Well here is it and I’m sure you’ll agree that even with a temporary coat of paint, the result is fantastic and it’s worth noting that this is the first large LNWR smokebox door with original fittings seen since the 1920’s. The work is a credit to Jamie and his team at Keyte Smith Ltd.
Since we posted this on our Facebook page, we’ve received over 100 hits on the photos in the first 20 minutes. As mentioned in the previous blog update, the door will on display at the Great Central Railway’s ‘Easter Vintage Festival‘ at Quorn Station from tomorrow through to Mondat 21st. So come along, be a part of something special and help us create a legacy for present and future generations by donating or volunteering your time!
At last, the newly fabricated smokebox door will be on public display at the Great Central Railway’s ‘Easter Vintage Festival’, with the festivities taking place across the Easter long weekend from the 18th to 21st April and centred at Quorn Station.
There’ll be plenty for everyone – from steam-powered gallopers and a big wheel, traction engines, drays, steam powered farm equipment, live music, craft stalls, real food and real ale and of course timetabled steam-hauled rides along the GCR line with events at every station.
The LNWR George the Fifth Steam Locomotive Trust will be there from noon Friday and our stand replete with smokebox door – on public display for the very first time – will be adjacent to the “Edwardian Saw Bench” Steam Powered Wood Sawing demonstration at Quorn.
For more information and to book tickets, visit the Festival website here. Note that parking at Quorn Station is strictly limited. We do hope that our supporters and followers can make it for an exciting and entertaining three days. Tell your friends, tell your family and we hope to see you there!
The London & North Western Steam Locomotive Trust was recently the recipient of a historically significant piece of railway memorabilia.
A supporter of the Trust, who at the time of receipt was a young 16 year old lad living near Blackpool and who now resides in Australia has most generously donated the whistle once belonging to the last operational Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway class 4-6-0 in service. The engine in question was a Hughes design (one of the rebuild ‘Dreadnoughts’), BR no. 50455 of the class pictured below, and was withdrawn from Blackpool shed in 1951.
The donor was verified the providence of the item, also pictured below with an accompanying letter, a handbill for the last passenger train hauled by the loco (a Blackpool to York excursion) and even a piece of coal from the day! A photo of the engine on the day can be found in Barry Lane’s book ‘Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Locomotives’ published by Pendragon Press. This special excursion took place on sunny Sunday, 1st July 1951 in conjunction with the Stephenson and Manchester Locomotive Societies.
The L&Y whistle donated to the trust is to be auctioned at the Crewe Railwayana Auction at Crewe Heritage Centre on Saturday 26 April. It is expected that a free vintage bus service will be available from Crewe Railway Station on the day. We invite all our readers and supporters to attend and to spread the word.
We hope that the sale of this most important historic relic of a handsome and sadly long lost class will raise a good sum that will go towards the building of our LNWR George the Fifth!
While it’s been relatively quiet here on the announcement front, work has nonetheless continued on the smokebox door as this post will testify. The Trust has also been working to establish the foundation for future progress; a task that has occupied us considerably of late.
Our supplier, Keyte Smith has commenced stage three of the smokebox door. Here are a collection of photos taken at the commencement and during fabrication.
*The 20mm thick hinge plate has been pressed to follow the contours of the outer door – it only took 30 tons! It is now being prepped for welding.
*The hinge tube has been made from solid bar. This has had the hole put through it and is now away having the bush seats bored.
*The outer door profile has been marked out and the holes for the plug welds drilled in it.
*The handle has been bent up. This was made from a piece of profiled plate, 20mm thick, and was bent hot over a former. It has been trimmed to size and welded onto the base plate. The base pate was pressed to follow the curvature of the door prior to welding. The handle is also set at an angle to the base (6 degrees) so it projects true to the smokebox front when installed, as per original design.
*The bosses are all turned ready for fitting.
*The next few stages are to trim most of the excess from rim of the outer door, weld in the hinge plate and fit the inner profile.
We of course are immensely thankful for the continued support of our supporters. We kindly ask you to spread the word in whatever manner possible.
The heart of the London & North Western Railway will forever be Crewe and in turn Crewe substantially owes its rapid transformation from a tiny village in the early 19th century to a significant regional centre of over 70,000 inhabitants today to the London & North Western Railway; its antecedents and descendants. The existence of the prestigous Rolls-Royce and Bentley in Crewe, both marques of engineering excellence that owe their existence to the long and rich engineering tradition of Crewe, first established down by the coming of the railways.
Crewe is richly steeped in railway history and the railways and Crewe are forever entwined. Crewe Station was completed in 1837 by the Grand Junction Railway and is one of the world’s most historic stations as well being one of the major junctions on the West Coast Main Line. Crewe Works was opened by the Grand Junction Railway in 1840. To support the new locomotive works, over 200 railway cottages were constructed for the workers and their families who settled there, dramatically enlarging the tiny hamlet’s population. By 1848, after the merger in 1846 of the Grand Junction Railway with the Liverpool & Manchester Railway and London & Birmingham Railway, the works employed over 1000 men and were already producing one locomotive per week.
Crewe Works witnessed a number of firsts and milestones. Locomotive Superintendent, John Ramsbottom developed the first reliable safety valve and water scoops for the collection of water by passing locomotives from troughs positioned between the rails. The works was also the site of the first open-hearth furnaces employed on an industrial scale anywhere in the world. And another milestone among many – Ramsbottom’s 0-6-0 ‘DX Goods’ class went on to become the largest single class of engines in Britain with 943 built at the works in Crewe! Ramsbottom and his successor Webb, revolutionised the standardisation and interchangeability of parts and tools in manufacturing.
With the formation of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway in 1923, Midland Railway locomotive and engineering practice was broadly adopted and the new company’s centre of engineering was located at the Midland’s former headquarters and works in Derby. However, with the appointment of William Stanier as Chief Mechanical Engineer in 1932, Crewe’s experience with heavier locomotives (Claughtons and various 8-coupled good classes for example) led Crewe to regaining pre-eminence. Crewe became the centre of construction for the LMS’s most distinguished passenger and mixed traffic classes; the Princess Royals, Coronations, Jubilees and the redoubtable Black Fives.
Following nationalisation in 1948, Crewe’s place as a centre of engineering continued and the works turned out various Standards including Riddles’ Britannias and Clans. By the end of steam, Crewe works had turned out over 7000 locomotives. It’s worth noting that the LNWR George the Fifth class ‘Coronation’ of 1912 (which can be seen in our photo-collection on the main-site) was in fact Crewe’s 5000th engine! The George the Fifth class was indubitably a product of Crewe and an exemplary class embodying Crewe’s and the the London & North Western Railways’ engineering excellence.
The 1955 Modernisation Plan saw the rapid transition from steam to diesel and from 1957 on, the works were turning out a succession of diesel types, including the famed Intercity 125’s, which remain in service today.
For over 150 years Crewe has been and remains a centre of railway engineering, and while today the works are a shadow of their former self, Crewe’s proud railway heritage isn’t forgotten thanks to the tireless efforts of the Crewe Heritage Centre. The Trust’s cause is aligned with that of CHC as our locomotive similarly represents a celebration of this heritage. Our locomotive will be a living and breathing testament to Crewe and to the London & North Western Railway’s position as the largest and arguably most prestigious of the pre-grouping rail companies, and at the time of grouping, Britain’s largest business!
As with the tremendous efforts of the Crewe Heritage Centre in preserving the rail history of Crewe and of Britain more broadly, we hope that our LNWR George the Fifth new-build will be an ambassador for Crewe to present and future generations and a living celebration of Crewe’s contribution to early 20th century engineering. Our locomotive will exemplify the sophistication of the twentieth century London & North Western Railway, bringing it to life for the enjoyment and education of all.
With a common cause in mind, we are very pleased to announce a partnership between the Trust and the CHC. We commend the Crewe Heritage Centre in their efforts and encourage to our readers and supporters to pay the CHC a visit with their families and friends to experience their many fascinating and unique attractions including the only surviving Intercity APT. The Crewe Heritage Centre reopens in March 2014.
The website to the Crewe Heritage Centre can be found here. We have also conveniently listed it on the links page to our main site. We commend the work and efforts of the volunteers at the Crewe Heritage Centre most warmly and we at the LNWR Steam Locomotive Trust hope to have a long and close relationship with them. We most humbly thank the Friends of the Crewe Heritage Centre for listing us as partners on their site.
Greetings to all our followers and supporters for 2014. We hope that you all had a restful and joyous festive season.
The trust has signed off on the next phase of work on the smokebox door. This phase is the most expensive and extensive so far and it moves the door on a long way from just being a pretty face to an important component of a working locomotive.
The work will include the fabrication and assembly of key components of the door including the central hinge, hinge plate, hinge tube and stop. The fabrication schedule also includes the inner door profile and inner ring, handle and baffle stand-off.
At the completion of this work, the door will undergo non-destructive testing to satisfy and comply with National Rail standards. This testing is critical for certification for mainline running and will be undertaking throughout the fabrication process.
We will of course provide photos as the work progresses.