FOR the first time, a comprehensive index is being compiled of the fastest growing companies in Sussex. In the run-up to the Sussex Super Growth awards in March, business editor FINN SCOTT DELANY profiles two more businesses that have made the shortlist

A HERITAGE steam train company has credited its expansion into East Grinstead as the reason for its recent growth.

Bluebell Railway, based at Sheffield Park Station, has been shortlisted for the Sussex Super Growth Awards.

As of March 2013 the company’s steam locomotives go all the way into East Grinstead, with more and more visitors flocking from London to see the Sussex countryside.

Bluebell is also hoping to expand into Haywards Heath and become part of the regeneration of the station.

Period TV drama Downtown Abbey has used the steam trains in its sets, with visitors looking to step back in time with a dinner on the Pullman Golden Arrow trains.

Run predominantly by volunteers, the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society has 10,000 members, with 800 helping out on the railway and 60 full time staff.

Commercial director Tim Baker said: “The growth has definitely come from expanding the line into East Grinstead.

“We are a tourist attraction, but we do also get regular people that use us to go into town to do their shopping.

“We appeal to families, enthusiasts, corporate guests – all sorts of different people visit.”

He added: “The Pullman has also helped grow the business. We are working with hotels and people are coming to the area to stay for two or three days to see the other attractions.

“Longer term we want a track from Horsted Keynes to Ardingly, and there’s opportunity to run between Haywards Heath and Horsted Keynes, though that won’t happen in the next five or six years.”

The second high-growth company to be profiled this week is logistics, fulfilment and delivery company ILG, founded in 1990 and employing 120 people.

The fulfilment division offers third-party logistics for global clients in importation, clearance, warehousing, stock management and pick and packing from its Sussex warehouses.

ILG provides worldwide delivery to homes, retail outlets and business locations to about 120 clients, and more recently has moved into e-commerce, education, and fashion and beauty logistics. The delivery division provides global courier, delivery and freight services with a customer service team at Gatwick and around 600 clients in Sussex and Surrey.

The business has enjoyed 11 consecutive years of growth, growing by 63% since 2009.