the 8 Mile Long Island Line
the Isle of Wight Steam Railway
GPS Coordinates: as needed
Phone A/C: +44 1983
Access by train/transit:
Ferry from the Mainland
Hovercraft from the Mainland at Southsea
In American terms, this is a subway line. The line is about 8 miles
long, having been longer at one point, going all the way to Ventnor.
Travel time from end to end is 23/24 minutes.
One of the unique things about this line is the use of "old" equipment from
the London Underground, used because of the tunnel on the line, which is
about 10 inches too short to use a standard type transit car. They are
the oldest cars in service in the UK.
The cars currently in use, as of 2019, are 1938 vintage BR type 438 cars.
Because of the age of the cars, little things like the doors may not be
functioning at peak performance. One of the videos about the line says
that they brought 9 of the cars, one for spare parts, and the other 8
run in "married" pairs. The cars were converted for use on
the Island Line in 1989/1990. The trains run on 660VDC. I'm
guessing one of the things they had to do to convert them was to make them
operate from three rails instead of four, as the London Underground uses
four rails for running on and power (see below in the floobydust section).
Another unique feature of the line, is that it goes out into the water by
almost a half a mile to service the ferry terminal. There are two
tracks that go out this far, there used to be four.
Due to the cars age, it is not known how much longer they will survive, get
em while you can!
Trains run from 6am until midnight, 7 days a week.
At Smallbrook Junction, the station is a transfer point to the Isle of
Wight Steam Railway. Trains only stop here when the steam
trains are running. It is the newest station on the line, having been
built in 1987.
Brading station has a heritage centre and restored signalbox.
Fares vary depending on package
One way: £4.70
Evening return: Travel after 1800 for just £3.30 between Ryde Esplanade and Shanklin.
Hover Rover Rail (to the Isle of Wight): The excitement of traveling on a hovercraft, plus one day's unlimited travel on
the Island Line trains, all for £23.20 (£11.65 for children or £71.30 for a family).
Hover Liner: Travel to Portsmouth and Southsea via Hovertravel Hovercraft
service, starting from Shanklin, Lake, Sandown, Brading and Ryde St Johns
Road Stations. Just £18.10 for an Adult Day Return (£9.05 for Children aged
5-15), including your bus journey between the Hovercraft terminal and
Portsmouth City Centre (or Gunwharf Quays). Buy your ticket from Shanklin
ticket office or onboard the train.
Island Liner: A joint ticket for travel on the Island Line and the Isle of
Wight Steam Railway. Just £16 for adults (£8 for children aged 5-14), for
a day's unlimited travel. Buy your ticket from Ryde Esplanade and Shanklin
ticket offices, or on board the train. Only available on Steam Railway
operating dates; visit the Isle of Wight Steam Railway website for details.
Day Ranger: Unlimited day travel on the Island Line for just £6.50 (£3 for
children) or take the family (2 adults, 3 children) for just £17! See
everything the island has to offer!
Isle of Wight Steam Railway
A fantastic day out can be had at the Isle of WIght steam railway where
you can enjoy a ride in restored Victorian and Edwardian carriages pulled by
steam locomotives. The journey takes you on a five and half mile route from
Wotton to Smallbrook junction. Young children(0-4 years) travel for free,
children's tickets start at £5 and adults at £9.50. Tickets give a days
Denver Todd (he and Nigel provided the seed to do this page)
The various videos listed below
Getting to the Isle of Wight is fairly simple. Your only real choice,
unless you are a pilot, is to take the ferry or Hovercraft from the
The Hovercraft can be caught at Southsea.
Ferries to the Isle of Wight can be found at Portsmouth, Southampton, and
In order to get to the Isle of Wight from London, passengers need to catch
one of the regular trains to Portsmouth. South Western Railway run the most
direct service between Waterloo and Portsmouth Harbour, with most journeys
only an hour and 40 minutes long.
GPS Coordinates: 50.739131, -1.160327
At the end of the Ryde Pier.
Post: Ryde PO33 2HF, UK
Parking: yes-kinda, while waiting for the ferry (pay)
Double track at and leading up to the station.
This is the northern most station on the line, and connects with the ferries
coming from the mainland.
GPS Coordinates: 50.733031, -1.159786
Esplanade at Ryde Pier
Post: Ryde PO33 2HF, UK
Double track thru the station.
The causeway to Rydes Pier Head starts here.
The Hoverport is also located adjacent to the station.
The facility is more like a Transportation Center than a station, for it is
a main bus depot too.
photo by Phil Marsh, 1985
Ryse St John's Road
GPS Coordinates: 50.724305, -1.156712
St Johns Road at Monkton Street
Post: Ryde PO33 2BA, UK
Double track thru the station.
The shops is co-located here.
Operating semaphore at the south end of the station.
Cabin at the south of the station.
The only tower, or Cabin, is located at the south end of the interlocking
here at St Johns.
Notice the semaphore on your left!
Storage tracks and shops,
photo by Roger Templeton.
GPS Coordinates: 50.711385, -1.155039
NOTE: No street access
Post: Ryde PO33 4BE, UK
Single track thru the station, but go to double track just north of the
station, for the remainder of the trip north.
Transfer to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.
Station only active when the steam trains are running.
This is the newest station of the line, having been built I believe in 1987.
GPS Coordinates: 50.678372, -1.138658
Post: Brading, Sandown PO36 0EB, UK
Single track thru the station.
Former interchange for the branch to Helens Station and Bembridge.
GPS Coordinates: 50.656971, -1.162272
Simeon Path at Nunwell Street
Post: Sandown PO36 9FE, UK
Double track thru the station, about 1,235 feet of it.
In the picture below, you can see where the line to Alverstone took off.
The extra trackwork here is probably part of the old interchange.
GPS Coordinates: 50.646440, -1.166319 Araluen
Way at Cliff Gardens
Post: Sandown PO36 8PJ, UK
No formal station, only a single bus type shelter.
Single track here.
GPS Coordinates: 50.633775, -1.179915 Regent Road at Atherley Road
Post: Shanklin PO37 7AR, UK
This is the southernmost station on the line. The tracks going beyond here were taken up years ago.
Single track here.
Near as I can tell, the line uses two aspect red/green signals. I am
basing this on one of the videos, where you can see a signal change as a
train approaches the photographer. Looks like the signal clears with
the train passing the signal going away from it, giving us a clear as soon
as the train gets out of the previous block.
The London Underground trains use a four rail system, compared to the Island
Line, and most other subway/metro systems. The forth rail is used as a
power return instead of relying on the running rails for the return.
Originally, it was used to help keep the voltage drop to 7 volts in each
section. This was intended to reduce problems caused by stray currents
causing electrolysis affecting utility pipes and cables
I love trains, and I love signals. I am not an expert. My webpages reflect what I find on the topic of the page. This is something I have fun with while
trying to help others.
Please Note: Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.
For those of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, my
indexa page has a list of almost everything railroad oriented
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If this is a railfan page, every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct. Once in a while,
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Aerial shots were taken from either Google or Bing Maps as noted. Screen captures are made
with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it!
By the way, floobydust is a term I picked up 30-40 years ago from a National Semiconductor data book, and means miscellaneous
and/or other stuff.
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