The Island Line

These days there are two short lengths of railway operating in the Isle of Wight. One is the steam railway which is wonderful and has featured here before. The other is called the Island Line and links Ryde with Sandown and Shanklin – the main holiday resorts on the island. Actually, that has had a mention on this blog as well, but here we’ll look in more detail, for we recently had day tickets on the line.

We caught a train at Brading. We hadn’t worried too much with a timetable for we knew two trains an hour ran both ways so we reckoned with no fixed plan we’d have a train along fairly quickly.

In fact the first train was Shanklin bound.


People of my age who used to use the London Underground will straightway recognise that this is an old London tube train. Our very helpful guard/ticket man – Craig by name – told me it was 1938 Northern Line stock. There was a year – about 1969 – when I lived in South East London and my girlfriend lived in Hampstead so I was a regular user of this stock which was deemed life expired back then. And it was. I remember standing by a door which opened itself in a tunnel! But more than forty years on a few cars still run on the Island Line.

They look just like a London Underground train should on the inside as well right down to the adverts and route maps.

image004I tried to take a photo of Bil and Sil.


Craig, the friendly guard photo bombed it but of course, I got another, better shot.


image010We arrived at Shanklin. This is, oh so sadly, now the end of the line.

Trains stopped trundling down to that wonderful terminus at Ventnor some 50 years ago.

Odd bits of history have been given along the line.


The station canopy supports feature a monogram – IWR for Isle of Wight Railway – the company that built the line.

image014They are all nicely maintained.

image016A quick peek at the Driver’s cab.

image018We partook of morning coffee on the sea front at Shanklin and returned to catch a train up to Ryde Esplanade.

We ate a beachside picnic lunch and could watch trains trundling out to Ryde Pier Head.

image020With lunch over we joined one of them. This is the station concourse at the Esplanade.


Our train arrived.

image024The connecting ferry departs for Portsmouth.

image026We returned, deciding afternoon tea should be at Sandown. I took a photo of a nice old sign on the railway works at St John’s Road.

image028What is this platform number at Sandown?


Our final hop was back to Brading, with different IWR motifs in the canopy supports.

image032Brading also features a listed building – the old signal box.

image034Great fun. It is only 25 minutes, end to end so there is plenty of time to enjoy seeing the places as well.







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