The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust is building an LNER Class B17 4-6-0 express passenger locomotive in compliance with Railway Group Standards for operation on the mainline network and heritage railways in this country. Improvements in performance, reliability and maintenance are planned by the careful introduction of design changes to the original technical baseline.

WHY      To bring back to life a much loved locomotive that did not  survive into preservation

HOW      As a charitable trust using traditional UK based manufacturing wherever possible to ensure continuity of traditional engineering skills

WHEN    In keeping with a realistic project plan commensurate with the incoming rate of finance

The engine will be capable of operating with either the GE tender or the larger LNER Group Standard tender normally used by B17s, both of which are owned by the trust. Appropriate certification will be progressively obtained in conjunction with all the relevent Railway Authorities.

The Trust will provide benefit to the public and specialised institutions, training establishments and schools by the advancement of education, engineering science and heritage relating to design, development, construction and operation of the B17. This will be achieved.by using UK based manufacturing wherever possible to ensure retention and development of engineering skills through training and development opportunities. 



  • Originally a co-operative design between The London & North Eastern Railway and The North British Locomotive Company Glasgow in 1928. The initial batch of 10 locomotives were constructed and delivered to the LNER from Hyde Park Works, Springburn. LNER – Darlington Works continued construction (52) including design modifications and improvements from 1930 although the final batch (11) were produced by the local works of Robert Stephenson’s in Darlington.


  • The prime source of funding is based upon an ever increasing number of contributors making affordable gifts/donations on a regular basis, including automatic membership at no extra cost. Charitable status enables the Trust to reclaim income tax from HMRC for every donation received from a UK taxpaying resident which provides for a considerable enhancement (currently 25%) in value toward creating the locomotive.


  • The Trust is actively seeking sponsorship and support from the best of British business and professional individuals representing both the commercial and industrial sectors associated with either matched funding arrangements, interest free loans and donations of benefits in kind and work at concessionary rates.

Work Opportunities

  • During the life of this project the Trust will actively seek to create training and job opportunities for young people and adults to specifically participate and preserve scarce skills. Benefits may also be obtained from the adoption of modern materials, effective use of old and modern techniques and processes associated with steam locomotive design, component manufacture, fabrication and construction disciplines, in order to further preserve this sphere of railway heritage. The use of appropriate facilities and equipment is planned and will be encouraged in partnership with specialised institutions, training establishments, schools, workshops and businesses existing as part of local communities. From the combination of old and modern technology an improved locomotive will emerge compared to the original B17 technical baseline, to deliver enhanced safety, reliability, strength, performance and ease of maintenance to meet the stringent requirements for railway operations in the 21st century.


  • Technical baseline established for the locomotive will generally be in accordance with the build standard of 1935, equivalent to the batch of ‘Footballers’ constructed by the LNER at Darlington. Note that some changes will be necessary to meet current legislation requirements as well as technical development to improve performance, reliability and maintenance of the locomotive.
  • The majority of drawings have been identified and are being sourced on a phased basis from the National Railway Museum, York, in accordance with the programme and available funding.
  • Design changes will be adopted where improvements in performance, reliability, maintenance and safety are identified. The use of CAD/CAM technology forms the basis of the locomotive design and manufacture using 3D models, traditional drawings and associated electronic data.
  • Employ modern materials, manufacturing techniques and processes during the life of the project.
  • Design, Construction, Inspection, Test and the Project Record System must comply with relevant Railway Authorities.
  • Preserve and restore the GE tender and the LNER Group Standard tender owned by the Trust for use with the locomotive to maximise operating opportunities and conditions.

Operation and Maintenance

  • Following running in, the eventual operating base is planned to be located at a heritage railway site with a connection to the mainline.
  • The locomotive will be maintained in accordance with mainline operating standards and is intended for regular service hauling special chartered trains on the national network. The Class B17 has excellent route availability, capacity for high speed running and range which will make this locomotive a popular choice to operate on the modern railway.
  • In between mainline duties, there will be opportunities for the locomotive to operate at railway heritage sites around the country, where the public may enjoy a nostalgic day out or observe the engine close up.
  • Revenue earned will support the upkeep of the locomotive in service and also provide for planned maintenance periods and future overhauls.