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May 2016

SLL opens the regulator

Given our limited manpower, facilities and cash we normally focus our restoration and overhaul efforts on one of our fleet at a time. For reasons which will become clear that's changed, and remarkably we're currently working on four locos. In brief:


34028 Eddystone moved into Herston works on 23rd March. The plan was to remove its boiler for use with 34010 Sidmouth, however plans have moved on rapidly; Eddystone and Sidmouth will now be overhauled / restored in parallel and will use their own boilers.

34072 257 Squadron

Work on 34072's boiler is approaching completion. The welding of new sections into the inner firebox is completed. Stays around the top of the boiler must be made and fitted, followed by hydraulic and steam tests. With luck it wil be delivered to Herston in July. Just about all the jobs which can be done without a boiler in place have been completed, and we're hoping to out-shop the loco before the end of 2016.


The saga of 34072's boiler repairs is coming to an end; the welding in the firebox is now complete, and stays around the crown now remain to be completed.


80104 came out of service on 7th May. It was stripped at Swanage and will moved to Norden to be put on a low-loader, target date 1st June, thence to Tyseley for bottom end overhaul. The work will be fast-tracked, and it's hoped to have the loco back in service at Swanage before the end of the season.

80104   Nick Wren

SLL volunteers Nick, Nick and Dave were drafted to Swanage loco shed and spent time in the pit stripping brake and sanding gear off 80104 prior to its dispatch.

Nick Wren applies WD40 to the split pins securing the horn plate nuts.

34010 Sidmouth

Work on the frames of SLL tender 001 is complete. We await the arrival of the new tender tank. This should be completed in 2016, allowing the tender to be removed from Herston, freeing up space to work on locos. This tender will be used with 34028 Eddystone, with which it ran previously. By the time Sidmouth is complete, 34070 Manston will be out of service (December 2017). Manston's tender (i.e. SLL 002) can run with Sidmouth, and - whisper it not - we might build a high-sided tender to run with Manston (and 257 Squadron).

Eddystone's boiler will go back on to Eddystone so Sidmouth's boiler will be overhauled to run with Sidmouth. In the long run the costs to SLL remain the same, though the cost of overhauling Eddystone is brought forward by several years, and it adds work, time and cost to Sidmouth's restoration, with 2019 the earliest feasible completion.


New cylinder covers have been cast for Sidmouth. These will join the long list of components to be machined.

That said, there's already a whole range of work being done on Sidmouth. The frames will come into the works when 257 Squadron leaves, and we're keen to have the front bogie and rear truck overhauled by then, so that the frames can be rolled within the works if required.

34028 Eddystone

We'd been looking for ways to parallel process Sidmouth and Eddystone, and a viable plan has emerged. Eddystone is in Herston works where it's been stripped and many parts have been cleaned up and labelled. In a few weeks it will be moved to Buckfastleigh where the boiler will be lifted. South Devon Railway Engineering will repair the boiler and return it to Swanage in 2017/18. The frames will go on to Tyseley for work on the bottom end (similar to 80104's). Outsourcing both the boiler and the bottom end frees up time and space for us to finish 257 Squadron.

34028   34028

The cladding has been removed from Eddystone. Unlike 257 Squadron's casing, it is in good condition and can be reused. It's been cleaned, de-rusted and given a coat of primer where required, before it goes into storage for the next year or two.

Eddystone's smokebox has been removed too; unusually it's in good condition and can be reused.

Where's the money going to come from?

We're glad you asked that question! Overall, the only additional item is the possible construction of a fifth tender. However outsourcing the bottom end of 80104 and 34028 increases expenditure, and the parallel overhaul of the boilers of 34010 and 34028 brings forward costs. We will lose several months of hire fees for 80104. On the brighter side, 80104 will re-enter traffic this year with five years remaining on its boiler ticket, and 34028 will enter service sooner than Sidmouth could have under our previous plan. Meanwhile we will need a steady flow of income from shareholders, sponsors and donors if we are to maintain this schedule.

Please see how to support us here.


Contrary to the received wisdom that we're all getting older and volunteers are fading away, we're pleased to say that we continue to find a steady stream of new recruits; our numbers are at least steady, and probably increasing. Their work makes up around 50% of the total manhours and reduce the cost of each project by maybe 25%. A fair number of our regulars come from London and the Midlands and drive past other heritage lines on their way to Herston, so we must be doing something right. We certainly welcome all of our volunteers, and try to use their time and skills well.

volunteers   volunteers

Volunteers in action

Volunteers inaction

Given the range of projects described above there will continue to be plenty of work for volunteers with all ranges of skill. If you'd like to get involved why not drop into Herston and have a word with Willie Bath or Bob Bevis? There's more about volunteering here.

April 2016

34010 Sidmouth - Sponsor a Part

Sidmouth's restoration is ramping up with work on the tender and major components proceding well. The list of items to be repaired or re-made is extensive, likewise the cost, so we're asking people to help us by sponsoring one or more parts. There's something for most budgets, from 112 boiler tubes at £65 each to the centre connecting rod at £5,000, and many others in between.

Please look at the Restoration Appeal page and scroll down to see the details of the sponsorship scheme and the list of items, or you can simply download the Sidmouth Sponsor Form.

Sponsors contributing £250 or more will be eligible for a copy of Richard Green's Locos-in-Profile fine art print of Sidmouth, details of which are here.


Restoring Sidmouth - now out on video!

It's fair to say that our 700 shareholders include many capable people with experience and contacts within the world of heritage railways. Among them is Nick Dodson who runs Statesman Rail and RailFilms, and happens to live close to Sidmouth. When he heard that we were embarking on the restoration of 34010 Sidmouth he got in touch to offer his video-making skills to create a promotional video.

Some of the source material came from our photo galleries, we found two rarely seen clips of Sidmouth running in the 1960's, while dialogue was shot 'on location' in Sidmouth and Herston.

Our staff rose to the occasion in a range of 'starring', 'cameo' and 'walk-on' parts. So please turn off your mobile phone, have your popcorn at the ready and enjoy the main feature:

SLL on Tour 2016

Our locos' tour of Britain has continued. In March both 34053 Sir Keith Park and 34070 Manston visited the West Somerset Railway for their Spring Steam Gala. The event was to mark the 50th anniversary of the closure of the Somerset & Dorset, with a range of motive power to suit. Along with our locos there were two Fowler 7F 2-8-0's built for the S&D in 1914, Fowler 4F 0-6-0 number 44422, a Standard 4MT tank, an LMS 8F 2-8-0, and BR Standard 9F in 'Evening Star' green, but not a GWR loco in steam!


Such a line-up was guaranteed to draw the crowds, and there were some spectacular sights, for example the above (courtesy of Nick Field) showing the 13:25 from Minehead at Castle Hill on Sunday 6th March hauled by Sir Keith Park and Manston.

34070   brackets

34070 Manston leaves Washford station, piloted by S&D 7F 53808 on 10th March.

34098 Templecombe (the loco previously known as Sir Keith Park) waits to leave Minehead station on 11th March.

For the second weekend 34053 was renumbered as 34098 and named Templecombe. This was sponsored by the Friends of Templecombe station. The real 34098 Templecombe was shedded at Bournemouth in 1958-9 and ran on the S&D as did Sir Keith Park and Eddystone.


There are plans afoot for other Gala trips during 2016, not least Norman which may visit another line for a couple of weeks in the summer.

More photos in the SLL on Tour 2016 Gallery.

34072 257 Squadron

Work on 257's boiler is continuing, and hopefully drawing to a conclusion. A hydraulic test is expected in mid-May. That should be followed by a steam test, and if all goes will the boiler may return to Herston towards the end of May.

While most remaining tasks await the return of the boiler we are still re-making the casing and overhauling various fittings.

34072   34072

All of 257 Squadron's cladding panels have now been made. They will have to be taken down again for painting and when the boiler is mounted.

Much of the previous cladding deteriorated while 257 Squadron was stored out of service in the early 2000's.

34028 Eddystone

Eddystone was moved to Herston Works on 23rd March. It's being stripped prior to having its boiler lifted.

34028   34028

34028 Eddystone has been stored near Swanage for over a year. Key items have been removed and much grease applied it does look rather unloved. The shiny tender is the new one built for 34072 257 Squadron.

The outside big ends have been protected by metal tubes with wood packing. The tube may be rusty but the bearings are in good condition.


Our Standard 4MT tank has been a backbone of services on Swanage Railway for many years and remains in regular service. Major boiler repairs were made in 2014-5 however we've known that major work on the axle boxes and pistons would be needed. After discussion with Swanage Railway and possible loco workshops we expect it to go to Tyseley in May. The work will take several months to complete.


80104 is seen leaving Corfe Castle for Swanage on 15th February 2016. Photo (c) Dave Ensor

34070 Manston

34070 Manston is in service at Swanage, and should see plenty of work over the summer in the absence of other regular locos.


During its Spring Steam Gala Swanage Railway ran a public service north from Norden to Bridge 5, over the river Frome, close to the junction with Network Rail, for the first time. Manston is seen here on 8th April. It was the first timetabled service by a Bulleid pacific on that section since 3rd September 1966.

Slightly off-topic, Manston airfield is 100 years old in 2016. A celebration will be held there on Saturday 28th May, more details can be found here.

Speed to the West Exhibition

Paul Atterbury is well known for his appearances in BBC's Antiques Roadshow, however many of us will be more interested in his books on the role of railways in society and culture. Paul lives in Dorset, and has brought together a display of railway posters in a new exhibition called "Speed to the West" which opened in the Dorset Museum on 19th March and will run till 7th January 2017.


The exhibition features a remarkable collection of GWR and SR posters, interspersed with some other railwayana, not least SLL's replica 34010 Sidmouth nameplate, and our fliers appealing for support.

The museum is in the centre of Dorchester and is well worth a visit. Full details can be found here.

Paul and co-author Richard Furness have also recently published a book called, "Speed to the West - A Nostalgic Journey".

February 2016

SLL on Tour 2016

2016 promises to be a busy year for visits by our locos to other heritage lines. These are arranged between their regular operators and the proposed destination, though SLL is asked to approve each trip, which we normally agree to.

Already this year 34053 has spent two weekends running at the Great Central Railway where it attracted a lot of attention. It will return briefly to SVR and is then off to the West Somerset Railway for their Spring Steam Gala. On the first weekend it will run in its normal guise, on the second it will carry the number 34098 and the name Templecombe to reflect the gala's Somerset & Dorset theme.

34053 at GCR   34053 at GCR

34053 arrived at Quorn on the low-loader after dark. This scene was captured by (c) Regan Bamford

The visitors were out in force on Saturday 30th January when the weather was cold and bright. Sir Keith Park was the centre of attention on arrival at Leicester North with the 11:15 from Loughborough.

Renaming a WC/BB is not as simple as one might imagine; "originals" and "modifieds" are obviously different, some WC's had crests, others didn't, and BB's nameplates are quite different to WC's. Added to which the length of the support bracket is determined by the length of the name. All of which explains why a team from Herston spent a few happy hours removing the nameplate brackets from Eddystone and cleaned them up so that they could be fitted to Sir Keith Park along with Templecombe nameplates.

34070   brackets

Geoff and Simon carry Eddystone's nameplate brackets into the workshop to be cleaned and painted. They will carry the Templecombe plates at the WSR Gala.

Mike is preparing to line out Manston's cabside. New numbers will be needed....I wonder what they will be?

Not content with 34053, the WSR has also arranged for 34070 Manston to take part in the gala. This will be the first time 34053 and 34070 have met since 34053 left Herston works in 2012.

WSR Galas are always popular, and visitors are advised to book tickets (and accommodation if required) in advance.

We anticipate further trips by our locos during the year, and have set up a photo gallery to record our locos in unfamiliar surroundings. We welcome contributions from the many fine photographers who record these events.

34072 257 Squadron

The good news is that work is progressing on the boiler in Stockton, however some weeks more work are required, and we are running out of tasks which can be done on the loco without its boiler being in place. On the brighter side this does mean that we are able to start work on some majors components for Sidmouth, e.g. the main axle boxes which were in very poor condition, some needing new steel sides to be welded into place.

34072   34072

Work continues on the cladding for 34072 257 Squadron.

Much of 257 Squadron's cladding deteriorated while the loco was stored out of use 10-15 years ago.

34010 Sidmouth restoration update

As mentioned above major components for Sidmouth have been taken down from the racks, inspected, and in some cases repairs have started. We're working on a schedule to determine what needs to be repaired, remade, or borrowed for the loco.

The frames of SLL tender 000 have been cleaned up, and new sections of steel have been added where extreme corrosion has occured. This involved traditional "hot rivetting" of frame sections by SLL staff, a tribute to their range of skills.

To promote Sidmouth's restoration a video recounting the history of the loco and the plans for its restoration is being made by a professional film maker who happens to be one of our shareholders. It included interviews with staff and filming them at work, in which they played their parts admirably; with the help of a "bleep" machine the final video should scrape an X certificate.....

34010 frames   34010 frames

Part of our video has been shot 'on location' at Eldon sidings where Sidmouth's frames are stored.

The frames were cleaned and painted at Sellindge about 10 years. Exposure to the wind and rain since then has taken its toll on the paint, but there's nothing that can't be put right.

Meanwhile the webmaster's fame spreads ever wider, with an article which has appeared in the Western Morning News and the Western Daily Press. Their 'Nostalgia' reporter, Roger Malone, knows all about Bulleids and a trip to Herston is planned.

34070 Manston

34070 has over-wintered in Herston for some repairs and maintenance. It will be going directly to the WSR Gala at the beginning of March, and then return to service on Swanage Railway.


34070 Manston last visited the WSR in 2014, though it failed with a piston problem on the Saturday morning. It's seen on the previous day awaiting the arrival of 34007 Wadebridge at Crowcombe station. Hopefully this time we'll see 34070 passing 34053. Photo: Ian Emerson.

34053 Sir Keith Park

You can find many videos of our locos in action on YouTube but few match the quality of those made by Alan Parr who has created the Parsound channel. Sir Keith Park is the subject of this one and this one

Alan was born in Somerset and grew up in the north. Childhood trips to Guildford fostered his interest in things Southern, notably the Somerset & Dorset. His model of Braysdown & Writhlington has been featured in model railway magazines and was exhibited at the Warley show.

Alan has published nearly a hundred video on his YouTube channel.


34053 Sir Keith Park looked very much at home on the double tracked section of the Great Central Railway near Kinchley Lane. This photo was taken on 30th January during the Winter Steam Gala, and the loco is carrying the "Statesman" Ocean Liner headboard. (c) Gareth Griffiths

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.

For details of our shareholder plan 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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