July 2020 steam locomotive update from Southern Locomotive Limited

Cleaning Up 35025
Cleaning Up 35025 "Brocklebank Line" // Credit SLL

Southern Locomotive Ltd (SLL) has released an update on their fleet of steam locomotives.

With no income from hire fees, which usually pays the wages of staff employed, Southern Locomotive Ltd has a difficult time ahead, especially in the next nine months.

They have sent big thank you to shareholders and supporters for vital donations during these difficult times.

With restrictions easing, Southern Locomotive Ltd hopes to welcome back staff and volunteers to Herston works soon.

34010 Sidmouth

All staff and volunteers efforts will be focused on completing “Eddystone” when Herston reopens. If anyone can be spared, work will continue restoring existing parts.

34028 “Eddystone”

Unfortunately, no work has been able to continue since the last update in April, as Herston Works has been and still is closed to date. Despite this, the company hope 34028 will enter traffic in early next year, ready for the 2021 season. This heavily depends on COVID-19 restrictions and support the company receives.

34053 “Sir Keith Park”

Some of our readers may have already seen the news regarding “Sir Keith Park”, but for those who have not, 34053 will be transported to the Spa Valley Railway, where the engine will be stored at Tunbridge Wells West. This deal guarantees undercover storage, ensuring SKP is protected from the elements. In 2021, the plan is for 34053 to begin the start of Spa Valley’s next year’s operating season.

In the meantime, only repairs to the locomotive’s tender are required before SKP can be moved. This work involves repairs to the spring hangers.

Repairs to 34053 Sir Keith Park at Tyseley // Credit Pete Pickering
Repairs to 34053 Sir Keith Park at Tyseley // Credit Pete Pickering

34070 “Manston”

With 34053 returning back to Tyseley Locomotive Works for repairs earlier this year, work paused on 34070. SLL has received a quote from Tyseley to complete the overhaul. SLL find the quote reasonable for the work which is done. Further disassembly is needed, with the frame and coupled wheels yet to be lifted and separated from each other. As long as the low-speed crash in 2017 has not caused currently unknown damage, the bottom-end overhaul should be straight forward, with the boiler ready for new boiler tubes.

Therefore, “Manston” could return to service later this year, but this is very dependent on support over the next few months, following a great amount of support so far in 2020.

34072 “257 Squadron”

Since the last update in April, 34072 has been stored awaiting for the Swanage Railway to reopen and haul passenger trains again. Only a polish and general servicing are needed before “257 Squadron” is ready for service. Currently, Swanage Railway has Mid-July as their planned reopening, but no date has been confirmed. For the latest information on reopening, please visit Swanage Railway’s website.

34072 "257 Squadron" // Credit Dave Ensor
34072 “257 Squadron” // Credit Dave Ensor


As mentioned in the April 2020 update, 80104’s boiler ticket is due to expire in less than a year. SLL hope an extension can be obtained as the engine has not been in steam for the past three months and counting. Plans are underway on how to overhaul the engine, as the Swanage Railway would like 80104 back in traffic. SLL has contacted a company regarding overhauling the boiler, with the bottom-end undergoing repairs over the last few years, which should mean no major work is needed.

80104 // Credit Dave Ensor
80104 // Credit Dave Ensor

35025 “Brocklebank Line”

Following a site visit in Mid-June, a plan has been drawn up to ensure the conditions of current components does not deteriorate further and preserve them for now, as there are no plans currently to fully restore the engine. Below is the list of ongoing tasks and planned tasks.

First Phase Tasks – Either started or due to start soon

  1. Accumulated debris and rubbish cleared from around the loco.
  2. Life expired protective boarding and sheeting removed and disposed of.
  3. Vulnerable journal surfaces cleaned and regreased or Denzo applied.
  4. Peeling/insecure paintwork – commenced cutting back to bare metal and priming.
  5. Axlebox Lubrication carried out and horn guides flooded with oil.
  6. Middle engine eccentric (in position) accessed and lubricated.
  7. Smoke Box and sandboxes removed and placed into storage.
  8. Lower slide bars left and right, inner and outer removed, cleaned, oiled up and placed into storage.
  9. Brake rigging treated with diesel to free up prior to removal to store.
  10. Small storage area for hand tools etc set up in SLL 40′ parts storage container.
  11. New protective sheeting deployed on the loco to provide future weather protection.

Second Phase Task – Planned for the future

  1. Cut back deteriorated paintwork and apply a new protective coating, to include wheels and frames where access possible.
  2. Remove Brake rigging, repaint and place in storage.
  3. Remove smokebox and repaint.
  4. Remove middle and trailing sandboxes and place in storage.
  5. Consider jacking up loco to enable inspection of the driving/leading and trailing truck axleboxes.
  6. Check all driving axle centring dimensions against setting out standard.
  7. Carry out a complete updated inventory of parts in 40′ storage container.
  8. Clean down and repaint, cab, boiler and tender tank.


Despite an increase in the cost of overhauling, SLL hope “Norman” can be completed by the end of the year, in preparation for entering revenue earning service on the Spa Valley Railway in early 2021. Since the last update, new horn guides have been fitted and machined, along with wasted sections of the firebox cut out and new plates produced and fixed into place.

New Horn Guide on "Norman" // Credit SLL
New Horn Guide on “Norman” // Credit SLL

For more information or to support the Southern Locomotives Ltd in maintaining their fleet of steam engines, please visit their website here.

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