Posts Tagged ‘Havenstreet’

Train Story

July 22, 2015

Train Story is the name of a new display area at Havenstreet – headquarters of the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. But keep reading for this post is not really about trains but more about games and toys.

We paid a visit having travelled on the line, enjoyed a picnic and taken in the fun of the fair at a charity event being held that day.

It was fun for all the family.

image002 Granddaughter enjoyed playing with a wooden toy train layout, set out on a map of the island.

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The map shows the real railways that once existed on the island but granddaughter seems to be dealing with a problem on a never built Brighstone Bay branch, reaching right out to sea. Hey! She was just having fun.

And so, too, were her mother and grandfather. They were playing giant top trumps at a special table.

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It has to be said that the cards were all Isle of Wight locomotives some of which are shown on that background display. It was, of course, good fun for two avid games players. We called it an honourable draw.

Just in case you are a rail nerd and don’t like this kind of frippery, you can hurry through this bit, and miss the cab mock up where youngsters (of all ages) can pull the chain to sound the whistle and you can enjoy the trains on display, relaxing in first class comfort or enduring the hardship of third class.

It’s well worth the visit and well done to the railway for making such a good, child friendly display which has much to offer to the rail enthusiast as well.

Isle of Wight Steam Gala

October 24, 2013

Like many a preserved railway line, the Isle of Wight Steam Railway is quite short at about 5 miles. I could be cynical and say that the financial powers that be at these railways don’t like a long train journey for passengers sitting on a train and enjoying the experience are not spending more money. But I don’t think this railway thinks like that at all. I suspect they’d love to have access to more line but at least we can be thankful that they have the five miles of delightful, scenic railway.

For much of the operating year, the service can be operated with just one engine in steam but in the peak season, two are needed to run the service.

What made the September 2013 steam gala really special was that four engines were in steam, sharing out the duties of operating two passenger sets and a demonstration freight train.

It reminded me of the island’s railways back in the early 1960s when elderly steam engines with near antique coaches were trundling down the main line from Ryde every few minutes, each one crowded with trippers off the ferry from Portsmouth.

One of the things that made me determined to be at this steam gala was that one of the engines in use was to be the only survivor of the class of engines which used to run that intensive service 50 or more years ago. Not only that, it had a train of carriages that were also used back in those long ago days.

So we’ll start with that engine and train.

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There’s a part of one carriage. It is all separate compartments. There is no corridor. Do you know, I feel old when I think I frequently used to travel on trains like that. By the way, the carriage is in just the shade of green I think all carriages should have. Two things are different from ‘the old days’. By the time I was a train user, 3rd class had been abolished. The carriages didn’t change but they were called 2nd class.  The other difference is that volunteer enthusiasts make the trains clean. They would, no doubt, have been much grubbier back in the 60s.

This carriage had a board inside that it wouldn’t have had 50 years ago, given a brief history of the coach.

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There’s the engine, attached to the train. She, like all the locos on the island, is named after an island place.

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The Isle of Wight Steam Railway seemed happy to let us old nerds ‘cab’ the engine. These old engines, which date from the nineteenth century, are very simple machines.

At Smallbrook, the line meets up with the main line from Ryde down to Shanklin. Our steamer has to run round the train for the return journey. Handily, it did it just as an ‘Island Line’ train was arriving at its platform.

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The Island Line is electrified but it still uses historic stock. That’s a 1938ex London Underground train.

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As Calbourne runs around we can enjoy the sight and sound of the engine. Fantastic!

We’ll return to this Gala again some time.

My Life in Tickets (12)

October 23, 2013

Adult – 3rd Class

I love the Isle of Wight. I love the way it really does seem to be a journey back in time when you cross The Solent. And of course, I love the Isle of Wight Steam Railway with only a regret that not more of the network survived.

The Isle of Wight Steam railway is manned (that’s man embracing woman of course) by as cheerful and helpful a bunch of staff and volunteers as you could wish for. Our recent personal experience is that they’ll do anything for you there that they possibly can.

But I feel just a tad let down in the matter of the ticket. On my ticket I am described as Adult – 3rd Class. Now that amuses me and of course it represents the situation 60 or so years ago when railways had a third class. This is my recent ticket.

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No, I don’t feel too let down by being an Adult 3rd Class but I really would have liked a ticket appropriate to 60 years ago – the old standard style of ticket known as an Edmonson – the same as several of the tickets which have appeared on this blog.

Of course, tickets like this one no doubt come from machines which do all the accounting as well so I can see the advantage. But somehow this ticket doesn’t have the appeal or convenience of the Edmonson variety.

But of course, this is an incredibly minor niggle and I can tell you that Saturday 5th October 2013 was a steam gala day. There were four locos in steam and a simply superb day was organised. We managed to get hauled by three of the locos and, no doubt, I’ll describe more of the day at some time in the future.

Meanwhile, real thanks to all those staff and volunteers who gave us such a memorable day.

Then and Now on the Isle of Wight

October 17, 2013

It was almost a year ago that this blog was about a very special day – the day I took my mum to the Isle of Wight and was able to get her onto the footplate of one of the Isle of Wight railway locomotives. I make no excuse for showing this photo again.

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This was at the magnificent Ventnor station in August 1965. My mum was ill but still well enough for a day out and she was thrilled.

Just recently my wife and I spent a few days in the Isle of Wight where I still like visiting Ventnor, albeit the railway closed in 1966. Perchance, our driving out of town took us past the station site and I took a look. It wasn’t really in my mind to create a then and now shot, but one of my pictures matched the old one quite well.

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The area is now a light industry or trading estate. Ahead is the old railway tunnel mouth. It is now bricked up. The concrete silo thing on the left would prevent an identical view being taken but it must be roughly where the train stood in 1965. Compared with back then, it is a sad place which has had the character ripped out of it in the name of progress. But there are still little oddities to bring a smile.

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The station site had caves cut into the chalk face. They are still there and clearly still in use.

And now to a totally different ‘now’ photo. This one was an attempt to match my 1965 photo, but in a different location – Havenstreet, headquarters of the Isle of Wight steam railway.

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The engine isn’t the same one. Back in 1965 number W28 ‘Ashey’ provided the motive power. This one is W24 ‘Calbourne’. But they are sisters and alike as peas in a pod. I should say they were, for Calbourne is the only survivor of the class. I was delighted to be hauled by her on the steam railway. It provided a genuine bit of nostalgia for me.

Back in 1965 nobody wanted the filthy, unsocial job of being an engine cleaner. Ashey looks grubby in the old photo. These days, volunteers do the job for fun and Calbourne looks resplendent in, essentially, the same livery of lined black.

Also resplendent is my lady on the footplate. This time it is my wife.

I’ll commend the Isle of Wight Steam Railway for all sorts of reasons. But here I’ll mention friendly, beyond the call of duty helpful volunteers and staff.