B17 New Builds

Flying Phil

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As some on here will know, there are two "New build" B17 projects. One, "Spirit of Sandringham" is steadily advancing with mainframes erected and many castings machined. The other "Manchester United" appears to have been a non functional pastiche designed to capitalise on the Man U football fanbase. However, from its website, they now are saying they want to build a working main line engine.
Obviously, to the outsider, it would seem more logical to combine the two projects and make faster progress......Additionally, would it be a consideration to have the capability of making it into a B17/5 ie having a shortened A4 casing as per the two built by the LNER "East Anglian" 2859 and "City of London" 2870. This may well give the project more of a "Wow" factor and get more funding/sponsorship. Opinions?
 
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Spartacus

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I always thought 'Manchester United' was a bad idea from a naming point of view: yes, they might have the biggest fanbase, but they're probably the most widely disliked (hated?) club in the country, which people wouldn't put a penny towards anything with their name on it. A comparatively minor club might have been a better all round choice, or saying that the B17/4 could be renamed as and when required.
 

silverfoxcc

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Sad to say, as much as i like B17s. I doubt if one or both will ever see steam in its boiler in the next 10 years.
One appears to be reliant on funds from ManU supporters and the club, neither of which seem enthusiastic (IIRC the most hated club in English football) in fact naming it after any football team is a bit of a dodgy PR effort,unless the director is a massive steam nut willing to part with 3m GBP

If the initial plans of the other one have not significantly changed they seem to be aiming their donor base in the ex Great Eastern Area.and most of the the groups are East Anglia or adjacent counties
The talks are given by one chap ( see how the A1/P2 work this, a speaker for each region and slides and a hymn sheet so that the same talk is given in Plymouth or Aberdeen at any given time) who appears to be the only contact
Looking at the latest accounts filed (2018)The B17 groups seem to be accruing about 1K per week and have about 200k in cash and tangible assets ( i am not an accountant!) The 61662 is part of the NBL preservation group and only received 128.00 ( one hundred and twenty eight pounds) in their last returns , unless there is a bed somewhere they dont tell anyone about. Compare these figures with the P2 group(2017) who have about 1.2m in cash and tangibles.

At the other end of the spectrum there is the D16 group who have very little in the way of anything, BUT they do have time on their side as most of them appear to be in their 20's whereas the B17 group could well have an average age of over 65 looking at the picture of their days out and they aint getting any younger
I wish both of them the best of luck,they surely need it. ( At least my 5in B17 should be running next year!)
 
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To their credit, "Steam Railway" are producing a series of articles about "new build" projects which ask serious questions about their viability. The projects which are neither (a) quoting an unrealistically low build cost nor (b) fund raising at a glacial pace are a minority. At their present rate of progress some will take literally thousands of years!
 

Flying Phil

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It was the "Steam Railway" article that really prompted my musings about the B17 projects.....but there have been no comments on my "A4" style casing to recreate the B17/5 locomotive.
I actually do contribute to the GCR 567 project which the SR think, and Paul H has referred too, as "unrealistically low build cost". As it has a non superheated boiler and shares parts with industrial locomotives ( they have the cylinder block and connecting rods from one) I think they are not too far off on costings. They are getting over £15,000 annually ( plus sponsorship etc), which is increasing, so I am confident that this will be a completed new build in the 2020's.
 

HaggisBotherer

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To their credit, "Steam Railway" are producing a series of articles about "new build" projects which ask serious questions about their viability. The projects which are neither (a) quoting an unrealistically low build cost nor (b) fund raising at a glacial pace are a minority. At their present rate of progress some will take literally thousands of years!
Another subject on which the 'Crayonista' mentality would probably accuse one of somehow being 'anti-rail'. "Oh yes, but everything has to start somewhere..."

Obviously some organisations like the A1ST and the Beachy Head guys have their act massively together and there are a handful of others which might steam within a decade or two. But I think there's an awful lot of the merest tickling with the edges going on in other 'schemes'.

Hey, we've got a buffer beam and a cab! Not far now... ;)
 

silverfoxcc

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Yep, Whilst some of the projects i have great admiration for, there are many, and sadly i do include the B17's in that grouping, that are going to be finished by my grandkids,to show their grandkids what GGGranddad saw at Picketts Lock way back in 1957.
As i pointed out earlier the B17 Trust is run by one man, and the members are mostly past retirement age.
Years ago when it first started was involved quite a lot, but was 'frozen out' after i had the cheek to suggest another name be considered after its announcement that it had already been decided prior to the item on the AGM, as Mr Hall said he had rung around asking members their views on his recommendation. Talk about a loaded question, i often wonder how it had been phrased . I wasnt phoned otherwise i would have advised him of the possible pitfalls, having been warned off quite forcibly by another organisation when i enquired on getting their blessing. The Patriot Group have suffered the same thing with the Legion. Following the AGM there were requests for people to come forward to assist i did offer my services to assist with presentations in the south of England, and after 6 months of not being contacted decided to cut my losses and stop the DD to them. Three months after i did i was phoned to ask why?. Told him i had lost interest as there had been no attempt to follow up my offer. The damn fools also lost my works drawing of the mainframes!
I do wish them well, but it ain't going to happen on their timescale, unless a member wins the lottery on a rollover week.
 

Bevan Price

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Good luck to those involved in "new build" steam locos, but I fear that some projects are just ego trips for a few people trying to recreate their favourite loco class, but producing locos that will have permanent economic problems. Too small to haul economic loads on main line tours, but too large to run economically on many heritage railways.

In future, the biggest need is likely to be for a small, but steady flow of new locos for heritage railways, most probably in the 2 /3 /4 (P/MT) power range, rather than locos designed for express passenger services.
 

silverfoxcc

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Bevan
!00% correct. The F5/G6? builds are well suited to the preserved lines, as is my other love the D16 ( guess where i was brought up??) as is the mob doing the BR standard 2-6-2T

The A1-P2 boys are looking at a V4 ,again small tender type and a great replacement for the K4 and a V1/3.

The other great white hope is the other P2 being considered at Doncaster

Beachy Head at the Bluebell should look good, although why they are buiding another GWR 4-6-0 i cannot fathom... seen one you seen them all ( i'll get me coat) BUT the 2-8-0 47xx , what a lovely loco and hopefully will be completed. I hope the 10000 diesel boys will come good as well

However that is just my 'wish list' Others will go off in different directions
 

Flying Phil

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Perhaps we need a spreadsheet with each new build listed and status of various parts, boiler/frames/wheels/tender etc, ave funding p.a. est total cost and est completion date. Then we can see, more readily, the viable projects.
 

HaggisBotherer

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As somebody with zero interest in folks kicking a bladder about a field, as soon as any locomotive or its name is linked to that activity I move on.
As somebody with zero interest in small people charging along a length of turf on horseback and rich bookmakers fleecing the public, I still follow the progress of Tulyar's extended overhaul at Barrow Hill, go out to see Alycidon when I can and support the DPS by buying stuff, etc.

What a bizarrely narrowminded point of view, AndyY1951. Takes all sorts, I guess.
 

geoffk

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The GWR standardisation policy, especially of boilers, driving wheels and cylinders, has greatly helped the Saint, Grange, County and 47xx new build projects. The P2 will earn money on the main line. Much as it would be good to see a B17, Claud Hamilton, George V etc., I doubt that, as a retired person, I will be seeing any of them.
 

Bevan Price

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. The P2 will earn money on the main line..
If a P2 is allowed on the main line.... The originals had a reputation for trying to "straighten" curved track between Edinburgh & Aberdeen, i.e. increased rail wear. Will NR want any long-wheelbase steam locos that might do the same ? They have already stopped 9F 2-10-0s running main line tours.
 

markindurham

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If a P2 is allowed on the main line.... The originals had a reputation for trying to "straighten" curved track between Edinburgh & Aberdeen, i.e. increased rail wear. Will NR want any long-wheelbase steam locos that might do the same ? They have already stopped 9F 2-10-0s running main line tours.
OK, there is no reason why the P2 won't be allowed on the main line. Extensive computer work using Vampire has satisfied both NR and the A1 Trust's VAB. As for the 9F ban - this is because of the flangeless centre drivers, which could foul the raised checkrails you see on certain pointwork. Nothing to do with the long wheelbase - in fact, the 9F can go through tighter radius curves than some 6 coupled locomotives.
 

Flying Phil

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As this thread has shown, there is considerable interest in "New Build" both steam and diesel and so it would seem sensible to try a dedicated "New Build" thread, rather than bury it in this B17 thread.
 

E&W Lucas

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Followed the Manchester United feed on FB for a while. Fair play to them for salvaging a tender, but when they started buying headlamps and regulator handles, I switched off!
 

61653 HTAFC

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I always thought 'Manchester United' was a bad idea from a naming point of view: yes, they might have the biggest fanbase, but they're probably the most widely disliked (hated?) club in the country, which people wouldn't put a penny towards anything with their name on it. A comparatively minor club might have been a better all round choice, or saying that the B17/4 could be renamed as and when required.
I agree with this post, but equally I know that using the name of my namesake wouldn't gain widespread support either. Perhaps a better idea would be to try to gain sponsorship from the Football Association or Premier League (after the Scudamore Golden Handshake debacle they're probably eager for some positive PR, and they clearly have the money to spare!) by pledging that the locomotive will carry the name of the holders of the PL title or the FA Cup, so will change most years.
 

Cowley

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I agree with this post, but equally I know that using the name of my namesake wouldn't gain widespread support either. Perhaps a better idea would be to try to gain sponsorship from the Football Association or Premier League (after the Scudamore Golden Handshake debacle they're probably eager for some positive PR, and they clearly have the money to spare!) by pledging that the locomotive will carry the name of the holders of the PL title or the FA Cup, so will change most years.
This is the thing isn’t it.
It’s not like it’s the original locomotive anyway. So it’s only actually a name on a recently cast piece of metal that links it in any way to a particular club.
 

silverfoxcc

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Cowley/61653 HTAFC a word to the wise
Ref The Football Association
If the harridan who answered the phone on my initial enquiry is still there, put on earmuffs
The air was red hot with her invective ( no swearing) but she was adamant that The Local Magistrates/District Assizes/High Court.ECHR would be on me before the brass casting had cooled. should we infringe their intellectual rights,

Irritable old cow, i was tempted to wish her luck on her journey home and that her broomstick wouldn't break down!
 
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silverfoxcc

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This was several years ago, when that Italian chap was the manager, and if anyone had been at the end if the invective and bile that was thrown at me during this conversation,in which i was just asking as to who the best dept to write to to enquire if such a naming could be considered, i feel certain that they would be of the same opinion. All i got was legal threats and hostility during this call and during a break in this, i just thanked her for the information and put the phone down. I was not prepared to lower myself to that level
The description of her i feel is fully justified, and was an honest assessment of her attitude at the time. She was not a good advertisement for the FA.
OK?
 

Bugler_john

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I was interested in the discussion re the B17 Spirit of Sandringham; as a member for the last 2 years, I think that the inaccuracies in some of the recent posts needs addressing.

First, the B17 Steam Locomotive Trust is not a one-man band – maybe it was in 2011 when the trust was started in 2011, but 6 years on the website is clear there is a management team made up of seven directors with complimentary skill sets, each with clear responsibilities. At the most recent AGM in September, which I attended, all 7 presented. I recently visited Great Central steam gala where the B17 SLT was present; they were also the Romford Model Railway show that I went to; between these two events, 4 different directors were manning the stands - so not a one-man band!

As to finance, at the AGM the yearly rate is higher than stated above (more likely £75k for 2018) and is growing year on year along with the membership.

The the name. Personally, I like the name, and there was, to my knowledge, no problem with permission to use it either.

As to a B17/5 variant. That would be nice, but the B17 guys do not hide it away – hence there is reference to the streamlined version on various pages, but especially the home page (one picture) and on the page documenting the 80th anniversary of the ‘East Anglian’ train in 2017, when a whole booklet was issued with a coloured picture in pride of place – that picture is also on the website. But, unlike the A4s where the streamlining was an integral part, on the B17/5 is was a bolt on extra – so the whole locomotive still has to be built in its entirety, and the project could be expanded afterwards it the membership wished it to be.

The provenance of the design is also good, as I note from the website that David Elliott is credited on the CADCAM drawings. Surely, if we are considering which new builds will succeed, and which might not, a design and group that is working with the Chief Engineer of the A1 and P2 people deserve to be up there.

I’m sure that new members are always welcome, and so would be returning members who left a long time ago.
 

silverfoxcc

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Bugler
I appreciate that you are a member and full of gung-ho for this to succeed and want to fight in their corner But to clarify a couple of points.

The name was a shoo-in at the first AGM. Brian openly said he had canvassed by phone members this choice ( iwouldn't be surprised if it was his idea) This is an action that is if not illegal,is certainly frowned upon by the Charities commission. However i do not think it had been registered as a charity at the time, (2012 IIRC) and during the AGM any attempt to put forward other names was shouted down
There was not an opportunity for members, who for whatever reason, could not attend,and therefore could not voice their opinion, or offer alternatives. So On the say so of an unknown number of members,the sole suggestion by the Chairman was agreed.
In fact When i said we should approach Buckingham Palace, as NO engine had been named that and that with the Jubilee coming up would be a great PR coup, one chap behind me said, and i quote ' Why name it that? It isnt in East Anglia' A rather myopic and sad retort seeing as several of the original class were named after places outwith of Norfolk,Suffolk and Essex. I realised then that there would not be much of catchment area if that was the limit of their fund raising. Even now there are only three groups in Swedieland Cambridge,Southend, Norfolk and Suffolk, and North Midlands being the 'foreigner'
Despite that attitude i did take up the plea for people to assist and offer help at that AGM, and put my name down to do talks in the south and west of the country to raise the profile, and to take some of the workload off Brian doing it on his own. Unlike the A1 group who had several regional speakers who regularly got updated slides and information so they all spoke the same thing. Rather like the Yeoman Warders at the Tower who give exactly the same talk word for word.
Despite being promised to be contacted in 2-3 weeks I never heard a thing. and so after 12 months decided that they didn't want any help. and stopped donating. It took Brian months to phone and ask why i had cancelled my standing order.
Looking at upcoming speakers of the regional RCTS groups Brian is still the sole talk giver on the project, and also the sole point of contact shown on the Website. What impression does this give out? Even the AGM minutes just gives the names of the trustees and apart from guessing who is the Treasurer and Secretary,only the Archivist is noted. No other posts/contacts at all.
Check out the P2 loco website to see the plethora of contacts on there
I notice that on the P2 webpage that 7 years after launching the project they have hit 2.5m and that is with the vast resources and goodwill built up from the A1 project. They still need another 2.5m and are looking at a completion date of 2021. 800k per year,realistic? possibly.

And finally the 75k pa is still a pipe dream, however it may occur next year judging by the last three accounts of the B17 groups income
2016 46k
2017 49k
2018 60k
The cash in hand , and i am not an accountant, seems to total 300k with the tangible assets ( frames etc?) at 100k So after 7 years it is running at just 50k average

Put the estimated build cost at upwards of 3m ( Tornado cost that 10 years ago) and even giving a generous increase in donations etc at 15% pa they are looking at a project completion date of 2035 at the earliest.

I wish the group well in this dream and i for one will be delighted to see a B!7 in steam once again, but as i have already said, it will be my grandchildren who will then be in their 30's witnessing it and not me.

I appreciate the request to rejoin, but i respectfully decline your invitation

Kind Regards
 
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Flying Phil

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I suspect that silverfoxcc has gained his impression of the "Spirit" project from the early days of the project. I have read their website with interest and spoken to two people on their stand on the GCR. I have also had two e - mails promptly and comprehensively answered, so I think Bugler is giving a good representation of the current situation. They obviously have good links with the A1SLT and their fundraising is steadily increasing p.a. Like many other railway preservation schemes there is a preponderance of "Silver - hair" in the demographic....but they do have the interest and disposable income.
Incidentally, that is why I have suggested that they also, more actively, follow the B17/5 (A4 style) and recreate a "City of London"...you only need three or four City financiers to give a 1/20th of their bonus....job done for fundraising!
 

silverfoxcc

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Phil
Yes i was involved in the very beginning before the split and out of the two B17 builds this has more chance of succeeding .And i do take an active interest in the bulletins in the press and Web. TBH the 61662 group are on a less stable foundation, esp in thinking the MASSIVE base of supporters who are modellers/enthusiasts and V.V and the Club would throw money at them to see it run.They got that wrong big time! Lets say there is a modeller/enthusiast/football follower For every 1 ManU supporter there could be up to 91 who are not! And just to make it clear there is no sour grapes, just an honest appraisal of how i see it. Lets just say i have a reasonable insight into the running and maintaining a steam loco and leave it at that

What is not in dispute is
It is very parochial in its outlook. GE area only. Witness only four groups set up in 7 years and only one outside East Anglia
Only one person does all the talks
There is no estimated completion date in the public domain
They have about 110K of frames and 300k in the bank ( published accounts) If i have read it correctly IANAA
The only projected costs shown are for the 6 wheels ( sponsor a spoke for 500.00) which is included to the rolling chassis estimate of
250k
I have had to refer back to the A1 pages for other costs, ( which are 10-15 yrs old and would not like to guess todays prices but +10% might be about right
So
Rolling Chassis 250K
plus the A1 costs plus 10%
Motion work 170K
Boiler not much change from 550K
Sundries possibly another 450K (Platework, provision for main line running tenders x 2 etc ) ( The A1 tender was 200K)
Support coach Mk1 are getting rare 70K
Total 1490K less the 300k in the bank is 1140K Now even with donations at double the current rate gives a possible dale of 2029. The A1 was costed at 3m, The P2 is 5m, so being realistic the B17 could be in the region of 3.5-4m putting the date back possibly another 10 years unless someone leaves a shed load of cash or they get membership up in the region of 2000 and keep it there ( How many are there at present?)
Which i might add will be well beyond my life span and makes me very dissappointed that i will never see it in steam
I would say your suggestion to make it a/5 while admirable has no legs whatsoever. BUT if the split had not occurred a possibility of a static one might have become a reality
The other problem will be the natural wasted of the members.There is no one under the age of 65 who has a memory of them in service, so you have to aim at the nostalgia and 'favourite' loco people. AND get it nationwide which may make some of the members choke on their tea. (B17 the Royston Vasey of preservation)
What they didnt have and still dont is a vibrant PR setup.It is to late now The A1/P2 have this sewn up with the V4 project and i daresay there are others in the pipeline,I think J39 and V3 have been mooted. So the captive audience has already been groomed on the next round.
The GWR have a reasonable following with the Saint/County/Grange/4700 locos Even the Bluebell with the H2 is doing well and dont forget the Patriot. All of which are not limited to one particular geographical area, and that is where most if not all of the problem lies together with one man ploughing a lonely furrow visiting societies. Get more people to give talks, attend open days expand the horizons and you might get additional members

AS i said I do wish them well and hope that someone does throw 4m their way so it is months and not decades before it runs.
 

Flying Phil

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Thanks for your more detailed input Silverfox and, whilst I agree with many of your points, I would question why you have gone from the £1140K costing to the 3.5 - 4m. The B17 is smaller than the A1 and P2 (the Lentz valve gear will be expensive on that also). The B17 group have a tender so, to refurbish, will not be £200K. Will they really need to buy a support coach, surely, if needed, it could be rented? So, it may be around £2m, and, if they could get to £150k p.a. and a spurt towards the end, I would suggest a 2029/30 completion is quite possible.... then hopefully we will both see it happen!
My B17/5 idea is just that they construct a "spare" set of boiler cladding and framework in the A4 style (say £75,000?) which would give them more of a PR Unique Selling Point - after all there are quite a few 4-6-0 locomotives in existence. They could then change the identity every two or three years to maintain interest .......Possibly also get a few Footballer nameplate plates??......
 

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