Bluebell Connection

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Bluebell Connection

March 28th 2013 was a significant day in the history of the Bluebell Railway. Following the completion and opening of the £12 million extension from Kingscote to East Grinstead, the railway received its first ‘through train’ from London to Sheffield Park since 1963. This DVD is a cab ride filmed on board that first historic train, which was operated by GB?Railfreight who provided newly re-painted 66739 for the occasion.

Immediately after setting off with ‘The Blue Belle’ charter train from London Victoria, the Class 66 first has to tackle the short sharp 1 in 62 climb to cross the River?Thames. Then comes the complex rail network and a series of junctions as the train heads through the south London suburbs of Brixton, Herne Hill, Tulse Hill and Crystal Palace to Norwood Junction. At South Croydon Junction it diverges onto the Oxted branch to travel through the steeply graded Caterham Valley, through the Surrey towns of Sanderstead, Woldingham and Hurst Green. After passing through Lingfield and Dormans the train reaches East Grinstead, where it proceeds over the short connection linking the national rail network to the 11-mile long Bluebell Railway. The impressive Imberhorne viaduct is followed by the restored Imberhorne cutting, which for several decades had been a landfill site! Then come the delightful stations at Kingscote and Horsted Keynes. At Sheffield Park a large crowd is waiting to greet the arrival of the first train from London via East Grinstead in 55 years. The naming ceremony of 66739 at Horsted Keynes completes a historic occasion for the railway.

Although this cab ride is not billed as a Wired for Sound programme, the audio of the Class 66 at full power - with a trailing load of twelve coaches and two dead Class 73s - is quite impressive! This Locomaster DVD – issued in 2021 - is a digitally re-mastered version of the programme that was originally only available from the Bluebell Railway. 

Programme Fact File

Introduction: David Maxey
First Published: 2013
Remastered and reissued: 2021
Route Featured: Victoria – East Grinstead – Sheffield Park.
Class Featured: 66
Availability: Now.

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