Tag Archive for: Preservation Steam

A new smokebox door for a new LNWR George the Fifth!

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!


Smokebox door on display this Easter!

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!

LNWR George the Fifth Trust becomes a Partner of the Friends of Crewe Heritage Centre

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.

The London & North Western Railway Society 40th Anniversay Meeting

The trust will be present at the 40th Anniversary meeting of the The London & North Western Railway Society at Kidderminster Railway Museum on the Severn Valley Railway on the 3rd August.

Admission is free and open to the public. Events kick off at 10:30AM and will continue through to 5:30PM.

10.30am-12.30pm – “The Crewe – Shrewsbury Line” by Bob Yate, author of The Railways and Locomotives of the Lilleshall Company, By Great Western to Crewe” (the Wellington – Market Drayton – Nantwich line), The Shropshire Union Railway and Canal Company and The South Staffordshire Railway, plus numerous articles in magazines and journals. 

1pm – 2pm – The Build a George the Fifth Project – A Progress Report.

2.30pm-5.30pm – “Coal Tank 1054 – its Restoration and Operation” by Pete Skellon, author of Bashers, Gadgets and Mourners, the Life and Times of the LNWR Coal Tanks.

 Exhibition of paintings by Gerald Broom, Roger Markland and John Wardle. 

There will also be a number of stands, including our own displaying LNWR artifacts including nameplates, memorabilia, archives and models. The LNWR Society will also host a stand.

We cordially invite our followers, supporters, their families and friends to come along.  Please drop by to say hello and while you’re there be sure to check the exhibits at the Kidderminster Railway Museum and take a ride on the marvellous Severn Valley Railway.

George at the Great Central.

What a sight that would be! A new-build LNWR George the Fifth in full-flight on Britain’s (and the world’s?) only preservation society dedicated to preserving a former mainline and operating an extended double-track where the one can experience the trill of steam engines passing at speed!

To get to this stage however, numerous small and incremental steps are required. One of those steps was the GCR Gala at Loughborough where some of the team (Tom and Paul) as well as friends and members,  Marcello Gabrielli and Richard Walsh of the Jinty Appeal (more anon) were were in attendance, manning our modest stall, taking donations, memberships and fielding questions. The response again was tremendously positive and we thank everyone who paid us a visit. We also thank the wonderful staff at the Great Central Railway and we heartedly recommend a visit if you’ve never been, and a revisit if you have.You may notice in the photo below that Paul and Tom are holding a drawing. This is a fairly obvious clue to what we’ll be fabricating first. Yes that’s letting the proverbial cat out of the bag somewhat earlier than intended but the lads are justifiably excited by this development. We hope to officially announce this shortly once all the T’s are crossed and those I’s are well-and-truly dotted.

Regarding the Jinty Appeal. We’d like to encourage our readers and members to consider assisting Marcello and Richard at the Jinty Appeal with the overhaul of 47357, an LMS 3F Jinty at Butterley. £40,000 to complete the restoration properly and the task is being undertaken by the Midland Railway -Butterley‘s younger volunteers. If you wish to assist with a donation, however small while helping the next generation of rail preservationists carry the torch you can visit the appeal’s site here.

And remember, you can be a part of making a new George the Fifth a reality. Donations can be made and memberships forms can be obtained from our website here.

See us at the Great Central Gala at Loughborough!

The trust will man a stall at the Great Central Gala at Loughborough on Sunday, 7th October.  If you’re planning to attend or just happen to be in the area, drop by to say hello and have a chat!

A report from the Llangollen Railway Gala

Members Paul Hibberd and Tom Mainprize have returned from a weekend manning a stall for the George the Fifth Steam Locomotive Trust ( and moonlighting at dog-minders for visitors!) at glorious Llangollen where a celebration of all things steam took place at the Llangollen Railway Gala. Truly Llangollen is well worth the visit.  On arrival at Llangollen the Stationmaster, who was very helpful gave us the freedom of positioning anywhere within reason under the canopy on Platform 1. We chose to locate to the far end of the canopy about 20ft from the entrance.

The weekend proved to be a great success with the profile of the project raised just a little higher and firm friendships and associations forged with the chaps at Llangollen and with other new-build projects, specifically the team behind the LMS Patriot build who were also present (their build is based there). We humbly thank them and the team on the Betton Grange Project, which is also based at Llangollen. The members of these new-build projects were generous with their time and their words of advice, offering invaluable insights and personal expressions of support. We forged many new firm friendships and connections while there and we even agreed with the Patriot team that some day we’d have a completed George double-heading with ‘The Unknown Warrior’!

What a marvelous sight that would be!

Our humble thanks must of course go out to those people who dropped money in our donation box, who signed up either as a ‘Friend of George’ or a Convenantor and who entrusted us with their dogs while they rode the line (see the photo below). We thank the public for the many inquiries and expressions of support over the course of the two days. If you wish to make a donation, become a Convenantor or head with time and skills , please head over to our website and click on the How to Help link.

Of course, we must thank all the people at the Llangollen Railway for a wonderful celebratory weekend of steam and for their unfailing assistance and support. We are currently planning our next stall and are in the advanced stages of planning the first part of a new George to be fabricated. We’re very excited about this and can’t wait to tell you all. So finally, a big thank you to for all those who have donated or become Convenantors thus far!

Watch this space!




46233 Duchess of Sutherland (2012) vs 1662 Deerhound (circa 1912)

This short article is intended to give you an idea of the power and speed that the George the Fifth class was capable of in service on the ‘mountainous’ section of the West Coast Main Line, rather than a contest of ‘which is best’. The runs in comparison are 46233 Duchess of Sutherland on the Royal Scot PMR tour from Crewe to Carlisle on 9 June this year (reported in Steam Railway magazine, issue 404, p.81) and 1662 on the Crewe to Carlisle portion of the 10am Euston to Glasgow express circa 1912 (reported on p.89 of O S Nock’s book ‘The Precursor Family’).

Firstly one must put both runs into context and perspective. 46233 was taking a moderate load of 380 gross tons, 1662 was taking a load of 370 tons gross. So the loads are broadly comparable, perhaps even more so given the rolling resistance of the stock in use a hundred years ago. Secondly it is not entirely straightforward to ascertain what timing points Nock was using. For example was his ‘Shap summit’ the modern milepost thirty seven and a quarter, and his Tebay (the old station) appears to be half a mile south of the modern ‘Tebay North’. Thirdly 46233 stops in Carnforth loop for water (roughly 0.31 miles South of Carnforth Station), 1662 was probably doing around 65mph at this point and does not stop at Carnforth. So precise comparison is not possible but it does give a good indicator of the George’s performance. We can use 46233 as the benchmark (albeit a very high one!) being one of the most consistent and higher performing engines ever to grace British railways.

From Carnforth to Oxenholme verifies the above statement, 46233 from a standing start passed Oxenholme in 16.57, whereas 1662 took just 13.34, this was due to passing Carnforth at speed. Having troughs en route it was unnecessary to stop for water, unlike with mainline tours nowadays. The Oxenholme to Grayrigg section, with the two miles of 1 in 173 on the ascent to Grayrigg shows performance one would expect of both engines, 46233 took just 8.56 compared with the 11.20 of 1662. The speeds of both engines were clocked, 47mph for 46233 and a minimum of 32mph for 1662 in passing Grayrigg. 46233 then takes 5.25 from Grayrigg to Tebay (old station) as against 5.44 for Deerhound and so passing through the Lune Valley things would have been pretty much neck and neck (and would Deerhound have been picking up water on Tebay troughs).

From Tebay (old station) it is 5.5 miles to Shap summit and not surprisingly it was here that Sutherland pulled ahead, gaining 2.08 on the George, taking 6.38 as against 8.46. So the total time for Sutherland was 37.05 for the 31.2 miles from the loop as against 39.44 for Deerhound (for the 31.4 miles Nock quotes from Carnforth station to the summit).

This was a very fine performance for the George, but not one that was out of character. For the 59 ton 1662 with a comparable load shows an incredible performance from such a small engine with only 175lb boiler pressure available, but it did have the benefits of high temperature superheat and long-travel piston valves. 1662’s average speed throughout was a striking 47.3 mph and the average drawbar horsepower seems to have in the region of 950.

Taking all the factors together, I think it is a fascinating comparison between a quality climb of Shap on a Scottish express achieved in the conditions applicable around a hundred years ago and an excellent steam performance in today’s conditions, and the experience taken as a whole is a surprisingly close run thing – and in the absence of these plucky little Georges it is pretty clear the West Coast main line is missing something sensational. If you would like to keep updated with progress and become a ‘Friend of George’ click here and fill out the form.

If you would like to donate click here for the forms, or donate via Paypal here. If you have skills that you think would be beneficial please let us know.

By Tom Mainprize and Paul Hibberd.

LNWR GEORGE THE FIFTH STEAM LOCOMOTIVE TRUST 62 High Street, Buntingford United Kingdom, SG9 9AH

Email: thomas.mainprize@gmail.com

As well as being a member of the LGFSLT, Tom is a volunteer with (4)6233 and The Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust

Deerhound at ShrewsburyDeerhound piloting The Life Guardsmen462333 Duchess of Sutherland at Carlisle

2012 HRA Steam Railway Readers Award – it has to be the Coal Tank!

The latest Steam Railway magazine (No.404 July-August) has details on the 2012 HRA Steam Railway Readers Award – part of the HRA annual award scheme for Heritage Railways.

We at the LNWR George the Fifth Steam Locomotive Trust believe that the The LNWR Webb Coal Tank Webb Coal Tank 1054 (BR 58926); the sole surviving member of a class of 300, which has recently undergone an extensive restoration to working order, thoroughly deserves nomination.

And George agrees!  He says, support one of his relations.

So why would anyone want to nominate the Coal Tank?

Well – lots of reasons really!

  • The engine now operating is the result of a high quality, and totally volunteer-based, extensive overhaul.
  • Historical research has benefited the completion of the engine in an authentic manner and provided information for the publication of an award-winning book and audio CD.
  • Detail features such as the manufacture of replica LNW headlamps and engine driver’s caps for the footplate crew enhance that authenticity.
  • Carefully considered renumbering/livery changes are helping to interpret the story of the engine during it’s working life, such as the re-creation of the last train from Abergavenny to Merthyr.
  • Completion of the project has made us more aware of the Coal Tank’s importance in the whole spectrum of railway and locomotive heritage. Precious Few LNWR engines have survived into preservation and the Coal Tank is a unique glimpse of a class which was once a mainstay of the London & North Western Railway. Operational Late Victorian engines are a rare site in preservation steam as it is, and the Coal Tank is the only operational Late Victorian Engine representing the old LNWR.

For more information on the Webb’s Coal Tanks, check out the Wikipedia page here. Further information on 1054 (BR 58926) and on the dedicated team behind her careful and considered restoration to working order can be found here.

The nomination form can be found on page 20 of the current issue of Steam Railway. (Well worth the subscription we might add).  The nomination form states: “I nominate… because…” We’ve outlined just a few of the reasons why the Coal Tank deserves the nomination here to help you out!

Completed forms should be sent to:

HRA Steam Railway Awards
Steam Railway
Bauer Media House
Lynchwood, Peterborough PE2 6EA

Name, address, home and mobile telephone and email must be supplied. Photocopied forms will not be accepted however you can email your nomination (i.e The Coal Tank of course!) to: steam.railway@bauermedia.co.uk

Let’s give the team behind the restoration of the Coal Tank and this marvellous little engine the credit they thoroughly deserve!


Back from Railfest!

We’re back from Railfest in York and we’re exhilarated and overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response we received there. People of all ages came to chat and many signed the email lists and took donation and subscriber forms.

A highlight of the event for the Trust was undoubtedly the donation of a genuine LNWR steam whistle – a physically small yet symbolically momentous piece of the new locomotive. The voice of our new George will be authentically LNWR! Paul Hibberd, one of the Trustees, was presented with the whistle from Robin Dean in the cab of ‘Hardwicke‘. Robin told us he was given the whistle by someone at Wolverton carriage works some sixty years ago. He said it was from one of the two LNWR 0-6-2 tanks there which had just gone up to Crewe to be scrapped. He had hoped to save one of these engines and the whistle was a consolation gift!

We thank Robin for his generous donation.

Railfest 2012Ralifest 2012