The uncertain future of tube trains on the Isle of Wight

On assured sunny days, visiting the Isle of Wight is for us a favoured adventure day trip. We’ve travelled there by almost all possible ways.

The easiest way for us is to go from Portsmouth. We can get there easily by car, park in Gun Wharf Keys, then catch the foot ferry to Ryde. Occasionally we might take the car ferry to Fishbourne. We’ve not yet used the hovercraft to Ryde esplanade, nor have we yet caught the train from Woking to Portsmouth Harbour, perhaps we will try both in 2019.

Arriving at Ryde Pier by foot ferry we either walk down to Ryde esplanade, or catch the Island Line tube train from the pier-head. On one visit we caught the tube, and got off at Brading station– such good fun, lovely heritage station and Signal Box.

The tube trains are reconditioned 1938 London Underground trains, and boy don’t you know it. While fun, they are uncomfortable, as you might expect with 80-year-old carriages. The rail track is similarly uncomfortable, bumpy, noisy, and in need of replacement.

Most recently, this year, we caught the tube to Lake station, walked on the promenade to Shanklin up to the station and thence for late afternoon lunch in Ryde. We’d not been this far previously by tube. Handy yes, uncomfortable, certainly. I thought, at the time, that the rolling stock and line were in urgent need of replacement.

Hence, the point of this story. The tube train from Ryde Pier is something that adds to the tourist experience, which the island should endeavour to retain. But how?

All the arguments about possible alternatives are addressed in London Reconnections article Third Ryde Tube: Transfer Troublesome. It’s a longish article, but fun for train buffs. Below are a few photos on the tube from our past visits.

6 thoughts on “The uncertain future of tube trains on the Isle of Wight

  1. Tim,
    Enjoyed your post re the heritage Isle of Wight railway and your perambulations around the Isle. Did you know of a connection between the Isle and Frimley Green? Michael Spartali built Rylstone Manor in Shanklin where he lived until he moved to Sandford House at Godshill. His daughter Marie became a well-known Pre-Raphaelite painter and she lived at Deepdene in Lake Road, Frimley Green! There was an exhibition of her work at the Watts Gallery a couple of years ago and, next year, she is featured in an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery on ‘the Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood’.


  2. David, I’m seriously impressed by the depth of your historical knowledge. Have you captured it in a publication of sorts? Feel probably that you have, if so, I’d love to read it.


  3. Tim, Thank you for your kind words. The answer to your question is “Sort of”: I produced a presentation which I gave to the Surrey Heath Local History Club which was entitled “Four Famous Females who Lived LocallY” and Marie Spartali was one of the ladies (you can probably guess at least one of the others).


  4. David, In the New Year, I love the opportunity to meet with you and to record a podcast or video of you talking about these splendid women.


  5. Tim,
    The very sad thing is that I am barely able to speak. I have had asthma for many years and one inhaler I was presecribed caused damage to my larynx, so I have to get my wife to act as my oral amanuensis! But more than happy to get together.


  6. David, still love to do it. A family event is even better, a dedicated researcher and a presenter. Will be in touch in the New Year.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.