February 2016 Newsletter

In October 2015, the Inaugural General Meetings of the Advanced Steam Traction Trust and Advanced Steam Traction Services Ltd. took place at Haworth. The remaining assets of the 5AT Group were transferred to the Trust, and the 5AT Group wound up.  Both of the new companies are limited by guarantee and do not have share capital; the AST Trust has charitable status. The ASTS Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of the AST Trust, and will be the organisation through which trading will be carried on. A Press Release has been issued announcing these  developments, so you may see reference to the new companies in the media.

The officers and directors (Trustees) of the new organisations are as follows:

AST Trust:



The arrangements for accepting members to the Trust are set out on the accompanying paper: AST Trust Membership, which includes an application form. These documents are currently available on our website, but are included here for good measure.

Please note that membership fees fall due on 1 January each year, and payment by Standing Order would be appreciated since this saves both you and us time and cost.
Chairman’s Notes:

To me this newsletter is pleasing as it is very much a joint effort, with contributions from Jamie, Chris and Cedric. The more we can share the burden of running the Trust and the Services Company the easier it is for all of us, so I am grateful that Cedric has taken over the production and editing of the newsletter from me.

We still need volunteers to ‘shadow’ and be ‘mentored’ by Chris in website management and by Paul in Companies House reporting. If the unthinkable were to happen, we will be in a very vulnerable position in these two vital ‘back office activities’, without anyone to take over the running of these vital functions.

So if you know of anyone who would be willing to help, please sound them out – our usual hourly rates apply – £0.00/hr but with the bonus of double time at weekends and triple on holidays……

I’d like to welcome three new Members to the company:

  • Chris Ellick is Chief Engineer on 35028 (Clan Line) and currently overseeing its overhaul.  Chris a practicing professional engineer, helps to bring our average age down, and is a living example of a new generation working to see the survival of steam on the mainline. Chris will be able to give us a valuable insight into the problems of operating main line steam in the 21st Century. In turn we can share our knowledge. Chris has joined through meeting Richard Coleby.
  • Alex Powell is 19, and studying mechanical engineering; he lives in Oxfordshire. He is a budding live steam modeller, and has some experience in CAD. Alex has offered to help with engineering and technical matters, and also our web site.
  • Les Turner has spent 25 years working as a volunteer with the Strathspey Railway. By profession, he is an accountant (retired).


The following projects are now being handled by the ASTS Ltd:

Testing equipment: One of the essential requirements for our work on locos. is the capability of measuring
performance-before implementation of modifications, and after. Mike Horne and Jamie Keyte are developing a system which will enable such information to be recorded. An example of their system is described in relation to the work done with the Kirklees Light Railway, below.

‘George V’: Feasibility study:  In August, we put forward a proposal for a Feasibility Study for the LNWR ‘George V’ Steam Locomotive Trust, which is building loco No. 2013 – (Prince George), to recreate an example of a class of locomotive that was not preserved. To meet Railway Group Standards, the chimney will have to be reduced in height by 4 ins., and spark arresting equipment fitted. The combination of these two factors will reduce the draught on the fire and impact locomotive performance. The proposal was accepted very quickly.  The Feasibility Study aims to understand the effects of the changes and make recommendations to counter these (while retaining the exterior profile with a reduced height chimney), and understand the effect on performance of an increased boiler pressure.

LMS ‘Patriot’ Feasibility Study: We put forward a proposal for this Project in July, to look at improved draughting, as the chimney needs to be reduced in height by 2 ins. To date, we have not received instructions to proceed, and the matter is in abeyance.

S160: Loco No. 5820: (KWVR.):  This loco remains in traffic and has now had new superheater elements fitted. We have postponed testing on the loco pending carrying out testing on the Kirklees Light Railway. Once we have a date for the KLR testing, then John Hind will approach the K & WV Rly. to arrange a new date for 5820. Although a heritage railway, the KWVR is very busy, and securing acceptable dates can prove difficult.

Kirklees Light Railway testing: We have visited the railway twice last year, and John Hind and Mike Horne visited on Saturday 9/1/16, with Jamie joining in on a telephone conference call. Another visit is planned in early January to agree final details of the tapping points to which test probes will be attached.  One of the problems that we have had to solve is measuring the piston displacement.

Lateral thinking and ingenuity from several members of the group (one of our many strengths) has enabled a novel method of measuring piston displacement using Hall Effect proximity sensors to be developed, and which are simple to install. Brackets and associated equipment have been made for fitting to KLR “Badger”.

We also have a number of transducers for measuring pressure and vacuum, thermocouples for temperature, batteries, and a Pico logger through which all of the data can be amassed on a laptop. Hopefully we can set a date for testing in the first quarter of 2016.  A magnet is attached to the crosshead bracket and a Hall Effect sensor is fitted just forward of the mid-stroke position above the slidebar. When we do the logging we will get two pulses separated by a long and a short gap. The midpoint (on the time scale) of the short gap is the Forward Dead Centre position, and the midpoint of the long gap-the Back Dead Centre. Using this simple method we can determine speed and also construct indicator diagrams in combination with cylinder pressure. This is much more rugged and simple to install compared to conventional methods.  The brackets and sensor were trial fitted to KLR “Badger” on Saturday (see photos below).

The equipment we have today was not available to steam locomotive engineers of the past, who would surely be astounded.

Once Jamie and Mike have done a bench test on all the equipment, then we can install on ‘Badger’.

The KLR are very cooperative and testing would not necessarily be limited to just one day; there is the option for going back for further tests if we do not get what we want out of the first tests.

Now that the method of measuring the piston displacement has been solved we are planning to test by the beginning of May.

Sales section:

David Wardale’s 5AT Fundamental Design Calculations (5AT FDCs) are now published in book form. The book combines the calculations and diagrams with a brief introduction by Wardale himself, and an introductory outline of the project by Chris Newman. These combine to form a soft bound tome consisting of 533 A4 pages, weighing almost 1.8 kg., and is being marketed through the 5AT and AST Trust web sites at a list price of £45.00 plus postage-see http://advanced-steam.org/5at-fundamental-design-calculations/. So far, 139 copies have been printed, of which 138 have been sold, with all the proceeds going to ASTS Ltd.

David Wardale’s ‘Red Devil’ book is now out of print, but if there were sufficient demand for additional copies, then it is conceivable that a further print run could be arranged. Sellers of second-hand copies are already asking silly prices for the book (as they had been before the last print run).

Donations to NRM York:  On 19th Jan. 2016, Mike Horne and Chris Newman travelled to the NRM in York to meet curator Tim Procter, and to hand over to him the model of the 5AT built by William Powell in 2007, two printed copies of the 5AT Fundamental Design Calculations, and a copy of the last PPT presentation promoting the 5AT Project. Once these have gone through the NRM’s extensive cataloguing procedures, the model will be displayed in their ‘Warehouse’ section, whilst one copy of the FDCs will be placed in the public library section and the other in their archives.

Late news:  As we ‘go to press’, news has just reached us that Wardale’s ‘Red Devil’ (SAR Class 26 No. 3450), is to be overhauled by Atlantic Rail, and used for steam excursions in South Africa. It is not clear at this stage how much of Wardale’s innovations will be retained; all, we hope!

Next meeting:  Our next meeting-the AGM, will be held on Sat. 5 Mar. 10.30, at the NRM, Leeman Rd., York.  The museum has excellent catering facilities and we believe that ‘Flying Scotsman’ will be in residence that weekend.

Future Newsletter Items:  If you have any items which may be of mutual interest, please send them to me for inclusion in our next Newsletter.


DSC9594 - Crosshead and slide bars on KLR Badger
DSC9594 – Crosshead and slide bars on KLR ‘Badger’.

IMG1500 - Test equipment
IMG1500 – Test equipment showing: top slide bar brackets and sensors (bracket for S160 on
the right). Lower left: Pico Logger and resistor board (for correcting inputs). Mid right: hand
held thermal sensor. Lower right: pressure transducers for vacuum and pressure.

IMG1523 - Trial output of crosshead sensor

IMG1523 – Trial output of crosshead sensor on laptop screen. Pulses at unequal intervals
allow the Forward and Back Dead Centre positions to be determined.

Manufacturing components for LNWR George V

GV-EXH-001 – Modified chimney: George V.

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