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January 2016

34010 Sidmouth restoration update

Since the plan to restore Sidmouth was announced at our AGM on 24th October we have received applications for shares from over 50 people, many of them new to the company. A big 'thank you' to you all. The value of shares applied for exceeds £40,000. Many are from residents of Sidmouth where the project has been reported in the local paper and fliers have been circulated to hotels, libraries, etc.

sidmouth herald   34010 flier

The Sidmouth Herald ran a half-page article on the restoration of 34010 on 25th November which has resulted in a number of supporters getting in touch.

We've created a flier to outline the history of 34010 Sidmouth and encourage interest. This has been widely distributed in the area.

Completion of 34072 257 Squadron remains our first priority, however some work on Sidmouth has started. The storage racks have been taken down and components selected for repair. Meanwhile 257 Squadron's brand new tender was moved from Herston on 24th November and the frames of SLL tender 000 which hitherto ran with Eddystone were moved into the works. These have been stripped so that parts can be inspected and repaired. The new tender tank is approaching completion, and we expect tender 000 to be completed during 2016, well ahead of Sidmouth with which it will run.

34010   34010

The frames may still be on a wagon at Norden, but the long task of rebuilding Sidmouth's rolling chassis has started. Six axle boxes have been taken out of storage, some needing major repairs.

257 Squadron's tender has left the works, and the chassis of SLL 000 tender has come in. Volunteers are cleaning this in preparation for painting.

34072 257 Squadron

Work has continued on the boiler, albeit at a slower rate that anticipated. We're now hoping to see the boiler by March 2016. Most tasks which can be done in the absence of a boiler have now been completed; the valve gear and motion, brakes, and many of the lubrication pipe runs.

34010   34010

The main springs are installed and much of the brake gear is in place.

The three sets of valve gear within the oil bath are complete and the chain drive is connected.

34070 Manston

Manston has come into Herston works for a few weeks for some winter maintenance including some tidying up of the paintwork. The sight of two original Bulleids in the workshop is to be relished.

34070   34070

On the left 34072 257 Squadron, on the right 34070 Manston.

Mike Frackiewicz rubs down Manston's cabside prior to repainting.

34053 Sir Keith Park

In 2015 Sir Keith Park once again clocked up more than 100 operating days and ran over 8,000 miles on the Severn Valley Railway. After working some of the SVR Santas it will receive attention to the inside cylinder valves. During 2016 it's planned to make its first trips off the SVR. From January 29th to 31st it will be at the Great Central Railway Winter Gala and a few weeks later at the West Somerset Railway Spring Gala together with Manston.

sir keith park

34053 has been a regular on the Severn Valley for over three years, and was in use before Christmas on the SVR Santa Special services. Early in 2016 it will take part in Galas on the Great Central Railway and the West Somerset Railway. Photo: John Oates

That whole social media thingy....

This website has registered over 200,000 visitors during the last eight years. The daily number of hits is around 65. Our aim is to make the website the source of lasting information about our locos and the company. For example the section on Bulleid tenders has recently been updated.

Nice new photos and 'PR' are more likely to be found on our Facebook page where, for example, a photo of five volunteers scraping crud off the frames of a tender was viewed 3000 times in the course of a few days.

We also use Twitter, though frankly it's mainly there to steer twitteristas to our Facebook page and Website.

Old media, i.e. printed paper, still has a role to play. We have recently printed a 'flier' to publicise the restoration of Sidmouth. These have been used in hotels and public buildings around the town of Sidmouth. The Sidmouth Herald carried a half page article on the topic, and regular updates are planned.

However printing 'facts' on paper begs fate; the SLL brochure was reprinted just last summer, and we will need a revised version in a few months as 257 Squadron leaves Herston works, and attention turns to Sidmouth. Thanks must go to Richard Green of fame for his assistance in creating these documents. Without his skills the website and the brochures would be a sorry sight!

Let's not forget the SLL Photo Galleries, which survive in Picasa format despite Google's mission to make us all join Google+. Over the past year around 200 new photos have been added (mainly in the Restoration 2015 gallery, for obvious reasons) and individual photo-views approach 100,000!

257 Squadron

Most photos added to our galleries are taken recently but older ones continue to appear. This photo of 34072 at Barry was taken on 18th June 1967 when the loco was still attached to the high-sided tender it carried throughout its BR days. It arrived there on 18th February 1965. All the other photos in the gallery show it with no tender. Photo: Graham Bean

If you search for '34070 Manston' on YouTube you'll find over 2,000 videos of wildly differently styles and quality, a few of which originate within SLL. To aid access to our videos there's now an SLL Video Channel where these have been brought together.

Also work is under way on a 10-minute video to record the history of Sidmouth, and enlist public support. This is being led by a professional producer of railway films who just happens to be an SLL supporter, and has a large stock of old cine film. No details yet, except to say that while looking through old film we came across a previously unseen clip of 34053 Sir Keith Park running in the early 1960's. Does anyone have any film of Sidmouth at work?

November 2015

Sidmouth restoration gets green light


SLL shareholders have responded positively to the proposed restoration of 34010 Sidmouth, and work will start early in 2016. The loco's last home depot in BR days was Eastleigh, where it's seen on 8th May 1959. Photo: Colin Boocock

Southern Locomotives announcement at AGM

At the company's AGM on 24th October new Chairman Simon Troy made the unexpected announcement that the company proposed to restore its fifth Bulleid Pacific 34010 Sidmouth, and invited its 700 shareholders to indicate their support. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, with financial support of around £30,000 already made. On 15th November the company gave the green light to the plan.

In outline, when the current overhaul of 34072 257 Squadron is completed work will start on its oldest ex-BR loco, which has lain in pieces for much of the time since its withdrawal in 1965.

"It is now or never if we're going to bring Sidmouth back into steam. With the completion of 34072 we will have five locos in revenue earning service. The SLL team are not getting any younger, but we are ready for the challenge of another big project."

"There's never an ideal time to fit a major restoration into a stream of overhauls, but once again our shareholders have indicated their willingness to support us."

34010   34010

34010 Sidmouth waited 17 years at Woodham's scrap yard before being bought for preservation. It's seen here on 28th February 1980. Photo: S Davison

34010 spent a further 15 years at Grosmont on NYMR awaiting restoration. Seen here on 29th May 1984. Photo: K W Platt

The cost of restoring Sidmouth using Eddystone's boiler will be around £300,000, somewhat more than the cost of overhauling Eddystone. In two weeks our appeal has generated £30,000. However we will need much more than this if we're to complete Sidmouth and be able to plan the future overhauls of Eddystone and Manston with confidence, especially as we’re keen to borrow as few parts from Eddystone as possible.

We will need new cylinder covers manufactured, new pistons, piston rods and valves but we do have the slide bars and crossheads. We also have a new set of coupling rods half machined along with injectors. We will need to build new running boards, and to manufacture new smoke deflectors, a cab and cab support, fit a new dragbox, obtain lubricators and a large supply of copper pipe! At the end of the restoration we will undoubtedly have to borrow a few small items of motion and a few cab fittings.

Eddystone's tender will be used to run with Sidmouth. This needs a new tank to replace the one it has run with hitherto, which was an original MN type. The new tank is already under construction. We hope to move 257 Squadron's brand new tender out of Herston works shortly and move Eddystone's tender frames in at the same time.

34010   34010

34010's frames are currently resting on a condemned bogie bolster wagon near Norden station. They clearly need a scrub-up, but the messy job of degreasing was done some years ago.

The boiler moved to Bridgnorth station yard to help build the cladding for 34027 Taw Valley while its boiler was away for repair. The job is done and SVR plan to install a turntable on that spot, so a new home is needed.

We have a full set of wheels for Sidmouth however all except the centre driving wheels will need to be re-tyred. This is a critical task which will be done off-site by specialist contractors which we plan to set in motion soon.

The frames were de-greased, grit-blasted and painted at Sellindge, though since then they have sat in the open. They will be need to be cleaned and repainted.

To find out more about Sidmouth's restoration, and how you can support it, please click here.

If you have any questions about this project please contact

34010   34010

34010 Sidmouth passing Wimbledon with an up express in 1962. Photo: John Ray collection.

34010 Sidmouth backing out of Waterloo, 1960's. Photo: M Frackiewicz collection.

What happened to Sidmouth?

Sidmouth arrived at Woodham's scrap yard in Barry in 1965, along with several hundred other redundant steam locos. Unlike other scrap yards, Woodham's focussed on scrapping coal wagons and loco tenders as they were a quick and easy source of scrap steel, leaving the locomotives to lay idle, rusting slowly by the sea.

In 1982 it was bought by Mr Graeme Walton-Binns and moved to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. The plan was that the NYMR would restore the loco and use it on the line, however the resources to do this proved to be unavailable. After 15 years at Grosmont it was offered to two SLL supporters, Norman Taylor and Peter Wood, though it was finally acquired by SLL and moved to Sellindge in 1997 where restoration work commenced.

Subsequently Sidmouth was leapfrogged in the restoration queue by Sir Keith Park because of the strong historic associations of this loco, which led to generous support being offered towards its restoration.

Meanwhile SLL concentrated its operations at Herston, and the loco moved there in 2006. Today Sidmouth's frames are near Swanage, the boiler is at Bridgnorth, and many components (in various condition) are at the Herston works.

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