New Build Steam

New standard gauge steam locomotives in the UK


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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

Untitled

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


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News round-up September 2013

2001

Photo courtesy of the Gresley Society Trust

P2 2007
The A1 Trust has announced that its project to build a new P2 class 2-8-2 Mikado is to go ahead. Accordingly, the P2 Steam Locomotive Company has been formed and is awaiting confirmation of its charitable status. A ‘pre-launch’ phase to raise £100,000 has been announced, and membership has been opened of a Founders Club: in exchange for a donation of £1,000, members will gain benefits including a reserved seat on the P2′s first main line passenger train. They will also be able to become covenantors when the main fundraising appeal is launched in spring 2014. Funds raised by the Founders Club will pay for the frames of the engine, which will be the most powerful steam locomotive in the country. It will be built at the Darlington Locomotive Works where Tornado was constructed, at an estimated cost of £5million over a period of seven to ten years. A new website has been set up at www.p2steam.com.

2001 Cock o’the North
The Doncaster P2 group is hinting at progress on its Facebook page, with slightly cryptic updates promising, “it’s about to get very interesting indeed,” and announcing that the group has visited Tata Steel in Scunthorpe. They also had their merchandise and information stall at Mallard’s visit to Railport Doncaster this month, and have a range of new merchandise including mugs and t-shirts.

60163 Tornado

Tornado temporarily sidelined at the Mid Hants. Photo by nogbad the bad on Flickr.

Tornado temporarily sidelined at the Mid Hants. Photo by nogbad the bad on Flickr.

There has been a rash of news about Tornado in recent weeks, not all of it positive. Firstly, its operations on the mainline have hit a significant hitch: Steam Dreams, which promotes Tornado’s regular turns on the Cathedrals Express, has announced that it is switching its operations from DBS to the only other train operating company that operates steam, West Coast Rail. This follows well-reported problems for DBS in supplying crews reliably for trains. Unfortunately, West Coast and the A1 Trust were unable to reach agreement in 2011 for West Coast to operate the A1 (the Trust’s statement from the time is here), so the locomotive is now ruled out of practically all mainline duties. The Trust’s announcement of the news stated that it, “had already been looking at different and better ways of running Tornado, plans which will now be brought forward.” It adds that Tornado’s planned five year intermediate overhaul will take place in the first half of 2014, so it seems that the A1 is unlikely to be a regular fixture on the main line again until next summer at the earliest.

While this turn of events will have negative consequences for the A1 Trust’s income stream, in other respects it is able to sound an upbeat financial note. It has announced the launch of the 163 Pacifics Club to pay for Tornado’s tender, which was built with a £200,000 loan from principal sponsor of the project William Cook Cast Products, which must be paid off by 2021. The venture follows a similar model to the ‘Use Your Loaf’ appeal which is now close to having paid for the new support coach, but donors can buy membership of the 163 Pacifics Club (the number taken from the numbers of LNER Pacifics under the 1946 LNER renumbering, plus Tornado), rather than ‘slices’ of the support coach. This development brings Tornado closer to being wholly debt-free, with the already announced repayment of the £500,000 bearer bond at the end of this year.

Operationally, Tornado had a slightly frustrated August, being stranded at Alton on the Mid Hants Railway by an over-running Network Rail possession (having visited Alton principally to use the wheel-drop), although this sojourn did allow for some items of maintenance to be carried out. More happily, on September 14th Tornado became the first steam locomotive to take a train into Birmingham New Street northbound since the end of steam on BR, in the climax of a process of relaxation to the operation of steam into and out of the station (trains have been taken out of the station in steam already, but not gone straight through before this).

GCR 567
The GCR 567 group has reported multiple items of progress. Perhaps most significantly, it has purchased a ‘Corby Class’ Cylinder block from the GCR Rolling Stock Trust for £2,000 (compared to an estimated £40-60,000 for producing one from scratch). The component has never been used, and has existed for decades as a spare – the quantity of random parts of steam locomotives apparently scattered around the country waiting to be utilised by a new build group continues to amaze. The block will require slight modification, and the group is currently assessing the work needed.

The group has also embarked upon informal co-operation agreements with the Patriot and Betton Grange groups, in addition to its existing agreement with the Brighton Atlantic group to use its bogie wheel pattern. A plethora of drawings has been acquired or created, now nearing a full set, and discussions are advanced with an as yet unnamed company for the production of the frames (with water-jet cutting to be subcontracted to Corus). Agreement has been reached, subject to planning, for the construction of an ‘erection building’ at the group’s Ruddington base (now added to the New Build Steam map, along with the P2 and Claud sites – see below), and the recent AGM revealed that £26,000 has been raised towards the project so far.

61673 Spirit of Sandringham
The AGM of the B17 Steam Locomotive Trust will be held on September 28th at the Holiday Inn in Stevenage. The Trust’s announcement of the meeting reflects on progress to date, including a quote having been obtained from Tata Steel for the manufacture of the frame plates, and the drawings for the chimney having been commissioned. The meeting starts at 1pm and the build plan will be on display.

61662 Manchester United
Work has continued on the cab and rescued tender for the Footballer. Original LNER cab windows, rescued from B1 61212 in the scrapyard, have been fitted, and further repair work has been carried out on the tender, including welding the beading on the top of the coal space back on.

Worsdell G5
The G5 group has made shares in the locomotive available, and also started a new “Super Friends” monthly contribution scheme as it pushes towards completion. The next major component being targeted for completion is the complex matter of the crank-axle, whose forging is estimate to cost in the region of £35,000. The group is attending the steam gala at Locomotion in Shildon this weekend (21st and 22nd September), and will be holding its final open day of the year on November 2nd.

8783 Phoenix
The Claud Hamilton group has secured a partnership with the Whitwell and Reepham Railway in Norfolk: this will act as the group’s parent company, and donations for the project will be taken as donations to the railway, restricted to use on the Claud; the group also says the link will provide them with charitable status, although it’s not clear that the group’s aims fit within the railway’s charitable objects as registered with the Charity Commission. The railway will also provide a base for the storage of components, construction of the engine and its future use (the latter presumably dependent on plans to restore a substantial length of the line on which Whitwell station sits).

The group has also acquired drawings relating to the motion and cylinders, and intends to begin construction with the front buffer beam, for which CAD drawings have been completed. In the meantime, a wooden replica of one of the locomotive’s future name plates has been made, and will be used at promotional events.

72010 Hengist
Orders for several more components have been placed: for the second combined stretcher / spring hanger bracket and the six new horn guides, with stop bosses and lubrication points included in the castings. The latter will be delivered to Stephenson Engineering, ready to be welded into the new frame plates. An appeal has been launched to fund the assembly of the frames.

Work on collecting existing components from their prior sites has also continued. It is intended to paint the cab before the winter sets in, and the group has appealed for tarpaulins to cover it over the winter.

3MT 82045
The 3MT’s driving wheels have now been cast at the Boro’ Foundry and machining has been started. Axles, tyres and crank pins will then be fitted at South Devon Railway Engineering at Buckfastleigh. The axleboxes have also been cast, this time at the South Lincs Foundry in Spalding, and also require machining and further preparation. With the project enjoying such good momentum, plans to launch its final big appeal, for the estimated £300,000 to fund the boiler, are being brought forward from autumn 2014 to earlier in the year – although the dedicated bank account is already open and ready to receive donations.

2MT 84030
The latest newsletter from the 2MT group outlines continuing progress on the locomotive. Unfortunately it has not proved possible to move it from the Bluebell’s running shed to the workshop, so it remains easily visible to the public but more difficult for the group to work on. Positive progress includes the fitting of the front tank support brackets to the frames plus many items on the ‘restoration’ side of the project, for instance the completion of work on the front sand boxes, ready for mounting on the engine.

1014 County of Glamorgan
Non-destructive testing has been carried out on the frames of the County, and the results were positive – the group, as they observe in this news update, will not be “doing a Scotsman”. The same update contains details of progress on multiple fronts, including the completion of drawings for numerous components and the exploration of using poly-patterns to manufacture them, following the Patriot’s successful use of the technique for its inside cylinder. The update illustrates well how recent developments in steam locomotive engineering – good and bad – are being taken on board by new build groups and influencing their work.

6880 Betton Grange
Progress on the Grange includes the fabrication of angle brackets and the removal of the vacuum cylinder from 5952 Cogan Hall. Quotes for a poly pattern for the cylinder block are being obtained, with a target of having the cylinders cast and machined by the spring.

4709
The Night Owl project got a healthy dose of publicity on August 25th, when it featured in en edition of BBC2′s Hairy Bikers’ Restoration Road Trip. The programme revealed several new developments in the project, including the prospect of using the boiler from 2861 as an interim measure while the locomotive’s own larger boiler is constructed, just as class pioneer 4700 used a smaller boiler as fitted to the 28xxs while the new ‘No. 7′ type boilers were being built. The possibility of turning out the locomotive in this form and using proceeds from its initial running to fund the new boiler is being actively investigated. More immediately, the final pair of driving wheels has been obtained, using a new wooden pattern from master pattern makers Caddick and Moss.

Dean Goods
A new group has emerged online, with the stated intention of building a new GWR Dean Goods 0-6-0, despite the existence of a preserved example of the class, 2516, albeit somewhat sealed inside STEAM at Swindon. This follows the emergence of an online group claiming to intend to extract and run the surviving example, having abandoned plans for a new build. A Facebook page has been set up, with numerous appeals on it for support and help. As ever with new groups, NBS will monitor their progress, and begin reporting on it regularly if it appears to become well established (although it is interesting to reflect that, of the new groups emerging online during this website’s lifetime, only the Claud Hamilton group has shown any sticking power).

32424 Beachy Head
There is plenty of detail in the latest update from the Brighton Atlantic group. Slow delivery of the crossheads has not impeded progress. Work has taken place on, among other areas, the piston rods with their new crossheads and the valve gear.

LNWR George the Fifth
Work continues on the smokebox door for the George the Fifth, while the project’s fundraising efforts have unlocked the first tranche of matched funding from the benefactor who is donating £50,000 on this basis.

45551 The Unknown Warrior
And finally, the smokebox of The Unknown Warrior has been placed on the frames, painted and finished with numberplate, shed plate and headboard. While the presentation is mainly for promotional and fundraising purposes in the first instance, it’s undeniably a milestone for the locomotive to be given its ‘face’. 

lms patriot 45551

Photo by Gavin_Shell on Flickr.


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News round-up August 2013

60163 Tornado


Tornado’s first moves under her own power took place on August 1st 2008, and accordingly the Trust has celebrated the same date this year as the locomotive’s fifth “birthday” (though many components were in existence for much longer, and other groups have treated the erection of frames as the point at which the locomotive is said to come into existence; others may however wish to take similar opportunities for publicity in the future!). Since then, Tornado has covered 70,000 miles and is now as old as Evening Star was at the time of its withdrawal. The Trust’s press release also refers to, “the potential of an increase to 90mph for Tornado,” but offers no further details; New Build Steam awaits news on this front with interest.

72010 Hengist
Comments left on last month’s update show how the problems recently discovered with the frame plates seem to have had the effect of spurring the team on with even more determination. A donation from a member is allowing them to have new plates manufactures, with cutting and machining due in October. Meanwhile, the planned orders for the rear combined stretcher / brake cylinder support and second combined stretcher / spring hanger bracket have now been placed.

Most of the existing parts at Shillingstone have been moved to the Midlands, and work will be completed in one more trip, after which the container previously housing the parts will be sold. Quality inspection of components currently lacking the paperwork that will be required for mainline running (by no means all of them) will then be undertaken, and regular working parties will commence at the project’s Midlands site soon.

F5 67218
The F5 group made two announcements during July, firstly that they had sought quotes for the assembly of the locomotive’s frames, and secondly that Tyseley Locomotive Works had been confirmed as the preferred supplier. Further updates are promised soon.

Worsdell G5
The G5′s open days continue on the first Saturday of each month, and photos here on Flickr show progress on the bunker.

Meanwhile, the ex-LMS brake/goods coach previously restored and earmarked as the G5′s support coach is now listed as for sale on the Rail Restorations NE Ltd website. It has bedroom, mess and kitchen areas, so should be an asset to some some project or other…

3MT 82045
Progress continues on the 3MT. Items reported in July’s typically comprehensive update include casting of the driving wheel axleboxes being underway, re-fitting of some of the front footplating now that riveting is completed, and machining of the spring brackets.

2999 Lady of Legend
The latest news update from the Saint project includes some excellent photographs of the locomotive in the open air, carrying the boiler from Barry survivor 2861, fitted as reported last month to provide a template for fitting pipework. It was on display for Didcot’s ‘Saint Day’ on July 13th.

1014 County of Glamorgan
Pictures from the project’s recent County Day show an assembly of nameplates and other memorabilia.

6880 Betton Grange
The bogie wheels have been painted, and re-assembly of the bogie will take place once re-metalling of the axleboxes has been completed.

4709
The Night Owl website’s latest update is an interesting report on how the cylinder and saddle block from 2861 will be married to the 47xx smokebox, in the context of fitting the locomotive within Network Rail’s gauging requirements.

61662 Manchester United
The cab and recovered tender for the B17 have been partnered at the project’s base, with an improvised platform under the cab. One rear buffer, mysteriously not attached to the tender when it was found, has now been replaced.

Other ways to access New Build Steam
Many readers are keeping up to date with New Build Steam via social media: the Twitter account is edging close to one thousand followers, while the (much newer) Facebook page is approaching one hundred; there are even eighteen followers on Google Plus, which is eighteen more than might have been expected given how ill-used that platform is.

The photo pool on Flickr is still attracting occasional uploads; all photos of new build locos are welcome there. Understandably, most uploads to date have been of Tornado, but shots of other projects in progress would be particularly nice to have (and Creative Commons licensed material greatly increases its chances of use on this site!).

Finally, New Build Steam has created a Google map showing the site of each new build project covered by the site: it makes clear how spread out over the country they are, with one or two centres housing multiple projects but no area dominating the scene. In the case of sites with multiple projects, it’s necessary to zoom in to see both markers on the map. Where possible the markers have been put on the exact location where work is being carried out, but New Build Steam’s editor is now familiar with every site so please be tolerant if your local project isn’t shown in exactly the right building – hopefully all are on the right basic site.

Projects without a base for construction are not shown, and there’s no attempt to show a spread of components across the country where this is the case. In one case the site of future assembly is shown; for the F5, the marker will in due course be moved to Tyseley, but as the project currently has an established base that is where it is shown at present.


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News round-up July 2013

It has been a busy time for many new build projects since the last news round-up, with progress that can fairly be called momentous for the Patriot, news of a sad set-back for the Clan and no shortage of solid progress elsewhere.

45551 The Unknown Warrior
In a milestone development, the inside cylinder for the Patriot has been successfully cast at the Coupe Foundry in Preston. Moreover, as project chairman David Bradshaw wrote in a comment to May’s news update, the cost of all three cylinders is expected to be as low as £30,000 thanks to the use of a polystyrene pattern and lower than expected machining costs. The innovative pattern technology is likely to be significant for other new build projects, as it allows a significant saving of both money and time, not only in respect of cylinders but other components too: some front bogie items for the Patriot have already been produced in the same way, and other components will follow.

Even more impressively, the project has been passing other milestones at the same time. The smokebox has been completed at Crewe, and was on display at the – by all accounts very successful – members’ day at Llangollen on June 15th. The driving wheels were due for completion at Buckfastleigh by the end of this month, and will go to Tyseley for the fitting of axleboxes before being moved to Llangollen.

All components for the front bogie are now ordered, and it is hoped that it might even be fitted while the chassis is on display at the Tyseley open day in October. The copper for the firebox has been ordered, at a substantially lower price than was originally envisaged, and it is hoped that work will start on it before the end of the year. Other components are also on the way, including the running plate (being made now) and the cabsides (quotations being sought, with revised drawings now completed).

The project is therefore on course to have a very complete-looking rolling chassis by the end of the year, with one very obvious gap: the boiler. Accordingly, the appeal to fund this major item has been launched in earnest, with supporters invited to buy ‘boiler bonds’ to whatever value they wish, rather than as part of a regular covenant, to raise the estimated £500,000 needed.

For more fine detail on all this progress, see this post and the wider thread on NatPres.

72010 Hengist
Unfortunately while the Patriot makes great progress, the Clan project has encountered a significant setback. Its existing main frame plates have been discovered not to be fit for purpose on account of holes drilled in incorrect locations, and the horn guides being twisted and incorrectly welded. Rectifying the problems is reckoned to be only marginally cheaper than having new frames produced; the fabrication, profiling and welding is being done by one company. It has also become clear that the frame plates were not from the reported ‘special rolling’ of imperial-measurement plate, but from 32mm plate.

This disappointing discovery raises the question of how many of the project’s components might also have problems: they are currently dispersed across the country, and the team are in the process of gathering them in one place, and checking them all. The company’s press release states that all components to be assembled by Ian Riley at Bury needs to have the relevant Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) paperwork in place; this seems to suggest that some components that should have this might not. This checking process is now a priority for the team, which effectively took charge of the project in April 2011.

More happily, the first of the lower combined frame stretchers has been cast; see this news item for pictures and more details.

The AGM takes place on July 13th at STEAM in Swindon, and supporters are being encouraged to attend for more information on how the recently discovered problems came to pass.

32424 Beachy Head
A detailed update on progress has been published on the Brighton Atlantic: the cylinders are now fitted to the frames, a laborious process due to difficulties with access to the necessary points of the frames; and many other components are fitted or on their way, including the rear cylinder covers, slide-bars and motion brackets. The boiler and firebox are also progressing – see here for full details.

1014 County of Glamorgan
Another highly detailed update has been published by the County group. This includes planning for the loco, tender chassis and tender superstructure to be all on the same road by the end of 2013. A meeting to review progress on the boiler at Crewe has set a completion date for it of December. The use of poly patterns, following the Patriot’s positive experience, is also being actively considered.

GCR 567
The 567 group has been working hard on the issue, highlighted in the last update, of the strength of the front end of the locomotive. Scrutiny of photographs of the locomotives in service has shown evidence of front-end damage in service, and the group has uncovered details of improvements made to the frames to counter this. They have also found slight inaccuracies in the paper drawings, as the process of creating CAD drawings has shown the lines and radii do not entirely match up. Many small components have been drawn, and a major design review meeting is imminent in July, after which a frame cutting drawing will be hopefully be released for cutting.

3MT 82045
The pattern for the 82045 cylinders has had its first cylinder cast… but not for this locomotive. It will be fitted to class 4 mogul 76079 on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, and the pair for 82045 cast once the machining has proved satisfactory. Meanwhile, riveting on the front end of the chassis is complete and attention now turns to the rear.

Worsdell G5
The final driving wheel was due for casting at the Boro Foundry on May 14th, and progress continues on the cab. A local BBC News report on the project is available here, and suggests both that the engine could be completed within two years, and even that a second could follow.

4709
Both trailing driving wheels and the rear drag box have now been cast for this locomotive. Refurbishment of the donor wheels, axleboxes and horn guides is required, and a handful of further components needed, to allow the completion of a rolling chassis.

2999 Lady of Legend
The firebox for the Saint is also well through its schedule of work. Meanwhile, a second GWR standard No.1 boiler, from ex-Barry 2861 (whose cylinders will be used on 4709), was fitted to the frames on June 1st as a template for setting up pipework.

2001 Cock o’ the North
The Doncaster P2 trust is at the stage of ordering frames for the locomotive, and has appealed on Facebook for suitable premises at which to store them, and possibly also assemble the locomotive.

 8783 Phoenix
The Claud Hamilton group has had some organisational changes. Chris Allenby has stepped down as chairman, with Dan Knights filling the post on an interim basis and three new board members appointed. Newsletters are now being made available to members.

New build Dean Goods?
A superficially unlikely, but undeniably active, new project has emerged on Facebook: a new build GWR Dean Goods 0-6-0. Why unlikely? Because unlike all the other new build projects, this one aims to build an engine already represented in preservation, by 2516 in STEAM, Swindon. The originators of the project note that it has never steamed since withdrawal and would be very hard to extract from its current home; they have located a Dean Goods boiler at the Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway, intended for a pannier tank but now redundant after a more authentic boiler was located. A recent update however indicated that talks to purchase this have “halted”. Indeed, after a period of very active updates on Facebook, including reports of correspondence and phone calls that one might not ordinarily expect to see made public, the group has, “decided to go into non-public mode,” for a period. They have, however, visited STEAM to photograph and “measure” the existing engine (the purpose or use of such measurements is unclear, as they would surely not be any substitute for proper original drawings), and are even talking in terms of acquiring custodianship of it. As with the other ‘Facebook new builds’ New Build Steam will keep an eye on the project, and include it in the projects regularly covered on the site if it appears to be making real progress.


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News round-up May 2013

6880 Betton Grange


Another new-build rolling chassis came into being last month, with the wheeling of Betton Grange on Monday 8th April at Llangollen (as it happened, the day after the last NBS news round-up was published). In addition to the video above, which shows the process in full, the work is described with photographs here.

After the wheeling, the buffers and spectacle plate were added over the weekend of April 20th–21st and the foot plating was painted.

61662 Manchester United
Ken Livermore of the Engine 61662 Appeal left a comment on the last update, drawing attention to a significant development: the group have successfully purchased an original LNER tender, discovered during the clearing of a Doncaster scrap yard.

Photo courtesy Ken LivermoreThe Appeal succeeded in raising £4,000 to buy the tender in something of a race against time, as the yard’s owner wished to clear the yard while the price of scrap metal remained high. Project Leader Ken Livermore commented: “This is a great day for us, the original engine and tender were scrapped in the 1960’s so to unearth an identical tender more than 50 years later to us is like discovering buried treasure!”

The photo, supplied by Ken, show operations to take the tender from the yard to the Mizens Railway, a 7.25” railway in Woking, for restoration.

GCR 567
The GCR 567 group has also kindly been in touch with an update on their project. Visitors to the GCR(N)’s Closing the Gap Gala this bank holiday weekend will have had the chance to see the drawings for the frame side plates; numerous other components are being drawn into the same cutting plan, to minimise waste from the 10m x 2.5m x 30mm plate.

The group have also stated that they are looking at ways to strengthen the frames at the front of the locomotive, in light particularly of the recent ‘heavy shunt’ incident on the North Norfolk Railway between 70000 Britannia and Standard 2MT 78019; with heritage line use likely to entail the locomotive running with its smokebox towards the train a lot of the time, the group wishes to ensure both ends of the locomotive are robust enough to guard against damage in incidents of this sort. With care, they believe modifications to achieve this should not be readily visible.

Other current considerations are the dragbox, which will be fabricated and suitably weighted in place of the original cast version, and the boiler. On the latter point, if a new round top firebox version is built, it may well have an additional set of crinolines and wrapper to give a Belpaire shape when running in the later GCR colours – the topic is still up for discussion while the project is at the design stage.

The group is also appealing for more engineers and draughtsmen with CAD experience to join the project, to help with the substantial task of going through the mass of documentation necessary to move the project on.

LNWR George the Fifth
This blog post contains an update on, and pictures of, the fabrication of the smokebox door.

Worsdell G5
The G5 project’s regular open days commenced on Saturday May 4th, and will be held on the first Saturday of the month until October at Rail Restorations North East Ltd in Shildon. Meanwhile, the grouo’s Flickr account documents work on the engine, including this picture of one of the driving wheels being worked on.

45551 The Unknown Warrior
Progress on the Patriot continues apace, both organisationally and in terms of engineering. The latest Facebook update stated, among other things, that the smokebox door was due for completion, axlebox machining is progressing, the second set of crankpins was due to be fitted, orders have been placed for outstanding motion parts and patterns for items for the bogie, and drawings for the running plate have been finished.

Meanwhile, Heritage Painting has been commissioned to paint the locomotive. The outfit has made a name for itself painting the A4s 4468 Mallard and 60008 Dwight D Eisenhower in York recently among other commissions. The cab sides are due to be fitted in time for the display of the chassis at the Warley Model Railway Exhibition in Birmingham, and will each be painted in different liveries. It is also planned for there to be a live demonstration of applying cabside numbers.

The final choice of livery for the locomotive has yet to be decided; there will be a vote among supporters after construction is completed (which suggests that the engine will have an interim test livery, similar to Tornado). The intended completion date is still 2017, subject to funds, with mainline operations due to follow in 2018 for the centenary of the Armistice.

3MT 82045
The latest engineering progress on the 3MT includes the placement South Devon Railway Engineering Ltd of a contract for the axles, tyres and associated machining for the driving wheels, and pattern-making for the underkeeps of the driving wheels and axleboxes.

The project also continues to show that there is more to a new build project than just engineering: the Trust has now been registered for VAT, which will allow it to claim back VAT on both future spending and on all items bought over the last four years. To give just one example, funds for the driving wheels are already in place inclusive of VAT; now, over £16,000 of these have been freed up. At the AGM on April 6th it was reported that the project had achieved the targets set in 2012; overall, the regular updates on the project’s site continue to paint a picture of a well-run project making admirable progress.

60163 Tornado
Tornado suffered a widely reported failure on April 20th while working the return leg of the Cathedrals Express from Holyhead back to Crewe, from where a diesel was due to take the train back to London. Its new air pump failed, causing a brake failure as the second pump normally carried by the locomotive was at Crewe undergoing repair. The train had to be rescued by a diesel – unfortunately none was close to hand, and the train was three hours late into Crewe, by which time an engineering possession meant it had to be terminated and passengers conveyed home by road. The delays to service trains along the north coast line were considerable – but while such incidents are highly unfortunate, it should be remembered that they can and do arise from failures by modern traction as well. The pump that failed is now back with the supplier, and Tornado is undergoing repairs at Crewe.

67002+60163 "Tornado" - Crewe

Tornado’s day ends ignominiously, with a tow back to Crewe by 67002. Photo by 60009 on Flickr.

East Coast Main Line speed limit
Network Rail has announced that it will temporarily raise the speed limit for steam operations on specified sections of the East Coast main line from 75mph to 90mph. The sections identified are both north and south of York, and the change will cover three railtours, on 29th June, 19th July and 27th July. Perhaps surprisingly, the locomotive in charge of all three runs is not the new build Tornado, but vintage A4 4464 Bittern – the occasion of course being the 75th anniversary of Mallard’s record-setting run. It should be noted that while the limit is being lifted that does not mean that Bittern will be pushed to hit 90mph for its own sake. The change will be subject to a test run on the Great Western main line.

Overall, this appears to be a positive sign of Network Rail’s attitude, after a period of bad headlines about lineside fires and delays caused by steam failures; it suggests NR have a proper perspective on these issues and are still friendly towards heritage operations on the ‘big railway’. Could it pave the way for higher speed running by Tornado? New Build Steam understands from previous online comment that the A1 Trust has been negotiating with Network Rail to enable Tornado to run at 90mph, which they feel it could readily achieve, and that these discussions have been progressing tentatively but positively.

Another new Facebook group – a J50?
A Facebook page has been set up for a putative project to build an LNER J50 tank engine. It remains to be seen whether this will go anywhere, or prove to be an aspiration confined to the internet. New Build Steam will report further if the project makes significant progress.


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News round-up April 2013

45551 The Unknown Warrior


Two significant announcements have come from the Patriot project. The first is a fundraising appeal to get the cylinders cast, aiming to raise £50,000. In fact progress is already underway: the discovery that Precision Patterns of Oldbury can make make polystyrene patterns at a much lower cost than traditional wooden ones has allowed the pattern and casting of the middle cylinder to be ordered. A further £21,000 is needed in total for the three patterns and castings, plus £30,000 for machining.

Funds are being invited in a variety of ways: donations for the patterns (£2280 for the inside, £2000 each for the outside patterns), or they may be sponsored (£5170 and £4750 respectively). Alternatively, donors may wish to sponsor in units of £1.15 for a a cubic inch of cylinder capacity; 19,851 cubic inches are available to be sponsored in total.

Separately, the second announcement concerns an issue not covered by New Build Steam to date: lubrication. Morris Lubricants, described as the market leader in steam heritage lubricants, and Britain’s leading family-owned, independent oil blenders and marketers, is supporting the project by contributing to the cost of the pattern for the bogie centre casting, and providing metalworking lubricants for the locomotive’s manufacture, and specialist steam lubricants for its operation. The front bogie has been ordered and is to to be under the locomotive by the time it goes on display at the Warley Model Rail Exhibition in Birmingham’s NEC this November.

The above video focuses on the boiler appeal, and was put online in February.

Worsdell G5
The G5 is one of several projects to be enjoying progress on one of the most obvious components of their locomotive: the first of their driving wheels has been cast. Indeed, it arrived in November (the G5 project as ever focusing on the work rather than communicating it). In addition, the hornblocks have been machined and are being fitted to the frames, the AWS system has been purchased and platework for the cab and bunker is being fabricated. The project is also hosting more open days at its base, Rail Restorations North East Ltd. The first is on May 4th, and they will be on the first Saturday of the month thereafter.

72010 Hengist
Work is advancing on the Clan on a couple of fronts. Firstly, shot blasting and non-destructive testing of frame components is underway at Riley and Sons in Bury, to provide the necessary certification for mainline operations. Secondly, more details have been issued of the project’s collaboration with the Advanced Manufacturing and Research Centre (AMRC) in Sheffield. AMRC will be converting paper drawings into digital forms (AutoCAD / Solidworks), and are also keen to start manufacturing some components – this will allow them to trial new manufacturing techniques and train their apprentices, as well as progressing the Clan build. Smaller bogie parts are expected to be first in line. AMRC will also be carrying out dimensional checks on the frame extensions, which support the firebox.

3MT 82045
Plans for significant components of 82045 are coming together nicely according to the latest news update. Casting of the driving wheels has been ordered, with quotes being obtained for their machining and fitting. The project’s Wheel Appeal has exceeded expectations, and funds will be available to cover all the work (funding for the spring assemblies and axleboxes is also available from general funds). Plans for the locomotive’s motion are being prepared, and planning for a boiler appeal is on the way, for launch when the wheels and motion are well advanced.

The front and rear pony assemblies are also due to be a focus imminently, although production of the rear pony truck casting has been paused while the Standard 2 project consults with the foundry. Another collaboration with a heritage group has borne fruit: a regulator is being manufactured for 82045 thanks to a donation from a member specifically for this item, taking advantage of a casting produced for a Standard class 4 locomotive.

The group’s AGM was held on April 6th in Kidderminster.

60163 Tornado
The last month has seen a few niggling problems for Tornado. A planned run from Southend on the Cathedrals Express was cancelled  after a problem was found with the crosshead white metal bearing surface (at short notice, 35028 Clan Line picked the train up at Acton). After this was repaired, a further problem – reportedly a broken air pipe – brought the locomotive to a halt at Slough a fortnight later; it was repaired and on its way after roughly an hour’s delay.

More happily the locomotive’s new support coach, for which fundraising has been underway since 2010, is more or less complete and following accreditation work this month will enter service in 1950s ‘blood and custard’ livery.

B17 Spirit of Sandringham
As was kindly pointed out in a comment on the last news round-up by Paul Hibberd, issue 18 of the Heritage Hub e-magazine (PDF) contains an article from the B17 Steam Locomotive Trust announcing that the locomotive is to be called Spirit of Sandringham. Further details such as the number it will carry or plans for its construction are not featured, but the article does include details of how to donate to the project.

2999 Lady of Legend
A further update on the Saint has shown continued progress. Bar the valve reach rods, all the valve gear has now been fitted. A plethora of smaller components has been completed ready for fitting, including the loco brake valve, footplate seats and boiler handrail support pillars. Material for the construction of the new tender tank is on-site and construction due to start shortly. Additionally, a donation of paint has allowed painting of the locomotive and tender to commence.

6880 Betton Grange
Progress continues on the Grange’s wheels, with new balance weights riveted into position and paint being applied.

4709
Contracts for the multi-stage work to cast, machine and fit tyres to the Night Owl’s wheels are expected to be issued soon. Meanwhile, work has been done to develop the drag box pattern, incorporating later improvements by Collett to Churchward’s design, and efforts to improve access to many awkwardly-placed rivets.

Wardale book
The 5AT group has issued more details of the re-print of David Wardale’s book The Red Devil and Other Tales from the Age of Steam. It is expected from the printers in the middle of this month, and pre-orders are being taken on the 5AT website, for £39.95 plus postage. It is being supplied to the group at cost, and profits will fund work to develop improvements to steam locomotive performance; details of two such projects, looking at equipment to test exhaust performance and at the use of bio-fuels, are due to be announced soon.

Outposts of New Build Steam
Finally, a reminder that New Build Steam is now active across several social media platforms, having recently joined Facebook and Google+ in addition to the long-standing Flickr pool and Twitter channel – please do like, follow, add to circles and share your photographs.