When I visited the Isle of Wight railway in May 2014 the biggest disappointment for me was my camera died before I could get any photographs of the lines brilliant freight train. What made this freight train extra special was that the train was operated with a historically-representative single brake van during the morning. However the time taken in shunting the van to the rear of the train at each terminus station was beginning to affect the passenger train timetable. Thus a second brake van was added, but one full round trip was lost. I got to admit after seeing the Mid Hants freight train at the galas I was surprised to see the train up with just one brake van however it did mean I got loads of shots of her shunting the various wagons at Wootton.
The Isle of Wights freight train is very different to the Mid Hants train I am used to seeing, with the most obvious difference being that the wagons are in Southern Liveries as the train is based on the typical one you would have seen on the island in the 1930s. The other major difference is the cleanliness of the wagons themselves as they are stored undercover inside the new Train Story museum and only used a few times a year. Another impressive thing about this freight train was when it stopped at Havenstreet the footplate crew opened up the doors on both the fish and the brake wagon to reveal aload of old travelers suitcases that would of been typical for the line in the 1930s.
The freight train will be running throughout the year on the railways monthly “Island Days” events which is a very enjoyable day out and highly recommended.
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