Upon opening in 1864, the Isle of Wight Railway bought coaches from the Oldbury Railway Carriage and Wagon Company for its line from Ryde to Shanklin. These were some of the very few carriages built new for the Isle of Wight; second-hand rolling stock from the mainland being the norm. Remarkably a number of these carriages survive, and our long-term aim is restore a complete train from this era.
Carriage No. 10 is a 3-compartment composite, one of 24 built in 1864 for the Ryde to Shanklin line. It has a large central First Class compartment flanked by two Second Class compartments.
The roof profile is almost flat and lighting was by oil lamp. The carriage survived to be fitted with electric lights and was withdrawn in 1923. A new life as a garden chalet at Bembridge followed. It was donated to the Wight Locomotive Society and was moved to Havenstreet in 1983.
In 2017 it was restored as part of the Great Rail Restorations TV series hosted by broadcaster Peter Snow, and aired on Channel 4. Unlike our other 4-wheel carriages it now sits on a new wooden underframe. Our Oldbury coach is usually seen in our Train Story Discovery Centre, but runs on the line during special events.
The second Oldbury coach, number 21, is now being restored in our Carriage & Wagon workshop. After withdrawal from passenger service, the body was sold and became a garden shed near Yarmouth, and was donated to the Railway in 1980. This carriage has three equally sized First Class compartments, and when complete, will be a splendid addition to our fleet.
A principle of carriage restoration is to salvage and reuse as much original material as possible, even if timber ends up being used somewhere other than in its original location. Our skilled craftsmen had to rebuild much of the wooden frame to ensure that this was structurally sound.
When complete the body will sit on a wooden glue-laminated underframe that was ordered when we rebuilt coach 10. We still need to purchase (or make ourselves) most of the metal components. Hopefully IWR First 21 can join its sister in revenue-earning service in 2022.
Future restoration projects
The railway also owns four further carriage bodies that we aim to restore, with the eventual aim of having a complete train from this era. We’re not aware of any surviving Oldbury brake carriages, so we’ll need to build replica so that we can run a complete train. Invariable the speed of progress will be determined by the availability of funds and volunteer time.
Unknown number (from 5-8 batch), Four-compartment Second Class, Built 1864
Number35?, Four-compartment Second Class, Built 1875
Number 38, Composite with First and Second Class compartments, Built 1882
Number 39, Four-compartment Second Class, Built 1882