The Isle of Wight Steam Railway was a hive of activity and excitement last week as a new locomotive arrived, and one of their existing fleet departed for a new home! The 1877-built London Brighton and South Coast Railway (LBSCR) E1 class tank locomotive ‘Burgundy’ arrived at Havenstreet, while Ivatt tender locomotive No. 46447 has departed for her new home at the East Somerset Railway.
Travelling by road and ferry to their respective new homes, the locomotives were transported across the Solent aboard Wightlink’s largest Fishbourne-Portsmouth car ferry ‘St Clare’.
The new locomotive joins O2 class locomotive No. 24 ‘Calbourne’ and Terrier class locomotives No. 8 ‘Freshwater’ and No. 11 ‘Newport’ at the steam railway, meaning the Island’s steam line now has examples of the 3 principal types of locomotive that ran on the Island’s once extensive railway system during the middle decades of the last century. ‘Burgundy’ is the last remaining locomotive of her class and The Isle of Wight Steam Railway has long held an ambition to acquire and run the E1 on the Island.
Four E1 class locomotives used to operate on the Isle of Wight from the early 1930s until 1960, working alongside a large number of 02s and ‘Terriers’. Numbered and named No. 1 ‘Medina’, No. 2 ‘Yarmouth’, No. 3 ‘Ryde’ and No. 4 ‘Wroxall’, none of these survived into preservation. ‘Burgundy’ is not, therefore, a true Island engine but it is the last survivor of its type.
Meanwhile, Ivatt 2-6-0 tender locomotive no. 46447 is of a type which is not ideally suited to the Island as tender locomotives never operated on the Island’s railways. Ivatt 2-6-0s used to work along the Cheddar Valley line and therefore it is very appropriate to have a representative of the class at the East Somerset Railway.
In private ownership, for many years ‘Burgundy’ has resided at the East Somerset Railway. Under the arrangements leading to the transfer of these locomotives, The Isle of Wight Steam Railway is acquiring ‘Burgundy’ from the present owner, Richard Bellchambers, and will restore it to operational condition. A generous bequest to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway is funding the purchase and restoration of the locomotive. In accordance with the wishes of the benefactor, it is expected the E1 will run in the guise of No2. ‘Yarmouth’. In turn, the IW Steam Railway is making available to the East Somerset Railway Ivatt locomotive 46447, on the basis that it will be restored to running order at their base at Cranmore near Shepton Mallet, with all major components supplied by the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. The locomotive will then be loaned to the East Somerset Railway for ten years.