A report from the Isle of Wight steam gala on May 28.
The four vintage engines were in steam for the Gala and despite poor weather nearly 5000 passengers were carried over the three day event. The Railway operated at capacity in terms of travel, catering operations and shopping facilities. This was the first Gala for a number of years and the railway are looking at arranging some more!
The Beattie Well Tank No. 30585 was a late substitute for the National Railway Museum’s No. 30587 which had some leaking tubes and could not attend. However, No. 30585 also required attention on Saturday evening on an injector which had been over-tightened at Quainton and become unreliable. The engine was only used on shunting goods wagons within Havenstreet station signalling limits as it is vacuum braked. IOWSR carriages are all air braked so could not be used with 30585 on passenger services.
Passenger trains comprising five bogie-coaches are now in regular service on the IW Steam Railway, recreating something not seen on the Island since the days of steam on the Ryde to Shanklin line in 1966.
A train of five bogie-coaches is now possible following the return of coach No. 4168 after its major overhaul. Although the Steam Railway operated a train of five coaches as part of a training exercise in the 1980s, this is the first time the Railway has run a five bogie-coach in regular service on passenger trains.
The first five-coach train ran on Thursday 19th May and comprised Locomotive No. 24 Calbourne with London Brighton & South Coast Railway (LBSCR) Brake Third coach 4168, LBSCR Third 2416, LBSCR Composite 6349, South East & Chatham Railway (SECR) Composite coach 6375, and SECR Brake Third 4145.