30777 Sir Lamiel (SR E777, SR 777 & BR 30777)     

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Sir Lamiel, numbered E777, was built in June 1925 at the North British Locomotive Works (Hyde Park Works) in Glasgow as one of the batch of 30 engines built there. These engines had a narrower cab to suit them for use on the Eastern section of the Southern Railway and had 5000 gallon bogie tenders. Smoke deflectors were fitted in December, 1927. The E prefix was abandoned in 1932.

The names of the King Arthur class locomotives were based on the Arthurian legends with this locomotive acquiring the name of Sir Lamiel of Cardiff who was a minor knight of the round table.

In 1936 achieved some notoriety whilst working the Atlantic Coast Express when it cut 17¼ minutes off the booked time of 90 minutes for the 83.8 miles from Salisbury to Waterloo and attained a speed of 90 mph at Byfleet.

E777 was first allocated to Nine Elms shed in London for work on the expresses from Waterloo to the West Country and Bournemouth. Later allocations were Battersea, Bournemouth, Dover, Feltham and Basingstoke. After the Nationalisation of the Railways in 1948, Sir Lamiel was re-numbered 30777.

BR motive power depot allocations since 1948.

Date ArrivedDepot
January 1948Eastleigh
January 1951Nine Elms
June 1951Stewarts Lane
September 1951Dover Marine
May 1959Feltham
September 1960Basingstoke

During its working life it carried a number of liveries in addition to its original olive green. During the war it was painted black but donned malachite green in, 1947 and British Railway’s version of that colour in, 1948. BR’s Brunswick Green was applied in 1951.

Sir Lamiel was withdrawn from service in October 1961 after a relatively short working life of some 36 years. Normally a steam locomotive would have been expected to work for 50 years but the British Railways Modernisation Plan of 1955 led to the rapid introduction of diesel locomotives and the consequent early withdrawal of the steam engines.

After withdrawal Sir Lamiel was first stored at Fratton and then Stratford and Ashford. In 1978 it was adopted by the Humberside Locomotive Preservation Group and taken to their base at Diarycoates shed in Hull. Restoration to main line standards took place there and the first steaming in preservation took place in 1982. In the same year it made its first main line trip over the famous Settle and Carlisle Railway.

On the 2nd June 1984 the locomotive was at York about to haul a railtour to Leeds. Whilst it was in the station at York it was announced that a regular service train to Harrogate and Leeds had been cancelled due to mechanical problems. As there was plenty of room on the railtour the train that Sir Lamiel hauled became the all stops to Leeds where it lost about five minutes on the running time allowed for the service train.  

In September 1986 the locomotive visited the Stratford Works for the third time since it was withdrawn from service in October 1961. On the first occasion it was stored in the old carriage washshop along with other engines of the National Collection. In June 1978 it visited for a second time when it was in transit from storage at Preston Park in Brighton to Hull Dairycoates. The third visit in September 1986 when it was taken into the diesel repair shop. There are photographs of it being hoisted aloft by an overhead gantry crane to enable its leading coupled wheels and bogie to be rolled out. There are also photographs of it having steam tests in the yard at Stratford in December 1986. Sir Lamiel was thus the last steam locomotive to be repaired at Stratford as the works had officially closed to steam locomotives in September 1962.  

Following a first overhaul in preservation in 1989, there then followed a successful and varied main line career which included a trip to Birmingham in 1994 for an appearance in the film The Cruel Train.

Sir Lamiel is part of the National Collection of the National Railway Museum at York. It is in the custody of the 5305 Locomotive Association at Loughborough, the successor to the Humberside Locomotive Preservation Group. It arrived at the Great Central Railway in 1995 and after some limited running was withdrawn for overhaul in 1996.

For restoration to running condition, aided by several Main Line Steam Trust (MLST) grants, the locomotive was stripped down to its component parts before these were repaired and re-painted and, where necessary, replaced with new parts before re-assembly into a complete engine once again.

A great deal of work was completed on the locomotive including a complete re-tube of the boiler. The work has been done to the highest standards to equip the engine for a further round of main line running. The latest safety devices have been fitted.

In May, 2004 the locomotive was cosmetically restored to make an appearance at the National Railway Museum’s Railfest exhibition in York celebrating 200 years of steam locomotives. It had a full paint finish and oily rags were lit in the smokebox to give the appearance of a locomotive in steam.

A most critical stage was reached in January, 2006 when the boiler passed its hydraulic test both for insurance and main line running purposes. The boiler was pumped up to a pressure of 270psi, 33% above its steam operating limit, and held that pressure for the required thirty minutes. The test had to be conducted at a minimum temperature of 7OC so testing in January can be frustrating. However, all was fine on the day so testing proceeded. The clock then started ticking for the seven year main line and the ten year preserved line approval. So all the rubber seals and temporary fittings had then to be removed and proper gaskets, seals and packing fitted for the steam test.

Following passing a static steam test, with safety valves being set the maximum boiler pressure of 200psi and fitting the ashpan and fitting some of the boiler cladding, the boiler was lifted onto the frames the locomotive returned to traffic in May, 2006.

Since then Sir Lamiel has been a regular performer on the main line.

Following some heavy maintenance on the main driving wheels and bearings at Tyseley and Loughborough in late 2012 it emerged in Southern Railway malachite livery as 777 for the first time having previously carried Southern Railway olive green as 777 and in British Railways Brunswick green as 30777.

Sir Lamiel was taken out of service on the Great Central Railway in August 2017 with leaking tubes. The boiler certificate was valid until the end in October 2017.

In January 2019 the National Railway Museum disclosed that the agreement with the 5305 Locomotive Association would not be extended. It is though possible that the locomotive will not remain at the Great Central Railway and may go on static display at the National Railway Museum at York.

In July 2020 following further discussions between the National Railway Museum and the 5305 Locomotive Association it was announced that Sir Lamiel would be overhauled. The plan is that work on overhauling the locomotive at Loughborough will commence later in 2020 with a view to having the engine back in operation in 2023. The work will be undertaken by the 5305 Locomotion Association’s engineering team. Following completion of the overhaul a five year loan agreement will be negotiated which will allow the locomotive to run on the Great Central Railway and on the mainline as well as visiting other heritage railways. It is planned that Sir Lamiel will return to service in BR lined green with an early BR crest.

By October 2020 work had started stripping the locomotive down in order to enable the boiler to be lifted from the frames. By this time the forecast return to steam date was revised to 2025.

In November 2021 it was reported that the boiler had been lifted off the frames of the locomotive.

In February 2022 it was disclosed that the boiler inspector had completed an examination of the boiler and no major issues were identified. It was also noted that the motion, pistons and valves had been removed and it was stated that the cylinders required reboring and new liners fitting.

Home BaseCurrent StatusOwner
Great Central RailwayUnder overhaulNational Railway Museum NRM Object Number{1978-7034}

30777 Sir Lamiel passing Vauxhall – Circa 1925
30777 Sir Lamiel at Southampton on a train fro Bournemouth to Birmingham – July 1960
30777 Sir Lamiel passing Clapham Junction on a train to Waterloo – June 1961
30777 Sir Lamiel at Tyseley – September 1970
30777 Sir Lamiel at Tyseley – June 1971
30777 Sir Lamiel in a siding at Bromley South – Circa 1977
30777 Sir Lamiel at York - July 1983.jpg
30777 Sir Lamiel at York – July 1983
30777 Sir Lamiel at York March 1984
30777 Sir Lamiel at Settle Junction - December 1984.jpg
30777 Sir Lamiel at Settle Junction – December 1984
30777 Sir Lamiel at Scarborough - August 1985.jpg
30777 Sir Lamiel at Scarborough – August 1985
30777 Sir Lamiel at Seamer Junction leaving Scarborough - August 1985.jpg
30777 Sir Lamiel at Seamer Junction leaving Scarborough – August 1985
30777 Sir Lamiel at Exeter Central being prepared to haul the Atlantic Coast Express back to London – June 1992
30777 Sir Lamiel passes through Sherburn-in-Elmet with a train from Tyseley to York – July 2006
30777 Sir Lamiel approaching Pokesdown – July 2010
30777 Sir Lamiel at Sheffield Park on the Bluebell Railway – October 2010
30777 Sir Lamiel at Quorn and Woodhouse on the Great Central Railway – January 2011
30777 Sir Lamiel at Loughborough on the Great Central Railway – January 2013
30777 Sir Lamiel at Quorn and Woodhouse on the Great Central Railway – January 2013
30777 Sir Lamiel at Loughborough on the Great Central Railway – January 2016
30777 Sir Lamiel with 47406 at Loughborough on the Great Central Railway – January 2016

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