About Us

The Bluebell Railway Fire Service was formed in 1976 to save the railway money by carrying out all fire extinguisher maintenance in-house rather than using external agencies. Soon after, its role was expanded to include firefighting to assist the local authority brigades in tackling lineside fires.

Because the Bluebell Railway is unique in using steam-only traction, the risk of fire during dry spells is a real one. The railway borders agricultural property and woodlands and a fire starting on railway property may spread into adjoining property.

The Bluebell Railway prides itself on safety and minimising risk and to that end the railway set up its own fire service, originally know as the Fire Department. The Department at this time was housed in a converted railway coach permanently coupled to a water tanker. This was known as the Fire Train. See our history page for a picture.

As the railway expanded and the demands on the service increased it was decided to enhance the department’s capabilities. A Land Rover fire appliance was added and recently supplemented by a Renault Dodge appliance, (courtesy of Dumfries & Galloway Fire Brigade). The training became more rigorous to include the possibility of tackling building & train fires etc, the amount of equipment grew and liaison with the county emergency services became much better.

The fire train was de-commissioned and a purpose built fire station headquarters was built at Horsted Keynes station, the current mid-point of the railway.

The Fire Department was re-designated as a fire service to reflect its increasing operational role.

The Bluebell Railway Fire Service maintains all of the railway’s many fire
extinguishers. All of the personnel carrying out this role are fully trained in the relevant British Standards courses.

We also maintain all of the railway’s many first aid sites, which are also
located in most buildings & trains etc. They are regularly inspected to ensure they comply with the latest HSE regs.

The Bluebell Railway Fire Service has a current strength of around 12 operational personnel, plus Control, and Support staff ranging from Extinguisher Technicians to Mechanics and Catering.

All of the personnel are voluntary and give up their own time to come and serve the railway, a lot of the personnel have full time jobs not related to the emergency services.

Amongst the BRFS are personnel from county emergency services who can bring vast knowledge & experience.