New-Build Central at the Llangollen Railway

Published 18th May 2012

Three new-build steam locomotive projects

Visitors to the 6880 Betton Grange Society’s April 21-29 ‘Steel, Steam & Stars III’ gala were able to view progress on no less than three new-build steam locomotive projects at Llangollen.

While A1 No. 60163 Tornado was demonstrating what can be achieved by projects to build standard gauge steam locomotives from scratch during the ‘SSSIII’ gala at the Llangollen Railway, a trio of other new-build locomotives could be seen taking shape in the shed at Llangollen.

The 81st ‘Grange’

Leading the field in terms of progress was No. 6880 Betton Grange. The idea of building the ‘81st Grange’ arose among a small group of Llangollen Railway volunteers in 1998 and the first components started to be made the following year. ‘Steel, Steam & Stars’ galas (2007, 2009 and 2012) are major events organised to raise cash for construction of the GWR 4-6-0 ‘Grange’, the objective for the 2012 edition being to finance the cylinders, the last major component which has to be produced from scratch.

An LMS ‘Patriot’

Alongside the ‘Grange’ at Llangollen, the frames of an LMS ‘Patriot’ are rapidly taking shape, surrounded by an impressive array of components. This project, launched in summer 2007, is being driven by The LMS-Patriot Project and will be No. 45551 The Unknown Warrior. An appeal to fund the boiler is set to be launched at LNWR Heritage, Crewe on May 19.

GWR 2-8-0 ‘Night Owl’ No. 4709

The most recent new-build to start taking physical form at Llangollen is the Great Western Society’s project to construct a Churchward Class 4700 2-8-0 ‘Night Owl’ No. 4709. The main frame plates were cut in March and delivered to Llangollen just prior to the gala – and surprised everyone by their sheer size! Displayed with these plates were the extension frames, donated from one-time ‘Barry 10’ survivor GWR Class 5101 2-6-2T No. 4115 (dismantled at Llangollen earlier this year) and a newly made driving wheel pattern.

The wheel pattern is particularly interesting in that it incorporates a removable boss. This means it can be used to cast the leading and trailing driving wheels, and the centre drivers which have a larger boss to accommodate loads from the connecting rods.

The additional work to incorporate the removable boss was financed jointly by the 4709 project and the 6880 Betton Grange project. Betton Grange will use ‘spare’ 5ft 8in wheelsets loaned by the Great Western (SVR) Association (they originated from scrapped No. 4156 and are currently under Collett GWR 4300 class 2-6-0 No. 7325 but will become available when new tyres have been fitted to that loco’s own wheels) but the pattern will provide ‘security’ should new wheels need to be made for the ‘Grange’ in the future.

Never saved for preservation – then build a new one!

Tornado was the first main line locomotive to be built in the preservation era, but not the first standard gauge loco, there having been several reconstructions of early locomotives. A number of newly built replicas of narrow gauge locomotives have also been constructed, the most recently completed being 2ft gauge Lynton & Barnstaple Manning Wardle 2-6-2T ‘look alike’ Lyd.

A number of other standard gauge new-build locos are being constructed around the country, but Llangollen is the only location where three such can be seen taking shape in company.

External Links


Have your say...

Please note: you have to be logged into the site before you can leave a comment

Liverpool street station in the UK at rush hour

Help and advice with train travel in the UK

Train travel in the UK should be a pleasure, not a headache. So if you’re taking a train on the UK railway, start your journey here. We’ve lots of hints, tips and advice to help you find your way around, travel smoothly and arrive in style by train.

Read more

eurostars passing at 375mph from the drivers seat in france


Welcome to our #railchat page. Our #railchat discussions take place over on Twitter, with our resident expert Phil Marsh. If you would like to get involved, please do join us, and use the dedicated hashtag #railchat. See our previous discussions below:

Read more

Old steam train in Shanty Town Museum

Locomotives & Engines

Our rail network would be nothing without them. From Stephenson's Rocket to British Rail Class 92 and beyond, explore the facts, information and anecdotes behind the steam, diesel and electric locomotives that built the age of the train.

Read more


Latest Tweets


Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh to London Kings Cross by Train

Book in advance with and save 85% advanced bookings.

From £21.00

Buy now

Millenium Dome, London

Birmingham New Street to London Euston by Train

Book in advance with and save 92% on advance bookings.

From £6

Buy now

You may also like...



Follow us on Twitter and become part of our rail community! is the easy way to buy cheap train tickets online.



Control your business fuel costs with a supermarket fuel card – free to apply, no ongoing account charges and no monthly minimum spend.