Latest page update - Tuesday 21st February 2017



March 2013 Week 12 - The week the Bluebell Railway returned to East Grinstead!

Sunday 17th March and loco 1638 arrives on a test run. As I was alone I decided to concentrate on making a video which is now on YouTube. This explains why a couple of these photos have had to be cropped.
1638 on its run round before heading back south. As the train arrived it was accompanied by a small convoy of cars with photographers who had captured it further south and were trying to cover the train again in the station. I hope this chase the train game does not become the norm as there was rather a lot of peering for the train and less looking out for pedestrians.

In fact with photographers parking on the road and standing on ladders beside the edge of bridges, as we mentioned some time ago, safety may soon become an issue.

As you can see the line is very adjacent to the car park, many small (and some not so small) boys were intrigued to have a steam train so close.
1638 pulling up at East Grinstead platform before decoupling (or is it uncoupling?).
Back on the train and ready to run back south.
The reaction of some shoppers to a steam engine "in" their Sainsbury's car park was a sight to behold!

There is a new video "1638 running round at East Grinstead" on YouTube.

For your interest 32,000 people watched over 69,000 minutes of our videos - just over 48 DAYS - in the last 30 days! That is because there was obviously more than one person watching at once.

Monday 18th March and preparations for the opening of East Grinstead Bluebell station are in full swing. It took very little time to turn a large pile of earth into a disabled car park.

The two normal spaces on the end are going to be much sought after!


The cafe coach has electric lights and the new path is ready.
Signage goes up.
And even the ubiquitous bunting - waterproof we hope!
The water tower continues to rise.
And finally the toilets await final plumbing - featuring the emergency exits - a long jump down. ;-)

Another new video is available:

Tuesday 19th March, having missed Swordfish on its travels - but there IS a video - I thought a couple of photographs of what looks like the final formation might be of interest.
Near Imberhorne bridge.
The straight mile looks a lot straighter now.
On Tuesday there was still snow lying!

A short camera video of Swordfish leaving Kingscote taken from an unusual angle while I was shopping now on YouTube:

What on earth is it carrying? Looks like clinker, what could it be used for "up north"?

Thursday 21st march, just two days to go and East Grinstead station is a hive of activity with trains every half hour! Here H-class 263 awaits the signal.

A small news flash the highest point of the cutting is to be renamed "Holden Summit" in honour of Bernard Holden M.B.E. the railway's late President.

And half an hour later U-class 1638 does the same.
Paint is going on all over the place.
Even the platform edges receive a coat.
The water tower is now shrouded. It's going to look splendid when finished.
A nice view of the old coaches (and new!).
It seems the Bluebell will have its share of signage.

Watch out for the new 10 minute video showing the East Grinstead action
- it's a good 'un: YouTube .

An historic day 23rd March 2013 starts with a sleety snow storm. This meant that your chronicler had to stay close to home at Horsted Keynes.

The timetable board needs a repaint!

First in is the breakfast special - full to the rafters.
As you can see it bore a special title.
Now the first train south from East Grinstead for 55 years arrives at Horsted Keynes station.
There is a video on YouTube at:


The  first service was NOT full but still had three locomotives to power it.
Stepney was eventually dropped off the train at Horsted Keynes.
The head of the train waits for the off before heading for what ITV news describes as "Uckfield"! (Spot the deliberate mistake.).
Several people did mention that having a diesel loco not only visible but emitting an oily exhaust while ticking over and quite audible did rather ruin the ambiance of a "steam" railway station.
Whilst it was necessary to have a loco on standby somewhere on the railway surely it could have been placed rather more out of sight, perhaps on the nearby carriage sidings?

We are not being negative but repeating what we heard from several visitors to the station today.

More later, and don't forget the video...




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