New Build Steam

New standard gauge steam locomotives in the UK

About this site

This website is about the various projects to build new standard gauge steam locomotives in the UK, including those using parts from ‘donor’ locomotives to recreate lost classes. A locomotive counts as ‘new build’ if it is: of a class not currently represented in the UK standard gauge steam fleet; and/or clearly built from scratch (though no project has yet emerged to do the latter without the former).

The focus is on locomotives that could haul a train on the main line or a preserved line of reasonable length; the many working museum replicas of early steam locomotives are not covered (although they are addressed in this feature article).

News round-ups are published roughly every two months, drawing on published information from the many different groups, plus any further information they choose to send the site (some do this regularly, others not at all – all submissions are welcome on the email address given below).

Narrow gauge projects are also out of scope. There is not the same clear-cut divide between ‘heritage’ and ‘new build’ locomotives on the UK’s narrow gauge lines: the UK continued to manufacture narrow gauge locomotives for export until 1971, while preserved lines were constructing new locomotives for leisure use at least as early as the 1960s. Construction of new narrow gauge locomotives continues to take place regularly, and they are both too numerous and insufficiently novel for this site to cover. For the avoidance of doubt, broad gauge locomotives are also out of scope.

However, photographs of both narrow gauge and broad gauge new build engines are welcome in the Flickr pool, whose scope is more relaxed than the main site.

The aim of this site is to celebrate and provide information on these projects, not misrepresent them, so if we’ve got something wrong polite correction is always gratefully received, either in comments or email (newbuildsteam ‘at’ yahoo dot co dot uk). If you’d like to send us an update or even write a guest post, please get in touch via the same means.

The site is run on a purely voluntary basis, solely by the Editor.

Comments are invited and encouraged. Your first comment will not be published until it has been approved by a moderator; all subsequent posts by you will appear straight away.

Posts that are libellous, defamatory, insulting or offensive are not permitted. We reserve the right to amend, remove or decline to publish any post for any reason. You are responsible for the content of your posts.

Graphics used on this site were created using images by Leo ReynoldsahisgettPhilandthehounds and tallpomlin  on Flickr, under Creative Commons licence (and available for use under the same licence).

47 thoughts on “About this site

  1. Hello – Good day to you.. Could you amend your details for the ‘35011-General Steam Navigation’ Group please.. We moved the locomotive from Kent last year, and are now based at the ‘Swindon & Cricklade Railway’. Work has begun on stripping the locomotive pending the boiler lift

    1. Hi Ian – as you’ll see from recent updates, this site is no longer being updated. I’ve added a note to that effect to the top of the page, for clarity.

  2. You have forgotten to mention LNER P2 2001 COCK O’ THE NORTH as being built by Doncaster P2 Locomotive Trust Ltd. ‘We can report that progress has reached a position where machining the frames is in sight followed by manufacturing stays to form a free-standing chassis.

    1. Hi Alan, we haven’t forgotten the 2001 project. As you’ll see if you look a little further, we’ve reported on it many times:

      See here for why we’re not currently covering it as a meaningful effort to construct a working steam locomotive: If the project does start making meaningful progress we’ll reinstate our coverage.

  3. On the Projects page, a lot of interesting work is credited to Didcot Rilway(sic) Centre.

  4. OK. I really do like railway locomotives (it’s why I keep coming back here) but I’m about to go off-topic again – just.
    It’s definitely new build steam;
    It’s UK, and arguably from a standard gauge railway;
    It just doesn’t have any rails…

    The Steam Yacht Gondola, run by the National Trust on Coniston Water, was in its original 1860 incarnation built by the Furness Railway as an attraction to encourage tourists. It therefore received a copper, coke-fired locomotive boiler rated at 80 psi as used by FR engines, supplied by Lawrence & Co of Liverpool. This was replaced in 1923 by a steel 100 psi boiler. Alas, in 1936 the SY Gondola was retired, the boiler and engine removed to power a sawmill, and the remaining hull used as a houseboat, and eventually was sunk.
    When in 1978 she was raised under the auspices of the NT, the hull was found to be unsuitable for restoration, and the driving power was long gone. But the NT had the vision to rebuild her, and the new 150 psi boiler was commissioned from W. Bertram & Sons Ltd (South Shields), with an engine by Locomotion Enterprises of Gateshead.
    Boiler in situ:
    Boiler removed and (for bonus points!) on a steam lorry:
    SBA record:
    So does this count as a new-build FR loco boiler?

    1. Well, there’s no denying it’s an FR boiler – I rather like the detail that it’s essentially the ‘Prince’ design! Though as even that’s from 1979 or so (contemporary with Earl of Merioneth), it illustrates very well how ‘new build’ isn’t quite the paradigm shift in narrow gauge that it is in standard gauge!

    1. Thanks Ray – now sorted. (There’s a general refresh of that page on the way, hence it took a little while – but I decided to fix it now rather than wait for the full update.)

  5. From information on your website it appears five new builds are scheduled for completion this year – 2999 Lady of Legend; 6880 Betton Grange; 32424 Beachy Head; 5551 The Unknown Warrior; & 3MT 82045. What a year 2019 could be! What is your personal best guess as to which of the five will actually be in service this time next year?

    1. Hi Peter – it’s a good question! I’m putting the next news round-up together right now, and the next article after that will (probably) be a bit of a ‘state of the nation’ review of where things are. But at the risk of spoilers: the Saint looks sure to be the next in steam, and probably most of those others will slip into 2020.

      That’s an educated guess, bearing in mind the delays most projects are now tending to encounter – only the 5551 team have talked expressly about 2020 that I can recall, though the latest timescales given for 82045 basically rule out 2019 already if I remember rightly. Betton Grange and Beachy Head could in principle still be goers for next year though, I think. We’ll find out soon enough…

      I’ll also be updating the ‘Projects’ page, as some of the timescales on there are, as you’ll have gathered, a bit out of date now!

      1. Thanks for the information. Any new build or restoration is a cause for celebration, but I was hoping 2019 would be a megayear. I am not getting any younger and time flies … Thanks also for your terrific website which keeps us all informed, and sustains interest when, as you say, delays seem inevitable.

  6. Another out-of-scope but related item: records the building of two replica American 4-4-0 locos to recall the Golden Spike ceremony when the trans-American railroad was linked up. The video discusses the engineering problems and compromises necessary when recreating 100-year-old technology from photos with no drawings available.

    1. Thanks Ian – we reported as much in our last news round-up. Are you involved with the project? I emailed a little while ago to ask about doing a Q+A, but got no reply – would love to feature the group at some point!

  7. I notice that the County of Montgomery project is not listed. Will that be included soon?

    1. Hi Peter – it was included in the first news round-up of the year. Normally with new projects I wait for signs that they will be a genuine, sustained effort before adding them to the roster of locomotives routinely covered, as some groups have been known to emerge and then not advance beyond having a website. However, it’s pretty clear now that this is a serious proposition, so I’ll update the site accordingly at the time of the next news round-up (later this month).

  8. Just to point out on your comments reThe Unknown Warrior. You appear to have ASSUMED that we have had no contact with the RBL since 2009. This is NOT correct as over the last two/three years we have been in regular contact with the Legion’s representatives over how we might participate in the 2018 anniversary and of course had the loco dedicated at the Arboretum some years ago. Since 2009 we have had regualr contact with a number of the Legion’s regional groups and at no time have they ever suggested we should not use their crest or state that they have endorsed the loco. This is a failing on the part of their management not the LMS-Patriot team who have always respected the support of the Legion. To suggest that having their crest on the loco was to suggest that they had helped with our fundraising is of course ridiculous. Can you please stick to the facts when reporting on projects or at the very least contact me to verify anything which you are unclear about.

  9. I had heard that some where over in England the effort was underway to build a 2-6-2 prairie for 2 foot narrow gauge based on the Sandy River Rangeley Lakes 2-6-2 No.24. Been scavenging the internet for it but I can’t seem to find anything on it.

    1. Hi Dave – no, diesels are out of the scope of the site in terms of our regular coverage (the clue’s in the name!), although we do give them a mention occasionally and may do a feature article similar to the recent one on museum replicas. If you’d like to send further information through about your project, either add it in the comments here or email newbuildsteam @ yahoo dot co dot uk. Thanks!

  10. Can we have some coverage of the T1 Trust? They are building a Pennsylvania Railroad high speed Duple locomotive in the States. They began in 2013 and have amassed 375,000 dollars and cast their first driving wheel, so they are obviously a serious player not subject to our 75mph limit.
    Clearly the British idea of a new build has spread across the pond. Their website is well worth looking at and they have good colour pics available of progress to date

    1. Hi Paul – I agree it’s a very interesting project. This website’s scope is clearly defined as new standard gauge steam locomotives in the UK, so the T1 is off-topic for us. However, a quick search will reveal that we have covered it in an ‘off-topic’ section to a news round-up: Future coverage, on an occasional basis, is certainly possible (pretty likely, in fact), but we won’t be including international projects – of which there are several, not just the T1 – in our routine coverage.

  11. I hope that you realise that L.N.E.Rly new builds No.s 2001 and 2007 are in fact the same Locomotive ? but you seam to think that there not

    1. Hi Alun. If you mean that they are both the same class of locomotive, I believe that’s well reflected in the content of the articles. If you mean that they are physically the same locomotive, I’m afraid that’s your mistake. 2007 Prince of Wales is being built by the P2 Steam Locomotive Company in Darlington (, while 2001 Cock o’the North is being built by the Doncaster P2 Locomotive Trust, and last I knew its frames were at Didcot – Two different organisations, two different locomotives.

  12. Good Afternoon,

    Please visit the GER 789 website for the latest news on our project. We have moved to Tyseley Locomotive Works and are under the guidance of Bob Meanley. Kevin West of the Patriot project is producing our 3D CAD models plus the website has been remodeled.

  13. I am truly amazed at the various new-build activities and the progress they seem to be making. While I share the concerns of many that effort/money is being stretched too thinly, it would be fun (and possibly useful) to run an ongoing poll for readers’ favourite/fantasy candidates for another new-built British locomotive. It would be sensible to try and limit this to practical propositions (eg, while many would love to see Big Bertha, Holden’s Decapod, an LMS Garratt or the original Gresley Hush-Hush, these would create too many problems to make them realistic.)

    My own candidates? A GWR Abedare 2-6-0, an L&Y High Flyer and an LNWR small-boilered Claughton.

    1. Hi John – I just wanted to reply to this comment to say that although I’d hoped to look into setting up a poll as part of the next news update, it contains quite a lot of big stories so I fear a poll would probably get a bit lost among them. The idea’s noted however, and I’ll try to slot it in at some point!

  14. My name is John Peat and I am a director of the B17 Steam Locomotive Trust. I notice on your site you say that at a certain point in time our web site appeared to be down. It is now certainly up and running under the name of THE B17 STEAM LOCOMOTIVE TRUST. Could you please include our site on your list of new build sites that your readers can be lead to. It is a site that will be undergoing improvements in the next few months, but the basics are there and remain intact. If there is a reason that we are not included then please advise.

    1. Thanks for stopping by with the update, John – much appreciated. Can I ask, what does the Trust have by way of tenders etc? I’ve been struggling to get to grips with the detail of what’s happened between the Trust and the Manchester Utd group – I know there are various items in circulation but don’t have a totally clear knowledge of who has what.

      Anyway, glad to see the site up and running again – if I might make a small suggestion, I’d really recommend getting the shop in a state where orders can be placed online, and looking at things like an RSS feed and so on. There are so many projects available to support and keep up with, I always fear slightly for those without a modern web presence (you’ll have noticed me go on about this in respect of some other projects as well – I feel I know more about websites than engineering so it’s the one area in which I venture to make suggestions).

      I’ll reinstate the site in the links and flag it in the next update.

  15. Thanks Rob – much as it would be great to cover a wider range of projects, as you’ll have probably seen from the length of time it took to approve your comment (sorry!), and to produce the latest update, the site is run on a fairly low reserve of spare time, and its scope has to be limited to reflect that (hence also no narrow gauge). The aim is to be reasonably comprehensive and useful in the UK standard gauge arena, but not necessarily quick.. Open to guest posts, however, if you’d like to supply one.

  16. Excellent site covering a fascinating subject.I for one love these projects .What about fairly substantial American 4-4-0 loco Leviathon

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