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Isle of Wight Steam Railway

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Freshwater, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. jma1009

    jma1009 Well-Known Member

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    I'm with Paul on all of this.

    The perhaps similar 'Haydock' at Penrhyn Castle is, via Don Bradley, (that I had to consult today as I had no recollection of the original 'Freshwater') a loco that only had a brief visit to the Isle of Wight as a contractor's loco on the FYR and then hauled a couple of passenger trains. It only spent a year or so on the Isle of Wight.

    As a possible copy of an Isle of Wight loco that spent a year or so on the Island when the FYR was being constructed, it merits but a footnote to most of us. Seems to me to be a bit of a perverse argument that 'Haydock' has anything more than other than but a tenuous and brief link to the Isle of Wight via the original 'Freshwater'.

    Cheers,

    Julian
     
  2. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    Quite. Anyway, the inevitable feasibility study will not only say 'no can do', but will waste a lot of money itself. If the government wanted to reopen lost railways, it would just get on and do it.
     
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  3. Alan Kebby

    Alan Kebby Member

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    I have to admit that as someone with a keen interest in railways of the Isle if Wight, this is the first I’ve heard of the original Freshwater. Yes it does seem a tenuous link, but if the IOWSR wants additional locos then that’s better than no link at all.

    The Ivatt tanks have a tenuous link to the Island, and the Austerities have no link at all. Being of a similar vintage, I’m sure Haydock would look much more at home hauling the IOWSR coaching stock than these more modern locomotives.

    Ideally of course we’d see a Beyer Peacock return to the Isle of Wight. At the moment sadly Australia says no!

    One thing I’ve often wondered. Do any Manning Wardles similar to the FYNR’s Medina survive anywhere?
     
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  4. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    If the IoWSR are going to restore the loco (either cosmetically or as a runner), then good on them. Anyway, he who pays the piper calls the tune.
     
  5. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    ... and I should go on to say that the bus services in IoW do a great job. If you reopened the railway into Newport, you'd have to evict the steam railway operation in order to run a proper public transport service between Ryde and Newport that would have any chance of competing with bus journey times and frequency. Perhaps build a double track as well. What would be the point? It is not as if there is a massive amount of freight traffic needing a rail connection out of Newport. The IoWSR is a very well run and successful tourist attraction that I imagine brings a lot of money into the island - certainly it inspires me to make an annual visit, and to stay in hotels and eat in restaurants etc. Sorry, but for railways and public transport, the IoW has got things about right as it is.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2020
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  6. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    On a purely personal basis, the only thing I would add is that the IOWSR owns the freehold of its land so there is no question of "evict".
     
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  7. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad to see that. I suppose that a determined authority wanting to rebuild the line into Newport could get a compulsory purchase order. I certainly wouldn't want to see that happen. Some routes like Bere Alston to Okehampton, or indeed Lewes to Uckfield (involving the Lavender Railway) need to be rebuilt as part of the strategic national network, and some use of compulsory purchase legislation might be required, but Newport (I.o.W) doesn't come within that category. Let that be quickly kicked into the long grass!
     
  8. Kingscross

    Kingscross New Member

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    Warwickshire - the Manning Wardle that's under overhaul at the Severn Valley - isn't quite the same class as Medina (a MW Q class), but according to the SVR wiki is visually similar. I'm sure someone with greater knowledge than I will be able to point out the differences! See https://www.svrwiki.com/2047_Warwickshire
     
  9. Kingscross

    Kingscross New Member

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    I can't see the IOWSR being able to share a formation with a modern service on a practical level. If there is a magic money tree, perhaps a new service could use the old formation from Newport to Wootton then join the A3054 as a tram, running to Ryde via Fishbourne?
     
  10. DcB

    DcB New Member

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    From Seely "I am very keen to explore how we can continue to progress their plans to return steam trains to Ryde St Johns and – in due course – see them running into Newport as well."
    Does look like they are after some of the currently available Government funds as a potential grant to extend the Railway and add some suitable heritage rolling stock, rather than an eviction?

    Guess the feasabilty study will look if the IWSR''s increased operating costs on a longer line are balanced by the increase of lesuire use with the new Harbour development where the proposed new station might be?

    Also does say "if – the existing route between Smallbrook and Wootton could be utilised for public passenger services, alongside its existing use".
    But is an "if" and could just mean an off peak diesel service like a lot of heritage lines do?
     
  11. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Surely any talk of extension of public (as opposed to heritage) rail on the Isle of Wight is all bonkers, since the scale simply doesn’t work for working-age commuters; and for pensioners, any rail expansion straight away has to overcome the hurdle that pensioners get free bus travel, so what entices then to use a train instead that they have to pay for?

    Tom
     
  12. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    But there would be the question of compensation, for both assets and lost business. Whilst I can't say for certain, my guess would be the permanent loss of the amount the IWSR contributes to the local economy, every year, would be dwarfed by the ongoing subsidies (however the powers that be choose to camouflage 'em) to operate the Newport line commercially. Fishbourne ferry terminal and Cowes still nowhere near the trains .... ought to work really well. Not!

    How about 'compensating' the IWSR with ..... ooh, let's see (it's only taxpayers' money, after all) ...... how about a stretch of the FYN trackbed? How long before some clown decides to pile in with a bright idea to reconnect the Lymington - Yarmouth ferry to tbe network (leaving aside the inconvenient fact the railway was on the other side of Yarmouth to the terminal)? Perhaps then we could see steam trains on some nice new formation from Freshwater to Totlnd Bay and The Needles? That ought to go down well locally.

    If you get the impression I think the whole thing completely ridiculous, congratulations .... you'd be right! :Meh:
     
  13. Alan Kebby

    Alan Kebby Member

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    Compulsory purchase order would be the correct term.

    Having normal services sharing the single line with the steam services would be pretty much unworkable. Adding a second track, or providing the IOWSR with enough compensation to up sticks and rebuild a line and facilities elsewhere would be prohibitively expensive.

    I think any feasibility study would come to the conclusion that it’s not feasible.
     
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  14. Big Al

    Big Al Resident of Nat Pres Staff Member Moderator

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    ........for example, Kingscote to East Grinstead.
     
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  15. Paulthehitch

    Paulthehitch Member

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    Sorry but if there was ever any 21carat proof that this proposal is 100% WIBN it comes in the statement "add some suitable heritage rolling stock". There is none and the average time for rescuing a grounded body is 4 years plus a lot of money. Those who describe the proposal as "bonkers" or "ridiculous" are being rather polite.
     
  16. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Where there is a will, a way will be found, It may well be that its decided an extension to Newport will not meet best value, but it is one of the IOWSR'S long term aims, and if a grant helps to make it happen sooner than later, you don't refuse help, I fully agree it will put pressure on departments, but at the same time, people find a way to cope with the extra demand, you did it before, you will do it again, and this time your in a better position coach wise anyway, your not talking next year, or even the year after that, the track bed is protected, and if its part of a greater project, the costs may very well work out less, than if the IOWSR were doing this alone.
     
  17. D1039

    D1039 Well-Known Member

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    Presumably in the case of a reinsted public railway incorporating the route of an existing heritage railway, it would be as part of a Transport and Works Act Order.

    Patrick
     
  18. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I disagree. Experience elsewhere seems to be that if you extend in conjunction with the national network, or at the behest of a local council - even if it is purely in the context of running heritage services, such as the NYMR - it changes the character of the heritage line in quite significant ways. (*)

    The membership (**) of the IoWSR may come to a democratic decision that they desire to extend. Which is fine - but if it is worth doing at all, it is worth doing entirely on the terms of the heritage railway, even if doing so takes longer and costs more. Piggy-backing on someone else to accelerate a scheme will cost in unquantifiable ways in the future. The greatest strength of the IoWSR seems to me to be that they are masters of their own destiny in terms of land, infrastructure and rolling stock ownership; that is a hard-won benefit.

    (*) Reading between the lines of the Swanage / Wareham thread, I get an impression that running to Wareham seems to be primarily championed by those not directly at the operational coal face, with a distinct wariness from those more tightly involved in operations. That is an entirely external perspective, and I may be wrong.

    (**) Disclaimer: I am a member

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2020
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  19. 30854

    30854 Part of the furniture

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    I've never subscribed to the notion of an 'ideal length' for a heritage line. It's horses for courses. Isolation from the motorway network, never mind the mainland road network certainly is a relevant factor. That's just life.

    Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see steam trains on the outskirts of Newport, some day (somewhere with EV charge points attractive to folks holidaying in West Wight). Ditto Ryde*, making a round trip from 'somewhere to somewhere' a marketable possibility, but as @Paulthehitch rightly says, restoring sufficient stock to make such operation feasible takes time and money. Before you get even that far, so does digging out long abandoned formation, ahead of installing and maintaining the PW. It all also necessitates more staff. If it does eventually happen, t'ain't going to be any time soon.

    Thinking on it (and forgetting about the whole commercial services brouhaha - coz y'all already know my views on that), were an extension to somewhere east of Newport to become a reality, you've got to be looking at two four (preferably five) car service trains, with at least one serviceable spare carriage, which indicates a minimum of three reliable frontline locos (and staff to run and maintain it) at all times throughout peak season. That's not counting whatever happens to be withdrawn, at any given point, for planned maintenance.

    This is all on top of locos and stock in the throes of restoration from dereliction (or worse!). Due to Camelot's ongoing failure to get the damned lottery numbers right, I won't even mention newbuilds ... (whoops!). In the specific case of the IWSR, realistically, you're also looking at doing something (involving a lot of money) to mitigate the worst effects of that 'orrible geology, west of Wootton. That's a tall order, all the moreso given the line's isolation from 'over'.

    *preferably Pier Head, though I fully accept thems as has to deal with the inevitable resultant rust issues may have different views, concerning that particular aspiration!
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2020
  20. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Member

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    I think we should remember just how 'small' an organisation the IWSR actually is. Whilst I believe the railway is amongst the best in the business, we are limited by the nature of geography, with 75% of volunteers coming from the Island itself. The number of working volunteers is probably smaller than on other lines as a result, and more loco and carriage miles could put a strain on the team, as could the need to staff more stations. Anything that demanded a substantial increase in staff numbers would pose difficulty - indeed the number of two train service days now causes rostering headaches! As an engineman obviously more miles would be lovely, but extensions that forced a three train service - is that sustainable?

    I could see it being possible to run the mainline units on the IWSR, the hurdles being manageable if non-third rail (battery) trains were available, but would anyone want a 25mph trundle when the bus does it quicker?

    --These are just my thoughts, not in any way official.
     
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