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Sunday 19 March

THE TRAIN RIDE

Ashey

Despite the small size of the village of Ashey its station was surprisingly grand. The station house and remains of the original platform can be seen to the right of the line. This platform was abandoned by British Railways due to excessive subsidence. Its replacement, a basic brick-built shelter, was constructed on firmer ground on the opposite side of the line. This is the platform used by Isle of Wight Steam Railway trains today.

Trains call by request at Ashey Station, its rural location making it an ideal location for a stroll in the country or a family picnic and it offers excellent opportunities to photograph the passing trains. As the train pulls away from the station the fields that can be seen to the left were once the location of Ashey Racecourse. The horse racing tradition is continued to this day with the staging of the Ashey Scurry and Isle of Wight Grand National each March. A special train service is provided by the Steam Railway on what is this normally peaceful rural station's busiest day of the year.
Invincible leaving Ashey Station
ashey1
As the train passes Ashey Station Crossing a glance to the left will reveal the course of the long abandoned quarry siding; a low embankment can be seen passing through a small copse then the curving hedgerow guides the eye along the alignment to the chalk scar of the former quarry high up on the downs. The train continues its descent towards Havenstreet through open fields with superb views of the distant downs.

The Driver whistles for Ashey Grounds foot crossing, often used by walkers and horse-riders, just before the line levels out at Rowlands Woods, home to buzzards and red squirrels. The Havenstreet Down Distant signal is seen and, with a long blast on the whistle, we pass under Rowlands Lane Bridge, down and out of the woodland. On one side we see the village of Havenstreet winding its way up the hill, while on the other there are glimpses across the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty towards Ashey Downs.

On a steeply falling gradient the Havenstreet Down Outer Home signal is passed, the train slowing, heading on towards the Home signals. These are mounted on a bracket post once located at Sandown Station. Soon we are over a bridge and into Havenstreet Station.
Ashey Station
Ashey Station
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