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Isle of Wight Steam Railway


RCD’s Overview

This is one of the UK’s premier heritage lines and gets our very top rating.

The former railways of the Isle of Wight (of which just one remains open) were in many ways unique due to the particular requirements of operating a railway on a small island. This heritage railway is one of the most authentically preserved railways in the country, with most of its steam locomotives and its coaches having worked on the Island’s railway in pre-preservation days.  The distance of the line, at 5.5 miles, is not as extensive as some heritage railways, but any shortcomings in that regard are outweighed by its sheer character.

Havenstreet is the railway’s main station, and has picnic and play areas and a museum to visit. The Isle of Wight is just a short ferry ride from Portsmouth, and national rail trains take visitors directly from the pier to connect with the heritage line at Smallbrook Junction. The railway is a must see on any visit to the Isle of Wight, and indeed justifies a visit in itself.

The support group operates directly via membership of the Railway.


Happening This Month on the Railway

  • Go to 'Homepage' and click into 'Railway Club Calendar'

Key Facts (where and when)

Extent of Railway (where to where):

Smallbrook Junction (near Ryde) to Wootton

Principal Visitor Centre:

Havenstreet station (PO33 4DS)

Period of Operation*

- Late March: Trains run on a number of selected days

- April: Near Daily (save 9 or 10 varying days)

- May: Near Daily (except selected Mondays and Fridays)

- June, July and September: Near Daily (except selected Fridays)

- August: Daily

- October: Near Daily (except selected Mondays and Fridays)

- December: Special event trains

 [* This is a summary. Please go to the railway’s website for definitive operating days] 


Key Facts (what you’ll see)

Services usually steam or diesel?

Exclusively steam

Type of Steam / Diesel Locomotives Used:

Selection of steam locomotives including A1X Terriers and Ivatt tank engines (also heritage Drewry railcar)

Length of Line:

5.5 miles

Time taken for a round trip:

One hour

Number of trains per day:

5 to 9 in each direction

Number of Stations:

4 stations


Adult online: £22. Child online: £11. Family (2x4) online: £48

(Higher fares if bought on the day)

Time to allow for Visit:

Half day to full day


Yes, at Havenstreet Station. Also 'Train Story Discovery Centre'



Picnic/Play areas:

Yes, Train Story Discovery Centre, and Museum, at Havenstreet

Preservation Established:


Car Park Facilities:

At Havenstreet Station (free), limited parking at Wotton

Key Facts (Galas/Events/Dining)

Dining Trains:

- None currently advertised                                                                               

Event Trains:

- Santa Specials: December

- Mince Pie Specials: December post Xmas                                                                                               

Principal Galas:

- Festival of Transport: May

- Spring Gala: May/June

- Island Steam Fair: August

- Diesel Gala: September 


- Footplate Experience




Telephone:                                                           01983 882204


Social Media:                                              

                                                                              Also on Twitter/ Instagram/ YouTube



Brief History of the Railway and its Preservation  

The railways of the Isle of Wight were built by a number of different railway companies, three of which merged in 1887 to form the Isle of Wight Central Railway. It operated the line from Ryde to Newport which had opened in 1875. The low population of the Island meant comparatively low levels of traffic, and little investment was made until absorption of the entire network into Southern Railway at the 1923 Grouping. By the 1960s further investment in the network was necessary, and a decision was made to close all the Islands railways save the Ryde - Shanklin section which was to be electrified. The Ryde to Newport line closed in 1966. Preservation of the line was attempted almost immediately based at Newport, which was unsuccessful, but in 1971 a preservation group was formed to buy a short section of line from Wootton to Havenstreet. The railway then extended eastwards reaching Smallbrook Junction in 1991, where a new station was built with the still open Ryde - Shanklin line, enabling passengers to again reach Ryde and the resorts of Sandown and Shanklin.


Steam Operational Locomotives:

(1) LBSCR Class A1X ‘Terrier’ (Stroudley) - W11 ‘Newport’

(2) LSWR Class O2 (Adams) - W24 ‘Calbourne’

(3) LMS Class 2MT tank (Ivatt) - 41298

(4) LMS Class 2MT tank (Ivatt) - 41313

(5) Hunslet Austerity - WD198 ‘Royal Engineer’

(6) Hunslet Austerity - WD192 ‘Waggoner’

Also Drewry Car Co. (Southern Railways: diesel rail car operated at Ryde Pier) 'Railcar No. 2'

Steam Locomotives Under Overhaul:

(1) LBSCR Class A1X ‘Terrier’ Class (Stroudley) - W8 ‘Freshwater’

(2) LBSCR Class E1: W2 ‘Yarmouth’

(3) Hawthorn Leslie - W37 ‘Invincible’


Display or On Loan:

(1) Barclay ‘Ajax’ (on display)

(2) Metro Cammell London Underground ‘1938 stock’ 483007 (on display)

(3) Hunslet Austerity - 3850 ‘JUNO’ (out on loan)

(4) LMS Class 2MT tank (Ivatt) - 46447 (on long-term loan to East Somerset Railway)



Name of Support Group:

Isle of Wight Steam Railway has its own membership which provides support.

Annual membership fee (if paid by direct debit):

Adult: £35 Senior: £32 Junior: £15 Family (2x4): £70


Benefits of membership:                                  

-          Free admission to Havenstreet Station, the museum and visitor areas during normal opening hours

-          Three free tickets each year for train travel

-          Quarterly Magazine, ‘Island Rail News’


How to Join:                                       


What They Say About Volunteering:

Volunteers are the beating heart of our Railway. Our 400+ volunteers play a crucial role in looking after our visitors, maintaining our locomotives, carriages, stations and track in great condition, and operating the railway safely. Some of our volunteers have retired from full-time work and are seeking new ways to keep active and use their skills. Other spend time at the Railway at weekends or during holiday periods, and enjoy doing something completely different to their day job. We also welcome younger volunteers, generally from the age of 14.


How to Volunteer:                                   Go to


How to Donate:                                       Go to


WHY JOIN: With its large collection of locomotives and rolling stock, help is always needed to maintain this prestigious railway.


Those interested in this railway may also be interested in the following railway societies also listed on this



Traditional Railway Societies:

- Southern Railways Group


Model Railway Clubs:

- Isle of Wight Area Group ‘N’ Gauge Society

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