The Island Line

I’ve just had what could accurately be described as a whistle-stop tour down the East Coast of the Isle of Wight.

It started with the journey over to the island on the catamaran service that connects with the train from London at Portsmouth harbour station. The weather had distinctly improved from yesterday and I was treated to a good view of the historic dockyard, and the newer Spinnaker Tower, on the way out:

While the rain had abated since yesterday the wind was still quite strong and the crossing over to the island was quite ‘lively’ (the words of the captain of the boat):

(The coffee cup in both of these pictures is a monument to the amount of sleep I managed to get last night durning the various sleeper shenanigans.)

On arrival on the island I immediately went in search of the Island Line station, as it was only a short time until the next train. I needn’t have worried though as the railway line comes right out on to the end of the pier itself. What did surprise me was the train that was waiting in the platform. I remembered people talking about it before but it still takes you back a bit when you first see it:

It’s obviously old London Underground stock, I’m guessing from the 1930s, and is quite possibly the last type of train you’d ever expect to see running a service on an island off the south coast. I’m sure one of you will be able to fill me in on the details of exactly how these trains came to be running on the Isle of Wight, but from my perspective it was just a bit odd to be riding on an old Underground train, above ground, on a costal railway. I *think* I remember travelling on a very similar unit on the actual tube in the late 1980s but I’m not sure. Anyway, this is what it looks like inside:

I took the train up the line to one of the intermediate stations to allow me to go on a brief walk prior to catching the train back. As it was, I found the costal park and walked along the cliff-top for a bit:

…before finding a route back to one of the other intermediate stations (called ‘Lake’):

This was the smallest station on the line and relatively rural. A mind-boggling fact is that London Waterloo station (where I started from this morning) sees double the number of passengers in the morning peak period alone than Lake station sees in an entire year. After a brief wait, a distant clattering and banging announced the arrival of my train. I headed back to Ryde Pier head, and then caught a boat back to Portsmouth. 



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