Watercress Line

CanPac’s Boiler Moved To Ropley!

This week the Heritage Lottery Funded overhaul of Merchant Navy class 35005 Canadian Pacific reached an important milestone.  Its boiler has been moved from the yard of Eastleigh’s works to Ropley.  There is more to such as operation than some might assume and so we’re happy to report that it went well.

The operation was split across two days, but prior planning and actions were required long before at both Eastleigh and Ropley.  We are very fortunate and grateful for the work carried out by Arlington Fleet Services, before and during the operation.  Our boiler had had a temporary mobile home on a low loader wagon for some time since it had been lifted from its frames.  It had been regularly moved around the yard at Eastleigh to be kept out of the way of the commercial running of the yard.  A shunting operation was therefore required to pull the boiler out from the back to then be brought to the front of the yard, before being taken into the works.

Meanwhile in Ropley, staff and volunteers also needed to carry out a large shunting operation to create space in the locomotive yard to allow access for a road hauled trailer, so that the boiler could be brought in and accessed by the steam crane.  Furthermore the boiler lift was not the only operation taking place on the day, as full use was made of the crane being in steam and the space created by shunting.  Such operations require a lot of time and resource to be carried out and therefore it is wise to minimise the frequency of such disruptions by doing more than one lift at one time.

On the first day of the boiler being transferred, Arlington Fleet Services very kindly carried out the lift with the use of overhead cranes inside their works.  We originally expected the lift to take place in the afternoon and so were surprised when the haulier arrived early.  The original intention was to use a trailer involved in another locomotive movement that was expected to arrive in Eastleigh later in the day.  However as that other operation over-ran, another vehicle was despatched to move our boiler.  If this had not done been done, then it could have jeopardised the movement of our boiler and we are very grateful that Andrew Goodman of Moveright International took action so quickly.  Arlington’s staff reacted very quickly to the situation and the boiler was put on the back of the semi-trailer before lunch time.  It was then driven by road to Ropley and arrived in the early afternoon, much earlier than the predicted arrival time of the following morning!  Trains can be early after all!

The following day, it was Ropley’s turn to be a hive of activity.  Canadian Pacific’s large boiler had attracted a lot of attention, as its arrival had been anticipated for some time.  The lift made use of Ransome and Rapier 45 Ton Steam Crane DS1580.  The crane is an incredible piece of machinery and only a couple of years younger than the boiler it was lifting.  Not surprisingly many came out to watch the crane lift the large boiler.  The lift took place in the late morning and went well, with Canadian’s Pacific boiler transferred from the road vehicle onto the bogeys from which its overhaul will be carried out.

Thank you to all the staff, volunteers, Arlington Fleet Services and Moveright International for their assistance in moving CanPac’s boiler and so allowing the next chapter of its overhaul to commence. 

Please do not forget that we still need your assistance to help with the overhaul of our flagship steam locomotive.  Please click here to find out how you can help!

Thanks for reading!


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