A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our supporters!
What a start to the project it has been! Since we went public with our intentions in July of this year, we have gained charitable status (September), attended our first major public event (November BKR Steam Gala), steadily gained a good number of committed supporters and expanded our management team.
Now to cap the year off we have more great news for you, NBLS are proud to announce it's home for the foreseeable future. An agreement has been struck between NBLS and Fife Heritage Railway which will see NBLS utilising the FHR site in Leven as a component storage facility and base of operations. While no shed/line space has been agreed at this moment for the project build, there is little requirement for this in the next couple of years while we begin funding frames and other small components.
A bit of history on Fife Heritage Railway actually begins with the closure of John Camerons Lochty Private Railway in 1992 which at the time also housed the Fife Railway Preservation Group. The group reformed to be The Kingdom of Fife Railway Preservation Society and moved rolling stock to the sidings at Methil Power Station. A permanent site was found in Kirkland sidings a mile away with the group building a two lane shed and completing the move to the 22 acre site in 2003, opening to public in 2008. Now re-branded as Fife Heritage Railway their success is ever-growing with the completion of an 0-4-0ST Barclay and plans afoot to build a dedicated heritage museum.
It is a great step to give ourselves an identity and have somewhere we can call home for the time being. Next year you will see more of us out and about attending events also displaying on FHR open days. In 2020 we will begin cutting some metal in anger, as well as more modernised component designs utilising CAD, stemming from the original drawings to suit current manufacturers needs.
We need your support more than ever, recently we launched our first dedicated appeal to fund the leading bogie frames. The CAD drawings are soon to be completed and will be used for acquiring prices to cut the frames. We aim to raise £10,000 to complete the bulk of the design work along with cutting the bogie frame side plates and other associated bogie parts. If you can spare some change this Christmas, please donate to the appeal either using the form Here or via PayPal using the donate button.
Finally, thank you all so much for your support to the Ben Alder Project while it is still in very early stages. We are all on to something great which can only get better.
From everyone at NBLS, we wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and we'll see you in 2020.
October / November
This update comes directly after the SRPS' Annual end of Season Steam Gala, and this was our first big outing as as group. Thursday and Friday were spent sorting out logistics, collecting our Merchandise and lying out our stand ready for Saturday morning. Both Anthony and Gavin were also rostered as engine crews on both days, so some fine juggling was done to ensure the stand had someone present at all times. Anthony put in a truly heroic shift Saturday, spending most of the day on the stall; he was helped later on by our newest member to the team, Hector Complin. (more on Hector later)
The event was a great success, with good sales of our currently limited merchandise, and a large number of people showing a great deal of interest in our plans. We also were able to say 'Hello' to a few of our supporters, who paid us a visit. (it is great for us to meet our supporters, and to be able to personally thank them for their support for the project)
We have just completed our final count, and after costs have been taken out the event raised close to £500. But for us the real value was to get our faces seen, and to make more people aware of the project, as well as getting further supporters join our slowly growing ranks.
The Bogie Appeal
Our other big news this month is the launch of our appeal to raise £10,000 to start acquire the components needed for the front bogie. The figure isn't enough to complete the work, but will allow us to get the first parts produced, and from there we can obtain our final costings to complete the bogie. We are asking for either one off donations or regular monthly payments, and as the funds permit we will start gathering the items needed. Bogie appeal form
New Team Members
Over the last few months we have had a couple of new faces join us, both are helping with the design side of the project. Our first designer is Jordan, who has offered to help us with the Bogie and has started getting the first draft together for the two side plates. It is with this being done, that we are now looking to get the funding in place ready for the plates to get cut once the work has been completed and approved.
Second we have Hector, He is currently studying Mechanical Engineering, and while doing his studies has found time to draw up the first draft drawing for a small oil lubrication pot. Again this will need to be checked and approved, once done they can be sent off for 3D printing, and casting.
So far this month has been a very profitable one for our small fledgling group, we have received the latest batch of drawings; these are actually from Dugald Drummond's Calendonian Railway Class 66. These have been crossed referenced against the limited number of drawings we have for the Ben's, and to say there is a family resemblance would be quite an understatement! On the first of September the main management group met to discuss plans for the immediate future, including our charity application, the up coming SRPS Gala, and our first targeted appeal. The opportunity was also taken to have a 'Team photo' taken, and what better subject for our background than the pioneering 'New Build' Tornado!
On September 15th, Anthony was able to post this announcement via out social media pages-
"This week it was confirmed that New Build Locomotive Scotland, also known as The Ben Alder Project have become a registered charity with the OSCR. Our registered charity number is SC049595."
The latest issue of the Steam Railway is covering our announcement, we have also made the top of the front cover! The story covers half a page in the news section, and the article is very positive of our ambitions. We would like to thank Steam Railway for highlighting our cause.
We have Launched ourselves on Facebook, and have received positive comments and feed back. Applications for the supporters group have been coming in, and we have also received new members to our Easyfundraising page. There are a number if small initiatives currently taking place, these include a charity application, and investigations towards our first major component. Thank you to all those who have taken the time to read our Website, and have sent off their application forms. If anyone wishes to join us, or just make a donation fill out our supporters form (write donation in the personal detail if you do not want to become a supporter).
This month has brought us further publicity with The Railway Magazine covering our project, along side the Bluebell Railways proposal; also an elegant 4.4.0 locomotive.
Supporter numbers continue to grow, each new supporter receives a certificate, a print of Ben Alder, and a welcome letter. A small number have decided to make a regular monthly donation, this is allowing us to start planning our future direction with a degree of certainty.
Finally, a further request has been made to the National Archives in Glasgow for drawings. The current targeted component is the Locomotive Bogie, research has highlighted common features with all Drummond designs, whether from the pen of Peter or his older Brother Dugald. This has allowed us to fill gaps in our current knowledge with details from designs produced before, and after the Ben classes.
We are still a very young group with a very long way to go, a small dedicated group have been working slowly over the last 18 months gathering information, and locating drawings. Recently we contacted the Highland Railway Society; requesting their assistance in drawing attention to our plans, and to help us locate further information required to complete the project.
We are extremely grateful to have received conformation from the Chairman; offering help to us by promoting the project in their society newsletter. It is our sincere hope that this will lead to further partnerships from the Railway Heritage movement within Scotland, and bringing benefits to all parties involved.