2014 News Archive

News Archives

2023 News

2022 News

2021 News

2020 News

2019 News

2018 News

2017 News

2016 News

2015 News

2013 News

2012 News

2011 News

2010 News

2009 News

Christmas update


Season's Greeting from all at Southern Locomotives Ltd., and thanks to Yorkshire Loco-Images for this fine shot of 34053 Sir Keith Park hauling a Santa Special on the Severn Valley Railway.

November 2014

34028 Eddystone

Eddystone at GDSF

34028 Eddystone made a brief trip to the Great Dorset Steam Fair, courtesy of Allely's Heavy Haulage. Sadly it never made it to the main arena due to the muddy conditions at this year's show. (c) Gareth James

Eddystone is currently in store at the Herston sidings. It's expected to move to Stockton for boiler lift and cleaning in a few weeks.

Eddystone appeal

Thank you to all of those who have submitted share applications to support Eddystone's overhaul. So far we are well into four figures....though that leaves quite a way to go given that the total cost of the overhaul is likely to be in excess of £200,000.

The webmaster bought another share and claimed his print of Eddystone which is now gracing the wall of SLL's Global Digital Communications Hub (aka the spare bedroom).

257 Squadron   257 Squadron

Richard Green's (Locos in Profile) new print of 34028 Eddystone, a copy of which is offered to those sending in a new share application.

The webmaster was "lucky" to be sent print No 28. Thanks, Richard!

In the workshop

5th November saw a big step forward in the overhaul of 257 Squadron; the loco was rewheeled, and the new tender frames were also wheeled. The cab body is complete and most of the smokebox is in place. The new tender tank is largely complete and will travel south to be fitted in the next few weeks.

257 Squadron   257 Squadron

Six tender wheelsets. The nearest three, with BFB wheels, are for our new tender. The others are spoked and come from N class 31874.

Ron Neal seen test fitting the RH middle axle box of 257 Squadron. All the axle boxes had to be "just right" before the loco could be rewheeled.

257 Squadron   257 Squadron

The frames for the new tender are complete. They have now been turned, and wheels and springs fitted.

The view into the newly fabricated hexagonal smokebox of 257 Squadron, showing the blast pipe and flanges for the main steam pipes.

257 Squadron   257 Squadron

The frames are lifted by a crane at the front and then slowly lowered as each set of axle boxes is fitted into the horn cheeks.

The rear set of wheels are in place. The loco is now fully wheeled, including the front bogie and rear truck.

Photos showing the rewheeling of 34072 can be seen here.

One of a steam loco's most crucial components are the bearings of the driving axles. The are plain bearings lined with white metal, a group of alloys containing of tin, antimony, copper and lead. In the last years of UK steam a number of locos used roller bearings (most notably the LNER A1's) but white metal was the norm, and was often the Achilles Heel. Did O V S Bulleid consider roller bearings for his pacifics? If he did wartime constraints probably ruled them out.

In the video Ron Neal pours white metal to make a smaller bearing, part of the brake linkage.

2014 Driving & Firing, and Annual General Meeting

On Saturday 27th September our Annual General Meeting was held at the Engine House, Highley, on the SVR. Around 30 shareholders attended the meeting, the formalities passing without incident. Richard Moffatt has rejoined the board of directors. Richard has been involved with SLL for many years. He's also a regular at the K&ESR, and part owner of a GWR 2-8-0T, though that should not be held against him!

During the three preceding days more than 20 shareholders enjoyed driving and firing trips with Sir Keith Park. The SVR had provided a serious load - seven bogie coaches - for SKP to haul, giving our crews plenty to think about, and a chance to open the throttle on the climb up to Bewdley Tunnel.

Sir Keith Park   Sir Keith Park

Geoff Thompson at the controls of Sir Keith Park after arrival at Kidderminster on 24th September.

Dave Turner is a new SLL shareholder, seen here getting to grips with the shovel.

Sir Keith Park   Highley Engine House

John, Geoff and Evan pose with Sir Keith Park at Kidderminster after their driving & firing turns.

The Engine House is an excellent location for our AGM, not least thanks to the view from the balcony.


80104's boiler returned to Swanage on 23rd October and was immediately re-united with the loco in Swanage station yard. A new ashpan was also attached and the loco should return to service in time to work the Santa's. It's expected to have a seven year boiler ticket, taking it through to 2021, though the main axle boxes will also need overhaul; that work will be scheduled in the near future, depending on service requirements and availability of lifting facilities.

80104 boiler   80104 Boiler

80104's boiler returned on 23rd October. It was hoisted from the trailer, the new ashpan was attached and then swung over to the siding at Swanage station.

The boiler is maneovered into place. 80104 is expected to return to service in time for the Santa's.

August 2014

34028 Eddystone

Eddystone's ticket finally expired on Sunday 17th August, and it now awaits a major overhaul. It ran in service at Swanage right up to the last train that evening, the 22.29 departure from Norden, having taken over the evening trains from the usual DMU.


34028 Eddystone preparing to run round its train at Swanage station on the evening of 17th August, its last day in service.

More photos taken on Eddystone's last day in service can be seen here. Its next move will be a visit to the Great Dorset Steam Fair 27-31st August, then the boiler will be lifted and sent north to Stockton for extensive repairs.


Dave Ensor's view of 34028 Eddystone leaving Corfe Castle, prints of which are available from his website.

34028 Eddystone overhaul appeal

With major boiler work, a new tender tank, and a complete overhaul of the wheels and motion, Eddystone's overhaul is likely to cost up to £250,000. Our aim is to have it running again in 2017, but that will take a lot of work and money. Once again we are asking our 700 shareholders, and new shareholders, for their support. Richard Green (Locos in Profile) has created a fine art print of Eddystone, copies of which will be exclusively available to those making new share subscriptions.

Full details of this appeal can be found here.


Richard Green's new print of 34028 Eddystone follows his popular prints of Sir Keith Park and 257 Squadron. A copy will be given to each person making a new share subscription during the period of the loco's overhaul.

From the 2003/4 archive - the restoration of 34028 Eddystone

The world was rather different in October 2003; Dirty Den had returned to EastEnders, Brookside had ceased after 21 years, and Iain Duncan-Smith had quit as Tory leader. Into that world arrived 34028 Eddystone on 4th October, running into Swanage station, in steam, for the first time for the benefit of those attending the SLL AGM. Since then Eddystone has been part of the landscape at Swanage, not forgetting its forays to other lines, and life won't be quite the same while it's being overhauled.

SLL's magazine Southern Pacific covered events in those days, and all 21 editions can now be found online. A good place to start is the final restoration report, and looking back it's interesting to see how difficult it was for a biannual magazine to cover rolling events; bring on Facebook, Twitter and the whole interweb thingy!


34028 Eddystone leaving Herston works on 29th September 2003. After its forthcoming 10 year overhaul it will look like this again, only better!

SLL Annual General Meeting

This year's AGM will be held an the Engine House at Highley station on the Severn Valley Railway on Saturday 27th September. It will start at 14:30. 34053 Sir Keith Park should be in service, so hopefully many shareholders will be able to arrive and/or depart by a train hauled by our loco. The SVR timetable can be found here. Formal notice of the meeting to shareholders will be sent nearer the date.

The Engine House is primarily a museum which houses many locos and wagons not currently in service on SVR. There's also a nice cafe with a first class view of the railway. SLL shareholders coming for the AGM are invited to view the exhibits, and will not be charged for admission, though a donation would be welcome. Coming by SVR train is strongly advised, if only because there's not much parking nearby!

34053 at Highley

The view from the Engine House cafe - who could ask for more? An area of the cafe will be reserved for shareholders to congregate and enjoy a cuppa prior to the meeting.


80104's boiler is still being repaired at Adam Dalgleish's workshop in Stockton. More copper stays are currently being replaced in the firebox. It's expected to have a hydraulic test towards the end of August, followed by a steam test in early September.


Apart from use during Swanage Railway's 35th Anniversary event in July Manston has scarcely turned a wheel for the last three months as Eddystone was used as much as possible before it was withdrawn. For the rest of the season Manston is expected to be in regular service, likewise for 2015 until 257 Squadron returns to service. At that point Swanage will be home to two original, working, Bulleid Pacifics - surely unique in post-1968 history. Just think of the photo opportunities that will present.


Unusually, Norman was not running at Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway in July as it was awaiting its annual boiler examination. The steam test was completed on 8th August, and it's expected to be back in service shortly following installation of a new brick arch.

SLL Photo Gallery

The SLL Photo Archive now contains 35 Albums, with over 2,000 photographs which get at least 10,000 viewings per year. Over the years it's "grown like Topsy" and navigation became a challenge. To address this we've reordered the albums by adding a prefix to each album title, e.g. "(10) 34010 Sidmouth", so that they display more logically. The general sequence is: Locos in BR days, Restoration, SLL locos in heritage use, SLL events. It's best to use the "sort by Album Title" options; Picasa is liable to display the albums in a random fashion when using the other options.

34028 12th August 2014

A recent SLL gallery addition - 34028 Eddystone being prepared for service early on 12th August, six days before it was withdrawn for overhaul.

The law of unintended consequences inevitably struck; changing gallery names breaks links from the SLL website, and over the past five years a lot of these have been built into news stories, etc. Many of these links have now been fixed, but if you spot a broken link please let us know.

On a similar topic, Swanage Railway has recent changed its website and (presently, at least) most of its older news items are no longer visible. Hopefully these will return at some point. Meanwhile, our links to those stories go to the Swanage Railway front page.

And now for something completely different...

Malcolm Garner may live in Bewdley, but he's a regular SLL volunteer at Herston, possibly as his formative years were spent at school in Woking with a good view of Bulleids on the main line. After a career teaching deaf children he now pursues several interests, not least a charity which helps deaf children in Gambia. To raise money to train local staff he's doing a sponsored bike ride later this month. You can find out more here or use this link to sponsor him.

Malcolm Garner

For someone even older than the webmaster, Malcolm is pretty fit, which is just as well if you're planning to ride 600 miles on a bike. Perhaps using a sledge hammer on a flogging spanner keeps him fit for cycling, or maybe it's the other way round?

You can follow Malcolm's blog here.

July 2014

34072 257 Squadron overhaul - in pictures

valve liners   valve liners

12th June - hottest day of the year so far - so it's out to the yard to clean up lumps of rusty metal.

Volunteer Chris Worby uses the pneumatic reamer to prepare holes for fitted bolts on the frames of the new tender.

valve liners   valve liners

Dave Town fabricated the tank for Sir Keith Park's new tender. His next mission will be a new smokebox for 257 Squadron.

The frames of tender 003 have received a clean undercoat. This may run with Eddystone after its overhaul, while Eddystone's tender (with a new tank) may run with 257 Squadron.

Repairs to 80104

The new boiler inspector deemed that more work should be undertaken on both 80104 and 257 Squadron's boilers than was considered necessary by his predecessor, so the work on 80104 has taken longer than anticipated. A leaking stay in an area which couldn't be accessed without a boiler lift prompted an earlier than expected withdrawal from service. It was illogical to spend money on the problem, having had to lift the boiler, without doing a lot more work on it, bearing in mind it was due for overhaul little more than a year's time. The positive news is that with the complete renewal of all large flue tubes, and the fact that three years ago the locomotive was fitted with new small tubes and elements, 80104 will re-enter service with a ticket for seven years at least.

Much work has taken place in the copper firebox and foundation ring, a new patch inserted in the boiler barrel and many new stays of both the normal and monel variety have been replaced. It is expected to have its hydraulic test before the end of July with the steam test shortly after. The not so good news is that the cost has spiralled to £40,000 so as ever we are grateful for any support you can offer.

34028 Eddystone

Eddystone's ticket expires on 17th August. Meanwhile it is in regular use at Swanage - catch it while you can. After withdrawal it may visit the Great Dorset Steam Fair. Subsequently the tender may head north to Stockton where a new tank is being fabricated. That tender could then be attached to 257 Squadron (with which it ran in the past) while the tender being constructed at Herston could be fitted with the other new tank we have ordered, then run with Eddystone when it re-enters service. Given the good progress being made on the new frames we may send stick with plan A, which was to send them to Stockton first and use them with 257 Squadron.

Prints of SLL locos at work on Swanage Railway

Dave Ensor is a regular local volunteer at Herston works, and he's a man of many talents, not least an excellent photographer. He runs a stall on Swanage station where he sells mounted and framed photos featuring railway scenes to support Swanage Railway.


Dave Ensor's view of 34028 Eddystone leaving Corfe Castle, prints of which are available from his website.

Dave now offers a selection of his images featuring SLL locos at work on Swanage Railway from a new website, which he will mail to UK addresses. The prints cost just £12.00 inc P&P, and Dave makes a generous donation to SLL if you purchase via the website.

Eurovision Gricing Contest

Yes, once again the plucky lads from Herston works have ventured across the channel in search of steam. This time their destination was Neustadt an der Weinstrasse (that's Newtown in Wine Street.....sounds good already) in the Rhineland, centre of this year's DampfSpektakel. Ignoring distractions such as beer and sausages they travelled across the region to places such as Bad Durkheim, Bad Kreuznack and Bad Hangover, hauled by locos painted in customary black with red wheels. But fear not, they're now all safely back home, and will be sticking strictly to BR Green with Orange and Black lining.

neustadt   neustadt

Neustadt MPD, with seven locos on shed, all in steam. DR Pacific 01 150 moves forward for a spin on the turntable, for the benefit of massed photographers.

The elegant motion of the German locos is always impressive. 01 202 has extra bling, with polished steel wheel rims.

Sir Keith Park in oils

Kidderminster resident Chris Henry is fortunate enough to live in a house backing on to the SVR. She took the first recorded video of Sir Keith Park running on the line, and joined us for the recommissioning event held last August 31st. Following that she decided to commission an oil painting by well-known railway artist John Austin showing the loco complete with regalia hauling the train up the gradient to Foley Park Tunnel. The Spitfire and Hurricane overhead are a slight artistic licence - the flypast was actually at Bridgnorth station an hour earlier.

Sir Keith Park CHris Henry

John Austin's fine painting of 34053 Sir Keith Park. The date is 31st August 2014, and the scene depicts the return run of the special train after the recommissioning event, with a flypast by a Hurricane and a Spitfire of the Battle of Britain memorial flight.

May 2014

34072 257 Squadron overhaul - in pictures

valve liners   valve liners

The cladding of the cab is largely new, and it's all starting to look like a cab. This is the work of the "Superior Cladding Department" who report for duty every Tuesday.

Meanwhile up in Stockton (aka: North Swanage) the tank for 34072's new tender is starting to take shape.

valve liners   valve liners

34072's corrugated main steam pipes were life expired and are being replaced by plain pipes. These have been delivered with one end flanged. The other flange will be welded in place after assembly.

The new tender frame is still inverted to make it simpler for pipework to be fitted; steam heat, vacuum and water pipes are required.

34072 257 Squadron new middle piston valve liners

One significant task in 34072's overhaul is to fit new cast iron liners to the middle piston valve. The liners fit inside the cylinder chest casting and are in two parts, one for the front ports, one for the rear. They are fitted by immersing them in liquid nitrogen, which boils at a mere -194 degC, by which point they have contracted (by around 16 thou in this case) and will slide into the casting....simples!

SLL contracted Bryn Engineering of Wigan for this job; they specialise in such railway work; in fact their engineers John and Duncan both own steam locos. The LN arrived in a white van holding a large tank, and a vessel was filled and located adjacent to the loco. The front liner was cooled and tried in place; a liner only stays cool enough to fit for a couple of minutes, and as it seemed reluctant to go in straight away it was put back into the coolant while the casting was dressed with a grindstone. Next time it went in straight away. The rear liner also proved a little reluctant, but the whole job was done in a couple of hours.

valve liners   valve liners

The two valve liners awaiting fitting into the cylinder block. The top lip positions the casting lengthwise, however the liner must be rotated while very cold to position the ports correctly.

The rear valve liner is held in place while it cools. As the inside cylinder is raise by 8 degrees above the horizontal it might slide out until it's warmed sufficiently to form an interference fit with the casting.

This video shows John and Duncan from Bryn Engineering cooling the liners and positioning them in the cylinder casting.

Manston at WSR

As has been reported, Manston failed on Day 2 of the WSR Gala due to a problem with a loose piston head. This meant it took no further part in proceedings though thanks to hard work from the Swanage loco team it was back in action at Swanage the following weekend. Rather less importantly this put the mockers on our photo competition though we did still get some good entries. SLL Director Simon Troy has selected the three photos below as winners, and the prizes have been sent to the photographers.


First prize has been award to Pam Whitehead her view of Manston with the 13:45 ex-Minehead at Roebuck Farm, near Crowcombe. 27th March 2014. (c) P Whitehead

Manston   Manston

Second prize goes to Mark Kirby for this view of 34070 Manston at Sampford Brett, 27th March 2014. (c) Mark Kirby

Third prize goes to Hugh Topham for his photo of both 34070 Manston and 34007 Wadebridge and also 5322 getting ready for the day. 27th March. (c) H Topham

Many thanks to everyone who took part. Thanks also to Pen & Sword Books for providing the prizes. Full screen versions of all of the entries can be seen here.

Sir Keith Park returns to traffic

34053 Sir Keith Park has also re-entered service on SVR following repair of the damage to its inside cylinder, cylinder end cover, piston, and little end suffered on 1st January. This work was undertaken at the Bridgnorth workshops.


Sir Keith Park re-entered service on SVR early in April. Here it's seen on 22nd April hauling a charter with the headboard, "Les Pantalons Rouges" (the Red Trousers). The significance of the name isn't clear, but apparently a group from the Ffestiniog Railway were involved. (c) John Oates

Repairs to 80104

Work is continuing on 80104's boiler at Adam Dalgleish Engineering Ltd in Stockton.


34028 has seen regular service in recent weeks. Hopefully it will be running up to the end of its ticket in mid-August, after which it will be out of use for at least a couple of years, as there's still a way to go on 257 Squadron's overhaul. So make a trip to Swanage Railway to see it while you can. Swanage Railway generally show loco schedules for the week ahead here.


The train now departing.....a recent view of 34028 Eddystone heading to Norden. It will be in service until mid-August when its boiler ticket expires. Photo: Dave Ensor

And finally.....the Sidmouth Herald features Sidmouth visiting Sidmouth

Back in March the webmaster was minding his own business in Sidmouth Library when he was approached by a reporter from the Sidmouth Herald. "Are you the train man?", he asked. (It's a small town and word gets about.) "Will you write an article for our Nostalgia page? As much as you want, and include some photos." So on 18th April the article was duly published; the theme was obviously 34010 Sidmouth, and in particular its one and only visit to the town's station to be named. That all happened back in 1946, but the local museum (which also features a large panel about 34010) has the newspaper archive with a report of the naming ceremony, next to one of the Mens Bowls team losing!

The webmaster's fame has spread further, being approached by people saying, "I saw your article". He also met Bob Greening, the son of the then Station Master, while coming home from an Exeter City match (City 0 : 1 Northampton, no further comment required.). Bob had missed the ceremony as he was in Germany doing National Service (a full 68 years ago). Sadly his father was not mentioned in the report of the ceremony, nor visible in the photo.

There's never a dull moment in East Devon!

34010 article

From the Sidmouth Herald, 18th April 2014. These days the Herald includes colour photos, including the one of Derek Idle's taken at Fleet 50 years ago. In 1946 - 68 years ago - it had no photos at all, and the photo of the naming ceremony, probably taken by the Southern Railway, came to light some years later.

A full-screen copy of the recent article can be seen here and the 1946 report is here.

March 2014

34072 257 Squadron overhaul

Work continues at Herston on the overhaul of 257 Squadron. Four photos from volunteer Malcolm Garner tell the story.

ash pan   brake hanger

The kit of parts for the new ash pan has been assembled - without the Ikea instruction leaflet!

Tony removes an old bush from one of the main brake hangers with surgical precision.

injector pipes   257 tender

The copper feed pipes have been fitted to the injectors, which are mounted below the cab.

The new tender chassis for 257 Squadron is progressing. The tank is being fabricated off-site.

80104 - "stuff happens"

Hardly had the ink dried on our February report of 80104's winter service at Swanage when we had a rude awakening. A leaking stay appeared in mid-February and the loco had to be taken out of service. The stay was below the line of the frames making it effectively impossible to replace without lifting the boiler from the loco. Following urgent discussions with Swanage Railway it was agreed to remove the boiler and send it off-site for repairs.


80104's boiler was lifted at Norden on 12th March and sent north for repairs. The plan is for it to return to service in May.

Preparations were made by railway staff at Swanage MPD, the boiler was lifted at Norden on 12th March, and has headed north to Adam Dalgleish's workshop in Stockton.

The repairs will include replacement of over 100 stays and other work on the firebox. As 80104's tubes were replaced in 2011 the boiler is expected to re-enter service with seven year boiler ticket in May, ready for this year's summer season.


On 14th September 1963, just over 50 years ago, 80104 enters Montgomery station with an up train. (c) R Icke

34053 Sir Keith Park

The repairs to the inside connecting rod, bearings, piston and cylinder liner are essentially complete, and Sir Keith Park was steamed on 13th March. While the loco was out of service it received its annual examination, and a range of minor adjustments and repairs were made. Its insurance exam and running in are expected to be done in the week commencing 17th March, and it's expected to return to service in April.

34070 Manston

The new main steam pipes have been fitted, likewise the coupling rods which received attention. Manston is now back in service.

34070 Manston Photo Competition

Sadly Sir Keith Park won't be alongside Manston at the West Somerset Railway in March, but a return visit to Minehead by an original Bulleid is still an event worth recording. So we're asking photographers to send us some of their best photos of Manston during its time there. The Gala dates are 27th to 30th March, and it's likely to be arrive a few days before and leave a few days later; we'll let you know the dates if we have them.

The subject is simple; any photos featuring 34070 Manston during its trip to West Somerset Railway during March/April 2014. It's mainly for fun, but there will be three prizes; newly published railway books kindly donated to us by Pen & Sword Books.


Pen & Sword's new books are, Railway Disasters by Simon Fowler, England's Cathedrals by Train, by Murray Naylor, and The Quintinshill Conspiracy by Jack Richards & Adrian Searle.

Here are the rules:

34070 on SVR   34028 at CVR

Clive Hanley submitted this excellent shot of Manston on the SVR to our 2010 competition.

Paul Bettany entered an atmospheric shot of Eddystone at the Churnett Valley, also in 2010.

34053 Reminiscenses

The Winter 2013 edition of Severn Valley Railway News, the magazine for SVR members and supporters, included an article by Derek Tuck recalling his encounters with 34053 in the 1960's. We thought that SLL supporters would be equally interested, so Derek has kindly allowed us to reproduced the article, with minor modifications, below. The Logs of runs Derek made behind 34053 have also been attached to the 34053 Sir Keith Park - BR Service page.

Standing on the footplate of 34053 Sir Keith Park at Kidderminster recently brought back memories of journeys I made with these engines in BR service. With only a few years of steam haulage left, I was keen to collate a record of the day-to-day performances put up by various locomotive types. In the nineteen sixties, the main line trains out of London Waterloo were among the last to remain predominately steam-hauled and, by and large, the Bulleid Pacifics didn't disappoint.


34053 was based at Bournemouth in its later years. As well as running up to Waterloo it hauled inter-regional services heading north, where the Southern loco would normally run as far as Oxford. Derek Tuck took this photo at Oxford on 29th August 1964, running to the South Siding prior to hauling the Pines Express to the south, dep 14:04. (c) D Tuck

These were exciting times, as due to an acute shortage of crews at Nine Elms, the South London loco depot responsible, some firemen from the North East, where steam was by now defunct, followed in the footsteps of Mr Bulleid himself, and transferred from the Eastern to the Southern Region of BR. In addition, some of the Nine Elms firemen were promoted to drivers at a relatively early age; some of these crews were keen to have a final fling with steam, and consequently some spectacular performances ensued. It was at this time that I recorded a speed of 105mph behind one of the larger Merchant Navy Pacifics, the highest speed I have personally recorded with steam. The Battle of Britain/West Country light Pacifics, although not being as powerful as the larger Merchant Navy class, were still capable of a fair turn of speed. I have recorded maxima of 98mph both with rebuilt No. 34021 Dartmoor and unrebuilt No. 34102 Lapford. The majority of drivers, especially the old hands, were not interested in being 'boy racers' and simply set out to make the workload as easy as possible for their firemen; this appeared to be the case with all my runs behind 34053.

My first encounter with 34053 was in August 1964; I was travelling from Waterloo to Farnborough, first stop Woking then all stations to Basingstoke. This turn had hitherto been the preserve of either an S15 4-6-0 or BR Standard class 4, and I was surprised to find a Battle of Britain Pacific on the job. Needless to say, with a six-coach load, time was easily kept with no higher speed than 68mph. The table sets out a typical run from Woking to Waterloo with 34053, once again with a light load including a 75mph limit parcels van in the train. I always enjoyed a lively run in from Woking, as there is always a heightened sense of speed travelling through suburbia.

34053 at Vauxhall   34053 at Basingsoke

34053 Sir Keith Park with an up service from Bournemouth seen near Vauxhall. (c) Mike Esau

34053 on Basingstoke shed, 28th August 1963. Sir Keith Park was not based at Basingstoke shed, but regularly worked trains between there and Waterloo, so would be coaled and turned there. (c) J Scrace

It was in April 1965 that I was able to sample a run with 34053 on a two-hour Bournemouth to Waterloo Express. The train, made up of eleven vehicles, once again included a 75mph limit parcels van. An uneventful run with no higher speed than 69mph brought us into Southampton one minute late. Table 2 sets out the run thereafter and as can be seen from the log, 34053 was never extended, although despite a leisurely run up Winchester bank - 16 miles mostly at 1 in 252 - we were just inside the 37 minute schedule at Worting Junction. On the easier grades to Woking, things continued to be taken gently and by Woking Junction we were two minutes down; an injection of pace followed, and from Woking to Hampton Court Junction, speed averaged 74mph. Unfortunately, a signal stop outside Waterloo station caused a three-minute late arrival. In contrast to this run, and to demonstrate just what these engines were capable of when really extended, in 1967 the final year of steam, I timed a run with No. 34036 'Westwood Ho' hauling a similar load; speeds of over seventy miles per hour were reached up Winchester bank and a maximum of ninety one miles per hour was achieved near Fleet.

The next table sets out a run through the New Forest from Southampton to Bournemouth. Driver Holloway of Nine Elms was in charge of 34053, a modest load of 8 coaches - 270 tons - presented no particular challenge, however with switchback gradients and numerous speed restrictions, this route calls for enginemanship of a fairly high order. A 15mph Permanent Way restriction after Beaulieu Road cost 1½ minutes, but with speed culminating in a 78mph dash down Hinton Admiral bank, Bournemouth was reached well inside the 34 minute schedule. I have enjoyed many footplate experiences on these engines; on one memorable occasion I was riding on 'Battle of Britain' Class No. 34060 25 Squadron. Immediately on leaving Bournemouth, the fireman handed me the shovel: I was to earn my passage! Despite my youth and inexperience, I fired to Southampton in a very awkward manner, but nevertheless the steam pressure held, for the Bulleid boiler is very forgiving. The rostered fireman took over at Southampton, and with a maximum of 85mph at Fleet, we arrived at Waterloo on time. Although I preferred these engines in their rebuilt form, being more efficient and in my opinion more pleasing to the eye, I must concede that the smoothest ride I have experienced on the footplate was on unrebuilt West Country Pacific No. 34103 Calstock in charge of the 'Pines Express' on the Western Region main line from Oxford to Reading West. I was most impressed.

My last run on BR with Sir Keith Park was on the 5.56pm Southampton to Waterloo semi-fast on 30th August 1965. With a thirteen-coach load and continual signal checks, this turned out to be a disappointing finale with this engine. Not being in the best of condition by now, 34053 made heavy work of it, managing no more than 45mph up Winchester bank. As I left the train at Basingstoke, little did I know that in just over a month's time, she would be withdrawn from service, having lasted barely seven years in her rebuilt form. One day, maybe, 34053 will once again show her paces on the main line; until then, let's all enjoy that wonderful three-cylinder sound echoing along the Severn Valley.

Derek Tuck was a regular footplateman in the early years of the SVR.

Images from the past

We're always interested in seeing photos of our fleet of locos, either in action today, rusting in a scrap yard or from their BR days. Those from BR days are particularly interesting, because far fewer photos were taken in the 50's and 60's, and because they represent the times which to some extent we attempt to represent on heritage railways today.

The webmaster met Stuart Davison and his wife Lynn over breakfast at the Little Gem Guest House in Swanage, which is popular with tourists and SLL volunteers. It's odds-on that people staying there plan to visit the Swanage Railway; Stuart was an SLL shareholder and was there for a Drive-n-Fire on Manston the following day.

Stuart had been involved with Manston since the 1980's, and kindly offered to send SLL some of his photos. They are an interesting collection, not least since they fill in some gaps in our records, e.g. several of our locos at Barry, un-restored Manston at Loughborough, and running at NYMR in 2010. Four shots are shown below, which along with some of his others have also been added to the SLL Galleries.

34070 Manston tender   34010 Sidmouth at Barry

A Bulleid tender, intended for use with Manston, seen at Barry on 28th Feb 1980 (c) S Davison

34010 Sidmouth, at Barry, 28th Feb 1980. (c) S Davison

34070 during restoration at Loughborough   Manston at Pickering

After moving from Richborough, Manston spent some time at Loughborough. 13th Oct 1996 (c) S Davison

34070 Manston arrives at Pickering during the 2010 NYMR Gala. 3rd Oct 2010 (c) S Davison

A new deal with Swanage Railway?

We wrote to SLL Shareholders at the end of February to advise them that SLL and Swanage Railway are in discussion about a new long term agreement. Some reports of this have appeared on-line, including the possibility of 80104 being sold to the Swanage Railway. We don't intend to comment at this point except to confirm that some constructive discussions have taken place between us, looking at our separate and mutual needs for the coming years, and there may well be the basis of a new agreement which will benefit both organisations. As usual there is a lot of detail to be resolved, and our discussions are still in progress. When there's an outcome we'll tell you more.

February 2014

34072 257 Squadron overhaul

257 Squadron has been a hive of activity; with six or more people working on it most days its overhaul is moving forward on all fronts. The photos tell the story:

horn guides   257 Squadron frames

Some years ago we bought three sets of components to build ashpans for our Bulleids. The third of these will be assembled for use with 257 Squadron, and the set was taken off the rack to help us figure out how it should fit together. Think "Ikea Wardrobe without instructions" and you won't be far wrong.

Improved "easier access" panels have been fitted to the top the oil bath of 257 Squadron. These are fitted with breather caps; the originals were in bad shape so replacements have been made.

horn guides   257 Squadron frames

Setting 34072's motion and axle boxes has started. The first job is to run a taut piano wire along the axis of the cylinder to its intersection with the centre point of the middle axle box.

Meanwhile, 250 miles north at Adam Dalgleish's workshop in Stockton, work on the boiler has continued. The outer backhead shows a welded insert, repairs to the firehole and new bosses fitted for rear expansion plate.

34053 Sir Keith Park

Most readers will be aware that 34053 suffered a major problem on New Year's Day while in service on SVR, and will be out of service for three months or so. SVR immediately reported the incident to SLL and 34053 was taken to Bridgnorth for investigation. The exact chain of events is not known; water carry-over is a likely cause, though not necessarily at the moment when the failure occured. What is clear is that the piston became detached from the crosshead and wreaked havoc with the middle cylinder. Apparently the safety cotter which holds the main cotter in place, which in turn keeps the crosshead attached to the piston, was sheered off. The result is that 34053 needs a new piston rod and piston head and a new front cylinder cover. The cylinder liner was also damaged.

While repairs started promptly, it was clearly necessary to withdraw 34053 from the WSR Spring Gala, 27-30th March. Doubtless there will be future opportunities for 34053 to appear alongside 34046 Braunton - both Barry ‘no-hopers’ which have proved the doubters wrong. On the brighter side, Manston will now definitely be travelling to the Gala.

Recent news is that specialist welding has been applied to the front of the middle cylinder liner, and this is now ready for boring. A new piston rod was available and this is being machined for 34053. The new piston head is being machined, likewise the new front cylinder cover, a casting for which was supplied by SLL.

The middle valve was removed for examination and no debris or damage were found. The rear cylinder cover has been examined and is OK. It has been re-fitted with new studs. The broken studs have been removed from the front cover face. The middle big end has been examined and shows some excessive clearance front to back. It will be stripped to check whether there is a problem with the brasses or possibly damage to the bearing surfaces, which would require white metalling repairs.

horn guides   257 Squadron frames

In happier days 34053 Sir Keith Park is seen crossing the Victoria Bridge on the Severn Valley Railway, 1st September 2013, Photo: Malcolm Garner

Manston last visited the West Somerset Railway in 2011. With Graham Froud at the fireman's window, it's seen waiting to leave Stogumber, 29th September 2011. Photo: Robert Bester

SVR aim to have the loco back in traffic by early April. At least this damage occured at the start of the quietest period of the operating year, so the impact of SVR services was minor, likewise lost revenue for SLL.


Swanage Railway have extended their operating season this year, and are running every weekend in January, February and March, and every day during half-term week. As Eddystone and Manston are both receiving "close-season" maintenance many of the duties have fallen to Standard Tank 80104. Full details of Swanage Railway services can be found here.

BR Colours

80104 in steam at Swanage MPD, 23rd January 2014. 80104 entered preservation service at Swanage on 30th April 1997. Since then it has visited the Avon Valley Railway, the Mid-Hants and the GCR. It was overhauled in 2005-6, and its current ticket runs to late 2016.

British Railways Green

What colour was British Railways Green? It's a question that is often asked, and who better to respond than Richard Green, whose Locos-in-Profile fine art prints have featured Bulleid Pacifics in several liveries:

When the Big Four were nationalised to form British Railways, one early task was to choose new liveries for the locomotive fleet. Several different experimental liveries were tried, generally based on those used by the old railway companies, and the decision was made to have four variations. Class 8 passenger locomotives were to be blue with white & black lining with other passenger locomotives in green with orange & black lining. Mixed traffic locomotives were to be black with LNWR lining and freight locomotives just plain black. The blue livery was soon dropped due to it not being hard wearing enough.

The green livery chosen for passenger locomotives was in fact the same as that used by the Great Western Railway, with minor variations to the lining. The green colour used by the Great Western was middle chrome green and this is the colour specified by the Railway Executive with samples sent to the various paint shops. The chrome orange lining used sits very harmoniously on middle chrome green owing to their common origins. However after research into longer lasting finishes the formulation of the green was altered in 1956; this used Monastral blue and a new yellow pigment marketed by ICI and gave a slightly darker shade - nearer deep bronze green. Whether Swindon changed to this new formulation it would be interesting to know! I believe that Deep Bronze Green, produced by Willamsons of Ripon, is now used by preservationist as the best match available.

Brunswick green is often used when describing Great Western and British Railways green, but is completely erroneous and it seems to have been started by the model railway fraternity in the early 1950s. Recently there have been some preserved GWR tanks running around in colours that look suspiciously like proper Brunswick green, so maybe they got what they asked for! Brunswick green can be seen today on preserved SECR locomotives and is sometimes referred to as 'Chatham' green, it also seems to have been the green used by the Great Central Railway.

BR Colours

1. Deep Bronze, as used by BR from 1956 2. Middle Brunswick 3. Middle Chrome, as used by GWR and originally specified by BR 4. Middle Bronze 5. Olive 6. Deep Brunswick.

So, how to describe the green used by British Railways in any period? Maybe the best option is to just call it BR green!

Some of the above information has been taken from LMS Locomotive Profiles No. 11 : The 'Coronation' Class Pacifics by David Hunt, John Jennison, Bob Meanley, Fred James & Bob Essary. This book gives a complete account of the liveries carried by the Princess Coronations and can be highly recommended to anyone wanting detailed information on the class.

Richard Green (January 2014)

34072 enters Eastleigh for overhaul

34072 entered Eastleigh works for repairs to two sections of its frames.....on 19th July 1956 and stayed there for just over five weeks, leaving on 25th August 1956. SLL volunteer Mike Frackiewicz has been studying the records of our locos and we added copies of 8 interesting documents to the 34072 Gallery starting here.

BR Colours

This 1956 BR diagram shows the position of two cracks in the frames of 34072, one six inches long.

And finally.....all publicity is welcome

BR Colours

The recommissioning ceremony for Sir Keith Park, back in August last year, received wide coverage in the railway press, as one might expect. It also made the Shropshire Star and other regional newspapers. Still we were surprised when it featured on the front page of the Parish Magazine of St Peter's Church, Formby. The centre pages had a series of photos showing the loco's restoration from Barry to the present day, and a two page article on the life of Sir Keith Park, the man. A clue to this very welcome attention might be found on the back cover, which includes a photo of the magazine's editor, who just happens to be an SLL shareholder and enjoyed a footplate trip on the loco earlier last year.

News Archives

2023 News

2022 News

2021 News

2020 News

2019 News

2018 News

2017 News

2016 News

2015 News

2013 News

2012 News

2011 News

2010 News

2009 News