The Isle of Wight Steam Railway is a heritage railway on the Isle of Wight. The railway passes through 5.5 miles (8.9 km) of unspoiled countryside from Smallbrook Junction to Wootton station, passing through the small village of Havenstreet, where the line has a station, headquarters and a depot. At Smallbrook Junction, the steam railway connects with the Island Line. The railway is owned and operated by the Isle of Wight Railway Co. Ltd. and run largely by volunteers. Services are operated on most days from June to September, together with selected days in April, May, and October and public holidays. The railway is popular with tourists, attracting people to its original steam locomotive and railway cafe. Over each August Bank Holiday weekend, the railway organises the Island Steam Show, which combines an intensive service on the railway with displays of various sorts of steam power including traction engines and steam fair equipment, together with other attractions that vary year by year. For events like steam galas and Day out with Thomas events, engines from the mainland have to be brought in by boat and then transferred to Havenstreet.
The Isle of Wight Steam Railway has an envied collection of steam locomotives, with three of the fleet having spent much of their working life of the railways of the Island. These engines are at the heart of their locomotive fleet, but are supplemented by additional, suitable locomotives to enable the Railway to provide a high level of service. Although advertised as the Isle of Wight Steam Railway there is also a small collection of Diesel locomotives, acquired either because they have an Island pedigree or to provide suitable motive power for works trains and shunting. The locomotive fleet is maintained in the Railways workshop at Havenstreet where a volunteer workforce supplements a small group of paid staff. The task of maintaining century old steam locomotives using almost forgotten engineering techniques is never ending, each steam locomotive requiring a complete strip-down for boiler overhaul and insurance examination after every 10 years of operation.
'Calbourne' was the first engine acquired by the embryonic Steam Railway in 1967 and the last survivor of a class that once numbered sixty strong. Originally constructed in 1891 at the Nine Elms locomotive works of the London and South Western Railway to a design by William Adams, Chief Mechanical Engineer. Her early years were spent based at Fratton and then Exeter, passing into the ownership of the Southern Railway in 1923. On 26 April 1925 she was shipped to the Isle of Wight as part of a major modernisation of the Island's railways. Various modifications were carried out including the fitting of Westinghouse air brake equipment and an extended coal bunker to increase her operational range. The O2 class proved ideal for the Island's railways and a total of 23 were eventually shipped to the Island. By the end of 1960 they were the only class of steam engine operating on the Island's rail network. Following the closures of the fifties and sixties the Island's remaining railway from Ryde Pier Head to Shanklin was electrified in early 1967 and 'Calbourne' was retained for engineers works trains before sale to the Wight Locomotive Society, the founding group of the present Isle of Wight Steam Railway. During the 1990s she was restored to early 1930s condition, wearing Southern Railway olive green livery and carrying an unmodified coal bunker.
A1X (Terrier) Class 0-6-0T NO.W8 'Freshwater'. A member of the famous 'Terrier' class, designed by William Stroudley. Built in 1876 at the Brighton works of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway she was originally numbered 46, carried the name 'Newington' and was based at Battersea in South London. In 1903 she was purchased by the London and South Western Railway to operate on the Lyme Regis branch line. In 1913 she was hired by the Freshwater, Yarmouth and Newport Railway and is believed to have arrived on the Isle of Wight on 25 June in the company of seven carriages. Purchase of the locomotive was completed by 1917 when she was repainted in a bright green livery and given the number 2. Passing to the ownership of the Southern Railway, acquiring the name 'Freshwater' and being renumbered W8 she continued to serve the Island's railways well until her next owner, British Railways, had her transferred back to the Mainland on 4 May 1949. The majority of her British Railways service was spent working the Hayling Island branch until withdrawal on 9 November 1963. She was then acquired by the Sadler Railcar Co., spending three years based at Droxford, Hampshire on the former Meon Valley line. Purchase by Brickwoods, the former Portsmouth brewery, was followed by a spell as a pub sign outside the Hayling Billy public house on Hayling Island.
W11 'Newport' can lay claim to being the most famous 'Terrier' of them all. She emerged from Brighton Works in 1878 and was originally numbered 40 and named 'Brighton'. She was selected by her designer, William Stroudley, to represent the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway at the Paris exhibition of that year. She made many trial runs in the Paris area in order to demonstrate the effectiveness of her Westinghouse air brake system. She was placed on display and awarded a gold medal for her design, workmanship and finish. On her return to England her tank sides were inscribed 'Gold Medal, Paris Exhibition, 1878'. She spent her early working life in the London area, based at Battersea Shed, followed in 1901 by a spell assisting with sea defence works at Newhaven. In 1901, having been declared surplus to requirements, she was purchased by the Isle of Wight Central Railway. As part of the deal she was overhauled at Brighton Works, repainted in IWCR livery and given the number 11. She was transferred to the Island on 8 January 1902, arriving at Medham, near Cowes. Passing into the ownership of the Southern Railway in 1923 she was renumbered as W11 and in 1930 was given the name 'Newport'. In April 1946 she was taken out of use and stored, being shipped back to the mainland on 22 February 1947, for overhaul at Eastleigh Works. Ownership changed again in 1948 to British Railways and she continued to be active along the South Coast working the Hayling Island branch, the Kent and East Sussex Railway and spells at Brighton, St Leonard's and Newhaven. Final withdrawal from service came on 27 September 1963, following which she was purchased by Sir Billy Butlin for display at one of his holiday camps. Repainted in a yellow livery, reminiscent of her original Stroudley 'Improved Engine Green' paintwork, she moved to North Wales and was displayed at Pwllheli Holiday Camp until 1973. Sir Peter Allen, a president of the Wight Locomotive Society at the time, had long hoped that a 'Terrier" would be able to return to the Island and was able to persuade Sir Billy Butlin to place W11 on a ten year loan to the Society. She left Pwllheli on 25 January 1973, arriving on the Isle of Wight two days later and moving to a new home at Ryde Works. It had been hoped that she would be restored at Ryde under the auspices of British Railways but problems arose and two years later, on 17 January 1975 she was moved to the base of the Isle of Wight Steam Railway at Havenstreet.
In British Railways livery as No.32110, on arrival at Havenstreet in October 2012. The E1 will assume the identity of W2 'Yarmouth' on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. A member of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway’s E1 Class, No.110 'Burgundy' emerged from Brighton Works in March 1877 and was allocated to Brighton depot. Built to the design of William Stroudley, the E1 0-6-0 tank locomotives were designed to fill the need for short-distance goods locomotives. A total of 78 locomotives of this class were built, with each named after places from all across Europe, as far away as Hungary. No.110 was built with a copper-capped chimney, crosshead water pump and wooden brake blocks and a boiler with a working pressure of 140 p.s.i. Around 1892, Westinghouse air brakes were fitted and by the mid 1890's No.110 was based at Three Bridges, Sussex. After 1905 No.110’s livery was changed from green to black and in 1923 it was taken into Southern Railway stock and renumbered B110. The engine was noted at Tonbridge during the summer of 1925. Withdrawn from service in February 1927, No.110 was then sold on 5th April of that year to the Cannock and Rugeley Colliery Company. A new boiler to a different design was made and fitted by Bagnalls of Stafford, resulting in a change of appearance (especially around the cab) and an increase in power due to an increased boiler pressure of 175p.s.i. At the Cannock Wood Colliery No.110 was renumbered as No. 9, using the inverted number plate from No. 6, an 1876 engine which had been sold. As CRC No.9 the engine gave many years of good service, latterly in black livery, and became a firm favourite with the CRC enginemen due to its superior power over more modern machines. It was used extensively on the trip workings to Hednesford Canal Basin and the Exchange sidings on the ex-London and North Western Railway’s Cannock to Rugeley line.
41313 is an example of the Class 2 2-6-2 tank locomotive designed for the London, Midland and Scottish Railway by George Ivatt. Construction of the class began in 1946 with No. 1200. Ten locomotives were completed before nationalisation of the railways in 1948, the remaining 120 being built by British Railways. Intended for light duties, the design incorporated labour saving features usually found on larger engines of the time, including hopper ashpans and rocking grates. The side tanks have a capacity of 1,350 gallons, and the bunker, which is sloped inwards to give a clear view to the rear, has a ladder giving access to the coal space, a feature directly influenced by American practice. One of a batch of twenty engines built at Crewe in 1952 to lot No.225, 41313 entered service at Brighton in May 1952 and after a month was reallocated to Exmouth Junction shed, displacing Drummond M7 tanks on local passenger work in the Exeter area. In April 1953 she moved to Three Bridges shed in West Sussex, but was there for only a matter of weeks before transfer to Faversham, Kent. In November 1959 41313 was sent to Eastleigh Works for a general repair and was subsequently reallocated to Barnstaple. In 1963 she returned to Brighton where work included passenger turns to Horsham and Guildford, shunting, parcels trains, and hauling the 'Lancing Belle' workmen's train to Lancing Carriage Works. In May 1964 she was sent to her final BR home, Eastleigh, and was withdrawn in June 1965. Sold to Woodham Brothers scrap merchants in February 1966, 41313 was towed to their yard at Barry Docks, South Wales, where it was to stay until purchase by the Ivatt Trust in 1975. Moved to the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre, Quainton Road, it was initially intended that 41313 would act as a source of spare parts for sister engine 41298, also owned by the trust. It was eventually decided that the engine should be restored to working order, the trustees choosing the Isle of Wight Steam Railway as a suitable location for their three Ivatt locomotives' future operation.
41298 is an example of the Class 2 2-6-2 tank locomotive designed for the London, Midland and Scottish Railway by George Ivatt. Construction of the class began in 1946 with No. 1200. Ten locomotives were completed before nationalisation of the railways in 1948, the remaining 120 being built by British Railways. Intended for light duties, the design incorporated labour saving features usually found on larger engines of the time, including hopper ashpans and rocking grates. 41298 was built at Crewe Works in 1951. Its first shed was Bricklayer's Arms on the Southern Region where it was mainly used on empty stock workings into and out of Victoria. In 1953 41298 was transferred to Devon for work on the branch lines around Barnstaple. Ten years later she was moved to Weymouth for employment on boat-train and local passenger turns. A final move took place in October 1966, this time to Nine Elms where her last few months in British Railways ownership were spent on empty stock workings as a station pilot. Steam working finished on the Southern Region in July 1967 and 41298 was purchased directly from BR by the Ivatt Locomotive Trust, still serviceable. 41298's first home in preservation was at the Longmoor Military Railway in Hampshire. When the military railway closed the locomotive was moved to Quainton Road, Buckinghamshire. It arrived on 12 December 1970 and a heavy overhaul commenced.
Hunslet Austerity 0-6-0ST Army NO.WD192 - 'Waggoner'. Built by the Hunslet Engine Co. as HE3792 it was delivered to the Army in January 1953 and was one of the very final batch of 14 locomotives of the 'Austerity' type to be ordered by the War Department. Numbered WD192 it was put to work on the Longmoor Military Railway in Hampshire. In July 1955 it was reported to be working at Histon and in May 1959 it was at Bicester. By May 1961 it was in store at the Royal Engineers Stores Depot, Long Marston, and in 1968 it was renumbered WD92 and named 'Waggoner' in recognition of its service with the Royal Corps of Transport. In April 1969 the locomotive was stored at P&EE Shoeburyness. 1974 saw No.92 transferred to Marchwood Military Port, Southampton, in order to work the internal passenger train service. It continued to work around the dock yard system until 1979 when its ten-yearly boiler overhaul was due. 'Waggoner' returned to Shoeburyness for the boiler work and a heavy overhaul, a boiler repair facility was maintained at Shoeburyness by the Army Railway Organisation in order to repair the steam cranes that were still in use on the ranges there. The overhaul included a repaint into Longmoor Military Railway Oxford Blue livery, with red lining. On being declared fit for use 'Waggoner' was, along with sister engine WD198 'Royal Engineer', passed into the care of the Royal Corps of Transport Institution which at that time had responsibility for historic Royal Corps of Transport artefacts. Agreement was reached that the loco be retained and used at Shoeburyness as a VIP train with the historic 'Kitchener' coach, the MOD paying for its continued use and insurance. It was seldom steamed and fortunately spent most of its time stored under cover.
'Waggoner's very last task at Shoeburyness was to move the Army's only surviving rail-borne gun, which had been parked on a short siding at Shoebury for many years. This 18" gun had a total weight estimated at about 180 tons and it was known that at least one of the axles had seized solid. Immediately forward of the gun position the siding ran across a level crossing, which was set in concrete. Due to the soft nature of the terrain, the track under the gun had sunk by at least a foot leaving a short, sharp climb up to the crossing. A pair of diesel locomotives had failed to budge this monster, but using a double coupling and full regulator, No.92 lifted the whole thing up and across the level crossing. Such is the power of steam! The Gun and its carriage were displayed for many years outside the Royal Artillery Barracks at Woolwich and has now been moved to the Royal School of Artillery at Larkhill in Wiltshire.In June 1984 'Waggoner' was taken to Rushmoor Arena, Aldershot for what proved to be the final Aldershot Army Show, where it was exhibited as part of the Royal Corps of Transport display. During the two-day show 'Waggoner' was kept in steam with the regulator handle bolted closed, the footplate being visited by over 50,000 people, most of whom contrived to blow the whistle!
The first railway on the Isle of Wight opened in 1862, linking Newport and Cowes. It became the nucleus of the Isle of Wight Central Railway. The line from Ryde to Newport was opened in 1875 and by 1890 the island was served by an extensive network of lines. However most of these lines were relatively poorly maintained and had a low level of traffic, reflecting the general isolation and poverty of the island. These factors meant that the island's railways could rarely afford to acquire new locomotives or rolling stock and instead relied on using already elderly equipment transferred from the mainland. Much of the equipment currently used on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway falls into this category, representing usage on the island in the early twentieth century but also the mid to late nineteenth century on the mainland.
The first railway closures on the Island were in 1952. Then in 1966 the Ryde–Newport–Cowes and Shanklin–Ventnor lines were closed. The last steam services on the island ran on the remaining Ryde to Shanklin line on 31 December 1966. However a small group of rail enthusiasts formed the Wight Locomotive Society and raised funds to preserve one of the last steam locomotives, W24 Calbourne, and a number of the remaining carriages. Then, in 1971, the Isle of Wight Railway Co Ltd was formed to buy the 1½-mile length of track between Wootton and Havenstreet. From that early beginning, the railway has been gradually extended from Havenstreet towards Ryde. In 1991 this extension reached Smallbrook Junction on the Ryde – Shanklin line, where a new interchange station was built there allowing passengers to interchange with Island Line trains. An extension of the line westwards from Wootton to Newport has been suggested in the past. It is unlikely that the full extent will ever be restored as there is now a road on the site of Newport station and houses have been built on another part of the former line. However a stretch of trackbed from Wootton to the outskirts of Newport at Halberry Lane is still free from development and could in theory be used in the future. Another possible extension is one from Smallbrook Junction to Ryde St John's Road station, using one of the two Island Line tracks on this stretch.
Customers in wheelchairs are very welcome on their railway, and the staff will always provide all possible assistance whenever required. Wheelchair access to the shop is possible, although circulation space is tight due to the presence of four pillars, and the museum is accessible via a ramp from the shop. Their Refreshment Rooms and Carriage and Wagon workshop are both wheelchair accessible. Their new TRAIN STORY Visitor Experience is easily accessible along its entire route with a Disabled Lift, accessible WC and baby change facilities. A disabled lift gives access from the lower lobby area to the upper. A ramp then joins up both the upper and lower platforms at the other end of the building giving easy access to the entire facility. Seating is also available midway between the Carriage and Wagon Workshops and the Train Story Building. Assistance dogs are welcome. Induction loops are available. There are toilet facilities available at all three of their stations.. Havenstreet: Disabled WC 1 is located just off the Station Yard area, near the entrance to the works yard and loco coaling stage (end of the Shop building) Disabled WC 2 is located in the Refreshment Rooms. Disabled WC3 is located in the lobby of the Train Story Building Other WC facilities (no disabled) are available in The Waiting Room adjacent to the Signal Box and on the Events Field. Baby Changing facilities: are available at disabled WC2 (Refreshment Rooms) and the Waiting Room adjacent to the Signal Box. Smallbrook: Disabled WC and baby changing facilities are located in the Waiting Room on the platform. Wootton: Disabled WC and baby changing facilities are located in the Waiting Room on the platform. Disabled visitors and their carers are e;igible for discounts.
Location : Isle of Wight Steam Railway, Havenstreet Station, Main Road, Havenstreet, Isle of Wight PO33 4DS
Transport : Smallbrook Junction (National Rail) via ferry. Bus Routes : Various at each stop
Opening Times : Please click here for a full timetable
Tickets Third Class : Adults £11.50; Dogs £3.00; Children (5 - 15) £6.00
Tickets First Class : Adults £18.50; Dogs £6.00; Children (5 - 15) £13.00
Tickets Non-Travel : Adults £5.00; Dogs Free; Children (5 - 15) Free
Tel. : 01983 882204