Event Reports

Colne Valley Railway Miniature Steam Gala - 14/15th May 2022
The first visit to the Colne Valley Railway for some time. This was the CVR's first Miniature Railway Steam Gala and attracted a lot of visiting locomotives and visitors. Our stand was up on the 'main line' platform 2 and not with views of the miniature versions, although we could hear them, but we had good views of 3193 Norfolk Regiment as she provided a regular service up and down the line for the visitors. The weather was sunny and warm on the Saturday and most people enjoyed rides in the tube wagon, but Sunday was colder and, at times damp, but that didn't stop our intrepid raffle ticket seller from being ready for action. Thanks to Larry Sampson, John Barnes and Jenny Pearson for helping manning the stand.
B17E gazebo 140522 reduced The new B17 Enterprises' gazebo on its first outing.
The Colne Valley's steam offering this year - 3193 Norfolk Regiment hired in Bressingham. Norfolk Regiment 140522 reduced
CTL Seal Open Day - 23rd April 2022
CTL Seal opened their doors for members of the two new build projects (Our own B17 'Spirit of Sandringham' and 'Hengist', a Clan class) hosted by them, to view the progress being made and the facilities on offer to members of both groups. We were fortunate in getting our cleaned and primed chassis back onsite the day before (good planning!) along with one of the cast Driving Wheels on loan from William Cook - after the day it will returned to William Cooks for final testing, but it looks excellent and was the subject of many positive remarks.
With a new banner on both sides of the chassis proclaiming 'Being Made in Sheffield', a full display on our branded products and with plenty of information about the project, Larry Sampson, John Barnes, and our North East Area Group Leader Nick Illingworth, were keep busy answering questions and selling both product and raffle tickets. An excellent day was had by all.
Chassis and stand 220422 A close view of the stand with new banner on the frames.
Larry Sampson and Nick Illingworth after finishing the setting up on 22nd April. Primed chassis stand 2 220422
London Festival of Railway Modelling - 18th / 19th March 2022

The Trust had a stand at this year’s London Festival of Railway Modelling, the first time we have attended this particular show at Alexandra Palace and always a wonderful venue to attend. At the centre of the stand was our Spirit of Sandringham nameplate and an O gauge model of the loco. At 9.30 the doors opened and the hall filled up fast. All morning we were kept busy, selling our branded products and talking about the progress of the build. We have a good story to tell of our progress re moving steadily towards turning the static chassis into a rolling 0-6-0, with the various castings being readied for machining, the driving wheels now being cast and the steel forgings for the tyre and the plain axles all just ordered – a lot of good news to tell. The afternoon quietenedLFORM 2022 day 2 down number wise around the show but again some excellent conversations. One highlight was when two guys from across the ‘pond’ started to discuss the project with us, wanting an update; they were already aware of the project and it transpired they were two model railway engineers working with Sir Rod Stewart, our patron. Having worked with Rod on his US layout, they had then helped recently get it transported to the UK and were now helping set it back up. We hope they enjoyed the show and were impressed with the progress we are making.

On the Sunday, the volume of visitors to the show was down on Saturday’s, but we were still busy, talking about the project, selling products and, of course, the raffle tickets which did a roaring trade. Visitors included a representative from the Patriot Project, who are now having their driving wheels recast using the supplier we are using, and the President of the Clan Project, with whom we share facilities at CTL Seal.

A successful good two days with good sales, interest and new membership. My thanks to Larry Sampson, John Barnes and Richard Tremaine for support on Saturday, and to Geoff Starns, Eddie Savage and John again on Sunday. Setting and taking down was accomplished speedily with their help and the stand looked excellent.

John Pearson

Buntingford Railway and Local History Society - Project Update 18th March 2022
Our Chairman presented a project update to 19 Members of the Buntingford Railway and Local History Society during the evening of Friday 18th March 2022 held at their usual Meeting Room venue at The Crown PH in Buntingford High Street. This represented a third visit to this local group following on from the last presentation given in October 2015. The breadth of subjects covered included the manufacture of components for the static mainframe and its subsequent construction, and the control regime introduced to fulfil Rail Industry Standards and Safety requirements. The transfer of the project base to CTL Seal Ltd, in Sheffield was explained and the development and manufacturing status for the rolling chassis illustrated, including support provided to the fundraising appeals in relation to this important phase by B17 Members and the general public. The meeting concluded with Qs & As about the experiences and benefits obtained by young people and B17SLT, arising from the introduction of learning opportunities. These use structured teaching materials covering Science, Design and Technology subjects as part of the curriculum for year 11 and 12 students, developed in conjunction with STEM at five trial schools in Essex. Emerging opportunities to work with engineering undergraduates and teaching staff from Sheffield University were also outlined focussed upon relevant engineering challenges associated with operating steam hauled services on the modern railway. A vote of thanks was expressed with continued success for the Spirit of Sandringham project by the Secretary of the 'host' society to close the evening meeting.

Central Railway's Winter Steam Gala – 28th - 30th January 2022

The traditional “curtain raiser” for the year was again at Loughborough Central on the Great Central Railway. With eight steam locomotives hauling a variety of passenger and freight trains to an extensive timetable and fantastic atmospherics, the weekend spectacular did not disappoint. The home fleet consisted of GWR Hall class No. 6990, LMS Ivatt 2 No. 46521, Stanier 8F No. 48305 and BR Stds. Nos. 73156, 78018 and 92214. Guest engines were 34072 ‘257 Squadron’ and Standard 4 Tank 80080. Passenger turns with double heading provided by Nos. 34072 and 73156 were classics and reminiscent of steam on the Southern region at holiday times.

Trains were full or nearly full on all three days. This was reflected in our sales of merchandise and models etc which set a new record for any event we have attended there. There certainly wasn’t time to feel the cold as we dealt with a constant stream of visitors who wished to find out more about the production of the coupled wheels the project and other related items to be manufactured. Thanks to our visiting members who also stopped by to say “hello” and obtain an update.

Lionel and Mary Lusby (members) displayed examples of full size replica “footballer” B17 nameplates with interchangeable letters (magnetic) and coloured decals, complete with the half a football (metal) affixed in place. This was demonstrated by Leicester City and a quick changeover to Doncaster Rovers. Full size replica shedplates complemented the display. Further examples of miniature replica B17 nameplates were also included to demonstrate the types of finish produced. Thanks are offered to Lionel and Mary for kindly displaying these items during the Saturday.

Louthborough Stand 290122 The stand at Loughborough - smart as usual and, by all accounts, did a roaring trade, as well as excellent publicity for the Trust and our project. 

 An example of a full size replica splasher namepate of a 'Footballer' - 61665 'Leicester City'.

The system allows any 'Footballer' nameplate to be easily created for display purposes and is intended to help the Trust promote its project at football related events.

Full Size replica plate 290122

Brian Hall and Richard Allsop were present on all three days supported by Richard Taylor on Friday and Saturday, Frank Carter on Saturday.

Central Railway's 'Last Hurrah' 2021 - 20th / 21st November 2021

The ‘Last Hurrah’ was our last main event of a very curtailed year of stand activities with Covid restrictions having led to many of the events we normally attend being cancelled. Always good, though, to be back at the Great Central for this particular event which featured six engines from the home fleet in steam working to a busy timetable. 

Brian Hall, Richard Taylor and Richard Allsop manned the stand on the Saturday with Brian holding the fort on his own for most of the Sunday until the bitterly cold weather forced him into an early retreat. A very worthwhile weekend though, with a good return from sales of our branded merchandise and models etc, particularly on the Saturday.

The draw for our 2021 Grand Prize Draw was held on the Saturday afternoon – see photo below – winning tickets are shown on our Donations page.

Chairman Brian Hall, Raffle Promoter Richard Taylor with the Great Central's Loughborough Station Master Keith Franklin drawing the winning tickets. 2021 raffle draw

Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway – 40th Anniversary Gala 6th / 7th November 2021

The GWSR held this two-day mixed traction gala as a finale to the railway’s 40th Anniversary, with eight locomotives operating – four steam (including the splendid looking Merchant Navy 35006 ‘P&O’), four diesels plus a DMU with an intensive timetable that included a freight train. The railway also opened the doors of its David Page steam shed at Toddington in which a number of stands were located, including our own B17 publicity and sales stand. It felt a very appropriate location for the various steam groups represented!

Glos and Warwicks Gala Glos and Warks Steam 071121

The Saturday was particularly busy with a continual stream of visitors walking through the shed past the trade stands, having stopped off from the journeys up and down the line. Sunday was a bit quieter, but still provided us with a reasonable amount of interest and business. Overall, it was particularly successful event for us with receipts being at a very good level – donated model railway items selling particularly well – and a good number of discussions held with people interested in finding out more about our project.

The team comprised Richard Taylor and David Hancox on both days, plus Eddie Savage on the Saturday and Carol Hancox on the Sunday. Thanks to all with a special thank you to Eddie who made a round trip from Essex to be with us.

As well as being successful for B17 SLT, the weekend worked out well for the GWSR with almost 2000 people buying tickets and for the first time online ticket sales exceeding those bought on the day.

National Road Roller Association Talk - Peter Wright 16th October 2021

On Saturday 16th October 2021, Peter Wright of the Cambs and Fens Area Group was guest speaker at a National Road Roller Association meeting at St. Wendreda's church hall, March. He was invited to talk about the history of March as a railway town, but concluded with a resume of B17 locomotive history. The Trust was rewarded with a suitable donation towards the B17 project.

Great Central Railway Autumn Steam Gala - 30th September to 3rd October

Notes from Brian Hall: Another live steam extravaganza! This time consisting of 10 working steam locomotives and a dmu 3-car set organised by the GCR Team. Our promotional stand was present at Loughborough throughout, manned by our Chairman with members Richard Allsopp (full time), Lionel Lusby and Eddie Savage. Operational locomotives were GWR 3802 and 6990, LMS 45305, 46521 and 48305, Hunslet Austerity 68067 and BR Standards 73156, 78018, 92134 and 92214. Every day was busy with visitor numbers increasing daily and thankfully the weather was good despite the adverse weather predictions beforehand. It was a pleasure to meet and greet some of our visiting members and many friends after more than 18 months away from the special atmosphere that characterises Loughborough. Our attendance at The Last Hurrah during the third weekend of November is assured, when the draw of the five winning tickets will take place on Saturday 20th. Let's hope that conditions are favourable for the Winter Steam Gala at the end of January too?

Epping & Ongar Steam Gala - 11/12 September 2021

This local event for the Essex Group was held over two days at North Weald station. The railway had an intensive steam service in operation with three GWR locomotives in steam - Hall Class 4953 ‘Pitchford Hall’ looking splendid, Prairie 5600 Class 5619 and 5700 class Pannier 5786 (L92) in London Transport livery.

Our stand was located close to the bus stop where passengers alighted from the ex LT buses that the railway runs from both Epping and Shenfield/Ongar to connect with trains. This meant that business ebbed and flowed with the arrival and departure of buses, but was pleasantly brisk on both days for the B17 SLT stand team. We had a good range of new and old product which sold well, with many discussions held with people interested to hear about the project. On Saturday, the B17 team comprised Richard Taylor, John Pearson, John Barnes and Larry Sampson. On the Sunday, Richard Taylor and the two Johns were joined by Jenny Pearson and Eddie Savage. 

The station refreshment kiosk was a definite attraction for the team, with the cream teas that were on the menu being a particular favourite!

EppingOngar stand 110921

The stand as just set up. The visitors have yet to arrive!



Photo by J Pearson

A good weekend – many thanks to the E & O for the opportunity to attend and also for the loan of a gazebo.

Ipswich Station – EUR 175 Steam Dreams trips 14/15 August 2021

The weekend of 14th and 15th August saw Suffolk playing host to a series of steam specials arranged by Steam Dreams to mark the 175th anniversary of the opening of the Eastern Union Railway.

Three trips were planned for each day with trains hauled by B1 locomotive Mayflower all passing through Ipswich station. The Saturday trips began at Colchester with two round trips to Bury St Edmunds and a round trip to Norwich in the evening tour, whilst the Sunday ones began at Ipswich with the evening trip from Colchester. 

B17 SLT, with the kind support of Greater Anglia, had been given permission to host our stand in the foyer of Ipswich station on both days. We were set up well in advance of the first timed train on both days and then had a steady stream of interested passengers stopping by to find out more about the project or to browse and buy items of merchandise. We all had the opportunity to see Mayflower coming through the station on the trains. 

On the Sunday, Steam Dreams had to revise plans for the first trip of the day following repairs needed to Mayflower at Colchester, which meant this trip only consisted of a return trip between Ipswich and Colchester with the second locomotive diesel 47 772 pulling the train both ways between Ipswich and Colchester with Mayflower at the back. Ipswich station also had its own problems with all toilet facilities out of action on Sunday afternoon because of a water leak!

Mayflower was not as expected renamed Ipswich Town for the weekend but hopefully another time!

A rewarding weekend for B17 SLT – thanks to Geoff Starns and Eddie Savage for support on the Saturday and Larry Sampson and John Pearson on the Sunday.

Richard Taylor  

Helmingham Festival of Classic Car and Sports Cars – 1st August 2021

Sunday 1 August saw us back at Helmingham Hall for their Festival of Classic and Sports Cars. As with our first visit in 2019, we were delighted to be joined by Roger Williams (and his wife Gay) and his 5” model of 61647 ‘Helmingham Hall’ which was displayed alongside our stand. 

A very full day with a start on site of 7.15. We were set up by 8.30 just as the large collection of exhibitors’ cars were being assembled ahead of the opening to the public. The weather remained fair for most of the day apart from some brief showers of rain. This did not affect the attendance which was high throughout. Our stand displayed our now extensive range of branded merchandise, together with a number of second hand items plus our promotional literature. Also attracting attention was  our own donated ‘Helmingham Hall’ nameplate which was proudly displayed on a purpose built trestle. Business was brisk and a good amount was raised from the sale of products and raffle tickets. There was plenty of interest shown in our project by visitors who stopped to find out more and to admire Roger Williams’ model which itself acted as a big draw to the stand.

Helmingham Hall 2021 5 inch 61647 2021
The Helmingham Hall stand 2021 5" fully working model of 61647 Helmingham Hall

The Festival itself was a marvellous event with hundreds of beautifully restored cars on display - it was all too easy to be distracted!

Our thanks to the Helmingham Hall Estate for the help in arranging the visit and their assistance. Thanks also go to Brian Hall, Richard Taylor, Larry Sampson and John Barnes who were the team for the day. 

St. Peter's Church, March, Craft Fair - 17th July

From a clear blue sky, the sun blazed down all morning. The number of persons attending was noticeably lower than on the previous visit. I suspect that some will have ventured to the coast and other older persons will have been detered by the hot conditions. The event was sponsored by a member and receipts for the morning were worthwhile and welcome.

Peter Wright

Yaxley Village Festival - 19/20th June

After the disappointment caused by the cancellation of 'Flying Scotsman's' excursion to Cambridge and Norwich on Thursday 17th June, and the abandonment of plans to be present at Cambridge that day, the opportunity to attend the Yaxley Village Festival was a welcome opportunity two days later. 

The site of the festival was in the Guides/Scouts field on the outskirts of the village, a pleasant wooded location. A permanant amenity block provides good facilities for visitors. The security fence surrounding the field and an overnight security presence gave the Trust's members confidence when leaving the gazebo and tables unattended on site.

Thankfully, the threat of heavy thunderstorms did not materialise. Dry but overcast conditions did not deter the local villagers from attending.

Visitor numbers on Saturday morning were low, but this gradually grew and kept the Trust's members busy talking about B17s and the project to build a new one. Interest from the public was rewarded by a steady stream of purchases and modest donations. Humerous incidents were from a gentleman who bought two raffle tickets and said to keep the change from the 20 euro note that was offered, and the photograph of the replica B17 nameplate 'Champion Lodge' posed in front of a minature traction engine.

Total receipts achieved would certainly warrant a further visit to this non railway site. Many thanks to Steve Halford for attending throughout the two day event and to Richard, Joan Munns and Brian Hall for assisting with the transport of the stock and promotional support and also to the anonymous member who generously funded the pitch fee.

Peter Wright.

Stonham Barns Steam and Vintage Display – 22nd May 2021

A new event for the B17 SLT and the first event since before the initial lockdown in March 2020. We were positioned in a smart inside venue within the main Stonham Barns showground (situated near Stowmarket) having ample space to fully display our publicity stand and merchandise - pictured below. Despite attendance at the festival being adversely affected by the cold and windy weather, we had a fair number of visitors to the stand in the morning although numbers tailed off in the afternoon. The team of Richard Taylor, John and Jenny Pearson and John Barnes soon got back into the swing of setting up the stand, engaging with visitors and making sales of merchandise, model railway items and raffle tickets. It was great to resume normal business and the first of what we hope will be a number of events we attend during the rest of 2021!

Stonham Barns 230521

Talks 2021

Due to the continuing restrictions due to Covid-19, the Trust has continued to give presentations using Zoom.

The following have occured so far:

January 8th - Talk to Hertford U3A

January 21st - Talk to the South East Essex Railway Society (SEERS)

March 18th - Chelmsford U3A Science group

May 6th - Talk to the Ilkley U3A transport group. This had been widened to other U3As and we had an audience of about 90 people.

All the U3A talks came as requests, following an article by Trust Director John Peat in the U3A national magazine, and has shown the wide interest nationally in the project. Two more are booked and another is at the enquiry stage.

Zoom Talks 2020 - to the North East Railway Association (21st November) and the South Essex branch of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (2nd December).

Two talks have been recently given by Brian Hall, John Pearson and Larry Sampson. Using Zoom to deliver the talks remotely, both groups fielded over 50 members to listen, and ask questions regarding the origin of the project, our past achievements and the construction progress so far, the recent move from Llangollen to Sheffield and the plans for the future.

Nene Valley Railway - 'Swindon 70' Event - 7th/8th March 2020

To commemorate 70 years since the last Pannier was built and left Swindon works, B17 SLT attended the ‘Swindon 70’ event organised by the NVR on the 7th/8th March. Pannier 4612 from the Bodmin & Wenford Railway was booked and re-numbered as Pannier 6779 for the weekend - 6779 being the last pannier built at Swindon. Also running during the weekend were NVR’s two class 14 diesels, this class having replaced the Panniers on their withdrawal.

As usual, the B17 SLT stand was located in the marquee on the platform at Wansford station. A full timetable meant plenty of action, although attendance on both days was on the low side. However, our stand attracted a lot of attention and the Sunday in particular resulted in a good level of merchandise sales.

Thanks to Brian Hall and Richard Taylor for manning the stand on the Saturday and to Peter Wright and Steve Halford for manning the stand on the Sunday.

In view of the worsening coronavirus crisis, B17 SLT will not be attending any events for the foreseeable future. 

Great Central Railway Winter Steam Gala 24-26th January

Brian Hall and Richard Allsopp attended the three day Loughborough event as usual; a good number of members turned up at various times during the weekend to give their support. Visiting engines were the K1 2005, usually at work in the Highlands and, perhaps the star of the show, the North Eastern Railway steam railcar dating from 1903 and now diesel powered. Every trip it made it was packed to bursting point. The third loco was 4953 Pitchford Hall, courtesy of Epping & Ongar Railway (still running in) and no doubt retained with permission for the Winter Steam Gala.
These locos were supplemented by eight of the GCR's own stud making a wonderful spectacle in very atmospheric conditions. The eight locos from the GCR fleet operating were:- GWR No. 6990 Witherslack Hall, LMS Stanier Class 5 No.45305, Ivatt 2 No. 46521, Fowler Jinty No. 47406, Stanier 8F No. 48305, BR Std's 5 No. 73156, 2MT No. 78018 and 9F No. 92214.
The public turned out in force and our takings for the weekend were a record for this event at Loughborough.   
Loughborough Winter 2020 Brian Hall manning the stand at Loughborough with a whole family of our Sandy Bear.
London Model Engineering Exhibition - 17-19th January 2020

Having attended this premier show for the first time in 2019, it was great to be back. The stand looked fantastic, with our newly designed popup banners, new table banners and the whole range of product introduced during 2019 - none of which was available for that first show in 2019.

Ally Pally 2020

Back also were the lapel badges, which became a much sort after offering. During the three days, we were talking non stop to interested visitors about the project and the time just flew by. We received much encouragement in the project, as well as selling a good amount of product, along with some very generous donations and collecting email addresses for our update service.

The stand featured the Spirit of Sandringham nameplate, and an O gauge model of a B17, courtesy of Richard Tremaine.

As noted last year, setup and takedown in such a large exhibition hall can be hard work, but the management enabled a speedy turnaround.

Thanks to all those who helped cover the three days - Richard * 2, Eddie, Larry, Geoff, John and Jenny.

Great Central Railway's Last Hurrah - 16/17th November 2019

As usual the B17 SLT was present at this event, with the stand manned by chairman Brian Hall, assisted by event manager Richard Taylor and Richard Allsopp. This year, the event was the venue for the draw of the Trust's very first raffle. Our thanks to all who purchased tickets and to the winners, and better luck next year to those who didn't win this year. Finally, a thank you to the sponsors of the two special prizes, to Abellio Greater Anglia and to the Great Central Railway.

The winners were:

1st (£250) - Neil Cram. Neil lives in March.

2nd (£150) - Roger Jocelyn. Roger purchased the ticket at a meeting of the Chelmsford Model Railway Club.

3rd (£100) - Albert Milwain. Albert purchased the ticket on the Mayflower Steam Special out of of Liverpool Street in July.

Greater Anglia 1st Class Tickets - John Hills. John bought the ticket at Chelmsford Railway Station for the 90th anniversary event.

Great Central Railway Footplate Ride - Paul Harris. Paul bought the ticket at the 90th anniversary event held at Cambridge station.

 Raffle Draw 161119 Draw being performed by Keith Franklin, stationmaster at Loughborough.

Royston Model Railway Exhibition - 16th November 2019

The last Model Railway exhibition for this year. Another new event for the B17 SLT, but a very worthwhile one. The usual display was set up in an excellent location, and was kept busy all day selling the usual pruduct lines but the second hand models that had been donated to the Trust went exceedingly well. The exhibition was well organised and very well attended - probably the best we have attended this year. My thanks to all the members who helped on the stand (Frank, Mick and Eddie, plus arry and Jenny as seen below, and to those who said hello on the day. 

Larry Sampson and Jenny Pearson took Sandy to visit the Royston show. An excellent day out with the new design pens selling very well, as did the second hand models.

Photo by John Pearson

Royston show 171119

Ipswich Model Railway Exhibition - 9th November 2019

A new event for the B17 SLT, after it was decided to increase publicity in Suffolk. An excellent venue that kep us busy all day. We were allocated a central position, right by the catering, so were able to judge when to join the queue when it was shortest, for the important topups of tea! Much interest was shown by the visiting public and sales of product, donated models and raffle tickets were excellent, aided by Eddie's key positioning! Thanks also to John Pearson, Richard Taylor and Geoff Starns.

Geoff manning at Ipswich MRE 091119

Product and models all laid out. Geoff is ready for business aided by Sandy, or is it the other way around?

Photo by John Pearson








 Liverpool Street Station 90th Anniversary Display - 10 October 2019

This was the final date of our 90th Anniversary station display programme for 2019 and a fitting location, following our attendance this year at ten Greater Anglia stations as well as at Kings Cross.

We had a prime position on the main concourse just to the side of the information point opposite platforms 8 and 9. Network Rail required us to be set up by 7am  - Richard Taylor and Geoff Starns had the early alarm call here, and on site until 7pm. Whilst a long day it was very worthwhile with many discussions held, a new member signed up and a number of donations made. It was notable that in the morning a good number of ladies stopped by and took literature for their husband/grandfather/son. Interest waned at the evening rush, as people seemed more keen on catching their train home!

Thanks also to Frank Carter, Jeff Jackson and Joshua Cooper for their help during this long day and to Network Rail both here and at Kings Cross for the advice and help provided.

Liverpool Street 101019 Joshua

A high level view of the stand's location on the concourse.

Spot Jeff and Frank to the left. Spot Jeff and Geoff to the right.

I also see Sandy lurking at the top of the display!

Photos by Joshua Cooper and Richard Taylor.

Liverpool Street 101019

Alysham Model Railway Exhibition - 5th October 2019

This show is held in 2 sites around Aylsham with a connecting bus service operated by a London Transport Routemaster Bus. We were allocated a spot in the foyer of the Bure Valley Railway station, which was ideal as everyone walked past us. Sandy was kept very busy all day long selling, primarily model railway equipment, and we achieved a very pleasing result!

Setting up - plenty of models and B17 product lines for sale. Aylsham 051019

If anyone has any model railway equipment they no longer require, we would be very pleased to receive it for the Trust.

Chelmsford Station 90th Anniversary Display - 3rd October 2019

An excellent position on the concourse just between the entrance and exit to the ticket hall. After establishing where the station supervisor wanted us to go, the stand was swiftly erected and then we were kept busy, especially in the morning, answering questions from the travelling public and the station staff, about the project.

An excellent day; John Pearson, Larry Sampson and Richard Taylor were busy all day. Our thanks to the staff staff for all their help and encouragement.

 Chelmsford station 90th 031019 The stand at Chelmsford Station. Sandy seems to have become a regular feature, and one member of the station staff purchased a cousin of his.

Southend Victoria Station 90th Anniversary Display - 25th September

Southend Victoria is the terminus of a busy commuter line to Liverpool Street. The B17 team were able to set up their display in the spacious concourse. Southend was not quite as busy as some of the mainline stations on the anniversary tour, but the team of Mick Scott, Frank Carter and Eddie Savage were accompaniedSuffolk Regiment Badge by the new B17 Sandy mascot teddy bear. Sandy encouraged sufficient members of the public to buy raffle tickets and make donations to the Trust to make the event worthwhile. The local train crew manager and his staff, based at the station were most supportive.

Undoubtedly the star exhibit of the day was the military that had once adorned the splasher of B17 No. 2845/61645 'The Suffolk Regiment'. This had been loaned to the Trust for the day by a supportive member of the local public and will be made available again for future suitable events.

Colchester Station 90th Anniversary Display - 19th September 2019

Another Abellio Greater Anglia station hosting our stand for the day. As before a range of promotional items, the main display and a good number of discussions with interested parties and a great time. Sandy appeared again - it is rare now for him to miss a show anywhere in the country.

The three stalwarts at Colchester Colchester 90th 1
Colchester 90th 2

JB with Sandy and his friend - twin or cousin, we don't know!


Photos by Tony B

10th Anniversary of Friends of March Station (FoMS) - 7th September 2019

A display on the up platform by invitation of the Friends of March Station, who celebrated their 10th anniversary. To promote the event, with the consent of FoMS and Greater Anglia Railway, letters from the Trust in the local press encouraged local people to attend and place copper coins on the platform round the base of a canopy support column. Although the financial benefits of this may not have been significant, it certainly generated interest and good will in the project. Members of the local community were handing in coins in advance and some junior visitors delighted in raiding their parents' pockets to add to the square. At the close, there was an area of copper coins, closely spaced on the platform covering an area of approximately 14 sq. ft. This virtually administered itself. Among the coins donated were a couple that may raise considerably more than their face value - If eBay is to be believed! Our thanks to all those who donated coins

There was disappointment that an excursion train scheduled to be hauled by LMS pacific 46233, had to have a class 47 diesel substituted. But nevertheless, substantial interest in the project was shown by visitors, who included several B17 SLT members and receipts were almost equivalent to Wednesday. Surprise visitor to the event was Alan Neville, of Greater Anglia's management team. Furthermore, local enthusiast, James Mears, offered some hitherto un recorded details of B17 history.


March ring of pennies Ring of Pennies
Andy McKewan-Wright - fireman from Ferryhill shed (Aberdeen) talks to Peter about the superior Gresley engines in Scotland Ferryhill fireman talking to PW

March Railway Station 90th Anniversary display - 4th September

As part of the B17 90th. anniversary tour B17 SLT had a promotional stall on March down platform. Two recently acquired wooden tables were deployed to good effect.

Considerable interest was shown in the B17 SLT by the local station users and some generous donations and purchases made. Among prominent people that were spoken to were the Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, a small party of enthusiasts visiting from Hull and Andy McKewan-Wright, a former Ferryhill (Aberdeen) footplate man who talked about the superiority of Gresley's engines, Royal train activities at Ballater and enginemen feeding fish that lived in the water tanks of local engines. Andy has offered to donate some surplus model railway equipment to the Trust.

Norfolk Steam Gala - 30th August - 1st September

A good number of visitors supported the three day steam gala in fine weather and thankfully without the intensive heat and humidity on this occasion. Frank Carter, Edward Savage, Steven Halford and our chairman were kept busy on promotional duty located with the B17 stand on Platform 2 of Sheringham Station.

The home fleet of five steam locomotives, supported by two visiting engines were rostered over the three days consisting of :-

     Home Fleet                                                 Visitors

LNER B12 No. 8572                              GWR Pannier Tank No. 9466

GER Y14 No. 564                                  BR Std 4 2-6-4T No. 80078

BR Std 4 2-6-0 No. 76084

BR Std 9F 2-10-0 No. 92203 Black Prince

WD 2-8-0 Austerity No. 90775 Royal Norfolk Regiment

Thanks to twelve members and supporters of B17 SLT who visited the stand to say “Hello” during the weekend.

Mangapps Railway Museum - 26th August 2019

Yet another hot day saw us further south in Essex, helping to celebrate the 30th Anniversay of this unique Railway Museum, but this time inside in the cool of their latest large building (well, until the afternoon, when even inside became very warm!). To celebrate, the most locomotives ever seen in action at Mangapps had been gathered, some residents and some brought back from other locations, including a BR Standard Class 4 2-6-4T 80078 which I last saw at the Swanage Railway. As at the Colne Valley the previous day, we were kept busy talking about B17s and selling our range of merchandise. As at the Colne Valley, we had on display the Helmingham Hall nameplate we own, but as Mangapps itself has 5 B17 nameplates, ours meant 6 were on a single site - perhaps for the first time since all the locomotives were cut up in those sad days of the early 1960s. Thanks to Frank and Jeff for helping man the stand.

Stand at Mangapps 280819 80078 at Mangapps 280819

Colne Valley Railway Transport Day - 25th August 2019

A hot sunny day saw the B17 SLT in the heart of GE country at the Colne Valley Railway on their Transport day. The railway was offering a full timetable with 0-6-0 190 and the 'Bubble' car providing a frequent service, whilst the miniature railway was running 2 trains almost non stop all day. We had our usual array of literature and goods for sale, supplied for the first time by the 2020 calendar - a first for our Trust.  We were kept busy throughout the day answering questions regarding our new build project, as well as selling our merchandise and raffle tickets. As usual Sandy was present and he was delighted to have a ride on the Bubble. Our thanks to the Colne valley for being superb hosts, to the Bubble train crew; it was great to see this Heritage railway back progressing forward with its new shop, carpark, and newly opened extended museum, after an uncertain future now made secure by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Stand at CVR 250819 Sandy in the Bubble at the CVR 190 at CVR 250819

Bishops Stortford Station 90th Anniversary Display - 21st August

On the day of our visit to Bishop's Stortford, a pair of automatic doors at the entrance to the down side booking office had failed; therefore the previously agreed site was revised and we cooperated with the station staff so as not to hamper the free movement of people using the station. We set up our stand behind the failed doors which was perhaps to our advantage as it gave us a very prominant position from which we were able to talk to the travelling public. Although the beginning of the day was quiet, toward mid afternoon and early evening, we engaged in some rewarding conversations and received some useful financial contributions.

Ipswich Station 90th Anniversary Display - 15th August 2019

Another day. Another station. John Pearson and Larry Sampson, supported by local members Nigel and Bev set up the display on the concourse and answered the travelling public's questions regarding the project and the progress so far. On display were the new product lines which proved popular. Many were surprised at the history of the locomotive, not realising it was designed for this very route, and were amazed and delighted to hear it was being reborn. Our thanks to Abellio Greater Anglia and the staff at Ipswich station.

Helmingham Hall Festival of Classic Car and Sports Cars - 4th August 2019

Sunday 4thAugust saw us attend a new kind of event for The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust – The Festival of Classic and Sports Cars at Helmingham Hall. Normally, we visit Heritage Railway Steam Galas and Model Railway, plus the Sandringham Flower Show due to the relationship with the name of the B17 class founder 61600 Sandringham. Attendance at this event came by way of an association with another locomotive; having been kindly donated last year the nameplate of B17 classmate 61647 Helmingham Hall, we had contacted the Tollemache family about the nameplate. After a discussion about the locomotive and its history of hauling King George V’s funeral train, the Tollemache family suggested the Classic Car show would be an excellent event to attend. And so it was!

An early start, and some complicated logistics, as we were advised to be there by 7.30, as the country roads around there start to get congested with all the cars arriving as well as the public; one member was therefore up at 4.30 - that’s dedication to the cause! Not only that, we had all our usual display stands, leaflets and merchandise, and two nameplates as well – both our own 61673 Spirit of Sandringham but also the one from 61647. Both weigh a ton (metaphorically speaking), but we were all set up by 9.00am, so a chance to rest, but also to briefly look at the accumulating array of beautifully restored cars.

The day was extremely busy at the show, with a good number of people clearly interested in not only classic cars, but of our new-build project as well. We had a beautiful 5” live steam model of Helmingham Hall on display, brought by Roger Williams and his wife Gay, members of Colchester's Model Engineers who build it over 15 years – this made an excellent addition to the stand, drew in the spectators, who then continued to talk to us about the project. By the end of the day we were exhausted, but were delighted that Edward Tollemache, who with his wife had visited us at the start of the show, returned at the end. We are grateful for the invite to attend and thanks the Helmingham Hall Estate for the help in arranging the visit. My thanks also to Brian Hall, Larry Sampson and Jenny Pearson for helping man the stand. John Pearson 

Helmingham Hall stand 522 model Helmingham Hall Helmingham nameplate and Edward Tollemache
 B17 SLT stand at Helmingham Hall  5" Live Steam model of 61647 Helmingham Hall  Stand and Edward Tollemache

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - March Steam and Vintage Fair - 3rd/4th August      

This two day event on a very spacious site attracted a wide range of exhibitors and traders. Items on show included steam traction engines both historical and working models, farm tractors and equipment, show horses, old motor cycles, cars and lorrys. Although the B17 SLT was the only railway promotion, it attracted a lot of attention. Visitors were generous in their purchases and donations, and thanks must be extended to Steven Neugebaur of Fen View Motors of March for his support and arrangements for our attendance.

Kings Cross Station - 90th Anniversary Event - 29th July 2019

The 90th anniversary events are coming thick and fast. This was the Trusts' first time manning a stand at Kings Cross on the concourse and having all watched the safety video, we were allowed to construct the stand. Manning was more complicated than for most events we viosit, as one has to be ready by 7am, take down is not allowed before 7pm, and no-one can do more than 12 hours, so a 2 shift system had to operate. Footfall was steady all day and many interesting conversations were had with members of the travelling puiblic, and as usual Trust members provided information about the historical aspects of B17s and the progress of the project. Several members managed to also come and chat, and it was good to update them on the progress of the project.

Of course, these days, no event is missed by Sandy, our mascot, and he insisted on taking pride of place on the stand at one time. He was even witness to a wonderful display of falconry, as a falcon is used by station staff to keep pigeons away, and very effective it seemed to be.

Our thanks to the staff of Network Rail for helping organise this event.

Kings Cross 2 290719

Sandy on Kings Cross stand 290719

Sandringham Flower Show - 24th July 2019

Pictured taking centre stage on the B17 SLT stand at the Sandringham Flower Show on 24 July is the 'A' Frame (built to a high specification by our own Peter Wright) displaying the recently donated Helmingham Hall nameplate, our Sprit of Sandringham nameplate and the B17 SLT headboard.

The event was held on a  day when the temperature soared early on and the intrepid team manning the stand of Brian Hall, Peter Wright, John Dewar, John Woodford and Richard Taylor were never far from a bottle of water.

Helped by the Helmingham Hall nameplate interest and a new brochure on the engine itself, the number of visitors to the stand through the day was steady but waned rapidly mid afternoon onwards as the heat drove people (and ourselves!) to the shade and a cooling ice cream. As always, this annual event was well received by all.

Sandringham Flower Show 290719

Norwich Station - 90th Anniversary events - 26th June, and 4th July

As part of the celebration of the 90th anniversary of B17s first year of running, the B17 SLT had two consecutive displays on Norwich station concourse. These were on Wednesday 26th June and Thursday 4th July. The second was added to the programme to coincide with the arrival at Norwich of 'Steam Dreams' special from Liverpool Street to Dereham and return, hauled by B1 class locomotive No. 61306 Mayflower. Both displays attracted the attention of both enthusiasts and members of the travelling public. Trust members provided information about the historical aspects of B17s and the progress of the project. Both events were successful in promoting the Trust, gaining new members and providing useful additional financial income.

The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust's Annual Member’s Day - Wednesday 12thJune 2019

Over 60 members and guests of The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust from across East Anglia gathered at Sheringham on Wednesday, to socialise and experience the North Norfolk Railway and its on board catering facilities provided on the excellent Dining Train.

Despite the damp overcast day, all the participants thoroughly enjoyed the occasion, which included visiting the Engineering works and the Museum. The Trust's directors stated that the day had been successful beyond their highest expectations, with significant funds raised towards the Rolling Chassis. On display for members was an example of all the latest products commissioned by B17 Enterprises Ltd, including the very popular Teddy Bear - shown enjoying the view!

NNR and Sandy enjoying the ride

At the end of the day, members gathered beside the 7F locomotive No 53809, which had carried the Trust's Locomotive Headboard throughout the day, for a courageously damp group photograph in the rain.

NNR B17 members gathering NNR B17 headboard Members Day Out 2019 1 NNR Members day out group  
Member's gathering at the start of the day B17 SLT Locomotive Headboard 7F Locomotive No. 53809              Group Photo  

Talk to Chelmsford Society of Model Engineers - 28th May 2019

Tuesday 28th May saw Larry Sampson and John Pearson setting up the displays at the above society's premises at Meteor Way in Chelmsford, to fulfil an invitation to talk about the B17 project. Armed with the usual display board, the 90th Anniversary leaflets and the latest in the range of promotional material commissioned by B17 Enterprises Ltd, Larry and John talked the scope of the project for about 75 minutes. During the tea interval, many questions were answered with regard to the project and feedback obtained with regard to the new merchandise.

CMES talk 280519

Larry Sampson at the end of the presentation at the CSME.

Photo by John Pearson

The latest presentation took the audience from why, through to the how, and the excellent progress we are making, noting that every step we take has the approval of the Rail Regulator, and was well received by the audience. A most enjoyable evening and we would like to thank our hosts for the warm welcome we received.

Gloucester Warwickshire Railway Festival of Steam - 25 - 27th May

B17 was well represented at this year’s three day event by Carol and David Hancox, Nicolas Wheatley, Gerry Bennett, Edward Savage and Brian Hall deployed with the gazebo and featuring our original B17 nameplate Helmingham Hall. Trains operated an intensive service between Broadway Station and Cheltenham Racecourse each day, conveying a full compliment of passengers enjoying the marvellous Cotswold countryside views, with stops at delightfully preserved GWR themed stations in mainly good weather.

The stand, showing Brian, Carol and David Hancox, the Helmingham Hall nameplate and the new merchandise. Gloucester Warwickshire 250519

Operations were expertly handled by the Steam Loco department with 7 engines in steam daily, whilst ‘Carriage and Wagon’ with resplendent rakes of GWR and BR coaches provided a thrilling and vibrant atmosphere of ‘full on action’. Engines represented all parts of the country viz: GWR 2847, 4207, 6023 and 7903; Southern 35006 sporting a Canberra headboard (flagship of P & O); LNER 1264 (B1 in lined black livery) and the Caley 0-4-4 Tank.

The Helmingham Hall nameplate raised comments from GWR enthusiasts some of whom were unaware that both the LNER and GWR had duplicated this name in their respective fleets – the LNER adopting the name for No. 2847 in September 1935 and the GWR some 7+ years later with No. 6947 in December 1942 (known as 4900 class). 

Nicolas Wheatley had kindly prepared and provided copies of an illustrated dossier about Class B17 No. 2847 Helmingham Hall and its service life on the GE and GC section of the LNER/BR, including the special duty involving hauling the funeral train of the late King George V from King’s Lynn to London King’s Cross on 23rdJanuary 1936. This is acknowledged with grateful thanks.

Essex and Southend Groups - Billericay Model Railway Group Show - May 2019    

This year the above Show was held in a new venue in a Community Centre in Billericay; previously it had been held in Great Baddow. Our Stand was manned by the Southend Group, Richard Taylor and Larry Sampson. We were fortunate enough to be offered a larger space than usual which was fortunate as we were able to display our new Merchandise in a creative manner. The Teddy Bear and Clock proved to be a great success. Our thanks must go to our volunteers from the Southend Group who worked very hard in order to almost double our takings from last year.

Jeff Jackson with Teddy Bears - a new product line this year. Jeff Jackson with Teddy Bears
Museum Railways and Transport Event Day - 4/5th May 2019

The B17 SLT's promotional stand supported the recent Railway Weekend at Lutterworth to celebrate the end of a classic railway era, by marking the 50th anniversary of the closure of Lutterworth's own railway station on 3rd May 1969, when the last vestiges of the former Great Central Railway finally closed between Rugby Central and Nottingham Arkwright Street. This two day event over the weekend of Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th May was jointly arranged by the Lutterworth Railway Society and Lutterworth Museum at the local Sports Centre in the town. Our stand was manned over both days by David Hancox and our Chairman, who spoke to many of the weekend visitors about The Spirit of Sandringham project and the presence of B17s working the GC section on the express services between London (Marylebone) and Manchester Central during the immediate pre war and post war periods. Our original Helmingham Hall nameplate formed a prominent part of the display, demonstrating an important link to the Great Central anniversary theme where this engine had worked out the majority of its service life before returning to East Anglia from 1951 until withdrawal at the end of 1959. Note how one of the photos of our display stand captures the nameplate and the late Dick Hardy on video when speaking about his experiences with B17s during a past interview.

Lutterworth 2019 1 Lutterworth 2019 2
Essex and Southend Groups - Ilford and West Essex MR Show - 27/28th April 2019    
We attended this Show on Saturday and Sunday 27 and 28th April 2019. The B17 stand was manned by the Essex and Southend Groups and thanks to everyone who helped. We were allocated a relatively large space for our stand and the number of visitors was a little disappointing. However, we managed to sell a number of books, photographs and some railway models. The new booklet on the 90th Anniversary of the Introduction of the B17s caused some comment and interest. Additionally, we managed to sell 18 books of raffle tickets on one day on the Sunday.
Suffolk Railway - Easter Steam - 21/22nd April 2019

This delightful and successful 2 day event was attended by the Trusts representatives (John Pearson and Larry Sampson on day 1, Richard Taylor on day 2, ably supported on both days by local member Nigel Ellis) who manned the stand in the waiting area of a lovingly restored building. With fine weather, two steam locomotives hauling 3 wonderful 4 wheeled coaches, the event was well attended and the Trust was able to discuss its aims and successes to many visitors, whilst selling its range of merchandise.

Mid Suffolk 210419 Local member Nigel Ellis on the stand

Our thanks to the hosts who extended to us a very warm welcome on both days.

90th Anniversary Event - Cambridge Station - 10th April 2019

Courtesy of Greater Anglia Railways, the Trust had a promotional display in the entrance to Cambridge railway station on Wednesday, 10th April. What a busy vibrant place Cambridge station is! Trust members spent a busy day talking to interested members of the public. Our effort to promote the SoS project was modestly successful, and members of the public rewarded us with some generous donations. A Italian gentleman on a business trip rewarded us with 7 Euros - so we could now claim to have gone European in our fund raising and promotion!

North Norfolk Railway Spring Gala 5th - 7th April 2019

Richard Taylor, Brian Hall and Eddie Savage manned the B17 SLT stand for this event on platform 2 at Sheringham station. On the Saturday, they were joined by Mick Scott, Frank Carter and Jeff Jackson, who travelled up from Essex by train to Cromer and then rail replacement bus to Sheringham, where a new platform is being constructed by Network Rail.

The first two days were OK weatherwise with sales of merchandise, books and particularly model items being very strong. However, the Sunday was a different story with thick fog and then rain which kept us under cover for most of the day. This also had the effect of severely limiting the attendance, but did lead to some very atmospheric sights as the smoke and steam mingled with the fog and rain. Plenty of discussions were had over the three days with interested visitors and also a number of members who stopped by to catch up with us.

Whilst special guest engine Caledonian Railway 0-4-4T No 419 (BR No 55189) was rightly billed as the star of the gala, the locomotive made its presence known in more ways than one. On the Friday, it caused a lineside fire or two, one of which required the presence of the fire brigade, and because of poor steaming did not run well for the rest of the day or on the Saturday.  It finally failed on Saturday afternoon and had to be towed back to the engine shed, causing serious delays to running. Investigations revealed a problem with the locomotive that could not be quickly repaired and it was therefore removed from Sunday’s service to be replaced by Class 20 diesel locomotive ‘Sherlock Holmes’.

The good line up of home fleet engines performed as expected. These included B12 8572, Y14 564, WD 90775, Standard 4 76084 and 7F 53809. 

An excellent event overall and as always a warm welcome was extended to us by the NNR.

Severn Valley Railway Spring Gala 15th - 17th March 2019

Richard Taylor and Brian Hall spent a very enjoyable three days at the SVR Spring Steam Gala manning the B17 SLT stand on platform 2 at Bewdley Station. Apart from some strong winds, especially on the Saturday, the weather for the event was in marked contrast with the previous year when the 'Beast from the East 2' had decided to make an appearance and prevented the stand from being mobilised on the Sunday.

The gala had a Welsh branch line theme, with visiting locomotives for the event being GWR Large Prairie No. 4144, GWR ‘Taffy Tank’ No. 5619, GWR Pannier No. 6430 and LNWR Coal Tank No. 1054. These were used alongside the home fleet locomotives including 1501, 7714, 2857, 7802 (Bradley Manor), and recently restored BR Standard 4 No.75069. In all, ten engines were in steam over the three days.

The event proved very popular with standing room only in a number of trains. Good interest was shown in the B17 stand with the sales of model items and raffle tickets attracting good interest alongside the usual range of B17 SLT merchandise. 

There was a hiccup in the scheduled services on the Saturday afternoon, when a broken point at Kidderminster marooned a set of coaching stock and closed one of the two platforms. However, the staff and volunteers dealt admirably with the problem, and had services running normally the following morning.

All in all, a great event. Thanks to the Bewdley station team under Stationmaster James Pearson, who could not have been more helpful.

London Model Engineering Exhibition 17th - 19th January 2019

Thursday 17thJanuary saw two Richards (Taylor and Tremaine) and Larry unloading and setting up the stand ready for this 3-day premier event in the Model Engineering calendar. For the first time, a photo of the setup was on the website before the event even started!

The display boards have been refreshed celebrating the 90th Anniversary of the first B17s to run in service; these were complemented by the ‘Spirit of Sandringham’ nameplate and Richard’s O gauge model of the same loco on its rolling road - a superb display. A range of our B17 merchandise was for sale, although the primary aim of attending the event was to raise awareness of the project. This aim was completed in full, as on all three days we were kept busy from start to finish talking about the project and answering questions; I certainly don’t think I have been kept as busy on a stand at any of the Heritage Galas and Model Railway shows I have attended, discussing the project for one day let alone all three, as at this event. We asked people to complete a contact form and many people were happy to oblige, so we have a good number of email addresses now that we can use to keep these visitors up to date with the project.

Tired we were at the end of day three, but the excellent logistics enabled breakdown to be completed speedily – within an hour of the event closing we were driving home exhausted but very happy, so efficient were the organisers and their staff. Certainly, a must do event for next year.

My thanks for all the support with this, from Brian facilitating the transport of the nameplate so we could use it, to the two Richards, Larry Sampson, Eddie Savage, John Barnes, John and Jenny Pearson for sharing the task of answering all these questions from the show’s visitors. 

LMEE 2019 stand

Report and photos by John Pearson

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 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.