Not a very romantic name for the train with which I fell in love. And make no mistake: I love this train. I finally had a glimmer of the obsession some people have with classic steam trains.
In the good old days (I’m not sure when that was, but for every place there is assuredly a Good Old Time) you could travel the Isle of Wight entirely by train, on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. For an island of only 148 square miles, there was an impressive 52 miles of track. The glory days of the IOW steam train as a viable means of island transportation may be over, but the Steam Railway still runs a short 10 mile journey back and forth across the middle of the island. (Sort of north-middle-east. What’s the technical term for that? This is why I get lost everywhere.)
First class, of course. If this is your only opportunity to ever ride a beautifully restored Victorian and Edwardian steam train, you might as well enjoy it to the fullest. Look at the beautiful detailing on the door.
Wood panelling all around, mirrors, old advertisements, lots of headroom. I fell in love with this carriage. I want to be taken around by steam train everywhere. There’s me with my pink camera, in a photo I’m submitting to awesome-blogger Sarah‘s self-portrait project.
There’s an amazing facility in place for restoring old carriages — even old engines — even rebuilding old boilers! It’s big, clean, accessible to the public, and looks incredibly well funded. Impressive.
The main gift shop (not the book shop) has an interesting assortment of old war posters an early train advertisements. Looking through all the old posters, I left feeling like the people of a bygone era in London dreamed about the Isle of Wight in the same way the people of Dark City dreamed about Shell Beach. Lucky us, we got to take a ride for real.