P Class tank engine No. 27 hauls two vintage coaches at Sheffield Park Station in the late 1960s or early 1970s (Photo: D. Idle)
The Bluebell Railway Preservation Society was founded in June 1959 and ran its first train on August 7, 1960. Visitors were able to purchase souvenir postcards of the various steam locomotives at work from the late 1960s or early 1970s, when only the line from Sheffield Park to Horsted Keynes was open and few believed it would ever be extended northwards. The P class tank engine shown above, which was once named "Primrose", ran in black livery until it was repainted in green in the late 1960s. It was withdrawn from service in 1974 and has not steamed since.
In 1981 the Society issued some stylish new posters with punning titles, which were later reproduced as postcards, printed by Judges. One of the most popular of the cards, entitled "Warm and Tender", shows a Maunsell U Class Mogul (No.1618), gently steaming in the evening light.
The Bluebell Railway Society continues to issue excellent postcards, but the very early cards are of special interest because they record train services in the first few years of operation, when the locomotives were often called upon to pull just two coaches, a far cry from today's much heavier loadings.
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