There are few more mouth watering prospects than seeing a beautiful locomotive hauling magnificently-restored rolling stock on the line over which it was a regular sight in its working life. This makes the thought of seeing 02 Class 0-4-4T No.W24 Calbourne at the head of a rake of green coaches - and hopefully including one red vehicle, subject to availability - a particularly enticing prospect, particularly in early Spring with potentially clear bright days and while it is still cool enough to allow plenty of natural exhaust.
At this time of the year, the better light and consequently the better photographic opportunities are to be found in the afternoon and early evening. Therefore, rather than plan for a conventional 'office hours' charter which would take out potentially the best lighting at each end of the day, we have opted to start in later morning at 11.00 which will allow us to run on into the evening to make the most of optimum lighting conditions, with a finishing time around 19.30.
No.W24 was designed by William Adams for the London & South Western Railway and completed in 1891 as No.209, one of sixty members of the class. The engine was taken into Southern Railway ownership at the Grouping in 1923 and, in April 1925, transferred to the Isle of Wight where it acquired its new number and was named Calbourne after a local village. Under British Railways ownership, the loco was one of two engines retained beyond the end of steam working on 31st December 1966 for use on engineering trains connected with the electrification of the Isle of Wight's rail system between Ryde Pier Head and Shanklin. Withdrawal came in March 1967 and the locomotive was purchased by the Wight Locomotive Society as the first steam locomotive acquired by the fledgling preservation project. Some 23 members of the class worked on the Island's rail system and by 1961 were the sole class operating there, making this one of the most authentic locos we could use in this setting.
Our day will start from and finish at Haven Street station. We will be using the '02' on a rake of four green bogie coaches, though we are hopeful of being able to include a red vehicle in the consist provided it is in traffic at the time of our charter. We will keep the passenger stock all day and will take in all of the best locations on the line at the times when the lighting is best to visit them. The line is a haven of nostalgia for those who remember the days of steam, so why not join us for a day stepping back in time to the days when steam still ruled the Isle of Wight's railway network.
Event cost £69.00 per person.
Images are for illustrative purposes only.