Photo courtesy of the Gresley Society Trust

P2 2007
The A1 Trust has announced that its project to build a new P2 class 2-8-2 Mikado is to go ahead. Accordingly, the P2 Steam Locomotive Company has been formed and is awaiting confirmation of its charitable status. A ‘pre-launch’ phase to raise £100,000 has been announced, and membership has been opened of a Founders Club: in exchange for a donation of £1,000, members will gain benefits including a reserved seat on the P2’s first main line passenger train. They will also be able to become covenantors when the main fundraising appeal is launched in spring 2014. Funds raised by the Founders Club will pay for the frames of the engine, which will be the most powerful steam locomotive in the country. It will be built at the Darlington Locomotive Works where Tornado was constructed, at an estimated cost of £5million over a period of seven to ten years. A new website has been set up at www.p2steam.com.

2001 Cock o’the North
The Doncaster P2 group is hinting at progress on its Facebook page, with slightly cryptic updates promising, “it’s about to get very interesting indeed,” and announcing that the group has visited Tata Steel in Scunthorpe. They also had their merchandise and information stall at Mallard’s visit to Railport Doncaster this month, and have a range of new merchandise including mugs and t-shirts.

60163 Tornado

Tornado temporarily sidelined at the Mid Hants. Photo by nogbad the bad on Flickr.
Tornado temporarily sidelined at the Mid Hants. Photo by nogbad the bad on Flickr.

There has been a rash of news about Tornado in recent weeks, not all of it positive. Firstly, its operations on the mainline have hit a significant hitch: Steam Dreams, which promotes Tornado’s regular turns on the Cathedrals Express, has announced that it is switching its operations from DBS to the only other train operating company that operates steam, West Coast Rail. This follows well-reported problems for DBS in supplying crews reliably for trains. Unfortunately, West Coast and the A1 Trust were unable to reach agreement in 2011 for West Coast to operate the A1 (the Trust’s statement from the time is here), so the locomotive is now ruled out of practically all mainline duties. The Trust’s announcement of the news stated that it, “had already been looking at different and better ways of running Tornado, plans which will now be brought forward.” It adds that Tornado’s planned five year intermediate overhaul will take place in the first half of 2014, so it seems that the A1 is unlikely to be a regular fixture on the main line again until next summer at the earliest.

While this turn of events will have negative consequences for the A1 Trust’s income stream, in other respects it is able to sound an upbeat financial note. It has announced the launch of the 163 Pacifics Club to pay for Tornado’s tender, which was built with a £200,000 loan from principal sponsor of the project William Cook Cast Products, which must be paid off by 2021. The venture follows a similar model to the ‘Use Your Loaf’ appeal which is now close to having paid for the new support coach, but donors can buy membership of the 163 Pacifics Club (the number taken from the numbers of LNER Pacifics under the 1946 LNER renumbering, plus Tornado), rather than ‘slices’ of the support coach. This development brings Tornado closer to being wholly debt-free, with the already announced repayment of the £500,000 bearer bond at the end of this year.

Operationally, Tornado had a slightly frustrated August, being stranded at Alton on the Mid Hants Railway by an over-running Network Rail possession (having visited Alton principally to use the wheel-drop), although this sojourn did allow for some items of maintenance to be carried out. More happily, on September 14th Tornado became the first steam locomotive to take a train into Birmingham New Street northbound since the end of steam on BR, in the climax of a process of relaxation to the operation of steam into and out of the station (trains have been taken out of the station in steam already, but not gone straight through before this).

GCR 567
The GCR 567 group has reported multiple items of progress. Perhaps most significantly, it has purchased a ‘Corby Class’ Cylinder block from the GCR Rolling Stock Trust for £2,000 (compared to an estimated £40-60,000 for producing one from scratch). The component has never been used, and has existed for decades as a spare – the quantity of random parts of steam locomotives apparently scattered around the country waiting to be utilised by a new build group continues to amaze. The block will require slight modification, and the group is currently assessing the work needed.

The group has also embarked upon informal co-operation agreements with the Patriot and Betton Grange groups, in addition to its existing agreement with the Brighton Atlantic group to use its bogie wheel pattern. A plethora of drawings has been acquired or created, now nearing a full set, and discussions are advanced with an as yet unnamed company for the production of the frames (with water-jet cutting to be subcontracted to Corus). Agreement has been reached, subject to planning, for the construction of an ‘erection building’ at the group’s Ruddington base (now added to the New Build Steam map, along with the P2 and Claud sites – see below), and the recent AGM revealed that £26,000 has been raised towards the project so far.

61673 Spirit of Sandringham
The AGM of the B17 Steam Locomotive Trust will be held on September 28th at the Holiday Inn in Stevenage. The Trust’s announcement of the meeting reflects on progress to date, including a quote having been obtained from Tata Steel for the manufacture of the frame plates, and the drawings for the chimney having been commissioned. The meeting starts at 1pm and the build plan will be on display.

61662 Manchester United
Work has continued on the cab and rescued tender for the Footballer. Original LNER cab windows, rescued from B1 61212 in the scrapyard, have been fitted, and further repair work has been carried out on the tender, including welding the beading on the top of the coal space back on.

Worsdell G5
The G5 group has made shares in the locomotive available, and also started a new “Super Friends” monthly contribution scheme as it pushes towards completion. The next major component being targeted for completion is the complex matter of the crank-axle, whose forging is estimate to cost in the region of £35,000. The group is attending the steam gala at Locomotion in Shildon this weekend (21st and 22nd September), and will be holding its final open day of the year on November 2nd.

8783 Phoenix
The Claud Hamilton group has secured a partnership with the Whitwell and Reepham Railway in Norfolk: this will act as the group’s parent company, and donations for the project will be taken as donations to the railway, restricted to use on the Claud; the group also says the link will provide them with charitable status, although it’s not clear that the group’s aims fit within the railway’s charitable objects as registered with the Charity Commission. The railway will also provide a base for the storage of components, construction of the engine and its future use (the latter presumably dependent on plans to restore a substantial length of the line on which Whitwell station sits).

The group has also acquired drawings relating to the motion and cylinders, and intends to begin construction with the front buffer beam, for which CAD drawings have been completed. In the meantime, a wooden replica of one of the locomotive’s future name plates has been made, and will be used at promotional events.

72010 Hengist
Orders for several more components have been placed: for the second combined stretcher / spring hanger bracket and the six new horn guides, with stop bosses and lubrication points included in the castings. The latter will be delivered to Stephenson Engineering, ready to be welded into the new frame plates. An appeal has been launched to fund the assembly of the frames.

Work on collecting existing components from their prior sites has also continued. It is intended to paint the cab before the winter sets in, and the group has appealed for tarpaulins to cover it over the winter.

3MT 82045
The 3MT’s driving wheels have now been cast at the Boro’ Foundry and machining has been started. Axles, tyres and crank pins will then be fitted at South Devon Railway Engineering at Buckfastleigh. The axleboxes have also been cast, this time at the South Lincs Foundry in Spalding, and also require machining and further preparation. With the project enjoying such good momentum, plans to launch its final big appeal, for the estimated £300,000 to fund the boiler, are being brought forward from autumn 2014 to earlier in the year – although the dedicated bank account is already open and ready to receive donations.

2MT 84030
The latest newsletter from the 2MT group outlines continuing progress on the locomotive. Unfortunately it has not proved possible to move it from the Bluebell’s running shed to the workshop, so it remains easily visible to the public but more difficult for the group to work on. Positive progress includes the fitting of the front tank support brackets to the frames plus many items on the ‘restoration’ side of the project, for instance the completion of work on the front sand boxes, ready for mounting on the engine.

1014 County of Glamorgan
Non-destructive testing has been carried out on the frames of the County, and the results were positive – the group, as they observe in this news update, will not be “doing a Scotsman”. The same update contains details of progress on multiple fronts, including the completion of drawings for numerous components and the exploration of using poly-patterns to manufacture them, following the Patriot’s successful use of the technique for its inside cylinder. The update illustrates well how recent developments in steam locomotive engineering – good and bad – are being taken on board by new build groups and influencing their work.

6880 Betton Grange
Progress on the Grange includes the fabrication of angle brackets and the removal of the vacuum cylinder from 5952 Cogan Hall. Quotes for a poly pattern for the cylinder block are being obtained, with a target of having the cylinders cast and machined by the spring.

The Night Owl project got a healthy dose of publicity on August 25th, when it featured in en edition of BBC2’s Hairy Bikers’ Restoration Road Trip. The programme revealed several new developments in the project, including the prospect of using the boiler from 2861 as an interim measure while the locomotive’s own larger boiler is constructed, just as class pioneer 4700 used a smaller boiler as fitted to the 28xxs while the new ‘No. 7’ type boilers were being built. The possibility of turning out the locomotive in this form and using proceeds from its initial running to fund the new boiler is being actively investigated. More immediately, the final pair of driving wheels has been obtained, using a new wooden pattern from master pattern makers Caddick and Moss.

Dean Goods
A new group has emerged online, with the stated intention of building a new GWR Dean Goods 0-6-0, despite the existence of a preserved example of the class, 2516, albeit somewhat sealed inside STEAM at Swindon. This follows the emergence of an online group claiming to intend to extract and run the surviving example, having abandoned plans for a new build. A Facebook page has been set up, with numerous appeals on it for support and help. As ever with new groups, NBS will monitor their progress, and begin reporting on it regularly if it appears to become well established (although it is interesting to reflect that, of the new groups emerging online during this website’s lifetime, only the Claud Hamilton group has shown any sticking power).

32424 Beachy Head
There is plenty of detail in the latest update from the Brighton Atlantic group. Slow delivery of the crossheads has not impeded progress. Work has taken place on, among other areas, the piston rods with their new crossheads and the valve gear.

LNWR George the Fifth
Work continues on the smokebox door for the George the Fifth, while the project’s fundraising efforts have unlocked the first tranche of matched funding from the benefactor who is donating £50,000 on this basis.

45551 The Unknown Warrior
And finally, the smokebox of The Unknown Warrior has been placed on the frames, painted and finished with numberplate, shed plate and headboard. While the presentation is mainly for promotional and fundraising purposes in the first instance, it’s undeniably a milestone for the locomotive to be given its ‘face’. 

lms patriot 45551
Photo by Gavin_Shell on Flickr.