Further to my update of 8th May here regarding Bulleid Merchant Navy pacific 35006 Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co and her steaming plans for this month, things change quickly, 35006 was additionally steamed and running services on 16/17/18th May, but now a problem with a repair carried out to P&O in the early days has caused 35006 to be stopped until a new repair can be carried out. The 35006 Locomotive Society will be starting the repair tomorrow, which will most likely require a new machined part and specialist welding, 35006 will not now be running on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway’s (GWRS) this weekend nor during next week. As always for the very latest information on loco rostering check the GWSR website here
[Update 24/05/17] Good news 35006 was steam tested again yesterday after a couple of repairs and will be available for the GWSR gala this weekend. The original problem was that there was a significant steam leak around the rear relief valve on the right hand cylinder, but whilst testing our other repairs it was found that the Right Hand Mechanical lubricator was not working. With assistance from GWSR staff this has also been repaired.
Better news on the Bulleid Merchant Navy front is that yesterday, 18/05/17 saw the light load test runs of both 35028 Clan line, returning to the main line after a major overhaul by the excellent owners the Merchant Navy Locomotive Preservation Society; and also 35018 British India Line, privately owned by Dave Smith of West Coast Railways steaming on the main line in preservation for the first time since she went of of British Railways service in August 1964. 35018 is notable being the first of the Merchant Navy Class to have been rebuilt in February 1955 and still carried a few of the unique features, such as the front sand box position, due to be being the first of the class so rebuilt. I am led to believe that 35018 did have a slight issue with a hot middle big end bearing but I am sure this will be quickly resolved. YouTube video below by
Whilst 35028 Clan Line was running in undercoat in preparation for a return to full British Railways lined Brunswick green livery, for some reason, possibly only known to Dave Smith, 35018 is currently being outshopped in both an unauthentic gloss black livery and also masquerading with Bulleid Light Pacific West County 34016 nameplates Bodmin rather than British India Line. Along with 35028 and 35005 Canadian Pacific, 35018 becomes the third Bulleid Merchant Navy to run on the Main line in preservation.
I can not say I am a fan of changing locomotive identities, let alone between different classes of locomotive or unauthentic liveries, at least it good see both 35028 and indeed 35018 back on the main line. Hopefully 35018 will return to her proper identity and authentic livery perhaps once initial test runs have been completed.
I am especially pleased that the major overhaul to main line stalwart 35028 coming to an end, as being a Merchant Navy Locomotive Preservation Society member I am booked on the UK Railtours ‘Waterloo Sunset’ railtour on 9th July behind 35028 between Waterloo and Yeovil Junction and return to commemorate the end of the steam on the Southern Region in 1967.