26th February 2020 · Island Treasures – Railways of the Isle of Wight

Presenter: Colin Brading

The lure of the Isle of Wight attracted a bumper audience to County Hall. Colin began by explaining the unique geography of the area and how the Island railways developed as part of the trade routes from the mainland, to the ports of Cowes, Ryde,and Yarmouth. Images of the ferries crossing the Solent brought back memories of childhood holidays.

Colin guided us around the Island line by line, the first opening to passengers from Cowes to Newport in 1862. The scene set with maps and an array of images, not only of the locomotives and rolling stock, but also the stations and frastructure. Many images of the fondly remembered class O2 locomotives were included.

55 miles of railway began to decline when the first line was closed in 1952, difficult to believe the only remaining line between Ryde Pier and Shanklin has been served by ex London Underground tube stock for over half a century. Many images from this latter period, followed by an extensive tour around the Isle of Wight Steam Railway and their headquarters at Havenstreet, concluded an extensive view of the Island railways.

A superb presentation, including around 300 images, and a continuous detailed commentary of accompanying facts and anecdotes, for which we thank Colin very much indeed.