Construction Progress pre 2018



Frame Stay Programme & Rolling Chassis Plan

The frame stays consist of five types of steel castings and two types of fabrications. The steel castings are being manufactured by William Cook Cast Products Ltd. of Sheffield. Fabrication work is being produced at North View Engineering Solutions Limited of Darlington for the frame stay – brake (modified for air brakes) and the four sets of buffer beam gussets.

All five castings produced by William Cook Cast are complete and have been sent to North View Engineering in August for machining with delivery planned to Llangollen by the year end.

Combined frame stay and 2 to 1 motion lever bracket casting

North View Engineering has completed the two fabricated frame stays and they are awaiting delivery to the Llangollen works.

Frame stay – brake large fabrication (modified for air brakes with primary brake shaft brackets)

Rolling Chassis Plan

General Arrangement (GA) Computer Aided Design (CAD) design definition for the development of the static mainframe to a rolling chassis has been completed. Design is currently underway on the peculiar B17 requirements for the horn blocks and the front crank axle.

Boiler Specification

In keeping with the Engineering Plan for the project the Design Requirement is now being sent out to specialist potential suppliers. The requirement is for a Diagram 100A boiler as fitted to the B1s and retro-fitted to the B17s. The Trust is looking for a proposal for detailed design, development, manufacturing, testing and certification.

Manufacturing Funding

Fund raising continues for the manufacture of components to convert the static mainframe into a full rolling chassis. Further details of these parts can be found on the web site, with an invitation for your help by way of sponsorship - please. Alternatively, please call the project on 07527 670436 for further details. 

JULY 2017

Progress visits to the Sheffield Plant of William Cook Cast Products Limited and North View Engineering Solutions Limited of Darlington took place during June. As a result of the visit by Brian Hall it can be reported that Frame Stay manufacture for Spirit of Sandringham continues to programme.

The visit to the Sheffield plant of William Cook Cast Products Limited during June revealed that all five sets castings had been cast, fettled and stress relieved and full machining was about to begin. Delivery to Llangollen for fitting into the frames is planned from mid -year.

The progress visit in June to North View Engineering Solutions Limited of Darlington showed the fabricated frame stay – brake (modified for air brakes.) with all fabrication, welding and stress relieving complete and full machining started. After product acceptance the complete item will be delivered to Llangollen. Similarly fabrication of the four sets of buffer beam gussets is complete and machining started.

The required funding to complete the cast and fabricated frame stays, buffer beam gussets, along with the full assembly of the static mainframe at Llangollen Engineering, is in place.

Fabrication of Frame stay - brake with primary brakeshaft brackets modified for air brakes. The original LNER 1935 design was also fabrication.

Fabricated buffer beam gussets to fasten front buffer beam to frames.

 Cast combined spring hanger bracket and brake shaft carrier with cross stay.

Cast combined frame stay and 2 to 1 motion lever bracket.

Llangollen Progress

The photograph below was taken by member Mick Scott and shows the drag box undergoing a trial fit to the mainframes at Llangollen during the steam railway gala in March. Cast and fabricated frame stays will be fitted when delivered from the two suppliers throughout 2017.

January 2017     Construction and Design Objectives for 2017


The Trust now has Vehicle Acceptance Body (VAB) Approval for the static Chassis Design.

The key objective in 2017 is to procure and assemble frame stays and spring hangars to complete the static chassis structure. The frames and buffer beam are already in position at Llangollen and delivery of the dragbox was achieved in 2016.

Static chassis assembly has already been appraised by Graham Elwood (Head of Engineering) on behalf of the Llangollen Railway. The two largest components namely the dragbox and frame stay – brake will be fitted first to align the frame plates after which the remainder of the frame stays will follow progressively.

The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust is delighted to confirm an agreement with William Cook Limited (Cast Products) of Sheffield for the manufacture of cast steel frame stays and spring hangars. CAD/CAM data has been created from the original LNER drawings and this design data will interface with the manufacturer’s moulding design tools to simulate the moulding process in real time. Wooden patterns will be used for each frame stay because of advantages compared with patterns made of polystyrene or polyurethane foam, which being flexible, are susceptible to bending when packing out the mould with moulding sand. The order has been placed with William Cook Limited for mid-year delivery to Llangollen.

Manufacture of the frame stay – brake is a fabrication planned to be manufactured and delivered during the same timescale by North View Engineering Solutions Limited of Darlington, after previously producing the drag box. Manufacturing drawings are available where both the basic structure conforms to the original LNER design and where separate operating arrangements for both air brakes and reversing gear in this area have been subjected to redesign. Dual air brake cylinders have successfully been added in place of the original vacuum type maintaining all the key interfaces and the necessary access for service and maintenance. Remaining fabricated items consisting of Gusset Stays and the Plate Frame Stay will also be produced from the same Darlington supplier. 


Rolling Chassis

The key design objective for 2017 is to define the running gear with supporting cost plan and suppliers. The rolling chassis design will be submitted to the rail authority for approval.

Boiler and Firebox

For the boiler and firebox the objective for 2017 is to define the requirement specification for an all steel fabricated round topped boiler and firebox based upon the LNER diagram 100A version for which indicative design and manufacturing costs will be obtained. 


The Trust now has Vehicle Acceptance Body (VAB) Approval for the static Chassis Design.

June 2016 - Drag Box

Brian Hall & Tony Brzosko visited North View Engineering Solutions Ltd on the 20th June 2016 to view the drag box manufacture in the fabrication and welding shop.

Initial fabrication of base with 4 sides and inner component profiles including drawbar pin bearing and safety link pin bearing components in position to be followed by full penetration welding prior to adding top plate. NDT and stress relieving to follow prior to machining.

September 2015



This was the headline news announced to members, supporters and invited guests at the fourth annual general meeting of The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust held recently in Stevenage.

Chairman Brian Hall explained how full machining of the frames and front buffer beam which commenced manufacture in mid- August at The Boro’ Foundry’s works in Lye in the West Midlands had been completed. Tim Godfrey, grandson of Sir Nigel Gresley (the original designer of the B17) was present to kindly perform the start-up process. The frames were machined as a pair whilst the front buffer beam was similarly in work on a separate machine. 

 Process start with Tim Godfrey & Brian Hall  
 Machining  Both Frames  

Upon completion and following successful dimensional checks each frame and front buffer beam was transported to the Llangollen Railway where Spirit of Sandringham ready for construction.

Arriving on Wednesday 9th September and with the Llangollen team already prepared unloading was expertly achieved using the Carillion 12 Ton travelling crane with shunting assistance provided by the Pilkington 0-4-0 diesel shunter. Each frame plate was correctly orientated whilst suspended by the crane in the yard before slowly entering the works shed where they were carefully guided into position and located into support frames.

 Located in support stands at Llangollen  

Next, the Llangollen team seized the opportunity to ensure that Spirit of Sandringham was presentable for the forthcoming Branch Line Steam Gala. Temporary bracing components and fixings were used to make the frames and front buffer beam structurally sound. After the event, more substantial components will be used to ensure that correct alignment of the frames is achieved in conjunction with adjustable support stands to effectively comply with defined dimensions and tolerances for the mainframe assembly. This will be a temporary arrangement until correct frame stays become available.



Temporary assembly from September 11th

ready for display during the Llangollen Branch Line Steam Gala

From these successes, the B17 SLT now has its sights set on finalising the design definition of the drag box and frame stays followed by procurement, to progressively build up the static mainframe assembly.

The assistance and services provided by the Boro’ Foundry Ltd and The Llangollen Railway PLC are gratefully acknowledged by B17SLT.

Further information about the Spirit of Sandringham project and The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust may be obtained from the website at www.b17steamloco.com  or telephone 07527 670436.

April 2015

Giant of steam reborn 

Frames cut for a brand new class B17 steam locomotive bringing a legend of the rails back to life.

This is the moment our brand new B17 locomotive was born. Work was conducted at the profiling facility of Tata Steel in Wednesfield under the watchful eye of Tim Godfrey, grandson of the original locomotive designer Sir Nigel Gresley, who also performed the start- up ceremony on Wednesday 15th April. (see below).

Tim Godfrey presses the button to start the profiling process.

The steel plate was rolled to the required thickness and passed stringent tests at Tata’s rolling mills in Scunthorpe at the beginning of April. It was then released to the West Midlands plant to be profiled on a special purpose Viper Hypertherm profiling machine using gas burners. With a cutting speed of 1300mm per minute the cutting operation was remarkably fast.

Once cooled each frame plate was subject to dimensional checks to ensure that sufficient machining allowance was evident in conformance with the design specification. A successful result was achieved.

The two finished frames with Brian Hall and Ian Challis of TATA Steel in attendance.

Nameplate and number plate over the centre horn gap.

Next Steps

The frames will be delivered to The Boro’ Foundry also in the West Midlands where they will be fully machined and drilled. After successful machining, the frames will be delivered to The Llangollen Railway where construction is planned and where progress on the locomotive may be seen.

After the main frames and the buffer beam have been assembled in the correct orientation and position at the manufacturing centre then the next phase to manufacture the frame stays can begin and these are currently being CAD modelled in preparation. The first two items are the Drag Box (13193D) and the Frame stay and vacuum brake support (16227D) shown in red on the CAD prints above.


January 2015 


Since the last update there has been significant progress towards the purchasing of the locomotive mainframes. Several parallel processes are being worked to ensure design integrity of the frames before committing to manufacture.

Computer Aided Design (CAD) techniques are being used to create the design definition for the mainframes from a combination of the 1935 drawings available from the National Railway Museum (NRM) and the necessary improvements to ensure the locomotive is compliant with extant legislation.

Based on these CAD models we are now in possession of acceptable quotations for the rolling of the raw material and the subsequent profiling activity before delivery to another supplier for the detail machining operation. Funding is available to commit to these activities. However, before purchase orders can be raised on the chosen suppliers two other activities have to be completed and in place.

The first is that the completed machined mainframes have to be stored in the as built orientation to ensure they are not damaged or deteriorate over time of construction. (See manufacturing progress below.)

Secondly, an approved Vehicle Acceptance Body (VAB) has to conduct design scrutiny as part of the qualification for the Engineering Acceptance certificate to ensure that the design is compliant with the extant rail regulations. This activity is critical at all stages of the design, development and manufacturing of the locomotive without which approval to run the locomotive will not be granted. Wayne Jones and Partners Company Ltd. (WJP) has been chosen to be the VAB for the B17. WJP already provides VAB services to three other new build projects at Llangollen.

29 January 2015

Discussion of the design with WJP on the mainframes and buffer beam has been completed and approval to proceed has been given. Purchase orders are now being raised for the rolling and profiling of the mainframes with TATA Steel and the subsequent machining with The Boro' Foundry.


Before committing to the ordering of the mainframes a manufacturing/construction centre had to be decided upon. Preserved railways were reviewed to identify which of them had the necessary capability and this created a shortlist for further investigation. The outcome of this was the selection of the Llangollen railway to be our centre of manufacture due to their technical capability, capacity and willingness to take on board our project.

An initial meeting has taken place along with subsequent discussions resulting in a formal document agreeing the necessary terms and conditions being created. In the meantime the space for our mainframes is being cleared and the necessary supporting structure being made available.

 For more detail on these two items and the other frame stays please see "Sponsorship of Components"