Bluebell Railway opens new museum thanks to Heritage Lottery Fund

THE BLUEBELL railway has opened a brand new museum thanks to a £2.8 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Lord Faulkner, president of the Heritage Railway Association, cut the tape and opened the brand new attraction at Sheffield Park on Thursday (June 23).

The museum is in the old waiting room entrance on platform 2 and shows a display of the history of the Bluebell railway.

The display ranges from the railway station in the early days of its inception in 1959 to becoming one of Britain’s leading heritage railways. The story is told from the battles of the early pioneers fighting to save the line, to today’s challenge of raising funds to complete the removal of the rubbish tip to allow trains to run into East Grinstead.

Moving through to the main museum building, the visitor is taken on a journey through the history of the railways of Southern England using information panels, inter actives and audio visual displays.

Visitors will also be able to explore the link between the industrial revolution, our railways and the pioneers who built them.

Starting with early railways, the building of the Lewes to East Grinstead Railway, of which the Bluebell Railway is part, the account follows through to nationalisation and the subsequent decline of steam.

A spokeswoman for the railway said: “This amazing story includes sections on such diverse subjects as the permanent way, signaling, on train catering and railway shipping services.

“Included are several old favourite items from the original museum, such as the model of the paddle steamer Paris and of course ‘London Jack’ the famous railway collecting box dog.”

The museum is open between 10.00 and 16.00 daily from Easter till October and then at weekends through the winter.

For further information call 01825 720800 or view the website at www.bluebell-railway.co.uk and follow the link to the museum.