General Steam Navigation welcomes visit by Justin Tomlinson, MP for North Swindon

General Steam Navigation CIC (GSNCIC) welcomed Justin Tomlinson, MP for North Swindon, who visited Blunsdon at the Swindon & Cricklade Railway to view 35011 General Steam Navigation and discuss the current application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The application is focussed around the reconstruction and restoration of the Merchant Navy Pacific to original Bulleid condition, making it unique in preservation. Whilst the work on 35011 meets the “Saving Heritage” element of the bid, the other key Heritage Fund investment principles will be partially addressed with a new building at Blunsdon (which will be a Swindon & Cricklade Railway asset) to encompass engineering facilities together with training and education spaces.

L to R – Jon Netting (Treasurer – General Steam Navigation), Cllr Matt Vallender, David Tucker (Heritage Consultant), Justin Tomlinson MP, Robert Battersby (Architect), Nigel Willoughby (Trustee S&C Rly), Cllr Mark Clarke, Cllr Jason Mills, Gerry Leyman (Chair – General Steam Navigation CIC), Mike Abbott (Chair – S&C Rly).

Justin was accompanied by 3 local councillors, Mark Clarke (Cricklade Town), Matt Vallender and Jason Mills (Swindon Borough).

Following the visit Justin said “We will all be working together as they prepare their National Heritage Lottery fund bid. The Swindon & Cricklade Railway is a much loved and popular local service, so I have no doubt there will be strong local community support for this bid.

I have fed in a number of suggestions on how to strengthen the bid including working with a wide a range of local community groups, including all the local schools, Parish Council’s and the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.

As someone from a family of steam enthusiasts, I am very excited to be supporting this fantastic bid”.

General Steam Navigation announces new patron – Dr Alice Bunn OBE FIMechE FRAeS CEng

General Steam Navigation Locomotive CIC (GSNCIC) announce that Dr Alice Bunn has agreed to become patron of the project to restore the Bulleid Merchant Navy pacific locomotive 35011 to her original condition.

Dr Alice Bunn on site at Blunsdon with Jon Netting (Treasurer) and Gerry Leyman (Chairman) of the General Steam Navigation CIC.

Dr. Alice Bunn OBE (FIMechE FRAeS CEng) is the Chief Executive of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). She has previously served as the International Director at the UK Space Agency. Alice is responsible for increasing the UK’s global influence in science, security, and trade through space. She has a background in metallurgy and has worked in various organisations such as the Science Museum, London, and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). Alice has also played a significant role in international collaborations and agreements related to space missions and satellite imagery.

Alice sits on the Board of EngineeringUK; is Chair of the Professional Engineering Committee; is President of the UKSpace trade association; acts as advisor to Orbitfab; and sits on the World Economic Forum Future Council on space technology. She is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, has a PhD in Metallurgy from Darwin College, University of Cambridge and received an OBE in the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to the UK space sector and to charity.

Alice joins the General Steam Navigation project at a pivotal time, lending credibility and support to the GSNCIC’s Heritage Fund Lottery application and will help raise the profile of the project to put the steam back into General Steam Navigation at a national level.

As Chief Executive of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Alice has a direct connection with O V S Bulleid, who was President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1946.

On becoming patron Alice said, ‘Whilst engineering technology is more important than ever for our future, we can always learn lessons from the past which is why I am delighted to take up the role of patron for this project’.

Dr Alice Bunn is presented with a print of General Steam Navigation in original condition by Jon Netting

Alice visited Blunsdon to look over General Steam Navigation in early October where she met members of the General Steam Navigation directors / Society Trustees and the Swindon and Cricklade Railway where the locomotive is based. Alice learned more about the ongoing work to restore and reconstruct General Steam Navigation to its pre rebuilt air smoothed condition, making it unique in preservation. Alice was made an honorary member of the Restoration Society and presented with a print of General Steam Navigation in original as built condition.