People said that it couldn't be done, but we are bringing back a complete early 1930s train to the mainline; in all it's Art Deco splendour, the world's most famous electric train, the Brighton Belle. The journey has been more complex, more time-consuming and more expensive than we envisaged when we launched the project. While the end is in sight, how soon we complete the restoration really depends on you. Our ambition is to have a complete five car set running within two years - can you help us achieve this. Become a Friend of the Brighton Belle - your regular contributions allow our technical team to better plan ahead and speed up progress. Or dig deep into your pockets and make a donation which takes just a few seconds.....and convince your friends and colleagues to do the same as every contribution gets us to the launch date quicker. Every single pound will bring forward the date when this wonderful train returns to the mainline - where she belongs.
A fabulously detailed and illustrated book on the history of the Brighton Belle has just been published by our Heritage Advisor, Antony Ford. "Pullman Profile No 4: The Brighton Belle and Southern Electric Pullmans" is the product of absolutely meticulous research from Europe's principal Pullman expert. While Antony's first three volumes were widely acclaimed for their combination of in-depth insight and a plethora of previously unpublished images, this new title sets an even higher standard.
The book has an appeal on a number of levels, but for the Pullman devotee, it is all there. The specifications for the engineering and the interior design and the subsequent changes are described in detail. For the student of design these marvellous icons of 1930s art deco are revealed in many luscious illustrations. For the social historian luxury travel in an earlier age is brought to life in words and pictures. For the railway historian the rise and decline of Pullman travel on the Southern Railway and Region is described objectively and with insight, penetrating the economic problems of operating the Brighton Belle and those Pullman cars within trains of green carriages.
You can buy the book via the Brighton Belle Bookshop here - terrific value and every copy purchased this way raises a small contribution towards the Brighton Belle project.
Walk through "Hazel" on the Belle's 80th anniversary!
Having been launched as the Southern Belle on 1 January 1933, Brighton's Lady Mayor, Miss Margaret Hardy, performed the naming service - surrounded by massed well-wishers - at Brighton Station on 29 June 1934. meanwhile, at London's Victoria Station, this momentous event was marked by the erection of a decorative 'Brighton Belle Arch' on Platform 17 - the dedicated Brighton Belle platform.
The walk through is revealing - you can sense the sumptuous Art deco splendour....as well as the challenge! You can help us to speed her restoration by making a secure online donation.
Riding a VOP on 'Southern Saturday'
Tuesday, 07 May 2013 00:00
Rides on the VOP proved extremely popular on 'Southern Saturday'. If you weren't able to get to Barrow Hill, here we see 3905, topped and tailed by 33108 and 71001.
The VOP, which was about to be scrapped, will yield the essential spares package needed to sustain long term mainline running by the Brighton Belle. All un-needed material will be recycled free of charge to other restoration and preservation groups to help them to complete their projects.
Click on the four arrows icon to see the action in full screen mode.
Buy from Amazon and help fund the restoration!
Wednesday, 13 March 2013 11:04
The Brighton Belle Bookshop offers a huge selection of books, CDs and DVDs. Do browse around the store! Each item is sold and dispatched by Amazon UK. Every single item purchased via our links to Amazon - no matter whether this is a book, clothes, a CD or a TV - produces commissions to support the restoration project. At no extra cost to yourself. For non-book items just click on the 'Powered by Amazon' logo to enter Amazon's UK site.
Click here to visit the Brighton Belle Bookshop. And encourage your friends to use this link!
Southern Saturday At Barrow Hill!
Friday, 01 February 2013 00:00
Come to Barrow Hill on Saturday 30 March to celebrate 'Southern Saturday'! You'll not only find five Brighton Belle cars together for the first time in forty years, but you can ride in an ultra-rare 4-VOP unit hauled by 33108 and 71001! You can inspect progress with the restoration project in the Brighton Belle shed and chat to our friendly team of engineers and stall-holders. And, if that's not enough, the Deltic Shed will be open and you can see 30075 USA Tank on the turntable, along with Peppercorn A2 Class No. 60532 'Blue Peter' and many others! A great day out for all the family!
Barrow Hill will be open from 10 am until 4 pm - tickets (on the door) priced £8 (kids £4). There's a free bus service from Chesterfield Station or you can park on-site (download directions from here). Click on the image for full details.
Join us at Brighton Modelworld!
Wednesday, 16 January 2013 00:00
Come and meet the 5BEL team at the amazing Brighton Modelword Exhibition! Our stand is supported by our friends from the world-famous Brighton Toy & Model Museum. Brighton Modelworld runs from 22 - 24 February (Friday to Sunday); in it's 35th year, this will be the biggest Modelworld Exhibition ever, with more than 150 stands. We are located right in the foyer of the Brighton Centre, near the entrance door, so it's hard to miss us! Do drop by for a chat. Click on the image to see some of the activity in just one of the exhibition halls. For opening times and ticket prices, visit the Brighton Modelworld website.
BBC visits Barrow Hill
Tuesday, 01 January 2013 00:00
We had visits from both the BBC and ITV in the week before Christmas. Here we see Transport Correspondent Paul Clifton reviewing progress at Barrow Hill.
Click on the four arrows icon to see the action in full screen mode
Win our 80th anniversary painting!
Friday, 30 November 2012 00:00
To mark the 80th anniversary of the Belle's entry into service on New Year's Day, 1933, we have commissioned an evocative painting of the Brighton Belle in 1960, waiting to leave Brighton Station. How would you like to have the original signed and framed painting on your wall? Just click on the image and donate a minimum of £5 using our secure online payment link. All funds received will go towards the restoration of Pullman First 'Hazel'. The draw will be held on 31 January 2013.
Footnote: The winner is Bill Parker of Lydney, Gloucestershire - apparently he has never won a raffle before "despite an anoying habit of frequently buying raffle tickets"!
Thursday, 06 September 2012 07:39
After 40 years of service as a restaurant in the Yorkshire Dales, Pullman First Car 'Hazel' was removed by two of the country's largest mobile cranes. It was a difficult task - with less than a metre of free play on the track, the cranes had to delicately lift 'Hazel' between them without causing damage to the building it had been attached to. After setting down on an Allelys' low-loader, the 80 year old Pullman Car was driven slowly down the A1 to the Brighton Belle Shed at Barrow Hill.
How quickly she can be restored will depend on the level of donations made by the public. We need to raise £300,000 to get this marvellous old girl back on the mainline by 2014 - please help us to get her back in service.....where she belongs.
Click on the images below to see 'Hazel' being extracted from The Black Bull.
Wednesday, 05 September 2012 08:02
Brighton Belle Pullman First Car 79 'Hazel' served as a restaurant for 40 years at the rear of The Black Bull in Moulton, Yorkshire.