Construction Progress 2020



The Chassis moves from Llangollen to Sheffield

On 30th September, the B17 SLT had held a meeting with CTL Seal of Sheffield and the haulage contractors, when the tenders were delivered, to discuss the unloading of the static chassis at Sheffield. The planned date of the move for the static chassis from Llangollen to Sheffield was set for 19th–20th October, allowing for any preparatory work to be carried out at both Llangollen and CTL Seal. The great unknown at the time was the Covid 19 lockdown currently imposed in the Llangollen area, and any future restrictions that could be applied anywhere and anytime.

The move went as planned, with the low loader taking delivery of ‘Spirit of Sandringham’s chassis at Llangollen on the afternoon of the 19th and safely delivered to CTL Seal’s premises in Sheffield early on 20th. The chassis is now safely located in the building that will be its new home for the next build phase and for the foreseeable future.


 Frames loaded 201020 reduced

Chassis loaded on the S.A.Smith lorry

ready to leave Llangollen - 19th October 2020

Now at Sheffield, the Chassis being removed

from the low loader by overhead crane

 Frames being lifted from lorry reduced
 Frames being moved 201020 reduced

Once off the lorry, the Chassis was

relocated by crane onto the shop floor

Finally, on the ground mounted on steel trestles


All photos in this sequence by Tony Brzosko

 In position at CTL Seal 201020 reduced

Finally, manufacture of the wooden Hornblock patterns, the order being reported in August, has started. Casting of the Hornblocks is expected to be at the end of November. In the meantime, the design team is finalising the design of the main driving wheel springs.

September 2020

THE BIG MOVE - Tenders Move complete - 30th September 2020

Starting with the removal of the tenders from their storage on the Mid Norfolk Railway earlier on in September, they were delivered to CTL Seal's premises and placed on the track panels built previously on 30th September. 

The two tender chassis sitting on the expertly constructed track panels


Photo by John Pearson

Tenders final position reduced

August 2020

THE BIG MOVE – relocating 61673 ‘Spirit of Sandringham’ - 27th August 2020

We are delighted to announce that new-build 61673 ‘Spirit of Sandringham’ is to be relocated to the Sheffield based engineering company, CTL Seal Limited, where construction of 61673 will continue in their Works. CTL Seal is also the home the ‘Clan’ project (Hengist), sponsored by The Standard Steam Locomotive Company Ltd, who are also a registered charity.

Located in the heart of Sheffield, CTL Seal offers a highly skilled and experienced team, working with outstanding facilities, and provides the expert capability and flexible capacity for any project, from small batch production to large bespoke components.

There are clear benefits for both new-build project parties, involving the flexibility of skilled resources between each project corresponding with either available funding or work programme demands, capable of being supported from ‘A ONE STOP SHOP’ working environment that CTL Seal provides. 

CTL Seal Fabrication shed 2 reduced The fabrication shed at CTL Seal, which is where it is planned 'Spirit of Sandringham' will be built 

Arrangements for the move from Llangollen Engineering, the current location of the static chassis, are in hand, to be completed this year and will also include both tenders, currently stored on the Mid Norfolk Railway at Dereham. Actual move dates for the tenders and the mainframe structure will be published later.

Today, track components to make up 2 * 30' track panels were delivered to CTL Seal's site.

Once made up, the two tenders will be transported to site and stored on them.

Unloading B17 track 01

Hornblock Patterns - 27th August 2020

Patterns for each of the three pairs of hornblocks for the leading, intermediate and trailing positions have been ordered with William Cook Cast Products. Steel castings will be produced from these patterns in due course. This order is the first of many to turn our static chassis into a 'rolling' one.

July 2020

The Time Has Come - Spirit of Sandringham contemplates the next move......

The redundancies served upon Llangollen’s qualified engineering staff arising from the internal restructuring of their Engineering business are very unfortunate. As a consequence, dependent skills and competencies required on the B17 new build project no longer exist at that site.

In addition, both tenders will be removed at the request of the Mid Norfolk Railway by 21st September 2020, to return siding space for the storage of extra coaching stock acquired by the railway.

Vision for the Future.....

In the near term, purchase of steel castings is to commence for the rolling chassis consisting of hornblocks with horn stays, coupled wheels, cannonboxes and coupled axleboxes. Steel forgings for tyres, plain axles and the crank axle will follow as will sets of roller bearings corresponding with the growth of funds.

A New Home.....

Identify a secure and covered building of adequate overall size for craneage and with track fixed on each side of ‘pit’ to a solid floor to provide facilities for construction and test of Spirit of Sandringham through to completion. Space for a small machine shop capability will be of particular benefit. This may be a separate building with good road access, hard standing outside, sufficient space for storage and appropriate services. Alternatively, adequate covered working space and storage generally affording the facilities mentioned previously but within a shared site will be considered. In any event rail access will be vital. This also presents an opportunity for co-locating both tenders to the same site.

A working base in the vicinity of professional engineering and manufacturing suppliers including similar groups engaged in this sector of work is likely to offer cooperative benefits in terms of the provision of certain parts as well as shared experience and occasional help in both directions. Working relationships with organisations where a common theme in locomotive design and working practices exist is likely to further influence and enhance expertise in this field of locomotive engineering.

This change will be handled by the B17 Management Team including the selection of staffing for the new location commensurate with the required skills and competencies needed for setting up the mainframe assembly and the continuance of subsequent fitting activities associated with the rolling chassis. Currently B17 are in negotiation with a reputable heavy haulage contractor who can move the mainframe assembly and both tenders in due course.

Finally, B17 wish to record their grateful thanks to Llangollen Engineering for their good work and results we have shared together on Spirit of Sandringham during previous years.

Stop Press - Discussions are already underway with potential sites for both loco and tenders.

JULY 2020

Rolling Chassis - ordering to commence

In the very near term, the purchase of steel castings is to commence for the rolling chassis consisting initially of hornblocks with horn stays, coupled wheels, cannonboxes and coupled axleboxes.

Later, steel forgings for tyres, plain axles and the crank axle will follow, as will sets of roller bearings, corresponding with the growth of funds. However, with the need to ultimately find a new home for the complete static chassis, following the news that Llangollen have released the qualified engineering staff from the engineering side of their business, some of these funds may be needed first to help relocate and set up elsewhere. The B17 management team is looking at a range of possibilities, ranging from sharing a similar facility to that provided by Llangollen Engineering, to setting up our own facility complete with a machine shop capability.

MAY 2020

Enhanced B17 Design Capability announced

While we wait for the country’s manufacturing sector to restart and then commence ordering the planned Rolling Chassis components, the B17 SLT is pleased to announce that it has contracted a second consultant design engineer to work on the CAD/CAM design tasks. Initially this will be for the main suspension system, cylinders, saddle and motion. This strengthening of the design team means a significant investment and acceleration in the Trust’s design capability

This additional expertise is provided by Alan Parkin who has experience with other LNER locomotive designs and is also a member of the P2 (2007) team working with David Elliott. Alan’s expertise will be of major benefit to the B17 project given the commonality with certain parts of the A1 and P2 designs.

MARCH 2020


Good News – a rare commodity at the moment.

At a time of a National Health Emergency, good news does seem to be thin on the ground! However, for members of the B17 Steam Locomotive Trust there is some welcome news. Following completion of the static mainframe last year, we have been involved in a protracted period of redesign based on the needs of the Rolling Chassis. This redesign has been required for a number of reasons, not least the need to fit roller bearings to the locomotive. The final design will give the locomotive greater longevity, reliability and make it easier to service.

The good news is that this period of redesign is now virtually over and we have agreed the design and specification of most of the parts for the Rolling Chassis. In turn, this means that we have been able to send out Requests for Quotations (RfQs) to a number of suppliers for the parts we need. When these quotes are returned, they will be scrutinised and, if acceptable, orders for parts will follow in due course.

In order to give members an idea of the extent of the progress made, we can confirm that RfQs have been requested for the following parts :-


Horn Block and Horn Stay Castings          William Cook Cast Products Ltd. Sheffield

Cannon Box Castings                                William Cook Cast Products Ltd. Sheffield

Wheel Insert Castings                                William Cook Cast Products Ltd. Sheffield                         

Axle Box Castings                                      William Cook Cast Products Ltd. Sheffield

Plain Axle Forgings and Machining            Railway Wheelset and Brake Ltd. Sheffield

Roller Bearings                                           Timken UK Ltd. Northampton

Tyres                                                                                  South Devon Railway Engineering Ltd. Buckfastleigh

Crank Sweep Webb                                   Somers Forge. Halesowen                        

Crank Stub Axles and Crank Pin                Lucchini RS. Italy

This last line item is being pursued in collaboration with the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust as they are looking for a Crank Axle for their proposed V4 Locomotive which is a similar design to the B17.

Work continues in order to raise quotes for the assembly of the various components, but we believe that this is a significant step forward at a very difficult time. We hope that members will appreciate that this is being done in the current climate and we look forward to seeing real progress in 2020.