Chris Knibbs, Operations Manager
I am very keen to work with the Downs Light Railway Trust to develop teaching and training programmes for the Bluebell Railway to encourage an interest in engineering and railways, which could hopefully create enthusiasm that may mean they may become the railway engineers of the future.
The Downs Light Railway Trust is delighted to receive support from the Bluebell Railway and endorsement to its Centenary Development Programme. The Bluebell Railway and the Downs Light Railway Trust share a common interest in supporting the next generation of young people. The Bluebell Railway has plans to develop a new miniature railway at Sheffield Park. Their aim is to run the miniature railway in line with Bluebell Railway's operating practices to enable young volunteers to learn about all aspects of the railway in a safer environment.
- The Bluebell Railway is located in East Sussex and is one of the first standard-gauge preserved heritage lines in the UK. It holds one of the finest collections of vintage steam locomotives and carriages.
- The Bluebell Railway commenced train services in August 1960. It runs steam trains between Sheffield Park and East Grinstead.
- Bluebell Railway’s 9F Club supports the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society by channelling the enthusiasm of young people for steam engines and railways, from merely watching, to actually learning the reality of what it takes to run a preserved railway. The club is open to young people aged between 9 and 16 years of age.
- The Downs Light Railway Trust is a charitable trust, registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales. Registration number is 513882.
- The Downs Light Railway Trust's Centenary Development Programme aims to increase youth engagement in heritage railways, provide greater practical learning opportunities and strengthened community involvement. The programme hopes to realise these aims from 2025 when the Downs Light Railway is 100 years old.
- The Downs Light Railway was started by The Downs School (Colwall), now The Downs Malvern, in the early 1920s and was formally established in 1925. At over 96 years old, it stands to be the oldest private miniature railway worldwide.
- The Downs Light Railway educates on average 15 children on each session. These children are aged between 7 and 18 years old. Dedicated sessions are provided to local educational establishments. General youth activities are open to all children.