#OnThisDay in 1945 GSN was named.

 #OnThisDay in 1945 General Steam Navigation was officially named at a ceremony at Waterloo station. The ceremony that took place at platform 10 was a short affair with the usual pomp and circumstance associated of the naming of a top link engine being trimmed back due to the wartime conditions. The ceremony was attended by various directors of both the Southern Railway and General Steam Navigation Co Ltd and in addition as a special tribute to the shop staff of Eastleigh who built the engine were six representatives to see there “baby” christened.
“Between your Company and ours, Mr Kelso, there is a long standing friendship, hallowed by service together in war and peace. The nameplate on this engine is a token of that friendship, and we look forward with confidence to the day when this war is won and your houseflags in ever increasing numbers enter and leave our docks.”
Col. Eric Gore Browne, the Chairman of the Southern Railway addressed these words to Mr Robert Kelso, the Chairman and Managing Director of the company whose name will be henceforth be seen on the nameplate 21C11 – General Steam Navigation.
After a quick footplate ride for Mr Kelso General Steam Navigation returned to Waterloo to get on with the serious work of doing its part to help win the war and hauled the 12:50pm West of England service out of the capital.
You can help us restore GSN by joining the General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society Membership. Membership costs £12 for the year with members being kept up to date with the latest achievements, via our members magazine ‘The Packet’ published three times a year with progress reports on GSN and articles about Merchant Navy’s and the light pacific’s, access to the locomotive when possible and the ability to get involved with the society. You can find out more by clicking this link.

#OnThisDay in 1955 returned to service following Crewkerne modifications

#OnThisDay in 1955, 35011 General Steam Navigation left Eastleigh works to re-enter service with the British Railways Southern Region following major repair work. The modifications that were carried out to the entire Merchant Navy class were as a result of 35020 Bibby Lines accident at Crewkerne.

On the 24th April 1953, Bibby Line whilst on approach to Crewkerne station fractured her crank axle at high speed. Luckily no one was injured, but the incident resulted in the withdrawal of all Merchant Navy class locomotives from service whilst the cause of the failure was ascertained. An examination of other class members showed that the fracture, caused by metal fatigue, was a common fault. This led to a complete redesign of the crank axle and once installed saw the locomotives return to traffic. General Steam Navigation would continue to haul trains in her original condition until 7th June 1959 when she entered Eastleigh works for rebuilding.

The crank axle continues to be a significant challenge for our project, but without this challenge we would not be pursuing the goal of restoration as an original Merchant Navy. Aided by significant insight from Andrew Marshall (35006 group), we have clarity on the design of axle we should be aiming to have fabricated. This is the redesigned, balanced crank axle that was eventually fitted to all the Merchant Navy locomotives following the Crewkerne incident. Records suggest 35019 had the balanced crank axle fitted 4 years prior to rebuilding, so we can demonstrate it is applicable to our locomotive. We have studied the report into the Crewkerne incident, to help inform our decisions with the axle. We have had insight and support on the axle material from the wider heritage industry, including our friends at the A1/P2 trust and the Clan Project, both of whom have had similar issues of design to overcome. We are missing some of the drawings for the revised design, and we are also evaluating the correct and certifiable grade of steel to use, but our aim is to have the new crank axle ordered at least in 2021, if not manufactured. FEA studies of the design are underway at the University of Birmingham

Our current immediate objective is to restore her unique trailing truck which has led to the Trailing Truck Transformers Fund Club being set up to fund restoration of this unique component in 2021. You can find out how to join the exclusive club by visiting our website on the link below. Thank you
https://35011gsn.co.uk/funding…/trailing-truck-club.html

Photo: GSN leaving Exmouth Junction Shed on 5/9/57. The locomotive is believed to be heading to Exeter Central to work an up service (Copyright Brian Marshall)

February 2021 Update

February 2021 Update

Whilst Covid19 has been affecting both our financial and engineering efforts, the Society is delighted to report that new parts continue to be constructed. Recently the front bogie spring beams were delivered by Ashbrook Engineering Ltd; the Society is extremely grateful to Mr Alan Dixon who sponsored their construction. Along with the efforts of Mr Tony Simmonds who is machining the spring hangers for the Society, work on the bogie is progressing at a good pace.

Work continues with converting the BPLA drawings of the frames & valve gear into CAD to allow us to have replacement parts manufactured. This is a lengthy process, but one that is vital for our goal of reengineering the existing frames to a condition where they can accommodate the original chain-driven valve gear and replacing the middle cylinder. In time we will also have the drawings of the smokebox and air-smoothed casing transferred to CAD for the same reason.

The Trailing Truck Transformers funding group continues to be our primary fundraising campaign with its objective of funding the restoration of GSNs trailing truck. The Society is pleased with the initial number of members who have signed up for blocks but are under no illusions that its still along way from being funded. We are offering a maximum of 30 members the opportunity to purchase a ‘Lot’ for £500. Members are welcome to purchase as many ‘Lots’ as they wish up to the maximum target amount.

Members of the Fund Group would receive a number of benefits including:

  • Certificate of membership of the ‘Trailing Truck Transformers’
  • Name engraved on a suitable brass plaque attached to the refurbished Trailing Truck
  • Regular updates on the refurbishment of the Trailing Truck
  • An invitation to a VIP day at the Swindon and Cricklade Railway to see the completed Trailing Truck once it is returned to the railway.

For details on how to become a Trailing Truck Transformer click here.

We understand that £500 is a lot of money and for people who wish to support the trailing truck but are unable to join the Trailing Truck Transformers club you can help us by donating to our Wheel Set appeal on our JustGiving page here.

Alternatively you can make a donation however large or small into our newly launched Putting Funds into the Frames campaign here…

The 35011 Twenty Twenty Club winners have been drawn for January.

Congratulations go to:

1st Prize – David Oborn, 2nd Prize – Simon Shutt, 3rd Prize Allan Bott

The Twenty Twenty Club is a great way to help raise funds for the locomotive and at the same time have a little bit of fun. We still have the last few places remaining find out how to join here.

2021 is shaping up to be a very important year for the project with some big goals in mind. You can help support us in many ways if you are not already a Society member you can sign up for membership for currently only £12 per year here, or donate to the Society here or even better become a shareholder here.

Finally some of our trustees will be making a guest appearance on the “Railwaymania” podcast and will be answering questions from members and the general public.  If you have any questions you’d like answering please send them to us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or through our website and we’ll ensure as are answered on the podcast as possible.

As always thank you for your continued support.

Become a Trailing Truck Transformer

#OnThisDay in 1955 General Steam Navigation entered the Eastleigh works for a heavy intermediate overhaul. It was during these works when her cast trailing truck she was built was changed for the fabricated design she still has. The fabricated design was fitted to the final ten Merchant Navy’s with the first being 35021 New Zealand Line with 35011s being the last remaining example with all fellow surviving Merchant Navy’s having the earlier cast design. The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society aims to restore this unique component in 2021.

This is your chance to be part of an exclusive club and aid the overall restoration of General Steam Navigation by becoming a Trailing Truck Transformer.

The Trailing Truck was removed from the frames at the same time as the successful boiler lift on 2nd October. The estimate for the full refurbishment and overhaul of the Trailing Truck by specialist contractors is £15,000.

We are offering a maximum of 30 members the opportunity to purchase a ‘Lot’ for £500. Members are welcome to purchase as many ‘Lots’ as they wish up to the maximum target amount.

Benefits

Members of the Fund Group would receive a number of benefits including:

  • Certificate of membership of the ‘Trailing Truck Transformers’
  • Name engraved on a suitable brass plaque attached to the refurbished Trailing Truck
  • Regular updates on the refurbishment of the Trailing Truck
  • An invitation to a VIP day at the Swindon and Cricklade Railway to see the completed Trailing Truck once it is returned to the railway.

The work

With the trailing truck now removed from GSN, we have undertaken an assessment of the work that will be required to restore it to mainline running standards. This will involve a full strip down to allow us to understand the condition of the frame metal work, which is likely to require non-destructive testing to determine the soundness of the existing material.

The axle will also require removing, but depending on which contractors we decide to use for the overall work we may need to remove this at Blunsdon to enable it to be sent separately for repair with the wheels being re-profiled; whilst the axle bearings will also need assessing and possibly refurbishing.

The frames will also require sandblasting to remove all the old flaking material and paint, with the corroded sections of the framework and rear platform being cut out and replaced with new material. Finally the framework, axle and wheels will need to be primed, undercoated and painted prior to being re-assembled.

To become a Trailing Truck Transformer see our dedicated page here…

We understand that £500 is a lot of money and for people who wish to support the trailing truck but are unable to join the Trailing Truck Transformers club you can help us by donating to our Wheel Set appeal on our JustGiving page here.

Alternatively you can make a donation however large or small into our newly launched Putting Funds into the Frames campaign here…

Any and all donations would be gratefully appreciated.

January 2021 Update

Work on the 35011 project has continued despite the latest national lockdown putting a halt to all working parties on the engine. Members will soon be receiving on their doorsteps or inboxes the latest Issue 14 of our membership magazine ‘The Packet’
This issue is over 25% larger than the previous issue with lots of exciting news from the engineering, fundraising, PR and membership teams. If you’re not a member and would like to receive a copy and be among the first to know you join our Society for just £12 by clicking here.

At our final working weekend of 2020 we were filmed & interviewed by a TV crew for a program to be aired in late 2021 which will be great publicity for our project. We have more volunteers waiting to join our working parties once social distancing becomes a thing of the past which will speed up the rate of restoration. At this moment in time GSN is a dormant creature, waiting for its time to live again and with your help we can do just that. No matter what skills you have we can use your help. Please contact our volunteer liaison officer Mr Andrew Collett at andrew.collett@35011gsn.co.uk if you fancy getting your hands dirty.

At the start of the month Hornby announced that a new model of General Steam Navigation will be joining the Hornby Dublo range. The model will be limited to 500 models and feature a diecast boiler. The locomotive is wearing the BR Brunswick green livery and looks brilliant. You can find out more on the  Hornby website here.

The 35011 Twenty Twenty Club winners have been drawn for November and December.

Congratulations go to:

December 2020 – 1st Prize –  Chris Mileman, 2nd Prize – David Oborn, 3rd Prize – Andrew Collett

November 2020 – 1st Prize – Chris Mileman, 2nd Prize – Steve Raply, 3rd Prize – Simon Strachan

The Twenty Twenty Club is a great way to help raise funds for the locomotive and at the same time have a little bit of fun. We still have the last few places remaining find out how to join here.

2021 is shaping up to be a very important year for the project with some big goals in mind. You can help support us in many ways if you are not already a Society member you can sign up for membership for only £12 per year here, or donate to the Society here or even better join us as a shareholder here.

As always thank you for your continued support.

Driving forward with a new regulator handle thanks to Bossman Games

#OnThisDay in 1944 an unnamed General Steam Navigation Entered service with the Southern Railway. To celebrate the 76th anniversary, the General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society are delighted to announce in partnership with Bossman Games we have commissioned a regulator handle that will one day drive 35011 forward.
Whilst this is many years away from happening in real life thanks to Bossman Games who are currently developing an original condition Merchant Navy for Train Simulator you’ll soon be able to drive a virtual GSN. The locomotives will be available in early 2021 hot on the heels of the highly successful rebuilt Merchant Navy model released in summer 2020.

The Society would like to thank both Bossman Games for their financial contribution towards the regulator handle and Leaky Finders Ltd who produced another excellent component for us.

You can find out more about Bossman Games by visiting their website www.bossmangames.co.uk and for more on the General Steam Navigation please visit our website www.35011GSN.co.uk

November Update

Work on the locomotive  progressed at a great rate prior to the start of the latest government lockdown. The weekend before the lockdown saw the project pass another important landmark with the removal of the final tube from the boiler that contained 40 large diameter tube and approx. 100 small diameter tubes. Once the current Covid restrictions have been relaxed our volunteers will carry on with their efforts to prepare the boiler for inspection and NDTs in early 2021.

The trailing truck was also the focus of the efforts of our volunteers in October. The trailing truck is being cleaned up and assessed prior to restoration next year. We are currently seeking donations towards the cost of the transportation and overhauling of the trailing truck axle and the front bogie axles. You can donate to the appeal on our justgiving page here, any funds would be extremely appreciated.

Ian Ferguson one of our skilled volunteers has completed the machining of the shut off valves that attach to the main steam manifold. The amount of skilled put into them is impressive and we are extremely grateful for all his hard work.

The Society has been paid £49.92 through EasyFundraising. Thanks to everyone who helped to raise these funds. If you’re not supporting 35011 General Steam Navigation, please sign up now. It takes 2 minutes & 4,300+ shops will donate to us for free every time you shop with them! You can sign up using the link here. With Christmas and Black Friday coming up by signing up to EasyFundraising you’ll be able to help restore GSN without any costs or hassle to you.

The winners of our first 35011 Twenty Twenty Club have been drawn for October.

Congratulations go to:

1st Prize – Dereck Preece

2nd Prize – Simon Strachan

3rd Prize – David Oborn

We still have the last few places remaing find out how to join here

You can help support us in many ways if you are not already a Society member you can sign up for membership for only £12 per year here, or donate to the Society here or even better join us as a shareholder here.

As always thank you for your continued support.

35011 General Steam Navigation fund opened for the transportation and tyre profiling of the bogie and trailing truck wheelsets.

On 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 and the separation of the trailing truck from the frames. The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society is now seeking funds to help overhaul the front bogie and trailing truck wheelsets.

35011 front bogie at Eastleigh Works 1959

It is  estimated that the trailing truck axle will be machined by a contractor off site in early 2021. This is where we need your help we are fundraising to help cover as much as the cost as possible with the target being set at £3,500.

The unique in preservation fabricated style trailing truck of 35011

Supporters can donate to the cause via the Society’s JustGiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/gsnwheelset

Work on 35011 will now be directed to the restoration of the chassis, trailing truck and the front bogie and further fund-raising campaigns will be launched in due course.

You can help support us in many ways if you are not already a Society member you can sign up for membership for only £12 per year here, or donate to the Society here or even better join us as a shareholder here.

As always thank you for your continued support.

General Steam Navigation Society launch new online shop

We are pleased to announce that our range of General Steam Navigation branded merchandise is now available to purchase via our brand new online shop here. 

Items initially available include excellent quality etched pint glasses and mugs with versions of the Society logo, and also pens, fridge magnets, key rings  and pin badges.

These items were previously only available from our society  stand at selected preserved railway galas or certain events at our home the Swindon and Cricklade Railway, but are now available to all conveniently online.

The range of merchandise complements our wide range of branded clothing items that are  also available to order online via our  friends at Universal Uniform here.

All proceeds from the sale of the merchandise and clothing items will directly benefit the restoration of 21c11 / 35011.

 

 

Boiler Lift “Sponsor an inch or more” prize draw winners announced

At the successful lifting of General Steam Navigations Boiler from the frames on Friday 2nd October, the prize draw as part of our  “Sponsor an inch or more” appeal also took place and the winners are detailed below.

Graham Muspratt makes the draw as the boiler is lifted using part or 35011 as the draw pot

The “Sponsor an inch or more” fund raising appeal was launched back in March this year and  very quickly raised the funds to cover the cost of the crane hire for the boiler lift.
The society would like to express our thanks to all whom to  took part and contributed to this major milestone in the restoration of General Steam Navigation back to her original 1950s condition.

The draw for prizes was made at significant points during the boiler lift and winners are:

  • Crane set up and ready to lift – GSN Pint Glass – Shaun Bradbury
  • First Inch lifted – GSN Mug – Ian Comley
  • Maximum lift point of the boiler reached – A years free Society Membership – Alex Clements
  • Boiler lifted clear of frames – A Graham Farish N gauge Merchant Navy Pacific model – Michael Hampton
  • Last inch of lift completed – GSN Mug – Andrew Charmer-Stevens
  • Boiler in new resting place – A Bachmann 00 gauge H2 Class locomotive – Alex Clements
  • Crane released from boiler – GSN Pint Glass – Simon Shutt
  • Boiler lift success – Bottle of Veuve Clicquot Champagne – Andrew Stokes

All the winners will be contacted by email on the next few days to make arrangements to send the prizes.

The major boiler lift milestone allows the project to more onto the next  exciting stages of restoration and details of how you can get involved with future fund raising campaigns and be a part of the success of the project will be announced soon.

As always any support would be gratefully appreciated. You can sign up for membership for only £12 per year here, donate to the Society here or even better join us as a shareholder here.

 

Montly updates from the 35011 project