|Picture from IOM Today|
It's probably a good job that I love ugly things, because the newest arrival on the Isle of Man Steam Railway would test many an enthusiasts aesthetic sensibilities.
Bought in at a cost of £400,000, the 42.5 ton loco will be used to rescue failed trains and during the TT festival for the commuter trains.
I know lots of enthusiasts are going to moan like crazy about the intrusion of an American outline loco in amongst the Victorian steam trains and delightful wooden coaches. However, if it makes the railway more efficient and stave's off other economies then it's a good thing.
We forget that on the IOM, the railway is still owned and run by the government. Although it looks like other preserved lines, it really isn't. Potentially, this could the be a move toward restoring a proper, useful service for residents rather than just a "toy train" for tourists.
There is precedent - Blackpool tramways have recently started running modern vehicles as a service rather than just historic ones with no disabled access, rubbish heating and basic suspension.
If the steam were withdrawn from the IOM, I'd be up in arms. It won't though so I won't be either.
What I would like to do is build a model of this loco. After all, I have its predecessor, Viking, so if anyone can provide a plan, perhaps some G Scale work might take place next year...