I sat in the plush first class compartment of a Victorian carriage looking out of the window, watching as we hurried along chasing the shadow created by our own smoke. OK, OK it is a trifle flowery, but that’s what happened and those were the words that occurred to me as I took the first train from Sheffield Park towards East Grinstead.
Once again the weather was fine and the ‘Bluebell‘ took full advantage with an impressive lineup of locomotives working an intensive service.
So let’s look at the locomotive roster for the weekend.
Note that the SECR C Class 0-6-0 592 became unserviceable on the Saturday afternoon.
- 1877 built Fletcher Jennings 0-4-0T No.3 “Captain Baxter”
- SECR C Class 0-6-0 No. 592
- SECR H Class 0-4-4T No. 263
- SECR P Class 0-6-0T No. 178
- SECR P Class 0-6-0T No. 323 “Bluebell”
- BR Standarad Class 5MT 73802 “Camelot”
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 – Kingscote Station platforms
Sadly I had the equivalent of a ‘bad hair day’ with the camera, struggling with the light readings and messing up the ISO settings. Regardless I have managed to pick a selection of photographs suitable for publication but still, I fear, my struggle with the camera does show through.
A very comprehensive timetable was available on line, detailing every scheduled movement. Below I have reproduced just the first 2 pages, comprising of the public timetable and the shunting notes for Saturday 13th.
So at last a very welcome return of the Branch Line Weekend at the Bluebell! I thoroughly enjoyed the day I spent at the event and left with a mental note to attend both days next year… I’m sure there will be another Branch Line Weekend in 2018…. will there not Bluebell?