While working away on the Isle of Wight and having half a day to spare, I decided to make a visit to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway on 21st of June.
Starting off my visit
Wootton Station was my starting point as it was closest to where I was staying on the Island. Starting at road level, a path leads you down to the station’s platform. There is only one platform, which features a booking office, toilets, and sheltered seating.
Volunteers keep all parts of the station in fantastic conditions. The 14.33 from Wootton to Smallbrook Junction, stopping at Havenstreet, was the train I caught.
Trains were running to the Blue Timetable on the day of my visit, which is one engine only, this being LMS Ivatt 2 Tank No.41313 hauling a mixture of Pre-Grouping Southern Railway carriage stock.
The interior of the coaches has been restored beautifully. Even the smaller details have been finished to a high quality, like the old adverts which really help to visualise how travelling on the line in the 1930s felt. The countryside the line is set in is lovely, for a small island, the Isle of Wight has breath-taking views! Before I knew it, the train was pulling into Havenstreet Station.
As the Headquarters for the line, all the major actives are undertaken here. This includes The Mechanical Engineering Workshop (where the locomotives are maintained), The Carriage and Wagon Workshop (recently featured in Channel 4’s Great Rail Restorations) and The Permanent Way Department & Civil Engineering. On top of these, there is the Museum of Island Railway History, containing a wide range of interesting railway history and home to many artifacts. There is also a gift shop, toilets, refreshments room, children’s play area and picnic area.
End of the Line
I stayed on the train and carried on to Smallbrook Junction. This station was completed six years ago, consisting of a ticket office, waiting room and toilets. The most notable feature of the station is the Island’s Mainline train services terminate here as well. Passengers can, therefore, travel to the Steam Railway via the Mainline or vice versa. While staying in my carriage for the 15.02 back to Wootton, I watched the Ivatt 2 Tank run around its train and prepare to take us back.
Due to time constraints, I rode the 15.02 all the way down to Wootton, having a good look at the fascinating line on the way. Passing through Havenstreet I could see the line’s other Ivatt 2 Tank No.41298 and Hunslet ‘Austerity’ 0-6-0ST No.WD198 “Royal Engineer” standing on the Shed Road undergoing maintenance and carriages stored outside while undergoing work.
By 15.34 the train was rolling into Wootton, where I departed to take a few more pictures and then return back to my accommodation. I wish I had more time to explore line, especially Havenstreet with all its activities to see and do. Anyone considering a visit I would highly recommend it, the upkeep of stock and buildings is incredible and really adds to the heritage feel. The volunteers are lovely too, I spent a good 15 minutes having a nice chat with one volunteers at Wootton, which was the icing on the cake for my trip.
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