Published: 29 August 2013
The Isle of Wight Steam Railway (IOWSR) is about to add two steam locomotives to its running fleet. One, ‘Terrier’ A1x 0-6-0T No. W11 Newport has not been in use for over a decade, waiting its turn in the restoration queue while the Ivatt will attract visitors from all over the UK.
Rail.co.uk visited the IOWSR Havenstreet Works in August and is delighted to be able to let readers see the progress being made on these engines and explains the importance of the Gala.
The main Gala attraction will be the ‘Ivatt’ 2-6-2T steam locomotive No. 41298 entering service which has not steamed for around 45 years following withdrawal from British Rail service at the end of Southern steam in July 1967.
For years the engine was stored at Quainton and a leisurely overhaul was undertaken by its two owners, Roy Miller and Peter Clarke. Because of this work, the IOWSR has had their job made easier of returning the engine to service.
Recent work at Havenstreet on No. 41298 was having its backhead steam fittings put back into place, a mixture of new and original components. The engine has had a new smokebox fitted and the steam and lubrication pipes fitted ready for service. The wooden cab floor had been lifted at the time of the visit to ensure the connecting pipes from the side tanks were sound.
The engine, along with three others, was donated to the IOWSR a few years ago to try and replicate ‘history that never was’. The Ivatt tank engines were to be introduced to the IOW railways from the mid 1960s but the Beeching cuts put an end to that scheme. So when No. 41298 steams it will be creating a ‘what might have been’ had Beeching not been employed to change the railways by the Government.
The also donated 2-6-0 tender ‘Ivatt’ No. 46447 has gone to the East Somerset Railway for restoration in exchange for their Class ‘E1’ No. 32110. This has been renumbered W2 and named Yarmouth and stored inside the Havenstreet Works building. It has had some conservation work carried out, been painted and had its new number ‘2’ painted on the engine and had its nameplate attached.
The two locomotives are scheduled to appear at the IOWSR Autumn Gala on October 5 and 6. It will be the first time for No. 41298 and when ‘Terrier’ No. W11 appears, it will be for the first time in a decade.
Southern Railway ‘Terriers’ ran on the IOW system for many years and the IOWSR now has several in service. In July, ‘Terrier’ A1/X Class No. W8 Freshwater returned to service and has now been reliveried in green with gold leaf numbering and lettering.
Classmate No. W11 Newport has been pretty much completed and now awaits final tests and trials before entering public service at the October gala event. It has had the top half of its cab riveted in place and water tanks refitted allowing the undercoating to take place. The engine was being prepared for its hydraulic test and in green livery but waiting its final coat of paint.
The IOWSR museum at Havenstreet has been revamped with a huge array of relics on display portraying the island’s railway history.
The IOWSR was the recipient of a huge Heritage Lottery Memorial Fund award of just under a million pounds in June 2012 and the resultant building is going to be ready by March.
In the meantime the huge building at Havenstreet is now being fitted out ready to receive the many historic wooden bodied carriages that the IOWSR uses. The ‘interpretation’ display contract has been awarded and subsequent visits made in August to discuss the fine detail of the displays.
The Havenstreet workshops are normally not open to the public but on September 7 and 8, they will be, as part of the national Heritage Open Weekend series of events. Guided tours will be available, a rare chance to see what’s going on!
The IOW electric railway connects with the five mile long steam railway at Smallbrook Junction and is served by former London Underground tube trains twice an hour from Ryde and Shanklin. These trains celebrate their 75th anniversary this year and are the oldest trains in franchised service in the UK today.
These trains connect with Wightlink services from Portsmouth Harbour which itself is served by South West Trains, First Great Western and Southern services from London, Cardiff and Brighton.