Isle of Wight Rail­way rolls out its ‘Grand Plan’

Steam Railway (UK) - - Steam News -

Hav­ing en­joyed an “ex­cep­tion­ally good” year in 2016, the Isle of Wight Steam Rail­way is to put it­self on a strong foot­ing for the fu­ture, with dra­matic im­prove­ments to both the pub­lic and engi­neer­ing fa­cil­i­ties at Haven­street. A new visi­tor en­trance, and an up­graded work­shop, are two pro­pos­als first put for­ward in the rail­way’s ‘Strate­gic Vi­sion’ of 2009, which will now go ahead in what IoWSR Gen­eral Man­ager Peter Vail de­scribes as a ‘Grand Plan’ for the line’s head­quar­ters. The new en­trance build­ing will in­cor­po­rate a book­ing hall, toi­lets and a shop, as well as the rail­way’s ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fices - thereby re­plac­ing the tem­po­rary build­ing that cur­rently houses the lat­ter. On the foot­print of this struc­ture, it is planned to cre­ate an ex­hi­bi­tion, dis­play and ed­u­ca­tional fa­cil­ity, while other plans in­clude an en­hanced cater­ing fa­cil­ity and per­ma­nent cov­ered space for events, to re­duce the use of mar­quees. A new one or two-road heavy engi­neer­ing fa­cil­ity, in­cor­po­rat­ing pub­lic ac­cess (pos­si­bly by way of a view­ing gallery) is planned for the area known as Grif­fin’s Field ad­ja­cent to Train Story, the £1.2 mil­lion rolling stock stor­age fa­cil­ity. The ex­ist­ing lo­co­mo­tive works will then be­come a run­ning shed. In ad­di­tion, the rail­way aims to cre­ate a pur­pose-built mu­seum to com­ple­ment Train Story, dis­play­ing items that are cur­rently in stor­age. Sources of grant fund­ing are be­ing ex­plored for the ex­pected to­tal cost of up to £5m, while a sum “in the re­gion of £400,000” is avail­able to di­vide be­tween the new engi­neer­ing build­ing and the planned restora­tion of LBSCR ‘E1’ 0-6-0T No. W2 Yar­mouth. Sim­i­larly, a short­age of rolling stock - with three of its SECR bo­gie coaches out of ac­tion for repairs to cor­roded un­der­frames - has prompted the em­ploy­ment of a full-time fit­ter and an ap­pren­tice in the Car­riage & Wagon shops. Said Peter: “The busi­ness is grow­ing all the time - we’ve had an ex­cep­tion­ally good year, with in­come up 14% on 2015, which was it­self a record year - and we’ve got to gear the lo­co­mo­tives and stock to­wards that.”

MARK V. PIKE

Wear­ing ‘The Tourist’ head­board (a semi-fast through train from Vent­nor to Fresh­wa­ter in­tro­duced in 1933) ‘O2’ No. W24 Cal­bourne passes through Haven­street sta­tion non-stop with the 12.59 Small­brook Junc­tion-Wootton train on Au­gust 27 2013.

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