Saturday, February 18, 2017
18th February 2017
Well its been a few months since I last posted a blog entry, but after break of few months I am back. Hoping 2017 will bring more than last year especially some work and a girlfriend hopefully.
Anyway aside from banging on about the Albion and the tennis, I did visit the Bluebell Railway last week, a great preserved railway line that in the last few years has managed to suscessfully link up with national network at East Grinstead and already long term plans to link up with the Brighton mainline via Ardingly with extra platform space existing at Haywards Heath just in case. Well East Grinsteads rail isolation from Sussex since 1960's seems over albeit its just preserved railway lines. I arrived at East Grinstead to begin this vintage rail journey a bit later than planned due to underestimating the less frequent bus transport links between Three Bridges and East Grinstead. Technically the Bluebell station is virtually a separate station from the modern Network Rail/ Southern managed station with the latter just to the north, you are greeted to the arrival of a fine vintage steam train at the sole platform with the station designed in the 1960's British Rail era (the time the Three Bridges-Tunbridge Wells line via the old East Grinstead High Level Station was closed). The journey begins south travelling over the Imberhorne Viaduct bring back memories of schoolmates from the town boasting stories of their adventures or misadventures on the then abandoned rail bridge. But is nice to see the viaduct back to its original use after recalling the sad lonely state it was in for several years.
Each station is designed in a different era of British rail with Kingscote set in 1950s British rail era, Horsted Keynes the original true Southern Rail era of 1920's/ 1930's and Sheffield Park the Bluebells chief HQ set in the Victorian/ Edwardian era of the LBSCR (London, Brighton & South Coast Railway). I wonder if next one will be designed in the good old British Rail Network South East era of the 1980s/ 1990s? Anyway Sheffield Park Station has a fine museum and is near the National Trusts Sheffield Park with a manor and historic cricket ground that hosted an early clash between England and Australian cricket teams. Horsted Keynes Station is possibly the largest preserved railway station with 5 platforms having been a junction railway station until 1960's serving trains on East Grinstead to Lewes line and the Ardingly spur line that connected it to the Brighton Main Line. Plus is a fave of tv and film crews due to its preserved early 20th century state and Bluebells catalogue of trains and carriages of various eras with the 1999 version of The Railway Children, and Downton Abbey having filmed scenes there. Though does not have quite as much history museum stuff as neighbouring Sheffield Park Station, it does have a fine refreshment cafe in the middle island platform, a little works museum and loved the 1930 posters in the waiting room along with staff in attire of that era. Towards the end of my visit a Pullman train showed up at Horsted Keynes, popular train for lovers of vintage trains. All in all a good visit and maybe have to visit some other historic place next, but blog won't always be about that I promise.