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By the very nature of the fact that you read this blog of mine, you will I am sure like me not help but admire the Bulleid Merchant Navy paciifics in either original air smoothed or their later rebuilt form. It is of course  great that a number have been preserved and are at various stages of restoration / preservation. Regular readers of this blog will know, via the two dedicated pages that I have been for a while a shareholder in both 35006 Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co. and 35011 General Steam Navigation. I am also a member of the Merchant Navy Locomotive Preservation Society that maintains and operates 35028 Clan Line in such wonderful running condition on the main line.

35011 at her new home on the Swindon & Cricklade Railway

The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society that has relocated, in April this year, to its new home at the Swindon and Cricklade Railway (yes it is in Swindon but not on that railway but the old Midland and South Westen Junctin Railway!) which enables a wider range of work to be carried on the locomotive was not practical at its previous temporary location.

Myself hands on, finding out just how heavy a 17ft long Bulleid Boiler tube is as we remove them!

Work has started in ernest to remove items that either need restoration or due to her be being restored in the Bulleid original condition are no longer required for this locomotive. Removal of the boiler tubes has also started prior to the boiler being lifted in due course to allow full restoration work on the chassis to commence.

In additon to being able to enjoy getting my hands dirty on the 1:1 scale locomotive going back to my engineering roots, I am delighted to be able to announce that I accepted a request by the The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society and the General Steam Navigation Community Interest Company (CIC) to become both a trustee of the Restoration Society and a Board Director of the CIC.
Membership of the Society costs only £12 per year and full details on how to become a member can be found here. Also full updates on progress can be found on the 35001 Society website here.

35006 flying the Red Ensign and a commorative headboard for Merchant Navy Day

As I reported last month the 3rd September is now, since the year 2000, recognised as being Merchant Navy Day with its’ slogan  ‘ Fly the Red Ensign for Merchant Navy Day – 3rd September’.

35006 heading towards Toddington

Merchant Navy Day  has honoured the brave men and women who kept our ‘island nation’ afloat during both World Wars, and celebrated our dependence on modern day merchant seafarers who are responsible for 95% of the UK’s imports.
This year Merchant Navy  Locomotive 35006 ‘Peninsular & Oriental SN Co’ ran on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway on Merchant Navy Day.

No.6 approaches Hayles Abbey Halt

She was suitably decorated for the day with a specially commissioned ‘Merchant Navy’ headboard and flying the Red Ensign flags for the occasion. The day started with a brief remembrance service at 9.30 am for members of the Merchant Navy Association, at Toddington station, before pulling the 10am departure for Cheltenham. I spent an enjoyable day as a guest on the train and also took the opportunity later in the day to photograph her from vantage points along the line.

35028 still looking pristine having arrived at Salisbury

Lastly,  in the company of my parents spent a very enjoyable day travelling over 400 miles and 14 hours behind the splendid Merchant Navy pacific 35028 ‘Clan Line’ on the UK Railtours ‘Atlantic Coast Express’ that although it didn’t actually reach the coast, headed from Waterloo to

No.28 at Exeter Central

Exeter via Salisbury down the South Western, returning via Bristol, Bath and Westbury to Salisbury before returning up the South Western back to Waterloo.

Clan Line meets the new at the Buffer stops at Waterloo having travelled over 400miles

35028 ‘Clan Line’ is a credit to the Merchant Navy Locomotive Preservation Society , and whose professionalism, superb condition, upkeep and operation is something that all persevered locomotive operators must aspire to. She performed fantastically well, unassisted with 12 coaches in tow, with some very spirited running regularly hitting 75mph for prolonged running and also topping Honiton Bank from a standing start at the end of Axminister loop in the rain (where we stopped to allow a up service to leave the section) at around 27mph,  as well as looking great she sounded fantastic too!
I also admit that we travelled in first class dining so in addition to enjoying such Bulleid Brilliance we were extremely well fed and watered throughout.

My friend and fellow Bulleid fan Alex Clements captured 35028 at various locations, including climbing Honiton Bank,  throughout the day and his excellent video can be seen below…enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed this Bulleid Brilliance update, if you are able to get involved in any way with any of the Locomotive societies, you will be made more than welcome and every little helps and it is also very rewarding.

[Apologies for the inital draft post going live and emailed to subscribers before it was intended and fully proof read!) 

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You can not help but admire the Bulleid Merchant Navy paciifics in either original air smoothed or their later rebuilt form. Its it great that a number have been preserved and are at various stages of restoration / preservation. Regular readers of this blog will know, via the two dedicated pages that I am shareholder in both 35006 Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co. and 35011 General Steam Navigation. I am also a member of the Merchant Navy Locomotive Preservation Society that maintains and operates 35028 Clan Line in such wonderful  running condition on the main line. This  my way of playing a small part in the preservation of these splendid machines.

We are also fortunate that 35018 British India Line privately owned by Dave Smith of West Coast Railways is now, like 35028 regularly performing on the Main Line. 35005 Canadian Pacific is currently undergoing a major overhaul at Eastleigh works before returning to service on the Mid Hants, Watercress, Railway. You can add your support to 35005 here.

The purpose of this post is to assist with the awareness and publicity of these wonderful locomotives, especially No.6 and No.11, you can tell I like them can’t you…

35006

35006 has the signal off at Cheltenham Racecourse (ready to run around rather than head further south)

35006 in the sunshine at Toddington on 14/07/18

As can be read on my dedicated page, updated today, for 35006 Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co the evening of the 14th July 2018 was the annual members day event with a dedicated special train purely for members and shareholders of the 35006 Society.

Inside the cab of No.6

No.6 had been in service on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway during the day and between here last service run and the private train she was coaled and positioned for viewing at Toddington, where even her nameplate received an additional polish.

The setting sun visible through the window and the fireman keeps No.6 simmering

She certainly looked as seen above splendid in the bright and hot summer sunshine.

Once coupled to the members train she ran non stop to Cheltenham racecourse station where she took on water.

Sun, Shadows & shapes at Broadway

Having run round she took the train tender first, again non stop, back past Toddington and on to the new extension, only opened at Easter this year, to the wonderfully recreated, Broadway station which looked fantastic in the evening setting sunshine.  The 14 miles end to end gives a nice 28 mile round trip, and a couple of nice gradients thrown into the mix,  with some great views across the Cotswolds.

The driver awaits the off from Broadway

The run from Broadway back to Toddington was certainly a spirited one, having spoken to the driver on arrival at Toddington about the likely speed, he replied with a grin on his face that the gauge didn’t go over 21 at any point (is it a co-incidence that the vacuum brake gauge would have been showing 21inches..?)

It was certainly a great day and evenings run, with No.6 looking great and running superbly and a credit to the 35006 Society and the running staff of the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway

It was also great to be able to get up close to 35006 and hopefully some of the pictures illustrating this post shows the impressiveness of her and also the impressive level of restoration and maintenance that has gone into this complex piece of engineering Bulleid Brilliance (with a little bit of Jarvis thrown in, I will concede).

No.6 sits at Cheltenham Racecourse 14th July 2018 members day special

35006 is currently restored for steaming this month on 18th, 19th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th. But  for the very latest information on loco rostering check the GWSR website here

See my page here on how you can help keep, in any small way, No.6 up and running. 

Bulleid bits in abstract (with some Jarvis parts)

35011

The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society was formed at the end of 2015 with the aim of taking over 35011 from her then owners and commence full restoration once a new location for this to take place can be found. The first major milestone of the new 35011 Locomotive Society of talking over ownership of 35011 took place in August 2016.

Some of the deicated team pose in front of No.11 with one of the lovely new nameplates (picture courtesy and copyright 35011 Society)

A number of working parties have already taken place at the current site, although a new site is required before more major work can be carried out. the boiler receiving a further coat of protective paint and work on the trailing truck (being the only surviving fabricated style trailing struck). Also a variety of components have been sourced and machined, including impressive new nameplates and also injector valve handles (to which I contributed to the fund to sponsor these items.

A set of injector valve handles that I am proud to have sponsored.

The Society have also acquired a brass lamp fitted with the bullseye lens, toggle switch to side and bulb holder inside (as per the one shown on 35006 pictured above). The lamp is reported to have come off Merchant Navy’ Class No. 35024 “East Asiatic Company”. Gaining the lamp is fantastic news for the project as the use of original components helps add character to the locomotive.

See my page here on how you can  help with the restoration project of returning No.11 back to original Air Smoothed condition, every little helps.

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A new Society, The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society, has been formed with the aim of not only restoring but more ambitiously returning Bulleid Merchant Navy Pacific 35011 General Steam Navigation into original air smoothed condition.  35011 was introduced in December 1944, as one of the second series built (described and illustrated in more detail in model form here), and subsequently like eventually all of the 30 strong Merchant Navy class she was rebuilt in July 1959. The rebuilding entailed the removal of the air smoothed casing and more fundamental the replacement of the chain driven valve gear encased within an oil bath with a full set of standard Walschaerts valve gear.

Although the current preservation scheme is not all that short of Bulleid’s creations, such as number 35006 of which I am shareholder and whose restoration is nearly compete, however there is of course a missing link. The lack of an original air smoothed and chain valve gear driven Merchant Navy is an obvious gap in the preservation scene of Southern Railway locomotives.

This video below illustrates the aims of the Society more succinctly than I can put into words.

The new Society has the backing of the current owners of 35011 who will put the locomotive into the trust of the Society if in the first instance a new location for her can be found which is currently one of the first priorities of the Society.  This month has seen the Society get fully up an running with membership now available for only £10 per year, full details on how to join can be found on their website here.  You can also follow the Society on Twitter @35011GSN It would certainly be good to see this missing link in preservation filled so please join the Society of you can.

 

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