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THE BLUEBELL RAILWAY, HORSTED KEYNES STATION
Sunday 27 May 2012

Our motor cars parked at Horsted Keynes.

Parking on our last visit was in the public parking area next to the road (not ideal) and on the previous visit it was in the station 'yard'. We were advised that this time, because of available space, we should park (display) our motor cars at the Horsted Keynes Station. Twenty-nine Club motor cars were booked in and on the day six motor cars were displayed on the loading dock (platform) with the balance shepherded by our minder, Ralph Taylor, in the spacious parking area beyond the station buildings.

Roger Felton's Bentley on the platform.   Rolls-Royce motor cars parked on the platform.

Rather than just go one stop down the line to Sheffield Park (for lunch), as planned most of us caught the 11.20 train, up the line to Kingscote. It is very much hoped that after many, many years of dedicated effort the line will be completed beyond to East Grinstead extending it through more of the lovely Sussex countryside. Up front, our carriages had locomotive SECR P No178 and a U class locomotive at the rear.

Volunteer staff.   SECR P No178.   U class locomotive.

It came to light on the journey that the Bluebell volunteer staff had been expecting us at Sheffield Park and had arranged for half of our motor cars to be specially displayed outside the station house with the balance in the station yard. They had also reserved a carriage especially for us and there was some consternation when it appeared that we had not turned up. The Horsted Keynes arrangement was made in 2011 and confirmed by us in January 2012 but it seems the office did not communicate this information to the volunteer staff.

Engine No473.   In the engine sheds.   The Bluebell engine

On arriving at Kingscote most of us alighted for some welcome fresh air on this very hot day. Some took advantage of the twenty minute turnaround to inspect No178 and make a close inspection on the footplate. Our train duly left Kingscote on time and on reaching Horsted Keynes picked up our members not present at 11.20. We proceeded down to Sheffield Park and realised that some of our members had been left at Kingscote. No178 had been disconnected from our train and they were still on its footplate when we left!

We sat down to a carvery lunch in the first floor Birch Grove Suite with drinks served by the staff. It took quite a time for everybody to get served and just as the last of us were being served another train arrived with our errant members.

After lunch members looked around the station, the museum, the engine sheds and the shop before catching one of the trains back to Horsted Keynes where our minder, Ralph, was still looking after our motor cars. Many members said what a good day - the train, the lunch and of course the weather.

Ted Meachem - Section Secretary

Photos: Ian Burt