Overhaul Update Overhaul Update

Chairman’s Report June 2022

Welcome to the June Chairman’s report.

Work has continued on cleaning up the inside of the frames. There has been more needle gunning action on the inside of the frames. We are now in the front section just behind the smokebox saddle where there has been a lot less heat damage, so the frames are in a very much better condition. They’re still covered in oil and grease though. Work now centres on removing the this before preparing for painting.

We’ve also made a start on needle gunning the paint off the wheels and bogie frames.

More black shiny new paint has been applied to the Tender steps, brake cylinder hangers and cab fall plate and vacuum brake cylinder. These will all shortly need to be moved to the containers for safe storage.

The superheater elements and other components stored in the tender coal space are now being removed as we are next in the queue for the lifting jacks now that the J94 has been re-wheeled. This will allow the bottom sections of the coal space to be removed to access the inside of the tank.

The recently stripped down the cab reverser mechanism has been carefully measured up and the parts taken to the machinists for the new collar to be made.

The large pipes for the steam supply to the exhaust injector have been externally cleaned and await the dirty job of removal of the accumulated cylinder oil from the bores. Where does the oil come from? All locomotives have some form of cylinder lubrication either by a mechanical or hydrostatic lubricator. This delivers thick “steam” oil to the atomiser to spray into the cylinder when the engine is moving. The exhaust injectors use the steam coming out of the cylinders to pick up the water in the injector. As the steam travels to the injector the oil is deposited in the pipes. Best way of cleaning this out is with a steam cleaner which blasts steam down the pipe. As you can imagine this is a necessary but dirty job. Any volunteers want to come and have a go?

Exhaust Steam Pipes

The more volunteers we can get working on Sir Lamiel the quicker we can complete the overhaul. Please contact

Alan Berck-May


5305 Locomotive Association.

Overhaul Update Overhaul Update

March 2022

Welcome to the March Chairman’s report. Unfortunately, a skiing accident has precluded me from doing much real work this month. I’m on the mend now and it was great to get back to Loughborough last week.

Not much progress on needle gunning the frames this month but the needle gun has still seen some serious use.

The brake gear on the tender continues to be removed. After the brake cylinder was removed attention turned to the brake beam support brackets. These took some serious hard work to remove, as did the tender front steps. I’m assured there was some heat and a significant amount of swearing involved. Once removed the steps and brackets were needle gunned and finished.

The good news from the boiler inspector in January work was quickly underway to start the stay removal. This involves drilling out each stay starting with a very small drill and gradually using bigger drills until the drill touches the sides of the platework. This must be done on the outside and inside of each stay. We need to drill out 70 stays!

In the locomotives’ cab the floor has been removed. The cab “Fall Plate”, which bridges the gap between the engine and the tender, has been removed and needle gunned. All the electrical gear associated with the TPWS system has been disconnected to enable access to the rotten back boards.

As all the components are being removed and cleaned up the next stage is several coats of paint. The area round the tender is the main painting area. There is a range of parts in various stages of painting drying off.

We have our initial materials shopping list. A growing concern is the rise in inflation and how that will impact our material costs. So, although it will be a year before we need things, like tubes, we will be placing orders in the next few months. Fund raising continues. Over the first three months of this year, we have raised over £1500 through the sales stand and shed shop. Anyone who can help us source or pay for these materials please get in touch (

Current material requirements

New valve and cylinder liner castings £10k

Copper bar for stay production £1k

Boiler tubes – Small £7k

Boiler tubes – Flue £3k

Bottle ends for flue tubes £1.5k

Steel bar for set screws £1k

The next few weeks will be continuing to get the tender ready for lifting, needle gunning the frames and dismantling the wooden underfloor structure to remove the rotting boards.

We are planning a big working weekend over Easter. If you’re visiting the GCR over the Easter weekend, please drop by the loco shed and stay hi.

Alan Berck-May


5305 Locomotive Association.


777 Sir Lamiel Progress Report

We’ve made good progress on Sir Lamiel’s overhaul. Obviously the COVID 19 restrictions have affected progress. Our target is to return Sir Lamiel to working order in time to celebrate its 100th birthday in 2025. The overhaul will be to full mainline standard and will be based at Loughborough on the Great Central Railway. In 2020 we launched a fund-raising appeal “Knights of the Round table” to raise £80,000 to help us fund the overhaul.

Initial work to strip down the locomotive began in 2020. The boiler was lifted from the Frames in October 2021. The internal boiler surfaces have been cleaned up and all the cladding is being removed. The good news is that the boiler inspector has completed his examination and our assessment of the work required has been confirmed. With no major issues found, we can push forward with the overhaul.

Work is continuing on the tender. All the brake gear has been removed, cleaned up and painted and is now being stored. Currently we are preparing the tender for lifting. This will enable the tender bogies to be run out for examination and cleaning. The motion, pistons and valves have been removed from the frames. The cylinders will require reboring and new liners fitting. Work has also started on preparing the insides of the loco’s frames for painting. Degreasing is also continuing on the outside of the frames. The plan is to lift the frames from the wheels this year. We have, with help from the Great Central Railway, invested in two containers to store components securely.

We’re still looking to increase our membership and the numbers of working volunteers, especially anyone willing to join the sales stand team.

If you’re interested in getting involved, please contact

The news from the boiler inspector is very welcome. However, the cost of the copper bar for the replacement stays and new tubes etc will not be cheap. Orders will need to be placed soon if we are to meet our target of 2024.

There are a few ways you can help us:

Join the Knights of the Round Table is main way of supporting the overhaul of Sir Lamiel

There is also the opportunity to make one off or regular monthly donations.

Become a working volunteer.

Please help us to complete Sir Lamiel’s overhaul in any way you can.

Alan Berck-May Chairman

777 Sir Lamiel is the only surviving Southern Railway King Arthur Class locomotive. Sir Lamiel is part of the National Collection of locomotives loaned to 5305 Locomotive Association by the National Railway Museum.

News Overhaul Update Overhaul Update

January 2022 Update

Work continues on Sir Lamiel. We have made some good progress on cleaning down the inside of the frames, and we’ve now started the noisy phase. The needle gunners, Mike and I, have been hard at work and the pit at Loughborough is now filling with red paint chips. Once all the paint is removed, we will then mechanically wire brush the frames and apply some new paint.

Alan needle gunning the between the frames of 777

On the tender, work has continued on removing the brake gear in preparation for the lift. The heavy lifting gang, Jim and John, were in at the weekend to remove the vacuum cylinder bracket and the front steps. The tender is now virtually ready to lift as soon as the jacks are available.

We’re making some great progress already this year. We’ve also had the boiler inspector examine the boiler. The good news is that we had already identified and planned to do all the required repairs the inspector has identified. This means that our work schedule is not affected by additional boiler work. We can now make plans to buy the materials required to do the work.

We’ve also carried on fitting out our containers with racking so that we can store components. There are volunteers working most weekends now, as well as Mike and I doing a couple of days a month in the week. There’s plenty to do now that the boiler, frames and tender have been separated.

The shed shop is also being modernised with improved electrics and shelving. We’re aiming to get the shop open at least once per month.

Our new shed shop open during the bitterly cold Eastern Weekend

If you’re interested in getting involved, please contact We want to involve as many members as possible to help us get Sir Lamiel back in steam. Even if you can only have a few hours a month to open the shed shop, it will be really useful.

As I’ve mentioned repeatedly, the challenge of fundraising remains. The news from the boiler inspector is very welcome. However, the cost of the copper bar for the replacement stays and new tubes etc will not be cheap. Orders will need to be placed soon if we are to meet our target of 2024.  There are a few ways you can help us. If you haven’t already you can  :-

Please help us to complete Sir Lamiel’s overhaul in any way you can.

Thanks for your support

Alan Berck-May



2021 Year End Update

Christmas is fast approaching and, if you’re a meat eater, you’ll be looking forward to turkey and all the trimmings. Us vegetarians are combing the recipe books for something different for Christmas lunch. The government is still to decide on the final restrictions for Christmas, once again we’re hoping for the best and fearing the worst.

That pretty much sums up our year for the Association. We had some hopes of getting the Five back out on the mainline but after careful thought we decided it would be better to keep it local and ensure that it made it through to the end of the boiler certificate extension. As it was we had a great 5305LA weekend (23rd & 24th October) with the Peak, Class 33 and 5305 all performing well. We also had our Fish and Chip special on the Saturday night.

The Peak has been a regular performer and is much easier to start now we have new batteries. There’s still loads of bodywork to do on the Class 33 but it has been in use at the GCR. Looking forward we need to press ahead with the repairs and a repaint in 2022.

After many delays we did actually lift the boiler of Sir Lamiel on the 27th October. Work continues on preparing the boiler for inspection. We can now start some serious work on the frames. Hopefully you will all see my video update for December, this will be uploaded soon. Sorry about the quality. This was my first time. Please let me know us know if you find it interesting and what you might like to see in future (

Thank you for all your support in 2021. We look forward to another interesting and challenging year in 2022.

Happy Christmas and best wishes for the New Year.

Alan Berck-May


News Overhaul Update

January 2021

We ended last year on a bit of a high with some significant progress on Sir Lamiel. Unfortunately, the news of the renewed lockdown and restrictions on access at Loughborough means that work on the overhaul has now stopped until restrictions are lifted.

We have rescheduled the project plan for the overhaul and still expect to have completed the overhaul in time for Sir Lamiel’s centenary year in 2025. Work has also stopped on the D6535 and other volunteer work at Loughborough. We are working closely with our colleagues at the Great Central Railway so that we can return to work as quickly as possible as restrictions are lifted.

 One area we still need to do further work is fund raising. We have launched the Knights of the Round Table and have raised around £20k so far. There’s still a long way to go. This year will be a challenge financially as opportunities for hiring of our locomotives will be restricted until the heritage sector returns to running normal timetabled trains.  We are looking into a Heritage Lottery Funding application to support the Sir Lamiel overhaul. This is quite a task as we have to build a good case for their support. A small project team is being set up to work on the application. If anyone has experience of HLF applications or other fundraising ideas, please contact us via

Maintaining our fundraising momentum is key to the success of our work. There are a few ways you can help us.

  • If you haven’t already you can join the Knights of the Round Table is main way of supporting the overhaul of Sir Lamiel 
  • There is also the opportunity to make one off or regular monthly donations. Please follow the link above.
  • There is also the opportunity to make one off or regular monthly donations. Please follow the link above.
  • Become a working volunteer.
  • Purchase gifts and accessories from our website shop. Please follow the link to see our current range. More items will be added to the shop in during the year.

Thanks for your support with Sir Lamiel.

Alan Berck-May


5305 Locomotive Association


Sir Lamiel for overhaul

National collection locomotive N15, King Arthur class, No. 777, Sir Lamiel is set to return to steam following a new overhaul agreement with the 5305 Locomotive Association.

The overhaul will take place to main line standards with work due to start later this year and due to be completed in 2023.

Once the overhaul is finished, a second, five-year loan agreement will be negotiated to enable Sir Lamiel to be based at the Great Central Railway and to begin main line tours and a schedule of appearances at heritage railways across the country. During the overhaul, Sir Lamiel will be based at the Great Central Railway in Leicestershire with work carried out by the 5305 Locomotive Association’s engineering team.

The overhaul will also see the locomotive repainted in lined out BR Green with early crests on the tender, replacing the current Southern Railway Malachite Green. Initial mechanical assessments have confirmed Sir Lamiel’s suitability for overhaul and the locomotive’s condition will be regularly assessed and appropriate repairs or replacements carried out as the overhaul progresses.  

The 5305 Locomotive Association will fund initial work on the engine before launching a public fundraising campaign to raise the remaining £80,000 required to complete the overhaul.

Alan Berck-May, Chairman of the 5305 Locomotive Association, said: “We’re really proud to continue our association with Sir Lamiel and look forward to working the colleagues at the NRM and the Great Central Railway as we undertake the overhaul.”

Great Central Railway’s Managing Director, Michael Gough, said: “Sir Lamiel has a memorable history at the Great Central and I am delighted that 5305 have been able to conclude a deal with the NRM that suits everyone. Once its restoration is complete, 30777 will have a significant part to play in our home fleet, as well as its visits to other railways and the main line and I eagerly look forward to the day when it is steaming between Loughborough and Leicester once again.”

Judith McNicol, Director of the National Railway Museum said: “I am pleased to announce this latest overhaul agreement which will see popular Southern Railway locomotive, Sir Lamiel return to steam. The 5305 Locomotive Association has a very strong track record of caring for Sir Lamiel which stretches back almost 40 years and I look forward to working with them and the Great Central Railway as the project progresses.”

Steam locomotive, Southern Railway, King Arthur class, No. 777 Sir Lamiel was designed by Richard Edward Lloyd Maunsell and built by Glasgow’s North British Locomotive Company in 1925. Pre-Grouping, the London & South Western Railway (LSWR) had designed the N15 class, two cylinder 4-6-0 locomotives, under the auspices of Robert Urie.

Following the grouping of railway companies in 1923, LSWR became part of the Southern Railway and Richard Maunsell developed the Class N15s to meet an urgent demand for additional express passenger locomotives. 

The publicity department of Southern Railway gave the N15 locomotives names relating to the Arthurian Legend – Sir Lamiel of Cardiff was a minor knight of the Round Table mentioned in book XIX of Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. The King Arthur class were the first locomotives in Britain to be fitted with smoke-deflector plates. In total 74 locomotives were built between 1919 and 1926.

Sir Lamiel entered service in 1925 and worked on the Bournemouth and West of England services for most of its working life. The engine was withdrawn in 1961 after a relatively short 36-years and is now part of the National Railway Museum’s collection under the custodianship of the 5305 Locomotive Association.  

In preservation, the engine was stored at Fratton, then Stratford and Ashford before being adopted by the Humberside Locomotion Preservation Group in 1978. The group returned the engine to steam in 1982 and completed an overhaul in 1989. Sir Lamiel arrived at the Great Central Railway in 1995 and was withdrawn for a further overhaul by the 5305 Locomotive Association in 1996.

The locomotive is part of the internationally significant Science Museum Group collection (more information and images are available here).