top of page

Speedy and Tommy Prime

Refurbishment Phil Davies 2018

by Roger Addenbrooke

Phil Davies, Mike Brophy

The builder - Tommy Prime

Tommy joined the Society in October 1955 and at a ‘Bits & Pieces’ meeting in late January 1956 showed parts for a ‘Speedy’ which were for his retirement project. He was a retired toolmaker (Old School) and built a very fine model to LBSC’s design for a 5”g GWR designed BR built Class 15XX 0 – 6 – 0 PT locomotive, Number 1500, (castings being available from A J Reeves) at his Erdington home, in a Shed/Workshop using a treadle lathe. The loco, later being kept under the stairs wrapped in selected dust sheets and blankets.

In LBSC’s Shop, Shed and Road (Reprint Argus Books Ltd 1979) is a picture (Plate 8) of SPEEDY built by Mr T PRIME.

At the AGM’s in April 1962 and 1968 he was elected on to the committee and in early June 1973 was made an Honorary Life member. Tommy had attended the portable track event at Wilmott Bredon in August 1972, after which he subsequently became very ill.  At the meeting held on 22nd May 1973 the chairman announced that Tommy had presented his loco to the Society with a request that a small plate be affixed recording the fact. Then sadly, at the meeting held on 19th June 1973 the Chairman announced that he had died 3 days earlier. In July 1973 a small silver plate was affixed to ‘Speedy’

Unfortunately this plate is no longer on the loco.  Following settlement of Tommy’s estate, the loco became the Society’s property in April 1974.


The loco only ran occasionally at Lea Marston as Tommy was not very keen on the all steel raised level track. In 1972 after the steel track was encased in concrete and a new aluminium track laid on top, the loco regularly ran. Tommy steamed his loco at Joseph Lucas Co. annual sports days held in June 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1971. The loco ran at a club visit to the Joseph Lucas track May 1968, portable track events at Slumberland’s Sports Day August and at Hagley Sept. 1969. In 1971 events were May - John Wilmott School, July -Marston Green, August -Wilmot Bredon. The 1972 events were May- Sutton Girls Grammar School and August - Wilmot Bredon. Events in 1973 were Lea Marston in June followed by a Gala in August and the Boxing day steam up. Following Tommy’s death the loco ran at the Boxing day steam up’s in 1974, 1975, 1976,1978 and on Whit Monday 1975. At a society visit probably in 1967 or 1968 to the Rugby SMEE, Tommy drove Speedy where it pulled 26 adults sitting on all the trucks available with steam to spare.


The loco also ran at the January 1969 Model Engineering Exhibition on the SMEE Test Track, driven by Les Roberts. At the official opening of the Society’s first track at Lea Marston on 26th October 1969, Mr. Pearson (Land owner) drove Speedy on a lap of honour with Tommy then giving train rides until nearly dusk. In 1974 various repairs were carried out and the loco put back into service. In 1979/80 repairs were carried out with the cylinders being repacked, blast pipe modified and the loco repainted. The loco ran well after the repairs but there were one or two water leaks. Later in 1980 the boiler was replaced with a new boiler built by Eric and Roger Edmonds with hydraulic shell test in Feb. 1983. The loco was repainted and then lined out in BR black livery by Bill Hall and put back in steam following hydraulic and steam tests in March 1984.

The loco had current boiler certificates until July 1996 and then it remained stored in the workshop until January 2009, when it passed hydraulic and steam tests and then again in April 2014. Mechanical problems arose with cylinder steam leaks, etc and the loco was taken out of service mid 2018 for a heavy overhaul.

Betty Wincott recalls her late husband Barry with Steve Hodgetts running driver training courses on Sunday mornings in the the mid to late 80's at Balleny Green. They were fairly well attended until the learner drivers had to prepare Speedy to run and clean down afterwards, then attendance suddenly dropped off. 

Martyn Cozens remembers Barry giving him the opportunity on a Sunday afternoon to drive Speedy. which was his first ever experience driving a Steam Loco 


Rodger Addenbrooke

(The help given by Tony Critchley, Pete Mc, Bill Hall, Phil Davis and Hugh Sykes in preparing this article is acknowledged)

(Photos courtesy of Hugh Sykes)

Refurbishment Phil Davies 2018

by Phil Davies

Mike Brophy

It has been many months since I have shared any updates with you and during this time the project has been slowly ticking over. During the back half of last year my time and attention has been pulled in many different directions and I have not dedicated as much time to Speedy as I had hoped to. Even so, progress has been made. The main hurdle of the last few months has been the side tanks and overcoming the years of expected wear and tear. Upon stripping of the paint body filler was found and when this was carved off it was clear the tanks had sustained impact damage in the past. Also, the brass was found to be very thin resulting in the easy denting of the tank sides. A fix to this issue was devised that could be done cold (save upsetting the soft soldered joints) and a suitable sheet of heavy gauge brass was found and guillotined at Little Hay –


Thanks to Brian Dale and thanks and I O U to whoever the brass belonged to. The Heavy brass plate has been glued to the inside face of the side tanks with high temp silicon and secured with brass countersunk screws and nuts that had been fixed with soft solder to stop rotation. After dressing all the screw heads on the tank face and a quick smear of metal filler the tanks have then been closed and made watertight.

I have also completed alkaline dipping of the bunker and cab and they are currently in Primer. The primer I use is Upol acid 8 etch primer. This is a single part etch primer that contains phosphoric acid (same as in coca cola) and really keys well in both steel and brass. I complete the priming stage using rattle cans but the main painting will be done with a mini touch up gun and two part paints.

Some of you may have seen Speedy at Little Hay recently. The next part of this restoration is to receive the cylinders back from Mike Brophy complete with shiny new piston valve liners and then paint, roll on the Spring

All for now,


Sfter the stripdown 

Refurbishment Complete, Phil Davies 2023


Phil returns the locomotive back to Balleny Green in time for the


AGM 75th Anniversary day on the 4th June 2023

bottom of page