With over 160 members, shareholders and invited guests (that included some of the team working on fellow Merchant Navy Pacific 35011 General Steam Navigation that us currently being restored uniquely to original air smoothed condition complete with Bulleid’s chain driven valve gear) board, many enjoying picnics, we had the entire wonderfully scenic Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway to ourselves. 35006 hauled a complete round trip from Toddington – Cheltenham Racecourse – Broadway – Toddington, with its splendid views of the Cotswolds and the Malvern Hills, in the warm evening sunshine.
Following on from the excellent Steam’s Lament – Bulleid’s Light Pacifics is the next title provided to me by my friends at Strathwood Publishing being Steam’s Lament – Bulleid’s Merchant Navy, Q1, Leader and Other Works . This follows the same wide landscape format and contains 208 pages often with multiple black and white photographs per page along with well researched and informative captions.
The photographs are from a number of sources such as: Colour Rail, Rail photoprints , Anistr.com, Rail-Online.com and the Transport Treasury so will not be new to many of us, there are also a number of photographs from other sources such as Strathwood‘s own library, that are not so familiar and many that I have not seen before. The selection of photographs covers details and variation in liveries and naming and shows the locomotives in action, on shed and in close up. The benefit is that the they are all nicely reproduced in the one book and at a good size afforded by the wide landscape format.
As well as the Leader, the book includes a few examples of: Bulleid’s drafting improvements with Lemaitre multiple-jet blast pipes and their associated large diameter chimneys, his 500hp 0-6-0 shunter 11001, the 350hp 0-6-0 shunters, the 10201-3 main line diesels and also the Bulleid/Raworth electric locos 20001-3.
By covering each locomotive in turn and including images from different periods of their working life it provides a great reference for railway historians and modellers alike, a welcome addition to my library and wholeheartedly recommended.
This months picture…
More information about how you can support the 35006 Locomotive Society can be found here.
we got rid American Independence Day to my USA readers on the 4th, a date that is overshadowed by my own birthday…
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.
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.
The 35006 Locomotive Society have restored Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co.to working order and she has been in action on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway since May 2016. She has proved extremely popular and has always been turned out in immaculate condition Further details on how to support the 35006 locomotive Society can be found here.
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!)
Yesterday evening, 13th July, saw the annual members day event with a dedicated special train purely for members and shareholders of the 35006 Society. It was a chance to ride behind 35006 Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co on a private train after No.6 had been in service on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway during the day.
I was also fortunate as Shareholder to have the chance of a ride in the cab, see video below, for the part of the trip.
She certainly looked splendid and powerful in the evening light with the wonderful patina of having worked service trains during the day. Once coaled and coupled to the members train she ran non stop to Cheltenham racecourse station. Having run around she took the train tender first, again back past Toddington to the wonderfully recreated, Broadway station.
I was lucky enough to ride in the cab between Toddington and Braodway. The evening ended as the sun set returning to Toddington. 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.
I was able to take a few pictures from the cab, getting a few reflections in the glass and tender sides (as we were running tender first for that part of the journey) hence the title pun of this post.
It also gave the chance to experience the views from the impressive Stanway Viaduct, just to the North of Toddington, this viaduct is approximately 210 yards long, crosses the valley at its highest point at just over 50 feet and each of the 15 spans are 36 feet. It is on a gentle 1 in 150 gradient heading north and on a gentle 80 chain curve.
The reputation for Bulleids to make steam was certainly evident with a low fire of good quality welsh steam coal, steam pressure was easily maintained, as it never dropped below 235 psi for the duration of my cab ride, despite the relatively full train, of members and shareholders, made up of eight BR Mark One coaches.
The safety valves were just feathering for most of the trip despite the fireman keeping topping up the boiler to its near full limit. The ride was very smooth, albeit at an average of around 25mph showing on the speedometer, on the still pretty new excellent permanent way to Broadway
It was certainly a great evening, including the cab ride as well, enjoying a picnic on board with my Mum and Dad. No.6 looked great as always and was running superbly and a credit to the 35006 Locomotive Society and the running staff of the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway
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 continued maintenance that has gone into this complex piece of engineering Bulleid Brilliance (with a little bit of Jarvis thrown in, I will concede).
You can not help but admire the Bulleid Merchant Navy paciifics in either original air smoothed or their later rebuilt form. Its it 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 am 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. This my way of playing a small part in the preservation of these splendid machines.
We are also fortunate that 35018 British India Line privately owned by Dave Smith of West Coast Railways is now, like 35028 regularly performing on the Main Line. 35005 Canadian Pacific is currently undergoing a major overhaul at Eastleigh works before returning to service on the Mid Hants, Watercress, Railway. You can add your support to 35005 here.
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 certainly a great day and evenings run, with No.6 looking great and running superbly and a credit to the 35006 Society and the running staff of the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway
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).
35006 is currently restored for steaming this month on 18th, 19th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th. But for the very latest information on loco rostering check the GWSR website here
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.
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.
This Month sees restored Bulleid pacific 35006 Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co. return to regular steam on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway (GWSR) following the completion of her restoration and return to service last year. So far this year she has already run during March for a series of Private Charter trains in conjunction with the Cheltenham Races Festival, but now allocated dates for her running on the GWRS during May have been released.
The steaming dates commence this weekend 13th/14th May followed by the weekend of the 20th/21st and then Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 23rd to 25th may leading up to the GWRS’s Cotswold Festival of Steam over the weekend of Saturday 27th, Sunday 28th and Monday 29th May.
Her first visit to another line has also been announced, as 35006 will be appearing at the Mid Hants Railway Summer gala being held over two weekends in July to celebrate 50 years since the end of Southern steam with a distinctly Bulleid flavour. Over the weekends of 1st / 2nd and 7th, 8th and 9th July she will join Battle of Britain classes 34053 ‘Sir Keith Park’ , 34081 ’92 Squadron’ and 34052 ‘Lord Dowding’ in service with some of the lines resident fleet of BR standard locomotives.
As a shareholder it is always good to see her doing what she does best, being in steam, hauling passenger trains and doing Bulleid proud!
This week saw the first of the new Hornby ‘Original’ Merchant Navy Pacifics hitting the retailers, see my Talking Stock #35 post here for more details and also the full size ‘Rebuilt’ Merchant Navy Pacific 35006 Peninsular & Oriental S. N. Co. steaming in public service for the first time in 2017 on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway (GWSR) for the week of services allied with the Cheltenham Races Festival. With this in mind I thought it was time that firstly I finished my model of 35006 in her as preserved guise (being a shareholder), and also that I mentioned the Rebuilt Merchant Navy Pacifics on this blog, although they are of course out of my usual 1946-49 modelling period.
Rebuilding the Merchant Navy’s
Although in general the Merchant Navy class as introduced were a success, proving to be powerful and very free steaming, one of the outcomes of the less than scientifically carried out Locomotive Exchange trails in 1948 and further performance and efficiency tests carried out at the Rugby Stationary Test Plant between March 1952 and January 1952, showed them to be costing a lot in: coal, water, oil and secondly maintenance when compared to other classes. These costs along with issues of leakage of oil from the enclosed motion oil baths and the reliability and accuracy of the steam reverser / cut off setting led to the Southern Region looking at options to improve the engines. The option chosen as opposed to trying to overcome the individual issues was to rebuild the engines with more ‘standard parts’.
The task was given, in 1954, to R.G. Jarvis of the Chief Mechanical and Electrical Engineer’s Department at Brighton, his new design replaced the encased oil bath and chain driven valve gear with three sets of more traditional Walschaerts valve gear, new style piston heads and rods, regulator and a screw-link type reverser. The ashpan and grate were also replaced and included hopper bottom doors and front and rear dampers. A new fabricated smokebox, superheater header and steam pipes were also fitted.
The frames, outside cylinders, boilers were retained along with the: Bullied-Firth-Brown wheels (although now needing balance weights to be fitted), axleboxes, the efficient ‘clasp’ locomotive brakes and the ‘Stones’ steam generator for electric lighting both for the engine headsignals and in cab lighting. The same tenders were utilised, albeit with the side raves cut down to ease water filling access and reverse running view. The drawbar between the loco and tender however was replaced.
Externally the ‘Air Smoothed’ casing was removed giving the look common to the recently introduced BR standard classes, although the characteristic oval shaped smokebox door was kept. Sanding, from replacement sandboxes, was also added to the leading driving axle, whilst rearward application was incorporated to the middle driving axle and new mechanical lubricators were accessibly mounted on the running plate alongside the boiler.
In 1955 the British Railways Board gave authority for fifteen of the class to be modified and authority for rebuilding the remainder swiftly followed. In February 1956 Eastleigh works released 35018 British India Line in its newly modified form (35018 as the prototype rebuild remained unique to the rest of the class as the front sandbox filler position and injector pipework differed), by October 1959 all the class had been rebuilt.
Performance of the rebuilt engines was indeed successful, solving most of the maintenance issues, although one drawback was that they put greater loads on the track, than the largely self balanced originals, as a result of increased hammerblow, caused by the balance weights required for the Walschaerts valve gear.
My model of rebuilt 35006 as preserved
The release by Hornby in the year 2000 of the rebuilt Merchant Navy locomotive heralded a new generation of model steam locomotives by Hornby and was a step change of standard of models reactive to competition in the market place and gave us a new super detail standard featuring blackened finish handrails and wheels with etched brass valve gear, detailed cab interior, and a five pole motor housed and driving within the locomotive itself. Over the years a number of the class have been released with a few modifications to the tooling along the way, although as yet none of the first series engines as rebuilt have been released as the 5000 gallon style tenders they were paired with have not been tooled.
As 35006 in preservation has been paired to a brand new built larger 5100 style tender I have used a Hornby R1038 35012 United States Lines (split from a train pack) locomotive as the basis for my model.
Firstly I removed the cabside number numbers via my usual method of soaking the Hornby printing in enamel thinners and rubbing off with a cotton bud and replacing with HMRS Pressfix decals.
New nameplates and smokebox door number plates were fitted along with an extched 72B Salisbury shedcode plate on the smokebox in the slightly higher position than usual, level with the lower smokebox hinge, on 35006 which was a charactoristic of her when in service. All the plates were obtained from Fox Transfers.
I replaced the front steps as supplied by Hornby by the more robust lost wax cast versions, along with a set of the cylinder drain pipes to complete the front end look, obtained through RT Models, from his excellent Albert Goodall range.
As I am modelling 35006 in her preserved condition I want to to also represent her superb external paintwork finish with a reflective and classic oily rag polished hue and have therefore given the model a coat of Kleer floor polish to give a such a finish to the paintwork (and also seal in the decals).
More details of 35006 and the locomotive Society can be found on my dedicated page here. Also it is worth mentioning the 35011 The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society that was formed last year with the intention of not only restoring 35011 back to working order but doing so back in original air smoothed condition condition complete with Bulleid’s oil bath encased valve gear incorporating chain drive elements to fill the gap in preserved examples left by the entire class having been rebuilt.