New Build Steam

New standard gauge steam locomotives in the UK


1 Comment

News round-up (3), 2016

45551 The Unknown Warrior

The above video gives an engaging walk-through – at times literally – of the Patriot and developments on it following its return to Llangollen in March and going up to early June. This in-depth engineering update covers some of the same material, and brings some items further up todate. Brief highlights only will be summarised here.

Components across the locomotive are in the full range of stages, from design to completion. The cylinder liners have now been machined, after previously reported casting difficulties, and are shown here ready to be shrunk into the cylinders. The front buffer beam has been removed to facilitate this. Design work, meanwhile, is still continuing on the lubrication pipe runs and inside valve gear – in the latter case, a full set of drawings is not held by the project and research continues on the exact position of the trailing pivot point of the union link relative to the crosshead centre.

In respect of the boiler, the barrel sections have now been assembled and riveted and the inner firebox assembly is also complete, all at Crewe. Progress on the throatplate has been a little delayed due to issues between Tyseley and LNWR, now resolved – delivery is expected to Crewe soon. The revised dome design has been completed and submitted to the insurers for approval, and the build plan and inspection requirements for the completion of the boiler have been established.

On the tender, new outer frame plates and a rear buffer beam have been delivered to Llalgollen following the discovery of unexpectedly serious corrosion. The project has also succeeded in tracking down a pattern for axlebox bearing brasses, held by the London Midland Society, who are restoring 4F 44123; an order has been placed of six for the Patriot plus six for another project. Design work on the new boiler tank continues, and other locomotive groups with experience of main line operations are being canvassed for their views and advice.

In other news, famed Falklands veteran Simon Weston CBE has accepted the position of Patron of the project.  Meanwhile, LMS crimson came out on top of the unofficial Facebook poll on the subject of the first livery to be worn by the engine. The official vote, for members only, is due in November.

2007 Prince of Wales
Many of the prominently visible parts of the P2 have made progress in recent weeks: the smokebox has been temporarily placed on the frames, with the detailing on the door completed and the door itself fitted. Beading has been fitted around the cab edge and the cab re-assembled. Meanwhile, this tweet shows ‘another iconic component’ taking shape – this later tweet confirms it to have been one of the smoke lifting plates. The chimney has also been cast.

72010 Hengist
Individual bolts (or sets of them) are available to ‘buy’ (ie sponsor) from the Clan project’s shop . The appeal had raised £21.5K already as of June 10th.

A steady flow of cast and machined parts continues, to the extent that the project is now only a few components away from the 35 needed to assemble the frames – a meeting with the certification body is planned ahead of planning the assembly procedure.

3MT 82045
The boiler barrel has been the major item of progress in Bridgnorth in the last month or so: the latest news update reports that the swaging of the larger end has been taken as far as possible before the firebox throatplate is available, while the smaller end has also progressed. Meanwhile, the pony wheels have been fitted to their axles at Buckfastleigh, and the axleboxes have been delivered to Bridgnorth.

60163 Tornado
Tornado suffered an unusual problem in June: due to an error in the Rolling Stock Library’s software, the A1 was de-registered the library at midnight on June 10th. This left it unable to operate a planned railtour the following day, or return to London in time for the subsequent working of the Belmond British Pullman. The A1 Trust says it is, “addressing the financial impact this has had,” with the relevant parties – presumably this means seeking compensation for lost revenue.

No.60163 'Tornado'

Tornado on an earlier working of the Belmond British Pullman. By Peter Trimming on Flickr.

6880 Betton Grange
There is no further report on the problems discovered on the Grange earlier this year and reported in the previous news round-up. However, work has continued: the boiler has been de-tubed and the superheater header has been stored for future use.

2999 Lady of Legend
The latest update from the Saint project details the extensive work that has brought the tender essentially to completion bar final painting. On the locomotive, castings including the water gauge frame and exhaust injector body casing have been machined, splash guards have been fabricated and are ready to fit, and a start has been made on cladding for the cylinders and water feed pipes, plus on piping up the loco. A lift of the locomotive and temporary removal of the bogie will probably be necessary for this work at some stage.

4709
The two new driving wheels for the Night Owl have been pressed onto their axle, giving a complete final wheelset. An account of the process of its creation can be found in this news update, apparently published somewhat after the fact. The aim remains to have the wheels under the locomotive by the end of the year.

32424 Beachy Head
The latest update on the Brighton Atlantic has the customary abundance of detail. Among the highlights are that all 134 tubes and 32 superheater flues are on order, as are the castings for the fire-hold door and its hinges. The safety valve castings and the main regulator body have both been machined in-house. The update bears reading in full.

35011 General Steam Navigation
Ownership of 35011 has now formally passed to the General Steam Navigation Restoration Society, who have placed the loco in the ownership of a company, in which shares will be made available to buy. As this is emerging as a serious project to resurrect a currently lost class of locomotive – the Merchant Navy in its original Bulleid-designed form – it will be covered from now on by this site, in the same manner as the various projects to recreate GWR classes, or the 2MT tank, using ‘donor’ locomotives. The Pacific is still based at Sellindge, with the search for a new base ongoing. There are multiple photos of the loco in its present condition, after the group’s first working weekend on it, on this tweet.

61662 Manchester United
The smokebox saddle for the Footballer has now been fabricated, and the plinth supporting the front-end components assembled to date reinforced and repositioned to display it to good effect. Three angle brackets to join the footplate sections together have also been prepared.

F5 789
The latest updates on the F5 showcase these quite attractive CAD images.

8783 Phoenix
Progress on the Claud Hamilton continues to be essentially on the CAD front. This image shows previously drawn components ‘assembled’, while full scale mock-ups of lamp brackets have been 3D printed from CAD work.

GCR 567
The oil pots for 567 have been reported on Twitter as being in manufacture.

Brexit
The consequences of the UK’s vote on June 23rd to leave the European Union are still emerging, but so far it seems that new build steam, and heritage rail more generally, will not be among the most heavily affected concerns. The industry, for want of a better term, is largely domestic and does not trade much across borders. That said, some projects have sourced components large and small from overseas manufacturers within the EU and outside it (most famously the boilers for 60163 Tornado and, in future, 2007 Prince of Wales from Germany) – the future viability of such purchases will be determined by the eventual shape of the UK’s trading relations post-Brexit, which are currently entirely unclear. The recent fall in the value of sterling will however, if sustained, make future such purchases more expensive, independent of other considerations. As far as New Build Steam is aware, there is no particular reliance on workers from within the EU on new build projects, so this appears not to be a likely source of disruption.

Other impacts may be more indirect. Donations to new build projects appear to come largely, though by no means exclusively, from older and retired people – these may not be greatly affected by any future slowdown in economic growth, although one might anticipate more generally that heritage railways could see less trade in the way of family days out (or, conversely, could that increase if more families opt to take holidays in the UK owing to greater cost to travelling abroad and a possible drop in affluence and/or sense of economic confidence?). One might also observe that health and safety regulation and the regulation of mainline railways are currently integrated to a large extent across Europe – again, depending on the terms of our exit, there may be scope for the UK to vary these laws and regulations in due course. Thoughts on any further direct or indirect impacts are invited in the comments.


3 Comments

News round-up (2), 2016

2013 Prince George

2013 Prince George Smokebox

Latest developments for the LNWR George V 4-4-0 are that the smokebox has been on display at Quorn on the Great Central Railway (pictured above – photo by Geoffrey Wilkins, reproduced by permission), and the pattern for, and casting of, the four bogie wheels have been ordered. A potential problem had been on the cards for this, as it was believed that the drawings held by the NRM might be incomplete; however, this has clearly been overcome, either by the drawings in fact being usable, or by making use of additional evidence from photographs or other LNWR locomotives. The project now has both a page and a group on Facebook.

2007 Prince of Wales
The schedule for completing the P2 by 2021 requires it to be wheeled this year, and to this end the project has launched the Mikado Club, aiming to raise £200,000 from 160 donors giving £1,000 each (plus Gift Aid). Benefits to membership include a reserved seat on 2007’s first main line train, and first choice of other components to sponsor. Over £60,000 has been pledged so far.

Meanwhile, updates on social media have included a request for information on the whereabouts of any surviving LNER type headlamps as used on the original P2s (not the replicas currently on the N2), and news of the start of hot riveting on the cab roof panels. Meanwhile, an article on the engineering approach to the project can be read in Rail Engineer magazine (much of which will be familiar to regular readers of this site, although there are plenty of interesting details). This news item also gives an overview of the latest details in the construction process, with plenty of photographs.

45551 The Unknown Warrior
The Patriot returned to Llangollen on March 24th, and has now ended its travels before completion. It was due to be lifted off its wheels and bogie to enable access to the chassis; the bogie will be stored and painted while not under the locomotive.

The last major job at Tyseley before the move was the fitting of the valve liners, which were shrunk into the cylinders using liquid nitrogen and subsequently bored.

As ever, the latest engineering update contains an abundance of detail. To take one strand of work, progress continues on the boiler and firebox. The firebox doorplate was formed at Tyseley in April, in a process if heating and hammering that required £3,000 worth of gas. The four cast forming blocks for the outer throatplate – which forms the join from the firebox to the barrel – were also delivered to Tyseley, for assembly and then delivery to Crewe. Meanwhile, up at Crewe, this Facebook update shows the boiler barrel sections being riveted together at LNWR Heritage. The engineering team, LNWR Heritage and boiler inspectors were scheduled to meet to finalise the design and production methods for several key components, including the dome design, and to confirm the build plan and inspection requirements up to completion of the boiler.

Things have progressed less smoothly on the tender. Removal of the rear buffer beam, as part of work to replace some rivets with wasted heads, revealed more corrosion on the outer rear drag boxes than previously observed. These are now being replaced completely, and remedial work is also needed on localised wastage on the adjacent areas of the main frames – the engineering update expresses disappointment that this work was not pointed out when the chassis was surveyed by the Vehicle Acceptance Body.

The project is also busy in other, non-engineering areas. It has announced that its members will get to vote for the first livery to be carried by the locomotive, with the winning colour scheme to be announced AGM in November; an unscientific peruse of Facebook comments suggests LMS crimson may be in the lead.

Additionally, as part of their work to document the project Oakwood Visuals are appealing for ex-Crewe Works employees to speak to them, to offer a comparison of the modern construction approach to the traditional LMS operation. And last but not least, it has been suggested that a beer may be brewed in association with the project – a popular promotional item, no doubt.

1014 County of Glamorgan
The County project has reported the sad news that their project leader, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Cooper MBE, Retired, died in March. He had led the project since 2007, having previously worked at Didcot on Pendennis Castle.

New project leader Dicky Boast is quoted on the group’s website as saying: “Mike was an inspiration and is a hard act to follow. We are not just refurbishing a loco, we are not just building a loco. We are changing a loco and incorporating parts from different classes in the best way we can. Mike’s military career enabled him to take this in his stride. My military career means that this is a vertical learning curve. […] We have had a difficult month following Mike’s death, but the team have always pulled closely together and we are determined to do Mike proud.”

The latest news update shows continued progress. The locomotive has been partially re-wheeled, with one slightly recalcitrant axle still to be fitted. At Crewe, the ex-8F firebox requires only a few stays to be riveted for the modification work to be completed. A contract has been signed for the rolling of the boiler barrel.

Limited access to the wheel-drop has led the group to concentrate somewhat on the tender, with the wheels to be fitted to the locomotive ‘one axle at a time’ at a convenient pace. The areas of the frames that will be inaccessible once the wheels are in place are being painted. Funding for the major boiler components has been approved, design work on the barrel, front tube plate and smokebox wrapper ‘cranked up’ and a contract signed for rolling the barrel.

6880 Betton Grange
The Grange project is another of those encountering the occasional trials associated with heritage railway engineering, having announced on May 10th that an anomaly has been found with the axle boxes on the left hand side of the locomotive. Rectifying this requires the locomotive to be lifted off its wheels, and accordingly the removal of the cylinders, springs, hornstays and bogie.

The hope is that the engine will be re-assembled to its previous state in time for the AGM, and also for its planned exhibition at the Warley model railway exhibition in Birmingham on November 26th and 27th. The plan is for the ‘bottom end’ to be complete by then, and the boiler from Cogan Hall mounted in the frames, both for display purposes and subsequently to allow for pipe runs to be set out in preparation for the installation of the refurbished boiler from Willington Hall.

In other news, the project has also launched a ‘club’-type fundraising initiative, inviting supporters to ‘Adopt a Grange‘: for a total donation of £1,000, supporters can ‘adopt’ one of the 80 class members, and receive other benefits including priority booking for 6880’s first main line train.

3MT 82045
In Bridgnorth, the boiler barrel segments are in the boiler shop to be fitted together, and to have the various necessary holes cut and prepared for the dome and other components. The cab was due, at the publication of the April news round-up, to be removed from the chassis for completion and painting. The coupled wheelsets are now fully painted.

From a combination of sponsorship of individual components and a successful ‘Eardington Flyer’ special on SVR metals, the group now has a sound financial basis for completing the motion and valve gear of the locomotive. Some components remain available for sponsorship.

A number of castings are on order, including the centre cradle for the rear pony truck, using a pattern from the 2MT group on the Bluebell, and a sample axlebox for the pony axles.

72010 Hengist
Numerous components for the Clan Pacific have recently been completed, with CTL Seal in Sheffield particularly busy. The left and right hand motion brackets were completed there, and work on the front firebox support with truck pivot also started. The 3D sand printed mould for the exhaust steam spider was delivered to The Boro’ Foundry, after a bit of redesign work to remove a couple of potential ‘hot spots’ which would have required remedial work after casting – modern technology allows for issues of this sort to be identified and addressed before any work with metal is done at all. The spider has subsequently been cast.

3MT 77021
The 3MT tender engine project is making modest but consistent strides: an agreement has been reached to but a pair of refurbished hinges for the smoke box door; and another group’s order for a regulator body will be ‘piggybacked’.

32424 Beachy Head
With the valves set and the coupling and connecting rods in place, the chassis of the Brighton Atlantic is in large measure complete, and the focus has now switched to the boiler. The superheater was received, already cast, machined and pressure tested, in March. Work on the challenging jobs of creating the regulator valve and safety valve columns is underway.

61662 Manchester United
The new buffer beam for the ‘Footballer’ has now been painted, fitted with its salvaged LNER buffers and erected on a new plinth at the Mizens Railway. The smokebox saddle has now been ordered, and the platework is on-site with a start already made on assembly.

8783 Phoenix
A few website and social media updates from the Claud Hamilton group show progress on CAD work for various components. A reproduction of a GER splasher crest from a Claud has also been obtained.

G5 1789
A couple of photographs of components for the G5 have been published on Facebook, including the axle box housings and the Wakefield lubricator. More substantially, Lincoln Crankshaft and Machine have been chosen to manufacture the crank axle.

F5 789
The cleaning up operation, following the welding of the cylinder port faces to repair previously reported pitting, has now been undertaken. A small amount of distortion was introduced by the heat required for the process, so the faces have been skimmed square and the ports re-machined.

The group has had discussions with Tyseley about erecting their frames, and are focusing on ensuring that CAD drawings for all the necessary components are present and correct as a precursor to this. Subsequently, they hope that the build can be pushed on with ‘in earnest’.

J38 1416
It has been announced that the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust’s next project will be a J38 0-6-0. However, the details of the announcement – specifically, that the project was to be funded by a legacy from Mr Joseph Kuhr of Aprilscherz in Germany – will have caused cautious readers to check its date – April 1st.

Earl of Merioneth

Earl of Merioneth

Earl of Merioneth in its original form, c.1988. By Roger Marks on Flickr.

The withdrawal of the Ffestiniog Railway’s Double Fairlie locomotive Earl of Merioneth was announced with the rather strange claim that it, “will hold a unique place in railway preservation history as the first new-build steam loco on any preserved line in the UK and the first to be withdrawn.” The second half of that claim may well be true, but the first half certainly isn’t.

Rather, this illustrates the difficulty of applying the term ‘new build’ to the world of narrow gauge: as this article explores, while explaining why narrow gauge locomotives are out of scope for this site, there is no clear dividing line between the end of construction of narrow gauge locomotives for non-heritage / non-preservation use and the commencement of their construction for preserved lines. But it might be observed that River Mite (1966) and Northern Rock (1976) on the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway for instance, both built during the line’s preservation era, have better claims to being the country’s first new build steam locos than Earl of Merioneth does.

The locomotive will be replaced by a new Double Fairlie named James Spooner, which will use the Earl’s power bogies (which have run under it only since the mid-1990s); the rest of the engine, which is judged to be essentially life-expired, will be stored on its original bogies to allow for possible future restoration.

Main line developments
Since we reported on developments in respect of main line operations in the previous New Build Steam round-up, things have returned to a more regular situation, with the prohibition notice on the West Coast Railway Company lifted on March 23rd. The Office of Road and Rail has received assurances from the company about the necessary changes to its procedures, in a letter from its Chairman.

The RAIB’s report into the Wootton Bassett SPAD incident was published on May 5th, and includes both a learning point and five recommendations. The latter mostly concern the same issue subsequently hammered out between WCRC and the ORR, including the company’s safety culture and procedures around route learning.

The Red Devil

Red Devil

The Red Devil in 2004, shortly after being laid aside. By Steve Crane on Flickr.

It has been announced that South African locomotive ‘The Red Devil’ is to be restored to working order. The engine was rebuilt by David Wardale, drawing on the work of LD Porta, in 1981 to showcase the most modern thinking on steam traction. It achieved remarkable improvements in power and efficiency over traditional steam designs, but the decision to move away from steam in South Africa had already been taken by the time it proved its worth. It was subsequently stripped of many of its modifications, and it is not clear whether it will be outshopped in its 1981 form or not. It last ran in 2003. The advances made on the Red Devil were to be implemented in the 5AT project in the UK, which aimed to develop steam to be competitive with modern traction, rather than rebuilding heritage forms of locomotive like other new build projects.


2 Comments

News round-up (1), 2016

Welcome to the first New Build Steam news round-up of 2016. It’s been a busy start to the year for many projects, as well as seeing major developments on the main line (covered at the end of this post). These news round-ups will continue as normal for the first half of 2016, after which we hope to bring you more regular and more varied content as we build up to the expected completion of several locomotives from late 2017 onwards.

2999 Lady of Legend
The overhaul of the Saint’s boiler is now complete, with the insurance company having undertaken a cold inspection on October 15th and a successful hydraulic test by the group to 300psi having followed a fortnight later. The boiler has now been given a coat of protective aluminium high temperature paint and placed aside, awaiting the completion of the official hydraulic and steam tests when the rest of the locomotive is ready to receive it. The cladding sheets and insulation lagging were expected in January to be ordered soon.

Other work reported in the project’s January update includes the completion of the tender, barring fine detailing and painting, and the fabrication of the crinolines to support the boiler cladding sheet.

72010 Hengist
The Clan project has set a strong pattern of weekly news updates on their website so far this year, with regular details of new components arriving and new orders being confirmed. The final component necessary to allow frame assembly to start has now been ordered: CTL Seal in Sheffield will fabricate the smokebox saddle and integrate the exhaust steam spider, on order from the Boro Foundry. Other recent updates show, among other developments, that CTL Seal have also fabricated the vertical frame stretcher and boiler carrier.

2007 Prince of Wales
Following news of the construction of the cab late last year, the P2 has now had its cab trial fitted – marking the first time for over 70 years that it has been possible to stand in the cab of one of these locomotives, albeit currently with rather less to see when looking forward than in 1943. Other work to fill that gap has included the fabrication and fitting of the splashers, and pattern fabrication for the Kylchap double chimney – the latter a particularly expensive and time-consuming job for the South Lincs Foundry. As at February 5th, the patter was available to be sponsored for £2,400.

2013 Prince George
Although the news section of the LNWR George the Fifth’s website has not been updated since February last year, trustee Paul Hibberd confirmed in a comment on December’s update that progress continues to be made. As at December 30th, the riveting of the smokebox had nearly been finished, an order for the casting of the bogie wheels was due to be placed in the new year and a study had been commissioned to look at the impact of the loading gauge of today’s main line on the draughting of the locomotive. The Trust has also secured an LNWR brake coach as storage in the short term, and ultimately a complement to the finished locomotive.

45551 The Unknown Warrior
The Patriot project continues to post updates of major progress, as it maintains its push for steaming in autumn 2017. The latest milestone is that the locomotive is now a 4-6-0, after the fitting of the bogie on February 4th. Photos are available on the project’s website, and a short video clip of the engine being shunted on Facebook.

Progress is also being made on the boiler and firebox: plates for the inner firebox assembly have been drilled prior to assembly at LNWR Crewe and the outer firebox wrapper sheets have been welded at Deepdale Engineering prior to delivery to Crewe. This photo on Facebook shows the outer firebox crown and sides riveted together. The two barrel rings will be riveted together when there is capacity in the works.

Fundraising still continues, with £1.35 million raised, and £500,000 still to be found. The project has today launched a new ‘Sponsor Our Stays’ appeal to secure funding for the 355 copper stays (at £20 each) and 955 steel stays (at £7 each) needed for the locomotive.

Sponsorship has also been obtained from Morris Lubricants, suppliers of steam heritage lubricants, who have contributed to the cost of the bogie, are providing metalworking lubricants during manufacture and will also provide the necessary specialist lubricants for the operation of the locomotive.

It’s not all plain sailing, however: three cylinder liners have been found not to be of the expected quality and returned to the foundry for replacement. Stretcher 4 on the frame assembly has also proved problematic: the latest of several issues with it were discovered before Christmas, and a replacement has already been sourced and prepared for fitting once The Unknown Warrior returns to Llangollen from Tyseley (expected to be February, but social media accounts suggest the move has not taken place yet). [NOTE: this section has been amended after its original publication to correct a couple of slight inaccuracies; with thanks to the Patriot Project for setting us straight.]

G5 1789
Numerous new parts and services for the G5 are now on order, including the machining and fitting of the motion bracket to the main frames, the machining of the axlebox housings and the manufacture of the smokebox. The group has also resumed activity on its Facebook page after nearly three years, and used one post to give a reminder of how the project is financed and ways in which supporters can help: these include buying shares or becoming a Super Friend of the G5.

61662 Manchester United
The next aim for the Footballer is to fit straps and handles to the smokebox door, re-paint it and then add it to a smokebox and buffer beam to complete the front of the locomotive. A set of buffers is already in stock from the scrapyard in Doncaster that also yielded the tender, and a set of BR Eastern Region locomotive headlamps have been acquired at auction. Meanwhile on the internet, the project now has a Twitter account (here in its own right, and added to the New Build Steam projects list), which seems to tweet at least as much about football as about railways – but one of the nice things about social media is that it is possible to see different new build groups interacting, as in this exchange with the Patriot project. The football connection is also yielding some funds, with a signed Wayne Rooney shirt and match football donated by the curator of MUFC’s museum. They are being auctioned, with the first chance to bid going to members and supporters – it is open until March 19th, with details in this newsletter.

8783 Phoenix
The Claud Hamilton group is another to break a period of silence on one of its news channels, with the first update on its website since March giving details of some recent CAD work.

32424 Beachy Head
The chassis of the Brighton Atlantic is nearly complete, and attention will soon turn to the boiler. Most recently, more work has been undertaken on the valve settings: with the driving wheels still on rollers, it is proving possible to ‘turn the engine over’ using just a ratchet spanner with a piece of tubing on it. Once the valves are set, the coupling rods will be added. Other late work on the chassis has included more pipe runs, to take steam to the sanders.

6880 Betton Grange
The Grange continues to see progress on regular working weekends. This report details one such meeting, with work on the brake gear and the addition of primer and undercoat to the front footplating.

3MT 82045
There has, as ever, been plenty of progress on 82045. The driving wheels for the 3MT tank have now arrived at Bridgnorth from South Devon Railway Engineering. The cab is currently on the chassis for construction work to take place, but will be removed again for further work. The boiler barrel sections are ready to go into the boiler shop. The group’s AGM will be held on April 9th in Kidderminster.

2MT 84030
Back to the Bluebell, the 2MT group is undertaking a push to wheel the locomotive: the wheel sets are being painted, and the coupled wheel axleboxes have been overhauled. Riveting has been completed on the front drag box and buffer beam, and also on the frame stretchers below the cab. Meanwhile, an agreement has been reached to swap pairs of return crank forgings with the Mid Hants Railway: a pair to suit a standard Class 4 will go to the Mid Hants, and a pair for a Class 2 will be made available to the group at the Bluebell. Plans are also advanced to clear space next to Atlantic House to erect a poly-shed for the group to move into.

Off-topic – mainline news
Two stories have seen main line steam operations in the news so far this year, one for good reasons and one for bad. The negative news is of course the ORR’s decision to impose a Prohibition Notice on the West Coast Railway Company, preventing it from operating any train on the main line. The full letter to WCRC (PDF) includes some remarkable criticism of the company, and its chairman specifically. Many railtours have been affected, and a resolution that ensures adequate operation of main line steam workings, whether by WCRC or others, has yet to emerge.

The short-term impact of this on new builds is of course limited, with only Tornado currently operational and WCRC having already declined to operate it some time ago. Even the A1’s operations are being affected somewhat, however: the Red Rose tour on Valentine’s Day had to be re-routed after Network Rail refused to let 60163 take twelve carriages plus support coach over Sapperton Bank without diesel assistance. Attributing this to, “extreme sensitivity regarding train length limits,” on account of, “several well-publicised incidents involving steam trains,” the A1 Trust opted for a change of route and timings rather than have diesel assistance.

Tornado had an incidental role in the more positive news story, however, as its support coach was loaned to Flying Scotsman for the latter’s official return run on the main line, from King’s Cross to York. The video below shows its earlier running-in railtour over Shap. Although Scotsman is not a new build, the scope and cost of its overhaul makes the project significant to new builds in proving the extent of work that can now be undertaken in the UK – for instance, the firebox and boiler, bar the barrel itself, are all new. With this and the work in progress on, for instance, the boilers of 45551 and 82045, it’s beyond doubt that the preservation movement in the UK is now confident in undertaking even the creation of a major component such as this from scratch (or very near it).


3 Comments

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.


3 Comments

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.