Bluebell Railway 2011 – Branch Line Weekend

The Bluebell Railway is a very special place for me being the very first heritage steam railway that I visited, taken there by my parents when I was only a whipper snapper of 10 or 11 years old.

As an enthusiast the event I most look forward to on the Bluebell Railway has always been the Branch Line Weekend,  at the time of writing (early May 2017)  this was last held way back in 2011 so far as I recall. Last year a branch line event was scheduled but then cancelled at a late stage due to circumstances beyond the Railway’s control and mighty was my disappointment. This year the event is on and with just 2 weeks to go and I thought it worthwhile to revisit my pictures from the 2011 event.

I make no apology for the number of ‘Terrier’ pictures since they really were running just about everywhere and their compact good looks and ‘chuffing bark’ as they run along make them a firm favourite with me.

The Locomotives
As befits the branch line theme the mainline Pacifics were left in the shed, instead we had a delightful collection of the smaller locomotives once found on branch lines and commuter routes in the South of England.

  • LBSCR Class E4 0-6-2T No. 473 “Birch Grove”
  • SECR C-Class 0-6-0 No. 592
  • SECR P Class 0-6-0 No. 323 “Bluebell”
  • SECR P Class 0-6-0 No. 178
  • GWR Dukedog 4-4-0 No. 9017 “Earl of Berkley”
  • LBSCR Stroudley A1X 0-6-0T Terrier No. 55 “Stepney”
  • Fletcher Jennings & Co 0-4-0T “Captain Baxter”
  • BR Standard 9F 2-10-0 No. 92240 (static)

The Locations
The locations are listed in no particular order other than that in which they occur to me. For those visiting the line I would recommend Ordnance Survey maps 187 Dorking, Reigate & Crawley Area (for East Grinstead to Horsted Keynes) and 198 Brighton Lewes [&]  Haywards Heath (for Horsted Keynes to Sheffield Park). I have included approximate grid references to the locations in brackets (remember Eastings first!)

  • Location 1 –  Sheffield Park Station platforms (Landranger 198, TQ 404237)
  • Location 2 – Sheffield Park Station mpd (Landranger 198, TQ 404237)
  • Location 3 – Sheffield Park Station footbridge (Landranger 198, TQ 404237)
  • Location 4 – Horsted Keynes Station platforms (Landranger 198, TQ 372293)
  • Location 5 – Horsted Keynes Station embankment North side of tracks (Landranger 198, TQ 372293)
  • Location 6 – from break van behind Terrier No. 55 “Stepney”

There are, of course, many more legal vantage points for photographs around the railway, the above are only the ones I used for taking photographs on this trip.

The Pictures
So on to the pictures which are loosely arranged as if arriving at Sheffield Park Station for a trip down the line toward East Grinstead. Captions are minimal using just a description of the locomotive and the location, expressed as Location 1 through to Location 6.

Something that the Bluebell Line does especially well is the brake van ride around Horsted Keynes Station. It’s great fun being in an open veranda behind a Terrier and accords a splendid platform from which to get some interesting photographs.



In addition there were additional movements generated at Horsted Keynes by the brake van rides.

And Finally
Well that was the the Bluebell Railway 2011 Branch Line Weekend.

When I wrote this page the 2017 Branch Line weekend was about  four weeks away, it’s now early July and the event has been and gone and did not disappoint. You can see my photo essay of the 2017  event if you click here.

Now all I need to do is sell up from my Clacton-on-Sea home and move here…


….the Railway Cottages at Horsted Keynes , on the embankment over looking the station…. or maybe I should just go and buy a lottery ticket for tonight?

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