It’s been a long time coming but it’s here at last.
The Steam Railways’ £400,000 diesel-electric locomotive arrived in the island on Wednesday.
It was third time lucky in the search for it.
First of all, public transport bosses asked to spend £750,000 on one.
That proved so controversial the Department of Community, Culture and Leisure, found a cheaper, secondhand one in Romania.
Then they changed their minds again and bought the one that arrived this week.
The 42.5 ton locomotive replaces the old Viking diesel that ceased operating a few years ago. It is a reconditioned diesel that was remanufactured by Motive Power and Equipment Solutions Inc of Greenville, South Carolina and shipped to the island via Merseyside.
It was craned onto the steam railway close to the Banks Circus headquarters of Isle of Man Transport and will now undergo commissioning and tests under the manufacturer’s supervision prior to entering service.
Graham Cregeen MHK, Minister for Community, Culture and Leisure, which operates Isle of Man Railways, said: ‘This is the first new locomotive to be brought to the island since 1926.
‘The introduction of the new diesel-electric will reduce costs and increase the support available on the steam railway. During busy periods we currently keep an additional steam engine warm with a crew ready to be able to assist should another loco break down. This means a faster recovery of the train and a better experience for passengers.
‘Additionally the diesel-electric will be used to provide TT commuter trains and routinely as a fire train. Around 70 line side fires are reported during dry weather periods, often in places which are inaccessible to the Fire Service. The new diesel-electric will ensure they are extinguished quickly.’
Director of public transport Ian Longworth said: ‘The arrival of the new locomotive went very smoothly. The plan the Railways’ team put together went perfectly to schedule and the American engineers will arrive tomorrow to start the commissioning process.’
Once its commissioning checks are completed, the new diesel-electric locomotive will be able to assist operation of steam trains on the 15 miles of track between Douglas and Port Erin.