The Canadian Pacific Restoration Project – part 1

The Canadian Pacific restoration project, often called the CanPac project, concerns the restoration of the Merchant Navy class locomotive, number 35005, Canadian Pacific.

The Merchant Navy class was designed by Oliver Bulleid for the Southern Railway  early in the Second World War. The locomotive brought together many innovations from across the world – some worked well, others didn’t!

Oliver Bulleid was a very persuasive person; this allowed him to produce such an innovative design.

Canadian Pacific was the fifth locomotive to be built at the Eastleigh works in 1941 and entered service on 13 January 1942. She worked hard on passenger and freight trains during the war and after the war the Merchant Navy class were used on boat trains to Southampton and on ‘named’ express trains such as the Bournemouth Belle.

The Merchant Navy class were very heavy locomotives weighing 97 tons and  this meant they couldn’t work services past Exeter. A smaller ‘light Pacific’ class (with, for example, smaller boilers) evolved from the Merchant Navy class and retained many of their novel features. Although one type of locomotive they are often referred to as two classes – the West Country class and the Battle of Britain class.

The Merchant Navy locomotives (and the West Country / Battle of Britain locomotives) originally had an ‘air smoothed’ casing resulting in the nickname Spam Cans. This was removed during a major rebuilding programme in the late 1950s where some of the unique features were replaced with more standard designs.

On 15th May 1965 Canadian Pacific, pulling a Bournemouth express, reached 105 m.p.h whilst travelling down Winchester Bank.

Sadly she was withdrawn from service later in 1965.

Please click on a thumbnail to open the gallery:

My thanks to Becky for her time and the members of the team at the Watercress Line for making these podcasts possible.

To visit the Watercress Line website please follow this link Watercress Line

Join us in two weeks for our second podcast about the restoration project for the Merchant Navy class locomotive ‘Canadian Pacific’. This express locomotive is the pride of the Watercress Line fleet. To visit the Canadian Pacific project page please follow this link Canadian Pacific project pages.

Full size copies of the photographs taken by MrT are available from FlickrFacebook and some through Instagram.

The music Steam Railway used in this podcast is licensed from AKM Music. The recording of the locomotive is from material published by the Watercress Line.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2018

War on the Line Weekend – Ropley and Alresford – Episode 2

Our second visit to the War on the Line weekend takes us to Ropley and Alresford stations. Most visitors coming by car park at Ropley as there is free parking (the car parks at Alresford and Alton are ‘pay and display’). Ropley is the station with the most space available for displays.

The episode begins with a description of the activities taking place during the weekend at the station. A ‘light’ locomotive is waiting to go down the line to Alresford to haul the first train of the day back up the line to Alton. When the road is clear we hear the locomotive set off down the line.

Whilst at Ropley we see someone shovelling yesterday’s ash from the ash pit in the loco yard and wheeling it to the ash pile in his barrow. Is he on punishment detail? Or maybe an enemy prisoner on a work detail?

I talk to the wireless operator who is communicating with people far away. He is using a ‘set’ that was used in the Second World War and has a design range of 15 miles no matter the terrain. In reality he can speak to people much further away.

I also talk to the team dealing with unexploded bombs (UXB) – occasionally there is a loud bang but as these are re-enactors it is all quite safe! Unlike the real thing if it goes wrong!!! Its amazing – they started out at the Rural Life Centre in Tilford.

Next the big band leader tells us about the places where they have performed and the charitable collection that they are making.

After this I talk to Sheila Love about the organisation of the event and travel to Alresford where American Military personnel are dancing outside the station under the watchful eyes of the MPs.

Click on a photograph to open the gallery:

My thanks to all the passengers, re-enactors, volunteers and staff on the Watercress Line for making this possible.

To visit the Watercress Line website please follow this link Watercress Line

Join us in two weeks for our first podcast on the restoration project for the Merchant Navy class locomotive ‘Canadian Pacific’. This express locomotive has travelled at over 100 mph and is the pride of the Watercress Line fleet.

Full size copies of the photographs taken by MrT are available from FlickrFacebook and some through Instagram.

The music ‘Steam Railway’ used in this podcast is licensed from AKM Music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2018

War on the Line Weekend – Alton and Medstead & Four Marks – Episode 1

Every summer the Watercress Line recreates the atmosphere of the early 1940s with the War on the Line weekend where there are different themes at each of it’s stations. In this episode we visit platform 3 at Alton station – the interchange between the Watercress Line and the national rail network – where we meet the singer entertaining the passengers and then we board the train to travel down the line (but for the steam engine it is uphill all the way!) to Medstead and Four Marks station to see the activities taking place there.

At Medstead and Four Marks I meet a family who appear to be engaged in some illicit sales activities, we visit the RAF plotting centre where they’re keeping tabs on the aircraft in the skies above, we participate in the Church Parade and visit the shop that has moved into the waiting room on the ‘down’ platform after being bombed out of their premises in town.

I also talk to Sheila Love, the organiser of the event and Colin Fuller who has been involved in War on the Line for many years.

Click on a photograph to open the gallery.

In part 2, to be published mid October, we will visit Ropley and Alresford stations and hear more from Sheila Love about organising the event.

My thanks to all the passengers, reenactors, volunteers and staff on the Watercress Line for making this possible.

To visit the Watercress Line website please follow this link Watercress Line

Full size copies of the photographs taken by MrT are available from FlickrFacebook and some through Instagram.

The music ‘Steam Railway’ used in this podcast is licensed from AKM Music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2018

Open Weekend and Heritage Open Days

Join the Watercress Line over the weekend of 15th / 16th September where the line will be celebrating the theme Extraordinary Women.

Explore behind the scenes at the Ropley Engineering hub and visit the exhibition about the roles played by women.

There will be a two-train service on both days.

Full details can be found at Open weekend

I’ll be there recording material for a podcast to be published later in the year.