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New standard gauge steam locomotives in the UK


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News round-up (2), 2015

61673 Spirit of Sandringham
20150402 B17 JP frame assyThe Sandringham B17 project appears to have entered something of a new phase: it has a new website (also incuded in links to the right) and Twitter account (included in the projects list). This appears to mirror substantial progress towards construction.

Lengthy research into historical design material at the NRM has led to the creation of CAD drawings for the main frames, and in turn to the cutting of the frames on April 15th. They will now be machined and drilled at the Boro Foundry in the West Midlands, and then transferred to the Llangollen Railway, which has agreed to provide space for the construction of the locomotive.

The project’s latest newsletter can be read here; New Build Steam is grateful to the Trust for getting in touch with the latest information and CAD image.

45551 The Unknown Warrior
The latest major strides for the Patriot include the fitting of the inside cylinder in January, making it a three-cylinder locomotive, and the manufacture of two boiler barrel rings in March. The inner firebox flanged throatplate has been drilled for the tube holes at LNWR Crewe, and the next step is to join the firebox sidesheets and crown to complete the firebox wrapper.

Machining of various components is complete or underway, including the motion girders, slide bars, bogie centre pin and valve heads.

3MT 82045
Visible steps continue to be made on 82045, which now has its bunker and cylinders attached, albeit the latter only with temporary bolts – the bolt holes now need reaming and fitted bolts making, which the April update warns will be a lengthy job with little obvious sign of anything changing. Elsewhere, the wheels have had their crankpins fitted and await balancing. The boiler appeal was expected to pass £180,000 by the end of April, and to be on course to meet the target for 2015 of £200,000 with ease. Accordingly, construction is expected to start within weeks.

6880 Betton Grange
The boiler appeal for the Grange was launched at the recent Steam, Steel and Stars gala. The target is £225,000 within two years, and will pay for the refurbishment of the boiler acquired from Willington Hall. Pictures of the boiler in its current condition can be seen on Facebook.

In other news, a new fire iron tunnel has been fabricated, incorporating the two rear left hand splashers; it houses the long irons used in maintaining the fire and during disposal.

60163 Tornado
The A1 Trust’s website contains many updates on the overhaul of Tornado, with plentiful photos. The latest highlights are that the tender has been repainted, the boiler is back from Meiningen and had an out-of-frames steam test on April 28th.

Tornado’s return to the main line is now getting close, with workings to include the Cumbrian Fells Express on May 30th and the White Rose on June 2nd. The A1 is unaffected by the ongoing uncertainty around West Coast Railways (see item at the end of this article) because West Coast has for some time refused to operate the locomotive.

2007 Prince of Wales
Another funding milestone has been reached for the P2, with a third of the required £5million now raised. The team is also part-way through a run of roadshows, and can be seen at:

  • 20th and 21st June – Great Central Model Event (Loughborough)
  • 5th and 6th September – Aln Valley Railway.

Recent progress on the build includes a start on machining the frame stay castings.

F5 789
The F5 is making progress on both the design and construction fronts. The tank supports and star stay have been machined at Harco Engineering, and the two cylinder castings remain there while the machining drawings are finalised; machining is expected to start soon. Meanwhile, CAD plotting of the frame plates has also been completed.

8783 Phoenix
The first new component to be constructed for the Claud has been identified: it will be the front bufferbeam, to be built at a cost of £1300 by a company in Thetford. Meanwhile, the group is embarking on the legal processes to become a Trust, though expect it to be slow going; and further CAD drawings have been shared on Twitter.

61662 Manchester United
The Footballer project has acquired and laid a length of track at the Mizens Railway, a process detailed in its March and April newsletters.

2013 Prince George
CAD drawings for the front end of the George the Fifth, including the smokebox frontplate and wrapper, have been completed and one has been shown on Twitter.

Worsdell G5
The front wheels, tyres and axles are expected back in the North East by August, after assembly in South Devon. Meanwhile, the group continues to hold open days in its new unit, on the first and third Saturdays of the month. Photos of the substantial completed components so far can be seen here on Flickr.

2001 Cock o’ the North
Some CAD images for the Donaster P2 have been posted on Facebook.

West Coast Railways
As readers of New Build Steam will probably already be aware, West Coast Railways is currently unable to operate trains on the national rail network. While this has no immediate impact on new build steam – the only operational new build loco, Tornado, is not operated by West Coast following a dispute over the standard of engineering work on the engine – the episode appears likely to shape the future landscape of mainline steam operations at the time when the major wave of completed new builds should be hitting national metals around the end of this decade and the start of the next.

West Coast had its track access revoked by Network Rail from April 3rd. This followed a Signal Passed At Danger (SPAD) incident on March 7th, when the crew of 34067 Tangmere disabled the on-board Automatic Warning System and subsequently passed a red signal, coming to rest across a junction that had, thankfully, already been cleared by the express service for which it had been protected. Had Tangmere arrived earlier, or the express later, a high speed collision would have resulted. The Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) is conducting a full investigation, and its preliminary findings can be read here.

Network Rail’s statement revoking track access can be read in full here, and states that, “recent events lead Network Rail to believe that the operations of WCR are a threat to the safe operation of the railway.” The events in question include both the SPAD in March, and previous incident over which NR and West Coast have been in dispute, including the issue of lineside fires which led to the suspension of steam operations in the London and North Eastern and East Midlands regions for much of last summer. Network Rail’s decision followed a meeting with West Coast’s management on March 30th, “ where WCR demonstrated that its controls, communication and commitment following the recent SPAD were inadequate.” The suspension will last until May 15th; a sufficient response by West Coast to specific points raised in NR’s letter could in principle lead to access being granted again from that date.

Unfortunately, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), formerly the Office of the Rail Regulator, has also now become involved: it appears to have issued a letter initiating a consultation with “affected parties” on the possible revocation of West Coast’s safety certificate. Stakeholders have until May 15th to make submissions. West Coast’s future operations therefore appear to rest on a combination of formal processes by the RAIB, Network Rail and the ORR.

There appear, therefore to be several plausible future scenarios for main line steam operations. The most straightforward is that West Coast satisfy the regulatory bodies and resume operations. If it cannot do so, a period of market correction will be needed; clearly it is possible to run steam locomotives on the main line to acceptable safety standards, a market exists for doing so, and there is no reason why this needs to become an existential threat to steam on the main line. But one or more new operators may need to emerge, with or without taking over West Coast and/or its assets. DB Schenker continue to offer some capacity for steam operations, although not sufficient to make up for the loss of West Coast.

Tangmere (And Friend)

Tangmere behind a West Coast Railways class 47 in July 2013. Photo by ARG_Flickr.

 


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News round-up (1), 2015

The first couple of months of the year have seen further reflection by various projects on their progress in 2014, and further progress from many.

3MT 82045
The 3MT tank project continues to take strides in respect of both the build itself and the project-based organisation necessary to make it possible. On the latter front, the boiler appeal has passed £150,000 and the aim is to pass £200,000 in 2015. Sponsorship is still being sought for individual components: the smokebox door is now sponsored, but the smokebox wrapper was still up for grabs at the time of the group’s last update. Meanwhile, plans are being developed for the operation of the maintenance fund to pay for repairs and eventual overhaul once the locomotive is complete: steaming and hire-out fees will form the basis for this, but the group hopes to enjoy continued support from individuals.

In terms of the build itself, this photograph on Facebook shows the completed and painted cab in Boston Lodge works. Boston Lodge has also been awarded the contract to construct both side tanks. The pony truck wheels were being machined in January, prior to being sent to the South Devon Railway to have axles and tyres fitted. A pattern is being made for a new chimney, with the existing chimney from class 3 mogul 77014 now deemed beyond repair; it will however be painted and mounted on the engine for cosmetic effect for a time. Interestingly, the chassis is being pointedly assembled facing north, in support of the view that the Severn Valley Railway might usefully be extended in that direction from Bridgnorth – though presumably its first run up the line, at least, will therefore have to be bunker-first (assuming, of course, that it is tested and run in at the SVR).

2MT 84030
The latest 2MT update details work towards the re-wheeling of the engine. Grease pipe runs have been started, and the build will soon have a new home in a re-used poly-shed being moved as a result of other developments on the Bluebell. This project is also having sufficient swing links for the suspension on the rear pony truck to meet both its own needs and those of the 3MT tank in Bridgnorth.

60163 Tornado
Tornado’s overhaul continues apace, with many photographs available on the A1 Trust’s site, and some footage from YouTube below.

The overhaul has resulted in an appeal for 57mm (2¼”) rubber balls, traditionally made as dog toys. They are used for blocking the superheater holes, to create a seal during testing. Some of the existing stock of balls had perished, and replacements of the correct size could not be sourced from the original stockist, which now sells balls of a slightly different size. Consequently, the Trust issued what must be one of the strangest requests to supporters in the history of the heritage railway movement!

Tornado’s programme on her return to traffic has taken shape, with the Cumbrian Fells express over Shap and the Settle and Carlisle line on May 30th, a run on the ECML on June 2nd, a succession of excursions for Belmond British Pullman over the summer and a trip to the Nene Valley Railway in August and September.

1014 County of Glamorgan
The County is making progress in respect of its firebox, now nearly complete at Crewe, and boiler, with a new barrel and smokebox now costed at approximately £132,000; a contractor for this work is being sought.

The project’s frank and informative review of 2014 highlights, however, that it lacks sufficient man hours to ensure completion by the target date of 2021, and work continues to find ways of increasing the rate at which work is done. More positively, however, it also reports strong progress on the tender and footplate floor.

4709
A review of the Night Owl’s 2014, and look ahead to 2015, suggests that a rolling chassis will be close, but perhaps not quite achieved, this year. Finding a contractor who can manufacture the required new axle poses a challenge and the group may need to look outside the UK; ensuring that the work meets current rail standards and will be signed off by the Vehicle Accpetance Body is also requiring work.

The group also delayed fitting the front buffer beam after noticing that the frames were misaligned, perhaps the result of a heavy shunt suffered by the donor locomotive. Further investigation suggests the problem does not indicate deeper difficulties with the structure, but the fitting of the extension frames to the main frames is not quite ready to take place.

6880 Betton Grange
After machining, the Grange’s cylinders have been delivered – see the video of the machining below. Meanwhile, the latest Steam, Steel and Stars gala in support of the build has been held at Llangollen this weekend.

2999 Lady of Legend
Significant progress on the Saint’s boiler has been made, with the much-delayed delivery of the superheater flue tubes finally coming in November. Ongoing work including fitting new crown nut stays and foundation ring rivets will move the group towards being able to look at out-of-frame hydraulic and steam tests. A water test on the new tender tank showed only a small number of easily fixed leaks; work continues on the coal space section. Pipe run work has been started, and an order placed for the name and numberplates for the Atlantic version of the locomotive.

72010 Hengist
There has been relatively little reported news on the Clan, but behind-the-scenes work apparently continues busily. Specific items reported include the the completion of the tie bar at the rear of the frames, with its associated pins. The machining of the ‘bread basket’ stretcher is to follow next.

45551 The Unknown Warrior
The Patriot is currently off its wheels and minus its smokebox again, as work progresses on fitting the cylinders. One of the outer cylinders was returned briefly to the manufacturer on delivery for minor remedial work, and is now back with the locomotive. Plenty of synergy continues to be found with the Jubilee class, with a bulk order of valve heads having been placed for Leander, Kolhapur, Bahamas and The Unknown Warrior. Previously unlisted Jubilee valve gear drawings have been identified in the NRM’s Search Engine, which will be of assistance for parts where the relevant Patriot drawings no longer survive.

Meanwhile, the implementation of a new engneering standard had threatened to add significantly to the timescales and costs of assembling the new wheelsets. On investigation, it transpired that the new standard applies only to the areas where the wheel centre is pressed onto the axle – see this engineering update for full details.

At Crewe, work on the inner firebox was on schedule to reach complete assembly by the end of February. A further engineering update is expected shortly on the Patriot website at the time of writing.

F5 789
Work on the F5 continues in respect of both physical engineering and CAD work: in respect of the former, the star stay that sits under the footplate is being machined; regarding the latter, a current focus is the frame plates.

Worsdell G5
The components of the G5 are being moved to a new home, close to their previous housing at Rail Restorations North East, as shown in these photos on Flickr. The new unit is larger and will allow for the final construction phase of the locomotive. It is hoped that the project’s regular open days will re-commence in April. Meanwhile, shares in the locomotive remain available to buy.

61662 Manchester United
Repair and restoration continues on the B17 tender, as does fundraising for its frames. The most urgent priority, however, is raising £500 to purchase a short stretch of track on which to place some of the items acquired for the locomotive, for display.

3MT 77021
The 3MT mogul project has clearly suffered internet-related woes, with access to both its email account and website having been interrupted. The group is now back in control of both, however. More happily, the smokebox door is away for drilling, sufficient funds have been raised to allow the order to be placed for the handrail assembly, and oil box feeds have been made as part of an order for several new build and restoration projects.

2007 Prince of Wales
Machining has started of the 24 frame castings for the P2, and orders have been placed for poly patterns for the next batch of castings. This will include the front boiler support, which is a modified design derived from Tornado to allow the locomotives’ boilers to be interchangeable. The castings are all being produced by William Cook Cast Products, and machined by other suppliers in Yorkshire and the North East. Meanwhile, tyres have been ordered and will come from Ringrollers in South Africa.


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News round-up Q4 2014

Welcome to the final news round-up for 2014, which reports on the latest construction progress of many of the projects, plus the end-of-year reflections of several of the most promising.

3MT 82045
On the 3MT website there is a characteristically informative news update for December and a thorough and frank look back on the project’s progress in 2014, where there is much to celebrate. Ongoing work on the project includes the bunker fabrication at the Ffestiniog Railway’s Boston Lodge works, the fitting of the completed buffers to the chassis at Bridgnorth, and the production of a technically complex pattern for the front pony truck. On Facebook, it was announced that the machined cylinders arrived at Bridgnorth on December 22nd.

Other progress across 2014 has included the boiler appeal raising close to £140,000, well in excess of its initial target of £100,000. The coupled wheelsets are also cast and nearing completion, although the group still needs to complete the axle box assemblies and work on the frames before they can be fitted.

60163 Tornado
Tornado has now been disassembled for her intermediate overhaul, and her return to service, complete with a new seven year boiler certificate, is scheduled for May 2015. The A1 Trust’s website contains abundant photographs of progress, including some of the visible parts already back in apple green. With the frames of 2007 Prince of Wales currently alongside her in the Trust’s Darlington works, she is the first Peppercorn A1 ever to sit side-by-side with a P2 Mikado (the originals all having been rebuilt before the A1s were manufactured). The locomotive’s boiler, however, has been shipped back to Germany for overhaul in the works where it was constructed.

6880 Betton Grange
The Grange’s coupling rods have been fitted, and following the casting of the first cylinder just before the last New Build Steam update, the group has confirmed that the second has also been cast satisfactorily. Two newly cast motion brackets have also been delivered.

32424 Beachy Head
The Brighton Atlantic group has published another interesting and detailed update on their work, with photos of progress. They also detail changes they have made to the piston design to incorporate later practice used on BR standard locomotives.

61662 Manchester United
It has been confirmed that the Mizens Railway will allow the extension of the track on which the Footballer’s tender currently sits, to accommodate the whole locomotive. The group is now seeking to acquire the necessary rails and sleepers. Additionally, it has recently obtained a pair of original LNER locomotive headlamps, and are seeking to raise £7,000 to pay for the locomotive’s frames (interestingly, a much lower figure than the 77021 group is seeking to fund its frames).

Worsdell G5
There are plenty of new photos of progress on the G5 on Flickr. The locomotive’s cylinder blocks are in position, and the front buffer beam bolted in place. The driving wheels are due to be taken to Devon, with their tyres, for assembly.

4709
A large proportion of the new build projects seem to have their wheels in Devon at the moment, as the Night Owl’s have also been sent there for attention. Other progress on the 47xx has included scrutiny of the new axle horns, prior to their positioning on the frames.

1014 County of Glamorgan
Non-destructive testing of the copper welds on the County’s firebox at Crewe has revealed some remedial action to be needed, and this is underway. Meanwhile, horn grinding has been completed at Tyseley, and the smokebox saddle and blast pipe design work is also complete. The Group continues to be mindful of the need to increase man hours spent on the locomotive, and is agreeing extra hours with its volunteers.

F5 789
Numerous components have been delivered for the F5, including both cylinders, the four tank supports and the star stay, all of which have been cast in the later part of 2014.

45551 The Unknown Warrior
Under the new slogan ‘Help Us Finish the Job’, the Patriot project is shifting its emphasis from manufacture to assembly, to meet its completion date of 2017 (allowing time for trials and running in, to ensure the locomotive is operational in time to mark the centenary of the Armistice in 2018).

In a review of the year, the group’s Chairman notes, perhaps with some justice, that comparisons with the rapid start made on the P2 project might risk overshadowing the remarkable progress so far on the Patriot. The completed and machined components to be fitted to the chassis over the next few months include the inside cylinder block, motion girders, motion brackets, boiler support brackets and rear cylinder covers, with springs and coupling rods to be attached thereafter. The boiler is to cost £477,000 in total, including the smokebox and front tubeplate which already exist, and final assembly of the boiler is due to start in 2016. The project will however need to increase its revenue to achieve all this, and the review ends with a plea to existing and prospective members to review their support or embark on it anew if they have not already.

2013 Prince George
The latest work on the LNWR George the Fifth includes efforts to address issues with the rear half of the frames seen in service during the later part of the locomotives’ original careers; this work will, it is hoped, significantly reduce the risk of cracking frames after 30 to 40 years’ use. Meanwhile, CAD drawings for the bogie wheel design are underway.

2007 Prince of Wales
Fundraising for the P2 has already resulted in £1.5million of the required £5million already having been pledged. At the same time, design work has continued to look at the cab (to reduce the height by one inch, as with Tornado) and modifying the frame stays.

The Trust has also been considering the problem of the P2’s crank axle, which was a known weakness of the original locomotives – four, or possibly five, failures occurred across the six engines over only eight years, a failure rate which the Trust notes would not be acceptable on the modern railway. The P2’s crank axle design is shared with their contemporaries the A3s, which did not have the same level of failures – having only six coupled wheels, the A3s would tend to dissipate excess torque by slipping, which the more sure-footed Mikado wheel arrangement did not readily allow. To assist with the problem, the Trust has been able to utilise the records made by metallurgists at Doncaster Works of every axle, tyre and crank pin failure from 1919 to the early 1940s, including records of one of the original P2 failures. Using this data, the Trust believes it will be able to address the problem by integrating improvements in the crank axle design used on Tornado, and integrating BR BASS 504 wheel/axle design techniques. An independent study is being commissioned to provide assurance that this solution will address the problem.

On the manufacturing front, the initial batch of frame stay and bracket castings – 24 in total – has now been completed by William Cook Cast Products and the parts are due for machining.

72010 Hengist
The Hengist project is part-way through a schedule of machining and fabrication, with the ‘bread basket’ frame stretcher and brake cylinder support casting due for machining soon. The group’s frame appeal remains open.

3MT 77021
The smokebox door for the second standard class 3 is nearing completion after much work, and the group has been offered the opportunity to get some il feed boxes made as part of a production run for another group. Fundraising is edging towards the £15,000 needed for the commissioning of the frames.

8783 Phoenix
The Claud Hamilton Group has now received its first construction drawing and will be seeking a quote on the basis of it; this will in turn provide a target for a more specific fundraising strategy.

GCR 567
The GCR 567 group has confirmed its intentions to secure the locomotive’s new frames in 2015. It has also come to light that the original no.567 was involved in a fatal accident in 1898 in which eight people were killed. It has been proposed that a memorial plaque be fitted to the new locomotive in commemoration.

Thanks to everyone who has read the website this year, liked us on Facebook and followed us on Twitter – with over 700 Facebook ‘likes’ and over 1,800 Twitter followers (some of them no doubt spambots, but never mind), New Build Steam is well ahead of several of the projects it reports on, despite the low rate of updates this year. Though if you do have a favourite project, please remember to support them and not simply this site! Hopefully there will be no more than two more end-of-year updates before we have another working new build locomotive to reflect on – and with that thought, happy new year!


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News round-up Q3 2014

Contents
6880 Betton Grange
3MT 82045
2007 Prince of Wales
2013 Prince George
45551 The Unknown Warrior
GCR 567
2999 Lady of Legend
1014 County of Glamorgan
4709
32424 Beachy Head
72010 Hengist
2MT 84030
60163 Tornado
61662 Manchester United
2001 Cock o’the North
F5 789
Worsdell G5
GWR steam railmotor
Off topic (1): PRR T1
Off topic (2): LMS 10000
Closing comments

6880 Betton Grange
The Betton Grange group have been very helpfully posting progress updates on the New Build Steam Facebook page. The biggest news is the casting of the first cylinder, as shown in the rather spectacular video footage at the top of this post, and pictures on their website. Other progress includes the fabrication of new splashers for the engine.

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3MT 82045
It has been a characteristically busy summer for the 3MT group. Machining is complete on the wheelsts (machining and fitting of crankpins is following), and underway on the cylinders and axleboxes. Boston Lodge Works on the Ffestiniog Railway has been awarded the contract to make the bunker.

The group has also been very transparent about their financial situation: they expect the boiler appeal to pass the £100,000 mark by the end of this month, and £150,000 by mid-2015, when it is hoped construction will start. VAT registration is also providing significant income to the group, as before it registered it simply lost the money paid on items commanding VAT. It is estimated that a further £200,000 is needed over and above already-identified income streams in order to complete the locomotive, with a completion date of 2017 the aim.

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2007 Prince of Wales

The P2 project continues to set a blistering pace, with several major announcements over the summer. A ceremony to dedicate the locomotive’s frames marked the formal start of construction on July 19th, while the , out recent announcement is the casting of all wheels for the locomotive – eight 6ft 2in diameter driving wheels, two 3ft 2in diameter pony truck wheels, two 3ft 8in diameter Cartazzi wheels and eight 4ft 2in diameter tender wheels.

On the funding front, donations passed the £1million mark within ten months of the project’s launch, with the Founders Club raising £450,000 rather than the £100,000 initially hoped for. A ‘be-spoke’ campaign, allowing donors to sponsor a spoke on one of the driving wheels for £600, has been opened initially only to existing supporters, and is part of a broader ‘dedicated donation’ scheme to allow for the sponsorship of specific items. In a second strand of fundraising, the boiler appeal has been launched, with a target figure of £600,000. Giving a sense of both the scale and pace of fundraising efforts, the chairman of the Trust, Mark Allatt, stated: “We are hopeful that we will have completed the rolling chassis for No. 2007 Prince of Wales towards the end of 2015 and we remain on-track for completion in 2021. However, to maintain this progress we need to continue to raise in excess of £700,000 per year.”

In a further major development, the roller bearings for the locomotive have been ordered from Timken, who also sponsored and manufactured the roller bearings for Tornado, “on advantageous terms.” This will provide a saving on the cost of procuring and fitting the bearings, which at market rates would have been at least £40,000. The strong performance of the roller bearings on Tornado led directly to the decision to use them on Prince of Wales in preference to the plain white metal bearings originally fitted to the P2s.

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2013 Prince George
There have been major developments for the LNWR 4-4-0 since the last NBS update. On the first birthday of Prince George, the George the Fifth Trust announced that it had obtained permission from the royal family for the locomotive to be named Prince George, and numbered 2013 after the year of his birth. The left-splasher, valance, lower cabside, number and nameplates have been manufactured, and were unveiled on the prince’s birthday – the earliest date the announcement could be made, following conditions laid down by the royal family. The royal association has clearly brought benefits for the A1 and P2 Trusts, so this move should be similarly advantageous for the George project.

Subsequently, the frames of the locomotive have been cut by Tate Steel in Sheffield, and fundraising efforts have unlocked the latest tranche of matched funding from the Trust’s anonymous benefactor.

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45551 The Unknown Warrior
Many substantial components for the Patriot have been produced or ordered this summer. All three cylinders are now extant, with machining either completed or due for completion around now. The first of two new bogie wheels has been cast, the project having given up on the promise of recovered wheels from an 8F in Turkey. Valve heads and pistons, with the associated rods, are being supplied by Tyseley as part of a bulk order – the other identical parts are for use on Jublees Leander, Kolhapur and Bahamas. The inner firebox is on schedule for completion at Crewe in February 2015. Additionally, Rowlescourt Engineering have offered to rebuild the tender for the cost of materials only, which represents a substantial financial saving for the group. On top of all that, the locomotive made a visit to the Great Dorset Steam Fair at the end of August.

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GCR 567
The GCR 567 group has confirmed progress on numerous items, including the production drawings for numerous components, including an initial draft drawing for the boiler, and the production of the first brand new component, the right hand sandbox. The modifications necessary for the cylinder block have been confirmed – a change from eight degrees to the horizontal, as manufactured, to one, which is apparently simpler and less drastic than it sounds. The group is also talking to possible suppliers for cutting and machining of the frames, and has had interest from potential suppliers for the boiler.

Other progress has been detailed on Twitter: donor parts have included con rods, tender brake rigging and spare axle boxes (this tweet shows the tender itself); and the project now has £91,000 committed to the build over the next ten years.

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2999 Lady of Legend
There has been much boiler and piping-related progress on the Saint, with the last of the new steel boiler stays fitted, all the small tubes expanded and beaded, and delivery of the flue tubes still awaited at the time of the last website update. The large quantity of copper piping necesary has been ordered, and as previously announced will be made up using the temporarily-fitted boiler of 2861 as a template, before 2999’s completed boiler is fitted.

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1014 County of Glamorgan
The County’s frames have been moved to Tyseley, for the aligning and grinding of the horn guides and axleboxes.

Drawing and design work is underway to reflect the lowered boiler centre-line of the locomotive compared to the originals; this affects the blast pipe and smokebox saddle among other parts. In another example of cross-group working, two exhaust steam injector castings have been ordered – one for the County, and one for the Saint. In addition to these and other items of work on the locomotive, substantial work continues on the tender as well.

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4709
The Night Owl project has now passed its phase of acquiring major components from donor locomotives, and is in a period of intensive work on the detail of both fabrication and design research. This includes work on the design of the springing system, and seeking quotes for items including the fourth axle.

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32424 Beachy Head
The latest update on the Brighton Atlantic has numerous pictures of work in progress. Highlights include the procurement of the outer smokebox door, work on the footplate valences and running plates, and the application of lagging material to the cylinders.

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72010 Hengist
Ostensibly it’s been a relatively quiet summer for the Clan project, although the machining of the slide bar bracket is reported as having been started. Behind-the-scenes work has however been ongoing, with announcements expected to follow.

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2MT 84030
The 2MT group published an update [PDF] almost immediately after the last NBS round-up, so the latest news is inevitably somewhat out of date; but the report’s highlights include news of work on the spacers and stretchers, and progress in obtaining drawings to assist with the pipe work with assistance from the BR Standard Locomotive Owners Group.

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60163 Tornado
The A1 Trust has published abundant pictures of progress on Tornado’s first intermediate overhaul. The loco completed its final main line run in BR blue, the Devon Belle, on August 25th.

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61662 Manchester United
The ‘Footballer’ B17 group is mounting a fundraising push to pay for the frames of the locomotive, and at the same time looking for a new base for the construction of the engine – the Mizens Railway have so far agreed only to provide space for restoring the recovered tender (on which work continues). Meanwhile, the quantity of old bits of steam locomotive knocking around, apparently just waiting for a new build engine to be affixed to, continues to impress: an original regulator handle, whistle and water scoop plate have been acquired for the B17.

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2001 Cock o’the North
The Doncaster P2 Trust has announced a convention on December 13th at the Mansion House in Doncaster to publicise the project, present information and answer questions. It promises, ” a significant number of guest speakers from the media, industry and railway heritage organisations [will be] present.”

Meanwhile, the frames have been delivered to Didcot where they will be put on display. The below video shows them being bent into shape.

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F5 789
More components for the F5 are either complete or on the way: the four tank supports and star stay have been cast, while the patterns for the cylinder block halves were complete at the time of the project’s last online update, with casting due in November. This follows a decision to opt for a two-piece casting rather than a single block as in the original locomotives, after discussions with Bob Meanley, chief engineer at Tyseley.

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Worsdell G5
The final open day at which progress on the G5 can be seen first-hand will be held on November 1st – details on the website. This progress includes the machining of the cylinder blocks and work on the steam valves, which are both now in working condition. Photos can be viewed on Flickr.

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GWR steam railmotor
On the weekend of October 18th and 19th, the GWR steam railmotor made one of its rare mainline appearances, running shuttle trips along the freight-only branch from Southall to Brentford (well, almost as far as Brentford, the line now being truncated). Steam railmotors worked the branch during its time as a passenger line. There are pictures in the Flickr group pool (to which submissions are, as ever, invited) as well as the short video below.

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Off topic (1): PRR T1
As flagged by Timill in the comments to the last update, a project had commenced in America to construct a new T1 locomotive, as operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad. These immense engines were known to achieve speeds of over 120mph, and unverified reports of running at 140mph gave circulated. The project has a stated goal of breaking the steam speed record. Unsurprisingly, its website makes direct reference to the success of Tornado. It will be interesting to observe its progress.

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Off topic (2): LMS 10000
The project to recreate pioneer Ivatt diesel number 10000 hit difficulties earlier this year, when trustees issued a commendably frank admission that they lacked time to continue with the project. However in September it was announced that a new secretary has been appointed, so it appears that the project will continue.

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Closing comments
The final round-up of 2014 will follow at the end of the year; New Build Steam hopes to return to more regular updates, probably bi-monthly, in 2015. Thanks for bearing with the sparser updates this year.

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Q3 update – to follow in October…

The news round-up for the third quarter of 2014 will be published next month, a little later than planned – the editor is engaged in a rather protracted house move at the moment, so the update will follow when New Build Steam Towers has been successfully relocated. Thanks for your patience.


In the meantime, above is a rather good video of Tornado’s last mainline outing in BR blue at the end of August.


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News round-up Q2 2014

The second quarter of the year has seen substantial progress on numerous projects, with two more locomotives now existing as rolling chassis and many major components ordered. There have also been interesting developments on new build projects outside the normal remit of this site – see the end of the update for details.

Contents
2007 Prince of Wales
45551 The Unknown Warrior
72010 Hengist
3MT 82045
60163 Tornado
F5 789
LNWR George the Fifth
1014 County of Glamorgan
2999 Lady of Legend
6880 Betton Grange
8783 Phoenix
Worsdell G5
32424 Beachy Head
GCR 567
Off-topic (1): NBL Class 22
Off-topic (2): modern steam in the USA

2007 Prince of Wales


The P2 project’s flying start continues: the frames were rolled on St George’s Day and profiles on May 21st at TATA steel in Scunthorpe. The process was started by Sir Nigel Gresely’s Grandsons, Ben and Tim Godfrey.

Subsequently, the locomotive’s eight driving wheels have been ordered from William Cook Cast Products on what are described as, “very favourable terms.” The company is therefore confirmed as a major sponsor of Prince of Wales, as it was for Tornado. The completion of a rolling chassis is hoped for, “towards the end of early next year,” (sic – NB clarification in comments below) – presumably that means within 12 months from now.

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45551 The Unknown Warrior
The Patriot has been wheeled at Tyseley, after its temporary wheeling last year; the operation was aborted at the end of May after the need for further work on some of the axleboxes was identified at a late stage, and subsequently completed successfully. The engine will be at Tyseley for its open weekend on July 5th and 6th, and then return to Llangollen. The inside cylinder will be fitted at Llangollen, having been removed at Tyseley before departure. The components for the bogie are also at Tyseley, where they will be assembled before following the locomotive to Llangollen next year. Further details are available in this engineering update, including of work on drawings for other components including the boiler.

A book on the project is due to be published in August.

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72010 Hengist
The Clan project has embarked on a collaboration with the 5AT group, to use modern steam engineering know-how to secure an improved performance from the locomotive relative to its forebears. They have agreed the scope of a feasibility study to look into the exhaust system, boiler, piston valves and pistons. This follows work by the 5AT group for fit a Lempor exhaust to the S160 based at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. 3D modelling work has already identified some dimensional errors on the BR drawings (while this might seem surprising, on reflection it perhaps adds context to the design and construction errors that hobbled the performance of 71000 Duke of Gloucester under BR ownership).

Separately, the locomotive’s frames have been moved to Ian Riley & Son (Bury), with assembly due to start (subject to funds) later this year or early next.

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3MT 82045
Many major components for the 3MT tank are complete or on their way: the pony truck wheels have been ordered; axleboxes and other items are being machined; the cylinders await machining at Williton; the driving wheels are having crank pins fitted at Buckfastleigh; the riveting of the rear half of the chassis is well underway; and quotes are being sought for the bunker.

The response so far to the boiler appeal has been strong, with sufficient funds raised already for the boiler barrel, smokebox and front tube plate. Costings for the expensive Belpaire firebox are being sought – copper will not be bought until it is needed.

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60163 Tornado
The shape of Tornado’s operations for the year is now clearer, with spells on the Nene Valley, Bluebell and Swanage railways (including use on driver experiences and dining trains) and two more railtours confirmed: the Border Raider over Shap on July 5th, and the Devon Belle to Exeter on August 25th. The engine lined up in the spring alongside fellow BR express blue liveried locomotives 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley and 6023 King Edward II, at Didcot’s ‘Once In A Blue Moon’ event.

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F5 789
The pace of progress appears to have picked up substantially on the F5 project with its move to Tyseley. A substantial number of 3D CAD models is being produced, including for the profiling of the frame plates, which were rolled in March 2012. From these, polymer patterns for the cylinder block and star stay will, it is planned, be completed and ready for delivery to Premier Castings by mid-August. The group has also substantially updated and re-vamped its website.

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LNWR George the Fifth
The completed smokebox door can be seen in photos in this blog post. While the project has funds for more components, it has held off ordering any before appropriate secure storage had been secured. This has now been arranged at Heckmondwicke in Yorkshire, adjacent to a project to construct new build LNWR fish vans. Construction of the locomotive will take place at a separate site, yet to be confirmed.

Meanwhile, perhaps mindful of the involvement of the A1 and P2 projects of relatives of Thompson and Gresely, the Trust is trying to track down relatives of the LNWR’s CME Charles John Bowen-Cooke, and is appealing for anyone with information, or a genealogist interested in working on the project, to get in touch.

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1014 County of Glamorgan
A detailed update on progress in March and April can be found here – although the report describes progress as slow, these appears to be plenty of activity on the build. This includes planning for the chassis to move to Tyseley in late June (therefore by publication of this update it may already have occurred) for horn grinding / repair / replacement and work on the axleboxes. This will mean Tyseley has three new build locos on site for a brief period, with the F5 and Patriot also present. The move has however requried the removal of the cab, on which work will continue while the chassis is away. Progress continues on forging motion parts at Arthur Stephenson Engineers. The group has asked for work on the firebox at Crewe to progress slowly.

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2999 Lady of Legend
A detailed update on the Saint was published in April, which includes information on work on the firebox.

Work on the boiler is planned to involve the fitting of new tubes, followed by a hydraulic test and possibly even steam test, with a major overhaul then to take place.

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6880 Betton Grange
Progress on Betton Grange has included a substantial job of adjustment on the main springs, so that the buckles match the T-links, and subsequent re-fitting to the locomotive, plus a visit from the Vehicle Acceptance Body to check on progress.

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8783 Phoenix
The Claud Hamilton group has posted four new CAD images on Facebook, although its website appears no longer to be online.

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Worsdell G5
The fitting of the G5’s cylinders is in progress, machining of both blocks having been completed. The group is holding an open day at Rail Restorations North East on July 5th.

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32424 Beachy Head
The ‘Latest News’ page for the Brighton Atlantic has detailed updates on progress over the spring, including the wheeling of the chassis. Pictures of this are available in the update, and in the New Build Steam Flickr group. The updates from April and March contain plenty more details and photographs, including of the valve gear between the frames.

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GCR 567
The GCR 567 project is now using this Facebook group (may require login) as its online presence.  They have located numerous original components for use on the locomotive, including parts for the motion, as well as manufacturing their first new components, the sand boxes. All the necessary drawings have now been obtained, although the frames are yet to be cut.

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Off-topic (1): NBL Class 22
While New Build Steam’s remit covers standard gauge steam locomotives in the UK, two interesting projects have come to our attention since the last update was published. The first is a group that has been formed to build a class 22 diesel hydraulic locomotive, as originally built for BR by North British. This will be done either from scratch or using an existing chassis as a basis.

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Off-topic (2): modern steam in the USA
After the celebration of its 75th anniversary last year, Mallard’s speed record for steam traction could be under threat if a group in the USA is able to bring its plans to fruition. A group called the Coalition for Sustainable Rail intends to develop a steam locomotive to match the performance of two diesel electric passenger engines, running at 130mph, by deploying the modern steam expertise developed by Porta and Wardale. This project has been in development for some time, and we’re grateful to the commenter who drew it to our attention.

The project is controversial, however: it intends not to build a locomotive from scratch, but to use a pre-existing engine as a test-bed. The machine in question is the last survivor of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad’s 3460 class of six 4-6-4 locomotives built in 1937 for services between La Junta, Colorado and Chicago, Illinois. The locomotive, 3463, has apparently been on static display since its withdrawal in 1953, and a legal challenge may be brewing to prevent the proposed modifications, which will include streamlining and conversion to coal firing, from taking place – although the CSR argues both that these are in line with how the class might have been developed had it been in service longer, and that any changes can be easily reversed.

800px-Santa_Fe_streamlined_steam_locomotive_the_Chief

The first of the 3460 class, and uniquely streamlined – the proposed testbed, 3463, never carried streamlining.

Experience from the UK suggest both that this saga might run for many years before a working locomotive emerges, if one ever does, and that restoring vintage machine, even if partially, may not prove any cheaper than building one from scratch. It will be interesting to see how the project develops.

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News round-up Q1 2014

Welcome to the first New Build Steam news round-up of 2014. As the new quarterly format for these updates will inevitably make them somewhat longer than in the past, a table of contents has been provided to allow you to navigate within the article.

Contents
45551 The Unknown Warrior
3MT 82045
2MT 84030
3MT 77021
72010 Hengist
1014 County of Glamorgan
4709
2999 Lady of Legend
32424 Beachy Head
60163 Tornado
2007 Prince of Wales
2001 Cock o’ the North
8783 Phoenix
Worsdell G5
61662 Manchester United
LNWR George the Fifth

Don’t forget that as well as reading the news updates you can follow us on Twitter, add your photos of new build projects to the Flickr group, like us on Facebook and add us on Google+.

45551 The Unknown Warrior
In an example of news being announced via social media, the Patriot group posted on Facebook that the, “polystyrene pattern casting of our outside cylinders have been completed.” The accompanying picture shows a pattern rather than a cylinder, so it appears that the pattern is ready but the first cylinder has yet to be cast. Indeed, the website states that the first casting is planned for April, and the second will not be cast until it is clear that the first casting is satisfactory (the Patriot group has confirmed to New Build Steam that this is the case, and the first casting is due to be made next month).

The locomotive itself is still at Tyseley, with horn grinding now complete and hand finishing taking place on the faces and axle boxes. The wheels are being balanced using Tyseley’s Jubilee 5593 Kolhapur as a guide; meanwhile, a picture has been tweeted of The Unknown Warrior alongside another Jubilee, this time Bahamas, which is currently at Tyseley for overhaul. The aim is to have the locomotive presented to members with wheels, cylinders and some of the motion fitted in July.

A meeting between the project team, LNWR Heritage and the locomotive’s boiler insurers took place at Crewe in February to examine the drawings for the boiler and ensure it complies with modern requirements. The verdict was that if anything the design is over-engineered, and could safely be operated at 225psi rather than the original 200psi, although the group intends to stick to the original boiler pressure.

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3MT 82045
Progress on cylinders and wheels is reported by the 82045 group: the first cylinder has been cast, and the second was due to be done at the time of the February news update; both will then be machined at Williton. The driving wheels have been fitted to their axles at Buckfastleigh, and the tyres were expected to arrive from South Africa imminently. Meanwhile in Bridgnorth, work has proceded on the axleboxes and spring brackets.

The official launch of the boiler appeal is due soon, in the next edition of SVR News.

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2MT 84030
The latest newsletter from the 2MT group relates that the project has been obliged to move outside to free up shed space for visiting engines over the winter, and the group are addressing the risk of corrosion to the wheels from sitting on ash surface.

More positively, pattern making has continued for two substantial parts, one being the rear truck frame. A drawing for this was found in the Historical Model Railway Society’s archive, illustrating how important archive research can be to new build projects, although this interesting aspect of the work can easily go unremarked-on. The same pattern can be used by the 3MT group in Bridgnorth. The two groups are also due to share the use of the pattern for the truck cradle, although this will have to be rebuilt following some unexpected behaviour in the contraction of the first casting.

Other items of detail including work on the lubrication systems are covered in the newsletter.

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3MT 77021
The newer of the 3MT groups has been gifted a set of buffers by a member, and has taken delivery of several parts for the smokebox door. The coming months are to bring a focus on finding a base for the project, and the main frame stretchers – more details in this news article.

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72010 Hengist
The Clan project appears to be entering something of a new phase, with the completion of the final combined stretcher (none of the parts being identical, but rather cast from a pattern constructed so that it could be reconfigured to produce each item), and the dispatch of the first components for machining. Additionally, work has commenced to weld the horn guides into the frames.

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1014 County of Glamorgan
There has been plenty of activity on the County project. The firebox is expected to be finished at Crewe in April, and the cost of a new welded boiler barrel and smokebox has been estimated at approximately £175,000. Meanwhile, fire hole door linkages and the fire hole door plate have been acquired (it has not been stated where from).

Work on assessing the pistons and cylinders has revealed that the locomotive is expected to be 9% more powerful than planned, as the pistons allocated to it have been measured at 19.136 inches in diameter, compared with the 18 inches originally projected.

The extreme weather conditions at the start of the year have affected the project in two ways. Firstly, the shelter protecting the driving wheels was ripped by high winds and will have to be replaced. Secondly, disruption to First Great Western services around Didcot meant that a planned move of components (including some for 4709 and 6880) from suppliers to Didcot, and then on to Llangollen, had to be cancelled.

There is more detail in this news update.

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4709
The news secton of the Night Owl website shows the locomotive’s cylinder block (from ‘donor’ 2861) after being cleaned and grit blasted. The main frames are being assembled, with the motion bracket stretcher to be fitted soon.

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2999 Lady of Legend
Progress on the Saint includes the start of work on the superheater flue tube assemblies (using newly-sourced tubes, after a batch in store earmarked for the job were found to suffer from pitting), the procurement of an original water scoop stand for the tender and work on the crinolines to support the boiler cladding. More details on the project’s website.

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32424 Beachy Head
The latest update on the Brighton Atlantic contains the now customary abundance of interesting detail, including pictures of an axlebox crown being white-metalled and plenty of details of the frames and pipework, as the project continues to progress.

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60163 Tornado
Tornado’s winter maintenance has been completed, and the locomotive steamed again on March 13th. Details of two of the railtours to be headed by the A1 this year have been announced: they will be the White Rose from London to York and return on April 12th, and a second charter on July 5th featuring Tornado from Crewe to Carlisle and return. Numerous appearances at preserved railways have also been confirmed.

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2007 Prince of Wales
The roadshows for the P2 continue – see New Build Steam’s report from the first event for an idea of their content, and details of the remaining events (which we certainly advise attending if you can).

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2001 Cock o’ the North
The main frame plates for the streamlined P2 have been rolled at Tata Steel in Scunthorpe, and now await profiling at Tata Steel Wednesfield.

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8783 Phoenix
The Claud Hamilton group have announced on Facebook that they have been joined by a CAD designer, who is already working on the project’s design.

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Worsdell G5
The next open day for the G5 will be on March 29th from 10am to 1pm, at Rail Restorations North East Ltd, Unit 8A, Hackworth Industrial Park, Shildon, DL14 1HF.

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61662 Manchester United
Drawings are being obtained for the Footballer, but work on the build is slow for cashflow-related reasons, with payments continuing to repay the crane hire and other costs associated with putting the tender in place on site.

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LNWR George the Fifth
Work has continued on the George the Fifth’s smokebox door, and the group has announced a formal partnership with the Crewe Heritage Centre.

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Report: P2 roadshow, March 8th 2014

2001 model

One of several P2 models on display at the roadshow

Being based in the capital, New Build Steam doesn’t often get the opportunity to attend events relating to the many exciting projects taking place across the country, but today proved an exception as the P2 Steam Locomotive Company came to town for the first two of its roadshows to drum up awareness and, of course, funds for 2007 Prince of Wales.

The event consisted of a series of engaging and informative presentations, and New Build Steam certainly recommends getting along to the future roadshows if you can. This post summarises key points from the presentations.

Building 2007 Prince of Wales
The broad schedule for construction was set out, highlights of which include the following.

  • design work: 2013-16
  • frame erection: June 2014, with construction work “in earnest” starting in July
  • first wheels cast: December 2014
  • boiler: 2017
  • trials and testing: 2020

Additionally, it was noted that the smokebox may be completed earlier than it is technically needed; the locomotive’s “face” is valuable for publicity purposes, as was found with Tornado (and as the Patriot group is currently finding with 45551 The Unknown Warrior, one might add).

Such rapid progress, relative to most new builds, is of course dependent on funding being available. Chairman Mark Allatt emphasised the strategy of ensuring a flying start for the P2: it took 4 years to raise the first £100K for the A1, whereas for the P2 it took four weeks thanks to the Founder Club. Indeed, the fact that Tornado’s completion took 14 years was largely down to cashflow; in total, £4million has been raised over the years towards the A1 and its support coach, so the target of £5million and completion in seven years for the P2 is demanding but realistic. Allatt also provided an interesting comparison point: £7million was raised by the ‘Vulcan to the Sky‘ campaign to restore a Vulcan bomber.

Covenant forms

Covenant forms and the official information leaflet

In terms of fundraising detail, the covenant offer for the P2 – for a monthly donation of £10 – was launched at the first of the day’s roadshows, with former A1 Trust chairman David Champion ceremonially signing up as the first covenantor.The Founders Club will remain open to new members until the frames are laid, and the dedicated donation scheme (ie ‘sponsor a component’) launches in October. It was also stated that the collaboration with Hornby is such that all Hornby P2 models will generate a donation to the Trust – not just models of 2007, and not just those sold by the Trust (the timing of the model of 2007 is to be confirmed, but there will be one). A meeting is also due to be held with the Heritage Lottery Fund in the next few weeks, as HLF representatives were reportedly embarrassed on visiting Tornado to be informed that, contrary to their assumptions, the Fund had not contributed a penny to the locomotive (a story whose telling ends with the words “now get out of our cab!” – New Build Steam would be interested to know just how apocryphal that is…).

Other specifics relating to methods of design and construction were also given. For instance, the design work is being done in 3D CAD rather than 2D as with Tornado, which caused some delay to the A1’s build at later stages, as details like cabling and pipe runs could not easily be addressed through it.

Furthermore, it was politely pointed out that poly patterns are not the innovation they might have been reported as recently, as they were used in the construction of Tornado in the 1990s, and will be again used on the P2. Existing (non-poly) patterns for components common with the A1 are being taken from storage and some are already at or en route to foundries.

An improved Gresley P2
Some emphasis was placed on the Trust’s mission statement (italics by NBS): “To develop, build and operate an improved Gresley class P2 Mikado steam locomotive for mainline and preserved railway use.” All six members of the class carried new developments and idiosyncracies, so there is no wholly standard design for a P2. Indeed, the design was not fully developed, as first the A4s drew Gresley’s attention away, and latterly war intervened. But for those things, it is hard to believe that the P2s would not have been refined further, for instance by remedying the known issues with the pony truck as was done with the V2s. The construction of 2007 is therefore being seen in terms of an opportunity to provide some of the development that should have occurred in the 1930s and 40s – though it is primarily a construction project, and will not attempt to re-engineer the design unless there are clear reasons to do so, related either to performance, manufacturing or modern regulatory requirements.

Nonetheless, it must be faced that the P2s did have a known issue with derailments relating to the pony truck, and arguably one with track spreading. However, any such incidents occurred at low speed, in yards with typically low quality permanent way – in the case of Scottish yards, normally required to take nothing heavier than a 4-4-0 or Atlantic. So while it is vitally important to show that such problems would not arise with a P2 being operated on the modern railway, the problems also needs to be fully understood and put in perspective – a challenge with effectively no data or other technical evidence to prove the design’s suitability, unlike with the better-documented A1s.

The work to model the P2 in VAMPIRE(R) software is therefore vitally important, and it has shown that with the pony truck modified along V2 lines, a P2 can be produced with a ride quality at least as good as Tornado’s, and without posing a significant risk of the sorts of derailments seen in the class’s early days. Delta Rail is currently undertaking the final phase of this work, in between its commitments for clients in the USA and China; the P2 group were quick to pay tribute to the company as a British success story on the global stage.

The P2’s crank axle was also known to be a problem area, to at least a modest extent. Crank axle technology in fact advanced significantly during the war, and with today’s understanding of it the shortcomings of the original design, such as they were, are readily apparent. The design fitted to the A1s less than a decade and a half after the first P2 was outshopped was shown to have a 60% better performance in terms of fatigue than its 1930s predecessor, and further improvement on this is entirely feasible. Accordingly, the design of crank axle used on Tornado will be reproduced on Prince of Wales.

Tornado headlamp

One of Tornado’s LED headlamps, this example also having been used on Bittern’s 90mph runs in 2013

Operation on the modern railway demands a complex electrical system, which for the P2 will be based closely on Tornado’s. This will include LED lighting and headlamps of the same design as carried by the A1. The one major addition will be of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS), which will be fitted to Tornado by the time 2007 steams. The electrification and re-signalling of the Great Western Main Line will see ERTMS introduced on it from 2016, and it is currently scheduled to be introduced on the East Coast Main Line in 2019, so its fitting will be essential for the new P2 to traverse its predecessors’ home turf.

Technical details
2007 will have the same design of boiler as Tornado. This is 17 inches shorter than that on the original P2s, but boiler design was already moving away from longer barrels by the mid-30s, as it provided little benefit. Accordingly, the smokebox will be 17 inches longer, which does have benefits, as it damps individual exhaust events and makes them less likely to drag the fire forward.

The new P2 will have smaller cylinders (19.75in diameter) than previous members of the class (21in). This is in large part for gauging purposes: Tornado can run the full length of the ECML without having to slow for platforms, which some older locomotives cannot do (platform edges having been extended over the last 30 years), and the same will be true of Prince of Wales. The cylinders will “almost certainly” be steel, not cast iron.

The boiler will have detailed modifications relative to the design as originally devised for Tornado, which will also be put on the A1 at its overhaul at the end of 2014. It will operate at 250psi rather than 220 on 2001 Cock o’the North; the higher boiler pressure and smaller cylinders will keep the tractive effort of the original P2s, indeed 2007’s will be slightly higher. The possibility of having three boilers in total between the two locomotives, to allow for more rapid overhauls, will be considered.

The type of valve gear to be fitted to 2007 is still to be decided. It’s known that British Caprotti gear will fit, and the initial thinking was that would be preferable to the Lentz rotary cam poppet gear that Gresley ultimately took against. However, research has shown that the Lentz gear was developed into the 1940s, in the USA (and, “being Americans, they developed it properly”). Extensive technical literature exists around the developed forms of the gear, so more research is being undertaken and Lentz is still an option under consideration. (As an aside, only c.70% of drawings for the P2 have been located, compared to c.90% for the A1 design – a portion of this difference is accounted for by the Lentz valve gear being an “off the shelf” product and full details probably never being supplied to Doncaster; the archive of the Associated Locomotive Equipment Company, which supplied it, has been tracked down and is being explored.) Walschaerts valve gear has not been totally ruled out – it is after all a known quantity – though it would spoil the aesthetics in terms of similarity to 2001.

Prince of Wales will have an axle load 20 tons, 2.5 lighter than Tornado; it may creep up to 21 when the air brake gear is fitted.

In respect of wheels, LNER practice was to cast the balance weight in the wheel, rather than adding the weights on, then pouring the lead in once the correct weight had been found. The latter (LMS) method requires two patterns and the former five, so the non-LNER method will be used.

It is clear that there will be a small number of preserved lines that the P2 can’t visit but Tornado can; that said, it will conform to the same gauging as Tornado, so will be able to get to locations traditionally inaccessible to relatively wide steam locomotives such as Dover.

Smokebox dart

2007’s smokebox dart, as manufactured by James May, was on display at the event

Miscellenea
Several minor points of interest emerged during the presentations and the question and answer session, and are presented here in no particular order.

The original P2s atracted significant media interest when they were new, to the extent that 2001 starred in a “feature film” entitled ‘Cock o’the North’ for which a mocked-up cab section was made. Sadly no surviving footage from the film is known to exist.

It is intended for 2007 to carry the name ‘Duke of Rothsay’ when operating in Scotland, as this is the formal title of the Prince of Wales north of the border. This plan needs to be formally agreed with the Palace, but it is fully expect that will not present an obstacle. A meeting with Palace officials to discuss this and other issues is imminent.

A question from the floor asked about the relationship between the P2 Steam Locomotive Company and the Doncaster P2 group. Mark Allatt observed that the latter has been going for 17 or 18 years, in which time it has raised about £35K. The two groups have met: the Doncaster group asked for access to the VAMPIRE work, and the P2SLC asked for details of Doncaster’s finance people, to discuss sharing the cost; no subsequent meeting has been arranged.

The P2SLC is looking at apprenticeship/s and a training scheme during the construction of Prince of Wales; whereas with Tornado the works were often open for 2-3 days a week, for the P2 it will be 5-6 days a week, so such a scheme is now much more feasible.

A question was asked regarding 90mph running of the P2 and the reported negotiations with Network Rail to secure it for Tornado. While the speakers would not be drawn on the latter point, it was noted that unlike the A1s, the P2s don’t have a pedigree of 90mph running: the highest recorded speed of an A1 was (depending on what source one prefers) c.112mph, and they were often recorded at or near 100; the P2’s top speed on 2001’s test runs was into the 80s. However, nothing will be put into the design that would prevent 90mph running; but there appears to be no compelling reason to go above 75 (other than perhaps to keep out of the way of service trains).

Further roadshows
The roadshows will be repeated in the times and places below – heading north along the route operated by the P2s, in fact. Registration is not absolutely required, but would help the organisers forecast numbers for the events – click here to register.

Presentations start at 11am and last for approximately two hours, including time for questions. If there is sufficient demand, a second roadshow will follow at 2pm.

22nd March – York, National Railway Museum, Leeman Road, York, YO26 4XJ

5th April – Darlington, The Dolphin Centre, Horse Market, Darlington, County Durham DL1 5RP

26th April – Edinburgh, The Balmoral, 1 Princes Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2EQ

17th May – Aberdeen, School of Engineering, Garthdee Campus, Robert Gordon University.


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News round-up December 2013

72010 Hengist


The above video shows the Clan’s frame plates being profiled. The horn guides are due to be welded into them in January, when the final combined stretcher is also due to be cast.

Holden F5
The decision has been taken to outshop the F5 as GER number 789 in Prussian blue livery, rather than as BR number 67218 as previously reported. The project’s status is clarified in this magazine article, linked to but not expanded on by the group’s website: the shift to Tyseley has arisen from the group being given notice to quit the Mangapps Farm Railway Museum owing to a need to undertake building work there and a perception on the part of the museum’s owner that the project was not making good progress.

The move from Mangapps needs to happen by the end of March. The article also outlines that the components already in existence for the locomotive include the frame plates, buffer beams, bunker, smokebox and chimney. The total cost for completing the locomotive is estimated at a perhaps surprisingly modest £550,000.

45551 The Unknown Warrior 
Following the Patriot’s exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham, the opportunity has been taken to move it to Tyseley for the fitting of its axleboxes. It is expected to remain at Tyseley until late January.

On return to Llangollen, the locomotive will have its inside cylinder fitted, the second casting for which will be machined in January. Other items due to completion in Q1 of 2014 are the fitting and machining of the outside motion brackets and boiler support brackets. The bogie will be assembled at Tyseley, with all parts for it now sourced bar the second wheelset which is expected to be delivered from an 8F.

60163 Tornado
The A1 Trust has given an indication of its future plans for operating Tornado on the main line, following the decision of tour promoter Steam Dreams to switch to West Coast Rail, which will not operate the A1, as its train operating company. The Trust will be promoting a limited number of tours itself, starting with a run of The White Rose from London to York and return on April 12th.

Meanwhile, the locomotive is undergoing its winter maintenance programme at Barrow Hill [not Tyseley as originally stated – thanks to Ray Temple for pointing out the mistake in the comments]. The cab and various systems within it have been removed and work started on removing cladding ahead of the boiler repairs. Numerous other items for repair have been noted, and a problem found with the bolts under the cladding having rusted in place – they will be greased when work is completed and the locomotive reassembled, to prevent the same problem occurring.

More details, including photos, are available on the Trust’s website.

3MT 82045
Wheels and axleboxes open the latest update on the 3MT tank: the wheels are at Buckfastleigh for fitting of axles, then tyres and crankpins; the axleboxes are being machined at Bridgnorth. Casting of the first cylinder is due early in 2014, as is the commencement of riveting on the rear of the chassis, for which preparation has been ongoing.

6880 Betton Grange
The Grange is now a 4-6-0, following the return of the bogie from the West Somerset Railway’s Wilton workshop and its positioning under the locomotive. An appeal to fund the acquisition of the cylinders will be launched in the new year.

LNWR George the Fifth
The George the Fifth Trust has acquired a Simplex vacuum gauge for fitting to the locomotive. The gauge was almost certainly fitted to an ex-LNWR good engine still in service with British Railways, such as a Super D, but is identical to those used on the George the Fifths. Its manufacturer, Budenberg, survives and still trades in Irlam, Greater Manchester, so the Trust is optimistic of securing a service for the item.

Maunsell L1
Another of the periodic emergences of a new group online has occurred, this time with the stated aim of building a Maunsell L1. As usual, this venture will not be brought into the group of projects this site regularly reports on unless and until it becomes clear that its efforts go beyond the virtual world. So far, the website and Facebook page have featured encouragement to spread the word and promises of website updates, but no details of the project’s substance.

New Build Steam in 2014 and beyond
This is the tenth post on New Build Steam of 2013, matching the total published in 2012 (there were more posts in 2011, as the site started with a series of overview articles for each then-current project). However, this site is a one-man operation, and in order to free up more of the editor’s time for other projects, in 2014 the news updates will be quarterly rather than every 4-6 weeks. The first of the new, longer, but less frequent, round-ups can be expected towards the end of March.

The site will continue for the long term, however: while there may not be a new build completed in 2014, that next milestone could come in 2015, and it’s very much the intention that this site should still be active to report on it. With several projects entering the final furlong, the next couple of years look set to be particularly exciting.

Alongside the site, its social media presences will be maintained (Twitter, Facebook, Google+), and photographs are still invited to the Flickr group pool. In particular, the plan is to make more regular use of Twitter to pass on news of significant developments, as has been done over the last month of 2013. So if you use social media (or perhaps feel the time has come to investigate it), make sure you follow the New Build Steam account – and remember there is a list of all new build projects known to be on Twitter.

Thanks to everyone who has read the posts, commented on them, emailed updates on the projects, followed on Twitter and liked on Facebook in 2013 – here’s to more of the same in 2014 (albeit at slightly longer intervals).


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News round-up November 2013

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The smokebox of 45551, festooned with poppies for Remembrance Sunday. Photo by Gavin Shell on Flickr

45551 The Unknown Warrior
The now customary rapid progress on the Patriot continues, and the project now boasts a new website. The project has suffered one slight setback however, as it encountered machining problems with its inside cylinder block (cast using polystyrene patterns, in a significant development for steam engineering). The decision was taken to cast a new block, at a reported cost of only a further £800 for the pattern, casting and machining. The cost savings generated by poly patterns are such that, according to this post by a group member on National Preservation, even twelve consecutive errors would make their use cost neutral. The outside cylinders will follow in 2014, also using poly patterns.

Elsewhere on the locomotive, the outside motion brackets and boiler support brackets have been cast and machined, the frame stretchers are now fitted and both the wheels and cab should be now have arrived at Llangollen for fitting to the chassis.

2007 Prince of Wales
Although previously scheduled for announcement in 2014, the name of P2 2007 has been confirmed as Prince of Wales, the news having seemingly been brought forward to mark Prince Charles’s 65th birthday. The prince has some association with the A1 Trust, having formally named Tornado, been a passenger on the royal train hauled by the A1, and even having travelled on its footplate. While this choice of name breaks with the tradition of Scottish-themed names carried by the previous P2s, the association with the prince seems likely to pay off in terms of profile and good will for the project (and numerous locomotives, including an LNER A3, have carried the name previously).

In other P2 news, the P2 Steam Locomotive Company announced on September 3rd that its Founders Club had already acquired 35 members; by November 12th it was able to tweet that this number had reached 130.

2007 by Jonathan Clay, P2SLC

Painting of 2007 Prince of Wales by Jonathan Clay; P2 Steam Locomotive Company

3MT 77021
In August a new group was formally established to construct a new 3MT standard tender engine, whose completion will (along with other new builds) mean that every British Railways standard class is represented on Britain’s heritage railways. The group appears to have made a sure-footed start, with three components already on order (smokebox door, smokebox dart and, already completed, the hinge pin for the door), quotes sought for two more (the inner smokebox door and protection plate), and various on-locomotive plates already in existence. The group’s website indicates that it is taking seriously the business of researching the task and learning from existing new build projects.

3MT 82045
The October update on 82045 includes pictures of the driving wheels, and details of how work on them and the axelboxes will be split between the Boro Foundry, Buckfastleigh and the main project group in Bridgnorth. Collaborative work continues with other groups: the casting for a cylinder for 76079 on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway using the group’s pattern has been completed, and successfully to judge from early indications. A fee has also been agreed for the loan of the existing pattern for BR standard 3-foot pony wheels.

GCR 567
It has been confirmed to New Build Steam that the Boro Foundry are to be appointed as the main contractors for the manufacture of the 567’s main plates; they will order the plates from Tata and complete all machining. This decision follows substantial work on the design of the plates and the fitting of the cylinder block. The block will be mounted using doubler plates, which will have the further beneficial effect of strengthening the front of frames – a known area of weakness for the class in operation. Work has also been undertaken to update the bogie design to more modern standards, and collaborative exercises undertake with other new build groups, namely the Brighton Atlantic and Saint projects – the latter revealing that the shape and diameter of the Saint’s tapered buffers are identical to those on the 567. A coincidence, a draughtsman moving from Gorton to Swindon or, the group suggests – with tongue in cheek, one trusts – a little plagiarism on the part of the GWR?

LNWR George the Fifth
The George the Fifth Steam Locomotive Trust has now had its charitable status confirmed (Registered Charity Number 1153991), has unlocked the first tranche of its matched funding and is close to making the second.

On the design and engineering front, the group’s recent focus has been the frames, whose thickness they plan to increase partly for extra strength and partly to accommodate the processes of Tata.

Evaluation work on the class’s valve gear has also been undertaken: inaccuracies on the drawing board have long been known to have caused irregularities in the engines’ beats, thanks to errors by the German company responsible for designing the valve gear, the Schmidt Superheater Company. By the time the problem was recognised, war had made it impossible for the LNWR to require the company to undertake remedial work; and in practice, the problems did not produce major operational difficulties.

Finally, the group has been given a whistle, purportedly taken from the last L&Y 4-6-0 prior to its scrapping in 1951; the intention is to auction this item to raise funds, subject to documentary evidence to show the veracity of its status being secured. Meanwhile, pictures of work on the smokebox door can be seen on this blog update.

F5 67218
Copies of the group’s GER F5 drawings have been passed to Tyseley, and the group is now awaiting a formal offer for workshop machining and frame erection. The group was also expecting, at the time of its last engineering update, to place the order for the diagonal stay that sits beneath the bunker and footplate, and it has passed a drawing of the footplate supports to Premier Castings. Consideration is being given to turning out the locomotive in GER Prussian Blue livery, while the group has also clarified that the number 67218 has been chosen primarily due to the availability of the smoke box plate – that, and the fact that the next number in sequence, 67219 (obviously enough), was the number of an F6!

72010 Hengist
The second combined stretcher frame has no been cast, and the third is due for completion in December.

32424 Beachy Head
The latest news update from the Brighton Atlantic contains plenty of detail about the arrival, testing and fitting of new components.

4709
The cylinder block from Barry rescuee 2861 has now been reclaimed for us in 4709, albeit with much work still to do to replace bores and cover studs, and fit various finishing items. The bosses for the trailing driving wheels have now been machined and fitted, and their keyways cut.

Related projects
The Dean Goods Facebook group continues to post occasional updates, including multiple reports of progress towards opening a bank account. Despite reports on October 3rd, October 14th and November 4th, the group appears not to have been able to complete this step yet. They have also stated that a formal constitution for the group is in the works.

Meanwhile, the West Somerset Railway has withdrawn its ‘small mogul’ 9351 for its first ten-year overhaul. A rebuild of praire tank 5193, the locomotive represents a class that only ever existed on the drawing board at Swindon, and has proved a highly useful performer on the railway since it entered service in September 2004.

9351 leaving Crowcombe Heathfield, by Crowcombe Al on Flickr