Haven Street – The Isle of Wight Steam Railway
We got there in the morning and treated ourselves to first class tickets on this stunning time machine back to the early 1900’s. The staff, all volunteers, dressed in period uniforms, the trains and carriages meticulously restored to their prime. The first class tickets gained us access to our own time capsule with breathtaking attention to detail, enough to keep any vintage enthusiast happily in their element for the duration. The locomotives departing from Haven Street travel up an original section of Isle of Wight Railway line, through beautiful countryside giving an exact experience of what it was like when it was the chosen method of transport. That’s the beauty for me, no modernisation, no obvious health and safety upgrades, nothing to faultier the feeling of pure history. The trains stop at each end of the 5 mile trip giving you plenty of rail time and enough at each station to wander round and soak in the atmosphere. Even the stations are an exact copy of the original platforms from the early 1900’s right down to the advertising posters and signs on the wall. Along with the train ride itself there are a series of restored engine sheds housing a lottery funded exhibition with engines and carriages being restored along with a multimedia history of the place.
The highlight has to be the staff though, they all go out of their way to add to an already positive experience and should be applauded for the hard work they put in as volunteers, all obviously enjoying their work immensely as they welcome you aboard.
You can find out more including the train timetable on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway Website