First and Last Steam Locomotive News at the Spa Valley and Isle of Wight Steam Railways

Published 6th November 2012

Tunbridge Wells - First Tender engines’ visits to preserved railways

The Spa Valley Railway has welcomed its first ever Tender Engine, as 0-6-0 LMS 4F ‘Fowler’ No. 44422 completes a three week ‘flying visit’ from the Nene Valley Railway.

The locomotive, originally built in 1927 at the Derby Locomotive Works of the London, Midland & Scottish Railway for £4217. The locomotive was based in Leicester and Wigston, before moving to Bristol and Bath in 1940. The locomotive worked mostly over the Somerset & Dorset Railway under British Rail which closed 50 years ago.

No. 44422 (previously 4422) moved to Woodham’s Scrapyard in Barry in 1965, before purchase in 1976. Originally at the Churnet Valley Railway, it is now based at Wansford, near Peterborough, at the Nene Valley Railway.

An intensive service operated on the Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th of October, as part of the ‘Steam Gala’. A special feature was the use of the ‘Queen Mary Brake Van’ as part of one rake of coaching stock, allowing a somewhat rare travelling experience for members of the public.

Fish and Chips by Steam

The Fish and Chip dining and Real Ale train ran on the Saturday, offering a relaxed experience for all concerned. 44422 should have completed around 50 miles of passenger service over the course of the weekend, having been booked for 15 journeys to Eridge or return.

The weekend of Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th November also saw No. 44422 working alongside LMS ‘3F’ 0-6-0T No. 47493 on a top and tailed steam service.

Spa Valley Santa Steam

Terry Moseley, Spa Valley Railway, now looks forward to welcoming visitors to the line’s annual set of ‘Santa Special’ trains. This year, a new Santa’s Grotto has been commissioned, as has an extra special Mulled Cider from the Biddenden Brewery in Kent for adult’s enjoyment. Children each get to see Santa Claus, receive their gift, play on the vintage penny arcades, and take a ride behind one of the home fleet steam locomotives. Tickets are keenly priced, and rail travel to Tunbridge Wells from London allows for a seamless day out.

Locomotives swap between the Isle of Wight and Somerset preserved railways

The 1877-built London Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSCR) E1 class tank locomotive Burgundy has just arrived at its new home at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, while Ivatt tender locomotive No. 46447 left for her new home at Cranmore on the East Somerset Railway. This was thought to be the first tender locomotive to visit the Isle of Wight.

The engines made the sea journey across the Solent to their respective new homes, on lorries owned by Antell & Sons from Dorset carried on Wightlink’s largest Fishbourne-Portsmouth car ferry ‘St Clare’.

The arrival of the E1 at Havenstreet means that, alongside O2 class locomotive No. 24 Calbourne and Terrier class locomotives No. 8 Freshwater and No. 11 ‘Newport’, the Island’s steam line now has examples of the three principal types of locomotive that ran on the Island during the middle decades of the last century.

‘Burgundy’ is the last remaining locomotive of her class and The Isle of Wight Steam Railway has long held an ambition to acquire and run the E1 on the Island as four of them were based on the Island’s railways from the early 1930s until 1960. Burgundy is not a true Island engine but it is the last survivor of its type and representative of the class used on the Island.

Tender Behind

The Ivatt designed 2-6-0 tender locomotive No. 46447 is a type not ideally suited to the Island as tender locomotives never operated on the Island’s railways. They did however work along the Cheddar Valley line and therefore it is very appropriate to have a representative of the class at the East Somerset Railway.

Burgundy has been at the East Somerset Railway for some time and under the arrangements leading to the transfer of these locomotives, The Isle of Wight Steam Railway is acquiring it from the present owner, Richard Bellchambers. It will restore it to operational condition made possible by a generous bequest to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway funding the purchase and restoration.

Burgundy to Yarmouth

In accordance with the wishes of the benefactor, it is expected the E1 will run in the guise of No. 2 Yarmouth. In turn, the IW Steam Railway is making available to the East Somerset Railway Ivatt locomotive No. 46447, on the basis that it will be restored to running order at their base at Cranmore with all major components supplied by the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. The locomotive will then be loaned to the East Somerset Railway for ten years.

The Formalities …

The official handover took place on Saturday November 3rd with the formalities to complete the locomotive swap taking place at Havenstreet Station in front of the E1 locomotive.

Among those present were representatives from both Railways including Richard Masters (Chairman, East Somerset Railway), Richard Bellchamber (Owner of ‘Burgundy’), Stephen Oates (Chairman, IWSR) and Peter Vail (General Manager, IWSR).

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