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The restoration project

Canadian Pacific, or ‘CanPac’ as it is affectionately known, is the oldest and fastest survivor of Oliver Bulleid’s Merchant Navy class. It spent much of its life hauling heavy express trains from London to the South Coast, including those full of holiday makers or boat trains. It would also have been used for troop and freight movements during the Second World War. Built in Eastleigh in 1941 by a workforce that would have included many women, CanPac is an excellent local example of heavy engineering. It touched the lives of many throughout its working career, including those who worked on it and those who were hauled by it.

The project revolves around the three year restoration of former Southern Railway Merchant Navy Class No.35005 Canadian Pacific. In 2015 the Mid Hants Railway was awarded £895,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund towards the total project cost of £1.5m. The balance of the project's costs will be met through volunteering, fundraising and donations to the Mid Hants Railway Preservation Society.

The Canadian Pacific Project is divided into two aspects:

  1. The restoration of the Oliver Bulleid designed steam locomotive 35005 Canadian Pacific, along with the restoration of two wooden framed carriages designed by the same Southern Railways engineer.
  2. There are a number of outreach and interpretation projects involving the local community, Job Centre’s, schools and higher education institutions. We are running a number of tours (at Ropley and Eastleigh), events and talks to increase people's knowledge of the locomotive, the Mid Hants Railway and the social history of steam and railways between 1940 and 1960. This includes creating links with communities and schools in London, where Canadian Pacific 35005 frequented during its service for Southern and British Railways.

Sub-projects include:

  • Oral history collection – We are looking to collect memories that will include from those working on and using the railway during WWII and the 1940's – 1960's, covering immigration, women's roles on the railway, Eastleigh Works and Canadian Pacific (35005).
  • Women's Work – This is closely linked to the oral history collection but centres on the role of women on the railway during the 1940's – 1960's, especially the extent to which the building of Canadian Pacific (35005) included many women in 1941.
  • 'A Different Eye' – A film documentary on the restoration process and events surrounding the Canadian Pacific Project to be undertaken by volunteers, local schools and higher education institutions.