With the last Isle of Wight steam train service coming to an end in 1966, 4 like-minded school boy railway enthusiasts got together, the youngest being aged just 12-years-old. They hatched an ambitious plan was to save from destruction just 1 locomotive and a few carriages. An approach was made to British Rail and a deal was reached to purchase the Adams 02 Class locomotive ‘Calbourne’ for £900, at the time a large sum of money.
Determination and a degree of good luck saw the boys raise the money and acquire what is now the Isle of Wight Steam Railway’s flagship locomotive. The original ambition did not run as far as to restore and operate the locomotive, but over 50 years this enterprise and initiative grew into what is now a major Island attraction enjoyed by over 100,000 visitors each year.
To mark 50 years since the start of steam train preservation on the Isle of Wight the 3 surviving founders were invited as guests of honour to an evening of celebration at the Isle of Wight Steam
Railway. 80 railway volunteers and members enjoyed a train ride hauled by ‘Calbourne’. Following the ride the carriages shunted into the Train Story Discovery Centre where the guests disembarked and stepped onto the platform for the celebration and a 3-course dinner. Carriages and wagons restored to pristine condition formed a unique backdrop to the evening.
The Railway’s Chairman, Steve Oates welcomed and thanked Ron Strutt, Iain Whitlam and David Perry for what they started 50 years ago.