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April 2017

Strictly Photo Competition

Many thanks to everyone who entered our Strictly Bulleid photo competition. With three of SLL's locos in action - Manston, Sir Keith Park and 80104/80146 - plus City of Wells, 92 Squadron and Lord Dowding, and not forgetting 257 Squadron in Herston works there was plenty to photograph. Sidmouth's frames were on display at Corfe Castle, and on Saturday 1st April the cab front of our Leader Donald was unveiled to visitors to Herston Works. Strictly was a huge success for Swanage Railway with more than 5,700 passengers carried and much enjoyed by all.

Over 150 photos were entered. We planned to offer two prizes, but couldn't decide between three excellent entries, so three prizes it is. For the first category (best photo featuring one SLL loco) SLL Chairman, Simon Troy awarded the prizes to Karl Heath and Nathan Au. The winner of the second category (best photo featuring both Sir Keith Park and Manston) went to Paul Blowfield.


The first winner in the "featuring one SLL loco" category is Nathan Au's photo of 34070 Manston heading up the line bearing the Night Ferry headboard on Sunday 2nd April.


The second winner in the same category is Karl Heath's image of 34053 Sir Keith Park at Corfe Castle, with the classic view of the castle itself, taken on 1st April

34053 34070

In the second category winner Paul Blowfield's monochrome image shows not just Manston and Sir Keith Park but also Lord Dowding and 92 Squadron. It was taken early on 1st April, with 53 and 70 heading up the line light engine.

Full screen versions of all the entries can be seen at: Strictly Bulleid photos.

Old Masters

Michaelangelo spent 19 years on his back painting a ceiling, Constable did a nice picture of Salisbury but missed out 72B, and JMW Turner made a poorly focused picture of a GWR loco crossing a viaduct, but only Ron Bennett managed to paint a complete Bulleid Pacific. SLL's chief painter, now aged 90, painted 34053 Sir Keith Park in 2011/12 (with a certain amount of help from others) but until Strictly he had never ridden on its footplate. Well done Ron....257 Squadron's waiting for you in Herston works.


Ron took a round trip from Swanage to River Frome and back on Sir Keith Park, courtesy of Swanage Railway on the Sunday of Strictly Bulleid. Photo (c) Stuart Magnus

SLL Galleries

Readers may be familiar with the angst which the demise of Picasa caused the webmaster when it was rolled into Google Photos, so we'll spare you the details.

However with the assistance of Richard Green Locos in Profile we have made a webpage which will steer users to the gallery of their choice


The oldest photo in our galleries is this shot of 21C110 Sidmouth, presumably taken at Brighton when in Malachite Green livery, Sept 1945, or maybe taken at the time of its naming in June 1946.

The new page tabulates all of our galleries and puts them in a logical order where you might reasonably be able to find what you're looking for. There's a direct link to SLL Galleries page in the main menu, half way down the list.

We still use Google to store the photos, though the structure will work with other on-line facilities, and we've included a link to the Flickr SLL photo pool. We hope you find the galleries interesting and easy to use. If you find any glitches please let us know.

Take me to your Leader.....

Day Two of Strictly Bulleid fell on Saturday 1st April, when SLL volunteers were due to open Herston Works to visitors, so what better excuse for an April Fool. It's not unusual for SLL supporters to start rambling on about building a Bulleid Leader - particularly when they're in the Black Swan.

With Strictly and 1st April in mind work had begun several weeks previously to build a cab front and fit it to the back of Eddystone's cab, which stands in the middle of the workshop. It was built from cardboard on a wooden frame, painted in undercoat grey, windows were fitted, it was lined out, and wipers, lights and lamp brackets followed.

On the Friday night we issued a press release and posted it on Facebook and our website; we had tipped off Steam Railway magazine who added their own news item, and we invited visitors at Strictly to come and see it for themselves.

34072 34072

The cab section was on display to visitors at Herston Works during Strictly Bulleid. Note that OVSB himself is driving. Photo: T Bright

An artist's impression of how 'Donald' will look in service. Other members of the class may be named Theresa, Nicola and Gareth.

Given the opportunity to see an eighth Bulleid (that's five in steam, Sidmouth's frames, 257 Squadron, and Donald the Leader) more than 600 people visited the works over the weekend. Whether they were disappointed to discover that only a cardboard replica had been built is not recorded, but they made handsome contributions to our collecting bucket.

March 2017

In the Workshop

34072 257 Squadron

Work continues to complete 257 Squadron. The grate, firebox door and superheater elements are fitted, and work continues on the remaining cab fittings. The mass of lubrication pipes are being cleaned and re-fitted. The steam pipe flanges have received attention and the smokebox has been lifted into place for the final time. The boiler casing, which holds the lagging in place, has been fitted. The main steam pipes were fitted in early March. The cab is now painted in BR Green and was lifted into place in February.

While a good rate of progress is being achieved 34072 will not be ready to take an active part in Strictly Bulleid.

34072 34072

In early January the remaining super-heater elements were fitted into the flues and header.

The copper lubrication pipes are being refitted throughout. First each pipe run must be heated with a gas torch to burn out old grease and muck.

34072 34072

The firebox door frame has been installed. Someone has kindly stuck a photo of Manston's footplate on the backplate, in case anyone doesn't know their gauge glass from their regulator.

34072's cab is now in BR Green. Inside the cab is the smokebox, thus saving some floor space. By the mid-February both were positioned on the loco.

34072 34072

In February the grate was refitted with 150 'fingers' which can be rocked by the fireman.

Most of the fittings in the cab are now installed.

34072 34072

Most of the casing for 34072 has been made from new, such was the corrosion of the original panels. It's a time consuming job done mainly by volunteers led by Dave Ensor.

Claire Sheppy and Mary Bosworth removed each of the bolts which secure the cladding to the framework, checked each bolt with a die and each hole with a tap to ensure that the cladding could be assembled with as little difficulty as possible.

34010 Sidmouth

Sidmouth's wheels returned from Buckfastleigh with new tyres. Various parts have been found, ordered or repaired, notably a chimney which might otherwise have spent the rest of its career serving as a flower pot. (More on that story later.)

34010 34010

The leading and trailing driving wheels of Sidmouth, with new tyres fitted.

Left and Right are the front bogie wheels of Sidmouth, in the centre are the wheels for the rear pony truck which has outside bearings. All have been re-tyred.

80104 / 80146

80104's bottom-end overhaul ran on longer than hoped as cylinder liners were needed and the slidebars needed further attention. Given these additional tasks it was decided to give the loco a much needed repaint. Given 80104's role as station pilot during the forthcoming Strictly gala it was decided to renumber the loco as 80146 which ran the last steam service to Swanage back in 1967. After being weighed 80104 finally re-entered service on 1st March.


80104 in steam on 2nd February at Swanage station. Minor steam leaks were being attended to, and the loco needed weighing before it re-entered service. As it turned out, some of the spring hangers were immovable had to be replaced.

34028 Eddystone

Not too much news as attention has focussed on 80104 and 34072. Work continues overhauling various components. The new tubeplate will be fitted at Buckfastleigh. Willie Bath has visited Tyseley to review progress and agree the final scope of their work on the bottom end.

Strictly Bulleid


As well as having three of our locos in action many SLL staff and supporters will be at the gala, and we have arranged a 'stand' on the platform at Swanage. Come and say hello.

It hardly counts as another Bulleid, however Sidmouth's frames and the well-wagon on which they currently reside will be moved to the yard at Corfe Castle station, adjacent to the museum.

More details can be found here.

While 34072 will not to taking part in 'Strictly' three of our locos will. 34070 Manston is of course resident at Swanage Railway, and 34053 Sir Keith Park will be visiting from SVR. 80104 has been renumbered 80146 (see above) and will be acting as Swanage station pilot throughout the event, 31st March to 2nd April.

Intending visitors have asked whether it will be possible to see 34072 (and two Swanage moguls) at Herston over the gala weekend. After discussions with Swanage Railway SLL has agreed to open the workshop on Saturday and Sunday to see a sixth - almost complete - Bulleid Pacific. SLL volunteers will be showing visitors around the works.

Exact times are to be finalised, it will probably be from 10:00am to 2:00pm on both days and arrangements will be announced by Swanage Railway. There will be no charge for admission to the works, though a large green bucket for donations will be strategically placed.

34053 Sir Keith Park

SKP will be touring England (and possibly beyond) during 2017. It visited the Nene Valley Railway in February, will be at Swanage in March, at the Mid-Hants in July, with more to come.


A night shot of 34081 92 Squadron and 34053 Sir Keith Park at Wansford station on 26th February. Photo (c) Kevin Wilkins of the BBLS.

34053 arrived at NVR on 15th February and on the weekend of 25-26th February it took part in their Bulleid 50 gala alongside the NVR's home loco 34081 92 Squadron which has been recently been outshopped in Malachite Green. Subsequently it was used for a Footplate Experience course on 3rd March, and was the star of "Sir Keith Park Sunday" on the 5th March.

When running at Swanage it will carry the three flags (UK, New Zealand and Royal Air Force) which were used at its 2013 re-commissioning ceremony, though sadly we don't expect a fly past by a Spitfire and Hurricane this time. The loco was restored at Swanage however it has never run there and it's sure to attract lots of interest from the 'home team'.


At the 2013 recommissioning ceremony at Kidderminster when Sir Keith Park was named by the New Zealand High Commissioner the loco carried three flags on the front.

OK1 was the call sign of the Hurricane used by Air Vice-Marshall Keith Park to visit fighter bases during the Battle of Britain.

Alan Parr has recently completed his third video of 34053 Sir Keith Park running on the Severn Valley Railway. As usual the Parsound production is expertly filmed and finished, with notably good sound quality; enjoy that Bulleid 'chuff'.

34070 Manston

In January news we stated that Manston was in regularly service only for it to be promptly stopped for several days with lubricator problems. This time we will simply state that it was available for service when we last enquired.


Norman's boiler ticket is due to expire at the end of 2017. We will be looking for a timely way to overhaul the loco; given our current commitments to 34072, 34028 and 34010 SLL's in-house resource is already stretched, and a bit of blue-sky thinking may be required.

Ron Bennett

Our Chief Painter, Ron Bennett, celebrated his 90th birthday on Sunday 22nd January. Ron lives in Poole and was inveigled into attending a surprise party at the New Inn at Oakley with a large group of family, friends and colleagues. Gifts included an 00 gauge model of 34070 Manston in a display case, and an Airfix kit of 34057 Biggin Hill, complete with a brush and pots of paint! He was also presented with a Locos-in-Profile print of 34028 Eddystone. The print was #90 from a run of 350.


Ron was given his framed print of 34028 in the mess room at Herston. When not painting SLL locos he's making tea for SLL and Swanage Railway staff and volunteers.

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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