Continuing the cooperation between the General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society and the Medway Queen Preservation Society (a GSN shipping Co ship) following the success of their previous wagons in both 00 and N gauges further new limited edition 00 gauge 7 plank open wagon have been produced to raise fund for both societies.
The model has been produced by Dapol and is based on their 00 gauge 7 plank open wagons with the lettering General Steam Navigation, Blunsdon & Gillingham Pier (the locations of the two Societies) and Number 22. The wagon is available in either black or green, both colours that were carried by 21c11 General Steam Navigation during her lifetime. The wagons include a coal load.
As 2021 draws to a close all of us at General Steam Navigation would like to wish all our members, supporters and your families a wonderful Christmas time. We hope 2022 brings you and GSN, health, wealth and happiness. During the last year we have really started to make progress with the restoration of 35011 to her 1950’s condition and we are sure with your continued support this will further accelerate throughout 2022. If you are not already a member please seriously consider joining this amazing project. Details on the Web Site here.
In case you haven’t seen it, please watch this fantastic video presented by Andrew Collett which looks at the various engineering achievements of the past few months. We also will be doing a question and answer session at the start of 2022 so please do send us any questions you might have.
My final personal wish to you all is that you may never be too grown up to search the skies on Christmas Eve. You never know you might just see a red flash or hear bells ringing and Angels singing.
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.
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.
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 General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society feature in the latest Railway Mania podcast, episode 17. The 90-minute podcast features three of the Society Trustees, Andrew Collett, Steve Rapley (CME) and Graham Muspratt with Corwin Bainbridge discussing our project to restore 21c11 / 35011 back to original condition complete with Bulleid’s chain driven valve gear and air smoothed casing.
The Podcast looks at our ambitious project in detail, the Trustees answer questions and discuss: the history of 35011; the main issues arising from the project returning her to original condition including: the missing crank axle, replacement middle cylinder, the work being undertaken in cooperation with Loughborough University and the University of Birmingham students on drafting and smoke clearing arrangements; visibility from the cab; the potential liveries and dispels some of the myths associated with casing fires.
#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.
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 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.
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.
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 lift of the boiler followed a successful fund raising “sponsor and inch or more” campaign and prize draw to cover the cost of the suitable crane hire to lift the boiler. A fully tubed boiler weighs 24 tonnes, however the tubes, despite the restrictions due to Cocid-19, were removed by volunteers of the society reducing the weight to around 20 tonnes.
“It’s a very exciting time for everyone involved in the 35011 General Steam Navigation restoration project,” said Andy Collett Chairman of the CIC. “The removal of the boiler is a big turning point as it allows us to commence the restoration of the chassis, which will be a big project in itself, taking several years to complete.”
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.
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.