This weekend was spent on business in the South of England, one call was a loan check on the Isle of Wight on our LBSCR cattle van which is on the Steam Railway at Havenstreet. I’d never been over before, and although the railway wasn’t running, I was afforded every courtesy and look forward to going back when they are running before too long.
Here’s a general view of Havenstreet – those coaches are one of the running sets – there are no Mark ones here!
Another four wheeler was undergoing finishing touches in the superb carriage and wagon workshops, which even includes its own sewing room for upholstery work.
Outside, two ex Army Austerity tank locos awaited the following day’s running. “Royal Engineer” on the left was once at Long Marston depot in Warwickshire, my home county and I’d last seen it in 1987 at the Royal Engineers 200th Anniversary – when it walked away with 16 Mark 1 coaches in tow. The other, “Waggoner” was once displayed at the Museum of Army Transport, Beverley, alongside “Woolmer”.
My business at Havenstreet done, I then went for an explore of the other Island railway system, the former British Rail line from Ryde to Shanklin, now operated by former London Underground 1938 rolling stock on the electric 3rd rail system. Here, a set leaves Ryde Esplanade station for Ryde Pier, with the trackbed of the former Ryde Pier Tramway in the foreground – what a heritage railway that would make! On the left in the background is the hovercraft terminal – which must wait for another time.
Just behind the hovercraft terminal, the railway dives into a tunnel below the town before arriving at Ryde St John’s where the depot is. Here a unit leaves the tunnel heading for Esplanade station. 3rd rail tube stock running on the surface controlled by semaphores gives the line a unique atmosphere!
I have a feeling I’ve not been to the Isle of Wight for the last time…