February 2021 Update

February 2021 Update

Whilst Covid19 has been affecting both our financial and engineering efforts, the Society is delighted to report that new parts continue to be constructed. Recently the front bogie spring beams were delivered by Ashbrook Engineering Ltd; the Society is extremely grateful to Mr Alan Dixon who sponsored their construction. Along with the efforts of Mr Tony Simmonds who is machining the spring hangers for the Society, work on the bogie is progressing at a good pace.

Work continues with converting the BPLA drawings of the frames & valve gear into CAD to allow us to have replacement parts manufactured. This is a lengthy process, but one that is vital for our goal of reengineering the existing frames to a condition where they can accommodate the original chain-driven valve gear and replacing the middle cylinder. In time we will also have the drawings of the smokebox and air-smoothed casing transferred to CAD for the same reason.

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 click here.

We understand that £500 is a lot of money and for people who wish to support the trailing truck but are unable to join the Trailing Truck Transformers club you can help us by donating to our Wheel Set appeal on our JustGiving page here.

Alternatively you can make a donation however large or small into our newly launched Putting Funds into the Frames campaign here…

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

Congratulations go to:

1st Prize – David Oborn, 2nd Prize – Simon Shutt, 3rd Prize Allan Bott

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.

2021 is shaping up to be a very important year for the project with some big goals in mind. You can help support us in many ways if you are not already a Society member you can sign up for membership for currently only £12 per year here, or donate to the Society here or even better become a shareholder here.

Finally some of our trustees will be making a guest appearance on the “Railwaymania” podcast and will be answering questions from members and the general public.  If you have any questions you’d like answering please send them to us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or through our website and we’ll ensure as are answered on the podcast as possible.

As always thank you for your continued support.

Become a Trailing Truck Transformer

#OnThisDay in 1955 General Steam Navigation entered the Eastleigh works for a heavy intermediate overhaul. It was during these works when her cast trailing truck she was built was changed for the fabricated design she still has. The fabricated design was fitted to the final ten Merchant Navy’s with the first being 35021 New Zealand Line with 35011s being the last remaining example with all fellow surviving Merchant Navy’s having the earlier cast design. The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society aims to restore this unique component in 2021.

This is your chance to be part of an exclusive club and aid the overall restoration of General Steam Navigation by becoming a Trailing Truck Transformer.

The Trailing Truck was removed from the frames at the same time as the successful boiler lift on 2nd October. The estimate for the full refurbishment and overhaul of the Trailing Truck by specialist contractors is £15,000.

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.

Benefits

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.

The work

With the trailing truck now removed from GSN, we have undertaken an assessment of the work that will be required to restore it to mainline running standards. This will involve a full strip down to allow us to understand the condition of the frame metal work, which is likely to require non-destructive testing to determine the soundness of the existing material.

The axle will also require removing, but depending on which contractors we decide to use for the overall work we may need to remove this at Blunsdon to enable it to be sent separately for repair with the wheels being re-profiled; whilst the axle bearings will also need assessing and possibly refurbishing.

The frames will also require sandblasting to remove all the old flaking material and paint, with the corroded sections of the framework and rear platform being cut out and replaced with new material. Finally the framework, axle and wheels will need to be primed, undercoated and painted prior to being re-assembled.

To become a Trailing Truck Transformer see our dedicated page here…

We understand that £500 is a lot of money and for people who wish to support the trailing truck but are unable to join the Trailing Truck Transformers club you can help us by donating to our Wheel Set appeal on our JustGiving page here.

Alternatively you can make a donation however large or small into our newly launched Putting Funds into the Frames campaign here…

Any and all donations would be gratefully appreciated.

January 2021 Update

Work on the 35011 project has continued despite the latest national lockdown putting a halt to all working parties on the engine. Members will soon be receiving on their doorsteps or inboxes the latest Issue 14 of our membership magazine ‘The Packet’
This issue is over 25% larger than the previous issue with lots of exciting news from the engineering, fundraising, PR and membership teams. If you’re not a member and would like to receive a copy and be among the first to know you join our Society for just £12 by clicking here.

At our final working weekend of 2020 we were filmed & interviewed by a TV crew for a program to be aired in late 2021 which will be great publicity for our project. We have more volunteers waiting to join our working parties once social distancing becomes a thing of the past which will speed up the rate of restoration. At this moment in time GSN is a dormant creature, waiting for its time to live again and with your help we can do just that. No matter what skills you have we can use your help. Please contact our volunteer liaison officer Mr Andrew Collett at andrew.collett@35011gsn.co.uk if you fancy getting your hands dirty.

At the start of the month Hornby announced that a new model of General Steam Navigation will be joining the Hornby Dublo range. The model will be limited to 500 models and feature a diecast boiler. The locomotive is wearing the BR Brunswick green livery and looks brilliant. You can find out more on the  Hornby website here.

The 35011 Twenty Twenty Club winners have been drawn for November and December.

Congratulations go to:

December 2020 – 1st Prize –  Chris Mileman, 2nd Prize – David Oborn, 3rd Prize – Andrew Collett

November 2020 – 1st Prize – Chris Mileman, 2nd Prize – Steve Raply, 3rd Prize – Simon Strachan

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.

2021 is shaping up to be a very important year for the project with some big goals in mind. You can help support us in many ways if you are not already a Society member you can sign up for membership for only £12 per year here, or donate to the Society here or even better join us as a shareholder here.

As always thank you for your continued support.

Driving forward with a new regulator handle thanks to Bossman Games

#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.

You can find out more about Bossman Games by visiting their website www.bossmangames.co.uk and for more on the General Steam Navigation please visit our website www.35011GSN.co.uk

November Update

Work on the locomotive  progressed at a great rate prior to the start of the latest government lockdown. The weekend before the lockdown saw the project pass another important landmark with the removal of the final tube from the boiler that contained 40 large diameter tube and approx. 100 small diameter tubes. Once the current Covid restrictions have been relaxed our volunteers will carry on with their efforts to prepare the boiler for inspection and NDTs in early 2021.

The trailing truck was also the focus of the efforts of our volunteers in October. The trailing truck is being cleaned up and assessed prior to restoration next year. We are currently seeking donations towards the cost of the transportation and overhauling of the trailing truck axle and the front bogie axles. You can donate to the appeal on our justgiving page here, any funds would be extremely appreciated.

Ian Ferguson one of our skilled volunteers has completed the machining of the shut off valves that attach to the main steam manifold. The amount of skilled put into them is impressive and we are extremely grateful for all his hard work.

The Society has been paid £49.92 through EasyFundraising. Thanks to everyone who helped to raise these funds. If you’re not supporting 35011 General Steam Navigation, please sign up now. It takes 2 minutes & 4,300+ shops will donate to us for free every time you shop with them! You can sign up using the link here. With Christmas and Black Friday coming up by signing up to EasyFundraising you’ll be able to help restore GSN without any costs or hassle to you.

The winners of our first 35011 Twenty Twenty Club have been drawn for October.

Congratulations go to:

1st Prize – Dereck Preece

2nd Prize – Simon Strachan

3rd Prize – David Oborn

We still have the last few places remaing find out how to join here

You can help support us in many ways if you are not already a Society member you can sign up for membership for only £12 per year here, or donate to the Society here or even better join us as a shareholder here.

As always thank you for your continued support.

35011 General Steam Navigation fund opened for the transportation and tyre profiling of the bogie and trailing truck wheelsets.

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 and the separation of the trailing truck from the frames. The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society is now seeking funds to help overhaul the front bogie and trailing truck wheelsets.

35011 front bogie at Eastleigh Works 1959

It is  estimated that the trailing truck axle will be machined by a contractor off site in early 2021. This 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 £3,500.

The unique in preservation fabricated style trailing truck of 35011

Supporters can donate to the cause via the Society’s JustGiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/gsnwheelset

Work on 35011 will now be directed to the restoration of the chassis, trailing truck and the front bogie and further fund-raising campaigns will be launched in due course.

You can help support us in many ways if you are not already a Society member you can sign up for membership for only £12 per year here, or donate to the Society here or even better join us as a shareholder here.

As always thank you for your continued support.

General Steam Navigation Society launch new online shop

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 range of merchandise complements our wide range of branded clothing items that are  also available to order online via our  friends at Universal Uniform here.

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

 

 

Boiler Lift “Sponsor an inch or more” prize draw winners announced

At the successful lifting of General Steam Navigations Boiler from the frames on Friday 2nd October, the prize draw as part of our  “Sponsor an inch or more” appeal also took place and the winners are detailed below.

Graham Muspratt makes the draw as the boiler is lifted using part or 35011 as the draw pot

The “Sponsor an inch or more” fund raising appeal was launched back in March this year and  very quickly raised the funds to cover the cost of the crane hire for the boiler lift.
The society would like to express our thanks to all whom to  took part and contributed to this major milestone in the restoration of General Steam Navigation back to her original 1950s condition.

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.

 

35011 General Steam Navigation boiler lifted for the first time in 61 years – a major milestone reached in the restoration project.

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.”

Vice Chairman of the Swindon & Cricklade Railway, Allan Bott welcomed the positive news. “It’s great to see 35011 take the next big step in its restoration journey. It brings a much-needed boost following our forced closure due to COVID-19. With the line re-opening to passenger services on Sunday 4th October, our customers can now come and see 35011’s progress following the successful boiler lift.”

Work on 35011 will now be directed to the restoration of the chassis and further fund-raising campaigns will be launched in due course.

 

Summer Engineering Update

Summer engineering update

In June a few select volunteers restarted  stripping down work on GSN. Numbers are being strictly limited to begin with to comply with social distancing so it may be a little while before we can welcome new members to our working parties. Thank you to those that have recently sent in their volunteer forms to join the ranks of our working members, we will welcome you to Blunsdon as soon as we are able.

Most of the work focused on getting our container set up which included the installation of the container lights and electrical sockets, at the request of the railway painting the outside green and various other small tasks. Work did progress on the locomotive with the removal of the springs that attach to the centre driving wheels. A preliminary visual inspection suggests they are good condition considering their age.

The removal of the lower piston and cover

Although we await the installation of a permanent electrical feed, we have a temporary connection to our newly installed consumer unit to give us both lighting and a ring main in the container. We have included RCD protected sockets for external tool use, sockets by the desk including USB charging points and sockets for the kindly donated microwave oven, fridge and kettle!

The stripping down also saw the right hand side piston and cover being removed. These have now been put into storage and will their condition will be assessed.

Removing some of the more stubborn bolts

The Society is happy to report that it was able to purchase some new components for the locomotive in the form of a Speedo drive, cut off indicator quadrant & part of the steam turbo generator. The components were from an enthusiast’s collection who offered them to the Society for an incredibly reasonable price.

Work in July was mostly focused around preparing for the boiler lift with some of the more troublesome boiler mounts being removed. The front boiler mounts proved especially resistant to being removed but after some head scratching a plan was devised and carried out that saw the mounts being separated.

 

Front end casing complete with lamps and disks

The main engineering highlight for this issue was the new front end casing which was successfully test fitted in July. The casing was originally built to be a surprise for our members at the cancelled AGM earlier in the year. The casing was built by the team at Leaky Finders who did another fantastic job for us.

Front end view of the casing

The two outside pieces are slightly bigger then they were originally built, we felt it was a sensible decision to make them bigger then we need to allow us trim them down during their final fitting and make a perfect joint to the rest of the casing. For the same reason none of the fitting holes were drilled, this meant we had to use some wooden props to display the pieces on the locomotive. The most complex part of the casing manufacture was the lamp irons which required machining to get the side profiles right before beginning to be bent into their into the final shape.

Boiler lift

CanPacs boiler lift inside Eastleigh works

The “Sponsor an inch or more” campaign that was masterminded by  Graham Muspratt was a huge success with the Society raising just under £2,000. The Society would like to thank Graham and all those who donated to the appeal. Getting the funding in place so quickly has made the planning for the boiler lift far simpler. At the time of publication a date has been agreed for the lift prior to the rearranged AGM although for health and safety reasons the Society will not be publishing the exact date.

With the relaxation of lockdown rules our volunteers have been hard at work preparing for the boiler lift. Our aim is to get all the remaining small boiler tubes cut and removed from the boiler before the day of the lift. The majority of the securing bolts have been removed with the remaining ones being left in for safety reasons. Our volunteers will remove all the final securing bolts the day before the lift.

Preparing the trailing truck for removal

The Society have been debating the possibility of removing both the trailing truck and front bogie whilst the crane is on site for the boiler lift. The agreed plan is to attempt to remove the trailing truck but we’ll leave the front bogie in place.  There are several reasons for this decision with the main factor being the Society is not in a position where we can make the locomotive immobile. The weight of the front end of the locomotive would require us to pack behind the bufferbeam in order to prevent the possibility GSN pivoting on her front drive axle. If GSN had a crank axle in place along side the rear drive wheel would have created a counter weight to balance the locomotive without either the bogie or trailing truck needing to be in place. The safest option we are taking is to remove the trailing truck and leave the bogie in place as this will allow us to push the locomotive back under cover once the lifts have been completed.

All the generous people who donated to the appeal will be entered into a free draw to win a number of prizes, including: a star prize of a Graham Farish N Gauge Merchant Navy Pacific locomotive, a years free membership to the GSNLR society, GSN merchandise and other prizes.

The raffle will be drawn at random at pivotal points during the boiler lift such as: The moment the first inch has been lifted, point of maximum lift, being clear of the chassis and then lowered to its new location. If you have donated and not contacted us to confirm your raffle entry with us please do at the earliest opportunity in order to ensure you don’t miss out.

How you can help us.

With so much engineering progress being made with the restoration of 21c11 / 35011 back to original condition complete with air smoothed casing and chain drive valve gear you can help us in several different ways:

Membership

The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society Membership costs £12 for the year click here for more details on how to join us.

Shareholding

The General Steam Navigation C.I.C. offers our supporters the opportunity to purchase shares in the locomotive. To find out more about becoming a shareholder and the levels of benefits click here.

Volunteering

No matter what skills you have we can use your help. Please contact our volunteer liaison officer Mr Andrew Collett at andrew.collett@35011gsn.co.uk.  If you are considering a donation to the project or buying some shares today is the perfect time to do it.

The project is heading into some very exciting times and any financial contributions would be greatly appreciated.

As always thank you for your continued support.

Montly updates from the 35011 project