FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Autumn steam

Posted in England, Kingscote by folkestonejack on November 16, 2013

The prospect of good weather tempted us out into the countryside today, in the hope of making the most of the autumnal colours before the cold blast forecast for next week. It was easy to forget that winter could be almost upon us as we headed out to a perfect day of blue skies, gloriously golden leaves and unstinting sunshine.

Our short circular walk began at Kingscote in Sussex, one stop away from East Grinstead on the Bluebell Railway. I haven’t previously used this location as a jumping off point for a walk, so this was really a recce for next year (there are a number of walks around this area on the Bluebell Railway Walks website that look worth attempting).

SECR C-class No. 592 hauls a mid-afternoon train to East Grinstead

SECR C-class No. 592 hauls a mid-afternoon train to East Grinstead

The route we followed today took us through the fringes of autumnal woodland as far as Birch Farm foot crossing before we circled back to Kingscote. We were never far from the railway line, catching glimpses of it throughout our walk. The woods were rich in wildlife and we were startled to see a stag galloping across the path in front of us at one point (we were later to see more deer racing across the fields, presumably startled by the trains).

At the foot crossing we were treated to the sight of South Eastern & Chatham Railway C-class No.592 hauling the beautiful Metropolitan Railway stock towards East Grinstead. The carriages were as much the stars of this consist as the locomotive and it is staggering to think that some of these were languishing as unloved bungalows not so many years ago! The Carriage & Wagon Department at the Bluebell Railway really has done a fine job here.

LMS Stanier Black 5 No. 45231 at Kingscote

LMS Stanier Black 5 No. 45231 at Kingscote

We returned to East Grinstead on the 3.15pm train from Kingscote, hauled by LMS Stanier Black 5 No. 45231 ‘The Sherwood Forester’. The privately owned locomotive arrived at the Bluebell Railway on 22nd October 2013 and will be staying to bolster the home fleet until it returns to main-line duties in March 2014.

It may not have been the most ambitious of days out, but the trip was proof that the re-connection of the line to East Grinstead now offers the perfect combination of a pub lunch in East Grinstead followed by an afternoon of exercise in the countryside to work it off!

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