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News from today until end 2020                            News 2017-2019

April 2022 - A Collection of B17 models

The Trust has received a legacy of model railway locomotives, rolling stock and other items. The Trust is now in possession of these items which includes superb collection of 61 B17s. Each model has had the splasher nameplates and numbers repainted professionally, and includes the vast majority of the B17s that were not converted into B2s. The models are a mix of Bachmann and Hornby and are in 'out of the box' condition. Some are professionally weathered and some have extra details such as air brakes.

The B17 collection is for sale complete and expressions of interest are welcomed, via the email address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

 Legacy B17s reduced

This picture shows the entire set of B17s mentioned in the text above.

Photo courtesy of Tony Brzosko


January 2022

A Historic Meeting – a new way of working!!

A meeting with Ricardo Rail - 26th January 2022. On 26th January 2022, The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust attended a meeting called by Ricardo Rail along with 5 other new Build Projects – namely the A1 Trust, the Patriot Group, the Clan Project, the G5 Group and General Steam Navigation projects. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the nature and demands of Risk Assessments required by Ricardo Rail for Main Line Certification. This is, we suspect, the first time all of these Project Teams have sat around the same table and discussed mutual concerns and problems. It represented a changed mood in the sector and is to be welcomed. Note that the B17 and A1 Trusts have worked with Ricardo Rail consistently checking design work and manufacture at every stage of their builds.

The immediate topic for discussion were the Risk Assessments to be submitted to Ricardo Rail and we all readily accepted the desirability of using a common format. This will make it easier to ensure that all submissions contain the relevant information, speed up the process and ultimately make the process cheaper. We had the opportunity to work through an example and it was clear that we all faced similar problems.

The lunch break gave the teams an opportunity to go on a tour of the factory site and see some of the larger than life renewable energy projects that CTL Seal are involved in, as well as the two locomotives based there (Spirit of Sandringham and Hengist).

Whilst the primary task was concerned with Risk Assessments, both relating to the locomotive and the decision making process involved with it, it became increasingly obvious that there was a need for the ongoing sharing of information on all aspects of our work – Suppliers, Contractors etc; it was decided to continue holding these meetings every 6 months or so.

Our thanks must go to CTL Seal for their hospitality and for inviting us back next time.

And the Official Press release

Press release New Main Line Steam Builders Group starts work

Six high-profile steam project groups with the common objective of delivering their respective locomotives fit for UK main line running have agreed to meet and cooperate with each other on a regular basis.

While the groups all have their own technical and project management challenges to deal with,many of the present day safety certification and related requirements are to some degree of a generic nature, applicable to all new or restored steam locomotives. Group members can also build on the collective knowledge in the new build sector, and the significant experience / expertisegained by the A1 Trust through the previous approval of Tornadohelping each other by sharing information and experience. While the main focus will be on meeting the risk management and network compatibility requirements of the rail industry safety certification standards, other directly related issues (for example supplier assurance, technical solutions) will be under discussion. Sharing third party costs where appropriate can ease pressure on individual project budgets.

Founder Group Members are:

The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust
Class G5 Locomotive Company
General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society
LMS-Patriot Company
P2 Steam Locomotive Company(A1 Steam Locomotive Trust)
Standard Steam Locomotive Company (72010 Hengist)

The Group decided to come together as the benefits became clear through their individual projectexperiences.

An inaugural meeting was held on 26th January 2022 at the premises of CTL Seal Ltd, a large bespoke engineering company in Sheffield that is now the home of the B17 'Spirit of Sandringham' and the Clan 'Hengist'projects.With the expert guidance of Graham Nicholas from P2 and the Railway Safety Standards Board, along with representatives of Ricardo Certification Ltd, the group studied theevolution of rail industry certification requirements up to the present day, before starting worktogether on a hazard identification exercise for heritage steam locomotive design and manufacture / restoration.

A forward work programme has been agreed for the group, with meetings envisaged at 6-monthly frequency.

Against the backdrop of a changing railway, the members believe the collaboration will establish a pathway for existing new build main line projects and those that may come in the future, helping secure the long-term future of main line steam in the UK.

The group welcomes interest from other new build groups with ambitions to run on the main line railway.

A case of mutual benefit between the 61662 Appeal and 61673 ‘Spirit of Sandringham’ - 19th December 2021

The 61662 Appeal (Manchester United) project is being wound down. The 61662 project is a B17 locomotive “mock up” with tender No. 4166, once coupled to Class B1 No. 61176 – one of the Vulcan batch. It is located ‘outside’ at The Mizens Railway, home of the Woking Miniature Railway Society in Surrey, owners of the 10-acre site who granted space for the 61662 project. 

After consultation with the Appeal club members, the favoured outcome, supported by the vote of members of the 61662 Appeal, was to offer the ex B1 tender as a donation to B17SLT for the Spirit of Sandringham project. The cost of its removal and transport from the site will be a B17SLT responsibility. 

The tender’s frame structure both outside and underneath is sound with the dragbox, couplings and rear buffers all in place. Wheels, axles and axle boxes appear sound, although appropriate testing and new tyres will be required. A full set of bearing springs and hangers are available, which will require overhaul/test; full replacement brake gear will be required. All are a common factor with our own comparable tender, now in Sheffield. Importantly, the frame structure is in better condition than our own tender, which is devoid of dragbox, couplings and brake gear. Parts of the coal space have rusted away. A replacement tank and coal space will be needed, which is the same for our own version. This ex B1 tender will provide a benefit to The Trust where this variant would be the preferred choice for mainline running, although a thorough strip down, assessment, test and rebuild with replacement parts as required will be needed. Ownership of both LNER tenders will provide an extra set of wheels, axles and axleboxes as a valuable spares asset. 

Space is available for the tender at the Sheffield site. Assembled track of sufficient length from beneath the “mock up” locomotive has also been agreed as part of the donation arrangement. Similarly, the front pair of buffers are part of the donation. A full size cab fabricated in aluminium with wooden window frames is fitted to the “mock up” locomotive. This is owned by Mr. David Buck who has kindly agreed to loan it to the Spirit of Sandringham project for display purposes which is gratefully acknowledged. The Trust will continue to conclude the transfer arrangement for the tender. 

The Trust is making an offer to the 61662 members of a reduced subscription to The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust for their first year.

MP visits Spirit of Sandringham in Sheffield – 22nd October 2020 

Two days after the new build B17 had arrived at its new home of CTL Seal Ltd, in Ecclesfield, Sheffield, Miriam Cates, Member of Parliament for the local constituency of Penistone and Stocksbridge including Ecclesfield, made a private visit to the company, as guest of the Managing Director Andy England. 

During the brief visit to view the Spirit of Sandringham project, Chairman Brian Hall explained that the next phase of construction was to manufacture parts, to ultimately see wheels fitted to the mainframe structure. Local engineering companies within the city and the surrounding area would jointly contribute as part of the supply chain to the project. Further funding would enable the manufacture of cylinders, motion, bogie and the boiler in the years ahead with the aim of achieving an operational locomotive in 2029, to mark the centenary when the first B17s entered service.

Public benefit information delivered by The Trust, highlighted the successful two-year education programme themed upon the B17 project, conducted in conjunction with STEM at five trials schools in Essex. This involved GCSE Science (250 students) and ‘A’ Level Design and Technology (50 students.) The repeat of the second year was emphasised with prior approval of the Education Authorities, to validate the Assessment Module as a consequence of the cancellation of examinations, at the March lockdown. It was explained that a good level of interest and participation had been demonstrated by the students, teaching staff and even the parents where advanced technology and modern engineering techniques applied to a late 1920’s design provided a variety of problem-solving tasks relevant to a new build steam locomotive project in the modern era. This learning initiative may also enthuse and stimulate a desire by the young people, to pursue career opportunities in the fields of engineering and manufacturing. The Chairman also explained that discussions with appropriate departments within the Engineering Faculty at Sheffield University had commenced, to explore opportunities for cooperative working and mutual benefit associated with the Spirit of Sandringham project.

Finally, the service life of B17s was shared with our visitors and inevitably covered East Anglia and Sheffield areas. Mr. Cates (who also attended) indicated that he had some knowledge of B17s having originated from Suffolk. This related to names of stately homes located in East Anglia carried by the locomotives for which relevant information had been handed down by his grandfather. Recognition of Wolferton Station was also highlighted derived from previous visits to West Norfolk. 

Miriam Cates MP was thanked for her interest shown in the objectives and status of the 'Spirit of Sandringham' project. 

 MP visits CTL Seal 221020 reduced  Local MP Miriam Cates with Brian Hall.
Frames and our display stand at CTL Seal two days after arriving from Llangollen  Frames and stand at CTL Seal 221020 reduced

The Big Move - relocating operations from Llangollen to Sheffield

COMPLETE on 20th October

The Chassis moves from Llangollen to Sheffield

Planned for 19th/20th October, we held our breath as Covid-19 restrictions started to kick in in various towns and counties. Would we get out of Wales before it was locked down? Well, we made it, and on the dates we had agreed with all parties - Llangollen Engineering, CTL Seal Ltd management and the haulier

The move went as planned, with the low loader taking delivery of ‘Spirit of Sandringham’s chassis at Llangollen on the afternoon of the 19th; Llangollen Engineering had already reorganised the shed where the chassis had been and it was easily craned onto the lorry and overnighted at Wolley Edge Service. Early the next morning, saw the chassis safely delivered to CTL Seal’s premises in Sheffield, into an area of the fabrication shed that had been cleared ready for our arrival. The unloading was impressive, with the low loader being able to drive right in and the overhead cranes lifting the chassis with no apparent effort - you don't get facitlies like this in most heritage railway centres!

The chassis is now safely located in the building that will be its new home. It certainly is a sight to see two new build locomotives side by side and we look forward to the two locomotives looking more and more complete.

 Frames loaded 201020 reduced

Chassis loaded on the S.A.Smith lorry

ready to leave Llangollen - 19th October 2020

Now at Sheffield, the chassis being removed

from the low loader by overhead crane

 Frames being lifted from lorry reduced
 Frames being moved 201020 reduced

Once off the lorry, the chassis was

relocated by crane onto the shop floor

Finally, on the ground mounted on steel trestles

All photos in this sequence by Tony Brzosko

Part 3

On 30th September the two tender chassis arrived at CTL Seal's premises in Sheffield. Located at the Mid Norfolk Railway until 3rd September, they were collected by S.A Smith (Hauliers) and stored until we were ready. As already mentioned in part 2, the track panels had already been built. At 12.00pm the low loader arrived at CTL Seal's site and after careful positioning the special ramps were unfolded and positioned. Each tender was then rolled down, with the speed controlled by the winch. Because the land slopes slightly up, the lorry was only just level with the track, so a fork lift was used a couple of times to push the LNER tender onwards. Our chairman, Brian Hall, was heard to say - "Don't scratch the tender!!!".

Finally, when both tenders were in place, the fork lift pushed both tenders further back and then placed a sleeper across the tracks for safety. Our thanks go to CTL Seal management for the site clearance and the use of the fork lift during the operation, to our friends in the Clan Project for their support on the day and to S.A Smith for a superbly executed operation - the rig used is very impressive.


Tenders arrival at CTL Seal reduced Tenders ready to roll reduced GE tender on its way reduced LNER tender on its way reduced Tenders final position reduced
 Arrival at CTL Seal  Ready to unload  GE Tender on its way

 LNER Tender coming

down the ramp

 All safely in position

Part 2

Following the delivery from Cowley Rail of flat bottomed rail, concrete sleepers and all the other parts needed to creat track panels on 27th August, a team at CTL Seal put together the two 30ft panels and a 15ft panel - the 30ft panels to take the two Trust owned tender chassis and the 15ft panel for the Hengist bogie currently being manufactured.

 Completed track panels 1 reduced The team included Trust member Alan Smalley, Ashley Shimwell, Bob Ife, Alan Marshall, Keith Greenlow, Mike Sedgely, Ian Henderson all from the Clan Project, and CTL fitter Mark.

 Part 1

On Thursday 3rd September, the two tender chassis owned by the Trust were removed from their storage on the Mid Norfolk Railway. Once 2 30ft track panels have been constructed at the new site for 61673's continuing build at CTL Seal's premises in Sheffield, they will transported there the following week.

7D2 4149c 7D2 4160b 7D2 4172b 7D2 4178b 7D2 4179b
LNER Tender Rear of the LNER Tender GE Tender The entire unit with the load On their way!

April 2020

Sir Rod Stewart CBE becomes patron of the B17 Steam Locomotive Trust

It is with great pleasure that the Trust is able to announce that legendary singer, songwriter and entertainer, Sir Roderick D. Stewart CBE (known as Sir Rod), has very kindly accepted an invitation to become our Patron. 

Sir Rod has a long history of being a railway enthusiast and has actively been creating his own model railway layouts for many years. To have the support of a high-profile personality like Sir Rod is a great boost at this time!

It is possible that he may have some personal memories of the B17s, as he spent his early years in London. For many years he has lived in Essex and it is therefore great to have a local personality supporting a local engine!!

A number of the B17 Class were named after football clubs and were known as 'Footballers'. Sir Rod is also a fan of the game and so his interest in these locomotives is even more appropriate. He lived three miles away from Highbury Stadium and was an Arsenal supporter in his early days, when playing for London Schoolboys. He is now a passionate Glasgow Celtic Fan. Their football ground is within four miles of the North British Locomotive Company (NBL) Works in Glasgow, where the B17 design was completed, and the first ten locomotives were built in 1928.

The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust is delighted to welcome Sir Rod as our Patron and we look forward to meeting him in the future to share a common interest in railways as we progress with Spirit of Sandringham.

Link to Fans website.