Tag Archives: boiler lift

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:


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


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.


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.

March Update 2020 – Boiler Lift Appeal

 Boiler lift “Sponsor an inch or more” and prize draw.

As with all things in life what goes up must come down… and the boiler is no different. It will need to be lifted clear of the chassis, swung away, and then lowered to its new temporary location.

The approximate cost of the crane hire will be £1500 that also equates to approximately the distance in actual up and down travel of 150 inches of the boiler by the time it has been raised to clear the chassis and lowered again.

We are therefore offering supporters the opportunity to sponsor a part of the lift for as little as £10 per inch, of course supporters can also sponsor multiple inches!

How to “Sponsor an inch or more”

To “Sponsor an inch or more” head to our campaign ‘JustGiving’ page here  to complete your sponsorship.

Free prize draw

Every “inch or more” sponsored will be entered into a free draw to win a number of prizes, be drawn at random at pivotal points during the boiler lift, including: model railway locomotives in N and 00 gauges including a star prize of a Graham Farish N Gauge Merchant Navy Pacific locomotive, a year’s free membership of the GSNLR Society, General Stream Navigation merchandise and other prizes.

The more inches sponsored increases your winning chances.

Note: the prize draw is registered with Plymouth City Council in accordance with the Gambling Act 2005 for non-commercial Society’s

Click here to sponsor an inch

AGM Cancelled

We also regret to inform you that we have had to cancel our Society and C.I.C. AGM’s planned for Saturday March 28th. The Swindon and Cricklade Railway have cancelled their Steam Gala and all trains until at least the end of April as a precaution against Covid-19 and your Board has decided that we should follow their very sensible lead.

We hope to be able to arrange the AGM’s for a later date when the current situation resolves itself and we shall announce a new date in a future edition of The Packet and will be writing to all shareholders as well. We apologise for any inconvenience caused to any of you who intended to attend the AGM’s but I am sure you will understand our decision under the circumstances.


Our volunteers have also been hard at work removing various components off the locomotive including the rear and middle brake hangers on the right hand side, the remaining parts of the slide bars from both sides, the outside exhaust steam pipes, the reversing screw and the regulator operating bar from inside the boiler. All of the removed components are then assessed, put into storage and if they are a component that is exclusive to the rebuilds they are offered to other Bullied owners group.

Trailing Truck

 Work was not just focused on removing components but also saw our volunteers test fit some of the components the Society had made last year. The main highlight was the trail fitting of all the components for the trailing truck. The spring beams were successfully installed with the hangers. The Society needs to acquire some new springs but was able to use the bogie springs for the test fiting. The axle box cover and dust cover were fitted which gave us the slight of a fully equipped fabricated trailing truck for the first time since the 1960s when GSN had the covers removed at Barry. The Society would once again like to thank all the members who sponsored the various components for the trailing truck.


The main focus on the work on the locomotive has been centred around detubing the boiler ready for the boiler lift. As it stands all of the bigger boiler tubes have been removed from the boiler and our volunteers have a start removing the small tubes.

The boiler lift will be part of a big on-site move so getting the boiler prepared and the funds in place beforehand will be key. Once again if you like to help fund the boiler you can “Sponsor an inch or more”  by donating to our campaign ‘JustGiving’ page here  to complete your sponsorship.

As always thank you for your continued support.