IMPORTANT

The News items in this section have been transferred from the Latest News section in their original format - i.e. telling the stories as they existed at the time they occured. Readers should therefore read these in that context.


POLAR BEAR IS 100!!

This year marks the 100th birthday of our little Bagnall 2-4-0T locomotive, Polar Bear. Polar Bear - PB for short - was built in 1905 for the Groudle Glen Railway on the Isle of Man. The railway already had a similar but slightly smaller engine called Sea Lion, built in 1896.

To mark the occasion, Sea Lion will be coming to Amberley in July and the two Bagnalls will be the stars of our annual Gala Weekend. Following this, Polar Bear will be returning to the Island for a short time.

The timetable of events is currently planned as follows:-

Week ending 2 July 2005, Sea Lion arrives at Amberley. She will be test steamed over the weekend to make sure there are no problems as the loco has never operated at Amberley before - in fact it's the first time the two have been together on the mainland as far as we know.

Gala Weekend - 9/10 July: Both locos in service hauling passenger trains and, we hope, some freight as well, even though they were never intended for this- just a bit of fun really. Lots of opportunities for enthusiasts to take photographs of the two siblings will no doubt be possible.

Saturday 16 July: Locos are booked aboard the ferry to the Isle of Man

It is then planned that Polar Bear will see service in the Glen on Sunday 17 July, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, 19/20 July and both Saturday and Sunday the following weekend. Polar Bear will then return to the mainland the following week.

This is Polar Bear - in service last year at the Museum.

Of course, this will not be the first time that PB has been back to Groudle Glen. We took her there in 1993 and 1996. Here is Polar Bear - yes she's the bright yellow one - with Sea Lion at Lhen Coan Station in 1996. The differences between the two are evident, with Sea Lion having round windows and Polar Bear with rectangular ones.

Get the The Museum Press Release. here. This was issued in December 2004.


SEA LION AT AMBERLEY

Click to see Sea Lion during its visit to Amberley in 2005

MAN-RIDER ACQUIRED

Members of the RailGroup have purchased for the collection a steel man-rider wagon which originally appeared for sale on eBay! It was not bid for but after the auction ended contact was made with the vendor and a price agreed. It runs and is not in an unreasonable condition. Its history is not at present known but is currently being researched. So for the time being you will have to make do with this picture .......

If anyone reading this can help with information then, of course, we would be very happy to hear from them.

Wendy on loan

Agreement has been reached between the Museum and the Hampshire Narrow Gauge Railway Society for the Society's Bagnall 0-4-0ST locomotive "Wendy" to operate at the Museum on loan. Wendy arrived earlier in the year and following some modifications to make the locomotive compatible with the Museum's rolling stock, Wendy has been in service at the Museum for the past month or so. She will be one of the locos featured in our forthcoming Railway Gala Weekend - see link above.

Initial discussions between the two organisations commenced in November 2004 and the agreement was signed in time for Wendy to move to the Museum at the end of April. Since then work has been taking place to fit air braking system to the locomotive, modifications which are needed before Wendy can operate on the Museum's passenger trains. This is not the first time that Wendy has been to Amberley as she has featured as guest locomotive at several of the Museum's Railway Gala Weekends, the last being in 2003. In fact, it was on this last occasion that the idea of Wendy spending more time at Amberley was first floated.

The agreement is seen as being to the mutual benefit of both organisations with the HNGRS wishing to be able to steam their locomotive more often than was possible while the locomotive was based at Bursledon Brickworks. For the Museum's part, with its own Bagnall engine, "Peter", out of service awaiting major work to its boiler, an additional working steam loco was badly needed particularly as its other Bagnall, Polar Bear is due to return to the Isle of Man for a short period in July as part of its 100th birthday celebrations.

The initial loan period is for one year although both the Society and the Museum believe that the operation of Wendy will be successful and that the loan will be extended.

Click here for some more pictures of Wendy


NEW ENGINE SHED

Now that our new Railway Exhibition Hall has been completed and opened - see below - we have once again turned our attention on the building of the new Locomotive Running Shed which will enable us to keep a good number of our working locomotives in a safe environment where maintenance and repairs can be carried out - leaving the main workshop available for other engineering projects. Click the photograph to see the progress made on the project over the last 6 months.

HERITAGE LOTTERY FUNDING BID SUCCEEDS

Railway Exhibition and Conservation Hall

The Heritage Lottery Fund contributed the sum of to 108,000 towards the cost of a substantial building to house most of Amberley's narrow gauge collection.

Now click here or click the picture, for pictures of the Royal opening. The old page detailing the construction is also still available here.


Gerry Cork & Amberley Working Museum - February 2005
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