Phil Barnes and his wife report from this year’s very enjoyable Isle of Wight Steam Railway & Transport Rally.
Part of our ‘staycation’ this year was spent visiting the Isle of Wight Steam Railway where, in early September, we enjoyed a couple of return journeys along the 5.5-mile line, and then the added bonus of a transport rally being organised in the field next to Haven Street station.
There was an interesting variety of vehicles on display at this rally, ranging from vintage cars, motorbikes and commercials, to a few custom cars, American cars and some Harley Davidsons! Not to be out done by all these internal combustion machines, road steam was represented by two rollers and a Sentinel steam wagon, which wasn’t in the best position for photography.
However, the two rollers were nicely sited against the side of the field, and were photographed basking in the afternoon sun. These machines were the 1923 Aveling & Porter 10-ton roller (No. 10556), Majesty, and the Wallis & Steevens Advance roller (No. 7935) dating from 1927. Interestingly, at the end of the day, the A&P was covered up where it had been displayed, while the Wallis was seen heading off south along Main Road.
Additionally, the steam waggon left the site, along with the Southern Vectis Bristol Lodekka LD6G (No. 563) which was caught on camera at the end of the day.
Moving back to the railway, and with a good array of compartment stock in use, it was very easy to social-distance in these Covid-19 times. Passengers were shown to – and escorted from – their allotted compartments by station staff. The service on the Sunday consisted of nine round trips, originating from Haven Street, and was worked by locomotives 41313 and W11.
Fortunately, some of the other attractions were open, and these included the Train Story Discovery Centre, where Phil found a couple of real one-offs; E1, (No. W2) ‘Yarmouth’ of 1877 (formerly 110 Burgundy), and the 1911 electric tramcar body which was built by Pollards of Ryde, on an earlier chassis.
This vehicle came out of pier tramway service in 1927, but saw further use as a holiday chalet and chicken coop, before being rescued in 1978 and restored. It now forms part of a display advertising that a replica Drewry i/c railcar is being built at Alan Keef’s works, using parts of the original railcar number 2, to bring back to life the story of the pier tramway operation, which ceased in 1969.
In wrapping up, this event was very well attended with many staff on hand to ensure that visitors had a safe and enjoyable time.
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