Published: 23rd August 2016
The Isle of Wight Steam Railway (IOWSR) will mark the 50th anniversary of the arrival of diesel traction on the island with a unique diesel gala. The very first diesel to arrive on the Island was a British Rail Class 05 Numbered D2554 and arrived in June 1966.
This will be giving brake van rides on its first public outing since having an extensive engine overhaul, body repair and repaint completed at the Havenstreet Works.
The event lasts for three days on 30 September to 2 October can be reached on main line trains by changing at Smallbrook Junction using the 1938 Island Line tube stock. The 1945 built Barclay locomotive No 235 will be hauling a short freight train within the Havenstreet station limits and has also been subjected to some restoration having been repainted in its Army livery.
Public trains on the five mile line will be operated using the resident Class 03 Number D2059 and sharing duties with a still to be confirmed guest locomotive. The visitor will be the first to visit the Island as a guest and temporary weight restrictions on the ferry plus the requirement for an air-braked locomotive makes the choice of engines small. The choice is further hindered by the smaller than normal loading gauge on the IOWSR.
The visiting engine’s identity will be confirmed when contracts have been signed and appear on www.iwsteamrailway.co.uk . The timetable will also be available on the website as soon as the details have been confirmed.
The million pound HLF funded award winning ‘Train Story Discovery Centre’ will be open as will the catering and shop outlets. A real ale bar will serve a range of Island beers.
The IOWSR is reached by main line services to Portsmouth Harbour and onwards Wightlink ‘Fastcat’ services to Ryde Pierhead. Island Line trains operate from there to Shanklin via Smallbrook Junction twice hourly. Portsmouth Harbour station is served by SWT, Great Western and Southern services offering direct connections from London, Cardiff, Southampton, Bristol and Brighton. Inclusive rail tickets are available from www.redspottedhanky.com
The only British Railways diesel locomotive to be based off mainland UK Class 03 No. 03179 (D2179) built in 1962 has been retired after 53 years of service. It was built at Swindon Works and was based at Eastleigh and Bournemouth depots for its first 13 years and was then transferred to Stratford in east London.
Its journey east continued to Norwich and then Ipswich Docks before being laid up in 1987. The next year saw it reliveried into the red white and blue Network Southeast and transferred to Ryde Works in the Isle of Wight after classmate 03079 failed. A decade later, both locomotives were offered for sale and the West Anglia & Great Northern franchise purchased 03179 for use at Hornsey depot in north London and repainted into that train company’s colours.
The engine was named Clive after Clive Allison a depot employee for 43 years and carried the name until being sold in July this year to the Rushden Transport Museum. Clive is now undergoing a renovation at its new home and after bodywork repairs and a repaint, will enter revenue earning service there. The engine has already been started up and in mechanical terms, ‘is a runner’.
There had been an expression of interest made by a respected and experienced group of Isle of Wight railway preservationists but it seems this approach had been mislaid by Govia who owned the engine when sold.
Either way, perhaps Clive will become a visiting guest in the next few years to its former Island, albeit at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.