Welcome to the final news round-up for 2014, which reports on the latest construction progress of many of the projects, plus the end-of-year reflections of several of the most promising.
On the 3MT website there is a characteristically informative news update for December and a thorough and frank look back on the project’s progress in 2014, where there is much to celebrate. Ongoing work on the project includes the bunker fabrication at the Ffestiniog Railway’s Boston Lodge works, the fitting of the completed buffers to the chassis at Bridgnorth, and the production of a technically complex pattern for the front pony truck. On Facebook, it was announced that the machined cylinders arrived at Bridgnorth on December 22nd.
Other progress across 2014 has included the boiler appeal raising close to £140,000, well in excess of its initial target of £100,000. The coupled wheelsets are also cast and nearing completion, although the group still needs to complete the axle box assemblies and work on the frames before they can be fitted.
Tornado has now been disassembled for her intermediate overhaul, and her return to service, complete with a new seven year boiler certificate, is scheduled for May 2015. The A1 Trust’s website contains abundant photographs of progress, including some of the visible parts already back in apple green. With the frames of 2007 Prince of Wales currently alongside her in the Trust’s Darlington works, she is the first Peppercorn A1 ever to sit side-by-side with a P2 Mikado (the originals all having been rebuilt before the A1s were manufactured). The locomotive’s boiler, however, has been shipped back to Germany for overhaul in the works where it was constructed.
6880 Betton Grange
The Grange’s coupling rods have been fitted, and following the casting of the first cylinder just before the last New Build Steam update, the group has confirmed that the second has also been cast satisfactorily. Two newly cast motion brackets have also been delivered.
32424 Beachy Head
The Brighton Atlantic group has published another interesting and detailed update on their work, with photos of progress. They also detail changes they have made to the piston design to incorporate later practice used on BR standard locomotives.
61662 Manchester United
It has been confirmed that the Mizens Railway will allow the extension of the track on which the Footballer’s tender currently sits, to accommodate the whole locomotive. The group is now seeking to acquire the necessary rails and sleepers. Additionally, it has recently obtained a pair of original LNER locomotive headlamps, and are seeking to raise £7,000 to pay for the locomotive’s frames (interestingly, a much lower figure than the 77021 group is seeking to fund its frames).
There are plenty of new photos of progress on the G5 on Flickr. The locomotive’s cylinder blocks are in position, and the front buffer beam bolted in place. The driving wheels are due to be taken to Devon, with their tyres, for assembly.
A large proportion of the new build projects seem to have their wheels in Devon at the moment, as the Night Owl’s have also been sent there for attention. Other progress on the 47xx has included scrutiny of the new axle horns, prior to their positioning on the frames.
1014 County of Glamorgan
Non-destructive testing of the copper welds on the County’s firebox at Crewe has revealed some remedial action to be needed, and this is underway. Meanwhile, horn grinding has been completed at Tyseley, and the smokebox saddle and blast pipe design work is also complete. The Group continues to be mindful of the need to increase man hours spent on the locomotive, and is agreeing extra hours with its volunteers.
Numerous components have been delivered for the F5, including both cylinders, the four tank supports and the star stay, all of which have been cast in the later part of 2014.
45551 The Unknown Warrior
Under the new slogan ‘Help Us Finish the Job’, the Patriot project is shifting its emphasis from manufacture to assembly, to meet its completion date of 2017 (allowing time for trials and running in, to ensure the locomotive is operational in time to mark the centenary of the Armistice in 2018).
In a review of the year, the group’s Chairman notes, perhaps with some justice, that comparisons with the rapid start made on the P2 project might risk overshadowing the remarkable progress so far on the Patriot. The completed and machined components to be fitted to the chassis over the next few months include the inside cylinder block, motion girders, motion brackets, boiler support brackets and rear cylinder covers, with springs and coupling rods to be attached thereafter. The boiler is to cost £477,000 in total, including the smokebox and front tubeplate which already exist, and final assembly of the boiler is due to start in 2016. The project will however need to increase its revenue to achieve all this, and the review ends with a plea to existing and prospective members to review their support or embark on it anew if they have not already.
2013 Prince George
The latest work on the LNWR George the Fifth includes efforts to address issues with the rear half of the frames seen in service during the later part of the locomotives’ original careers; this work will, it is hoped, significantly reduce the risk of cracking frames after 30 to 40 years’ use. Meanwhile, CAD drawings for the bogie wheel design are underway.
2007 Prince of Wales
Fundraising for the P2 has already resulted in £1.5million of the required £5million already having been pledged. At the same time, design work has continued to look at the cab (to reduce the height by one inch, as with Tornado) and modifying the frame stays.
The Trust has also been considering the problem of the P2’s crank axle, which was a known weakness of the original locomotives – four, or possibly five, failures occurred across the six engines over only eight years, a failure rate which the Trust notes would not be acceptable on the modern railway. The P2’s crank axle design is shared with their contemporaries the A3s, which did not have the same level of failures – having only six coupled wheels, the A3s would tend to dissipate excess torque by slipping, which the more sure-footed Mikado wheel arrangement did not readily allow. To assist with the problem, the Trust has been able to utilise the records made by metallurgists at Doncaster Works of every axle, tyre and crank pin failure from 1919 to the early 1940s, including records of one of the original P2 failures. Using this data, the Trust believes it will be able to address the problem by integrating improvements in the crank axle design used on Tornado, and integrating BR BASS 504 wheel/axle design techniques. An independent study is being commissioned to provide assurance that this solution will address the problem.
On the manufacturing front, the initial batch of frame stay and bracket castings – 24 in total – has now been completed by William Cook Cast Products and the parts are due for machining.
The Hengist project is part-way through a schedule of machining and fabrication, with the ‘bread basket’ frame stretcher and brake cylinder support casting due for machining soon. The group’s frame appeal remains open.
The smokebox door for the second standard class 3 is nearing completion after much work, and the group has been offered the opportunity to get some il feed boxes made as part of a production run for another group. Fundraising is edging towards the £15,000 needed for the commissioning of the frames.
The Claud Hamilton Group has now received its first construction drawing and will be seeking a quote on the basis of it; this will in turn provide a target for a more specific fundraising strategy.
The GCR 567 group has confirmed its intentions to secure the locomotive’s new frames in 2015. It has also come to light that the original no.567 was involved in a fatal accident in 1898 in which eight people were killed. It has been proposed that a memorial plaque be fitted to the new locomotive in commemoration.
Thanks to everyone who has read the website this year, liked us on Facebook and followed us on Twitter – with over 700 Facebook ‘likes’ and over 1,800 Twitter followers (some of them no doubt spambots, but never mind), New Build Steam is well ahead of several of the projects it reports on, despite the low rate of updates this year. Though if you do have a favourite project, please remember to support them and not simply this site! Hopefully there will be no more than two more end-of-year updates before we have another working new build locomotive to reflect on – and with that thought, happy new year!