News and latest progress
News on the progress of the New Build No.567 and other developments will be posted on these pages.
26 July, 2020 - Progresses during lockdown - As we are reopening the workshops at the GCRN, Ruddington, work has continued at a pace during the lockdown.
The group's ability to design and source using industry, much of which is now open has allowed great progress to be made
Of course our supporters continue to get the news first in our quarterly newsletter, one we are preparing at this time.
We offer the image to the right as a small teaser.
10 May, 2020 - Machining & Planning - As we find ourseves in lockdown, some working in critical industries at some risk, some working from home, some furloughed some interesting things have happened with the 567 project.
1: The people joining our Facebook group seems to be rising, the amount of interest in the project increases.
2: The group has more time to plan and structure ourselves, an evening of strategic planning late February ensured we were all as committed to the project as ever and agreed a forward direction to move the project forward.
3: Our supporters continue to surprise us with their generosity.
Of course our supporters continue to get the new first in our quarterly newsletter, we hope to announce some significant positive news shorty on a number of fronts
10-May,2020 ctd- Progress was brisk in the machine shop in January and February despite the winter weather.
Previously the group had progressed the slipper blocks and the complex valve spindle guide from the motion, the main horn guides and had the bogie horn guide casting received from the groups own pattern.
Add to that the plate-work from the bogie side-plates and the rear steps, it seemed as is we had a lot of components in progress. We have continued to progress these items, whilst bringing machine tools back into service to support their economic manufacture. Many thanks to Mike Fairburn and Ken Harrison for moving this all forward.
Not to be outdone the engineering and design has progressed. The front and rear drag-boxes getting close to completed drawings, with diversions into the rather iconic splashers resulting in a draft good enough to price up. Mike Fairburn's fabrication skills may be deployed when we are ready.
So time to press on, we have a locomotive to build! So please look forward to the time when the GCR 567 Locomotive will once again grace the rails of the Great Central, hauling restored GC stock, recreating the Victorian Mainline Express
11 Jan, 2020 - Happy New Year - With the end of 2019 now 11 days ago it is a time for reflection and regrouping.
The group has continued to make steady progress with regular meetings between the Chairman Andrew Horrocks-Taylor and the Chief Engineer Mike Fairburn. A decision was made that as we had no clear replacement for Dennis we would prioritise the construction of the locomotive ahead of our general communications. This may have given the impression the group was not active. Nothing could be further from the case.
As some of our volunteers miss our updates on the website and the occasional press article that results; we have decided to restart our website communications. The Chairman will take on this responsibility and expect more frequent updates from now on.
The main constraint to GCR 567 Locomotive communications still applies. Our paying supporters get the information first, then it goes on here and social media
I attach a picture of our open day, the first once since the Chairman returned from the USA and the attendance of our supporters was greatly appreciated.
I commit to improve my website posting skills and even get the mobile app working to make updates more efficient. In the meantime I wish all our supporters, whether you be formal or informal, a very Happy New Year, one where we look to the future with an increased confidence
We have to update our supporters with 2019 progress, then expect a fresh post here in February and lets be clear, locomotive 567 is being manufactured and will be on GCR rails at the soonest opportunity.
7 July, 2019 - Goodbye to Dennis - It is with great regret we have to inform the passing of our GCR 567 Locomotive Treasurer Dennis Wilcock who died suddenly on 25-April. He was busy working on the 567 website that very day.
He will be a significant loss to the project, and will be sadly missed by all within our group and the wider Great Central Railways. We will remember his enthusiasm, support and friendship. After speaking with his widow Vivienne, she expressed Dennis’s commitment to the 567 project and wishes to see the locomotive when built.
His funeral on Thursday May 16th at Scarborough Crematorium was attended by over 200 people, many from the Great Central Railways. A collection of £1,000 was raised and generously donated to the GCR 567 Locomotive Group. We say goodbye to a great Heritage Railwayman and can think of no greater tribute than building 567 in his memory.
23rd April, 2019 - Spot the Valve! - Since No.567 was completed in December, 1890 many things have changed that influence the new build of No.567. Amongst others materials and methods of manufacture have changed. One thing that has changed and influences the design on the new No.567 are the boiler regulations. Now a blowdown valve is required that helps remove the sludge that accumulates at the bottom of the boiler and above the foundation ring in the firebox. Barry Nurcombe has been busy with the design and placing of the valve so that it is
15th April, 2019 - Newsletter No.32 added below. The Newsletter reports on progress on various items including the initial machining on the bogie side plates and one of the main hornblocks. The photograph opposite by Mike Fairburn shows the hornblock being test machined. With this successful machining the remaining three hornblocks were ordered and all four are now at Ruddington. Design progress is also reported on the bogie centre frame and the buffer and drawgear. Since the Newsletter was issued the forged drawhooks have been ordered, the steel for the bogie frame stretchers delivered and the wooden patterns for the bogie hornblocks completed by Ken Harrison. The ordering of the castings for these hornblocks is now imminent.
A new photograph of the original No.567 has been located courtesy of Eddie Johnson showing the locomotive working on the Cheshire Lines circa 1915.
One of the most important announcements in the Newsletter was a new list of components for sponsorship. Support for these has been tremendous and we thank all our Supporters for their continued backing for the project.
1st April, 2019 - New Set of Components for Sponsorship Listed. Following the tremendous commitment of Supporters the delivery of the final three hornblock castings for the main frames has completed the first round of components offered for sponsorship. Many thanks go to the sponsors of these components and those that sponsored the frame stretcher materials. The generous support of the sponsors is very much appreciated and speeds the build of No.567.
Now attention turns to the next set of components to be listed for sponsorship. The items have been selected on the basis of affordability and on the basis of enhancing progress on the main frames, motion and bogie. Details of these components and the means of sponsoring them are on the Supporters Page.
15th March, 2019 - Newsletter No.32 circulated to Supporters. The newsletter reports on a newly located photograph, courtesy of Eddie Johnson, of the original No.567 operating on the Cheshire Lines c1915. There is also news of the initial machining of several components and the ordering of more essential elements in the build of the new No.567. Design progress has also been good with cab layouts and final designs of several further components achieved.
The design process goes through several stages. Initial designs and layouts are prepared before, after long debates and discussions, a final design is approved for either manufacture or component layout. One such initial layout, by Barry Nurcombe, for the buffer beam is shown opposite. This shows the proposed energy absorption system to protect the beam, frames and locomotive in the case of a heavy shunt. While the buffers themselves would absorb the initial impact, in the case of a heavy impact the dragbox is able to slide back by up to one inch (25.4mm). Energy is absorbed by the friction between the dragbox and buffer stays and the frames and is controlled by the tightness of the self locking nuts compressing the Bellville washers.
The buffers on the original No.567 were of the Turton's Improved Railway Buffers type. The type of spring used within the buffer is no longer available but a suitable volute spring can be used while maintaining the outward appearance.
4th March, 2019 - 567 entry in Main Line No.178 posted below - Main Line readers are brought up to date on the latest developments on No.567.
The next Supporters Newsletter will be published in mid March with more exciting developments to reveal.
24th February, 2019 - More Supporters Join No.567 Group - We are pleased to welcome more supporters for the 567 project. To date we have issued 185 memberships. The figure is critical as only the first 200 supporters will have have a seat on the first public train hauled by No.567. So encourage a member of the family, a friend or a colleague to join us as there are only 15 seats left!
As a reminder one of the easiest ways to support No.567 is to make all your Internet purchases through easyfundraising. Our first income from the scheme will be paid shortly. It will only be a small amount but if more Supporters join the scheme we could build it up into a significant amount. To join go to
27th January, 2019 - First Machining on Bogie Side Plates - At the beginning of January, 2019 the first machining operations were performed on the side plates at the Ruddington Locomotive Works. Using the lift table three volunteers lifted the plates on to the Cincinnati milling machine. This commenced the first stage of machining of the recesses for the hornblocks. The two plates had been bolted together to ensure they were both finished to the same size. The frame plates of the bogie both locate and transfer the load of the front end of the locomotive to the bogie wheels. They have accurately machined locations, the first of which has now been completed. When assembled with the centre bolster and the horn blocks and secured with rivets and bolts, the main part of the bogie will be ready for assembly with wheels. The machining is illustrated opposite in a video taken by Mike Fairburn.
12th January, 2019 - Newsletter No.31 added below - With all the excitement of the assembly of the frames now a fond memory attention has turned to a lot more background work. Barry Nurcombe has continued with the never ending design process to get further components ready for manufacture and Ken Harrison has been machining the lid of the oil pot for the valve spindle guide (seen opposite) as well as preparing the patterns for the bogie horn guides. We are extremely grateful for the continued support for the project from all our Supporters. 2019 will see considerable further progress on the frames and other components and will see further manufacturing machines added to the range available for the manufacture of components for No.567.
17th December, 2018 - No.567 entry into Main Line No.177 posted below - Main Line reports on the Supporters Day and reviews the component parts that are required by the new build locomotive.
12th December, 2018 - Newsletter No.31 circulated to supporters. News of further development continues with the arrival at Ruddington Locomotive Works of the first of the four castings for the hornguides (seen opposite). This will be marked out and test machined before calling on the remaining three hornguides from the foundry. This marks another major step forward for the locomotive. In the same issue Mike Fairburn, the Group's Chief Engineer, describes some of the many steps that will be needed to progress the locomotive.
As previously reported the bogie side frames have also been delivered. To put these into context shown opposite is a general view of the bogie assembly completed by the Group's Designer, Barry Nurcombe. The drawing not only illustrates the complexity of the bogie but also the level of research and engineering expertise that is applied to the project by Barry ably supported by Mike Fairburn. Many discussions, debates and developments are undertaken to get to this stage. We have a great deal to thank Barry and Mike for the professionalism they apply to this project.
A Happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year to all our readers.
25th October, 2018 - Newsletter No.30 posted below. The big news at the Supporters Day held at Ruddington on 15th September, 2018 was the unveiling of the assembled frames of No.567. The locomotive now exists! Much work is still to be done on the frames before they are finally riveted but this stage of the build marks a significant landmark. As well as the assembled frames the newly delivered bogie side frames were also on display marking another stage in the construction of the locomotive. In addition the casting of the valve spindle guide had also been delivered and the castings for the hornguides had been ordered with delivery expected in October/November, 2018.
12th October, 2018 - 567 Publicity in Steam Railway. The 567 project received national publicity with an item in the 12th October edition of Steam Railway. As part of the magazine's survey of LNER pre-grouping new build projects 567 gets a full page treatment with comments from Chairman Andrew Horrocks-Taylor. With a photo of the newly assembled frames by Andrew (shown above) on the contents page of the magazine 567 demonstrates positive progress.
25th September, 2018 - LNER GC Heritage Trust added to Links page.
21st September, 2018 - No.567 entry into Main Line No.176 posted below. Having had no input to Main Line No.175 No. 567 returned to Main Line with issue No.176 and amongst other things reports on the arrival of the frames at Ruddington.
With more Supporters signing up there are now only 17 seats left on the first passenger trains hauled by No.567. Join quickly to avoid disappointment!
22nd August, 2018 - Progress on the Main Frames - The photographs above show the progress being made at Ruddington Locomotive Works on the main frames of No.567. To assemble the frames with the motion and mid-frame stretchers and to attach the doubler plates holes have to be drilled in the frames to match those in the stretchers. Careful preparation is required in the measuring out to ensure a perfect match.
On the left, photographed by Barry Nurcombe, Mike Fairburn drills the first holes in the frame at the end of July, 2018 to attach the doubler plates which will add strength to the front of the frames.
In the centre, photographed by Ian Harrop, Simon Burton does some marking out.
On the right, photographed by Simon Burton, Mike Fairburn does some marking out in mid August, 2018. Ensuring correct positioning is a complicated process which requires considerable patience.
23rd July, 2018 Newsletter No.29 posted below -
Arrival of Frames at Ruddington
Friday 8th June, 2018 proved a major day in the project to build a brand new Victorian Express steam locomotive, GCR Class 2 4-4-0 No.567. The completed frames of the locomotive, complete with the horn stays donated by Ian Howitt, arrived at their Ruddington base. The vision of a Great Central Railway Express Steam Locomotive hauling vintage carriages on GCR metals between Ruddington and Leicester North, recreating the early 1900s when such expresses left Marylebone, has come a major step forward.
The frames started their journey from Ian Howitt’s West Yorkshire works at around 08:00 and arrived at Ruddington at mid day. With the mid frame and motion stretchers, buffer beam and trailing headstock already completed the plan is to bolt the frames together in advance of the GCR 567 Supporters Day scheduled for 15th September, 2018 at the Ruddington Locomotive Works. In preparation for the erection of the frames, trestles and an “A” frame are being fabricated which will be used first to support each of the frame plates for marking out and drilling before the plates are bought together. This work is much more easily accomplished with the plates supported at waist height rather than having to work on hands and knees! The doubler plates that strengthen the front of the frames and support the cylinders will be set up, drilled and bolted in place at this stage. These plates arrived with frames. Once the plates are drilled, they will be supported by the trestles whilst the stretchers are bolted in place. The trailing headstock and the front buffer beam will then be bolted in place. The assembly of 567's frame will firstly be completed as a bolted assembly. At a later date the frames will be riveted together.
The frames are seen on the ground by Ruddington Locomotive Works.
23rd June, 2018 - Newsletter 29 has now been circulated to members. It contains significant news on the progress of No.567.
23rd April, 2018 - Latest Supporters Newsletter added below. The photo opposite shows the frames being dressed at Ian Howitt's prior to delivery.
27th March, 2018 - 567 entry into Main Line No.174 posted below - ML174 reports on the Annual Supporters Day, the reorganisation of the GCR 567 Locomotive Group Committee and the sponsorship of components.
26th March, 2018 - Supporters March, 2018 Newsletter - The March Newsletter is now in the process of being delivered to members. It is able to report on the progress of the design of the motion geometry that ensure that optimum valves events are achieved
There is also continued progress on the frames and the associated parts reported.
The views on the left show (above) one of the partially machined slipper blocks. The machined recesses will eventually filled with white metal be machined to the final dimensions and become a sliding surface. The component below is one of the
hornstays being kindly provided by Ian Howitt. The hornstays stop the axle box sliding sliding out of the frames. These will be fitted before delivery of the frames to the Ruddington Locomotive Works where the erection of the frames will take place.
18th March, 2018 - Use easyfundraising to generate funds for No.567 - The GCR 567 Locomotive Group has signed up with easyfundinraising to raise funds every time you shop online. The process is at no cost to you or the 567 Group and you are always directed to the retailers normal website so there is no extra cost for the product or service. Further details of how to sign up to support No.567 are on the Supporters page.
20th February, 2018 - Leave No.567 a Legacy in your Will - To continue the progress on building a brand new No.567 and help see your passion so the Victorian Express Steam Locomotive with all its characteristic sights sounds and smells can be experienced by future generations you might wish to consider leaving a legacy to The GCR 567 Locomotive Group in your will. A bequest to a charity such as our group is free of inheritance tax. Further details are available here.
16th January, 2018 - Supporters Newsletter added below - Newsletter 27 reports on the successful Annual Supporters Day which included a view of the many components for No.567 and a tour of the workshops at Ruddington.
Among the may items on display was this magnificent wooden pattern for the valve spindle guide (painted red) with its oil reservoir on top along with the core patterns. The meticulous attention to detail by Ken Harrison was plain for all to see. The finished cast and machined guide will bolt on to the back of the motion stretcher.
16th December, 2017 - Supporters December Newsletter - The newsletter is in the process of being circulated to Supporters. This issue reports on the successful Annual Supporters Day and the progress being made on the frames and motion parts.
8th December, 2017 - 567 entry into Main Line, No.173 posted below - ML173 reports on progress with the motion parts and the re-organisation of the 567 committee.
At the recent Annual Supporters Meeting held on 11th November, 2017 at the Heritage Centre, Ruddington several more completed components for 567 were on display. On the left the horizontal silver beam is a mock up of a slide bar. This is standing on the slide bar support blocks and below that are the actual slide bars that have now been fully ground. On top of the whole are the eight brass oil pots that will fit on to the slide bars.
Progress is being made on other components and will be reported on in the next Supporters Newsletter which will be published later this month.
12th November, 2017 - Successful Annual Meeting - On 11th November, 2017 some 20 Supporters attended the Annual Supporters Day at the Heritage Centre at Ruddington. They were shown more completed components for 567 and and wooden patterns for the next components to be cast. More information will in the next edition of the Supporters Newsletter.
However some important news for existing and potential supporters was revealed. Details are on the Supporters page.
27th October, 2017 - Supporters Newsletter added below - The newsletter reports on progress with the frames, manufacture of motion parts and the acquisition of tools to assist with the production of component parts. There is also a reminder that fourth hornguide still awaits sponsorship of £1000. If you are able to help with this please let us know through the Contacts page on this website. There is also a reminder that the Annual Supporters Day will be held at Runddington on 11th November, 2017 starting at 10:45.
The photo on the left shows one of the crosshead slipper blocks being machined in the workshops at Ruddington.
5th October, 2017 - 567 entry into Main Line No.172 posted below - ML172 reports on the progress being made on the frames and motion parts.
29th September, 2017 - Supporters September Newsletter - The newsletter is in the process of circulation to supporters. The issue looks ts the changes to the 567 Committee, the progress on the frames and motion parts and the equipment available to progress the manufacture.
28th September, 2017 - Supporter Day and AGM - The annual Supporter Day and AGM will be held at the Great Central Railway (Nottingham) Heritage Centre on Armistice Day, 11th November, 2017 commencing at 10:45..See the Events Page for further details
15th September, 2017 - Major Progress and Committee Restructuring
New Build No.567 Frames Move Forward and Group re-structures to accelerate progress
GCR 567 project manufacture took has taken a major step forward with the start of locomotive frame machining. In parallel to this activity and accelerated by the imminent relocation of the Chairman to the USA for three years, a restructure of the mamangement of the group to accelerate project progress is underway.
Machining of Tthe locomotive frame side plates started their machining in started in late May at Ferrybridge. The plates were temporary welded together to machine both in the same set up., Tthis also ensuring that no movement was possible between them. The size of the machining frame and the bed length emphasisinges this is a specialist job. At the time of writing this stage of machining is complete, the next steps being the splitting of the plates, the introduction of the bends, the left and right-side plate then having mirrored bends applied,. tThe critical dimensions and alignment is between the horn guides and the cylinder bock location being maintained. While the bending may cause minor differences between the plates in the front section of the frames these have been allowed for within the design. We look forward to setting a machining completion date shortly.
The Management Group has been aware that progress has slowed, primarily due to a lack of volunteer management hours on the various work packages. This is to be further compounded by the fact that the Chairman, Andrew Horrocks-Taylor, is shortly to relocate to the USA for a period of 2-3 years. To ensure progress is maintained to the satisfaction of the supporter base a number of changes are proposed to strengthen the committee and to trade some of the budget for part funded professional support. This aligns with other serious New Build projects and reflects that current work demands on the existing Committee.
The proposal put forward by the committee is as follows:
Mr Andrew Horrocks-Taylor will remain as Chairman and direct the project whilst living and working in the USA
Mr Dennis Wilcock has volunteered to be Treasurer and is welcomed to the committee.
Mr Alan Bullock to become Head of Materials
Mrs Dawn Bullock remains Group Secretary
Two new Committee roles are to be created:
1. Programme Manager - to work with the Chairman in the structuring and overseeing work packages for the General Manager to deliver.
2. Head of Fund Raising - To work with the Committee, leading various events to encourage supporters to sign up to the project and sell various agreed component sponsor packages
Anyone interested in the above two new Committee roles or general support, then please contact GCR567Loco@yahoo.co.uk , no later than 30th September 2017
Mr Mike Fairburn who is currently Committee Member and Chief Engineer will step down from the committee to become a part funded General Manager, reporting to the committee via the Programme Manager. The General Manager will focus on the locomotive build and will manage the volunteer manufacturing and assembly team. He will also retain his Chief Engineer role and so technical responsibility. He will be supported by all the committee.
These are exciting times with the realistic prospect of a locomotive assembled to footplate level ready for wheeling in as early as 18 months’ time. This could be a once in a lifetime opportunity, we look forward to you joining us on this journey.
10th September, 2017 - Volunteers in the build of No.567 -The building of No.567 depends of a handful of key volunteers. If you would like to join them have a look at the Supporters Page to see what areas of activity require most support and then use the Contact Page to get in touch.
On the far left are Simon Burton and Ken Harrison who are kept very busy in the manufacture of small parts. In the photograph they also had the task of repairing some essential machinary!
On the left are Mike Fairburn and Andrew Horrocks-Taylor. Mike is busily engaged in organising the manufacture of the larger parts at external contractors and undertaking much machining of components in house. Andrew is the chairman of the 567 Locomotive Group fully engaged in the programme planning and management of the whole project.
Without our volunteers our project would not progress. Please join us!
22nd August, 2017 - Attendance at the GCRS GCR Commemoration Gala - The GCR 567 Loco Group will be represented at the Great Central Railway Rolling Stock Trust's GCR Commemoration Gala at Ruddington on Sunday 17th September, 2017. The event will include the display of newly restored MS&LR/GCR carriage No.946.
16th July, 2017 - Supporters June Newsletter posted below - The newsletter reports on the major progress with the machining of the frames and further design investigations of the various motion parts.
16th June, 2017 - Supporters June Newsletter - The latest Newsletter is being sent out via emails and post. If Supporters would prefer their Newsletter to be sent by email please inform the office. Email saves printing and postal costs.
The Newsletter reports significant progress on the frames. More news on that later.
8th June, 2017 - The article about the new 567 website in Main Line No.171 has now been added below. Meanwhile progress on the mainframes continues on site at Ruddington and with the main sub contractor Ian Howitt Engineering. Behind the scenes, negotiations with sub contractors continue for machining and the manufacture of patterns for castings and forgings.
24th April, 2017 - Over the last few weeks more material has been arriving at Ruddington for the manufacture of new components for No.567. Amongst the material arriving has been that for the slide bars, the footplate valances and for the steps that are located at mid frame and at the cab. The wooden pattern for the valve spindle support casting has also been completed by Ken Harrison 567's volunteer machinist (seen on the left).
22nd April, 2017 - Supporters March, 2017 Newsletter posted below - The latest Supporters Newsletter has now been posted below. It gives the latest information on progress and some information on the latest photograph that has been found of the original No.567.
Posting of the Newsletters on the website takes place one month after Supporters get theirs by email or post. To get the Newsletter immediately with the most up to date information become a Supporter of the GCR 567 Locomotive Group.
16th April, 2017 - The Mid Frame Stretcher - In order to complete the mid frame stretcher (and the other components for assembly of the frames) a considerable amount of machining was required. In the photograph taken by Mike Fairburn (far left) one of the brackets for the stretcher is seen mounted ready for machining. On the right is the completed stretcher photographed by Andrew Horrocks-Taylor
26th March, 2017 - Completed Motion Stretcher - A major step forward has been completed with the finishing of the Motion Stretcher (seen on the left in a photo by Andrew Horrocks -Taylor) and Mid Frame Stretcher. Once the frames have been returned from the manufacturer together with the Buffer Beam and Trailing Headstock erection of the frames can commence.
Slide Bar Support Manufacture - As well as the larger components there are a myriad of smaller items to manufacture. Shown on the left in a photo by Mike Fairburn is one of the slide bar support blocks being machined.
Motion Assembly Drawing - Building a new locomotive is a complex task. The only original drawing of 567 is a General Arrangement drawing. Although much information is contained therein detail of individual components is minimal. We have been fortunate to gain information from the similarity of 567 with RSH industrial locomotives but detail drawings still need to be made for the new locomotive. Illustrated is the Motion Stretcher assembly on the frames showing the enormous amount of detail required for a successful build. Help in this are would be greatly appreciated. Click on the image to get a more detailed view.
20th March, 2017 - Supporters March, 2017 Newsletter - The latest Newsletter is now with supporters and reports continued progress on 567. It will be posted on the website in due course. Main Line 170 article added.
Download the latest Supporters Newsletter
The Supporters Newsletters will be published here one month after they are circulated to Supporters.
GCR 567 Locomotive Group
Newsletter No.29 – June, 2018
GCR 567 Locomotive Group
Newsletter No.31 – Dec, 2018
GCR 567 Locomotive Group
Newsletter No.30 – Sept, 2018
GCR 567 Locomotive Group
Newsletter No.32 – March, 2019
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