All posts by GeneralSteamNavigation

Winter Engineering Update

Work on General Steam Navigation has progressed at a pace over the last few months with our regular working parties at Blunsdon. The majority of the work has been focused around 35011s chassis in preparation for “crane day” that happened in November. With the help of our friends at the Swindon and Cricklade Railway steam department our volunteers were able to successfully remove the five frame hangers that won’t be required in the restoration of  General Steam Navigation back to Bulleid’s original condition.
These components were: the slidebar bracket hangers (these were heavily modified upon rebuilding due to the outside valve gear) and  outside motion brackets on each side; along with the screw reverser bracket on the left hand side.
In the spring of next year it is planned to remove 35011s remaining wheels and front bogie in order to enable a full assessment of her frames to be undertaken.

The newly removed components from GSN

Preparation work for producing the components required for the chassis and the alternations to the existing metalwork is being undertaken at the moment. This will enable the work to restore the rolling chassis to be only limited by the amount of money that can be raised to pay for the work. To help this work the Society has set up a “Putting Funds into  the Frames” appeal which enables people to donate as little or as much to the project with the guarantee that it’ll be spent on the frames.  You can find out more here.

The converted drawings now in CAD form that is required for an original condition Merchant Navy.

Supporters will be aware that when we lifted the boiler from the frames in October last year, we also lifted the rear of the frames to release the Trailing Truck. Since then, work has been undertaken to remove the majority of the components that make up the Trailing Truck.
Following an independent assessment, we undertook a competitive tender process and in August we awarded the contract for the full refurbishment, and certification of the Trailing Truck by specialist contractors North Norfolk Railway Engineering (NNE).The Trailing Truck left Blunsdon and arrived safely at NNE Weybourne on the 10th October.

The Trailing Truck at the North Norfolk Railway

Since then North Norfolk Engineering have provided the following update of their activities:

• Completed the dismantling of the main component parts, with the truck chassis now lifted off the wheelset in readiness for the complete set of main parts and wheelset being sent away for shot blasting.

• Undertaken a series of key dimensional measurements to assess the general condition and wear levels ahead of developing the engineering overhaul strategy.

• Removed the seized main pivot pin out from its bronze bush and assessed the reason for it seizing, as the bush appears has moved during its working life  and rotated in the frame boss, blanking off the grease hole in the process, reducing lubrication.

The next key stage is to undertake Ultrasonic Axle Testing (UAT) of the axle and the axle to wheel interfaces to verify that no flaws are present. It will be carried out by a Rail Industry approved axle specialist early in the new year (at the same time as the annual check of all locomotives on the North Norfolk Railway to minimise cost).We are in the process of arranging the purchasing new suspension coil springs and are currently working with various suppliers. To help fund the restoration of the trailing truck the Society is 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 please click here.

CME with students on Boscastle

In November our CME Dr Steve Rapley  took a group of students from Loughborough University to look at the smokebox and exhaust of 34039 Boscastle. This was to aid their understanding of the geometry they’re studying as part of developing the Internal Aerodynamics and draughting of 335011 General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society.  The Society would like thank Andy Morgan and Mike for hosting us.

You can find out more about previous projects undertaken with Loughborough and Birmingham Universities can be found here.

Progress continues with the boiler, there are still some stubborn ends of tubes to remove, but it is down to a handful now. Sterling work by our volunteers (including Paul G, David O, Geoff A & Jack G) continues with this strenuous task, with the expectation that the remainder will be out in the coming months. Work has started on removing rust from the inside of the firebox, and generally cleaning the inside of the boiler and firebox ahead of a planned inspection early next year. It may seem that one paragraph seems like little progress on the boiler, but this work is very labour intensive, and with only a small band of volunteers, maintaining Covid safe practices, it takes time for the fruit of their labours to become apparent.

Volunteer posing with the locomotive at Blunsdon

 

In order to keep moving forwards with our restoration activities, the society is looking for a qualified railway mechanical engineer, preferably with welding experience or weld design experience, to advise the CME & Engineering Sub-committee in this field. If you fit this description, or know someone who does, please get in touch with us via info@35011gsn.co.uk

The momentum being generated by our engineering team means 2022 is going to be a very important year for the project with some big goals in mind. To achieve this we will need your help, you are able to support us in many ways if you are not already a Society member you can sign up for membership for currently only £15 per year here, or donate to the Society here or even better become a shareholder here.

As always thank you for your continued support.

#ThisWeekIn 1951 GSN is the last Southern Railway built Merchant Navy to lose the Malachite livery.

#ThisWeekIn 1951, 35011 General Steam Navigation left Eastleigh works following a light intermediate overhaul. During her visit to the works GSN had 400 steel stays repaired and 30 new “Howell” tubes installed. The major change was the new paint on the engine, gone was the Southern Railway malachite green replaced with the new British Railways Brunswick green.
General Steam Navigation was the last Merchant Navy built and operated by the Southern Railway to wear the malachite livery, having never worn the BR express blue livery. The short-lived British Railways express blue was dropped by the Southern Region as soon as it could with 35024 being repainted into the Brunswick Green livery in May 1951. General Steam Navigation would wear the Brunswick Green livery for another 15 years before being withdrawn in 1966.

35011 at Eastleigh works – Copyright Coffin

Putting Funds into the Frames 

Now that the boiler has been successfully removed from the frames for the first time in 61 years, see news item from 2nd October 2020 here, our attention is now turned to the restoration of the frames and the rear dragbox.

We have therefore set up a Fund for the Frames that will be essential for the successful restoration of  35011 back into her original condition. Not only do we need to clean and review the condition of the frames as they exist today, any corroded sections of the framework, the rear platform and dragbox will cut out and replaced. We also need to reverse some of the areas that were changed during rebuilding to allow a new middle cylinder to be installed and reinstate Bulleid’s unique patented chain driven valve gear.

This a general fund with no minimum / maximum donation or number of contribution limits, all monies donated to the Fund for the Frames will be specifically ring fenced for the frames. If you are able to contribute to this project in any way however great or small, we thank you for your support.

GSN collaboration with Loughborough University continues

Last week our Chief Mechanical Engineer took a group of students from Loughborough University to look at the smokebox and exhaust of Bulleid Light Pacific 34039 Boscastle that is currently undergoing overhaul on the Great Central Railway.
This was to aid their understanding of the geometry they’re studying as part of developing the internal aerodynamics and draughting of our 35011 General Steam Navigation.
Following the success of the 2020/21 Loughborough University collaboration projects  we are running further projects in 2021/22 to look at aspects of the blastpipe design in more detail.
The intention is to compare the potential performance of a Bulleid-Lemaître blastpipe with other concepts such as the Giesl and Lempor ejectors.
For more details on our University collaboration projects with Loughborough University click here.
Thanks to Andy Morgan and Mike for hosting us.

#OnThisDay 21c11 becomes 35011

#OnThisDay in 1948, General Steam Navigation re-entered service following an overhaul at Eastleigh works. The locomotive which now an updated livery featuring the BR Gills Sans numerals and lettering and the removal of the unique  bulbous casing between the bufferbeam and outside cylinders. Colour photos of General Steam Navigation in his particular livery are hard to come by but thanks to our friends at “The Battle of Britain Locomotive Society” you can see 34081 92 Squadron in steam in this particular livery variant.
It was at this time that General Steam Navigation was re-numbered from 21c11 to 35011. When Oliver Bulleid built his new engines he adopted a new numbering scheme for all his locomotives based on Continental practice. The Southern Railway numbers followed an adaptation of the UIC classification system of using letters and numbers to designate the powered and unpowered axles, together with a running number. This first appeared on Bulleids Q1 class of engine where “C” refers to the number of coupled driving axles – in the Q1s case three. All these locomotives therefore carried numbers which started “C” followed by the individual identifier from C1 to C40. The first Merchant Navy built Channel Packet a pacific class 4-6-2 locomotive became 21C1 – where “2” and “1” refer to the number of unpowered leading and trailing axles respectively, and “C” again referring to the number of driving axles, in the Merchant Navys case three followed by the individual identifier. The remainder were numbered 21C2-21C20. The scheme was abandoned by British Railways in 1948 and the existing locomotives were renumbered under the British Railways standard system in the series 35001-35020; the final batch appeared in traffic as 35021-35030.

When General Steam Navigation returns to steam this livery is one of the choices our members will be able to pick from when voting but to do this we need your help. 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 number of members who have signed up for blocks and with work due to start in the coming weeks at the North Norfolk we need to get as much funding in place as possible . 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 please click here 
 
Thank you
 
Photos courtesy of Transport of yesteryear through the lens, 35011 archives and A C Cawston.

October 2021 Update

October 2021 Update

 

On Monday 11th October, General Steam Navigation and our volunteers were featured in the first episode of the new behind the scenes documentary series looking at Hornby. Broadcasted on Yesterday ‘Hornby a Model World’ is a 10-part series following Hornby as it opens its doors to show the lengths its team of designers and engineers go to in scaling down locomotives, cars, aircraft and more to produce replica models as near perfect as possible. The first episode revolved around the development of the new Hornby Dublo General Steam Navigation and featured the Society’s efforts to restore our locomotive. The filming of the real General Steam Navigation on site at Blunsdon took place at the end of 2020 and focused on the stripping down of the frames and Trailing Truck. You can view the full episode on UKTV player here.

The Trailing Truck has left Blunsdon and has arrived at the North Norfolk Railway where it will be restored by a specialist engineering team. Located at Weybourne Engineering works, North Norfolk Railway Engineering presented a strong bid for the work, with a high level of engineering detail, that respects the historical merit of the unique in preservation fabricated Merchant Navy trailing truck. The speed of the work is dependent on how quickly the Society can raise the funds. We do hope you consider supporting the work by joining our Trailing Truck Transformers Funding group, donating to the project or by purchasing shares in the engine.  Thank you.

Issue 16 of our membership magazine ‘The Packet’ is at the printers and will be posted out to our members in the coming weeks. The 28-page issue features a detailed update from the engineering team looking at the trailing truck, frames, boiler and crank axle. Also featured are is the latest news from our finance, membership and fundraising teams. The highly successful coach trip and N gauge models are also discussed along with the minutes from the AGM. Membership in the General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society costs £15 a year with members receiving the Packet 3 times a year, access to the locomotive and the ability to get involved with the Society. For more information please visit our dedicated membership page here.

Following on from the success of our first two Limited Edition model wagons in 00 gauge we are pleased announce a new model this time in N gauge. Once again these models have been jointly produced in cooperation with the Medway Queen Preservation Society. They are in stock now and already selling well.

The new models have been produced by Dapol Ltd. and are based on there N Gauge Gun Powder Vans with the lettering “General Steam Navigation, No. 11, Blunsdon and Gillingham Pier.” They are available in either red or blue and are priced at £11.90 each excluding post and packing.

To purchase one or more these wagons go to our online shop where you also purchase our other merchandise such as mugs, pint glasses, pens and pin badges etc.

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

Congratulations go to:
1st Prize – David Taylor ,
2nd Prize – Denise Sexton,
3rd Prize – Derek  Preece

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.

As always thank you for your continued support.

 

Hornby: A Model World’ new TV series to air on Yesterday TV Monday 11th October and features 35011 General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society.

Hornby: A Model World’ will be coming to your TV screens on Monday 11th October at 9pm on Yesterday Channel as the first episode of the ten-part series goes live!
The new UKTV Original series features behind the scenes action at Hornby HQ, of what goes into making Hornby, Airfix, Scalextric and Corgi models.

From century old steam engines to cutting edge racing cars. Each programme follows the process from drawing board to perfect mini replica. The series observes the ups and downs of the design process as Hornby  attempt to get the all important detail spot on, whether it is perfecting the sound of a 1930s steam loco or the stitching on a First World War fighter plane.In the first episode, the Hornby team go back to their illustrious past when they decide to launch a metal diecast replica of a 1940’s steam locomotive, our very own  Merchant Navy, 35011 General Steam Navigation. It’s a passion project for Development Director Simon Kohler who fondly remembers his brother getting one for Christmas as a child.
UKTV cameras visited one of our working weekends earlier this year to feature our project to restore 35011 General Steam Navigation back to original air smoothed condition complete with Bulleid’s patented chain driven valve gear to view our progress in the restoration of the full size version of Hornby’s model.
For more information on how you can help support  the project click here.

Yesterday is on Freeview 26, Sky 155, Virgin 129, Freesat 159, BT/Plusnet/TalkTalk/YouView 26.
Yesterday +1 – Freeview: 74, Sky: 255, Virgin: 200

General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society awards contract for Trailing Truck restoration and confirm the grade of steel for new crank axle.

At the Annual General Meetings of the General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society (GSNLRS) and General Steam Navigation CIC we were delighted to announce that following the removal of the trailing truck from the frames in October 2020 and months of preparatory work by their hard working volunteers, that the restoration contract for the trailing truck has been awarded after a tender process to North Norfolk Railway Engineering.

Located at Weybourne Engineering works, North Norfolk Railway Engineering presented a strong bid for the work, with a high level of engineering detail, that respects the historical merit of the unique in preservation fabricated Merchant Navy trailing truck.

Originally fitted to a series 3 Merchant Navy, our fabricated trailing truck is the last survivor of its kind. Lighter than the cast truck fitted to the other preserved Merchant Navy locomotives, longer than a Light Pacific’s truck, the GSNLRS are having this unique piece of Bulleid locomotive design restored to mainline standard, a crucial step towards GSNLRS’s vision of an original Merchant Navy with original air smoothed casing and Bulleid’s patented chain driven valve gear.

Funding for the Trailing Truck restoration has been via our Trailing Truck Transformers Fund Club and ‘Lots’ being available for purchase to join the club. Membership of our Trailing Truck Transformer Fund Club is still available, for details click here.

For more information on the North Norfolk Railway go to: www.nnrailway.co.uk

Crank Axle Steel Selection

Since 1966, 35011 has been without it’s central crank axle. Alongside the missing valve gear, this has been the driving force behind the decision to return to original design condition, due to the cost of replacement to either design being similar.
After many years of behind-the-scenes research in the BPLA collection & National Archive in Kew, and recent detailed Finite Element Analysis conducted at the University of Birmingham, under the supervision of Professor Karl Dearn, has demonstrated that A4T steel is of a suitable grade for the correct balanced crank axle design for 35011 in original design condition.

The stress report of the balanced design maximum stress reduced by 23%

This means the GSNLRS can proceed to final design of the central axle & balancing of the motion, and the order placement for the steel in the coming months and moving the project further forwards to a functioning original Merchant Navy once more.
For more information on the University of Birmingham FEA Project outcomes  click  here:

These two announcements are major steps forward for the General Steam Navigation Restoration Society, for more information on how you can help support  the project click here.

#OnThisDay The last Bournemouth Belle 9th July

#OnThisDay  in 1967 the last Bournemouth Belle ran direct between London Waterloo and Bournemouth Central.

The Belle was a train formed of Pullman stock that 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.

35011 Hauling the Bournemouth Belle through Eastleigh (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.

British Railways: Today and Tomorrow.” Merchant Navy no. 35015 “Rotterdam Lloyd” leaves Waterloo with the Bournemouth Belle.

Sunday, 9th July 1967 was a historic day as as well as the last Bournemouth Belle it was  to be the final day of both steam traction’ on the Western Section main line.  To mark the occasion the  Southern Region had announced that the last day of this famous Pullman train would feature steam haulage. At the eleventh hour, higher management in British Railways thwarted this proposal, and the final ‘’Bournemouth Belle’’ services were hauled by Brush Type 4 No. D1924 (later Class 47 No. 47247).

General Steam Navigation was a often found hauling the Bournemouth Belle during her service career. One day the Society would love to recreate this on the mainline but to this we need your help. 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 please click here.

Thank you

#OnThisDay 35011s rebuild was completed and gained boiler 1097

35011 on 13/02/1962 at Eastleigh. Copyright John Turner (https://www.flickr.com/photos/blue-diesels/)
#OnThisDay in 1959, General Steam Navigation re-entered service after rebuilding from it’s original form, which we are working to reverse. Attached to it was boiler 1097, one of the ten North British Boilers (of which 3 survive), and had seen service previously with Union Castle, Shaw Savill, and East Asiatic Company. It was kept with General Steam Navigation until withdrawal, and is now in our possession. Before we took ownership, the superheater header and elements were removed, we have since removed all the large tubes and the majority of the small tubes from the boiler, as well as the ash pans from the firebox. The boiler was lifted from the frames in October 2020, since when we have started on cleaning the inside of the boiler and firebox, prepping them for inspection later this year.
The original boiler fitted to General Steam Navigation, 1100, was the first Bulleid pacific boiler manufactured at Eastleigh. After removal from General Steam Navigation in 1947, it was used on Nederland Line, British India Line,, Peninsular & Oriental S.N. Co, French Line C.G.T, and Bibby Line. Unfortunately the first Merchant Navy boiler manufactured at Eastleigh was the only Merchant Navy boiler scrapped there, in 1965.
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 please click here.
Thank you

5 years of owning GSN

It was 5 years ago today that locomotive 35011 General Steam Navigation was officially signed over to the General Steam Navigation CIC. In the subsequent 5 years an incredible amount of work has been accomplished by our dedicated team of volunteers and supporters. The Society would like to take this chance to thank everyone who has ever been involved with the project for all there hardwork, passion and support. It is as a result of this progress the Society is more confident than ever before and together we will put the Steam back into General Steam Navigation.
You can join our efforts to restore this mighty beast by becoming a member in our Society for only £15 a year. You can find out more on our website https://35011gsn.co.uk/membership.html
Thank you