By the very nature of the fact that you read this blog of mine, you will I am sure like me not help but admire the Bulleid Merchant Navy paciifics in either original air smoothed or their later rebuilt form. It is of course great that a number have been preserved and are at various stages of restoration / preservation. Regular readers of this blog will know, via the two dedicated pages that I have been for a while a shareholder in both 35006 Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co. and 35011 General Steam Navigation. I am also a member of the Merchant Navy Locomotive Preservation Society that maintains and operates 35028 Clan Line in such wonderful running condition on the main line.
The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society that has relocated, in April this year, to its new home at the Swindon and Cricklade Railway (yes it is in Swindon but not on that railway but the old Midland and South Westen Junctin Railway!) which enables a wider range of work to be carried on the locomotive was not practical at its previous temporary location.
Work has started in ernest to remove items that either need restoration or due to her be being restored in the Bulleid original condition are no longer required for this locomotive. Removal of the boiler tubes has also started prior to the boiler being lifted in due course to allow full restoration work on the chassis to commence.
In additon to being able to enjoy getting my hands dirty on the 1:1 scale locomotive going back to my engineering roots, I am delighted to be able to announce that I accepted a request by the The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society and the General Steam Navigation Community Interest Company (CIC) to become both a trustee of the Restoration Society and a Board Director of the CIC.
Membership of the Society costs only £12 per year and full details on how to become a member can be found here. Also full updates on progress can be found on the 35001 Society website here.
As I reported last month the 3rd September is now, since the year 2000, recognised as being Merchant Navy Day with its’ slogan ‘ Fly the Red Ensign for Merchant Navy Day – 3rd September’.
Merchant Navy Day has honoured the brave men and women who kept our ‘island nation’ afloat during both World Wars, and celebrated our dependence on modern day merchant seafarers who are responsible for 95% of the UK’s imports.
This year Merchant Navy Locomotive 35006 ‘Peninsular & Oriental SN Co’ ran on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway on Merchant Navy Day.
She was suitably decorated for the day with a specially commissioned ‘Merchant Navy’ headboard and flying the Red Ensign flags for the occasion. The day started with a brief remembrance service at 9.30 am for members of the Merchant Navy Association, at Toddington station, before pulling the 10am departure for Cheltenham. I spent an enjoyable day as a guest on the train and also took the opportunity later in the day to photograph her from vantage points along the line.
Lastly, in the company of my parents spent a very enjoyable day travelling over 400 miles and 14 hours behind the splendid Merchant Navy pacific 35028 ‘Clan Line’ on the UK Railtours ‘Atlantic Coast Express’ that although it didn’t actually reach the coast, headed from Waterloo to
Exeter via Salisbury down the South Western, returning via Bristol, Bath and Westbury to Salisbury before returning up the South Western back to Waterloo.
35028 ‘Clan Line’ is a credit to the Merchant Navy Locomotive Preservation Society , and whose professionalism, superb condition, upkeep and operation is something that all persevered locomotive operators must aspire to. She performed fantastically well, unassisted with 12 coaches in tow, with some very spirited running regularly hitting 75mph for prolonged running and also topping Honiton Bank from a standing start at the end of Axminister loop in the rain (where we stopped to allow a up service to leave the section) at around 27mph, as well as looking great she sounded fantastic too!
I also admit that we travelled in first class dining so in addition to enjoying such Bulleid Brilliance we were extremely well fed and watered throughout.
My friend and fellow Bulleid fan Alex Clements captured 35028 at various locations, including climbing Honiton Bank, throughout the day and his excellent video can be seen below…enjoy!
I hope you enjoyed this Bulleid Brilliance update, if you are able to get involved in any way with any of the Locomotive societies, you will be made more than welcome and every little helps and it is also very rewarding.
[Apologies for the inital draft post going live and emailed to subscribers before it was intended and fully proof read!)