Rocker Shaft brackets donated by the Paignton and Dartmouth Railway 30th October A couple of…
WE are very pleased to report that our engineering knowledge and skill base have been further strengthened by the appointment of Duncan Ballard to the Board of Directors/Trustees.
Duncan is a well-known figure in the heritage railway sector and has been involved with the Severn Valley Railway (SVR) for many years, where he currently serves as Head of Steam Engineering based at Bridgnorth.
Having grown up in Bewdley, his fascination with GWR steam was ignited by No. 3440 City of Truro, which he saw being overhauled at Bridgnorth and Bewdley as a child, and later witnessed on one of its running in trips at Arley. This interest was further fuelled by the likes of No. 4930 Hagley Hall (a personal favourite), ‘Modified Hall’ No. 6960 Raveningham Hall and the gleaming lined black ‘Manor’ No. 7819 Hinton Manor, which at the time formed the backbone of SVR operations.
Duncan started volunteering at the SVR as soon as he was old enough, signing on as an apprentice boilersmith in the mid-1990s – the same year that he qualified as a Passed Cleaner. Two years later he joined the SVR’s main line locomotive support crew, but left the railway in 2002 to pursue a career as a boilersmith, initially going to Riley & Son, followed by a four-year stint at LNWR Heritage at Crewe. He then returned to the Midlands with a role at Tyseley Locomotive Works, during which time he not only passed out as a driver on the SVR, but also qualified as a main line fireman (appropriately he was passed out after firing ‘Castle’ No. 5029 Nunney Castle from Oxford to Tyseley in September 2008).
In mid-2009 Duncan took the position of Boiler Contracts Foreman at the SVR, and later was appointed to his current role. Additionally, he served as Chairman of the Friends of Locomotive 4930 Hagley Hall, and had the honour of driving the locomotive on its first day back in service on September 9, 2022, following an extensive rebuild.
Commenting on Duncan’s appointment to the Board, CCT Chairman Gary Boyd-Hope said: “When we first began formulating ideas for what would eventually become the Churchward County Trust, Duncan was one of the first people I spoke to as I knew of his interest in GWR 4-4-0s. He was the ideal sounding board; his comments and feedback helping to shape the way the project headed, and I have been keen for him to get involved in the project at a senior level.
“Duncan’s knowledge of steam locomotive engineering, and in particular Swindon-built machines, will be invaluable as the build of County of Montgomery progresses at Tyseley. Together with our Engineering Manager, Bob Meanley, and Engineering Liaison, David Bradshaw, I’m confident that we now have the best team in place to drive the loco’s construction forward.”