After the recent deluge of GWR related articles; yesterdays visit to the Isle of Wight steam railway allows for a return to Southern articles! Being the former home of Mrs Locoyard; the Isle of Wight is a place we enjoy visiting when we can. It’s always great to catch up with friends and family on the Island. Sometimes, when time allows, we (this is the Royal “we”) often squeeze in a visit to the island’s characteristic preserved line too!
With the exception of the network rail line that runs from Ryde Pier to Shanklin; the Isle of Wight Steam Railway is all that remains of what was once a comprehensive railway network of just over 55 miles. These lightly laid lines mainly used second-hand stock from the mainland and as a result became the home of locomotives and rolling stock that would otherwise have been scrapped.
The preserved line runs from Wootton to Smallbrook Junction via its’ headquarters at Havenstreet. When visiting the line on running days you can be sure to see a train of Victorian and/or Edwardian stock; there are no British Railways mark one’s here. Locomotives are all tank engines and in common with many preserved line’s Hunslet Austerity saddle tanks are frequent performers. Our visit this day was no exception with WD198 Royal Engineer being employed in service (see top picture and below).
The jewel in the crown of the Island’s fleet is ex-LSWR Adam’s O2 W24 Calbourne (see pictures below) that could be seen in the yard with A1X terrier W8 Freshwater. The O2 is the last remaining example of this class remaining and at the time had frustratingly never seen it in steam, despite it being on my hit-list of must-see’s! Fortunately I have since seen it (click here for more).
W8 Freshwater is one of two terrier’s on the line, the other being W11 Newport, which (with quite some effort) I have a 00 scale version in model form. For those who missed it, click here to read my blog post on this model.
The railway is a lovely reminder of what was once a large network of branch-lines on the Isle of Wight and is well-worth a visit. Havenstreet station has a lot of character, so much so that I’ll be looking at it in more detail in a future post. So stay tuned to see more!