Event Reports


Stamford Model Railway Show - 11th/12th May 2024

This was our first time attending this show which is organised by the Market Deeping Model Railway Club. It was held at the Stamford Welland Academy in Stamford and featured 28 top quality layouts spread over five halls as well as many traders and societies. It was a spectacular exhibition, although the attendance was affected because of the very fine weather and a clash with a number of outdoor events that were scheduled after the dates for the show had been agreed. Whilst this did mean that our sales receipts were not as high as they may have been, we still welcomed a good number of visitors to our stand who showed great interest in our project. Again, our replica miniature footballer nameplates and footballer fridge magnets were the subject of a lot of interest and sparked a lot of debate on club allegiances, league positions etc. Brian Hall and Richard Taylor, who manned the stand both days, also had time to take a break to enjoy the show and marvel at the layouts. All in all, a very enjoyable weekend!
Market Deeping 2024  The main hall at Stamford with chairman Brian Hall in deep conversation
Ongar Railway Spring Steam Gala -  27/28th April 2024
The B17 SLT attended on both days when the railway had an intensive steam service in operation. Two steam locomotives were in action, the star attraction being the newly built (in 2019) 2999 'Lady of Legend', plus home loco Hall Class 4953 ‘Pitchford Hall’.
Lady of Legend EQ Spring 2024

Saint 2999 'Lady of Legend' double heading with Hall 4953 'Pitchford Hall'.

Photo by John Pearson

Our gazebo was located, as is now the custom, close to the bus stop where passengers alighted from the ex LT buses that the railway runs from both Epping and Shenfield/Ongar to connect with trains. This means that business ebbs and flows with the arrival and departure of the many heritage buses; it was brisk on the Saturday with good sales and conversations had on the project, but very slow on the Sunday due to low visitor numbers and the appalling weather. On both days the weather was wet and miserable, meaning that we were restricted on the table we had to keep items dry but Sunday was made worse of the good icy wind - it felt more like December than April. Despite all this, receipts were good, with the replica nameplates again being a hit.

The B17 team comprised Richard Taylor, John Pearson, Jenny Pearson and John Barnes.

Severn Valley Railway Spring Steam Gala - 19th - 21st April 2024

This year's event was well supported by a mixed fleet of working steam locomotives combining visiting engines and those belonging to the railway. 

Unusual locos amongst the visitors were Class A1X No. 72 Fenchurch visiting from the Bluebell Railway and Pannier Tank No 1369 from the South Devon Railway. A third visitor was Lambton Tank No. 29 from the NYMR. This latter loco alternated between goods trains and passenger train workings throughout the steam gala weekend.

SVR Spring Gala 2024 Amongst the home fleet and looking very new, following a lengthy overhaul was LMS Class 4MT No.13268. This worked passenger turns coupled to LMS stock for one day only as part of "running in" and a progressive return to normal operational service on the railway.






Overall visitor numbers were variable during each day, although people of all ages with whom we spoke were keen to learn about the Spirit of Sandringham project and numerous B17 Booklets and Trifold Leaflets were distributed to them. Some visitors were aware of the B17 presence in Sheffield but to the majority it was a real surprise and some made a note of attending a future Open Day (i.e. next year via Railway Mag, adverts etc.

Unusually Friday was very busy, whereas visitor numbers on Saturday were generally quite the opposite except for a busy afternoon period and the Sunday followed a similar pattern. It was noticeable that passenger trains on each day were certainly well supported and generally full. The weather was remarkably good, particularly on the Saturday and Sunday. Overall sales were lower than the norm for this location, comparing the previous two years since Covid etc.

Thanks are due to members David Hancox and Nicolas Wheatley. The cooperative help by the Stationmaster and his staff each day when setting up, clearing away with overnight secure storage for all of the kit and reserved (free) carparking for 2 spaces was also a real positive during the whole event and has been a consistent benefit from the beginning of our Bewdley visits.

Open Day 13th April 2024 at CTL Seal Ltd.

On Saturday, April 13th our third Open Day was held at the premises of CTL Seal Ltd. in Sheffield, to showcase the ongoing work to construct two new build steam locomotives. The event was jointly organised by The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust (B17 SLT) building 61673 ‘Spirit of Sandringham’ and The Standard Steam Locomotive Company who are building 72010 ‘Hengist’. Both teams were involved in the detailed planning and the marketing of the event, both locally in Sheffield and several National Heritage Railway publications, plus of course Facebook and the two websites. All these activities were conducted with the support of CTL Seal M.D. Andy England and his staff. 

For the B17 project, this involved the production of improved and additional A1 sized display posters to ensure every visitor had a good understanding of the process we were using and of B17 history. On the hardware front, two major changes were visible this year. First, we had the first of several components of the Smokebox, a part of the project that only started with the production of CAD drawings after the last Open Day. The Smokebox Wrapper, on a temporary wooden saddle, started the move to turn ‘Spirit of Sandringham’ look like a real locomotive. Then, an eye-catching transformation was made at the front, by mounting two buffers and painting them and the bufferbeam in a bright red gloss, with the typical late LNER habit of painting the loco number on the buffer beam - a habit that was carried over in the BR era.

Smokebox wrapper and painted bufferfbeam The view visitors to the 'B17 Zone' at the Open Day saw as they approached the chassis.

Displayed with the frames was a recently completed Cannonbox for one of the two rear coupled wheels and one of two Coupled axlebox castings part machined – both will be returned to Shildon for completion with the other pairs already at Shildon. Two of the six Hornblock’s, items that were on display last year, could be seen actually bolted in position on the chassis. In front of the chassis display was a stack of 5 coupled wheels – the 6th was on the milling machine elsewhere in the factory where the final machining has started, a process to be done of each wheel. Once the hub of each wheel has been machined, we will be able to supply the final dimension needed for our plain axles to be finished in South Africa and shipped back to the UK. When we have these, we have all the components for the completion of two Coupled Wheelsets.

Mounted Hornblocks 2 A view from the dragbox looking to the front and showing two Hornblocks now mounted in the Intermediate Coupled Wheel position.
A close view of the same two Hornblocks - the other four are stored elsewhere in the factory at present. Mounted Hornblocks
Cannonbox on display A completed Cannonbox was positioned on display on the outside of the frames just by the Intermediate Coupled wheel position. The Cannonbox holds the Timkin tapered roller bearings in place on the Plain Axle and will be located within the two Hornblocks shown above.
Shown here is a part machined Coupled Axlebox - this is for the Front Coupled wheels, the ones driven by the middle cylinder. Coupled Axlebox on display
Stack of 5 Driving wheels A stack of five Coupled (Driving) wheels on display. Mounted on top is one of two 'Spirit of Sandringham' nameplates.

The missing Coupled wheel was on the milling machine and not accessible by the public on the Open Day.



All photos by J. Pearson

Wheel on milling machine

As well as the major displays from the two locomotive groups based at CTL Seal, there were displays including the Great Central Railway with their ‘Bridging the Gap’ project, Trackside Magazine, and others.

The Trust was proud to host The University of Sheffield’s RCAS team, an extracurricular activity open to all students in the University to take part in an annual IMechE Railway challenge – the loco is also called ‘Spirit of Sandringham’ and the Trust has supplied two of our miniature replica nameplates for use on their locomotive. 

RCAS team RCAS loco and Roy

The University of Sheffield's 'Spirit of Sandringham'.

The RCAS team who accompanied the loco on the Open Day.

Trust member Roy Horrocks is with them - Roy, as a Chartered Engineer, has supported them this year at several Zoom meetings.

The RCAS team in front of our 'Spirit of Sandringham'. RCAS students and bufferbeam 130424

The official viewing time was from 10am to 4pm, although the public started to come in earlier to ease the overcrowding at the main door. Those visiting included a good number of members of the two hosting organisations, railway enthusiasts and locals interested in what was happening at CTL Seal.

Nick doing introductionDuring the morning, Andy England (MD CTL Seal) formally opened the event, with welcomes from the Clan Project’s president and Nick Illingworth, Vice-Chairman of B17SLT.

Interest in the B17 project was intense and the B17 team were kept busy right from start to finish. Many interesting conversations were had during the day with the stack of driving wheels and the ‘huge’ completed Cannonbox being key talking points. 

An excellent event for all concerned. My thanks to John Barnes, Jenny Pearson, Nick Illingworth, Richard Taylor, Alan Warren and Brian Hall for help setting up and manning the stand and talking to the public about the project. Also, to Lionel Lusby who brought along and talked about the 'Footballer' nameplates.

John Pearson

Festival of Railway Modelling - 16th / 17h March 2024

Our third year attending this major modelling event at Alexandra Palace resulted in the highest receipts so far with over £1,600 taken. The receipts this year were boosted by the popularity of our replica cast resin footballer nameplates which we sell for £50 each and are availabe through the online shop. Nine of these high quality finished plates were sold over the weekend with West Ham United being the most popular followed by Arsenal in second place! Also helping to supplement our income was the sale of two ‘Sandringham at Home’ prints signed by the artist, Malcolm Root. These sell for £75 each.

Our general range of merchandise eg clothing, B17 books, footballer fridge magnets, pens, tea towels etc plus second hand models also attracted considerable interest. As our stock of models is now low, then, should any members reading this have any models they may wish to donate to us, they will be very gratefully received! We also had good sales of tickets for our 2024 Grand Prize Draw.

On the Sunday, we were loaned, by the guys running the Lego layout, elsewhere in the hall, a working Lego model of a B17 - this provided quite a lot of interest.

LFoRM 2024 Lego B17

As in previous years, the Sunday attendance was lower than on the very well attended Saturday, but on both days we were kept busy and were also pleased to meet a number of members who were visiting the Festival who stopped by to catch up with us. 

All in all, a very successful two days with a lot of discussions held with visitors keen to know more about the project and perhaps join us as members to keep the team of Richard Taylor, John and Jenny Pearson, and John Barnes occupied, wuth enough of us providing cover to allow us time off to enjoy the layouts and trade stands at the Festival. 

Great Central Railway's Winter Steam Gala 26-28th January 2024
This three day curtain raiser to the year on the Great Central Railway is usually well supported by enthusiasts and interested visitors alike and January 2024 did not disappoint. Good weather prevailed to help swell attendance. Voluntary attendance by our members who supported the B17 promotional stand was well represented on each day.
A display of miniature replica nameplates and replica shed plates were added to the usual selection of branded and donated items. A full size replica nameplate formed a centrepiece depicting Sunderland and Everton including realistic club colours. The changeover from one to the other was simply achieved by changing the full size magnetic letters and coloured decals to the correct size and shape, exactly the same as the originals when carried by class B17 locos. Both Lionel and Mary Lusby kindly provided the full size nameplate and demonstrated the quick changeover during the Saturday and also presented a batch of 15 new miniature nameplates for sale at the same time. These were retained as stock and displayed on Sunday too. The standard of workmanship and attractive finish were well received by visitors and approx. half were snapped up as initial sales over the two days.
Thanks to our volunteers, Richard Allsopp, Mary and Lionel Lusby, John Pearson, Richard Taylor and David Hancox who each attended on one or more days during the weekend. They were kept busy explaining project plans, status and achievements whilst also fundraising and encouraging new members to join the Trust as opportunities arose during conversations. Particular thanks to Richard Taylor for once again providing first raffle tickets at this event in support of the 2024 Grand Draw.
The GCR's home fleet of steam locomotives were fully operational on both passenger and freight trains throughout the weekend, with supporting guest engines L&Y 3F 0-6-0 No 52322 built at Horwich Works in 1890 and BR Standard 5 No. 75069 sporting a double chimney. The performance of the whole fleet was spectacular, being particularly enhanced by the good weather and blue skies.
The overall result was certainly worthwhile. Brian Hall.
Great Central Railway's 'Last Hurrah' - 17/18th November 2023
This was the final steam gala of the year. Five steam locomotives represented the home fleet with additional diesel and electric traction to handle all passenger services between Loughborough and Leicester North Stations at each end of the line. Double heading was a star feature of steam power provided by Stanier 8F No. 48305 and BR Standard 9F No. 92214 on passenger workings. GWR No. 6990 Witherslack Hall and BR Standards Nos. 73156 and 78019 completed the steam lineup. Diesel traction was represented by English Electric Type 3 D6700 taking its turn in sharing the workload with steam locomotives. A diesel lightweight railcar conveyed passengers on short journeys whilst the visiting 1903 NER Electric Autocar operated passenger services on both the mainline and the Mountsorrel branch. Three types of goods trains operated continuously throughout both days made up of Open Wagons, Oil Tankers and Vans displaying the different liveries of days gone by.      
Thanks to Richard Allsopp for his valuable help during the two days. Grateful thanks to Richard Taylor who was also present and successfully arranged the conclusion of the 2023 B17 Grand Draw when five winning tickets were selected at random by Mr Richard Patching - Chairman of the GCR. Thanks to the management and staff of the Great Central Railway who gave their permission to conduct the draw at this event. 
6th - 8th October 2023 - Our first visit to Quorn on The Great Central Railway for The Autumn Steam Gala Event
Given that the usual venue of Loughborough Station is no longer available for Sales Stands, this was the first event where the B17 stand appeared at Quorndon and Woodhouse Station, that being the full name. Quorn is the short name. This station is typical of the 1940s station layout. All stands including B17 were located in a marquee occupying the large Station Yard. The travelling enthusiasts soon realised the new location, following directions from Loughborough Station, which I was informed had an unusually empty and quiet atmosphere about it without the usual Sales Stands and the general "buzz" of people. In many respects, arrangements at Quorn presented advantages particularly for car parking and a single level surface without the stairs and lifts at Loughborough Station.
All passenger trains stopped at Quorn Station with the exception of express services and these passed slowly through the two platforms. Freight trains trundled by at a speed of about 25mph to provide an exhilarating spectacle consisting of different shape, sizes and liveries of wagons. 
The B17 Stand was set up in the marquee located in the station yard with three other like organisations. Passing freight trains and stopping passenger workings provided a fantastic spectacle with clear line-side views against the backdrop of this 1940s style country station. 

Services each day were handled by eight steam locomotives, two of which were guest GWR engines supported by six from the home fleet. The visitors were 4-6-0 Express Passenger engine No. 2999 Lady of Legend representing the ‘Saint’ class built at Swindon Works during the early part of the twentieth century. In common with LNER class B17s, none of the ‘Saint’ class survived into preservation. No.2999 was rebuilt from No. 4942 Maindy Hall after its recovery in 1974 from Barry scrapyard to Didcot, including parts from other GWR locomotives at that time. Lady of Legend was steamed for the first time in public in 2019. GWR ‘Pannier’ No. 7714 from the Severn Valley Railway was in support to work both passenger and freight services each day.

Home locomotives were represented by a mix of LMS and BR Standards all turned out to the usual GCR high standard, consisting of Nos. 48305, 73156, 78018 + 78019 double heading and 92214. GWR No. 6988 Swithland Hall joined the guests, being especially renumbered and renamed from its original identity of 6990 Witherslack Hall, having returned to service after a lengthy overhaul.  In support of the steam era, EE Type 3 diesel D6700 and the ubiquitous class 101 diesel railcar were also present on each day.

Thanks to Richard Allsopp for his valuable help during the three days to make this initial visit to Quorn certainly worthwhile at this different venue and meeting point with both new and well known friends visiting.

Member's Day Out - 13th September 2023

A welcome return to the North Norfolk Railway after a gap of 4 years. Good dry weather greeted us at Sheringham, which made a pleasant change from the heavy rain the day before and the sweltering heat of the previous week. A group of members and their friends were booked on the railway's lunch train, welcomed on board with a drink on the platform. Once seated in the carriage next to the engine, we  journeyed back and forth from Sheringham to Holt twice over a 2 hour period, while we enjoyed a three course meal with drinks, finishing with tea or coffee and chocolate. The meal on the dining train was excellent, with the service by the catering staff of a very high order. Also, we had great cooperation from the engine crews, guards and platform staff, allowing us both to set up a small sales table on the platform and also to placing our headboard on the loco hauling us.

 564 B17 headboard at Holt 130923 PW in Dining Carriage 130923 Members and 564 130923
 564 at Holt station with the B17 SLT headboard

 Our organiser

Photos courtesy John Pearson

A group of members at the completion of the day 
In operation on the day was a two car diesel multiple unit and BR Standard 4 no. 76084, whilst our dining train was hauled by GER 0-6-0 Y14 No. 564, buiilt in 1912 at Stratford and was complete with our headboard for the day.
Prior to the dining train, some of the group had travelled to Weybourne on a previous train and had a guided tour around the engineering shed.
My thanks to Peter Wright for organising the day.
Cambridge Model Railway Society Show - 9th September 2023
A new show for us. Based in Comberton Village College, we were in the foyer next to the entrance to the main hall. This had an up and a downside - the upside was that in the heatwave, with temperatures in the low 30's, we were close to the draught from the entrance and thus far cooler than in the main hall, but footfall was generally limited to people arriving and leaving. Never the less, good conversations were had with many visitors keen to understand the project and sales made the visit worthwhile. John Barnes and Jenny Pearson supported myself, while Richard Tremaine shed his O gauge B2 model and did a good sales pitch for the local Engineering Society as well as the Trust.
Cambridge MRS show 090923

The stand at in the foyer of the Comberton Village College, showing the range of branded products as well as some secondhand items.

Photo by John Pearson.

Sandringham Flower Show - 26th July 2023
Good weather prevailed all day which helped swell the the number of visitors. 
After the King and Queen judged Horticultural Exhibits and presented rosettes to the winners, they moved on to look at the Homemade Fayre. Afternoon entertainment in the ring was provided by the Marching Band, The Horse Riding Display Team, The White Helmet Motor Cycling Team and The Army Parachutists who dropped in to score a bullseye on the target.
Thanks to Richard Taylor and John Woodford, who was accompanied by his wife Denise, for their combined help in setting up on the Tuesday afternoon and during the show itself on Wednesday 26th, and finally the clearing up at the end. On display were nameplates 'Spirit of Sandringham', 'Helmingham Hall' and the headboard 'The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust'.
Ipswich Transport and Model Festival - 17th June 2023
This Festival was a first time event for us and is held over three locations in Ipswich, being at the Ipswich Transport
Museum, the Ipswich Railway Modellers HQ and the Ipswich Model Engineering Society. Admission covered entrance
to all locations which were connected via a free bus service. The B17 SLT stand was located in the Transport Museum
itself, which is certainly worth a visit with exhibits on show including buses, trams and trolleybuses plus commercial
vehicles, motorbikes etc.

It was a very pleasant and well organised event and whilst we had a plenty of visitors to the stand in the morning,
although it was much quieter in the afternoon. Consequently merchandise sales were on the low side although our tea
towel did prove to be popular. We also had a number of useful discussions with interested visitors to the stand and
handed out a number of membership leaflets. B17 SLT was represented at this event by Richard Taylor, John and Jenny

Cotswold Festival of Steam celebrates “Cheltenham and Gloucester Steam Days -  12th to 14th May 2023

The B17 promotional stand visited the 14 mile long Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway (GWSR) in the Cotswolds for their three day celebration during 12th – 14th May. Our stand was based at Toddington, the operational hub and focal point for visitors to the railway. Eight steam locos were rostered to operate a mix of passenger and goods trains each day representing the GWR, Southern, LMS and BR Standard era.

Passenger trains were well patronised by visitors throughout each day with additional capacity (standing only) available in each of the two Guard’s Brake Vans coupled into both goods trains. Operational locos were 4079 Pendennis Castle, 7903 Foremarke Hall but with changed number and name to 6999 Capel Dewi Hall especially for this event to double head with 4079 Pendennis Castle, and lastly, 7820 Dinmore Manor representing the GWR presence. Next, 35006 Peninsular & Oriental S.N.Co. and 31806 (from the Southern). Ex L&Y Pug 0-4-0 11243, a product of Horwich Works and now 113 years old was the star performer on alternate three coach passeng
er and goods trains, representing the LMS. BR Standards were 75014 named Braveheart and 78019.

On the Saturday and Sunday, working Traction Engines combined with Vintage Cars and Commercial Vehicles to add their own sights and sounds from a  era. The B17 stand joined with other like organisations in the marquee provided by the GWSR where the flow of visitors GWSR May 2023 Bh DMHvaried throughout each day. Thanks go to members Nicolas Wheatley, and Carol and David Hancox, who gave of their time to support the B17 stand with Brian Hall during the three day period. Conversations and greetings with visiting members and supporters to the stand also presented the opportunity to provide an update of our project status whilst also renewing relationships, to eventually conclude our attendance at this worthwhile event. 

Open Day 15th April 2023 at CTL Seal Ltd.

On Saturday, April 15th an Open Day was held at the premises of CTL Seal Ltd. in Sheffield to showcase the ongoing work to construct two new build steam locomotives. The event was jointly organised by The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust (B17 SLT), building 61673 ‘Spirit of Sandringham’ and The Standard Steam locomotive Company who are building 72010 ‘Hengist’. Both teams were involved in the detail planning and the marketing of the event both in the local Sheffield media and national railway publications, All these activities were conducted with the support of CTL Seal M.D. Andy England and his staff. 

For the B17 project this involved advanced preparation of hardware and notice boards to ensure everything was right on the day. One of the wheel castings that was on show last year, was back from William Cook’s having now been machined and fully tested, with the other five due to be delivered to CTL Seal after the event. There were also the newly made patterns for the four off 12 spoke bogie wheels that will shortly be cast. 

Bogie wheel pattern

The two 12 spoke bogie wheel patterns on display at CTL Seal. This was the source of many conversations, as few visitors had not seen a wooden pattern before for casting steel and were fascinated by the process - on display were photos of one of our driving wheels being cast.

Photo by John Barnes.

Displayed with the frames were two of the recently machined six Hornblocks, two buffers requiring refurbishment and other miscellaneous items. 

Around the frames were display boards showing the history of B17s as well as the significant progress made in the last year building ‘Spirit of Sandringham’. This includes the machining of the Cannon Axleboxes, that will be returned from Daniella Works Ltd at Shildon to Sheffield for trial fitting, and for the first time, the CAD designs for the bogie chassis.

On arrival on the Friday, it was straight into an interview with Tom Ingall, for the evening’s BBC Look North program. Both new build projects (‘Spirit of Sandringham’ and ‘Hengist’) featured strongly, and the publicity certainly helped, as the next day found hundreds waiting for the doors to open. As well as the major displays from the two locomotive groups based at CTL Seal, there were displays including the Great Central Railway with their ‘Bridging the Gap’ project, Trackside Magazine, and others.

Tom also put up a longer video on YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGe9B00mqWE

The official viewing time was from 10am to 4pm, although the public started to come in earlier to ease the overcrowding at the main door. Those visiting included both railway enthusiasts and locals interested in what was happening in their back yard.

During the morning, Andy England (MD CTL Seal) formally opened the event, with welcomes also from the Clan project’s president, John Pearson of the B17 SLT, and David Buck, who until recently was the owner of B1 ‘Mayflower’ and who is a supporter of both projects. As a thank you for the support CTL Seal provide, the two projects presented Andy with an ‘O’ gauge model of a railway wagon showing containers in the CTL Seal colours.

Andy England, MD of CTL Seal and the model.

Photo by John Barnes.

Andy England and model reduced

Interest in the B17 project was intense and the B17 team were kept busy right from start to finish. Many interesting conversations were had during the day with the driving wheel and the two bogie wheel patterns being a key talking point. Many people had never seen a wooden casting pattern before and were fascinated by the process; this being helped by pictures showing the casting of the first driving wheel in late 2021. 

During the interviews with Tom Ingall, both projects and CTL Seal emphasised the benefits of this mutual collaboration. This included the sharing of knowledge and technology across the projects and younger CTL staff learning from experienced engineers.

The team The team

An excellent event for all concerned. My thanks to John Barnes, Jenny Pearson, Nick Illingworth, Richard Taylor and Alan Warren for help setting up and manning the stand and talking to the public about the Project. Also to  Alan and Lionel Lusby who brought along and talked about their 'Footballer' nameplates. John Pearson

Severn Valley Railway Spring Steam Gala - 14 to 16th April 2023

Celebrating 100 years since The Grouping

Eight serviceable locomotives were rostered to operate passenger and goods trains during the three day period, all being turned out in top class condition. Visitor numbers to the railway ensured that all passenger services were full on each day, which undoubtedly provided a much needed boost to the SVR fortunes. Saturday’s weather was particularly warm and sunny throughout the whole day and services extended to as late as 11pm. Mixed freight trains added to the three day spectacle and enhanced the celebratory atmosphere with open trucks and vans so familiar to the railway scene of the year’s gone by.  Locomotives in steam represented the GWR, Southern, London Midland Railway and the British Railways period as follows: Nos. 4079 Pendennis Castle, 4930 Hagley Hall, 4555, 7812 Erlestoke Manor, 7714, 21C127 (34027) Taw Valley, 43106 and 78018. GWR No. 7325 was stabled in the “Rock Siding” at Bewdley. Members Nicolas Wheatley, David Hancox and Brian Hall manned the B17 promotional stand based on the island platform 2 to meet and explain to visitors the state of progress associated with the Spirit of Sandringham project, engage with possible new members and also raise funds on behalf of the project. This also provided the opportunity to meet other B17 members and supporters who were visiting the railway. Thanks are recorded to members David Hancox and Nicolas Wheatley who had freely given of their time to support the event which was successful. Thanks are also extended to the Stationmaster and local staff who helped store and move the B17 kit each day.

Royston Model Railway Show - 1st April 2023

A welcome return to this venue after a gap of 4 years, due to Covid. The school provded, as usual, an excellent venue for the various layouts, displays and trade stands, with the school's catering facilities being well used for both stand members and the public. We were kept busy all day talking to visitors about our project, updating those who had met us before with the progress being made, and selling our branded goods, second hand models and books, along with our 2023 raffle tickets. My thanks to Jenny and the two Richards (Taylor and Tremaine) for supporting me on the day. A very worthwhile day. John Pearson.

Richard Taylor during a quiet period at the Royston show. Richard at Royston 2023

 London Festival of Railway Modelling - 18th / 19th March 2023

This major event was held at the fantastic venue of Alexandra Palace with over 40 layouts, 80 plus traders plus numerous clubs and societies attending. On both days, we were kept busy talking to people who stopped by to find more about our project, as well as selling our branded products and second hand models. 

Of our branded merchandise, our clothing range was very popular with purchases made of fleeces, sweatshirts, polo shirts, baseball caps and beanies. Being a modelling show, we also sold a lot of stock of donated second hand models, with many people, of course, on the lookout for a bargain! Should anyone reading this have any models they may wish to donate to us they will be very gratefully received! We also had good sales of tickets for our 2023 Grand Prize Draw.

Although the Sunday attendance was lower than on Saturday, probably due to it being Mother’s Day, our sales did not seem to suffer. As always, it was good to meet a number of members who were visiting the Festival who stopped by to catch up with us. 

All in all, a very successful good two days with plenty of sales and membership enquiries. My thanks to John and Jenny Pearson, and John Barnes for support on the Saturday, and to Eddie Savage, Richard Tremaine and John Barnes on the Sunday. With their help, setting up and taking down the stand was accomplished speedily and the stand, as always, looked the part!

Central Railway Winter Gala - 27th to 29th January 2023
This weekend marked the 50th anniversary of the first public services operated on this heritage railway from Loughborough Station and was commemorated by an excellent 'walk in' photo display presented in the Main Waiting Room for public viewing. Senior Members of the Mainline Steam Trust were on hand to share their memories and achievements from those early years of the 1970s with visitors to the Winter Steam Gala event. 
Seven steam locomotives were rostered for the three day event which included Urie S15 No. 30506 and BR Standard 5 No. 73082 Camelot, both visiting from The Mid Hants Railway. Supporting locomotives from the home fleet were Class 8F No. 48305 and BR Standards Nos. 73156, 78018, 78019 and 92214. Each engine was presented in pristine condition, operating a mix of passenger and freight train workings each day. Visitor numbers tended to be fairly light during the Friday, but visitor numbers dramatically increased during both Saturday and Sunday which ensured that passenger trains and the station platforms were always full. A couple of highlights were the brilliant gloss black finish to No. 92214, recently confirmed as remaining on the GCR for the foreseeable future and the double heading of both BR Standard Class 5s working a round trip on afternoon passenger trains and not a spare seat on board anywhere! 
My thanks to Richard Allsopp, Richard Taylor, John Pearson and David Hancox who were present during the period and gave sterling help. During the Saturday, Lionel Lusby and Alan Lusby kindly added a full size replica nameplate of Nottingham Forest to the B17 display. This created a good deal of interest for visitors particularly when demonstrating how magnetic letters and coloured decals could be quickly changed to suit an alternative 'Footballer.' It goes without saying that 'Forest' supporters were well impressed. Richard Taylor.
The Warley National Model Railway Exhibition - 26/27th November 2022 at the NEC Birmingham

Returning after the three year break due to previous Covid restrictions, this event brought our B17 promotional campaign to conclusion for the year. Over 300 stands demonstrated the many facets of railway modelling available to visitors. As ever, operational layouts provided the main attraction ranging in size from ‘live steam’ (Gauge 1) down to N and OO9 gauges, with a wide range of scenic settings present, some exhibiting moving features controlled by miniature mechanisms and electronic components. Modelling techniques and the novel use of the wide choice of materials now available for modellers also commanded attention from visitors. The project status of Spirit of Sandringham was displayed on the B17 stand and included a wide range of railway models and associated scenic items which stimulated a good level of interest from visitors during each day. Thanks to our volunteers - Richard Taylor, John Barnes and John Pearson who gave up their time during a successful weekend.

Great Central Railway "The Last Hurrah" - 19/20th November 2022
To conclude a busy outdoor promotional campaign, the B17 Sales Stand joined the final enthusiast’s spectacular of the year at the GCR Heritage Centre ahead of the traditional Christmas and New Year festive celebrations. With appropriate permission, this also provided the setting to conduct the B17 Annual Grand Prize Draw 2022 (picture on the donations page) on the Saturday under the watchful eye of our Promoter - Richard Taylor. This year Duty Platform Inspector, Mr Dave Cobley was invited to draw the winning tickets. Conversations with Mr Cobley revealed that he had given over 50 year’s service as a volunteer on the railway. He attended the very first meeting held at Loughborough Station on Saturday 8thMarch 1969, whereupon the Main Line Preservation Group (MLPG) was formed with the aim of acquiring and reopening the former Great Central mainline in the area. As we know, this was achieved to eventually become The Main Line Steam Trust. Passenger and freight train operation during the weekend period was handled by locomotives and volunteer crews from the home fleet represented by: LMS class 8F No. 48305, BR Standards Nos. 73156, 78018, 78019, 92214 and diesel power Class 33 D6536 plus DMU M79900. B17 members and the visiting public were welcomed to the B17 stand by our volunteers who outlined the project status including the manufacture of components. Thanks are due to Richard Taylor and Richard Allsopp for their help in making this event a great success.
Great Central Railway Gala - 30th September to 2nd October 2022

Seven steam locomotives were rostered for the Autumn Steam Gala with guest engines NER Class J27 0-6-0 No. 65894 owned by NELPG from the North Yorkshire Moors Rly. and LMS class 2 2-6-2T No. 41312 from The Mid Hants Rly. Five engines representedthe home fleet: Nos. 46521, 48305, 73156, 78018 and 92214. Diesel power included class 37 D6700 and a single car DMU.  

GCR 011022

Shows the B17 stand on the platform at Loughborough.

Photo courtesy of Richard Allsopp

Visitor numbers at platform level were lower than normal during Saturday and Sunday, although trains appeared full; it was noticeable that many passengers tended to alight from their train upon arrival to make their way to a waiting service for the next departure. Strict adherence to the timetable seemed to be the order of the day with Station Staff ensuring that trains departed to time with particular emphasis being given by the Station Announcer (a new voice so it seemed) giving notice of departure times, destinations and platform information well in advance of 'the off.' It was also noticeable that engines rostered for trains heading south were consistently pathed through the station and positioned in a siding ahead of the train’s arrival in the station. This maintained the timetable adherence throughout the day and a marked improvement compared with observations during previous visits. Smarter operation was indeed evident with passengers reacting positively to announcements.

Richard Taylor and Richard Allsopp were present during the three-day period; sales included a good volume of branded items - clothing being particularly attractive to our customers and the legacy locos also commanding attention. Of the latter, B17 model sales were Nos. 61620 Clumber, 61630 Tottenham Hotspur, 61636 Harlaxton Manor and 61665 Leicester City + two Mixed Traffic/Freight locos. 

My thanks to both 'Richards' for their help in contributing to a successful event and of course to the GCR Station Staff with whom it is always a pleasure to work with at Loughborough. Brian Hall.

Severn Valley Railway Steam Gala – 16th to 18th September 2022

It was good to return to Bewdley for the first Autumn Steam Gala since 2019. Met by The Stationmaster and his team late on the Thursday afternoon, we were able to convey all kit to safe storage as a single 'barrow' load across live tracks and straight into their building alongside Platform 3. Each of the 3 days (Friday to Sunday), all had their busy spells albeit for short periods compared with normal.

Fire risk problems (and the SVR had endured these during June, July and August) were reported as low. Normal running without the use of diesel locos was 'the order of the day.' No. 4930 Hagley Hall was top of the bill having completed a major overhaul (taking 36 years) and looked resplendent in GWR green from a passing glimpse upon arrival on Thursday and again normal running on the Friday. That was until late afternoon/early evening on the Friday when she disgraced herself throwing out sparks to set fire to the lineside between Highley and Hampton Lode in three locations. No. 4930 took no further part in the event.

Sales revenues were respectable with branded items such as the clothing providing attractive buys. The new Tea Towels were a winner and provided a decorative back drop to the stand (using coat hangers and pegs) to present them to the public - so typical of the outdoor market stalls in our Town Market Squares of the 1950s and 1960s. Of the legacy model locos, freight and mixed traffic examples proved successful, being presented on open display as were B17s with a single success - coincident with the right interested customer appearing at the right time. Fortunately, the B17 buyer was an early morning visitor who was clearly interested wishing to think about acquiring a Footballer during the day. Returning convinced he made his chosen purchase - he was from The Forest of Dean.

During the three days, nine B17 members made themselves known - all had been on the trains at some point enjoying the good weather. Nine engines operated the working timetable during the three days with Friday and Saturday late evening running until midnight only. Duty engines were ex GWR Nos. 1501 and 7714 both Pannier Tank 0-6-0s, 2857 Heavy Freight 2-8-0, 4930 as mentioned and 9351 + tender (formally No. 5193 of 5101 class,) ex S.R. Pacific No. 70 ELIZABETH II (ex 34027 Taw Valley,) ex LMS Nos. 43106 and 45231 'The Sherwood Forester' and finally BR Std No. 75069 (double chimney.) Interestingly ex GWR No. 9351 was visiting from the West Somerset Rly. (WSR) where she was converted from GWR Mogul (2-6-2 Tank No. 5193) to become a 2-6-0 tender engine renumbered by re-arranging the order of the original numbers to read 9351. Certainly, the engine was a good performer. The most outstanding engine and attracting much attention was specially Numbered 70 and liveried in 'Royal' purple and named ELIZABETH II to commemorate the Platinum Jubilee. Following the recent death of Her Late Majesty, The Queen, the date 1926 - 2022 had been added in black on the splasher immediately beneath the curved brass nameplate ELIZABETH II - a really appropriate and fitting tribute indeed. Brian Hall.
Mid Suffolk Light Railway - Country and Moving Weekend 3rd/4th September 2022

An unscheduled visit back to the Middy which was holding a Country and Moving Weekend complete with a display of vintage tractors and entertainment by a group of Morris Dancers.

Our stand was situated in our favoured position, the waiting room area on Brockford station, right in front of the platform from which the trains departed and arrived. The steam loco in operation was the 1906 Belgian built Cockerill 0-4-0 VBWT tram No. 2525. The locomotive was a great source of interest because the boiler is mounted vertically, instead of horizontally, with water carried under the footplate and frames. On display, was the oldest known railway horsebox in the country being the Middy’s own TOAD short wheelbase brake van which has been used by Hornby for their model template.

There was a steady flow of visitors to the stand on both days, although footfall was lower than on the previous occasions we had visited the line. Several discussions were held with people interested in finding out more about the project and a number of sales of B17 branded merchandise and second hand goods were made to help swell our coffers.

Assisting Richard Taylor and Nigel Ellis, who manned the stand on both days, were John and Jenny Pearson on the Saturday and Larry Sampson on the Sunday. Thanks to all.

Suffolk Light Railway Steam Railway Day and 70th Year Closure Anniversary - 31st July 2022 and 18th April
A return visit to one of our favourite heritage railways, the Middy, which this year is remembering 70 years since it closed but also 30 years sine the line re-opened and 20 years ago the first train train ran on the re-opened line. We had also visited on 18th April, so it was a pleasure to be back again in the same year.

It's always a privilege to be at the Middy as it's just so welcoming and, yes, whilst low key, has everything going for it. As usual, we were located in the waiting room area on Brockford station, right in front of the platform from which the trains departed and arrived. This time only one steam loco was operation, this being Wissigton an 0-6-0 saddle tank which was was built in 1938 by Hudswell Clarke of Leeds for the newly formed British Sugar Corporation. In addition to the regular half hour train service, other attractions were on hand to keep visitors entertained including a singer and a Punch and Judy show as well as number of classic cars on show.
Middy Punch and Judy Middy Wissington
Our stand was kept relatively busy with plenty of people stopping by to find out more about our project, a number of whom were unable to resist buying items of our branded merchandise etc. Thanks to Larry Sampson and Nigel Ellis for their support on the stand which Richard Taylor greatly appreciated. In the words of Mr Punch "That's the way to do it'! 
The Sandringham Flower Show - 27th July 2022
Back after a three break because of Covid-19, initial set up of the B17 stand was accomplished during the previous afternoon. This involved a first outing with the new and enlarged gazebo at the usual allocated spot backing on to Sandringham House and gardens separated by a hedge and fencing. Our position was about 20 yards from the route taken by the horse drawn open carriage conveying HRH The Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Members of the public gathered to wave and see the Royal Couple as they passed at walking pace to The Royal Marquees housing a fine display of flowers, plants, shrubs and vegetables and nearby Show Gardens all of which were subject to judging by the Sandringham Flower Show Committee. Presentations to the winners took place during the afternoon. The Royal Couple were busy viewing the winning displays and afterwards enthused those members of the public nearby with a welcome chat during their walkabout.
The B17 Stand displayed much of the branded items, with supporting publicity to indicate parts either on order from suppliers or photographs of components in manufacture. Inquiring visitors were attracted to the stand either to view the content on the display boards, to touch and find out more about both brass nameplates - Spirit of Sandringham and Helmingham Hall, which were on show, or simply reminisce about their memories of steam locomotives. A good selection of B17 publicity leaflets were taken up by people who expressed an interest in the project, so we must await developments?
Sandringham 2022

The 'Three Musketeers' on the stand at the Sandring Flower Show - spotted by another member on a U3A trip.

Photo by John Peat.

Not far away from us was the Main Arena where audiences during the day were entertained by displays and routines by motor cycle riders, horses and riders, marching bands and gundogs. 
Visitor attendance was lower than previous years, as was the number of Stands attending this time, but at least the weather was favourable for this open air event.
Thanks to John Woodford and Richard Taylor for their help during both days. Brian Hall
Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway - 3rd / 5th June 2022
Festival of Steam – The S&D Remembered.

The  B17 SLT were represented by Nicolas Wheatley, David Hancox, Mary and Lionel Lusby and the Chairman, for this spectacular weekend of engine power represented by Southern Pacifics, Merchant Navy No. 35006 Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co. and West Country No. 34028 Eddystone plus BR Standard 9F No. 92203 Black Prince. Supporting engines were GWR No. 4270, No. 7820 Dinmore Manor, No. 7903 Foremarke Hall, LMS Nos. 41312 and 46521. These were joined by the very first Sentinel locomotive to be built, No. 47109 named Joyce, built in 1927 for service at Croydon Gasworks. Its restoration had been faithfully carried out by the Somerset and Devon Heritage Railway Trust. The Sentinel worked the local passenger train between Toddington and Winchcombe each day, to then demonstrate shunting wagons at the latter location. Both Southern Pacifics demonstrated their awesome power double heading passenger trains between Broadway and Cheltenham. The 'Merchant' re-enacted an Enthusiast's Special which actually ran over the S&D on the first day of 1966 starting/finishing at Waterloo via Bournemouth Central, with a faithful reproduction of the headboard carried that day 'The Mendip Merchantman LCGB Railtour' was displayed on the engine. Another re-enactment was demonstrated by No. 92203 Black Prince, hauling 'The Pines Express', with headboard in place on the smokebox and to the actual 1960’s timing of this train corresponding with its arrival at Cheltenham. As if to crown those memories of the S&D, the famous black Bentley, registration number NHY 581, that was once owned by Ivo Peters, the famed photographer of many S&D railway scenes (where some included the vehicle), was on site at Toddington each day. A nice touch indeed! Thanks to the B17 Team for devoting their time and to GWSR staff for a great weekend. 

Epping Ongar Railway 10th Anniversary Gala - 4 June 2022
This event was held over four days at North Weald station with B17 SLT attending on the third day when the railway had an intensive steam service in operation. Three steam locomotives were in action – two guest locos being Standard 4MT 75069 from the SVR and Standard 4 Tank 80078, plus home loco Hall Class 4953 ‘Pitchford Hall’.  Unfortunately, a fault had been identified the previous evening with Prairie L150, so it was replaced with Class 31 Diesel 31438.

Our stand was located close to the bus stop where passengers alighted from the ex LT buses that the railway runs from both Epping and Shenfield/Ongar to connect with trains. This meant that business ebbed and flowed with the arrival and departure of buses, but was pleasantly brisk with a good range of new and old product sold and discussions held with people interested to hear about the project.  The B17 team comprised Richard Taylor, John Pearson, Jenny Pearson and Eddie Savage. A good day was had by all!

Lutterworth Railway Society 50th Anniversary - 21/22nd May 2022
An event at the local sports centre, full of railway memorabilia, model railway layouts, model buses, booksellers and prints of transport vehicles, model railway suppliers and new build steam (that was just B17). This was the first exhibition for three years and clearly the visiting public were geared up for the event - expectations were high which positively influenced the attendance and interest on the part of the visiting public on both days. The "Helmingham Hall" plate was on display and attracted attention - some from elderly locals who recalled as young "spotters" seeing the engine often passing through on passenger workings during the late '40s prior to her return to East Anglia. David Hancox provided sterling support over both days. Thankfully, we have always enjoyed good support from the Lutterworth organisation and this was again evident this weekend.
Colne Valley Railway Miniature Steam Gala - 14/15th May 2022
The first visit to the Colne Valley Railway for some time. This was the CVR's first Miniature Railway Steam Gala and attracted a lot of visiting locomotives and visitors. Our stand was up on the 'main line' platform 2 and not with views of the miniature versions, although we could hear them, but we had good views of 3193 Norfolk Regiment as she provided a regular service up and down the line for the visitors. The weather was sunny and warm on the Saturday and most people enjoyed rides in the tube wagon, but Sunday was colder and, at times damp, but that didn't stop our intrepid raffle ticket seller from being ready for action. Thanks to Larry Sampson, John Barnes and Jenny Pearson for helping manning the stand.
B17E gazebo 140522 reduced The new B17 Enterprises' gazebo on its first outing.
The Colne Valley's steam offering this year - 3193 Norfolk Regiment hired in Bressingham. Norfolk Regiment 140522 reduced
CTL Seal Open Day - 23rd April 2022
CTL Seal opened their doors for members of the two new build projects (Our own B17 'Spirit of Sandringham' and 'Hengist', a Clan class) hosted by them, to view the progress being made and the facilities on offer to members of both groups. We were fortunate in getting our cleaned and primed chassis back onsite the day before (good planning!) along with one of the cast Driving Wheels on loan from William Cook - after the day it will returned to William Cooks for final testing, but it looks excellent and was the subject of many positive remarks.
With a new banner on both sides of the chassis proclaiming 'Being Made in Sheffield', a full display on our branded products and with plenty of information about the project, Larry Sampson, John Barnes, and our North East Area Group Leader Nick Illingworth, were keep busy answering questions and selling both product and raffle tickets. An excellent day was had by all.
Chassis and stand 220422 A close view of the stand with new banner on the frames.
Larry Sampson and Nick Illingworth after finishing the setting up on 22nd April. Primed chassis stand 2 220422
North Norfolk Railway and Severn Valley railway - 1st / 3rd March and 22nd / 24th April 2022
A Three year wait - B17 returns to Spring Steam Galas at Sheringham and Bewdley

The first weekend heralded our first outing to The North Norfolk Railway, well known for its early Spring colours and sea views with blue skies and warm sunshine or freezing cold winds off the North Sea and both of these conditions have been experienced in the past. This time weather predictions were spot on; it was freezing with high winds, driving snow, hail and rain on the Friday. Nonetheless, the North Norfolk Railway team maintained the day’s services with a very rare visitor from The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway in LMS Ivatt 2-6-2 Tank No. 41241 on passenger duties, supported by their home fleet of BR Standard 9F No. 92203 Black Prince, GER Y14 (later LNER J15) No. 564, BR Standard 4MT No. 76084 sometimes known as “the Pocket Rocket” and the class 7F heavy freight engine No. 53809, a favourite from the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway. All worked their turn on passenger and freight trains during the weekend period. The NNR’s own ex Ministry of Supply engine No. 90775 Royal Norfolk Regiment joined the working fleet on the Sunday to round off the working weekend. Improved weather conditions on the Saturday and Sunday more than compensated for the earlier wintry conditions to provide for a worthwhile visit by the B17 Team of Frank Carter, John Woodford, the Chairman and his wife Elizabeth who are thanked for their personal time in supporting the B17 project. This was the first visit to the NNR since 2019 due to restrictions arising from the pandemic and it was a pleasure to meet an entirely new indigenous team manning Sheringham Station, who were very helpful and interested in the B17 project. 

Next - and three weeks later at Bewdley Station on The Severn Valley Railway, Nicolas Wheatley, David Hancox and the Chairman found themselves in warm Spring weather to promote the B17 project to visitors. A wealth of visiting engines and a selection of the home fleet were busy operating passenger trains which were literally overflowing with people. Star of the show was undoubtedly Gresley A4 in wartime black livery, No 4498 Sir Nigel Gresley. When hauling the Gresley Teak set of LNER coaches it looked spectacular! Other visiting engines were Southern S15 No. 30506, GWR No. 2999 Lady of Legend, 0-6-0 Austerity No. 7516 Welsh Guardsman, supported by SVR’s own LMS Ivatt class 4MT No. 43106, GWR Pannier Tank Nos. 1501 and  7714, ex Austerity Saddle Tank No. 813 Welsh Guardsman and BR Standard 4MT No. 75069. Thanks to the B17 Team for their time in promoting the B17 project over a very successful weekend and also to James Pearson (Stationmaster) and his staff for their assistance each day. 
London Festival of Railway Modelling - 18th / 19th March 2022

The Trust had a stand at this year’s London Festival of Railway Modelling, the first time we have attended this particular show at Alexandra Palace and always a wonderful venue to attend. At the centre of the stand was our Spirit of Sandringham nameplate and an O gauge model of the loco. At 9.30 the doors opened and the hall filled up fast. All morning we were kept busy, selling our branded products and talking about the progress of the build. We have a good story to tell of our progress re moving steadily towards turning the static chassis into a rolling 0-6-0, with the various castings being readied for machining, the driving wheels now being cast and the steel forgings for the tyre and the plain axles all just ordered – a lot of good news to tell. The afternoon quietenedLFORM 2022 day 2 down number wise around the show but again some excellent conversations. One highlight was when two guys from across the ‘pond’ started to discuss the project with us, wanting an update; they were already aware of the project and it transpired they were two model railway engineers working with Sir Rod Stewart, our patron. Having worked with Rod on his US layout, they had then helped recently get it transported to the UK and were now helping set it back up. We hope they enjoyed the show and were impressed with the progress we are making.

On the Sunday, the volume of visitors to the show was down on Saturday’s, but we were still busy, talking about the project, selling products and, of course, the raffle tickets which did a roaring trade. Visitors included a representative from the Patriot Project, who are now having their driving wheels recast using the supplier we are using, and the President of the Clan Project, with whom we share facilities at CTL Seal.

A successful good two days with good sales, interest and new membership. My thanks to Larry Sampson, John Barnes and Richard Tremaine for support on Saturday, and to Geoff Starns, Eddie Savage and John again on Sunday. Setting and taking down was accomplished speedily with their help and the stand looked excellent.

John Pearson

Buntingford Railway and Local History Society - Project Update 18th March 2022
Our Chairman presented a project update to 19 Members of the Buntingford Railway and Local History Society during the evening of Friday 18th March 2022 held at their usual Meeting Room venue at The Crown PH in Buntingford High Street. This represented a third visit to this local group following on from the last presentation given in October 2015. The breadth of subjects covered included the manufacture of components for the static mainframe and its subsequent construction, and the control regime introduced to fulfil Rail Industry Standards and Safety requirements. The transfer of the project base to CTL Seal Ltd, in Sheffield was explained and the development and manufacturing status for the rolling chassis illustrated, including support provided to the fundraising appeals in relation to this important phase by B17 Members and the general public. The meeting concluded with Qs & As about the experiences and benefits obtained by young people and B17SLT, arising from the introduction of learning opportunities. These use structured teaching materials covering Science, Design and Technology subjects as part of the curriculum for year 11 and 12 students, developed in conjunction with STEM at five trial schools in Essex. Emerging opportunities to work with engineering undergraduates and teaching staff from Sheffield University were also outlined focussed upon relevant engineering challenges associated with operating steam hauled services on the modern railway. A vote of thanks was expressed with continued success for the Spirit of Sandringham project by the Secretary of the 'host' society to close the evening meeting.

Central Railway's Winter Steam Gala – 28th - 30th January 2022

The traditional “curtain raiser” for the year was again at Loughborough Central on the Great Central Railway. With eight steam locomotives hauling a variety of passenger and freight trains to an extensive timetable and fantastic atmospherics, the weekend spectacular did not disappoint. The home fleet consisted of GWR Hall class No. 6990, LMS Ivatt 2 No. 46521, Stanier 8F No. 48305 and BR Stds. Nos. 73156, 78018 and 92214. Guest engines were 34072 ‘257 Squadron’ and Standard 4 Tank 80080. Passenger turns with double heading provided by Nos. 34072 and 73156 were classics and reminiscent of steam on the Southern region at holiday times.

Trains were full or nearly full on all three days. This was reflected in our sales of merchandise and models etc which set a new record for any event we have attended there. There certainly wasn’t time to feel the cold as we dealt with a constant stream of visitors who wished to find out more about the production of the coupled wheels the project and other related items to be manufactured. Thanks to our visiting members who also stopped by to say “hello” and obtain an update.

Lionel and Mary Lusby (members) displayed examples of full size replica “footballer” B17 nameplates with interchangeable letters (magnetic) and coloured decals, complete with the half a football (metal) affixed in place. This was demonstrated by Leicester City and a quick changeover to Doncaster Rovers. Full size replica shedplates complemented the display. Further examples of miniature replica B17 nameplates were also included to demonstrate the types of finish produced. Thanks are offered to Lionel and Mary for kindly displaying these items during the Saturday.

Louthborough Stand 290122 The stand at Loughborough - smart as usual and, by all accounts, did a roaring trade, as well as excellent publicity for the Trust and our project. 

 An example of a full size replica splasher namepate of a 'Footballer' - 61665 'Leicester City'.

The system allows any 'Footballer' nameplate to be easily created for display purposes and is intended to help the Trust promote its project at football related events.

Full Size replica plate 290122

Brian Hall and Richard Allsop were present on all three days supported by Richard Taylor on Friday and Saturday, Frank Carter on Saturday.

Central Railway's 'Last Hurrah' 2021 - 20th / 21st November 2021

The ‘Last Hurrah’ was our last main event of a very curtailed year of stand activities with Covid restrictions having led to many of the events we normally attend being cancelled. Always good, though, to be back at the Great Central for this particular event which featured six engines from the home fleet in steam working to a busy timetable. 

Brian Hall, Richard Taylor and Richard Allsop manned the stand on the Saturday with Brian holding the fort on his own for most of the Sunday until the bitterly cold weather forced him into an early retreat. A very worthwhile weekend though, with a good return from sales of our branded merchandise and models etc, particularly on the Saturday.

The draw for our 2021 Grand Prize Draw was held on the Saturday afternoon – see photo below – winning tickets are shown on our Donations page.

Chairman Brian Hall, Raffle Promoter Richard Taylor with the Great Central's Loughborough Station Master Keith Franklin drawing the winning tickets. 2021 raffle draw

Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway – 40th Anniversary Gala 6th / 7th November 2021

The GWSR held this two-day mixed traction gala as a finale to the railway’s 40th Anniversary, with eight locomotives operating – four steam (including the splendid looking Merchant Navy 35006 ‘P&O’), four diesels plus a DMU with an intensive timetable that included a freight train. The railway also opened the doors of its David Page steam shed at Toddington in which a number of stands were located, including our own B17 publicity and sales stand. It felt a very appropriate location for the various steam groups represented!

Glos and Warwicks Gala Glos and Warks Steam 071121

The Saturday was particularly busy with a continual stream of visitors walking through the shed past the trade stands, having stopped off from the journeys up and down the line. Sunday was a bit quieter, but still provided us with a reasonable amount of interest and business. Overall, it was particularly successful event for us with receipts being at a very good level – donated model railway items selling particularly well – and a good number of discussions held with people interested in finding out more about our project.

The team comprised Richard Taylor and David Hancox on both days, plus Eddie Savage on the Saturday and Carol Hancox on the Sunday. Thanks to all with a special thank you to Eddie who made a round trip from Essex to be with us.

As well as being successful for B17 SLT, the weekend worked out well for the GWSR with almost 2000 people buying tickets and for the first time online ticket sales exceeding those bought on the day.

National Road Roller Association Talk - Peter Wright 16th October 2021

On Saturday 16th October 2021, Peter Wright of the Cambs and Fens Area Group was guest speaker at a National Road Roller Association meeting at St. Wendreda's church hall, March. He was invited to talk about the history of March as a railway town, but concluded with a resume of B17 locomotive history. The Trust was rewarded with a suitable donation towards the B17 project.

Great Central Railway Autumn Steam Gala - 30th September to 3rd October

Notes from Brian Hall: Another live steam extravaganza! This time consisting of 10 working steam locomotives and a dmu 3-car set organised by the GCR Team. Our promotional stand was present at Loughborough throughout, manned by our Chairman with members Richard Allsopp (full time), Lionel Lusby and Eddie Savage. Operational locomotives were GWR 3802 and 6990, LMS 45305, 46521 and 48305, Hunslet Austerity 68067 and BR Standards 73156, 78018, 92134 and 92214. Every day was busy with visitor numbers increasing daily and thankfully the weather was good despite the adverse weather predictions beforehand. It was a pleasure to meet and greet some of our visiting members and many friends after more than 18 months away from the special atmosphere that characterises Loughborough. Our attendance at The Last Hurrah during the third weekend of November is assured, when the draw of the five winning tickets will take place on Saturday 20th. Let's hope that conditions are favourable for the Winter Steam Gala at the end of January too?

Epping & Ongar Steam Gala - 11/12 September 2021

This local event for the Essex Group was held over two days at North Weald station. The railway had an intensive steam service in operation with three GWR locomotives in steam - Hall Class 4953 ‘Pitchford Hall’ looking splendid, Prairie 5600 Class 5619 and 5700 class Pannier 5786 (L92) in London Transport livery.

Our stand was located close to the bus stop where passengers alighted from the ex LT buses that the railway runs from both Epping and Shenfield/Ongar to connect with trains. This meant that business ebbed and flowed with the arrival and departure of buses, but was pleasantly brisk on both days for the B17 SLT stand team. We had a good range of new and old product which sold well, with many discussions held with people interested to hear about the project. On Saturday, the B17 team comprised Richard Taylor, John Pearson, John Barnes and Larry Sampson. On the Sunday, Richard Taylor and the two Johns were joined by Jenny Pearson and Eddie Savage. 

The station refreshment kiosk was a definite attraction for the team, with the cream teas that were on the menu being a particular favourite!

EppingOngar stand 110921

The stand as just set up. The visitors have yet to arrive!



Photo by J Pearson

A good weekend – many thanks to the E & O for the opportunity to attend and also for the loan of a gazebo.

Ipswich Station – EUR 175 Steam Dreams trips 14/15 August 2021

The weekend of 14th and 15th August saw Suffolk playing host to a series of steam specials arranged by Steam Dreams to mark the 175th anniversary of the opening of the Eastern Union Railway.

Three trips were planned for each day with trains hauled by B1 locomotive Mayflower all passing through Ipswich station. The Saturday trips began at Colchester with two round trips to Bury St Edmunds and a round trip to Norwich in the evening tour, whilst the Sunday ones began at Ipswich with the evening trip from Colchester. 

B17 SLT, with the kind support of Greater Anglia, had been given permission to host our stand in the foyer of Ipswich station on both days. We were set up well in advance of the first timed train on both days and then had a steady stream of interested passengers stopping by to find out more about the project or to browse and buy items of merchandise. We all had the opportunity to see Mayflower coming through the station on the trains. 

On the Sunday, Steam Dreams had to revise plans for the first trip of the day following repairs needed to Mayflower at Colchester, which meant this trip only consisted of a return trip between Ipswich and Colchester with the second locomotive diesel 47 772 pulling the train both ways between Ipswich and Colchester with Mayflower at the back. Ipswich station also had its own problems with all toilet facilities out of action on Sunday afternoon because of a water leak!

Mayflower was not as expected renamed Ipswich Town for the weekend but hopefully another time!

A rewarding weekend for B17 SLT – thanks to Geoff Starns and Eddie Savage for support on the Saturday and Larry Sampson and John Pearson on the Sunday.

Richard Taylor  

Helmingham Festival of Classic Car and Sports Cars – 1st August 2021

Sunday 1 August saw us back at Helmingham Hall for their Festival of Classic and Sports Cars. As with our first visit in 2019, we were delighted to be joined by Roger Williams (and his wife Gay) and his 5” model of 61647 ‘Helmingham Hall’ which was displayed alongside our stand. 

A very full day with a start on site of 7.15. We were set up by 8.30 just as the large collection of exhibitors’ cars were being assembled ahead of the opening to the public. The weather remained fair for most of the day apart from some brief showers of rain. This did not affect the attendance which was high throughout. Our stand displayed our now extensive range of branded merchandise, together with a number of second hand items plus our promotional literature. Also attracting attention was  our own donated ‘Helmingham Hall’ nameplate which was proudly displayed on a purpose built trestle. Business was brisk and a good amount was raised from the sale of products and raffle tickets. There was plenty of interest shown in our project by visitors who stopped to find out more and to admire Roger Williams’ model which itself acted as a big draw to the stand.

Helmingham Hall 2021 5 inch 61647 2021
The Helmingham Hall stand 2021 5" fully working model of 61647 Helmingham Hall

The Festival itself was a marvellous event with hundreds of beautifully restored cars on display - it was all too easy to be distracted!

Our thanks to the Helmingham Hall Estate for the help in arranging the visit and their assistance. Thanks also go to Brian Hall, Richard Taylor, Larry Sampson and John Barnes who were the team for the day. 

St. Peter's Church, March, Craft Fair - 17th July

From a clear blue sky, the sun blazed down all morning. The number of persons attending was noticeably lower than on the previous visit. I suspect that some will have ventured to the coast and other older persons will have been detered by the hot conditions. The event was sponsored by a member and receipts for the morning were worthwhile and welcome.

Peter Wright

Yaxley Village Festival - 19/20th June

After the disappointment caused by the cancellation of 'Flying Scotsman's' excursion to Cambridge and Norwich on Thursday 17th June, and the abandonment of plans to be present at Cambridge that day, the opportunity to attend the Yaxley Village Festival was a welcome opportunity two days later. 

The site of the festival was in the Guides/Scouts field on the outskirts of the village, a pleasant wooded location. A permanant amenity block provides good facilities for visitors. The security fence surrounding the field and an overnight security presence gave the Trust's members confidence when leaving the gazebo and tables unattended on site.

Thankfully, the threat of heavy thunderstorms did not materialise. Dry but overcast conditions did not deter the local villagers from attending.

Visitor numbers on Saturday morning were low, but this gradually grew and kept the Trust's members busy talking about B17s and the project to build a new one. Interest from the public was rewarded by a steady stream of purchases and modest donations. Humerous incidents were from a gentleman who bought two raffle tickets and said to keep the change from the 20 euro note that was offered, and the photograph of the replica B17 nameplate 'Champion Lodge' posed in front of a minature traction engine.

Total receipts achieved would certainly warrant a further visit to this non railway site. Many thanks to Steve Halford for attending throughout the two day event and to Richard, Joan Munns and Brian Hall for assisting with the transport of the stock and promotional support and also to the anonymous member who generously funded the pitch fee.

Peter Wright.

Stonham Barns Steam and Vintage Display – 22nd May 2021

A new event for the B17 SLT and the first event since before the initial lockdown in March 2020. We were positioned in a smart inside venue within the main Stonham Barns showground (situated near Stowmarket) having ample space to fully display our publicity stand and merchandise - pictured below. Despite attendance at the festival being adversely affected by the cold and windy weather, we had a fair number of visitors to the stand in the morning although numbers tailed off in the afternoon. The team of Richard Taylor, John and Jenny Pearson and John Barnes soon got back into the swing of setting up the stand, engaging with visitors and making sales of merchandise, model railway items and raffle tickets. It was great to resume normal business and the first of what we hope will be a number of events we attend during the rest of 2021!

Stonham Barns 230521

Talks 2021

Due to the continuing restrictions due to Covid-19, the Trust has continued to give presentations using Zoom.

The following have occured so far:

January 8th - Talk to Hertford U3A

January 21st - Talk to the South East Essex Railway Society (SEERS)

March 18th - Chelmsford U3A Science group

May 6th - Talk to the Ilkley U3A transport group. This had been widened to other U3As and we had an audience of about 90 people.

All the U3A talks came as requests, following an article by Trust Director John Peat in the U3A national magazine, and has shown the wide interest nationally in the project. Two more are booked and another is at the enquiry stage.

Zoom Talks 2020 - to the North East Railway Association (21st November) and the South Essex branch of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (2nd December).

Two talks have been recently given by Brian Hall, John Pearson and Larry Sampson. Using Zoom to deliver the talks remotely, both groups fielded over 50 members to listen, and ask questions regarding the origin of the project, our past achievements and the construction progress so far, the recent move from Llangollen to Sheffield and the plans for the future.

Nene Valley Railway - 'Swindon 70' Event - 7th/8th March 2020

To commemorate 70 years since the last Pannier was built and left Swindon works, B17 SLT attended the ‘Swindon 70’ event organised by the NVR on the 7th/8th March. Pannier 4612 from the Bodmin & Wenford Railway was booked and re-numbered as Pannier 6779 for the weekend - 6779 being the last pannier built at Swindon. Also running during the weekend were NVR’s two class 14 diesels, this class having replaced the Panniers on their withdrawal.

As usual, the B17 SLT stand was located in the marquee on the platform at Wansford station. A full timetable meant plenty of action, although attendance on both days was on the low side. However, our stand attracted a lot of attention and the Sunday in particular resulted in a good level of merchandise sales.

Thanks to Brian Hall and Richard Taylor for manning the stand on the Saturday and to Peter Wright and Steve Halford for manning the stand on the Sunday.

In view of the worsening coronavirus crisis, B17 SLT will not be attending any events for the foreseeable future. 

Great Central Railway Winter Steam Gala 24-26th January

Brian Hall and Richard Allsopp attended the three day Loughborough event as usual; a good number of members turned up at various times during the weekend to give their support. Visiting engines were the K1 2005, usually at work in the Highlands and, perhaps the star of the show, the North Eastern Railway steam railcar dating from 1903 and now diesel powered. Every trip it made it was packed to bursting point. The third loco was 4953 Pitchford Hall, courtesy of Epping & Ongar Railway (still running in) and no doubt retained with permission for the Winter Steam Gala.
These locos were supplemented by eight of the GCR's own stud making a wonderful spectacle in very atmospheric conditions. The eight locos from the GCR fleet operating were:- GWR No. 6990 Witherslack Hall, LMS Stanier Class 5 No.45305, Ivatt 2 No. 46521, Fowler Jinty No. 47406, Stanier 8F No. 48305, BR Std's 5 No. 73156, 2MT No. 78018 and 9F No. 92214.
The public turned out in force and our takings for the weekend were a record for this event at Loughborough.   
Loughborough Winter 2020 Brian Hall manning the stand at Loughborough with a whole family of our Sandy Bear.
London Model Engineering Exhibition - 17-19th January 2020

Having attended this premier show for the first time in 2019, it was great to be back. The stand looked fantastic, with our newly designed popup banners, new table banners and the whole range of product introduced during 2019 - none of which was available for that first show in 2019.

Ally Pally 2020

Back also were the lapel badges, which became a much sort after offering. During the three days, we were talking non stop to interested visitors about the project and the time just flew by. We received much encouragement in the project, as well as selling a good amount of product, along with some very generous donations and collecting email addresses for our update service.

The stand featured the Spirit of Sandringham nameplate, and an O gauge model of a B17, courtesy of Richard Tremaine.

As noted last year, setup and takedown in such a large exhibition hall can be hard work, but the management enabled a speedy turnaround.

Thanks to all those who helped cover the three days - Richard * 2, Eddie, Larry, Geoff, John and Jenny.

Great Central Railway's Last Hurrah - 16/17th November 2019

As usual the B17 SLT was present at this event, with the stand manned by chairman Brian Hall, assisted by event manager Richard Taylor and Richard Allsopp. This year, the event was the venue for the draw of the Trust's very first raffle. Our thanks to all who purchased tickets and to the winners, and better luck next year to those who didn't win this year. Finally, a thank you to the sponsors of the two special prizes, to Abellio Greater Anglia and to the Great Central Railway.

The winners were:

1st (£250) - Neil Cram. Neil lives in March.

2nd (£150) - Roger Jocelyn. Roger purchased the ticket at a meeting of the Chelmsford Model Railway Club.

3rd (£100) - Albert Milwain. Albert purchased the ticket on the Mayflower Steam Special out of of Liverpool Street in July.

Greater Anglia 1st Class Tickets - John Hills. John bought the ticket at Chelmsford Railway Station for the 90th anniversary event.

Great Central Railway Footplate Ride - Paul Harris. Paul bought the ticket at the 90th anniversary event held at Cambridge station.

 Raffle Draw 161119 Draw being performed by Keith Franklin, stationmaster at Loughborough.

Royston Model Railway Exhibition - 16th November 2019

The last Model Railway exhibition for this year. Another new event for the B17 SLT, but a very worthwhile one. The usual display was set up in an excellent location, and was kept busy all day selling the usual pruduct lines but the second hand models that had been donated to the Trust went exceedingly well. The exhibition was well organised and very well attended - probably the best we have attended this year. My thanks to all the members who helped on the stand (Frank, Mick and Eddie, plus arry and Jenny as seen below, and to those who said hello on the day. 

Larry Sampson and Jenny Pearson took Sandy to visit the Royston show. An excellent day out with the new design pens selling very well, as did the second hand models.

Photo by John Pearson

Royston show 171119

Ipswich Model Railway Exhibition - 9th November 2019

A new event for the B17 SLT, after it was decided to increase publicity in Suffolk. An excellent venue that kep us busy all day. We were allocated a central position, right by the catering, so were able to judge when to join the queue when it was shortest, for the important topups of tea! Much interest was shown by the visiting public and sales of product, donated models and raffle tickets were excellent, aided by Eddie's key positioning! Thanks also to John Pearson, Richard Taylor and Geoff Starns.

Geoff manning at Ipswich MRE 091119

Product and models all laid out. Geoff is ready for business aided by Sandy, or is it the other way around?

Photo by John Pearson








 Liverpool Street Station 90th Anniversary Display - 10 October 2019

This was the final date of our 90th Anniversary station display programme for 2019 and a fitting location, following our attendance this year at ten Greater Anglia stations as well as at Kings Cross.

We had a prime position on the main concourse just to the side of the information point opposite platforms 8 and 9. Network Rail required us to be set up by 7am  - Richard Taylor and Geoff Starns had the early alarm call here, and on site until 7pm. Whilst a long day it was very worthwhile with many discussions held, a new member signed up and a number of donations made. It was notable that in the morning a good number of ladies stopped by and took literature for their husband/grandfather/son. Interest waned at the evening rush, as people seemed more keen on catching their train home!

Thanks also to Frank Carter, Jeff Jackson and Joshua Cooper for their help during this long day and to Network Rail both here and at Kings Cross for the advice and help provided.

Liverpool Street 101019 Joshua

A high level view of the stand's location on the concourse.

Spot Jeff and Frank to the left. Spot Jeff and Geoff to the right.

I also see Sandy lurking at the top of the display!

Photos by Joshua Cooper and Richard Taylor.

Liverpool Street 101019

Alysham Model Railway Exhibition - 5th October 2019

This show is held in 2 sites around Aylsham with a connecting bus service operated by a London Transport Routemaster Bus. We were allocated a spot in the foyer of the Bure Valley Railway station, which was ideal as everyone walked past us. Sandy was kept very busy all day long selling, primarily model railway equipment, and we achieved a very pleasing result!

Setting up - plenty of models and B17 product lines for sale. Aylsham 051019

If anyone has any model railway equipment they no longer require, we would be very pleased to receive it for the Trust.

Chelmsford Station 90th Anniversary Display - 3rd October 2019

An excellent position on the concourse just between the entrance and exit to the ticket hall. After establishing where the station supervisor wanted us to go, the stand was swiftly erected and then we were kept busy, especially in the morning, answering questions from the travelling public and the station staff, about the project.

An excellent day; John Pearson, Larry Sampson and Richard Taylor were busy all day. Our thanks to the staff staff for all their help and encouragement.

 Chelmsford station 90th 031019 The stand at Chelmsford Station. Sandy seems to have become a regular feature, and one member of the station staff purchased a cousin of his.

Southend Victoria Station 90th Anniversary Display - 25th September

Southend Victoria is the terminus of a busy commuter line to Liverpool Street. The B17 team were able to set up their display in the spacious concourse. Southend was not quite as busy as some of the mainline stations on the anniversary tour, but the team of Mick Scott, Frank Carter and Eddie Savage were accompaniedSuffolk Regiment Badge by the new B17 Sandy mascot teddy bear. Sandy encouraged sufficient members of the public to buy raffle tickets and make donations to the Trust to make the event worthwhile. The local train crew manager and his staff, based at the station were most supportive.

Undoubtedly the star exhibit of the day was the military that had once adorned the splasher of B17 No. 2845/61645 'The Suffolk Regiment'. This had been loaned to the Trust for the day by a supportive member of the local public and will be made available again for future suitable events.

Colchester Station 90th Anniversary Display - 19th September 2019

Another Abellio Greater Anglia station hosting our stand for the day. As before a range of promotional items, the main display and a good number of discussions with interested parties and a great time. Sandy appeared again - it is rare now for him to miss a show anywhere in the country.

The three stalwarts at Colchester Colchester 90th 1
Colchester 90th 2

JB with Sandy and his friend - twin or cousin, we don't know!


Photos by Tony B

10th Anniversary of Friends of March Station (FoMS) - 7th September 2019

A display on the up platform by invitation of the Friends of March Station, who celebrated their 10th anniversary. To promote the event, with the consent of FoMS and Greater Anglia Railway, letters from the Trust in the local press encouraged local people to attend and place copper coins on the platform round the base of a canopy support column. Although the financial benefits of this may not have been significant, it certainly generated interest and good will in the project. Members of the local community were handing in coins in advance and some junior visitors delighted in raiding their parents' pockets to add to the square. At the close, there was an area of copper coins, closely spaced on the platform covering an area of approximately 14 sq. ft. This virtually administered itself. Among the coins donated were a couple that may raise considerably more than their face value - If eBay is to be believed! Our thanks to all those who donated coins

There was disappointment that an excursion train scheduled to be hauled by LMS pacific 46233, had to have a class 47 diesel substituted. But nevertheless, substantial interest in the project was shown by visitors, who included several B17 SLT members and receipts were almost equivalent to Wednesday. Surprise visitor to the event was Alan Neville, of Greater Anglia's management team. Furthermore, local enthusiast, James Mears, offered some hitherto un recorded details of B17 history.


March ring of pennies Ring of Pennies
Andy McKewan-Wright - fireman from Ferryhill shed (Aberdeen) talks to Peter about the superior Gresley engines in Scotland Ferryhill fireman talking to PW

March Railway Station 90th Anniversary display - 4th September

As part of the B17 90th. anniversary tour B17 SLT had a promotional stall on March down platform. Two recently acquired wooden tables were deployed to good effect.

Considerable interest was shown in the B17 SLT by the local station users and some generous donations and purchases made. Among prominent people that were spoken to were the Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, a small party of enthusiasts visiting from Hull and Andy McKewan-Wright, a former Ferryhill (Aberdeen) footplate man who talked about the superiority of Gresley's engines, Royal train activities at Ballater and enginemen feeding fish that lived in the water tanks of local engines. Andy has offered to donate some surplus model railway equipment to the Trust.

Norfolk Steam Gala - 30th August - 1st September

A good number of visitors supported the three day steam gala in fine weather and thankfully without the intensive heat and humidity on this occasion. Frank Carter, Edward Savage, Steven Halford and our chairman were kept busy on promotional duty located with the B17 stand on Platform 2 of Sheringham Station.

The home fleet of five steam locomotives, supported by two visiting engines were rostered over the three days consisting of :-

     Home Fleet                                                 Visitors

LNER B12 No. 8572                              GWR Pannier Tank No. 9466

GER Y14 No. 564                                  BR Std 4 2-6-4T No. 80078

BR Std 4 2-6-0 No. 76084

BR Std 9F 2-10-0 No. 92203 Black Prince

WD 2-8-0 Austerity No. 90775 Royal Norfolk Regiment

Thanks to twelve members and supporters of B17 SLT who visited the stand to say “Hello” during the weekend.

Mangapps Railway Museum - 26th August 2019

Yet another hot day saw us further south in Essex, helping to celebrate the 30th Anniversay of this unique Railway Museum, but this time inside in the cool of their latest large building (well, until the afternoon, when even inside became very warm!). To celebrate, the most locomotives ever seen in action at Mangapps had been gathered, some residents and some brought back from other locations, including a BR Standard Class 4 2-6-4T 80078 which I last saw at the Swanage Railway. As at the Colne Valley the previous day, we were kept busy talking about B17s and selling our range of merchandise. As at the Colne Valley, we had on display the Helmingham Hall nameplate we own, but as Mangapps itself has 5 B17 nameplates, ours meant 6 were on a single site - perhaps for the first time since all the locomotives were cut up in those sad days of the early 1960s. Thanks to Frank and Jeff for helping man the stand.

Stand at Mangapps 280819 80078 at Mangapps 280819

Colne Valley Railway Transport Day - 25th August 2019

A hot sunny day saw the B17 SLT in the heart of GE country at the Colne Valley Railway on their Transport day. The railway was offering a full timetable with 0-6-0 190 and the 'Bubble' car providing a frequent service, whilst the miniature railway was running 2 trains almost non stop all day. We had our usual array of literature and goods for sale, supplied for the first time by the 2020 calendar - a first for our Trust.  We were kept busy throughout the day answering questions regarding our new build project, as well as selling our merchandise and raffle tickets. As usual Sandy was present and he was delighted to have a ride on the Bubble. Our thanks to the Colne valley for being superb hosts, to the Bubble train crew; it was great to see this Heritage railway back progressing forward with its new shop, carpark, and newly opened extended museum, after an uncertain future now made secure by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Stand at CVR 250819 Sandy in the Bubble at the CVR 190 at CVR 250819

Bishops Stortford Station 90th Anniversary Display - 21st August

On the day of our visit to Bishop's Stortford, a pair of automatic doors at the entrance to the down side booking office had failed; therefore the previously agreed site was revised and we cooperated with the station staff so as not to hamper the free movement of people using the station. We set up our stand behind the failed doors which was perhaps to our advantage as it gave us a very prominant position from which we were able to talk to the travelling public. Although the beginning of the day was quiet, toward mid afternoon and early evening, we engaged in some rewarding conversations and received some useful financial contributions.

Ipswich Station 90th Anniversary Display - 15th August 2019

Another day. Another station. John Pearson and Larry Sampson, supported by local members Nigel and Bev set up the display on the concourse and answered the travelling public's questions regarding the project and the progress so far. On display were the new product lines which proved popular. Many were surprised at the history of the locomotive, not realising it was designed for this very route, and were amazed and delighted to hear it was being reborn. Our thanks to Abellio Greater Anglia and the staff at Ipswich station.

Helmingham Hall Festival of Classic Car and Sports Cars - 4th August 2019

Sunday 4thAugust saw us attend a new kind of event for The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust – The Festival of Classic and Sports Cars at Helmingham Hall. Normally, we visit Heritage Railway Steam Galas and Model Railway, plus the Sandringham Flower Show due to the relationship with the name of the B17 class founder 61600 Sandringham. Attendance at this event came by way of an association with another locomotive; having been kindly donated last year the nameplate of B17 classmate 61647 Helmingham Hall, we had contacted the Tollemache family about the nameplate. After a discussion about the locomotive and its history of hauling King George V’s funeral train, the Tollemache family suggested the Classic Car show would be an excellent event to attend. And so it was!

An early start, and some complicated logistics, as we were advised to be there by 7.30, as the country roads around there start to get congested with all the cars arriving as well as the public; one member was therefore up at 4.30 - that’s dedication to the cause! Not only that, we had all our usual display stands, leaflets and merchandise, and two nameplates as well – both our own 61673 Spirit of Sandringham but also the one from 61647. Both weigh a ton (metaphorically speaking), but we were all set up by 9.00am, so a chance to rest, but also to briefly look at the accumulating array of beautifully restored cars.

The day was extremely busy at the show, with a good number of people clearly interested in not only classic cars, but of our new-build project as well. We had a beautiful 5” live steam model of Helmingham Hall on display, brought by Roger Williams and his wife Gay, members of Colchester's Model Engineers who build it over 15 years – this made an excellent addition to the stand, drew in the spectators, who then continued to talk to us about the project. By the end of the day we were exhausted, but were delighted that Edward Tollemache, who with his wife had visited us at the start of the show, returned at the end. We are grateful for the invite to attend and thanks the Helmingham Hall Estate for the help in arranging the visit. My thanks also to Brian Hall, Larry Sampson and Jenny Pearson for helping man the stand. John Pearson 

Helmingham Hall stand 522 model Helmingham Hall Helmingham nameplate and Edward Tollemache
 B17 SLT stand at Helmingham Hall  5" Live Steam model of 61647 Helmingham Hall  Stand and Edward Tollemache

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - March Steam and Vintage Fair - 3rd/4th August      

This two day event on a very spacious site attracted a wide range of exhibitors and traders. Items on show included steam traction engines both historical and working models, farm tractors and equipment, show horses, old motor cycles, cars and lorrys. Although the B17 SLT was the only railway promotion, it attracted a lot of attention. Visitors were generous in their purchases and donations, and thanks must be extended to Steven Neugebaur of Fen View Motors of March for his support and arrangements for our attendance.

Kings Cross Station - 90th Anniversary Event - 29th July 2019

The 90th anniversary events are coming thick and fast. This was the Trusts' first time manning a stand at Kings Cross on the concourse and having all watched the safety video, we were allowed to construct the stand. Manning was more complicated than for most events we viosit, as one has to be ready by 7am, take down is not allowed before 7pm, and no-one can do more than 12 hours, so a 2 shift system had to operate. Footfall was steady all day and many interesting conversations were had with members of the travelling puiblic, and as usual Trust members provided information about the historical aspects of B17s and the progress of the project. Several members managed to also come and chat, and it was good to update them on the progress of the project.

Of course, these days, no event is missed by Sandy, our mascot, and he insisted on taking pride of place on the stand at one time. He was even witness to a wonderful display of falconry, as a falcon is used by station staff to keep pigeons away, and very effective it seemed to be.

Our thanks to the staff of Network Rail for helping organise this event.

Kings Cross 2 290719

Sandy on Kings Cross stand 290719

Sandringham Flower Show - 24th July 2019

Pictured taking centre stage on the B17 SLT stand at the Sandringham Flower Show on 24 July is the 'A' Frame (built to a high specification by our own Peter Wright) displaying the recently donated Helmingham Hall nameplate, our Sprit of Sandringham nameplate and the B17 SLT headboard.

The event was held on a  day when the temperature soared early on and the intrepid team manning the stand of Brian Hall, Peter Wright, John Dewar, John Woodford and Richard Taylor were never far from a bottle of water.

Helped by the Helmingham Hall nameplate interest and a new brochure on the engine itself, the number of visitors to the stand through the day was steady but waned rapidly mid afternoon onwards as the heat drove people (and ourselves!) to the shade and a cooling ice cream. As always, this annual event was well received by all.

Sandringham Flower Show 290719

Norwich Station - 90th Anniversary events - 26th June, and 4th July

As part of the celebration of the 90th anniversary of B17s first year of running, the B17 SLT had two consecutive displays on Norwich station concourse. These were on Wednesday 26th June and Thursday 4th July. The second was added to the programme to coincide with the arrival at Norwich of 'Steam Dreams' special from Liverpool Street to Dereham and return, hauled by B1 class locomotive No. 61306 Mayflower. Both displays attracted the attention of both enthusiasts and members of the travelling public. Trust members provided information about the historical aspects of B17s and the progress of the project. Both events were successful in promoting the Trust, gaining new members and providing useful additional financial income.

The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust's Annual Member’s Day - Wednesday 12thJune 2019

Over 60 members and guests of The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust from across East Anglia gathered at Sheringham on Wednesday, to socialise and experience the North Norfolk Railway and its on board catering facilities provided on the excellent Dining Train.

Despite the damp overcast day, all the participants thoroughly enjoyed the occasion, which included visiting the Engineering works and the Museum. The Trust's directors stated that the day had been successful beyond their highest expectations, with significant funds raised towards the Rolling Chassis. On display for members was an example of all the latest products commissioned by B17 Enterprises Ltd, including the very popular Teddy Bear - shown enjoying the view!

NNR and Sandy enjoying the ride

At the end of the day, members gathered beside the 7F locomotive No 53809, which had carried the Trust's Locomotive Headboard throughout the day, for a courageously damp group photograph in the rain.

NNR B17 members gathering NNR B17 headboard Members Day Out 2019 1 NNR Members day out group  
Member's gathering at the start of the day B17 SLT Locomotive Headboard 7F Locomotive No. 53809              Group Photo  

Talk to Chelmsford Society of Model Engineers - 28th May 2019

Tuesday 28th May saw Larry Sampson and John Pearson setting up the displays at the above society's premises at Meteor Way in Chelmsford, to fulfil an invitation to talk about the B17 project. Armed with the usual display board, the 90th Anniversary leaflets and the latest in the range of promotional material commissioned by B17 Enterprises Ltd, Larry and John talked the scope of the project for about 75 minutes. During the tea interval, many questions were answered with regard to the project and feedback obtained with regard to the new merchandise.

CMES talk 280519

Larry Sampson at the end of the presentation at the CSME.

Photo by John Pearson

The latest presentation took the audience from why, through to the how, and the excellent progress we are making, noting that every step we take has the approval of the Rail Regulator, and was well received by the audience. A most enjoyable evening and we would like to thank our hosts for the warm welcome we received.

Gloucester Warwickshire Railway Festival of Steam - 25 - 27th May

B17 was well represented at this year’s three day event by Carol and David Hancox, Nicolas Wheatley, Gerry Bennett, Edward Savage and Brian Hall deployed with the gazebo and featuring our original B17 nameplate Helmingham Hall. Trains operated an intensive service between Broadway Station and Cheltenham Racecourse each day, conveying a full compliment of passengers enjoying the marvellous Cotswold countryside views, with stops at delightfully preserved GWR themed stations in mainly good weather.

The stand, showing Brian, Carol and David Hancox, the Helmingham Hall nameplate and the new merchandise. Gloucester Warwickshire 250519

Operations were expertly handled by the Steam Loco department with 7 engines in steam daily, whilst ‘Carriage and Wagon’ with resplendent rakes of GWR and BR coaches provided a thrilling and vibrant atmosphere of ‘full on action’. Engines represented all parts of the country viz: GWR 2847, 4207, 6023 and 7903; Southern 35006 sporting a Canberra headboard (flagship of P & O); LNER 1264 (B1 in lined black livery) and the Caley 0-4-4 Tank.

The Helmingham Hall nameplate raised comments from GWR enthusiasts some of whom were unaware that both the LNER and GWR had duplicated this name in their respective fleets – the LNER adopting the name for No. 2847 in September 1935 and the GWR some 7+ years later with No. 6947 in December 1942 (known as 4900 class). 

Nicolas Wheatley had kindly prepared and provided copies of an illustrated dossier about Class B17 No. 2847 Helmingham Hall and its service life on the GE and GC section of the LNER/BR, including the special duty involving hauling the funeral train of the late King George V from King’s Lynn to London King’s Cross on 23rdJanuary 1936. This is acknowledged with grateful thanks.

Essex and Southend Groups - Billericay Model Railway Group Show - May 2019    

This year the above Show was held in a new venue in a Community Centre in Billericay; previously it had been held in Great Baddow. Our Stand was manned by the Southend Group, Richard Taylor and Larry Sampson. We were fortunate enough to be offered a larger space than usual which was fortunate as we were able to display our new Merchandise in a creative manner. The Teddy Bear and Clock proved to be a great success. Our thanks must go to our volunteers from the Southend Group who worked very hard in order to almost double our takings from last year.

Jeff Jackson with Teddy Bears - a new product line this year. Jeff Jackson with Teddy Bears
Museum Railways and Transport Event Day - 4/5th May 2019

The B17 SLT's promotional stand supported the recent Railway Weekend at Lutterworth to celebrate the end of a classic railway era, by marking the 50th anniversary of the closure of Lutterworth's own railway station on 3rd May 1969, when the last vestiges of the former Great Central Railway finally closed between Rugby Central and Nottingham Arkwright Street. This two day event over the weekend of Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th May was jointly arranged by the Lutterworth Railway Society and Lutterworth Museum at the local Sports Centre in the town. Our stand was manned over both days by David Hancox and our Chairman, who spoke to many of the weekend visitors about The Spirit of Sandringham project and the presence of B17s working the GC section on the express services between London (Marylebone) and Manchester Central during the immediate pre war and post war periods. Our original Helmingham Hall nameplate formed a prominent part of the display, demonstrating an important link to the Great Central anniversary theme where this engine had worked out the majority of its service life before returning to East Anglia from 1951 until withdrawal at the end of 1959. Note how one of the photos of our display stand captures the nameplate and the late Dick Hardy on video when speaking about his experiences with B17s during a past interview.

Lutterworth 2019 1 Lutterworth 2019 2
Essex and Southend Groups - Ilford and West Essex MR Show - 27/28th April 2019    
We attended this Show on Saturday and Sunday 27 and 28th April 2019. The B17 stand was manned by the Essex and Southend Groups and thanks to everyone who helped. We were allocated a relatively large space for our stand and the number of visitors was a little disappointing. However, we managed to sell a number of books, photographs and some railway models. The new booklet on the 90th Anniversary of the Introduction of the B17s caused some comment and interest. Additionally, we managed to sell 18 books of raffle tickets on one day on the Sunday.
Suffolk Railway - Easter Steam - 21/22nd April 2019

This delightful and successful 2 day event was attended by the Trusts representatives (John Pearson and Larry Sampson on day 1, Richard Taylor on day 2, ably supported on both days by local member Nigel Ellis) who manned the stand in the waiting area of a lovingly restored building. With fine weather, two steam locomotives hauling 3 wonderful 4 wheeled coaches, the event was well attended and the Trust was able to discuss its aims and successes to many visitors, whilst selling its range of merchandise.

Mid Suffolk 210419 Local member Nigel Ellis on the stand

Our thanks to the hosts who extended to us a very warm welcome on both days.

90th Anniversary Event - Cambridge Station - 10th April 2019

Courtesy of Greater Anglia Railways, the Trust had a promotional display in the entrance to Cambridge railway station on Wednesday, 10th April. What a busy vibrant place Cambridge station is! Trust members spent a busy day talking to interested members of the public. Our effort to promote the SoS project was modestly successful, and members of the public rewarded us with some generous donations. A Italian gentleman on a business trip rewarded us with 7 Euros - so we could now claim to have gone European in our fund raising and promotion!

North Norfolk Railway Spring Gala 5th - 7th April 2019

Richard Taylor, Brian Hall and Eddie Savage manned the B17 SLT stand for this event on platform 2 at Sheringham station. On the Saturday, they were joined by Mick Scott, Frank Carter and Jeff Jackson, who travelled up from Essex by train to Cromer and then rail replacement bus to Sheringham, where a new platform is being constructed by Network Rail.

The first two days were OK weatherwise with sales of merchandise, books and particularly model items being very strong. However, the Sunday was a different story with thick fog and then rain which kept us under cover for most of the day. This also had the effect of severely limiting the attendance, but did lead to some very atmospheric sights as the smoke and steam mingled with the fog and rain. Plenty of discussions were had over the three days with interested visitors and also a number of members who stopped by to catch up with us.

Whilst special guest engine Caledonian Railway 0-4-4T No 419 (BR No 55189) was rightly billed as the star of the gala, the locomotive made its presence known in more ways than one. On the Friday, it caused a lineside fire or two, one of which required the presence of the fire brigade, and because of poor steaming did not run well for the rest of the day or on the Saturday.  It finally failed on Saturday afternoon and had to be towed back to the engine shed, causing serious delays to running. Investigations revealed a problem with the locomotive that could not be quickly repaired and it was therefore removed from Sunday’s service to be replaced by Class 20 diesel locomotive ‘Sherlock Holmes’.

The good line up of home fleet engines performed as expected. These included B12 8572, Y14 564, WD 90775, Standard 4 76084 and 7F 53809. 

An excellent event overall and as always a warm welcome was extended to us by the NNR.

Severn Valley Railway Spring Gala 15th - 17th March 2019

Richard Taylor and Brian Hall spent a very enjoyable three days at the SVR Spring Steam Gala manning the B17 SLT stand on platform 2 at Bewdley Station. Apart from some strong winds, especially on the Saturday, the weather for the event was in marked contrast with the previous year when the 'Beast from the East 2' had decided to make an appearance and prevented the stand from being mobilised on the Sunday.

The gala had a Welsh branch line theme, with visiting locomotives for the event being GWR Large Prairie No. 4144, GWR ‘Taffy Tank’ No. 5619, GWR Pannier No. 6430 and LNWR Coal Tank No. 1054. These were used alongside the home fleet locomotives including 1501, 7714, 2857, 7802 (Bradley Manor), and recently restored BR Standard 4 No.75069. In all, ten engines were in steam over the three days.

The event proved very popular with standing room only in a number of trains. Good interest was shown in the B17 stand with the sales of model items and raffle tickets attracting good interest alongside the usual range of B17 SLT merchandise. 

There was a hiccup in the scheduled services on the Saturday afternoon, when a broken point at Kidderminster marooned a set of coaching stock and closed one of the two platforms. However, the staff and volunteers dealt admirably with the problem, and had services running normally the following morning.

All in all, a great event. Thanks to the Bewdley station team under Stationmaster James Pearson, who could not have been more helpful.

London Model Engineering Exhibition 17th - 19th January 2019

Thursday 17thJanuary saw two Richards (Taylor and Tremaine) and Larry unloading and setting up the stand ready for this 3-day premier event in the Model Engineering calendar. For the first time, a photo of the setup was on the website before the event even started!

The display boards have been refreshed celebrating the 90th Anniversary of the first B17s to run in service; these were complemented by the ‘Spirit of Sandringham’ nameplate and Richard’s O gauge model of the same loco on its rolling road - a superb display. A range of our B17 merchandise was for sale, although the primary aim of attending the event was to raise awareness of the project. This aim was completed in full, as on all three days we were kept busy from start to finish talking about the project and answering questions; I certainly don’t think I have been kept as busy on a stand at any of the Heritage Galas and Model Railway shows I have attended, discussing the project for one day let alone all three, as at this event. We asked people to complete a contact form and many people were happy to oblige, so we have a good number of email addresses now that we can use to keep these visitors up to date with the project.

Tired we were at the end of day three, but the excellent logistics enabled breakdown to be completed speedily – within an hour of the event closing we were driving home exhausted but very happy, so efficient were the organisers and their staff. Certainly, a must do event for next year.

My thanks for all the support with this, from Brian facilitating the transport of the nameplate so we could use it, to the two Richards, Larry Sampson, Eddie Savage, John Barnes, John and Jenny Pearson for sharing the task of answering all these questions from the show’s visitors. 

LMEE 2019 stand

Report and photos by John Pearson

Railway Autumn Gala 12th – 14th October 2018

North Norfolk Railway Home Fleet Running Weekend 12th – 14th October 2018

B17 SLT were represented at the above three-day Heritage Railway events with a sales stand at each. 

Again, as with other events this year, the weather was to prove a factor - Llangollen where Brian Hall and Richard Allsopp were based, felt the full force of Storm Callum (heavy rain and strong winds), so it was not possible to deploy the stand on two of the three days.

As reported by Richard Allsopp, arrival at Llangollen coincided with remnants of the latest hurricane which was to stay with us for the whole period depositing some 100mm of rain over the week-ends activities.

On Friday Brian Hall and myself abandoned any thoughts of setting up the stand and instead elected to travel on the railway with enjoyable trips behind Standard 4MT 2-6-4 Tank 80072 and LMS Ivatt class2 2-6-0 46521 which we had seen operating at its home base of Loughborough the previous weekend. An added bonus was a trip in the ‘Toad’ Brake van, with great views of the line; the passage of Berwyn tunnel in the dark was not for the fainthearted! Our tri-fold leaflets were handed out to interested passengers.

Saturday, though still wet, was less windy and we were able to find a relatively dry pitch under the station awning, where there appeared to be plenty of interest in the B17 project with several people visiting the works to view the progress being made. Takings on the day justified our decision.

Unfortunately, Sunday was not a repeat of Saturday and we reluctantly abandoned any thoughts of setting up in the gusty wind and made for home.

The railway put on an excellent show with five engines in steam and it is a pity the weather kept the visitor numbers down.

Engines in steam :-              80072, 46521, 7714, 6430, 5199

Similarly at Sheringham. Richard Tayor writes: The NNR event only suffered from the very strong winds - this did mean that trying to erect the gazebo on our usual platform 2 location was out of the question. Instead, with NNR’s kind agreement, we were given a prime spot under the canopy on platform 1 in front of the refreshment room where we were located for all three days.

Richard Taylor and Eddie Savage manned the stand throughout with additional help provided by John Peat on Day 1, and John Woodford and Frank Carter on Day 2, for which many thanks to all. Five of the six NNR steam locomotive fleet operated the intensive service: 92203 – 9F 'Black Prince', 1744 - N2, 564 - Y14, 76084 - Std 4, 90775 - War Department and Diesel 20227 - Class 20. 53809 which was expected to be running required further attention after its recent major overhaul. A great event that attracted a good level of interest in B17 SLT!

Central Railway's Autumn Steam Gala 4th - 7th October 2018

Attended by Brian Hall, Richard Allsopp and John Pearson - report to follow but for now a picture.

Great Central Autumn Steam Gala 1

Picture by John Pearson showing 70013 Oliver Crowell passing the B17 SLT stand.

Great Central Railway – 50thAnniversary End of BR Steam Gala - 4th-5th August 2018

B17 SLT attended the first of the two weekend events organised by the GCR to commemorate 50 years since the end of BR steam in August 1968, with Richard Allsopp and Richard Taylor manning the sales stand at Loughborough station.

Because of the hot and dry weather conditions, a special timetable was operated to provide the maximum number of steam locomotive turns while also mitigating the risk of lineside fires. Steam services operated from Loughborough only as far as Rothley, with a DMU shuttle service operating between Rothley and Leicester North.

The event featured three steam locomotives - 70013 ‘Oliver Cromwell’Standard 2 78018 and  Standard 5 73156 (which appeared as 73069 for the event being the last of the Standard 5s to be withdrawn - August 1968). A number of diesels were also in service, including Brush Type 4 1705 and Sulzer Type 2 D5185. There was a special photographic exhibition at Loughborough of the last days of steam.

The hot weather and the more restricted service, however, did affect the attendances on both days, particularly on the Sunday. Copious amounts of tea and water were the order of the day as the temperature under the metal and glass canopy roof climbed but a cooling breeze occasionally gave some relief as did the welcome taste of an ice cream. The stand attracted a good level of interest, particularly as trains arrived with lulls in between. A number of our tri-fold leaflets were given out, so we hope this will translate into further interest from some of the people spoken with. 

An enjoyable event with plenty of reminiscing from enthusiasts of a certain age who remembered those last few months of BR steam - was it really 50 years ago!

Members Day Out – 12thJune 2018

The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust held its annual members’ day out on the North Norfolk Railway on the 12thJune 2018. This was a return after two years, and the welcome was as good as experienced previously, with members, family and friends enjoying excellent hospitality.

Starting at 10.00, we were welcomed on board the dining car allocated to us for the day with Coffee and a Danish. Hauled by the NNR’s N2 all day, we first alighted at Weybourne, we had a visit to their engine shed and workshops. We were shown the locomotives being worked on, both those belonging to the North Norfolk, but also on locomotives from elsewhere, including Belgium!

The engineering workshops were fascinating with a whole wealth of drilling and milling equipment with would be the envy of many heritage railway, and the work being achieved on the teak quad set of coaches was superb, with the perfect finish being achieved – and it is all repeated every 2 years as that’s how long it lasts, according to the craftsman doing the varnishing who took time out you talk to several of us.

The boiler workshops were very interesting, especially to those on the board thinking about our own upcoming boiler requirement; unfortunately, photography was not allowed in this section!

After that, it was back onto the train for an excellent two course lunch, which was served whilst we went to Holt, back to Sheringham and then back to Holt again! Alighting at Holt gave us an opportunity to visit the William Marriott museum, which gave some of the history of the railway. One could stay here until the next steam service back to Sheringham, but your correspondent took the DMU back to also explore Sheringham. The view from the DMU looking forward through the driver’s cab was fascinating, as it showed how much the line twists and turns, as well as the gradients, which are not much in evidence when you travel in a steam hauled coach.

During the meal, a raffle was held, with a good set of prizes starting with a £50 M&S voucher, and raised £250 in aid of the Trust’s funds. 

A wonderful day, and The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust would like to extend its thanks to all at the North Norfolk Railway who helped give us a memorable experience.

Below are photos from the Official North Norfolk Railway’s photographer Leigh Caudwell, showing clearly The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust headboard, kindly donated by two members who, as a thank you, got a ride on the footplate.



Young Farmers Country Show – 20 May 2018

This was a new event for B17 SLT reflecting our aim to widen the range of events we attend with a view to encouraging interest in our project from outside our established ‘market’ of heritage railway and model railway club events. 

Sunday 20 May was a glorious day weather wise and meant that this county based agricultural / family show event held near Chelmsford was extremely popular with a very large attendance. Jenny Pearson, Larry Sampson and Richard Taylor who manned the B17 SLT stand also had the opportunity to see the many and varied attractions on offer. We were very pleased to welcome Jenny with us as this was the first time in the Essex area that a lady member had helped to support the Stand – and certainly a first when Jenny took charge of the Stand for a short while. (See photo below)


We had a good position for our stand opposite the traction engine and tractor displays. Although the side we were located on was less busy than we anticipated we met and talked with a good number of people interested in the project and who took away our literature - so are hopeful that this will result in applications for membership from at least one or two of them. 

A great day overall and one that we will probably consider again for next year with a view to changing the display around to attract greater interest. 

Harwich Mayflower Railway and Shipping Museum Opening - 15th April 2018



The B17 Publicity Stand at Harwich Railway and Shipping Museum 

The opening of the Harwich Mayflower Railway and Shipping Museum at Harwich Town station on Sunday 15 April coincided with the arrival of special train organised by Charity Railtours top and tailed by Class 37 diesel 37669 and Class 47 diesel 47506. The tour travelled up the GE mainline to travel rarely used lines to Sizewell Power station and to Ipswich Griffin Docks before running via Manningtree Junction to Harwich behind 47506. B1 61306 Mayflower originally scheduled to haul the train had been withdrawn after Network Rail gauging checks showed that it could not pass through Woodbridge station.

B17 SLT were represented on both the special train and at Harwich Town station. On the train, Richard Taylor co-hosted a train raffle with Stratford 47 Group. This raised a magnificent £777 which was split equally between the two train groups and MacMillan Cancer Support, the headline charity of the day. At Harwich the B17 stand (pictured) had been erected by the entrance to the museum and was manned by Geoff Starns and Eddie Savage enabling interested visitors to find out more about the B17 SLT project.

The museum was formally opened shortly after the arrival of the train by the Chair of Essex County Council and the Harwich Mayor. Also present were Tony Elliston, chairman of the Mayflower Heritage Trust, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Essex, the leader of Tendring Council and the Harwich town crier who opened the proceedings.

The museum is located in the previously derelict Harwich Town station buildings which have been leased to the Harwich Mayflower Heritage Centre for 25 years. The buildings have undergone a massive transformation; they have been designed to show the GER station at Harwich Town as it would have looked internally about 1924. The collection itself comprises some of the extensive and unique collection of railway artefacts and memorabilia amassed by local rail enthusiast and former railwayman Bob Clow over a period of some 50 years. His grandfather was an engine driver based at Parkeston shed who was allocated 2803 Framlingham which was his regular engine from 1928 to 1939. Further rooms in the South Wing of the station will be opened up in the coming months. Initially the museum will be only open on Saturdays whilst they train up additional volunteers to allow more extensive opening times.

It is hoped that there might be opportunities for B17 SLT to work with the Harwich Mayflower Heritage Centre in the future.

Severn Valley Railway Spring Gala 16 -18th March

This three-day gala had a terrific line up of locomotives that included Tornado, King Edward II / B12 8572 / 7F 53808 / Standard 4MT 80072 and a couple of GWR panniers.

Richard Taylor and Richard Allsopp arrived at Bewdley station on the Thursday to offload the stand items in readiness for starting the following day. On the Friday, the forecasted 'Beast from the East' Mark 2 began to make itself known as the temperature plunged, so both Richards took precautionary action and each quickly bought and mobilised a B17 beanie. The stand was located on platform 2, so was very close to the frequent arrivals and departures. The event proved very popular with standing room only in a number of trains. Good interest was shown in the B17 stand.

On Day 2, Brian Hall replaced Richard Allsopp who had to get back home. A wise move as the weather was on a turn for the worse and the day was punctuated by heavy snow showers and a bitingly cold wind. Having heard the forecast, the volunteers manning the adjacent Betton Grange stand had decided not to stay on and had departed the previous evening, so your intrepid duo found themselves on their own. This was when a few layers, a B17 fleece and thermal long johns were order of the day. Still plenty of action on the tracks with heavy passenger numbers, so we were kept busy enough on the stand.

Come Day 3 on the Sunday we awoke to a 5 inch carpet of snow. The SVR Facebook page confirmed that a service would be running so we made our way along snow packed roads to Bewdley. Having seen 80072 arrive with a lightly occupied train, it was decided that conditions did not warrant mobilising the stand.  A few minutes later the B12 steamed in with the rake of Gresley teak coaches, so we boarded the train to Bridgnorth and took the opportunity to walk the train and hand out a good number of B17 tri-folds. After a short stopover in Bridgnorth, which included a look at progress on new build 82045 with B17 SLT member Gerry Bennett (who had frequently dropped by the stand), we returned to Bewdley behind the B12 before making tracks for home. For Richard Taylor, this meant being driven back to Essex in a Green Flag rescue transporter, as his vehicle had decided the cold weather was all too much!

All in all, a great event. Though unseasonal, it was a bonus for those that liked snowscape photographic opportunities! Thanks to the Bewdley station team under Stationmaster James Pearson, who could not have been more helpful.

Railway – Autumn Steam Gala 13-15th October 2017 

 'Along South Western Lines' 

The above event featured visiting Locomotives Sir Keith Park (Rebuilt Battle of Britain) and GWR 2-8-0 No 2807. Other locos running included a Standard Class 4MT Tank and a Great Western Prairie together with a GW Pannier Tank which had been out on Charter to the Epping and Ongar Railway all summer. A full programme was run on all three days for the enjoyment of the visitors. 

The B17 Stand was on Platform 1 under the Canopy although the weather was generally fine, with limited showers and a breeze developing on the Sunday. The number of visitors picked up slowly on the Friday and we were very busy on the Saturday. Sunday morning was quiet but the afternoon produced a strong spurt of interest. In all a good three days realising significant funds for the Trust.                  

Over the weekend our Chairman, Brian Hall, was able to conduct four Guided Tours of the Workshop enabling visitors to see all the new build activity including 'Spirit of Sandringham'. These tours were appreciated by the visitors and realised significant donations for the Llangollen Railway. It was also satisfying for us to be able to assist our 'Host' Railway in this fashion as we are grateful for their support with our chassis.       

Altogether a successful event and we look forward to our next visit to the Llangollen Railway. 

East Anglian 80th Anninversary – September 2017          

The 27th September 2017 saw the 80th Anniversary of the East Anglian named train from London to Norwich and return. This luxury service was introduced in 1937 to try to compete with road travel before the war. The train was hauled by 2 streamlined B17 locomotives which looked very similar to an A4 and the trains consisted of new 6 carriage sets providing restaurant service at every seat. A taste of luxury targetted at a new generation of discerning travellers.

Streamlined B17 postcard 2 In order to mark this anniversary including the role played by B17 locomotives, the Trust decided to stage the biggest event yet. This involved a 3 day display Stand on Norwich, Ipswich and London (Liverpool Street) Stations simultaineosly. The planning for this event involved getting permission from Network Rail and Transport for London as well as providing enough volunteers for all 3 Stands. This was a remarkable effort, never mind the production of all 3 stands. As part of this Brian hall produced an 8 page Booklet to commemorate the Event. This was printed on glossy paper and was well received  by everyone including the public at large who were allowed to take a copy

Whilst we were allowed to collect donations from the public in Norwich and Ipswich, we were not allowed to do so in London because of the restrictions imposed by Transport for London. However, the Stands were generally open from 7am to 7pm each day requiring considerable volunteer effort. We were fortunate enough to meet a wide range of people, many of whom would not have come into contact with the Trust before. Thus we gained considerable new exposure to the Public and, hopefully, we may see an increase in membership over the coming weeks/months.

We received considerable attention from the media including Radio Norfolk, Radio Suffolk, and the Network Rail twitter feed. The event also allowed us to make contact with some people of particular interest to the Trust like Driver Mace's daughter (he was one of the Drivers on the first day of the service). Another example was Tony Alston who owns the land on which the Mid Suffolk Light Railway runs and we were fortunate enough to have an extensive conversation with him. In all, many interesting people including one elderly Member who decided that the best way to celebrate the Anniversary was to retrace the journey undertaken by the original train. This he did in one day visiting all 3 stands at the same time.

No account of this activity would be complete without thanking all the Staff at the 3 Stations who went out of their way to be helpful and made the whole  undertaking so much more effective. I am afraid that Security is always paramount in public places and the Staff were extremely helpful in allowing us to access their systems and procedures.

Altogether a very successful event and showed that the Trust could organise a sizeable and effective promotional celebration. We look forward to repeating the exercise at some time in the future. This is a precis of the full Report which will be distributed to all Members with a copy of the 8 page booklet produced for the event and this 'send' will occur after the next Newsletter. The full Report contains details from all 3 locations together with information on contacts made.

Finally, many thanks to everyone who manned our Stands including at least one new Member attending a B17 Stand for the first time!

B17 SLT Day Visit to the Llangollen Railway 12th May 2017

Friday 12th May dawned as an overcast morning with drizzle in Llangollen but not to be deterred, 41 Members and friends gathered on the platform at Llangollen station at approximately 10am.(see photo below). Everyone received a personalised programme for the day and the first group departed with Brian Hall, our Chairman, in order to complete the first shed visit. The remainder boarded the train for our first return trip.

The shed visit provided the opportunity to see 'Spirit of Sandringham' for real together with 4 other new build projects. All of these locos are in a different stage of completion and it was greatly encouraging to see the dragbox fitted to the Frames – albeit with temporary fixings. Brian was able to give an update on the current state of progress with regard to the frame stays etc.

During the return train trip we held our raffle (4 prizes including a signed print from Malcolm Root) and this was supported by members, friends and the general public on every one of the 3 return trips that day. As a result the raffle raised a record sum for the Trust. The winning raffle tickets are listed below.

The whole party reunited for the second trip and buffet lunch was served on the train including tea and coffee. This was enjoyed by everyone and was concluded with scones, jam and cream.

The third and final trip of the day was followed by the second shed visit and finally a number of members and friends retired to the Hand Hotel for an evening meal. Everyone agreed that the day had been very interesting, informative and greatly enjoyed by all.

Winning Raffle Ticket Numbers               

1st Prize       Yellow 613  To be claimed!                         2nd Prize      Green 753  Mrs c. Latham

3rd Prize         Pink 651     Mr. C Perceval                       4th Prize        Yellow 635  Mr. M Scott


                Some of the Members and Friends at Llangollen

Members and Friends around the frames with Chairman Brian Hall 

National Garden Rail Show - Saturday 8th April 2017

This year was the 40th Anniversary of the 16mm Narrow Gauge Modellers Association and the Show was held at the East of England Showground at Peterborough. It was attended by a record number of visitors and Fiddlers Green was exhibited on behalf of the Trust. We were lucky enough to win one of the Awards and we generated interest in the progress made with 'Spirit of Sandringham'. The Collection tin certainly feels heavy and we are very grateful to all those people who contributed.

Midland Garden Rail Show, Warwickshire Exhibition Centre, 17th - 19th March 2017 

'Fiddlers Green' was invited to appear at the above Show and took along all of the appropriate B17 literature. The Show was well attended with visitors up on previous years. The smell and sound of live steam engines generated a lot of interest increased this year because of the use of R/C Steam whistles. It was interesting to see some of the people we met in Solihull in February and, of course, they were already aware of the B17 message! We hope to continue to spread the message in this way and our next venue is the National Garden Rail Show in April.