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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 pregressing. 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:

Entries will be displayed here: WSR 2014 Spring Gala

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.

December 2013

34072 257 Squadron overhaul

Steady progress is being made on the overhaul of 34072 257 Squadron, though in the absence of driving wheels and a boiler it still doesn't look much like a loco. Stripping the loco is virtually complete, and the process of rebuilding has begun. Most obviously the sandboxes have been refitted. The piston valves have been rebored, new horncheeks are being made and fitted, and dozens of bushes in the brake gear are being re-made. Individual components are being dismantled, cleaned and re-assembled.

horn guides   257 Squadron frames

New cheek plates have been machined for the horn guides of 257 Squadron driving wheels.

The frames of 257 Squadron. The obvious fixtures are the four sandboxes.

pressure valves   piston valves

Each cylinder has two pressure valves which are set to 300psi to relieve pressure if water enters the cylinders.

The piston valve sleeves are in good condition and only needed a re-bore.

34070 Manston

Manston has been been in occasional use on Swanage Railway during the Autumn and will be used over the Christmas period and on their Santa Special services, which sold out before the first trip ran. In the New Year Manston will be out of service for some weeks to be fitted with new main steam pipes, which are being made at Herston together with a new set for 257 Squadron.

Manston at Corfe

34070 Manston seen leaving Corfe Castle for Norden on 6th September. Photo: Barry Quince .

34053 Sir Keith Park

Update: Sir Keith Park was in action at SVR over the Christmas period, and clocked up 100 days in passenger service during 2013. It had been announced that it would be travelling to the West Somerset Railway to take part in their Spring Gala (27-30th March) which has a "Withered Arm" theme including a recreation of the Atlantic Coast Express. However the loco suffered damage to its middle cylinder while operating on 1st January, and has been withdrawn for repairs. The trip to WSR has been cancelled.

However it's now been confirmed that Manston will go to the WSR Gala. Further details of the Gala can be found here.

SLL 2014 Calendar

2014 Calendar

Thanks to those who ordered a copy of this year's SLL Calendar. 70 copies were printed and we raised £40 for SLL funds. The calendar's photographs featured all of SLL's locos from 34010 Sidmouth in 1964 to a recent view of 34053 Sir Keith Park. We still have a very few available, so please get in touch if you're interested.

Pen & Sword Books

Pen & Sword Books is an independent publisher based in Barnsley who specialise in history, military and transport books. They have kindly offered us copies of three recent releases to use as prizes in forthcoming competitions.


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.

The first of these will be a Photo Competiton to mark Manston's visit to West Somerset Railway as mentioned above. Details will be available nearer the date.

Shareholder News

We have arranged for our 2014 Annual General Meeting to be held at the Engine House, Highley station, SVR, on Saturday 27th September. Formal notice will be published nearer the date. The preceding two days (25th & 26th September) have been reserved for shareholder driving and firing trips. We generally give priority to new shareholders and this year we have ring-fenced four driving and firing slots for those buying their first share between January and June 2014. So if you've been thinking about joining our 700 shareholders, and fancy a turn driving Sir Keith Park on the SVR next September, now might be a very good time to do so. More details here.

goodbye to all that....

We've left the December 2013 News on the "Latest News" page; the full 2013 News is in the Archive below.

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