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November 2018


Goodness knows it's been a struggle, but 34072 257 Squadron has finally been commissioned and is now in service at Swanage Railway. Its overhaul, which was for practical purposes as much work as a restoration, took us around five years, a good part of this being delays due to repairs to the boiler, and difficulty in commissioning a loco on a working railway. Lessons will be learnt. Nevertheless we can enjoy seeing The Squadron in action, and refocus our efforts on the completion of Eddystone's overhaul. The photo was taken by Mike Hall and shows 34072 heading back to Swanage in the dusk of 9th September on its first trip up the line.

34072 257 Squadron

34072 made its first trip up the line in steam on the evening of 9th September. After minor fixes it made further trips and was accepted into traffic on 11th October. It was in action during the railway's Autumn Gala (see below).


After a gap of over a year an original Bulleid Pacific is again in service on Swanage Railway. The line's long-time flagship loco was back in action during October, and is seen here heading towards Swanage from the line's furthest point, the river Frome bridge. Photo: Mike Hall

34053 Sir Keith Park

34053 also returned to service in October following issues with its middle connecting rod big end. In fact, Eddystone's coupling rod was used, giving us more time to inspect the bearing and make repairs. Working with Swanage Railway staff we're continuing to pay attention to SKP's bottom end; it's not clear whether the noises it emits are the natural result of a loco which has run 50,000 miles since it was outshopped or a sign of something needing more urgent attention.


34053 in the coaling point at Swanage on 13th October. Photo: Mike Hall

34028 Eddystone

With 257 Squadron operational we can now re-focus on Eddystone. Progress continues of all fronts and we're still aiming for the overhaul to be completed in the second half of 2019. It's been decided to reline the middle piston valve; the current liners are close to the minimum, and while they could remain in use they could not be expected to last a further 10 years in service. We work on the basis that any work that can be done within the loco before the boiler goes back on should be done first. Everything becomes much more tricky once the boiler is in place. Of course that means more expense now, and we'd appreciate financial support to help us return 34028 in timely fashion.

34028 34072

All of Eddystone's main springs were hung by Malcolm and Nick, with pins, washers and split pins. The axle box keeps which secure the horn guides have been installed. The bolt surfaces were machined true by Bailey who also made new washers to fit the gap to the split pin.

The springs are attached to the frames using large pins with a slot at the top and a thread used for height adjustment at the bottom. Neville is making a set of new pins. The three holes will be machined into a slot.

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Eddystone's rear truck was removed to allow overhaul of the centring mechanism. This controls sideways movement of the wheels when cornering.

To remove the truck the chassis was backed beyond the end of the rail section, so the truck could be lowered to the ground. To remount the truck the frames had to be moved back again; a good opportunity to introduce Allan to the joys of the pinch bar.

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The keeps clamp across the bottom of the horn guides to reduce stress on the frames. The seating of the nuts showed signs of wear so they were machined true and new washers made to fit.

Dave Ensor leads the 'Superior Cladding Department' and is seen here with two of the frames which support the cladding of the boiler barrel.

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A section of the cladding which looks more like a piece of an aircraft, but (probably) fits where the boiler barrel joins the firebox. The paint looks a bit 'Farrow & Ball' but will transform to BR Green before the job's done.

Already in green undercoat these sections will cover the firebox and the holes are for the washout plugs.

34070 Manston

Repairs to Manston's front frames are nearing completion. This work was carried out under the insurance claim. The next step will be overhaul of the bottom end, which is also likely to be done at Tyseley. SLL will need to pay for this, which will be difficult to fund while Eddystone is still being overhauled. Support to permit us to commission the work on Manston would be very much appreciated.

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The holes between the gusset and the frames will be riveted. Likewise the buffer beam will be riveted to the frames and the gussets.

Traditional hot rivets are used to attach the gusset to the new front frames.

34010 Sidmouth

Willie Bath has produced a list of all the parts for Sidmouth we have, those we have as castings needed machining, and those we don't have. There's quite a lot in each category, and depending on your mood you can think of it as 'half full' or half empty'. We're also awaiting more results from the examination of the boiler at the North Norfolk Railway; so far it seems to be, 'not as bad as it might be expected after 50 years'.


Many hours were spent cleaning the recesses of Sidmouth's BFB driving wheels, and they've now been painted. Ray Evans is wielding the paint brush on 14th September.



80104 needed some attention to cracks in its copper firebox before it could take part in the Swanage gala. It's seen here leaving the loco yard on 12th October.


Work on Norman continues at Bryn Engineering. It was lifted off the axle boxes on 23rd September. Meanwhile new valve faces are being fitted and machined.

norman norman

Two cranes are used to lift Norman's frames in the yard. The axle boxes and horn guides will need attention.

Each cylinder has had new valve faces fitted and these are seen on the horizontal borer in the workshop.



Standard 4MT Tank 80078, formerly owned by SLL is visiting Swanage Railway for a few weeks. It took part in the October Gala and will also visited the Mid-Hants during its visit to the south west. Photo: Chris Worby

SLL Annual General Meeting

Our 2018 AGM was held at the Mowlem Building on 29th September. There were nearly 30 shareholders present plus five directors of the company. The usual resolutions were passed nem-con. Willie Bath gave a detailed review of the status of our loco fleet and looked ahead to the coming year; our current priority was the completion of Eddystone's overhaul, and we are gathering the funds for the next job, the overhaul of Manston when its repairs had been completed. By happy coincidence 34072 257 Squadron was in steam on platform 1 at Swanage station, see below.

Bulleid Pacifics by Nigel Kendall

Our Bulleid bibliography lists over 30 titles of books focussed on Bulleid Pacifics but there's always room for more. Nigel Kendall's first sight of the railway was at New Milton in 1960 as a teenager, and he spent the next seven years photographing steam thereabouts. Happily the quality of his photos was particularly good, and many have been published over the years. His new book, aptly named 'Bulleid Pacifics' includes a new selection, most of which have not been seen before.


Nigel Kendall was promoting his new book on the platform in conjunction with the Swanage Railway shop. SLL volunteer Claire Sheppy is the customer. The book is published by Amberley, and retails for 14.99 ISBN 978-1-4456-8227-3

2019 Calendars

Once again the webmaster has created a wall calendar featuring all of SLL's locos with a range of photos from the 1960's to today. Each month has a A4 size colour photo and a page with all the dates. The calendars cost 10 each, including UK P&P.


Nearly 100 were sold last year and raised over 200 towards the restoration of Sidmouth. This year the proceeds will go towards SLL's most pressing project, the completion of Eddystone's overhaul. If you'd like one or more please drop an email to and we'll send you payment details, etc. The calendars are available now and will be sent out as soon as possible.

Special Christmas present service: A calendar featuring SLL's locos will make a nice change from socks or bath salts for your friends. Send the details of where you'd like one to be sent and we'll do the rest.

Update 11th December. We've now sold all 125 copies which were printed and no more will be available this year. Thanks to everyone who bought one or more, we've raised over 400 towards Eddystone's overhaul.

Swanage Autumn Gala

This season's gala had a 1948 Exchanges theme, and included two visitors of LMS origin. Three SLL locos, 34053, 34072 and 80104 were in action, and another visitor was 80078, formerly owned by SLL. Two Bulleid Pacifics in action should be quite an attraction for any gala, though there's no mistaking the appeal of LMS 6223 Duchess of Sutherland in its maroon livery. The weather was mixed, and the timetable was possibly over-optimistic, but there was plenty to enjoy.


SLL volunteers Neville Crook and Ron Bennett chat on the platform, with a Duchess to their left. SLL people are known to enthuse about black locos with red wheels on their trips to Germany; now they can think about red locos with black wheels.


We've been given a brass steam whistle by a Sidmouth resident to raise money for the restoration of 34010 Sidmouth. It's in the style of a GWR loco whistle but has no lettering, and is more likely to come from a factory, boat or traction engine. Any offers.....all funds to 34010.....Do I hear 100?


The whistle was bought in an antique shop more than 20 years ago. It looks quite old but has no provenance. It weighs 1.8kg and is 26cm long. The perfect Christmas present for someone who wants a whistle. Please drop an email to

SLL video - call for footage

Graham Briggs has produced many commercial DVD's of railway topics under the brand G B Productions. Several SLL supporters are among those who have provided him with video footage in the past. His next project will focus on SLL's fleet, past and present, and he will make a useful contribution to SLL funds for each copy sold. Right now he's looking for more good quality footage featuring our locos.

If you can help him please drop a line to Graham at

August 2018


We rarely see good new colour photos of our locos in BR days, so when Neil Harvey sent us a photo of 34010 Sidmouth from 1964 it was very welcome. It's seen arriving at Sidmouth Junction on 11th July 1964 with the 09:00 Saturdays only from Waterloo to Sidmouth and Exmouth. To the right is 41223 waiting to take the Sidmouth portion down the branch. Further to the right is a WR DMU in the sidings. Sidmouth remained in service for a further 9 months, until March 1965. Photo: Neil Harvey Collection

A message from our Chairman, Simon Troy

Those of our shareholders browsing the latest news available to the public will be only too aware of the enormous financial and physical challenges we face with five Bulleid Pacifics to overhaul, and in the case with 34010 Sidmouth to restore from scrap yard condition. Coming quite late on the scene as far as Barry scrap yard purchases were concerned, all of our locomotives arrived stripped of nearly all removable parts, but then as now it was clear that if you had a boiler, frames, a set of wheels and cylinders anything was possible, as we proved with Sir Keith Park, which had precious little more.

Back in 1983, although it is difficult to believe now, we were one of the first organisationa to offer to like-minded individuals shares in a locomotive which they could call their own. Whilst there were many clubs and societies offering memberships for 10 or 20 a year, we asked for 250 minimum which was a considerable sum 35 years ago, with a promise that we would restore Merchant Navy 35027 Port Line within seven years and following this 257 Squadron in just two. Fortunately there were many who felt that contributing this sum, or more, would really make a difference and it certainly did!

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In the early years at Blunsdon we worked outside in rain, hail or shine.

By 1990 both Port Line and 257 Squadron were back in service.

Having fulfilled those objectives on time, our shareholders and supporters were confident that we could go on and restore further locomotives and contributed accordingly, and over the years 80104, 80078, Eddystone, Manston and Sir Keith Park have also rolled out of Herston Works. However costs have risen astronomically since the early days and there are many other restoration and new-build projects looking for funds too. And while our Bulleid Pacifics are not unique, who wouldn't want to see 257 Squadron and Manston double heading trains at Swanage, or Eddystone and Sidmouth? All this could become reality in a short space of time, with Eddystone returning to the Railway in 2019 and Manston not too long after.

If you could help us ensure that the above will happen sooner rather than later, with either a donation or by becoming a shareholder in Southern Locomotives, we'd love to hear from you. SLL has a reputation for reaching its objectives so if you want to become a part owner of five Bulleids, a Standard tank and an Austerity saddle tank you can find a share application form here. It's very straightforward; armchair members and those who help by volunteering get the same benefits; you'll also receive one of Richard Green's fine art prints of one of our Pacifics as well as being regularly updated, and you'll have the opportunity of an occasional drive and fire. You can reach me at 01474 833263 or by email to

Thank you, Simon.

34072 257 Squadron

At 7pm on Thursday 9th August 34072 257 Squadron slowly backed out of the siding at Swanage station and headed slowly up the line to Norden, and then headed back to Swanage. It was an evening trip because it's the railway's high season and daytime paths are not available. As expected a few new glitches appeared which will be fixed as testing proceeds. We expect the loco to enter service in the next few weeks.


34072 257 Squadron moving in steam for the first time since 2001. The loco was stored outside for several years, and then in Herston works until 2012 when its overhaul started. Given the poor condition by then the work was more like a restoration, with the cladding needing total replacement, not to mention major boiler repairs. Photo: Gary Packer

As a footnote, RAF squadron was first commissioned on 18th August 1918, just over a century ago, and just three months before the end of WW1. There's more about the squadron's various roles between 1918 and 1963 in this webpage. The video of Stanford Tuck is particularly worth watching.

34028 Eddystone

Work on Eddystone continues in Herston works. The final recesses of the frames, where steam cleaning can never reach, have been cleaned and painted, and re-fitting of parts to the frames is in progress, prior to return of the boiler.


The cylinder and valve covers need to be cleaned up. Some have minor cracks and will need to be sent away for specialist repairs.

The cylinder and valve covers were removed some months ago. They've now been cleaned and examined, and several will need to be sent away for repair of minor cracks around the bolt holes. Six new piston valve heads have been machined from blanks.


The cylinder and valve covers have been removed Alan Highman removes the studs for replacement.

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Eddystone's main springs have returned from Owens following overhaul. They will be refitted in the next few months

Eddystone's rear frame extensions are made of two plates riveted together. The joint was showing signs of corrosion and the outside top sections are being replaced. The bolts shown are temporary pending riveting.

Eddystone's boiler repairs at Buckfastleigh are almost complete. The boiler was being retubed while Sir Keith Park was there on the wheel drop (see below).


Eddystone's boiler at Buckfastleigh on 2nd July. Note the new lower section of the outer firebox, and new stays. The tube plates were being cleaned up to receive the tubes which can be seen beneath the firebox.

34070 Manston

At Tyseley the repairs to Manston are well advanced. The new frame section has been fabricated and welded in place, and new gussets are being fitted.


New gussets are being fitted between the new front frame section and the buffer beam. Here the parts are held in position and tack welded. Photo: Pete Pickering

When the frame repairs have been complete Manston will remain at Tyseley until we can fund work needed on the bottom end (axle boxes, etc), as the start of the loco's 10 year overhaul.

34053 Sir Keith Park

Sir Keith Park was taken out of service on 3rd June with suspected damage to the fireman's side driving axle box. There was visible damage to the outside of the bearing and a knock to match. As there's no wheel drop at Swanage plans were made to move the loco to South Devon Railway (Engineering) Ltd. at Buckfastleigh, where we had been offered a one week slot on their wheeldrop. Before the loco left we took one of Sidmouth's axle boxes and made bearings so that it could be used as a replacement.


A wheel drop is a pit with a hydraulic jack which supports a removable track section. The loco is positioned so that the wheel to be dropped rests on the short track section which can be lowered so that the axle box will drop clear of the horn guides. The wheelset is supported on a frame which can itself be moved sideways from the loco and worked on in place or taken to a wheel lathe, etc.

The loco reached Devon on the weekend of 30th June; Bob Bevis and Pete Pickering arrived from Swanage on the following Monday. The call went out for assistance and two Devon-based volunteers spent much of the rest of the week on site. The outside rods had been removed in Swanage but the brake linkage, sanders, lubrication, springs, etc, had to be removed before the wheel could be dropped. Also, the inside big end had to be disconnected; when the half bearing was split there was clear damage to the white metal of the rear half. Was this the cause of the knock rather than the axle box?


The split bearing of Sir Keith Park's middle big end. When removed the rear section was found to have a badly worn patch which will need re-metaling and dressing to size.

The plan was to remove the wheelset completely, but when it was dropped it became clear that it couldn't be traversed away from the frames as SKP's drivers were too large to clear the wheel drop mechanism. Plan B was to lift the offending axle box out of the loco with a block and tackle, which went easier than might have been expected. When we separated the bearing there was certainly wear, but the crown was not loose as had been thought. Also the steel journals of the axle box and the middle big end looked to be in good condition.

By now it was Thursday, and the loco needed to be back in movable condition by Friday afternoon; another loco was due in on Monday. To save time the bearings from the Sidmouth replacement were used in the axle box from SKP, and loco was put back in one piece.


The loco's crank axle with the fireman's side axle box and middle connecting rod removed, revealing two journals, both of which looked OK.

A lot of work had been done in a short time under difficult conditions, not to mention the baking heat. SKP arrived home the following Tuesday. That still left repairs to the middle big end bearing to be completed, but hopefully SKP will be back in action soon. Was the knock caused by the axlebox, the big end, or both? We'll probably never know, though both will soon be in much better condition than they were in May.

Finally, a big thank-you to Rob le Chevalier and the team at Buckfastleigh for making access to their workshop available, and for their support and advice during our brief stay.


The top half of the axle box was refitted with the white metal bearings prepared at Swanage and lifted back into position with a block and tackle. The SDR(E) workshop also has a gantry crane, a luxury unheard of in Swanage.


It's something of a relief to report that at least one of our locos has been hard at work for the last few months and not needing our attention. 80104 has been in service most of the spring and summer; long may that continue.


It may look like mid winter but this scene of 80104 pausing in the snow at Harmans Cross was taken on 19th March. Photo: Gary Packer

34010 Sidmouth

Given the attention needed by Sir Keith Park, and the focus being given to Eddystone, Sidmouth has once again been in the background. The go-ahead has been given for the preliminary examination of its boiler at Weybourne. We look forward to learning more about its condition and the work required with a degree of trepidation.

We recognise that sooner or later we will need to build a fifth tender to run with each of our Bulleids. The fifth would be a high-sided version for either Manston or 257 Squadron, releasing a cut-down version for Sidmouth. Manston was built with a narrow cab whereas 257 has the wider cab, further complicating the decision. However much this will delight those who have long lamented the sight of an original Bulleid running with a cut-down tender it also adds around 150,000 of expense over the next five years.


Just to confuse the issue, here's a photo of 34010 Sidmouth with a high-sided tender at Bournemouth on 17th May 1953. And before anyone asks, No, we are not going to "un-rebuild" Sidmouth. Photo: C L Caddy collection.


In June Norman arrived at Bryn Engineering's Wigan site, and since then it has been largely dismantled. One key stage has been to remove the cylinder block, a step which was not taken during its restoration prior to its return to service in 2010.


Norman's cylinder block being lifted from the frames. Note the holes in the frames where the block is held in place by fitted bolts. Photo: John Marrow

The valve seats need to be replaced, and new parts have already been machined. The boiler has also been removed but has yet to be examined in detail. Given that the loco was in running order when it was withdrawn for its 10 year overhaul in December 2017 we're hopeful that major boiler work won't be needed.


The cylinder block was split with the aid of a hydraulic jack and a small screw jack. Photo: John Marrow

Towering ambitions


The access towers we've used in Herston Works for some years were getting near the end of their days and we needed something better. In July we bought two new aluminium towers which can be used individually or as a pair on either side of a loco with platforms between the two, offering better access to the top of the boiler, etc. The floors of these towers include a lifting trap door through which to climb while preventing the user from falling through while working! By combining a section from one tower into another we can even reach the floodlights, which previously needed a cherry-picker. Watch out for more aerial views of locos in the works. A big slice of the cost of these towers was met by two of our volunteers; many thanks to Dave and Neville.

2018 AGM and Driving & Firing days

This year's AGM will be held on Saturday 29th September at the Mowlem Building in Swanage. It's due to start at 2:30pm. Shareholders will be sent formal notice in due course. Travelers to Swanage that weekend should note that the M27 around Southampton will be closed from Friday to Sunday, and major diversions will be in place. Traveling by train or bus might be a good option.

Swanage Railway has confirmed the dates for SLL shareholders driving and firing days. They are Tuesday-Thursday 6-8th November and Wednesday-Thursday 21-22nd November. We hope that all shareholders wishing to participate have by now responded to the request in Simon's news update email, as we've already received a lot of requests.

A trip down Memory Lane

With the attention being given to 257 Squadron's entry into service it's worth looking back to the loco's first working life in Swanage. In 1990 the loco made a dramatic entry into service with a run from Ashford to Folkestone for its naming ceremony. The loco then moved to the Bluebell Railway for a few weeks. On 9th November 1990 it arrived in Swanage. This was just after the 50th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain and a special train was run on 11th November to mark the 72nd anniversary of the end of WW1. David Cook was there and took several colour photos of the train at Swanage.


34072 257 Squadron at Swanage station on 11th November 1990 with a remembrance train. The driver is Bert Hooker and the fireman is Pete Sykes. On the train were three Battle of Britain air crew, Wing Commander Peter Parrot DFC and bar, Air Commodore Peter Brothers CBE, DSO, DFC and bar and Wing Commander Pat Hancock DFC. Photo: David Cook

Another trip down Memory Lane

The Sid Vale Association was formed in 1846 and may be the world's first civic society. For many years they have run the Sidmouth museum which includes features on the branch line to the town, and the West Country class loco bearing the town's name. Recently the SVA's archive moved to a new site in the town; the webmaster was invited to an 'open day' and noticed a set of bound copies of the erstwhile Sidmouth Observer newpaper from the 1940's. We had copies of the report 21C110's naming in the Sidmouth Herald, which is still very much in print; surely the Observer would also have reported the ceremony, and maybe they'd have a photo or two.


The engraving shows Exeter cathedral behind 21C101 Exeter. The text refers to a photograph of the loco which was to be hung in the Council Chamber, and a coffee table with the Sidmouth Coat of Arms inset. The table came to light a couple of years ago, and there's a photo of it in SLL's Sidmouth gallery. The paper mentioned that Brief Encounter would be showing at the Radway cinema (still going strong) and an announcement from the Brewers Association explaining that the government had mandated a 10% reduction in beer production.

Arrangements were made for a search of the June/July 1946 editions, and Bingo! the 3rd July 1946 edition came up with the goods. It's a long report of the event with quotes from the SR officers present, and even one from Sir Eustace Missenden (aka 34090). Sir Eustace sent a message saying that he had spent a lot of time in the town during WWII and he and his wife had much appreciated their time there. The message was read out by Lt Col. Ernest Cox (aka E.C Cox) who had been Sir Herbert Walker's Chief Operating Superintendent on the Southern for most of the 20's and 30's and who had retired to Sidmouth. By coincidence William Stanier's assistant E S Cox, author of several books on steam locos, also retired to Sidmouth in the 1950's. More about the lives of these gentlemen, including Oliver Bulleid, can be found in Michael Bonavia's book, "The History of the Southern Railway".

Sidmouth is described as weighing 183 tons, presumably a typo as the SR diagram showed 128 tons, and being able to climb Honiton Bank at 45mph, though no load was stated. Local dignatories and SR officials said nice things about each other and then retired for a good lunch. Sadly local newspapers carried no photos in those days. A legible copy of the article can be found here.

July 2018


Photo: Jack Girling

34072 257 Squadron

Some will be wondering why it has taken so long for 257 Squadron to be returned to traffic having been transferred to the Railway some months ago. If Herston works had a pit and a few yards of running line to enable us to steam the locomotive prior to transfer 90% of the snags would have been fixed, and a few weeks later the locomotive would have been in traffic. This would have mirrored its restoration the first time round, in 1990, when we had less than 100 yards of track in Swindon to test the locomotive, but it enabled us to discover and fix all the steam leaks, weeping stays etc., so much so that the first time it ever exceeded 5 mph was on the Main Line to Folkestone sandwiched between electrics running at 60!


Much of the work on 257 Squadron has been done over the pit at Swanage station. That in itself was an issue as Swanage Railway locos also needed attention much of the time.

This time it has been much more difficult as the Railway have to use the pits constantly for operational locomotives and steam test runs have to fit in between trains which on some days is simply not possible. An unexpected problem arose with a jammed axlebox, probably caused by the extended motionless stay in Herston Works awaiting the long overdue return of the boiler. This was rectified after a lengthy time in which a vast amount of diesel and lubricants were utilised which finally cured the problem, which proved to be a seized driving axle spring rather than the box itself. We are pleased to report that 257 Squadron has been in steam again on more than one occasion, and now that our staff have returned from the South Devon Railway, where they were fixing Sir Keith Park, work on 257 Squadron can restart.

34070 Manston

The work on Manston at Tyseley is primarily repairs following the collision in July 2017, and is covered by insurance. We have met with Swanage Railway's insurers to discuss whether certain overhaul tasks can be done in parallel to reduce total costs. Tyseley have agreed to keep the loco on bogies after the repairs are completed so that we can commission further overhaul work in a few months. At present our workshop resources are being applied to Eddystone, and Manston has to wait.


The damaged front section of Manston's frames has been cut off at Tyseley. New steel plate sections have been delivered and will be used to rebuild the frames. Photo: Pete Pickering

34028 Eddystone

Eddystone is now the main focus of work at Herston. Running boards and cladding are being removed, followed by oil pipes, steam heating and vacuum pipes. All those components need to be degreased, cleaned and painted. The parts of the frames which eluded steam-cleaning at Tyseley have been reached and are in the process of being painted. Copper oil pipes need to be annealed; after 10 years they would become brittle and liable to break. We've started from the back and as far as possible we're reinstalling parts when they are overhauled. This reduces the number of pieces taking floor space and helps us to remember what goes where! The coupling rods were mounted during the recent volunteers days, and work on the boiler is largely complete.


When the running plates and cylinder casing have been removed a mass of oil pipes appear. Each of these has to be removed, annealed and refitted. The pistons and valves have been removed for inspection and overhaul.


The reverser screw and die block have been removed. This converts the rotary movement of the reverser wheel, which the driver uses, into a fore and aft movement of the reverser rod. The die block and screw were cleaned up and bolted to the bench to check for wear.....quite a lot was found and it looks like we'll be needing replacements; the screw thread has a triple-start, a nice job for a turner.


Ash pans are considered to be 'disposable items' on a loco. They spend their lives full of red-hot ash and are not worth painting when new. They often need patching during the 10 year boiler ticket of a loco and are normally replaced when it comes into the works for overhaul. We've bought two sets of machine cut plate sections to build two new ones, one for Eddystone and the other for Sidmouth.


The brake linkage of a Bulleid Pacific has over 100 items, each with one, two or three bushes which need to be replaced during an overhaul, along with the pins which fit them. Most of this work has been done by volunteer Neville Crook.

34053 Sir Keith Park

Sir Keith Park left Herston Works on 6th March and entered service on 23rd March to take part in the Spring Gala. It ran in regular service until a damaged crown was detected in an axle box and it was taken out of service on 3rd June.


After it returned to Swanage Railway track 34053 needed minor repairs to the boiler which had been identified during its steam test, and it needed to be weighed. After being steamed and a couple of test runs it returned to service on 23rd March looking very smart!

It left Swanage on 30th June for South Devon Railway Engineering Ltd at Buckfastleigh, who had offered us access to their wheeldrop, and Bob Bevis and Pete Pickering worked there from 2nd - 6th July. The suspect axle box taken out and the bearing surfaces replaced, though it looks like some work on the inside big end will be needed shortly. Hopefully it will be back in traffic by the end of July.


Before a wheelset can be dropped the sanders, brake gear, springs, the inside big end and eccentric all need to be removed. Two Devon-based SLL volunteers Nick Thompson and Rob Speare were on hand to support Bob and Pete, and a lot of work was completed in the short time available.


80104 has shed its 80146 number and is back in service on Swanage Railway. It ran during the Spring 'Works Outing' gala and has been in regular use from Easter.


80104 has been out of service several times in recent years. The last occasion being for repairs to a frame stretcher. Having worked on just about every part of the loco we now hope it will stay in service for several years.

34010 Sidmouth

While other locos have been getting most of the attention recently work on Sidmouth goes on in the background. We have recently bought a speedometer suited to the loco and a set of ash pan parts which we will assemble.


The speedo is the style fitted in BR days. It'll still be a while before we find out how accurate it is at 100mph.


Sidmouth's boiler is at the Weybourne workshop of the North Norfolk Railway. So far it's only been sand blasted.

Famous in Sidmouth


Our project to restore 34010 Sidmouth recently featured in an article published in the Sidmouth Herald, though local newspapers being what they are most of it featured the webmaster rather more than the loco! Also featured were SLL volunteers Ray Evans and Roger Hughes. You can see the text of the article here .


We're pleased to report that we've agreed a contract for Norman to be overhauled by Bryn Engineering of Wigan, and a supporter has made a contribution which will enable us to kick-start the work. Norman left Embsay in June and work started shortly thereafter. Bryn Engineering has offered a completion target of Autumn 2019, after which it may well enter service at Swanage. However given our depleted resources we will need support from existing and new shareholders to see the project through on the planned schedule.

257 Squadron

Externally Norman still looks smart in its NCB livery. Whether it will stay thus has not been decided.

Nameplate News

All the nameplates on our locos are replicas. As we all know, original nameplates have changed hands over the years for extravagant prices, and if we did own the originals the insurance cost for using them on a loco would be prohibitive. Now and then plates appear at auction; a set from Sir Keith Park appeared a few months ago. Recently we were contacted by Mallams auctioneers who were offering a plate from Eddystone. They asked whether we'd like to buy it but we politely explained that we had to spend an awful lot of money on the loco itself and our budget didn't stretch so far. However we were invited to come up with a full page advertisement for SLL to be included in the auction brochure. The auction was on 14th May, and we understand that the nameplate was sold for 7,000.


We have no good colour photos of Eddystone's nameplates on the loco in BR days, and only a couple of B/W shots. Here's the one which was sold at auction. Eddystone was one of those West Country class locos which did not carry a crest. Photo: Mallams

One of the Sidmouth nameplates was given to Sidmouth council after the loco was withdrawn. It was, er, mislaid some years ago, possibly stolen, possibly put away for safe storage. East Devon District Council will be moving from their Sidmouth base soon, and our nameplate may possibly reappear, but we're not holding our breath.

Coming to a video near you soon.

Herston was the location for filming a forthcoming video about Bulleid pacifics. John Bunch was there to describe the return of 34016 Bodmin to steam in 1979, the webmaster has a cameo role, and a return trip is planned to record Willie Bath's views on the past 40 years.

Bulleid video

Nick Dodson of Railfilms is at the camera while Jeremy English of Railscene poses the questions to John Bunch. The video is due to be released in time for Christmas.

Black Wheels good - Red Wheels better?

Once again a posse from Swanage travelled to Trier in Germany for the Dampfspektakel to witness countless steam hauled services coming and going over a long weekend. As ever the debate about engines being painted black except for red wheels and frames raged, and worryingly there now seems to be a widely-held opinion that a Bulleid pacific in Deutsche Bahn livery would be 'the dogs'.


Black locos with red wheels and frames can look impressive, but it would hardly suit a West Country, let alone a Battle of Britain!


To conform with GDPR we asked everyone whose email was on the "website update" list to confirm that they were happy for us to keep them on the list which we use to advise of website updates. Thanks to all those who responded positively - the majority of those on the list. As the GDPR witching hour has now passed we can't send reminders to those who didn't reply, however anyone is free to add their name by sending an email to

March 2018

34072 257 Squadron

Before Christmas 257 Squadron was steamed and the pressure slowly raised to its working limit of 250 psi, with various adjustments being made along the way. The steaming revealed a leaking tube and several weeping stays which needed attention before commissioning could proceed. Murphy's Law being what it is, the offending tube was obstructed by superheater elements, and four of these needed to be removed before the leak could be fixed. This work was finally done on 8-9th February.

257 Squadron

Commissioning 34072 257 Squadron has been a long road, and we're not at the end quite yet. The boiler inspector asked for a further test of the superheater header, which required removal of the main steam pipes, and subsequent steam testing found minor leaks which required removal of several superheater elements. The repairs were straightforward, however the work ran over Christmas and will into 2018. The usual range of minor glitches also came to light taking time and effort. The end is in sight, and we will all be more than delighted when the loco is in service.

The work to get 257 Squadron, Sir Keith Park and 80104 back into service has been a joint effort between SLL and Swanage Railway, with close cooperation all round. This has kept us all fully occupied and while 257 Squadron may well be in steam for the Spring Gala on 23 - 25th March it's unlikely to be in service until April.

34070 Manston


It doesn't take long for an un-steamed loco to look a bit sad, and Manston has not run since its collision on 24th July. It's seen minus nameplate and crest in the shed road at Swanage prior to being hauled to Norden and transported to Tyseley by low-loader. Photo: Chris Hardy

34070 departed for Tyseley on the low-loader which brought 34028's frames back on 11th December. At Tyseley its frames are being repaired following the collision at Swanage on 24th July 2017, and it may receive attention to its axle boxes, etc.


The collision with 80104 was at low speed, and no-one was hurt, however Manston's buffer beam was bent and the gussets behind were deformed, with rivets loosened. The casing was also damaged. Photo: Pete Pickering

34028 Eddystone


After a gap of several months there's an SLL loco in the workshop. (In fact there have been two, see 34053 below). Since its arrival work has started on stripping and overhauling pipework and lubrication tubing.

The running chassis of 34028 returned to Herston on 11th December and is now located towards the back of the workshop. Work has started to finish the cleaning and painting of the frames, rebuilding the cab, and re-bushing dozens of brake gear components. In the year which it was at Tyseley much work has been completed on components ready to rebuild the loco. The boiler is at SDR Engineering in Buckfastleigh where most of the repairs are now completed, and the boiler is expected to return at some point this year.


Eddystone's boiler repairs included a new front tube plate which has now been riveted in place. Major repairs to the firebox were also required.

34053 Sir Keith Park

34053 left Bridgnorth on 10th January after five years of service on the Severn Valley Railway. Its last day in service saw two round-trips from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth on Tuesday 2nd January, which were recorded by photographers and those on board alike. On arrival at Swanage on Thursday 13th it was delivered to Herston works for several weeks of attention.


Sir Keith Park left Herston works on 9th May 2012, and headed to the SVR. It returned on 13th January 2018 and will enter service on Swanage Railway in 2018.

The main tasks were the annual Piston & Valve examination and replacement of the regulator (which was showing signs of wear) by the one which had been in Eddystone and was recently overhauled. The one removed will be overhauled and used with Eddystone. The cabside numbers were removed and a more authentic set applied. A boiler examination led to an NDT test on a section of the firebox, and a minor repair was made at the end of February. The loco left the workshop on 6th March, however the repair needed further attention and the loco was finally steamed on 12th March. It's scheduled to take part in the Spring Gala.


Hitherto the cabside numbers on the loco were plain white digits. These have been replaced by prototypically authentic transfers in which each digit has a black lining. Robin White does the job. Photo: Stuart Magnus

Our SKP at SVR gallery includes a number of photos taken during the loco's final days on the line. Alan Parr also created a video compilation of it at work during the latter part of 2017. As ever, the sound quality of Alan's video is excellent, so turn up the volume, select full screen and enjoy.

80104 / 80146

80104 was in service over Christmas, but was withdrawn in January for attention to the pistons and valves, and repairs to a frame spacer. The loco was steamed on 13th March and is expected to enter service shortly.


80104 still as 80146 being coaled at Swanage MPD, 15th December 2017

34010 Sidmouth

34010's boiler moved from Bridgnorth in November. It is now at the Weybourne workshop of North Norfolk Railway Engineering Ltd for preliminary examination, with a view to overhaul and preparation for use. This will undoubtedly be a substantial project with a bill to match. Given the need to get 80104, 34053 and 34072 into revenue earning service both Sidmouth and Eddystone have taken a back seat for several months, except for volunteers, though hopefully this will change henceforward.


Norman's boiler ticket expired early in January. The loco was in service on the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Railway for the Santa period, and its last use was 24th December. We are discussing its overhaul with a third party and hope to see the start of its overhaul before too long.


Norman at work on Santa Specials at Bolton Abbey, 10th December. Photo: Andrew Rapacz

New Year - New Gallery

Work on our locos paused briefly over Christmas but the New Year brings plenty to do; repairs to 80104, overhauls for Eddystone, Manston and Sir Keith Park, and gathering parts for Sidmouth. All of that deserves recording, and there's a new photo gallery which will grow as the year goes on.

The Piggy Bank

The above list of locos we're working on has a rather obvious downside. Fewer locos in service means less income, and we become more dependent on our shareholders and supporters. In a couple of years we can look forward to having four Bulleids in service (consider what an achievement that will be), not to mention 80104 and hopefully Norman. Meanwhile the SLL piggy bank is starting to rattle, and now would be a very good time for our shareholders and supporters to look down the back of their sofas (or perhaps reach for their bank cards) and see what they can chip in so that we can continue to steam ahead as planned.


A last look at 2017. 34053 Sir Keith Park enters Ropley station on 11th July 2017, dressed to commemorate the End of Southern Steam, while 34052 Lord Dowding awaits the signal. Photo: Richard Bryan

Social Media....yawn?

Most of us have come to terms with email and websites, but social media leave us sharply divided. The SLL website (this one) gets a steady 70+ visits per day and remains our principle vehicle for news and reference information. Access to the photo galleries has stabilized since the Picasa/Google Photos drama. The galleries are now logically ordered and can be accessed conveniently, however they generate no record of the level of access and we get little feedback. We hope you're enjoying them!


The mysterious emergence of the words SOLD MR WOODHAM on 34053's slide bar stirred interesting comments on Facebook in January, and was seen by over 8,000 people. Was it written by BR, Woodham's or by the buyer? We still can't be sure. Photo: Chris Worby

Our Facebook profile has grown steadily and we now have over 3,000 followers. This means that a photo or news items is likely to be seen by at least that many people within 24 hours, however posts tend to be "here today - gone by next week" so it will not replace the website as our core on-line presence. Finally our Twitter account brings very little to the party and is only used to direct people to Facebook and the website.

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