Area Groups

Listed here are all the area groups with coordinator names:

  • Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire - Robin Addison
  • Cambridgeshire and the Fens - Peter Wright
  • East Midlands - Richard Allsopp and Allan Smalley
  • Essex - Richard Taylor
  • London - Larry Sampson
  • Midlands -  Barry Lycett
  • Norfolk and Suffolk - Roger Smale
  • North East - Nick Illingworth
  • Southend - Mick Scott
  • South West - Barry Fairweather
  • Rest of the UK - Larry Sampson
  • Overseas - Brian Hall

Many area groups have made great progress in mobilising their resources; some of their activities are documented here.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - 9th July 2022.

St Peter's in March held their annual 'Bacon Butty Festival' on the grass in front of the church. The weather was tropically hot as the sun beat down from a clear blue sky. Fortunately, the B17 promotional stall was sited in the shade of a large beech tree which gave some relief from the heat. There was a steady stream of visitors to the Festival and an accumulation of sales and small contributions from the public made a worthwhile total. 

[One unwanted donation came from within the boughs of the tree and made a considerable impact on the display!]

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - 2nd/3rd July 2022 Ramsey Fire and Steam

Ramsey Rural Museum is a farming museum near Ramsey. It is a large site with many acres of space. Their Fire and Steam show featured fire engines, ancient and modern, miniature steam traction engines and lorries, old motor cars and old cycles. Although public attendance seemed modest, a steady stream of visitors were attracted to the B17 SLT stand. Some interesting conversations were conducted. However, sales and receipts were modest but a valuable contribution to funds.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - 18/19th June 2022 Yaxley Village Fete

Public attendance on Saturday was affected by heavy intermittent rain. However useful sales were achieved. Torrential overnight rain cleared and Sunday morning began bright and sunny, although this became overcast later. Despite a much higher public attendance on Sunday receipts were similar to Saturday. However, a useful accumulation of funds over the two days made the event worthwhile. The Trust is grateful to a local group member who subscribed to fund the pitch fee.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - 4th June 2022

'Gala in the Park' organised by March Lions to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty. Public attendance increased steady throughout the day and the B17 team had some lengthy conversations with interested members of the public. Modest but useful receipts were achieved. Pitch fee donated by local member.

Southend and Essex Groups - Billericay Model Railway Exhibition - 28th May 2022

It was good to be back with our stand at this exhibition after a three year gap because of a certain interruption! After a slow start, the number of people coming through the doors increased substantially, until quietening down in the afternoon. Good sales of our merchandise, legacy and second hand items were recorded, but the starring role went to James Matthews who, having been told of the record number of raffle tickets sold on one day at the exhibition at Alexandra Palace in January, took it on himself to sell as many raffle tickets as he could. Although not as high as that number, he was not far short with over £100 worth being sold! The stand was manned by Mick Scott, Frank Carter, James Matthews, Eddie Savage and Richard Taylor. Thanks to all for a successful day.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - 24th April 2022

St. George's Fayre at March is a street party in the centre of the town when all of the main road and market place are cordoned off for pedestrians only. Multiple and varied stalls lined the streets and many people supported the event in bright warm spring sunshine. B17 SLT had its promotional stall outside St. Peter's Church and many small sales, raffle ticket purchases and donations accumulated to made a modest but useful contribution to B17 funds. The pitch fee paid to the Church was contributed by a local member.

North East Group - 23rd April 2022 CTL Seal's Open Day

The North East Group's Area Leader Nick Illingworth helped man the Trust's display at the above event, and at the end took the A3 and A4 laminates off the chassis and has started to populate the display board near to the two new build projects. The group aims to keep this display up to date, whilst their next task is to paint the newly acquired container a shade of green - now which shade will it be?

CTL Seal Display Board

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - 9th April 2022

On Saturday 9th April, the Cambs and Fens Group attended St. Peter's Church, March for their Easter Market. The event was held in bright spring sunshine. The usual display of merchandise was available and a steady number of visitors asked about progress. Modest but useful revenue was raised, principally through the sale of mugs and raffle tickets. Even before the display was prepared, one benefactor promised a generous donation and towards the end an elderly lady customer was asking for information about her stationmaster grandfather. She was surprised that by Monday a telephone call promised her an outline of his career and an offer of further research. The pitch fee was again paid for by a local member.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group -  21st March 2022. Talk to The Peterborough Farm Machinery Preservation Society

Peter Wright, assisted by Richard Munns, talked to The Peterborough Farm Machinery Preservation Society at Childers Hall, Station Road, Whittlesey. An audience of about 60 gentlemen and one lady, listened attentively as Peter told them about how March grew from a tiny hamlet in the early 1840s to become established as a major railway centre of national importance some 40 years later, and then by the late 1920s was a modern world showpiece railway installation. After a break, Peter went on to speak about the B17 project and its progress. Interesting questions from the floor afterwards, and personally with the displays, showed a keen level of interest in the subjects from the farming fraternity. A generous fee and sale of B17 raffle tickets and merchandise made for a worthwhile event.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - 28th January 2022

Talk to the Local NHS Retirement fellowship.

Thursday, Jan 28th, saw the first B17 Trust event of the year for the Cambs and Fens Area Group, when Group Leader and Trust Historian Peter Wright spoke to the local branch of the NHS Retirement Fellowship. In what was a highly engaging and thoroughly researched talk, Peter spoke principally on the topic of ‘March - a railway town’ - but then followed up by introducing the audience both to the B17s themselves and to the Trust’s progress in constructing the 74th member of the class. Peter succeeded in bringing the subject to life for the mostly female audience - as can be seen from their reactions in photos. Afterwards, several people came forward to say how much they had enjoyed the talk, so much so that Peter was invited to repeat the talk in future. Funds were raised from the sales of Trust merchandise afterwards. Information about the B17 project was on display along with sale goods.

Peter Talk 1 Peter Talk 2
The hosts introducing Peter - an excellent view of the stand, with many B17 branded products on display.

A section of the audience with Peter.

Both photos courtesy of Nick Illingworth

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - Presentation to B17 Driver

Retired March driver Eric Green will be 100 years old later this year and Peter Wright spoke to him briefly about his career. He liked B17s - "Fast and strong" he said, preferring the small tender variety over those with standard LNER tenders. He expressed a particular affection for 61620 'Clumber'. It was decided that on behalf of 'The Trust', to present him with a framed photograph of 61620 in preparation for his milestone birthday.

An interview on his experience's is hoped for soon.

Note: Unfortunately this won't happen as Driver Eric Green died peacefully in his chair on Monday evening. Born 1st. September 1922. Died 28th. March 2022. Began his railway footplate career April 1940. Sad that he didn't quite make his 100th. birthday. 

61620 Clumber picture for Driver Green

Photograph in frame (61620 running into Ely with an 'Up' express), provided by Tony Brzosko.

Main photo courtesy of Richard Munns

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - 20th October 2021

On Wednesday 20th October 2021, a small but attentive and generous audience attended the March Society meeting at March library to listen to B17 SLT historian talk about the Sandringhams and the project to built a new B17.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - Community Magazine 'Discovering March'

A half page illustrated feature in community magazine 'Discovering March' has been published in the October 2021 issue. The article explains the reasons for the B17 project and promotes the sale of the new calendar and jigsaw puzzle. The magazine is a free issue publication distributed to 10,400 homes and business premises in March and the surrounding area.

Cambrudgeshire and the Fens Group - September 2021

The Cambs and Fens Group breakfast meeting on Tuesday 21st September 2021 was open to the public. All who attended to participate in the excellent morning meal provided by March Conservative Club contributed as the B17 SLT had a concession to provide the tea and coffee that accompanied the meal. Several diners were also attracted to the B17 raffle tickets and branded goods that were offered for sale.

The members, and local enthusiasts who remained afterwards, listened to an address by Brian Hall, who spoke about the origins of the B17 new build project, its progress and prospects. At the conclusion, Peter Wright, local group leader, thanked the management of the venue for hosting the event and in particular to the club manager who undertook all the cooking.

Although this event was of only 3 hours duration and a local experiment, it achieved good financial results. A new member submitted his application to join and two local members who were unable to attend the meeting for health reasons sent substancial financial contributions.

E-mail comment afterwards from a local member - 'Well done everyone! A lovely morning, great food and the tea lady spot on cuppa. Kind regards'.

Wansford Steam Event - 21st / 22nd August 2021

Peter Wright was assisted for two days by Steve Halford with help and transport from Richard & Joan Munns on Saturday morning and John Woodford on Sunday evening.

The number of people patronising the railway seemed less that previous visits; however the weather was better than forecast with some intermittent light rain on both days but only heavier towards the end of the event on Saturday. We were visited by several members who were pleased to see us and a satisfactory amount was raised towards the Trust’s funds.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - December 2020

At last - an event in this strange year.

The front lawn of St. Peter's Church, March was an unusual site for a B17 Group support stand. However, 2020 has been a year with few opportunities and the invitation from Rev. Andrew Smith to attend the Church Christmas Fayre on Saturday 12th December was accepted. Although the event was scheduled for only two hours and the weather was far from favourable, it was pleasantly surprising how many people attended and took an interest in what the B17 SLT are building. The event was also a focal point for our members across the Fens where they could collect their 2021 calendars and jigsaws. It was good that the local church community also supported with purchases of numerous surplus books, jigsaws and toys. 

For only a two hour event, receipts were very worthwhile and our gratitude has been extended to the Church community.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens group - April 2020

Laurence Spolton was a goods guard at Whitemoor near March. His official journal for the last four weeks of his career, before retirement in September 1958, has recently been passed to a local member. This has been used as the basis for a feature length article published in the May 2020 issue of 'Steam World'. The publication fee paid to the author has been made available to B17 SLT.

Southend - SEERS Model Railway Exhibition - 8th February 2020

SEERS put on a Model Railway Exhibition at the local Baptist Church. The B17SLT stand was setup and manned by local members Mike and Frank, who did a superb job of displaying the products and literature. The new popup was much admired by all and the stand looked brilliant with its new table covers. Sandy was much in evidence, shown below with the Suffolk Regiment badge, which was carried on number 61645 The Suffolk Regiment. Photos by Mike Scott.

SEERS ShowSandy SEERS Show stand

Cambridgeshire and the Fens group - All About Buffers!

A pair of surplus LNER locomotive buffers, suitable for the front of 61673, were a gift from The East Anglian Railway Museum at Chappel and Wakes Colne, to who the Trust are most grateful.

The membership of Cambs and Fens Group together funded the move and refurbishment of these heavy items. Trust supporter, Steven Neugebauer, offered to provide the transport. On Sunday morning, 14th. April, he and a Trust member went to Chappel, where these items were loaded into a pick up truck and brought back to March for temporary storage, pending a suitable date for the move to Wales. 

Early on Sunday, 20th. October, the same team provided the transport to Llangollen where the buffers were unloaded and put under cover pending examination, refurbishment and fitting to 61673.

The Llangollen Railway were generous in allowing Steven the opportunity to inspect the locomotive frames and to enjoy the experience of a footplate ride in recognition of all his assistance.

An excellent local group effort to provide the funding and transport to progress the project.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - 16th July 2019    Exhibit at Fen View Motors

One of the most unusual places in which we have had a sales and promotion stand was the forecourt of Fen View Motors, Whittlesey Road, March. The proprietor is a transport enthusiast and has already assisted B17 SLT. It was expedient to have a final trial fit of the nameplates onto the support frame prior to deployment at Sandringham Flower Show. The opportunity to display these items and the front buffers raised interest among those who attended and some modest revenue was received.

Fen View Motors Display


Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - 14th April 2019

Out in action again, the group travelled to the East Anglian Railway Museum at Chappell and Wakes Colne, to accept a pair of surplus (to the EARM) LNER pattern buffers. Once back at base in March, the group had the customary celebratory cup of tea, and posed for the camera with the newly restored 'Helmingham Hall' nameplate and a replica of another B17 'Champion Lodge'.

7D2 3117C Brian Hall, Chairman of the B17 SLT, and members of the group with the newly restored nameplate 'Helmingham Hall' and replica nameplate of 'Champion Lodge'.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - 6th April 2019

Members attended the Cambridge Model Railway Exhibition at Sawston Village College. We were involved in several lengthy and interesting conversations about B17s, and their activities in and around Cambridge and the names of some old railway characters from the area were fondly recalled. Copies of the new pamphlet regarding the 90th anniversary of the commencement of B17 activity were freely available.

Anniversary of the B17s in Service poster at Lowestoft - 6th February 2019

6th February saw Roger Smale and John Peat deliver the first poster, designed for the Community Rail Partnership noticeboards, to Martin Halliday and Tim Miller at Lowestoft station. These posters are designed to inform the travelling public about the B17s that came into service 90 years ago, and any local connection that the named locomotive had with the area. Posters will be going up at CRP noticeboards around the Greater Anglia region in the next month and we thank Greater Anglia for their support in this initiative. 

CRP poster 1 reduced CRP poster 2 reduced
Roger Smale, Norfolk member with Tim Miller, a CRP volunteer Closeup of the noticeboard

Essex and Southend members visit SEERS Meeting - 24th January 2019

Three directors and a number of members headed to the SEERS' (South East Essex Railway Society) regular monthly meeting where John Jolly, founder and owner of the Mangapps Railway Museum, was their guest speaker. John spoke for almost 2 hours on the history of Mangapps (from farm to railway museum), some very fortunate events along the way, and where he saw the future of the museum. The talk was full of interesting background, anecdotes, and tales of some of his railway and farming related travels, especially to Canada. 

Our thanks to SEERS for the hospitality and to John Jolly for a most entertaining evening.

All meetings of SEERS are held at the Friends Meeting House, 18 Dundonald Drive, Leigh-on-Sea, SS9 1NB

Essex and Southend Dinner - 4th December 2018

On Tuesday 4th December 2018, Members of the Trust in both the Essex and Southend Groups were invited to a Christmas Lunch held in Maylands Golf Club, Brentwood, Essex.

Essex Christmas lunch 2018

They were joined by a number of Directors for a traditional Christmas Lunch in a very relaxing and festive atmosphere. On this occasion our Chairman, Brian Hall, was presented with contributions arising from the sale of N Gauge Railway equipment and the recent Shoeburyness Model Engineering Show.

This was a very enjoyable introduction to the festive season and an excellent opportunity to reflect on a successful year.

Cambridge and Fens Group: Tour of March Railway features - 16th November 2018

An enjoyable tour round the railway features of March was conducted for a small but manageable party of B17 members. Peter Wright, Cambs and Fens Area Group Leader, acted as guide. The tour started at March South Junction, visited East Junction and then admired the architecture of the Victorian station building. Other ancillary buildings included the GER goods shed, stables, band room (which the GER's directors had authorised)  and the last remaining, but near derelict, building associated with the ECR's original engine shed.

The tour then visited the Great Northern public house in Norwood Road, which is a reminder that the GNR at one time had its independent access to March from Spalding. The party then walked to the crest of the adjacent road over bridge where Peter pointed out the sites of March North, March West and Whitemoor Junction signalboxes, and the course of the road over a level crossing which the bridge had replaced. The triangular layout that gave access to the enormous Whitemoor Yard could be seen from here. Peter briefly explained the history of the yard's growth. The party moved off along Norwood Road, passing terraces of workers cottages built in the late Victorian era for the GN/GE Joint and GER companies. A brief visit along Hundred Road followed; from this road, generations of local enthusiasts viewed the comings and goings of locomotives visiting the March locomotive depot.

Retracing their route back over the bridge to Twenty Foot at the northern end of Whitemoor, several members of the party expressed surprise at the extent of the marshalling facilities. The final point of call was Middle Drove level crossing, where just over 75 years ago 2848 'Arsenal' burst out of the early morning Fenland fog and struck a car on the crossing. It was poignant that as the party were being told about the circumstances of this fatal accident, a modern diesel passenger train sped out of the mist towards March, just as 2848 had done all those years before.

Following the tour, all the participants were supplied with a portion of an immense cottage pie and vegetables cooked by Peter's wife Maureen. All the participants expressed their thanks by contributing generously to B17 SLT funds. It is hoped to repeat this event in the future.

Southend Group Activity: Romford MRC Show - Saturday 3rd November 2018

The Southend Group manned the B17 Sales stand at the Romford Show last Saturday. It was reasonably well attended and we were pleased with the interest shown.

From the usual range of B17 merchandise, we had a selection of second hand N Gauge stock for sale which proved to be very popular. If anyone has any Model Railway equipment which they would like to donate to the Trust, we would be pleased to receive it. Thanks to Frank Carter, Jeff Jackson, Eddie Savage for their help, in addition to John Pearson and Larry Sampson.







Norfolk and Suffolk Group Activity: AMREx 2018 - Saturday 6th October 2018

The annual Exhibition of the Aylsham Model Railway Club was held on 6th October, in both the Parish Hall and the Aylsham Station of the Bure Valley Railway. Both venues were connected by a free bus service operated by a preserved London Transport Routemaster Bus (RML 2140). It was a new event for the Trust and our presence at the Show had been masterminded by our local Area Group Leader - Mr. John Peat. We were allocated stand space just inside the main entrance to the Station, which was ideal as everyone entering had to walk past us.
Despite it being a very cold and wet day, we were told that there had been approx 450 visitors to the Show. Indeed, we seemed to have someone on the Stand virtually non stop. This made the time pass very quickly and I can confirm that the free refreshments offered by the Organisers were excellent - always a bonus when you are on your feet all day!
Apart from the usual B17 Merchandise, we had, for the first time, a collection of 2nd hand N Gauge Models for sale, which proved to be very popular. This may be something we look at doing regularly, but it will always be a small display. 
We did make contact with a number of interested people and I hope that some of these contacts may be pursued in the months ahead. Altogether a very good day - thanks to John for organising it and hope that we return again.

North East Midlands Group - Report on Papplewick Pumping Station Visit September 15/16th 2018

The North Midlands group of the B17 SLT visited the pumping station with the publicity and sales stand for the first time in September to attend the Vintage Weekend and found what proved to be a most interesting venue with much to interest the public including a Wallis and Stevens steam roller, classic and vintage cars and trade stands of all kinds including one from Mansfield Fire museum.

Papplewick Pumping Station itself was built in 1884 by Nottingham Corporation Waterworks, a fine example of Victorian extravagance complete with stained glass windows and still housing the two original beam engines built by James Watt. It is hard to believe that such fine architecture was out of bounds to the public until 1975 when volunteers became involved.

Other attractions include the 1922 Linby Colliery Winding Engines, a working blacksmiths shop and tours of the Underground Reservoir, which is now out of use but beautifully constructed in a variety of cathedral like brick arches.

Nowadays, water is pumped to the site by large electric pumps from the Bunter Sandstone and then flows by gravity, after treatment, to Nottingham supplemented by additional supplies from the Derwent Dams in Derbyshire (of Dam Buster Fame) and elsewhere in Nottinghamshir

There was quite a lot of interest in our project and both Alan Smalley, Brian Hall and myself agreed that we should return in the future.

I would like to thank Keith Crawford who organised the pitch for us and the friendly Papplewick Association members who made us most welcome.

Richard Allsopp, NE Midlands Group

Cambridge and Fenland Group: Friends of March Station Heritage Weekend - 8th September 2018

B17 SLT were guests of 'Friends of March Station' at their Heritage Weekend event on the morning of 8th September. A early start was required as the event was scheduled to start at 8. 00 am. and a large crowd gathered early to watch the passage of 60009 'Union of South Africa'.

The Trust's stand was stocked with all the usual mixture of items and during the morning sales and interest was quite brisk.

Southend and Essex Group Activity: Billericay MRG Show - Saturday 5th May 2018 

This was the second show put on by the Group and held in the Heritage Centre at Great Baddow. It was a beautiful day, which was good as the venue is somewhat outdoors! We were allocated a space in one of the Halls; the stand was set up on the Friday by Mick and colleagues from the Southend Group. Making good use of the weather, some of the display was outside and attracted a lot of interest. One thing which makes this show different is the very friendly approach of Billericay MRG Members. This was true last year and continued this year - they are all extremely pleased to see visitors and talk about the displays, a fact illustrated by the Mayor of Chelmsford opening the show, allowing 30 mins for his visit and actually staying for 2 hours. Richard Taylor was there in the morning and Larry Sampson dropped in during the afternoon to support the stand. Next year the show will move to a new venue in Billericay and we hope that the prevailing atmosphere transfers with the show - it really is a good opportunity to meet local people and thanks to all the Southend Group for their help.

Southend and Essex Group Activity: Ilford and West Essex MRC Show - Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th April 2018

The 88th IWE MRC Show was held in St. Edwards School, Romford and occupied 3 large Halls within the school. As a personal reflection, my Dad used to take me to see this show every Year and I am now exhibiting there - how time flies!! We delivered the merchandise on Friday evening and Geoff Starns kindly agreed to set up the display early on Saturday morning. Those of us who have done a few shows will know that Geoff is the Master when it comes to the stand display and he did not let us down! We had space for 2 tables depth in front of the display board which allowed a much clearer and attractive display of merchandise - hopefully you can see this from the picture attached. On Saturday, the stand was manned by Mick, Geoff Jackson, Frank and Eddie from the Southend Group whilst Sunday was covered by Geoff Starns, Richard Taylor and Eddie. Saturday was by far the busiest day; Fiddlers Green was also on display for the entire weekend (manned by Larry Sampson and John Pearson). It was a good opportunity to get our message across to people in Essex and many were pleasantly surprised at the progress being made.

Cambridge and Fenland Group: 3rd March 2018

The Cambridge and Fenland Group held a promotional stand on March station platform on Saturday, 3rd. March. They were grateful that the fierce Siberian wind had subsided and the temperature had risen to freezing point. So it was wrap up warm to talk to the passing visitors and railway passengers. Some interesting items were brought in as donations and also sold on during the afternoon. Entertaining conversations were conducted and considering the weather it was a successful event, with hopefully some contacts that will be beneficial in the future.

One interesting item was two thirds of a 31B March shed plate with one of the fixing bolt holes missing. Whilst wondering if this would be of any use to the Trust someone came along and bought it. 

North Midlands Group - Report on the Great Central Railway Winter Steam Gala 26th - 28th January 2018

Brian Hall and Richard Allsopp attended this event on behalf of the B17 Locomotive Trust meeting up on the day before the event to establish our pitch and set up the stand.

It was a three day event and as usual did not disappoint. Firstly, the weather was reasonably good for the time of year with one brief band of rain passing on the Saturday, and the further occasional shower which did not appear to deter the crowds who turned up.

The main attraction was the appearance of two visiting locomotives, the B12 from the North Norfolk Railway and the Hughes-Fowler Crab from the East Lancs line. These visitors were well supported by the GCR’s own fleet including the Jinty 0-6-0 tank, the Riddles 0-6-0 tank 68067, the 9F 2-10-0, the Stanier 8F 2-8-0, two Riddles 2-6-0’s and the 3car Met Cam DMU.

A number of new members were signed up and a lot of interest was shown in our project. In addition the takings proved to be a record for the Trust, greatly helped by the saleable items received from some of our members.

2017 and before

North Midlands Group - Report in the Great Central Railway's 'The Last Hurrah' 18th / 19th November

As usual the North East Midlands group were present at the event which is always popular despite the weather. Saturday proved to be our best day with a good attendance from the public and also B17 group members.

Sunday was a much quieter day, despite similar sunny but cool weather conditions, and we put it down to Christmas shopping taking precedence.

Steam and diesel locomotives were present and the stars of the show were the newly restored Austerity J94 68067 and new build diesel brake tender which accompanyied D123 on Saturday and D8098 on Sunday

The supporting cast was  6990    92214    48624  and a three car Met Cam DMU

Brian Hall and Richard Allsopp manned the stand on both days.


DSC 0002

Essex / Southend Group Joint Venture - Southend MRC Show Saturday 18th November 2017

Volunteers on the stand

Essex / Southend Group Joint Venture - Romford MRC Show Saturday 11th November 2017

Another joint effort by both Groups saw the B17 Stand well represented at the above show by Group members. The stand was manned by Richard Taylor, Larry Sampson, Eddie Savage, Mick Scott and Frank Carter. The show was as popular as ever and the project attracted a good level of interest. It was good to have Mick back for a full stint on the stand and to see his enthusiasm undimmed. A good day enjoyed by all with a good level of sales income and donations for the Trust funds.

Essex / Southend Group Joint Venture - Chelmsford MRC Show Saturday 21th October 2017

The B17 Stand was well represented at the above Show by both Groups. The stand was manned by Eddie Savage, John Pearson, Richard Taylor and Larry Sampson. The show was well attended and a great deal of interest was shown by visitors in the current state of progress. The highlight of the show for us was when Frank Carter arrived with Mick Scott and stayed for over 3 hours. This was the first time that Mick had been on the Stand in a good few months following an unfortunate accident. It was a great pleasure to see him back in action and we look forward to seeing him again on the stand at a couple of shows before the end of the year. The result at the end of the day was an increase in takings for the Trust over last years at this show and we hope it was enjoyed by everyone.

North Midlands Group - Report on the GCR Gala of 5th to 8th October at Loughborough

The annual October gala held at the Great Central Railway can always be relied on to produce a variety of interesting visiting locomotives and this year was no exception with rebuilt ‘Battle of Britain’ class’ Sir Keith Park’ and un-rebuilt ‘Battle of Britain’ class’ 92 Squadron’ in the very appropriate Malachite livery, stealing the show.

The GCR’s Standard class 5 was running as 73156, one of the batch which worked in the Bournemouth area, but due to brake problems put in very few appearances.

From The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust’s point of view, the attendance on Friday, Saturday and Sunday was excellent, resulting in record takings, despite the restrictions imposed on items which the GCR does not now allow stall holders to sell in competition with the ‘Emporium’.

There was much interest shown in our locomotive and some knowledgeable people turned up, including drivers and firemen of Sandringhams, all of which could result in new members joining us.

The weather was generally fine for the whole weekend, despite a forecast to the contrary, and Brian Hall and myself went home tired but very pleased with a well organised event which saw around a dozen locos in steam and a consequent good support from the public.

Cambridge and Fenland Group 

The B17 SLT had a promotional stand at Wansford for the 'Pacifics at the Nene Valley' event on 16th/17th September 2017. As this event clashed with the Trust's AGM, it was run independently by the members of the Cambs & Fens group. Despite intermittent heavy rain, specially on the Saturday, it was a well patronised event and B17 SLT benefited from its success. Our stand attracted substantial attention throughout the event. 

Over the summer months at various locations throughout the fens, the Trust has had on display a 'Wakefield' mechanical lubricator which will eventually be part of the 'Spirit of Sandringham' locomotive. It was the focus of a competition to estimate its weight with the wining competitor being awarded a £30 prize. This attracted substantial interest from members of the public who might otherwise have walked by. Hundreds of people entered the competition and this gained extra revenue for the Trust. The estimations varied from the very light to the impossibly heavy possibly respecting that this was 'Just a bit of Fun'. Five competitors correctly estimated its weight of 95lb/43kg.  Some of the winners have waived their share of the winnings to the benefit of the Trust. Thank you to all those who took part.

North East Midlands Group

An exhibition of local history  display took place at Worksop library's Heritage Day on Thursday September 7th where the theme was primarily devoted to the station area and the North Country Continental Boat Express always referred to locally as the'boat train'

We were also able to include the new build 'Spirit of Sandringham' in the exhibition with pop up screens, photographs, graphics, a model Sandringham in 'O' Gauge 61619 'Welbeck Abbey' which is a local stately home and seat of the Duke of Portland and the Star of the Show kindly brought by our member Keith Crawford an original 'Melton Hall' nameplate and splasher from 61638.

There was a good attendance by the public on the day considering that it was mid week with many showing an interest in the new build. One gentleman is planning to get his hands dirty by joining the team at Llangollen!

The B17 SLT stand was manned by members Alan Smalley, Richard Allsopp and Keith Crawford.

Cambridge and Fenland Group

On Saturday, 9th September, 2017, B17 SLT accepted an invitation from Friends of March Railway Station to be a part of their celebration of the 170th anniversary of the railway coming to March. Besides the normal B17 SLT promotional display, we were able to show a considerable quantity of GER and LNER cast iron signs that drew considerable interest and also an extensive display of historical written material regarding the history of March's railway history, development, accidents and staff. These documents were avidly studied by members of the local community. 

B17 SLT's own display afforded opportunity for members to explain the project, its current and future progress.  It was good to be able to operate along side the modern commercial railway and its passengers and staff.

Norfolk and Suffolk Group - Anglian Garden Rail Show, Bressingham, Norfolk. Saturday 12th August 2017

B17 SLT director Larry Sampson and The Fiddlers Green 16mm Railway Group attended the above show and had a very busy day and as usual with the Fiddlers Green Layout, the B17 SLT was also given coverage. The Show was attended by a record number of people, helped by the fact that the weather was beautiful. A number of Trust Members from all over East Anglia  visited the layout and it was good to see many friends, old and new. We managed to attract one new Member and sold a number of Lapel Badges. Altogether a very enjoyable and, I think, successful day for all concerned. If you see us on the Exhibition circuit, please come up and say 'Hallo'. I attach a photograph of the Team kindly taken by John Peat so that you might recognise us.


Cambridgeshire and Fenland Group

Although it was not a railway event, B17 SLT attended the March Steam and Vintage Show at Knight's End show field March. Held in a large grass arena over the weekend 5th/6th. August. Although all the events concerned traction engines and steam road rollers, tractors, motor cycles. cars, lorries and buses, B17 SLT's stand attracted a good level of attention, perhaps because it stood out as something different. Reasonable receipts were secured for the Trust's benefit over both days with requests for further information.

Cambridgeshire and Fenland Group

Ramsey Rural Museum's Steam and Fire Show, 8th/9th July, 2017 at Wood Lane Ramsey. 

Ramsey Rural Museum is devoted to the farming industry. It the site of an extensive farm just out side of Ramsey near Huntingdon, with a substantial grass area and fields to demonstrate farming activities. B17 SLT were invited to attend their 'Steam & Fire Show' weekend of 8th/9th July. It was a totally different environment for the Trust. There was a good selection of old fire engines and fire fighting demonstrations as well as old road vehicles and half size steam traction engines. There was a flypast by an RAF Memorial Flight Spitfire on both days and also on Sunday by the RAF's Red Arrows. One Trust member volunteered to look after a promotional display on both days and sleep on site. The highlight of his weekend was the opportunity on the Saturday evening to join the cavalcade to go to a pub in Ramsey on a steam engine. 

Cambridgeshire and Fenland Group

On Friday, 28th April, 2017, Peter Wright was the guest after dinner speaker at the annual meeting of March Grammar School Old Boys Association. An audience of 60 listened while Peter spoke of his father's railway career, his own lifelong interest in railway history and the steam engine and finished with information about the B17 project. The meeting raised the prospect of access to an archive of railway material that would contain much about the activities of B17s at March throughout the postwar steam era.

Cambridgeshire and Fenland Group

On Friday 21st April, Peter Wright of the B17 Steam locomotive Trust Cambridge and Fenland Group gave a presentation to the members of March Museum. The theme of Peter's talk was the horses whose names adorned 122 railway engines that ran on the main lines north from King's Cross. He outlined the LNER's adoption of this unique naming policy and stories about the horses and those associated with them. Among them were, 'Aboyeur', which won the 1913 Derby, the race in which suffragette Miss Emily Davidson died after throwing herself under the hooves of the King's horse. 'Merry Hampton', winner of the 1887 Derby and which was perhaps the worst horse ever to win that prestigious race. 'Humourist' which won the 1921 Derby but within the week had died of advanced tuberculosis. 

Peter received a warm round of applause and was thanked for his efforts by Museum chairman, Gordon Thorpe.

Cambridge and Fenland Group

Top transport artist Malcolm Root was guest of March Railway Circle on Friday 24th March. Malcolm entertained his capacity audience by describing how his natural youthful talent to draw was encouraged through his school days. Illustrations of Malcolm's early drawings and paintings were shown.  He began a career in printing but after a voluntary redundancy he started a career as a full time painter. A lucky chance gained him commissions to illustrate the front covers of telephone directories. Examples of his distinctive oil paintings were then displayed and discussed at the meeting while Malcolm described how he assembles historical material, sometimes from numerous sources, to ensure that his paintings are always historically correct. His distinctive work now appears in books, posters, calendars and on crockery and jig - saw puzzles. 

Malcolm, who was supporting The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust, was thanked by Circle organizer Peter Wright. The meeting raised additional funds towards the Trust's ambition to build a new example of a LNER  B17 'Sandringham' class locomotive.

Photograph - Artist Malcolm Root with his recent painting of the 'Sandringham' locomotive at Wolferton station and flanked by his hosts, Maureen and Peter Wright.

Midlands Group (Feb 2017)

The West Midlands G Scale Show took place on Saturday 11th February 2017 in Solihull.  This was attended by Fiddlers Green 16mm Steam Railway representing the B17 Steam Locomotive Trust. The literature available on the Stand caused a lot of interest as local enthusiasts were not always familiar with the Project. A number of Membership Forms were taken and we even managed to sell a Lapel Badge to one of the visitors. Altogether an enjoyable Show in a 'new' area! 

Southend Group (Feb 2017) 

South East Essex Railway Society Meeting took place at 8pm Tuesday 14th February 2017 in Chalkwell, Essex. This meeting was attended by the Southend Group with the B17 Stand and a display about the last B17s to work into Southend Victoria. The topic for the evening was 'The life and times of a steam enthusiast' delivered by Larry Sampson, one of our Directors. This culminated in the story so far for the B17 Trust and his involvement with Garden Railways. The meeting appeared to be enjoyed by everyone and resulted in a donation from SEERS to the Trust for which we are very grateful.                                                  

Essex Group (January 2017)

The end of steam at Southend Victoria in December 1956 reported in the Southend Area Group below provided an opportunity for the Essex Area Group to get some coverage of the Trust on Essex Live which is the online ‘breaking news’ arm of Essex Media Group. The group publishes two weekly papers in Brentwood and Mid Essex but its focus is very much on the online medium.

Cambridge and Fenland Group                 

On Tuesday, 17th. January, members Peter Wright and Richard Munns attended a meeting of the March Probus Club to deliver a talk about the effect that the 1953 floods had on the railway. The talk described the immediate damage and disruption to the railway system, what was done to continue services where possible on alternative routes and what remedial work was needed to rectify the damage. It also described the resourcefulness, resilience and dedication displayed by railway staff at a difficult time. In some areas little damage was done and services were restored within a few days but some lines were washed away, one not being restored for use for almost a year and another never being restored at all. Alternative lines were brought back into use and even relayed to continue services.  Also some subsequent business opportunities that the railway was able to exploit were described and letters of thanks from the travelling public and business read out.