News round-up February 2012

This was originally written as January’s update, and held back in the hope of gaining further clarity on a couple of items – in the event, the extra week has thrown up even more news…

61662 Manchester United
Efforts to build a new B17 have taken a somewhat surprising twist: December’s update outlined the formation of the new B17 Steam Locomotive Trust, but it seems that a second group has also emerged from the original “two B17s” project with the aim of constructing a ‘footballer’ variant B17, specifically 61662 Manchester United. This group operates under the aegis of the North British Locomotive Preservation Group.

Parkstone / Salterns Quay, Poole, Dorset
B17 2805, photo by alwyn_ladell on Flickr

For funding, the project is targeting fans of Manchester United Football Club, and the project has already been featured on their website. One might have thought that a few players could chip in the total projected cost of £1.8million without a second thought, but this does not appear to be a revenue-raising avenue that is being pursued (no doubt for good reasons – are there any professional footballers who are also steam enthusiasts?).

It appears that this group has taken possession of the cab constructed in the original incarnation of the project. It also has an original tender – whether this is one of the two tenders already earmarked for use by the Trust, or a third tender, is unclear. Indeed, the relationship between the two projects appears somewhat hard to disentangle – further details or corrections will be welcome in the comments. In the meantime, the links on this site have been updated to reflect the new developments.

Work has started on constructing 4709, after a period of fundraising. Prairie tank 4115 has been dismantled: it will be the major donor for the new engine, including its six driving wheels (to be joined by two brand new ones) and extension frames (with new mainframes now ordered and expected to be cut this month). Nos 5227 and 2861 are the other major donor engines. Work on the locomotive is progressing at Llangollen, with work on the tender going ahead at Didcot. More details are on the Didcot latest news page.

Steady progress
Several projects have reported steady progress since the last NBS update. These include:

60163 Tornado
Tornado has been undergoing winter maintenance at the Mid Hants Railway, with a planned operating stint on February18th and 19th. This plan changed, however, when a fault was discovered: a 3.5” pin was found to have seized in the wishbone which transfers the movement from the air brake cylinders to the brake gear. A new pin is being made, with a slight design improvement, and while the pin itself is not large the job of removing it proved to be laborious. Maintenance work has therefore been put back by a week, and it is hoped that Tornado will be in action on the NHR on February 25th and 26th.
photos and details:

Thompson L1
And finally, another new project has emerged online at this website, with the stated aim of building a Thompson (or, until a recent update to the site, “Tompson”) L1. Whether it will succeed is not for New Build Steam to say, but the website could certainly do with some proof-reading. There is also a Facebook group. The group shares personnel with the J39 project, which in turn has overlap with the Claud Hamilton group, although from published details no individual is common to all three [edit: though see comments below].



  1. Re: The L1 the website’s errors were corrected a few hours ago, as for personnel in common with the “J39 Locomotive group” we were never fully part of it and we became frustrated with the lack of professionalism within this project

  2. Thanks for the clarification Douglas – the J39 site hadn’t been updated to reflect that when I checked. (You may want to do another pass on the website though, as there are still a few things, eg “Logistic’s”, a couple of things I immediately noticed on the About page, and maybe more)

  3. just to let you know there is more updates on L1 groups website and facebook page and info on J39 groups facebook page

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