15th July 2018 – Preparing and packaging Steam Spirit for her first sea voyage to the Great Dorset Steam Fair proved to be more of an emotional challenge than a practical one.

The smokestack, governor, canopy and supports had to be removed for height clearance into the container. The rear deck and main hubs were adjusted to fit the 92 ¼” width of the entry door.  The new firebox has 4 purpose built tie downs for travel and to relieve stresses on the undercarriage the firebox was jacked up and rested on solid blocking. Ten heavy-duty tie down ratchet straps secured her to the container sides.


The wagon was readily placed in first. It was designed with tie downs on both axles specifically for this ride and with the brass hubcaps removed the overall width was 88”.

With an inch or so of clearance hub to hub, steering Steam Spirit with an overall length of 16 feet into the 40-foot container took anxious moments without incident.

The canopy at 14 feet in length and wider than the doors was an awkward and heavy lift that was more unstable than anything else.

The display includes a shingle mill and stationary engines which are mounted to permanent skids.  The loading was straightforward and done easily.

There is no loading dock so the 8,000 lb. container was craned from its trailer and loaded at grade level. The truck and crane returned a few days later and the 27,000 lb. lift was craned back on the trailer without incident. This part of the journey was well orchestrated, carried out precisely and lasted less than 6 minutes. The flight of the container was captured on video.

The journey to Southampton takes 21 days and thanks to the graciousness of Robert Coles, Martin Oliver and Jenny Duncombe at the Great Dorset Steam Fair, and staff at World Freight, this chapter of Steam Spirit’s journey will close with new friends.

Article by Brian Walsh.