Video series captures steam engine Talisman’s first major pull

Morris Lubricants is releasing a series of short videos documenting the first serious road tour and pull by a classic 20th century steam engine built from scratch by Cumbrian engineer Alex Sharphouse is being broadcast next week.

For more than six years, Alex had a mission to recreate Talisman, a Fowler B6 Big Lion Road Locomotive, the ‘King of the Road’ of its era, capable of hauling loads in excess of 100 tonnes.

Having achieved his dream of completing the build, he decided at the end of last year to take Talisman for a 50-mile tour near his Lake District home, doing what it was built for in the 1920s - moving heavy equipment, in this case a 50 tonne engine on a trailer.

The challenging route, from Threlkeld Mining Museum to Alex’s workshop in Bouth, took three days to complete.

Leading oil, lubricants and greases manufacturer, Morris Lubricants, a loyal sponsor of Talisman, were there to record the journey and the film is being released online in a mini-series of short videos.

The videos can be watched on YouTube - www.youtube.com/c/morrislubricantsgb Facebook www.facebook.com/Morrislubricants or the Morris Lubricants website www.morrislubricants.co.uk/.

The videos feature Alex chatting to Guy Martin, Morris Lubricants’ brand ambassador, TV presenter and engineering enthusiast. Guy, who was involved in the original build, finds out from Alex what Talisman has been up to, since its last visit to the Shrewsbury Steam Rally in 2019 and future plans.

Alex also speaks about interesting parts of Talisman that are invisible to the naked eye before showing Guy Talisman’s true power by taking him on a ride along the streets of Shrewsbury, where the interview was recorded at Morris Lubricants’ headquarters.

Talisman weighs 20 tonnes, has mighty back wheels seven feet high and produces 10 hp - not to be confused with brake horsepower. It’s the equivalent of a very large, modern lorry with a top speed of 20mph. The engine was one of only five Fowler B6 Locos that were built for the famous Norman E. Box haulage company in Manchester up to 1931.

Besides being its first serious challenge, Talisman’s road tour helped raise money for Cystic Fibrosis Trust in memory of Angus McIntosh, Alex’s nephew who sadly died in 2018 aged 25 after a lifelong battle with the genetic condition.

Angus filmed and produced the original video to launch the Talisman fundraising campaign which attracted vital sponsorship for the build.

To date, nearly £8,500 has been raised in his memory on a JustGiving page, surpassing the initial £5,000 target. Alex and Morris Lubricants hope the release of the videos will raise even more money for the charity.

Donations can be made online at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Talisman-Tour/

“I always wanted to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust to support people with the same condition as Angus,” said Alex. “We are delighted with the money raised to date and it’s great that there are thousands of people who now know who Angus was. I hope he would be proud of our efforts.”

Speaking about the road trip, he said: “All in all, it went very well. From our point of view, it was a total success and it seems to have caused quite a publicity stir in the steam world.

“We were a bit unsure whether the engine would perform, but we learnt a hell of a lot from the trip which is what it was all about.

“When you look back at our journey over the past eight years, Talisman is a massive achievement not just by myself but by all the people who have been involved from start to finish, including my wife, Charlotte, friends and Morris Lubricants.

“I’m very proud of what has been achieved, as very few people can say they have done something like this.”

As for the future, Alex is talking to Morris Lubricants about a “special challenge” this year, possibility linked to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Praising Morris Lubricants, he said: “I am honoured to be associated with such a fantastic business that has always been there in the background supporting me. Our relationship works very well.

“Without their support, we wouldn’t be where we are today with Talisman. I use their quality oils, lubricants and greases in all my engineering projects.”

For more information on Morris Lubricants premium quality oils, lubricants and greases head to: https://www.morrislubricants.co.uk/

Picture caption:

Alex Sharphouse with Talisman and Morris Lubricants’ brand ambassador Guy Martin.

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