An Independent Guide to Britain’s Preserved Railways
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Getting There

By train - Travel by Southern Railway to East Grinstead. A Special bus service number 473 operates between East Grinstead and Kingscote stations on Bluebell operating days.

By Car - There are car parks at Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes but no public parking is allowed at Kingscote station.
Sheffield Park Station, the southern terminus, is on the A275 between the junctions with the A22 at Wych Cross and the A272 at North Chailey.
Horsted Keynes station is well signposted on the lanes near the village of Horsted Keynes.
Refer to the map above for postcodes and directions.

Map

The map below shows the location of all the stations on the Bluebell Railway, click on any of the markers to see the station name and postcode. Use the zoom and pan tools to explore the map.

Operation

Service

A steam only service is provided daily between early April and early November. Trains also run every weekend (except Christmas Day) and school holidays for the rest of the year. Even maintenance and shunting is done with steam locomotives. The 9 mile steam train ride from Sheffield Park to Kingscote takes about 35 minutes.

The Golden Arrow Pullman dining train operates most weekends and certain weekdays serving lunch or dinner. Refer to the Bluebell Railway website for details of all services (see link below)

Locomotives

The Bluebell Railway has a varied collection of steam locomotives, too many to list here (search the locomotive database on UK heritage railways for full list, see link below).

Some of the more famous examples include:

Stock

Another great thing about the Bluebell Railway is that they not only use preserved steam locomotives but they also have a varied selection of restored carriages, most of them from before or between the World Wars. The railways own award winning Carriage and Wagon Department can be visited at Horsted Keynes.

Attractions and Facilities

If you are travelling the full length of the line I would highly recommend stopping off at Horsted Keynes on the way. All the stations are meticulously renovated in the styles of different eras paying great attention to detail.

Links

Review

The Bluebell Railway was the first standard gauge line to be preserved although it was only the short stretch between Sheffield Park and Horsted Keynes for the first 34 years.

In 2010 the Bluebell Railway is celebrating 50 years of progress by the Preservation Society by extending the line. The Northern Extension Project will see the Railway steaming back into East Grinstead over Hill Place (Imberhorne) Viaduct, thus achieving the ambition of the pioneers of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society. This will also provide a connection to the National Rail network.

I visited the Bluebell railway for the first time in 2009, I’m not sure why it took me so long as it’s been there longer than I can remember. But I got there eventually!

Getting to Sheffield Park Station, the southern terminus, shouldn’t be too difficult by road as it’s right on the A275. Unfortunately, I tried to avoid all major towns by taking to the tangle of lanes between the M23 and A275, I don’t recommend this unless you are using satnav as Sheffield Park is not signposted from these minor roads, best to stick to the A roads!

I never did find Sheffield Park station but Horsted Keynes station is well signposted on the lanes so we ended up there. As it turned out this was a good thing because we had time to look around this atmospheric and well preserved station. We didn’t miss out on visiting Sheffield Park either as there was still time to travel to both ends of the line from Horsted Keynes.

We had the privelige of riding on board a train consisting of immaculately restored ex Metropolitan Railway carriages with GWR Dukedog 4-4-0 No.9017, Earl of Berkeley in charge.

The stations, locomotives and carriages are all restored to a very high standard and the historic ambience of the line is cleverly created. Don’t wait until you are in the area for a visit, it’s worth a special journey and you are guaranteed a steam train ride, there are no diesels here!

The first standard gauge preserved passenger railway in the world.

Located on part of the ex London, Brighton & South Coast Railway Lewes to East Grinstead line in Sussex, the Bluebell Railway was opened in 1960 making it the first standard gauge preserved passenger railway in the world.

The Bluebell Railway also boasts the longest tunnel on any preserved railway; Sharpthorne Tunnel between Horsted Keynes and Kingscote is 780yds (710m)

Bluebell Railway at a Glance

Type: Preserved Railway

Gauge: Standard, 4’ 8½”

Length: 9 miles

Stations: 3

First opened: 1882

Closed: 1958

Re-opened in preservation: 1960

Sheffield
Park
Horsted
Keynes
Kingscote
East
Grinstead
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Map | Getting There | Attractions & Facilities | Operation | Brief History | Review | Links

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Contact Details

Headquarters Address:




Telephone:

email:

 

Bluebell Railway plc,
Sheffield Park Station,
East Sussex.
TN22 3QL

01825 720800

info@bluebell-railway.co.uk

Brief History

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