A brand new quarterly ‘bookazine’ from Warners called ‘Smoke & Steam’ is published on 30th April. It features some of the most famous – and not so famous – routes, featuring locomotive legends. With in-depth articles, including a few Southern related, explaining some of the most important moments of Britain’s railway history from a variety of eras and regions, accompanied by rare or never-before printed photography.
The contents include:
Following the Flagman – Dover’s seafront railway – Paul Isles
Forgotten Railways – The Peak District mainline – Graham Nicholas
Iconic stations: Exploring Salisbury – Graham Muspratt
Travelling in style: The Cornish Riviera Express – Adrian Vaughan
Mallard: A Pictorial Journey – Tony Wright
Semaphore Signalling – Why the GWR was different – Mike Romans
There’s only one Edinburgh Waverley – Ian Lamb
Restoring an SR Merchant Navy – Graham Muspratt
Goods locomotives of Buckingham – Tony Gee
Moving Into BR – the GWR becomes the Western Region – Mike Romans
Modelling coal and how to weather a locomotive – Phil Parker
Available digitally or on high-quality paper, Smoke & Steam should make an ideal coffee table companion.
It will be on sale from 30th April – you can pre-order your copy here. Initially, this bookazine will only be available mail order, but once things start to return to normal in the news trade, it should be appearing in good newsagents.
Despite including my articles, having had the opportunity to review some of the excellent other contributors articles from which I have already learnt new things (everyday is a school day) I think it will be a cracking publication.
The Podcast looks at our ambitious project in detail, we the Trustees answer questions and discuss: the history of 35011; the main issues arising from the project returning her to original condition including: the missing crank axle, replacement middle cylinder, the work being undertaken in cooperation with Loughborough University and the University of Birmingham students on drafting and smoke clearing arrangements; visibility from the cab; the potential liveries and dispels some of the myths associated with casing fires.
The Trailing Truck currently with 21c11/35011 is unique in preservation as being one of the later fabricated type that replaced her original cast type in 1955. All other preserved Merchant Navy locomotives have the cast type. The Trailing Truck was removed from the frames at the same time as the successful boiler lift on 2nd October 2020. The estimate for the full refurbishment, overhaul and certification of the Trailing Truck by specialist contractors is £15,000.
The GSNLP Society are offering a maximum of 30 members to purchase a ‘Lot’ for £500. Members are welcome to purchase as many ‘Lots’ as you wish up to the maximum target amount. Lots can be purchased as a single payment of £500 per lot or by five monthly payments of £100 each lot.
Members of the Fund Group would receive a number of benefits including:
Certificate of membership of the ‘Trailing Truck Transformers’
Name engraved on a suitable brass plaque attached to the refurbished Trailing Truck
Regular updates on the refurbishment of the Trailing Truck
On Friday 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 trailing truck was also removed from the frames, utilising the crane on site as this will soon be moving off site to be fully restored.
The smokebox, that would have been unusable if we were restoring to as rebuilt condition, was also removed. A new smokebox to the original design will be fabricated in due course.
As a trustee and Director of the project it is an exciting time for the project and it allows us to concentrate on the restoration of the chassis which on its own is a big project and will take several years to complete.
We are in the early stages in the process of the manufacture of a new centre crank axle (she had the crank axle swapped for a plain axle just after withdrawal) and also the middle cylinder will need to be replaced to return her back to Bulleid’s original condition.
We have been made very welcome by our friends at the Swindon and Cricklade Railway and I am very pleased to be able to advise that following the forced closure of the line due to COVID-19 it is re-opening to passenger services this Sunday 4th October.
I am far from being a ‘vlogger’ or a ‘youTuber’ and you will never get to watch me ‘unbox’ anything but I have often added video clips to illustrate posts throughout the site, I have now added a new page where I have collated some of these videos on one page with links where appropriate to the original post.
#onthisday 25th April 1970 Oliver Vaughan Snell Bulleid died, aged 87. He was the Southern Railway Chief Mechanical Engineer between 1937 and nationalisation in 1948.
He is best celebrated for the development, under wartime conditions, of his Merchant Navy Pacifics which incorporated a host of novel ideas including the enclosed oil bath for the novel chain-driven valve gear, clasp brakes, his own Bulleid-Firth-Brown version of the Box-Pok cast wheels and Air Smoothed casing. His other designs also included the smaller but similar West Country and Battle of Britain classes; the outstanding austerity Q1 0-6-0 and the novel Leader 0-6-6-0T as well as diesel and electric designs.
After nationalisation he moved to Ireland becoming CME of CIE where he promoted dieselisation of the Irish national railway system as well as trialling a peat-burning steam locomotive similar to his SR Leader in concept.
British Railways rebuilt all of the Merchant Navy and most of the smaller WC and BB Pacifics to more conventional appearance.
The ‘Times’ obituary described Bulleid as the ‘last truly progressive mechanical engineer of the steam locomotive era’.RIP
Bullied is very much my own engineering idol and s such I am involved with a number of his locomotives as below and further support of these Societies would always be welcome.
he 35011 General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society are aiming to return 21C121 / 35011 to his original inspired condition including the enclosed oil bath for the chain-driven valve gear and air smoothed casing. I am proud and honoured to be a be Trustee of the Locomotive Restoration Society and a Director of the owning CIC. More details on how to support this project can be found here.
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.
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!)
Following many years of lobbying to bring about official recognition of the sacrifices made by merchant seafarers in the two world wars. The slogan is ‘ Fly the Red Ensign for Merchant Navy Day – 3rd September’
Since 2000, Merchant Navy Day on 3rd September 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.
Why 3rd September? – This date marks the sinking of the Merchant Navy ship – S.S. Athenia in WWII – the very first casualty of the war – torpedoed by a German U-Boat, with the loss of 128 lives, within 10 hours of the declaration of war on 3 September 1939, by Neville Chamberlain and the outbreak of World War II. The Merchancy Navy Asscociation aims to ensure the recognition of the Merchant Navy Veterans and the critical and strategic role of the Merchant Navy in times of war and conflict. The Red Ensign flag or “Red Duster” as it is affectionately known, is the recognised flag of the British Merchant Navy and has been flown by British merchant and passenger ships since 1854.
She was be suitably decorated for the day with a specially commissioned ‘Merchant Navy’ headboard (see left) 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.
The Merchant Navy was formally known as the Mercantile Marine in the First World War. During both world wars, Germany operated a policy of ‘unrestricted submarine warfare’, or sinking merchant vessels on sight. By the end of the First World War, more than 3,000 British flagged merchant and fishing vessels had been sunk and nearly 15,000 merchant seamen had died.
Following their service in the First World War, King George V bestowed the title of “Merchant Navy” on the British merchant shipping fleets, in 1928 he gave Edward, Prince of Wales the title of “Master of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets”, more recently this title has been held by our current Queen Elizabeth II.
When the United Kingdom and the British Empire entered the Second World War in September 1939, George VI issued this message:
“In these anxious days I would like to express to all Officers and Men and in the British Merchant Navy and the British Fishing Fleets my confidence in their unfailing determination to play their vital part in defence. To each one I would say: Yours is a task no less essential to my people’s experience than that allotted to the Navy, Army and Air Force. Upon you the Nation depends for much of its foodstuffs and raw materials and for the transport of its troops overseas. You have a long and glorious history, and I am proud to bear the title “Master of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets”. I know that you will carry out your duties with resolution and with fortitude, and that high chivalrous traditions of your calling are safe in your hands. God keep you and prosper you in your great task”.
Britain’s merchant fleet was the largest in the world during both world wars. In 1939, a third of the world’s merchant ships were British, and there were some 200,000 sailors. Many merchant seamen came from parts of the British Empire, such as India, Hong Kong and west African countries. During the Second World War, 4,700 British-flagged ships were sunk. German U-boats alone sank over 2,800 Allied ships. The United Kingdom alone suffered the loss of over 2,200 ships, which was 54% of the total Merchant Navy fleet at the outbreak of the Second World War. 32,000 merchant seafarers were killed aboard convoy vessels in the war, but along with the Royal Navy, the convoys successfully imported enough supplies to allow an Allied victory.
Although this post has given me the chance to share a few pictures of Bulleid Merchant Navy class locomotives and models, it is primarily to recognise and commemorate the sacrifices made on our behalf by merchant seafarers ‘We Will Remember Them’.
The intention of The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society of course is to not only to return the Bulleid Merchant Navy Pacific 35011 General Steam Navigation to steam but also back to her original ‘Air Smoothed’ condition complete with Bulleid’s oil bath encased valve gear incorporating chain drive elements.
No. 11 will now be undercover within a shelter for the first time since she was in service. This will allow her to be fully dismantled, which was not possible to commence at its previous location. The boiler can then lifted allowing the rolling chassis to be moved into the Swindon and Cricklade Railway‘s main works. There is already room allocated in the works enabling the main restoration work, and indeed uniquely returning to Bulleid’s original as designed and built condition, to commence at much greater pace and within vastly improved conditions.
I am pleased to advise a couple of great items of news,which are big steps in further establishing this as totally serious and well managed restoration project. The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society have been able to this week announce that locomotive will be soon moving to its new base of the Swindon and Cricklade Railway. The locomotive will be based within a shelter and will be the first time since she was in service that she will be undercover. She will be fully dismantled, which was not possible to carry out at its current location, and the boiler lifted allowing the rolling chassis to be moved into the railway’s main works where there is already room enabling the main restoration work to commence.
Another major tipping point in this project has also been reached and that is the fact that The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society now has the necessary funds to cover the cost of the construction of the missing main crank axle that really demonstrates the progress and support that the project has achieved.
In addition many original parts have been recently sourced and or manufactured and machined such as the spring beams for the bogie and trailing axle truck and the Kilinger Valves.
The purpose of this post is to assist with the awareness and publicity of these wonderful locomotives, especially No.6 and No.11, you can tell I like them can’t you…
As can be read on my dedicated page, updated today, for 35006 Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co the evening of the 14th July 2018 was the annual members day event with a dedicated special train purely for members and shareholders of the 35006 Society.
No.6 had been in service on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway during the day and between here last service run and the private train she was coaled and positioned for viewing at Toddington, where even her nameplate received an additional polish.
She certainly looked as seen above splendid in the bright and hot summer sunshine.
Once coupled to the members train she ran non stop to Cheltenham racecourse station where she took on water.
Having run round she took the train tender first, again non stop, back past Toddington and on to the new extension, only opened at Easter this year, to the wonderfully recreated, Broadway station which looked fantastic in the evening setting sunshine. The 14 miles end to end gives a nice 28 mile round trip, and a couple of nice gradients thrown into the mix, with some great views across the Cotswolds.
The run from Broadway back to Toddington was certainly a spirited one, having spoken to the driver on arrival at Toddington about the likely speed, he replied with a grin on his face that the gauge didn’t go over 21 at any point (is it a co-incidence that the vacuum brake gauge would have been showing 21inches..?)
It was also great to be able to get up close to 35006 and hopefully some of the pictures illustrating this post shows the impressiveness of her and also the impressive level of restoration and maintenance that has gone into this complex piece of engineering Bulleid Brilliance (with a little bit of Jarvis thrown in, I will concede).
The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society was formed at the end of 2015 with the aim of taking over 35011 from her then owners and commence full restoration once a new location for this to take place can be found. The first major milestone of the new 35011 Locomotive Society of talking over ownership of 35011 took place in August 2016.
A number of working parties have already taken place at the current site, although a new site is required before more major work can be carried out. the boiler receiving a further coat of protective paint and work on the trailing truck (being the only surviving fabricated style trailing struck). Also a variety of components have been sourced and machined, including impressive new nameplates and also injector valve handles (to which I contributed to the fund to sponsor these items.
The Society have also acquired a brass lamp fitted with the bullseye lens, toggle switch to side and bulb holder inside (as per the one shown on 35006 pictured above). The lamp is reported to have come off Merchant Navy’ Class No. 35024 “East Asiatic Company”. Gaining the lamp is fantastic news for the project as the use of original components helps add character to the locomotive.