New Build Steam

New standard gauge steam locomotives in the UK


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News round-up (6), 2015

3MT 82045
Bridgnorth has seen the arrival of two sections of 82045’s boiler barrel, and once space is available in the boiler shop one section will be swaged to fit the other so that they can be riveted together – this slightly complex arrangement is described in more detail in the November news update.

Elsewhere on the locomotive, the cab is now off the chassis and partially dismantled for the drilling of holes to fit other components to. The bulkheads behind the driver’s and fireman’s seats have been assembled and fitted. Fitting of the cab is expected in the new year. At the front of the engine, a new chimney and vacuum ejector exhaust ring have been manufactured by the Boro’ Foundry, the smokebox dart has been machined and handles fitted, and the vacuum and train heating pipework has received attention, as access to complete this job will be difficult once the pony truck is in place. At the rear, swing links for the suspension of the rear pony truck have been delivered, after manufacture in collaboration with the 2MT project at the Bluebell.

Financially, the project’s Boiler Appeal remains healthy, having reached over £200,000 by this autumn. Next year’s Eardington Flyer special train on the SVR is being organised as part of a final push to fund the last major set of components, the motion. Interestingly, the project reports in its end of year round-up (published with the December engineering update) that donations over both the spring and September gala weekends were substantially up on previous years, this being the first time the cylinders and bunker were available for display – being demonstrably on course for completion appears to generate both interest and revenue at increased rates for new build projects.

3MT 77021
The 77021 group is progressing with the manufacture of its initial components: they now have the smoke box door distance piece (the first casting from their pattern having gone to 82045), ready for machining in the new year, and the dart for the door is ready for collection at the East Lancashire Railway in Bury.

72010 Hengist
The Clan project is setting its sights on the goal of frame assembly in 2016. It is expected to cost £100,000, and the group are seeking a base for assembly. In an end of year message the group’s President, James Baldwin, outlines the requirements for such a site, which include track access for running in and access to the national network: “Once the frames have been assembled as a rolling chassis, we don’t want any of that malarkey of road-transporter movement – which puts needless stresses on the frames, causing cracking problems, which has been actively demonstrated with other locomotives.” It is unclear if he has the Patriot group, which has already moved its rolling chassis by road several times, in his sights with these comments. Elsewhere, the group notes that, “the final machining has been left until the assembly stage to allow for the larger castings to ‘weather’ and destress which will minimise future deformation that can occur using ‘green’ (ie fresh from the foundry) castings.”

Five components for the frame assembly were ordered by December: the frame stretcher, left and right motion brackets, boiler carrier and smokebox saddle. Quotes have also been sought for the casting of the exhaust steam spider, the existing pattern for which has been deemed not to be suitable. The option of sand printing is being seriously considered, as an alternative to wood or poly patterns: this involves creating the sand mould by 3D printing.

2007 Prince of Wales
Prominent elements at the front and rear of the P2 have recently been created. The cab has been temporarily assembled, upside-down in a specially made cradle, and will be riveted together after grit blasting and priming. The smokebox door has also been made, which posed special challenges: the D-shaped door of the P2 cannot be made using the spinning technique used for round smokebox doors on other locomotives, and the team was keen to use a method that would secure a high quality finish for such a prominent component. Impressed by the quality and finish achieved on firebox components by South Devon Railway Engineering, they secured a quote for a process using specially created pressing tools. This news post is well worth reading in full for both a detailed description of the process and some spectacular photographs. Elsewhere on the locomotive, progress includes machining and delivery of the front boiler support and pony truck top centre casting, and the removal for grit blasting and priming of the distinctively shaped footplating, prior to final fitting to the frames.

Fundraising has also entered a new phase, with sponsorship of individual components being made available to the general public for December only, in a special Christmas promotion. After this, sponsorship will revert to being available only to monthly covenantors and members of the Founders Club.

45551 The Unknown Warrior
The latest engineering update from the Patriot group largely covers events up to the end of October as previously reported, but numerous specific items of progress have been reported on social media.

These include the fitting of the cylinder valve liners, the casting of brake hangers and their machining, and the machining of the big end strap, which will fit the inside con rod from Jubilee 45697 Achilles. This Christmas message on Facebook reiterates the aim of steaming the locomotive in 2017 and heading a train into London on November 11th 2018.

F5 789
The F5 project reports that it is discussing its boiler specification with insurers Sun Alliance. It is also researching what valve gear drawings are applicable to the class via the NRM’s Inreach service, in order to identify the correct motion bracket design and complete CAD work on the frame plates. On the organisational side, the project has been joined by Stafford Road Design, who have worked on five other new build projects including Betton Grange and the Night Owl, and has launched a fundraising campaign urging supporters to consider leaving a legacy in their will (below). As ever in the contexy of charitable fundraising, legacies are a difficult subject to broach but can be a hugely important source of funds, although giving such a high profile to this aspect of fundraising does appear to send the message that completion of the locomotive cannot be expected within the next few years.

1014 County of Glamorgan
As a result of moves within the works at Didcot, all of the elements of 1014 are now on its road number 4. Work is progressing on both the tender and locomotive. On the frames, the areas that will be behind the driving wheels are being prepared for painting; the wheels themselves will require some cosmetic attention before rewheeling. Following the meeting in August at Crewe about the boiler, a further meeting on the same subject was due with insurers before the end of the year. The project’s ‘scout’ is reportedly speaking to possible sponsors of the boiler, for which the two barrel sections, smokebox wrapper and front tube plate are due to be manufactured in 2016; sponsors are similarly being pursued for the inside and outside motion, and eccentric sheaves. The Boro’ Foundry are preparing for manufacture of the superheater (if NBS is reading the latest news update correctly), using sand mould printing techniques (as also seen above, on Hengist). On the tender, progress includes the riveting of the spring hangar brackets and completion of most of the timber packing for the base. The group are still looking for another machinist, but have had some success in attracting interest for their new welder role.

4709
After a relative lack of news updates during 2015, the Night Owl project has broken cover online to announce that, with the fitting of the extension to the donor frames, 4709 has come into being in its own right. An examination of the cylinder block in position by the frames suggests that it aligns well as hoped; an inspection suggests it had little wear in its working life and is in good order. A hydraulic test will be carried out before it is bolted to the frames. Meanwhile, ultrasonic testing of the donor wheelsets has confirmed that the axles are all sound. Work to complete the locomotive’s full wheelsets will cost an estimated £30,000, after which the project will turn to the wheeling of the engine.

GCR 567
This photo on Twitter shows 567’s con rods after being painted and blasted at the project’s GCR Nottingham base.

2001 Cock o’the North
The Doncaster P2 group have updated their website and changed the URL (see links on right). Over on their Facebook page, meanwhile, they have published this CAD image of the pony truck.

G5 1759
The latest update from Shildon is that the G5’s front wheelset is complete and now back with the rest of the locomotive; the other driving wheels and pattern have been returned from the Boro Foundry. This photo on Flickr appears to show this situation at the project’s base.

32424 Beachy Head
The Brighton Atlantic‘s connecting rods are now in place, ready for the process of setting the valves, a process which involves rotating the driving wheels by hand and taking measurements as the pistons and valves move.

60163 Tornado
While Tornado’s operations have continued smoothly in the latter part of the year, the A1 Trust announced the sad news of the death on November 10th of Dorothy Mather, widow of Arthur Peppercorn, aged 99. Their tribute to her can be read in full here.

Caprotti Black Five
A project has been announced to build a ‘rolling chassis’ for a Black Five with British Caprotti valve gear, as fitted to the final two examples of the class, 44686 and 44687. The stated aim is to create a chassis to which a boiler could then be fitted, although the proposed approach towards obtaining a boiler is not set out on the project’s website. Volunteers for almost all key positions in the project are being sought. New Build Steam will report further on the project if it makes progress. Thanks to the reader who flagged it on Facebook.

Main line developments
There have been significant developments in respect of mainline steam operations since the last New Build Steam news round-up.

Firstly, on November 25th the Office for Road and Rail (ORR) prohibited West Coast Railways (WCRC) from operating steam trains on the rail network, following an initial investigation into an incident near Doncaster on 2 October 2015 which found staff on board Black Five 45231 had turned off its Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) isolation equipment. Locomotives carrying equipment modified so as to prevent this action being taken were however permitted to continue in operation.

Then, on December 9th, ORR announced that it would be prosecuting both WCRC and the driver involved over the signal passed at danger by Tangmere on March 7th. The first hearing is due to take place at Swindon Magistrates’ Court on 11th January 2016. The ORR is also reviewing WCRC’s safety certificate, without which it cannot operate on the main line.

The press release announcing these develpments also included the following significant notes to editors:

5.ORR is working with the industry to ensure the sustainability of heritage operations on the mainline railway. In July 2015 we hosted the first of a series of summits which brought together the rail industry, engineers and safety experts.
6.The industry agreed there is a clear need to review many of the standards applicable to heritage operations. A group, chaired by RSSB will review the standards, which include maintenance and fitness-to-run procedures, competence requirements for maintenance staff, fitness-to-run inspectors and owners’ representatives. In addition to this review, Network Rail is working with train operators to develop train weight and length schedules for those routes deemed suitable for heritage operations.

The review of standards relating to main line heritage operations may prove in the long term to be the most significant of these announcements, certainly for new build projects. While some of the locomotives covered on this site are being built avowedly for heritage lines, many large projects are underway on the assumption that there will be a main line network available for these machines to stretch their legs on. Safeguarding the long term future of mainline steam is therefore important, and hopefully this review will be an opportunity to do this by establishing a durable and clearly understood framework for its operation. The circumstances in which the review arose may of course mean that it poses some risks as well – the enormity of what would have happened in the event of a collision on March 7th cannot be overlooked – but overall the basis of rail operations in the UK is to allow flexible access to the network by different train operating companies, and there appears to be adequate good will within the industry to allow steam operations to continue to make use of this. What is less clear is whether the scope of the review will extend to operations on preserved lines, although the wording appears to allow for that possibility.

The specific mention of a review by Network Rail of train weights and lengths may prove significant too: with the NRM’s report into the future of Flying Scotsman also addressing this issue, we may see more rigid restrictions on train length in future – this may pose a commercial challenge for promoters, but probably not sufficient to jeopardise main line railtours entirely.

We await the outcome of all the ongoing processes with interest. By the time the next new build locomotive arrives on the main line they should be largely settled, and will have created the environment in which the locomotives whose construction is covered here will operate.

New Build Steam
As ever, thank you to everyone who reads New Build Steam and comment on the site or on social media. It’s gratifying to hear from those who find it a useful resource, and we hope that it drums up awareness and might even have helped some people find projects they have gone on to support (testimonials are welcome!). Please see the links on the right for all the projects’ official websites, which often include opportunities to buy merchandise including, for instance, calendars…

It looks hopeful that next year, 2016, will be the last year for some time in which we will be unable to report that a new standard gauge steam locomotive has moved under its own steam. With that in mind, we have plans afoot to build up to a new era of projects reaching completion by improving the variety and frequency of content on this site – expect to see some changes around the middle of the year, although news round ups will continue to be every other month between now and then.

If you use social media and do not already follow New Build Steam, remember that you can find us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ (still!) and Flickr. Contributions to the photo pool on the latter continue to be welcome – these snaps of the 2MT chassis on the Bluebell and refurbished Clan cab are the most recent additions.

That brings us to the end of 2015. We would like to wish every project further success in 2016, and all of our readers a peaceful and prosperous new year.


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News round-up (5), 2015

45551 The Unknown Warrior
45551
With Remembrance Day approaching, it seems appropriate to start this update with The Unknown Warrior. The Patriot was on display at the Barrow Hill Roundhouse’s LMS Gala on September 25th to 27th, and has since been moved to Tyseley for the fitting of cylinder and valve liners, plus the bogie which has been assembled there. The above photo (by Hugh Llewelyn on Flickr) shows the locomotive, which was re-wheeled and had its smokebox and deflectors re-fitted for its travels, at Barrow Hill; this one shows it at Tyseley.

As can be clearly seen in the pictures, the cylinders have now been permanently fitted, as have the motion brackets, motion girders and frame stretchers. This work involved the discovery that further holes and slots were needed on the left-hand side of the locomotive for rod runs, the lubrication system and drain cock operating gear; these were not evident on the original drawings, but are present on Jubilee and Royal Scot engines.

Work has continued on the many donor parts that will be used on the Patriot: refurbishment of the legacy motion parts is involving many hours of cleaning by hand, while the locomotive and tender brake cylinders from ‘Barry 10’ LNER-built 8F 48518 (whose boiler is being used on the County) are being refurbished at Harco engineering; the regulator and J-pipe from 48518 have also been obtained for use on 45551. However, other ex-8F brake components that the group had hoped to acquire have been sold to another project. Many new parts are recently arrived, on their way to completion or on order – this engineering update provides plenty of detail.

In respect of the boiler, at Tyseley the forming blocks for the outer firebox steel flanged plates have been formed and the doorplate block cast. Meanwhile, at LNWR Crewe the inner firebox crown and side sheets are being prepared for welding. A meeting has been held to plan the boiler build up to completion in December 2016.

The project has also published interesting details of the archive-trawling necessary for a new build project, and some recent progress made on that front. Searches at the National Railway Museum have turned up a further 100 drawings of either the Patriot design or related locomotives that provide detail suitable for use on the Patriot. The archives of the North British Locomotive Company, now held by Glasgow University, have also been consulted: NBL built the first 50 Royal Scots, and the archive has proved to hold 55 drawings that will be useful for the Patriot.

Even where clear original drawings exist, every component is being drawn in 3D CAD, sometimes with new but more traditional drawings accompanying this for the use of manufacturers. So, for instance, the brake gear has been drawn in CAD using measurements from 5596 Bahamas, which can now be compared to the original drawings of the Royal Scot brake system.

The AGM will be held this Saturday, Octobr 31st, at Kidderminster Railway Museum.

1014 County of Glamorgan
The latest update on the County covers work in July and August, as usual with plenty of photographs.  The frames are now back at Didcot, with work at Tyseley having been completed. The next milestone will be rewheeling, pending checks on all the necessary components and a slot being available on the wheel-drop; this is expected late this year or early next. Spring 2016 is now the target for completion of the firebox, following a positive meeting in Crewe; it was also agreed that work on the smokebox and barrel would be on a labour-only basis from Crewe, with the project supplying the components.

The news update includes interesting discussion of the challenges imposed by the archive status of drawings for the class: a drawing for the preferred double chimney No 15 OA boiler (with 3 row superheater) has not been located. The project group is therefore developing options to use and when necessary adapt the relevant existing drawings. Patterns, original drawings and 3D CAD drawings are being variously pressed into service, sought and produced as necessary for other boiler-related components. On the tender, substantial progress has been made on riveting and the fitting of new and refurbished components.

6880 Betton Grange
The donor boiler from Willington Hall has been lifted on to a low wagon, to be moved into Llangollen yard ahead of de-tubing. Good progress on the boiler appeal means that the group hopes to place the order for the work to start in about a year’s time. Elsewhere on the locomotive, new components including slide bars, all the sandboxes and the overhauled reverser have been delivered. The front footplating is now nearly complete. A steaming date of 2018 remains the aim.

3MT 82045
News updates for September and October outline continuing good progress on the 3MT tank engine. The South Devon Railway has been instructed to proceed with building the firebox, and Barnshaws in the Black Country have been commissioned for the boiler barrel. The necessary copper has been ordered and will be stored under tight security, bearing in mind the theft of copper from the project in January 2011.

This project is another where individual components are available for sponsorship: the focus so far has been on motion parts, but the opportunity to sponsor the two injectors has also been made available.

Among the many items of progress on specific components are the machining of the axleboxes and smokebox door dart and the white metalling of the driving wheel axleboxes.

72010 Hengist
All of the components for the Clan that were stored at Shillingstone have now been retrieved and are in store at Burton on Trent awaiting cataloguing. The smokebox assembly has been delivered by Ian Riley and Son in Bury (visible here on Twitter) and the slide bar brackets are now complete and await machining.

2007 Prince of Wales
Fundraising for 2007 continues to make good progress, with £2million of the necessary £5million now either raised or pledged. The project is also offering a dedicated donations scheme, with a list of specific components available for sponsorship announced seemingly weekly on Facebook. The scheme is open to existing founders, covenantors and Boiler Club members of the A1 Trust or P2 Company.

61673 Spirit of Sandringham
The frames of 61673 have been delivered to Llangollen and temporarily erected prior to the correct stays becoming available. They can be seen in this photo on Facebook. The project’s AGM was held on September 19th, and reported on matters included the full machining of the frames and buffer beam.

61662 Manchester United
The Footballer’s tender and cabsides have now been painted and the numbers and crests applied. The group has been navigating the notoriously difficult waters of what shade constitutes British Rail’s ‘Brunswick Green’: their research suggests that BR in fact only  used the term ‘dark green’, and the international colour standard they consulted listed three different shades called Brunswick Green – light, mid and dark. The dark variant has been applied.

G5 1759
The last open day for the G5 is planned for November 7th. It is hoped that the completed front wheelset will have returned from South Devon by then. Other progress has included the straightening of the motion bracket, which can be seen in this picture – it is now ready for machining and then fitting to the frames.

F5 789
On completion of machining of the F5’s cylinder block halves, it was found that their steam port faces were pitted. They have been repaired by cast iron welding, and are now back at Harco for final machining and inspection. Design work continues on the frames: the decision has been made to change the horn guide design from the original wedge to the later parallel pattern; the valve gear and motion bracket will be the next areas of attention.

GCR 567
At the GCR 567 supporters day on October 24th, the locomotive’s frames were unveiled and sponsorship secured for the four horn guides.

342424 Beachy Head
[EDIT: as luck would have it, the Brighton Atlantic group published their latest news update a few hours after this round-up was sent live, which includes numerous of the below details plus information on, and photos of, the fitting of the cab.] In the absence of an official update on the Brighton Atlantic website, the following information is drawn from this précis on National Preservation. Among other work on the boiler, ultrasonic testing of the stays has commenced; no broken stays have been found. The elaborate work necessary on lubrication runs and piping up the drain cocks is also underway. The splashers have been completed, riveted to the running plate and completed. The outside cylinder end covers have been fabricated.

35011 General Steam Navigation
With thanks to Simon for pointing it out in the comments on the last post, the project to restore and ‘de-build’ 35011, as mentioned in the last update, now has its own website. The latest news update states that the locomotive’s owner has indicated he will place the engine into the trust’s care, if it develops sufficiently to carry the project. If this happens, New Build Steam expects to cover it as a new build project comparable with the numerous GWR projects using existing locomotives as a base, but for now will keep a watching brief. The search for a new base for 35011 remains the group’s first priority.

Tata Steel
Over on our Facebook page, Tayger Farrow asks a topical question: what might be the impact on new build projects of the growing crisis in the British steel industry, and in particular the proposals to reduce activity at Tata Steel in Scunthorpe? The plant has supplied frame plates to numerous locomotives, including 61673 Spirit of Sandringham, 2007 Prince of Wales and 2001 Cock o’ the North, but is now facing the prospect of 900 job losses and the mothballing of its plate mills. Mills are also due to be mothballed at Dalzell in Motherwell, and Clydebridge in Cambuslang, near Glasgow. Across the UK, the loss of more than one in six jobs in the steel industry as a whole has recently been announced.

We would welcome informed comment on the possible ramifications of these developments. Clearly, steel prices have fallen globally and there is plenty of supply worldwide; but will this necessarily be readily accessible to small-scale projects such as new build steam locomotives? Possibly so – examples of successful construction of major components for such engines do exist, not least the boiler of 60163 Tornado in Germany. In a niche sector driven by passion and enthusiasm rather than a cool-headed aim for profit, however, it undoubtedly grieves enthusiasts for British industrial heritage to see such work sent offshore.


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News round-up (4), 2015

2013 Prince George
20150810 George Fifth buffer beamThe front buffer beam for 2013 was made in June, with thanks to George the Fifth group for the image (right).

GCR 567
The GCR 567 project has become the latest to pass the milestone of having its frames cut. The work was done on July 21st by PP Profiles in St Helens, Merseyside; the parts are no being inspected before being dressed and primed. Machining will then follow, with the rear of the frames including the hornguides to be done first, and the side plates and doublers then bent into shape.

There is activity elsewhere on the locomotive too. A build plate pattern has been made, and thoughts are turning to the second phase of construction, the bogie assembly. Some corrosion on the cylinder block – specifically, on the valve seats – was identified earlier in the year, and it is intended to have the corroded seal face machined at the same time as the frames, before the block is fitted.

2007 Prince of Wales
Measured by weight, the P2 is already over one third complete (39% of the locomotive’s weight of 96 tons, 17% of the tender’s weight of 28.4 tons, both as measured when empty, giving 34% overall). The permanent fitting of numerous completed and machined components to the frames is now underway; the bufferbeam stiffeners and front buffer spring casings have been fitted in order to square up the frames for this work. All fame paintwork and frame stays are to be ‘wet assembled’, as is common in the aviation industry: sophisticated interfay compounds are used in riveted aluminium alloy to inhibit corrosion, which was a problem during the construction of Tornado. Red metal primer is the interfay compound of choice for the P2. Plentiful images of the latest work can be found on the P2 website.

3MT 82045
Parts for 82045’s cab have been delivered to Bridgnorth from the laser profilers in ‘flat pack kit’ form and have had the first of several trial fittings to the chassis, to ensure accurate positioning and fitting relative to other components. They have been removed now but are expected to reappear periodically as work progresses – the group’s website has pictures.

In respect of the front of the locomotive, the patterns for the chimney and vacuum ejector exhaust ring have been delivered and prices for casting are awaited. The smokebox wrapper has been marked out for the drilling of holes to fit items such as the handrail pillars, and the smokebox door hinges and locking mechanism are now ready. Machining continues on components around the axelboxes, and work continues to balance the driving wheels at Buckfastleigh.

Funds are now available to cover a substantial portion of the boiler and firebox construction, and it is hope that work will have commenced by the end of September. The boiler appeal continues however, and planning is underway to raise the estimated £100,000 needed for the motion and valve gear.

6880 Betton Grange
Since the last New Build Steam update, more progress has been made on the Grange’s front-end plate work.

1014 County of Glamorgan
On the County, the cab floor is now complete, and the rear dragbox of the tender was recently removed to facilitate further work. Work on the firebox at Crewe has been paused at the group’s request, ahead of a meeting planned for August in which completion of the job and matters to do with the boiler barrel and smokebox were due to be discussed; these latter items were being priced up ahead of discussions.

F5 789
Also planning a meeting for late August to discuss next steps was the F5 group, this time at Tyseley, following the successful completion of machining of the cylinder block by Harco Engineering.

61662 Manchester United
Work by the Footballer group continues to concentrate on the tender, with a quote obtained for lining out the paintwork, and a vote opened up to supporters on whether to apply the early or later BR crest. By coincidence, a newly-discovered photograph of the original 61662 shows it just ten months prior to withdrawal, paired with a tender still sporting the older crest – did it ever carry the later one? Happily, the poll was overwhelmingly in support of the earlier crest being applied.

Less positively, the group has found that intruders have been in the cab and tender, which are stored in the open. Many of the project’s spares are stored in the tender, although none are reported as having been taken. New warning signs, a temporary wooden bulkeahd to the coal space and sheeting over the tender have been installed.

K3 Steam
A curious, and possibly new, website advertising a new build steam project has come to the attention of NBS: on it, a group claims to be planning to construct a new locomotive to break the steam speed record, based (curiously) on the distinctly non-express LNER K3 design. It promises that more details will be announced shortly, and suggests that the project will be crowdfunded, with the record attempt due in 2020-22. Given that the P2 is aiming for completion on the same timescale but is already, as reported above, one third complete in terms of manufactured parts, this timescale seems unlikely. Nor is it clear from the design of the single webpage currently online whether this is a new group or an old page that has simply not come to our attention before – there is no date on it, although the reference to crowdfunding suggests it dates from the last few years, even if it looks rather older. If the project does emerge as a serious undertaking, New Build Steam will report further developments. In the meantime, if Mallard’s record is under any threat it’s most likely from this American group as previously reported, which provides a successful example of modern crowdfunding techniques being used for specific components.

Off-topic: 35011 General Steam Navigation

35011 earlier in her post-Barry life, at Williton. By Rob Phillips on Flickr

35011 earlier in her post-Barry life, at Williton. By Rob Phillips on Flickr

There has been substantial activity online since May regarding the future of Merchant Navy pacific 35011 General Steam Navigation, currently stored at Sellindge in ex-Barry condition. The prospect of ‘de-building’ one of the numerous members of the class still to be restored into its unrebuilt condition, to Bulleid’s innovative original design, has been a much-discussed possibility among enthusiasts for some time. On May 23rd, a Facebook group was established proposing to do exactly that with 35011.

The locomotive has not changed hands and there is no new group or society associated with the project; rather, the originator of the Facebook group states that he and the owner, “wish to do something positive with the loco and restore it back to its original as built condition with air smoothed casing and chain driven valve gear.”

Given the enormous mountains that have already been climbed – from the restoration of Duke of Gloucester to the successful and imminent completion of numerous express locomotives – it is hard to doubt that such a feat can be achieved. The best of the new build projects have shown that effective leadership and high quality planning are vital: further essentials such as funding and facilities can readily be garnered once they are in place.

Interestingly, although the ‘de-building’ would effectively bring back into existence a class of locomotive currently extinct, comparable in some ways to some of the GWR projects using donor locomotives, the organiser appears not to construe it either as a new build type project or as a project on the same scale: asked what the ball-park costs might be, he expressly replied ‘less than a new build loco‘. Given that even the restoration of Flying Scotsman from a notably less delapidated state has cost more than it would have done to build a new A3 from scratch, this seems a questionable assumption.

Currently, the stated priority is to find a new base for the locomotive, and an appeal has been issued for support and suggestions. The need to locate original drawings has also been identified; questions around whether it will be permissible to run on the main line a class of locomotive that was ultimately rebuilt due to reliability issues appear not to have been addressed so far.

New Build Steam will monitor developments with interest, and may add the project to the list of those we regularly report on if it takes substantial strides.

Off-topics: Class 22 (Project 22)
In addition to updates on the Footballer project, the latest NBL Preservation Group newsletter contains an update on the project to build a new class 22 diesel; New Build Steam is grateful to NBLPG for forwarding the newsletter. The project has purchased an engine previously used in a Warship class diesel and believed to have been used in a class 22 before that, which has been in use subsequently at Barking docks and then in store at the East Lancashire Railway. Project 22, as the group is now known, is continuing to develop its business plan.


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News round-up (3), 2015

60163 Tornado

The headline story of the last few months has to be the return to traffic of the pioneer new build locomotive, 60163 Tornado, after its £400,000 overhaul at Darlington Locomotive Works, and return to apple green livery. The A1 has already enjoyed a sojourn in Scotland, and can be sound on the following workings over the rest of the year:

  • 12th July – ‘The Torbay Express’ – Bristol to Kingswear and return – Torbay Express
  • 26th July – ‘The Torbay Express’ – Bristol to Kingswear and return – Torbay Express
  • 2nd August – ‘The Torbay Express’ – Bristol to Kingswear and return – Torbay Express
  • 8th August – The Golden Age of Travel lunchtime excursion – Belmond British Pullman
  • 11th August – 2nd September – Nene Valley Railway, Peterborough
  • 23rd September – London Victoria to Bristol and return – Belmond British Pullman
  • 26th September – ‘The Silver Jubilee Talisman’ London to York, Darlington and Newcastle – A1SLT booking through UK Railtours
  • 6th November – The Golden Age of Travel lunchtime excursion – Belmond British Pullman
  • 8th December – Christmas Lunch – Belmond British Pullman
  • 12th December – Christmas Lunch – Belmond British Pullman
  • 31st December – ‘The Peppercorn Phoenix’ – York to Newcastle and return – A1SLT (details tbc).

42424
The LMS Patriot Company has announced that its next project after the completion of The Unknown Warrior will be a new build LMS Fowler 2-6-4T locomotive, featuring a parallel boiler and numbered 42424. These 3-cylinder machines have a long line of descendants, all represented in preservation: Stanier’s 2- and 3-cylinder locomotives, a further development by his successor Fairburn and ultimately the Riddles Standard classes. The Irish version of the design, built to the 5’3” gauge, is also represented by a surviving example. This project will recreate the pioneering design that laid the ground for them all. Fundraising will commence once The Unknown Warrior is completed.

45551 The Unknown Warrior
The biggest area of work on the Patriot recently has been the permanent fitting of the cylinders to the frames.This requires the use of 68 specially fitted bolts – manufacture, machining and fitting of each of them costs nearly £100, so the total cost of this work alone is well over £6,000.

Elsewhere the project is drawing on both designs and hardware from other classes: no drawings survive for several key components of the braking system, so the design used on the Jubilees is being copied and deployed; crossbeams and pullrods may be sourced from existing 8F spares as the components were in common between the two classes; and the locomotive brake cylinder from 8F 48518 is being refurbished for use on 45551, to be followed by the tender brake cylinder. Smaller systems such as the drain cock operating systems are also having to be copied from other locomotives, with Jubilees and SDJR 7Fs being studied.

At Tyseley, work continues on the bogie and on the forming blocks for the outer firebox steel flanged plates. Inner firebox and boiler components are now at the new Crewe South works. Delivery of the boiler has been agreed for the end of 2016, to allowe for fitting ahead of the engine’s first steaming in the second half of 2017.

In September, The Unknown Warrior will be displayed at the Barrow Hill 65 gala, which is intended to be a major gathering, at which nearly all surviving (or re-emerging) LMS classes will be represented. The costs of moving the locomotive will b sponsored by Allelys Heavy Haulage.

2MT 84030
The latest edition of The Bluebell Standard offers an update on progress on the 2MT: the hind truck frame has been cast and is being machined; meanwhile, progress towards wheeling the locomotive is being made. The polyshed to house it is now ready to be put up, as soon as space is cleared next to Atlantic House.

3MT 77021
The 3MT mogul group has commissioned some artwork as part of its fundraising efforts; details are on its website, and the prints are expected to be available to order by the end of this month.

3MT 82045
The new boiler for 82045 has moved a step nearer, with formal approval from the design now received from all relevant bodies. It will be built in Bridgnorth’s boiler shop, although some items may be outsourced. The smokebox wrapper has also been delivered, and was placed on the chassis for a few days – pictures in the June news update. The boiler appeal remains on target – which means it has some way to go yet – and thought is now turning to fundraising for the locomotive’s motion. Elsewhere, the crankpins have been fitted to the wheels at Buckfastleigh, but the wheels have not yet been balanced yet; it suits the project for the wheels to be away for a while longer however, as the axelboxes are still being prepared, with the white metalling stage not far away.

61673 Spirit of Sandringham
The main frames and buffer beam of the ‘Sandringham’ B17, having been profiled at Tata Steel, have now been sent to the Boro Foundry for machining.

61662 Manchester United
The ‘Footballer’ group have laid their new track panel and started painting the tender Brunswick green. Next steps are likely to be focused on fundraising for the main frames.

6880 Betton Grange
The boiler appeal for the Grange has now reached 10% of its target, and recent work has included new lamp iron brackets, the trial fitting of the motion bracket and completion of the 10 bolt OXO section. The boiler of Willingham Hall is due to be lifted this month.

32424 Beachy Head
The latest update from the Brighton Atlantic group is typically rich in details and photographs. Selected highlights include the completion of the running frames as far back as the cab front, and further work on the bogie, including fitting of the grease pipes to lubricate the centre slide and attention to items identified on the earlier trial assembly.

G5 1759
The G5 project has re-commenced its programme of open days, and held an opening ceremony for its new home on June 13th – photos can be seen on Flickr.

1014 County of Glamorgan
The County’s frames remain at Tyseley, although work there is now complete, including horn grinding and overhauling the axleboxes. Work on the firebox is approaching completion at Crewe, with a date to be set for an inspection visit and to discuss costs for the boiler barrel and smokebox. Meanwhile back at Didcot, the ‘extra day’ initiative was successful in securing more man-hours for the project, and may be repeated in future.

F5 789
The two halves of the cylinder block have now been united, and CAD plotting has been completed for the frame plates, commenced for the horn guides and is pending for the motion bracket. The cylinder block halves, diamond stay and tank supports will be returned to Tyseley ahead of the assembly of the frames.

2007 Prince of Wales
The Gresley Society has announced that it will be sponsoring the smokebox of the new P2, including design work necessary to update it for the new locomotive and the distinctive faring and smoke lifting sheets around the chimney. Meanwhile, progress has continued with William Cook Cast Products ‘churning out’ castings, in some cases re-using patterns for components in common with Tornado.

72010 Hengist
Progress on the Clan has been ongoing, but apparently under-reported due to health issues for the project’s webmaster. Numerous components have been machined, including the substantial ‘bread bin’ stretcher, and more ordered, including the front firebox support. The existing cab structure has been refurbished and deployed on promotional duties.

2999 Lady of Legend
The name for the Saint when running in Atlantic form has been chosen: it will be ‘Churchward’ and carry the number 191; appropriate name and numberplates have now been made.

2001 Cock o’the North
The Doncaster P2 group reports some developments on Facebook, principally CAD modelling of some components.

GCR 567
A short Twitter update from the GCR 567 project shows that connecting rods have been needle gunned, and that larger components are on order.


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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.

Back to top

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.

Back to top

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.

Back to top

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.

GWR steam railmotor at Southall, October 18th 2014

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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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