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November 2012

34072 257 Squadron Appeal

Our 257 Squadron Appeal is now up and running, and open for business. Whether you'd like to sponsor a boiler tube for £65 or the re-tyring of a driving wheel for £5,000 (or various points in between) we're looking forward to hearing from you. Details of our appeal can be found here and the sponsorship form can be downloaded here. Please help us get this classic loco back into service.


Peter Wilson sent us some shots of 34072's renaming event on 8th September 1990. The loco ran by itself from Ashford to Folkestone Central and was rededicated there. There was a lunch at which the guests of honour were 22 Battle of Britain pilots, after which electrodiesel 73109 was named "Battle of Britain 50th Anniversary". 34072 and 73109 then ran together to Dover Marine. 34072 returned to Ashford towing a class 47 and showed a good turn of speed. That was the last time it ran on BR, though it worked on the Swanage Railway until 2001. (c) Andy Wilson

Meanwhile work proceeds apace stripping components from the loco prior to it going off-site for boiler lift and deep cleaning. Some recent photos can be seen here.

257 chains   257 coupling rods

The rear panel has been removed from the Bulleid valve gear, exposing the chain drives which look remarkably clean, which is more than can be said for the sump, which contained 20 years accumulated muck.

The RH connecting rods were removed from the loco; the nuts were removed from the three crank pins, the rods were gently eased out, and then lowered to the ground by six stout men and a hydraulic trolley.

SVR Children in Need

Sir Keith Park starred in one of this year's Children in Need events. The Severn Valley Railway set up a "race" between the railway and another Worcestershire institution, the Morgan car company. The train and the car set off from Bridgnorth at the same moment and headed towards Kidderminster, both calling at intermediate stations to collect the signalling "staff". The event was recorded on Friday 26th October around mid-day; generally that would insure major traffic queues approaching Kidderminster, but the way was clear that day and the car beat the train by about five minutes. Never mind, the train was a sell-out at £20 a head, raising thousands of pounds for Children in Need.

Silvester   Richard Green

Sky Sports commentator Vicky Gomersall was at the regulator and shovel of Sir Keith Park under the watchful eye of Duncan Ballard. (c) Bob Sweet

The Morgan Three-Wheeler was driven by Tony Hirst of Coronation Street. (c) Bob Sweet

The event was shown on the BBC1 Children in Need evening on Friday 16th November, and Sir Keith Park featured, though only in the Midlands broadcast.

Sir Keith Park photoshoot


5th November saw a photoshoot on the Severn Valley Railway featuring Sir Keith Park, arranged by Ian Silvester, who was instrumental in the loco's restoration. It was a crisp autumn day with plenty of sunshine, perfect for steam photography.

Here is a montage.

Ian's gallery, with high-res photos from the day starts here.(c) I Silvester

Website Updates

Would you like to receive an email when we update the website? If you, please click on and send a one-line email to us. We'll add your email address to our emailing list and send you a message (roughly once a month) when we update the News or make other significant changes. We won't pass your email address to any third parties, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

And finally....


Bob Sweet has recently sent us several photos of 34053 in service on the SVR but has also unearthed this photo he took in the last week of February 1964 showing 34070 Manston on the turntable at Okehampton prior to working an up ballast train from Meldon Quarry. (c) Bob Sweet.

October 2012

2012 AGM weekend

Our 2012 AGM was held at the Highley Engine House museum on the Severn Valley Railway, the new home of Sir Keith Park. The facilities and surroundings can only be described as brilliant, and all the SVR team were most helpful. The meeting passed uneventfully, apart from the whistles of passing trains.

On the previous day a group of SLL supporters had the chance to Drive and Fire Sir Keith Park along the route of the SVR from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster. The group included two special guests; Ian Silvester whose support had triggered the restoration project and made it possible, and Richard Green of Locos-in-Profile.co.uk fame, who designed this website and has applied his skills to many other SLL projects over the past four years.

Silvester   Richard Green

Ian Silvester was on the first shareholders trip with Sir Keith Park on 19th October. Ian's commitment to its restoration got the project started, and he met a major share of the cost.

Richard Green was asked to redesign our website about four years ago with the offer of a cab ride for his efforts. Since then he's also designed brochures, logos, limited edition prints of our locos, etc. Thanks again Richard!

Au revoir to 80078

The most significant announcement made to shareholders at the AGM was that SLL has reached agreement with a private buyer for the sale of one of our two Standard Class 4 Tank locos, 80078. This has been out of service awaiting overhaul since 2010. Having spent a total of £773,000 on the restoration of Sir Keith Park our cash reserves have been run down. We have very mixed feelings about selling one of our fleet, but in the absence of funding for its overhaul, and the competing demands of 257 Squadron and other future overhauls to Eddystone and 80104, it is clearly the right way forward. While the new owner will remove the loco to a site for restoration he is minded to return it to operate at Swanage, though this is a matter for the new owner and Swanage Railway.

80078   80078

In its last years of BR service 80078 worked on the mid-Wales line. Here it's seen at Cemmes with a train heading for Shrewsbury. (c) M Esau.

80078 was a stalwart of the Swanage Railway. It's seen here near Herston on 11th September 2004 during the Autumn Gala.

To be clear, SLL has no plans to sell other locos, and the proceeds of the sale of 80078 will only partly meet the cost of the overhauls we plan for the next few years. So we will continue to ask our shareholders and supporters, old and new, to give us their time and money. You would expect no less from us, and we are grateful for your continuing support - see next item.

257 Squadron

Selling 80078 will permit us to commit to big ticket items such as repairs to 257 Squadron's boiler, but intend to use this money as frugally as possible, and match it with continuing funds from supporters, so we are launching a sponsorship for major components. The "Sponsor a Tube" scheme for Sir Keith Park attracted more than 40 participants (some of whom found themselves at the throttle of 34053 on 19th October), and we are going to be more ambitious this time.

bricks   paint

257 Squadron's brick arch is no more.....we need £250 for a new set of bricks.

Please keep Ron Bennett in paint until he reaches retirement age. £900 should keep the paint department going for the next couple of years.

There is something for just about everyone's pocket; a small boiler tube for £65, White Metal for a main bearing £150, Bricks for the Firebox £250, Large Flues £490, enough paint to keep Ron Bennett and his team out of mischief £900, Safety Valves £1,200, assembly of each new wheelset for the tender £2,600, and re-tyring of two driving wheels £5,000.

You may prefer simply to buy one or more new shares to support 257 Squadron. We are offering one of Richard Green's prints with new applications.

257 Squadron

A copy of Richard Green's (Locos-in-Profile) print of 257 Squadron is offered to new buyers of shares applied to this loco.

Sponsors will be rewarded with various goodies such as tickets to the Launch Train, Footplate Rides on the restored loco, etc. More details nearer the time, but rest assured that your generosity will be rewarded.

Full details of 257 Squadron Sponsorship can be found here and the sponsorship form can be downloaded here. We hope you will support us once again.

A new SLL brochure

SLL Brochure

While most of our communication with shareholders and supporters is done via email, internet and social networks there is still a place for printed material. We have produced an illustrated brochure outlining the history of SLL and its constituents, details of our fleet and enlisting support.

Swanage Driving & Firing event

With the help of Swanage Railway we held two days driving and firing for shareholders on 4-5th October. Eddystone was the star attraction, although quite a few supporters had a footplate ride on 34070 Manston which was working the service train on the Thursday. As you would expect, all the participants looked very happy. Thanks to all the Swanage Railway crews and staff who helped to make it such an enjoyable event.

34028   34028

For once Paul Gildersleve is in front of the camera, not behind it.

Critchleys - father and son - seem to have enjoyed their trip.

And finally....


Once again a photo of 34053 Sir Keith Park in BR service has turned up. Swanage Railway's photographer Andrew P M Wright obtained this photo recently. It shows the loco at Bournemouth MPD early one morning, though the original photographer, date taken, and other details are not known. (c) Andrew P. M. Wright Collection.

September 2012

Five SLL locos in service

Last month's entry into service of Sir Keith Park on the SVR brings our current total of revenue earning locos to five - an all-time record and a great tribute to all those involved in their restoration and operation. While Southern Locomotives is a restoration company the ultimate goal is for us to work ourselves out of a job, with nothing left to restore or overhaul! Of course that will never happen, but in simple terms operating locos generate money while non-operating locos cost money, and five out of eight is an excellent batting average.

It's a moot point how long we can keep it up. Eddystone is due to come out of service in 2014, and 80104 in 2016. We'll only get 257 Squadron completed by then if we get lots of support, and soon. As for our last Bulleid, 34010 Sidmouth, it's hard to see how we will find the time and money for another major restoration without a lot of outside help. If anyone has any suggestions we'd like to hear from you.

So while the future is as ever uncertain we can surely enjoy the sight of Sir Keith Park, a loco twice sold for spare parts, as the star attraction on the Severn Valley Railway. Well done everybody!


34053 Sir Keith Park heading south at Overton Viaduct on 11th September.(c) John Oates

34053 on the turntable at Kidderminster, 16th September. This is the only turntable on the line and the loco normally faces south. (c) Bob Green

Work starts on 34072 257 Squadron

Stripping the loco continues. The casing is completely removed, along with the brake gear and most of the lubrication. The cab was in poor condition and not built quite according to the drawings - original or modified. We're making some changes which will result in it being a "correct" unmodified Battle of Britain, and will also strengthen it sufficiently so that it can be removed without falling into a heap.

The target is to get it to the point where the bare loco can go off-site for the boiler to be removed, and the frames and wheels can be cleaned. At that point the frames can return to let re-assembly commence, the driving wheels go away for re-tyring, and the boiler work can start.

Meanwhile we can work on the front bogie and pony truck and restoration of brake gear, etc. So while there will be a period of a few weeks during which no Bulleid will be in Herston works (quite a change from last autumn when there were three!) there will be plenty to keep us busy.

257 Squadron   257 Squadron

All the brackets, levers and pins in the brake linkages have been numbered to assist removal, re-bushing and reassembly.

The LH cylinder after the casing has been removed. Note the oil feeds to the cylinder, piston valve and rocker shaft.

Eddystone set for SLL Shareholders Driving & Firing Sessions

Shareholders have been sent details of the Driving & Firing Sessions to be held at the Swanage Railway on 4th and 5th October. As usual there will be seven round trips on each day and the scheduled loco is 34028 Eddystone. At the time of writing these trips are pretty much full, and the lucky participants will be notified shortly.

Eddystone   Eddystone

A fine shot of of Eddystone - and driver - pausing at Harmans Cross. (c) Paul Gildersleve

Eddystone running round at Norden.

Plans for 2012 AGM

As Sir Keith Park is operating on the Severn Valley Railway, we are holding the 2012 AGM at the Engine House at Highley station on Saturday 20th October at 2.30 pm. Because of other SVR commitments this year we have very limited shareholders driving and firing opportunities, which will be on Friday 19th October. However we have also arranged for Driving & Firing days to be held at Swanage on 4th and 5th October (see above). Shareholders have been sent an email or letter with the details.

Those attending the AGM can combine this with a ride behind Sir Keith Park. The loco is scheduled to haul the 11:40 and 15:35 departures from Kidderminster, and the 13:35 and 17:25 departures from Bridgnorth. For example, you could catch the 11:40 from Kidderminster, have a cuppa at Bridgnorth, take the 13:35 back as far as Highley, attend the AGM at the Engine House and catch any later train back to Kidderminster. We are offering shareholders special day tickets for this event. If you haven't received details please drop us a line.


Since it was briefly stopped for repairs in June Norman has been in nearly constant service at Embsay over the summer. Despite this our photo competition hasn't attracted many entrants; the closing date for entries is 30th September, so if you have some photos or video please send it in - your chances of winning are a good deal better than the Lottery! Scroll down to April News for the details.

SLL's tour of Poland

Once again a group of SLL supporters ventured on to the mainland to see how they do things there. This year we went to Wolsztyn in Poland, which is home to the last genuine steam hauled passenger service (i.e. not a heritage line or "special") in the world. Eight trains per day run from Wolsztyn to the city of Poznan, 80 kilometers away, and two of the round trips are steam hauled every day. It's quite a sight to see old ladies with their shopping, travellers with suitcases, and bored commuters travelling on a steam train. This timewarp still exists thanks to the efforts of Howard Jones and the Wolsztyn Experience , which draws a stream of visitors from all over the world to ride on the footplate or even spend a few days driving and firing.

wolsztyn   wolsztyn

Ray Grace watches the track ahead while a professional does the firing.

Our plucky group got as far as Zielona Gora on a steam special, where it was Wine Festival day.....

Our trip also included a day out on a steam special from Poznan which wandered through the Polish countryside before spending a few hours at Zielona Gora, which just happened to be holding its annual Wine Festival that day. We also spent a morning visiting a line of underground defensive bunkers built in the 1930's before completing our mission to find tobacconists who could satisfy Bob Bevis's demand for roll-ups.


A lot of us have a jaundiced attitude to Facebook and Twitter; it conjures up a vision of teenagers on the bus, furiously tapping the screen of their mobile phones. That view's not undeserved but it's not the whole story. The fact that hundreds of millions of people worldwide use them gives us a huge audience for anything we may care to show or write, it gives the public an easy way to reply and feel "part of it".

In the last couple of months the take up of SLL's Facebook page has been rapid. We have over 150 "Friends" and as these people can "share" our contributions over 2000 have seen what we get up to. Give it a go - you might like it!

And finally....


In contrast to the many recent photos we've received of Sir Keith Park looking like a million dollars hauling a rake of blood & custard coaches, here is a previously unpublished photo showing the loco looking a bit run down at Southampton Central in August 1965 with a train heading for Bournemouth. To date this is the last photo we have seen of 34053 at work on BR - two months prior to withdrawal. (c) Ian Martin

August 2012

Sir Keith Park now in service


On 22nd August 34053 Sir Keith Park hauled its first passenger train since 1965. It left Kidderminster station on the Severn Valley Railway with the 13:00 departure for Bridgnorth. This shot shows it running the same service on the following day later near Eardington. (c) John Oates

July 2012


On 13th July 2012 34053 Sir Keith Park moved under its own steam for the first time since it was withdrawn from BR service in 1965. After passing its final boiler insurance test earlier in the day it's seen running through the yard at Bridgnorth. (c) M Garner

Sir Keith Park

As expected various glitches were found during the preparation and testing of Sir Keith Park since its arrival at the Severn Valley Railway, some quite minor and one potentially more serious. We haven't commented on this hitherto as, frankly, we didn't know things were going to pan out. However on Friday 13th July, at 13:00, Sir Keith Park passed its final steam test, and started moving under its own steam for the first time since 1965. The next step is running-in which will doubtless throw up some more glitches though we can now be optimistic that the loco will enter regular service within a few weeks.


Sir Keith Park in the loco yard at Bridgnorth, 30th June 2012. (c) Paul Martin

After passing its steam test on 13th July, Sir Keith Park is seem gently running through Bridgnorth station. (c) M Garner

SLL Annual General Meeting

On the assumption that Sir Keith Park will have entered service during the summer our plan is for this year's AGM to be held on the SVR on 20th October, most likely at Kidderminster station.

257 Squadron overhaul starts

Work has started to get the outer casing removed from the loco. The cab is in poor condition, and we will have to do some work on this so that when it is removed it will hold its shape. We also have to make arrangements for the loco to be moved to a place where its boiler can be lifted and the frames deep cleaned. The frames and wheels will then return to Herston for overhaul, and we'll make some major decisions about the boiler.

257 Squadron   SKP Squadron

The outer casing is being removed from 34072 257 Squadron prior to further inspection of the boiler and it being moved off-site for the boiler lift and deep cleaning.

The removal of the casing reveals the pipe runs, sand reservoirs, and years of accumulated rust and ash. 12th July 2012.


We're glad to report than Manston has returned to service at Swanage following the damage to its valve gear last October. As repairs took place over the winter months the opportunity was taken to make further repairs and improvements, not least the fitting of power operated firebox doors, with which Bulleid Pacifics were originally equipped.


34070 is back in action. Here it is seen hauling ten coaches up the bank to Harman's Cross on 21st June with the ECS of an in-coming charter hauled in by Oliver Cromwell and taken out of Swanage by Tangmere. The ECS was heading for Corfe Castle where it was stabled before returning to Swanage for a 5pm departure. (c) Andrew P M Wright.

Norman at Embsay

The good news is that we've agreed a new leasing arrangement with the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway and expect that Norman will stay there for the next few years. However the barbeque has been somewhat rained upon as Norman was taken out of service at the end of June in need of repairs to its reverser and a few other jobs. This will probably keep it out of action for several weeks, which is disappointing as we approach the summer season. 10 August: Norman is now back in service.

SLL (reluctantly) enters the 21st Century

Mercifully SLL doesn't have a "mission statement"; if we did it would probably be "Turning the clock back to 1964" but that doesn't stop us using 21st Century tools to hold back time.

Firstly there's Twitter which allows SLL and our "followers" to tweet to each other.

We're also on Facebook. Why not become our friend, and chip in with your questions and comments? Our website will continue to be our primary written resource and news medium, however Facebook is good for quick comments from ourselves and others, plus links to other activities in the railway heritage world.

Finally, the recent reorganisation of the workshop revealed a device capable of transporting us back to the Steam Age....a Tardis! Sadly the User Manual is missing, and despite hours of twiddling with the controls we remain stuck in Herston 2012, not Nine Elms 1967. Is there a Doctor who can help us?

Spanners at Herston   tardis

We've recently had a major clear up and reorganisation at Herston. Geoff Reber and Ian Atherton sorted out hundreds of spanners.

Time And Relative Dimensions In Space perhaps, but no more space for a non-operative transmat device in the workshop.

May 2012

Sir Keith Park restored

From Barry wreck to a gleaming locomotive

SKP Cab   SKP smokebox

On 28th December 2000, Sir Keith Park was delivered to SLL's base at Sellindge.

On 9th May 2012 a restored Sir Keith Park left Herston works bound for Bridgnorth, and a new life working on the Severn Valley Railway.

SKP at Bridgnorth   SKP at Bridgnorth

On arrival at Bridgnorth Sir Keith Park is winched down the low-loader and its tender is positioned by 43106. (c) R Taylor

200 miles north, and in sunshine not rain, Sir Keith Park poses with its tender at Bridgnorth MPD. (c) M Garner

When SLL bought 34053 Sir Keith Park in 1999 it had already been sold twice as spare parts, and was generally considered unrestorable. On 9th May 2012 it moved slowly away from Herston works on a low-loader heading for its new life working on the Severn Valley Railway. Congratulations and thanks are due to all those who worked on the restoration, all those who supported it financially, and many others who have lent a hand along the way. Much of this support was driven by a recognition of the debt we all owe to Air Vice-Marshal Park and the role he played in the dark days of 1940. This beautiful machine will be a lasting monument in his honour, and will bear his name many years into the future.

SKP Cab   SKP smokebox

Ron Bennett gives the front number plate a final touch of paint.

Sir Keith Park is eased out of Herston Works, into the rain, and on to the low-loader

Work by SLL staff to commission Sir Keith Park will start work at Bridgnorth on 14th May. It will be steamed at Bridgnorth MPD within a few days, and depending on any glitches found it will enter service shortly thereafter. Ceremonial naming and re-dedication events are likely to happen after the summer, and the SLL AGM is likely to be held at the SVR, as Sir Keith will obviously be the loco we all want to see.

Naturally there was a good deal of last minute work to complete as the count-down to departure approached. There has been a lot of work in the smokebox, on external fittings (smoke deflectors, hand rails, outer casing, etc), and in the cab.

SKP Cab   SKP smokebox

The pipework and fittings in Sir Keith Park's cab are now complete. (c) R Hughes

Work on the smokebox approaches completion. The Lemaitre blast pipe is in place, though no petticoat yet. One row of superheater tubes can be seen. (c) M Garner

Photos of recent work at Herston are in our 2012 Restoration gallery.

There is a new gallery showing Sir Keith Park at the Severn Valley Railway.

April 2012

Clan Line visits Swanage

On Friday 27th April 35028 Clan Line visited Swanage at the head of the Royal Wessex, a steam-hauled special from London. This coincided with a volunteers workshop, so there was a general "down tools" to see it pass by. 34028 Eddystone "just happened" to be the Swanage Railway service loco for the day, so the two 28's were seen in steam together - the first time in a very long time.

35028   35028 34028

Clan Line was working the Royal Wessex steam special from London. It's seen here approaching Swanage, with the SLL workshop in the background. (c) Roger Hughes

35028 Clan Line rests in the Swanage MPD as 34028 Eddystone leaves with the 16:10 service train to Norden. (c) Hugh Topham

Enter our 2012 photo competition and Win Norman!

Yes, in conjunction with Hornby Hobbies Ltd and Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway this is your chance to enter our new photo competition, and the prize is.....Norman! We're referring of course to Hornby's new model of our Austerity Saddle Tank which, following an extended leasing agreement, will be busy at Embsay for the foreseeable future and we'd like to record its time there with lots of photos and video clips.

The subject is simple; any photos or video clips featuring Norman taken between 1st April and 30th September 2012.

It's mainly for fun, but there will be a prize for the best photo and another for the best video clip. Each prize is one of the new 00 gauge models of the loco, generously donated by Hornby.


Hornby have generously donated two of their new Norman models as prizes for our photo and video competition. The retail price of this model (Product Code: R3104) is £69.99

Here are the rules:

Norman at Embsay   Norman at Embsay

Norman waiting to leave Embsay station (c) N. Thompson

Norman on a test train. (c) T. Ireland

If you're planning to visit the railway to see Norman we hope you'll take the time to buy a ticket and enjoy a ride. It's an interesting line, worthy of your support.

March 2012

Sir Keith Park

There has been an unexpected change of plan in connection with 34053 Sir Keith Park which springs from a proposal made by the Swanage Railway which we have confirmed to be in the best interests of SLL.

The Swanage Railway are doing an excellent job in caring for our locomotives, but there is only so much that they can do with available resources. For this reason, and apart from the fact that the Railway clearly doesn’t need three Pacifics to operate its timetable, the Swanage Railway Board decided to release one of the locomotives back into our care. Their choice was to retain Eddystone and Manston on the basis that much work has been carried out on both, and their team felt it preferable to keep the locomotives they know really well.

We accept the logic of their decision and are now at an advanced stage of discussions with the Severn Valley Railway with a view for a long term arrangement with Southern Locomotives Ltd. We expect, subject to final agreement, that Sir Keith Park will go directly from Herston Works to Bridgnorth around the end of April, and enter service shortly afterwards.

We have been assured by the Severn Valley that they will do all possible to replicate the events that we had planned for Swanage as far as the re-commissioning ceremony, special trains for our sponsors, etc. More details will become available in the next few weeks. While this will come as a surprise to nearly everyone, we hope you will agree that it makes good sense and support us in making it a success.

Workshop report

grate   clack valves

The rocking grate seen through the firebox door. The RH side is in the dropped position

The clack valves mounted on the RH side of the boiler. They are non-return valves between the injectors and the boiler.

At the February volunteer session the first task was to assemble the rocking grate. That needed someone inside the firebox while others passed the 150 cast steel "fingers" up to the firebox door. Step forward Ray Evans, always keen to get into a tight space. He was subsequently joined by both Roger Hughes and Bob Bevis......what were they all doing in there? Anyway, for those of you who would like to see a rocking grate in action, you can find it here: http://www.youtube.com/embed/HXjEXKJH5NE

257 Squadron

In the next few months work on the major overhaul of 34072 257 Squadron will pick up and we'll see lots of photos of a loco in many pieces. Over the past two or three years we all learned a lot more about Sir Keith Park, and his role in the RAF, so we thought we'd better start finding out more of 257 Squadron's history. A dip into the archives and a search of the web gives us the basics, and there's a filmed interview of Squadron Leader Robert Stanford Tuck on YouTube. We've put together a new webpage to collate this, and it's found under the 257 Squadron menu bar or here.

If you have any photos, anecdotes or other information about the squadron we'd like to hear from you.


Manston is still in Herston works, awaiting delivery of the new valve gear parts.


SLL recently met representatives from the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway to discuss a new leasing agreement which would see Norman staying in service at Embsay for several years.

February 2012

New Year, new gallery

2012 promises to be an interesting year for Southern Locomotives. Sir Keith Park should be in service on the Swanage Railway, and we will start work on our next project. Our Picasa galleries are very popular, notably those showing restoration work in progress at Herston. That may be due to the dashing good looks of our staff and volunteers, or maybe because our supporters like to follow the progress of the restorations coming together and see photos of components which hopefully remain hidden throughout their working life.

A 2012 section has been added to the Restoration Galleries menu to the left of each webpage. So far not many photos (for obvious reasons) but we'll keep adding them. Given the current work on Manston and coming overhaul of 257 Squadron expect many shots of the "enclosed" Bulleid Valve gear.


Original Bulleid Pacifics have outside admission piston valves, and the valve action is powered by a rocking shaft in the inside (exhaust) space. Manston's valve gear is currently under repair and the casing of the valve chest has been removed revealing the shaft with its outer bearing removed, and the lever which drives the piston valve.

Own your own Norman

Good news for modellers: In May this year Hornby will be releasing an OO gauge model of Norman in its current livery as running on the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway.


A photo from Hornby's website showing their forthcoming model of Norman. Photo: Hornby Hobbies Ltd.

257 Squadron on video?

2012 will be the year in which the overhaul of 34072 257 Squadron gets moving, and we need to raise around £250,000 for this over the next two years. Inevitably we will rely on our loyal band of shareholders for much of this, however we hope to cast the net wider and attract new shareholders and donors.

To raise awareness we're planning a YouTube video to recount the history of the loco, its preservation service, and the scope of the overhaul. We have a collection of still photos, and can make new video of the loco in the workshop, however it would be great to include clips of it in BR Service, or at work in the 90's at Swanage, NYMR, SVR, etc. Finding film from BR days would be a near miracle, but there must be some 90's film or video out there. Can you help us? If so, please drop an email to the Webmaster Nick Thompson.


34072 257 Squadron seen at Fratton shed, still with its high-sided tender on 7th July 1964. (c) M Garner

New book reveals Sidmouth photo

It's on record that 21C110 Sidmouth was named in the town of Sidmouth on 27th June 1946. The report from the Sidmouth Herald names the great and good who were present on the occasion, and someone must have taken photos, but in those post-war days local papers didn't include illustrations. However an updated edition of a book by Colin G Maggs, 'The Branch Lines of Devon' includes a description of the Sidmouth branch and has a photo of the naming ceremony. We've reproduced the photo here, courtesy of Amberley Publishing Ltd. Those representing the railway included Mr E A W Turbett, Assistant Chief Mechanical Engineer, who must have worked with Mr Bulleid. Searches reveal that he was a leading member of the Eastleigh branch of the I.Mech.E. and participated in a committee set up by Mr Stanier to look into rolling stock design.

Sidmouth Naming

It's Thursday 27th June 1946, and 21C110 Sidmouth has drawn up beyond the platform canopy at Sidmouth station for the naming ceremony. Only the 'OU' of the name is visible, and it's hard to tell who's who, except for driver W E Dubbs, and the gentleman on the far left who is presumably Rev. E F Ball, the Vicar of Sidmouth. Photo by I. Broughton, Courtesy Amberley Publishing.

Engine Record cards

SLL volunteer Mike Frackiewicz recently visited the P.R.O. where he scanned the loco record cards for four of our Bulleids, 34028/53/70/72, though not 34010 Sidmouth's, which were not there. These cards were used to record the specification of each loco and the repairs they received during their service life. Scans of each card have been added to the online gallery for the respective loco.

34053 Record Card

The record card of 34053 Sir Keith Park. As a "modified" loco it received quite a lot of detailed modifications over the years.

Fleet News

34053 workshop

With its boiler on the frames there's still a miriad of tasks to complete Sir Keith Park. At the January volunteer's session the front of the boiler was finally bolted to the frames, the smokebox was bolted to the boiler, and lagging and cladding the boiler continued.

Work continues on the repair of 34070 Manston's valve gear in Herston works. Three replacement Combination Levers and Union Links will be fitted. Originally these would have been forged, however these days such items are made by a Water Jet Cutter from a steel slab. This process involves using an extremely high pressure jet of water, often including abrasive particles. As usual Wikipedia tells you most of what you might wish to know about the process.

34028 Eddystone is in Swanage MPD receiving attention to two particularly hard-to-get-at boiler stays.

80104 is in service on the Swanage Railway. At present Swanage station is closed for track drainage work, and only limited services are operating between Corfe Castle and Norden.

Norman remains at Embsay.

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