Last weekend I was simply having a wonderful Christmas time on the Isle of Wight! The steam railway ran services late into the evening on Saturday 19th December, giving an opportunity to enjoy a ride on a steam train without the usual trimmings of the Santa Special season. The railway were also serving a Christmas carvery, although we booked too late to partake. From what I saw, heard and smelt though, it was very good food!
I travelled with my wife and mother-in-law, arriving in Havenstreet Station some time before the 21:15 departure. I was lucky to see our night-time steed of the night, Hunslet Austerity No.WD192 Waggoner run through the station and despite having the camera set up, it was far too dark to get a picture of something moving so you’ll have to take my word for it that it was a wonderful sight! Fortunately as you can see, getting static pictures was a possibility thanks to bringing my trusty tripod.
The station was nicely decorated with a pleasant ambience at night time and the only thing that didn’t feel festive was the mild weather – not that I’m complaining! We had our own compartment in a 99 year old carriage and as Waggoner chuffed away we immediately started talking about films that the experience was reminding us of. The first that came to my mind was the rather chilling ‘Woman in Black’ that was filmed on the Bluebell Railway!
Riding a steam train at night in such an old carriage is a far different experience than riding a normal service during the day. We could see cars in the distance on the hills, their headlights glowing as they drove into the rural darkness, with a few cosy looking houses along the way, all the whilst having steam blowing past the window with the regular chuffing and clicking sound of the train. It was truly an evocative experience and one that we will not forget.
So all in all it was a lovely ride behind a steam locomotive and was enjoyed by all. Although we’ll not get a white Christmas here in Southern England, at least I can say that I’ve had a ‘Wight’ Christmas! A Merry Christmas to you all!
Thanks for reading!