Monday, 14 May 2012

'Calbourne' visits the Mid-Hants

I have always had a connection with the Isle of Wight- relatives living in Ryde have provided me a reason to visit each summer virtually every year of my life. It is therefore no surprise that over that time I have developed a fondness for the Islands railways- both the eclectic '38 stock which runs on the electrified service, and for the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. 
The IoWS (which is one of my favourites) has a beautiful collection of vintage locomotives and just as importantly, beautiful coaches to go with them. My favourites of course are the 'real' Island locomotives, of which only three remain: Terriers W8 'Freshwater', W11 'Newport' and the sole surviving O2 W24 'Calbourne'. When I discovered that the O2, which has only recently returned to traffic was due to visit my local railway- the Mid-Hants, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to catch up with this unique locomotive. As an added bonus the sun decided to come out to play- something of a rarity recently!
Because the O2 is air braked only it's time at the Mid-Hants was spent working with the lines thumper unit, 205025 (a fine piece of kit in itself). The train worked extra shuttles between Alresford and Ropley which were slotted between the normal full line services provided by 850 'Lord Nelson' and Black 5 '45379'.
850 'Lord Nelson' on it's final approach to Alresford
W24 'Calbourne' heads towards Ropley from Alresford
'Calbourne' heads back to Alresford with the 'Thumper' unit
Black 5 45379 heads past fields of Rapeseed while working between Medstead & Four Marks and Ropley
'Lord Nelson' is seen running tender first towards Ropley
The O2 awaits departure from Ropley with the final service of the day to Alresford. This would also be the locomotives final passenger trip while at the Mid Hants.

'Calbourne' is touring several railways on the mainland during Spring 2012 before returning to the Isle of Wight for the summer season.

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