The Bluebell Railway was first built as a connection between East Grinstead and Lewes. After it was closed in the 1950s as part of the Beeching Axe, a group of students banded together to help preserve the line. Under the care of volunteers, the Bluebell re-opened in 1960, and was one of the first heritage railways along with the Talyllyn and the Kent and East Sussex Railway.
Film, tv and media
The preserved Bluebell railway runs between Sheffield Park and Kingscote, and the station of Horsted Keynes has gained fame from its numerous film and television appearances. For the first fifty years of operation, the Bluebell could boast to be the only heritage railway in Britain to exclusively operate preserved steam locomotives; this only changed with the purchase of a Sentinel diesel in 2010.
At Sheffield Park, passengers can view most of the locomotives, that aren’t in service, inside a large shed. One of the most popular is the A1X Terrier Stepney, which was immortalised in the Rev. Awdry’s 1968 book Stepney the Bluebell Engine, and since became a recurring character in the TV adaption Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends.
Much of the railway has been replicated in model form. The first train to run on the Bluebell was locomotive Stepney (painted black) with two blue-painted carriages, and this has been recreated by Hornby as a limited edition set (with one carriage).
Bachman have also produced a set of station buildings and accessories modelled on Bluebell's Sheffield Park station, which is on show on the museum's East Sussex countryside layout (in a different configuration, as "Lonsdale").
Reconnection to the national rail network
In 2013, a long project to re-extend the line to East Grinstead was completed. Now passengers can connect via National Rail, and enjoy a longer journey down this history railway.
- Terry Gough, The Bluebell Railway (Past and Present Publishing, 1998) ISBN 1858951291
- Bluebell Railway, homepage (bluebell-railway.co.uk)
- Bluebell Railway Preservation Society Objectives, Aims & Plans of the Society - 2013 (bluebell-railway.co.uk)
- Golden Arrow Dining Train, Bluebell Railway (bluebell-railway.com)
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Pages in category ‘Bluebell Railway’
The following 7 pages are in this category, out of 7 total.