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Southern England


Bluebell Railway

The Bluebell Railway is an 11 mil (17.7 km) heritage line almost entirely in West Sussex in England, except for Sheffield Park which is in East Sussex. It is managed by the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society. It uses steam trains which operate between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead, with intermediate stations at Horsted Keynes and Kingscote.


It is the first preserved standard gauge steam-operated passenger railway in the world to operate a public service.The society ran its first train on 7 August 1960, less than three years after the line from East Grinstead to Lewes had been closed by British Railways.

On 23 March 2013, the Bluebell Railway started to run through to its new East Grinstead terminus station. At East Grinstead there is a connection to the national rail network, the first connection of the Bluebell Railway to the national network in 50 years, since the Horsted Keynes - Haywards Heath line closed in 1963.

Today the railway is managed and run largely by volunteers. Having preserved a number of steam locomotives even before steam stopped running on British mainline railways in 1968, today it has over 30 steam locomotives - the largest collection in the UK after the National Railway Museum. The Bluebell also has almost 150 carriages and wagons, most of them pre-1939.


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Sheffield Park Station 
East Sussex, 
TN22 3QL


+44 1825 720 800


Isle of Wight Steam Railway

Experience the sights, sounds and atmosphere of over 150 years of railway history.

Inside, you will find displays of our Victorian and Edwardian carriages alongside a collection of our rare rolling stock, all preserved undercover and protected from the elements, allowing us more time to spend on restoring other historic vehicles. They aren't shut behind glass though - in fact, if they are unlocked, then step aboard for a closer inspection.

Kids will love dressing up as drivers and guards and re-enacting stories from the past. Follow the timeline detailing the history of steam railways through to the modern day electric line and find out why May Joyce is such an important person to the history of railways on the Island.

This amazing interactive museum was made possible by a £1.2m grant funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and first opened its doors in April 2014


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Isle of Wight Steam Railway
The Railway Station
Haven Street
Isle of Wight
PO33 4DS

phone: +44 1983 882204
fax: +44 1983 884515 


Kent & East Sussex Railway

The Kent & East Sussex Railway is the country's finest example of a rural light railway. The line gently wends its way from Tenterden - "The Jewel of The Weald" for ten and a half miles, through the unspoilt countryside of the Rother Valley, to terminate in the shadow of the magnificent National Trust castle at Bodiam.

                                                       Colonel Stephens Museum

The Colonel Stephens Railway Museum records the career of Holman Fred Stephens, light railway promoter,engineer and manager, his family, his railways and his successors.

The museum is based at Tenterden station on the Kent & East Sussex Railway, which was the quintessential Stephens' light railway and was always the heart of his empire.

The collection began in the 1960s largely through the foresight of Philip Shaw, the Kent and East Sussex Railways Historian, who began putting aside items donated by former employees of the Stephen's empire. W H Austen junior in particular, was a considerable source of material, much of which he had inherited from his father.

Hidden behind the public display is the heart of the research section, the historical papers and undisplayed artifacts dating from about the 1880s occupy 20 steel cabinet filing drawers and some 60 metres of racking.


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Kent & East Sussex Railway 
Tenterden Town Station
Station Road
TN30 6HE 


+44 1580 765155


Mid-Hants `Watercress' Railway

The Mid Hants Railway, known as The Watercress Line, is one of the most successful heritage railways in the country.

The Mid Hants Railway started life in October 1865 as the Alton, Alresford & Winchester Railway and was intended to fill the gap between Alton and the main route from London to Southampton 2½ miles north of Winchester. It was some 17 miles long through an agricultural area with only Alresford as a town of any size on the route.
Initial services were operated by the LSWR (London and South West Railways), running between Guildford and Southampton. In 1880 they took a 999 year lease on the line with the option of purchase which was executed in 1884 when the LSWR acquired all the assets of the Alton, Alresford & Winchester Railway.
In 1937 the line from London to Alton was electrified, through steam services onto the Mid Hants route virtually ceased and the line became a backwater. In 1948 the railways were nationalised and British Railways (BR) was formed.
The line played an important part during both World Wars due to its location between the Army centre of Aldershot and the sea port of Southampton.
Diesel units took over in 1957, the service improved considerably to once per hour; and passenger business picked up. When closure notices were published in 1967, John Taylor, deputy clerk of Winchester Rural District Council, led a major campaign to retain the line. Despite objections and arguments about the economics, the line eventually closed in February 1973.
The first trains ran in May 1977 from Alresford to Ropley. Funds were available to buy all the route to Alton. The new company, based on volunteer staff, re-opened in stages to Medstead in 1983 and finally back to Alton in 1985.
Operation as a preserved heritage railway has now taken place for 40 years, longer than its life under British Railways. The operations are under the control of the Mid Hants Railway Ltd (previously the Mid Hants Railway plc), whose major shareholder and supporting charity is the Mid Hants Railway Preservation Society Ltd (MHRPS). Interestingly, most of our engines on the line came to us from a scrapyard in Barry where they had been sent by British Rail during the period of 1962-68 and have been skilfully restored to their former glory for use on our line by our volunteers.


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Mid Hants Railway Ltd 'Watercress Line',

The Railway Station,

Alresford, Hampshire,

SO24 9JG 


+44 1962 733810


Spa Valley Railway

Spa Valley Railway (SVR) is a standard historical railway leading from Tunbridge Wells West railway station in Tunbridge Wells to High Rocks,Groombridge and Eridge, where connected to the Oxted Line. Original railway started operating in 1866 and provided direct connection to London and Brighton. Service was discontinued on 6th July 1985 but they started to struggle for its preservation soon in September. The most important stage concluded by reconnection of the Eridge station on 25.3.2011. The route crosses the Kent and East Sussex border in total length of 5 miles (8 km) using former Wealden line between Tunbridge Wells Central and Lewes. Railway management is located at the Tunbridge Wells West station.


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Wealden Railway Co. Ltd,
West Station. 36bad5cf58d_Nevill Terrace,
Royal Tunbridge Wells,


+44 1892 300141


Swanage Railway

The Swanage Railway is a railway branch line from near Wareham, Dorset to Swanage, Dorset, England, opened in 1885 and now operated as a heritage railway.

The independent company which built it was amalgamated with the larger London and South Western Railway in 1886. The passenger service was withdrawn in 1972, leaving a residual freight service over part of the line handling mineral traffic.

After the passenger closure, a heritage railway group revived part of the line; it too used the name Swanage Railway and now operates a 9.5-mile (15.3 km) line which follows the route of the former line from Wareham to Swanage with stops at Norden, Corfe Castle, Harman's Cross and Herston Halt.


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Swanage Railway

Station House



BH19 1HB 


Phone: +44 1929 425800 Reservations

Fax: +44 1929 475208  


Lavender Line

On 16 June 1983 Isfield railway station was purchased at auction by Dave and Gwen Milham with restoration of the station in mind. The rebuilding began immediately, including the laying of new track, the renovation of the signal box, and renewal of the all yellow perimeter fence. The booking hall was renovated, the station awning renewed, and all platform signs replaced. The original platform waiting room had been purchased from Isfield by the Bluebell Railway in 1978, and resituated at Sheffield Park station. Two months were spent constructing an exact replica, completed in January 1984. In cooperation with the Bluebell Railway Dave Milham purchased track material from British Rail, made available from work being done at Croydon.


The station was named 'The Lavender Line' since A.E. Lavender and Sons were the local coal merchants who had operated from the station yard. Two engines were purchased for use at the station: 'Annie', a Barclay 0-4-0 saddle tank previously in service at Bury Transport Museum, and 'Ugly', RSH 0-6-0 saddle tank number 64, purchased while on loan at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. A third engine was purchased, a 2-10-0 built by the North British Locomotive Company, which had to be shipped from Greece to the United Kingdom. The engine was christened 'Dame Vera Lynn' by Dame Vera Lynn herself at the station on 6 August 1986. This engine proved too large for the tracks, however, and was sold to Clifford Brown, a British-born American businessman living in Virginia, USA. Mr Brown sent the engine to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway where it now resides.

The main restoration that took place at the station was completed by the spring of 1987. This included the renovation of the station buildings, and the reinstatement of 1⁄4 mile (0.40 km) of permanent way on the original track bed, later extended by the preservation society to 1 mile (1.6 km). Any further extension was not considered feasible, due to a weak bridge crossing the River Uck, although this was cleared and prepared for inspection in 2012.[1] Additionally, a new 100 by 60 feet (30 m × 18 m) engine shed was constructed at Isfield. The total cost of restoration exceeded £750,000


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Isfield Station,


Nr Uckfield,

 East Sussex 

TN22 5XB

+44 1825 750515 

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