Bluebell offers sneak peek into new ASH museum

SHAREHOLDERS in the Bluebell Railway were treated to an advanced look inside the new Accessible Steam Heritage (ASH) museum at Sheffield Park during early September, ahead of its planned opening during October.

Part funded by a £1.1million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the facility provides an accessible home for several of the railway’s out-of-use locomotives, including cosmetically overhauled LBSCR ‘A1X’ 0-6-0T No. 55 Stepney and BR ‘4MT’ 4-6-0 No. 75027, plus LSWR ‘B4’ 0-4-0T Normandy and Adams ‘Radial’ 4-4-2T No. 488.

‘A1X’ No. 55 Stepney and Adams ‘Radial’ No. 488 await the first visitors into the Bluebell Railway’s new ASH visitor centre on September 9. The mock-up of Stepney can be seen beyond. PHIL BARNES

New elevated walkways have been installed to provide access to the locomotive cabs, while improved lighting and interpretation on walls and free-standing plinths help tell the story of the exhibits.

One of the main attractions for younger audiences will be a Stepney driving experience, in which visitors can try their hand at driving a mock-up of the real ‘Terrier’.

Progress along the line can be viewed through one of the mock-up’s cab windows, while a cross-section of the boiler with moving lights will illustrate the presence and movement of water, heat, and steam.

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