July 4th, 2021

Engineering Update 4th July 2021

In October 2020 most businesses involved with the UK’s preserved railways and associated enterprises were in the midst of Covids’ grip; the result being that many commercial organisations were faced with an uncertain future due to their incomes being either severely reduced or eliminated. Skilled staff were furloughed in the hope that the pandemic would reduce in severity and that businesses would eventually return to something of the level attained prior to lockdown. Organisations of a modest size such as The Holden F5 Steam Locomotive Trust were no exception to the rule of income downturn as our opportunities to publicly fundraise were effectively removed as a consequence of lockdown.

As we entered September 2020 the Trust’s income had stagnated to a certain extent until we received a letter from a solicitor confirming the pending arrival of a very generous legacy left to the Trust by a gentleman whom sadly passed away awhile back. “Ron” had been a member of the Trust since the early days and prior to then had been a member and supporter of the Ongar Railway Preservation Society (ORPS) that I had instigated in 1992. Thanks to Ron’s very generous gift to The Holden F5 Steam Locomotive Trust Tyseley Steam Locomotive Works were in the position to proceed with the construction of GER 789’s frames.

Within a few days our CME Elliot Powick was having detailed talks with Alistair Meanley, CME of Tyseley Steam Locomotive Works resulting in a Schedule of Works being agreed to. GER 789’s  castings were removed from secure storage and prepared for assembly. GER 789’s frames were relocated to Tyseley’s Workshop, cleaned then primed ahead of construction.

Tyseley’s renowned steam engineers under the leadership of CME Alistair Meanley together with regular input from Holden’s CME Elliot Powick made phenomenal progress to such an extent that by Christmas 2020 the frames were rapidly approaching the hot riveting phase.

The two images below clearly illustrate the amount of skilled engineering and progress that Tyseley under the leadership of Alistair Meanley and GER 789 CME Elliot Powick have achieved to date.

GER 789’s frames have been hot riveted together, the machined cylinders have been installed, the smokebox and footplate have been installed pending riveting plus four new buffers have been bolted to the frames. Design of the radial trucks and horn guides has been completed however we are waiting and hoping for the escalating price of steel to falter and ideally drop before proceeding with casting.

Behind the scenes ongoing meetings will formulate the next Works Schedule and an announcement will be made soon. Meanwhile our original CME Graham Rowland continues to research drawings as requested by CME Elliot Powick.

Quality assured engineering ensures that the build of GER 789 progresses unhindered therefore with an expert and experienced engineering team working on GER 789 the future is looking very positive and secure.

To explore how you may be able to offer financial assistance please click on “How you can help.”

Steve Cooper,


The Holden F5 Steam Locomotive Trust.

Image courtesy of Alistair Meanley, CME Tyseley.

Image courtesy of Alistair Meanley, CME Tyseley.