Throwback Thursday: The Bluebell Railway

In 2017, some UK family members and I enjoyed a ride on the Bluebell Railway. We were on one of several steam locomotives on a railway line that was closed by British Railways in 1955 but preserved by enthusiasts and still running today.

We took the train from East Grinstead to Sheffield Park and were pleased to experience the carriages and corridors that some of us remembered from our childhood.

Among the enthusiasts who have contributed to maintaining this railway is Ian Allan Publishing. This is significant for me because Ian Allan Travel was my first employer when I left school. The Ian Allan group of companies was begun by a railway fan and the travel agency evolved from that interest. The agency I worked for arranged European travel for school groups. It was a fantastic first job because it gave me my first experience of both European travel and solo travel!

So, with thanks to Ian Allan and my family, here are some of the pictures I took while enjoying the Bluebell Railway.




  1. The word that comes to my mind is ‘charming’ and I will stick with it. I have never been to England but I simply feel charmed by the wonderfully positive mood your photos bring to me. Even the name ‘Bluebell’ evokes feelings of how I imagine some of the countryside there (rolling green possibly with cows). Allow me to be naive today, please.

    1. The countryside in the UK really is lovely. And yes, it is rolling green with cows and sheep. In fact, after we arrived at Sheffield Park we walked through a farmer’s fields (complete with sheep) in order to visit the National Trust Sheffield Park and Garden. It is gorgeous there.

  2. When my wife and I were driving around UK in 2002, we stopped at the Bluebell railway office to ask for directions. Several older people were sitting around a table discussing how to get an old locomotive running.They gave us directions to the East Grinstead station, and we took a train into London for the day.

  3. Love these photos, would have loved to have been there with you. I especially enjoyed reading the open-closed-open-closed-open sign.

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