2011 News Archive

News Archives

2023 News

2022 News

2021 News

2020 News

2019 News

2018 News

2017 News

2016 News

2015 News

2014 News

2013 News

2012 News

2010 News

2009 News

December 2011

Manston in Herston

Recent visitors to Herston have been impressed by the sight of three Battle of Britain class locos in the works; Sir Keith Park and 257 Squadron have been joined by 34070 Manston for repairs to its valve gear. In October Manston damaged some links in its enclosed valve gear, and this has now been taken apart for repair. This work is being led by Graham Froud, the Swanage Railway engineer who ensures our locos are well cared for while in their hands. SLL is providing machine shop and procurement support to repair and remake the damaged components.

Three Bulleids   bent lever

Three Bulleids in Herston. In the foreground Manston, to the left Sir Keith Park, and at the back 257 Squadron.

Ouch! A damaged Combination Lever from Manston's enclosed valve gear.

Sir Keith Park

Work continues on Sir Keith Park following the installation of the boiler. The cab and much of the pipework and linkages around the smokebox had been removed to allow the boiler to be put in place; replacing those parts was generally straight-forward, though it all takes time.

SKP Petticoat   SKP pipes

The petticoat (shown inverted) that fits under Sir Keith Park's chimney within the smokebox. The circumferential feed is the steam and air exhausted from the brake ejector.

The main brake pipe was removed while the boiler was lifted on. It came off, so it ought to go back on...Geoff wrestles with the pipe while Tom, Ian and Ron look on.

The ashpan now works correctly and the grate and its rocking mechanism have been reinstated. This was a difficult job as the patches inside the firebox resulted in the grate not fitting. The newly made vacuum brake ejector will be fitted shortly, with all associated pipework and clips fitted. The first of the boiler cladding has now been permanently fixed. After the Christmas break the first job will be to install the superheater header and the elements.

Manston smokebox cover   SKP smokebox

Original Bulleids have a small inspection hatch beneath the smokebox door that gives access to the inside cylinder and valve. The fitters at Stewarts Lane must have been all too familiar with it.

Mike Benwell gets to work in Sir Keith Park's smokebox, drilling about 80 5/8" holes for bolts which secure the smokebox to the front flange of the boiler.

257 Squadron

While the focus remains on Sir Keith Park our thoughts are turning to our next major project, the overhaul of 34072 257 Squadron. Initial removal of cladding, etc, will be done by volunteers, as we expect our professional staff will be busy "shaking down" Sir Keith for some weeks. Several new volunteers have joined us recently including Mike Benwell whose father was a pilot in the squadron, flying night-fighter Hurricanes in early 1942. When Mike and his friend Roger presented themselves at Herston they asked, half-joking, whether we'd like them to sweep up, but before long they were inside Sir Keith's smokebox drilling 5/8" holes.

New recruits are truly welcome and are given real jobs to do, commensurate with their experience and skills. Pushing the broom won't figure high on the list of jobs.

November 2011

SKP smokebox

Reunited - Sir Keith Park's boiler is on the frames.

After a gap of 10 years Sir Keith Park's boiler has been reunited with its frames, marking the last major step in the loco's restoration. The boiler was lifted from the frames in 2001 at Sellindge. After two false starts, the boiler arrived at Herston works for restoration in 2009. Extensive repair to the front tubeplate was needed, plus an entirely new rear tubeplate. The inner wall of the firebox needed new sections around the base. Add to that a new smokebox, a couple of hundred new stays and complete replacement of the tubes, superheater flues and elements and we were faced with repairs costing well into six figures.

SKP boiler test   SKP track

The pressure is rising past 220 psi during the boiler steam test on 4th November.

Track panels are assembled outside the workshop so that Sir Keith Park's frames can be rolled out.

This final steps of this work started on 17th October with a hydraulic test, followed by a successful steam test on 4th November. From this date the clock starts ticking on the boiler's 10 year ticket. The volunteer session on 17-18th November saw the construction of several track panels, so that the frames could be drawn out of the workshop and positioned adjacent to the boiler. Meanwhile the new smokebox was mounted on the front of the boiler.

On Tuesday 22nd November the boiler was reunited with the frames. The boiler had been moved outside the works for the steam test (for obvious reasons) and a large mobile crane was positioned next to the track.

SKP track   SKP smokebox door

The path is cleared and track is laid leading to the door of the workshop.

The smokebox has been mounted on the boiler.

This scene has been enacted several times at Herston, but the tension was still palpable. Once the boiler was on the chassis access to the inside valve gear is far more difficult; time was taken to check the frames for forgotten spanners, loose nuts, etc.

The first task was to attach the new ashpan to the base of the firebox. The firebox has 20 slotted studs which locate on holes around the flange of the ashpan. Nothing too tricky there, except that the studs on the 60 year old boiler weren't all quite where the ought to be, and some urgent flame cutting, bending and hammering were required so that the craneman could get on with their task.

The hydraulic mobile crane came from Marsh Plant in Poole. It's a lovely piece of a kit with amazingly sensitive controls, able to move the boiler an inch at a time. The cranemen communicate with the man in the cab using an exact "sign language". So the boiler was lifted above the track, our trusty fork lift hauled the frames out of the workshop to the very end of the new track, and the boiler was lowered gently into position. It will need some packing and alignment before it can be finally bolted down, but 34053 Sir Keith Park now looks a lot more like a loco.

SKP boiler   SKP boiler

First job, align the ashpan and the boiler.

The crane can position boiler with remarkable precision.

SKP boiler   SKP boiler

The studs and holes needed some encouragement.

The boiler is lowered into position.

Photo Competition Winners

Our Autumn photo competition attracted 45 entries. The majority of the entries, and all of the winners, featured Manston during its visit to the West Somerset Railway in October, which was blessed with perfect autumn weather. SLL Director Simon Troy has picked three winners, each of whom will receive one of Richard Green's fine art prints of 34072 257 Squadron. Congratulations to the winners and our thanks all the entrants for their excellent photos, high res versions of which can be seen here.

SKP smokebox   SKP track

Winner 1. Tom Clarke's action shot of 34070 Manston leaving Minehead during their Autumn Steam Gala. Both the subject and location are clearly portayed.

Winner 2. Robert Bester captured the atmosphere as 34070 Manston pauses at Stogumber on the West Somerset Railway which it visited for the Autumn Steam Gala.

SKP track   SKP smokebox door

Winner 3. Peter Nicolson's fine view of 34070 Manston at rest in the platform at Minehead, also taken during the WSR Gala.

The winners will each receive a copy of Richard Green's fine art print of 34072 257 Squadron.

SLL at Purbeck Railway Circle

SLL Webmaster Nick Thompson recently gave an illustrated talk on "Sir Keith Park the Man and the Locomotive" at Purbeck Railway Circle. The Circle's meetings are held at Harmans Cross Village Hall which is an excellent venue. Over 50 members came to the meeting, and a collection brought a generous sum for SLL's restoration work. Nick will be giving a similar talk on December 14th at the Thorncombe Railway Activities Club in west Dorset.

Fleet News

Manston remains out of service following the problems with its valve gear. It is expected to move into Herston works before Christmas.

Eddystone is servicable though it has seen little use in recent weeks.

80104 is in use on the Swanage Railway.

80078 is out of service awaiting overhaul. Discussions are continuing about the funding of this work, which it is hoped will start in 2012.

34072 257 Squadron remains in Herston Works. We hope to start the overhaul when Sir Keith Park leaves Herston early in 2012.

Our Austerity Tank Norman has been in regular service at Embsay.

October 2011

On Friday 14th October, at around 4 pm, 34070 Manston failed while working near Corfe Castle on the Swanage Railway. The loco was stopped and the chain drive to the valve gear was removed to avoid further damage, after which it was hauled back to Swanage. This caused some delay and cancellation to other trains on the line.

The loco suffered damage to the enclosed valve gear mechanism involving at least two combination levers. The Swanage Railway Locomotive Department is planning is to leave Manston at the railway for several weeks until Sir Keith Park has been reboilered, freeing up space and minimising delay to our restoration work. Manston will then be taken into Herston works for repair. There was no obvious external cause for the failure, and Swanage Railway is working to establish the circumstances.

More happily, we can report that Sir Keith Park's boiler passed its hydraulic test (345 psi) on Monday 17th October. Minor adjustments are required prior to the steam test which is planned for early November.

Autumn 2011 Photo competition

We've received about 40 entries to this competition so far, which can be seen here. Entries close on 10th November, so we're hoping for lots more in the next couple of weeks. Scroll down to September News for entry details.

34070 on WSR   34070 at WSR

A great shot of 34070 Manston leaving Swanage during the gala weekend (c) T Clarke

Manston, with a cheerful driver, during the WSR Steam Gala (c) P O'Malley

Workshop Update

Sir Keith Park

The hydraulic test was delayed when it was decided to replace some of the rivets around the front tube plate. As mentioned above it was completed successfully on 17th October. The steam test is planned for early November.

To install the boiler it is necessary to remove the cab and disconnect much of the pipework and running plates around the firebox. While the cab is at floor level the roof is being completed.

There was a three day volunteer workshop session to coincide with annual shareholders driving and firing event. Naturally many shareholders came to look at progress on Sir Keith Park, and several stayed to lend a hand.

SKP cab   SKP cab

To mount the boiler on the frames the cab must be removed. Paul Quill, Bob Bevis and Malcolm Garner contemplate the task.

Shareholder David Manning-Fox visited the workshop to look at Sir Keith Park, and was promptly offered a Capabilities Form to complete and sign, and a hammer to use. Rivetting its roof wasn't quite what he'd planned for the afternoon, but he seemed to enjoy it.

Eddystone was used for SLL Shareholder driver experience and as the service train loco during the visit of Tangmere and Oliver Cromwell 14/15th October.

Manston travelled to the West Somerset Railway for their Autumn Steam Gala. Naturally it was the star of the show (for some of us at least) and performed impressively.

Subsequently it was used for three days of SLL shareholder footplate trips, however it suffered valve gear damage on Friday 14th as mentioned above.

34028 at Corfe   80104 at Swanage

As we waited near Corfe for Oliver Cromwell to arrive, Eddystone came past to remind us of our true loyalties.

80104 has been the backbone of service trains at Swanage in recent weeks.

80104 has been in regular service at the Swanage Railway. During our recent shareholders event around 20 members were given footplate rides on the loco.

2011 Shareholder Driving & Firing

This year's shareholder event was spread over three days, ably supervised by Ray Grace. Manston and Eddystone were both used for driving and firing trips under the careful supervision of Swanage Railway loco crews to whom we extend our thanks. In all over 50 shareholders took part in driving and firing trips, and around 20 more enjoyed a footplate trip on 80104. We've received many messages of thanks, and some very welcome cheques to help pay the substantial coal bill. There's an SLL Gallery showing a collection of photos of participants in action and Paul Gildersleve's gallery has particularly good photos on the footplate.

34070 on SVR   34028 at CVR

Manston ran with the Swanage Railway's freight wagon rake, including a brake van at each end.

SLL Chairman Geoff Thompson and Ray Evans enjoy the moment at Norden.

AGM Report

Our AGM was held in the Harmans Cross Village Hall, an attractive new building next to the station. Moving out of Swanage for the meeting was a popular move; more than 30 Shareholders attended in addition to Board members, maybe because it was carefully timed to suit the arrival of Oliver Cromwell and departure of Tangmere.

SLL Accounts

We live in times when anyone can come up with an idea for a new-build locomotive, team up with a few mates in the pub, build a website and start asking the world to send them cheques. Never mind all that nonsense about a workshop, a skilled workforce or any kind of business plan.

While SLL's roots were far from easy, over the past 20 years we have achieved most of the goals we set, restoring seven Barry wrecks and an Austerity saddle tank. Part of that success comes from being a Limited Company, which brings clear rules about ownership, management and accounts. Companies must file annual accounts; we go a step further and attach our latest accounts to the website giving current and future supporters an insight on the operation of the company and our balance sheet.

The results for 2010 - 2011 show a satisfactory (but not easy) year. Our total income was £279,239 of which around 51% came from loco leasing, 14% from other trading, donations, etc, and 35% comes from the sale of shares.

Our costs were £282,503, of which 60% was staff and subcontractors, 31% was parts and materials for loco restoration, and 9% was overheads. We spent slightly more than we earned during that period, though we ended the year with money in the bank. As always, no dividend was paid to shareholders.

It's worth noting that although we have significant income from loco leasing we are greatly dependant on new share purchases to maintain the current level of operations. There are residents of cyberspace who think that if you own enough locos the fees earned by the operational ones will fund the restoration and overhaul of the fleet; they are indeed living on a different planet! The inconvenient truth is that while a loco's hire fees may go some way to paying for the overhauls needed to keep it in service they will never pay back its original cost of restoration, or fund the restoration of other locos. This applies to SLL which has many volunteers as well as a core of paid staff - our restorations cost far less than some other groups.

The point is this; we need our supporters, new and old, to fund SLL if we are to achieve the next goals - the overhauls of 80078 and 34072 257 Squadron. Unless they do, those overhauls simply won't happen.

Driver Bill Goldsack and 257 Squadron

Another glimpse into the past has emerged with a photo showing driver Bill Goldsack posing alongside 34072 257 Squadron. His grandson, David Goldsack, sent us this photo scanned from a small print probably taken in the late 1940's. Driver Goldsack was based at Dover MPD for many years, and drove Dunkirk evacuation trains during 1940. His son remembers opening the paper during the war to the headline "Driver Goldsack killed on Dover - Deal route, machine gunned or bombed", only to discover that it was one of two other Goldsacks based at the shed. On a later occasion Driver Goldsack had to take a day off and travel to Grove Park to find his son who'd suffered in an air raid; he located him in hospital, but was back at work the next day.

In later years he drove the Golden Arrow and Night Ferry; though offered promotion to Inspector he remained a driver and retired one month short of 50 years service, so missing out on his gold watch!


Driver Bill Goldsack poses alongside 34072 257 Squadron. The exact date isn't known; the loco entered service as 34072 in May 1948, and is shown bearing a painted front number which had been replaced by a cast smokebox number plate by May 1950. The location is somewhere on the south-east section where 34072 remained until 1958. Photo: John Goldsack collection.

And finally....

SLL gets the occasional mention in the railway press, but it's not often we make national news. A few weeks ago Paul Routledge of the Daily Mirror visited Swanage, and was shown around Herston works. He was naturally impressed by Sir Keith Park, and wrote an article recording his visit, which was accompanied by a small photo of Air Vice-Marshal Park.

September 2011

Autumn 2011 Photo competition

There are some interesting events coming up in the next few weeks, so we thought it would be a good time to run another photo competition.

The subject is simple; any photos featuring SLL locos taken between 1st September and 31st October 2011 are eligible. For example, it could be Manston's visit to the West Somerset Railway's Autumn Gala (29th September - 2nd October), Manston, Eddystone or 80104 at work on the Swanage Railway, Norman on the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway, maybe 80078 on a low-loader at the recent Great Dorset Steam Fair, or even Sidmouth's boiler stored near the platform end at Bridgnorth.

It's mainly for fun, but there will be three prizes - copies of Richard Green's fine art print of 34072 257 Squadron.

257 Print

The prizes are copies of Richard Green's print of 34072 257 Squadron. Richard's well-known Locos in Profile prints retail for £29.50 each, though at present those of 257 Squadron are generally reserved for new shareholders in SLL.

Here are the rules:

Some entries have already been received.

34070 on SVR   34028 at CVR

Last year's competition followed Manston's visits to the NYMR and here on the Severn Valley Railway. (c) C Hanley

Eddystone travelled to the Churnet Valley Railway, and is seen here in Cheddleton shed. (c) P Bettany

Sir Keith Park tube appeal


Our Tube Sponsorship offer is still open, and we urgently need more cash to complete the restoration of Sir Keith Park, however we thought it was time to thank those whose contributions have helped us raise the £38,000 needed to pay for the tubes, flues and elements. In total more than 30 sponsors raised about half of the total needed. Many kindly offered to sponsor a tube and "upgraded" to a share in Southern Locomotives, with the mutual benefits that brings.

Our youngest sponsor is Hamish Robertson, aged seven, seen in Waterloo Place doing his "Spitfire" impression in front of Sir Keith Park's statue.

If you'd like to sponsor a tube, please see the Sponsor a Tube page for full details.

Workshop update

Work continues apace on Sir Keith Park. The boiler repairs are essentially complete, with all the new stays in place. A hydraulic test is expected shortly, to be followed by the steam test. Then the boiler can be mounted on the frames, and it will start to look like a proper loco.

Meanwhile there are dozens of smaller jobs to complete. The firebox back-plate and fittings all need to be reassembled. Both smoke deflectors have been installed, and work is in progress on the handrails.

The rocking grate is all-new. The rocking mechanism has been fabricated in Herston, and the grate castings have been delivered and machined to fit. However, for the steam test a temporary grate is required, one that could be removed immediately if problems arose during testing. It consists of a steel frame supporting old boiler tubes, all supported by four pins that could be knocked clear in a matter of seconds. The boiler will have no smokebox fitted at the time of the test, and will naturally have to be rolled into the open air for the test.

Sir Keith Park   Sir Keith Park

Willie Bath and Bob Bevis at work. In the foreground the new grate rocking mechanism.

The hand rail is being fabricated; it follows the taper of the boiler.

Sir Keith Park   Sir Keith Park

The temporary grate being constructed for the forthcoming steam test.

The left-hand smoke deflector is positioned on Sir Keith Park.

Meanwhile some preliminary work is being done to 34072 257 Squadron to assess the scope of its forthcoming overhaul.

80078 visits the Great Dorset Steam Fair

They may not travel on rails, but when it comes to numbers the Great Dorset Steam Fair is hard to beat. There's often a (railway) steam loco there as a star attraction and for use as a load for the road locos to show their stength. This year the Swanage Railway sent 80078 to the event on an Allely's low-loader.


80078 seen on an Allely's low-loader on the GDSF circuit, The combination was later hauled around the circuit by a single new-build McLaren road engine, as seen here. (c) James Dawe. The webmaster met James at his family's B&B in Padstow, which is worth a visit!

Locomotives in service

We're happy to report that four locos have been in regular use over the summer, without incident.

34028 Eddystone, 34070 Manston, and Standard Tank 80104 have all been in regular use at Swanage. Manston will be starring at the West Somerset Railway's Autumn Steam Gala (29th September - 2nd October).

Norman remains the backbone of services at the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway in Yorkshire.

TClarke   TClarke

Tom Clarke has sent some entries for the 2011 Photo Competition. Here Manston leaves Swanage in a cloud of steam

80104 hauls a freight train during the Swanage Autumn Steam Gala (c) Tom Clarke

July 2011

Sir Keith Park

Tubes 'я' Us

The June 23 - 24th volunteer session was a tube-fest; 112 new Tubes and 32 new Flues for Sir Keith Park's boiler needed to be prepared prior to assembly. Each required degreasing, polishing, and removal of scale from both ends so that they will form a good seal with the tube plates when installed. Some superheater flues also needed to be slight shortened to fit between the restored front tubeplate and the newly fitted rear tube plate. Seven volunteers formed a production line supervised by Bob Bevis and set to work. Rarely has Herston witnessed such a maelstrom of productivity - the job was finished with time to spare. The tubes and flues were fitted into the the boiler during the week 4 - 8th July.

tubes   tubes

Ron and Mike degreased the tubes while Ray, Malcolm and Nick T de-scaled the ends.

112 tubes, ready to go into Sir Keith Park's boiler

tubes   tubes

Nick W and Dave cut some of the superheater flues to length and descaled both ends.

32 Flues, ready to go into Sir Keith Park's boiler. To the left are the superheater elements.

tubes   tubes

The team from NYMR fitted the tubes and flues into the boiler.

The inside of the boiler with most flues and some flues fitted. Note the steam pipe at the top, the regulator is not yet fitted.

Our thanks once again to all those who have sponsored Tubes, Flues and Superheater elements for Sir Keith Park's boiler. The tubes and flues may now be safely inside the boiler, but we still need to pay the bills and it's not too late to become a sponsor! As before, sponsors will quality for trips on the Launch Trains and driving/firing opportunities on 34053 soon after it enters service. Details can be found here.

SKP rod   SKP rod

Meanwhile in the machine shop Paul Quill is making two new Eccentric Rods for Sir Keith Park. These are machined from forged steel blanks.

A part-made Eccentric Rod with the faces and fluting machined. If you need a reminder of the components of Walschaert's valve gear, click here.

Fleet News

Not much news this month; 34028 Eddystone, 34070 Manston and 80104 are in service on the Swanage Railway. 80078's and 34072 257 Squadron's overhauls should start before too long, and 34053 Sir Keith Park's re-entry to service gets ever closer.

80104 Norden   SKP rod

Standard 4MT Tank 80104, back in service after its overhaul, runs round at Norden, 6th July.

34010 Sidmouth's boiler has been at Bridgnorth station for some time. Recently we recovered some of the fittings and removed the smokebox, which is scrap. The boiler is in "not too bad" condition and may move to Swanage before long.


Norman is in regular service on the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway. Here's a short clip from the footplate, as it works hard hauling five coaches up the gradient out of Bolton Abbey.

Norman   norman

Norman, out of use at Yorkshire Main Colliery in 1969, prior to its move to Askern. The other loco is Hudswell Clark Eddie, which went for scrap. Thanks to Roger Monk for sending us this photo, a better version is in our Picasa galleries (c) R Monk.

Norman in service at Embsay 9th July. (c) N Thompson

SLL's world tour 2011

Once again a group of SLL staff and supporters have forsaken Herston and spent a few days in the land where all locos are painted black with red wheels, aka Germany, a place where every meal includes large quantities of meat, potatoes and beer, not that anyone was complaining. The itinerary included Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, the world's largest model railway, and two days in the Harz mountains, home to metre gauge 2-10-2T's which are about the size of a Standard Tank.

Harz   Harz

Three class 99 2-10-2T metre gauge locos at the end of the day outside the shed at Wernigerode, on the Harz mountain railway.

Why doesn't the Swanage Railway have open balconies between coaches? The SLL team enjoy the ride. L to R: Bob Bevis, Simon Troy, Richard Haywood, Geoff Reber and Nick Thompson. Also on the trip was Mike Price, who took this photo.

Photos from the past

Once again some interesting photos have arrived out of the blue. This time thanks are due to Mr John Evans who lives in California these days, but took these photos of 257 Squadron and Sidmouth at Eastleigh on 6th December 1964. Full screen versions can be seen in our Picasa galleries.

34072   34010

34072 257 Squadron out of service at Eastleigh on 6th December 1964, two months after withdrawal. Note the high sided tender which it carried until withdrawn. It's still bearing its nameplate but the crest appears to have gone.

On the same day 34010 Sidmouth was in steam at Eastleigh. Photos: (c) John Evans.

Southern Pacific magazine archive restored

Following the demise of Fotopic we've now recreated the archive of SLL's Southern Pacific magazine in a new gallery. They can now be from the Links page of this website.

June 2011

Sir Keith Park

Not many months pass without previously unseen photos of our locos in BR days emerging. In April it was a rather grotty shot of Sidmouth at NYMR, this month it's the other end of the spectrum. Derek Cross was one of the finest photographers of the post-war steam era, with many books to his credit. Recently Mike Esau, also an excellent photographer, has been in touch with Derek's son David about his late father's photos which feature our locomotives and these three shots of 34053 Sir Keith Park came to light. David has kindly permitted SLL to add these to our library, but we thought we'd show them here on the website first.

Several of Mike's photos are already included in our galleries, and he has published two editions of "Steam into Wessex" in which Bulleids feature prominently. Mike is currently working on a Third edition of 'Steam Into Wessex' centered around the Waterloo to Weymouth line, which features previously unpublished photos.


Derek Cross's perfect view of 34053 Sir Keith Park heading the down Bournemouth Belle at Deepcut on 3rd September 1960. (c) Derek Cross, courtesy David Cross.

34053   34053

34053 heads a down West of England train through Weybridge, June 1959. (c) Derek Cross courtesy David Cross.

34053 heading west at Mile Post 31 with a Bournemouth line train, 10th September 1960. (c) Derek Cross courtesy David Cross.

These photos can be seen full screen in the new 34053 photo gallery.

Sir Keith Park

Work continues on the smokebox. The orifices for the feed pipes and chimney have now been cut, and the remaining 7/8th inch bolts are fitted to secure it to the saddle. Photos from Roger Hughes and Malcolm Garner.

34053 smokebox   34053 drilling holes

The front plate has been welded to the smokebox, and holes for the smokebox door hinges were drilled.

Volunteer Roger Hughes continues the task of drilling the 58 7/8th inch holes used to bolt the smokebox to the loco.

The new tender is now complete and painted, though not yet lined out. Allely's were on hand to move 80104 back to the Swanage Railway (see next report) the tender was also moved there. It will be a few months before we are ready to move Sir Keith Park, and meanwhile it's good to free up some space in the workshop. Dave Town was on hand to ceremonially cut the ribbon (actually some plastic guard tape, and the cutting was done with tin snips.) Dave, Derek Upshall and the rest of the SLL team have done a fantastic job to build this new tender from scratch in little more than two years.

34053 tender   34053 tender

Dave Town cuts the ceremonial tape which sees Sir Keith Park's new tender venture out into the world, first stop Swanage!

The tender's first few yards are done with the help of a fork lift truck, with the wheels rolling over rails laid on their sides across the workshop floor.


80104's overhaul is complete and the loco left the Herston works on 20th May, ready for the Swanage Railway's summer season.

34053 tender   80104 Allely's

80104 is slowly winched on to the trailer for the first trip to Norden.

80104 safely on board Allely's low-loader.

34053 tender   80104 and SKP tender

The second trip to Norden was for Sir Keith Park's new tender.

From Norden 80104 and the new tender ran back to Swanage. Note the tender sitting incongruously on the turntable.


Thorncombe is a small village in west Dorset, a few miles south of Chard. Rather surprisingly it has a thriving railway club, Thorncombe Railway Activities Club or TRAC, which holds monthly meetings on a wide range of topics. Recently the committee decided to make donations to some railway causes and kindly purchased a share in SLL. Three committee members paid a visit to Herston to look at our work. Doubtless the committee will also be debating who should enjoy this year's driving/firing opportunity.

If you live in the area you are welcome to visit TRAC and if any other railway club or society would like to purchase a share in SLL we would be delighted to hear from them.

old photo of Sidmouth

Mike Sheasby and Bob Cox from TRAC are smiling at the temporary wooden nameplate on 257 Squadron, which as most visitors to Herston will know reads "Goering: Battle of Britain (Runner Up) Class". Behind them stands his nemisis, Sir Keith Park. (c) R Holt

April 2011

Sir Keith Park

The most obvious step forward is that Sir Keith Park now has a smokebox. The new smokebox shell was rolled from half-inch steel and is now seated on its saddle, and the front plate has been welded in place. The smokebox is attached to the saddle by no less than 58 7/8th inch bolts (well, you wouldn't want it to fall off, would you?). Holes for these must all be drilled, and the smokebox bolted to the saddle progressively from the bottom to ensure it will remain circular and air-tight in use. You may notice that there's no hole for a chimney - that will be cut out in due course.

34053 smokebox   34053 drilling holes

Sir Keith Park with the smokebox in place. The cross members are temporarily welded to hold the rolled steel shell in shape

The smokebox is held to the saddle by 58 bolts. Volunteer Malcolm Garner uses a magnetic drill with a reamer to align the holes while Ray Grace drills pilot holes from the outside.

Ashpans don't usually attract much attention, but a loco wouldn't get far without one. Sir Keith Park's is totally new and was fabricated in the Herston works and is now fitted to the frames.

34053 ash pan   34053 ash pan

The new ashpan in place on the rear frames of Sir Keith Park

The ashpan was fabricated on site by Paul Quill. It's unfortunate that such a good piece of work is destined to be hidden from public gaze.

Sir Keith Park's boiler has also made progress. The new rear tube plate has been positioned into the boiler and aligned with the firebox. It now has to be welded into place.

34053 new rear tube plate   Painting

The rear tube plate is positioned within the boiler, and ready to be welded into place.

Meanwhile the painting goes on. Ron Bennett and Ian Atherton work on the new tender.

The April volunteer session was well attended, and had plenty to show for their efforts. The fall plate was fitted to the tender, more work done to the running plates, countless holes drilled and reamed in the smokebox, paint was applied, etc.

SKP tender   ray etc

The tender fall plate is now fitted, plus rear window frames, lockers, water spray, etc.

Bob Bevis working on the tender.

simon etc   ray etc

Geoff Reber, Simon Troy, Nic Drukker, Tom Rayner, and Bob Bevis take a breather.

It's breathers all round! Volunteers Ray Evans, Roger Hughes and Richard Hayward find time to pose.


Work on 80104 continues apace. The front pony truck has been rebuilt and is now back in place. New tubes are now being fitted to the boiler.

80104 pony truck   80104 tubes

80104's pony truck has been rebuilt, with new bearing surfaces, etc.

The small tubes and the superheater flues are being replaced. 80104 will leave the workshop with a further five years on its boiler ticket.


Continuing its regular service at Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway here is another video of Norman from the Steaming Around Yorkshire team. http://www.youtube.com/embed/pI_M2rcENxQ

34072 257 Squadron

Not much to add to last month's report about preliminary work on 257 Squadron's forthcoming major overhaul, but here is some archive footage about the RAF Squadron after which the loco was named (and paid for by the people of Burma) and its Squadron Leader Robert Stanford Tuck. Like many of his peers Tuck's post-war life was a world away from aerial combat - he ran a mushroom farm in Kent. http://www.youtube.com/embed/JxMJ2mX9UWo"

Farewell Fotopic.....Hello Picasa

Fotopic seems to have gone for good, to the dismay of its many users in the railway fraternity. We didn't lose any photos, but the re-creation of on-line galleries complete with accurate captions, copyright acknowledgement, updating links, etc, will be a long job. We've consider several options and are making a tentative start using Picasa. Picasa seems OK; it is free, looks OK, and is part of Google, so it's unlikely to disappear overnight.

Please bear in mind that this is work in progress, and we'll be adding photos and captions gradually over the next few weeks. If you spot any errors or have any comments please drop an email to the Webmaster


When the News Editor of the Sidmouth Herald was shown a photo of a rusting loco with the word "Sidmouth" crudely painted on it she naturally consulted the Webmaster to find out more. The photo is no prize winner; the back-drop doesn't look like Woodham's, so it was probably taken after Sidmouth moved to the NYMR in the mid 1980's. As a result the Herald ran a full-page article on 34010 Sidmouth and SLL's plans to restore the loco.

old photo of Sidmouth

34010 Sidmouth at NYMR circa 1990. In addition to the loco's name, the words "Paid Cash" are painted on it!

This tied in nicely with the second Sidmouth Railway Evening which was held on 13th April. This time Nick Thompson recounted the life of 34053 Sir Keith Park, including photos of its current restoration, and SLL Shareholder Malcolm Garner gave a talk entitled "Round India by Steam". The evening raised £135 towards the restoration of Sidmouth, and Raffle prizes included tickets generously donated by nearby Pecorama and the Seaton Tramway.

March 2011

Fotopic Galleries down

As many people have noticed, the Fotopic system has been down since Wednesday 9th March, so our photo galleries (and many others) have been unavailable since then. In consequence, some of the links on this website don't currently work. There is no information about whether Fotopic will return at some point, so we are considering alternatives such as Flickr. We have around 1,700 photos in our galleries, and while we have copies of all of the jpegs we don't have all of the captions, etc, so switching platforms is a major task. If, by chance, anyone has printed copies of our gallery pages (with captions) we would be very pleased to hear from you.


Work continues on 80104's intermediate overhaul. The superheater flues will be replaced as well as the small tubes. As a result of this work its boiler ticket will be extended for a further five years.

80104 at Herston   80104 at Herston

Tubes and superheater flues are being replaced on 80104. Two engineers on contract from NYMR have been working on this recently.

80104 in Herston for intermediate overhaul. Note the full bunker of coal. To the right is Sir Keith Park's boiler.

Sir Keith Park

Progress continues on all fronts; The windows and coal spray for the new tender are being made, the tank has been cleaned and it all has at least one external coat of paint. The cab and loco fittings are being assembled. The new rear tubeplate has been suspended in the firebox, and will be moved into position during March. Work on the new boiler stays and boiler fittings continues.

Bulleid safety valves   SKP return crank

Bulleid boilers were built with three safety valves near the front of the boiler. From 1952 onwards these were replaced by two valves at the rear of the boiler to avoid scalding water being ejected when the loco was braking. The blanking plates remain on the front of the boiler.

A new pair of return cranks have been machined for Sir Keith Park. The pair temporarily on the loco were made many years ago, and don't meet the required manufacturing specification.

Ray Evans under tender   Inside SKP tank

Volunteer Ray Evans seen under Sir Keith Park's new tender while painting of the base of the tank.

Hard to think of an exciting caption for this photo! It's the inside of the new tender tank, having just been Hoovered by two volunteers. Their wives would be proud of them (and surprised).

34072 257 Squadron

The "news" about 257 Squadron has generally been that "it's waiting its turn for overhaul". That time is getting closer; plans are coming together and things are on the move.

34072 entered revenue earning service on the Bluebell Railway shortly after the re-commissioning celebrations at Folkestone Central on 15th September 1990, Battle of Britain Day, in the presence of 23 Battle of Britain aircrew and 257 Squadron groundcrew who had flown in from as far afield as New Zealand. Following 13 years in continuous traffic with short breaks only for retubing and firebox work, the loco was eventually withdrawn in 2003. During the following few years the external condition of the locomotive deteriorated rapidly until we managed to transfer the locomotive into Herston Works. This, combined with the immense mileage (well over 100,000) in traffic, means that a major overhaul - at a major cost - is necessary, not forgetting that it donated its tender to 34028 Eddystone some years back.

34072 valve gear   34072 firebox

The rear inspection cover of the enclosed valve gear has been removed. After about 20 years it's surprising how clean it still is in there.

The firebox requires substantial repairs. It's currently a scene of rust, cinders and broken fire bricks.

However, all these problems will be overcome and our target is to have 34072 fully operational for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain (2015) so that all three of our Battle of Britains can be in traffic together. Work has already started on the project, and our tender tank team, with the kind co-operation of the Avon Valley Railway, are starting to build the frames this month as there is simply no room at Swanage to do so. This website and our photo galleries have recorded the fantastic job that Derek Upshall and Dave Town accomplished with Sir Keith’s tender tank and of course they will be building another for 34072. We are extremely fortunate to have their talents to call upon, not to mention the huge amount of money that they are saving the company. We have authorised the South Devon Railway to build the wheelsets (wheels and axles having been delivered some time previously) and have ordered sufficient materials to make significant progress at Bitton.

Clearly Sir Keith Park must be completed before consideration can be given to the locomotive itself but 2011 should see its dismantling at the minimum.

Norman in service

Norman is settling into regular service on the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway, and Kenneth Snowdon has sent us some photos of it in action on 6th March.

Norman at Bolton Abbey   Norman at E&BASR

Norman leaving Bolton Abbey with the 12:40 train on 6th Feb 2011. Photo: Kenneth Snowdon

Norman approaching Skibeden Bridge with the 14:10 from Bolton Abbey on 6th Feb 2011. Photo: Kenneth Snowdon

Full size versions of these photos can be seen in our photo galleries (when available). There is an HD video clip on YouTube by Simon Roberts of Steaming around Yorkshire Film Production showing Norman leaving Embsay on 27th February.

Manston at Richborough

SLL's Finance Director, Jon Cleverdon, has unearthed some interesting photos of Manston during its initial restoration period at Richborough power station in the early 1990's. The loco was purchased from Barry by the Manston Locomotive Preservation Society and arrived at Richborough from Barry in June 1983. Richborough is around five miles from RAF Manston, after which the loco is named.

A successful sales stand raised tens of thousands that helped the society acquire a considerable amount of parts. Over the next 12 years restoration progressed slowly. The casing was replaced early in the restoration as the society had the support of a Manpower Services Commission project; it was felt that this would protect the boiler from the elements until sufficient funds had been raised to undertake a full restoration. One of the problems with the location was that the pollution from the power station attacked the casing so that it was little more than scrap when it was taken off at Sellindge, where it arrived in 1998. The operators, Powergen, decided to close the power station after an unsuccessful trial burning Orimulsion, and had asked that the loco was moved, and from 1995 to 1998 it was at Loughborough where very little work was done. The MLPS merged with SLL in 1998 and Manston moved to Herston in 2004, and entered service on the Swanage Railway in 2008. The "Blue Shed" used at Loughborough is now at the former SLL site in Sellindge.

Manston at Richborough   Manston at Richborough

Manston at Richborough power station, with a cooling tower in the background.

The Manston team seen when the loco was leaving for Loughborough. From the left: Paul Umbers (dec), Jon Cleverdon, Brian Seddon, Jez Laming, Dave Hewitt, Terry Mann (dec), Tony Laming and Peter Hopkins.

February 2011


We're delighted to announce that the restoration of our Austerity Saddle Tank Norman has finally been completed, and the loco entered passenger service on the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway on Sunday 13th February, and can be seen in action here. It is the first time that the loco has run in service since it was at Askern Main colliery in the early 1970's. Congratulations and thanks are due to all those who worked on Norman over the years, notably Richard Moffatt, Mike Whittingstall and the team at SLL's former base in Sellindge, and Tom Ireland's team at Embsay.

Norman on test train   Norman at Embsay

Norman on a test train on the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway. Photo: Tom Ireland

Norman seen outside the E&BASR works at Embsay. Photo: Tom Ireland


80104 came into Herston works early in January and its overhaul has now started. Work will include replacing the small boiler tubes, and possibly the superheater flues and elements. The pony truck needs attention, and the piston rings will be replaced. In order to return the loco to traffic as soon as possible, Southern Locomotives and the Swanage Railway are cooperating on this project which is being led by Graham Froud the railway's Works Manager.

80104 at Herston   80104 at Herston

80104 in Herston Works for tube replacement and repairs including the pony truck and piston valves.

Inside 80104's smokebox with the blast pipe removed

Sir Keith Park

Here's a snapshot of activities around the end of January: Paul Quill has fabricated a complete new ash pan. Ron Neal has rebuilt the lubricators. Pete Pickering is back at Herston and is machining the new casting of the brake ejector. Dave Mitchell is working inside the firebox, reaming the holes which will take new stays. The firebox is starting to look "new", though the rear tube plate has yet to be fitted, and obviously there are no tubes or flues yet. Bob Bevis is fabricating a range of components and attending to the needs of various volunteers. Martin Spong is working on the cab, and running plates. Howard Merrion has built new cab doors. Dave Town and Derek Upshall are spending their weekend completing the internal welding of the new tender. The paint department (Ron Bennett, Ian Atherton and Mike Frackiewicz) are painting everything which isn't actually moving, notably the new tender. Other volunteers were working on tender fittings including the fall plate, steps and handles, cylinder covers, and sorting out power tools for PAT testing.

34053 Foundation Ring repairs   34053 new flues

Pete Pickering is machining the bronze casting of the new brake ejector

Paul Quill has fabricated a new ashpan for Sir Keith Park

The boiler has been by far the largest task, which Dave Mitchell has tackled pretty much single handed, having received help with the coded welding of the firebox patches, and a few tasks which volunteers can assist with. We are very confident in the quality of the resulting work and we now expect the boiler to be completed by the end of April, which puts us a little further behind schedule, but we still plan to see the loco in service this year.

Preliminary work on 34072 257 Squadron

Willie Bath has extracted the the tender wheels, axles and tyres for 257 Squadron and sent then to the South Devon Railway for assembly. Following one more visit to Swanage to complete their final task on Sir Keith’s tender, Dave Town and Derek Upshall will then start to drill and assemble the frames for 257 Squadron’s tender. The Avon Valley Railway have kindly offered them the space to start this job, which is most helpful as there will be no space at Herston for several months. Willie has ordered the steel for the dragbox and stretchers and if past experience is anything to go by, rapid progress will be made in he construction of Tender 003; he's now engaged in the detailed planning of 257 Squadron's overhaul.

SLL on Flickr

Our own photo library uses a Fotopic site and currently holds around 1,500 photos of our locos dating from the mid-1940's to the present. There are also quite a few photos of our locos on Flickr, and some of these have been been linked in a group pool. So far over 300 photos are included, including one of Eddystone at Eastleigh works while being rebuilt in 1958. The collection can be seen here.

January 2011

Steam Railway magazine

Readers of Steam Railway magazine will have seen that our "SLL Autumn Tour" photo competition was reported in edition 384 (on sale 7th January). It included the winning photo by Michael Topham and mentioned our other winners, Paul Gildersleve and John Tidmarsh, all of which are shown lower down this page. Michael Topham has generously donated his reproduction fee to SLL. We're hoping to feature again in the magazine during 2011.

34028 Goathland   34028 Churnet

Webmaster's choices: Paul Bettany's view of Eddystone being prepared at Cheddleton mpd.

A cropped version of Martin Robinson's panned shot of 34028 on the Churnet Valley Railway.

Sir Keith Park

Most work continues to be focussed on Sir Keith Park. The internal welding of the tender is in progress, work on the loco includes a new wooden cab floor, and a new ash pan is being fabricated.

34053 Foundation Ring repairs   34053 new flues

New sections of foundation ring have been welded into the firebox of Sir Keith Park's boiler. The firebox repairs are nearly complete though the rear tubeplate has yet to be fitted.

The new large flues have been delivered for Sir Keith Park's boiler. As mentioned elsewhere, we still need sponsors to assist us pay for these new boiler components. Sponsor a Tube

Sir Keith Park statue

SKP statue

The permanent statue of Air Chief Marshall Park was unveiled on 4th November 2010 and stands in Waterloo Place, not far from Trafalgar Square. This is the culmination of the work of the Sir Keith Park Memorial Campaign with whom we have had close contacts for the past few years. Our own memorial to Sir Keith Park should be in full public view later in 2011.

Sponsor a Tube

Our appeal to raise the £38,000 we need to pay for the tubes, flues and elements for Sir Keith Park's boiler is continuing to attract donations; we've now collected more than a quarter of the money needed, however there is still a long way to go, and we have plenty of small tubes available looking for sponsors at £65 each, and Superheater Flues and Elements for £475 each. Tube Sponsors will receive tickets for the launch of Sir Keith Park, and Flue or Element Sponsors will be offered footplate opportunities on the loco. See the Sponsor a Tube page for full details.


Norman was steamed on 12th December, however various snags were encountered and work to fix those has continued. Matters weren't helped by the big freeze before Christmas, which saw the railway's water supply cut. As the Embsay line is not operating in January and February it looks as if Norman won't enter service until the spring.


Standard Tank 80104 entered the workshop at the beginning of January for repairs to its front pony truck. While in the works we will also replace the small boiler tubes; these need to be replaced every 10 years, even though their condition is satisfactory in this case. While this work should only take a few weeks it will inevitably divert some resource from Sir Keith Park, and makes the workshop even fuller than usual.

80104 Welshpool   80104 Swanage

80104 enters Welshpool with train of at least 10 coaches from the Cambrian Coast on 18th July 1964. Presumably it had a banker over Talerddig! Photo: J Faulkner.

80104 in service at Swanage with a charter train, 22nd September 2010.

Blencowe photograph archive

We're always interested in finding photographs taken of our locos at work in BR days, and these pop up quite often in ones and twos. However, we've recently been in contact with Mr Rod Blencowe who has gathered a large collection from steam days, which are commercially available. All of our Bulleids feature in such this collection and Mr Blencowe has kindly permitted photos to be added to our galleries. If you're interested in more details of his archive please contact: r.blencowe@ntlworld.com or write to: 48 Cherville St, Romsey, Hants, S051 8FD

Manston Blencowe   34072 Blencowe

From the Blencowe collection, a photograph of Manston taken at Eastleigh by E. W. Fry on 7th April 1962.

Also from the Blencowe archive, a photo of 34072 at Plymouth Friary, taken on 7th June 1960.

SLL Photo Archive

While we're on the subject of photos the SLL photo galleries have recently notched up 100,000 hits in just over a year.

SKP at Barry   34070 at Kidderminster

Our most popular photo, with around 600 hits, shows Sir Keith Park at Barry, probably just prior to removal in 1984. (c) R M Himsworth

The most recently added photo is this "late entry" to our photo competition by David Moyle, shown leaving Kidderminster with the 18:20 to Bridgnorth on 25th September 2010.

SLL on Tour - Photo Competition Winners

Here are the winners of our recent photo competition. We've decided to award three prizes, one for the best photo of our locos at each of the railways they visited during the autumn Gala season. Each winner will receive one of Richard Green's Locos-in-Profile fine art prints of Sir Keith Park or 257 Squadron.

Manston at Severn Valley   Eddystone at Churnet

Severn Valley Railway: Michael Topham's excellent shot of Manston at Hampton Loade, ready to depart for Bridgnorth. The climb of Eardington bank awaits. 25th September 2010

Churnet Valley Railway. 34028 Eddystone putting up another great show on the approach to Consall Wood. Photo by Paul Gildersleve, 18th November 2010.

Manston at NYMR

North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Manston approaching Goathland, taken in heavy rain by John Tidmarsh, 3rd October 2010.

Thanks to everyone who submitted entries; they can all be seen here.

News Archive

2023 News

2022 News

2021 News

2020 News

2019 News

2018 News

2017 News

2016 News

2015 News

2014 News

2013 News

2012 News

2010 News

2009 News