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March 2018

34072 257 Squadron

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

257 Squadron

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

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

34070 Manston


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

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


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

34028 Eddystone


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

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


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

34053 Sir Keith Park

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


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

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


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

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

80104 / 80146

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


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

34010 Sidmouth

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


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


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

New Year - New Gallery

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

The Piggy Bank

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


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

Social Media....yawn?

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


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

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

December 2017

Ian Atherton

We're sad to report that Ian Atherton, a long serving volunteer at Herston works, passed away on 9th November at the age of 81. Ian had been a Southern Locomotives volunteer for around 20 years, working mainly in the painting team.


Ian's career was in the justice department, and he would regale us with tales from his time as a Crown Court Clerk. He was also an active member of the tea break crossword club, in which banter generally came before finding a correct answer.

34072 257 Squadron

After several weeks delay to perform a further hydraulic test to the boiler and superheater header work has begun to commission 34072. A 'warming' fire was lit on 20th November, and steam was raised on 29th. We expect testing and commissioning to take some time, and we'll let everyone know when the loco is accepted into service.


34072 257 Squadron was briefly in the station loop on 16th November. It was being moved to the south side of the line to permit better access.

34028 Eddystone

Work on the frames, axle boxes, bogie, etc has continued at Tyseley. Pete Pickering is doing most of the work, under the aegis of Vintage Trains. SLL volunteers have made several visits to help with cleaning and painting. We expect Eddystone to leave during the second week of December, and Manston to take its place as a return load.


Volunteers like (and often need) very clear instructions, and what better than the to-do list written on the drag box of Eddystone by Pete Pickering. Most of the items listed were polished off during October and November.


Much of the volunteer's work on Eddystone has been of the cleaning and painting variety. Where does all the muck come from? Malcolm Garner is painting one of the bogie wheels.

34070 Manston

The primary work to be done at Tyseley is to repair the damage to the frames received on 24th July, with further work on the bottom end to be agreed. The hope is that the boiler will not need to be lifted, though the loco will need to spend some time in Herston works for retubing. If all goes well Manston could return to service in 2019. Meanwhile Manston is in the Swanage headshunt looking rather sad.

80104 / 80146


As usual Ray Grace was 'front of house' for the SLL Driving & Firing days on 14 - 16th November. He managed to find time to have a trip, along with Stuart Magnus, who is an SLL volunteer when he's not being a Swanage Railway signalman.

Our Standard 4MT tank has been in service for most of October and November. It was used on 14 - 16th November for SLL Shareholder Driver & Firing trips. On each day 8 round trips from Swanage to Corfe Castle were run, for a total of 48 budding drivers, who were united in praise for the skill and guidance of the Swanage Railway train crews.

Several superheater elements have been found to leak, and these are currently blanked off, awaiting delivery of new elements.


A busy scence at Swanage MPD on the morning of 16th November. 80104/146 prepares to leave for the third day of SLL DX runs. 34072 is temporarily on the running line during a move across the tracks, behind 80104/146 is visting Ivatt tank 41312, and behind that was M7 30053. To the left there's an 08 shunter and the U class 31806.

34010 Sidmouth

Volunteers have cleaned and painted Sidmouth's driving wheels, and the steady accumulation of parts continues.


They say it's best a get a job where you can sit down, and Roger Hughes enjoys a seat in the autumn sunshine as he applies primer to Sidmouth's driving wheels. Ray Evans, on the other hand is in the shade and seems to have a fried egg on his hat.

Once again a film clip of one of our locos has turned up on YouTube, and this time it's a nice scene of 34010 Sidmouth passing Clapham Junction with an up train. The sequence with Sidmouth can be seen 1.09 minutes in.

Thomas goes Spamcan

Mattel Inc, holders of the Thomas the Tank Engine franchise, have revamped the loco roster for the next series of videos. Tidmouth shed says goodbye to Henry and Edward and in comes Rebecca, an unrebuilt Bulleid Pacific.


Rebecca's nameplate is on the driver's side smoke deflector, and the rectangular shape make it hard to determine whether Rebecca is an MN or WC/BB. As for the livery it looks like Malachite on Acid, or maybe someone's found a pot of "Improved Stroudley Green". Photo: Mattel Inc.


Southern Locomotives Ltd is looking for an experienced steam machinist/fitter to take up a paid position at the workshops in Swanage. Hours and terms negotiable. Please send CV and any questions to Simon Troy by email to

We're also considering recruiting another apprentice to learn engineering skills, and attend college on day release. A suitable candidate will have a practical nature, and an interest in engineering, not least steam locos. Please drop an email to Simon Troy at if you're interested.

Last and not least we're looking for volunteers. We have a fair number living local to Swanage, and more are always welcome, however we're hoping to find some volunteers living in the Midlands with relatively easy access to Tyseley (or Swanage North as we sometimes call it). Eddystone will returning to Swanage soon, and Manston will be therefore several months in the New Year. The work will be mainly basic stuff, stripping the loco and cleaning the wheels and frames, and some painting. You don't need to have worked with SLL before or be a shareholder. Work will be on the odd day or two, generally when other volunteers are there for you to work with. Please drop an email to Simon Troy at if you're interested.

Hurry while stocks last...

Thanks to everyone who has bought of copy of the 2018 calendar. The 2018 edition will include some excellent photos of the SLL fleet, several taken at Strictly Bulleid. Our order has now beed delivered, and we have about 20 still available for sale, so if you'd like one, or an extra copy, please get in touch. If you'd like to buy one as a present for a friend we're happy to post it with a message if you wish.

The calendars cost 10 each including UK P&P. Please drop an email to and he'll sort out payment and delivery arrangements with you.

2018 calendar

Proceeds from the sale of calendars will be donated to the restoration of 34010 Sidmouth.

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