The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company has helped bring Groudle Glen Railway’s star attraction back home after a complete restoration off-island.
Sea Lion, the railway’s oldest and only original locomotive, was discovered to need urgent repairs to her boiler at the end of the 2017 summer season. The damage was thought to be caused by the quality of the water supply, and although chemical treatments were added to lessen the corrosion issues, the condition worsened and the damage became irreversible.
The decision was made for the boiler to be sent to the UK for the repair work. It was hoped that Sea Lion would be back on track for this year’s Easter services, however further issues were later discovered and the locomotive had to be transported to the UK for a complete overhaul and repair works.
The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company was pleased to support Groudle Glen Railway by assisting with the cost of transporting Sea Lion to and from the island.
After spending three months in North Bay Railway Engineering Services in Darlington, Sea Lion has returned back to the Isle of Man in pristine condition.
A substantial amount of work was undertaken including the installation of new parts, as well as numerous repairs to time-expired or worn parts. Sea Lion has also been restored to her original 1896 livery with her name in gold leaf lettering.
The much-loved locomotive is now undergoing a series of steam tests ahead of Groudle Glen Railway’s Christmas 2019 Service.
Trevor Nall, Chairman of Groudle Glen Railway, said: ‘It has been a huge upheaval for the volunteers at the railway to have our original locomotive of 1896 undergo such major repair works off-island, but the support generously provided by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company in transporting the locomotive was crucial in allowing the works to happen.
‘Sea Lion will be the star attraction of our Christmas trains this year as she returns to service.’
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘We were delighted to support this project. As Groudle Glen Railway’s oldest and only original locomotive, Sea Lion is such an important part of our island’s heritage. She is looking in pristine condition and I’m sure she’ll bring lots of joy to the island this Christmas.’
The restoration of Sea Lion was also supported by the Manx Lottery Trust, Culture Vannin and the Elizabeth Clucas Trust.