NEWS

5637 steam loco group

17 November 2018:   

Late Autumn Shareholders’ Day Saturday 17th November

The  Shareholders’ Day was successfully held on Saturday 17th November at the East Somerset Railway.

The 5637 SLG AGM was held at lunchtime (in the restaurant) and a summary follows:

  1. Owen & Dianna Ball are retiring as Treasurer at year end to be replaced by Duncan Thom, unanimously approved by all shareholders present
  2. Preliminary talks held with ESR regarding a full overhaul following the expiry of 5637’s Boiler Certificate on 12th April 2020
  3. The offical name change from 5637 Steam Loco Fund to 5637 Steam Loco Group was discussed, voted upon and unanimously approved by all 20 shareholders present at the AGM. Additionally, 6 Postal & Email, not present, shareholder votes were counted and of these 5 approved. To summarise, 25 out of 26 shareholder votes approved the name change to 5637 Steam Loco Group and this is now the official name going forward
  4. Peter Todd was thanked for his technical contribution and leadership during the restoration of 5637 and was presented with a 5637 locomotive model
  5. Owen & Dianna Ball were thanked for their joint Treasurer role during the past 12 years and their active involvement in restoration since 1989 and were presented with a 5637 locomotive model.

Paul Thicke was unable to attend the AGM but was subsequently also presented with a model of 5637 to mark his 40 years of involvement, most of the time as SLG Chairman.

05 August 2018:   

Second 2018 Shareholders’ Day on Saturday 17th November

The second Shareholders’ Day for 2018 has been arranged for Saturday 17th November at the East Somerset Railway. This is an opportunity for 5637 Shareholders to travel on trains pulled by 5637, ride on the footplate or actually drive the loco.

The ESR’s Whistlestop Restaurant will be open for drinks, snacks and hot meals from 11am to 3pm. The 5637 SLG AGM will be held at lunchtime. Shareholders who don’t receive an invitation to the Shareholders’ Day should contact the 5637 Steam Loco Group Secretary.  Note:  The first Shareholders’ day in March was cancelled due to Ice and Snow. 

02 July 2018:   

5637 New Website – Major Upgrade Completed

The new upgraded “5637 Steam Loco Group” website is launched. Following several months work the 5637 website has been re-designed and upgraded to the latest 2018 Technology and Security Standards. The Domain name and URL remain the same, that is https://5637.co.uk. The Browser (Google) search remains the same, that is 5637 Steam Loco Group.

16 March 2018:   

5637 Appears in French Film About Hitler’s Train

We have been notified that video footage of 5637 has been incorporated into a 2016 French documentary film called Le train d’Hitler: bete d’acier (Hitler’s Train: The Steel Beast). It is about a high-tech armoured train used by Adolf Hitler. Why 5637 appears in it, we do not know as 5637 has never ventured anywhere near Germany! Note: 5637 appears out of the steam and smoke about 22 minutes into the film.

15 March 2018:   

Spring Shareholders’ Day 2018 Cancelled

This year’s Shareholdersí Day Sunday 4th March at the East Somerset Railway was cancelled due to bad weather (Storm Emma and the “Beast from the East”). The ESR reported no water at the Station nor the Shed due to frozen pipes. Also, there was no method of getting 5637 out of the shed the day before to carry out a steam test.

11 January 2018:
Spring Shareholders’ Day 2018 Announced

This year’s Shareholdersí Day has been arranged for Sunday 4th March at the East Somerset Railway. This is an opportunity for 5637 Shareholders to travel on trains pulled by 5637, ride on the footplate or actually drive the loco. The ESR’s Whistlestop Restaurant will be open for drinks, snacks and hot meals.

1 January 2018:
Calendar Girl

5637 is featured as ‘Miss March’ in 2018’s Steam Trains Calendar published by Salmon Calendars. The locomotive is shown in her black BR livery coming into Arley Station during her visit to the Severn Valley Railway in 2004.

15 September 2017:
Second 2017 Shareholders’ Day on Saturday 4th November

The second Shareholders’ Day for 2017 has been arranged for Saturday 4th November at the East Somerset Railway. This is an opportunity for 5637 Shareholders to travel on trains pulled by 5637, ride on the footplate or actually drive the loco. The ESR’s Whistlestop Restaurant will be open for drinks, snacks and hot meals from 11am to 3pm. The 5673 SLG AGM will be held at lunchtime. Shareholders who don’t receive an invitation to the Shareholders’ Day should contact the 5637 Steam Loco Group Secretary. The 4mm (OO) model of 5637 being released by Bachmann is now not expected to be on sale until February/March next year.

8 April 2017:
5637 SLG Chairman Retires

Paul Thicke has retired as Chairman of the 5637 SLG after more than 30 years in the post. As Paul had made it clear at the Management Team meeting in 2015 that he would be stepping down soon it was no surprise to receive his letter of resignation, though it is regretted none the less.

Paul was working to obtain a GWR loco long before most of us were involved and was a member of the delegation that first went to see 5637 at Tyseley in 1981, becoming Chairman of the 5637 SLG thereafter. Paul’s chairmanship has seen the loco obtained, paid for, fully restored and run reliably in service, with every expectation that it will continue to do so into the future.

As a result of Paul’s retirement the Management Team has combined the Group’s project coordination role with the post of Chairman. Peter Todd has thus kindly agreed to take over as Chairman on a short term basis until April 2018.

13 March 2017:
New Smokebox Door Fitted

5637’s smokebox door was found to be excessively worn after many years of use and become so thin it was starting to collapse around the central boss. A new smokebox door was fabricated and fitted by the East Somerset Railway’s workshop team.

Photo: Steve Masters

New Smokebox Door Fitted to 5637

30 January 2017:
Shareholders’ Day on Sunday 26th February 2017

The first Shareholdersí Day for 2017 is earlier this year and has been arranged for Sunday 26th February at the East Somerset Railway. This is an opportunity for 5637 shareholders and guests to travel on trains pulled by 5637, ride on the footplate or actually drive the loco. The ESR’s Whistlestop Restaurant will be open for drinks, snacks and hot meals from 11am to 3pm. Shareholders who don’t receive an invitation should contact the 5637 Steam Loco Group Secretary.

A 4mm (OO) model of 5637 is being released by Bachmann for Christmas 2017 and is expected to retail for £84.99.

Bachmann have been working on a 4mm model of a 45 ton steam breakdown crane and approached the East Somerset Railway for help as they have a breakdown crane awaiting restoration. During the discussions Bachmann were persuaded to produce their 56xx model in the guise of 5637 since they wanted a new livery for 2017.
The model of 5637 will be in the GWR “mid chrome” green with GREAT WESTERN lettering on the tank sides. The model will look pretty much like the loco did following restoration when it was first at the ESR.

9 September 2016:
Second 2016 Shareholders’ Day on Sunday 6th November

The second Shareholders’ Day for 2016 has been arranged for Sunday 6th November at the East Somerset Railway. This is an opportunity for 5637 Shareholders to travel on trains pulled by 5637, ride on the footplate or actually drive the loco. The ESR’s Whistlestop Restaurant will be open for drinks, snacks and hot meals from 11am to 3pm. Shareholders who don’t receive an invitation should contact the 5637 Steam Loco Group Secretary.

11 January 2016:
Spring Shareholders’ Day 2016 Announced

This year’s Shareholders’ Day has been arranged for Sunday 6th March at the East Somerset Railway. This is an opportunity for 5637 Shareholders to travel on trains pulled by 5637, ride on the footplate or actually drive the loco. The ESR’s Whistlestop Restaurant will be open for drinks, snacks and hot meals. However some of the SLG Management Committee have decided to pay the ESR £10K to retube the locomotive over the next couple of months, so the Shareholders’ Day is dependant on the retube having been completed in time.

28 September 2015:
Autumn Shareholders’ Day for 2015 Announced

The second Shareholders’ Day for 2015 has been arranged for Sunday 1st November at the East Somerset Railway. This is an opportunity for 5637 Shareholders to travel on trains pulled by 5637, ride on the footplate or actually drive the loco. The ESR’s Whistlestop Restaurant will be open for drinks, snacks and hot meals from 11am to 3pm. Shareholders who don’t receive an invitation should contact the 5637 Steam Loco Group Secretary.

6 August 2015:
5637 to Visit the Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway

Arrangements have been made for 5637 to visit the Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway to take part in their annual gala on 11th 12th and 13th of September 2015. 5637 spent its entire working life in the South Wales Valleys and this is its first visit back there since it left the Barry Scrapyard in 1974. The loco must have travelled along the Pontypool and Blaenavon line many times in the past as it was based nearby in Abercynon. It’s expected that 5673 will be steaming on every day of the gala and possibly on 14th September for a photo charter.

Photo: Peter Todd

5637 at the Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway

8 April 2015:   

Shareholders’ Day

The first Shareholders’ Day of 2015 was held on Wednesday 8th April. The East Somerset Railway has been extending its running season over the last few years which meant that a weekend wasn’t available for this spring’s Shareholders’ Day. Instead the Shareholders’ Day was held during the Easter Holidays when children, parents and teachers were on holiday. This was disappointing for those people who were working in the week, however the weather was warmer than usual as the Shareholders’ Day was held later in the year.

A special guest this year was Arthur Sutton and his wife Linda who kindly sent us the oldest known photo of 5637 with his grandfather, Harold William Sutton, at Cathays sheds.

The original photo is with Arthur’s aunt, only about 2 x 3 inches, and badly damaged. Arthur spent a lot of time doing digital repair work, and the result can be seen in the Gallery (Harold Sutton is on the left). It appears that 5637 was standing at the Cathays sheds, just outside the covered shed where coal and water were taken on, looking north.

Photo: Dick Belchambers

Arthur and Linda recreating the photo with his grandfather

On the back of the original photo is written “H W Sutton foreman and a worker”. Arthur managed to get in contact with a relative of someone who worked with his grandfather, and his mum recognised the other worker as Johnny Beck – a “shed driver”. Harold was a “yard driver”. He passed out as a driver but was never able to progress to driving outside the yards as it was discovered he was red-green colour-blind.

Arthur’s father told him the photo was taken in 1951 and looking at Harold that would put him at age 55. As 5637 appears to have been recently painted into its new BR livery following nationalisation in 1948 it’s further confirmation that the photo was indeed taken in 1951. Harold Sutton died in February 1959, aged 63 and was still working for British Railways. Johnny Beck outlived him.

21 February 2015:
Easter Shareholders’ Day for 2015

The first Shareholders’ Day this year has been arranged for Wednesday 8th April 2015 at the East Somerset Railway. The ESR has been extending its running season over last few years which meant that a weekend wasn’t available for this Spring’s Shareholders’ Day. Instead the Shareholders’ Day is being held during the Easter Holidays when children (& teachers) are on holiday and the weather is likely to be better. The ESR’s Whistlestop Restaurant will be open for snacks and meals from 10am to 2pm. Invitations will be sent out shortly and shareholders who donít receive an invitation should contact the 5637 Steam Loco Group Secretary.

1st November 2014

Shareholders’ Day

The second Shareholdersí Day of 2014 was again very well attended, though everyone managed to get a footplate turn. The weather was good and 5637 ran perfectly to schedule.

Shareholders were also able to see Ivatt class 2MT tender engine No. 46447 resplendent in the East Somerset Railway’s engine shed. This loco had been returned in to service the following Saturday for the first time in 48 years following a two year restoration in the ESR’s workshops.

Photo: Jill Tombs

Waiting for a footplate turn on Shareholders’ Day

1 October 2014:
Second Shareholders’ Day for 2014 Announced

The second Shareholders’ Day for 2014 has been arranged for Saturday 1st November at the East Somerset Railway. This is another opportunity for 5637 Shareholders to ride on trains pulled by 5637, ride on the footplate or actually drive the loco. Shareholders who don’t receive an invitation should contact the 5637 Steam Loco Group Secretary.

17 March 2014:
Visit to Swindon & Cricklade Railway

5637 is finally returning to the Swindon & Cricklade Railway for the first time since the loco’s restoration was completed fifteen years ago. The S&CR was having difficulties paying for the return transport to the East Somerset Railway, fortunately six members of the S&CR’s loco department have agreed to meet this cost allowing 5637’s visit to go ahead.

Photo: Paul Lockley

The Swindon and Cricklade Railway

Operational staff who are also 5637 shareholders have been given priority in crew selection while the loco is at the S&CR. 5637 will be steaming at the S&CR on the following dates:

26th, 27th & 28th April
3rd, 4th , 5th & 6th May
10th & 11th May

Following the sale of the S&CR’s resident operational steam loco, Metropolitan Railway tank engine number 1 will be providing steam traction over Easter. This means that both 5637 and Metropolitan No 1 will feature in the steam gala being held at the S&CR on 26th and 27th of April.

8th March 2014

Shareholders’ Day

This year’s Shareholders’ Day was very well attended probably due in part to the previous Shareholders’ Day having to be curtailed early in the morning. The roster for footplate turns was completely full and a waiting list drawn up to fill any cancellations.

Fortunately the terrible weather we had been enduring all winter came to an end just in time for the Shareholders’ Day. The sun shone and it was even warm at times.

This Shareholders’ Day also saw the unveiling of a plaque in memory of John Hankins with members of John’s family in attendance. The plaque was made in the style of a railway wagon plate and fixed to the side of the fireman’s tool box.

Photo: Paul Lockley

John Hankins’ daughter, Tina, with the plaque to his memory

5637 ran perfectly all day thanks to the East Somerset Railway. Special thanks go to Barney and Tom for crewing for us.

24 December 2013:
Shareholders’ Day 2014 Announced

A replacement Shareholders’ Day has been arranged for Saturday 8th March 2014 at the East Somerset Railway following the curtailment of the previous Shareholders’ Day (see Events). Invitations will be sent out towards the end of January and shareholders who donít receive an invitation should contact the 5637 Steam Loco Group Secretary.

Enquiries have once again been made about 5637 visiting the Swindon & Cricklade Railway, and provisional dates at the end of April and the beginning of May 2014 have been proposed.

6 December 2013:
Calendar Girl Again

5637 is featured as ‘Miss March’ in 2014’s Age of Steam Appointments Calendar published by Salmon Calendars. The locomotive is shown in her black BR livery coming into Hampton Loade Station during her visit to the Severn Valley Railway in 2004.

30th November 2013

Shareholders’ Day 2013 Curtailed

This year’s Shareholders’ Day was held on Saturday 30th November and started well, 5637’s 14 month boiler exam was finished in time and the weather was good.

However, 5637 had completed the first three footplate runs up and down the track and was just on its way back to the engine shed yard for water when suddenly the blowdown valve mounted underneath the loco began to leak. This rapidly worsened with steam and water being expelled onto the track.

5637 was driven over the inspection pit in the loco shed to assess the condition of the blowdown valve and it became difficult to see into the shed from outside. With the huge quantities of steam being released it looked as if a small cloud was trapped inside.

Photo: Paul Lockley

5637’s blowdown valve leaking

As it was clear nothing could be done 5637 was driven out into the yard and the fire dropped. This allowed the engine to cool down so the boiler could be drained and the blowdown valve worked on the next day, though 5637 was unable to pull the Santa Special then as scheduled.

It was originally planned to fit a memorial plaque to John Hankins onto 5637 in time for the Shareholdersí Day. Unfortunately both the members of the management committee involved were ill and weren’t able to bring the plaque down to the East Somerset Railway.

The intention was that this year for a change 5637 would give shareholders rides in a guards van rather than train rides. Barney kindly provided guards van rides but towed by Sentinel Diesel PBA 39 instead, so that shareholders didn’t have a completely fruitless trip.
It subsequently emerged that the blowdown valve had become clogged with debris which was causing it to leak. This was rectified and 5637 was expected to pull the rest of the Santa Specials.

Apologies to everyone that missed their footplate ride and seeing 5637 in action and thanks to those shareholders who made donations in spite of the disappointing day – it’s very much appreciated. It is intended to hold a replacement Shareholders’ Day in March next year which we hope will be more successful!

26 September 2013:
Shareholders’ Day 2013 Announced

This year’s Shareholders’ Day has been arranged for Saturday 30th November at the East Somerset Railway. This is a later date than in previous years due to the ESR running trains every weekend in October and the need to carry out 5367’s 14 month inspection during November. Invitations will be sent out towards the end of October and shareholders who donít receive one should contact the 5637 Steam Loco Group Secretary.

Discussions were held again with the Swindon & Cricklade Railway about 5637 visiting first in the spring and then in the autumn this year. The loco’s visit would have been to mark the opening of the Taw Valley Halt, however planning delays meant that the S&CR weren’t able to open their new station as they’d hoped.

25 September 2013:
John Hankins

Photo: Paul Lockley

It is reported with deep regret that John Hankins passed away in his sleep on 4th September after a long illness.

John was an invaluable member of the 5637 SLG Management Committee since the mid eighties and continued to be actively involved until quite recently in spite of his deteriorating health.

As well as carrying out the actual restoration work on the loco, John spent countless weekends over many years fund raising. Much of the around £80,000 needed to complete 5637’s restoration was raised thanks to his efforts.

It is doubtful that 5637 would ever have returned to steam again without John’s vital contribution. He will be sadly missed as a friend and engineer.

15 November 2012:
Calendar Girl

5637 is featured as ‘Miss March’ in 2013’s Age of Steam Appointments Calendar published by Salmon Calendars. Unlike the other ‘models’ who are pictured with passenger trains, 5637 is alone in being portrayed pulling a goods train in her black BR livery.

21 October 2012:
5637 Passes Steam Test

The 5637 successfully passed a steam test on Friday 12th October after passing a thorough boiler exam on Monday 8th October.

Photo: Peter Todd

Preparing 5637 for the Steam Test

20th October 2012

Shareholders’ Day

The second 5637 shareholders’ day in 2012 was held on Saturday 20th October. Unlike the shareholders’ day held earlier in the year, this shareholders’ day was not oversubscribed and everyone who wanted got a turn on the footplate.

Photo: Paul Lockley

Jenny Takes The Controls

Again shareholders lit up 5637 at the crack of dawn and helped prepare it for the days’ work. Luckily the weather was good on Saturday and 5637 performed faultlessly throughout the day.

Thanks to the East Somerset Railway for holding the Shareholders Day and particularly to Barney and James for crewing for us.

20 September 2012:
Second Shareholders’ Day for 2012 Announced

The second Shareholders’ Day for 2012 has been arranged for Saturday 20th October at the East Somerset Railway. This is another opportunity for 5637 Shareholders to ride on trains pulled by 5637, ride on the footplate or actually drive the loco. Shareholders who donít receive an invitation should contact the 5637 Steam Loco Group Secretary.

23 May 2012:
2011 Accounts Distributed

The 5637 Steam Locomotive Group’s audited accounts for the year ending 31st December 2011 have been distributed to members. Any shareholder who hasn’t received a copy should contact the Treasurer.

17th March 2012

Shareholders’ Day

Early morning drizzle was gradually clearing away as two shareholders turned up at 5:30 am to light up 5637 for the day’s work. Supervised by Chris, who was fireman for the Shareholders’ Day, the engine’s boiler gradually came up to pressure and was ready for work promptly at 9am.

Photo: Paul Lockley

David Lighting-up 5637 At The Start Of Sharedolders’ Day

The weather remained fine for the rest of the day and 5637 ran smoothly without any breakdowns, unlike the previous year. There was a large turnout of shareholders and their guests this year with every possible footplate turn booked.

Unfortunately the ESR’s Whistlestop restaurant wasn’t open for meals during the Shareholders’ Day this year. However the Strode Arms in nearby Cranmore Village did a roaring trade with shareholders eating there instead. Some shareholders went further afield for food – there’s a good transport cafe about four miles away off the roundabout at the junction of the A361 and the A359 that proved very reasonable.

Steve Masters kindly supervised those shareholders who took the controls during their turn on the footplate yet again this year. We’re not sure if he enjoys meeting the shareholders and their guests or just that he wants to ensure they don’t break anything.

Thanks to those shareholders who generously made a donation to 5637’s funds.

1 February 2012:
Shareholders’ Day 2012 Announced

This year’s Shareholders’ Day has been arranged for Saturday 17th March at the East Somerset Railway. This is the opportunity for 5637 Shareholders to ride on trains pulled by 5637, ride on the footplate or actually drive the loco. Shareholders who havenít received an invitation should contact the 5637 Steam Loco Group Secretary.

27 January 2012:
Home Visit Off

Unfortunately the Swindon & Cricklade Railway has decided they are unable to afford to have 5637 back for a four week period, even at the heavily discounted steaming fees offered to allow a “home visit”. What money the S&CR has available is needed to hire in a second engine for the 2012 season.

It remains to be seen if it will be possible for 5637 to return to the Swindon & Cricklade Railway at some future date. Meanwhile this means the loco is available for visits to other railways on short term hire to attend galas, replace failed engines, etc.

Photo: Paul Lockley

The Swindon and Cricklade Railway

16 June 2011:
Home Visit

Discussions have been held about 5637 visiting the Swindon & Cricklade Railway in September 2011. This is permitted under the terms of the ESR’s 10 year hire contract which allows the 5637 Steam Loco Group to sub-hire the loco to other railways for up to 4 weeks each year. The locomotive was originally purchased by the 5637 Steam Locomotive Group who spent 17 years restoring it back into service at the S&CR. Over the years the 5637 has been based at the ESR it has visited a number of other heritage railways but has not been back to the S&CR so far. Although the small industrial locos the S&CR uses are perfectly adequate for their normal operations the S&CR want a more powerful loco for their War Time Weekend (to pull all the tanks?) which is after the ESR’s Mendip Steam Dream Gala. Unfortunately one of the S&CR’s industrial locos has recently developed major problems and had to be withdrawn from service. An ex-GWR pannier tank is being hired in for the rest of the year as a replacement, but the S&CR doesn’t have the funding to hire 5637 as well. However, the contract between the three parties for the hire of 5637 has been agreed in principle so it is hoped the visit to the S&CR will go ahead in 2012 instead.

26th March 2011

Shareholders’ Day

The first 5637 Shareholders’ Day since the completion of the locomotive’s major overhaul and return to service last year was held on 26th March. It had been intended to hold a Shareholders’ Day at the end of October but the very short notice given to shareholders meant that very few of them would have been able to attend so regrettably the event was cancelled.

On the day, 5637 shareholders, their families and friends were able to attend without charge and take turns driving the loco light engine the length of the East Somerset Railway under supervision of an ESR crew. Two trains pulled by 5637 were also scheduled to enable everyone to travel up and down the line even if they didn’t want to ride on the footplate.

One “lucky” shareholder and his sons had the privilege of getting up around 5am to light up the engine and prepare it for the day’s work, though it’s believed they enjoyed the experience in spite of the early start. See the video of 5637 running light engine during Shareholders Day.

Photo: Paul Lockley

5637 about to depart from Mendip Vale during Shareholders’ Day

The weather was being kind to us when one particularly ham fisted shareholder had the controls and a sickening clang of metal was heard after 5637 crested the hill after charging up the gradient from Mendip Vale. After a hurried stop it turned out one of the main loco springs had completely sheared through and the bits of spring had to be retrieved from where they had been scattered down the track.

The engine limped back to the Engine Shed where the workshop crew descended on it as though they were working in an F1 pit stop. Although it was already well in to the afternoon when the damage occurred, the broken spring was replaced with a spare and 5637 eventually reappeared at Cranmore Station. This was to the great delight of two of the shareholders who were determined to wait and see if the loco could be repaired in the hope of finally getting their turn on the footplate.

Thanks to the ESR staff who kindly helped support the Shareholdersí Day and particularly to Steve and Barney who had a very long day crewing and repairing 5637. It’s reported that they even carried on working into the evening to provide a brake van ride for an ESR member’s birthday party.