Support getting 35011 General Steam Navigation to original form

A new Society, The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society, has been formed with the aim of not only restoring but more ambitiously returning Bulleid Merchant Navy Pacific 35011 General Steam Navigation into original air smoothed condition.  35011 was introduced in December 1944, as one of the second series built (described and illustrated in more detail in model form here), and subsequently like eventually all of the 30 strong Merchant Navy class she was rebuilt in July 1959. The rebuilding entailed the removal of the air smoothed casing and more fundamental the replacement of the chain driven valve gear encased within an oil bath with a full set of standard Walschaerts valve gear.

Although the current preservation scheme is not all that short of Bulleid’s creations, such as number 35006 of which I am shareholder and whose restoration is nearly compete, however there is of course a missing link. The lack of an original air smoothed and chain valve gear driven Merchant Navy is an obvious gap in the preservation scene of Southern Railway locomotives.

This video below illustrates the aims of the Society more succinctly than I can put into words.

The new Society has the backing of the current owners of 35011 who will put the locomotive into the trust of the Society if in the first instance a new location for her can be found which is currently one of the first priorities of the Society.  This month has seen the Society get fully up an running with membership now available for only £10 per year, full details on how to join can be found on their website here.  You can also follow the Society on Twitter @35011GSN It would certainly be good to see this missing link in preservation filled so please join the Society of you can.


9 thoughts on “Support getting 35011 General Steam Navigation to original form

  1. ‘……. with a full set of Walschaerts gear.’ Sorry but no. This was Bulleid’s version which, though following the principals of Walschaerts, was nothing like it. The valve events were not just affected by the wear in the chains, the longer of which could sag by up to six inches, but also by the added wear on the sprocket teeth. Add to that final drive rocking levers which not only multiplied the intended movements by 8 to 3 but then similarly magnified the errors due to the inaccuracy caused by that wear. Valve events thus became virtually unpredictable and uneven, one reason for the prodigious appetite for coal. The rebuilds by comparison were exactly the opposite and saved the fireman’s back as well unnecessarily high coal consumption. As E S Beavor – sometime shedmaster at Exmouth Junction remarked – Bulleid’s overall concept was magnificent but in many respects his detail design was woefully weak.

    1. I agree the Bulleid chain valve gear was a version of Walschaerts what my whole sentence read was that it was replaced by standard style valve gear upon rebuilding.

  2. Yes, this a merchant navy class, but the same technology can be seen in several BoB & WC locos that run today. I find ideas like this a complete sideshow and lacking in appreciation of long-term reality.
    If this succeeds, what benefits will it bring?
    The availability of resources and income to sustain the project, if it ever completes, will become progressively more scarce and expensive to acquire. Is there not enough motive power to see and appreciate already?
    Get behind what we have now, use it extensively, make everything pay its way and thus generate enough funding to ensure that maintenance and refurbishment can be effected at the relevant intervals.
    That way, if there ever accrues an embarrassing surfeit of funds in the preservation industry, the security of what exists can be assured.
    I’m a ‘wet blanket’ or a realist?

  3. A proper big Spam Can!, damn good idea. There are plenty of WC/BB’s restored of both original and rebuilt varieties in preservation, why not take an MN back to original condition, or even take it a step further ‘a la P2’ and either improve on Bulleid’s chain driven gear or perhaps put the British Caprotti gear in that was considered by him as the design evolved.

  4. I love the idea of a merchant put back as a true spam can, while Mike O is speaking as an accountant sounds…what fate would he have 35011 suffer if this didnt happen? Leave it to rot even longer than it has? Consume it as spares perhaps for the other bland rebuilds ?
    Personally ( others have a right not to agree ) I would go with the Caprotti idea, had it not been for a certain Austrian chap with lard hair & a strange tache thinking he could take the world over, then Mr Bulleid WOULD have gone the caprotti route…..100% Also…IMPORTANT POINT TO REMEMBER HERE……Mr Riddles would have had access to Bulleids caprotti MN drawings…..think of a caprotti MN with spoked wheels & no stramlining…& what have you got ? 71000 !!!!! Im sure, with a little co-operation with the ‘dukes’ society, rental of the tooling would save £thousands in the cost of the job !!!! PLEASE THINK ABOUT THIS

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