TWIN DISC SET
Until well into the twentieth century, the Isle of Wight boasted a railway system of fifty-five miles, run by several small individual companies usually cash-strapped and relying on second-hand locomotives and rolling stock ‘cascaded’ from the mainland.
As the years went by these companies became amalgamated, but chronic shortages of money persisted; once cars and buses had become commonplace, passenger traffic was sparse outside the high holiday season and so the antique character of these rural lines carried through to the present day.
The island’s ‘main’ line is still a part of the national network and relies on electric units dating back to pre-war days. Meanwhile, a restored five-mile heritage line operates a wonderful collection of restored steam locomotives and carriages from the island’s Victorian heyday; were it not for its offshore location, this line would surely be far more widely known and celebrated than it is.
Fine footage of all these lines, by the lineside and behind the scenes, is a highlight of this programme which is presented by BBC Antiques Roadshow’s Paul Atterbury. Paul knew the island from childhood and finds its railways today a wonderful and unique slice of transport heritage ? a living antique show in its own right.
This programme has been made with the full co-operation and involvement of the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.
ALL CHANGE FOR THE ISLE OF WIGHT
This programme follows the adventures of an imaginary steam enthusiast who goes to the Isle of Wight in the last months of steam on the iconic Isle of Wight railway system in late 1966. Naturally, he goes via Lymington to enjoy steam on the “Last Steam Branch Line” from Brockenhurst and then on the Paddle Vessel “Farringford” to Yarmouth. Making his way to Ryde via the Island buses as the Cowes line was already shut he catches a steam train from Ryde Pier Head after viewing one of the remaining Paddle Steamers that plied the Portsmouth to Ryde route. All along the way from Pier Head to Shanklin there is evidence of the drastic changes afoot as the line is prepared for electrification and we end with scenes of the last days of steam with strange workings such as top and tailed steam from Ryde Esplanade, wrong line working and, most ominously, ex-LT electric units awaiting the End of Steam.
Enjoy this second disc with 100% archive film of the railways of the Isle of Wight. The many rare views and long lost railway action depicted in this film does not appear in Disc 1 and has not been released on video previously.