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Thanks Peter. There is some lovely detail in those images valuable as a historical record an well as to modellers. Ventnor is still popular either as a location in its own right or as inspiration for fictitious places. I intend to make use of the essence of it (and the very similar Brighton Kemp Town) in my new layout.

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Many thanks for the appreciative reaction to the first half of this archive.

 

For the photographically-minded, my camera at that time was an Agfa Silette, no flash facility for dark interiors, but I did have an exposure meter (another obsolete item).

 

To carry on the tour:

 

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Fantastic archive pictures. There was a beautiful 2FS model of the station built some years ago. I think it featured in one of the BRM annuals but, being a cheapskate I usually read someone else's so don't have a copy to hand.

 

Jerry

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A lovely station and a shame it was closed. Ventnor is quite a busy town, was the reason for closure simply the cost of maintaing the tunnel under Bonniface down? I am also suprised the line to Newport and Cowes did not survive. Was traffic really insufficient between these two large towns to justify its retention?

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I had no idea so much was intact 5 years after closure! I was on the 'final' LCGB tour on New Years Eve 1966 to Shanklin, shame they didn't organise an optional bus trip to Ventnor!

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Ventnor has always been a superb subject of a model due in part to it having just about everything and being such a confined space. Some great photos with all those details largely missed by the average "spotting" photographer with only an interest in snapping their loco of interest. I wonder if others were also urged on by that contributor and never published the results?

 

Thanks for sharing.

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An excellent set of photos, thanks for posting them. I enjoyed seeing Ventnor station again even if the O2s had gone and their place taken by weeds. I remember seeing the 2mmFS layout at a show and being very impressed with the two O2 tanks that were running - very smooth and reliable. The owner showed me how he had achieved this - the frames built like a diesel, with two bogies.

 

Chaz

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Didn't it partially collapse, precipitating closure beyond Shanklin?

 

No IIRC its still intact and used by Southern Water as a conduit for water pipes and maybe even a source of water as the tunnel was always very wet due to it intercepting various underground springs (though not on the same scale as the Severn tunnel of course).

Over the years this fact has been used by some campaigning for the reinstatement of the railway (there was even a model showing a small platform shoehorned into the industrial estate covering the site). Unfortunatley other factors such as the redevelopment of Wroxall and the removal of a embankment at Shanklin put paid to this idea.

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Nothing wrong with Ventnor tunnel.

It is very much still in use by Southern Water, I believe a main electricity cable also now passes through it.

I did walk through it in the mid/late 1970s pushing a bicycle, (very dark), not much fun untangling a telephone cable or similar from the back wheel half way through with next to no light.

The 2mm Ventnor model is extremely good and the 02's a fantastic piece of scratchbuilding. It is now at Havenstreet as stated howvever not on view at the moment, a sealed display case is being made for it. Prodding fingers not wanted here.

 

Pete

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Experiencing some slight finger trouble, which brought my second part to an abrupt halt.

 

For the rest of the archive, however:

 

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Which completes my 1970 survey of Ventnor. I have intended to publish it for some time, and now might be particularly useful in view of the upcoming selection of r-t-r O2's.(Usual disclaimer).

 

So if it helps generate market interest, then all well and good. I would like to see a little more appropriate rolling stock, and even a resin r-t-p station building. My own Wessex-located model will double up as an Island location whenever an appropriate train leaves the fiddle yard.

 

Last but not least, the attic-raid that located these two rolls of film also unearthed three others of the Island at much the same period

 

PB

 

Thanks for posting these hauntingly evocative pictures of Ventnor. There are views of the buildings that I have never seen published in any books to my knowledge! I am a late convert to the delights of the IOWs steam era railway system but I have developed an enduring love for it and these pics although rather sad are a valuable record of the demise of that period. I'd love to see any other pics that you have from this era.

I am slowly building/collecting items of 7mm scale IOW stock but I doubt if I'll ever have the space for my own layout. Nice to dream though!!

Jon Fitness

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Excellent images Peter so thanks for posting them. I don't know if you got to the Island while it was still steam but they do bring back memories of the station in happier times. I think I only made it to Ventnor once, to do Ryde to Cowes and the whole of the Ventnor branch was a bit of a stretch though my Dad and I did manage it during a long day trip to the Island.

I'm a little surprised the track was still intact five years after closure. Beechinged branch lines were usually dismantled with indecent haste though the buildings generally survived for longer. It makes me wonder whether they were thinking of extending the electrified Island Line to Ventnor though the station's location a steep 300 feet and half a mile from the town centre and beach was a disadvantage. I walked the length of the line (apart from the tunnel of course) from its current terminus to Ventnor a few years ago. Ventnor did seem rather run down compared with Sandown or Shanklin and I've often wondered what the long term economic impact was on towns especially resorts like Ventnor, Swanage or Ilfracombe that lost their rail connection. Was it more than the losses the branches made?

 

The pictures show the goods shed very well and the interior shot is particularly useful. I only ever saw passenger trains on the Island so does anyone know when general goods and then coal traffic disappeared?

Edited by Pacific231G
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General goods traffic on the island was much reduced in the late 1930's when much incoming traffic was transferred to

road deliveries direct from Pickfords wharf at Cowes (then railway owned), Prior to this general goods came in

via St Helens Quay for rail delivery. Island originating general goods were relatively small business although trains of sugar beet carried in open wagons were run at harvest time.

Newspapers, parcels and mail was carried by rail until the end of steam however this used passenger rated vans

and/or the guards compartments of passenger trains.

Coal was landed at Medina Wharf, Cowes and was all carried by rail although some gas works etc had there

own wharfs for direct deliveries. Coal traffic gradually reduced as gas & electric became more widespread but

carried on into the 1960's, Cowes station received coal trains after closure until May 1966 and this may be the date public coal traffic ceased, by this date Ventnor had already closed.

Locomotive coal trains still ran from Medina Wharf to Ryde until the end of steam.

Medina Wharf was still the coal landing point after this date however a road had now been built to it and road haulage adopted.

 

Pete

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Excellent images Peter so thanks for posting them. I don't know if you got to the Island while it was still steam...............................

 

Thanks, David.

 

Taking just one question for the moment. I first got to the Island in September 1939 (in adult care) as an evacuee, some several days before the Declaration. As a babe-in-arms I was not quite up to trainspotting, but I know that my journey was behind steam from Ryde Pier Head to Newchurch Station for Knighton, where my cousins lived and where a cousin had been Station Master before Grouping.

 

My last Island Steam trip was on the night of 29th December 1962, when two newly weds caught the last train from Pier Head to Newport, before the Island (and the most of UK) was closed by the wrong kind of snow, and in drifts up to 2 metres high.

 

In between was the usual run of travelling activity, one exception being a Sunday afternoon walk through the closed Ventnor West Tunnel, circa 1958.

 

PB

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Peter,

 

As others have said, thanks for posting these fascinating pictures. You really did point the camera at so many features of the station which other photographers didn't bother with when it was still open. Incidentally, loved seeing a Renault Dauphine again and I was intrigued by the abandoned Hillman Husky and Vauxhall Wyvern(?) over by the caves.

I had a look at the site in July and noted that the caves are still in use for various businesses. By way of a contrast, here is a current view of the tunnel entrance:

 

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Neither station in Ventnor was in an ideal situation for the town and beach although I believe that some play was made of the fact that Ventnor West was lower down than the the IWR station without mentioning that it was still some 170' above sea level!

 

David

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Cowes station received coal trains after closure until May 1966 and this may be the date public coal traffic ceased, by this date Ventnor had already closed.

Locomotive coal trains still ran from Medina Wharf to Ryde until the end of steam.

Medina Wharf was still the coal landing point after this date however a road had now been built to it and road haulage adopted.

 

Pete

 

Thanks Pete that's really interesting and I had no idea coal trains were still operating till the end - though of course they must have been if only to supply the railway's own needs. I first visited the Island as a young child during a family holiday to Ryde in the mid 1950s. I can remember being very impressed by the four trains lined up at Pier Head and some very busy operation more like a suburban terminus than a country railway . I also like the pier tramway that took us to Esplanade but apart from that can only remember the rain pouring off the roof of the train to Sandown when we went there for the afternoon and trains running along the Ryde sea front also in the rain- typical British seaside holiday ! Much later the school railway society had a trip there a a year or two before the end of steam and I think we travelled round to Cowes and back with an hour or so visiting the sheds at St. John. By that time most steam on the mainland was pretty scruffy and run down but the Island locos were beautifully kept and the staff there had real pride in their railway. I did manage a second day trip there with my Dad a few months before closure and we did manage to travel to both Ventnor and Cowes. If any steam railway deserved to survive as a living museum it was that one.

Edited by Pacific231G
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Peters pictures have inspired me to get in touch with my family on the island to see if we have any photos of the early sixtys. Myself I am from Lake Sandown and used to use the line frequently.

 

But what memories I have, it almost seems that as soon as the rickety old stock of tube trains appeared the steamers just vanished. although there were a few still kept at Ryde St Johns near my nans house.

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Thank for posting the photos, They a perfect timing as i am in the process of building a oo layout of Ventnor but set in the 90's and if the station had been rebuilt and electrified running my efe tubes and my class 03 on works trains. Will post some soon.

 

Paul

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  • 2 weeks later...

Lovely evocative pics. My memories of the island go bak to around 1960 and trips to Ryde form Portsmouth . Didn't go on the main line but remember the pier tramway very well. Ventnor is well worth a visit and is much revived since the mid 90s  whenit seemed very sad . Nice little seaside town  now with great places to eat from fresh fish and chips from the little fishing harbour where the pier used to be , to the Michelin starred Hamborough. Also a model shop !

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Didn't go on the main line but remember the pier tramway very well.

 

Corr what a bone shaker that was too! :) When we visited family after moving over to Gosport, we used to catch that to the end of the pier to catch a train from the Esplanade.

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