The General Steam Navigation Locomotive Restoration Society has announced that the boiler for Ex-SR Merchant Navy No. 35011 ‘General Steam Navigation’ has been lifted from its frames for the first time since 1959.
The lift took place today, 2nd October 2020, at their base of the Swindon and Cricklade Railway.
The boiler was built by North British in Glasgow in 1941 and has been attached to the frames for 61 years since its last overhaul in July 1959.
35011’s boiler lift has been completed following a successful “sponsor an inch or more” fundraiser to cover the cost of the crane hire.
The full boiler weighs in at 24 tonnes; however, volunteers have removed the boiler tubes, which reduced the weight to around 20 tonnes.
Work can now focus on the restoration of the locomotive’s chassis, and further fundraising campaigns will be launched in the future.
Chassis work is a big project and will take a number of years to complete.
“It’s a very exciting time for everyone involved in the 35011 General Steam Navigation restoration project,” said Andy Collett Chairman of the CIC. “The removal of the boiler is a big turning point as it allows us to commence the restoration of the chassis, which will be a big project in itself, taking several years to complete.”
Vice-Chairman of the Swindon & Cricklade Railway, Allan Bott welcomed the positive news. “It’s great to see 35011 take the next big step in its restoration journey. It brings a much-needed boost following our forced closure due to COVID-19. With the line re-opening to passenger services on Sunday 4th October, our customers can now come and see 35011’s progress following the successful boiler lift.”
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