Monday, July 16, 2012

The Bluebell Line

You may have worked out by now that I really love trains. A chance to ride on one of England's numerous heritage train lines is not to be missed. This Bluebell Railway was the first standard gauge train line to open to the public.

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It's located a few miles north east of Brighton and the train runs from Sheffield Park to Kingscote, a distance of 9 miles.

It opened in 1960 and it is now quite an operation. The entrance to Sheffield Park Station.

When you think about how many old station buildings have been closed or demolished, it's great to see one in restored condition.

It's just as it was. You buy your ticket and present it to a ticket inspector who clicks it to show the ticket has been inspected.

This railway has quite a number of engines and carriages, including some quite famous ones. These were Pullman carriages which would have been the height of luxury.

The Golden Arrow was the famous train from London to Dover that linked up with the Fleche d'Or that ran from Calais to Paris.

The standard of service I would have liked to have become accustomed to.

We walked over a footbridge to get to the next platform where our train was leaving from.

A tank engine.

When I was a boy, I would have loved to have been an engine driver on a steam train. I never wanted to be the fireman, way too much hard work.

Inside our carriage which was part of the first steel body carriages in general use in England.

The train started off on time and was soon into the countryside.

These photos are very representative of what you see along the way. There are very few houses to be seen since they are all in the villages and towns. It's part of planning in England which stops you from putting your house wherever you want to.

About half way along the journey, we stopped at Horsted Keynes. It looks like they store a number of future restoration projects.

Signal box.

The railway has over 30 engines which you can read about here. This one appears to be Sharpthorn.

We arrived at Kingscote. There are quite a number of volunteers who are dressed up in the appropriate uniforms. It really looks like it would have years ago.

The bloke separating the engine from the carriages so that it could go down to the other end to pull the train back. This is not a job I would have liked, the possibility of being squashed would give me nightmares.

This was a Maunsell U class engine.

Signal box.

Map of all the train lines in south east England. It looks like some of them may be returned to action in future years to provide more public transport.

They had trains leaving every half hour or so so there was plenty of action.

Children enjoying the outing.

A detailed description of our carriage.

Inside the Guards Van.

Letting off stream at Kingscote. They are planning to extend the line to East Grinstead.

This all reminded me of the Strasburg Railway in Amish country north of where we live. There are plenty of passengers and the journey is lovely through the countryside.

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