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On Friday 2nd October 2020, the boiler of Ex-SR Bulleid Merchant Navy Class, 35011 “General Steam Navigation” was successfully lifted from its frames for the first time since 1959. The boiler was built by North British in Glasgow in January 1941 and has been attached for a total of 61 years since its last overhaul in July 1959.

The boiler of 35011 is lifted from the frames for the first time since 1959

The frames are lifted to allow the trailing truck to be removed

The old smokebox is removed

The aim of the General Steam Navigation locomotive Restoration Society is to restore the Merchant Navy locomotive 21c11 / 35011 to her original as built condition complete with air smooth casing and Bulleids unique chain driven valve gear.

The trailing truck was also removed from the frames, utilising the crane on site as this will soon be moving off site to be fully restored.

The smokebox, that would have been unusable if we were restoring to as rebuilt condition, was also removed. A new smokebox to the original design will be fabricated in due course.

As a trustee and Director of the project it is an exciting time for the project and it allows us to concentrate on the restoration of the chassis which on its own is a big project and will take several years to complete.

We are in the early stages in the process of the manufacture of a new centre crank axle (she had the crank axle swapped for a plain axle just after withdrawal) and also the middle cylinder will need to be replaced to return her back to Bulleid’s original condition.  

With work on 35011 now being directed to the restoration of the chassis and further fund-raising campaigns will be launched in due course. The first of which is the wheelset tyre profiling fund here

We have been made very welcome by our friends at the Swindon and Cricklade Railway  and I am very pleased to be able to advise that following the forced closure of the line due to COVID-19 it is re-opening to passenger services this Sunday 4th October. 

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The Bulleid Leader, a desperately sought after model, finally coming to life.

KR Models currently producing a RTR ‘GT3’ Gas Turbine, and taking expressions of interest in the ‘Fell’ have today announced the following:

“Leader was a class of experimental 0-6-0+0-6-0
articulated steam locomotive, 5 were planned but only one was completed, and was produced in the United Kingdom. It looked like a ‘new’ generation of diesel but was actually a steam powered loco. The Leader project was part of Bulleid’s desire to modernise the steam locomotive based on experience gained with the Southern Railway’s fleet of electric stock.”

Livery options are currently stating “brushed aluminium and BR Green” (See my notes below), but expressions of interest can be made on there website here https://krmodels.co.uk/collections/…/products/bulleid-leader

A few points to note:

The intention was in fact, and signed off by the board, to be a class of 30, but only the frames for the first 5 were laid down. 
The lined green livery was only a figment of the painting artist.
36001 ex works only carried 3 variations of the grey livery
Mixed traffic black was certainly discussed and 36001 was recorded inside the works in plain black but when she left the works was in unlined grey.

More information about the Bulleid Leader can be found in my Talking Stock #8 post here

My model of the Bulleid Leader in its very first livery before trials commenced

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This months picture…

A change to the norm for picture of the month, one of my own favourites of 35006 Peninsular and Oriental S.N Co about to run around her train at Cheltenham Racecourse Station, taken at the annual 35006 Locomotive Society members and shareholders day, usually held in July.

More information about how you can support the 35006 Locomotive Society can be found here. 

PS. Happy we got rid American Independence Day to my USA readers on the 4th,  a date that is overshadowed by my own  birthday…

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#onthisday 25th April 1970 Oliver Vaughan Snell Bulleid died, aged 87. He was the Southern Railway Chief Mechanical Engineer between 1937 and nationalisation in 1948.

A line up of Bulleid Pacific’s outside Fisherton Sarum shed. 

He is best celebrated for the development, under wartime conditions, of his Merchant Navy Pacifics which incorporated a host of novel ideas including the enclosed oil bath for the novel chain-driven valve gear, clasp brakes, his own Bulleid-Firth-Brown version of the Box-Pok cast wheels and Air Smoothed casing.
His other designs also included the smaller but similar West Country and Battle of Britain classes; the outstanding austerity Q1 0-6-0 and the novel Leader 0-6-6-0T as well as diesel and electric designs.
After nationalisation he moved to Ireland becoming CME of CIE where he promoted dieselisation of the Irish national railway system as well as trialling a peat-burning steam locomotive similar to his SR Leader in concept.
British Railways rebuilt all of the Merchant Navy and most of the smaller WC and BB Pacifics to more conventional appearance.

The ‘Times’ obituary described Bulleid as the ‘last truly progressive mechanical engineer of the steam locomotive era’.RIP

Bullied is very much my own engineering idol and s such I am involved with a number of his locomotives as below and further support of these Societies would always be welcome.

T

35011 at her new home on the Swindon & Cricklade Railway

he 35011 General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society are aiming to return 21C121 / 35011 to his original inspired condition including the enclosed oil bath for the chain-driven valve gear and air smoothed casing. I am proud and honoured to be a be Trustee of the Locomotive Restoration Society and a Director of the owning CIC. More details on how to support this project can be found here.

No.6 runs round at Cheltenham Racecourse

The 35006 Locomotive Society have restored Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co.to working order and she has been in action on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway since May 2016. She has proved extremely popular and has always been turned out in immaculate condition Further details on how to support the 35006 locomotive Society can be found here.

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By way of a distraction from the current COVID-19 situation, today is the Spring Equinox so I thought I would celebrate the start of spring and the cheery splash of colour that daffodils bring at this time of year!

Spring time at Fisherton Sarum, T14 class No 461 heads west passing the ‘daffodils’ appearing on the embankment between the main line and 21c159 “Sir Archibald Sinclair” waiting on shed.

In the meantime stay safe, keep in contact (not physical) and if possible assist with any isolating family, friends and neighbours, keep washing your hands, support those key people that can not work from home and are required to keep our services, shops, deliveries and the fantastic NHS running!

Remember that the only things worth panic buying are Southern Model Railway items (click here for help to do this)!

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This months picture…

21C151 ‘Winston Churchill’ is turned ready for her next duty on the turntable at Fisherton Sarum

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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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Following many years of lobbying to bring about official recognition of the sacrifices made by merchant seafarers in the two world wars.
The slogan is ‘ Fly the Red Ensign for Merchant Navy Day – 3rd September’
Since 2000, Merchant Navy Day on 3rd September 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.
Why 3rd September? –  This date marks the sinking of the Merchant Navy ship – S.S. Athenia in WWII – the very first casualty of the war – torpedoed by a German U-Boat, with the loss of 128 lives, within 10 hours of the declaration of war on 3 September 1939, by Neville Chamberlain and the outbreak of  World War II. The Merchancy Navy Asscociation aims to ensure the recognition of the Merchant Navy Veterans and the critical and strategic role of the Merchant Navy in times of war and conflict. The Red Ensign flag or “Red Duster” as it is affectionately known, is the recognised flag of the British Merchant Navy and has been flown by British merchant and passenger ships since 1854.

As per my post here, to commemorate 100 years of the Merchant Navy, and in remembrance of all those from various countries throughout the world that served in the Merchant Navy and who lost their lives during wars, conflicts and campaigns, Merchant Navy  Locomotive 35006 ‘Peninsular & Oriental SN Co’ will be running today on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway on Merchant Navy Day.

The headboard carried by 35006 to commemorate those in the Merchant Navy who fell during two World Wars and in subsequent conflicts (Andrew Marshall)

She was be suitably decorated for the day with a specially commissioned ‘Merchant Navy’ headboard (see left) 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.

The Merchant Navy was formally known as the Mercantile Marine in the First World War.  During both world wars, Germany operated a policy of ‘unrestricted submarine warfare’, or sinking merchant vessels on sight. By the end of the First World War, more than 3,000 British flagged merchant and fishing vessels had been sunk and nearly 15,000 merchant seamen had died.

Following their service in the First World War, King George V bestowed the title of “Merchant Navy” on the British merchant shipping fleets, in 1928 he gave Edward, Prince of Wales the title of “Master of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets”, more recently this title has been held by our current Queen Elizabeth II.

When the United Kingdom and the British Empire entered the Second World War in September 1939, George VI issued this message:

“In these anxious days I would like to express to all Officers and Men and in the British Merchant Navy and the British Fishing Fleets my confidence in their unfailing determination to play their vital part in defence. To each one I would say: Yours is a task no less essential to my people’s experience than that allotted to the Navy, Army and Air Force. Upon you the Nation depends for much of its foodstuffs and raw materials and for the transport of its troops overseas. You have a long and glorious history, and I am proud to bear the title “Master of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets”. I know that you will carry out your duties with resolution and with fortitude, and that high chivalrous traditions of your calling are safe in your hands. God keep you and prosper you in your great task”.

Britain’s merchant fleet was the largest in the world during both world wars. In 1939, a third of the world’s merchant ships were British, and there were some 200,000 sailors. Many merchant seamen came from parts of the British Empire, such as India, Hong Kong and west African countries.
During the Second World War, 4,700 British-flagged ships were sunk.  German U-boats alone sank over 2,800 Allied ships. The United Kingdom alone suffered the loss of over 2,200 ships, which was 54% of the total Merchant Navy fleet at the outbreak of the Second World War.  32,000 merchant seafarers were killed aboard convoy vessels in the war, but along with the Royal Navy, the convoys successfully imported enough supplies to allow an Allied victory.

The Southern Railway Bullied Merchant Navy Class first built under wartime conditions in 1941 recognised the role of the Merchant Navy with all eventual 30 members of the class being named after the shipping lines and carried distinctive nameplates that included the flags of the shipping lines within. The c;lass were built with many Bullied novel features inclding chain driven valve gear encased within an oil bath and charatoristic air smoothed casing and Buleid-Firth-Bron wheels.  All examples of the Merchant Navy class were rebuilt along more conventional lines, with 35006 and 35028 Clan Line being the last two examples to be modified in 1959.
No. 11, 35011 is curently being ambitiously reurned to original condition by the General Steam Navigation Society of which, like for No.6, I am also  Sharehlder.

Although this post has given me the chance to share a few pictures of Bulleid Merchant Navy class locomotives and models, it is primarily to recognise and commemorate the sacrifices made on our behalf by merchant seafarers ‘We Will Remember Them’.

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This months picture…

A line up of Bulleid pacifics on shed at Fisherton Sarum awaiting their next turn. The light pacifics are modified Hornby Models whilst the the Merchant Navy’s are Millholme kits.

Fisherton Sarum can be seen making the first of its only two public outings this month on the 14th / 15th this month at the Faversham Model Railway Club, exhibition at The Abbey School, London Road, Faversham. ME13 8RZ   The show is open between 10am and 4.30pm on the Saturday and 10am and 4pm on the Sunday. If you are able to, or planing to, attend the show please make sure you say hello!

As always full details of exhibition appearances of either Fisherton Sarum or Canute Road Quay can be found on my exhibition diary page here.

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To commemorate 100 years of the Merchant Navy, and in remembrance of all those from various countries throughout the world that served in the Merchant Navy and who lost their lives during wars, conflicts and campaigns, Merchant Navy  Locomotive 35006 ‘Peninsular & Oriental SN Co’ will be running on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway on Merchant Navy Day – Tuesday 3rd September 2019.

35006 in the sunshine at Toddington

Locomotove No.6,  which was built in 1941 for the Southern Railway and formally named after the shipping company P&O in 1942 – with the unveiling of a grand nameplate on the side of the locomotive,  is based at Toddington station on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway which runs between Cheltenham Race Course and Broadway in the Cotswolds.

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

No.6  will be suitably decorated for the day with a specially commissioned ‘Merchant Navy’ headboard and flying the Red Ensign flags for the occasion. It is intended to have 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.

Following many years of lobbying to bring about official recognition of the sacrifices made by merchant seafarers in the two world wars and since, Merchant Navy Day became an official day of remembrance on 3 September 2000.

Since 2000, Merchant Navy Day on 3rd September 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.

The Merchancy Navy Asscociation aims to ensure the recognition of the Merchant Navy Veterans and the critical and strategic role of the Merchant Navy in times of war and conflict.
Why 3rd September? –  This date marks the sinking of the Merchant Navy ship – S.S. Athenia in WWII – the very first casualty of the war – torpedoed by a German U-Boat, with the loss of 128 lives, within 10 hours of the declaration of war on 3 September 1939, by Neville Chamberlain and the outbreak of  World War II.
Anyone who wants to come along and see and photograph the train is welcome to turn up at Toddington – entry is free. Anyone wanting to travel, this is a normal service train,  just buy a ticket and jump on board, all are welcome

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