Category Archives: Other News

Bournemouth Belle Anniversary

On this date in 1931 the first Bournemouth Belle ran direct between London Waterloo and Bournemouth Central. The train formed of Pullman stock first ran on Sunday 5 July 1931 and was one of the most famous named trains on the Southern region. The service originally was only scheduled to run during the summer months however due its great success the service was extended to run on all weekends and summer weekdays and in 1936, it became a year-round daily service.

(c) Geoff Dowling
www.flickr.com/photos/geoffsimages/

When the Bournemouth Belle was reintroduced after the Second World War the service saw some major changes. The Southern Railway realised that the potential traffic to Southampton and its cruise ship terminals were too important to miss out on so additional stop at Southampton Central was added. The other major change to the service was the introduction of Oliver Bulleids faster and more powerful Merchant Navy class locomotives including our engine General Steam Navigation, that was a regular locomotive recorded as to haul the service. The size of the train grew considerably after the war with up to twelve Pullman cars weighing almost 500 tons tare weight combined with the requirement of fast acceleration and high top speed the Merchant Navys had a train were they could show off there best qualities. During the final days of steam, in the summer of 1967, the Merchant Navy power gave way to Class 47 diesels which worked the service until its demise on 9 July 1967.

To help one day recreate the sight of General Steam Navigation hauling the Bournemouth Belle you can support our project at www.35011gsn.co.uk/supporting-us.html.

Thank you.

General Steam Navigation branded clothing now available

You can now look great whilst supporting the restoration of 21c11 / 35011.

The Society is pleased to partner with our friends at Universal Uniform to provide a range of quality 21c11 / 35011 GSN branded clothing items, in a variety of colours, such as:

 

 

 

 

With manufacturing processes having been made fully Covid-19 secure,  all items are made to order and usually despatched within 7-10 working days.

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

To visit our dedicated clothing online shop and make your purchases click here

Click here to find out about other ways you can support us and assist  with the restoration of 21c11 / 35011.

75 Years since VE Day

Today marks 75 years since Victory in Europe Day or VE Day.
VE Day is the day on which Allied forces formally announced the surrender of Germany, which brought the Second World War to a close in Europe. The military surrender was first signed on May 7, but a slightly modified document with the final terms was signed on May 8 in Berlin. Celebrations immediately erupted throughout Britain and more than one million people celebrated in the streets. In London, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth appeared on the balcony alongside Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Our very own 21c11 featured on the front cover of the VE Day May 1945 edition of the Southern Railway Magazine.

At the outbreak of war the Southern Railway had 1,819 locomotives, 61 were built during the war comprising of: 1 Q Class 0-6-0, 40 Q1 class 0-6-0, and 21c11 was one of 20 Merchant Navy Class 4-6-2 and 4 West Country Class 4-6-2. Whilst only 1 locomotive was destroyed by enemy action, 189 were damaged.
We remember the 387 Southern Railway staff killed whilst on active service and 170 killed whilst on railway duty. A further 687 men and 59 women were injured by enemy action on duty.

AGM CANCELLED

Dear Member / Shareholder,
I regret to inform you that we have had to cancel our Society and C.I.C. AGM’s planned for Saturday March 28th.
The Swindon and Cricklade Railway have cancelled their Steam Gala and all trains until at least the end of April as a precaution against Covid-19 and your Board has decided that we should follow their very sensible lead.
We hope to be able to arrange the AGM’s for a later date when the current situation resolves itself and we shall announce a new date in a future edition of The Packet and will be writing to all shareholders as well.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused to any of you who intended to attend the AGM’s but I am sure you will understand our decision under the circumstances.
Andy Collett,Chairman of GSN C.I.C. and Gerry Leyman,Chairman 35011 GSNLRS.

General Steam Navigation, co-operation between rail and sail

The General Steam Navigation Company was founded in 1821 to run steam ship services from London. Almost 100 years later P&O Navigation bought a controlling interest in the company but it continued to trade under its original name.

It is quite appropriate, therefore, that the General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society who are rebuilding the Southern Railway Merchant Navy Class Locomotive 35011 named after the General Steam Navigation and the New Medway Steam packet Co (Medway Queen Preservation Society) who have rebuilt a ship that operated under GSN management should work together and support one another’s aims.

The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society recently moved their locomotive, Merchant Navy Class 35011, to Blunsdon on the Swindon and Cricklade Railway. There they are working to convert the locomotive back to its 1940s specification; before the class were rebuilt into the more conventional form by British Railways. This includes restoring the iconic air smoothed casing along with Bulleid’s oil bath encased chain driven valve gear. Once complete, General Steam Navigation will be the first engine to be restored to as-built condition within the ranks of preserved Merchant Navy class locomotives.

On the river Medway, the GSNC worked closely with the New Medway Steam Packet Company and Captain J. H. Wills of the GSNC and his wife were on board when PS Medway Queen made her maiden voyage across the Thames Estuary on Friday 18th July 1924. In 1936 GSN acquired the New Medway Company but, again, retained the name for trading purposes.

The Medway Queen Preservation Society have rebuilt their vessel structurally with the aid of HLF funding and are now engaged in fitting out the ship, initially for use as a floating venue for meetings and events. The long term aim is to see the ship sail again under its own power. Medway Queen is berthed in Gillingham, Kent, where a small team of dedicated volunteers are pushing the project forward. Like the locomotive, progress on the ship is governed by the availability of resources – both physical and financial. Although a Kent based organisation, MQPS has worldwide support and has a PR team based, conveniently, in Wiltshire and not far from Blunsdon!

The aims of the two groups’ cooperation will be to support one another in publicity campaigns and appropriate merchandising and marketing initiatives. An early project will be a promotional wagon for 00 model railways. For some years now the Medway Queen has benefitted from income generated by a series of such wagons and it is hoped that a joint project will reach a wider market and generate funds for both teams. Details will be announced when the model goes on sale early in 2020.

 

For more information on the two societies go to:

www.35011gsn.co.uk  and www.medwayqueen.co.uk

General Steam Navigation setting course for the Swindon and Cricklade Railway

35011 sets course for the Swindon and Cricklade Railway

The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society are pleased to announce that they have agreed terms to move locomotive 35011 to the Swindon and Cricklade Railway in Wiltshire.

The Society restoring Merchant Navy class locomotive 35011 General Steam Navigation are working to retro convert the locomotive to its 1950s specification before the class were rebuilt into the more conventional form by British Railways. This includes restoring the iconic air smoothed casing along with Bulleid’s oil bath encased valve gear incorporating chain drive. Once complete, General Steam Navigation will be the first engine to be restored to as-built condition within the ranks of preserved Merchant Navy class locomotives.

By relocating the group and the locomotive to a publicly accessible site near Swindon, restoration will be able to step up a gear, with a target to complete the rolling chassis within the next five years. The Swindon and Cricklade’s Blunsdon station will become the new home for 35011.

The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society was formed towards the end of 2015 with the aim of restoring 35011. The Society has made great advances since then, but volunteers were keen to find a permanent restoration  base for the locomotive.

“We are delighted that we can finally announce that the locomotive will be moving to The Swindon and Cricklade Railway in the near future” said Simon Shutt, Chairman of the General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society. “This move will enable us to take the project to the next step and escalate our efforts to put the steam back into General Steam Navigation.”

Working in association with other locomotive groups based at The Swindon and Cricklade Railway, the plan is to remove the locomotive boiler for the first time since it was withdrawn by British Railways, to allow thorough restoration of the locomotive frames and wheel sets.

“We are pleased to welcome this group to The Swindon and Cricklade Railway” said Mick Lay, chairman of the railway. “By relocating General Steam Navigation to the Swindon and Cricklade Railway both parties will benefit.” said Mick. “General Steam Navigation will be a valuable and useful locomotive when we extend to Cricklade and also help raise the profile of our railway while 35011 is restored. In giving General Steam Navigation a permanent home, we hope it will provide mutual support to our volunteers and the team working on her.”

The cost of the move has been priced up just under £9,000 which 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 £4,000, the more money the Society can raise the more money that can be spent on components and help restore this mighty beast. If you can donate please consider supporting  the Society by visiting our Just Giving page below thank you.

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/35011gsn