The Isle of Wight Steam Railway has launched an urgent fundraising appeal to return its flagship steam locomotive Calbourne to service.

Calbourne was the first engine acquired by the steam railway in 1967 and the last surviving O2 Class locomotive.

In 1971 she hauled the railway’s historic carriages from Newport to Havenstreet, in the nick of time before the trackbed was lifted, and later that year she provided the first passenger trains at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.

The railway’s flagship locomotive is popular with visitors and enthusiasts.

Donations can be made over the phone to 01983 882204, or online at

Cheques can be made payable to Isle of Wight Railway Co. Ltd. and sent to Isle of Wight Steam Railway, The Railway Station, Havenstreet, Ryde, IW, PO33 4DS.

Originally constructed in 1891 and operated constantly since, Calbourne’s steel tyres have worn to the extent that they now need replacing. This is a very specialist task that will be carried out by a specialist engineering team in Devon.

Unlike a quick car tyre change at a local garage, each of Calbourne’s 4ft 10in diameter tyres will take virtually a full day to complete, utilising heavy-duty and traditional engineering machinery.

Chair Peter Taylor said: “We are urgently appealing for £36,000 to fund this project, ensuring our flagship locomotive, Calbourne, can return to service as soon as possible. We’re keen to get her back into service pleasing our 130,000 visitors as quickly as we can.”