Winter Newsletter

Hello and welcome to this new look, winter edition of the George the Fifth Newsletter!

The project has had a strong year and is very much on track to complete the visual outline within the next year (excluding boiler!) This is a fascinating task of understanding Crewe practices and how these can be retained in the 21st Century, it certainly takes some thought to keep aesthetics as true to Crewe as possible whilst fitting onto a ‘smaller railway’, we hope you appreciate the results. The visuals aside a serious amount of work has gone into the boiler design, once this is complete the project will move on to the cylinder block and crank axle- probably the most complex operation we shall undertake (minus the bureaucracy labyrinth) due to the stresses it is placed under alongside those of the frames and track. We also welcome Chali, an engineering undergraduate who is on placement for a year with the project.

The Project is now garnering a significant amount of components both large and small and we require a new site, as we also wish that you can view as much of our progress and locomotive as is possible. We are therefore in discussions with a number of parties to find a long term site and potentially some interim options. Over the next year we hope to have a more specific update.

George’s were awarded a place in the Railway Magazine’s bookazine ‘Legendary Locomotives’, the authors approached us stating they had selected George’s alongside Big Boy’s, A3’s and other notable classes to feature in their publication- and why not! The word is clearly getting around about these fantastic machines! A link to purchasing a copy can be found here.

We have made designed and stocked Mugs and Pens, with the image of both below hard at work on our engineer’s deskThe cost is a donation of £12.50 (inclusive of postage and packaging). If you would like to order one you can place an order in various ways; click the make a donation button below donating the above amount and add a note of ‘for the mug/pen’, send a cheque to our postal address (at the bottom of the newsletter) or email us directly- click here.

From a fundraising point of view we have had an expensive year! With all of the orders and costs associated, we now have a fantastic part of the locomotive we intend to display. Funds remain buoyant but we certainly have expensive items coming up to order.

We hope at this time of year you will consider donating to the George, no matter how small or large this donation it is gratefully received. You can donate via the button below, cheque to our postal address (at the bottom of the email) or contact as via email- click here. 


This year has seen a continuing progress.  Early in the year we ordered the piano front, and the front section of footplating (called covering plate by the LNWR) and assembled it with our smokebox, buffer beam handrail, and lamp sockets on a stand suitable for display.  We have used modern techniques to make the money go further.  The LNWR used a rather complex arrangement of angles and hundreds of rivets either side to support the footplating.  All the rivets were countersunk to give a level walking surface; very expensive! Modern profile cutting and welding makes for a better and more economical job.  Laser-cut plates incorporate tab and slot construction, like a child’s toy, the tabs are welded through the slot and then weld is ground level with the plate.  Bolting it all together was very satisfying, out first big part of the locomotive.

Sadly, our hopes of setting up a photograph of it in front of the 1903 No. 9 Erecting Shop were dashed when the shop was demolished.  Hopes of showing it at Crewe Heritage Centre were also dashed when the event fizzled out.

Nevertheless, the front end looks impressive, and we hope to be able to display it in 2020.

More recently we have taken delivery of the intermediate sections of the footplating to fit between the front end and the splasher.

Another item ordered was the dome, a surprisingly challenging item.  Crewe made thousands of these, with a pressed hemispherical top and a castellated interface to the cylindrical part. The latter was flanged outwards at the lower end to meet the boiler cladding.  The castellated join can be seen on close examination of the Coal Tank’s dome.  After looking at various options, we decided that an aluminium casting was the best option.  Making the pattern proved a challenge, but RF&D’s patternmaker persevered and the finished item looks good.

A seemingly insignificant item is the rolled steel section between the upper and lower cab side panels.  This seems to have been used from the very early days of Crewe right through to the Claughtons, about 60 years.  Hot-rolling is out of the question nowadays unless  we want 20 tons – hardly likely!  We have found a manufacturer willing to fabricate and machine left and right hand rails for us, and these should be delivered early in the New Year.

Next up is the cab top.  This isn’t straightforward as the LNWR cab corners foul the modern loading gauge.  With a bit of adaptation of profile radii we think we can comply with gauge whilst preserving the appearance of the LNWR cab.  In LMS days the main convex radius of the roof was continued to the outer edge, completely changing the appearance.  We want to replicate as much as possible of the appearance of the LNWR roof.  More on this in the next issue.  Once we have the cab top, probably next summer, we will definitely need a base in which to assemble the full length of our parts.

Meanwhile, unseen, work on the boiler design has continued.  As is only right, this is subject to strict regulation, but it comes back to the old BS 2790, almost 200 pages plus related documents.  The design seemed near completion but our CAD system, Fusion 360 was getting slower and slower.  On the verge of producing drawings, we had to accept that the free F360 is a bit too limited. Our undergraduate, Chali, also found the same while trying to assess bogie wheel stresses. In the end, we had to bite the bullet and buy a professional standard CAD system for several thousand pounds.  The pain is slightly reduced by a 25% grant, our first encounter with the world of grant-giving bodies.  Our Treasurer found this painful, and no wonder!

After learning the new system, using the cab top as a learning exercise, the boiler model will be rebuilt, with the added benefit of all the weld details which Fusion 360 couldn’t handle.


The Trust’s objectives include education, particularly STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics.  We have taken on Chali Chaligula, studying Engineering at De Montfort University, Leicester, and he is taking a year out working with us.  His immediate project is analysis of the LNWR bogie wheel.  CHALI CAN TELL HIS OWN TALE OF F360 FRUSTRATION AND HIS LIAISON WITH ALAN JAMES AND JAMIE.

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