A special gala weekend featuring our Island heritage locomotives in action.
Celebrating the Bembridge & Freshwater branch lines
The short 2¾ mile branch from Brading to Bembridge was opened on 27th May 1882. It came about as a direct result of plans to reclaim Brading marshes, the railway utilising an embankment for part of its length. A quay complex was also constructed at St Helens and for about four years a train ferry operated from Langstone on the mainland. The line was absorbed by the Isle of Wight Railway in 1898 and finally closed on 21st September 1953.
The longer line to Freshwater opened to passengers on 11 July 1889 to serve the sparsely populated West Wight. The line was mainly a speculative venture in the hope that new ferry routes and a Solent rail tunnel would emerge in their area. The line was never busy and eventually closed on 21st September 1953.
This weekend features two historic Island locomotives in action. Look out for W11 (Newport), one of our 'Terrier' locomotives which were a common sight on the Island's branch lines until the 1940s. These handing over the reins to the Class O2 locomotives, such as our own W24 Calbourne which will also be steaming throughout the weekend.
W11 (Newport) will be hauling its last public trains before it is withdrawn from service at the end of its boiler certificate - catch the locomotive in steam while you can.
With a busy timetable there'll be plenty of action around the Railway.
This event is sponsored by Wightlink