Event Reports

Llangollen 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 2018 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.

Great Central Railway Winter Steam Gala

We are off! First major promotional event for 2017 at the GCR Winter Steam Gala during the final weekend of January. Truly an atmospheric event aided by typical weather conditions for the time of year with the sights and sounds courtesy of 10 engines of which 9 represented the home fleet, the other being Q class No. 30541 from ‘The Bluebell.’ So plenty of action despite the cold winds with visiting members, supporters and sponsors calling by to speak to us - that’s Keith Crawford and Brian Hall during the whole 3 days. Always a worthwhile railway and event to support.

Home Locos operating 6990, 30777, 45305, 46521, 47406, 48624, 70013, 78018 and 92214. 6990 failed on the Friday with collapsed firebars, but was repaired overnight and appeared in the line up from the Saturday morning and all day Sunday too.

National Members Day Out - 1st June 2016

The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust held its member’s day out on the North Norfolk Railway on Wednesday 1st June 2016. Members, family and friends had a grand day out once again. The day started at 10am and included lunch aboard one of the two trains we boarded; we also got a tour of the Engine shed!

We had a wonderful day, the food was excellent, the journeys on the trains were great. We loved the Vintage set as this is where we had our cream scones & I was able to stand on the viewing platform on 'Eileen', and film the journey both ways.

The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust would like to extend its grateful thanks to all at the North Norfolk Railway for giving us a great day out again this year; their hospitality is much appreciated. 

Watch our video of the trains, the steam and experience the train trip there and back for yourself on our You Tube channel.