Our Engines

The Charles Burrell Museum owns and maintains three working Burrell engines, usually housed within the Museum. These can be seen outside in full steam at our Grand Opening and End of Season days every year.

Steam roller No. 4061, built 1927 5NHP DCC, registration number UO 945. As far as known, she does not carry a name. Originally owned by Edwin Harris and Sons, Contractors. Donated to the Charles Burrell Museum by Tarmac Ltd as a kit of parts and re-assembled by a team of volunteers.

General purpose traction engine No. 2479, built 1902 8NHP SCC, registration number AH5239. Named “Old Dull Bob” but now affectionately referred to as Aggie , this engine worked all its life in the local area and was laid up at Burnham Market for a time. Bought for the Charles Burrell Museum, the boiler was overhauled, but new gears are needed.

Showman’s Road Locomotive No. 3833 , built 1920 8NHP DCC, registration number BR1498. Named “Queen Mary”, she was sold to Alf Payne, a northern showman. In 1923 ownership passed to Anderton and Rowland of Bristol, who travelled the West Country. She was eventually sold to Mrs Flo Simmonds of Salisbury, then in 1949 into preservation by Mr Viv Kirk in the Oxford Area. Remaining there until 2008, she arrived at the Charles Burrell Museum, bequeathed by Viv in his will.

Latest Engine News…

  • Heritage Open Days 2021

    We are open during Heritage Open Days this year!

  • Fundraising Page

    In difficult times without income from the museum itself we have now started a small fundraising page to help with all the engine restorations needed and our wider aims. http://gf.me/u/ytgjra

    A few words from museum manager Helen….

    We are solely manned by volunteers, relying on donations to assist in the upkeep of the museum and its engines. We encourage local visits from groups and schools, educating on how things were done in a Thetford whilst the Burrell works was the main employer of the town. We also have Steam Apprentices within our volunteer group who are learning the art of boiler management and steam operations. The benefits gained from fund raising will assist a wider audience of the town with knowledge of past workings as well as preserving these magnificent engines and building (housed in the original paint shop). This is an ongoing long term project and would welcome funds anytime to assist as we are a free to visit museum. We, as a volunteer group, appreciate any financial support small or large as all goes into the running of the museum as a whole.

  • New Shoes for Queen Mary

    After a 3 year fundraising campaign & a 13 hour road trip to collect them, we are delighted to be able to say we have new tyre segments for Queen Mary! Our wonderful volunteers will soon start work to fit them & we’ll keep you updated on our progress! We would like to thank everyone who donated to this appeal & also Jimmer & Sarah Marsh who sourced, pressed & cut the tyres for us.

  • Happy 100 birthday to our very own Queen Mary, Showman’s Road Locomotive No. 3833 , built 1920!!!

    Due to lock down, she is still undergoing maintenance/ boiler testing, but looking forward to celebrating once complete and restrictions are lifted!

  • Engines Update by Richard Stock
    At the end of the season 2019, we discovered that the boiler inspection scheme allegedly fell short of the PSSR 2000 legislation. From that point, we were advised that should not steam the engines until they had been thoroughly inspected with the boiler cladding removed. The trustees decided that Queen Mary should receive the “treatment” first. As 3833 was built as a showman’s engine, the strip down is more arduous than the roller or agricultural engines would be. After draining the boiler and cleaning the fire side, a cold inspection was made, with some recommendations for the mud doors to be reprofiled. Our coded welder of preference duly came over and built up the mud and inspection doors for us, all save one , which was deemed as past saving, so a new one was purchased, and with a minor bit of fettling, fits very glove like. After a hydraulic squeeze, we have a small patch on the boiler seam which will require caulking, and another hydraulic test will be performed to make sure all is well. Apart from this, all the fittings have been removed, degreased, cleaned, fettled where necessary, one or two bits have been renewed, but only where no alternative is available – because the engine is to be kept as original as possible. A magnificent effort by all of our volunteers so far. Unfortunately due to the ravages of Covid-19 all work has had to cease until we get the all clear to resume our efforts. When we return, we plan to re-lag the boiler barrel, re-fit the cladding, refit the front tanks, steering mechanism and the clacks and pipework, with the barrel exposed in front of the cylinder block, so the caulking repair can be examined under hydraulic pressure. Hopefully we should be able to steam test the engine on the same visit from our venerable inspector. After final assembly, we can move on to the roller for similar treatment. When that is completed, we can attend to our “Aggie”.