_ Southern Locomotives Ltd | Latest News

November 2023

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The classic Corfe Castle and steam loco view that's hard to beat. 34070 Manston heads for Swanage on 6th September. Photo: ANDREW P M WRIGHT

From the Chairman

A lot has happened since our September news update, and much has been accomplished at all our locations. We have news on the locos in our fleet, but we'll start with news of an event next year which will stand alongside the recommissioning of 257 Squadron and Sir Keith Park, both very memorable events which took place in 1990 and 2013 respectively.

Back in the 1990's we were much involved in raising money for the Battle of Britain Fighter Association as thanks for their participation in 257 Squadron's recommissioning at Folkestone Central Station on the 8th September 1990. Battle of Britain air crew representing over 20 Squadrons joined us for the ceremony and reception after. Many of these Squadrons were remembered by the Southern Region when naming their Battle of Britain class locomotives, but many were ruled out as a decision had been made that only Squadrons which were active on what was officially the last day of the battle, 31st October 1940, would be included.

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The loco, then numbered 21C153, was named by Sir Keith Park at Brighton station on 19th September 1947.

All non-British squadrons were also excluded, mainly to appease Joseph Stalin! This meant that the most successful of all, 303 Squadron which consisted mainly of Polish with some Czech aircrew, was excluded. This also excluded men of those squadrons participating in Remembrance Day parades at the Cenotaph until 2005, when the British government made a formal apology to the Polish people.

Several years ago our long term Herston volunteer Mike Frackiewicz, suggested that one of our BB's should be renamed 303 Squadron, but only recently did our Director Peter Spowage come up with a plan to rename one of them 303 Squadron for a year in gratitude for what they achieved, some 84 years after the formation of the Squadron. It will be 34053 Sir Keith Park, who was Air Vice Marshall in control of 11 Group Fighter Command which will be changing nameplates. 303 Squadron, which flew Hurricanes, was under the direct control of Sir Keith at the time, so it's fitting that the locomotive will display their name. As Lord Dowding said at the time: "Had it not been for the magnificent material contributed by the Polish squadrons and their unsurpassed gallantry, I hesitate to say that the outcome of the Battle of Britain would have been the same."

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Sir Keith Park was recommissioned on 31st August 2013, when the nameplate was revealed by the New Zealand High Commissioner. Photo: Bob Sweet

On the 85th anniversary in September 2025 the original plates will be returned and the name of Sir Keith Park will again adorn 34053. We believe our supporters will agree that this is a very appropriate way of remembering Churchill's famous words: "Never was so much owed by so many to so few". The event will be held at Eridge on the Spa Valley, a location which will allow lower level flying than at Tunbridge Wells (hopefully a Hurricane!) and will be an easy location to reach from London as many of our guests will be travelling there by train. More information will be available our plans evolve.

Our staff have helped Graham over the past few months with the T3 tender, and then the locomotive itself when it ran hot just before its inaugural runs. The loco was blocking Sir Keith in the Works preventing its departure to Tyseley, so our staff were happy to help with its removal. Thanks go to our staff Bailey England, Chris Hardy and Ron Neal for all the hard work they put in along with the many volunteers who are so much part of our success. Sadly we have to report that we have lost Andy Crooks from Herston. He has been battling cancer for well over a year and was an integral and talented member and a really nice guy. We offer him and his family our very best wishes.

34053 Sir Keith Park

Sir Keith Park left Herston bound for Tyseley and the tender left the Spa Valley on 16th October arriving Swanage on the same day. The latter needs some maintenance and checking over as well as a repaint to match the rest of the locomotive when it leaves the Works in May. Much of the work related to the releasing of the smokebox has been completed prior to SKPs departure from Swanage and we are hopeful that the locomotive will be dismantled in short time. The Tyseley team will fix the original smokebox to SKP's new boiler and after the attachment of the original ashpans, which may be in need of some surgery, place it on the frames to make it safe for transportation. Most of the reconstruction work will be undertaken back at Herston.

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Sir Keith Park left Herston for Tyseley on 16th October. Photo: Pete Pickering

The boiler has successfully passed its hydraulic test and awaits its steam test before the end of November. After a successful steam test the boiler will be transported from Weybourne to Tyseley where the second steam test will take place after the superheater header and elements have been fitted. There was a very late indication that the superheater header needed some repairs so it will probably be quicker to utilise Sir Keith's original if this is the case, and we'll repair the current one for Sidmouth.

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All being well Sidmouth's boiler will be ready to leave Weybourne for Tyseley to be mated with Sir Keith Park. Photo: Stuart Clarke

Meanwhile at Herston work continues on putting the finishing touches to the cab and cladding by Dave Ensor and his team, with Ron Neal overhauling various valves, cleaning valve shafts, and regrinding and machining new glands and bearings. The cab is now ready bar the final lining out and numbering, the backhead cladding is complete as are the smoke deflectors and crinolines on to which the boiler cladding is fitted. All the lamps have been cleaned and painted and Geoff Reber is renewing the electrical conduits where necessary and checking the electrics in general. The turbo generator has been overhauled and fitted and work continues with the annealing of the copper pipes. Neville Crook completed all the brake gear prior to the locomotive leaving, removed the ashpan fittings, along with the myriad bolts securing the smokebox to the boiler to both speed up the boiler lift as well as saving revenue.

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Sir Keith Park's cab has the windows fitted and gloss paint. It will be fitted when the loco arrives at Herston after the boiler has been lifted on at Tyseley. Photo: Dave Ensor

34070 Manston

Following a highly successful visit to the Bluebell Railway over the weekend of 14th October, Manston is now safely back at Swanage. There were three days of public services followed by a photographers special on the Monday. The majority thought Graham Froud's idea of letting it appear weathered was inspired.

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34070 Manston makes a good start from Horsted Keynes. Photo: Ian Silvester

34028 Eddystone

Once again, there is absolutely nothing to report and Swanage's favourite Light Pacific continues to give sterling service.

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No photos of Eddystone in action have come our way recently, and it was tucked away in the sidings on 5th September when the Webmaster was in town, ostensibly for the Gig Rowing regatta. However Manston seemed to be attracting lots of attention. Photo: Nick Thompson

34072 257 Squadron

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Some people have waited a long time to see 34072 with a high-sided tender, if only for a few weeks. The loco ran with such a tender to the end of its BR service. Photo: Mark Battersby

Following the derailment of 257's tender on the East Lancs Railway, their CME has reported that the locomotive was blameless and that the derailment occurred for other reasons. Once this was established City of Well's was reunited with '92's tender, which was very freshly back in service, and the two as-built Bulleids ran together. Prior to leaving the ELR '72 has had a boiler washout and maintenance, so that on transfer back to the Spa in the first week of November, it will be ready for Polar Express duties. It is likely that apart from one or two visits to galas (hopefully including Swanage) 257 will remain at Tunbridge Wells in 2024.

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34072 ran with 34092 City of Wells before leaving the East Lancs Railway. Here their train is entering Bury Bolton Street station. 92 is somewhere in the rain and steam. Photo: James Raw

80104

Meanwhile at Sellindge the long job of cleaning and putting a coat of primer on the boiler cladding continues. However some pieces have been repaired many times already that we're arranging for replacements to be manufactured. At Tyseley the slow job of decreasing the size of the holes on the copper firebox tubeplate is nearly complete as is the installation of the inner firebox sheets. Bob Bevis and Graham Froud are visiting in early November to discuss other tasks to be completed before the engine returns to Herston. Some of these can be undertaken by our volunteers, some of whom live not too far from Brum. One of the stretchers under the cab definitely needs attention and a couple of the brake hangers are still attached to the locomotive and need to be removed. There are bound to be other jobs which can be undertaken by our team which will speed the overhaul process.

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We've used our CNC lathe to make new pins for the brake linkage, adding grease nipples to reduce the wear that these pins suffer in use. Photo: Neville Crook

Most parts of 80104's cladding can be overhauled and returned to service. Some are beyond repair and need to be replaced. Photo: Simon Troy

34010 Sidmouth, 34058 Sir Frederick Pile and 35025 Brocklebank Line at Sellindge

With volunteer numbers exceeding 20 on some occasions we have been able to work on several projects at the same time. 34058's cab and its support frame have now been removed and the cab prepared for transportation to Herston for overhaul. The boiler had been jacked up whilst at Bitton 20 or 30 years ago when a lot of the securing bolts had been replaced but these have now all been removed, ready for lifting with the crane booked for the 7th November.

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From Mike Price (L) to Martin Stables (R) the Sellindge Team form up in front of their latest loco. Photo: Simon Troy

On the down side the Mid Hants Railway workshops aren't in a position to accept the contract to overhaul the boiler, so we are making enquiries to find an alternative organisation to undertake the task. We appreciated that the management at Ropley were frank about this before we got too far down the road. However, there may be an opportunity of using Ropley's workshop skills for another project.

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The boiler of 34058 was lifted at Sellindge on 7th November. Photo: Simon Troy

The rear cylinder and valve covers of 34058 are proving particularly tiresome to remove, perhaps unlike the front ones they were never removed when it was on the Avon Valley Railway. We'll let you know how it goes!

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This assembly has been together for at least 60 years. The difficulty of removing the cotter pin is plain to see. Photo: Simon Troy

Now the boiler has been lifted we can start to prepare the locomotive for wheel removal. We will follow the same procedure as with Brocklebank Line, although we have the added task of splitting the crossheads from the piston rods, necessitating firstly the removal of the cotter which connects the two. This requires a lot of patience, much heat and a lot of muscle. Once again we'll keep you informed.

We have continued to progress with the painting of Brocklebank Line with perhaps more than 50% to the standard that we require. It's a slow and difficult job as there are so many nooks and crannies on the inside of the frames which are very difficult to access with grinders, so some of the work is painstakingly slow. However, it's being done to a standard where it won't need to be touched again apart from the addition of more paint. New tarpaulins are being purchased so that it has some protection for the Winter months. We're ordering a new smokebox door pressing as a part of a bulk order with Sidmouth and Sir Frederick Pile; not a small sum of money to find at over 4000 each, with all the hinges etc to source separately, but an important item to tick off the list.

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Two new sets of Southern screw couplings have been delivered.

A delay in repairing our compressor has prevented us from finishing the new frame extensions on Sidmouth which were bolted to the loco several weeks ago. This should be sorted out soon. We have also taken delivery of two new sets of Southern three link screw couplings.

Fund Raising

Earlier this year we noticed a drop in supporters buying shares in SLL, which we put down to the general economic situation. As previously, when we've reported a downturn supporters have rallied, and we have seen a recovery in the last couple of months. That said, the rate at which we receive funds from shareholders or leasing of locos determines the rate at which we can progress with the restoration and overhauls of our locos which we all want to see.

We have the added benefit of some of the Sellindge team happy to attend events such as the Bluebell Giants of Steam and the Mid Hants Gala from which generate interest and income. Thanks to Peter Spowage, Paul Gisby and Richard Green for spending a long time on Platform 2 at Sheffield Park Station.

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Gerri and Andy's Freddie stand.

We have the added bonus of Andy and Gerri Ford running their very successful sales stand for Sir Freddie. They have raised as much as 2,000 over a weekend and are now sponsoring '58's new smokebox door.

Looking forward to next year

2024 is just round the corner and it has been a long held wish that we would have four of our Pacifics operational at the same time and in the same place. Hopefully this will come to fruition at Swanage in June on completion of Sir Keith Park. At this stage there is no guarantee that we will be able to complete it by then as Tyseley still awaits the boiler to effect the swap. However, being ever optimistic, we have sought permission to move 257 Squadron from the Spa Valley for a weekend in June to hold a mini Bulleidfest which may develop into a bigger event. Watch this space!

And finally....

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Photo: Liam Barnes

 

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September 2023

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34072 257 Squadron running a footplate experience trip on the East Lancs Railway on 23rd July. The photo is the work of a professional photographer, Dave Hudspeth.

From the Chairman

The current economic situation is having an effect on most steam railways. 257 Squadron's appearances on the K&ESR, the Spa Valley, and more recently the East Lancs Railway have certainly attracted a lot more visitors but passenger records probably haven't been broken. We too have noticed a drop in the number of shares bought in the past couple of months.

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In what looks like dubious weather 34028 Eddystone is at work on Swanage Railway approaching Quarr Farm crossing. Photo: Dave Ensor

Given our plans, it's become clear that our small staff at Swanage could be overwhelmed with work in the near future, first with Sir Keith Park and 80104 each vying for attention from this Autumn, then Sidmouth and Sir Freddie Pile later in 2024, and maybe an Austerity thrown in for good measure. We are therefore actively seeking an extra member of staff and also taking on an apprentice. We need to get locos into service to generate the funds we need to fund those overhauls and restorations.

If you're interested in either of these roles, please initially contact Simon Troy at southernlocos@btinternet.com .

34072 257 Squadron

Following its successful visit to the Kent & East Sussex, 257 returned briefly to the Spa Valley Railway for two weekends before being dispatched to the East Lancs Railway for its third visit. It performed well until 24th July when the tender was derailed on points at Rawtenstall and had to be withdrawn to check that nothing was amiss. It returned to traffic on the 3rd August coupled with City of Wells' high-sided tender for a few days. It's now back in service and you can see when it's running in the ELR weekly loco roster.

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34072 heading north from Ramsbottom station on the Footplate Experience trip. Photo: David Hudspeth

34072 will be returning to the Spa Valley in October to work the Polar Express services.

34058 Sir Frederick Pile

It has proved impossible to find the space and resources to lift 58's boiler at Alresford, and the whole loco will be moved to Sellindge. We are also moving the steel sheet for the frames of another tender from Bitton to Swanage, though there are no firm plans for how and where that might be built, nor where the money would come from.

Sir Freddie is situated a couple of hundred yards away from civilisation and power in the headshunt at Alresford. With no path to it, there was no possibility of hauling gas bottles to assist in the lifting of the boiler. However it's recently become clear that much of this work was done many years ago at Bitton. However the chances of successfully moving the loco into the station area after the day's services had finished, and then lifting the boiler for the first time in many years, were next to zero, so moving the whole loco to Sellindge was the only way forward.

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34058 at the end of the headshunt at Alresford, awaiting a move to Kent. Photo: Simon Troy

Permanent Way - old school. The Sellindge team set to work spreading six tons of ballast on to secure 34058's new home. Photo: Simon Troy

With the boiler on, 34058 will weigh twice as much than expected so a further six tons of aggregate was laid at Sellindge on 1st August to ensure the track could safely take Sir Fred.

We're hoping that the transfer to Sellindge will take place this month and although it has taken many months to organise, it has enabled volunteers to concentrate on 80104's cladding, Sidmouth's frame extensions, Norman's boiler as well as progress with Brocklebank Line and parts for all our locos.

34028 Eddystone

Our Latest News would be a lot shorter if our other locos were as well behaved as Eddystone. There's to nothing to report except to say that, as usual, it's performing well.

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34028 Eddystone heads for Norden. The leading coach is the former Devon Belle Observation Car. Photo: Dave Ensor

34070 Manston

All the valve rings were recently replaced and the valves reset. This has partially cured the problem of Manston occasionally getting stuck in reverse gear! As reported earlier, 34070 will be visiting the Bluebell Railway for their Giants of Steam event over the weekend of 13th-15th October, where it will be joining 34027 Taw Valley in its temporary black livery.

Meanwhile, if you want to see both an original and a rebuilt Bulleid Pacific in action, look no further than Swanage Railway, where Eddystone and Manston are in regular use.

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34070 Manston poses for the camera at Corfe Castle. Note that the loco is facing Swanage. Photo: Dave Ensor

34053 Sir Keith Park

There's light at the end of the tunnel for the boiler overhaul. The hydraulic test of Sidmouth's old boiler is due to take place in August, signalling the departure of Sir Keith Park from Herston Works in early September to Tyseley Works, which should roughly coincide with the arrival of the boiler from Weybourne. Meanwhile much work which was planned to be done after the locomotive returned to Herston has already been completed.

The brake rigging has been overhauled by Neville Crook and Charles Bernstein. All the new brake pins were manufactured in Herston and grease nipples have been added - not standard Bulleid practice, but an excellent idea to prevent wear.

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There's still a lot of work to be done on Sir Keith Park, but steady progress is being made. Photos: Dave Ensor

Neville and Charles take a look at their work on the brake linkages.

Ron Neal has completed the overhaul of the main manifold and Klinger valve and it is ready for reinstatement. A start has also been made on the annealing of the large and medium size copper pipes, a time-consuming task, vital to prevent the copper becoming brittle.

The cab is now in its final stages of overhaul, the support structure having been stripped down to bare metal by Chris Hardy, John Heath and others. This is now primed and undercoated. The outside of the cab itself is about to receive the first coat of undercoat, which will be followed by another undercoat and then gloss. The injector mounting bracket, injector controls and fireman's seat have been stripped and cleaned and are in the early stages of painting where appropriate, whilst the rest of the cab has been finished internally. The majority of the cladding is on its second undercoat and the first of the smoke deflectors is getting attention prior to undercoating. The area around the drag box has been needle gunned and painted, the conduits are all being cleaned and painted whilst the window frames are being deep cleaned and painted with Sadolin wood treatment.

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Sir Keith Park's piston valves with new rings fitted.

Once again Dave Ensor and his team have saved us a lot of money by undertaking so much work voluntarily, overhauling and painting many parts of the loco, including the crinolines, cladding, deflectors, cab, and support structures.

Swapping boilers and ashpans can be a difficult operation. The boilers have diverged from original drawings over their 60+ years, notably the 'feet' that take the weight at the firebox end, and the holes that fit the ashpan to the boiler which rarely fit without some on-the-spot adjustments.

Using Sidmouth's boiler to swap with SKP's, thanks to a generous sponsor, has saved two or three years for this overhaul. Whether we'll do the same again is unkown, though that was normal Eastleigh practice, and Sir Keith Park will have a boiler that previously powered Axminster, Whimple, Lundy and Sidmouth.

80104

Most of the brake gear which was removed at Tyseley along and the crossbeams are being stripped back to bare metal and repainted with primer and undercoat in Herston Works. The next task is to inspect the pins and bushes to see what is life expired. Pins will probably need replacing and these will be manufactured in the Works.

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80104's boiler is on one side for access to the rear tubeplate. Photo: A Meanley

Work on the boiler continues at Tyseley with the painstaking task of building up the holes on the rear tube plate for the flue tubes. The boiler is on its side to allow the welder to build up another quarter of each hole, and whilst in this position the new inner copper firebox sides can be welded into position. Once one side is completed the whole operation will take place again after the boiler has been turned on to its other side.

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The copper around the tube holes is built up by weld. As liquid copper weld doesn't flow uphill(!) the boiler must be turned to suit. Photo: A Meanley

The new front tubeplate is ready to be fitted, but this cannot happen until the above work is completed. Various rivets are being replaced under instruction from the boiler inspector, and the fitting of patch screws to replace rivets between the outer firebox sides and the doubler plate (alongside the firebox crown space) is underway. A new laser process is to be used in the building up of 80104's radius rods rather than by conventional welding. Another loco group has been found this to be cheaper and less likely to create distortion.

Whilst at Tyseley the steel plate below the cab floor will be removed so that the frame stretchers can be examined after needle gunning. Meanwhile at Sellindge, inroads are being made into cleaning and priming the various items of cladding sent across from Swanage, although some may need to be replaced due to excessive corrosion.

34010 Sidmouth

Work is now proceeding with repairing 34010's trailing doubled frame sections. During this loco's previous residency at Sellindge they were de-rivetted and split apart to clear out expanded rust. Also, the heavily corroded end sections were cut away in readiness for new pieces to be fitted. This part of the operation has already commenced with the profiled replacement left and right-hand plates weld prepped and temporarily bolted into position, together with the de-rusted frame elements.

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Alan Highman, his son Harry, and a friend work on Sidmouth and Brocklebank Line's steam manifolds. Photo: Simon Troy

We have had the dragbox back from our contractor who fitted a pair of gun metal wear plates which bear on the trailing truck, thus distributing weight and facilitating smooth sideways movement.

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Special mention must be made of Alan Kyte and Derek Noden who both wielded the 9" angle grinder for hours, firstly cutting and then chamfering the edges of the plates - a perfect finish was achieved. Photo:Simon Troy

Lawrence Donaldson, the KESR's boilersmith and coded welder will be undertaking the welding mentioned above on the frames and has already inspected and passed the work achieved so far. The next task will be to fit the new front buffer beam acquired many years ago which will be a relatively easy job compared to the drag box.

Sir Keith's old boiler will remain at Tyseley Works and, finances permitting, we will start the overhaul for its new career on Sidmouth, following its use on Lord Beaverbrook, Dorchester, Lord Dowding and Sir Keith Park.

35025 Brocklebank Line

Many more man hours have been spent stripping the locomotive down to bare metal with the majority of the frames now having a coating of Rustoleum. It has turned into a long and complicated task, as the really awkward parts inside the frames were never stripped properly and so have an extra 15 years' worth of rust and scale. Similarly, the areas under the cylinders have never been touched, so hours of work requiring the flexibility of a contortionist have been spent on these areas. We're getting there but it's a slow process and hard work.

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Allan Highman commenced the removal of the dragbox and cab support structure some time ago. This was constructed during its previous ownership using drawings for a Light Pacific and then adjusted when the error was discovered. We will hope to be able to remove it soon to see if any of it is salvageable for use on Sir Freddie Pile. If not, it will end up in the metal skip! Photo: Simon Troy

Norman

Norman's boiler has arrived at Sellindge. It's positioned upright to offer good access to replace all of the crown stays, the first job we intend to undertake. Secondly, we need to give the copper firebox some attention on the radius where the tube plate interfaces with the crown sheet.

Norman


There is extensive cracking along the complete length of the radius, a common fault with Austerities fitted with copper fireboxes, caused by constant retubing over the years that results in the radius being pushed upwards hence resulting in the cracks. These locomotives were built anticipating 5 years' service before withdrawal, Norman celebrates his 80th birthday this year!

It's a specialist repair with copper welding. We will invert the boiler on our specially constructed frame to fit new skirts all around the base of the firebox, incorporating a significant number of copper stays. We can then repair and refit the foundation ring, a hard riveting job! As we can't find anyone with space to undertake the balance of the locomotive overhaul, Norman may move to Herston for reassembly on completion of 80104 and Sir Keith Park.

And finally....

ELR hudspeth

Whatever next?

Thanks to Dave Hudspeth for the photos in this update. He also offers a superb calendar.

 

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June 2023

34072

The doyen of steam photography, Brian E Morrison, passed away early in May, at the age of 93. The quality and range of his photos was legendary, and as one might expect the SLL fleet featured in his work. In the above, 34010 Sidmouth is seen leaving Waterloo on 6th June 1952 with a Bournemouth line train. Examples of his work can also be seen in our 34070 and 34072 galleries.

From the Chairman

We're happy to report good progress with all our projects and the addition of another Bulleid, 34058 Sir Frederick Pile, to our fleet. As always our rate of progress is determined by the flow of cash into our bank account; we can't contract major expense unless we know where the cash will be coming from. If you'd like to support us please drop me, Simon Troy, a line at southernlocos@btinternet.com

34058 Sir Frederick Pile

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Peter Spowage and Stephen Evans shake hands on the agreement that transfers Sir Frederick Pile to SLL, which was signed at Ropley on 30th April 2023.

We are hopeful that the Mid-Hants can find space for Sir Fred's boiler and accept the contract in their busy work schedule, which will go a long way to ensuring a speedy return to traffic. Having been locked in two PMVs and a container, no-one really knew what Mike Vout, the previous owner of '58 had squirreled away over a 30 year period, apart from the items which SLL had helped him procure. It was certainly an Aladdin's cave and more than we dared hope, with quite a few items duplicated which can be transferred to Sidmouth.

There were so many parts piled on top of one another, it was incredibly hard work lugging so many weighty items out of the wagons and loading them into our two new containers for onward transportation. There was certainly no time to think about making an inventory, apart from the fact that to the untrained eye many of the unmachined castings would be hard to identify. Two of the containers are now at a secure location at Swanage and the transfer of items into Herston will take place soon on completion of the mezzanine floor. There still many parts at Ropley, some of which will be transferred to Swanage and some to Sellindge, as well as a complete set of tender wheels and a new smokebox to move. We also have the new set of tender frames to move from a location in Bristol.

34072 257 Squadron

The Kent & East Sussex Railway is known by most as a Light Railway, formerly part of the Colonel Stephens railway empire, where it was noted for the use of antiquated locos and rolling stock, and certainly not Pacifics, even the 'light' variety. Doubts were cast when SLL agreed to move 34072 to the K&ESR for several weeks over the spring. However the preserved railway has upgraded its track over the last 30 years, and although it features grades of 1 in 40, it can handle most locos.

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The photographers were there on 8th April for the first visit of a Pacific to the line. As it turned out, 34072 could haul its train up the bank to Tenterden, without slipping to a halt or spreading the track, and as usual a visit by an SLL Bulleid brought in the customers. Photo: Michael Topham

It's safe to say that any doubts held by some on the Kent & East Sussex as to the viability of having a Pacific on their Railway have been well and truly dismissed. As many have remarked it looks completely at home and hopefully the passenger figures and revenue will reflect the success of the visit. 257 Squadron will be returning to the Spa Valley Railway in good time to participate in their Spring Gala on 17/18 June and will be operating alongside guest engines 31065 from the Bluebell and 41313 from the Isle of Wight, both rarely seen away from their home railways.

There's an excellent video from The Southerner of 34072 in action on the K&ESR here:

We've now had confirmation that 34072 will be running on the East Lancs this summer. The expected period is from 26th June to 27th September, with a possible extension. With luck City of Wells may also be running by the end of 34072's visit.

34028 Eddystone

If all our locos were as well behaved as Eddystone our Latest News would be a lot briefer! The loco moved to the North Norfolk Railway for the line's Spring Steam Gala (14 - 16th April) where it ran alongside Black Prince and Austerity 2-10-0 90775. It's now returned to Swanage Railway where it will be in regular service during the season.

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34028 Eddystone waits for D6732 to clear the line before leaving Sheringham on 9th April. Photo: Graham Hukins

34070 Manston

Graham's idea of leaving Manston in weathered condition and the Herston painting gang's skill of matching the paintwork on its new smoke deflectors has proved really popular with the photographic fraternity. Hopefully you'll have seen the myriad photos of our three working locomotives in all the railway magazines. In the Spring it underwent some maintenance, the major task being to renew the rings on both outside valves, and it's now back in service.

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With its carefully contrived 'lived in' patina 34070 Manston is back in service. It's seen arriving at Corfe Castle on 3rd June. Photo (and main creator of that patina): Dave Ensor.

34053 Sir Keith Park

A variety of problems mean that Sidmouth's boiler is again being delayed and we are unsure whether the latest date of July for testing will be met. We understand that six more stays will need to be replaced following the discovery of minor cracks, quite possibly caused by the major surgery which has been undertaken on the boiler, so this will add a little more time to the delay. However, not all of this time has been wasted as many more jobs have been accomplished at Herston which were planned for the period after it returns from Tyseley. The Tuesday gang at Herston are continuing to clean, strip and prime the cladding, an extremely long and time consuming task. All the crinolines (the framework round the boiler to which the cladding is attached) have been repaired and painted whilst about a third of the cladding has been made ready for reinstatement.

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Sir Keith Park's brake linkage, all clean, painted, labelled and fitted with new bushes. Photo: Dave Ensor

The rear sub-frame has been needle-gunned and has received the first coat of primer prior to undercoating. The wheels are now being cleaned and painted and there is now time for all the brake gear to be reinstated before the locomotive leaves for Tyseley. A considerable amount of work has been undertaken with all the brake rods and hangers. It has all been re-bushed where necessary, with new pins fitted with the addition of grease nipples to reduce future wear - this could reduce the necessity to replace them at the next overhaul.

The motion has been stripped down for inspection, including the reverser screw which we may have to replace. Numerous cab parts are being currently overhauled and the lengthy task of annealing all the copper pipes has started. Meanwhile construction work is taking place within Herston Works with the installation of a mezzanine floor purchased from a company in an adjacent unit who no longer required it. This will provide extra storage space for, among other things, many of 34058's parts which are currently being transferred to Dorset and Sellindge.

34010 Sidmouth and 35025 Brocklebank Line

Sidmouth has been by far our longest-running restoration having been leap-frogged by various other projects. However, we're pleased to report that reconstruction work has started and the frame extensions have now arrived. We're now using a water jet cutting company in Kent recommended by both the Spa and the Kent & East Sussex to provide both the extensions and parts for Norman's boiler.

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Richard Harper is a railway modeller par-excellence. He spent some years building a scale model of Sidmouth station, and recently completed a fine scale model of 34010 Sidmouth. Richard's Sidmouth layout is now a static exhibit at the Sidmouth Toy & Model Museum which is worth a visit.

As reported earlier, our new dragbox which was kindly donated by Phil Swallow, owner of Taw Valley, many years ago, is perfect with all the holes drilled in exactly the right place. Unfortunately the holes in the frames aren't, so quite a lot of work has to be done to rectify. We have built a shelter over this part of the frames so work can continue in any weather. It will be interesting to see what parts Sidmouth can claim as its own from '58 but undoubtedly significant funds will be saved.

With the prospect of Sir Frederick Pile arriving within weeks a lot of attention has been paid to Brocklebank Line's frames and with up to six people hammering away at the same time great progress has been made. As it is impossible to work anywhere near the engine if the grit blaster is working, we're just leaving the impossible to get to areas for blasting. A very small, suitably clad, team will go on non-working days to finish the job. We can achieve exactly the same results with cup brushes on angle grinders and needle guns - it just normally takes longer but with so many people on the job significant areas are being cleared and Rustoleum applied. The latter has stood up very well on Sidmouth's frames and remarkably little touching up will be required before undercoat is applied in a few months time.

SVR


Plenty of 'supervision'...this is the mobile support for Brocklebank Line's cab so that it can be moved easily within the 1:1 museum in Margate.

Readers will have read about the museum which is being built by expanding the original Hornby factory in Margate, and called the 1:1 collection. Construction started in 2018 and when members of the Sellindge team were invited for a tour last year it was still very much ongoing, with probably another two years work. It's sure to be a huge attraction and will not only feature steam and diesel locomotives and rolling stock from Jeremy Hoskings' vast collection, but there will also be much else to see featuring all forms of transport. A new mezzanine floor has been installed and a Russian T34 tank was spotted, perhaps testing its integrity!

The Director in charge of construction has kindly offered to store Brocklebank Line's cab and it has now moved to Margate. As the Herston team put so much time and effort building it we wanted it to be stored undercover for obvious reasons. We have asked Dave Ensor not to topcoat it In case the paintwork was damaged in transit. Dependent on how quickly we proceed with '25, it may well become an exhibit in its own right and fitted out as far as is practicable, to give disabled visitors, especially, the opportunity of being in the cab of a locomotive. If this happens we will of course have it painted, numbered and lined out. If Brocklebank Line needs it back it may just be necessary to send a further order to Dave Ensor and his team in Herston to build another cab. With Sidmouth and Sir Frederick Pile's awaiting construction, they may not notice if we slip another order in.

80104

Work continues at Tyseley with an unfortunate discovery that we not only have to pay the 20,000 to have the tube holes sizes reduced but another 5,000-10,000 to repair small stress cracks in between some of those holes. Such are the joys of trying to get locomotive boilers overhauled!

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80104 on a goods train at Minffordd, 8th July 1965. It was withdrawn from service about two weeks later. Photo: M Garner

As Herston was getting overloaded with vast areas of cladding from '53 and '104, so we have transferred 80104's cladding to Sellindge for stripping, repairing where necessary and priming. To do this task it was necessary to pay a visit to our favourite container suppliers next to Thamesport again. Having now bought five from them they're getting to know us well, but still not getting a bean off the price!

Apparently there's a shortage of them which is hard to believe with the hundreds stacked over a vast area in a particularly delightful part of Essex. We always have the ceilings sprayed with insulation material which totally prevents condensation (400 well spent), and fortunately they have drivers who can manipulate their Hiabs to position the containers into almost impossible spaces, which is essential for Sellindge!

The cladding has now been collected and work at Sellindge has started. Apparently we have a very competent tinsmith on site so we'll be calling on his services where repairs are needed.

Norman

There is an ongoing problem with finding contractors to undertake various tasks, as those involved with steam loco restoration seem to be up to their necks in work. When Norman was transferred to the East Lancs Railway having been extracted from our previous contractor, we were hoping that the restoration could be completed there. However the workshops are really busy with the running fleet, and no firm schedule could be promised.

SVR


Wind the clock back 8 years and Norman (here dressed up as NCB 69) was happily running on the Yorkshire Dales Railway. It's seen here at Embsay station on 13th September 2015 with two coaches from the Stately Trains fleet. Photo: Gary Packer

We are therefore going to do the job ourselves; the boiler will be brought to Sellindge, and after Sir Keith Park and 80104 leave Herston we hope to move Norman in for the final assembly.

The bulk of the work has already been completed and a huge amount of money spent, so we don't believe Sidmouth and Sir Frederick Pile's restoration will be seriously compromised, and Norman's earnings will help with the Bulleids restorations considerably. As one shareholder has been responsible for nearly all the funding on Norman, we must ensure that we finish the locomotive especially as we will have no problem hiring it out.

Sellindge Developments

When we arrived at Sellindge in June 2020 to look at the remains of Brocklebank Line, little did we think that we'd be hosting a Merchant Navy, a West Country and a Battle of Britain three years later. It's taken nearly three years to reorganise the site, removing a vast amount of scrap material including several cars, caravans, general detritus dumped over the decades and unfortunately railway vehicles which could possibly have been restored a few decades ago but were left to rot by previous owners.

SVR




Some of the Sellindge team: Paul Batty, Dan Holness (stolen from the Southern Electric group), Hugh Topham, Mike Price, Paul Gisby (cakemaker extraordinaire), Phil Casey, Peter Spowage, Roy Carlo, Dave Pleasants, Derek Noden, Alan Kyte and Martin Stables. Frames behind are Brocklebank's, to the right are Sidmouth's.

However, while a steam loco can stand for decades open to the elements and still be restorable the same can't really be said for coach bodies especially once they can't be moved without falling to pieces. We still have one S&ECR coach dating from 1898, dumped and uncovered for the past 30 or 40 years.

SVR


We had another of Bulleid's products arrive at Sellindge recently; the second double decker coach still in existence, coach 4002. It is in a sorry state, virtually all the doors are gone, a lot of the bodywork removed, stripped internally and appears in far worse condition than the other Bulleid double decker which has been lurking in the corner of the field for 30 years. Clearly the Owners are a very optimistic lot!

Several Owners who visited us over the past couple of years are now regular members of the team. In fact seven of the people in the picture above have joined since our return to Sellindge and two are now SLL Directors. If you would like to come and get your hands dirty (will help if you're grumpy and like to complain about everything) do contact the undersigned. There's never a shortage of skilled and unskilled work and with the arrival of Sir Fred they'll be even more.

SLL Shareholder DX trips

34028


New shareholder Dave Jupp, and on the right Bruce Duncan, who is chair of the Salisbury to Exeter Rail User Group. Looks like he's finally found a replacement for those class 159 DMU's.

March seems like a long time ago, but our annual shareholders Driving & Firing, and the company's AGM were held late that month, just after our previous update.

The AGM was held on Sunday 19th March at the Harmans Cross Village Hall, followed by three days of DX trips running with 34028 Eddystone. 36 Shareholders, plus some friends, all supervised by Swanage Railway crews. Our guards for most trips were Jim and Mary Bosworth, who are also SLL supporters. Enormous thanks to all the Swanage Railway crews and Operations team for making the days so successful and enjoyable all round.

34028


34028 Eddystone runs through Harmans Cross with SLL volunteer Dave Ensor at the regulator and Matt McManus watching closely.



 

news



March 2023

34072

As the sun goes down on Sunday 1st January 34072 257 Squadron heads back to Tunbridge Wells. Photo: David Staines

From the Chairman

We're happy to report good progress with all our projects and the addition of another Bulleid, 34058 Sir Frederick Pile, to our fleet. As always our rate of progress is determined by the flow of cash into our bank account; we can't contract major expense unless we know where the cash will be coming from. If you'd like to support us please drop me, Simon Troy, a line at southernlocos@btinternet.com

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34058 Sir Frederic Pile was rebuilt in 1960. It's seen here in rebuilt form at Exeter Central, with the Up ACE. It was probably a Summer Saturday section, as the ACE was almost always hauled by an MN. Photo: B.MILLS, COLLECTION-CLASSIC TRACTION.

34058 Sir Frederick Pile

34058 is the latest Pacific to shortly join our fleet and arrangements are being made to lift the boiler at the Mid-Hants. We hope to be able to contract Ropley Works to undertake the boiler overhaul with a start later this year, but as ever all will depend on our success at fund raising which we hope will be a joint effort with the Mid-Hants Railway. Meanwhile the MHR is kindly organising four track panels to be delivered to Sellindge in early March so that we have somewhere to stand the locomotive.

We will then prepare it for lifting following removal of driving springs, axleboxes, etc., in the same way as we arranged for Brocklebank Line. We then have a year to grit blast, needle gun and cup brush the frames to get them to the same standard as Sidmouth, before Herston is ready to accept them, hopefully in early 2024. We have asked our inspector to give '58 a preliminary boiler examination soon, although the general consensus is that it's in a reasonable condition.

34058


Richard Green of Locos-in-Profile has already drafted a print for Sir Frederick Pile. They will be available to people buying SLL shares to support the loco's restoration.

The late Mike Vout purchased the locomotive back in 1986 and transferred to the Avon Valley Railway where it rested for approximately 25 years, before he donated the locomotive to the Mid-Hants Railway. Whilst virtually nothing was done to the locomotive itself, Mike, a very talented engineer, and two or three close colleagues spent that 25 years manufacturing parts and accumulating hopefully 90% of what we need to complete the restoration. Having got to know our Willie Bath soon after buying the locomotive from Woodhams, he joined us in all the bulk purchases that Willie arranged and went on to ask him to organise a complete set of connecting and coupling rods along with other motion.

34058


Sir Frederick Pile was a professional soldier who fought in both World Wars. In WW11 he was responsible for Anti-Aircraft Command. In this photo he is with Winston Churchill and his daughter Mary.

Many years ago Mike Vout's friend and colleague Andy Richards managed to persuade British Steel to cut several sets of steel sheets for tender frames to imperial measurements. We joined in with the bulk purchase and constructed three tender frames. Mike's order is stored and ready for delivery as soon as we can organise construction. Mike also came in on Willie's bulk tender wheel order as the latter having organised the pattern for correct BFB wheels. There may well be other items for a new tender in the wagons containing SFP's parts so we've got a head start, although how or where it will be built has yet to be discussed. If we get plenty of support from those who want to see Manston or 257 Squadron with a high sided tender, this may be the way forward for a future swap.

34058


Sir Frederick Pile in original form, renumbered to 34058 and in BR Green. Photo: Pete Boor

If you scroll up and look at this website's menu you'll see that pages for Sir Frederick Pile have been created. The BR Service, Preservation and General Pile pages are still Work-in-Progress, as is the Photo Gallery. New SLL brochures including SFP will soon be available.

34072 257 Squadron

The Squadron has attracted a lot of publicity recently with the news confirming that it will be transferred to the Kent and East Sussex Railway at the end of March. As the largest locomotive to operate on the line since its opening at the beginning of the last century it should attract plenty of visitors to the Railway.

SVR


Not a film set - the real thing. 34072 in Polar Express livery hauls a daytime service through snow-covered fields towards Tunbridge Wells West. Photo: Steve Lee

Members of our Sellindge team successfully replaced '72's superheater elements with those from Sir Keith Park which had been pressure tested at Herston, with SVR volunteers having removed items such as the petticoat the weekend before. It was re-steamed on the 5th Feb and we're waiting for a further visit from the boiler inspector for a live steam test. It will haul trains on the first two opening weekends of the 2023 season but at this stage we don't know the exact date when it will haul its first service on the K&ESR.

On completion of its visit to Tenterden, 257 will return to the Spa Valley for their Summer Steam Up over the weekend of 17th and 18th June. Soon after that we're pleased to report that the locomotive will return to the East Lancs Railway for its third visit, some 30 years after its first. ELR based City of Wells is undergoing overhaul this year so 257 was a natural replacement for the Summer season.

The ELR are hoping to have completed 34092 in time for them to operate in tandem before 34072 heads back down south. If all goes according to plan there may be an opportunity to see 34072 double heading with Manston in 2024. 34028 Eddystone will be in service, Sir Keith Park will be at Swanage having had the overhaul completed at Herston, so we would only need 257 Squadron to visit Swanage to have all four of our restored Bulleids in the same place and time. Could this be the chance for another Swanage Bulleid-fest?

34028 Eddystone

Eddystone is off on its travels again, this time to the North Norfolk Railway for the Spring Steam Gala, 14-16th April. When not on their travels we can look forward to Eddystone and Manston seeing plenty of use this year at Swanage, alongside 31806.

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Summer's not too far away. On 23rd July last year 34028 Eddystone was heading out of Swanage with the Royal Wessex service while 257 Squadron was out of service in the pit lane. Photo: Dave Ensor

34070 Manston

Anyone browsing the railway magazines cannot fail to have noticed the coverage of both of our unmodified Pacifics. The decision to leave Manston in 'weathered' condition certainly seems to have gone down well with the photographers.

SVR


34070 is facing Swanage currently. It's seen leaving Corfe Castle on 14th February. Note the 'Lived-in' patina, which most people seem to like, and is certainly more authentic of BR days. Photo: ANDREW P.M.WRIGHT

34053 Sir Keith Park

There has been a change of plan for this locomotive to try and speed up its re-entry into traffic. We were going to send it to the North Norfolk Railway where the newly overhauled boiler (from Sidmouth) was going to be switched with its current boiler. This involved removal of the ashpan and the smokebox from SKP's current boiler which are both going to be re-used, both which need repairs. The whole job was made more complicated as we couldn't deliver the entire engine with boiler attached into Weybourne yard because of a sharp slope on the road into the Works area.

Skp


Most parts of Sir Keith Park have been removed from the loco and are being cleaned and repaired. Photo: Dave Ensor

The release of the smokebox from SKP's current boiler and reinstatement onto the new one requires significant work - the main problem being that we don't know how much work will be involved making the new one fit. We also don't know how much ashpan work will be necessary until the boiler is lifted. With these unknown expenses to consider we have decided that our staff should do the bulk of the work at Herston to save significant contractor fees. After considering several alternatives we've decided to send 34053 back to Tyseley where it will be united with its new boiler sent from the North Norfolk after steam testing. They will loosely fit the smokebox to the boiler and then place the boiler on the frames and make safe for the transfer to Herston. Should there be any problems with this plan Tyseley have all the gear and expertise to rectify.

Our Herston staff and volunteers can then do the time consuming task of replacing the hundred or so bolts (which are disguised to look like rivets) which secure the smokebox to the boiler which is a long job even when all the bolt holes match up! The ashpans will already have been repaired and renewed where necessary at Tyseley

Skp


34053 Sir Keith Park met 34058 Sir Frederick Pile back in 2017 at an MHR gala.

The smokebox from Sir Keith Park will need some serious cup-brushing and maybe needle gunning before primer is applied. We hope our Tyseley volunteers will be able to help with this as it's so much easier to do the job when off the locomotive. The boiler is now heading for a hydraulic test in April and steam test in May, and should be ready for transportation to Tyseley by June.

34010 Sidmouth and 35025 Brocklebank Line

35025 locomotive has taken a back seat in recent months, as we wanted to complete all the non-skilled jobs on Sidmouth so that the way was clear for the professionals to move in to do the dragbox etc. However, attention has now returned to Brocklebank Line and, given luck with the weather, the frames and associated attachments will be transformed over the coming weeks.

SVR


Liam Treveil is drilling out the countless rivets that attach the front tube plate to the boiler of 35025. A hole is drilled through each rivet which is then burnt out with a gas flame. Photo: Simon Troy

Whilst some of the team will concentrate on cup brushing the frames externally, our new compressor will be moved closer so that needle gunning can take place internally on some areas which are in a poor state. It's a long and tedious job but ultimately very satisfying as you can really see where you've been at the end of a day. It would be great to have a few more volunteers to assist especially with Sir Freddie due to appear in the not too distant future.

34040


21C110 Sidmouth entered service in September 1945 and was named on 27th July 1946. The image on the front cover of the November 1946 edition of the Meccano Magazine does not show its number plate, and it's not clear where the scene is supposed to be - probably Ilfracombe.
In those days the magazine cost sixpence; that's two and a half of today's pennies - quite a bargain.




Norman

After a long hiatus there's finally been progress with Norman's overhaul. At the end of January the frames, boiler and all of the parts moved to the East Lancs Railway, and plans are being made for the overhaul to be completed.

Norman


Norman's frames and cab are lifted off the truck which brought them to their new home. Photo: Richard Moffatt

80104

The overhaul of 80104's boiler continues apace at Tyseley Works. Major work is concentrated on the rear copper tubeplate at the moment. Upon examination after the flue tubes had been removed, it was discovered that the majority of the holes, into which the bottle ends of the flues are screwed, would be oversize once the threads had been cleaned up this time around. This problem has accumulated during previous overhauls whilst undertaking this task which has resulted in the holes gradually getting bigger.

SVR


SLL volunteers will be back at Tyseley soon to remove the radius rods from 80104. Those are the rods which drive the piston valves from the expanstion link. The slots wear and will be sent to Herston to be built up and machined back to size. Photo: Nick Thompson

The point has now been reached where further cleaning would result in the holes being too big and consequently too close together compromising the integrity of the tubeplate. In order to avoid the great expense of replacing the tubeplate we are employing via Tyseley Works a specialist copper welding contractor. He will build up the edges of the holes to reduce them in size which will enable Tyseley to cut new threads in the smaller holes. Whilst this is expensive at over 25,000 it represents only about 20% of the cost of a new tubeplate. The work will also enable the locomotive's flue tubes to be replaced in years to come without a similar problem occurring.

Meanwhile many of 80104's parts have been transferred to Herston where they are receiving attention from our volunteers. As with Sir Keith Park we are in the hands of our contractors as to when the rebuilding phase can begin with both locomotives.

Memory Lane - Back to Blunsdon

The origins of Southern Locomotives are complex, evolving from a series of individual restoration projects. The first was the Port Line Locomotive Project originally based at Blunsdon on the Swindon and Cricklade Railway which has formed in 1978. Port Line was bought from Woodham's in 1982 and moved to Blunsdon in December that year.

It was to remain there for nearly five years during which a large group of volunteers worked on it in the open air, facing rain, hail and shine. Finally, in 1987, the loco moved to the former GWR Swindon Works, which had been closed and was in the process of being demolished. In the Weigh Shop work continued under pressure to participate in the Woking 150 celebration. The full story of this period was recorded in the Spring 1994 edition of NEWSUPDATE, the SLL magazine later named Southern Pacific.

35027



Rain, hail, and even snow in MAY 1986! This was a volunteer working party and they kept going despite the blizzard.

Among the volunteers was John Phillips who lived locally and took photos of Port Line and 257 Squadron at Blunsdon and Swindon, and also at the Woking 150 celebration, in which Port Line ran between Woking and Waterloo. John was in touch recently and sent a collection of his photos from that period which featured many characters, some of whom are still much involved with SLL. There's selection of the photos below, and more have been posted in a new Blunsdon Swindon gallery.

The opportunity to restructure the early years restoration photo galleries has been taken by also adding a Richborough gallery for early work on Manston along with the Sellindge gallery. Photos from the 1983-1994 gallery have been re-allocated to the more specific restoration galleries, and the 1983-1994 gallery will in future now show our locos in operation during those years.

If you can identify more faces or details of the photos in these galleries, please drop a line at nhthompson@outlook.com and we'll update the captions.

35027 34027

Willie Bath with a large mallet, plus three, are fixing Port Line's motion. 23rd June 1987.

Port line, minus boiler, being moved from Blunsdon to Swindon, with 257 Squadron in the distance. Late 1987.

35027 34053

Port Line in the Weigh Shop at Swindon on 20th March 1988.

Port Line's steam test on 17th April 1988. Photos: John Phillips

Precious Icon Saved Thankfully

SVR


31st August 2013, and Sir Keith Park has brought its recommissioning train back to Kidderminster but there was still time to buy some of the commemorative beer. Photo: Nick Thompson

When 34053 Sir Keith Park moved to the Severn Valley Railway in 2012 the Bewdley Brewery brewed a new ale to celebrate the loco. At the recommissioning event in 2013 large volumes were sold (and consumed) to the many guests on the station forecourt. The bottled ale went on to win awards for the brewer and was available on draft at the pub on the brewery site in Lax Lane, Bewdley. Some months ago the brewers decided that as the loco was no longer on the SVR they'd remove it from their range, leaving little more than the case safely in the webmaster's garage. However the decision went down badly with the pub's regulars, and the owners relented. If you've visiting Bewdley a trip to the pub is recommended, and check out the SKP!.

You can find out more about the beer and the brewery here. Trigger warnings: SKP is not a 4-6-0 and it wasn't designed by a Mr Bullied.

And finally.....

BB

The 14th November 1959 edition of the Eagle 'comic' included this cut-away drawing of 21C155 Fighter Pilot. These drawings were the work of Leslie Ashwell Wood, and covered ships, cars, planes, etc. By 1959 Bulleid Pacifics were being rebuilt, so this drawing was a bit behind the times. The webmaster's favorite of these drawings was the nuclear powered loco, which looked a bit like a steamer but with the dome of a mini reactor where the firebox would be. Sadly such locos were not built, and global warming remains un-solved.

 

news

December 2022


34028

Another cracking photo from Robin Procter with 34028 Eddystone going like the clappers!

From the Chairman

Much has happened in the last few weeks, to our locos and to the future shape of our organisation. As it includes other groups we have not been able to mention everything previously, though the rumour mill seems to have worked as usual.

The first item on the agenda is 34072, 257 Squadron . This locomotive is currently on the Spa Valley Railway working hard on Polar Express duties with a planned return to Swanage in January.

However, since writing the last update we have been advised that there will be a significant reduction in timetabled services at Swanage next year, owing to continuing drop in "turn up" passengers over recent years. With the current economic climate the Railway feels that it is unlikely that 2023 will see too much of an improvement, so to have three Pacifics of which only one would be used except on high days and holidays would seem illogical. That said, Swanage will still be the home of two Bulleids, Eddystone and Manston , both with long boiler tickets, a pair of Pacifics no other railway can match.

34010

Archimedes discovered the principle of levers around 230 BC, and the Chairman Simon demonstrates how a piece of pipe on the end of a spanner can make full value of it while removing the 36 remaining studs in Brocklebank Line's manifold at our Autumnal workshop. Whether the Greeks used a gas flame to free corroded studs is unknown, but Allan seems familiar with the technique. Photo: Simon Troy (who somehow also appears in the photo).

34072 will in future be based on the Spa Valley though it will be available for hire for much of the year, especially 2023. As many readers will remember '72 travelled extensively in the early 1990s and seemed to spend more time on tarmac than rail - with multiple visits to the North York Moors, East Lancs, Severn Valley, Bluebell, etc, and since then has travelled quite extensively to various Galas.

One railway it didn't visit and indeed one which has never had a Bulleid Pacific grace its metals is the Kent & East Sussex. We expect that 257 will be the star attraction over Easter and many other events until returning to the Spa for a June steam-up at Tunbridge Wells. More details will follow in the New Year.

The second item is that some time ago we were approached by the Mid-Hants Railway with a view to forming a long term strategic relationship. Between us we have 10 Pacifics, some of which need restoring and some without tenders, so it seems to make an awful lot of sense if we can assist each other. For example we borrowed Wadebridge's bogie for use with Eddystone earlier in 2022.

One loco at the Mid-Hants is 34058 Sir Frederick Pile which is still in the early stage of restoration. Its supporters have done as much as they can, given its location at the end of the headshunt at Alresford, to protect the locomotive from the elements by painting the boiler and cleaning and painting the frames as far as possible, given that the boiler and wheels are still in situ.

Our current discussion focuses on '58 and how we might cooperate in its restoration. We had a long association with the late Mike Vout, the previous owner for whom Willie Bath organised many of the new parts for the locomotive, such as connecting and coupling rods, many non-ferrous parts, tender frames and wheels etc. We regard this as a the first step in a very positive development for the future of Southern Locomotives.

34010


The holes in Sidmouth's new drag box are right according to the drawings, however the loco's frames seem to think otherwise. Photo: Simon Troy

Back to the business of restoration. New welding gear has arrived at Sellindge, so work can start on repairing Sidmouth's frame extensions and preparing them for the installation of the new dragbox next weekend. The latter is perfectly drilled as per the drawings but as is quite usual, the guy drilling the holes in the frames at Eastleigh the first time round clearly wasn't looking at the same set of drawings, so much redrilling and welding will be necessary before the dragbox can be fitted. With the help of our friendly scaffolders and donations of tarpaulins, Sidmouth is tucked up for the Winter with a temporary shelter over the dragbox area so that our welders and riveters can proceed with some protection from the elements.

34053 Sir Keith Park has taken Manston's place in Herston Works and is currently being stripped and readied for its transfer to the North Norfolk Railway for its boiler swap, a complicated and expensive exercise. It will then return to Swanage for reassembly. 80104's boiler overhaul at Tyseley described below is costing a small fortune as further problems have been discovered.

80104's boiler overhaul at Tyseley described below is costing a small fortune as further problems have been discovered, so we would ask any readers who would like to see a Standard Tank back in Dorset or to support any other aspect of our work to request a share application form from the Chairman, at the earliest possible opportunity.

34070


34070 first turn in service was to haul the Xmas Lunch train on Saturday 3rd December seen here at Afflington bridge. The weather was dull, but it's great to have '70 back. Photo: Gary Packer

And lastly some 100% good news: 34070 Manston re-joined the operational fleet at Swanage on 1st December and the following link to a video taken by Mike Hall will enable you to see and hear what your contributions have achieved here . We do hope that as many as possible will visit the Railways that we're involved with, to buy a ticket and ride behind steam.

Simon Troy
Chairman

34072 257 Squadron

After a short delay caused by an earlier vehicle breakdown 34072 257 Squadron and tender left the Swanage Railway on the 3rd November and arrived late in the evening at Tunbridge Wells West. Unloaded the following morning the first warming fire was raised, followed by a driver training day on 13th. All was well and our locomotive hauled the first of 119 Polar Express departures on Friday 18th.

34072


Photo: 34072 at the head of the Spa Valley Polar Express. This year the bell and the front lamp have been added but the nameplate and badge remain in place. Photo: Jonnie Pay

All 24 days are now sold out - that's over 43,000 tickets. We must hope that the Squadron performs as well as Sir Keith did last year; the following comment from Jonnie Pay who is the Commercial and Financial Manager of the Spa Valley is indicative of other reports we have been receiving:

"Just to say that 257 Squadron is an absolutely amazing engine, I was out on her first thing getting assessed as a driver and last night doing a trial timing train, and the atmosphere with the mist and an engine like that was just pure magic. I've no doubt that a lot of people are going to spend November and December in total awe of the engine."

257 Squadron will take part in the Spa Valley Winter Steam Up on 7-8th Jan and possibly other days.

34072


The superheater elements were removed from SKP and have been hydraulically tested. Photo: Neville Crook

257 Squadron will be the beneficiary of the superheater elements which were removed from Sir Keith Park's boiler in the Summer. They have been pressure tested at Herston and are ready for further use.

34028 Eddystone

This locomotive is the only one of our fleet with nothing significant to report. It has just finished its latest stint in service and at the time of writing is awaiting a boiler washout and weighing before being prepared for the Steam and Lights service.

34028


Back in the summer, 34028 Eddystone running in reverse. A great wide angle image from Robin Procter.

34070 Manston

Manston finally left Herston on 2nd November and was carried to Norden where it rejoined Swanage Railway's track after five years and three months since its withdrawal for repair and overhaul. It was then towed to Swanage where a fire was put into the locomotive on the 7th. Everything was fine and it was moved under its own power for the first time on 14th. Two days later it was passed for running by our boiler inspector, and successful loaded test runs took place on Thursday and Friday. Some work has been needed on the tender with needle guns removing some corrosion and a few weld repairs were also necessary on the tender tank.

34070


Manston is hauled on to the lowloader which will carry it to Norden, to be reunited with the track. Photo: Geoff Reber

We were pleased that following the inspection a completely new boiler ticket was granted so we have until 2033 before we (or someone!) has to start the whole process again. Hopefully it will be back in revenue earning traffic very shortly to celebrate its 75th birthday - as many will know this locomotive was the last Southern engine to be built prior to nationalisation in November 1947 and had the last 21C number allocated, whilst 257 Squadron was the last locomotive to be painted Malachite Green.

34070


Manston near Corfe Castle on its first test run on 17th November. Photo: ANDREW P.M. WRIGHT

One of the issues which contributed to Manston's delayed return to the rails was the weaknesses found in the frames of the Bissel truck. Significant corrosion was found in the structure, needing new steel sections to be welded in. Part of the cause was the current design which has undrained areas where ash and water can gather. We have added cut-outs to the frames to reduce such accumulation. Ash has also tended to gather above the axleboxes and we have fitted covers to prevent this.

34070


The new cover over the axleboxes of bissel truck which should keep the bearings free from detritus. Photo: Neville Crook

The final result of Manston's five year overhaul can be judged by this video by Mike Hall, who was one of the volunteers who worked on the project. Turn up the volume, note the perfect three cylinder exhaust, and enjoy.

34053 Sir Keith Park

34053


Manston goes out and Sir Keith Park comes into Herston Works on 2nd November. Photo: Geoff Reber

Following storage at Corfe Castle station for a couple of months Sir Keith Park was transferred to Herston Works via Norden on the same lowloader that had brought Manston back to the Railway. The major job of dismantling the locomotive to prepare it for its transfer to Weybourne on the North Norfolk Railway is underway.


34053


No time was wasted before we started to remove parts from Sir Keith Park for repair and repaint. Photo: Geoff Reber

Within days the cab had been stripped, the motion partly removed, valves stripped for removal, cylinder covers loosened off so that the pistons can be taken out, brake rigging removed, smoke deflectors released and nameplates removed. We also need to remove items such as the regulator for fitting into the new (ex Sidmouth ) boiler, which is well on its way to completion. The hydraulic test will hopefully take place in January and the steam tests in February when we have sent all the necessary parts such as the safety valves, regulator, gauge glasses, etc, having had to overhaul them first. These photos from Neville Crook show some of the variety of parts needed to build a Bulleid Pacific.

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Brake rods, each carefully labelled, and each needing to be cleaned and painted and with two or three pins and bushes to be refitted.

Brake levers and pins, to be cleaned and painted and with pins to be refitted.

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Part-worn brake blocks, spacers and other parts.

A Stones generator, speedo gear, injector pipes, lubrication pipes and sections of the running plates.

34010 Sidmouth and 35025 Brocklebank Line

One of our volunteers donated two new tarpaulins with which we have encased Sidmouth's frames to protect all the new paintwork, which was just as well as we've recently had heavy storms. We haven't covered the frame extensions as we hope to start work on installing the new dragbox. With Sidmouth encased we can turn our attention to Brocklebank Line and will follow the same route although there will certainly be more needle gunning. Whilst the exterior of the frames just look messy with peeling paintwork where areas weren't prepared properly, the inside is in much worse condition. The difficult to get at areas appear to have been painted with hardly any preparation of the surfaces at all, so there's much rust and scale.

34010


Roy Carlo applies a coat of paint to Sidmouth's new drag box. Note Brocklebank Line's boiler behind and its tender tank to the right. Photo: Simon Troy

As with Sidmouth we're removing the horn stays one at a time to prevent any stress on the frames, stripping them down to bare metal and repainting. We will then reinstate them one at a time having cleaned all adjacent surfaces. The axleboxes themselves look in very good condition and hopefully little work will need to be done on them prior to reinstatement.

35025


The cab of Brocklebank Line has been thoroughly overhauled by the Herston cladding team and it now has a fine top coat. We may be taking the restoration a step further. Photo: Dave Ensor

The cab is looking good at Herston although hopefully it will be brought into the Works shortly to protect it from the weather. For reasons which cannot currently be revealed we will now be fitting the cab out more extensively than planned. The first job is to organise the bronze window frames, a long and expensive job as they are really complicated consisting three sliding windows and wind deflector, so a lot of machining is necessary.

All of SLL's current funds are devoted to current overhauls so much of the kit such as grit blasters, needle guns, electric tools, etc, to undertake initial restoration on both Sidmouth and Brocklebank Line have been self-funded by the team, to the tune of many thousands. However, now that major finance will be needed in 2023 for our Merchant Navy we hope that those who want to see '25 restored will help us when they can.

80104

Work continues on the boiler thanks to our sponsor who is lending us the majority of the funds for the extensive work being carried out. Whilst the front tubeplate has had to be renewed it was thought that the rear one was in satisfactory condition. However, on removal of the tubes it has been discovered that most of the firebox tubeplate holes have been expanded to an unacceptable size, presumably during its last overhaul. The larger the holes means there is the less material between them which can compromise the integrity of the tubeplate. So according to the BR handbook we now have to repair the damage. The cost of a new copper tubeplate would be astronomical, so we are relieved to be advised by Tyseley that the current one can be repaired. Tyseley's experience with GWR copper tubeplates is valued, though the additional repair will cost around £20,000, money we don't currently have.

80104


The new front tubeplate is being manufactured at Tyseley. The plate has been fitted with the ring which is welded to the boiler, and many of the holes for tubes and superheater elements have been machined. Photo: Alastair Meanley

Our Tyseley volunteer team have been working on the rest of the locomotive preparing it for quite extensive work to be undertaken at Herston on its return. Many parts including the brake gear have already been transferred to the Works. As it hasn't had a full overhaul in its 25+ years in service there is much to do. Not least is the copper lubrication pipework which is beyond repair by the normal annealing process.

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Graham Froud inspects the firebox wall of 80104. The outer wall has been cut out and a replacement is being fabricated at Tyseley. The inner wall will also need to be replaced, and being made of copper the cost will be eye-watering. Photo: Bob Bevis

The frames and wheels were steam cleaned at Tyseley but with the driving wheels in situ there were some areas which couldn't be reached. Therefore much time was spent manually cleaning the hard to get at places before painting could commence. At the last working party in November, all the driving wheels were painted black along with much of the frames that could be accessed. Even with the extra work required the boiler is pretty much on schedule though the bottleneck may be at Herston unless we can increase our staff; if Sir Keith Park and 80104 arrive at the same time it's going to be tricky. However, there is much to do on both locomotives in Birmingham and Norfolk before this possible eventuality, so we'll just have to see how it pans out.

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The SLL Tyseley volunteer team made progress on their November visit. Alan Garner, Phil Casey, Malcolm Garner and Glyn Bann, not forgetting photographer Nick Thompson, applied chassis black to clean metal wherever they could find it.

Norman

New arrangements for the completion of Norman's overhaul are progressing, albeit slowly, and we hope to be able to make a further announcement in a few weeks.

Waterloo to the West Country

book


Platform 5 books have recently published a book for Bulleid fans, "Waterloo to the West Country". There is a discount code SLL22 which online purchasers may use, and the publishers will make a contribution to SLL's restoration work if you purchase via this link.


 

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