323 Bluebell: Overhaul to service announcement 2023

Bluebell Railway Press Release Trio To Steam Again!

The Bluebell Railway are delighted to announce that three historic locomotives are to return to working order. Following discussions and an agreement by the Bluebell Railway PLC Board and BRPS Society Board, it has been decided that LSWR Adams Radial Tank No. 30583, LSWR Adams B4 No. 96 ‘Normandy’ and SECR Wainwright P Class No. 323 ‘Bluebell’ will all receive overhauls and will steam again at The Bluebell Railway.

323 ‘Bluebell’ is planned to go into the workshop at Sheffield Park in early 2024, with a view for the locomotive to be available in the Summer of 2024, giving us an exciting prospect of seeing our flagship locomotive once again in steam and working Bluebell service trains.

Paul Churchman- Chairman of The Bluebell Railway

No. 323 ‘Bluebell’ is one of a class of eight ‘P Class’ tank engines, designed by Wainwright for the SECR. Built-in 1910 at Ashford Works, the locomotive was initially designed for suburban passenger work, although they were quickly superseded and relegated to shunting duties. Finishing off as 31323, the locomotive was withdrawn from BR in 1960 and was one of the first locomotives to be saved by The Bluebell Railway in that year. The loco was then named ‘Bluebell’ and became one of four of the class to have survived into preservation. 323 became the flagship locomotive of The Bluebell Railway and played a key role in establishing the line as a major tourist attraction, especially in the earlier years from 1960 onwards. ‘Bluebell’ last ran on the railway in 2019 and was withdrawn from service, requiring an overhaul. 323 is currently on static display at Steamworks at Sheffield Park and is owned by The Bluebell Railway.

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