August Newsletter

The Trust was honoured at the LNWR Society’s open day at Kidderminster on 30th July to present its analysis of progress following changes arising from its late chairman Paul Hibberd’s illness and death, and its plans for the coming year.  Unfortunately there has unavoidably been a lack of progress and of communication due to these events.  The new chairman, Derek Buckles, puts a strong emphasis on teamwork, and we are recruiting new members to build a team appropriate to a £

Our long-term supporter and contractor Jamie Keyte is to provide estimates for the right hand side lower cab side panel, splasher and running plate. This will enable us to assemble the cab and splashers as a mobile display unit on our low-platform trailer.  We should include a ‘footplate’ with steps and rails to encourage interaction with the public. 3million project in a tightly regulated industry. 

Some organisational changes are needed following the observations made by Ricardo in their audit of the Trust. These observations are very helpful as they guide us towards building a locomotive for main line operation.  We particularly need team members with appropriate skills in engineering, quality management and assurance  management.  If you are thinking of helping us please contact our engineer Terry McMenamin: or phone 07985 003281

Turning to the physical part of the project, we have had a steady flow of parts delivered over the years, including a fully lined out left hand splasher with lower cab side panel; smokebox complete with chimney, handrail, running plates, front buffer beam and piano front mounted on a display plinth; a dome cover and a cab top with all rails etc for joining to the lower cab panels. Retrospective quality assurance is needed on all these parts, and we intend to do this in parallel with ordering new material.


While Jamie is busy manufacturing, our engineer Terry McMenamin will be designing frame components, in particular the motion plate, dragbox and the brackets supporting the splashers. He is currently going through the LNWR main frame drawing to try and identify the purpose of every hole, and noting any features unacceptable today.  This is so that we can commission the drilling and machining of our existing main frame plates.  Because of the size of the plates, an equally big machine will be required, with costs accordingly.  It will be the most expensive single item to date.

While identifying all existing frame plate holes, we will have to make provision for extra ones that we can’t necessarily define at present. Probably the most significant is provision for electric cables; we need at least axlebox monitoring; “black box” recorder; TPWS and ERTMS.  We can define a provisional trunking route, with holes for suitable brackets, but there will inevitably be a need to provide additional holes as the project develops.  However, we want to keep this to an absolute minimum as in-situ drilling is always going to be more time-consuming and less accurate.

Once the frame plates are drilled and we have at least the motion plate and dragbox, there will be a trial assembly of main frames with running plate, splashers and cab. We can connect the running plates with those of our front end assembly, so we have for the first time an assembly the full length of the loco.

Our ambition for next June is to exhibit this full length assembly as illustrated below at the Crewe Heritage Centre’s celebration of the 180th anniversary of the first locomotive built at Crewe Works, Tamerlane, completed in October 1843.  This is a really appropriate place to show our locomotive, as close as we could possibly get to where the Georges were built.  An exciting programme of events and displays is being worked up, promising a wonderful month of celebrations, well worth the big effort involved in getting our display together.  Everything we display will be a step on the way to the eventual locomotive, taking us well forward towards an operational locomotive.

As ever, nothing is possible without funding, and the present best guess is that we need £75k to get our locomotive to the exhibition. This is a big increase compared to our historically low rate of fund-raising.  We will be exploring all ways of raising money; recognising donors’ efforts at different levels, sponsorship, grants and so on.  In our next monthly newsletter we will have more to say. Meanwhile, can you, our bedrock supporters, please review your donations, respecting your own basic financial needs of course, to see if you can increase your rate of giving.  Every little helps.  I can not help but think of the unfortunate  gentleman who left the Trust a significant portion of his tiny estate.  He had a dream which he never lived to see, but he gave what he could towards that dream. 

Finally, the Trust would like to thank its many allies for their help. The LNWR Society helps in a variety of ways, making its drawings archive freely available.  Ken Wood and Ted Talbot have been particularly helpful; Ken negotiated our invitation to Crewe Heritage Centre.  Jamie Keyte of Keyte-Smith Ltd. has been ever helpful, in design, manufacturing and storage of parts.  Other new builds have been helpful, John Hinds of the Clan project has been very helpful in sharing experience and access to drawings that might be helpful.  We have found much help around the heritage engineering world, and this is much appreciated.


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