The overhaul of ‘Merchant Navy’ No. 35005 Canadian Pacific has taken a major step forward, with the locomotive reunited with its driving wheels.
Currently under overhaul at Eastleigh - where the Bulleid ‘Pacific’ was built in December 1941 - the frames of the 4-6-2 were lowered onto the refurbished Bulleid Firth Brown driving wheelsets on September 26.
Dr Becky Peacock, Outreach and Interpretation Officer for the Mid-Hants Railway, says: “The lifting and lowering of the frames was the nerve-wracking and time-consuming part of the day’s operation, with the axleboxes having to be carefully lined up with the holes in the frames as they were lowered inch by inch. What a relief to have everything finally in place!
“It was a brilliant day for all those involved and a pleasure to see the frames sitting back on the driving wheels. We’re grateful to Arlington and our own specialist team for all their patience and hard work.”
Dr Peacock added: “This is a significant milestone for the staff and volunteers working on Canadian Pacific’s restoration. It hails the start of the long process of reassembly and ultimately seeing the engine back in steam in 2019.”
The ‘CanPac’ project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, but the MHR needs to raise £200,000 in match funding.
Canadian Pacific’s boiler is in worse condition than expected and needs a new inner firebox. It will cost an extra £120,000 to replace the inner firebox and the project needs help to raise this money to get the engine back in steam. To remove the inner firebox 2,200 boiler stays had to be removed.
The project is running a ‘Sponsor a Stay’ Appeal to raise funds to replace these. Each boiler stay costs £25 to replace. To take part in the Stay Appeal find out more from: www.watercressline.co.uk/canpac/donate.