The Isle of Wight Steam Railway has announced plans to make 2011 a year of celebration to mark the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Railway in 1971. This will include an exciting and ambitious programme of 40th Anniversary activities spread throughout the year, which will run alongside the Railway’s already busy schedule of steam train services and other regular special events.
There will be two unique events on key anniversary dates in January and April, one marking the date 40 years ago when the IW Steam Railway was first established at Havenstreet Station, and the other to commemorate the date 40 years ago when trains operated for the first time! Other highlights of the 40th Anniversary year will include two special Railway Gala weekends, a series of walks along some of the Island’s former railway lines, specially commissioned film shows, and an auction of railwayana. It is also hoped to host a 40th Anniversary Year lecture with a renowned guest speaker from the world of railways and/or preservation.
The Isle of Wight Steam Railway grew from the early commitment and enthusiasm of a small group of individuals determined to save a few relics from the Island’s once extensive railway network following the end of steam in 1966, after which just the Ryde to Shanklin line was electrified and remained open. At the end of steam in 1966 all the old steam engines, carriages and wagons were broken up, except for the few precious items saved for preservation by the Wight Locomotive Society, the forerunner of the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. After four years of storage at the closed Newport Station, the Isle of Wight Steam Railway was founded on 24th January 1971 when the one saved steam locomotive hauled an assortment of rolling stock and equipment to the then semi-derelict station at Havenstreet to begin their new life.
40th Anniversary Appeal
Alongside the 40th Anniversary celebrations, the Steam Railway will also be running a special appeal throughout the year to raise funds for an ambitious project to transform and restore Wootton Station in the style of the old Isle of Wight Central Railway. Initial plans have been drawn-up and, as part of the anniversary celebrations, the Isle of Wight Steam Railway is appealing for £40,000 to make this project a reality and create a country terminus station of 100 years ago!
For more information visit the IOW steam railway webiste