The first round-up of 2013 is a big one, with lots of groups having posted updates on progress, many of them also reflecting on the year just gone. There also appears to be a growing trend among new build groups for delivering news via Facebook, and a proliferation of blogs and other platforms, all in addition to their own websites. Unfortunately, updates through these routes are often not reflected across the other platforms, including on the main websites. Hopefully these new approaches will bed down over the course of the year.

8783 Phoenix

The Claud Hamilton group are at the forefront of the trend towards using a wider variety of online platforms, with a new website, an accompanying blog and a YouTube channel (see the video above), in addition to their Facebook and Twitter presences – they may have twigged that having video content is a good way to appear at the top of a New Build Steam news update! (Unfortunately, as seems traditional with this project, some proof-reading would not go amiss, unless it really is “twined” with the Victorian Steam Locomotive Company – but it’s a small quibble.)

Happily, progress is not limited to the online realm: the group aims to cast its bogie wheels this year, and will be using the pattern owned by fellow Great Eastern new build group the Holden F5 Trust.

GCR 567
The GCR Class 2 / LNER D7 project has a new website, which has made its work much more immediately accessible to observers. So far it is populated with news of stand appearances at various events plus old newsletters, but these contain much of interest – the most recent is from July however, so the following details may be somewhat out of date. The project has so far raise £18,000 and in yet another example of collaboration between new build groups has agreed to borrow the wheel pattern of the Brighton Atlantic group (both locomotives being designed by Kitson, the wheels are identical). Negotiations are also underway to secure a base for the project, and have the frames constructed. The formal purchase of the cylinder block identified at the project’s outset will be completed when the Trust has achieved charitable status.

45551 The Unknown Warrior
Progress continues apace on the Patriot, as Gavin Shell kindly pointed out in the comments on the last post. Updates from the group have been posted on Facebook and National Preservation (including a detailed update, including an overview of progress to date and plenty of photographs on this thread). Developments to be looked forward to in 2013 include a visit of the rolling chassis to the Warley model railway show in Birmingham (the first opportunity to see an in-progress new build locomotive outside its home base, it appears), a new website and continuing engineering developments, including on the smokebox and tender.

6880 Betton Grange
The latest Betton Grange newsletter contains a detailed update on the project, from engineering to fundraising – on which side a major push is being undertaken, to meet the targeted steaming date of 2016.

Some of the engineering items, for instance the latest developments with wheels, were covered in the last NBS update. Additionally, the remaining connecting rods needed for the locomotive have been purchased from another Llangollen-based project (not specified, but perhaps 4709, whose donor locomotives have now been disassembled? See below for more on this); the balance for these (£13,000) must be paid within two years. With wheels now available, suspension components are being sourced and wheeling is expected “in the very near future”. Meanwhile, quotations for the pattern-making and casting of the cylinders have been sought, and the group expects to place an order soon.

On the fundraising side, it is stated that while the Steam, Steel and Stars gala in 2012 turned a profit, it was smaller than anticipated – the bad weather over the weekend clearly did not help. Running such a large gala each year is not seen as viable; another is being considered for 2014, with a different gala over the May Day bank holiday weekend being planned – details are in the newsletter.

Unfortunately online discontent about the running of the project has again surfaced, with an unattractive spat on National Preservation. As ever, it is hard to know how much to read into disputes such as this – in some cases they can indicate genuine problems, in others they can reflect nothing more than a small number of malcontents making a lot of noise for reasons that are little to do with the matters ostensibly at issue. With a firm steaming date publicly set, there is in any case a clear yardstick by which to assess the project’s success. The discussions did however elicit confirmation that the group intends to hire a tender from another GWR locomotive group rather than construct its own in the first instance.

2999 Lady of Legend
The Saint now has its complete outside motion fitted, and buffer assemblies. Work on the tender continues, and numerous small components are on order. More details on the project’s website.

The turn-of-year review for the Night Owl details work to date on dismantling the donor locomotives and, in the case of 5227 reassembling its remains for future display on the story of “Barry wrecks” at Didcot (a 9F from among the “Barry Ten” is set to fulfil the same function at Barry itself – we now seem to be well past the watershed of Barry wrecks being written off as restoration projects although none yet has been scrapped, notwithstanding the current situation of LMS Crab 42859).

Components salvaged and available for refurbishment include:

  • Pony Truck assembly including wheel sets
  • Extension Frames and ancillaries
  • Suspension parts, including all axleboxes, horns and spring hanger parts.
  • 3 of the 4 Driving / Coupled wheel sets
  • Cylinder / Saddle assembly
  • Some valve gear and reversing gear components.

A 4000 gallon tender has been pledged from Didcot. Components not used in this locomotive will be made available for other projects – hence speculation that this may be the source of components recently purchased for the Grange.

1014 County of Glamorgan
In common with many groups, the latest update on the County includes both abundant detail and an end-of-year review of the project. Highlights include news from Crewe that work on stripping the firebox has made progress, and the intention to engage a non-destructive test company to check the frames before the wheels are fitted (“a Flying Scotsman situation is to be avoided”).

Latest CAD work suggests that the work to resolve gauging issues, on which significant effort was expended in 2012, will not rob the locomotive of its looks. The modifications will include lowering the boiler centre line by 45mm and the cab shoulders by 88 mm, plus the fitting of a safety valve and top feed to the pattern used on 6023 King Edward II.

2MT 84030
The latest newsletter and web updates about 84030 contain plenty of detail, including pictures of the centre cradle pattern sets that will be used for both the 2MT and 82045. The locomotive remains in the running shed at the Bluebell, as other priorities have precluded a return to the workshop – this makes the engine harder to work on for project members, but easier to view for the public, so readers in the area who would like a look at it may want to get along at the first opportunity.

3MT 82045
The most recent of the regular updates on 82045 contains a worthwhile look back at developments in 2012, and also carries the news that His Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester has agreed to become a Royal Patron of the Trust.

LNWR George the Fifth
A brief announcement on the George the Fifth’s website states that the order for the outer smokebox door has been placed with Keyte Smith Ltd of Bingham, Nottingham.

Worsdell G5
The G5 group promises “exciting things” for 2013, but these seem unlikely to go as far as the completion of the locomotive: in response to a query on their Facebook page, the company says it has discussed September 2014 internally, but “nothing [is] set in stone.”

A separate item on the Facebook page details the discovery of a clinker shovel on the bed of a stream on the Wooler branch, between Edingham viaduct and tunnel. As the line closed in 1953, it must have lain undiscovered for 60 years; it is in good condition, and could well be an original G5 shovel.

61063 Tornado
The latest Tornado e-newsletter contains details on Tornado’s winter maintenance, including an interesting picture of the engine minus her front bufferbeam, right-hand smoke deflector and all motion rods, which are at the Great Central Railway to have new brushes fitted.

Tube150 - Metropolitan Railway No. 1 at Kings Cross St. Pancras
Not the best view of Met No 1, but this picture shows Tornado’s headlamps prominently. Photo credit: Interbeat on Flickr

With the A1 out of traffic, its headlamps were loaned to London Underground for its much-publicised steam operations using Met No. 1; designed to meet modern lighting standards, but carrying an appropriate vintage feel, the headlamps are clearly a desirable asset – when the time for mainline running comes closer for other groups, perhaps similar lights will be acquired for other locomotives.

2001 Cock o’ the North
Again, no update on this project’s website, but the Facebook page includes a photograph of a meeting of the trust. In response to a query, it is stated that manufacture of components is about to begin, with the frames due for completion “shortly”. As a reminder, this is the Doncaster group, not the P2 project being investigated by the A1 Trust.