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‘O2’ Class W24 ‘Calbourne’

Built: 1891
Wheel arrangement: 0-4-4 T
Current status: Under overhaul

‘Calbourne’ was the first engine acquired by the embryonic Steam Railway in 1967 and the last survivor of a class that once numbered sixty strong. Originally constructed in 1891 at the Nine Elms locomotive works of the London and South Western Railway to a design by William Adams, Chief Mechanical Engineer. Her early years were spent based at Fratton and then Exeter, passing into the ownership of the Southern Railway in 1923. On 26 April 1925 she was shipped to the Isle of Wight as part of a major modernisation of the Island’s railways. Various modifications were carried out including the fitting of Westinghouse air brake equipment and an extended coal bunker to increase her operational range.

Calbourne 1
W24 'Calbourne' in later BR livery - 8th April 2016.

The O2 class proved ideal for the Island’s railways and a total of 23 were eventually shipped to the Island. By the end of 1960 they were the only class of steam engine operating on the Island’s rail network.

Following the closures of the fifties and sixties the Island’s remaining railway from Ryde Pier Head to Shanklin was electrified in early 1967 and ‘Calbourne’ was retained for engineers works trains before sale to the Wight Locomotive Society, the founding group of the present Isle of Wight Steam Railway. In 1971 she hauled our historic carriages from Newport to Havenstreet, and later that year our first passenger trains.

As our flagship locomotive ‘Calbourne’ is always popular with visitors and enthusiasts. In the early days she was used extensively on the line. With the arrival of other locomotives we’ve been able to limit her annual mileage in order to protect her for future generations.

‘Calbourne’ is currently undergoing her 10 year overhaul in preparation for celebrating the 50th anniversary of the railway in 2021.

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