A Message to our Members

The following is a message that was recently sent to all our members:-


I am writing to you, the membership, to keep you informed of progress on the overhaul of 35028 Clan Line where, unfortunately, a new and unforeseen problem has come to light that is going to place a further demand on funding.

We would normally use issue No. 171 of Southern Express, which was due to be published on 1st August as the vehicle to keep you informed of the overhaul. However the magazine is running a little late, as our Editor, Alan French, underwent heart surgery in July, and is now convalescing. He is making good progress and hopes to have the next issue ready soon.

In the meantime there are two news items, one good, and one not so good, that we need to bring to your attention.

First let me tell you of the not so good news. We were advised in early July that descaling work inside the boiler had revealed significant corrosion around part of the circumference of the front tube-plate, on the water-side. The photograph below shows this area in more detail:

Superimposed (yellow) line shows area of corrosion

You will see that superficially the tube-plate appears in good condition but it is in the angle recess (highlighted) where contact with the boiler wall occurs that the problem became evident as the descaling operation proceeded.

Following a preliminary examination of options on what steps to take we held an urgent meeting at Crewe attended by their boiler-shop manager, engineers from our insurers, our VAB and ourselves. It was agreed that a repair could be done to the existing tube-plate, but it would be costly in itself, and would only result in a certificate which would last until the next re-tube in five years’ time. If at that stage it was deemed unfit for further service, it would have to be renewed – a procedure which would involve removing the boiler from the frames again. Although this option would require less expenditure now, the cost over the ten-year life of our next boiler ticket would be very much greater than that of fitting a new tube-plate now whilst the boiler is off the frames and stripped down. It would also deprive us of revenue earning capacity for several months whilst the work was done. Doing the work now would add about eight weeks to the existing project timescale, and defer our return to traffic date until around the end of March 2017.

Despite the fact that making and fitting a replacement tube-plate will cost approximately £30,000.00, which we hadn’t budgeted for, we believe it is in the best interests of the locomotive that this work is done now, so we have taken the decision to order the new tubeplate straight away.

Thanks to the generosity of the membership, the appeal fund launched earlier now stands at £45,000.00, which is over halfway to our original target of £85,000.00. A large proportion of the appeal money is either already spent or spoken for allowing us to only partially fund this extra expenditure.

Hence, it is vital that we now make every effort to reach and indeed exceed the £85,000.00 target as soon as possible, so once again we are asking for your support to raise additional funds, which will also help rebuild our contingency needs.

In 2015 we launched an appeal for the sponsorship of the boiler tubes and we are delighted to report all were funded. As a direct result of the current situation we are though now looking to find sponsorship for the tube-plate holes into which they fit! 40 large holes at £375 each (requiring a donation £300 if Gift Aided *) and 124 at £120 each (requiring a donation of £96 if Gift Aided *) will very nearly meet the £30K target. However, we must stress this is only an idea and consequently all contributions, of whatever amount, will be very gratefully received.

Payment can be made electronically direct to our bank or by cheque, or through PayPal via the Society’s website. We welcome one-off payments or regular (and irregular) contributions spread over a period.

Cheques should be made payable to: MNLPS Ltd and sent to:

The MNLPS Fundraising Officer, Flat 22, Sherborne Court, 66-68 Upperton Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN21 1LU.

If you wish to pay direct to our bank account electronically or by Standing Order, please contact our Treasurer, Howard Reynolds, by phone (01428 722939) or by e-mail at: [email protected] for details (for security reasons we prefer not to publish them here).

Please note also that all donations will be eligible to be treated under the Gift Aid scheme if you are a UK taxpayer and have signed an appropriate Gift Aid Declaration in favour of the Society. * The Society is able to recover an additional 25 pence from HMRC for every £1 donated through Gift Aid and already holds nearly 600 declarations.

To end on an upbeat note, we are delighted to be able to tell you that work on our driving wheels has now been completed by the South Devon Railway, and that they have been delivered back to LNWR Heritage at Crewe.

The picture shows the wheels in the erecting shop at Crewe, with the lower half of our locomotive in the background. Their arrival “unlocks” a great deal of work for the mechanical team to progress, so that the rolling chassis will be ready in plenty of time to receive the overhauled boiler.

We all know that it is the nature of preservation work to expect the unexpected. Equally, we are sure you will support the ‘let’s do it properly while we can’ custom that the Society has always followed.

To offer an ‘incentive’, negotiations are now well in hand with our partners, UK Railtours, for an exciting programme of events to take place next year, including some specifically intended to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the end of steam on the Southern. You may be surprised that for planning purposes we have to commit to this programme very shortly. You can see how that action puts pressure on us as time runs short to complete the tube-plate project, so we need the help now!

Hence the positive side of the project will be the opportunity to return to the mainline in 2017 for a more than special programme of Southern steam to celebrate the time that Clan Line left behind 50 years ago.

Please dig-in and help us right now to put your engine in the middle of this very special picture.

Tim Robbins,


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