No visit to the Bluebell Railway is complete without a peak inside the engine shed, which is home to the largest collection of locomotives of (UK) Southern origin. The Bluebell Line has another remarkable claim to fame to add to this – it has the largest collection of BR Standard Classes. Indeed, this collection is at least as impressive as any that you will find outside of the National Railway Museum, York.To individually go through the history of each locomotive would take a lot of time and is probably best left as an idea for the future!
As well as being an exceptional collection, Sheffield Park is a working locomotive depot and works. One locomotive to be found in the works under overhaul was “Standard Arthur” 73082 Camelot. Although this isn’t the only BR Standard 5MT surviving, it is the only one of the Southern machines that gained it’s name from withdrawn ex-Southern N15 Class locomotives.
Maunsell U class 1638 in smart Southern olive green livery (above) had originally been rostered to haul services on the day, but was replaced by 56xx 5643, presumably due to maintenance issues. If you look carefully in the background in the picture you’ll see schools class 928 Stowe, another Maunsell designed locomotive being overhauled.
The railway has a selection of hired Diesel’s, the Metropolitan Prairie Tank L.150 and 56xx 5643 in service on the line, despite having such a remarkable collection of locomotives. It is for this reason that it’s important to keep in mind the “Keep Up the Pressure” appeal (please click here to read more) to help the line get its own fleet of steam engines back into action again. To read more about my visit to the Bluebell Line click here. I’ll leave you with a selection of photographs of locomotives to be seen at Sheffield Park.