The IOWR runs for some five and a half miles through quite delightful scenery, from a shared station with the Island Line at Smallbrook Junction in the east to Wooton in the west, with a halt at Ashey and the Railway's main station and passing place at Haven Street. It is their hope that one day soon they will be able to reinstate the junction and once again run their trains into Ryde St. Johns (though not through the tunnel and on to the pier as the trackbed in the tunnel has been raised so that the loading gauge is now too small for their rolling stock).
Not only would "Birch Grove" be re-united with other ex-LBSC locos, but also an ex-LSWR Adams O2, along with various geriatric but lovingly cared for coaches originating from the LBSC, the LCDR, the NLR and the SECR. The following is a short photographic souvenier of her trip.
(1) "Birch Grove" being well cared for in the loco yard at Haven Street station,
the site of the IOWR's work and repair shops, on 18th August. Alongside her,
with her smokebox door open, is IOWR No.W11, "Newport", an ex-LBSC
Terrier built in 1878 and sister of our "Fenchurch" and "Stepney"
(2) Another view of her in the Haven Street Yard on the same day. In this shot
you can see the IOWR's other "Terrier", No.W8, "Freshwater" behind
(3) Getting down to business! Here is "Birch Grove" on a train at Haven Street on 19th August.
(4) ..... and facing the "right way" on the return journey.
(5) Out in the Country! "Birch Grove" and train in the sylvan landscape near Ashey Halt.
(6) .....and the return journey from Smallbrook Junc. captured near the same spot.
(7) Pulling away from Haven Street on a train for Wooton on Friday, 20th August.
(8) Arrival at Wooton the following Sunday, the second day of the IOWR's "Rail Gala Weekend". "Birch Grove", hauling the appropriately named "The Tourist", slows as she enters Wooton station with the 2.02 pm service from Smallbrook Junc. Her train consists of four coaches, No.4145 ex-SECR Brake Third of 1911, No.2416 ex-LBSC Third of 1916, No.6349 ex-SR Composite of 1924
(built to LBSC specification) and No.4149 ex-LBSC Brake Third, which is
also of 1911.
(9) Having run round her train, "Birch Grove" awaits departure time with the 2.27 pm service for Smallbrook Junc. The leading coach displays some destinations unfamiliar to our E4!
(10) At Haven Street later the same afternoon. "Birch Grove" is arriving with the 3.02 pm Smallbrook Junc. to Haven Street only, whilst "Newport" waits in
the Up Loop platform with the 2.57 pm from Wootton to Smallbrook Junc. The
large green pole that makes photographers' lives a nightmare is the support
for the Haven Street Water Tower! Between "Birch Grove" and "Newport" is the
Haven Street Level Crossing. The gates are open for "Birch Grove" to enter
the Down Loop platform, but closed in front of "Newport", whose stock is even
older than "Birch Grove's". She has behind her (but out of the picture!)
No.4112 ex LCDR Brake Third of 1898, No.6369 ex-LCDR Composite of
1887, No.6336 ex-NLR Composite of 1864 (the oldest coach on the island)
and finally No.2343 ex-LBSC Third of 1896. An average age of almost 113
(11) After the 3.15 pm departure of "Newport" and her train, "Freshwater" shunted "Birch Grove's" train from the Down Loop to the Up Loop, then "Birch Grove" came on the front to form the double-headed 3.45 pm departure for
Smallbrook Junc. The destination board proclaiming Wootton is obviously there to confuse any fifth columnists in the area!
(12) "Birch Grove" leads her smaller cousin into the platform upon arrival at
(13) Having run round their train, "Freshwater" and "Birch Grove" are just
departing with the 4.02 pm service to Wootton.
If you would like to see further pictures of "Birch Grove" in the Isle of Wight you can access them on Lewis Nodes' website.
Or click here for further details of the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.
Go to the Web Page for Birch Grove
Text Copyright © Peter Richards.
Photographs 1 to 7 © Lewis Nodes> and 8 to 13 © Peter Richards.
Credits and disclaimer.