Tag Archives: 35011


General Steam Navigation limited edition wagon range increases with new Ailsa Troon open wagons wagon in 00 Gauge marking the anniversary of the building of the Medway Queen Paddle Steamer.  Produced in cooperation with the Medway Queen Preservation Society.

In the 1930s the General Steam Navigation Company (GSN) worked closely with the New Medway Steam Packet Company and in 1936 acquired the New Medway Company outright. These new wagons are part of the cooperation between the General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society and the Medway Queen Preservation Society, based on Gillingham Pier.

The paddle steamer, Medway Queen, was built by the Ailsa Shipbuilding Company of Troon and launched on St. George’s Day (23rd April) 1924, the two societies have commissioned a further joint batch of 00 7 Plank Open Wagons in an Ailsa Troon livery in either green or brown with coal load from Dapol to mark the anniversary.

Sales will directly help the restoration of locomotive 21c11 / 35011, General Steam Navigation, and of PS Medway Queen.

The 00 Gauge 7 plank open wagon complete with coal load cost £12.90 each. 

The post and packing price is the same for buying a single wagon or both colour versions together.

These and all our Limited Edition wagons are  available from the General Steam Navigation website online store at https://35011gsn.co.uk/online-shop.html 

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.


Summer Engineering Update

Welcome to this Summer 2023 engineering update from the General Steam Navigation project.  Progress has been made on various engineering fronts on the project over the past few months and with some of our background efforts about to bear fruit we’ll have some brilliant work to share over the coming months.

Since the last packet, there has been no further progress on the boiler, but we are working on scheduling the boiler washout. This was originally planned for February, but was postponed due to a combination of personal circumstances.
Mother nature had a go at helping with the washout recently, but photos from inside the boiler show everything remains dry. The Boiler washout actually took place at the beginning of August with the grateful assistance of our friends within the Swindon  & Cricklade Railway  Steam loco department.  Details of the Boiler Inspectors preliminary inspection report will be in the next issue of our Members Magazine The Packet,  if you not already a member join here today to get the latest news first. 

Trailing Truck
Progress on the trailing truck has been slim since provided in the last Members Magazine The Packet, as the NNRE have had other tasks taking higher priority. Following the previous issue of The Packet, we have had some helpful insight into the weldability of gunmetal (and leaded gunmetal) which is proving very useful.

Crank Axle
Physical progress with the crank axle continues to be impacted by geopolitical events causing volatility in the price of steel, after discussions with our friends in the B17 Steam Locomotive Trust project & A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, with whom we were planning to place a group order for A4T forgings for the stub axles, we are pausing the ordering process until we have greater certainty over the price. Whilst it is disappointing to not be placing an order for these crucial parts of our locomotive, it feels more prudent to wait, saving us money in the long run. During this self-imposed delay, we continue to use the time to produce the engineering justification for manufacture of the stub axles in A4T & the sweep webs in 817m40, so that when we are happy with prices, we can proceed.
We are also continuing with the initial design of the new chain-driver sprocket to fit the balanced crank axle design. The design fitted to the original unbalanced crank won’t fit the balanced crank design, as the stub axles are wider & the mounting points were changed. There was a design for the sprocket for the balanced crank axle, but it is not in any drawing collection that we are aware of, and is assumed lost. The design we are working on will be based upon the original sprocket along with the mounting design for the eccentric fitted on rebuilding to drive the inner motion, as we know the mounting points were broadly the same.

Leading bogie
Work has started on taking off the removable parts of the bogie, to reduce the work that would be done when it is sent away. The key component is the side control unit.
Our leading bogie was attached to the frames via a pin and bush arrangement, similar to the trailing truck. On both of these, the pin is firmly attached to the frame of the locomotive, but the bush can slide laterally within the side control unit. Either side of the bush is a spring in compression. As the locomotive enters a curve, the frames will want to continue in a straight line, whilst the bogie will follow the curve. This will compress the spring on the outside of the curve, and extend that on the inside of the curve, helping to steer the front of the locomotive through the curve. We have started taking the side control unit apart, so it can begin to be cleaned & restored.

The main activity at recent working weekends, beyond the leading bogie, has been on the frames. As we will eventually need to remove all three cylinders from the frames as part of the process of replacing the middle one, we are starting to remove, clean and replace/refix all the nuts & bolts that hold the cylinders to the frames.
This will mean that when we are ready to remove the cylinders, we should be able to detach them quickly. It will take some time to do this, but will save time in the long run. The middle cylinder is being replaced, with a new one to be manufactured to the original design, with outside admission. Removing the outer ones will make removing the middle one easier, and will give us the opportunity to

This an extract of the full report that appears in the Members Magazine The Packet, if you not already a member join here today to get the latest fullest news first. 

General Steam Navigation limited edition wagon range increases

General Steam Navigation limited edition wagon range increases with new livery open wagons wagon in 00 Gauge and 20t mineral wagons in N Gauge. Produced in cooperation with the Medway Queen Preservation Society.

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 and new 20t steel sided mineral wagons  have been produced to raise fund for both societies.
Both wagons are produced by Dapol with the lettering General Steam Navigation, Blunsdon & Gillingham Pier (the locations of the two Societies) and Number 23.  The wagons in both scales are  available in either red or grey.

The 00 Gauge 7 plank open wagon complete with coal load cost £12.90 each. The N Gauge 20t Steel sided mineral wagons had two side doors per side and an end door which facilitated easy unloading and came into service in the 1920’s and were used well into the 1970’s.  These new N Gauge 20t  wagons cost £14.30 each.

A small number of the previous limited edition 00 Gauge 14T rectangular tank Wagons, in either grey or bauxite for £17.50ea, and also N Gauge 7 plank open in black are also still available for £12.40 each, whilst stocks last.

All our Limited Edition wagons are  available from the General Steam Navigation website online store at https://35011gsn.co.uk/online-shop.html 

#OnThisDay the first Atlantic Coast Express ran

35020 Bibby Line on the “Atlantic Coast Express” near Sherborne in Dorset on 17th June 1952. (Copyright australia3393 on Flickr)

#OnThisDay  in 1926, the first Atlantic Coast Express ran between London Waterloo and the West Country. Originally named the ”North Cornwall & Bude Express” the service ran from 1907, until, as part of a publicity drive by Southern Railways, the 11 o’clock from Waterloo  to the West Country was named the “Atlantic Coast Express” in July 1926. The new name was chosen as the result of a competition run in the staff magazine and the winning entry was submitted by Mr F. Rowland, a guard from Woking who won a prize of three guineas for suggesting Atlantic Coast Express. He was soon to move to Great Torrington in North Devon; he was killed in a shunting accident there six years later. The “Atlantic Coast Express’ very soon became affectionately known to many travellers and enthusiasts as the “ACE”, the shortened version of its full title.

The route was always heavily reliant on holiday passengers which meant that the volume of traffic was very seasonal. On Summer Saturdays, the ACE consisted of up to five trains departing from Waterloo in the 40 minutes before 11:00, stretching resources on the long single-track branch lines to the limit. In the winter timetable, one train was sufficient for all of the branches, and stops were made at all but the most insignificant stations west of Exeter. Significant delays were frequent at the junctions, as coaches were detached or attached and shunted between the various sections of the train, belying the name of “Express”.

In later years, a carriage was detached at Salisbury to join a following stopping train along the main line, and two carriages were detached at Sidmouth Junction, one for Sidmouth and one for Exmouth via Budleigh Salterton. The restaurant and buffet cars were normally removed during the major division at Exeter Central.

Merchant Navy 35005 Canadian Pacific hauling the down Atlantic Coast Express passes an unknown S15 4-6-0 on freight near Basingstoke. (Copyright Rick2E on Flickr)

Saturdays were always the busiest and in August 1939 the ACE was shown in Bradshaw’s Guide as five separate trains departing from Waterloo; serving Ilfracombe (10:36), Padstow (10:40), Ilfracombe again (10:47), Bude (10:54) and a final departure at 11.00 with portions for Padstow Bude and Plymouth.

Services continued in much the same pattern until the outbreak of World War II, which necessitated longer trains and substantial deceleration on all lines, rendering named trains no longer appropriate.

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.

New Mainline Steam Builders Group starts work

The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society is one of six high-profile steam project groups with the common objective of delivering their respective locomotives fit for UK mainline running that have agreed to meet and cooperate with each other on a regular basis.

While the groups all have their own technical and project management challenges to deal with, many of the present-day safety certification and related requirements are to some degree of a generic nature, applicable to all new or restored steam locomotives. Group members can also build on the collective knowledge in the new build sector, and the significant experience / expertise gained by the A1 Trust through the previous approval of Tornado; helping each other by sharing information and experience.  While the main focus will be on meeting the risk management and network compatibility requirements of the rail industry safety certification standards, other directly related issues (for example supplier assurance, technical solutions) will be under discussion. Sharing third party costs where appropriate can ease pressure on individual project budgets.

Founder Group Members are:

B17 Steam locomotive Trust
Class G5 Locomotive Company
General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society
LMS-Patriot Company
P2 Steam Locomotive Company (A1 Steam Locomotive Trust)
Standard Steam Locomotive Company (72010 Hengist)

The Group decided to come together as the benefits became clear through their individual project experiences.

An inaugural meeting was held on 26th January 2022 at the premises of CTL Seal Ltd, a large bespoke engineering company in Sheffield that is now the home of the B17 and Hengist projects.   With the expert guidance of Graham Nicholas from the P2 project (sharing direct experience from the A1 project and his work for the Railway Safety Standards Board), along with representatives of Ricardo Certification Ltd, the group studied the evolution of rail industry certification requirements up to the present day, before starting work together on a hazard identification exercise for heritage steam locomotive design and manufacture / restoration.

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.

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.