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Bluebell Railway

East and West Sussex

The Bluebell Railway runs a 9 mile standard gauge preservation railway between East and West Sussex, steam trains being run from Sheffield Park and Kingscote, with an intermediate station at Horsted Keynes. Work in hand will extend this to 11 miles. It is said to have the largest collection of steam locomotives in the UK after the national railway museum, with around 30 locomotives resident on this line.

Except for diesel used for shunting, this line is entirely steam, so all trains are steam hauled.

The stations have been restored to show different periods of the railway's life. Sheffield Park has been restored to a generally Victorian ambience, as it would have appeared during the time of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway (up to 1922); Horsted Keynes tries to emulate the style of the Southern Railway (1922–1948); and Kingscote echoes the early British Railways period of the 1950's.

The Bluebell Railway was the worlds first preserved standard gauge steam-operated passenger railway, it opened on 7 August 1960, with 5 miles of track. Ahead of its time, as steam engines did not stop completely on British railways mainlines until 1968.The line has extended from Horsted Keynes to Kingscote in 1994, which included relaying track through Sharpthorne Tunnel, at 731 yards (668m) it is the longest on a UK heritage railway. Work is now in hand to reinstate the remaining two miles of line from Kingscote to East Grinstead where it will again join the national rail network. They also have a very wide range of quality coaches and goods wagons.

Work has also started on the Ardingly spur. It is hoped that in the future the Ardingly spur will also reconnect with National Rail at Ardingly, and thus gain access to the London to Brighton main line at Copyhold Junction. This will restore a bypass of the London–Brighton line which proved very useful in the past (during the Second World War the signal box at Horsted Keynes was manned both night and day, to provide an alternative route for troop trains).

Towards Horsted Keynes station looking south from the bridge.

By Charles Rawding

Kingscote Station

By Charles Rawding

Click on an image to see a larger version

There is also interest in extending south towards Lewes, but the removal of the road bridge just south of Sheffield Park station, the in-filling of the cutting and route under the A272 road, and the housing development that was built on the site of Newick & Chailey station makes this difficult. The remaining undeveloped section of the line from Lewes to Sheffield Park has been safeguarded from development prejudicial to its use as a bridleway and footpath, leaving open the possibility that the whole line may one day be open to services.

Their website is well designed and a mine of information, with a quick navigator bar on the top left.

Lineside Passes

Annual permits £16pa for members of BRPS, £32pa non-members. Membership £17pa and has many other benefits (lower rates for Seniors, children etc, and other options). Membership is for a year and to next quarter point.

No day passes are available.

The application form is not available online, it has to be completed and signed in the presence of the member of Bluebell Railway staff who is issuing the permit. Lineside Photographic Permits are available from Bluebell Railway booking offices during operational hours. Applicants will need to undertake a short safety briefing at the time of purchase so call before to confirm this is going to be possible. ORANGE HIGH VISIBILITY JACKET must be worn at all times that you are on or about the lineside. 

You can find their locomotive duty roster here and next weeks service page here Locomotive List

Further information Grid 


Bluebell Railway

Ceremonial County: Sussex

Grid Reference:

Sheffield Park Station TQ 403237

Horsted Keynes Station TQ 371293

Kingscote Station TQ 367355

Map Link:

Sheffield Park   multimap  streetmap

Horsted Keynes Station   multimap      streetmap

Kingscote Station  multimap    Streetmap

Aerial photo:  


9 miles of SG Track

Best Times to Visit:






Other useful websites:

wiki     Wiki Images


Nearby Locations:  
Other Relevant pages:  



Date Updated: 07/2008


Planning Grid


Bluebell Railway

Grid Reference:

Sheffield Park Station TQ 403237

Horsted Keynes Station TQ 371293

Kingscote Station TQ 367355

Getting there:

Sheffield Park Station is said to be the best point to join the Bluebell Railway.  Situated on the A275 East Grinstead-Lewes main road, about two miles north of its junction with the A272. Signposted with brown tourist direction signs from the A22 and A23 trunk roads.

Horsted Keynes Station.  A mile and a half north-west of the village. From the village centre follow signs to the station, forking right onto the West Hoathly/Sharpthorne road. Station Approach will be found on the left after about a mile, just after a steep hill and sharp right hand bend. Horsted Keynes Station is also accessible (via a restricted headroom bridge) from Ardingly. Head south on the B2028 towards Lindfield. Take the first turn on the left, after about half a mile, signposted to the railway. Then take the next turn to the right at the bottom of the hill into Station Approach, and carry on about a mile on this very twisty road. Shortly after passing under the low bridge, you will come to Horsted Keynes Station.

Kingscote station - No road access.

Information on local bus services and more  




Sheffield Park Station - parking available.

Horsted Keynes Station has plenty of parking in the field beyond the station in the summer.



Things To Do, See and Photograph:


What to take:


Nature highlights:



The Bluebell Railway

Sheffield Park Station

East Sussex


Sheffield Park Station TN22 3QL

Horsted Keynes Station RH17 7BB


01825 720800.  Timetable Information: 01825 720825 - 24 hours

Opening times:

Open all days except Christmas day, 11am to 4pm, or 30 minutes before and after trains if longer. Trains don't run every day, see timetable.

Timetable and dates available 

Pullman dinning trains

Events calendar


Range of ticket types, 1st and 3rd class. All day, unrestricted all line tickets, and tickets restricted to a part. There are also station admission tickets available. Special events generally cost more, but some tickets can be obtained cheaper by purchasing in advance. As a guide

Adult all line, event £14-£20, other days £10.50-£16

Child event £7-£10, other days £5.25-£8

Family tickets and discounts for buying ahead are available.

See the website for a complete list of prices.

Special joint prices with Sheffield Park Gardens (NT)   is available.

Photo Restrictions:


Other Restrictions:  
Special Needs Access: Level access is available from each of the station drives. Stations have bridges or subways connecting the platforms, but those with walking difficulties or wheelchairs can be escorted by station staff via a ramped crossing between the platforms.
Special Needs Facilities:

They have one carriage with widened doors for wheelchairs but contact them in advance to see which trains this is on, or when it can be added. A lot of facilities and access has been provided including reserved parking. See more

Children Facilities:
Dogs Allowed: Are allowed in all non eating areas, charge for taking on trains. Guide dogs free.

CIN Page Ref:


Date Updated: 07/2008

Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Further information and Planning Grids or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote the CIN Page Ref at the bottom of the Planning Grid above. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

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