|An ‘Island in Steam’
A superb archive film journey across the Isle of Wight’s railway system in 1965 – in colour and featuring the two lines remaining to Ventnor and Cowes from Ryde.
The railways of the Isle of Wight were unique. From small beginnings as long ago as 1864, the system blossomed into a 58-mile network – much of it single track – that was operated until the end by antiquated locomotives and rolling stock pensioned-off from more rigorous duties on the mainland. By 1960, this bustling network had been reduced to just two lines – from Ryde to Sandown, Shanklin & Ventnor, and also across the Island to Newport & Cowes – and the infamous Beeching Report published in 1963 presaged the complete abandonment of these lines too.
Shot during the Spring and early Summer of 1965 – the last full summer season of steam working on both the Ventnor and Cowes lines – “Island In Steam” brings together in a coherent visual narrative what is now a unique record of the past. The presentation on this DVD is compiled entirely from their films and features not only detailed journeys both to Ventnor and to Cowes from Ryde, shot from the lineside and also on the trains, but includes additional coverage of less conspicuous operations such as freight and parcels working and behind-the-scenes activities at Ryde MPD and Works. There is a conscious emphasis throughout the films on the techniques of signalling and train operation on what were, during the summer months, intensively worked single-line sections, where even a small delay could have significant repercussions for following services.
Duration 60 minutes