Home> SUCCESS STORIES » Groudle Glen Railway

Groudle Glen Railway

At the end of the 2017 summer season, Groudle Glen Railway discovered its oldest and only original locomotive - Sea Lion - needed urgent repairs.

The damage to the water tanks and boiler, initially discovered in Sea Lion’s pre-season examination, was thought to have been caused by chlorine levels in the water supply. Chemical treatments were added to the locomotive’s water to mitigate the effects of the chlorine, however the condition deteriorated and the firebox suffered irreversible corrosion.

Sea Lion needed to be completely disassembled to remove the boiler, which was sent off-Island for major specialist repairs, a considerable and unexpected cost to Groudle Glen Railway. It was later discovered that further work was required to replace the side tanks and the rear cab sheet, and additional work needed to the frames.

Towards the start of the 2018 Summer Season, the decision was made that the level of repair required Sea Lion to be removed from the glen and transported to a specialist workshop in the UK, at further expense to the railway.  

After pledging £4,000 from the charity’s savings and receiving funding assistance from local supporters, Groudle Glen Railway submitted a grant application to the Manx Lottery Trust which, after careful consideration, awarded £14,000 to help towards the boiler repair and paintwork.

Three months on and Sea Lion returned home to Groudle, restored to pristine condition. A substantial amount of restoration and repair work has been carried out on the locomotive, including painting her to the original 1896 livery with her name in gold leaf lettering.

Thanks to the support of the Manx Lottery Trust and other supporters, Sea Lion was back on track this Christmas for the Groudle Glen Railway Santa Specials. After missing out on last year’s Christmas, Easter and summer services, the much-loved locomotive can once again bring joy to the people of the Isle of Man.  

Groudle Glen Railway is operated solely by volunteers, relying on train fares, fundraising and donations from organisations, businesses and individuals in order to maintain and restore the line and its historic locomotives.

Trevor Nall, Chairman of Groudle Glen Railway, said: ‘Sea Lion, built over 120 years ago, is priceless to the railway. As the line’s first locomotive and the only original still in service, it is without question the main attraction and our primary locomotive.

‘We can’t thank the Manx Lottery Trust enough for its generosity and support throughout this project. Without it, Sea Lion’s repair just wouldn’t have been possible.’

The restoration of Sea Lion was also supported by Culture Vannin, The Elizabeth Clucas Fund and the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.