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#OnThisDay General Steam Navigation enters service

#OnThisDay in 1944, the first of the second batch of ten members of the new Merchant Navy class entered service. Numbered 21c11 and having been built at Eastleigh, to order 1189, in wartime black livery allocated to Nine Elms shed. She was slightly unique to other members of this batch in having a distinctive casing at the bottom of the cylinders to the front buffer beam. 21c11 was officially named ‘General Steam Navigation’ on 20th February 1945 at Waterloo Station by Mr R. Kelso the Chairman of the General Steam Navigation Company. She received full lined malachite livery in 11/01/47


After the formation of British Railways, she was renumbered to 35011 retaining lined malachite green with BR Gill Sans numerals and lettering. As with all members of the class the front of the cab was modified from the ‘flat front’ to the ‘wedge’ style to give improved forward visibility for the crew in September 1950. Unlike most members of the class, 35011 never carried British Railways Blue livery and was repainted into BR Breen November 1951. Following a brief three-month allocation to Bournemouth from January 1954 she was back at Nine Elms until being allocated to Exmouth Junction in June 1957.

All members of the merchant Navy class locomotives underwent rebuilding with no 35018 being the first so being treated. This process included: retaining the boiler, frames, outside cylinders, wheels, removing the oil sump and air smoothed casing and replacing the valve gear with three sets of Walschaerts gear, a new middle cylinder, reverser, smokebox, ashpan and grate. 35011 re-entered service on 4th July 1959 having run 670,782 miles in her original form. She was finally allocated to Bournemouth (some say her spiritual home) in March 1960.

35011 on 13/02/1962 at Eastleigh. Copyright John Turner (https://www.flickr.com/photos/blue-diesels/)

35011 was withdrawn from service in February 1966 having run a total of 1,069,128 miles, with 398,346 in rebuilt form.

After a brief spell in store at Stewarts Lane she was moved Eastleigh Works where her centre crank axle was swapped for a plain axle. The crank axle was later fitted to 35026 at Weymouth.

Having been stored at Eastleigh she was sold to Woodhams Brothers in Barry in March 1967.

 

Early preservation

35011 was purchased for preservation and left Barry in March 1983 and was stored in Brighton Preston Park, then RAF Binbrook in Lincolnshire until 2007. She then moved to Williton on the West Somerset Railway, where a further axle swap took place this time with another plain axle from Bulleid Light Pacific West Country Class No. 34046 Braunton. She was then moved to a private site at Sellindge in Kent during 2009.

General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society

Ownership of 21c11 / 35011 was transferred to the current General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society in 2016 and the project to restore her to original air smoothed condition complete with new crank axle, middle cylinder and chain link valve gear in an oil bath began.

In April 2019 35011 was moved to her current home on the Swindon and Cricklade Railway, enabling her to be under cover for the first time since 1966 and enable the restoration to continue at a greater pace.

The boiler was lifted in October 2020, separating it from the frames for the first time in 61 years, to allow the full chassis restoration work to commence. The boiler has now had all the tubes removed and is awaiting an initial assessment by the boiler inspector.

In August 2021 due to the initial response of members joining the Trailing Truck Transformers Fund Club we have, been able to award the refurbishment contract to North Norfolk Railway Engineering.

With 2022 shaping up to be a landmark year for 35011 why not consider joining the Society and support our efforts to put the Steam back into General Steam Navigation. You can join by clicking here.

Thank you for your support.

Chairmans Chairman Message

CHAIRMANS CHRISTMAS MESESAGE

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.

Gerry Leyman

Chairman

General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society

#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.

August 2020 Update

Issue 13 of the Packet

 Members of the General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration have been receiving their copies of issue 13 of the Packet in the last few days. Full of information and updates on our progress despite Copvid 19! If you are not already a member you are missing out, only £12 per year join online here 35011gsn.co.uk/membership.html we welcome your support.

Proxy Annual General Meeting 2020

The Coronavirus lockdown has caused an unprecedented amount of disruption to our way of life this year and led to us having to cancel our AGM which was scheduled earlier in the spring. The Society had hoped a physical AGM could still take place in 2020, unfortunately in the last few weeks it has become clear that it wouldn’t be possible.

The option that the trustees have decided to take going forward is to hold the Society and CIC (for shareholders) Annual General Meeting by proxy for this year with the expectation of being able to return to normal and hold a physical AGM in March 2021 subject to the relaxation of restrictions to enable us to host a safe event. The proxy AGM will take place on 1st October 2020 and will deal with the Society’s financial year that ended in February 2020 and the CIC financial year that ended in November 2019.

Included with the latest issue of the Packet members will find a booklet which contains all the financial statements for the last financial year, a report from the Society chairman, an agenda for the meeting and a proxy voting form. Please read the booklet carefully and return your proxy voting forms by Friday 25th September. Please note that votes arriving after this date will not be registered, so please send them in at your earliest convenience.

We are living in very uncertain and unusual times but its key that all the legal business of the project is completed correctly, on time and in a transparent manner. This does require a certain amount of flexibility which has been provided to us by the Government.

Twenty Twenty Club

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

We are pleased to launch our TWENTY TWENTY CLUB – a great way for you to support the General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society whilst having a bit of a flutter!

Here’s how it works…

You complete and sign the membership form and Standing Order mandate for £5.00 a month (or £60.00 annually) available for download from our website at https://35011gsn.co.uk/about-us-1/35011-twenty-twenty-club/

Fundraising Coach Trip Postponement

35011 at Southampton (Copyright P Rowlands)

Sadly due to the continuing Covid 19 situation in Lancashire & Yorkshire we have made the tough decision to postpone our joint

fundraising trip with the S&CR. With the current uncertainty and with our member’s welfare in mind we feel this is the best option. The new dates will be 21st-24th May 2021.

We intend to have the same itinerary as planned ( NRM York, North York’s Moors Railway, East Lancs Railway & Bolton & Embsay Railway) but this can’t be confirmed until the railways concerned release their 2021 timetables.

Those of you already booked will be contacted directly. Thank You for your understanding.

 

September 2018 Update

September saw our volunteers working hard on the locomotive at the Sellindge site. With the spring beams being completed by North Bay Railway Engineering Services the Society had hoped to be able to get the trailing truck axle sprung when test fitting all the new components. Unfortunately the hangers and various fittings weren’t completed by our machinist in time but we were still able to pose all the remaining components together to show the difference between the early cast style trailing truck and GSNs unique fabricated style design. The Society would like to thank all the volunteers who attended and the members who contributed towards the components. A full write up of the working weekend will appear in the next issue of the Packet due out late October.

Top; 35006s early cast style trailling truck with GSNs fabricated design below

The Society will be hosting a sales stand at the upcoming Watercress Line Autumn Steam gala. The event has a Western region theme with guest locomotives Foxcote  Manor, Large Prairie 5199 and BR Standard ‘4MT’ 2-6-4T No. 80078 all visiting the line. The Society would welcome any volunteers who’d like to help man the stand or people who like to find out more about the project to come along.

Lots of exciting progress is being made with the project and today is the perfect time for people who are considering about signning up to do so. The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society Membership costs £10 for the year with members being kept up to date with the latest goings on with the locomotive, receive our members magazine ‘The Packet’ 3 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 sign up by visiting our membership page here.

As always thank you for your continued support.