W24 Calbourne is our flagship locomotive; seeing her running on the line is a highlight for many visitors.
In 1967 Calbourne was bought by the newly-formed Wight Locomotive Society for £900 (about £17,000 in 2020 allowing for inflation). With the locomotive and six carriages saved, the Isle of Wight Steam Railway was formed, initially running between Havenstreet and Wootton. As our first locomotive, and the sole survivor of her class, she has a very special place at our Railway.
All steam locomotives must undergo a thorough overhaul and boiler examination every 10 years. This involves completely dismantling the locomotive so that the boiler can be thoroughly checked. Our target is to get Calbourne running on the line, ready to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Steam Railway in 2021.
Work started in December 2019, initially dismantling the locomotive ready for her boiler inspection. The Coronavirus pandemic was a serious setback with all work stopped for several months. Since reopening, we’ve made this our priority project. Work on the boiler was successfully completed, and we then started in earnest re-assembling the many components. In August the boiler was craned back onto the frames; work then continued inside our workshop fitting the boiler tubes.
During October we fitted the boiler cladding and started painting this in Southern Railway malachite green. Meanwhile, the side tanks have been repaired and painted – they will be re-attached shortly. There is plenty of work to do; however we’re confident that we’ll have Calbourne steaming again in time for our anniversary celebrations.
Earlier this year we launched our £24K for W24 appeal to help complete Calbourne’s overhaul. We had allocated sufficient funding to complete these repairs; however, the Coronavirus crisis had such a serious effect on the Railway’s finances that we launch an urgent appeal for £24,000.
We’re delighted to that the appeal has now raised in excess of £30,000. We’d like to thank all our members and supported for their magnificent support that will ensure that Calbourne is steaming again in 2021.