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October 2020

From the Chairman

This year could have been an unmitigated disaster for us but thanks to the generosity of many, and a lot of hard work, we are in good shape and can look forward to 2021 with optimism. There is an excellent prospect of having five locomotives in traffic for a short time in the Spring and then again in the Autumn. All of our projects, Eddystone, Manston, Sidmouth's boiler overhaul for Sir Keith Park, and Norman are progressing more or less according to plan. Many people responded to the generous offer of a shareholder to double our share income in the month of August; we reached the target with time to spare, securing a 10,000 bonus.

Social distancing has limited numbers at Herston, and volunteers now book their visits in advance as only 11 people are allowed in the workshop at any one time. We are moving away from the 'official' working parties for those living outside the Dorset catchment area, and aiming to have a more even number of volunteers throughout the week. Most work is focussed on Eddystone, and rubbing down paintwork is a major task.

However, for those who are missing getting their hands dirty, there's a field in Kent where there is much to do. If you fancy a day in the country surrounded by vast amounts of scrap metal Sellindge is the place to be! More details in the Brocklebank Line heading.

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Above: 34053 Sir Keith Park at Lealands near Groombridge on its second day in service on Spa Valley Railway, 12th September. Photo: Tony Page

Last and not least, the arrival of Sir Keith Park at the Spa Valley Railway has been a great success, with tickets sold out in advance for its trips during September. Full credit to the railway's engineering and commercial teams for seizing the opportunity, and a reminder (if necessary) that big green engines with a name and a history will attract the general public and (to confound the sceptics) they do not burn much more coal than smaller locos with the same load.

Best wishes, Simon

Robin White

We were all saddened to hear that Robin White, a regular volunteer at Herston had died suddenly on Saturday 12th September. He had worked as a volunteer at Herston for some years where he was the go-to man when it came to accurate style and spacing of cabside numbers. He was so dedicated to this aspect of a loco's appearance that he often purchased the transfers and fitted them himself. Robin was also a keen rail video photographer, and indeed he died while setting out to record 34052 Lord Dowding on a mainline steam special, with a suspected heart attack.

Robin White


When a well known Scottish engine visited Swanage in 2019 Robin was on hand to renumber our Standard Tank to 80126 to add to the scottish theme. The real 80126 was built at Brighton in 1955 and based at Perth South MPD throughout its short working life, being withdrawn in November 1966 and cut up in January 1967.

Robin grew up in Poole in the 1960's where he was familiar with the Bulleid locos hauling trains to London. He went on to be a successful building and quantity surveyor in Surrey, later retiring to Studland, near Swanage, and was introduced to Herston works by volunteer Mike Hall, who he'd known for 30 years through a common interest in railway video recording. He greatly enjoyed working on the locos he'd known from his young days, and took part in the occasional SLL Driving & Firing days. Robin leaves his wife, Sue, and two daughters, to whom we offer our condolences.

Robin will be much missed by all at Herston works.

34028 Eddystone

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There's still a list of tasks needed to complete Eddystone, but the bulk of the work is done, except for painting. The undercoats are almost complete and gloss is starting to appear. Photo: Dave Ensor

We're working on the remaining steps of this overhaul, with a target completion date of February 2021, and moving it on to Swanage Railway track in March, with an entry into service shortly thereafter. Painting of the loco and tender are the two longest jobs remaining, and it makes sense to complete this inside the works over the winter.

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Eddystone's injectors and their controls have been fitted. Both injectors are on the fireman's (RHS) side of the cab. The four handles to the right control water and steam for each. The larger handle to the left controls the dampers. Photo: Dave Ensor

34053 Sir Keith Park

A chain of improbable events led to Sir Keith Park residing in Kent rather than Dorset. A low-loader was already ordered to take it from Tyseley to Swanage in March, when lock-down obliged the railway to cancel the move. We'd been in talks with the Spa Valley Railway regarding Norman and we were offered the 75F loco shed as a covered home for SKP over the winter in exchange for a few running days. This seemed a win-win for both parties. As 2020 moved on it became clear that Swanage Railway wouldn't be needing 257 Squadron, Manston, Eddystone, and Sir Keith Park, so the temporary move became long term by default.

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Sir Keith Park arrived at Tunbridge Wells West on 3rd September, followed by its tender. The same low-loader took away former SLL loco 80078 after its stay on the line. After several days of commissioning, crew training and test runs the loco was ready to enter service on 12th September. Photo: Hugh Topham

SKP's boiler ticket runs to 2022, and the plan is to switch its boiler with Sidmouth's which is currently being overhauled at Weybourne. There are no firm plans or dates yet, but doing the switch in Norfolk seems to have merit.

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The Spa Valley run 'specials' for Dining, Fish & Chips, and Beer. The evening service on 12th September featured Fish & Chips, hauled by Sir Keith Park. Photo: John Weller

Sir Keith's arrival on the Spa Valley has made a big impact. Following a few days of cleaning, fettling, maintenance checks and crew familiarisation, it went back into traffic on Saturday 12th September to be greeted by a good number of people on the trains and by the lineside. The whole weekend was a huge success with 10 fully booked trains bringing the railway much needed revenue.

To quote one of the railway's directors, "I have never seen so many smiling faces before at the Spa Valley Railway as I have done over the past five days when Sir Keith Park came to life and by Thursday afternoon had steamed through the High Weald. I admit I had a lump in my throat on the first run of the Saturday through High Rocks and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up - the moment was something I can't really describe other than awesome! The atmosphere around the whole railway was something I'd never experienced before with just happiness from everyone I saw and spoke to."

34072 257 Squadron

Our only revenue earning locomotive has been performing well having re-entered traffic soon after the Railway resumed operations, though in recognition of the very difficult situation currently facing Swanage Railway (and just about every other heritage line in UK) our hire fees have been markedly reduced.

34053


257 Squadron has been in regular service at Swanage Railway over the summer. The weather was 'mixed', as seen in this photo running round at Norden on a soggy Friday 21st August. Photo: Chris Worby

34070 Manston

Having authorised Tyseley to proceed with the overhaul of Manston, a party of volunteers had been organised to paint the bogie prior to reinstatement so that the driving wheels could be dropped. However Birmingham's return to partial lockdown meant the exclusion of all volunteers from the site. Tyseley are reassembling the bogie after painting and will shortly be dropping the driving wheels to assess what needs to be done. It is essential that we complete Manston so that we can move on to our other tasks, as well as having another revenue earner for 2021. The final cost of the work on Manston is not yet known, though we hope that the money our shareholders have contributed will cover its repairs and leave some for Sir Keith's boiler overhaul.

34053


Manston's front bogie was cleaned by SLL volunteers in 2019, but a couple of coats of chassis black would be welcome.

35025 Brocklebank Line

With the difficulties of volunteer working at Herston at the moment, and for the first time in many years of having a locomotive to work on in the South East, we now have weekly working parties dismantling Brocklebank Line and undertaking all the jobs which in the past have been on scrapyard wrecks. A lot of work was done on the loco in the past but for the last 15 years it's been exposed to the elements. One team is removing all the paintwork, firstly from the wheelsets, which are now thoroughly clean and paint free. Undercoats are now being applied. Others have been dismantling the brake gear which appears to have been re-pinned and re-bushed. The next job will be to remove the driving springs - not an easy job to do in a field with no proper lifting equipment. We're not sure if the springs were new or refurbished but all will have to go away for checking.

35025


Martin Stables joined SLL at Eastleigh in 1988 and has never looked back! Here he's marking up each part of the brake gear prior to cleaning and repainting - how soon will it be before we're reinstating it all?

It's an enormous job in front of us but it's at the stage that you can always tell you've been, which is most satisfying. Let Simon know if you'd like to pay a visit.

The area between the outer and inner firebox has had its first washout in 56 years. Sharpened sections of rebar had to be used to break the concrete like substance which had formed since BR had dispatched the locomotive to the scrapyard - clearly not giving it a washout after its last weeks in service, for obvious reasons. It took several hours of high pressure spraying before the sludge was removed via the mudhole doors and following a couple of further hours work we're sure it's now cleaner than it's been in over half a century, and ready for the next visit by our boiler inspector. Following a recent visit by an NDT specialist we are awaiting their report which we understand could confirm that the boiler is in remarkably good condition compared to many that came out of Barry. It will need a new front tubeplate as unfortunately the angle it was placed originally has allowed water to accumulate at the front of the boiler. A final boiler inspection will follow shortly to confirm exactly what needs doing.

35025


Mike Price worked on Port Line's boiler in 1985. He probably didn't expect to be doing the same thing on another MN 35 years later.

Meanwhile our two 40 foot storage containers have been the subject of many man hours to clean out (one clearly hadn't been opened for many years!) so that we can see exactly what we have, at the same time as setting up a workshop in one, whilst the surrounding areas continue to be cleared of undergrowth and made safe to work. Skips have been arriving on site and much removed. Plans are now in hand to move the locomotive to a more accessible position near our containers which will require a very large crane and lowloader, the cost of which will be shared with the arrival of more stock on site by other Owners. There is much work to do and if you'd like to join the nine regulars please contact Simon - we can offer jobs of all descriptions including horticulture!

New web pages

A new website section for 35025 Brocklebank Line has been created, with three pages which can be accessed from the menus:

35025


The Brocklebank Line shipping company operated from the early 19th Century to 1983. Among the fleet was SS Makaland, built at Lithgow's Ltd, Port Glasgow, in 1918, which was destroyed in a bombing raid on Liverpool in 1941.

80104

Shortly before lockdown 80104 was granted a further 14 months ticket which is due to expire in May next year. It is hoped that this locomotive will return to traffic so that 257 Squadron can be withdrawn for a short while to undertake some routine maintenance and be prepared for what will hopefully be a busy Summer. It is unfortunate that there don't seem to be any extensions granted to boiler tickets despite the fact that for many months all locomotives were withdrawn from traffic - the amount of money this has cost the preservation movement must be substantial.

80104


59 years ago 80104 was still hard at work on the LT&SR line, albeit under the wires of the imminent electrification. It's seen here at Benfleet with a down train in November 1961. Photo: D T Rowe

Norman

As mentioned above Covid is having a detrimental effect on the overhaul of this locomotive - as you will be aware it is right in the middle of a Covid hotspot with Bolton having special measures before they were extended to cover all of Manchester and surrounding towns. This has meant our contractor working by himself so the reinstallation of the cylinder block into the frames which will enable re-wheeling hasn't been able to proceed, as definitely not a one man job! We're hoping that as it's been longer than nearly anywhere else under local lockdown it will be one of the first to have restrictions lifted. Fortunately the Spa Valley have been able to organise alternative motive power as clearly it won't be entering traffic in the Spring of 2020.

norman


Norman was never a BR loco. Its first role was at Antwerp docks at the end of WWII. It later worked at a number of NCB collieries in Yorkshire, finally at Askern colliery, where it can be seen playing with trucks. Photo: P Burke

34010 Sidmouth

There has been little opportunity to progress this project in 2020 but we intend to bring the frames into the Works shortly after Eddystone's move. The frames will need attention before being moved from Norden to ensure they're thoroughly cleaned, so a good job for volunteers when the weather improves next Spring.

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34010 Sidmouth heading a special Pullman boat train to Southampton Docks (via Millbrook) passing Raynes Park. November 1963. Photo: Mike Morant

SLL video

GB Productions recent DVD in the Locomotive Profile series featuring SLL's locos has seen steady sales since its release earlier this year. The producer, Graham Briggs, generously offered to make a donation to SLL for each copy sold, and has sent us a tidy cheque from sales to date.

There are two DVDs in the release, each with a running time of 120 minutes. Each video sequence is of good picture quality and the sound is notably good. Rather than a voice over there are captions setting the scene with brief background information. Disk 1 features Eddystone, Port Line and Sir Keith Park. Disk 2 covers Manston, Sidmouth, 257 Squadron, the 2009 Eastleigh 100 event and short look at Brocklebank Line. All of the coverage is from the preservation era, post 1968.

video

Graham is still offering to support SLL's restoration work. He will donate 5.00 for every copy he sells by mail order.

The video costs 15.00 including UK P&P. To buy a copy please contact Graham by email at:

grahamsteambriggs@btinternet.com,

call him on 0115 9524800, or by mail at 25 Sandfield Road, Arnold, NG5 6QA. Cheques should be made out to Graham Briggs.



2021 Calendar

With regret, I have decided not to sell SLL calendars for 2021 for a number of reasons. 2020 has been a year we'd all rather forget, a year when the low level of heritage railway activity meant far fewer new photos, and few gems from BR days featuring our locos came to light. Worst of all, Vistaprint changed their pricing algorithm so that bulk discounts stopped at 25 copies, while I was selling well over 100. The calendars were my private venture, which I funded personally, and I found myself sitting on 1000 of buyers cash hoping that Vistaprint would offer a special discount on Black Friday, so that I wouldn't lose money. They did, and a modest profit for SLL resulted, and my shattered nerves survived.

If 2021 goes well I may make a calendar for 2022. Meanwhile I'd like to thanks all of my previous customers and wish them a happy 2021. Nick Thompson

August 2020

From the Chairman

In the July 'Latest News' report we hoped that with continued support we could authorise Tyseley to proceed with work to enable Manston to re-enter traffic at Swanage this coming Spring. We're pleased to report that we've continued to receive great support from all, and with an additional bonus of 10,000 from a shareholder if we can now sell just a handful more shares to reach a target by the end of August, Tyseley have been authorised to restart work.

Sir Keith Park is due to leave Tyseley Works for its new home on the Spa Valley Railway w/c 17th August and work has resumed at Herston to ensure that Eddystone is also ready for Spring 2021. The next project that we need to restart is the overhaul of Sidmouth's boiler to be used on Sir Keith Park, ensuring that it will be out of traffic for the minimum time. Further details of the fleet are given below and we hope that readers will help us to keep the momentum going.

While it's good to see 257 Squadron back in service at Swanage, our income is still a small fraction of what we need. Please email me at southernlocos@btinternet.com if you would like to become involved at Swanage, Tunbridge Wells or Sellindge, or you would like to buy a share or make a donation.

Best wishes, Simon

34028 Eddystone

With the reopening of Herston works on 3rd August the priority for SLL staff and volunteers is to complete the overhaul of Eddystone. In addition to the loco the tender needs some serious TLC having been in the open at Norden since 2017. The frames had been overhauled and a new tank fitted in 2017. It had been painted but three years outside leave their mark.

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Most smokebox fittings are complete. It awaits the blast pipe, pettycoat, spark arrester and door. Photo: Dave Ensor

The loco is still in undercoat; there's a lot of painting and rubbing down before it's ready to go. Photo: Dave Ensor

34053 Sir Keith Park

Work on 34053 at Tyseley finished 'just in time' for lock-down, and the loco has sat outside the workshop since March. The repairs to the tender spring brackets are now complete and the move to the Spa Valley Railway, its future base, is imminent.

34053


On 10th July work on Sir Keith Park was complete except for repairs to the tender. Manston can be seen on the left.

34072 257 Squadron

While 80104's ticket has yet to expire it's unlikely that it will see much service, leaving 257 Squadron as SLL's primary loco at Swanage. With the T9 unable to work in traffic the Squadron entered service alongside U class 31806. Its first trip was on 27th July. It ran for a week and is expected to alternate with the U class over the summer. Work has also been done on the cylinder packings to reduce escaping steam which has been visible in recent photos.

34072


The classic Swanage Railway view - emerging from the bridge near the loco shed on 31st July. Photo: Chris Worby.

34070 Manston

Manston has also been outside Tyseley works for some months. It awaits a lift for inspection of the axle boxes as part of its repairs, though it's thought unlikely any damage will have occured. The boiler also needs new tubes to be installed, and re-assembly of the casing, etc. Providing that Tyseley have enough staff to undertake the job, it is only money (lack of) that will prevent this locomotive from coming back into traffic next year. On completion we expect Manston to return to Swanage.

34053


Manston awaits further work at Tyseley before it can be re-assembled. I'm no expert, but that front bogie doesn't look right - it hasn't got BFB wheels!

35025 Brocklebank Line

Once again Terry Dorrity has come up with a superb photo of one of SLL's locos, this time it's 35025 Brocklebank Line and from his book "Way Down South: Southern Steam in the Sixties". Terence Dorrity. Published by Irwell Press.

35025

Merchant Navy Pacific 35025 Brocklebank Line takes on water in front of the coaling stage at Salisbury shed (72B) on Sunday 4 June 1961. Photo: Terence Dorrity

Photo Gallery

A Brocklebank Line photo gallery, of sorts, now exists, though it's not yet integrated with our website. You can see the current version here. Clearly we have a long way to go before we've got a fully representative photographic record of the loco's life since 1946. We have none showing the loco as 'unrebuilt' and very few of its BR service. If you have photos or can help us source them please drop me a line at nicksidmouth@gmail.com

80104

Our Standard Tank is not expected to see much more service before its boiler ticket expires, and we must look ahead to its overhaul. It will need work on its copper firebox and boiler which is likely to cost in the region of 150,000 which will be beyond our means until three or four of our locos are earning steady fees. If we can't start the overhaul immediately we wish to ensure that it's stored undercover to minimise the ravages of sea air. On the bright side Richard Green is preparing one of his excellent 'profile' prints for the loco.

Norman

Work continues on Norman at the workshop in Bolton. New horn guides have been machined and are being installed with fitted bolts. Work has started on the fireboox which needs a new foundation ring. The additional work is naturally increasing the final cost, and delaying completion. We're still aiming for it to be in service on the Spa Valley Railway in Spring 2021.

norman norman

The new liner for Norman's LH cylinder. The liner has now been fitted into the cylinder block and pistons will be machined to size. Photo: John Marrow

Brake blocks for Austerities come in one piece; there's no bracket holding a replaceable block as you'd find on larger locos. Photo: John Marrow

34010 Sidmouth

Sidmouth's boiler is being overhauled at Weybourne on the North Norfolk Railway. This is a major project including a new rear tubeplate and replacement of the U-channel of the firebox. The intention is to use this boiler on Sir Keith Park when it comes out of service in a couple of years. Work was stopped during lock-down and we won't be able to restart for a while, pending sufficient finance.

34010


Sidmouth's boiler is upturned and a temporary structure is built around it to permit safe access of all sections.



34010


When this boiler re-enters service on SKP it will be around 60 years since it was last steamed. Photos: Malcolm Garner

July 2020

From the Chairman

Thanks to the fantastic support from our 700 shareholders we still have a fighting chance of completing two overhauls, Eddystone and Norman, by the beginning of the 2021 season. We've also had a quotation from Tyseley for the work on Manston which is reasonable, so there is the possibility of completing that locomotive as well providing we continue to receive the support that we've received so far. Manston is still to be lifted off its wheels but assuming there is no damage from its 2017 bump it is quite likely that there will be no additional work needed. With no current loco hire income some of our plans will have to be deferred, but there will still be much work to undertake on both Sidmouth and Brocklebank Line which will require minimum expenditure to keep us going until some form of income, other than the goodwill of shareholders, returns.

With Herston Works still closed we have been unable to progress Eddystone which will clearly be the top priority the moment that staff and volunteers can get back to work. With the reduction in social distancing and the withdrawal of shielding for the over seventies expected in August, we're sure that there will be no shortage of volunteers, though it must be remembered that we will then have to pay a percentage of our staff wages which will put a huge strain on finances. Our policy of hire fees covering wages, and shareholder contributions covering parts will have to be suspended, but we think all will agree that keeping our team together is really important.

As reported last month Sir Keith Park's repairs were successfully completed just before lockdown but its tender still needs some repairs to the spring hangers. These will be undertaken in July by Tyseley staff and the engine will then be made ready for transfer to Tunbridge Wells West (75F) probably in August. The locomotive will be put into use to open the Railway's 2021 season as a thank you for giving '53 secure accommodation over the Winter.

The next 9 months promise to be the toughest we've had to face in the past 35 years but given the support we have from volunteers and shareholders alike, along with new supporters at Tunbridge Wells, there is every reason to remain optimistic. If you can help us achieve our goals please email me at southernlocos@btinternet.com

Best wishes, Simon

34028 Eddystone

Our April update listed the outstanding work required to complete and commission Eddystone. We're champing at the bit to get back to work, but so far the list is unchanged. We'll keep you posted.

34028

35025 Brocklebank Line

What's the collective noun for a group of SLL Directors? Let's settle for "a posse".....visited the Sellindge site on 14th June for a first look at 35025 and come up with some plans for the site.

The initial tasks which have already started, led by Richard Moffatt, are:

Accumulated debris and rubbish cleared from around the loco.
Life expired protective boarding and sheeting removed and disposed of.
Vulnerable journal surfaces cleaned and regreased or Denzo applied.
Peeling/insecure paintwork - commenced cutting back to bare metal and priming.
Axlebox Lubrication carried out and hornguides flooded with oil.
Middle engine eccentric (in position) accessed and lubricated.
Smoke Box sand boxes removed and placed into store.
Lower slide bars left and right, inner and outer removed, cleaned, oiled up and placed into store.
Brake rigging treated with diesel to free up prior to removal to store.
Small storage area for hand tools etc set up in SLL 40' parts storage container.
New protective sheeting deployed on loco to provide future weather protection.

34028

Looking further ahead the plans include:

Cut back deteriorated paintwork and apply new protective coating, to include wheels and frames where access possible.
Remove Brake rigging, repaint and place in storage.
Remove smoke box and repaint.
Remove middle and trailing sand boxes and place in storage.
Consider jacking up loco to enable inspection of Driving/leading and trailing truck axleboxes.
Check all driving axle centring dimensions against setting out standard.
Carry out complete updated inventory of parts in 40' storage container.
Clean down and repaint, cab, boiler and tender tank.
...plus an absolute myriad of other tasks - but the above will do for starters.

Shout out for Brocklebank photos

As 35025 becomes part of the SLL family we're adding it to our archives and media. The first step is to gather data. Do you have photos of '25 in Southern Railway, BR, or preservation days? We'd love a copy for our website, galleries, etc, with full copyright acknowledged. Please send a copy of your best JPEG to nicksidmouth@gmail.com Please advise whether you're the copyright owner, or who else is, or failing that where the photo came from. Background info, date, train, location, etc - as much as possible. Timed performances of the loco, yarns about train crew, most welcome. Thanks, Nick

34053 Sir Keith Park

Work on SKP at Tyseley was completed in last March, which 'nicely' coincided with Lock Down, and Swanage Railway understandably decided they couldn't unload and store the loco which was clearly not going to be used for several months, if at all this year. As you'll have seen above steam services on heritage railways are going to be like hens' teeth in 2020 so we are planning to move SKP to Tunbridge Wells West later this year when it can be stored undercover in a secure loco shed for the winter. Incidentally another railway made a similar kind offer with a view to using the loco in 2021, demonstrating that even when times are hard Big Green Locos with an interesting name are commercially attractive. SKP's tender needs attention to the brackets that support several of its springs - see our April News below. This work will be completed at Tyseley before the loco goes to 75F.

34053

Back together and almost ready to go. On 26th February 34053 is seen at Tyseley awaiting its move to 75F. Photo: Pete Pickering

34072 257 Squadron

34072 is resting on the turntable at Swanage, and was last steamed in March. Swanage Railway are preparing plans to restart operations, though we still await their announcements. Thanks to Dave Ensor for this photo taken on 16th June. The loco will need a polish and then it will be ready to go.

34072


Clive and Carol Richardson are successful photographers living near Winchester. Over the years Clive has used many cameras, mainly Nikons, however this photo was taken with a Bronica ERTSi which happened to be in the back of his van back on 12th June 1993 when he came across 34072 257 Squadron in a layby on Romsey Road between Winchester and Hursley. Allelys were transporting it from the North Yorkshire Moors Railway to Swanage Railway. A higher resolution version of this photo is in our 1983 - 1994 gallery.

34072

Photo: Clive Richardson. You can see more on the Richardson's website

80104

80104 remains available to run at Swanage Railway, though given the short remaining time on its boiler ticket it may or may not see further use in service. There's hope that boiler tickets will be extended due to the lock-down. We're considering how to manage the loco's overhaul, and discussions have been held with a boiler repair company. Richard Green has also told us that he's working on a locos-in-profile print of 80104 for 2021.

80104

80104 at Swanage on 16th June. Just needs a polish and it'll be ready to run. Photo: Dave Ensor

In our April news we included an interesting photo from Terence Dorrity showing 34010 Sidmouth in the Yeovil Town loco depot. Back in the 60's Terence also took a photo of 80104 towards the end of its BR life on the Cambrian line in which it's seen running alongside the A487 at Nawlyn, between Machynlleth and Dovey Junction, on the Pwllheli portion of the "Cambrian Coast Express". The photo was taken on Tuesday 29 June 1965, less than a month before 80104 was withdrawn during the week of 24th July.

80104

The photo is published in Terence's book The Steaming Sixties: Central Wales.

34070 Manston

Work on Manston paused early in 2020 when Sir Keith Park was taken to Tyseley for attention to its axle boxes. The remaining work is for the boiler to be re-tubed, and we aim to complete that during 2020, if funding is available.

Norman

Work on Norman has continued at our contractor in Bolton. The scope (and cost) of the work has grown though the aim remains to complete the loco by the end of 2020, and for it to enter service on the Spa Valley Railway in 2021.

norman norman

New horn guides have been machined and fitted to Norman.

Norman's firebox needed new bottom sections.

34010 Sidmouth

When our workshop reopens the first priority will be to complete Eddystone. When we have other labour available, particularly from volunteers, we'll continue to preparation of parts for the restoration of Sidmouth, when that finally starts.

34010

An unusual photo of 34010 Sidmouth at Waterloo, appearing ready to haul empty stock to Clapham Junction. We think this photo was intended for use in our former Southern Pacific magazine, but we can't trace any further details.

SLL video now available

Graham Briggs produces rail videos under the banner GB Productions. His most recent release in the Locomotive Profile series exclusively features SLL's locos. There are two DVDs in the release, each with a running time of 120 minutes. Each video sequence is of good picture quality and the sound is notably good. Rather than a voice over there are captions setting the scene with brief background information. Disk 1 features Eddystone, Port Line and Sir Keith Park. Disk 2 covers Manston, Sidmouth, 257 Squadron, the 2009 Eastleigh 100 event and short look at Brocklebank Line. All of the coverage is from the preservation era, post 1968.

video

Graham is keen to support SLL's restoration efforts and will donate 5.00 for every copy he sells by mail order.

The video costs 15.00 including UK P&P. To buy a copy please contact Graham by email at:

grahamsteambriggs@btinternet.com,

call him on 0115 9524800, or by mail at 25 Sandfield Road, Arnold, NG5 6QA. Cheques should be made out to Graham Briggs.



And finally......what did you do in the Great Lockdown, Grandad?

Talking to SLL volunteers over the last months we've all agreed that we miss our trips to Herston and want to get back there. Meanwhile with time on our hands and a restricted range of options popular pastimes have included gardening, decorating and clearing out the loft. The webmaster has done his fair share of these (Mrs Webmaster might not agree) and moved on to things he'd always wanted to have time for. The first of these was digitising 40 years worth of slides and negatives (still work in progress), followed by retrieving the family Meccano set from the garage. This is a giant collection gathered over the past 80 years - some is of 1930's origin.

What to build? After a few simple mechanisms to get the hang of it again, the obvious choice was a Bulleid valve gear replica. The first attempt was a single set of gear driven by two sets of chain. Quite interesting, but missing two key features of the original. So it was rebuilt (please excuse the pun) to have three sets of valve gear driven by a triple-throw crank with each set at 120 degrees. In the real thing the settings are 112, 120, 128 degrees to correct for the 8 degree angle of the inside cylinder.

April 2020

From the Chairman

I had been expecting to write that after a difficult winter things were starting to look up. Such optimism was misplaced as we went through March with each day bringing one wave of bad news after another, all as a result of Covid-19. Right now most of our work is at a standstill, our primary business partner - Swanage Railway - is at a standstill, and it looks like there will be little progress for several months.

In this month's news we've included an update on each of our locos, with notably good progress on Eddystone, and completion of the repairs to Sir Keith Park. Also, news that we expect to complete an agreement to take custody of 35025 Brocklebank Line which has been stored at Sellindge for some years. With the limited funds available we hope to continue work on Norman's overhaul off-site.

So, with two Bulleids and a Standard Tank in operation, another Bulleid approximately three months from completion and a further one six to nine months away, we are in a strong position to hit the ground running when life starts getting back to normal. However, it's absolutely essential that we raise as much capital in the meantime to enable us to continue the boiler overhaul on the North Norfolk Railway, and ensure we have sufficient funds for Manston at Tyseley.

This is because we cannot be assured that the Swanage Railway will have the resources to immediately revert to the negotiated hire fees when the Railway re-opens, so some allowances may need to be made and we will therefore have to make up any shortfalls.

We are within reach of having Sir Keith Park, 257 Squadron, Eddystone and Manston all in operation together in 2021, as well as our Austerity, which bodes well for Sidmouth and maybe even Brocklebank Line at some point! If you can help us achieve this objective please email me at southernlocos@btinternet.com

Best wishes, Simon Troy

Ron Bennett 1927 - 2020

You will probably be aware that Ron Bennett, SLL's long-serving volunteer, passed away at home on Saturday 22nd February, at the age of 93. Ron had worked at Herston works for around 25 years. For many years he'd been 'Lead Painter' and woe betide anyone who picked up a paint brush without his say-so. His other mission-critical role was as chief tea maker, and custodian of the tea and biscuit money. Ron always spoke calmly, and jokes at his expense were water off a duck's back. He was always ready to engage in conversation, generally along the lines of the Management not being capable of running a bath!

34010

For many years he had worked as a volunteer for three days per week, dropping down to two days after turning 90. His days of climbing ladders were also behind him, though he retained general fitness and a sharp brain. His last visit to Herston was on Thursday 20th, two days before his death. Ron had a large family and a wide circle of friends. He was known to all at Swanage Railway, and often took a trip on the footplate. He was a Speedway fan, a regular follower of Poole Pirates, and his other passion was the Rock & Roll show band That'll be the Day, and he attended their performances along the south coast. Their singer, Gary Anderson, led us in "Pretty Woman" at his funeral. Ron will be sadly missed by all who knew him.

Paul Quill

Paul Quill recently retired after many years with us as both a machinist and a welder. He was highly skilled and will be very difficult to replace. Among his tasks was the fabrication of three ash pans for our locos and his role in the construction of our Bulleid tenders.

34053

Paul was the token Yorkshireman on the SLL payroll, ticking several diversity boxes and enhancing the tone of discussions in the mess. Never one to appear on camera the quality of his work speaks for him. The ash pan he built in 2018 for Eddystone not only looks good, but fitted perfectly when offered up to the boiler. Thank you Paul, and best wishes for the future.

35025 Brocklebank Line

Some months ago we were approached by the 35025 Brocklebank Line Association to become custodians of the Merchant Navy they had rescued from Barry scrap yard. The loco had been stored at Sellindge for the last 12 years with no prospect of further restoration. Our primary role will be to secure the storage of the loco and components and we can make no promises to its future restoration.

35025

35025 Brocklebank Line and another Merchant Navy leaving Waterloo for the short trip to Nine Elms to be serviced and turned before their next trips to the south west. Photo: A very young Nick Thompson.


Even without today's lock-down we have a massive existing workload, with overhauls of Eddystone and Manston to complete, upcoming overhauls of Sir Keith Park and 80104, and the restoration of Sidmouth to which our supporters have made significant contributions. We will be open to approaches from anyone with the wherewithall to be part of this venture.

34028 Eddystone

Currently Eddystone looks nearly complete with about three months work left. Graham Froud has put together the list of jobs to be done as soon as the Works reopens and it reflects just how much work goes into overhauling a locomotive bearing in mind that four years hard labour has already been done.

34028

Eddystone looks pretty much complete, though there's still a fair list of jobs to be done. Note the staging across the boiler which enables staff wear a harness and be clipped on to ensure safety while working on the cladding, etc.


Outstanding items include: Overhaul blower valve or fit new valve, fit train pipe from running board to the ejector, install injector linkage, finish whistle cable tube and bulkhead fitting, fit generator exhaust and steam brake exhaust and align with brackets, fit smoke deflectors, make/repair spark arrester, fit fire hole door and finish door liner plates, etc. All 'do-able' as soon as our team can get to work. Then, of course, the loco needs to be moved to the railway, weighed, and commissioned.

34028

Our February 'travelling' volunteers session was well attended. Lifting all the grate frame and the 'fingers' through the firebox door is arduous, then it must all be assembled. Step forward Mary Bosworth who must be on a shortlist of one for lady-Bulleid-grate-builders.


Eddystone's previous ticket expired in August 2014, almost six years ago. We're tantalisingly close to completing the overhaul, having more or less everything needed, and just waiting for the chance to do the job.

34028

Mr Bulleid thoughtfully located both the injectors on the fireman's side of the cab, though this does result in some pretty fancy pipe runs. The copper pipes were reinstalled by volunteers on 12/13th March. Photo: Dave Ensor


34053 Sir Keith Park

34053 spent several months under contract at Tyseley in 2019 when its axle boxes and bearings were overhauled. When it resumed work at Swanage in October it became apparent that one or more bearings were running warmer that would be expected, and there was still a noticable "knock". After some weeks of 'running in' the issue had not gone away, so we agreed with Tyseley for the loco to be examined and adjustments or repairs made if required.

34053

So it was back to the wheeldrop at Tyseley for SKP in February. The work was undertaken by Tyseley and SLL staff, with some help from our volunteers to clean up and number the brake gear, spring hangers, etc.


The only way to examine the bearings is to drop the wheels out. It transpired that wear of the leading set of driving wheels was uneven, and one wheel had worn more than the other five. This meant that all three wheels sets needed a trip to the lathe to be reprofiled. This work was completed early in March but the subsequent lock-down has meant that the loco remains at Tyseley.

34053

The spring brackets of tender 002 need to be replaced. New castings are being machined on our Huron milling machine.


Last year Sir Keith Park was running with Tender 001 which hitherto ran with Manston. SKP's own tender (002) is at Tyseley awaiting repairs to the brackets which support the springs. Several of these were found to be cracked, and they are all being replaced at Tyseley. The castings have been made and they are being machined at Herston. They will be sent to Tyseley where they'll be re-rivetted to the frames. When all this work is complete Sir Keith Park will be coupled to its own tender (002) again.

34072 257 Squadron

257 Squadron was used over the Christmas period, alongside 80104. Swanage Railway operated limited public services early in the year as major trackwork was being undertaken. Swanage Railway announced that the loco will visit the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway for the Cotswold Festival of Steam in May, though sadly this event has been a lock-down victim.

34072

257 Squadron was in service over the Christmas period and on some dates in January, February and March. Photo: Chris Worby


80104

80104 is entering its last year in service, and we're pleased to say that in March it passed its cold and hot boiler tests, and should be good for the coming year. Some boiler work will certainly be required when the loco comes out of service, though the bottom end has received a lot of repair and maintenance over the last few years, and is in good shape. Swanage Railway will be looking for a rapid turnaround as the loco is pivotal to its passenger services. Given our other commitments that is not going to be easy, and doubtless we will be appealing for financial support when we know what's involved.

80104

Swanage Railway ran services over the weekend of 14/15th March. 80104 was in steam and bore a wreath to mark the passing of Ron Bennett, SLL's long serving volunteer, at the age of 93. Photo: Chris Hardy


34070 Manston

Attention at Tyseley shifted from Manston back to Sir Keith Park, and 34070 is now stored outside the workshop. Manston has recently had full NDT testing and a boiler examination, both of which were fine giving the green light for a retube. All flues and tubes have been delivered but work is now suspended. The wheels were due to be dropped for axlebox examination which would also reveal any other jobs which needed doing, and in the meantime all the brake rigging has been rebushed at Herston.

34053

34070 is back outside the Tyseley workshop while 34053 is inside receiving attention. With no casing or front bogie Manston looks a bit lonely.


We can't say when work will recommence but with a good bill of health as far as the boiler is concerned, and knowledge that apart from the accident damage, the bottom end of Manston is in exceptionally good condition after 10 years in service, it will be a relatively straight-forward job to get 34070 back into traffic. We plan that Manston will make a short stay in Herston after the work at Tyseley has been completed. This will be for a number of minor tasks to be completed before the loco is recommissioned, though at present we can't put a date on any of this.

34053

Looking like the contents an IKEA flat-pack Manston's casing waits in the yard at Tyseley. I hope someone knows where they left the instructions!

Norman

After its ticket expired Norman moved from the Yorkshire Dales Railway to a private site in Bolton where, thanks to sponsorship from a generous supporter, its restoration has proceeded well. When Norman was restored first time round our team at Sellindge had to work in a tent with limited resources and finance, but they did a splendid job in producing a locomotive which worked successfully for many years.

Norman

Duncan drilling out roof stays of Norman's boiler. The Asquith drill is portable (if you have a fair size crane) so you can bring the machine to the job, and set the angle to drill down into the stay.


This time round we have had to renew much of the locomotive including extensive (and expensive) repairs to the cylinder block. Currently newly manufactured horns are being fitted into the frames. The cylinder block has received heavy repairs to ensure that it's trouble free for 10 years and this will also be reinstated in the near future. The boiler has already had extensive work with the removal of wasted side plates, throat and backhead, crown stays, and longitudinal stays. The life expired foundation ring will be replaced. Other jobs including fitting of the newly drilled and reamed brake hangers to the frames are now complete.

Norman

Andy Crooks spent time working on Norman. After the roof stays had been drilled he 'shelled out' the holes with a gas cutter.


When complete Norman will be finished in WD 'Longmoor' blue livery and numbered 75050 as it operated post-war after it lost its initial khaki livery. It's intended to enter service for the 2021 season on the Spa Valley Railway where it will be shedded in the original Tunbridge Wells West MPD, though this all depends on future restrictions on movement and our ability to raise funds to finish the task.

34010 Sidmouth

It's always good when a photo of one of SLL's locos comes to light, particular if it's a good shot and in colour. So 10/10 when Terence Dorrity posted a photo of 34092 and 34010 at Yeovil Town MPD. In this case City of Wells is the main subject, with Sidmouth to the right, and a Maunsell mogul in the background. The photo features in a newly published book by Terence, "Way Down South: Southern Steam in the Sixties", published by Irwell Press, ISBN: 9781911262183.

34010

Photo: Terence Dorrity

The photo was taken on Wednesday 8th April 1964 and, while Yeovil Town's locos were mainly used on local services, there were several diagrams which brought Light Pacifics into the Town station and depot during the day. The 1964 Engine Workings book for the SW Division of the Southern Region shows four weekday diagrams for Bulleids:

The first (23) is the loco from the 07:20 passenger service from Waterloo to Salisbury, which after a wait of two hours continues to Yeovil Junction then, after turning on the turntable (which is still in use for steam tours) is on-shed at Town from 14:23 to 17:10.

The second (551) is a working from Exmouth Junction which arrives at 13:05 and leaves at 14:14 light engine to Yeovil Junction where it was turned and then hauls the 14:55 passenger service to Salisbury.

The third (467) is on a freight service from Salisbury which, after arriving at 09:28 and spending time shunting coaches and freight, goes on shed from 11:20 to 13:55, returning to Salisbury with a freight from Yeovil Junction at 14:00.

The fourth diagram (473) has the Bulleid arriving at Yeovil Junction with the 05:00 Mail Train from Salisbury then moving to Town and Loco from 08:50 until 11:32 before returning to Yeovil Junction to take the 12:08 passenger service to Exeter.

As such there are two periods when a brace of Bulleids are at the Town MPD together, namely 467 and 473 from 11:20-11:32 and 467 and 551 from 13:05-13:55. We may never know which of these is depicted here but it was a daily occurrence at the depot which was itself home to smaller locomotives such as Southern Moguls and GWR Prairie Tanks.

Yeovil Town Shed had been Southern Region 72C but was recoded as 83E when transferred to the Western Region in September 1963. The shed finally closed in June 1965 and, along with the adjacent station, is now the site of a cinema and leisure centre.

More happily both Bulleids in the photo still survive. City of Wells was restored at the KWVR and more recently was sold to the East Lancashire Railway while Sidmouth is moving up the restoration queue with SLL.

Update: Terry Dorrity has contacted us to say that his records indicate that he took the photo of 34092 and 34010 at 15:20. This does not match with the periods when the diagrams shown above indicate that two Bulleids would be on-shed. 34010 appears to be raising steam, with a driver on the footplate, while there's no sign of life on 34092; maybe it had failed. Terry also mentions that 4591 and 5563 were on shed and the now preserved 6435 was working the auto train to Yeovil Junction.

34010

Fast forward 56 years and work on Sidmouth's restoration continues, mainly in the hands of volunteer Phil Casey. This simple part is a bracket that supports the speedo mechanism. Another small step.....



Smokeboxes R Us

When Eddystone was taken out of service and its boiler removed for overhaul, care was taken to separate the smokebox without damage so that it could be reused. It subsequently became evident that corrosive gasses had thinned the wall thickness in some areas, and we decided to use a new steel tube while re-using all the fittings. The tube itself is not a major cost though re-cutting all the holes and replacing all the fittings involves time and cost.

With the new smokebox we have made a number of changes to extend its life and also to simplify routine servicing, i.e. removal of ash, etc, on a daily basis while the loco is in service. Additional sacrificial plates have been fitted and the floor of the smokebox has been modified. The three photos below show the different arrangements of Sir Keith Park, 257 Squadron and Eddystone.

34053

Sir Keith Park's smokebox shows the conventional steam pipes and blast pipe fitted, awaiting the petticoat and spark arrestor. In front of the blast pipe a steel plate was bolted into place, and this was covered with cement when commissioned. The sacrificial plates are curved and extend around one third of the height of the smokebox. On a rebuilt such as 34053 the inside piston valve is offset from the cylinder, to the left in this photo, though out of sight below the smokebox.


34053

Original Bulleids such as 34072 have an approximately octagonal smokebox. The area in front of the blast pipe has a raised cover over the inside piston valve which was above the cylinder. Note the two smaller steam pipes feeding each end of the inside cylinder. 34072 now has conventional steam pipes; prior to its overhaul completed in 2018, it used original corrugated pipes. The flat sacrificial plates run to the mid-height of the boiler.


34053

34028 shows the additional sacrificial plates which are flat and extend to the mid-point of the smokebox. The floor in front of the blast pipe is a bolted plate, sealed underneath, to be air-tight and permit more access to the inside cylinder and valve if required. It's not intended to have a concrete layer.



The question is often asked "are boilers interchangeable between originals and rebuilts?", to which the answer is, "Yes, but the superheater headers are not, neither are the steam pipes, and obviously the smokeboxes are quite different."

34072

Bulleid Light Pacifics were originally fitted with corrugated steam pipes. These were presumably intended to be more tolerant of stresses under heat and pressure. Over the years most were replaced by plain pipes as seen above. 34072 kept its original steam pipes into preservation and ran with them till taken out of service in 2001. These were found to be beyond further use during the overhaul 2013 - 2018, and were scrapped. Do any preserved Bulleids still use the original pattern?

Corona Nostalgia

Sean Day-Lewis, Vice President of the Bulleid Society, lives in Colyton, a few miles from the SLL Webmaster in Sidmouth. Sean met OVSB back in the early 1960's when researching his biography of the great man, and is one of a small number who remember him in person. When I call on Sean and his wife Anna there is a steady stream of coffee and chocolate biscuits; our conversation covers politics, religion and life in East Devon but always reverts to railways in general and Bulleid Pacifics in particular. Our most recent call was by phone, and I lamented that the lock-down meant that there was no news for the SLL website, shareholders and/or Facebook followers. Sean offered to cast his mind back and relive his life with Bulleids:

There is no rule against my wife and I opening our front door and breathing the fresh air of Colyton, Devon. But according to the phrase makers of the corona virus we are now "locked in", being in our late eighties and therefore "vulnerable". All the better for the self indulgence of railway nostalgia. There is plenty of time for reading and as I write this I am at the end of a complete trawl through the novels and short stories of Thomas Hardy. They are set in Dorset and surrounding counties in the second half of the 19th century at a time of the ever expanding new rail network and the creation of all the branch lines vandalised by the misguided Dr Beeching a century later. These are frequently used by Hardy characters who also think nothing of taking the main line London and South Western trains from Budmouth (Weymouth) or Melchester (Salisbury) to London Waterloo.

Looking up from my "socially distant" chair I am confronted by a "smart" tv set and its rich supply of cinema films and made for the box programmes. Last night I sat for two blissful hours, much of it spent in the cab of a Black 5 covering every inch of the steam hauled journey from Fort William to Mallaig. Alas no connection to what I think of as Southern motive power but little talk, no intrusive music and full value of loco sound as well as the spectacular passing scenery. For me the best steam railway documentary ever. And how I wish we had been on the footplates of Bulleid Pacifics as they hauled the Atlantic Coast Express from Waterloo to Exeter.

But on the wall to the right of the screen are three paintings to bring me home to mid 20th century. On the left is 21C-118 AXMINSTER running into Axminster station now our one and only local railhead restored as a double track passing place. Much needed after our line was handed over to Paddington, where the nasties in command quickly reduced much of the once competitive route to a single track. The only downside of this print is that 21C-118 has become 34018 and its lovely original shape lost. I always remember interviewing the retired Oliver Vaughan Snell, when He was living near here in Exmouth, and I was researching my book BULLEID LAST GIANT OF STEAM, the great man impressing on me more than once that his Pacifics were never "modified". Far from it. They were "ALTERED!!!"

34053 34053

Sean Day-Lewis on the footplate of 34053 Sir Keith Park at Bridgnorth on the day of its recommissioning, 31st August 2013.

Sean interviewed OVSB at his retirement home in Exmouth while writing his biography published in 1963.

Next to this is a commissioned painting of an M7 tank hauling a train beside the Axe estuary to meet the main line at the brilliantly expanded Seaton Junction since junked with the branch line by Beeching but then the one four track mecca between Yeovil Junction and Exeter Central. Looking again at the 1940s work horse, the Drummond designed M7 0-4-4, how odd that Bulleid sought to replace such a tank with his ill-fated Leader 0-6-6-0, the engine with a driver's cabin at each end and the fireman roasted in the middle with little room to breathe. A brilliant concept to help steam to hold out against the ugly diesel revolution but a venture carried out in desperate haste before the LMS dominated nationalised restrictions put an end to inventive creation.

So to my final painting showing Merchant Navy class 4-6-2 21C-19 BLUE STAR hauling the down all pullman Devon Belle up the formidable Honiton Bank beyond Seaton Junction. A heavyweight train indeed but such a Bulleid Pacific could maintain 40 mph at the top entering the Honiton tunnel. My 21st birthday present was a ticket to ride on the Belle from Sidmouth Junction (now Feniton) to Waterloo. It was non-stop all the way apart from a stop at Wilton outside Salisbury to change engines. And I naturally sat in the observation car at the back, one of which is still used on the steam heritage line from Paignton to Kingswear on the South Devon flowing Dart, and the other on Swanage Railway where it is often coupled to a Bulleid loco. All the first ten Merchant Navy's worked our line and I chose BLUE STAR for the picture because that was the name of our Colyton and Honiton boy Spotters Club.

Finally in our "locked in" room we have a north facing big window looking out to a football field and a farm to a wooded hill. All those years ago the Seaton branch line crossed between the football pitch and the farm. I can imagine an M7 chugging through and better still, on summer Saturdays, N or U class moguls. Best of all must have been that day in early 1946 when 21C120 SEATON, brand new and resplendent in malachite green and yellow stripes could have been watched as it steamed slowly down the line to its Seaton naming ceremony. Rather typically of poor old Seaton they were given the name board when the engine was scrapped and managed to lose it, unlike Axminster which proudly shows its loco board in its Guildhall.

Another window in our confined room offers a view of Musbury Castle. I am constantly checking that it is still visible. My boyhood home was a cottage above the village of Musbury and half way up that Castle hill. Our western facing top window looked down into the Axe valley and the Southern main line. We could see Bulleid hauled expresses passing towards Exeter or London and the sublime picture enabled us to tell from the name board shapes which loco was a Merchant Navy and which a West Country. In memory it was the best domestic view I have known. Amazing times.

SEAN DAY-LEWIS

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