35006 has the longest name for a preserved steam locomotive, its full name being Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company.
Built as 21C6 (It was renumbered by BR to 35006 in 1948) at Eastleigh Works in 1941. Although the first two members of the Merchant Navy class had their air-smoothed casings made of sheet steel, 21C6 was one of eight in which the casing was made of asbestos board, with a visible horizontal fixing strip along the centre line.
21C6 was allocated to Salisbury Shed where it remained based throughout its working life, apart from a brief period at Exmouth Junction from August 1948 for a month, which was highly unusual.
In 1942 the locomotive’s Bulleid chain-driven valve gear failed near Honiton on an evening goods service when one of the valve chains parted, throwing oil over the boiler cladding, track and lineside vegetation, which then ignited.
From November 1955 all members of the Merchant Navy class were substantially rebuilt, with 35006 and 35028 Clan Line being the last two examples to be modified in October 1959.
35006 was withdrawn in August 1964, with a final mileage of 1,134,319. It was bought by Dai Woodham for £350 and sent to Woodham Brothers scrapyard in Barry, South Wales. Whilst at the scrapyard the tender, which was notable in that it had had for its entire working life, was sold to a group restoring another Merchant Navy locomotive, and many fittings were removed from the engine.
The remains of 35006 were purchased by the 35006 Locomotive Company for preservation in 1983 with the intention of restoring it to running order. The locomotive was moved to Toddington, the principal station of the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway.
Most of the 1980s was spent dismantling the locomotive down almost to the last nut and bolt.
During this period and the 1990s work also progressed on building a new tender as there was insufficient funds to buy the tender along with the locomotive in 1983.
The big expensive bit to overhaul on any steam locomotive is its boiler, and it wasn’t until 1995 that enough cash had been raised to undertake this. The boiler was sent to a specialist for repair work and was returned to the locomotive in 1997, structurally complete except for a set of boiler tubes. Most of the valve gear and rods were missing from the engine and new parts were slowly acquiring as required.
In 2015 the boiler of 35006 passed the hydraulic and steam tests and in August moved under its own steam again. In May 2016 it made its first loaded test run on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway and entered traffic later that month more than 50 years since it last ran in service with BR.
It would have been in service in 2015 if thieves had not stolen the engines grake ejector which would have a scrap value of £60 but cost £15,000 to replace. The arrangement with the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway allows the locomotive to operate in blocks of time so that the boiler remains warm for a period of time and the thermal shock plus wear and tear are kept to a minimum.
35006 was returned to traffic on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway in May 2016.
|Home Base||Current Status||Owner|
|Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway||Operational||35006 Locomotive Company|
- 35005 Canadian Pacific (SR 21C5, BR s21C5 & BR 35005)
- 35009 Shaw Savill (SR 21C9 & 35009)
- 35010 Blue Star (SR 21C10 & 35010)
- 35011 General Steam Navigation (SR 21C11 & BR 35011)
- 35018 British India Line (SR 21C18 & 35018)
- 35022 Holland America Line
- 35025 Brocklebank Line
- 35027 Port Line
- 35028 Clan Line
- 35029 Ellerman Lines