Sponsor a ‘Packet’ of stays for oldest surviving ‘Merchant Navy’
The Mid-Hants Railway has launched an urgent fundraising drive for ‘Merchant Navy’ No. 35005 Canadian Pacific, following the discovery that the locomotive requires a complete new inner firebox. Stripping of the Bulleid ‘Pacific’s’ boiler at Ropley Works has revealed it to be in a far worse condition than anticipated, and serious corrosion means that the steel inner ’box needs replacement - at an estimated additional cost of £120,000 - along with around 2,200 stays. Although the overhaul has been supported by a grant of £895,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, a ‘Sponsor a Stay’ scheme has been set up, with a number of incentives. Stays can be sponsored at £25 each, and for each stay up to seven, the donor’s name will be entered into a draw to win an ‘OO’ gauge Hornby model of Canadian Pacific. Those who sponsor eight stays will be guaranteed a seat on No. 35005’s inaugural train, while sponsors of 40 stays will receive a 20-mile roundtrip on the ‘MN’s’ footplate. Donations can be sent to The Railway Station, Alresford, Hampshire S024 9JG (make cheques payable to the Mid-Hants Railway Preservation Society) or online, at www. watercressline.co.uk/canpac/ donate - note that the closing date for the stay sponsorship is December 31 this year. The extra work will add another 12 months to the overhaul, meaning that ‘CanPac’ will not return to steam until 2019. On the plus side, the overhaul of the locomotive’s frames and driving wheels at Eastleigh (featured in SR446, ‘In the Works’) is at an advanced stage, while at Ropley, the axleboxes are being machined and the cab re-skinned.
Canadian Pacific’s boiler being lifted at Ropley by 45-ton Ransomes & Rapier steam crane No. DS1580.