Posts Tagged ‘Steam Railway’

An Isle of Wight Terrier

May 5, 2016

It had to come! Having been on the Isle of Wight recently and having visited the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, there was bound to be a post featuring my favourite steam locos, the old London, Brighton and South Coast terriers. With a choice of trains, really there was no choice for me. On another day the Mickey (already featured on this blog) would have been fantastic, but on this day the other train in service was terrier hauled and that is just heavenly as far as I am concerned. So let’s go for a ride behind W11.


That’s her, being prepared and clearly she has steam to spare at this time.

And here she is at Smallbrook Junction, running round the train.

image004At the moment Smallbrook Junction – never a station in ‘real’ times – is the limit for the steamers. You can change at this new station onto the electrified Ryde to Shanklin line.

Number W11 backed down onto our train.

image006And granddaughter and son got a quick visit to the footplate.

image008And here’s the loco arriving at Havenstreet with its magnificent Victorian carriages.

image010The coaches have been rescued from all sorts of locations – beach huts mainly, mounted on more modern frames and wheels. Brilliant stuff – really bringing the past to life. The Train Story display at Havenstreet gives an idea of the amount of restoration involved.

image012Yes, these will run again one day.



Micky on the Isle of Wight

April 27, 2016

Back in the late 1940s and into the 1950s a small tank engine was built for use on the railways of Britain. They were effective and useful engines that worked all over the place. Maybe they were deemed common and that earned them the nickname of Micky.

I recall travelling behind a Micky (more than once) on the Horsham to Brighton line. Actually I was a bit horrified by it for it purported to be an LMS engine – not native to my beloved Southern region. But at the time it would have been about a dozen years old and was more reliable and powerful than the Victorian locos it replaced.

In the mid 60s there were plans to send Mickys to the Isle of Wight to replace the even old Victorian locos still in use over there. Sad to say Dr Beeching and his political masters had other ideas and closed down most of what was left of the island’s rail network. The stub of a line that was left was electrified and ancient trains from London’s tube system were taken on to the island to run that line.

But now a Micky is in service on the Isle of Wight steam railway and a fine sight it makes at the head of carriages a good thirty or more years older than it.


And there we have Micky 41298 arriving at Havenstreet. The bit of engine we see in the yard is number 24, Calbourne – the type of loco the Micky might have replaced.

41298 may have been built at Crewe but she only operated on the Southern Region of British Railways. I never saw her in service then. She was based in North Devon – way out of my area.

We met the loco later as she approached Havenstreet again.

image004These days I’m very happy with the loco. She looks the part and she should have gone to the island 50 years ago.

Isle of Wight Carriages

July 14, 2015

One of the things I like about the Isle of Wight Steam Railway is that you get a history of the carriage you are travelling in. It takes the form of one of the carriage posters that trains used to have (and still do on many of the preserved railways. This was in the compartment I travelled in last month.

image002We’ll zoom in in just a tick, but let’s note first that this is one of three posters along each side of the carriage and we’ll also notice the net luggage rack above. As naughty youngsters we used to love clambering up into them.

That poster, handily, divides into three parts.


That’s quite a history for this carriage with frames that had seen World War One service in France given a 1922 body at the old LB and SCR works at Lancing. The carriage crossed the Solent to the island in 1938 and remained in service until running on the last steam hauled train on the last day of 1966. It has been based at Havenstreet on the heritage line since 1971 so it did 44 years as a ‘proper’ railway carriage and has now served 44 years in preservation.

Next to the carriage history is a Southern Railway safety notice.


This coach was operated by the Southern Railway from 1923 until 1948.

And the third section has information about the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.


I think the Isle of Wight Steam Railway have done a fantastic job. The train I travelled on in June 2015 could have come straight from the 1960s (or earlier). It was hauled by a loco that worked on the island in the 1960s and was composed entirely of carriages used 50 years ago as well. I know that at peak times the line can bring out its set of 4 wheeled coaches rebuilt from a very poor condition. Many of these old island coaches had ended their days as beach huts. I have featured one on this blog with a photo I took in 1969. Click here.

I’d add that the new ‘Train Story’ display, opened since my last visit in 2013, was fantastic. I might feature it at some point so I’ll say no more now.

Ruck the Truck

October 30, 2013

I have a grandson, aged 3 at the moment, who is absolutely besotted with Thomas the Tank Engine and friends. Recently, on our visit to the Isle of Wight Steam railway we came across a truck which carried the name Ruck – a significant name for Grandson. I wrote him a story, somewhat in the style of the Reverend Awdry who first wrote about his railway engines at about the time I was born. I wrote the words. Photographs were taken by me, my wife and the very kind guard who appears in one of the photos.

The story is 100% fictitious. No engine was ever pushed by trucks. No engine ever ended up in a bush. No trucks were ever told off or punished. I have promoted a Station Master at Wootton to the role of Controller – clearly a good and kindly one.

I hope you enjoy the story which ought to be one picture and text per page.

Ruck the Truck

This is the tale of Ruck. Ruck was a perfectly ordinary, if rather old, car truck.


I’m sorry to say he was not always as well behaved as he should have been and the Controller had to tell him off and teach him a lesson.


Ruck felt lucky. He had worked on the Island lines since he was only a lad and he liked the friendly, happy atmosphere. It was a holiday island and when Ruck was able to see the happy smiling children then he felt happy too.



Most of Ruck’s friends had been cut up when some of the railways were closed down by the bad Controller. But somehow Ruck had survived. He was useful and had the sad task of carrying scrap rails and trains away.

Eventually there was no more work and Ruck was just forgotten. He sat, quietly, on a siding, dreaming of happier times.



But then Ruck was saved by the good Controller who re-opened a length of railway so that the children could come and see what the railway used to be like.

Ruck wasn’t very important and for years he still sat in a siding awaiting his turn.

Eventually the railway had the engines and carriages it needed. Ruck and some of his friends were restored to working order. They had no real work to do but, on special days, they could remind people of what a goods train once looked like.



Ruck goes on a journey

One day Ruck was a part of a goods train. There were lots of visitors to see Ruck and he felt very happy.

Ruck and the trucks were to be pulled by a very old engine called Freshwater. Freshwater was a small engine and the trucks decided they could have some fun with him. They kept very quiet as Freshwater was coupled up.



Soon the train set off on a journey from Havenstreet to Wootton. Ruck saw the photographer and felt really proud.

‘He’s come to see me’, he chortled, as Freshwater hauled the trucks away.



Freshwater was happy, too, as he tugged the trucks away. Freshwater had always got on well with trucks and he was sure he could keep Ruck and the others under control.

‘Poop poop’, he said as he left the station and passed the yard.

‘’We’ll have you yet’, the trucks rattled in reply.



Arrival at Wootton

Freshwater worked hard and soon he arrived at the end of the line at Wootton.

It was quiet there and the trucks decided, with nobody about, they’d push hard.

Little Freshwater tried to stop the trucks but Ruck and the others kept pushing.



‘Stop, stop’, cried Freshwater.

But the trucks wouldn’t stop. They kept pushing Freshwater on.

Freshwater got worried, but nothing he could do made any difference.

‘Help, help’, he shrieked.

‘We’re going to push’, the trucks chortled in reply.

And they did.



By now the Controller knew something was wrong and came out to try to help.

But the trucks – Ruck and the others – kept pushing.



With a final effort, Freshwater just managed to stop with his front end nestling against some bushes.

‘Ooh! Er! Ouch!’ said Freshwater.

Oh how Ruck and the trucks all laughed!

The driver and fireman were all ready to jump as Freshwater screeched to a stop.



Ruck is told off

The Controller was not a happy man. He quickly established that Ruck was the ring leader. He stood over Ruck and told him he was a very troublesome truck.

‘Im s s sorry’, sobbed Ruck. ‘I felt so proud because the photographer took a photo of me. I felt I was more important than the engine or the whole railway’.



‘Well, they say pride comes before a fall’, said the Controller.’ It’s back to the sidings for you and the rest of the trucks and there you’ll stay until you have learned your lesson’.

‘Yes sir. Sorry sir’, said all the trucks, feeling very downcast.

By now Freshwater had sorted himself out and was ready to haul the trucks off to the siding.



The guard waved the ‘right away’ and Freshwater and the trucks moved off.

I don’t think the trucks will be in disgrace for long. They learn their lessons quickly and will be wiser and more careful in the future.

But for now it is time to say goodbye to Ruck and the other trucks.