60163 Tornado
Tornado’s return to traffic has been delayed further by the recent hot weather, with steam bans on the Nene Valley Railway and much of the national network making it impossible to complete the necessary running-in. Consequently, planned railtours up to mid-August have been subject to either cancellation or a change of motive power. A small defect in the outer surface of one of the union links has also been found, requiring replacement before main line running can be resumed.

The A1 Trust has also issued further details about the factors involved in the failure in April. Contamination of the lubricating oil has been discovered – this has been observed on other locomotives as well, and further work in specialist chemical laboratories will, it is hoped, shed light on the cause. An alignment error on the middle valve and a problem with the fit of the valve rings on the leading head have also been implicated.

The locomotive’s next main line run at 90mph will not be until 2019 at the earliest.

A1 Steam Locomotive Trust Vacancy: Engineering and Workshop Manager – 28 July

Repair update – 16 July

Repair update – 22 June

Repair progress – 5 June

Repair update – 11 May

The Communication Cord, Spring 2018 (PDF)

Tornado Telegraph, June 2018 (PDF)

Tornado Telegraph, May 2018 (PDF)

Birthday cake – Twitter, 28 July

Tornado’s birthday party in Darlington – Twitter, 28 July

Celebrating the volunteers who work on Tornado – support crew, merchandise – Twitter, 6 June

6880 Betton Grange

Betton Grange’s chassis, on the move to Tyseley. Photo by the 6880 Society.

The chassis of Betton Grange was moved to Tyseley in June, for the fitting of its boiler this summer. Twenty-one superheater elements are still needed to finish the boiler – sponsorship for them is being sought. The push to complete the locomotive will then take place back at Llangollen.

The tender to be used behind 6880, hired from the owner of class 2884 2-8-0 3814, is being sanded down ahead of painting into BR Western green.

Work starts on the tender – 16 July

Betton Grange moves to Tyseley – 29 July

Cylinder cleating nears completion – 8 May

Boiler work at Tyseley nearing completion – 15 May

Update on work at Llangollen – 15 July (Facebook)

Sanding the tender – 14 July (Facebook)

Betton Grange from above – 1 July (Facebook)

Running board riveting complete – 11 June (Facebook)

Chassis stripped down for the move to Tyseley – 9 June (Facebook)

Celebrating Betton Grange volunteers – 1 June (Facebook)

1014 County of Glamorgan
The County’s boiler is shortly due to join The Unknown Warrior’s at Heritage Boiler Steam Services on the Midland Railway, with its firebox already complete. A new smokebox door is on order and the door ring and saddle being designed, to give the locomotive its ‘face’.

Things are also moving more quickly again elsewhere on the engine: the chassis is rewheeled, and work underway on the lubricator pots. The motion is the next major focus of attention – £45,000 needs to be raised in order to get the already procured forgings for the connecting and coupling rods machined.

Of longer term significance, the decision has been taken not to fit 1014 with the necessary equipment to run on the main line, although it has been confirmed that the locomotive’s height is not an obstacle to this.

News update, April-July

3840 County of Montgomery
The funds for the cutting of 3840’s frames have now been raised, and the main plates ordered. The Trust has additionally issued an appeal for volunteers on all aspects of the project.

Main frame plates ordered for 3840 – 27 July

News update and appeal – 14 June (Facebook)

72010 Hengist
The Clan’s smokebox and cab have now been moved to CTL Seal in Sheffield, joining the other components for the frame assembly. The front bogie will be the next major focus, at an estimated cost of £200,000. The four horizontal springs used for lateral control are proving a particular challenge in the modern manufacturing environment, as they are coil springs with a rectangular cross section – the forum discussion listed below provides further details.

The project’s new website does not appear to provide unique links to individual news items, but the following items can be found in its news section:

  • Work on the parts container, 16 July
  • Smokebox and cab arrive in Sheffield, 6 July
  • Members Forum in Sheffield, 30 June
  • Parts Storage Container update, 25 June

Build diary, June

Forum discussion – National Preservation, 1 June and onward

3MT 82045
The 3MT group is another wrestling with the question of main line running. As securing the necessary certification is a ‘boiler-out’ job, the decision must be taken imminently. The group’s members and supporters have been invited to submit their views, and a fairly evenly-balanced range of opinion has been returned so far, albeit including two supporters indicating they would withdraw their support if main line running goes ahead.

In other news, work has commenced to raise the additional £200,000 needed, in addition to existing plans, to secure the earlier work on the locomotive at Bridgnorth – the outputs of this are expected to become visible shortly. On the engineering side, the current focus of work is the springs.

News update – June

News update – May

Reflections on main line running, and wider heritage engineering issues, by Chris Proudfoot – National Preservation

2MT 84030
The March newsletter to update supporters on progress with 84030 is now available online. A newly rolled smokebox barrel, plus door and ring, are now in stock, having been commissioned as part of an order for several new barrels placed by the Great Central Railway. The other major item of focus in the newsletter is improved undercover accommodation for the build at the Bluebell Railway.

The Bluebell Standard, issue 24 (PDF) – March

35011 General Steam Navigation

Dust covers have been obtained for 35011’s spring beams – fabricated, rather than cast, to match its unique surviving fabricated trailing truck. Both the dust covers and the whistle valve have been successfully trial fitted to the locomotive, the latter shown towards the end of the time-lapse video above depicting a coat of protective green paint being applied to the locomotive. Full stripping down is intended once the locomotive has been moved to the south west of England, which the project team is taking steps towards.

The original supplier for the locomotive’s new crank axle has withdrawn from the work, but a replacement has been found.

News update – 6 July

News update – 30 May

Progress on the Klinger valves – 27 June (Twitter)

Celebration of the volunteers who work on 35011 – 1 June (Twitter)

Whistle valve test fitting – 5 May (Twitter)

Overview of current priorities – 1 June (National Preservation)

GCR 567
The frames have now arrived at Ruddington, and work is underway to assemble them.

News section of website (links to individual items not supported).

G5 1759
Rough machining of the G5’s crankshaft has now been completed; final machining will follow ultrasonic testing for flaws. Meanwhile, the crank axle has now been ordered, this being the last ‘expensive’ component needed.

The project’s new website does not appear to provide unique links to individual news items, but the following items can be found in its news section:

  • Third annual G5 conference
  • Press release for crank axle order.

Running boards update and video – July (Facebook)

2018 conference – 9 July (Facebook)

Motion Fund – 28 June (Facebook)

Delivery of angle irons for running boards – 13 June (Facebook)

61662 Manchester United
Work has progressed on the Footballer’s splashers and distinctive running place curves.

Responses by the group to Facebook queries have provided more details about its aims, and cast its prospectus in an apparently new light. The current aim is stated to be a static replica, with a working locomotive being the ‘long term aim’. A ‘major appeal for funds’ will be commenced when the group feels able to ‘show people what [the locomotive] will look like’.

This approach appears to represent, at the very least, a difference in emphasis from the information on the group’s website, which is couched very much in terms of a working locomotive being the central aim. This page states: “Far from being a static Museum Exhibit, we intend that the new Manchester United steam locomotive will see regular service hauling special trains on Britain’s Main Lines.” The word ‘static’ is not mentioned anywhere else on the entire website. The same page continues: “Given the B17 Class locomotive’s excellent route availability and capacity for high speed running, we believe it will be a popular choice of engine for hauling special trains on the modern network.

“When not required for Main Line duties, we intend to hire the locomotive out for use on UK Heritage Railways such as the East Lancs Railway, the Worth Valley Railway or the Severn Valley Railway etc where it will be a major attraction.

“There are dozens of preserved railways in the UK and steam operating days and galas are held regularly throughout the year, quite often on a daily basis during the summer months. This will provide revenue to cover overhauls.” The latter assertion may be contrasted with the current funding model for Tornado, which still needs the support of covenantors for overhauls despite its undoubted and high profile success in service over the last decade.

July newsletter (PDF)

June newsletter (PDF)

May newsletter (PDF)

Response to Facebook query, May

Additional response by Ken Livermore 

As ever, the group’s Facebook updates contain more photographs than can be fitted in the PDF newsletters:

20 July

10 July

26 June

31 May

Splashers progress and original water pipes – 20 July, Twitter

CAD image courtesy of B17 Steam Locomotive Trust

61673 Spirit of Sandringham
Assembly of the Sandringham’s frames is now underway at Llangollen, all the necessary components having been delivered. The project has also appointed Ricardo Rail as an independent assessor, which has audited the processes at Llangollen Railway Engineering Services, providing confidence that the design and manufacturing processes are of appropriate quality.

Discussions are underway with potential suppliers of the boiler, following completion of a defining specification.

Construction progress

2007 Prince of Wales
The wheelsets for Prince of Wales have now been completed at South Devon Railway Engineering, sent up to Darlington and fitted to the locomotive, making it (temporarily) an 0-8-2! The team are confident of having a full rolling chassis before the end of the summer, with the pony truck to be fitted in August, and an order for the heavy motion has now been placed worth £220,000. To date over £3 million of the estimated £5 million cost has been pledged, of which £2.1 million has been donated and over £1.7 million converted into metal.

Expressions of interest have been invited for the construction of the boiler, which is to be to the same design as Tornado’s, incorporating modifications applied during the A1’s working life over the last ten years. A supplier is expected to be appointed by the end of this year, with the final technical specification to be agreed by mid-2019, firm order placed subsequently, and delivery in January 2021.

In other component news, a vintage speedometer has been sourced – from a Bulleid Pacific in fact, which is more fitting than it might at first appear, given Oliver Bulleid’s work on designing the P2s while he was Sir Nigel Gresley’s asistant.

This autumn, there will be further presentations on the project, this time going beyond the route of the East Coast Main Line as taken by previous roadshows – and, indeed, well beyond LNER territory. The events will be in Bristol, Derby, Manchester and Leeds – see links below for full details.

A Birthday Party Surprise! – 28 July

Motion Club passes the one third mark – 16 July

Cladding progress – 27 June

Jenny Chapman MP visits Darlington Locomotive Works – 27 June

Trial fitting of the cladding – 16 June

A tyring day – 13 June

Boiler tender issued – 7 June

Wheels tyred and crankpins fitted – 2 June

Motion components orders placed – 31 May

Mikado Club now complete – 16 May

Activity at Darlington – 5 May

Wheelset and tender progress – 4 May

Mikado Messenger, June 2018 (PDF) – includes roadshow details

Mikado Messenger, May 2018 (PDF)

The wheelsets and the crew at South Devon Railway Engineering Ltd – 23 July (Twitter)

Further images of the fitted cladding – 7 July (Twitter)

5551 The Unknown Warrior

Example of an unacceptable machined surface. Photo by Kevin West.

Supply chain problems have returned to blight the Patriot in recent months, with numerous components either subject to delay or supplied to an unacceptable standard and requiring replacement. This has included some poor quality machining, necessitating some new casting of long lead-time items that will delay the assembly of the locomotive – these include several parts of the reverser shafts. Some components for the braking system also went missing while being moved between Llangollen and an external supplier; arrangement for replacements have been made.

The latest engineering update also refers to ‘issues’ with Llangollen Engineering, though the details of these appear, understandably, to have been shared with members but not the public; in any case, they are reportedly now resolved.

Positive progress does continue, however. For instance, work is well underway on the motion, including the refurbishment of legacy components already sourced. At Heritage Boiler Steam Services, all the crown stays are drilled and attention has turned to the side stays, to be followed by trial fitting of the copper firebox.

Members day report – 3 July

Engineering update – 10 May

Machined components – 18 July (Facebook)

Blast pipe base – 26 June (Facebook)

Boiler updates by Heritage Boiler Steam Services, with photos (Facebook):

1 July

16 June

31 May

3 May.

2013 Prince George

Knobs photo courtesy of LNWR George the Fifth Steam Locomotive Trust

Lamp sockets and handrail knobs have now been made for the George the Fifth. The group has also obtained several original LNWR items – toolbox, regulator and quadrant. Further progress is reported on the design of the boiler.

The project’s website does not provide individual links for news stories, but the following items can be found on its news page:

  • Lamp sockets fabricated, 7 July
  • Handrail knobs ready, 7 July
  • LNWR acquisitions, 14 May
  • Visit to the KWVR, 5 April.

Boiler update (downloads Word document), July

Display board showing recent progress – 27 July (Facebook)

Off-topic: Bedford Rail
Readers with an interest in the railways as they are today, or who live in or near Bedford, may be interested in the new blog Bedford Rail, written by the author of New Build Steam. The blog examines issues of current rail policy, using the issues facing services to and from Bedford as a case study; it will also provide some historical posts, examining the nature of Bedford’s railways in earlier times. An associated Twitter account is also available.