Isle of Wight

Model Rail (UK) - - Masterplan Dramatic Lines -

The rail­ways of the Isle of Wight had their own unique style, al­most as unique as those of the Isle of Man, de­spite be­ing stan­dard gauge and part of Bri­tish Rail­ways. Even to­day, trav­el­ling on the is­land’s rail­ways feels like you’ve gone back in time by 50 years or so. The key rail­way fea­tures are well known – the pier, Ryde St John’s Road works, the tiny turntable at Bem­bridge and Vent­nor sta­tion’s tun­nel mouth. I also sus­pect that few will be unaware of how the rail­way threads its way through the town of Ryde. Ryde St John’s Road works is on the south­ern edge of the town. Head­ing north, trains gen­tly snake past the bus garage (curved to fol­low the line of the rail­way) be­fore dis­ap­pear­ing into Ryde tun­nel and emerg­ing just shy of Ryde Es­planade sta­tion. The line curves sharply right and the fi­nal half-mile to Pier Head sta­tion is above the sea. This ar­range­ment has in­spired the fol­low­ing con­cept. There is no track plan. I’ve de­cided to of­fer a base­board schematic and a pho­to­graphic study of the pier for con­struc­tional pur­poses. The dropped base­board sec­tions en­able the dra­matic pier struc­ture to be mod­elled. The lay­out is de­signed to oc­cupy a space of 16ft by 6ft (pos­si­bly in an 18ft by 8ft garage). For an ex­hi­bi­tion, the lay­out could be de­signed to fit in a min­i­mum space of 24ft by 10ft. Wher­ever pos­si­ble, boards are matched into pairs for ease of trans­port and, with a few ex­cep­tions, all are 4ft long or less. Fo­cus­ing on the rail­way el­e­ment alone, I’ve cho­sen to omit the tramway and pub­lic piers. Those with more space may wish to add ei­ther – or both.


Right: Turn­ing the other way from Ryde Es­planade, the line de­scends into Ryde tun­nel. The trackbed was raised when the line was elec­tri­fied, which sets con­sid­er­able lim­its on the choice of re­place­ment rolling stock. Above: ‘O2’ No. W36 Caris­brooke awaits de­par­ture from Ryde Pier Head sta­tion on July 3 1960. The track in the fore­ground be­longs to the tramway, now dis­used, as is the sec­ond rail­way track along the pier.

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