Real life has got a bit in the way of writing about our trip to the Isle of Wight last month, but there’s still plenty more to share with you.
My inner train geek has wanted to go to the Isle of Wight for years for the simple reason of wanting to take a trip on the Island Line. Many people may not realise that the Isle of Wight has its own little railway, but it does. Running from Ryde Pier Head (where you connect with the ferry to Portsmouth Harbour) the route is just 8 and a half miles from there to Shanklin, but the route itself isn’t the most exciting bit about this particular train ride.
The rolling stock is what really makes this little route interesting. Although the route is run by South West Trains as part of their franchise the rolling stock is very different to what you see across the rest of their route. In fact these trains are one that millions of London commuters have probably travelled on already as they have all come to the Island after a previous career on the London Underground. All the London Underground 1938 stock used on the Island Line came over by 1992 and the main reason these trains are used is because the ceiling of the Ryde tunnel is 10 inches too low for “normal” National Rail rolling stock.
As someone who has commuted for years in London it certainly feels really strange to be sat on these familiar feeling carriages in very different places. Going along the Ryde Pier in particular was strange; the Solent to both sides yet you could easily feel like you were just heading across London. With the added bonus of being able to watch the hovercraft!
Close your eyes and the rhythm and feel of the train is also exactly the same as in London too.
Not only did the kids enjoy the trip to Shanklin, but it made my inner train geek happy.