Southern Locomotives Ltd May 2022 Steam Locomotive Update

Southern Locomotives Ltd (SLL) has released its latest update on restorations, overhauls and operations of its steam locomotive fleet.

Southern Railway (SR) West Country Class No.34010 “Sidmouth”

The volunteers are making good progress in the perseverance of the locomotive chassis, especially as their work is self-funded while SLL focuses primarily on ‘Manston’ and ‘Sir Keith Park’.

About half of the frame was shot-blasted and painted with a red primer paint, with the cylinder blocks covered in plates to protect the cylinder liners.

34010 “Sidmouth” frame // Credit Simon Troy

SR West Country Class No. 34028 “Eddystone”

Now back in circulation after repairs at DB Cargo’s Toton Depot on her tires, “Eddystone” performed well.

One of the engine highlights this year will be the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway’s Cotswold Festival of Steam visit in June 2022. With a Somerset and Dorset (S&D) theme, which is reflected in other tour engines, 34028 will help recreate the S&D atmosphere.

SR Battle of Britain Class No. 34053 “Sir Keith Park”

On Sunday May 15, 2022 at the Spa Valley Railway, “Sir Keith Park” smoked for the last time on his previous boiler ticket. Up to this date 34053 was running well in traffic, disguised as 34095 “Brentor” recently, work has now begun to dismantle the locomotive ready for boiler replacement.

Currently, the SLL team is planning the following works/movements to hopefully complete the 34053 redesign in 2023 if all goes well:

  1. Dismantling work to be carried out at the Chemin de Fer de la Vallée de Spa
  2. Moved to Herston Works for further dismantling and preparation of new boiler – existing boiler superheater elements to be removed and used in 34072 “257 Squadron”
  3. Move to North Norfolk Railway to lift new boiler into ‘SKP’ chassis

Although preparatory work for the replacement of the boiler is carried out, some alignment problems may eventually arise against which SLL will take precautions. With a lot of “low end” work done on the rolling chassis in recent years, little work should be done on this front.

SR Battle of Britain Class No.34070 “Manston”

The long-awaited return of ‘Manston’ is edging closer within the week, which currently could be as early as June 2022. Herston’s team has been busy completing tasks to prepare the engine for traffic, from setting valve timings to the alignment of cabin numbers.

To raise funds for SLL, former ‘Manston’ smoke deflectors will be offered for sale by Talisman Railwayana at Gartell Light Railway, near Templecombe on Saturday 15th October. Anyone interested can submit bids before the auction goes live.

34070 257 Squadron at Herston Works // Credit Dave Ensor
34070 “Manston” at Herston Works // Credit Dave Ensor

SR Battle of Britain Class No.34072 “257 Squadron”

Performing well in remunerative service, ‘257 Squadron’ will soon require repairs. During inspection, some of the superheater elements leaked and temporarily clogged. With a new set of items costing around £30,000, the decision was made to use the recently retired ‘Sir Keith Park’ set. This will reduce costs as well as downtime for ‘257 Squadron’. 34072 will visit the Spa Valley Railway to operate Polar Express Duty in November and December 2022.

Merchant Navy Class SR No. 35025 “Brocklebank Line”

Work on 35025 was slow, with work concentrating on restoring the cabin at Herston. Initial inspection of 35025’s boiler was positive, with North Norfolk Railway estimating the cost of restoration.

British Railways Class 4 Standard Tank No. 80104

Overhaul of 80104 is progressing at Tyseley Locomotive Works, with work concentrating on the boiler. A section of the front tube sheet has been cut out as it needs to be renewed, allowing better access to the boiler barrel. The next stage of the overhaul will be to prepare the boiler for lifting and non-destructive testing (NDT).

80104 at Tyseley Credit Nick Thompson
80104 at Tyseley // Credit Nick Thompson


Unfortunately, no further work has taken place since the last update, with plans underway to move the engine soon to restart the overhaul.

For more information or to support Southern Locomotives Ltd, please visit their website by clicking here.

Like the featured image? It is available as part of RailAdvent’s Great Central Railway Winter Steam Gala 2022 DVD pack, which contains approximately 2.5 hours of footage from RailAdvent’s visit to Great Central Railway. Click here for more information.

Jose P. Rogers