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January 2017

In the Workshop

34072 257 Squadron

34072   34072

Volunteer Neville Crook is preparing the flange of the main steam pipe. Neville recently moved to Dorset from Peterborough where he worked on 34081 92 Squadron.

The superheater header distributes steam from the header pipe to the superheater elements and thence to the three steam pipes.

The loco was reboilered early in November, opening the way to several major tasks. First it was necessary to adjust the four 'pads' on which the boiler sits, two fixed at the front and two 'sliding' at the rear, sliding to accommodate the expansion of the boiler (around half an inch) between its cold and hot states. With the boiler sitting evenly the regulator could be fitted, no easy task as it's a very heavy item which needs to be lowered through the dome.

34072   34072

The regulator fits beneath the dome and attaches to the main steam pipe. Bob Waterman checks the threads of the dome cover.

Hopefully it will be a few years before the tubes below the dome space are seen again.

Then the superheater header was installed - an even heavier piece of kit which is mounted precisely to the main steam pipe within the smokebox. Hours of careful lapping were required to achieve a perfect metal-to-metal fit. (Gaskets are not used as a gasket failure would cause a dangerous leakage of high pressure steam.) With the header secure the superheater elements are now being fitted, while at the other end of the loco the cab fittings are being installed one by one. Most of the cladding was made earlier in the year though the fitting will take some time, after which final painting can start.

34072   34072

The superheater elements are fitted into the flues. Phil Casey holds a set level while Mike Price dresses the bracket to ease their passage.

Each element is fitted into its flue and then the ground connections are clamped to the header.

These tasks have progressed with inevitable moments of 'trial and error' and it's still a matter of conjecture before we can say when the loco will be ready to return to the rails, though we are not expecting it to be taking an active part in Strictly Bulleid (see below).

34010 Sidmouth

Until its frames are brought into Herston works there won't be too much of Sidmouth to see. The two wheel-sets which were sent to Buckfastleigh have been re-tyred and are due to return to Swanage. Work is expected to ramp up during the course of 2017.

Meanwhile a lot has been done to raise the profile of the restoration project, and to raise funds to pay for it. Capital raised from share sales in 2016 was more than twice that raised in 2015, which is just as well as our income from loco operations was lower than anticipated due to 80104 being out of use for most of the year. The majority of new capital came from existing shareholders however there are more than 30 new names on our shareholder roll to whom we offer a warm welcome and gratitude.

80104 / 80146

With valuable help from Swanage Railway volunteers 80104's repaint was been completed during December. Matt Green and Matt McManus were instrumental in the repainting project; the team included Jack Haynes, Dan Bennett, Billy Johnson, James Cox, Jason Kingdom, Kevin Potts, Alan English, Dave Gravell and Bryan Hardwick. A big thank-you to all involved.


The cylinder casings of 80104 had become rather battered over the last 60 years and it was decided to make a new pair.

The lining of the cylinders was completed by Bryn Engineering during December, and the pistons and motion were re-installed, however further work was required on the slide bars, and the loco is due to re-enter service at the beginning of February 2017


Back in 1967 80146 hauled the last BR steam train to Swanage, with 34089 602 Squadron on the rear. Doubtless this scene will be recreated once or more during 2017 with Manston or 257 Squadron on the rear. Thanks to (c) David Cooke for this photo.

As part of the repaint the loco was renumbered as 80146, and will run as such for 2017. 80146 was one of the last Standard Class 4 tanks to run from Bournemouth shed, and hauled the last BR steam train over the Swanage branch, an RCTS special, on 18th June 1967 along with BB 34089 602 Squadron.

34028 Eddystone

SDR Engineering has made a new front tubeplate for Eddystone's boiler, and this is waiting to be fitted. We await a decision on whether a new front section of the boiler barrel will be required. Meanwhile work on the bottom-end overhaul is proceding at Tyseley; the plan is for the frames to return to Herston as soon as 257 Squadron has vacated the premises, though by the nature of these tasks we don't know quite when that happy day will arrive.

Strictly Bulleid

Swanage Railway has announced that its Spring 2017 Gala will be called Strictly Bulleid. It will run from 31st March to 2nd April and as the name suggests it will feature a significant gathering of Bulleid Pacifics.

The confirmed visitors so far are SLL's 34053 Sir Keith Park, 34046 Braunton in its guise as 34052 Lord Dowding and 34092 City of Wells.


The final roll-call of Bulleids isn't known though we can be fairly sure that 34098 Templecombe, seen here at Bishops Lydeard in March 2016, won't be at Swanage. Photo (c) Simon Smith

34053 Sir Keith Park

34053, or 'Skippy' as it's known on the SVR has had another good year, clocking up plenty of steaming days. In addition to Strictly Bulleid it will travel to the Nene Valley Railway for their Bulleid 50 weekend on 25/26th February, where it will run with recently overhauled 34081 92 Squadron.

It's also planned for Sir Keith Park to take part in the Mid-Hants Railway "End of Southern Steam" Gala in July.


34053 Sir Keith Park at the head of the SVR Gresley rake approaching Highley on 25th October 2016. Photo (c) John Oates

34070 Manston

Manston's boiler ticket is due to expire at the end of 2017. Fellow original Bulleid 257 Squadron will be in service along side it at Swanage for most of 2017, making Swanage a unique Bulleid hot-spot.


After a day's service Manston heads for Swanage MPD on 12th October to be refueled and made ready for the next day. Photo (c) ANDREW P M WRIGHT


Norman remains at Embsay and has been in regular service in 2016.

Photos, Photographers and Galleries

The New Year is a good occasion to thank everyone who has sent us photos of SLL locos in action during 2016, and also those who have found photos of them running in BR, or even SR, days. 2017 will offer some exceptional opportunites for new images, maybe with three SLL Bulleids lined up.

Google continues to make the management of our galleries unduly complicated, though on the IT front the Windows 10 Photos program does offer excellent photo editing and optimization capabilities.


We've long had copies of the official photos of Sir Keith Park's naming at Brighton on 19th September 1947, however this one is thought to have been taken by the late Cyril Norman, and was sent to us by Alan Warren who now lives in Canada. 21C153 has its LH nameplate covered, though at the ceremony the RH side faced the platform. SKP is coupled to either Tangmere or Fighter Pilot but we may never know whether this is before or after the ceremony.

SLL features in Steam Railway


The January 2017 edition of Steam Railway magazine features a six page article on Southern Locomotives Ltd, past, present and future. It was written by the magazine's Thomas Bright, with input from Simon Troy, Willie Bath and Nick Thompson. Available at all good newsagents!

All set for 2017


Thanks to everyone who purchased a 2017 SLL calendar. Over 90 were sold and 250 was contributed to Sidmouth's restoration. They've all been sent out and are gracing homes across the country, though it must be said that August 2017 looks like being a dull month in the Thompson household, with not even a pilates class or trip to the dentist to look forward to so far.

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