CATEGORY: Sussex Showcase

Bluebell Railway celebrate 150 years of ‘Terrier’ Locomotives.


Bluebell Railway celebrate 150 years of ‘Terrier’ Locomotives.

29th – 31st July


The Bluebell Railway in Sussex is celebrating the 150th birthday of their ‘Terrier’ Class locomotive no’ 72 Fenchurch.



Frame from the Fenchurch Animation created by Max Davies for Bluebell Railway.


The celebrations kick-start with a special birthday bash event that celebrates the history of transport across the last 150 years. This will include all kinds of vintage transport from air, sea, land and rail plus special guest visiting locomotives. There will be STEM workshops, children’s authors and other science, technology, engineering, and maths-based activities – plus history of transport trails for children. It will be a real family event.


Little Bluebell engines, like Stepney and Fenchurch have a great appeal to youngsters. Iconic ‘Terrier’ locomotive Stepney is already on display in the SteamWorks! exhibition at Sheffield Park Station where visitors can get on the historic little engine’s footplate. Now the heritage railway in Sussex is looking forward to Fenchurch steaming once more in 2022.


“We are so excited about the overhaul of Fenchurch and that we will get to see it working up and down the Bluebell Railway line once again, and considering the locomotive is now in its 150th year – it’s amazing! The engineers in our workshops do a terrific job. That’s the difference between heritage railways and other museums, they are living museums, where heritage skills are kept alive, and visitors get to interact with their history and really experience the age of steam.”


Geoff Mee

Chairman Bluebell Railway PLC


Known for their distinctive ‘bark’ sound when running, this class of engine was very aptly named the ‘Terrier’ class. As part of the event, the Bluebell Railway are making all dogs welcome and are holding a fun dog show for terriers, non-terriers, and terriers in disguise!


Go to or more information and to book tickets.


Fabulous Fenchurch Short Animation


To celebrate the monumental event, the Bluebell Railway have commissioned a superb stop-motion animation by up-and-coming film-maker Max Davies. It follows the little locomotive from a cold and lifeless existence in storage, being shunted into the Bluebell Railway’s locomotive workshop at Sheffield Park Station, to emerging as a happy and steaming Brighton ‘Terrier’ once again.


“It was wonderful to work with Max, he has a great understanding of what the Bluebell Railway is all about, a superb eye for detail, plus a great sense of fun in his animation. Watch out Aardman Animations, Max is right behind you!”


Ruth Rowatt

Marketing and Communications Manager

The Bluebell Railway


Check out the new film here:


Frame from the Fenchurch Animation created by Max Davies for Bluebell Railway.

A Steam Locomotive by Sea!


During the event, two other ‘Terrier’ locomotives will be visiting the Bluebell Railway. Poplar from The Kent and East Sussex Railway and Newport from the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.


W11 Newport. Picture courtesy of The Isle of Wight Railway.


“We’re delighted that W11 Newport will be heading to our friends at the Bluebell Railway to help celebrate Fenchurch’s 150th birthday celebrations. Our ‘Terrier’ locomotives have a popular following, and I am sure that many supporters will be keen to see her in action on the mainland.”


Steve Backhouse

General Manager

Isle of Wight Steam Railway


It is planned that Newport will travel to the mainland from the Isle of Wight by ferry on Monday 25th of July. Seeing locomotives moved by road is always an unusual experience, but one traveling by ferry is something else. This sight will be a great draw for enthusiasts and a real wonder for the general public.


The Brighton connection


Fenchurch was built at Brighton Works in 1872. It was built to work on the suburban branch lines around London and although it was not the first Terrier Class of that Victorian production line, it is likely that it was the first to go into service due to teething issues in the others.


Quirky facts


The Brighton Works plate on the ‘Terrier’ locomotives bear the quirky use of an upside-down 2 instead of a 7 in the built year.


Frame from the Fenchurch Animation created by Max Davies for Bluebell Railway.


After overhaul, Fenchurch will be painted in Stroudley’s Improved Engine Green, which is the livery it would have worn in 1872. It is thought that the Chief Mechanical Engineer, William Stroudley, was colour blind, as this colour is more like a yellow ochre and nothing like green.


Brighton was dominated by its locomotive works for many years and much of the housing around the station and in all directions (for example much of Hanover) was built to accommodate its workforce.