45551 The Unknown Warrior

The above video gives an engaging walk-through – at times literally – of the Patriot and developments on it following its return to Llangollen in March and going up to early June. This in-depth engineering update covers some of the same material, and brings some items further up todate. Brief highlights only will be summarised here.

Components across the locomotive are in the full range of stages, from design to completion. The cylinder liners have now been machined, after previously reported casting difficulties, and are shown here ready to be shrunk into the cylinders. The front buffer beam has been removed to facilitate this. Design work, meanwhile, is still continuing on the lubrication pipe runs and inside valve gear – in the latter case, a full set of drawings is not held by the project and research continues on the exact position of the trailing pivot point of the union link relative to the crosshead centre.

In respect of the boiler, the barrel sections have now been assembled and riveted and the inner firebox assembly is also complete, all at Crewe. Progress on the throatplate has been a little delayed due to issues between Tyseley and LNWR, now resolved – delivery is expected to Crewe soon. The revised dome design has been completed and submitted to the insurers for approval, and the build plan and inspection requirements for the completion of the boiler have been established.

On the tender, new outer frame plates and a rear buffer beam have been delivered to Llalgollen following the discovery of unexpectedly serious corrosion. The project has also succeeded in tracking down a pattern for axlebox bearing brasses, held by the London Midland Society, who are restoring 4F 44123; an order has been placed of six for the Patriot plus six for another project. Design work on the new boiler tank continues, and other locomotive groups with experience of main line operations are being canvassed for their views and advice.

In other news, famed Falklands veteran Simon Weston CBE has accepted the position of Patron of the project.  Meanwhile, LMS crimson came out on top of the unofficial Facebook poll on the subject of the first livery to be worn by the engine. The official vote, for members only, is due in November.

2007 Prince of Wales
Many of the prominently visible parts of the P2 have made progress in recent weeks: the smokebox has been temporarily placed on the frames, with the detailing on the door completed and the door itself fitted. Beading has been fitted around the cab edge and the cab re-assembled. Meanwhile, this tweet shows ‘another iconic component’ taking shape – this later tweet confirms it to have been one of the smoke lifting plates. The chimney has also been cast.

72010 Hengist
Individual bolts (or sets of them) are available to ‘buy’ (ie sponsor) from the Clan project’s shop . The appeal had raised £21.5K already as of June 10th.

A steady flow of cast and machined parts continues, to the extent that the project is now only a few components away from the 35 needed to assemble the frames – a meeting with the certification body is planned ahead of planning the assembly procedure.

3MT 82045
The boiler barrel has been the major item of progress in Bridgnorth in the last month or so: the latest news update reports that the swaging of the larger end has been taken as far as possible before the firebox throatplate is available, while the smaller end has also progressed. Meanwhile, the pony wheels have been fitted to their axles at Buckfastleigh, and the axleboxes have been delivered to Bridgnorth.

60163 Tornado
Tornado suffered an unusual problem in June: due to an error in the Rolling Stock Library’s software, the A1 was de-registered the library at midnight on June 10th. This left it unable to operate a planned railtour the following day, or return to London in time for the subsequent working of the Belmond British Pullman. The A1 Trust says it is, “addressing the financial impact this has had,” with the relevant parties – presumably this means seeking compensation for lost revenue.

No.60163 'Tornado'
Tornado on an earlier working of the Belmond British Pullman. By Peter Trimming on Flickr.

6880 Betton Grange
There is no further report on the problems discovered on the Grange earlier this year and reported in the previous news round-up. However, work has continued: the boiler has been de-tubed and the superheater header has been stored for future use.

2999 Lady of Legend
The latest update from the Saint project details the extensive work that has brought the tender essentially to completion bar final painting. On the locomotive, castings including the water gauge frame and exhaust injector body casing have been machined, splash guards have been fabricated and are ready to fit, and a start has been made on cladding for the cylinders and water feed pipes, plus on piping up the loco. A lift of the locomotive and temporary removal of the bogie will probably be necessary for this work at some stage.

The two new driving wheels for the Night Owl have been pressed onto their axle, giving a complete final wheelset. An account of the process of its creation can be found in this news update, apparently published somewhat after the fact. The aim remains to have the wheels under the locomotive by the end of the year.

32424 Beachy Head
The latest update on the Brighton Atlantic has the customary abundance of detail. Among the highlights are that all 134 tubes and 32 superheater flues are on order, as are the castings for the fire-hold door and its hinges. The safety valve castings and the main regulator body have both been machined in-house. The update bears reading in full.

35011 General Steam Navigation
Ownership of 35011 has now formally passed to the General Steam Navigation Restoration Society, who have placed the loco in the ownership of a company, in which shares will be made available to buy. As this is emerging as a serious project to resurrect a currently lost class of locomotive – the Merchant Navy in its original Bulleid-designed form – it will be covered from now on by this site, in the same manner as the various projects to recreate GWR classes, or the 2MT tank, using ‘donor’ locomotives. The Pacific is still based at Sellindge, with the search for a new base ongoing. There are multiple photos of the loco in its present condition, after the group’s first working weekend on it, on this tweet.

61662 Manchester United
The smokebox saddle for the Footballer has now been fabricated, and the plinth supporting the front-end components assembled to date reinforced and repositioned to display it to good effect. Three angle brackets to join the footplate sections together have also been prepared.

F5 789
The latest updates on the F5 showcase these quite attractive CAD images.

8783 Phoenix
Progress on the Claud Hamilton continues to be essentially on the CAD front. This image shows previously drawn components ‘assembled’, while full scale mock-ups of lamp brackets have been 3D printed from CAD work.

GCR 567
The oil pots for 567 have been reported on Twitter as being in manufacture.

The consequences of the UK’s vote on June 23rd to leave the European Union are still emerging, but so far it seems that new build steam, and heritage rail more generally, will not be among the most heavily affected concerns. The industry, for want of a better term, is largely domestic and does not trade much across borders. That said, some projects have sourced components large and small from overseas manufacturers within the EU and outside it (most famously the boilers for 60163 Tornado and, in future, 2007 Prince of Wales from Germany) – the future viability of such purchases will be determined by the eventual shape of the UK’s trading relations post-Brexit, which are currently entirely unclear. The recent fall in the value of sterling will however, if sustained, make future such purchases more expensive, independent of other considerations. As far as New Build Steam is aware, there is no particular reliance on workers from within the EU on new build projects, so this appears not to be a likely source of disruption.

Other impacts may be more indirect. Donations to new build projects appear to come largely, though by no means exclusively, from older and retired people – these may not be greatly affected by any future slowdown in economic growth, although one might anticipate more generally that heritage railways could see less trade in the way of family days out (or, conversely, could that increase if more families opt to take holidays in the UK owing to greater cost to travelling abroad and a possible drop in affluence and/or sense of economic confidence?). One might also observe that health and safety regulation and the regulation of mainline railways are currently integrated to a large extent across Europe – again, depending on the terms of our exit, there may be scope for the UK to vary these laws and regulations in due course. Thoughts on any further direct or indirect impacts are invited in the comments.