This page has the latest news about 5542 apart from news about the boiler overhaul which you can see on 2011/12 10 Year Boiler Overhaul, older news can be seen on News from 2011, News from 2010 and 2009 News Page.
5542 will be in action at several galas during 2013:-
16 to 24 March 2013 is the West Somerset Railway Spring Steam Gala, 5542 will be operating on several days, mostly with the Autotrailer.
24 to 27 May 2013 5542 will be running at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway's Cotswold Steam Celebration
As we approach the first anniversary of the return to steam of our locomotive it has seen 100 days or operation during that period, an annual total not reached for several years and the mileage figure in that time is also well over 5500.
We were disappointed that our WSR visit was curtailed when a problem with a side rod bearing manifested itself on the Friday of the second gala weekend. Excellent work by our support team, which included some rapid footplate roster changes by one of our younger members James Auton for which we are very grateful, enabled a repair and test to be completed by midday on Saturday. Auto duties were undertaken on Sunday between Minehead ad Dunster with the opportunity taken to attach Auto 178 to the smokebox end.
It was decided further investigation was required to the bearing and following some discussions the WSR agreed to suspend the hire agreement that was in place so we could move '42 to Buckfastleigh for an in depth investigation into the cause of the problem. The loco returned to Bishops Lydeard to assist with loading duties of other Gala visiting locos before returning to Buckfastleigh on Thursday.
The loco did then see some service at the
SDR Gala which allowed us to understand better the root of the problem.
Following a 2 week spell in the 'shops for thorough investigation a
problem with a gradient pin bush was subsequently identified as being
the underlying cause of the problem. This has now been corrected and the
loco has since run without incident. We are grateful for the assistance
and enthusiasm of the SDR engineering team to help us identify and
overcome the problem.
5542 has left the WSR on
completion of duties over the recent Spring
Steam Gala event. After the Gala, Locomotive 5542 Ltd made the
ever-popular Prairie tank available to the WSR for a few days to provide
motive power for the loading of other locomotives and stock at Bishops
On 6 March 5542 was loaded on to Antell's lowloader at Buckfastleigh for the move to the GWSR - see their web site for details of the historic event - were she will haul the first timetabled service train from Toddington to Cheltenham since April 2010. It will also be the first timetabled round trip over the full 12-mile length of the line, taking in the new extension to Laverton. It will also be the first scheduled steam-hauled service to use the Laverton extension. There's some photos of the day on GWSR 2013
Loading a loco onto a lowloader isn't often photographed so here's a set of this happening:-
Photos © Mike Dunse
Final preparations for the 2013 season being carried out at Buckfastleigh:-
Roy painting the boiler backhead.
Fettling on the footplate.
Jennie cleaning the wheels prior to painting.
Mike aloft for a spot of brass rubbing. ©Mike Dunse
5542 was in action - with auto-trailers front and rear, photos on SDR 2013
With the completion of this year's annual steam test on Friday last, the 'big rush' has commenced to refit all the 'bits and pieces' that get removed for various reasons at these times. We are scheduled to be in operation at the SDR Gala on Saturday 16th February, and yesterday was the first opportunity we have had to try out the new side and con rod bearings recently fitted.
We managed to get a short path to Bishops Bridge loop and back between the crew familiarisation trips that Railmotor 93 was undertaking. The 5 mile round trip was completed with 3 coaches in tow along with numerous shunting movements before and after. The running produced no obvious problems with the loco steaming as well as ever.
The front end Auto gear is now in situ between front and cab with just final adjustments and the vertical rods to the regulator required. The new firebars are due to arrive later this week which will make disposal of the loco far easier than previously.
As a bonus there's a page with a few photos of Railmotor 93 which was also in steam at Buckfastleigh.
Ray looking serious in 5542's cab at Buckfastleigh.
5542 swathed in steam by the water tower at Buckfastleigh.
5542 framed by the footbridge during her manoeuvres around the station.
5542 coupled to her stock.
5542 face to face with D8110 during her manoeuvres.
A busy scene in Buckfastleigh yard including 5542 and Railmotor 93.
5542 running round at Bishops Bridge loop during her test run.
5542 going well out on the line during her test run on the South Devon Railway.
The view from 5542's footplate during the test run.
A stop to check the bearing temperatures.
Using digital technology to take the bearings temperatures - all OK.
5542 resting in Buckfastleigh shed.
Photos © John Wood and Mike Dunse.
This week has seen the annual 'cold' boiler exam completed. Work is now underway to refit components to allow the Steam Test in about 10 days time and to that end the Gauge Frame has been receiving a full 'once over' from Mike (see pictures) along with joint lapping on the Left Hand injector.
Work continues on the Auto Gear installation and Tony is seen making some adjustments to one of the components. The L.H side and connecting rods have also been refitted this week.
Work at Buckfastleigh continued today in bitterly cold conditions and unfortunately not in heated workshop conditions, with 3 areas receiving attention.
Ongoing work continues on fitting the Front End Auto Gear with the routing and operation conundrums just about completed it just remains to finish the fitting work. Picture shows the main components completed at the bufferbeam end. Whistle connection arrangements are something that also requires some serious consideration to enable operation from either end in isolation and also from the cab without hindrance.
Ray inspects progress.
Sparks fly as Auto Gear construction continues.
With this year's annual boiler exam due this week preparation work was underway ready for that, with the smokebox tubeplate being prepared. Picture shows Mike Dunse in his usual 'January' position 'Feet out of smokebox'.
The right hand side and connecting rods are all refitted following various work to replace some bushes. Left side due for reassembly soon.
Other work underway was routine maintenance on the injectors ensuring valve seats were sound to avoid unnecessary water leakage. Picture shows components after seat 'lapping'.
Photos © John Wood
The planned winter work on 5542 is well underway at Buckfastleigh with the Big End and Side Rod bearings being the main focus of attention at present. We are hoping that work on those items will be completed to allow some short test running prior to the SDR winter track maintenance period starts.
Work on the Auto Gear is also 'in progress' and continues to test the ingenuity of those working on it, but it will be completed and operational by the early spring. (I am assured). I'm sorry we have no pictures at this time of current work but hopefully will be able to produce a fully illustrated report on these and one or two other items soon after Christmas, in the meantime we wish all of our friends and supporters a Very Happy Christmas and Prosperous New Year.
If you're out and about at the WSR Winter Gala Weekend our 169 sales and Info stand should be open for business at Williton, courtesy of our DEPG friends who have kindly offered us some covered accommodation in their workshop/display area. Why not pop in and catch up on the latest 5542/169 news and refresh your bookshelf at the same time?
We have now completed the final
arrangements for use of 5542 during the period March 2013 until the end
of the 2016 season.
A special working with autotrailer 178 seen at Donniford Halt, WSR, on 7 December 2003 Photo © Steve Huddy
5542 has continued to operate on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway where she is popular with the crews and has appeared in many pictures on other sites.
5542 will shortly leave the GWSR and return to Buckfastleigh where we will undertake the 'usual' winter maintenance work program along with a final attempt to complete all the jobs that we never quite get around to.
So apart from completion of the Auto Gear (yes, we really will have Front and Rear operational gear by the Spring!) we are going to give one or two bearings some attention, postponed from last winter, and after Christmas the first Annual boiler exam will be due. We are grateful to the G/WR in allowing us to return our loco to the SDR a few weeks earlier than originally planned to press on with the required work.
Our departure will only be 'Au Revoir' as opposed to 'Farewell' as we are pleased to have agreed a deal that will see '42 spend a few more years shining the metals twixt Cheltenham and Laverton or perhaps even Broadway, before too long. The exact date of our return in Spring 2013 will be confirmed in a few weeks. The new agreement will also allow for short and extended visits to other railways and we hope to be able to release further details about some of these shortly.
The Auto 169 team have been doing some work on our Vanfit at Williton on the West Somerset Railway, which we use as a store and is normally part of the WSR's Heritage Goods Train. It had recently been shunted to an area where a start could be made on dealing with a vacuum brake problem.
Just a quick update on things 5542.
07/09/2012 photos of her at Winchcombe and Cheltenham Racecourse added to GWSR 2012
If you would like to help financially please see Donations
Please register your team by phoning Magda on 01823 354515 or John 07712 072100 or e mail firstname.lastname@example.org before 10/09/2012
15/08/2012 photos of her at Winchcombe added to GWSR 2012
News Update 13/08/2012
Video of 5542 on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway added to GWSR 2012
News Update 08/08/2012
Last weekend was the West Somerset Railway Association's 25th Steam and Vintage Vehicle Rally held at the Association's fields at Norton Fitzwarren near Taunton. John Wood, Chairman of 5542 Ltd, received a token of appreciation from the West Somerset Railway Association in recognition of the company's support of the Steam Fayre since 1979.
Stalwarts of the 5542 and 169 stand at
the WSRA Steam Fayre celebrate a very successful Saturday with the
customary picnic supper joined by David Williams, WSRA chairman and
Setting up the stall - before the weather changed for the worse.
News Update 17/07/2012
5542 has now clocked up well over 1200 miles of service and is already getting much positive feedback from all who work with her. She is this week undergoing the first routine washout of the new 'ticket' and should be ready to return to service within a few days.
The loco had the unusual attentions of sound recorders last Friday, (13th). The day was spent on the GWR, recording sounds to be used on a new Small Prairie model being released next year with full authentic sounds. Watch out for more details when we have them.
Its good to see 5542 features in an advertisement in this month's 'Somerset Life' magazine
5542 at Cheltenham Race Course station, GWSR
Recording the sound of 5542's vacuum pump at Winchcombe.
Photos © Richard Webster
News update 15/06/2012
5542 arriving at Winchcombe.
Above and below In the yard at Winchcombe.
Photos © Ray Lee
5542 being lit up on the morning of 15 June at Winchcombe ready for tests prior to entering service.
News update 11/06/2012
The Final weekend working party at Buckfastleigh for the time being took place today where various odds and ends were attended to, following 9 days and 420 miles of running in. New front Sand pipes were made and fitted, cylinder and valve covers were checked and cladding refitted. The Right Hand Piston Gland was repacked together with adjustments to the hand brake. It is planned to operate the loco on one further day at the SDR prior to transporting to the G/WR on Thursday/Friday ready to enter service there from Saturday.
Tony finishes production of the new Front Sand Pipe while Jennie looks on.
Mike tightens the Piston Gland following repacking.
5542 and 6412 share shed space for the last time for a while.
Chairman and Chief Engineer reassemble spark arrestor.
Jennie tries out the latest carbon facial!
Ray adjusts the R.H piston packing.
News update 04/06/2012
5542 has been working trains on the South Devon Railway over the Diamond Jubilee Weekend
News update 31/05/2012
With the overhaul now complete 5542 has been out on the South Devon Railway this afternoon.
At around 14.45 this afternoon 5542
emerged from the sheds at Buckfastleigh on the South Devon Railway with
the Victorian coach in tow and set off for Staverton - three and a half
miles up the line.
These and more photos of 5542's return to traffic are on Running In
Photo © Ray Lee
Photos © John Hallett
News update 28/05/2012
John Wood, Chairman of Locomotive 5542 Ltd writes:-
"I am pleased to report that following delivery of the replacement piston/crosshead assemblies to Buckfastleigh, along with their subsequent fitting late last week, 5542 moved under its own steam today, just 239 days since its last working.
Final boiler certification was required as, although the main boiler and fittings were passed as fit for use a few weeks ago, the missing pistons meant the superheater and elements were not able to be certified until today. The loco will now have the final odds and ends fitted and some 'running in' undertaken over the next few days. We would like to record our thanks to everyone who has helped us to achieve this very rapid turnaround particularly the staff and management of the South Devon Railway and South Devon Railway Engineering along with our own volunteers and supporters.
We now look forward to a few days of SDR
work at the forthcoming Jubilee Gala before returning to the
Gloucestershire/Warwickshire Railway until early 2013. We hope the next
10 years will be as interesting and successful for 5542 as the first 10
and look forward to continued support from all our shareholders, friends
News update 26/05/2012
More work done on the reassembly of the loco - see photos on 10 Year Overhaul
News update 22/05/2012
5542's new livery is finally revealed! See photos on 10 Year Overhaul
News update 19/05/2012
Today's work has concentrated on painting - see 10 Year Overhaul
The SDR Jubilee Gala has 5542 rostered
to work a regular 2 coach 'Branch Line' working during the event which
runs for all 4 days of the Bank Holiday weekend. A real taste of how
things used to be. The evening timetable sees us working until almost
midnight on one of the days. Why not pay a visit?
News update 12/05/2012
A quick reminder to Shareholders and active members that our AGM is being held next Sunday afternoon 20th May, at the Bishops Lydeard Church Hall @ 2.45. Anyone is welcome to attend although only shareholders will be allow to vote on issues.
News and photos of this weeks work can
be seen on 10 Year Overhaul
News update 05/05/2012
Following yesterday's successful steam test work today included further reassembly and painting, full details and photos on 10 Year Overhaul
News update 04/05/2012
5542 has passed her boiler insurance steam test, not much left to do now! Photos on 10 Year Overhaul
News update 01/05/2012
stalwart Graham Woolvin had the honour of lighting the fire that will
raise steam for Friday's Steam test. The boiler will be gently warmed
over the next few days until reaching full 200 psi working pressure.
Photos on 10 Year Overhaul
News update 29/04/2012
Further progress was made today with reassembling 5542 despite the weather making travel difficult, see 10 Year Overhaul
News update 21/04/2012
First the main news this week is that the penultimate insurance inspection of the overhaul was passed on Thursday 19th. This was the 'Final Internal' inspection and the date of the 'Final Steam Test' has been set for Friday 4th May. By this date all boiler and associated steam fittings need to be in place, fully operative and in steam tight condition.
A lot of other work has also been carried out, full details and photos on 10 Year Overhaul
News update 14/04/2012
Good progress on reassembling the loco - see 10 Year Overhaul
News Update 07/04/2012
Details and photos of this weeks progress now on 10 Year Overhaul
News Update 03/04/2012
The tanks have been refitted - see 10 Year Overhaul
News Update 31/03/2012
Work has progressed on refitting the regulator, superheater and steam pipes.
News Update 24/03/2012
Work has included attaching the new smokebox to the boiler - see 10 Year Overhaul
News Update 20/03/2012
The boiler is now back in the frames - see photo on 10 Year Overhaul
News Update 15/03/2012
The first fire has been lit in the overhauled boiler see photos on 10 Year Overhaul
News Update 13/03/2012
Major news is that the boiler passed hydraulic test with flying colours - more plus photos on 10 Year Overhaul
Other news is that the valves have also been refitted today along with the side rods, so all in all 13th March has proved to be a 'big' day in the overhaul process.
News Update 10/03/2012
We will have a 5542/Auto 169 stand at Williton during weekends of the WSR Spring Steam Gala. Please look in for a chat and further news updates.
News Update 03/03/2012
2012 Contract Confirmed
We are please to report that 5542 will be revisiting the Gloucestershire/Warwickshire railway from early June until New Year 2013 where it will work on the Cheltenham to Winchcombe section along with 2807,7903 Foremark Hall and the Turkish liveried Stanier 8 F 8274. Hopefully the recently started repair work to the 'Chicken Curve' embankment will be completed later in the year which will allow full line services to resume to include the northern extension 2 miles towards Broadway.
Also an update on 2011/12 10 Year Boiler OverhaulNews Update 26/02/2012
We will shortly be able to announce details of agreements we have reached for the operation of 5542 during the remainder of 2012 and we hope to have secured a full and active program for the first leg of 'Chapter 2' of the 5542 story. In the meantime please continue to click the above link to view boiler overhaul progress which is now entering the final stages of the work. 5542 should resume active operation during April.
This site was last updated 14/05/13