, but was delayed in order to get more "closed time" and do more work. Ballast arrived late December, hauled through to Horsted by a class 66 diesel - they seem to be regular visitors to the railway these days!

 

News about the points and the recent land slips are here: http://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/bluebell/ext/inf_news.html

Ah ok thanks for the clarification. I still find it ironic that the first loco to East Grinstead was a diesel though.

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