After watching the Cathedrals Express on 9th December (click here for more), I had the privilege of being shown 35005 Canadian Pacific in Eastleigh works. Volunteer Simon has been publishing a number of blog posts (click here to read more) on his experiences working on the stripping and inspection of this massive 8P express locomotive.This was also my first visit inside the works of Eastleigh which itself is an experience. The vast scale of the buildings really gives you a perspective on what life might have been like during the age of steam. Although the buildings have seen better days, they nevertheless serve an important purpose in the maintenance of railway stock. Despite the size of the buildings, 35005 still looks impressive in the dim light, not unlike a dragon resting in it’s lair!
Affectionately knicknamed “the beast” by the volunteers, not only does the locomotive impress, but so does the dedication of the people working on the machine. You can tell how important the work is to those who devote so much time and effort into it in their own time. A machine that weighs around 151 tons and is some 72 years old doesn’t come apart easily!
If I was to take one thing away from this experience, it is how working on projects like this can be so rewarding. The work going on to take apart 35005 will all help in eventually seeing it become a shiny, glorious express steam engine again.
Once the strip and inspection is completed, funds will still be needed to restore 35005 into working condition. The cost of the boiler work alone is expected to exceed £100,000.00. Any help you can give will be gratefully appreciated no matter how small you think it might be.
Both links take you to the Mid Hants Railway Website which is where you can find out more information on how you can help. Thank you.
Don’t Forget to check out Simon’s Brookes Castle – Volunteer Diary to catch up on previous posts!