The second July update has plenty of items to report, and is particularly heavy on news from the various GWR reconstruction projects – as ever, if you know of something that should be reported here but hasn’t been, or spot any mistake, please let us know by leaving a comment.

Who nicked my boiler ?
Future donor locomotive 2861 is among the line-up in this view of Woodham's scrapyard in Barry, 1982. Photo by John Turner on Flickr.

The Great Western Society have announced that this project will definitely go ahead. The formal announcement  gives an overview of developments from 2010 onwards, including the appointment of Paul Carpenter as project manager. It also confirms that the society has acquired three donor locomotives from the ‘Barry Ten’: 2-6-2T 4115, 2-8-0T 5227 and 28xx 2-8-0 2861. Whatever parts of the donor locomotives are not used will be retained for possible future use, so we are not yet at the stage of seeing an ex-Barry loco being scrapped.

Extensive work has already been undertaken to accumulate original drawings and work out what components can be used for the new locomotive. The boiler from 5227 has been earmarked for the possible future construction of a 38XX class 4-4-0 (as this is not a confirmed project or likely to be underway at all soon, it does not have its own entry on this site). If you wish to support the project, details are on the GWS website.

2999 Lady of Legend
The Saint project team have issued a progress update this month: key items include the fitting of most of the inside motion and further work on the buffers and tender.

1014 County of Glamorgan
The County project is one of the best at providing regular updates (although navigating through their website to find them can be a challenge, as it generally involves clicking through every month of the year until you get to the most recent one!). The full detail can be read here, although unfortunately the main headline is that the continuing absence of the wheels is causing work on the project to slow somewhat.

3MT 82045
Another group proving highly efficient with monthly updates is the 3MT project in Bridgnorth, whose latest update can be read here and details continuing progress on the chassis, plus a purchase of steel for footplating at the front of the engine.

8783 Phoenix
A brief update on the Phoenix website reveals an interesting fact about the team behind the project: they have an average age of just 19! To New Build Steam this seems to be a refreshing surprise: many of the other projects charted here have plenty of team members who can remember steam on BR (however dimly), yet the Phoenix team surely can’t remember even the first reports of the scheme to build a new A1 (indeed, only one of them seems to have been born at that point…). New Build Steam’s editor is not yet (quite) 30, so this site certainly hopes the team’s status as surely the youngest one in all the new-build projects is welcomed by the wider steam community, and that the project is judged on the merits of its work, not the relative youth of the team behind it.

F5 67218
 A brief update from the F5 project brings the news that the pattern for the driving axle spring hangar brackets has now been created and the brackets will be cast shortly.

Mainline pathing
There have recently been reports of problems finding paths for steam railtours along the lower part of the East Coast Main Line on a weekday, perhaps even to the point where these are no longer viable. The only clear information available, however, is that the Cathedrals Express from King’s Cross to York behind 60019 Bittern (in its Dominion of New Zealand guise) was cancelled due to the lack of a path.

Could this have implications for new build projects, if pathing on the mainline network becomes more problematic? One suggestion made in the railway press has been that Tornado would be easier to path than, for instance, an A4 – is this a reflection of the capabilities of the locomotives (an A4 is, after all, no slouch), or their age and by implication reliability? Could this, in turn, increase the commercial value of new build mainline engines, with positive implications for their commercial viability? Or is that all too fanciful? Thoughts are invited in the comments below

New Build Steam
You may have noticed that this site has adopted a proper .com domain name, and a few tweaks have been made to the menus on the left hand side. Any bookmarks or links to the former domain will still work. If you have any suggestions for things you’d like to see on the site in future, please let us know in the comments (one caveat before anyone asks: no, we’re not branching out into narrow gauge or overseas projects – keeping track of the dynamic and exciting body of standard gauge work in the UK is enough of a challenge!).