I came across this article this morning and as a big fan of the Isle of Wight Railway I am delighted at this news.
Steam will soon be returning to the town of Newport thanks to a very generous donation by a group of businessmen based on the Island. It’s long been the goal of the Isle of Wight Steam Railway to connect to Newport which was the central hub of the islands former railway network. The group who have offered to put up the funds to extend the Isle of Wight railway on the old track bed which runs alongside the A3054 into Newport.
This news comes after the announcement from the Department of Transport that the island line will operated by the steam railway when the current contract with South West Trains expires in May 2019. This mean that passengers will finally be able to board a train at Ryde Pierhead and ride into the center of the island. As well performing a reliable commuter service for the islanders it’s hoped that a regular timetabled steam railway network will become a popular tourist attraction.
The huge expected increase of passenger numbers has led the railway to look for more powerful locomotives to bring to the island to help with the heavier and busier trains. It’s believed in the next couple of days that the National Railway Museum based in York will confirm they are sending Merchant Navy class locomotive to 35029 Ellerman Line to the island once the track is laid. The locomotive has been a museum exhibit since her withdrawal in the 1960s but will require a light overhaul before she can begin work on the island. Sources within the museum have said “you could stick some coal and water in her now and she would be good to go, I don’t know why they are bothering to overhaul her when she doesn’t need one”.
Once the railway reaches Newport the projects next stage will see funds being raised to connect Newport to Freshwater, which would allow people to travel right across the island on the train.
I for one can’t wait to ride the new once it’s complete and today marks a very significant day for the railway and the Island.