20th December 2013

Bluebell Railway 2014/15 500 Club

Membership of the Bluebell Railway 2014/15 500 Club is now open. The club has been running for several years and is now helping to raise funds for the repair No. 34059 Sir Archibald Sinclair's firebox. This year we have decided to increase the memberships from 300+ to 500+ subscriptions, at the same time we are increasing the prize money. Full details available here.

Don't forget that the 'Keep Up The Pressure' Appeal is still running, details via the links below.
Further Details spacer Donation Details

14th November 2013

Coach 5768

A few pictures taken by Mike Anton on Friday (9th November) showing progress.

Credit 5768 Below Floor
  The steel frame work at the third class end.
Credit 5768 Partition
  An upper third class partition in position.
Credit 5768 Corridor spacer The corridor panels at the first class end.

24th October 2013

Sir Archibald Sinclair

34059's boiler was craned from the frames on Wednesday (23rd) without too much difficulty. The boiler was loaded onto a Heanor Haulage vehicle for its trip to LNWR at Crewe. The smokebox and cab were then reinstated on the frames and the chassis is now under cover on three road in the running shed.

Funds are sill urgently needed to cover the cost of the repair. Donations should be made via the Keep Up The Pressure appeal – see above.

Credit 34059 Boiler Lift
  Boiler being lifted from the frames.
Credit 34059 Boiler Loading
  Securing the boiler to the trailer.
Credit 34059 Boiler Leaving Sheffield Park
  Leaving Sheffield Park for LNWR at Crewe.

18th September 2013

Sir Archibald Sinclair

No. 34059 Sir Archibald Sinclair has been moved into the workshop and the smokebox was removed from the boiler on Tuesday (17th) in preparation for the dispatch of the boiler to Crewe for overhaul.

Credit 34059 Smokebox Lift
  The smokebox separated from the boiler.
Credit 34059 Steam Pipes spacer 34059 Smokebox Credit
  During the lift showing the blanked off steam pipes on the fireman's side.   The smokebox lowered onto the workshop floor.  
Credit 34059 Minus Smokebox
  No. 34059 minus it's smokebox.

Coach 5768

Pictures showing the progress on CK 5768, taken on Sunday 15th September.

Credit 5768 West Side
  West side new sheeting.
Credit 5768 East Side spacer 5768 North End Credit
  East side new sheeting.   New north end corner posts in place.  
Credit 5768 Wiring spacer 5768 Battery Box Credit
  New wiring underway.   New battery boxes.  

9th August 2013

Sir Archibald Sinclair

The photographs below show the progress made in the last week with the preparation of 34059's boiler for lifting prior to the its departure for Crewe at the end of September.

Credit 34059 Boiler Preperation
Credit 34059 Superheater Header spacer 34059 Steam Pipe Credit

The final steam pipe, which is still in place in the pictures above, has now been removed, so the smokebox is now clear of pipework. The superheater elements will be removed as will the header before the boiler departs. There is an opening, covered by a metal section, behind the chimney to allow a crane to remove the header.

Blackmoor Vale

The new firebox doorplate for 21C123 has arrived – at a cost of £17,000.

Credit 21C123 Firebox Doorplate

Coach 5768 – restoration report by Dave Clarke.

The longest day of the year saw a major step forward in the restoration of Bullied Corridor Composite No. 5768. The NW corner pillar was installed, the final framework repair to the first class half of the coach.

Built in 1947 during a period of national austerity, the coach is constructed from an unidentified hardwood which has on the whole survived pretty well. However, in places the passage of time hasn't been too kind to the framework.

The main structural pillars are held in place at bottom, or build rail level, by bolts and steel plates and by brackets at top, or cant rail level. Corrosion of this metalwork and the presence of a few shakes and rot in the timber led to the replacement of several sections, including part of the cant rail, with framing salvaged from the Bullied Semi-Open Brake Third No. 4035's sections of teak waist rail and corner pillars.

Credit NW Corner Pillar spacer SE Piller Metal Plate Credit
  The NW corner pillar has been fitted. At present it is only held in place by screws through the mortice and tenon joints.   A metal plate has been fitted to the SE pillar of Compartment G - is this accident repair from a side swipe?  

The latter are of prime importance because not only do they hold the ends and sides together, they also provide a hinge or closing pillar for four of the six external doors. As a result, a new sapele pillar was fitted in the northeast corner about 18 months ago. The northwest has just been replaced and timber for the two southern ones has been ordered so that they can be prepared and fitted when required.

With the northwest pillar in position, attention has turned to fitting the steel bracketry that holds it in place. This work most likely will be followed by re-sheeting of the northern end with Zintec and re-erection of the gangway connection.

Within the northern end, the shell of the lavatory compartment has been re-established and the water tank refitted so that the pipework can be reinstalled. A new tank will be fabricated in due course.

Elsewhere the plywood floor has been laid in the central vestibule and the first of the Third Class compartments. Lino will be laid on top of this towards the end of the restoration. Sheeting is also being applied to the second of the three Third Class Compartments. Also, the white bulkhead panelling has been installed in the First Class compartments while that for the corridor partition and centre vestibule is being prepared and will be fitted shortly.

Credit Moquette
  A strip of "Sprig and Octopus" moquette that had been sandwiched between the sheeting and framing of Compartment G. As 5768 was built in 1947 and the moquette is a 1950s Festival of Britain pattern, it shows that this section has been re-sheeted by BR.

25th July 2013

Bluebell's Funding for the Future: 'Keep Up The Pressure' Appeal

Having sent the boiler of No. 73082 Camelot to an outside boiler works for its 10-year overhaul, the Bluebell Railway has launched the "Keep Up The Pressure" (KUTP) Appeal to create a fund with a target of £400,000. If successful this fund will be used to send at least two more boilers away for overhaul. It will also finance the many associated costs, in addition to boiler work, required to bring their locos back into steam.

Priority will be given to the boiler for No. 34059 Sir Archibald Sinclair. A substantial sum was raised in 2012 for this loco, which was sufficient for an in-house overhaul, but to send it away will require additional funds. A booking is being sought for the end of September, which means we must raise a substantial amount to see the boiler back at the end of 2014 or early 2015.

If you are able to contribute, we will be pleased to receive your donation online at (Please note that payment to the work done outside is monthly – as and when overhaul progress is made – so while a donation commitment is welcome, standing orders are most welcome!)

Because JustGiving deducts a 4% administration charge, a cheque is preferred. To do this, please print out a Gift Aid form found here and send it with a cheque to Roger Kelly at:

Bluebell Railway
KUTP Appeal
Sheffield Park Station
East Sussex
TH22 3QL

Thank you in advance for any support you can give. You can be sure it will be greatly appreciated and used to Keep the Steam Alive!

The full announcement from Roger Kelly can be read here.

24th June 2013

Coach 5768 – restoration report by Dave Clarke.

Credit 5768 Compartment E
  With the sheeting now on the outside and a new floor laid Compartment E is starting to take shape. The first section of corridor partition is leaning against the framing on the extreme left.
Credit 5768 Sheeting spacer A start has been made on sheeting the Third Class half of the coach. Two of the zintec sheets have just been trial fitted and wait to be welded up to the sheet next to the centre vestibule.

3rd April 2013

Coach 5768

The two photographs below show the progress on 5768's north end with the new timber corner pillar yet to be fitted to the right-hand side, to match the one seen in the other photograph. Wiring is underway and the new two layer ply floor is slowly extending into the third class compartments.

Credit 5768 Corner Pillar spacer 5768 Corner Pillar Credit

5th February 2013

Blackmoor Vale

Credit 21C123 Platform 2 Sheffield Park

No. 21C123 Blackmoor Vale is now in the dock road on platform 2 at Sheffield Park. It has been moved there so that No. 34059 Sir Archibald Sinclair can take Its place in the shed in order that further items can be removed from it prior to boiler work staring.

Click here for details of 34059's firebox repair.

12th January 2013

Bluebell Railway 2012/13 300+ Club 34059 – Firebox Repair Fund

This year's 300+ club is now open for membership, so if you feel you can help us with No. 34059's firebox repairs it would be be greatly appreciated. Click here for full details.