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The Bluebell Railway arrives at East Grinstead - 23 March 2013

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Published on Apr 5, 2013

Official video of the opening day of our Northern Extension, 23 March 2013, when the Bluebell Railway's first public steam trains were run out of, and into East Grinstead station. Nicholas Owen narrates this video, recording the completion of a project which has taken 39 years and cost about £11 Million, almost all raised by and from the Bluebell's membership and the public.
The Bluebell line, having closed in 1958, re-opened in 1960, running just 5 miles from Sheffield Park to Horsted Keynes, with just two engines, "Stepney" and "Bluebell". These two were joined by other steam locomotives, including No.B473, "Birch Grove", in 1962. The honour of powering the inaugural passenger train fell to these three centenarian locomotives.
The Northern Extension Project itself was launched in 1974, when the former site of West Hoathly station was purchased, and in 1985 planning permission was granted after a long battle, to extend the line over the 6 miles into East Grinstead. Over the next decade, the line was extended to Kingscote, but the remaining 2 miles to East Grinstead has taken a further 19 years, with complex land purchases being the initial challenge, and then more recently the fund raising and extraction of rubbish from the tip in Imberhorne Cutting, which was given added urgency by the abolition of the Landfil Tax Exemption in April 2012. This target was achieved (the cost would have been many millions higher otherwise), and the railway re-instated through the cutting, being connected up earlier in March 2013, just in time for final safety verifcation and crew training.
For a volunteer-run origanisation to have achieved this, without any large grants or subsidies, is a real testament to the tenacity of so many, some of whom sadly are no longer with us.
The weather on the opening day was typical of that which the railway has experienced over the last year, a final challenge to be overcome!
But now the Bluebell Railway has arrived in East Grinstead, and been welcomed by the Mayor.
Full details of the Extension and its development are available:
http://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/blu...
as are details of our train services:
http://www.bluebell-railway.com/
The railway is operated by several hundred volunteers, drawn from a continually growing membership of (currently) around 10,600. We always welcome new members and volunteers, especially now the connection to the National Rail Network has been made, making access easier for many.
http://www.bluebell-railway.co.uk/blu...

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