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Modified Bulleid MN "Merchant Navy" Class 4-6-2

photograph: Mike Morant collection

N°35017 Belgian Marine, which re-entered service in May 1957 after being modified, at Eastleigh.

In 1955 the British Railways Board gave authority for fifteen of the class to be modified (see notes in "West Country" page), and authority for rebuilding the remainder swiftly followed. In February 1955 Eastleigh works released 35018 British India Line in its newly modified incarnation and the whole class had been completed by October 1959.

The following is a summary of the major alterations. It was claimed the resulting locomotive was still 90% Bulleid even though many of his innovative features were removed:
  1. Valve gear replaced by 3 independent sets of Walschaerts gear
  2. A saddle fitted forward of the inside cylinder to eliminate frame fractures
  3. A new circliar smokebox with a cast iron mlitiple jet chimney, but retaining the existing oval smokebox door

  4. Replacement of the steam reversing gear, something that was not possible prior to rebuilding
  5. New superheater feeder and outside steam pipes to the outside cylinders
  6. Replaced piston heads and rods
  7. Oil bath eliminated
  8. Elimination of air-smoothed casing to be replaced by conventional boiler casing and large smoke deflectors very much along the lines of contemporary BR standard classes, though the original cabs were retained albeit with lower part of the curved side sheeting cut away
  9. Two new mechanical lubricators for cylinders and axleboxes
  10. Regliator replaced
  11. New ashpan
  12. Replaced cylinder cocks
  13. New sandboxes
  14. Modified tenders (a quantity of which were available before the locomotives were modified so this type of tender also ran for a short while with the class in its original form)

One negative aspect was the need to fit balance weights to the BFB wheels, thus destroying the zero hammer blow of the originals. In its modified form the locomotive class proved to be more reliable and remained fast and powerful. Its service life in modified form was pitifully short, with the first withdrawals 35002 and 35015 being in February 1964. (It is interesting to note that at the time the rebuilding was being planned in 1954/5, the locos were expected to be in service until 1987). The final withdrawals of the last seven members of the class (35003, 35007, 35008, 35013, 35023, 35028 & 35030) were in July 1967 with the honour of the last service train being worked by 35030 on the 2:11p.m. Weymouth-Waterloo on 9 July 1967.

We are fortunate that eleven members of the class remain in various stages of preservation ranging from operating in main line service to stored pending restoration:
As at March 2021:
35005 Canadian Pacific (under restoration at MHR)
35006 Peninsular and Orient S. N. Co. (in service at GWR)
35009 Shaw Savill (being restored at Heywood)
35010 Blue Star (to be restored)
35011 General Steam Navigation (being restored to original condition)
35018 British India Line (in service, based at Carnforth)
35022 Holland-Amerika Line (to be restored)
35025 Brocklebank Line (to be restored)
35027 Port Line (currently being overhauled)
35028 Clan Line (in service, based at Stewart's Lane)
35029 Ellerman Lines (a sectioned exhibit at the National Railway Museum).

Click on the thumbnails for a larger image. Clicking again will close the window.
If there is a larger version, clicking on the 'F' key will display it.
  • 35018
    Nr Brookwood
    N°35018 British India Line near Brookwood during 1959.
    Photograph: Mike Morant collection.
  • 35020
    Raynes Park
    N°35020 Bibby Line in the final form these locomotives took after being modified by BR. Although no headboard is being carried this is the down "Bournemouth Belle", photographed at Raynes Park during September 1962.
    Photograph by Mike Morant.
  • 35012
    Grayrigg
    N°35012 United States Lines off Southern metals0 at Grayrigg on 13th June 1964 when one of no less than five locomotives, plus a DMMU, which were used on the RCTS's Solway Ranger rail tourN°.
    Photograph: Mike Morant collection
  • 35008
    Raynes Park
    The famous "Bournemouth Belle" 12.30 daily from Waterloo to Bournemouth West, all Pullman and first stop Southampton, hurries through Raynes Park behind Merchant Navy class N°35008 Orient Line on 26th September 1964.
    Photograph by Keith Harwood.
  • 35011
    Oxford
    N°35011 General Steam Navigation photographed a long way from home at Oxford during November 1965.
    Photograph by John Bradbeer.
  • 35022
    Weymouth
    N°35022 Holland America Line at Weymouth on 21st June 1966. Withdrawn the previous month, and minus her coupling rods, she looks a sorry sight. However, after being sold to Woodham Brothers for scrap, she was subsequently purchased in 1983 for restoration by the Southern Steam Trust of Swanage.
    Photograph by Ray Soper.
  • 35029
    Weymouth
    N°35029 Ellerman Lines is approaching journey's end at Weymouth on 21st June 1966.
    Photograph by Ray Soper.
  • 35013
    Clapham Jn
    N°35013 Blue Funnel Certum Pete Finem arriving at Clapham Junction during 1966.
    Photograph by Ray Soper.
  • 35003
    On shed
    N°35003 Royal Mail photographed on shed.
    Photograph by Ray Soper.
  • 35026
    Doncaster
    >N°35026 Lamport & Holt Line photographed at Doncaster on the occasion of a Williams Deacons Bank excursion from Manchester to York on 20th November 1966. The really strange aspect of this trip is that N°35026 worked the return trip, but how did it get to/from Manchester or to York as it did a trip from York to Newcastle and return on 22nd October 1966?.
    Photograph: Mike Morant collection.
  • 35028
    Waterloo
    N°35028 Clan Line at Waterloo on 25th May 1967.
    Photograph by Ray Soper.
  • 35023
    Dorchester
    N°35023 Holland-Afrika Line at Dorchester South. The date is not known but it has to be towards the end of steam as the nameplates have been removed and N°35023 was one of the engines that lasted until July 1967.
    Photograph: Mike Morant collection.
  • 35028
    Waterloo
    Clan Line seen here carrying a replica "ACE" headboard. N°35028 was displayed in light steam on a Network Day at Waterloo on 1st October 1988.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 35027
    Woking 150
    N°35027 Port Line, displaying the Royal Train headcode, seen at the Woking 150 event, 30th May 1988.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 35018
    Nr Brookwood
    N°35018 British India Line near Brookwood during 1959.
    Photograph: Mike Morant collection.
  • 35020
    Raynes Park
    N°35020 Bibby Line in the final form these locomotives took after being modified by BR. Although no headboard is being carried this is the down "Bournemouth Belle", photographed at Raynes Park during September 1962.
    Photograph by Mike Morant.
  • 35012
    Grayrigg
    N°35012 United States Lines off Southern metals0 at Grayrigg on 13th June 1964 when one of no less than five locomotives, plus a DMMU, which were used on the RCTS's Solway Ranger rail tourN°.
    Photograph: Mike Morant collection
  • 35008
    Raynes Park
    The famous "Bournemouth Belle" 12.30 daily from Waterloo to Bournemouth West, all Pullman and first stop Southampton, hurries through Raynes Park behind Merchant Navy class N°35008 Orient Line on 26th September 1964.
    Photograph by Keith Harwood.
  • 35011
    Oxford
    N°35011 General Steam Navigation photographed a long way from home at Oxford during November 1965.
    Photograph by John Bradbeer.
  • 35022
    Weymouth
    N°35022 Holland America Line at Weymouth on 21st June 1966. Withdrawn the previous month, and minus her coupling rods, she looks a sorry sight. However, after being sold to Woodham Brothers for scrap, she was subsequently purchased in 1983 for restoration by the Southern Steam Trust of Swanage.
    Photograph by Ray Soper.
  • 35029
    Weymouth
    N°35029 Ellerman Lines is approaching journey's end at Weymouth on 21st June 1966.
    Photograph by Ray Soper.
  • 35013
    Clapham Jn
    N°35013 Blue Funnel Certum Pete Finem arriving at Clapham Junction during 1966.
    Photograph by Ray Soper.
  • 35003
    On shed
    N°35003 Royal Mail photographed on shed.
    Photograph by Ray Soper.
  • 35026
    Doncaster
    >N°35026 Lamport & Holt Line photographed at Doncaster on the occasion of a Williams Deacons Bank excursion from Manchester to York on 20th November 1966. The really strange aspect of this trip is that N°35026 worked the return trip, but how did it get to/from Manchester or to York as it did a trip from York to Newcastle and return on 22nd October 1966?.
    Photograph: Mike Morant collection.
  • 35028
    Waterloo
    N°35028 Clan Line at Waterloo on 25th May 1967.
    Photograph by Ray Soper.
  • 35023
    Dorchester
    N°35023 Holland-Afrika Line at Dorchester South. The date is not known but it has to be towards the end of steam as the nameplates have been removed and N°35023 was one of the engines that lasted until July 1967.
    Photograph: Mike Morant collection.
  • 35028
    Waterloo
    Clan Line seen here carrying a replica "ACE" headboard. N°35028 was displayed in light steam on a Network Day at Waterloo on 1st October 1988.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 35027
    Woking 150
    N°35027 Port Line, displaying the Royal Train headcode, seen at the Woking 150 event, 30th May 1988.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 35005
    Eastleigh
    N°35005 Canadian Pacific basks in the spring afternoon sunshine at Eastleigh on 17th April 2002 having worked a driver training round trip to Yeovil Junction.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 35005
    Yeovil Jn
    Opportunities to picture a Merchant Navy head on are rare! Canadian Pacific is on the turntable road at Yeovil Junction on 17th April 2002.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 35005
    Eastleigh
    N°35005 >Canadian Pacific works the empty stock for the "Cathedrals Express" training run to Yeovil Junction into platform 2 at Eastleigh on 17th April 2002. A more modern working is passing through platform 1!
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 35005
    Salisbury
    The old and the then new South West Mainline order at Salisbury on 17th April 2002.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • 35029
    Sectioned
    Desecration or education? N°35029 Ellerman Lines has been sectioned as an exhibit at the National Railway Museum York. Pictured here on display on 19th February 2000.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Modelling
    Detail - 1
    Details time for modellers! The front end of Clan Line pictured at Yeovil Junction 2nd October 1999......
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Modelling
    Detail - 2
    ....and working backwards, the driving wheels and motion....
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Modelling
    Detail - 3
    ....to the rear of the tender.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Modelling
    Detail - 4
    Detail on top of N°35005's boiler.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.
  • Modelling
    Detail - 5
    The speedometer drive on N°35005.
    Photograph by Colin Duff.

This page was last updated 17 March 2021

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