Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Bluebell railways

Thanks to Alice and Zonny for taking us to Bluebell railway. Apparently they know well that my son, Josiah, is a "fat controller" wannabe, and therefore well obsessed with anything "steamy".The trains are in fab condition considering their age. I am well amazed that this place were run by volunteers! They must be mad about train just like my son!We saw the couch being coupled and the the train buffered up and pull the passanger coach. We were so fortunate to see the last train left the platform at 4p.m. However, Josiah seems to be quite shock when he heard the train whistle. It was SO LOUD!The Bluebell Railway is a heritage line running for nine miles along the border between East Sussex and West Sussex, England. Steam trains are operated between Sheffield Park and Kingscote, with an intermediate station at Horsted Keynes.
The railway is managed and run largely by volunteers. It has the largest collection of steam locomotives after the National Railway Museum (NRM), and a collection of carriages and wagons unrivalled in the south of England. In addition to the 30 locomotives resident on the line, one is on loan from the NRM (another has recently returned there), and a project is well under way to recreate a long-lost type of locomotive (a London, Brighton and South Coast Railway H2 Class Atlantic) from a few surviving parts.
The Bluebell Railway was the first preserved standard gauge steam-operated passenger railway in the world: it opened on 7 August 1960, shortly after the line from East Grinstead to Lewes had been closed by British Railways. It also preserved a number of steam locomotives even before the cessation of steam service on British mainline railways in 1968.2007 marked the railway's 125th anniversary.Inside the train shed, we can see old trains parked there. Alice said Thomas used to be here. However the station probably have moved it.Josiah checking the brick.The Bluebell Railway Preservation Society completed an initial extension from Horsted Keynes to Kingscote in 1994, which included re-laying track through Sharpthorne Tunnel (731 yards/668 metres, the longest on a UK heritage railway), and is now working to reinstate the remaining two miles of line from Kingscote to East Grinstead.

Work has now started on the final northwards push towards East Grinstead, where the line will once again connect with the National Rail network. A major problem to be overcome is the former landfill site that fills a 50 metre deep cutting for part of the route. Some 300,000 cubic metres of rubbish will be removed by convoys of road freighters. Some of the excavated clay will being taken south by rail to help fill the site of a removed bridge and embankment on the old Ardingly spur. In January 2008 agreement was given to start the clearance of foliage on the section of the tip between Imberhorne Lane and Hill Place bridges. This work has now been completed.

It is hoped that in the future the Ardingly spur will also reconnect with National Rail, and thus gain access to the London to Brighton main line at Copyhold Junction. This will restore a bypass of the London–Brighton line which proved very useful in the past (during the Second World War the signal box at Horsted Keynes was manned night and day to provide an alternative route for troop trains). There is also occasional speculation about long-term plans to extend south towards Lewes; but the removal of the road bridge just south of Sheffield Park station, the in-filling of the cutting and route under the A272 road, and the housing development that was built on the site of Newick & Chailey station makes this idea a very distant prospect. Nevertheless the remaining undeveloped section of the line from Lewes to Sheffield Park has been safeguarded from development prejudicial to its use as a bridleway and footpath, leaving open the possibility that the whole line may one day reopen to services.

The stations have been restored to show different periods of the railway's life. Sheffield Park has been restored to a generally Victorian ambience, as it would have appeared during the time of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (up to 1922); Horsted Keynes tries to emulate the style of the Southern Railway (1922–1948); and Kingscote echoes the early British Railways period of the 1950s.

Between Horsted Keynes and Kingscote the line passes through the site of West Hoathly station, at the north end of Sharpthorne Tunnel. The West Hoathly station buildings and footbridge were demolished piecemeal between 1964 and 1967, and the site is now in the middle of a modern housing development, so remains closed in deference to the wishes of the local residents. The remains of the platforms and goods dock are still visible at the lineside.The Bluebell Railway has been used as the location for several films and television programmes.

* The Last Ever It Ain't Half Hot Mum episode The Last Roll Call was filmed at Horsted Keynes station
* October 1999: the film The Railway Children based on the book by E Nesbit.
* Sequences for the film Miss Potter starring Ewan McGregor and Renée Zellweger were filmed at Horsted Keynes station.
* Sequences for the adaptation of the Philip Pulman book The Ruby in the Smoke starring Billie Piper as Sally Lockhart and Julie Walters as Mrs Holland were also filmed at Horsted Keynes station
* The train chase scene in the film version of The Wind in the Willows, starring Terry Jones and Eric Idle, was also filmed on the line.
* Scenes for Einstein and Eddington were filmed on the line with David Tennant playing Eddington and Jim Broadbent as a father, with Horsted Keynes disguised as Cambridge.
* The 1977 TV miniseries Love for Lydia had brief scenes filmed at the Horsted Keynes station. It starred Jeremy Irons, Peter Davison, Mel Martin, and Christopher Blake.
* The 1967 film "I'll Never Forget What's His Name" starring Oliver Reed filmed on the line using the Met' Stock and NLR Tank Loco painted all over in white as well as a suitably "dressed" Freshfield Halt.
* At least two Ken Russell Films were made here in the early 1970s, notably Listomania starring Roger Daltrey. Sequence in that particular film showed loco Fenchurch smashing through a Grand Piano at speed.
* Dirty Dozen remake in 1984 used Horsted Keynes station for several scenes which included Q Class Loco 541 and two of the then full time PWay Gang as French Platelayers. Starred Lee Marvin.
* Pop Videos include: Tracey Ullman, The Pet Shop Boys, Sheena Easton, Runrig, Robson & Jerome. Also Elton John's 'Tumbleweed Connection' album cover picture was shot at Sheffield Park Station.
* Night Train To Murder (1984), the very last TV/Feature Film Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise made before Eric's death. Sequences at Sheffield Park station were shot at night with Eric pushing Ernie through the ticket barrier on a Porters trolley and of Loco 75027 in steam. Screened on LWT over the 1984 Christmas TV schedule.
* The 1973 Documentary Metroland by Sir John Betjeman contains an opening scene in Horsted Keynes buffet, and numerous shots inside one of the Metroplitan carriages.

The Bluebell Railway is also featured in The Railway Series written by the Rev. W. Awdry. The book was called Stepney the "Bluebell" Engine, with Stepney as the main character, visiting the fictional Island of Sodor.Yes, we have met STEPNEY!!! (Read the paint over his body for the name).
More picture of Brighton and Tulleys farm coming up!

No comments: