Issue Date: 07/08/2010
Issue Name: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Bluebell Railway
Producer: Buckingham Covers
The Bluebell Railway was founded on 15th March 1959. By running the first passenger train on 7th August 1960 it became the 1st Preserved Standard Gauge Railway to carry passengers in the World. It is now celebrating it’s Golden Jubilee. To commemorate this occasion we have produced this stunning cover. It features as 1st class stamp and label from our railway sheet and has an East Grinstead postmark, a carried cachet, and features a stunning image of the train being hauled by the No.55 Stepney engine.
The Bluebell Railway
The Bluebell Railway that we know today once formed part of a much longer cross-country route that linked Lewes to East Grinstead. By the early 1950s the line was making a loss and was shut on 28th May 1955. Some thought this was the end for the line although a resident of Barcombe had other ideas.
Miss Madge Bessemer, who had watched the line being constructed, discovered that the original Act of Parliament was still in force meaning that British Railways were compelled to reopen the line whilst it sought a further Act of Parliament to release them from their obligations. This caught the imagination of the local communities and the national press who reported on this embarrassing situation for British Railways and nicknamed the line the ‘Bluebell Line’, which has stuck ever since. Eventually British Railways obtained permission to close the ‘Bluebell Line’ and the line was closed again on 16th March 1958.But for four young students this could again have been the end of the line for good. At a meeting on 15th March 1959 it was decided to try and reopen the line and after much discussion it was decided that a section of the line could be operated with steam trains as a tourist attraction. The Bluebell Railway was officially born.
The Bluebell Railway took delivery of it’s first engine No. 55 Stepney on 17th May 1960 and here the engine is seen pulling the first train with carriages 6575 and 320.
Want to see all our rail covers? View them all here